SEVEN TREATISES, CONTAINING SVCH DIRECTION AS IS GATHERED OVT OF THE HOLIE SCRIPTVRES, leading and guiding to true happines, both in this life, and in the life to come: and may be called the practise of Christianitie.

PROFITABLE FOR ALL SVCH AS HEAR­TILY DESIRE THE SAME: IN THE WHICH, more particularly true Christians may learne how to leade a godly and comfortable life euery day.

PENNED BY RICHARD ROGERS, PREACHER OF the word of God at Wethersfield in Essex.

DEVT. 33. vers. 12.

The beloued of the Lord shall dwell in safetie with him, who protecteth him all the day long.

PSAL. 84. vers. 10.

One day in thy Courts is better then a thousand other where.

DEVS IMPERAT ASTRIS

RD

AT LONDON Imprinted by FELIX KYNGSTON, for THOMAS MAN, and ROBERT DEXTER, and are to be sold at the brasen Serpent in Pauls Churchyard. 1603.

TO THE RIGHT VERTVOVS, HIGH, AND MIGHTIE PRINCE, King IAMES, our dread Soueraigne, by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. long life, happie daies, and most pro­sperous raigne.

MOst gracious and dread Soueraigne Lord, I haue not presumed vpon this dedication, as being ouertaken with the forgetfulnes ei­ther of your Maiesties greatnes, or mine owne pouertie: For I confesse, that if com­parison were made that way, I might wor­thily be blamed of presumption. But the truth is, that I laid in balance your mind rather then your Maiestie, and the argu­ment rather then my penning of it. In this I confesse I presu­med and I trust without desert of blame, that as you haue pre­ferred godlines before glorie in the middest of this glorie which God hath brought you vnto: so you will preferre a trea­tise of godlines, thus simply furnished, before a glorious stile. Which is not seldome repugnant to the simplicitie of holie things. And yet my meaning is to confesse to your Maiestie, that this argument deserued both a more learned and more gracious penne then mine. To which I would with al my heart haue giuen place, if I had either seene before me, or heard be­hinde me the footsteps of any tending that way that I goe, though I confesse, there are some to bee seene trauailing in waies neere adioyning to this.

[Page]Concerning your Maiestie, I am perswaded, that you repose your greatest greatnes in the communion of Saints, and not in your seuered calling which is transitorie: and therefore will account your selfe honoured by the augmentation of grace, and the furtherance of true holines. Your Maiesties owne af­faires must be permitted to inioy their opportunities, and your godly wisedome to inioy your choice in this varietie of reading. But I doubt not, but your godly heart will perswade you to receiue a booke of this kinde with a gracious hand, though it were to no other end, but to begin to Gods people in the entertaining of any true hearted motiue vnto holines. And this to say the truth, is that wherein I haue made bold to vse your gracious and renowmed name, to aduantage my in­tent of furthering the people committed to your charge in their passage to saluation. Let it therefore (I most humblie sup­plicate) please your Maiestie to giue allowance to my ende­uour and drift, and to pardon my slips: for my meaning hath been to seeke the honour of God in this work, and to borrow helpe in this Dedication, of the grace he hath giuen you for such purposes.

Thus reioycing, with the rest of Gods people, for the comfort wherewith the Churches heart is comforted by you, and desiring the lineall descent of these kingdomes to your Maiesties royall posteritie, till Iesus Christ with his glorious comming obscure all the glorie of the world, I beseech the holie Ghost to be with your spirit, and keepe your Maiestie in Christ vnto the end.

Your Maiesties most humble subiect RICHARD ROGERS, Mini­ster of the Gospell.

TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.

THe children of this world are in their generation wiser then the children of light. Luk. 16.8. The truth hereof may appeare in the Papists; who discerning that their bookes of Controuersies, stuffed with manifold vntruths, fallacians, and corruptions, were not able to gaine sufficiently (though small gaine be too great for such merchants) to their Babylonish kingdome,Reuel. 18.15. Iam. 3.6. haue set themselues and others on worke (being all set on worke of Hell) to penne certaine treatises, tending to insnare and intangle the minds of ignorant and simple Chri­stians, in the corrupt and filthie puddle of Popish deuotion. In this respect I perswade my selfe, it is come to passe (not without the gracious prouidence of God) that the author hereof hath been incouraged in himselfe, and by others, to write these Christian directions, as a counterpoyson to all such inchauntments of Papists, who would by these meanes beare men in hand, that al true deuotion dwelt amongst them▪ and were inclosed and tyed to their Cels and Cloysters: In which vncleane cages it is vnpossible for any true spirituall and holy meditations to haue their abiding: for as much as euen the very mindes and consciences of such vncleane birds,Tit. 1.15. are defiled with damnable errors, and Idolatries. Wherefore I would earnestly aduise, and hear­tely intreate thee (Christian Reader) to imbrace this booke, wherein thou shalt finde good precepts, and holy directions, not deliuered by rote (as from a Parrat) out of the bookes and writings of other men: but confirmed by the singular experience of one, who hath long laboured the conuersion, and confirmation of many other; but espe­cially the mortification and quickning of his owne soule and conscience: one, whom indeed I haue euer esteemed another Greenham: and herein more happie then he; because he hath liued to penne, and peruse his owne labours, and may yet liue (by the mercie of God) to correct and amend whatsoeuer slip of his penne (for in a long worke one may happily take a nap, two, or three) shall be shewed vnto him. Reade it therefore (beloued Christian) and that with diligence: and thou shalt finde (I doubt not) more true light and direction to a true deuout and holy life, then in all the Reso­lutions of the Iesuiticall Father Parsons (though neuer so refined, as a brick newly washed) or meditations of Frier Granatensis, or any Popish Directories whatsoe­uer. And so I commend thee and all thy holy labours in this and all other good bookes, especially in the booke of bookes (I meane the holy Bible) to the rich and mercifull blessing of God our Father in Iesus Christ.

Thine in the Lord, STEPH. EGERTON.

TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.

WHat be the priuiledges and high fauours of God Al­mightie, wherwith he hath preferred this age, and in speciall our nation aboue all before vs, since the daies of the holie Apostles, needeth more meditation to moue our selues to thankfulnes, thē proof to cōuince our aduersaries, who though they should gainsay it, shall gnash their teeth and pine away in griefe to be­hold it. Among all (I may say with the Prophet and the Apostle) this is chiefe, that God hath so cleerely shewed his word to Iacob, his statutes and his iudgements to Israel; and hath committed to vs his holy oracles: Wherein I meane not only that we haue the Gospell so publikly and plen­tifully preached, which (though great) is common to vs with many: but withall, that in some admirable manner, God hath reuealed his secrets vn­to vs, such as wee know no Church vpon the earth, in which the true sense of the Scriptures and sound doctrine thereof, are more sincerely embraced and professed. Yea with what store of rare and excellent lights the Lord hath furnished this our Church, he is blind that seeth not, and malitious that wil not acknowledge it: wherein though generally it falleth out by hu­mane frailtie and Sathans subtiltie, that there is more light of iudgement, then integritie of conscience; yet herein God hath not left himselfe with­out witnes of many worthie Christians both Preachers and professors of the truth, who liuely expresse the forme of holie doctrine into which they are cast, such as vpon my vttermost perill I dare professe, the deuoutest Pa­pist neither hath nor possiblie (in that profession) can attaine vnto, lacking true faith the right mother and nurse of a godly life. And herein to giue one instance in steed of many, take and examine streightly this one work, and if it breathe not out more sound godlines in one leafe, then all their artificiall composed treatises of Resolution (which in their estimation are chiefe in this argument of a godly life) let me beare my deserued blame. I leaue the life of the writer of that Popish booke to such as seeme vpon bet­ter knowledge to haue set out the same. And for the Author of this Trea­tise, I may not in modestie say what I know, but could and doe desire that his life were so knowne to all, to whom his writing shall come, as it is to such, who haue heard the doctrine and seene the practise hereof in himself these well neere thirtie yeeres. But to spare the person for his life time, and to foretell what you shall finde in his labours. In my simple opinion it might in one principal respect be called the Anatomie of the soule, where­in not onely the great and principall parts are laid open, but euery veine and little nerue are so discouered, that wee may as it were, with the eye be­hold, as the right constitution of the whole and euery part of a true Chri­stian; [Page] so the manifold defects and imperfections thereof. Whereto be added most approoued remedies for the curing of all spirituall diseases, with like preseruatiues to maintaine our health, in such sort as may be enioyed in this contagious ayre, and so in a second respect may be called the physicke of the soule. In both which how welcome it shall be to all that loue their soules health, I neede not doubt: onely I would desire the Christian pa­tient, not to be offended with the largenes of the work (as too deare for the poore, and too much to be read ouer in long time) but consider with me, that if the arte of bodily physicke be so long, as the father of that arte testi­fieth; then is it no marueile, that this spirituall physicke doth as much ex­ceed the other in length, as it doth in dignitie. And yet for the reliefe of such as desire to profit by his labour, great care hath been taken so to set out apart euery seuerall matter, that by the helpe of the Table they may be di­rected to the particulars, which I perswade my selfe will be so farre from glutting any, though neuer so weake stomacke, that it will rather procure him a better appetite. For simply to say, as I feele, I haue not read in any mans writing a more sauourie stile and better relished. All which I leaue to euery one to speake as they finde, and so with my strongest desires doe commend the fruite of these labours to the blessing of God.

Ezechiel Culuerwel.

To the Christian Reader.

CHristian Reader, I am constrained in commending this spirituall blessing vnto thee, to begin with the excuse of a good deed. For although it be a good deede to commend this commendable worke, yet must I plead the pardon of my defectiuenes in doing it, by alleaging my calling thereto; and impleade the fulsomnes of the maligners of such holy enterprises, who for the most part distast all things but vanitie.Iob. 34.3. The eare (saith Elihu) trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meate, to wit, if the eare be truly spirituall; otherwise there is an vncircum­cised eare,Act. 7.51. where there is an vncircumcised heart: and he that hath an vnmortified eare, which is an affection to carnall eloquence, cannot escape a reprobate sense in iudging of the wisedome of God. An itching eare requireth a clawing stile, and the most readers seeke after that which this treatise purposely eschueth. But wisedome will be iustified of her children, and the godly hearted will lay that vnlooked for imputation vpon affectation of braue words, which the holy Ghost laieth vpon wo­mens brauerie, mentioned in the 3. of Esay, which soone after in the 4. chap. vers. 4. by passage of speech he calleth the filthines of the daughters of Sion. Something I graunt may be yeelded by way of indulgence to the weake; but he that seriously see­keth the Lord, will not be offended nor cloyed with that simplicitie, which offendeth not God by turning away the mind by trifles from a bent purpose of sound edification.

The matter of this booke is right worthy to occupie the minds of men, and will be receiued of the gracious perusers of it. The rest of the professors, which like wanton and full fed children begin to play with their meate, & brooke nothing but conceited writing and speaking, are to be bewailed; and as for the dogs they are to be detested and denied holy things. The blessing and comfort of grace brought S. Paul to ac­count all things as dung, Philip. 3.8. in comparison; and their illumination (how great soe­uer) is vnsanctified, which are not so minded: and if any man loue godlines indeed and be good mettall,Rom. 6.17. he will blesse the fire which is ordained to melt him, and the mould which is made to cast him in: but they which make the founder to melt in vaine,Iere. 6.29.30. shall be called reprobate siluer. It is part of the blessing of a worke to bee wrought by a blessed instrument: and although it be sacrilege to interuert the praise of God; yet it is of religion to take notice of Gods chosen vessels, and all men are more affected by such. This is the aduantage of this booke, I meane the long approued god­lines of the Author, as he is a Christian; and his zealous painfulnes, as he is a Mini­ster. And if it please God that his pen may be as his tongue hath been, a tree of life, the very leaues thereof will cure him of the sting of Serpents tongues. That which S. Luke testifieth of Barnabas, may (after Gods admeasurement) be spoken of him, and hoped of his labours,Act. 11.24. that he was a good man, and full of the holie Ghost and faith, and much people ioyned themselues to the Lord. Receiue there­fore (good Reader) this prouision which he hath made for thee of holesome meate, not caring for conceited cookerie, but remember that godly hunger is the best sauce for heauenly foode.

Thine in Christ, FRANCIS MERBVRY.

THE ENTRANCE INTO THE BOOKE, OR PREFACE TO THE READER, which containes these foure things: First, the generall summe of the whole. Secondly, the reasons why it was set foorth. Third­ly, the matter and argument of euery particular treatise. Fourthly, a directing of the Christian reader, how to reade it with most profit.

IN so great varietie of all learning, as God hath fur­nished this age withall, it were not onely needlesse, but arrogancie and follie, for me to put any in hope, that I goe about to teach that, which hath not been taught, and set foorth alreadie by godly and learned brethren. But yet, least any should thinke my labour vaine, in that which I enterprise, I would all such might vnderstand, that howsoeuer I shall bring no other thing, then some haue, in generall, or in some part heretofore pub­lished; yet they shall not be glutted with the same thing in particular, whe­ther they respect the treatise and argument it selfe, or the manner of fol­lowing and prosecuting the same. At leastwise, I may say, that there hath not come to my hand any booke directly tending to this end, which I pro­pound here in the seauen Treatises following, to helpe the frailtie of Gods children, and namely, by setting before their eies as in a glasse, the infinite, secret, and deceitfull corruptions of the heart: from whence (without a gracious regarding of the same) sore and dangerous euils doe arise and breake out in their life. Neither haue I seene any treatise, and dire­ction particularly drawne and gathered for mens liues to gouerne and or­der them, which tieth them to daily vse of the same throughout their whole course: of both which my purpose is most chiefly,The intent of the author, and generall summe of the whole booke. as well faithful­ly as louingly, to intreate, and to aide my poore neighbours and brethren, with that which I haue gathered by reading, and noted by experience, if by any meanes I may be able hereby, to make the Christian way any thing more easie and pleasant vnto them, then many finde it: and to bring it in­to more price, then the most doe value it at.

In few words, this is that which I aime at, that such as haue tasted how good the Lord is, and haue felt the power of the life to come, by any worke of faith and Christian life, which they haue obtained by the preaching of the Gospell, may after that, see their wants, their infirmities, their corruptions, rebel­lions, hindrances, & other discouragements, from that blessed estate wher­into [Page] they are entred: and how they may euery day in the best manner, re­medie, or at least wise weaken and diminish them, and that they may also behold their liberties and prerogatiues, which they haue by Christ: as the certaintie of Gods loue, deliuerance from the feare of the great and euill day, peace and comfort through faith, and the blessednes of such an estate, and daily inioy the same. And therefore, not to be as men that haue no such priuiledges, either cast downe with needeles feare, or possessed with an earthly or vaine reioycing, or destitute of incouragement to walke forward in an heauenly course:The fruite and benefit of it to the true Chri­stian. But that they may be mery in the Lord, and yet without lightnes; sad and heauie in heart for their owne sins, and the abominations of the land, and yet without discouragment, or dumpishnes: resting and beleeuing in God, without bold presumption, and fearing their owne weaknes, but yet without dreadfull and deadly de­spayring. And that thus the Christian man, and he who is faithful indeede, may so carrie himselfe in his course, as he may haue no thought or purpose to reuolt and turne from this hope which is set before him, but be perswa­ded that he is infinitly incouraged, to hold out constantly therein, against all that might come in his way to the contrarie. And that the vngodly may see how such are blessed in comparison of other, and what they them­selues goe voyde of which they might inioy,What the vn­godly may learne by it. and therefore may seeke how to become not almost, but altogether Christians with them.

The second point. The reasons of setting out this.To these (I say) who haue set themselues in a full, and resolute purpose to passe their daies godly in the midst of many encombrances, and to walke with the Lord, so far as of fraile flesh may be obtained (how weake so euer in their owne perswasions) to these (I say) I desire in this treatise of mine to be some helpe and assistance, and to speake plainely, that such as would faine doe well,The first. and yet cannot tell how, may hereby be eased and relieued. And if any (who yet are in superstition,The authors desire that they might profit by it. hypocrisie, prophanenes, or as yet in darknes) desire to be partakers thereof also, and so to like of that aduice and instruction, which is written for the beleeuers, that they be willing to de­part from the wicked, crooked, and cursed way, which they haue walked in: I should be so farre from enuying them this blessing, that (although this was not set out directly for them) yet they may vnderstand, that with such a willing mind, as I haue vndertaken this worke for their good who are in Christ alreadie; with the like, I am readie to further and helpe for­ward them, who thinke and know themselues as yet to be strangers from Christ altogether; and to reioyce, if I might vnderstand, that they haue been moued hereby with their brethren, to become the true disciples of Christ.This worke e­specially ten­deth to better the good. Indeede I haue not laboured so much, to perswade these to returne from their miserie, and to become penitent, because many both examples of the like, and reasons to moue them, are plentifully, plainely, and in good order, extant among them alreadie; and for that I know, that for the most part, they profit not by our writing, who doe not before regarde and take good by our preaching: and yet they shall haue my best aduice in the end.

But as for such as haue alreadie been in the truth of their hearts con­uerted vnto the Lord, and vnfainedly been called backe from the former lusts of their ignorance, and the fashion of the world, after the which some­time [Page] they framed themselues: for such (I say) I know it is the earnest de­sire of their hearts, that they may as well haue a path-way to godlines, and a direction to the same lie by them, to the which they may alwayes at neede resorte, when publike helpes by sermons cannot euermore be en­ioyed: as also to be made more fit thereby, to profit by them, when they doe repaire vnto the same. And although I looke not for it, that such ac­count should be made of this booke among the greatest number, who haue resolued with themselues either not to learne or imbrace any thing more, thē alreadie they haue, especially proceeding from a meaner person then themselues: or to scorne whatsoeuer agreeth not with their humor, and to cauill and quarrell with that, which naturall reason doth not allow; yet (wishing better things vnto such) I am not discouraged, but for their sake who would desire the same in practise which here they shall finde by reading, I will goe forward in this enterprise.

I know it can doe the best no harme.It is of vse to all sorts of good christians, and that was one reason of set­ting it out. I am sure (trusting and looking for the blessing of God) that it shall do many good, such I meane as would doe well, if they knew how; and would grow wiser, sounder and more constant in faith and a godly life, if they had helpe and direction thereto plainely set before them. And I am not ashamed to say,The second reason of set­ting it forth. that for mine owne furtherance as well as other mens, and the better carriage of my selfe through this my pilgrimage; I haue been willing to gather some such things together, as in this small volume I haue contriued.The third. Neither had it come into the hands of others, vnlesse such as are of account aboue my selfe for their gifts, as well as my neighbours,The fourth. among whom I haue preach­ed the doctrine, had perswaded me to set it forth. Besides all that hath been said, I haue chiefly in this enterprise (as God doth know) sought this, that this vnperfect & weake labour of mine may stir vp and moue some of my godly brethren (who for the habilitie and grace which God hath giuen them, if their leasure had been as much as mine, might tenne-fold more profitably and substantially haue vndertaken it) to enlarge and perfect the same, the argument being so needfull and profitable, to the further be­nefit of Gods Church and people.The fift. Another reason of setting out this treatise was this, that they who desire it, may see, by the diligent marking of the same, the beauties of the Christian life more clearely, then by ma­ny Christians liues it can bee seene, and that it may bee brought into greater account with many, who thinke it (through errour) ouerbur­densome.

And partly also I was moued hereunto by this reason,The sixt. that the Papists cast in our teeth, that we haue nothing set out for the certaine and daily direction of a Christian, when yet they haue published (they say) many treatises of that argument. For answere to the first poynt of this obiecti­on, they cannot deny (but that they care not what they say, to bring the people out of loue with our religion) they cannot (I say) deny, that both in catechismes, sermons, and other treatises, there is set forth by vs that which may cleerely direct Christians, and stir vp godly deuotion in them, though all be not gathered together into one volume: for the second part concerning their treatises, I graunt there are two which I haue seene, [Page] set forth by them in our English tongue, the one called a Christian Di­rectorie, the other the Exercise of a Christian life, wherein the author doth, though both superstitiously and nothing properly, goe about to teach and giue direction for euery day in the weeke; (the one bearing the name of Robert Parsons the King of Spaines confessor: the other by an Italian a Iesuite Doctor in Diuinitie, Iasper Loarte. and translated into English by some fa­uourite of Poperie) the first is nothing lesse then a direction for a Christian though it be called a Directorie, tending rather to perswade men to resolue with themselues to leaue some grosse euils, then to shew them soundly how to attaine pardon, or teaching how to liue christianly: the other is a ridiculous tying men to a daily taske of reading some part of the storie of Christs passion, and saying certaine prayers throughout the weeke euery day a taske; but indeede nothing lesse then directing, after the will of God, him who desires to leade a Christian life. Both of them I dare boldly af­firme, being deceiued themselues, doe deceiue others, especially the sim­ple, who is not able to discerne and trie the lying spirit in them. The one, that is to say, Parsons, hath vnder a pretence of a holines and deuotion, set downe sundrie impediments to resolution: But yet they are put in among other things to take away the harshnes and tartnes of manifold errours of merit, and other superstition mixed with them and vpholden in that religion, and as it were, with sugar to season them, which else no taste could abide, and in the depth of a subtill heart, put in, to make the world beleeue, that the Popish religion is the onely holy religion, and the pro­fessors thereof the godliest liuers; when yet Antichrist is their captaine, and head, or (as they will not deny) the Pope of Rome, who yet doth, and for these many yeares hath vpholden and maintained open, and almost infinit heresies and abominations.

And as their religion and worship is composed and framed of heresies and lies, and a confused heape of superstitions, and outward dead workes, euen Iewish and Heathenish ceremonies; so the persons themselues who professe they know most, and that they are able to giue rules vnto others, vpholding and building vpon so rotten foundations, are furthest off from well guiding others, so that no man may euer looke by any Popish direction to liue christianly. Although I will not dissemble what I thinke, namely, that some doe meane more simply and truely then the rest, and thinke that they serue God aright hauing deuout minds, but being igno­rant of the truth, must needes be deceiued.

But of Maister Parsons booke of Resolution, seeing he and some other haue set it out in a glosing stile to insinuate with the ignorant and vnlear­ned reader, that he seekes no other thing but to draw him to pietie and godlines, I cannot forbeare, but I must say a little, which otherwise I would not haue done. And the rather, for that I know, he hath snared many sim­ple peoples consciences thereby, who being themselues willing to be led in a right way, beleeue that he meanes as he speaketh; and therefore are left, I say, deceiued, and in a bottomles gulfe; out of the which, if God helpe them not some other way, it is not possible for them to get. And this I say first, for the deliuering of such out of the snare and maze in which [Page] they haue lost themselues by reading of that booke, that although there be a pretended shew of godlines in it, and much superstition; yet the best of it is farre from true pietie and godlines, seeing that, and euery part of it proceedeth from faith ioyned with assurance of Gods fauour,Heb. 10.22. Act. 15.9. which is that alone that purifieth the heart, and maketh it able to bring fourth fruits of amendment of life; without which, mens best actions are wrought by the strength of corrupt nature, and are fruites of the flesh, and workes of darkenes, and so abominable. And yet this faith doe Papists make no rec­koning of, neither therefore can the booke of Resolution teach or hold it.

Further, I say that the law onely is vrged in that booke, without teach­ing the poore soule that may be terrified thereby, how to lay hold on the promise of eternall life, and without the Gospell:Esay. 61.1. Ezech. 34.4. Ioh. 8 32. the truth and glad ri­dings whereof, is onely able to set at libertie the consciences of such as are strangled by the threats and terrible curse of the law: for if that truth make free (as our Sauiour saith) then are men free in deede. And where­as it may be obiected to me, that I doe the author of the booke open wrong in saying, that he ioyneth not the Gospell with the law; for he that readeth it, may finde, that he speaketh of Iesus Christ, that he was gi­uen by his father to the world, that many might be saued; and of the pro­mise: and how say I then that he teacheth the law without the Gospell? I answere, that he doth indeede mention both the promises of the Gospel, and also Christ; and this he doth in that chapter which is intituled [diffi­dence in Gods mercie] but yet is that true that I say:Rom. 1.16. For the Gospell is the power of saluation to him that beleeueth: and it is not the Gospell if it be not beleeued: for that is a part of the description of it: Now belee­uing or faith hath assurance going with it, as I shewed out of the epistle to the Hebrues: Which the author of that booke with the rest of his religi­on, doth flatly deny; and therefore it is cleere, that he doth not teach the Gospell, neither in that booke doth plainely and soundly guide the wan­dring soule which seeth it selfe lost, to finde remission of his sinne, and euerlasting life; and consequently, that he doth not direct his reader to liue godly, as I said, but holdeth him in darknes and in the state of damna­tion, and deceiueth him.

And what reckoning he maketh of faith (which the word of God pre­ferreth before all other things, and saith,1. Ioh. 5.4. that it ouercommeth all difficul­ties in the world) we may see by his owne words, in his preface fol. 6. I ex­hort the discreet reader (saith he) of whatsoeuer religion and faith he be, to enter into the carefull studie and exercise of good deedes, assuring him, that this is the right way, to obtaine at Gods hands the light of true be­liefe. And a little after he saith, It is more easie to beleeue as we ought, then to liue, as we should. Here we see, he preferres good deedes before faith: as if the fruite should be said to be more precious, then the tree that beares it. And yet as not marking what he said, he vttereth these words a little be­fore, which cannot stand with the other: Our fathers receiued one vni­forme faith from their mother the holy Catholike Church, and did at­tend only to builde vpon that foundation good workes and vertuous life, as holy Scripture commaundeth vs to doe. Here he affirmeth, that good [Page] life commeth from faith. Thus while he speaketh such contraries, some­time, that good workes must be built on the foundation of faith; and with an other breath, that good life is the right way to bring faith, (and yet all may see he speaketh of one and the selfe same faith in both places) must he not needes by so teaching, deceiue the simple reader while he not be­ing able to vnderstand what is taught, cannot possibly practise that which he ought?

And it was not to be doubted (to speake euen in charitie as in conscience we ought) that the said author promising in that his booke of Resolution, that he would adde two other parts to it, (as thereby confessing, that it a­lone was an insufficient worke of it selfe, to be set forth; and therefore dan­gerous to intangle and snare the ignorant) and yet cannot in eighteene yeares finde a time to fulfill his promise; it was not to be doubted (I say) but that he was well content to deceiue and trouble many that should reade it: As if one should but preach the wrath of God for sinne to a hun­dreth persons, (whereas his booke hath been in the hands of thousands) and should come no more in eighteene yeares, to helpe them out of feare and doubt, and how to liue afterwards, it would be condemned and that iustly, and cryed out of by all aduised people. And yet we may conclude, without any doubt, knowing his religion what it is (if euer he had any such meaning, to set out two other parts) that they should haue been as sound as this one is, that is to say, vnwholesome, full of damnable errors, and vncomfortable: For can men gather grapes of thornes, or figges of thistles? No more can any sound fruite be reaped or comfort gotten by false and vnsauorie doctrine. But for Parsons deuotion (whereof his booke beares so great a shew) or how little of the labour was his, or how little honestie is in the man, yea rather how great iniquitie: let them of his owne religion testifie, I meane the secular priests in their bookes against the Ie­suites.

But to say no more of Parsons: The other hath little in him worthie any account or reckoning, and to this purpose very nothing. To goe forward therefore, seeing this was one cause why I tooke this worke in hand, be­cause the Iesuites cast in our teeth the want of such bookes, as may direct a Christian aright through his whole course towards the kingdome of heauen, and yet that which they teach tending thereto, is but as poyson in a golden cuppe; although, as I haue said, there are many of my brethren, who had been fitter for this seruice then my selfe, if they had not been im­ployed some other way: yet I nothing doubt by the helpe of God, to frame out of the word of God by that little helpe of my knowledge and experience, such a direction for Christians (all ostentation, and compa­rison of learning set aside) as shall giue them small aduantage of boasting, and shall be both more pleasing to God, and more for the comforting the heart of him, who listeth to be directed by it, then poperie can affoord: and withall, a direction, that hath not only been shaped out after the rules of the Scripture, but also such as hath been and is practized and followed so farre forth, as of sinfull flesh may be looked for, both of minister and people, and approoued of those who haue excelled, & gone before many, in both.

[Page]And although I denie not, but that many things might haue been farre better set downe, and expressed, then I am able to doe; yet that none thinke me to haue taken in hand a matter aboue my reach, and wherein I haue no skill, thus much I say, that for these twentie yeares and more I haue ay­med at this, in my reading, preaching, and liuing, and in the obseruing of my selfe, and the example of others, what communion and neere ac­quaintance there may be betwixt God and a Christian, what hold may be laid on the promises of God, what strength may be gotten against sinne, what freedome and libertie we may haue by faith, what setlednes and constancie in a godlie life, what comfort, and reioycing the children of God by his free graunt, may haue, euen in this life, and that both sound and constant, which shall not be taken from them: also how farre the spi­rit may ouercome the flesh, and how the diuell may be resisted. And more especially for these seauen yeares and more, I haue more particularly set my selfe about the matter, which in this booke is contained (which how weakely soeuer it be performed, I haue therein a good conscience:) First, to shew, both how a man may become a true beleeuer, be brought into the fauour of God, and afterwards how he may be directed to leade his life daily: And therefore I haue not suddenly nor vnaduisedly set vpō this. And what helpe I haue been able to get from others, as my conuenient opportunitie hath giuen leaue, I haue not neglected. The which I set downe (as I said) that none may thinke me fantastically to haue gone a­bout to broch some noueltie, but rather to offer that to the people of God, which hath with good aduise been gathered for their edifying.The seuenth reason. But now to returne, the last reason mouing me to take this worke in hand, is, that they who haue inioyed my ministerie aboue these twentie yeares, might haue me (as many of them haue oft desired) after a sort putting them in remembrance of that which I haue taught them in my life time, many yeares after I shall be taken from among them. This shall suffice to be spo­ken of my intent and purpose in this treatise, with the reasons thereof.

Now it remaineth further to acquaint the reader with the order,The third point in the preface. which I vse in the same, and to giue some instructions, that hee may reade it with the more profit; and that it may be more plaine and easie to vnder­stand (which I doe especially intend) then otherwise it should be. First, therefore, because I haue written it for their sakes chiefly, which are truely called to be Gods Children, and haue an interest in his promises, as being conuerted to him from the subiection of the diuell: first I say,The contents and particular­ly of the whole booke, in seuen seuerall trea­tises. my purpose is in the formost treatise to shew, who are his, and who they are which in an holy, and humble manner may rest satisfied in his promises, against all dreadfull feare and doubt which might disquiet them: that so neither the loose liuers may deceiue themselues with an opinion of that, which be­longeth not to them: nor Gods children be depriued of that,The first trea­tise. which is their owne, and the ignorant of both sorts that list, may learne to know better and amend their estate. In the second, I meane to shew,The second treatise. what course of life such persons must walke in, throughout their dayes, and how they are to carie themselues both towards God and men, which I thinke ex­pedient to lay forth as cleerely as I can, and in some ample manner for [Page] the more full satisfying of the ignorant sort. From these two, all the other points handled in this booke doe arise.The third trea­tise. Therefore in the third, I will shew what are the meanes whereby this life may be maintained, and how the beleeuer shall vse the same, to the end that this whole and great worke of worshipping & seruing God, may not be taken for a bare matter of know­ledge, as the most doe make it: or (which is little better) for a seruing of God by halues, as too many professors of the Gospell doe vse it: but for a faithfull regarding of our wayes, that they may be shaped out after Gods will.

The fourth treatise.Now this practising of the godly life is performed by following a daily direction to guide vs, and whiles we doe euery day with conscience set our selues to honour and obey God, as in our callings, and by other oc­casions offered, we shall be able, and not wanderingly and vncertainly, as we haue been wont to doe. And so this shall bee set downe in the fourth treatise. And this is one of the points in this booke which requireth to be read againe and againe, as being neither commonly intreated of, and of singular vse to such as desire to take good by it, especially not being able otherwise to guide themselues.The fift trea­tise. In the fift, I make the reader acquainted with the lets, which will hinder him (though he be willing to be directed daily) from this course, except he will be perswaded to arme himselfe with such helps, as wherby he may withstand them: and remedies against these lets shall in this fift treatise be set downe, as farre as shall be thought expe­dient.The sixt trea­tise. The sixt shall set before thee sundrie priuiledges and blessings, which God doth peculiarly bequeath vnto, and bestow vpon his beloued ones, besides such benefits as they haue in common with the men of the world. By the which, as by other reasons, the faithfull may see themselues perswaded,The seuenth treatise. with much more chearefulnes, and greater willingnes to leade a christian life daily, and to shine as lights in example to others. In the seuenth and last, such obiections as may be brought and alledged by any, either weake christians, or carnall cauillers, against the practising of the daily direction, shall be sufficiently answered; that thereby the truth appea­ring more clearely, many such as desire vnfainedly to doe well, and yet haue not learned to guide themselues by any plaine direction, out of the Scriptures, may haue this as an helpe vnto them to see that which the Scripture hath reuealed hereof. All which, though I direct not this worke to the vnreformed, may be in stead of an exhortation vnto all loose and careles persons, (though more briefly, seeing there is enough written of that argument) to moue them to rouse vp themselues, and to awake out of their deadly sleepe, and not to cast away their soules for the loue of their sinnes, (which they may be sure that God will finde out howsoeuer they hide them) but to seeke betimes, that they be vnburthened of them, cast them vp as a most filthie gorge, and auoide the vengeance of Gods wrath which wil otherwise most surely come vpon them for it: For though sinne be sweete in the committing of it, yet it will be bitter, when it comes to be repented of: and most bitter, when without repentance, it must be ac­counted for.

The fourth point of the preface, di­recting the reader, how to reade this booke with most profit.Now it remaineth to direct the reader how to bestow his time profita­bly [Page] herein, and how he may reade it to his benefit. For I doubt nothing, but he that shall be conuersant in it, desiring to be directed in his course, shall thinke his time well spent, so as he be helped to vnderstand the same. First therfore let him reade the contents of it briefly set downe in the table before the booke, to helpe his memorie; then the marginall notes of the chapters. And if he conceiue and vnderstand the short summe of it so set downe; then let him reade the booke it selfe, till he be acquainted with and vnderstand it: wherein if his capacitie be the weaker and shallower, he must desire the helpe of some which are more skilfull (and better able to see the drift, scope and meaning of it) then himselfe, especially in such points of it, as are more hard and difficult, either to vnderstand, or to pra­ctise. For although many shall haue no neede of this directing of them to reade it with profit, because they can easily direct themselues when they once know the generall parts, and argument of it, as before is mentioned: yet because my desire herein is as well to helpe and benefit the plaine, and simple, (such as many of them are, amongst whom I haue preached the same) as well as to bring the wiser and more learned sort acquainted with the practise of it, therefore I know they shall haue neede thereof.

Now when they shall vnderstand it in some good sort, let them weigh and consider, how far forth they haue had vse of it heretofore, as whether they haue according to the first part of this booke, by the ministerie of any sound preacher of the Gospell, attained to the assurance of their saluation, and of the forgiuenes of their sinnes, wherein if any will take it as granted, though falsely, (as they are most readie to doe so, who haue least felt the burthen of their sinnes, and therefore are indeed furthest off from it) here­in, I say, if any will needs deceiue themselues, I cannot helpe it, but they are like to reade the rest with lesse fruit and comfort, and to goe without the vse of it in their liues, whatsoeuer they hope for. And therefore such I ad­uise to take most paine in the first part: I meane in the doctrine of it, and reading other treatises concerning the matter, as Master Mores and other catechismes; and Maister Perkins workes, namely, his booke intituled the graine of mustard seede: And to raise all the doubts they can to any expe­rienced teacher or brother, and to looke for, and see those things worke vpon them which are taught there, both the doctrine of humiliation, and also of iustification and deliuerance.

If this be attained, let them consider for the better assuring themselues hereof, that they cannot but affect, loue, imbrace, and delight in the do­ctrine of sanctification, and repentance from dead workes, I meane they shall desire to practise the godly and christian life when they see that it is the commaundement of him who loueth them most dearely, and what it is, and wherein it consisteth, which is the summe of the second treatise of this booke. And to this end, let them reade, and by marking seeke, (as such who would finde) that they may see what sinne there is in them which they are not willing nor desirous to forsake (if there be any) or among duties ge­nerally appertaining to all, or particularly touching themselues, which they cannot submit themselues vnto. If there be either of these found in them, as that they cannot leaue nor be brought to renounce some parti­cular [Page] sins, nor obtaine of themselues to be subiect to some speciall duties, as thinking it too strict (as thus it may be with many, and no doubt is) such must know, that it is the doctrine of the Scripture, that all the com­maundements of God be had in account of vs,Iam. 2.10. Heb. 13.18. Matth. 5.18. and conscience made of one as well as of another: which if they see and acknowledge according to the word of God, they cannot but submit themselues thereunto, if they haue rightly imbraced the doctrine of the former treatise, that as in iudge­ment and knowledg they yeeld; so their heart and affections may goe with the same. And so doing, God will worke in them by little and little (seek­ing it by prayer of faith) euen as he wrought the like in them before, and weakned such rebelliousnes in their hearts alreadie.

If therefore the teachable and christian reader be thus farre wrought vpon by the spirit of God, that he thus fauour, approoue, and giue ouer himselfe to be made truely repentant, which is that that is required in the second treatise of this booke; then is he fit to occupie himselfe about, and to be conuersant in the third and fourth part of it, that is to say, in the do­ctrine which requireth a daily walking in a Christian course, by the vse of such helps as are appointed of God for that purpose; and some of them al­so daily, as in the proper place shall appeare. For euery true Christian is to know, that the religion and worship of God must be in vse and practise among the imbracers of it, as well one day as another. But how shall any be able to keepe his heart in frame, and reforme his life daily by the meanes which God hath appointed, as in the third and fourth part of this booke is required: except he be first a liker, and an allower of all knowne points of dutie, and doe hartily renounce all euill, as is required in the second part? Which being done, let him looke to grow daily more strong in faith, whereby he may hold, and keepe fast the certaintie of Gods fauour daily, and constantly. And not as too many (and yet the people of God) doe, who are not acquainted with this: that their confidence should be main­tained daily, or a good conscience in their particular actions regarded, and that on one day as another, but thinke it enough at sometimes to haue this care. Neither let any looke to repell this as too strict, vnder pretence of weightie affaires, and their owne infirmitie. For this is but the delusion of the diuell, as shall be shewed, who will easily perswade it to be more then needeth. This is that which must be learned out of the third and fourth part.

And when this is vnderstood, approued, consented vnto, and aymed at, the fift part of the booke shall be cleare and easie to vnderstand, and what vse he should make of it, namely, of the lets and hinderances which the diuell raiseth vp to hold him backe from this course of life, and the practise of the same: of the which some I will set downe, and helpe him the better to know many others thereby. And he that shall indeuour to direct his life, and take heede to his wayes, as he shall by Gods word be taught, shall breake through many of the lettes, which yet shall strongly hold backe and hinder other men, as the fift part will shew: and if he be for a season withdrawne from a godly course, yet he shall there finde helpes and re­medies to recouer againe; and little ease, otherwise.

[Page]And if there be any difficultie in conforming a mans selfe after this forementioned doctrine (as I deny not but the flesh will finde many) yet against them all, let him proceede and reade with good regard the sixt Treatise, wherein are set downe the manifold and goodly prerogatiues and priuiledges, which God hath bequeathed to his people to hearten them on, and incourage them to godlines, and to make the christian life easie; and he shall see great light, and finde exceeding force therein, to stirre him vp to goe forward mightily against all fainting. And then he shall not be moued for all the obiections, cauils and fleshly reasons which he shall reade in the seuenth part. For the comfort and experience, which he shall partly enioy alreadie, and partly hope for and expect afterwards, shall make thē vanish away as smoke, although otherwise they are able to hurt and sting, as fier. And then when in the due consideration of the whole, he shall see what the blessednes and manifold good things are, which he in part hath alreadie, and shall afterwards inioy both here and in the life to come, he shall see what infinit cause he hath to praise God for his portion, that he hath rather beautified and blessed him with his fauour and graces then many other, whereby he may walke so comfortably, and that in this vale of miseries, to Gods kingdome.

And thus I aduise thee (good reader, as I know it shall be best for thee) to bestow thy trauel about this booke: wherein I appoint thee no certaine time, nor houres, seeing all which would profit by it, cannot spend their time alike about this, or any other such exercise. But this know, that this booke tendeth to teach thee the practise of thy knowledge, and not to know onely: and that I haue gathered together into this one, the things which are dispersedly contained in many other. And therefore in that re­spect, ouer and besides the ordinarie reading of the holy Scriptures, thou maiest bestow the more time about it, as thy leasure will permit, conside­ring that once or twice reading a booke for practise, is not enough.

Lastly, seeing the whole matter herein contained, is to serue thee and stand thee in steed, as setting before thee a direction to gouerne thy whole life, thou must not thinke thy labour and time much, though thou beest occupied in it for many yeares together: for as much as the fruite shall be greater, the longer that thou hast been exercised in it: and yet thy labour lesse, yea easie and pleasant: for so shalt thou grow better acquainted with the vse of it, which in one word is to make thy life more sweet and sauorie, then thou couldest looke for, that is, happie here, and hereafter, for euer. Reade therefore not onely to be able to report what thou hast found here, but especially to finde it thine owne which I doe teach: and to be setled daily in the gouernment which this doctrine drawne out of his word offereth thee, so as thou maiest see that God, in the setting forth of it, hath directed me.

Reade with a quiet, teachable and a meeke spirit, desirous of that which I labour to bring thee to, rather then with a curious head to carpe and ca­uill; or censure that which thou dost not practise nor follow. A dramme of grace is better then a pound of censorious wittines: remember that all our naturall gifts, and faculties of our soules should be sanctified: I goe a­bout [Page] to make thee see thy selfe inwardly and outwardly to be trained vp in Gods family: where the heart must be well seasoned, as well as thy whole life well ordered, till thou findest that which many a thriftie person doth in his outward estate; namely, that diet to be ordinarie with him, which sometime had been feasting cheere: for, when a poore man by his trauell and paine hath brought this to passe, hee thinkes his estate good, and that which pleaseth him exceedingly well: So, labour thou in thy spirituall worke and seruing of God, to finde that gaine, and thriuing therein, that thou maiest make thy soule as ioyfull euery day, and at as great peace with God, as sometime thou scarcely haddest obtained once in the weeke or month. Which grace and prerogatiue that thou mayest make much of, when thou hast it, looke backe and remember with thankes vnfained how farre thou hast been off from it, and how little hope thou once haddest of obtaining it, when thou wert easily mastered of thy sinnes and passions, and know that it must cost him many a prayer, and grone for it, who is yet without it, be­fore he shall be partaker of it.

RICHARD ROGERS.

THE SVMME OF ALL THE SEAVEN TREATISES, AND THE CONTENTS OF euery Chapter in them.

The first Treatise sheweth, who be the true children of God.
  • Chap. 1. OF the summe and order of this first Treatise. pag. 1
  • Chap. 2. Of mans miserie. pag. 3
  • Chap. 3. Of the knowledge of redemption and deliuerance. pag. 7
  • Chap. 4. How this knowledge worketh, and namely,
    • first, that God maketh them beleeue their miserie, and be troubled in minde for it. pag. 9
    • Secondly, they consult in this case what to doe. pag. 13
    • Thirdly, they are broken hearted and humbled. pag. 15
    • Fourthly, a secret desire of forgiue­nes. pag. 15
    • Fiftly, they confesse and aske par­don. pag. 18
    • Sixtly, they forsake all for it, and highly prize it. pag. 19
    • Seuenthly, they applie Christ and his promise. pag. 20
  • Chap. 5. Of the lets of faith, and namely in the behalfe of the Minister. pag. 24
  • Chap. 6. Of the lets that hinder faith on the behalfe of the people. pag. 28
  • Chap. 7. What desire breeds faith. pag. 34
  • Chap. 8. How the weake in faith should be established. pag. 37
  • Chap. 9. The difference of beleeuers from them that are none. pag. 44
  • Chap. 10. Of the eight cōpanions of faith. pag. 54
  • Chap. 11. How weake faith is confirmed. pag. 64
  • Chap. 12. The sweete fruit and benefit of the preseruing and confirming of our faith. pag. 68
The second Treatise declareth at large, what the life of the true beleeuer is, and the conuersation of such as haue assured hope of saluation.
  • Chap. 1. THe summe and order of this second Treatise. pag. 72
  • Chap. 2. That a godlie life cannot be with­out vnfained faith, nor this faith without it: which is the first point in the first generall head to bee handled. pag. 74
  • Chap. 3. That for the leading of a godlie life, is required faith in the tem­porall promises of God, and hartie assent and credit to the comman­dements also, and threatnings in the word of God, as well as faith to be saued. pag. 79
  • Chap. 4. Of the heart, and how it should be clensed and chaunged, and so the whole man, which is sanctifica­tion, tending to repentance and a godly life. pag. 86
  • Chap. 5. Of the renouncing of all sin: which is the first effect of a renued heart in the true beleeuer. pag. 96
  • Chap. 6. Of the diuers kindes of euill to be renounced, and namely of inward against God and men. pag. 102
  • Chap. 7. Of other euils and sinnes, most pro­perly concerning our selues. pag. 108
  • Chap. 8. How the minds and hearts of the beleeuers are taken vp vsuallie, seeing they renounce inward lusts. pag. 114
  • Chap. 9. Of the second kinde of euils or sins to be renounced, namely outward. pag. 124
  • Chap. 10. Of foure sorts of such as hope for saluation; and yet renounce not open sinnes, and outward offen­ces. pag. 126
  • Chap. 11. Of certain obiections raised from the former doctrine, and answers thereto: as why we should put dif­ference betwixt men: whether the godly may fall reprochfully, and what infirmities they may haue. pag. 134
  • Chap. 12. Of the keeping of the heart once purged, in that good plight after­ward. pag. 140
  • Chap. 13. Of the summe and manner of handling this second part of a godly life: and particularly of the [Page] rules to bee obserued for the ef­fecting of it: namely, knowledge and practise. pag. 147
  • Chap. 14. Of the answering of some obiec­tions about the former doctrine, and of the other two vertues which helpe to a godly life. pag. 154
  • Chap. 15. Of some particular duties per­taining to God directly in the first, second, third, and fourth com­mandements. pag. 160
  • Chap. 16. Of certaine duties to men, in the fift, sixt, and seuenth commande­ment, the obeying wherof is a part of a godly life. pag. 167
  • Chap. 17. Of some duties to men in the 8, 9, and 10. commandements. pag. 175
  • Chap. 18. Of certaine reasons perswading to the practise of a godly life: which is the fourth generall part of this treatise. pag. 191
  • Chap. 19. Of answers to obiections brought against the necessitie of practising this godly life. pag. 200
  • Chap. 20. The last obiection against the god­ly life answered. pag. 208
The third Treatise laieth foorth the meanes, whereby a godly life is holpen and continued.
  • Chap. 1. WHat the meanes are, and the kinds of them, and of the summe and order of this Treatise. pag. 211
  • Chap. 2. Of the publike helpes to increase godlines: and namely the ministe­rie of the word. pag. 213
  • Chap. 3. Of the second publike helpe, name­ly, the Sacraments. pag. 217
  • Chap. 4. Of publike prayers: also of the pri­uate helpes in generall. pag. 222
  • Chap. 5. Of the first priuate helpe, which is watchfulnes. pag. 226
  • Chap. 6. Of meditation, the second priuate helpe. pag. 235
  • Chap. 7. Of the third priuate helpe, which is the armour of a Christian: and of the three first points of it. pag. 259
  • Chap. 8. Of the last point, which is the bene­fit of this armour. pag. 272
  • Chap. 9. Of our owne experience, and what a speciall helpe it is to the leading of a godly life: also of the vse of cōpanie and familie exercises. pag. 278
  • Chap. 10. Of prayer and the parts thereof, thankesgiuing and request, where­unto is added confession of sins. pag. 282
  • Chap. 11. Of reading. pag. 288
  • Chap. 12. Of the extraordinary helps. pag. 291
The fourth Treatise directeth the beleeuer vnto a daily practise of a Christian life.
  • Chap. 1. OF the summe, order, and parts of this treatise. pag. 294
  • Chap. 2. Of the first reason, why there ought to be a daily direction to guide the beleeuer. pag. 297
  • Chap. 3. Of the second reason of a daily di­rection, consisting of two branches. pag. 299
  • Chap. 4. Of the third reason of the daily direction. pag. 303
  • Chap. 5. Of the fourth reason. pag. 307
  • Chap. 6. Of the 5.6.7. and 8. reasons. pag. 310
  • Chap. 7. Of the description of the daily di­rection. pag. 313
  • Chap. 8. Of the necessarie parts of the daily direction, being the 2. branch of the 2. part of this Treatise. pag. 316
  • Chap. 9. Of the illustration or more full declaration of the former parts of the direction. pag. 320
  • Chap. 10. Of outward duties of life, most commonly to be done daily, but not of necessitie. pag. 333
  • Chap. 11. Of the benefit and commendation of the direction. pag. 337
  • Chap. 12. Of the declaration of the first du­tie of awaking with God. pag. 346
  • Chap. 13. Of the declaration of the second dutie, of beginning the day with prayer. pag. 349
  • Chap. 14. Of the declaration of the third du­tie, about our callings. pag. 353
  • Chap. 15. Of the declaration of the fourth rule or dutie, directing vs in com­panie. pag. 364
  • Chap. 16. Of the declaration of the fift du­tie, how wee should behaue our selues in solitarines. pag. 376
  • Chap. 17. Of the declaration of the sixt du­tie, of vsing prosperitie well. pag. 385
  • Chap. 18. Of the declaration of the seuenth dutie, of bearing afflictions rightly euery day they come. pag. 393
  • Chap. 19. Of the declaration of the eight [Page] dutie, namely, of vsing religious exercises in our families. pag. 396
  • Chap. 20. Of the declaration of the ninth and last dutie, of viewing the day. pag. 399
  • And here followeth a prayer, con­taining the summe of the life, which is to be daily led of a true Christian. pag. 404
The fift Treatise sheweth the lets, which hinder the sincere course of the Christian life before de­scribed.
  • Chap. 1. OF the summe and order of this Treatise, and how it agreeth well with the former. pag. 411
  • Chap. 2. Of Satans properties and attempts against vs in generall, and our help against them. pag. 414
  • Chap. 3. Of the diuels troubling the weake beleeuer about his faith, and if he doe not preuaile against him one way, he seeketh by another. pag. 417
  • Chap. 4. Of Satans hindring the continu­ance of faith. pag. 422
  • Chap. 5. Of Satans hindring the beleeuer from liuing godly: and how many waies: and namely, by keeping him in a wandring & vnsetled course; and also of the remedie against it: and first by occasion of that, how he holdeth backe the wicked. pag. 425
  • Chap. 6. Of another let: the leauing of our first loue. pag. 432
  • Chap. 7. Of a third let in this first kinde, namely, the want of the ordinarie preaching of the word of God. pag. 437
  • Chap. 8. Of the second kind of generall lets: namely, the vnmortified affections wherewith he oppresseth the belee­uer. And first of feare that they shall not perseuere: and of pride in their gifts. pag. 441
  • Chap. 9. Of other vnruly affections, touchi­nes, peeuishnes, &c. pag. 447
  • Chap. 10. Of worldly lusts, and namely the loue of carnal pleasure, and the in­ordinate desire of riches. pag. 451
  • Chap. 11. Of the remedies of this worldlie lust: namely, couetousnes, and ex­cessiue loue of riches. pag. 458
  • Chap. 12. Of the third kind of lets generall, whereby the beleeuer is hindred from going forward in a godlie course. pag. 467
  • Chap. 13. An example of a couenant made by certaine godly brethren, decla­ring what manifold lets the faith­full haue in this world (fit to illu­strate the former doctrine) con­tained in the two next chapters following. In this chapter of the first part of it, namely a complaint. pag. 477
  • Chap. 14. Of the second part of the coue­nant, namely, the remedies against the complaint mentioned in the former chapter. pag. 487
The sixt Treatise setteth downe what priuiledges belong to e­uery true Christian: and how he may haue his part in them.
  • Chap. 1. OF the summe of this Trea­tise: the reasons why it is set out: the order of it: and of the diuers kinds of priuiledges. pag. 493
  • Chap. 2. Of the first priuiledge. That the beleeuers may knowe in this life, that they haue eternall life. pag. 495
  • Chap. 3. Of the second priuiledge, namely, that God is with his alwaies, after hee hath assured them of his fa­uour. pag. 498
  • Chap. 4. Of the third priuiledge, how God giueth grace to his children to liue godly, and of the first branch. pag. 502
  • Chap. 5. Of a second branch of the third priuiledge. pag. 505
  • Chap. 6. Of the fourth priuiledge, how the godly may rise againe when they are fallen. pag. 514
  • Chap. 7. Of the fift priuiledge, namely, the gracious helpes by which he hath granted them to grow in faith and godlines. pag. 519
  • Chap. 8. Of the sixt priuiledge, namely, of the right vsing of prosperitie. pag. 524
  • Chap. 9. Of the seuenth priuiledge: con­cerning the afflictions of the god­lie: and namely of the first branch of the same: that is, how they may be free from many of those trou­bles, which doe light on and meete with the vnreformed. pag. 529
  • [Page] 10. Of the second branch of this pri­uiledge, concerning the afflictions of the faithfull: namely, that God deliuereth them out of many, when the wicked still remaine in theirs. pag. 535
  • Chap. 11. The third branch of this priui­ledge: that wee may haue much good by our afflictions. pag. 539
  • Chap. 12. Of the eight priuiledge: of grow­ing in grace. pag. 543
  • Chap. 13. Of the ninth priuiledge: that the beleeuers shall perseuere vnto the end. pag. 549
  • Chap. 14. Of the tenth and last priuiledge, inioyed perfitly in the life to come, but begun here. pag. 560
The seuenth Treatise containeth the obiections and cauils, which may be brought against the do­ctrine before set downe, and an answere to them.
  • Chap. 1. OF the summe and order of this Treatise. pag. 569
  • Chap. 2. The first obiection (that there needes no direction daily, besides Gods word, and therefore this is needles) answered. pag. 570
  • Chap. 3. Of answering this obiection, that no such direction can be obserued daily. pag. 575
  • Chap. 4. Of answere to this reason against the practise of daily direction: that it is toylsome and inconuenient, taking away al pleasure from men, and hinders their labours. pag. 577
  • Chap. 5. Of answere to another reason a­gainst daily directing of vs, that it would breake off all societie and fellowship among men. pag. 581
  • Chap. 6. Of the doubts and obiections, which weake Christians ought to pro­pound vntill they bee satisfied: namely, how they may attaine to such direction daily, and answere thereto; and other like, namely that they count it hard, and what such ought to doe. pag. 583
  • Chap. 7. Of other obiections of the weak; as that they cānot see how they should walke thus, while they liue in such an euill world: and other like ob­iections, with answers thereto. pag. 587
  • Chap. 8. Of the obiection of weake Chri­stians who cannot reade; and ano­ther of them, that are troubled through some Scriptures; and an­swers to both. pag. 590
  • Chap. 9. Of the obiection, that Ministers may follow daily direction, but yet not therefore the people, and of such as obiect, that better counsell is giuen by the author then hee himselfe will follow: with answere to both; and a larger answere to the first obiection in the second chapter. pag. 593
  • Chap. 10. The conclusion of the whole booke, containing an exhortation to good and bad. pag. 599
FINIS.

THE FIRST TREATISE, SHEWING WHO BE THE TRVE CHILDREN OF GOD.

CHAP. 1. The summe and order of this first Treatise.

ALthough my chiefe purpose be to direct the true Christian, who is already a belee­uer, C how to walke daily through the course of this life, in such wise as he may finde a very sweete and effectuall taste of eternall happines, euen here (which few doe thinke can be obtained) yet I haue thought it meete: first, to shew who are true beleeuers, and the children of God,Hovv any may knovv they be the Lords. and how men are brought vnto this estate, and thereby may know that they are so. Partly for them who desire to be directed in a Christian life, that D they may haue this ready at hand by them, to shew them that they are the Lords, notwithstanding many doubts be oft raised by Sathan against them, and that others may learne to know it, who are yet ignorant of it, as without the which, in vaine should they goe about a godly life. Which as it is the weightiest and chiefest poynt of all others in diuinitie, and the ground of the rest which I haue taken in hand to intreate of; so it is with the greatest re­garde to be dealt in, whether we respect those, which vnfolde and lay open the same, or those, which desire to be instructed, and perswaded in the truth thereof.

For it comes to passe by our corrupt nature, and slownes of heart to be­leeue, E and Sathans subtiltie many waies beguiling vs,Most are de­ceiued in the assurance of saluation. that we in nothing more deceiue our selues, then in, and about the assurance of saluation: for proofe hereof, we may vnderstand that some, yea, many thousands thinke that no man can know whiles he liueth here that he is the Lords,1. Papists think it impossible. neither can haue any assurance of his fauour till his death, vnlesse it be by speciall reuela­tion. And this is the error of the Papists. On the other side,2. Carnall Pro­testants thinke it easie. many thinke that this is not so hard a question, as that any that professe the gospell should [Page 2] doubt of their saluation (notwithstanding our Sauiour Christ saith that his F flocke is but small, Luk. 12.32. Matth. 7.14. Luk. 19. Matth. 7.21. and that in comparison but few shall be saued.) And this is the opinion of our common Protestants, which say Lord Lord, and yet are not prepared to doe the will of the Lord, and therefore farre from entring into the Kingdome of heauen.

3. VVeake Christians full of doubting.Besides both these, many poore ignorant soules thinke whiles they doe well and serue God, they may be assured of their redemption by Christ: but if they be by any meanes hindred from pleasing God, yea, though it be by meere frailtie, and corruption of nature, then they can haue no hold there­of; which vncertaintie, though it cleaue vnto many who are deare vnto the Lord, yet it is to be counted their error and sinne, and they must be brought G to a more staied iudgement, then thus to thinke: that either there is change­ablenes with God, or to be so much their owne enemies, as by meanes of this error to fill their liues with such vncomfortablenes, and depriue them­selues hereby of this assurance of Gods loue, which is the strongest perswa­sion to true godlines.

These are some few of a great many doubts and erronious opinions about this matter, as after shall appeare. For resolution whereof, though many things must be said, yet the matter it selfe may cleerely and soundly be set downe in few words.

To the end therefore that these and such like many see how farre differing H Gods thoughts are from mans, and (as I haue said before) that al which haue receiued this doctrine, may haue it before their eyes daily in some easie and familiar manner to confirme them, I will, as God hath made me able, set downe that which is expedient for this point: and this I haue thought good to referre to these three heads.Three generall heads, or parts of this first treatise. First, to shew how a man may attaine to this, to know that he is the child of God, and how God worketh it by his spirit in the hearts of those which are his. Secondly, how the weake beleeuers may vphold themselues in temptation, and so be staied, as seeing that they differ apparantly from those, which are not the Lords. And thirdly, how they may afterwards more easily prooue that they haue true faith, and be able to I confirme and preserue the same: and finde how much such an estate is to be desired.

Three branches of the first head.And for the plaine declaration of the first point hereof, these three things must be handled. The first, the cleere knowledge of mans miserie. The se­cond, of his redemption and deliuerance out of the same. And the third, how both these ought to worke vpon their hearts, and what fruite they will bring foorth by the operation of the holy Ghost in such as shall be saued: That is to say, that the one which is the knowledge of miserie, will wound and humble their hearts, when they shall see thereby, that they are but dead and damned people. The other will heale the sores of their hearts, and lift K them vp againe, to the beholding of all their sinnes pardoned, and their woe remoued so, as if they had neuer been pressed downe with the same. And to this shall be adioyned a discourse of the lets of faith, and what desire it is from which it commeth.

A

CHAP. 2. Of mans miserie.

TO begin therefore with their miserie,The first head. and briefly to speake of it, and the next branch (seeing they are of others large­ly handled) no man must think that it is the estate wherein God at the first created them,The first point of mans mise­rie. either Adam the father of all the world, or his posterity which was then in his loines.

B Sure it is (I say) that it was not thus with mankind in the beginning: for God then made all things good, and man amongst other creatures hee made holie, and happie,Gen. 1.26. Heb. 2.7. the lord of all the creatures which were vpon the earth, little inferiour to the Angels, indued with infinite bles­sings, full of beautie and glorie. So that when it might be seene that nothing was wanting but this, that he was not altogether free from losing this bles­sed estate, yet euen there the diuell tooke an occasion against him,Reuel. 12. Gen. 3. and de­ceiued him, and his posteritie, and cast them from that happie condition which before they enioyed.

And yet if this had been all the harme that mankind by the malice of the C diuell sustained, it had been little in respect of that which fell vpon him. For behold, besides the losse of his felicitie, he was plunged into extreame mise­rie and desolation, which consisteth of these two branches,Two parts of mans miserie: first his sinne. Gen. 6.5. that hee doth al­waies, and in all things offend God, being able to doe nothing but that which displeaseth him, as hauing his heart alwaies and onely euill. And se­condly, that he in all this is odious to God, and most iustly accursed of him.Hosea 1.2. Coloss. 1.21. Mans sinne vvhat. Mans sinne is not onely that transgression of Adam in most vnnaturall and treacherous rebellion, and disobedience, whereof hee is most iustly guiltie with Adam, and hath his part (as being to stand or fall with him) but ano­ther which riseth out of this, euen that infection of all the powers and mem­bers D both of the soule and bodie. Which as poyson put into a cup of wine doth make it deadly, dispersing it selfe into the same: in like manner this cor­ruption or concupiscence, which by the first sinne of Adam is spread ouer his posteritie, doth poyson his whole nature:Euery part cor­rupted. so that no sound part is found in him from the crowne of the head to the sole of the foot. And from hence it is that the vnderstanding, euen the excellentest power of the mind,Ʋnderstan­ding. Ephes. 4.17. is filled with blindnes and darknes, and sauoureth not the things which are of God. The conscience is wounded, seared, or defiled some other way,Conscience. 1. Cor. 2.14. Heb. 10.22. and neuer soundly peaceable. The memorie forgetting good things wholy, or remem­bring neither good or euill aright, and as it ought, as experience forceth the E best to complaine. The will is captiue and of no strength to doe good,VVill. Rom. 8.5.6. nei­ther wanteth habilitie to that which is euill. And thereafter is he caried of his affections, as a chariot on her wheeles, onely to that which displeaseth God. What should I say more? For who can chuse but bewaile and la­ment such a distressed and wofull estate of the soule of man, which somtimes hauing been framed after the image of God, in true holines and righteous­nes, is now both emptie of that grace, and filled with all filthines of sinne and [Page 4] vncleannes? But alas, who beleeueth this or consenteth to it, that it is true F that man (who hath so good an opinion and high conceit of himself) should yet be indeed so farre off from that which he dreameth of, and in such bon­dage and slauerie, as hee would seeme to be farthest off from the least part thereof?Conuersation. But (to goe forward) if his conuersation and course of liuing, which is the vntimely fruite of this bitter roote, were laid out in her colours (which I must onely very briefly touch) it were able to make him who thinketh him­selfe most innocent, to appeare most vile and loathsome in his owne eyes, a­shamed of himselfe, and to hide himselfe in a dungeon that no other might behold him. For (to speake of the actions of the minde) what are his cogita­tions about heauenly matters,Thoughts. but errors, falsehood and Iyes? What are the G wishes and desires of his heart,Desires. but earthly, and fleshly, in degree one aboue another, till he being led away of his concupiscence, is inticed, and so con­senteth thereto,Outvvard be­hauiour. defendeth it, and is hardened? What is the outward beha­uiour, but an yeelding vp of the members of the bodie, as instruments and weapons of sinne, euen the sinne of the tongue, and sinne of the life? in so much that he is all waies, and in all things, and therfore out of measure, sinful. As Paul though he liued after the most strict order of the Pharisees, which was in shew farre aboue many; yet when he was conuerted could say, I was a blasphemer, 1. Tim. 1.15. Rom. 8.7. an oppressor, a persecutor: So that it is most truly verified which is written, that he neither is, nor can be obedient to the law of God, and that he can do H nothing but sinne.

The sinnes of man are as the haires of his head, and sand of the seashore, innumerable, and his best actions (as his prayers) are no better then abomi­nable before God,Prouer. 28.9. Iohn 9.31. Psalm. 50.16. as Salomon speaketh: He that turneth his eare from hearing the law, euen his prayer shall be abominable. Oh, it is not imagined of thousands that there is any such euidence to be brought against the inhabitants of the earth,Fevv thinke it thus. euen the vnworthie sonnes of men, which yet were sometime by crea­tion the sonnes of God. For the most vngodly which can be heard of, will haue some goodnesse to be found in them: so farre off is it, that they will yeeld to this censure, that all their life is sinfull. And therefore it is no mar­ueile I though men account of themselues as they doe, euery one flying to this shelter, that he hopeth he is not the worst of others. For the cleerer lay­ing open of these sinnes particularly, some view of Gods law thorough eue­ry commaundement is to be taken: which I would here my selfe haue set downe, but that I shall be occasioned in another place to doe the same.

But all this sinne which thus ruleth and raigneth in man, making him not much vnlike the diuels themselues, is but one part of the miserie which he is in, yea and the least of the two, in their eyes and iudgement, who are the greatest number in the world.

The second part of mans misery. The curse first on the body.The other part thereof is, that for this sinne he is subiect to all those feare­full K and horrible plagues which God hath threatned, and executeth in the world vpon the committers thereof, and to that endlesse punishment of con­demnation in the world to come, which is the principall and most iust de­sert of euery sinne. The particular vexations and calamities which belong to sinners in this life are innumerable, and not to be expressed: but some for the rest it shall be fit to mention, and the rather for that many thousands neuer [Page 5] A dreame of, and much lesse are troubled with any such matter. And first, as the curse of God is vpon all creatures for mans cause; so it is lesse to be doub­ted, that it is cast vpon man himselfe. So that whatsoeuer he doth, or where­soeuer he becommeth, the wrath and anger of God followeth and accom­panieth him: Cursed he is in the field, and cursed in the house, cursed in his basket, Deut. 28.15. and in his store: and as Moses speaketh of all the creatures, wherein he should take his repast and delight, saying: Cursed is the earth for thy sake, Gen. 3.17. thornes and briers it shall bring foorth vnto thee. From hence come all the dearths, famines, penurie, and pouertie, which euery where are cried out of. In his bodie, sick­nesse, diseases of many kinds, aches, gripings, swellings, burstings, and other B paines intolerable. In the senses, deafnes, blindnes, numnes, and such like, which should make any heart to quake and tremble to heare them but na­med. As for friends and kindred, wife and children, father and mother, or whatsoeuer may be thought of, which men are wont to take greatest plea­sure in: how can they delight mans heart soundly, or be pleasant vnto him, when they are mixed with this sauce? The Lord accurseth them, hee will bring him to iudgement for them, euen for enioying them whereto they haue no right nor lawfull libertie, as being not intitled to them by Christ, who is heire and Lord of all.Heb. 1.2. If there were but a sword hanging with the point downward ouer a mans head, which were sitting at a royall banquet, C what pleasure could hee take in the varietie of his dainties? But it is ano­ther manner of slaying a man, if oft in one houre hee must be constrained with feare to remember and thinke on it, this moment will they take thy soule from thee.

But this goeth not so neere mens hearts as it ought,Men shift off this. whiles they haue one obiection or other (as it were water) to quench the force and heate of it. For all men (they say) are not in this miserable estate, except some one or few, who be wearie of their liues, and make all their other delights vnpleasant to them for the same. This (as vnwise) they obiect,This curse is to all. because they are moued with nothing but that which they see with their outward eyes, the voyce of D God pierceth not their hearts, although it pronounceth as well to him that escapeth al these (if any such could be found) as to him who hath bin plagued with them all, euen to one as to another without respect of persons: Woe be to the inhabitants of the earth, because they haue sinned! So long as this word shall be true, no mans estate is better then another, all are vnder the wrath of God: Therefore let no man deceiue himselfe, God is not mocked. How this ought to affect the heart of him that heareth it, we shall see hereafter: but hee that hardneth his heart at the hearing of this, because he feeleth not, neither see­eth any such thing, shall surely come to euill.

I haue not yet spoken of the plagues and punishments which take hold E vpon the soule, which are yet more fearefull then those of the bodie,The curse vpon the soule. if so be they could as easily be discerned. A man to be giuen vp to his owne vilde lusts, like a brute beast to wallow in filthines, who might haue shined as an Angell in goodnes, is there any of iudgement, which counteth it not a­mongst the most fearefull iudgements? To be vtterly darkned and destitute of the true knowledge of God and of the life to come (the knowledge wher­of is the beautie of the world) and to be hastning to endles woe, and yet not [Page 6] to vnderstand it: what part of miserie can be greater in this world? To be so F hardned in heart as to be past all feeling & remorse, to fall into vtter despera­tion without recouery by any thing he can do: such madnes, frensie, & heaps of the like, can any thing be thought more full of horror? and all these is wofull man vnder. There is none which hath not brought himselfe into the depth of them all: which is all (I may say truly) that he hath to glorie of. So that I thinke it cannot be denied but that he is miserable: vnto the which to adde (as the shutting vp of all) the remedilesse feares, and deepe doubts, which oft bring anguish here, the paines and torture of both soule and bo­die in the end of this life, when both must take vp their dwelling in he [...]; who so shall heare it, must needes confesse, that there wanteth herein no G piece of miserie. But seeing the Scripture it selfe calleth it paine vnspeakable, I wil not go about to describe it, least I should any way seeme to make it lesse then it is. It is sufficient for this purpose that it is most extreame, easelesse, and endlesse. This I haue said of the miserie of man, and of both the parts of it, as I did purpose, and that in as few sentences as well I might, and fewer in deede, then such a weightie matter would haue required, but that it is else­where handled by others. And I haue determined to say no more then I must needes, of those things, which are set foorth at large both plainly by many learned brethren, and in very good sort and order alreadie.

The necessitie of this knovv­ledge of mans miserie.These two points of mans miserie are to be knowne as an especiall part of H Gods truth, of him whom the Lord will saue. For hee which knoweth not this, swelleth, and is puffed vp, and goeth on in deepe securitie, and cannot doe otherwise as long as hee is ignorant of this point: therefore the Lord bringeth him, on whom he purposeth to shew mercie, to the preaching of his word, and namely his law, which sheweth him his sinne and damnation: so that he shall cleerely vnderstand it, and that he as well as any other is vnder the power of it.

But here I thinke it not vnseasonable to adde this (seeing ignorant people, which lie yet in their sinnes, doe harden their hearts at the hearing of this) that none haue iust cause to quarrell with the Lord: for if any thing spoken I of in this argument, displease them, they may thanke themselues. But to him they are infinitly beholding, that hee brings this hidden secret to light a­mong them, that they seeing the plague which is comming towards them, may auoide it, and be roused out of the present daunger in which they are. And further they may vnderstand, that God alloweth not his ministers, who publish this message of mans wofull estate, to deliuer it barely and nakedly, and to preach the law onely, but to ioyne the glad tidings of the Gospell with it in their ministerie, and to preach remission of sinnes with the vrging of repentance, and with the pricking of the peoples hearts by terror and sor­row for their sinnes: as our Sauiour, Iohn Baptist, and other his faithfull ser­uants K did. For as none can beleeue, except they repent; so none can repent, vnlesse they beleeue.

And therefore, I also, in the former point hauing shewed how this know­ledge of his miserable estate must be preached vnto him that shall be saued, am now to shew, that he prepareth other doctrine most fit for him that hath learned the former: namely, that he causeth most ioyful and glad tidings of a [Page 7] A full and sufficient remedie against all such miserie to be preached vnto him, without which, how intolerable should the condition of such be?

CHAP. 3. Of the knowledge of redemption and deliuerance.

THis remedie therefore I will first lay foorth,It must be knovvne as vvell as our miserie. and then shew how God will haue him to vnderstand and know it, that when he is inlightened to know the will of God both in B the miserie of man and in his redemption, he may (as God hath appointed) haue them both, worke kindly on him, and so know himselfe the child of God, and heire of salua­tion; seeing without some knowledge of both, no man is either rightly humbled or exalted. And although there be many which know both points, so as some can teach them to others, and yet haue vse of neither: yet can none be saued without the knowledge of both. The summe of all, which is to be knowne of him, is contained in this short sentence: Christ Iesus preached (as he is reuealed in the Gospell) is saluation vnto all that beleeue: Ioh. 3.16. 1. Tim. 1.15. 2. Cor. 5.21. Act. 4.12. 1. Ioh. 2.1. and more fully in this saying of S. Iohn: God so loued the world that he gaue his onely begot­ten C sonne, that whosoeuer beleeueth in him should not perish, but haue euerlasting life. And againe, S. Paul: This is a true saying, and by all meanes worthie to be receiued, that Christ Iesus came into the world to saue sinners.

Out of these places, as also many other, to the full and plaine declaration of this remedie, these foure things are to be considered. First, what it is, and wherein it consisteth. Secondly, by whom it is wrought. Thirdly, how it is brought to light and reuealed. And fourthly, how it is receiued and imbra­ced. Now as concerning the first,The first point about the re­medie. the onely sufficient remedie for the sauing of man, is to satisfie Gods iustice, which by sinne is violated: without which satisfaction, the wrath of God cannot be appeased, nor his fauour obtained, D and so there can be no redemption. For how should the Lord be perfectly iust, if he should chaunge this righteous sentence of his law, that euery trans­gressor is cursed, and only the perfect keeper of the law blessed? Now then Gods iustice is satisfied only by these two meanes: First,Gal. 3.10.12. by suffering the pu­nishment due to sinne, which is the curse of God; and the perfect keeping of the law,Heb. 9.22. and 12.14. without which there can be no deliuerance from sinne and con­demnation. The onely remedie of our miserie consisting herein, wee may cleerely see that it is out of our selues, and not in any other creature: for nei­ther we, nor any other creature for vs, is able either to sustaine the curse, much lesse to ouercome it: or perfectly to fulfill the law, which is impossible to E flesh. Whereby is quite ouerthrowne the foundation of Poperie,Rom. 8 3. and all opi­nion of merite, or of any thing in man to auaile to his iustification.

But to goe forward to the second point, to shew by whom it is purchased:The second point about the remedie. This remedie, which could be had by no other, is appointed by the Father, vndertaken and wrought by Christ, and sealed in mens hearts by the holie Ghost. It is wrought (I say) and found only and wholy in Iesus Christ, God and man, who being perfect God tooke our humane nature on him; and in [Page 8] both became a most mercifull Mediatour betwixt his father and vs, to recon­cile F vs to him: and both suffered the full weight of Gods curse due to our sinne, by the power of his Godhead ouercomming the same, as also fulfilled the law for vs, whereby he fully satisfied the iustice of God. So that most truly it is said,Act. 4.12. that saluation is in no other, but that in him onely is the whole remedie of the miserie of mankinde to be found: There is giuen no other name vnder heauen (as the holy Ghost speaketh) whereby we must be saued: So that whosoeuer hath the Son (as S.1. Ioh. 5.12. Iohn saith) for to redeeme him, hath life, and he that hath not the Sonne, hath not life. And to make vp the whole matter: if any should aske how Christs redemption is made mans, he is to know, that God his father of his marueilous loue gaue him freely (euen as hee had long be­fore G promised him) with all his whole worke of redemption, as the Apo­stle saith:Rom. 58. God declared his loue to vs, that when wee were yet his enemies, he sent Christ to die for vs, that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not any longer lie vnder Gods wrath and perish, Ioh. 3.16. but haue euerlasting life; he being giuen vs of his father to be our wisedome, righteousnes, sanctification and redemption, 1. Cor. 1.30. Now if by him alone God hath brought this most soueraigne remedie to mankind, against the intolerable woe, which by sinne is come into the world, and is (as hath been said) gone ouer all men, the popish practizers may blush and be ashamed, who part stakes betwixt him and creatures, and so ascribe not the whole worke of our saluation to Christ alone.H

The third point about the re­medie.The third thing, namely how this diuine mysterie and secret is brought to light, is (in the peaceable and flourishing estate of Christs Church) the glorious Gospell: which because it containeth the most worthie and accep­table message of mans full redemption by Iesus Christ, is called of S. Paul, the power of saluation to all that beleeue. Rom. 1.16. The vse of the which Gospell is, to ma­nifest that righteousnes in Christ, whereby the whole law is fully satisfied and saluation attained. The which being soundly and plainly published and preached by the faithfull ministers and messengers of God, and namely this part of it, that mankind is fully redeemed by the bloud of Christ Iesus, the onely begotten sonne of God, manifest in the flesh, doth bring great and I exceeding ioy:Luk. 2.10. and is imbraced of them which know the value and price of it,Matth. 11.12. with all possible welcomming of it. And this, though more darkly, as the times were, the Lord caused to be taught vnder the law in types and shadowes, prefiguring Christ to come and to be exhibited; euen as he saith in Ioh. 5.46. Moses wrote of me: though indeede now vnder the Gospell farre more cleerely and plainly, that it may now be verified, if euer, that Christ by preaching him, hath been crucified in our eyes. So that by this, is this mysterie of saluation (purchased by his death) manifested vnto vs.

The fourth point about the remedie.Now the fourth point remaines, how this tidings of Christs deliuering man from the feare of the wrath to come, is receiued in the world: and that K is by faith. For there is no way to receiue Christ and all his merits (the full medicine of mans miserie) but by faith. This true faith therefore is to be knowne, what it is, and how it is wrought: that so by it hee may receiue Christ and be saued. Now this true faith, which for the worthie effect of it, we call iustifying faith, is nothing else but a sound beleefe in that promise of life,Matth. 11.28. that poore sinners comming vnto Christ, he will ease them, that is, [Page 9] A free them from all woe, and restore them to all happines here and for euer:Act. 26.18. and to be short, so to giue credit to Gods word,Hebr. 4.1. Rom. 10. as hee rest thereon that hee will saue him. Which true faith is wrought in him by the ministerie of the word, reuealing this mercie and truth of God: and by these, the holie Ghost inlightening him to conceiue, and drawing him to beleeue, and so vniting him to Christ: which whosoeuer hath thus receiued, is hereby made the child of God (so as he himselfe shall see it) and an inheritour by sure hope of eternall life. This therefore is to be knowne of him who shall be saued, and his iudgement is to be setled in this truth, before he enioy it as his owne, or can haue his part in it. He must be able to see cleerely and soundly that God B hath made this Christ Iesus his sonne Lord ouer all creatures, conqueror of the diuels, deliuerer of the captiues, & comforter of the heauie hearts: so that by him there is as full pardon of sinne purchased,Rom. 5. as euer was by Adam pro­cured guiltines and condemnation. And thus much of these two first points, that he whom God will effectually call to the assurance of saluation, must haue knowledge in generall of mans miserie and Gods mercie by Christs redemption.

CHAP. 4. C How this knowledge worketh, and namely, the first worke that God maketh them be­leeue their miserie, and to be troubled in minde for it.

THere is yet wanting the true imbracing and applying of Christ, with all the merits of his death and passion,The third poynt of the first part of this Trea­tise. to this man that hath the foresaid knowledge, or else he can in no wise be happie. Let vs see therefore how this knowledge worketh in him, on whom God will shew mercie, how God by the light and helpe of it draweth him forward, vntill he beleeue for his owne part, and in his owne person, which the other, D who haue onely the generall knowledge before mentioned, neuer attained to. And this is the last of the three points, which I purposed to handle about this matter, namely in shewing who is the child of God. Which being done, the question in hand shall appeare and be manifest. This onely by the way it shall be fit to admonish the reader of (as I said before) that he is in no way to the kingdome of heauen, who is yet voide of this knowledge altogether, of his miserie (I meane) and of the remedie: which kind of people, although they are least troubled in their consciences of all other men, but are merrie,Rom. 7.9. They are most light, who haue most cause to mourne. as though no daunger were comming toward them (and therefore keepe a course in their liues which is after the fashion of the world) are to be pitied E and prayed for, and to be perswaded to heare the word preached, rather then to be allowed in their madnes and follie. Who verifie most rightly the saying of the Wiseman: That there is a way that seemeth pleasant to them, Prouer. 14.12. Act. 14.16. but the issues thereof are the way of death. God suffering them (as he did the Gentiles) to walke in their owne waies.

But to leaue them as sufficiently conuinced of a wofull estate, euen by the testimonie of men, who haue any iudgement, and to goe forward with that [Page 10] which is in hand, that is, to shew how this doctrine worketh in him, who by F it shall come to true faith and assured hope of saluation, we are to know, that he remaineth not an idle and vnprofitable hearer, as sometime, and as many other still doe, but is secretly drawne, he cannot tell how, by the vnspeakable worke of the spirit of God to be perswaded, that the doctrine taught doth conerne him;Col. 1.9. the Lord giuing him with his knowledge, wisedome, which is a gift of the spirit, whereby he applleth generall things particularly to him­selfe: and that he thereby speaketh vnto him, as well as he doth to any other, in the denouncing the threats of the law,Rom. 15.4. and euerlasting damnation: and (his eyes being now opened to beleeue this) he thinketh himselfe the mise­rablest of all other, who before nothing at all regarded the welfare of his G soule, but thought himselfe in as good case to Godward, as any other. Hee now perceiueth (I say) himselfe not onely a loathsome creature in Gods sight, through the Ieprosie of sinne, but withall a most cursed and damned creature, subiect to all Gods plagues in this world, and to condemnation in the world to come. For although the world lie in darknes, and beleeueth not the law of God, least it should be conuicted by it (and therefore cannot be­leeue the promises of the Gospell) yet God otherwise prouideth for his, that they by seeing and feeling the desert of their sinnes, may haue an appetite thereby to seeke mercie and forgiuenes, which without it is vnsauourie to them: as our Sauiour Christ saith, The whole haue no neede of the Phisition, but H the sicke, Matth. 9.12. Neither let this deepe impression of the doctrine of the law preached (being no lesse sensible to the partie that feeles it, then the print of the seale is to our eye in the soft waxe:) let it not (I say) be counted a meane and common mercie: In deede it is meanly accounted of, the doctrine of it being so common and oft taught. For as it is said of faith, Luk. 18.8. that when the Sonne of man commeth, he shall finde it rare in the world: so in some sort wee may say of this, that it is rare, that men, who know that all are vnder the wrath of God, till the Sonne of God make them free, doe beleeue indeede that it is so with them, and euen their owne case.

Oh, men shunne this as death (and yet without beleeuing it there is no I life) for did they beleeue it personally for their owne parts, they could not but lay it to heart: so as the whole powers thereof should be taken vp with the cogitation of it (as it is with vs at the sudden hearing of heauie newes) yea all the powers of the minde and heart would be affected with it, euen as a man is by the sting of an Adder, or when he is pricked with the point of a sword: so (I say) it is with him that doth vnfainedly beleeue his owne mise­rie, without exception casting away all deluding conceits which might hin­der it: such a sudden alteration it shall worke in him, how farre off so euer hee was before that from it.Act. 2.37. And that is liuely set foorth in the example of the three thousand that were conuerted at Peters sermon: who for their e­state K before, had been of them that crucified Christ, and euen at that present time were mockers and railers at the Apostles, saying, they were drunken with new wine: yet when on the sudden the Lord arrested them by his word and challenge, and with his spirituall sword, by Peters skilfull handling the same, had wounded and striken them (so as they could not scape nor resist the po­wer and stroke of it) they were pricked in their harts, as if an arrow had pier­ced [Page 11] A their liuer, crying out immediatly, that the paine which they felt within them was intolerable: which they expressed in their words when they made their mone euen vnto them whom they had so lately railed vpon; now spea­king with new tongues (which is admirable) Men and brethren, what shall wee doe? Euen thus in some sort doth the Lord worke, when hee maketh them to giue credit to this his thundring voyce by his law arraigning men for their sinnes: which is no lesse fearefull to them then the roaring of a lion, when yet other men, whose sinnes are as great, and haue as good cause to be feared, and to faint vnder the burthen of them, are not a whit mooued thereat: not moued, I say, through the commonnes of it, any more then the B fowles are afraid of the scar-crow, after they haue been long accustomed to it, who in time dare sit vpon the head of it, and plucke strawes out of the ve­ry nose thereof.

And this I doe the more stand vpon, to make this point cleere, because I haue obserued by long experience, how grossely the people of our age doe suffer themselues to be bewitched about this matter. For to bewaile them who are soone healed, if they be pricked at all, and them who fall deadly to raging at the Minister, if their hearts be vexed by hearing their daunger: I say, to bewaile the estate of them, there is yet a third sort (in number an hun­dred for one of the other) who were neuer troubled in conscience for their C sinne, or the woe that it hath purchased them; neither doe once dreame that such a thing is needfull for them: but eate, drinke and sleepe, some play,Matth. 24.27. and some worke; and, as they did in the daies of Noah, imbrace this present euill world, prophane, merrie, yea and light-hearted, when (as S.Iam. 4.9. Iames saith) they should houle and mourne: and as though they feared no more then they would make men beleeue they doe, are neuer scared, till the very time and houre of death, or deadly daunger. But what do they then? when they haue called in lustily, as men at a banquet, I meane, when they haue taken their pleasure and liued therein? I say, when they see their reckoning, and day of accounts is neere, then what doe they? where is their mirth become? Oh, D they die as Nabal, that is, as fooles, and are as he was, when he heard he shuld die, as a stone, and a blocke: or despaire, as Iudas did, and some of them die as he died, that is, sooner then they needed (as well as they loued their life.) And the best sort of them are but as they that are spoken of by the Prophet, that is, they haue no bands in their death: they die quietly, perhaps with a Lord haue mercie on vs: but they not regarding blessing in their life,Psalm. 73.4. Luk. 13.2. it is now farre from them at their death, and therefore dying without repen­tance, let other be feared by them.

And yet while the world is full of such people (as I haue said) behold, as if they yet wanted something to make them miserable, how this vnsauourie E and dangerous speech is spread farre and neere among such,The lavv is to be preached. by many mini­sters as well as common persons: who crie out, that it is pitie that some are suffered to preach the lawe: and that such vrging of mens consciences for their sinnes, is enough to driue the people to desperation: and such like. When yet S.2. Tim. 4.2. Paul commaunds that the word be preached with all authori­tie, which men may not be able to resist, and with conuincing of the consci­ence. And S. Luke in the Acts commends the fruite of that doctrine so high­lie, [Page 12] euen that they were pricked in their harts for their sinnes, without which F they had neither repented,But not vvith­out the Gospell. nor obtained pardon of their sinnes. Indeede, if any preach the law alone without the glad tidings of the Gospell, or vrge re­pentance without the incouragement of Gods mercie through Christ and forgiuenes of sinnes, he were worthie to be sharply reproued, and to bee re­strained till he should amend so dangerous an error and so grieuous a fault. But if any finde fault with the ioyning of both together, when experience and Scripture doe shew, that no other kinde of preaching can profit and doe good in the Church, they are earnestly to be desired, if they doe it of igno­rance, to be taught; if of a worse minde, to desist from it. But this shall suffice for answere to this speech, rashly and vnwisely cast foorth to cause many to G stumble at. I returne to that from which I went aside a little, to perswade those which are teachable, that God doth vse to make his law to cast downe such as he purposeth to lift vp againe, as I haue said.

The Scripture yeeldeth many complaints and cryings out of Gods ser­uants, who acknowledged as much: Some when they had once escaped the daunger of their former woe;1. Tim. 1.13. as that of Paul to Timothie doth testifie; I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an oppressor: Some in the time of their distresse, as by that in Ieremy; Ierem. 21.18. Iudg. 2.3. & 10. 1. Sam. 7.2.3. I heard Ephraim complaining thus: Conuert me O Lord, or els I cannot be conuerted: and they in Sam. 1.12.20. with many other. And God be thanked, although they are but a few of so many thousands as haue liued H in former ages, yet he hath not left this vnwitnessed by many in this our age, of whom some are fallen asleepe, and others remaine amongst vs vnto this day, who with bitter complaints, salt teares, and dolefull groanes, no lesse sensibly, then Iacob sorrowed when he thought that a wild beast had deuou­red his sonne Ioseph, Gen. 37.34. haue confessed the depth of their woe, sigh­ing and seeking, if by any meanes they might finde ease and deliuerance: although the most are hardned, and can bee brought to no such abase­ment.

Obiection.And if that which I haue said before to this purpose perswade not men to thinke so: but this which I say is the lesse beleeued and regarded, seeing I many, and those as great sinners as most others, are as merie, or at least as farre from any wound or sting of conscience as any, which a man would thinke were not like to be, if they were in such depth of miserie: Let them know, they haue little to take comfort in that;Ansvvere. for (as I haue said) this is so with some, because they neither know nor beleeue this, but they lie in ignorance and vnbeliefe, and therefore neither suspect, nor feare any such thing, and so it is with all the world vntill they haue knowledge by the law: and Paul sheweth that it was so with him, till the law reuealed it to him, for so he saith Rom. 7.8. I once was aliue before the Lawe, that is, I thought myselfe in most perfect safetie: euen through this ignorance I say, and vnbeliefe it is, that this K which I haue sayd lieth as dead, and not a man of a thousand dreameth of, or is feared with any such matter. And this is furthered by the vnskilfulnesse and carelesnesse of the Ministers, who as the Lords watchmen should awake their people out of their deepe and deadly sleepe, when they yet haue oft­times healed the hurt of the daughter of Gods people with sweete words, saying, peace, peace, when there is no peace, Ierem. 6.14. For with such as by the [Page 13] A loue and labour of their faithfull teachers haue been wisely plied and fol­lowed, it may be seene to be otherwise; and there ye may find many (though all take not good thereby) which haue knowledge of and beleeue these things, which bewrayeth the blindnes and bondage of the rest, almost the whole world, who would laugh out, and mocke at this doctrine, and make al beleeue that there is no such matter. But I haue bin long in this; I will now proceede to the next point, and shew further how God worketh in him, whom he will saue, when he hath brought him thus farre.

The second worke: they consult in this case what to doe.

B

AFter that he seeth by the doctrine which hee hath heard, how the case standeth with him, namely that he is guiltie before God of eternall pu­nishment and wrath, and seeth not how to escape the same hanging ouer him; the Lord directeth him and guideth his heart to enter into further con­sideration with himselfe of and about his present estate, and consulteth what to doe in that his extremitie. Neither doth he this lightly or houerly (as ma­ny) after he hath heard the necessitie of that dutie taught him, and the same earnestly vrged vnto him: but mindeth it seriously, and goeth about it as a matter of life and death.

C That God thus moueth him to deliberate in so weightie and doubtfull a case, no man neede to call it into question, when nothing is well done with­out it, in earthly matters of any moment, where the wit of man is the chiefe or only agent and dealer. For we know that rashnes doth nothing well: how much more then may we think, that God will not suffer him, whom he mea­neth to bring to so great honour as the assured hope of saluation is, to goe a­bout it without due regard and consideration? especially, he dealing by or­dinary meanes, where they may be had and come by? But that he entreth into consultation what to doe,Ierem. 8.6.7. it is euident by that the Prophet Ieremy saith with a vehement complaint, when the people were called to repentance, and D the Prophet waited to see what fruit should follow, that there was none that said, What haue I done? that is, none entred into consultation about the mat­ter. Therefore it is said, that the prodigall sonne,Luk. 15.17. who resembleth most right­ly the sinner, and in his returning home to his father resembleth the penitent sinner in turning to God: that he did before that, come to himselfe, and say, How many hired seruants in my fathers house haue bread enough, and I die for hun­ger? Which, what other thing was it, then to consider and deliberate what he were best to doe? And the Steward questioning with himselfe what to doe, when hee was warned to giue an account of his stewardship, doth plainly teach this. Besides all that hath been said, if the godly who had fallen, could E not repent before they remembred and considered their fall, and from whom they were fallen, as we reade of the Church of Ephesus,Reuel. 2.4. and Peter be­fore he wept bitterly remembred the words of Iesus, and how he had trans­gressed against them: Vpon all these considerations, let vs not doubt, but that God draweth his, to consult about their estate what they should doe, being in anguish and distresse of mind. And that they may looke for little good to come of their casting downe, and sorrow, which by the law is conceiued in [Page 14] them, if they doe not in the most serious manner, as they be able, and as the F case requireth, thinke and deliberate about it. And therfore they whom God watcheth ouer, if they be not able to counsel themselues, yet the Lord guides them to aske counsell of others, as the forementioned example in the Acts, and of the woman of Samaria doth teach: And in what manner hee doth this, & what thoughts he hath about the same, is not hard to coniecture; but euen as other in the same estate, mentioned in the Scripture doe testifie: namely what he is to doe, and whether there bee any hope, how hee was be­witched to come to that estate;The complaint of the penitent sinner. what he hath lost, and depriued himselfe of, in this his estrangement from God, by following and seeking his owne will, and foolish libertie: he seeth an end is come of the cursed race which he hath G runne, and that little time which he hath yet remaining, will also full soone be gone: His delights, iests, merrie conceits, dreames, and vaine hope that hee had of long life, of promotion, increase of riches, of good cheere with his companions, or such like, alas they are gone! he is ashamed to thinke what deceiueable pleasures they were. And as for safetie and sound peace, he seeth how farre off from them he is. He seeth that his former life will be called to an account, and is alreadie. And although he thinketh of delaies, excuses, or other vaine shifts and deceiuing of himselfe: yet he seeth that these cannot put away the deadly remembrance of his wofull estate, especially when hee considereth, that God will not be mocked, nor his word be frustrate, which hath H bewraied his miserie.

He will therefore consult no longer with flesh and bloud, as he hath done, but putteth away all fleshly and carnall shifts and holds; and by Gods gracious direction taketh counsell by the knowledge that hee hath; and considereth that no man can come to Christ, if the heauenly father draw him not by his spirit: And therefore although the sorrow of hypocrites vanisheth away, and com­meth to nothing, yet by Gods gracious working in him, it becommeth an occasion of humbling and breaking of heart vnto him, and of much other good, as hereafter wee shall see. Also he considereth that God is slow to anger, and readie to forgiue sinners, being gracious and full of mercie: And though that I thought be repelled through the remembrance of the greatnes of his sinne, and vnacquaintednes with the promise; yet there is no doubt, but that he is secretly vpholden by it from dreadfull despayre. Thus while present com­fort faileth he sorroweth still, and the more deeply, for that he thinketh vere­ly that he hath no part in it: and therfore being cut off that way for the time, he cannot but returne to think of his desolation and woful condition, which breedeth deepe sighs and sorrowes afresh: And he breaking foorth, as one full, which can hold no longer, it wrings out such strong cryes, Oh miserable man that I am! what shall I doe? how shall I escape this fearefull vengeance? In this heauines, he accuseth himselfe, and complaineth: but to auoide that K miserie, he seeth it impossible; and to go vnder it still, he feeles it intolerable. And although he knoweth that there is a remedie, and what it is (which yet many in such heauines and abasement doe dimmely and weakly know, and therefore their sorrow is the more) yet can he not apply it to himselfe by any meanes. In this extremitie therefore of his, and being in this streight and di­stresse,Rom. 7.24. he crieth out with Paul: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliuer me? [Page 15] A And therefore the Lord guideth him to some instructour, as hee did Paul to Ananias, Act. 9.17. or stayeth him by the publike ministerie, or by his owne knowledge bringeth him, as wee reade of the prodigall child, Luk. 15.17. to counsell himselfe by that which he hath heard.

The third worke: they are broken hearted and humbled.

THe former consultation by Gods working, bringeth this resolution to him, that he will no more looke backe to his old Sodom, what hard con­ditions soeuer he go vnder, and so he falleth to relenting, his heart is broken, B and he humbled and abased, and in this spirit of meeknes saith,Luk. 17.9. as Paul did after he was cast down, Act. 9.6. Lord, what wilt thou haue me to doe? And now he seeth that the Lord hath him at aduantage (as a man bound in chaines) readie and attendant to whatsoeuer it pleaseth him, who before, for his stiffe-necked stubbornnes was neither to be entreated, commaunded, nor feared. This vnfained humbling of himselfe before God, for all his wants, breaches, and wounds in conscience, is a beginning of all goodnes and grace, which man feeleth in himselfe, and casteth off pride, and the strength of an high minde: and what knowledge of religion, or any other good gifts soeuer a man hath without humilitie, he is but vnreformed and vnmortified. An hap­pie C discipline and nurture to be wondred at, that can so soone and suddenly breake the clods of so hard an heart, and so easily winde him as a twigge or wand, whether it listeth him, who could not before, any more then the great tree in the least manner, be bowed.

Thus must the Lord worke and shew his wisedome and power vpon this vnframed and crooked person, before he can be made right and straight. But what then (perhaps you will say) and what is this man the neerer to Gods kingdome, and the sight and knowledge of his redemption, out of his fore­mentioned miserie? I answere, Very much euery manner of way. For being thus humbled, he is now easily to be perswaded: and being by the same spirit of D God enlightened, whereby he was cast downe with heauines and feare be­fore, he is fit to thinke of, and to remember the sweete promises of God, which before though he had heard, yet saw that he had nothing to doe with them, and therfore durst not hearken after them: Now he can thinke of that, which by preaching he sometime heard, as one who may be in hope to be the better for it, that God is of that nature, that he may be entreated, and re­conciled to him.

The fourth worke: a secret desire of forgiuenes.

E ANd by such considerations he raiseth vp himselfe, and the Lord kind­leth in him an especiall desire of the forgiuenes of sinnes, and of the fa­uour of God, which cannot be right and well ordered, if it did not proceede from some hope that God will be entreated of him.

Here therefore he setteth before his eyes, more cleerely then he could be­fore, the nature of God, how louing and kinde he is: how readie to pardon: and how how great sinners (who might more easily be dismaied then he) haue [Page 16] found fauour with him. It is also (by Gods good directing of him) much to F the helping forward of him, that he remembreth none are exempted from this benefit,Matth. 12.20. Matth. 11.24. Matth. 5.4. but such as exempt themselues: And that the brused reede especial­ly, shall not be broken, nor the contrite heart despised, but the heauie laden comming to him shall be eased, and they who mourne shall be comforted, being blessed alreadie.

And although through ignorance, and ill building vp, many are farre from those thoughts & affections a long time (the diuell working vpon their weaknes) and God so disposeth it also, that euen some such as haue the best meanes and helpes to set them forward, may feele and see their owne weak­nes for a time; yet doth he worke those things in them at one time or other, if he purpose to saue them: and this feruent desire (I meane) though in some G with more timorousnes, and this hungring after mercie which God stir­reth vp in him, and this earnest longing after a remedie by Christ, is such and so feruent in him, that as a man appointed to death setteth not by all the pleasures and gaine in the world, in comparison of a pardon, without which he cannot haue ioy in any thing: So this poore sinner feeling the terrour of Gods curse, and knowing that there is no release for him, but only in Christ, (whom if he haue,Matth. 9.12. Luk. 7.38. he shall be saued; and if he haue not, he shall perish euer­lastingly) doth aboue all things in the world sigh after him, longing to bee made partaker of him.

In this hunger therfore and thirst of his, after pardon, how welcome think H we shall good tidings be now vnto him? Such a man so low brought, and so abased in his owne eyes, and so farre from all hope of worldly remedie ei­ther in himself or in other; if he might be staied with any word of comfort at that time, how acceptable were it like to bee vnto him? Much more wel­come doubtlesse then all the promises of the Gospell haue euer been to him before, or then all things in the world be now to him besides. Then if hee might haue the coursest diet, it would be sweete and most sauourie, to whom an hony combe before, Prou. 28.9. Matth. 15.27. Luk. 15.17.18. was not pleasant: nay, crummes vnder the table are com­fortable refreshings to him; who before, was glutted with the childrens dainties. Oh, how glad such an one would be, if he might be receiued of his I heauēly father to be but as an hired seruant, who could not before be brought to like of the place of a sonne? But he that could bring him tidings of righ­teousnes, that is, a messenger sent of God to tell him that God will be mercifull to his offences, Iob. 33.23. and thinke vpon his sinnes no more, this should be vnto him an odde man, and one of a thousand. Then to heare that Iesus Christ hath vanquished sinne, death and the diuell, who had power ouer him, and brought to light immortalitie and life to him, and hath giuen him perfect righteousnes to co­uer his shame, and to make him comely and well fauoured in the sight of God, and that hereby he is fully reconciled to him againe: all the former disgrace, anguish of minde, and deadly thraldome abandoned, what thinke K we can be more welcome?

Is it to be thought, that a man being in this case before mentioned, filled with miserie from top to the toe, not knowing where to hide himselfe, not seeing how to go vnder the burthen of his griefe, would make no reckoning of this message? as if a man thirsting almost to death should refuse to drinke; or one at the place of execution should reiect his pardon. Among other [Page 17] A thoughts, this is not the least profitable which God enableth him to fasten vpon, that laying (as it were) his estate in a paire of ballance, he seeth that there is no hope of mercie, but certaine condemnation by lying still in the estate, wherin he hath liued; and that he cannot appeare before Gods iudge­ment seate in it: now on the otherside, he considering that God calling sin­ners to repentance, & giuing his son to redeeme euen great offenders, that it may be (as the King of Niniueh said) he will haue mercie vpon him; so that there is some hope by suing and seeking in humility & remorse vnto God: thus the Lord still bringeth him on. And whereas some other in this case hasteth out of his sorrow, if by any meanes he may either break through it, before it hath B humbled him, or wrought any such effect, as to long after a remedy & deliue­rance, or els ouercome of it: yet the soule of the poore sinner whom God meaneth to saue, being meekned & humbled, waiteth till God doth further stay and vphold it, with continued sighs & desires, that the bright beames of his fauour through Christ might shine vpon him, he desiring aboue al things to be vnburthened of this woe, & pardon of his sins, and yet hath no power perhaps to pray for that which his soule most feruently desireth. After this and such like manner (as hath bin said) is his consultation & resolution: and this is his mind, & thus he deliberateth and casteth with himself: for though he in this case is not able to expresse his meaning, yet if he could vtter that C which he conceiueth, he would say, that these are his very thoughts and con­siderations with himselfe. In which estate of his, although I affirme not that he is able to applie the remedie to himselfe, yet this generall hope which hee hath found by the promises, that God is kind and mercifull to broken hear­ted sinners, doth cause him to stay himself, that he may perhaps be so to him: and resolueth vnfainedly and with full purpose, to goe forward in seeking forgiuenes of his sinnes at Gods hands, this way he will take, if he perisheth he perisheth: yet some hope he hath; he resoluing with himselfe that he will ne­uer walke in his former deadly estate, but that he will confesse and lay foorth his long continued wickednes, vnto the Lord, though it be against himselfe: D neither will he spare himselfe, wherein he hath most pleased his owne heart: for why? he seeth what and how vaine the desires of it be: and therefore is resolute neuer to turne to them any more: yet (he being well instructed) ma­keth not this purpose of forsaking sinne any meanes of his iustification, but in detestation of his former wickednes is moued and drawne by God so to doe. This resoluing therefore, is one steppe or degree by which he passeth vnto the fuller certaintie of that happines which he seeketh: and he hath re­ceiued a great measure of grace and fauour, when he hath attained to it: ther­fore Sathan who knoweth this, holdeth men by many strong cords from it, that although they bee long about it, yet as faint chapmen who are bid­ding E still, for the ware which they would haue, but yet buy it not: euen so doe they. For when they haue been well counselled to make haste in seeking the Lord, as that which is best of all for them, yet profit or pleasure, friend­ship or feare holdeth them backe: who although in their heate and haste, be­ing sore driuen by sicknes, tempests, feare of death, or the like occasions, they doe rashly purpose and protest, that they will neuer be the men, which they haue been; yet doe but how for a day (as it were) like the bulrush, with the wind: and [Page 18] therefore they are farre from the truth of it: But he of whom I here speake,F who hath so neerely and deeply looked into his estate (which the other haue not done) he (I say) cannot be drawne backe, to his former loosenes and li­centiousnes, nor holden and kept in it any longer by any torture, because he well knoweth that none is like terrible to it.

Now if it be asked, what he is the better for his resoluing: to the end it may more cleerely appeare, I answere, that when this is wrought in him, his heart is mollified, humbled and softned, as Pauls was; who after hee saw that God set himselfe against his going to Damascus to persecute his Saints, and threw him down on the ground,Acts. 9.6. said: Lord, what wilt thou haue me to doe? And when he is brought to this point, his heart is both full of relenting, and sor­row G for displeasing God, though not in such sort as afterward it shall be, (which from another not hauing thus resolued, is farre off) and is now an heart of flesh, Ezech. 36.26. not of stone, in which, the sauing grace of God being offered, may be planted and receiued. And all this is wrought in him by the marueilous and secret operation of Gods holy spirit; who as he beginneth, and finisheth the whole worke of his receiuing Christ; so doth he the middle part of the same: for it is not in any other, thus to bow and bend mans heart. Neither doth Gods spirit that onely, as with an hammer breaking and brusing the clods of it, but also doth leade him further.

H

The fift worke: they confesse and aske pardon.

FOr with these holie affections in this poore sinner, there is wrought an encouragement and some more bold accesse to God by the same spirit, to confesse his sinnes to God, euen as particularly as he can, especially those in which he hath taken most pleasure, and which haue most preuailed in him: and to say with the prodigall child, I will goe vnto my father, and confesse, father, I haue sinned against heauen and thee, Luk. 15.18. &c. how much soeuer it goeth against him: and as he confesseth his sin, so he powreth out earnest praiers to him for the pardon of thē, through the mediation of Christ. All which, howsoeuer I they seeme to him to be no great matters (who is not as yet a competent and sufficient iudge in this case) yet the Scripture commendeth them to be great, euen the fruite of some little and weake faith,Rom. 10.14. and him, who obtaineth them, to be in especiall fauour with God: as in the forenamed parable is most liuely to be seene: where the father (resembling God) is said to haue met his lost sonne before he came at him, and to haue imbraced and kissed him, after that hee was resolued in himselfe to goe and seeke to him for fauour and pardon, and to acknowledge his faults vnto him, &c. Now was there any thing (thinke we) in the naturall father, which is not much more in the father of mercie? who exceedeth all the fathers of the earth in kindnes and compassion. Thus the K Lord by his holy spirit worketh in the hearts of his children, and with all these forementioned graces, which he giueth them, he draweth them to prise and value this benefit of redemption so highly, as the wise Merchant doth the field, Matth. 13.44. wherein the pearle is hidden, selling all to buy it: so doe they (I say) set light by all things, in comparison of this, and are caried with this mind, that they will forsake whatsoeuer may hinder, for the obtaining of it.

A The sixt worke: they forsake all for it, and highly prize it.

BVt what then? (some perhaps will say) do you affirme that these things can do a man any good without faith? (for of this nothing hath yet bin said) and doe you affirme a man to be iustified (for such an one is he who is in fauour with God) hauing no faith? or that any thing is accepted of God which he doth (as his desire to bee forgiuen, his hungring after it, his humi­liation, accesse to God in prayer and confession of sinnes) all these being without faith? or if not so, do ye then say that we our selues must thus pre­pare our selues to receiue faith? but that is to attribute free will vnto man being yet in the estate of miserie and bondage, and vnrenewed, as being yet B without faith. To the first I say, that although none of these be faith, yet I say, that they are not without it, as I will more fully shew afterward: neither that God is pleased with any man, neither he himselfe is iustified, but only by it: but wee cannot discerne or set downe the very moment when faith is wrought: but when the other forenamed graces of God are effectuallie wrought in the heart, then is this of faith wrought also by the same spirit: neither can hee that hath receiued this faith into his heart, so certainly and easily iudge of it, as of those other gifts which accompanie it. To the latter obiection, I answere, that I am farre from ascribing to man vnrenewed, any inherent goodnes, whereby he may prepare himselfe to receiue faith: he is, C I say, destitute of all goodnes in his will, and of power to doe good: such graces are giuen him of God, as was said before. For God findeth all men in their filthines and gore bloud, as the Prophet Ezechiel speaketh:Ezech. 16.6. and she whom he vouchsafeth to make his beloued spouse (I meane his Church) he raiseth out of the dust, washeth and clenseth her from her filthines wherein hee found her, and then taketh her to him to delight in, as his deare and onely spouse. It is the Lord therefore which is the author, Heb. 12.2. and finisher of his faith who shall be saued: and he, as he hath abased him, and filled his heart with sorrowes for the same purpose; so it is he that soketh it by little and little, and seasoneth it in time with faith, hope, and comfort: This is his only worke. D And although it be hard to determine whē faith is wrought (as I haue said) and how long dreadfull feare continueth: yet by meanes of the knowledge of his miserie, and redemption, God worketh them both in his heart, and that when, and in what manner it seemeth best to his wisedome; so that it may be seene that it is so. And thus I hauing answered these two obiectiōs, I wil now proceed, morefully to shew how he guideth & bringeth home this lost sheep, as I had in som sort proceeded to do, before I was occasioned to digresse a while, by reason of the two former questions now answered.

To proceede therefore with this person whom the Lord wil saue, when he hath wrought thus farre in him earnestly to desire the remedie against E his miserie, he leaueth him not there, as many through ignorance & wāt of wise building vp, are held longer at this stay: and although not lying in vtter vnbeleefe, yet not bold to applie Gods promise to their soules; euen as there are many, who haue had compunction of heart, that neuer goe further; but waueringly are off and on; and whē the desire is not accomplished, the heart fain­teth, and they for all their desire, seeing it vanisheth away, & is not constant, fall away altogether. But God goeth further with this person, as I haue said.

[Page]For he hauing now with the skilfull merchant weighed the price of this F pearle,Matth. 13.44. He whom God loueth highly priseth the pearle. namely, to haue Christ to become his, hath it in such estimation, that he counteth meanely of all things, in comparison of this: and in good ad­uisednes selleth all that he hath, to buy it. But what hath he (you will aske) of his owne, to purchase or come into the possession of it? As for his goods and riches, whatsoeuer he inioyeth, they are not his owne, but an others, and borrowed:Luk. 16.12. (yet many thousand poore soules which shal be saued, haue little or no wealth at all) but this precious pearle is not bought with money. What hath he then (ye say) to procure it?Esay. 55.1. verily, he hath nothing, but an interest and hold in sinfull pleasures,He hath no­thing of his owne but sin. and worldly lusts. But alas (some man will say) what doe ye naming of them, as things any thing worth? But I G say againe, I must mention that which he hath of his owne: and that is his sinne: which though euery reasonable man will say, that it is not worth the mentioning, yet it was sometime, more precious to him then siluer, and in account aboue the purest gold:Yet hard to re­nounce that. and therefore to renounce it, is no easie nor small matter. And yet (so well it falleth out for him) there is no other thing required of him, to the attaining of the forementioned pearle, then the casting away and the forsaking of that his sinne. For so the Lord plainely testifieth: he that denyeth himselfe, he shall be my disciple: and whosoeuer forsaketh any thing (that is,Matth. 19.29. which God condemneth) he shall haue an hun­dreth fold more then he forgoeth, (so bountifull a rewarder is the Lord of H all that seeke him) and afterward, eternall life.

Therefore, when this silly sinner vnderstandeth, and giueth credit vnto it: as deare and pleasant as his sinnes were vnto him, that he could neither by feare nor shame, neither by allurements or perswasions before that, be brought to abandon and waxe wearie of them; yet now, he disclaimeth and cryeth out of them,But he despi­seth it. Hos. 14.9. and in an vtter detestation of them, saith: as Ephraim said of Idols (in which she had so much delighted) What haue I to doe with them? A thing all may see to be verie admirable. A man to forgoe that, which he loued best of all, yea better then life it selfe, (for how many lose their liues for their sinfull pleasures?) yea and that willingly and readily, on­ly I for the hope of that, which as yet he hath not, is it not admirable? and must not that hope (thinke we) be sure and certaine, though in him so weak as yet,This is a great worke of God. that they cannot professe it? Thus doth the Lord worke in the heart of him, who shall imbrace Christ for his Sauiour, that nothing shall sepa­rate betwixt them.Ioh. 6.44. It may well be said, No man commeth to him, except the fa­ther draw him by his spirit: for otherwise, we reade, that it is as hard for a wicked man to become good,Ier. 13.23. as for the blacke More to chaunge his skin, or the leopard his spots.

And whereas it may be said, there are many, when they are pricked in conscience for their sinnes, who doe thus cry out of them, for the time; but K it appeareth afterwards to haue been but a blast, and as it may seeme, a so­daine passion, which vanisheth away, and commeth to nothing: I affirme the same, and grant it to be so: but this is a farre other thing, and this worke of grace to forsake all,He forsakes not sinne as the wicked. for the hope of mercie and forgiuenes of sinne, diffe­reth as much from that rash and sodaine cracke of fearefull crying out of sinne while onely terror oppresseth; as cannon shot differeth from the [Page 20] A shot of paper: the one casting out the diuell for bearing any more domini­on in him, the other seeming to fray him with bold and lowd words (I defie the diuell, &c.) but driuing him away in deede, no otherwise then the po­pish holie-water: as may be seene in comparing both sorts together. For ex­ample: though Ahab gaue signes that he forsooke his sinnes,1. King. 21.27. Ioel. 2 13. 1. King. 22.8.26. by rending his cloathes, (but not his heart) putting sackcloth vpon him, and fasting; yet he shewed by and by after, that al was but a ceremonie, by wilfull resisting and disobeying the message of God by the prophet, and boldly affirming, that he hated him: Yet on the other side, Zacheus did farre otherwise: for how he receiued Christs doctrine, he declareth by the fruites following:Luk. 19.9. reueng­ing B himselfe for his ill gotten goods with a restoring fourefold, and giuing halfe the rest to the poore: and Christ also testified of his forsaking and lea­uing his gainfull vnlawfull trade, by open affirming him to be the sonne of Abraham. An other example: the people,1. Sam. 7.3.4. whom Samuel perswaded to for­sake their sinne, for the hope of the promise, did not only lament after God, but they did in deede forsake it: they did cast away Baalim and Ashtaroth, idoles, which they so delighted in: declaring thereby, that they found by the prophets ministerie, a farre greater treasure: that is, the mercie of God in forgiuing them their sinnes: according to that, which is written since;Pro. 28.13. but true before, euen since the first mans repentance: He that confesseth and C forsaketh his sinne, shall finde mercie. But their fathers, who made as great profession and shew as they, returning to God and seeking him early:Psal. 78.36. yet they did but flatter him with their mouth, and dissemble with their tongue, for they were not faithfull in his couenant.

But these shall suffice: like vnto the which, there are many more: Let it be graunted therefore, that this is a mightie and admirable worke of Gods spi­rit, which thus perswadeth this sillie soule, which is trauailing hard to finde peace & rest vnto his heart, thus (I say) to bid farewel to his sweetest delights for the hope of the gaine that is set before him: For these two goe together: highly to esteeme and prise the promise of life and happines: and for the D same, to despise and set light by the things which were best beloued. And yet this, as impossible as it is to any other, in those whom God chooseth out of the world, he worketh it as sensibly, as we may discerne the wilde beast to be tamed; and the cleere and sunshine day to be ouercast and darkned. For God kindleth a feruent desire & longing after that glad tidings (namely that he will freely bestow it vpon him that thirsteth after it) till he hold and inioy it, as his owne. And that which S. Paul saith of himselfe,Phil. 1.7.8. that when he began to see the beautie of this blessed message, he counted those things losse, which had been vantage to him, yea very doung for Christs sake, that he might win him: the same is verified in all such as I now speake of, euen E whosoeuer he be: and then he is truly come home, no more to be cast off or forsaken of the Lord. And this gracious affection is thus riuited into him, and as it were writtē with an adamant pen, neuer to be rased out any more, to the end it may alwayes after remaine and be found in him after experi­ence: as it standeth with great reason it should: euen as it was with Moses, when he was of a ripe age, full fortie yeares old, he did shew the fruite of it, as many other wayes, so this one: that he refused to be called the son of Pharaos [Page] daughter, and to inioy the pleasures of sinne for a season. And when this worke is F wrought in him, that he forsaketh all things for this which he seeketh, and so highly priseth it, then he is fit to apply it: as followeth: which is the last worke.

The seuenth worke: they apply Christ and his promise.

FOr by the doctrine of ye promises, which he heareth, or hath heard pub­lished and preached vnto him, he draweth his hart to applie thē to him­selfe, and to fasten vpon them as his owne, euen as if they had bin properly made to him: he perswadeth him by that which he heareth, no longer to feare God as a terrible Iudge, and so slauishly to abide in his former bon­dage,God sealeth vp his promises to the beleeuer G as one in danger of damnation stil, and vnder the curse; but sealeth vp his saluation in his heart, and maketh it as effectually his, as any bargaine is made sure to vs, when he, who sold it, hath sealed it vnto vs, or giuen earnest thereof.2. Cor. 1.22. And therefore it is that the Scripture doth so often vse this phrase of speech, We are sealed vp by the spirit of promise, and by the spirit of our God: to giue vs to vnderstand, that as nothing is with greater securitie assured vnto vs then a writing sealed; so there cā be no surer way for a man to hold this redemption and saluation, then by hauing it sealed vnto him by the spirit of God: who onely knowing the minde of the father and of the son, doth make the same knowne vnto his minde, and beare witnes to his spirit that he is H the Lords: Rom. 8.16. The beleeuer reasoning with himselfe. and teacheth him thus to reason. If God will forgiue him, who hath receiued grace to seeke without fainting & wearines, who longeth for it in a melting heart for offending him, who desireth it more then al earthly pleasure and profit, and is willing to cast away all impediments that may hinder it: if he will forgiue such, and he hath framed me to be such a one; then (doubtles) he will be mercifull and forgiue me.

Thus God maketh him (of whom I speake) to see cleerely that he is his, no more to be separated from him, when he hath opened his heart, as he did the heart of Lydia, Act. 16.15. and causeth him to beleeue that the sonne of God who was giuen to the vnworthie world, is giuen to him, being one of the same. For I if earthly fathers be kind to their childrē crying to thē, how much more the father of fathers?Luk. 15.20. He weigheth all things here­to belonging. For we must think that this afflicted person now mentio­ned, doth often and deeply weigh the truth, vnchangeablenes, and perpe­tuitie of the pretious promises which hee heareth preached vnto him; yea and that with more delight, then he doth any thing els; he weigheth what may be like to hinder and hold him from hauing his part in thē: and when he considereth that God, who willeth him not to feare, is greater thē al that letteth him; what hee may, hee remoueth it, though neuer so precious to him; and considereth what doth giue him greatest encouragement, and so imbraceth the same: we must think when he once cōceiueth the incompre­hensible K excellencie of eternall life, and how it maketh the soule alwaies cheereful euen here: we must think (I say) that he weighing what his misery is without it, counteth it the most soueraigne medicine to heale his sore: and therefore he is readie to vse any meanes, and bestow any diligence to come into the possession of it, and to make it his owne, especially when he seeth that it is so freely and mercifully offered.

[Page 21] A Thus setting his heart vpon it, as that which hee seeth would make him more happie, then all the world; though for a time he hath not been able to attaine vnto the assurance of it (the diuell holding him backe by many lets and subtilties, abusing his errour, weakenes, and simplicitie thereto) yet the Lord suffereth him not to giue ouer, till he hath waded thorough and ouer­come all hinderances. And if this be too hard to doe by himselfe,He seekes helpe of others. he seeketh the helpe of others, wheresoeuer they may be come by, men of deeper in­sight, and greater iudgement and experience in and about the will and pur­pose of God, concerning saluation, by whose louing trauaile, counsell and labour he groweth more expert and resolute, and so setleth his heart in be­leeuing, B as he seeth he hath good cause, and strong incouragement, to his full quiet and contentation: The Lord himselfe speaking thus: If any thirst, Ioh. 7.37. let him come to me, and I will giue him the water of life to drinke. So that as Iacobs hart failed when he beleeued not his sonnes report that Ioseph was aliue, and the chiefe gouernour vnder Pharaoh; yet when they told him the words of Io­seph, and shewed him the Chariots which he had sent to carrie him,Gen. 45.26.27. the spirit of Iacob reuiued, and he said, I haue enough, &c. Ioseph my sonne is yet aliue. So though the goodnes of the message shall be so farre beyond the expectation of him to whom it is brought (as fearing the cleane contrarie) yet when hee shall weigh and consider aduisedly the truth of the matter, and certaintie of C the promises, and therein behold the depth of loue which is in God, and that to the broken hearted, though vnworthie, it quickeneth the soule, and re­fresheth it aboue all that can be expressed: And so hee beholding his estate without these promises, and what neede he hath of them, and who it is that offereth them, euen he who cannot be gainsaid, that is, the Almightie, he im­braceth them, and by little and little, as he gathereth more strength by the in­falliblenes of them; so he beleeueth them, and taketh exceeding comfort by them, giueth God thankes, and (as he hath good cause) he cannot satisfie him­selfe therewith, nor (as he thinketh) haue enough of them.

And thus doth his soule stay vp it selfe: for seeing God doth giue it freely D to him, and he desireth it aboue all other things, as seeing that he cannot bee safe without it, who is hee which shall hinder it? Thus are all teares wiped away, the ragges are cast off, the robes are put on:VVhat will fol­low of applying Christ. the spouse is betrothed to Christ her husband, and she by faith made partaker of all the good things which he bringeth with him: who is giuen vnto his Church, not poorely nor bare; but to be her wisedome, righteousnes, sanctification, and redemption. 1. Cor. 1.30. And he that hath thus put on the Lord Iesus, God will know him for his, where­soeuer he findeth him, neither shall any take him out of his hands, so saith our Sa­uiour himselfe: My sheepe (whom in the verse before he calleth those which beleeue in him) My sheepe heare my voyce, and I know them, and they follow me, Ioh. 10.27. &c. and E I giue vnto them eternall life, and they shall neuer perish, neither shall any plucke them out of my hands: for my father which gaue them me, is greater then all, and none is able to take them out of my fathers hand. Like vnto these are they all, who shall glorifie God in this life, separated from the world, though annoyed by the people of it, as the sillie sheepe are by the goates: whose conuersation what it is, another place shall declare, and lay foorth hereafter. And this is faith, which making them inwardly perswaded in some sort by so cleere euidence, [Page 22] (as I haue said) causeth them outwardly in time to professe the same more F boldly, & without feare, as occasion shalbe offered: although it be for ye time, both weake and faint, yet is it sound and sure; and after experience in a godly life (I meane the life that is led by faith) it shall be strengthened, better con­firmed, and procure withall, rest to their soules. For where the forementio­ned graces are, as true contrition, the heart broken with sorrow, and meeke­ned, hungring and pining for mercie and grace, confessing and forsaking the sinne, with accusation and deepe groanes for pardon; there is some true mea­sure of sauing faith; for Gods graces are not separated: for our Sauiour pro­nounceth them blessed which haue these graces: but none are blessed without faith:Mat. 5.4.5. Psal. 48. therefore faith is there also; because the spirit of Christ dwelleth in G such, and he dwelleth in his by faith, therfore it must needs be in them. Which thing I doe the rather stand vpon to proue, seeing it is rather tried and discer­ned by these, then knowne by it selfe without other holy affections going with it, and for that many of tender age in Christ, and yonglings, cannot be certaine and throughly perswaded that they haue faith, and consequently, that their sinnes are forgiuen them, and yet by infallible signes and tokens we know that it is so. I speake of the least measure of it: for of the stronger faith, the question is easier. And the weakest measure of faith I call that, when an humbled soule longeth,A description of the smallest measure of faith. and almost fainteth for Gods mercie in Christ; and although he be not assured of it, yet he seeth that it cannot be denied:H and therefore waiteth for it, and is staied from despaire. I say he seeth that it cannot be denied, but that God doth graunt pardon to him against his sin: because he seeth himselfe to haue obtained many graces and workes of the holy Ghost, which cannot be in a reprobate, as was said before; and thereby he is holden from despaire and dreadfull feare. And yet through weaknes and want of experience cannot call God father, though he cannot suffer the contrarie thought to haue any place in himselfe: and therefore the thing that he most laboureth to be satisfied in and resolued of, is, that he may haue some cleerer light, and lay better hold of it, that Christ hath redeemed him indeed; yet is he as the child first taught to goe alone, who at the first is weake I in the ioynts, but in time can runne about: so shall it be with the soule which thus longeth and lamenteth after God.

This I haue spoken for their sakes who more hardly doe lay hold on Gods mercie, and doe with more difficultie applie the promise to themselues: the which to doe with all possible care, and not to be turned aside from exami­ning our selues soundly and throughly by any let, is a grace of the greatest importance. And he is wise indeede, who will not stay before he haue it: which wisedome God will teach them whom he loueth: for though many very ignorant and carelesse hearers doe hardly, yea neuer come to any reso­lution of faith; yet ordinarily, where people are soundly, cleerely and wise­ly K taught, it is otherwise: for (to speake of them, who shall be saued) the word so preached,How God wor­keth faith. by little and little soketh and distilleth into the hearts of ma­ny of them. And though they know not when this gracious worke of God was wrought, for the most part, as neither can we discerne and see the plants and hearbes when they shoote out, though in time wee see it is so: yet some there are, whom God in speciall manner doth priuiledge at one time [Page 23] A and in one day to receiue that grace, and gift of assurance, which others are long labouring and trauailing for, before they attaine it:Luk. 19.9. As our Sauiour Christ pronounceth of Zacheus: This day is this man become the sonne of Abra­ham, and saluation is come into his house. So Lydia, and they in the Act. 2.37.Faith vniteth to Christ. And this is the faith whether it be weake or strong which vniteth to Christ; and maketh them that haue it (which is a mysterie and riddle to the world) to haue and enioy their hearts desire; yea and indeed more then they could desire or thinke, namely, to be truly the children of God, and thereby happy. Euen the same faith, for which Christ pronounced Peter blessed: who when hee saw him but in base estate the sonne of man, yet for the words which B Christ had spoken, and his miracles, had beleeued him to be also the sonne of God, the annointed of the Lord, and his Sauiour, he pronounced this of him: Blessed art thou Simon, for flesh and bloud hath not reuealed it vnto thee, Matth. 16.17. but my father which is in heauen.

This faith though Peter had, and he hath it of whom I speake, euen who­soeuer it be whom the Lord maketh blessed (for both weake and strong are partakers of one and the same precious faith, 2. Pet. 1.1.Common pro­fessors haue not this faith.) yet the common professors and hearers of the Gospell haue it not, because they doe not looke that the Lord should reueale it to them, without which they cannot haue it, but take counsell of their owne wisedome and reason, which doe hinder and C hold them backe from it. For reason thinketh it an absurd thing, and to bee laughed at, that a man simple in the world, & a sinner, especially sore burthe­ned with his miserie, and confessing the same, should yet be more happie be­fore God, and in his owne knowledge, then all the worlds good can make him: Mans wisedome (I say) can neuer be perswaded of this; but faith hol­deth it for truth, and enioyeth such an estate with good securitie. And how God reuealeth any such thing vnto men (which yet is plainly said he did vn­to Peter) they cannot tell nor see: except this be it, when they thinke and haue a good hope that it is so: as though such a thing might be wrought in them, and they not know how, the change which it worketh being so appa­rant: D or that God might reueale this secret mysterie of faith to them, & they not aware of it; yea and that (which is more) especiall signes accompany­ing it.

But such men should vnderstand, that as it is the gift of God to beleeue, Phil. 1. How God wor­keth faith. and he draweth men hereto by his secret working grace: so yet, hee doth it by meanes outward, euen whiles men obey his ordinance in attending vpon the preaching of his word, and waite for this worke, seeking it and praying for it daily: his ministers so speaking, and the people so reuerently hearing,Act. 14.1. that they may beleeue: and if not in the time of hearing, yet after by their owne examining of their estate, and comparing it with the doctrine taught, E as I haue shewed before in the person whom the Lord will saue.VVhy many want faith. And this thing verely men doe not, that is, heare, trie their estate by the rule taught them, weigh after examination, and remoue lets, vntil they may see that they haue found that which they sought, and that there is no iust cause to hinder it. Few will bestow any labour, or beate their braines about any such matter, nor any trauaile of the minde: for that is vnsauourie and vnwelcome vnto them. Therefore it is, that after so long preaching of faith, there is (as our [Page 24] Sauiour foretold) little faith in the world, Luk. 18.8. few haue acquaintance with it,F (though they cannot like in any wise to be so thought of) as by this which I haue said may appeare, and shall better appeare (I trust) by that which shall follow.

The conclusion of this third part.But before I goe any further, I will, for the readers better remembrance, conclude that which I haue taken in hand in this third branch of the first part of this booke to proue, that is to say: although there be many departings from the right way leading to eternall life, and many breakings off from it, and though it be easily conceiued but of few: yet he whom the Lord will chuse and repute for his, shall both see into it, & discerne it from al by-paths, and walke in it; and so be partaker of happines by beleeuing. Whereby also G appeareth who is the Lords, and who it is that in reuerent boldnes may (though it is at the first hardly obtained) assure himselfe against all the subtil­ties of the diuell and other cursed spirits, that he shall see the Lord in the land of the liuing: euen he who hath been truly humbled in the sight of his miserie, seene Christ Iesus the onely deliuerer of such, and therefore himselfe hath, and doth beleeue in him vnfainedly.

And thus I haue shewed how both the doctrine of miserie and redemp­tion ought to worke, which is the third point. But seeing we are so fearfull at the first beginning of our effectuall calling, that wee dare not rest perswaded that we haue any faith: these few markes of it following I haue set downe H in a briefe manner, which both accompanie the weakest faith: and where they be found,Markes of faith. Ioh. 3.23. Seeing God commandeth vs to beleeue. Psal. 77.3.8.9.10. 1. Pet. 2.2. Psal. 32.5. are infallible tokens, that in such a person there is some true measure of iustifying faith. That is to say, first, if wee striue against doubting, Iudg. 6.17. Secondly, if we not feeling faith, complaine bitterly of the want of it. Thirdly, if we seeke feruently to be setled in beleeuing. Fourthly, if we desire to search out the sinne which may possibly hinder vs, and to expell it. And some one of these, or other graces like them, shall euer be seene in the beleeuer by such as can iudge, though not alwaies perceiued of the partie himselfe.

I

CHAP. 5. Of the lets of faith, and namely in the behalfe of the Minister.

ANd now that I haue shewed, how by faith men are made the people of God (and consequently iustified thereby) who were before his enemies, and his beloued, which sometimes were not beloued, I would here cease to say any more of this matter, but that I consider that euery truth is not by and by receiued; and so I feare, I may say of this, especially because K it is oft bewailed and complained of in the Scriptures, that few haue this faith, and that it is seldome or rarely found in the world: which thing, wee who marke the course and practise of the greatest part in the world, doe see may well be so: I will therfore here speake to my deare and weake brethren some­what more at large to satisfie them, and set downe the chiefe lets that hinder faith on the behalfe of the Minister. Now seeing that faith so honoureth, in­richeth, [Page 25] A and beautifieth men, as we haue heard,Many deceiued in faith. it should (doubtles) bee farre otherwise with thousands of them which thinke they haue it (but are decei­ued) then now it is, if they did enioy it. Yea, and to come more neere to our selues, for whose cause chiefly I wrote this, the multitudes in our parts of the land which professe that they haue it, and by no meanes can abide the con­trarie speech to goe, or opinion to be conceiued of them, should, if they had it indeede, astonish and feare all Epicures, Atheists, and Papists, and other hy­pocrites, which now differ little from them. They should make the religion (I say) of those which haue any (as it is in it selfe, a lumpe of lies, and an heap of heresies) to appeare so indeed; and the other, who regard none at all, to B bee abhorred, as they deserue to be: whereas now, they being the fewest which haue attained to any true fruite of the Gospell, are gazing stockes, and reproches to such as haue no more then a bare name, or vaine opinion there­of, euen to many of the professors themselues, as to the rest of them, which are enemies to the truth. According to the complaint which the Prophet E­say made in his time, saying: Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath giuen me, are as signes and as wonders in Israel, Esai. 8.18. In few words therefore let vs see what is the cause why so many, who boldly affirme that they beleeue, and looke verely to be saued by the death of Christ,1. Let of faith, the diuels be­witching. 2. Cor. 4.3.4 are yet vtterly destitute of the same. It is briefly set downe by S. Paul, to be this: If our Gospell be hidden, C(as it is hidden to none but to them that are lost) the god of this world hath blin­ded their mindes, that the light of the glorious Gospell of Christ should not shine vnto them. He plainly sheweth that the fault is in men, that they are content to be blindfolded and holden backe, though the diuell be the bewitcher of them, and so keepeth them from so great a treasure, as is brought vnto them by the Gospell. But as wee truly say that man is faultie in this, that he openeth his eares, and giueth credit to Sathans deceitfull suggestions: so because God did see what would come to passe thereby, he did therefore set watchmen, who should giue his people warning thereof, namely, how Sathan holdeth them from beleeuing by some of his subtill traines, to the end they might D preuent them: therefore wee must know that this fault,Fault of not beleeuing in Minister and people. whereby men are letted from beleeuing, is either in him who should bring the tidings, that is, the watchman, who is the Minister; or in them who should receiue the same, that is, the people and hearers: for if the lets be not remoued in both, faith is rarely, or not at all come by.

It is cleere therefore (to begin with the Minister) that if he be one which teacheth not at all,In the minister. Prou. 29.18. they that depend vpon him cannot know what loue God beareth to them through Christ,1. Not teach­ing. or at least they cannot know it to belong vnto them: for as much as faith commeth by hearing of the word of God preached vnto them: and as our Sauiour saith: If the blind leade the blinde, Rom. 10.17. Matth. 15.14. both will fall E into the ditch. Therefore it is too manifest, that in some parishes,Prou. 29.18. not one man knoweth himselfe to be saued (I say, if he depend vpon his Minister) but all such knowledge is a mysterie to them. And yet if that were the onely let on the Ministers behalfe, it were well with many people:2. Seldome tea­ching. but where seldome teaching is, the hearers must needes be ignorant of this matter also: because this heauenly truth, to teach how men may know that they are the elect of God, and without wauering, cannot be sufficiently and cleerely enough laid [Page 26] foorth by the skilfullest teachers seldome teaching; neither, if it could, were F the hearers able to conceiue and vnderstand, Heb. 8.11. remember and be familiarly acquain­ted with it; so as they may be able to trie themselues, and to proue their estate to be good; all which yet is meete and necessarie. For though I know that the grounds and generall truths are few, vpon which this matter dependeth: yet the breaking of them small to the peoples benefit, requireth labour, and time,Phil. 3. 1. Thess. 2.11. plainenes, and loue: yea, to teach the same thing oft, for their safetie; and in a nurselike or motherly affection to stut and stammer with them: that is, to apply our selues vnto them, and to giue them here a little, and there a little, now a line, and then a line; and yet to count all little enough to make them sauour our message: at least, and to be saued by it. Howsoeuer many Ministers make G their reckoning, that a little may serue, and the people be so blockish (they say that nothing will enter into them) yet the well aduised will not refuse to heare and weigh the rule of S. Paul to Timothie, that attendance should be giuen to teaching, 1. Tim. 4.13. 2. Tim. 4.1. and that they should be readie to doe that dutie in season and out of season, and to put the people in minde of the same daily (though they know this thing) as well as to attend to reading priuately,2. Pet. 1.12. to make them fitter for that dutie:Ioh. 21.17. Christ hath laid no weightier busines vpon them, calling it the pawne of their loue to him, to whom he hath giuen this charge, to this end that this may be well and throughly done,1. Pet. 5.2. and the rather seeing the people depend vpon them. H

Necessitie of often teaching.They will also consider, that the people haue many infirmities, much dul­nes, slipperie memories, and sundrie other pulbackes; all which doe shew the necessitie of often teaching. The which being so, I professe with griefe, it a­stonisheth me oft, when I thinke of the too great slacknes, and vnwillingnes of many who haue gifts; that they hearing, and knowing, that he who hath an office, must attend vpon it: and againe, that woe is pronounced to them who doe it not:Rom. 12.9. Ezech. 33.3. Ierem. 48.10. 1. Pet. 5.5. and that as they loue Christ, they should feede his lambes, and his sheepe: and al­so that the flocke dependeth vpon them: Yet that they can be content to take the commoditie, and to refuse the labour, and as some doe count it, too base a thing to discharge that dutie. But howsoeuer they can easily shift it off before I men, they shall not be able to answere it with peace, to God. But yet where this is remedied, there may be lets enough on the Ministers behalfe to hin­der the hearers (yea though they should be willing to be taught) from com­ming by faith.3. Let of faith in the Minister not plaine tea­ching. As if he should teach often, and yet doe not carefully acquaint himselfe with the peoples weakenes, and want in conceiuing the doctrine, which is to bee deliuered vnto them; but should speake aboue their reach, little to their vnderstanding, and conceiuing, and consequently little to their edifying. There is nothing more like to hurt the people, then such a kinde of teaching, when they shall haue a learned man to preach vnto them (whereby they are readie to thinke their case farre more happie then others) and yet K they shall not be able thereby to receiue light, edification in faith and god­lines, and sound comfort: that is not easie and plaine to them, which he him­selfe vnderstandeth. Although it were to be wished that some things were not put foorth by them to the people, which they themselues haue not tried by the Scripture, and cleerely seene into of the speakers, before they vttered them. I vtter not this to grieue any of my brethren, who desire to doe good [Page 27] A in the Church of God, hauing receiued gifts of God thereunto: but to put all in minde to labour to be vnderstoode, as well as to speake the truth. And that some may more especiallie know, that the neglecting of plaine speaking, is a chiefe cause of little fruite of their labours; it neede not be taken heaui­lie: for I know men of singular learning, and gifts, who haue already much altered the manner of their teaching, framing themselues to the diligent hea­rers capacitie, and more and more desire to doe the same daily, rather then to be commended for learned men, of them which neither conceiue nor vn­derstand them. Yet my meaning is not to nourish or perswade to rude, ab­surd, and barbarous teaching, which were more fit to make them which B should teach, ridiculous, and the Scriptures themselues without authority or credit, as also to mocke the people: but that by their plainenes, in the euidence of the spirit, reuerence might be procured to their Ministerie among the hea­rers: and that their doctrine might be approued in their consciences, which is approued of the Lord, as being drawne from his word, and easilie con­ueied to their vnderstandings,2. Cor. 5.11. Matth. 7.29. that so they may proue that they preach with power and authoritie, and not as the Scribes.

There is but one thing more,4. VVant of Catechising. which in my iudgement doth hinder profi­ting on the teachers behalfe: and that is, when by Catechising, the chiefe grounds of faith be not briefely and cleerely taught, in right and good order, C the one depending vpon, or following the other, as they ought, by fit cohe­rence and agreeing together, that the people may see the way cleerely to sal­uation: and thereby they may the better make profit of their whole Prea­ching and Ministerie also. As that repentance be not required of the people before faith: that faith be not warranted to be in the people,Matth. 9.12. when they see no neede thereof by their sinne and miserie; because it is cleere, that they can finde no sweetnes in Christ, who feele not their sinnes bitter and sower. Also that a man be taught, that he no sooner beleeueth, then he is made a new creature, and so is changed in heart and in life:2. Cor. 5.17. 1. Pet. 2.2. and that the new borne desire to growe by the sincere milke of the Word. It were a great furtherance to their Mini­sterie, D if, where the grounds of Religion be plainely and soundly taught, the Minister did by conference and questioning, in his Catechising, and by exa­mination at Communions, trie how the doctrine is receiued; seeing for want of this, a better opinion being conceiued of many by the teacher, then he knoweth cause why; they are vnsound in many necessarie things, who yet for their often hearing are thought to be ignorant of no necessarie poynt of knowledge, which the Minister hath often taught.Ministers should haue authoritie to examine the People. It were much to be wi­shed that the Minister, who is willing to take this paine (for it is tedious and vnwelcome to many) might haue authoritie to proue such as heare him, how they profit: as well to build vp those which are weake the better, when he E seeth wherein their want is greatest; as also to purge out the leauen of Po­perie, and other errors ouf of them which are infected therewith. Whereby also this benefit might come, that if any sculking Iesuits or Priests, or other Papists, or heretikes, should creepe into any of their Parishes and Townes, they might by the diligent care of the Minister well furnished with know­ledge and authoritie, be remoued, or reclaimed. And otherwise the people being neuer proued how they haue receiued the truth, neither by authoritie [Page 28] inioyned to be subiect to triall of their soundnes, as well as to resort to the as­semblie,F doe through custome lye hardened in their ignorance and supersti­tion, and still remaine wilfull in their old dregges.

Commendation of Catechising.A Minister able, and painefull through loue, in few necessarie points iointly laid together (labouring with the people) to make a sufficient Cate­chisme, might be well assured, that he should call so many to the fellowship of the pretious faith,Heb. 6.1.2. as God had appointed there, vnto eternall life: and without this, it is found too true, that much preaching doth the lesse good, as shall ap­peare better vnto such as list to looke more deepely into it. And I could with all my heart desire, that they (so many as neglect this worthie worke, and necessarie dutie) might be constrained to attend vpon it with all dili­gence:Good life of Ministers. G which being done with a very Christian care had of giuing good example, and shewing themselues, in all good conuersation, lights vnto their flocks, and free from reprochfull faults, great good must needs insue. And there should not onely be a recouering of the due credit and reuerence to the Ministerie, which the popish Prelacie and barbarous rudenes, blindnes, and shameles life of many vnder the Gospell hath lost, but also it should bring many home to God, who otherwise must vtterly perish: And if with this there were a willing and ready mind in them, to satisfie them priuatelie by conference,Priuate confe­rence. who should resort to them vpon speciall neede and occasion, to comfort them in their heauines, and to stirre them vp to religious and H godly communication in their meetings priuately, and at their table, by their own examples, rather then to be companions with them in profane, worldly and needeles talke, that so they might as well speake good things in priuate, as teach the truth in publike (as Christ did;Luk. 20.21.) I make no doubt, but that God would plentifullie blesse their haruest.

CHAP. 6. Of the lets that hinder faith on the behalfe of the People.

I

Lets of faith in the people. Diuels be­witching. BVt if the Minister be framed both in life and doctrine, as were to be wished, thus to giue warning to the people of Sathans malicious intents, and other impediments; and so seeke to winne them to the faith: yet are there such swarmes of euils in the people, and so many kinds of them, that except, they for their parts be willing to be counselled, and to receiue their message and doctrine, they shall finde, that through one let or other, few of them shall be partakers of this pretious faith which I speake of. To speake more plainelie, my meaning is, Sathan layeth infinite stum­bling blockes in their way:Light estee­ming the Go­spell. for when God by the Preaching of the Gospell K sheweth the world how their sinnes are pardoned, and their deadly woe re­moued in Christ, they will not marke it, nor take any paines about it, but e­steeme of it as of a light matter, as though God did seeke his owne good by making such an offer to them, rather then theirs: and that he must be more beholden to them for hearing the way to saluation preached, then they to him for teaching them; and so count it not thanke worthie. Other haue [Page 29] A weightier matters (as they thinke) to looke after, namely, their pleasures, Luk. 14. and their profits; with the beautie and loue whereof, the diuell dazeleth their eyes, that they see nothing there, that is, in their preaching, which can prouoke them to be in loue with it: although that which can saue them be onely there to be had. So by one deceite or other he preuaileth so farre with them, that they beleeue not, no not euen they, who hearing, receiue the doctrine with liking it, and for that very cause thinke that they beleeue.

And what is cleerer at this day, then this, that of many thousands which receiue the glad tidings of eternall life by our preaching, willingly,Fevv that re­ceiue the do­ctrine haue faith. or at the least without resisting our doctrine; yet few, yea very few attaine to the po­wer B of faith, neither declare any worke thereof to bee in them? For either they feele no neede within themselues, whereby they should be driuen to seeke helpe out of themselues, in Christ; or if they doe, they by and by, be­fore they sustaine any smart, lay their burthen vpon him: so that he is neuer sought, nor cared for of them, but when their need pincheth them; and then they beleeue in him (they say) but be indeede no more staied and confident by their faith, nor in their liues reformed, then they were before: and so serue him with their tongues, and lips, and follow their owne lusts in their hearts; or staggering still betwixt hope and doubt, at a blush reioycing, and not able to render a reason why; and at another time cast downe as farre againe, in to­ken C of no stay nor peace. Now of all these how truly are the Apostles words verified, the Gospell being hidden from them? that is, the promises of it not being beleeued of them, what other cause is there then this, the diuell by one meanes or other hath so blinded them all, that they beleeue not: and as for this latter sort, they seeing their miserie what it is, and how vnauoidable by any way that they can finde out, how could they (if they were not inchanted and depriued of their right minde by the diuell) be content to goe without the remedying thereof, it being so freely and graciously offered them?

The which thing also,Practise of true Christians. is prooued further to be true by the practise of true Christians, who hauing sure hold and taste by faith of Christs merits, will D admit no delusions that deceiue the other, whereby they might be depriued of the assurance thereof. But although they haue temptations,Heb. 4.1. strong and fierce, as well as the other, yet they so looke to the greatnes of Gods loue, and the truth and certaintie of his promises, and the benefit which they reape thereby, that although with strong fighting, and lowd cryes through depth of sorrow, they are in combat with Sathan; yet they will not giue ouer, nor yeeld their right into his hand. But as one in the perill of drowning taketh hold of a naked sword, though it cut him deepe, rather then yeeld his life to the water: so they chuse to keepe their faith with some great difficulties, ra­ther then to giue ouer their soule, which is vpholden onely thereby, into the E diuels hand, and themselues into perdition. Whereupon we heare such spee­ches testifying sore conflicts betweene Sathan and them,Iob. 13.15. Psalm. 23.4. Although thou kill me (O Lord) yet will I trust in thee: and, Though I walke in the middest of the vale of death, yet will I not forsake thee. By which appeareth, that the same god of this world, is not wont to cast mists onely before the eyes of the best, but euen at­tempteth sore to take away all the light of their faith from them, as hee doth keepe it from the other altogether: But God hath taught their hands to warre, [Page 30] and their fingers to fight (as it is in the Psalme) the which skill, because the other F want, they are foyled.

None beguiled by Sathan, but wilfull and foo­lish.And thus by this which hath been said, let all learne to know, that none are kept voide and destitute of the fruite of the Gospell, and the beleeuing of the same vnto saluation; but such as willingly put their neckes in Sathans yoke, and are contented to bee depriued of the crowne of righteousnes and life, through their owne follie; whiles others, more wise then they, will by no meanes let it goe. But to the end that euery sort may see themselues as in a glasse, and what their seuerall lets are, I haue thought good to set them down briefly and particularly; or at least so many, as whereby the most are hindred by the diuell from imbracing and beleeuing the promise of life: that all G which list,Particular lets of faith. may see how they are held backe from their happines and peace: And these they are briefly.

1. Some thinke it impossible. Psalm. 14.1.1. First, some thinke it impossible to be assured of their saluation in this life, and therefore seeke not after it.

2. Not necessa­rie. Matth. 19.22.2. Others think it possible, but not necessary, that men should busie them­selues about it, for the obtaining and keeping of it, and that they may be sa­ued without so much adoe.

3. Too hard.3. Another sort are such as thinke it both possible and necessarie, but they see it so hard to come by, that they are loth to take the paines, therefore they will not goe about it.Luke. 14.18. H

4. Careles.4. Another sort are careles, and as ignorant, as they are careles; euer lear­ning, but neuer comming to the knowledge of the truth: who though they come to heare, yet regard not when God speaketh vnto them out of his word,Luk. 8.12. their minds being taken vp about other matters: Now by this manner of hearing, they come not to vnderstand the doctrine, much lesse affect it.

5. Feare losse.5. Others see that if they should labour so after heauenly things, they must lose their liberties in sinful pleasures, which they wil not by any meanes forgoe: and contrariwise, that they must suffer reproch, and afflictions, with the children of God:Heb. 12.16. Luk. 8.13.14. and therefore they looke not after the promise of the life to come: as Esau. I

6. Presume. Ioh. 2.23.24.6. Others are presumptuous, who through selfeloue perswade them­selues that they doe beleeue, and yet keepe some one sinne, or many in their hearts, which they will not renounce; contenting themselues to thinke they haue faith,Matth. 8.21. Reuel. 3.17. when they haue it not; and so neuer seeke for the truth and po­wer thereof. As, they would follow Christ, but first they would goe burie their fa­ther.

7. Neuer bro­ken hearted. Iere. 4.4. & 8.67. Others with these, though not so grosse offenders, were neuer broken hearted through the sight of their sinne, and miserie; and therefore the do­ctrine of faith cannot enter.

8 Feare conti­nuance. Acts. 26.27. Ioh. 6.60.66.8. Others thinke, that though they begin, yet they shall neuer continue, or K hold on in a godly course; or els doe take offence some other way: and there­fore will neuer goe about it: or hauing begun, will soone reuolt againe.

9. Too slightly seeke it.9. Others will say, it is a comfortable thing to know our selues to bee the children of God, and they hope they are so: they speake well of the Gospel: they are glad to heare it, and like well of the promise of eternall life, but they neuer goe about to fasten it to themselues, by meditating of it, weighing the [Page 31] A truth and vnchangeablenes thereof, and making their account to liue by it,Reuel. 3.1. and to be conformed to it.

10. Others like well of it, as the former,10 Sudden flashes soone out. and sometimes weigh and consi­der the doctrine, and thereby thinke themselues to be in good case: but this comfort is sudden, and quickly gone againe. And thus they are driuen and tossed to and fro; yet being close men, will not disclose their hearts, and lay open their doubts to such as may helpe them, and helpe to set them at liber­tie from their lets: although they be vtterly vnable to helpe themselues.Matth. 7.26.

These are the chiefe lets, whereby the people are holden from this grace of beleeuing, without which, it is impossible to please God, or to be his chil­dren.

B

And now that I haue set downe a taste of both kindes of lets, I thinke it not amisse to stay a while in speaking to both sorts of them, by whom these arise, that is to say, the Ministers and people. And first,An exhortation to the ministers I turne to you my brethren in the Ministerie: And you I exhort to consider your duties laid foorth at large in the word of God, sometime by the names and titles which he giueth vs, and sometime in plaine commandements and charge. The names are ma­ny; as watchmen, Ezech. 33.7. Cant. 3.3. labourers, Mat. 9.37. the salt of the earth, The titles of Ministers. and light of the world, Matth. 5.13.14. shepheards, Ioh. 21.15. and the good Scribes which bring out of their treasurie both old and new things, Matth. 13. and stewards C to giue euery one his portion, 1. Cor. 4.1. and nurses, 1. Thess. 2.7. with such like. In cōmandements thus: Take heed to your charge, and to the whole flock, Their charge. ouer which the holy Ghost hath made you ouerseers, to feede the Church of God which hee hath purchased with his bloud, Act. 20.28. And againe, to Timothie: I charge thee be­fore God, and the Lord Iesus Christ, who shall iudge the quicke and dead at the appea­ring of his kingdome, preach the word, be diligent in season and out of season, conuince, reproue, exhort, with all long sufferance and doctrine. 2. Tim. 4.1.2.

All which with the like, what other thing doe they teach, but that all such as the Lord hath put in trust with his people, bought with so great a price,VVhat their practise should be. should loue them tenderly, as nurses doe the yong children, and beare their D weaknesses kindly, rather then break their hearts with sorrow? Also that they should prouide for them liberally and with good allowance, and teach them the whole counsaile of God, as good Scribes: and regard all sorts as the Lords stewards, by wise applying themselues to all. Then that they should be dili­gent and painfull, as the Lords workmen and labourers, going before them as lights to guide, in example of vncorrupt life in all wisedome and grauitie, but especially (as Christ taught his Disciples at his departing from them) in humilitie, Ioh. 13.14.15. not thinking themselues too good,2. Cor. 4.5. for Christs sake to be their seruants. And to the end, they may bring them to him,2. Cor. 11.2. and preserue them as chast spouses to him their onely husband; to doe them good priuatly, as E their needes should require, by confirming the weake, comforting the afflicted, 2. Tim. 2. [...]. ad­monishing the vnruly, and being patient towards all, Ezech. 34.4.5. 1. Thess. 5.14. These duties (I say) the Lord inioyneth vs by the forementioned titles which he giueth to his Ministers, and by the commaundements and charges an­nexed thereto. Now, as we would be glad he should heare vs in the time of our necessitie, and especially in our last and solemne day of our departure from this life: so let vs heare him thus calling vpon vs to haue compassion [Page 32] on his sillie,Incouragemēts to the Mini­sters to do their dutie. ignorant and shiftles people. And although the burthen that he F laieth vpon vs is great, yet are not our incouragements for that purpose ex­ceeding great also? The honour that hee putteth vpon vs to be his ambassa­dours, The first from their honour. and to bring the message of so great a king, and the message it selfe not about things transitorie or earthly, but eternall, what can bee like vnto it? Besides,The second, frō their comfort. the comfort which wee may reape both by our priuate studie in giuing attendance to reading, and as hauing that, as our ordinarie labour to talke with God (as I may say) and his good seruants, when other men must toyle and trauaile in all weather, with much care and trouble: and also the comfort by our preaching, which may easily be greater to vs then to them which heare vs, oh what can be in this life, comparable vnto it? whereby also G our hearts are sweetly seasoned, and our liues farre better gouerned, and wee more safely kept from euery euill way, as Salomon saith, Prou. 2.10. vnlesse we be carelesse of our owne good. More then this, we haue incouragement and perswasion to doe our duties in this behalfe more cheerefully, by conside­ring that so many as we turne from their euill waies,The third, the peoples benefit. so many soules we are coun­ted to saue, Iam. 5.20. And this wee should doe now, whiles wee may doe it in peace, and whiles there are many willing to heare, whose example may draw on others: who, if they should not be taken, whiles they may, will not after­terwards perhaps be brought on, though we should neuer so much desire it: fearing that which the Apostle saith, 2. Tim. 4.3. that the time will come, when H they will not suffer holesome doctrine, and hauing their eares itching, shall after their owne lusts, get them an heape of teachers, and shall turne their eares from the truth, and shall be giuen to fables. The last, from our reward. And lastly, we know, that the reward after this life, is a stronger motiue then all these, which I haue mentioned: (but I am sure, that all together are most strong, and should be to vs as the threefold cable that is not easily broken) and that is set downe in Daniel thus:Dan. 12.3. They which instruct o­thers shall shine, as the light of the firmament, and they which turne many to righ­teousnes, as the starres, for euer.

This is that which I thought meete to say to my brethren in the Ministe­rie, who according to their diuers estates, places, people, and other occasions,I shall (I know too well) meete with discouragements enough: but if they be wise against the greatest of all other, which are within them, I meane the di­stemperatures and contradictions, and disputes of their owne euill hearts, I doubt nothing, but that the other shall be resisted and ouercome. All obie­ctions which might trouble and hinder from this worke,How to answer the obiections which might discourage vs. and dutie, are infi­nite: Therefore only looke to God, and haue him going alwaies before you, and let his word be the man of your counsailes (in which estate alone, sound, and durable peace is to be found) and he will teach the teachable aboue their ex­pectation, and giue wisedome to the simple, and strength to the weake, that by him, they shall finde that easie, which otherwise were impossible: I meane K to swallow vp discouragements, and finde the greatest ioy in the diligentest performing of dutie.

An exhortation to the people to embrace the Ministerie.Now I turne to you, my brethren or people and hearers: who (as I haue said) raise vp lets and hindrances to too many against your selues, though ye had none offered you by your Ministers. Whose case (for the greatest part) I pitie and bewaile, that you are so farre from knowing and duly considering [Page 33] A this great mercie of God towards you, in sending his preachers among you, that very few of many, see the end of their ministerie; and therefore receiue them not as from God, as the instruments by whom ye may beleeue, and be reformed, and consequently look and waite for the accomplishment of your happines, after ye haue first tasted how good the Lord is to them by their preach­ing vnto you. Know ye therefore,The first rea­son. that God hath appointed them as messen­gers of your reconciliation with him, who were farre sequestred from him be­fore, and estranged: and wheras he might haue taught you by other meanes, and led you thorough this long and wearisome wildernes by other guides, he hath seene this the fittest way to doe it, by men his ministers, seeing yee B should neuer haue been able to heare the Lord himselfe, if hee should haue spoken to you, no more then the people of Israel were,Exod. 20.19. when they cried out at the hearing of his voyce, and said, Lord speake thou no more to vs, but let Moses speake to vs, and we will heare him in all that thou shalt say to vs by him. Heare them there­fore, who are able to deliuer the Lords message vnto you; whose preaching is life or death to you: and if ye despise them in that their message, ye shall doe all one, as if ye despised the Lord himselfe that sent them. Heare them (I say) in the Lords steed, in all that they shall say to you from him. Learne by their mini­sterie to see your selues to be the sonnes and daughters of God almightie, who, be­fore the ministerie of the word worke vpon you mightily, are his enemies, C your hearts being set on euill workes, and vnder his wrath iustly. Suffer your selues to bee launced, purged, wounded, seeing ye cannot otherwise be hea­led. Receiue the holesome word of exhortation, and be content to put your neck in his yoke, and willingly submit your selues to his word, that so ye may glorifie God for his loue towards you, in and by their labour and trauaile among you, that ye may thereby gaine more, then if you had al abundance and your hearts desire.

Which because you see not, I will shew you how great it is in some sort: and that is so much, as if you attaine it, ye owe no lesse then your owne soules to them for it, Philem. 19. For they shall not only saue themselues, The second rea­son. who shal performe D this dutie of teaching amōg you, in such maner as hath bin before set down, but they shall saue you also, who intertaine them as Gods messengers, 2. Tim. 2. and be meanes to make you see your selues happie, both here and for euer. Which being so, who can sufficiently admire the blindnes,The peoples sin. nay the wilfull blindnes of the people, the carelesnes, yea the bold carelesnes and blockish­nes of them, who see nothing of this which I say, though wee speake oft of it and aloud among them, that they may regard it. I thanke God to see some thing, that I see in some persons; I meane their reuerent and thankfull recei­uing of the Gospell, and their care to be reformed by it: but that in so long a time of peace and free passage to the Gospel vnder her Maiesties most pro­sperous E raigne, so few make that the flower of their garland, and their best portion, it is most worthily to be bewailed. Which testifieth too cleerely, that either there are many enemies of the Gospell among vs, besides Priests, and Iesuites, and open Recusants: and among them that loue it (as they pre­tend) many of them loue darknes more then light, because their deedes are euill, and who doe not esteeme Gods messengers as sent from him, for their singular benefit. For then would not some (and those not a few) denie them their due [Page 34] which God hath giuen them that labor among them; nor withhold their earthly F things from them, to whom they deliuer spirituall: nor esteeme meanly and base­ly of them,How the people hinder them­selues. who would faine win them to God: Neither would many of the people lay such blockes in their owne way as they doe, descanting of them in such wise, as they will be sure that none of them shall doe them good. For ra­ther then they would haue nothing to except against them, if they cannot finde those accusations, that are iust, they are content with any shew, why they should refuse to bee counselled and perswaded by them. And therefore, if they be old, they say, they dote, and know not what they say: if they be yong, they haue no iudgement nor experience: if they be wealthie, then they are couetous: if poore, then base and contemptible: if they be maried, they can G not follow their callings, but the world: if vnmaried, then they liue suspi­ciously. And thus (to say no more) it is fearefull to see how little the people (in one respect or other) are seasoned with the sweete fruite of the Ministerie: and therefore, if ye feare God, regard your owne welfare and peace, and will not come to iudgement, imbrace the Ministery reuerently, as Gods message, and the greatest and most lets of faith are remoued.

Thus I hauing set downe these lets which doe chiefly hold from faith, both on the Ministers part and the peoples, and hauing said somewhat to both in way of exhortation, seeing out of these two kinds of men, God chu­seth out his elect: I conclude, that there are many lets from faith, but yet with­all H it may be seene,There are fit remedies to these lets. that there is apparant remedie to be found against them, (as I haue said) and how subtilly soeuer the diuell bewitcheth and holdeth men backe by them, yet the Scripture offereth greater grace, by the which they may breake through all hindrances and discouragements, which may keepe them from it, if the Minister and people would make conscience of their duties.

CHAP. 7. What desire breedes faith.I

BVt seeing it were both long to stand in prescribing remedie a­gainst all these lets, and the way for all, hath been set downe to come by faith alreadie: I will therefore briefly stirre vp and ad­uise such as are in good way, and haue made some good en­trance, that they may see what to take heede of, and what to imbrace, and to seeke faith by the meanes, and in the manner which before I haue set downe, and a little to strengthen them after they haue attained to any true measure of it. Wherein it is to be marked (because I before highly commended a good desire) that a naked and bare desire of saluation, now and then stirred vp in K men, is not to beleeue, as many thinke, although without any ground: But seeing such as haue a desire sometime, are they for the most part, whom God doth make beleeuers (for while men are voide of that, there is little hope to be conceiued of them) I will therefore shew (for the helpe of them who doe anything looke after true happines) what desire it ought to be, and whereto it groweth if it be true and sincere, that it may not deceiue them. For we may [Page 35] A finde many, who haue sometime desired it earnestly, and yet neuer obtained it, as Balaam, that a man could hardly haue shewed any difference betwixt their desiring of it, and the desire of such as haue attained to it indeede, for that instant. But in time it hath appeared, that it was but sudden, or of short continuance, and failed before it obtained that which it sought: as by them who in the Gospell are said to haue ioyed in that which they desired to heare, Mat. 13.20.21 True desire giues not ouer. but it vanished; whereas the desire of the other cannot be satisfied without it: but mourneth, and longeth for it, and pineth for sorrow when any thing com­meth in the way, to weaken the hope, which was conceiued of it, till that bee remoued, which hindred them from that benefit. Therfore such must know B that their desire, which is sometime fleeting and somtime faint, must become both feruent and constant: as in the parable of the pearle may be seene:Matth. 13.45. That as soone as it was found, the value of it being knowne of the skilfull Mer­chant, he neuer rested till he had gotten it for his owne: for wee must know that he, who thus desireth it, is forcibly drawne hereunto by God, who hath shewed him his great neede of it, and what he shall gaine by it, and thereby hath prepared and made him fit to receiue it: for otherwise,High account of it. if God draw not men to the valuing of it, it is of no account with them.

Now further, this desire, if it be the worke of Gods spirit, is strengthened hereby: namely, while hee prizeth, and valueth it according to the worthi­nes C of it, as farre as he is able: that is to say, thus, that in his account it farre sur­mounteth, and excelleth all the world, with whatsoeuer is of account in it: he esteemeth of it, as a most pretious treasure to beleeue: because hee knoweth that he which beleeueth is deare vnto God, and shall be saued. Luk. 7.50.

And so must faith and assurance of eternall life be valued indeed,2. Pet. 1.1. of him who shall finde the blessing of it: for which cause S. Peter calleth it pretious faith. Now who can esteeme thus of it, as that it is better then all profit, plea­sure and preferment, but he must needes thinke, all his praying for it, hearing the word which worketh it, his questioning about it, and his trauaile and la­bour in meditating of the promises, whereby the spirit of God writeth it in D the heart: but he (I say) must needes thinke all his paines well bestowed in seeking it, yea and infinitly recompenced, though he hath long waited the Lords leisure for the enioying of it? Al which meanes another man thinketh very needlesse, and that it is meere follie to make all this adoe to come by it; and yet he will say it is better then the world also: but he can content him­selfe (when he hath heard the promise) without any setting of his desire in it, to wash away all with a word of course, that he hopeth to be saued by Iesus Christ, as well as other: Which slight esteeming of it, is too cleere a token,Difference be­twixt sound and vaine de­sire. how farre hee is from it. Now who seeth not the difference betwixt these two, to be this, that the one is led by the spirit of God, whereby the father of hea­uen E doth reueale this secret mysterie of faith to him, and doth wonderfully draw his heart vnto it: the other is led by fleshly reason, as his guide: which is the greatest enemie to this worke? For our reason thinketh it vnnecessarie to set more by that which we cannot see with carnal eyes, then by that which we haue in present possession, and see it, handle it, enioy, and vse it: therefore no man doing thus, is led by the spirit of God, which assureth him, who is led by it, that God hauing promised glorie greater then the world (though hee [Page 36] seeth it not) he shall finde no lesse, then is promised: therefore he setteth more F by it, then by all things here before his eyes.

And this is the way to beleeue in God indeede, though wee see him not, that by this our confidence in him, wee may haue ioy and peace. And be­cause this faith is counted farre more pretious then all worldly wealth: there­fore he who thus accounteth of it, will set himselfe to seeke it willingly and readily,Heart vpon Gods promises. as I said before. And therfore as the word teacheth him, he will haue his heart vpon the promises of God, because they are his treasure, musing on them, vntill he hath al difficulties and doubts of any moment, remoued from him,Gods will we should beleeue. which God for his part will not be vnwilling to graunt. And in his me­ditation he shall see that he is not more desirous to beleeue, then God is that G hee should so doe: hee seeth that God, for his greater assurance of it, doth through loue intreate him:2. Cor. 5.19. 1. Tim. 1.15. 1. Ioh. 3.13. of friendship counselleth him, and of his autho­ritie being able to performe, commandeth him to beleeue: as if hee would hereby shew that none hath authoritie to hinder or forbid the same: He seeth further, that as hee may receiue this promise, hauing so strong incourage­ment, so he can no otherwise be saued, nor happie. All this hee seeing, and weighing deeply, beginneth to stay himselfe, and to lay faster and surer hold on eternall life: and seeth that it cannot otherwise be, but that he should be saued, how farre soeuer he was from this perswasion before. And now he be­ginneth to conclude with himselfe, that he is deliuered indeed from all feare H of hell, and the diuell: for hereby his heart is more humbled and meekened to be subiect to the will and gouenment of God, without which, this faith is not attained. To whom this counsell yet is to be giuen (though he be come to such great preferment) that after hee hath by the forementioned meanes gotten this faith and confidence, that he beware of all occasions which may darkē or put out the light of it: As that he be not too bold to reason and que­stion against himselfe for yeelding to this truth lately receiued, and beleeued of him, before he be well grounded, and haue gotten some experience, but follow his rule that guideth him:Jf any doub­ting arise. for example, If any doubting should arise, any lying spirit should suggest, and trouble him with feare of falling away I hereafter, or that he cannot tell whether he be predestinate or no, or that ma­ny haue been as forward as hee, and yet haue in the end fallen from God, or any such like: he is to be counselled to hold them all for spirits of errour, and Sathans instruments to delude and terrifie him. And because they speak otherwise then Gods voyce, which saith, Beleeue, lay hold of eternall life, cast not away thy confidence, Iohn 3. 1. Tim. 6. Matth. 13. Coloss. 2.5. Ioh. 10.27. who also saith: The plants of the Lord shall flourish and grow vp as the graine of mustard seede, till it haue branches and bowes: And againe, Be ye established, confirmed, and abound in faith. Therefore he is to lend no eare to thē; remembring that which is written: My sheepe heare my voyce, and the voyce of a stranger they will not heare. It was the first degree to the vtter vndoing of her K selfe,Not to hearken to any contrary voyce. Gen. 3. and her posteritie, in our grandmother Eue; that when God had giuen libertie to eate of all the trees, excepting one; that she rested not in this word, but opened her eare to a false and lying spirit, in the mouth of the serpent, which vnder a faire colour, perswaded, or rather couertly inticed, & drew her (con­trarie to the word of God) to eate of that one tree also, which was forbid­den: whereas she should haue been astonished to haue heard the Serpent [Page 37] A speake at all, especially in that manner. It is a dangerous thing to set so light by the word which God speaketh, that wee dare so much as hearken to any voyce which speaketh the contrarie. For she by giuing eare to the Serpent went further, and gaue him speech also: and yet neither such speech, as wher­by she cut him off by holding her selfe to Gods word; neither (if she would needes answere) referring him to her husband (as she should haue done) who heard God speake, and receiued the charge of not eating of euery tree, from himselfe.

We must learne some wisedome of the Adder,Psal. 58.5. who stoppeth both her eares that she may not heare the voyce of the charmer, charme he neuer so wisely. And if any B doubt doe so trouble him, who hath attained through Gods grace to this weake faith, let him aske of them who haue instructed him,Act. 2.38. the men and bre­thren, who if they haue kindly pricked, can as well skill to heale: and there­fore also remoue such doubts, as for want of sure laying hold on the promise, haue troubled any.

And further, if he which is weake in faith, after laying sure hold,Remedie a­gainst feare of continuance. shall yet be dismaied thus, that hee cannot keepe (for any continuance) his faith strong and stedfast; but feeleth it flitting: he is to be answered, that a childe which beginneth to go by a stoole or forme, is not strengthened, as he which is by long vse and custome setled in his ioynts: in like manner it fareth with C weake beleeuers: and yet, after that such shall haue experience of their own sinceritie, and care,Matth. 11.29. to keepe a good conscience in longer continuance of time, they shall be well and fully setled in their faith, to their great content­ment and comfort.

And thus I conclude, that what lets soeuer there be,Conclusion of the former. which hinder men from beleeuing (as that they be vnworthie: they shall fall againe to their old course: they shall neuer be able to attaine to it: or if they haue not like cer­taintie of it alwaies, therefore they conclude, that they neuer had any at all, or any such like) yet he who earnestly desireth it, will not vtterly faint, except in temptation, when hee must bee well plied, and helped; and when hee is D not his owne to guide himselfe aright: nor cease or giue ouer till he be per­swaded that all teares are wiped away: and therfore will refuse no meanes to at­taine to it, by attending on God, and waiting his leisure, & reuerently consi­dering the incouragements and perswasions which haue been set downe,Luk. 22.31. Luk. 12.32. Ioh. 13.1. & 10 27. & 17. that so he may lay sure and strong hold of Gods promises and Christs prayer for him, I haue prayed that thy faith faile not (as one in his case may doe) and so by little and little shall see himselfe to be in the number of true beleeuers, no more to be cast out from them.

E CHAP. 8. How the weake in faith should be established.

ANd thus to passe to the second head of this first treatise,The second head. vnderstand that these two things are here to be handled: first, how the weake beleeuers may and should bee staied in their vehement tempta­tions. Secondly, how they may further proue, that they differ from such as [Page 38] are not beleeuers, although they seeme so. Of these weake ones, there are two F sorts: some lesse, some more: both shall be better vnderstood by that which shall seuerally be said of both. And herein I desire my brethren, who are bet­ter setled, not to thinke this labour superfluous: but to measure the weake by their owne weaknes at their first beginning, and to thinke that as the gift of faith is most excellent, so there cannot be too great helpe yeelded to the weake, in directing them to come by it. Concerning the first therefore, al­though I haue by sundrie tokens shewed, who are the children of God, and how euery faithfull Christian may iudge of himselfe hereby; yet for want of experience, and by vehemencie of temptation, they cannot so boldly and confidently rest, and stay themselues by generall doctrine, nor applie it to G themselues; those I meane which are weake Christians, yet such as haue at­tained communion with their brethren in faith and godlines: therefore though the aforementioned properties of true beleeuers, may be cleerely seene and discerned to bee in them, and they themselues also will confesse, that they haue been staied (saue in temptation) and that some of them often­times haue found singular comfort in Christ, and desire much to be with him: yet soone they are driuen from their hold, and caused to suspect their comfort to be a vaine fancie, and so fall into much feare and doubting, that they are none of the Lords. They must know therefore, that seeing there is no shadow of changeablenes with God, that it is their owne weaknes so to think,H as the Prophet confesseth of himselfe in the like case,Psal. 77.13. after he had long wrest­led and stroue with that temptation: for he that hath been assuredly perswa­ded of Gods loue toward him at any time in his whole life, ought not to cast a­way his confidence after,Heb. 10.35. nor suffer himselfe to be depriued of it, being his chief treasure.The first per­swasion to vp­hold a weake faith. But though this may be a stay to a weake conscience, who is some­times afflicted in this sort; yet I say further, that seeing hee cannot be satisfied, till his doubtfulnes (which by all his might he seeketh to subdue) be remo­ued, and his soule set at libertie againe by some new light in Gods promises: therefore he is to be perswaded that he labouring after, and groaning to rest his wearied and heauie heart on these, he cannot miscarry, nor be forsaken of I the Lord in the lowest depth of his distresse.The second per­swasion to vp­hold a vveake faith. For some one or other testimo­nie and propertie of the new birth shall euer be found in him, although hee alwaies feeleth it not, neither perceiueth it himselfe; whereby it shall be ma­nifest, that he liueth to God the life of God: euen as hearing, breathing, mo­uing, feeling, and such like, are infallible tokens of life in the bodie, which by many likelihoods appeareth to be dead. And if to his owne iudgement it see­meth, that all hope is cut off through the rage of the diuell, and strength of the temptation: yet it is, as if a man were suddenly striken downe to the ground with some violent blow, and amazed, who yet afterward recouereth himselfe againe: so that euen he, which feeleth not that he hath faith and K life, is not yet without it, seeing hee is not without that worke of the spirit, which alwaies accompanieth it; although indeede he hath neede of especiall and strong comfort. And this is mine answere.

But if this bee not enough, but thou wilt marueile, why God doth thus deale with thee, and suffer thee to fall to such depth of doubting, sorrow, and feare, although he loueth thee; yea and that after thou hast felt such comfort [Page 39] A to thy conscience: I must make mine answere more full and large, for the fur­ther satisfying of thee herein. I say therfore, although this be by the wise pro­uidence of God, that many of his truly begotten children (who therefore haue had sound comfort in Christ) doe fall sometimes, and that very dange­rously, and do greatly wauer, and doubt oftentimes, and so become vncom­fortable; which the Lord disposeth: least by their sudden chaunge from so damnable and vncomfortable an estate to so happie and ioyfull, they should bee lifted vp, and conceited, and so become secure and presumptuous (the forerunners and causes of a fearefull fall) yet this is certaine, it ought not thus to be on our parts: for it is (as I haue said before) a weaknes, which must B be withstood and ouercome. For the attaining whereto, the occasion of this doubting in him who hath once beleeued, must be searched out, and so re­moued: which ordinarily is our own infirmitie, neglect of dutie, and sleight­nes in the manner of performing the same, or some particular sin; also prone­nes to sinne, a nourishing of the same and strength of it, or long lying there­in: whereupon the tender conscience feareth that his former comfort was but deceitfull and vaine, and so doubteth of his owne estate.

For the right remouing hereof, this is duly to bee considered, that as the roote of our comfort in Christ is not the strength of our Christian life:A third per­swasion to vp­hold a weake faith. so the weaknes herein, ought not to breed doubting of our saluation by Christ. C But for as much as all our comfort standeth in this, that God, who iustifieth the vngodly, hath freely giuen his sonne, and in him is reconciled to vs, who so heartily desire his fauour, hauing been his enemies: and hath by his Gospell called vs, and by his spirit wrought in our hearts a sure perswasion hereof; wherby we which were dead in sin, are made aliue to God, & so are new borne: and therefore begin to be chaunged, first in affection, and then in conuersa­tion by little and little. Therefore if we haue this assurance of our new birth, though there be in vs much weakenes of the spirituall life, yet we ought not to doubt, whether we be Gods children, seeing he that is new borne can ne­uer die.

D But rather wee are to remember first, wee are but children,The fourth perswasion to vphold a weake faith. and therefore weake. Secondly, we are very subiect to many spirituall diseases; some such as take away sense of life: and therefore wee must seeke to be cured, and not despaire of life, because it is certaine that no such can perish. So that if we see, that we haue turned our harts from our christian course, & offended God, or (which is more) if we haue suffered our selues to be seduced any manner of way, we must not despaire, or doubt of the safetie of the whole person, when any one part or member is distempered, and ill at ease; but cure it,A fit simile. and labour to restore that to health againe: as if it be thine heart, thine eye, thy hand, or any other part which hath offended; resort thou to the Phisition Christ Ie­sus; E make thy complaint, that thou art heauie, and wouldest faine returne a­gaine from whence thou art fallen: and be confident for his owne promise sake, who calleth with stretched out armes, saying, Returne thou which wandrest, Esai 55.1. Matth. 11.28. and thou who wouldest finde ease and comfort, come vnto me, and I will refresh thee: beleeue in me, and I will satisfie thee in that which thou hungrest for. Now if they who haue fallen and offended God, may turne home againe to their first husband with good welcome: shall not they much more be beloued of [Page 40] him, and therefore comforted by him, who haue not prouoked him, but are F onely held downe through feare and infirmitie?

And thus I hauing answered the doubts of this sort of Gods people, weak in faith: I had purposed to haue proceeded no further to deale with them which haue the seale of God, and which are marked to eternall life: but to haue disclosed the packe of counterfeits, and to haue proued that many such, as say they are Christians, and the elect of God, and are not, but doe lie; that they are nothing lesse then the children of God (for as the weakest in faith must not be depriued of their priuiledge, as to thinke they are not ye Lords: so must not the most glozing hypocrites be suffered to conceiue a false opinion or hope of that which is none of theirs: as to dreame of happines) This, I say, I had G purposed next to haue entred into: but in the meane while, it commeth into my minde (by occasion of such, as I haue answered alreadie, that is, the faith­full; who hauing receiued much comfort through their hope, after an effe­ctuall calling,Another sort weake in faith, and how they are to be com­forted. haue yet after that, been troubled with doubtings) by occasion of them (I say) I called to mind another sort of Gods deare seruants, who are weaker then they, deeplier grieued, and therefore more tenderly to be regar­ded: least that they being brused reedes, should be altogether broken, and as smoking flaxe should be vtterly quenched.

And these are they, who hauing manifest signes of faith, and the new birth in them: yet by the subtill and cruell malice of the diuell (although not with­out H the wise disposing of the Lord, to their great good, and example of o­thers) are brought to this bondage, that they are perswaded that they are vt­ter reprobates, and haue no remedie against their desperation. They feele (they say) the wrath of God kindled against their soules: and anguish of con­science most intolerable: and can finde no release, notwithstanding their continuall prayers made vnto the Lord, and in their iudgement stand voyde of all hope of the inheritance promised, expecting the consummation of their miserie, and the fearefull sentence of eternall condemnation. Now this vehemencie of temptation, though it bee enough of it selfe barely, to shake and terrifie the afflicted; yet when melancholie shall herewithall pos­sesse I the partie, then is it made farre more grieuous: for that raiseth excesse of distrust, and feare, and perswadeth it selfe of miserie, where there is no cause, and is the very seate of the diuell, being an apt instrument for him, both to weaken the bodie, and to terrifie the minde with vaine and phantasticall feares, and to disturbe the whole tranquillitie of our nature: and one chiefe propertie of this, is to feare a man without iust cause. So many as are troubled with this latter, I exhort to reade the treatise of Melancholie, set foorth by Doctor Bright Phisition, Anno 1586. vnto the which also I may referre them, for the former point: that is to say, if they be deeply touched with the con­science of sinne alone, how they may be comforted and deliuered out of it.K But seeing it is both appertaining to the matter which I haue taken in hand, to say somewhat thereof, and the other treatise not alway at hand, I wil part­ly borrow from thence, where it is largely and profitably set downe: and partly adde my selfe somewhat for the staying and perswading of such weak ones,Perswasions to the weake to vphold them. as their case requireth.

And first they must be perswaded, that they are not vnder the wrath of [Page 41] A God; neither is his anger kindled against them, for all their feare that oppres­seth them, when their estate is to their owne feeling, euen at the worst: be­cause they haue not sinned against the holy Ghost: which sinne onely is able to shut them out from hope of saluation; and yet many of them in their temp­tation do thinke that they haue. And to proue that they haue not committed that sinne, it may appeare by this: that they haue not maliciouslie set them­selues against the truth and Gospell of God: nor wilfullie persecuted it a­gainst their conscience, but doe imbrace it heartily, and loue the same, which they are not able to denie. But it is a meere delusion and temptation of the diuell, which holdeth them in this terror and bondage: which time will dis­couer, B and lay open, as they themselues shall hereafter most plainely see and discerne: which, many such as they are, in the like case haue found in the end. And though it be a temptation of the enimie purposed of him to their con­fusion: yet from their louing and mercifull father a triall of their faith, and patience, and other vertues. Indeed the ground hereof, is their owne weake­nes (as I said before of the former sort of Gods Children) vpon the which the diuell worketh, although not to wring from them their hope (which he shall neuer be able to doe:) yet to wearie their liues with heauines and dis­comfort.Sathan wor­keth vpon vs by suggestions. And this our infirmitie Sathan doth sometime assaie without meanes, that is, onely by spirituall suggestion: sometime by meanes and out­ward C occasions of euill, and forcible perswasions to sinne and rebellion a­gainst God. For the first of these two, it is certaine, that he after a personall manner to the soule, though not in bodilie shape to the eye, without meanes of outward things, tempteth vs, in the very secret thoughts of our hearts. For he, being a spirit (and by creation most excellent) hath accesse vnto our spi­rits, to trouble them, and disorder all their actions: as we see corporall crea­tures with corporall and bodilie force to annoy one another. And as he is a spirit, so the long experience (which he hath of our corruption, and miserie from age to age) giueth him knowledge of our minds more perfectlie, who gathereth it by the least signe of our inclination and will: not that he kno­weth D our hearts (for that is proper to God only) but through his long ac­quaintance with our nature, he conceiueth our intents and purposes, and that oftentimes without signification, either of speech or gesture. And thus he being able to discouer the vanitie of our minds, by the knowledge of our vniuersall corruption: as he seeth occasion, and whereto we most incline, he suggesteth his temptations to sinne and disobedience.

Now if to these two we adde his malice (for he is not called the enuious man for naught) and his vnsearchable subtiltie, and exceeding strength;Sathans pro­perties. and that which is greater then all the rest, that he most hurteth, when it least ap­peareth, when we least suspect it: for which cause it is said, that hee changeth E himselfe into an angell of light, 2. Cor. 11.13, 14. we shall not meruaile, though without any meanes, or outward occasions, he raiseth great terror, and dis­maidnes, especiallie the Lord giuing him leaue so to doe, for the good of vs which are exercised with them. For besides that,Sathan temp­teth and per­swadeth to sin, which we de­light not in. we are inticed sometime to the sinnes, which by nature we loue: we are also (especiallie such as are thus brought low, in the anguish and bitternes of their soule) tempted to such e­uils as are very strange, and such as we abhor the very least conceite of them; [Page 42] and finde not the least part of our nature to incline to them; though other­wise F we complaine of great frailtie: as to haue thoughts to blaspheme God, to be tempted; to lay violent hands on others, not moued thereto by any hate or malice; or to deuoure our selues, to dispaire and distrust of Gods mercie and grace: all which sinnes with such other, the partie hath neuer had de­light in, when hee was yet ouertaken with some other sinnes, and had his heart drawne after them indeed; and yet he is feared with the guiltines of those,He laboureth to dimme our knowledge, and the sight of Gods grace in vs. which he euer loathed. And when the diuell can fasten vpon such as this weake person is, in this wise, he especiallie laboureth to dimme their knowledge and iudgement, that they may haue no sure hold of any point of doctrine, which may soundly comfort them, that thus he may, like a Lyon, de­uoure G them more speedilie: For when they cannot be perswaded in their iudgement, that God can, or will pardon them, how are they able to desire, or pray for it, when it shall be beaten into them, that they haue no faith, nor any better things in them than reprobates? how can they be moued to stirre vp that weake faith which they haue? no more can they desire good meanes, as counsell, reading, or any such like, when he hath stricken this deadly blow in their consciences, that God hath forsaken them.

And this be spoken of the diuels tempting the children of God (when, and whom it pleaseth the Lord for their triall) and that without the helpe of outward meanes, or any occasions to worke by: the which I purposed to H speake of to no further end, but for the helpe of such as are sometimes decei­ued, and so oppressed after the same manner. Here is no fit place to satisfie them who would be glad to know more of this matter.

To proceede therefore, and so to draw to an end herein: As he doth oft without any meanes, deepely fasten vpon the weake consciences of Gods people, to feare and dismay them; so doth he the same much more easilie by the helpe of outward meanes: so that, when he hath couered their hearts with darkenes, and brought them into a dreadfull feare of Gods wrath; and plucked their armour from them,He troubleth much by out­ward obiects. whereby before they had resisted him, he holdeth them at this vantage, that euery thing which is before them, is made I matter to increase their distressed estate. And therefore if they see a knife, all their thoughts are to destroy themselues; if they goe by water, they are ve­hemently perswaded to drowne themselues; and so are they tempted to strangle themselues, if either the place giue them any occasion, or the instru­ment wherewith they should doe it. So if they see any merry, their heauines is the more increased, seeing (say they) we shall neuer come out of deadly sorrow and dispaire: if they see a dogge, they wish that they were so: when they should eate their meate, they thinke it wil increase their damnation; and dare scarcely take the meanest scraps to relieue nature: And if any Scripture be recited to them;The obiections of the weake in temptation. oh, it belongeth not to them, they say: they are past hope:K and whatsoeuer we answere them (be it neuer so fit for them, and to doe them good) yet they are neuer satisfied; but raise new obiections against themselues, as being nothing satisfied by that which was spoken to them.

It were infinite to set downe their speeches and thoughts like vnto these, which I haue now mentioned; which the diuell draweth from them by such occasions, as he worketh by: but all this is (as we see) through their owne let­ting [Page 43] A goe their hold of Gods promises, and mercies in Christ: which yet sometime they haue imbraced, and felt great comfort in; or at least, could not deny, but that they had part in them. And it is the vnspeakeable goodnes of God, that they are not vtterlie swallowed vp; but kept through his secret grace, though not seene of them: and that all other of his deare seruants, are not plunged into the same depth of distrust and dispaire, that there might be no one to comfort and counsell another; but discouragements on eueryside.

For it is not to be attributed to Sathan, or any want of subtiltie, readines to hurt, ablenes, malice and crueltie; that either the one sort is at all preser­ued, or the other more freed from the like measure of languishing and feare, B or (which is the senselesse sicknes and disease of this age, and farre more dan­gerous) from bold securitie and presumption: but (as I haue said) the Lords keeping of them both: Neither is it any meruaile to vs (though it be not mar­ked of the vnbeleeuers) because the Lord hath his eye euer vpon his belo­ued ones (as Dauid speaketh, Psalm. 41.12.) That he may see that no hurt be­fall them; euen as a mother hath her eye alwaies on the young child which beginneth to goe, that it get no knocks.

But now to conclude, ye will aske, what remedies are to be vsed against such sore assaults? First I say, that seeing their consciences beare them wit­nes, how much these temptations are repugnant to their desires and liking; C and chiefely raised and procured by Satan in them, who abuseth their sim­plicitie: therefore there is no cause, why they should be so discouraged,Remedies a­gainst Sathans temptations. and out of heart, although he hath haled, and violentlie carried them to such mi­serie; as though they had taken glorie in offending God: this (I say) let them marke, as soone as they be fit to heare it; and the rather, they are to count them to proceede from him, than from themselues; because they are such, as are altogether contrarie to their former conuersation, and to nature it selfe: and such as haue no enforcement, nor inticement, but from him.Further reme­dies. They are further to consider, how much it doth displease God; that they are remoued from their faith, and giue place to the spirit of error: and therefore they D should gather more godly boldnes and confidence in him, on the one side, and more strength against Sathan, on the other side. For if God calleth and incourageth vs to trust and beleeue in him: and we standing in need there­of, would most gladly (as we will all say in such a case) imbrace his promises made in Christ Iesus, who is he, which should hinder vs? If the Lord will iustifie and cleare vs, who shall condemne vs? Neither let them after all this, be still obiec­ting, that they feele small strength of faith and hope, as many of Gods deare children doe, for thereby the enemie may take great encouragement to their owne disaduantage: for what if they feele not the sweete taste thereof,What wee should doe, when we feele not the sweete taste of Gods mercies. which sometime they felt; shall they iudge therefore themselues to be vtterly be­reaued E thereof? If the soule be now sicke, and tasteth not the sweete meates of consolation, which it was wont, was it therefore alwaies so? Will they measure themselues by that which they presently feele, when the soule hath lost her taste? Or rather by the times past (as the Prophet, by his example tea­cheth them in the like case) whilest it stoode free from the disease of tempta­tion, when they found comfort in the spirit, through an acceptable measure of faith.

[Page 44] A fift perswa­sion to vphold vveake faith.Further, the triall of their faith is likewise to be taken, by those fruits which F are euident to the eye of others, who can iudge more sincerely, then the affli­cted themselues, whose vnderstanding is much altered by Sathans terrours. And here (as in fittest place) I alleage the strong faith of the woman of Ca­naan, when Christ seemed to giue her the repulse vtterly, yet she would not be moued from her faith, when firie darts were thrust into her, three or foure one after another. The same I say to other their obiections of like sort, as I haue said to these: As when they reason thus against themselues, that they do not liue as Gods children doe, nor so holily, as God requireth, and therefore they cannot haue such comfort, as they haue. What then? are they repro­bates? haue they no grace, because they want that which they would haue?G Ought they not to consider,A sixt perswa­sion to vphold the weak faith. that they being the Lords plants, take not their full perfection at once: but according to the nature of a plant, require a daily wa­tering and dressing, whereby in the end they attaine to a full growth in Christ? Oh, but they feele not the testimonie of Gods spirit, which might assure them! I answere, neither doe any of Gods children at all times feele it: but that they may see their owne frailtie, God doth, as it were, hide himselfe sometime for a season (as the mother doth from the child to try the affection of it to her) that they may with more earnest desire mourne for Gods won­ted grace: and when they haue obtained it againe, may with more ioyfulnes of heart praise him: and yet God doth not withhold comfort from his, ma­ny H times,Deut. 33.12. when they walke heauily, who (if they could giue credit vnto him) may assure themselues that they may liue in safetie vnder his protection all the day long: but their owne frailtie, and the vehemencie of the temptation, which oppresseth them,A seuenth per­swasion. diminisheth the feeling thereof. But patience and constancie, with a resolute mind to beare Gods triall, will bring a good end: yea and by the meeke going vnder Gods hand in these, they shall learne ex­perience, afterward to wade thorough greater; and yet in the middest of them, to haue hope, that shall not make them ashamed.

Rom. 5.4.5.And thus it may appeare, that although the weake faith of Gods deare seruants may be many waies assaulted, and their saluation by meanes thereof,I to their feeling, be doubted of: yet that such are vndoubtedly the Lords, and cannot be taken out of his hands; because they are not destitute of faith (as I haue proued) whereby they apprehend Christ, though weake: and which hath brought vnto them much comfort in times past; though for a season the Lord working all for their good, it seeme to them farre otherwise. And of the former point of this second head or generall part of this treatise, that is, how the weakest of Gods people are to be vpholden in vehement temp­tations, thus much be said.

K

CHAP. 9. The difference of beleeuers from them that are none.

NOw followeth the second point, wherein for the cleerer manifesta­tion of that which hath been said, I must now discerne from the former sort, such as haue great shew of faithfull ones and beleeuers, [Page 45] A and yet are nothing lesse, and shew that the weakest Christians, of whom I haue spoken, may see their estate apparantly different from theirs; who yet come neerest of other, vnto beleeuers: and then answere some doubts, which I know doe sticke in the mindes of diuers about this matter.

And first whereas some may maruaile, that I in the describing of Gods children, haue not rested in these as infallible markes thereof, namely, 1. sor­row for their miserie, 2. confession of their sinnes to God, 3. feare of his dis­pleasure for the same, and 4. desiring some kinde of amendment of life; seeing they are also in them, who are effectuallie called of God: I answere, I haue followed the Scripture herein, and that I haue in shewing who are the B Lords, made mention, rather of those graces of God, which are properly be­longing to the faithfull, then of them, which may be in hypocrites, and hol­low hearted professors. Seeing we finde both by Scripture and experience, that these forenamed affections, and many good and commendable vertues (as they seeme to be) may haue place in those which doe not appertaine to Gods election: For a man may be much burthened with the weight of his sinne, his conscience terrified by the spirit of bondage;Matth. 27.3. 1. King. 21.27. he may be pensiue after­ward for his sinne committed, and wish it were vndone, afraide for the punishment, and may promise amendment, and walke heauily, and expresse it by outward signes: and yet not released, nor set free from that which he C feareth. So the same person, by the hearing of the promises of the Gospell, may finde ioy, and delight in the glorious tidings, which it bringeth: and take sensible pleasure in the exercises of religion:Matth. 13.20. He may haue a taste of the life to come, as Balam; he may reuerence and feare the Ministers of God, as Herod, Numb. 22. Mark. 6.20. and begin to amend some faults in his life, as hee and others, of whom wee reade in the Gospell did; and yet for all this (though fearefull to thinke of) not sealed vp to saluation: euen thus farre a man may goe in the profession of Christian religion; and yet a stranger from the power of faith, from the life of godlines, and from that, which accompanieth both; I meane, a good and peaceable conscience.

D Of the which argument, because much is written, and where the Gospell hath been preached (of some places I may speake of mine owne knowledge) it hath been often handled, and largely, I thinke; I may say the lesse. Neither doe I speake that, which I haue said, about this matter, to discourage any: but partly to driue them from deceiuing themselues, which loue to stay themselues, they care not vpon what rotten hold, and broken staffe; partly to make the true testimonies of eternall life to be more pretiously esteemed of those which haue them: and such as are without them, to bestowe more dili­gence in seeking of them. For the weakest faith findeth Christ Iesus no more to lose him, seeing he hath said, that he will not breake a brused reede, Matth. 12.20. nor quench E the smoking flaxe; and the most glorious shewes of godlines, and boldest crakes, and most loude boastes of faith, where yet it is not indeede,Luk. 18.14. shall all vanish away in the ayre, and come to nothing, not hauing any part in him: euen as Sauls bragges, that God had deliuered Dauid into his hands, when he was shut in the citie, were frustrated to his owne shame, 1. Sam. 23.14. & 24.5. The which, how true it is, may appeare not only by some examples mentio­ned out of the Scripture, but also by the liues of sundry in the Countrey, [Page 34] who haue receiued the Gospell with ioy, and been much cast downe by the force F of the lawe: But as their humbling hath been a bowing of themselues for a short time, like a bulrush with the wind; so their ioy hath been a suddaine flash of fleeting mirth, not well grounded in them, and an inlightning of them with the generall knowledge of saluation, rather then a sealing of the assu­rance of their owne in their hearts for continuance.

Forwardnes in religion was sometime in many. Hebr. 6.5. Exod. 22.Oh, how many haue after the report made by others, what great change the Gospell had wrought; how many, I say, haue resorted to the hearing of it, and giuen good and commendable hope of their owne change also, and re­pentance; who yet were soone wearie of the Lords yoke, and of being sub­iect to his holy gouernment? how many haue forsaken the fountaines of the wa­ter G of life, Ier. 2.13. which could haue refreshed their soules in their necessitie with sound comfort, and haue digged to themselues broken pits, which can hold no water to comfort them? And so haue started aside, like a broken bowe, and haue retur­ned shamefully to their vomit, 2. Pet. 2.22. and as the sowe which was washed, to wallow againe in the mire? Which I speake not, as though God had not both called out of this life many amongst vs (within these yeeres in her Maiesties raigne) of sin­gular hope, and left a comfortable companie amongst vs still, with others dailie comming on;Apostataes. but to cast their shame as dung in their faces, who haue fallen from that feruent desire of the sincere milke of the word (which once they had) to the world,Iohn 6.66. 1. Iohn 2.19. to prophanenes, and to carelesnes. These (as the Scripture H saith of Iudas) went out from vs, but they were none of vs: for if they had been of vs, they would haue continued still with vs. For when either prosperitie hath been graunted them,Iames 5.8. they haue waxen wanton, and haue turned the grace of God into loosenes: Matth. 13.21. or when affliction hath followed them, they haue growne wearie of their profession, saying as we reade in Eccles. 7.12. That the former dayes were better, and wished againe for the merrie world, which they inioyed, and the pleasant life (as the Israelites did their flesh pots) which they passed in ignorance of God,Exod. 16.3. and the lusts thereof in superstition, and such like: and so haue fallen from the grace of God, and haue departed from him, to whom yet they had professed themselues to haue been infinitly indebted, as for his other bene­fits; I so especially for his Gospell, in the which they seemed to take no small delight for a season.Iohn 5.35. But these when I consider their falsehood towards God, and their double dealing, that they would not giue their hearts to him to be­leeue his mercies,Matth. 19.29. to be their onely treasures, and so hold fast their confidence in him (who would sufficiently haue recompenced their forsaking of the world) I cease meruailing at them, although they are fallen from an high ac­count and estimation among the seruants of God,The fals of ma­ny Professors haue made them vile. vnto a vile and reproch­full estate, to be reckoned with the vnbeleeuers; some of them making this their chiefe religion, rather to be iudges and censurers of their brethren, then to hold and retaine loue and fellowship with them. For whom yet, I will not K cease to intreate the Lord dailie, that if any of them belong to him, it would please him to awake them, and to bring them home with the prodigal sonne, in the sight of those who haue seene their reuolt: that so, not onely them­selues may be saued, though they take shame in the world; but others also, who were imboldened to sinne by their example, may be reclaimed.

Thus, the loue of these men hath constrained me, a little to go aside in la­menting [Page 47] A their miserie, because I haue knowne many of them, who hauing shined as lights for a season, are become mistie cloudes to hinder light from others: whom I also counsell to consider, that they haue not been driuen a­way from their holy profession by persecution (which if they had been,Some haue fal­len away be­fore trouble came. might haue giuen better hope of them to their brethren, that meere weake­nesse had hindered them) but they haue gone away from their first loue, and broken off their fellowship with their brethren, euen in the time of the Gospell flourishing, and preached in some places with more power, then when they were in the beginning most earnestly stirred vp to imbrace it: yea, and some of them then forsooke their good beginnings, not when Mo­ses B was gone aside from them, for the space of fortie daies, but whilest he was amongst them, and in the middest of their tents, calling vpon them to be sound and constant, and to goe forward, as he had done long before: and himselfe also (to Gods glorie be it spoken of some) with great courage and cheerefulnes of good example going before them. And therefore seeing their sinne is the greater, they are to be aduised to looke for better assurance of their saluation, and whom they haue offended, that so they may repent,Let such re­pent. and now take surer hold of eternall life, with the hand of their faith, rather than by so weake and small occasions to let it goe. For if they had in the fee­ling of their sinne, feare, sorrow, and other distresses for the same, been vnfai­nedly C humbled, their hearts mollified, and they resolued to seeke the for­giuenes thereof, and righteousnes thereby, and that through the free impu­tation thereof by Iesus Christ: they should soundly haue had their diseases healed, their sorrow and doubtes expelled, and true comfort ministred from their faith in him, which would so effectually haue wrought in them, and haue raised such an vnfained loue to God againe, that they would for no cause haue been withdrawne; but rather haue set themselues to growe in godlines with their brethren, then in the least manner to haue returned to their former lusts of their ignorance;2. Pet. 1.9. from which they professed themselues to haue been purged.

D This I haue written for their causes, who haue been content to be decei­ued with an opinion of happines, and yet to be voide of it: who because they haue had some light in the beholding of their sinnes, and haue been woun­ded in conscience for the guilt of them, and punishment due to the same; haue therefore perswaded themselues, that they haue been effectually called, when yet they haue not seene nor found this, that their sinnes haue been pardoned to them: and in token thereof that they themselues,2. Cor. 5.17. haue been changed in will, affection, and conuersation: and so haue become new crea­tures. For though they alleage (and that iustly) that in the conuersion of Paul, the people mentioned Act. 2.37.Iudg. 10.16. 1. Sam. 7.3.5. the returning of the people of Israel to E God, in the time of the Iudges, and in the dayes of Samuel, and in such o­ther examples; the holy Ghost setteth downe their trouble of minde, their pricke of conscience, and their great abasing of themselues, which I graunt are wrought in such, as haue been truly penitent: yet there hath been ioyned also with these, an earnest hungring after Gods mercie, an vnfained faith, the spirit of adoption sealing vp their saluation vnto them, and the liuelie fruites of the same: They haue beleeued that God hath become their most [Page 48] louing father through Christ Iesus, who was before their fearefull iudge; F and they haue hereby been inforced to loue him therefore,1. Pet. 1.8. and to seeke now to please him with all their hearts: and these graces haue set them forward in a godly life to bring forth fruites, beseeming their profession.

1. Tim. 1.4.But these men furnish not themselues with faith, a pure heart, a good con­science, change of their life, through the louing of God; but they let time end their griefe of mind, and their woundes of conscience are healed outwardly with opinion that it is sufficient repentance, onely to be sorrowfull: some not abiding the gripes of griefe, and yet not finding sound comfort against them, haue cast them off, and therefore in affliction are from time to time vexed with the returning of them againe, because they were neuer driuen away G kindly, nor aright. If they shall further defend themselues this way, that they thought their course was good, to be thus cast downe, seeing the lawe was preached to them, which constrained them thus to doe: and if they will aske, why we preached the iudgements of God to them, if we saw it not meete for them to be humbled?The Law is not to be preached without the Gospell. I answere: first, the law was neuer preached alone by any discreete teacher, who himselfe was skilfull in the doing of his dutie, but the Gospell with it. Secondly, the law was not, nor is not prea­ched to hold men vnder, with the yoke of feare and bondage; but to cause men to see their sinne more cleerely:VVhy the Law is preached. and thereby their punishment to be due; that so they might come to themselues in truth, and set more store by H Gods mercie, and Christs merits, which onely can saue their soules, and mi­nister them comfort. Thirdly, we haue not as from God approued, nor wi­shed any to rest in any workes of the lawe, or the best actions which they could doe, when as yet they had no faith, nor perswasion of the remission of their sinnes, truly setled in them: but to haste from thence with all speede; and to trie themselues both by rules and doctrine, as well as by their owne experi­ence,2. Cor. 13.5. if Christ were in them, that so through him they might become accep­table. Now then if they haue heard and receiued one part of our Ministery, and not the other: if they haue placed happines in the repentance, which they haue fancied; and not in the knowledge of God through Christ, which I we haue vrged; they haue been deceiued through the subtiltie of the temp­ter: if they haue sought to please God, for feare of his vengeance, and not because they haue found deliuerance from death, by his vndeserued fauour; they haue laboured in vaine, and been with-holden from the principall fruit of the Gospell preached. But no meruaile, for many are the sleights, by the which the diuell keepeth his possession in such, as are not yet escaped his wiles and snares, in the which he holdeth them; not without their own good liking. He discourageth some from hope and confidence, that they are the Lords; because they haue been more deepely pricked for their sinne, and longer holden in doubtfulnes, then other of Gods children are; and that K none haue so great temptations and conflicts, as they haue: But haue not they these afflictions to bring them vnto God?How men a­buse their af­flictions through Sa­thans vviles. And others he dismaieth, and hol­deth vnder with the contrarie: as that they cannot be Gods children, be­cause they haue neuer had that deepe sorrow, and long lying in it, for their sinne, as many of their brethren haue had: As though mens examples, and not rather Gods word should be their rule to follow. So he suggesteth this to [Page 49] A some others, that their estate could not be good, seeing they haue not had their liues full of some outward crosses, as some of the godly haue: and yet on the contrarie, many haue been long holden captiues with these cogita­tions, that they durst not thinke themselues to belong to Gods election,Psal. 73.13, 14. see­ing they are euery while vnder one crosse or other. Thus the diuell (whose malice and subtiltie few doe know, fewer doe well weigh, but fewest of all doe wisely and carefully resist) the diuell, I say, holdeth numbers occupied about these and such like points: wherein the triall of their happines, and certaintie of their peace doth not consist. And because religion and holie doctrine doth affect them, and that he seeth they will needes imbrace the B same, he laboureth to keepe them at this stay, to hold themselues contented with that shadow, though they be vncertaine of their estate to Godward, and remaine in suspence and little hope of their saluation: and so hee permit­teth them to haue the letter of the Scripture in their mouth, and to talke ge­nerally about religion, or (if occasion be offered) about some questions,Psal. 50.16. and matters concerning the same; but they hate vtterly to be reformed. Who seeth not that he holdeth these in errour and bondage, as grossely as he doth the o­ther before mentioned?Looke to that which is prin­cipall. who trouble themselues about opinions and con­ceits, which are not the chief and maine points to occupie themselues about; as though happines consisted in them, but may faile of eternall life (for all C that) when they haue all done?

For neither doth this commend a man to God, whether he hath long con­tinued in griefe of minde, feare of conscience, and doubtfulnes of saluation: but that he be well freed and deliuered from such trouble, and discharged of his feare: I meane that hee can heartily thanke God through Iesus Christ, that he seeth and feeleth himselfe set at libertie, and by him is made happie: for if the truth of God and his promise make him free, then he is free indeed.Ioh. 8.32. Neither is this with a man, or against him in assuring himselfe of saluation, whether his life be full of afflictions and crosses, seeing God keepeth not al­waies, an euen hand in these things; for they are common both to good and D bad: but that a man know himselfe, though a wretched sinner; yet through faith, to be iustified and acquitted before God: and therefore is at peace with God, Rom. 5.1. in himselfe, euen such as passeth all vnderstanding, whether his crosses bee many or few.

There are many things of like sort, with which Sathan doth blindfold sundrie of good hope: as that, for hauing some infirmities, or falles breaking foorth in them, therefore they cannot be beloued of God: and when they finde that in some sort they can ouercome them, then they think they are the beloued of God: in neither of which a man is to place his safetie. For both the deare Saints of God may possibly be led out of the way,When a man is none of the worst, he may be farre from being good. to commit some­what E offensiuely: neither is he to promise well to himselfe, who sometimes keepeth from sinnes, which at other times he hath fallen into: for it may be, that there is no great occasion offered him that way; or he is otherwise bu­sied, so as he is not so easily carried after such temptations; or some sinnes of another sort as grieuous, doe hold him vnder. And therefore seeing many are deceiued this way, partly for want of knowledge and grounded iudge­ment in the truth, and partly whiles they haue through long custome been [Page 50] detained and holden in such snares, they are to be desired in the most earnest F manner, that they would bestow some of their time and meditations about the substance and marrow of their happines, to see that they haue a part in it indeed:1. Pet. 1.10. and as S. Peter saith, to giue all diligence to make their calling and election sure: and in trying by all meanes, whether their faith, their hope, their pa­tience, and loue be sound, though vnperfect; and true and effectuall, though weake and feeble: for vpon these the matter dependeth.

And if they can be certified, that the spirit of God since, and through their hearing of his Gospel preached vnto them, hath shed such grace into their harts, as to make them partakers of the fruites thereof, they shall not neede to bee troubled about the other: and if they contrariwise finde that they doe yet G want these, they must fully purpose to seeke for them; and not to feed them­selues with a vaine and a deceitfull hope, staied vpon no good ground nor foundation at all.

And here I must further require, that such as, to whom God giueth any worke of his spirit, and whose hearts he seasoneth with good affections and desires through the Gospell, so as they sensibly feele themselues to looke af­ter eternall life, that they would cherish, and make much of these holy sparks of grace kindled within them: and whiles they bee warme in them, to blow them vp euery while, with the bellowes of feruent prayer, and to in­flame them by acquaintance, companie, and conference with such, as in H whom they see God hath wrought the same things before them; and in greater measure, then in themselues: alwaies highly reuerencing Gods gifts in them,Iam. 4.2. that they may the sooner come by them: and that the things which they see but dimly, they may behold more cleerely, and their doubts may be resolued to them, and they may finde comfortable incouragement to goe forward.Let the vn­staied ones vse all meanes to be conuerted. But especially, they must giue attendance daily and diligently to the doctrine of faith and godlines, where they may enioy that soundly prea­ched vnto them: assuring themselues that if they finde not that the one thing aboue all things, chiefe and necessarie, they loue it not, as Mary did, Luk. 10.42. and then they shall not haue their part in it. But otherwise they may know,I that God, who doth shew himselfe kind and louing to such as seeke him not, (as it is written,Esai. 65.1. I was found of them that sought me not) will not hide himselfe from them which doe seeke him; seeing he findeth all in their filth, when he calleth them to repentance, euen the best. And finally, they must waite vpon him, desiring him in his good time (notwithstanding their vnworthines) to draw them by his secret grace vnto him. But this shall suffice to haue bin said of them who thinke themselues Christians and are not, but doe lie: and of them who haue left their first loue of the Gospell and of their brethrē, which sometime (as it seemed) they had. Which two being of the forwardest sorts of professors, who goe for true beleeuers, and yet being none indeede, doe K iustifie the estate of the weakest seruants of God, to be approued of him and happie, being farre different from them. Which although I haue by the way as it were spoken to admonish both: yet principally and most chiefly, I haue done it, for the vpholding & comfort of Gods weake seruants, who may see him most louing and gracious vnto them euen in that, I meane their abase­ment and humiliation: which they sometime thought to be their vtter and [Page 51] A extreame miserie. And thus much of the second point of the second part or generall head: namely, of the staying of the weake Christians, and how they differ from vnbeleeuers.

Thus I haue, not as I would, but as I could,The third head set downe my meditations vpon this first point, to shew, who are the true people of God, and giuen oc­casion to many, who haue little to say for themselues, why they should claime any right or title in that great purchase, to consider of their estate more deeply and seriously then they haue done. If these, who are almost Christians, and (as I may say) not farre from eternall life, being many of them vsuall hearers of Sermons, would inquire about their estate, till they should B see it good, as I am sure the other may bee well staied by this which I haue written, I should not be a little comforted, whom for their good (which I heartily desire and pray for) this I beseech to heare me in. What wisedome shall they shew, to be carelesse in so weightie a matter as this is, concerning their saluatiō, and that their care in matters transitorie can neuer be enough? or what sound comfort doe they looke for, whiles they rest but in vncertain­ties about the assurance thereof, which yet to misse and goe without, is their vtter and perpetuall desolation? But they hope they are in good case, and perswade themselues that they are in the estate of grace. I am farre from en­uying it them: I would to God that I could hope so too.

C But what euidence or proofe haue they of it? They can answere, none, but this, that they professe Christ, and loue the Gospell, and contemne Po­perie. They heare Sermons oft, and thinke not well of them who doe not so. Some of the forwarder sort, doe thinke verely sometime, that they beleeue, and ioy therein, and sometime weepe at a Sermon: but this is their anchor that they hold themselues by, long after: when they be able to speake of such times and actions done in them. But when they haue been at the best, haue they then put foorth themselues a little further, to demaund: are these things sufficient markes and testimonies of our saluation? or if they be not, do they inquire what be? And do they not cease trying their state, till they can proue D it to be good indeed? and vntill they finde rest to their soules that cannot de­ceiue them? Nay rather, they come not to this at all, that they can applie Christ to them: that studie is vtterly vnwelcome to them and vnsauourie. They can doe any thing but that: and why so? Verely, euen to the end they may be deceiued: as men that haue matter at law, and are in sute, boast much of their case, but yet are very loath to come to triall of it: and why are they a­fraid so to doe, but for that they know they haue no good euidence to shew for it?

They may be compared in this, to King Nabuchadnezzar: Dan. 4.26. he was very earnest to heare the interpretation of his dreame, and could not be satisfied E vntill he heard the same. But this was not all that behooued him to doe. For when he saw that God gaue him twelue moneths to repent of his pride (for the which, his dreame told him his kingdome should depart from him) he forgot his dreame like a dreame, and did not repent, but at the twelue mo­neths end began a fresh to increase his pride, crowing and boasting of his wealth and honour, thus: Is not this great Babel, which I haue built, for the house of my kingdome, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my maiestie? Wher­by [Page 52] we see, that he was more desirous to know what his dreame meant, then F to bee warned by it: Euen so, these professors (which I speake of) are very carefull to heare the glad tidings of the Gospell preached, and cannot bee withdrawne or disswaded from it: but to lay their estate with it, and to take this warning by it, that they will receiue the print of it vpon their hearts and liues, and bee cast into the mould of it; that (I say) they cannot be brought vnto: for then they should finde it to be the power of saluation to them, for the which end it is preached.

But what is the cause that they going so farre before many other, who are professors also, cannot be brought to goe beyond them in this as well? and herein to be equall to the best louers of the Gospell? I meane, in prouing and G examining,2. Cor. 13.5. Rom. 8.9. whether Christ be in them, without they be reprobates: and whe­ther they haue not the spirit of God, without which they be none of his? The maine cause is this:Ierem. 5.3. Their hearts are not vpright: nor they will not deale plainly with the Lord. They cannot say in truth: Search me (O Lord) and see if there be any vnrighteousnes in me, which I doe hide within me: and it shall be remoued out of thy sight:Iob. 20.12. Nay it is certaine, if they might come to triall, that they doe keepe some sinne (as Iob saith) euen as a child doth sugar vnder the pa­late. Sundrie faults, I graunt, such will refraine both themselues, and driue them out of their families: but yet for all that, they will not bee brought to this, to make profession that they will be willing to be reformed in what part H of their life soeuer they may bee iustly chalenged: for then they should not blemish their religion, as the best of that sort doe.

Neither doe they set their priuiledges, which they haue by the Gospell, before all other things alwaies: they thinke it ouer strict, that they should be tied so narrowly: and that it is neither beseeming wisedome, credit, ciuili­tie, policie, grauitie, or such place and calling as some of them may bee in, to shew what is in them (though they be zealous) they say, but too base a thing for them; when yet the Scripture saith, I beleeue, and therefore I haue spoke. And againe,2. Cor. 4.13. Psal. 69.9. The zeale of thine house hath consumed me. And againe, if this be to bee vile and base,2. Sam. 6.25. Psal. 16. I will yet be more vile for the Lords sake that hath honoured me. Yea I and they thinke it is more then needeth, that all their delight should be in the Saints which are on the earth,Psal. 133.2. and such as excell in vertue: and that they should be companions with such as feare God; when yet the communion of Saints is more pleasant and sweete then was Aarons ointment, and more fruitfull then mount Hermon was, with the dew, and Sion and her vallies about her, with the siluer droppes that fell vpon them. Yea for the preciousnes thereof the Church spake thus of it:Psal. 137.6. If I preferre not Ierusalem, that is, the welfare of Gods people, before all ioy that I haue on earth beside, then let me lose my best delight.

To returne, they of whom I speake, though in their owne opinion, and in the iudgement of some others, they be in right good state to Godward: yet K God, whose thoughts are not as mans, and the truth which must giue good report of them, as well as men, iudgeth and determineth of them farre other­wise, if that be the best that can be said of their faith and repentance, which I haue set downe. For the elect and deare children of God doe farre other­wise:Matth. 13.44. Luk. 10.42. They hauing found the pearle, sell all that they haue to buy it; though they are occupied about many things, yet that one (euen the word of God) [Page 53] A is chiefe with them. Their loue of it, is strong as ielousie,Cant. 8.6. that admitteth no re­compence; and as death that cannot be resisted. They cast not away their confidence, if they once grow to see what recompence of reward it hath:Hebr. 10.35. Reuel. 3.11. Iohn 1.12. 1. Cor. 14.1 Matth. 15.6. nor will not suffer any to take their crowne from them, euen their honour that they haue in being the Lords sonnes and daughters. They couet spirituall things, they hunger and thirst after righteousnes: they with good and honest hearts re­ceiue the word, and bring foorth fruite in due season.Luk. 8.15. They if they haue of­fended their most louing father,Cant. 3.3. cannot be quiet till they returne and come home againe, and say, wee haue sinned. And if they be in worse estate then this, they like it not, vnlesse it be when they are fallen asleepe,Cant. 5.2. and haue for­gotten B themselues.

And yet what doe they in all this, more then they ought? feeling for all this, their wants and burdens, of which they complaine and crie out. And whereas they are mocked and euill spoken of, for this, that they doe thus car­rie themselues in the loue of heauenly things, and in the hope of immorta­litie, farre more feruently then they who are not intitled to any such thing: it is hard to say, whether they who offer them this iniurie, doe most offend in hindring the honour of God thereby, or their neighbours welfare,Ioh. 6.27. or their owne saluation? For God commaunds, that wee should labour rather for the foode that abideth to eternall life, then for that which perisheth. And C what doe we offend then, who doe so? and is it not our gaine and benefit, if we doe so? Therefore let men for shame, and feare of iust damnation, desist from such madnes.

But to returne to them to whom I speake, and to conclude in a sentence or two to them, and such as they are: I say therfore, giue no rest to your selues, till you can prooue that you be in the estate of saluation: You haue many waies set downe, by which you may doe it, euen in this treatise; in other god­ly mens labours; and especially in the Scriptures. Lose not all your labour which you haue bestowed in seeking to be saued: I meane your reading, hea­ring of Sermons, praying, and confessing your sinnes (it is lost, if you attaine D not that which you seeke.) You are not farre from it, a little more humilitie and truth of heart, will bring you further into the estate of happines, then that ye can fall any more from it. Be neuer satisfied, till ye haue more then an vnrepentant person can haue. You count it no toyle to sweate in hay and har­uest: This is another manner of substance; if ye once had part in it, ye would not forgoe your portion for a kingdome. And thinke this of me, who am not ashamed to be said to haue giuen you this counsell, I know what I say in thus prouoking, and labouring to perswade you: if ye refuse, neuer looke to come to the like offer. And to you, and as many as desire saluation,Iohn 6.70. how farre off soeuer as yet ye be; know that ye are in the estate of diuels,2. King. 2.13. if ye continue E as ye be: and ye are the liker to continue so, the longer ye liue, if while ye be called, ye refuse. You are as outlawes: Gods care reacheth not to you, nei­ther are you vnder his protection, being his enemies; but he or some of his sergeants will arrest you, when you thinke not of it: and hell will receiue you; and the happines which other shall haue, will flie from you: which God forbid.

CHAP. 10. Of the eyght companions of Faith.

NOw I haue spoken of those, who are weakest in faith, and haue the smallest measure of it, and haue laboured to stay them in their temptation: I haue also shewed the causes of their conuersion, the loue of God the father in giuing his sonne: the loue of the sonne in reconciling them to God, and de­liuering them from all their miserie: the word of promise G preached to bring them tidings of this: Gods spirit, assuring them by wor­king faith in them, and perswasion thereof: (and to this end I haue set down these, because in the ordinarie comming to eternall life, there is no other way:) yet seeing these are not so easilie felt of vs, as they are sure and infal­lible groundes in themselues, to vs of saluation: therefore I will adde some other effects, or rather properties of true faith, which doe accompanie the as­surance of the loue of God, and of Christ Iesus in vs, and are the workes, or fruites of the holy Ghost by the Gospell, which, although they be not of like authoritie with the former; yet are they easilier felt to be in vs. So that both sorts of euidences laid together, and meeting and concurring in one H and the same person, shall giue him most cleerely to vnderstand, that as God hath graciouslie bestowed it; so we may effectuallie receiue and hold it as our owne: and that with more certaintie euery day, as our saluation shall euery day be neerer, then when we first beleeued. And thus I come vnto the third gene­rall part of this treatise; wherein (seeing I hope the weakest beleeuers are or may be somewhat staied by that which I haue said already) I now purpose in this last part, to shew how all such of Gods people, as are staied from strong feare & trouble of mind; may by other cleere euidences, haue further proofe and triall of their faith, and be able to preserue and confirme it, and how much such an estate is to be desired for the benefit it bringeth. And first, to I teach the beleeuer to trie that he hath this excellent gift of faith, these eyght graces being companions of it, and more easilie perceiued and discerned, then faith it selfe, will cleerely testifie that where these be, there shall that be found also.

The first inse­parable com­panion of faith, is ioy. 1. Cor. 1.3. Rom. 5.5. 1. Pet. 1.8.This true beleeuer therefore whosoeuer he be: first, as soone as he shall perceiue that God (farre otherwise then he looked for) hath giuen him his sonne to bring life vnto him, and to be his wisdome, righteousnesse, sanctification, and redemption, he must needes feele in his heart great ioy and comfort, as we see in the example of the Eunuch, when Philip had conuerted him, he went a­way reioycing, Acts 8.39. and in Samaria, where when he had preached Christ K there, and had brought them to repentance, there was great ioy in the Citie, Acts 8.8. And what maruaile? for how can a man be perswaded by good and infallible grounds, that greater happines is giuen him of God then all the world is worth,Psalm. 126.1. but he must needes reioyce with ioy vnspeakeable, as they which dreame? For is there any naturall man so senseles, that if he should vn­derstand that some portion of goods, as an hundreth pounds value by the [Page 55] A yeere, were befallen him; yet he should not feele his heart made ioyfull there­at? and can this honour befall any (that he is highly in fauour with the Lord of heauen and earth, and thereby of a child of wrath, made heire of heauen for euer) but it must needes glad his heart exceedingly, and raise sensible ioy in him, which cannot be expressed? as in him who found the pearle. Matth. 13.44. But doe common professors thus, or worldlings? when they manifestly bewray that they are glutted with the tidings of it? So that, as the Eunuch before men­tioned, immediatly after he had been instructed in this mysterie of faith, went on his way reioycing;Act. 9.17. & 19. and as Paul soone after his conuersion was marueilously comforted, although before as farre from it, and as deepely cast downe as a­ny: B so let it not be doubted of, but when God hath once inlightened the heart of any (which before sate in darkenes) to see himselfe vndoubtedly sa­ued, but that it raiseth vp in him ioy vnspeakeable, and glorious in his measure.Rom. 5.1.

Indeede it shall not perhaps so much be seene, or appeare to another, as by good euidence it is felt of himselfe. Neither shall a stranger, that is, a man otherwise affected, be partaker of this ioy: but that it accompanieth them, who are by faith made assured of their election; our Sauiour Christ teacheth,Luk. 10.20. saying, Reioyce not that the spirits are subdued vnto you, but rather reioyce because your names are written in heauen.

And whereas it may be obiected, that it is sore shaken and slaked by afflic­tions, C let that trouble none: for no affliction for the time present is ioyous, but grie­uous: and yet we reioyce euen in them through hope, that maketh not ashamed, Rom. 5.4. Besides, we haue it here but in part, as we haue all other graces: and yet affliction (after we haue been exercised with it aright) shall make our ioy the greater in the end;Hebr. 12.11. when Gods former graces shall be restored to vs, which we were wont in him to finde: therefore Saint Peter saith,1. Pet. 1.8. Though ye haue not seene, yet ye loue him: in whom (though ye see him not) yet ye beleeue in him, and reioyce with ioy vnspeakeable. Now seeing it must needes be thus, it may well proue to vs, that the common opinion of faith, which most haue where the Gospell is preached; namely, that they beleeue in Iesus Christ, de­ceiueth D them, and is nothing lesse then true. For were they perswaded of their happines, how could they chuse but feele withall, their soules more ioyfull and glad within them, then all the commodities of this life could make them? For we no sooner know our selues iustified before God by faith; Rom. 5.1. Iohn 14.27. & Philip. 4.7. but we are at peace with him: and such peace as passeth all vnderstanding. Which after we know how sweete and pretious it is, we will by no meanes forgoe againe: although for want of stronger faith and sounder knowledge, it is more flit­ting in some: and yet euen that maketh them complaine, vntill they be inlar­ged: and he that hath not this witnesse within him, shall not doe best to sooth vp himselfe with a vaine confidence. Thus I conclude, that ioy and peace E are inseparable companions of faith.

But here me thinkes, I heare some obiecting thus. If you zealous folke, who glorie so much of the assurance of saluation, and for that very cause be so ioyfull, ye agree not within your selues: for some which are of your mind, are euer sad and sorrowfull? To this I answere, that many desire to be sure, and grone for it, in the Lords eares; and in time, shall be comforted, being al­ready pronounced to be blessed: and sometime they are assured for a season,Matth. 5.4. [Page 56] and then are cheerefull: and before this, they cannot be so, as they, whose F hearts the Lord hath opened more cleerely to behold that excellent mystery. But further I say, that it should trouble no wise bodie to see them mourne for a while after that, which shall (being atteined) make them merrie for euer af­ter. And it is a meere cauill in them, that twit Gods weake seruants for that which giueth so iust cause of mourning, namely their doubting, seeing they desire nothing more then to be assured. And if they doe not mixe their feare and heauines with melancholy passions, they offend not in lamenting after God, while they long aboue all things, to behold Gods louing countenance towards them: But if their heauines make them waspish, tuchie, froward, vn­quiet, & rash in censuring them who are not in their estate; I say these as mad G and frantike passions are to be condemned. But these obiecters say, that this sad countenance and behauiour in them, who are more religious than the most part of others, causeth many to shun religion, and to be afraide to ioyne themselues to their acquaintance and company, and to meddle with muzing on the Scriptures, or on Sermons, more then to heare and reade them, and so trouble themselues no further. To this I say, that we are not so to looke to exemples, that we hurt and hinder our selues thereby from that benefit, which the Scriptures doe most certainely direct vs vnto. But if men would weigh things indifferently, they who are so ready to challenge many good Christians for their heauines (which yet they know tendeth to the seeking H of comfort) might see their owne fault greater, whose mirth for the most part is ioyned with lightnes and profanenes, holding goodnes and grace out of the company,Ierem. 9.23. Luk. 10.20. Eccles. 7.8. and not a reioycing for that they know God to be their most louing father; without which, their ioy is but follie, yea madnes; as Salomon speaketh of laughter, which testifieth such ioy. But to end this in few words, let such as haue true hope in God, though weakely, moderate their heauines, that they may offend as few as they may: and they that finde fault with them for that, let them know, that they ought rather to pitie and pray for them, and interpret all in the best manner, and looke that their owne mirth and cheere­fulnes be well warranted them, or else it were farre better for them to haue I part in the others heauines. And for answere to this, thus much.

The second companion of faith; holy ad­miration.But to goe forward; as the due consideration of the greatnes, and perswa­sion of the certaintie of his benefits, will raise this ioy in the heart of him that possesseth it: so likewise it will cause him to maruaile with reuerence, to see his state so changed; himselfe to be brought from so lowe a depth of extreame miserie, to so high a degree of honour and glorie: and so to be enriched by this fauour of God, that he shall oft feare on the suddaine, least it should not be so, wondring at the greatnes of the same: as Iudas the good Apostle did, who considering the great kindnes of Christ, brake forth into these words:Iohn 14.22. Lord, what is the cause, that thou wilt reueale thy selfe to vs, and not K to the world? Yea, and the woman of Samaria, which had long lien in blind­nes and superstition, and in the fruites of both, that is, in cauilling and mocking; yet when our Sauiour had ouercome her euill with good, and conuerted her, her heart was so set on the benefit which she receiued by him, that she forgat her water-pot (which in her, who sauoured before only of the earth, was a great matter) and went, admiring at her owne change, to tell her [Page 57] A neighbours of that welcom newes, which had befallen her, and was a meane of their conuersion also, Ioh. 4.28.29. But Sauls conuersion did so cause him to wonder at Gods worke therein, that it caused also them that beheld it to admire it & to be amazed, when they saw him preach the doctrine, which he be­fore pursued, with the imbracers of it, Act. 9.21. So great admiration doth this precious faith worke in them that obtaine it. And yet if this holie and reue­rent admiration at so great good things befallen those, or other such, should but then onely immediatly after the receiuing of them be felt, the benefits might seeme the smaller: but it is farre otherwise, if it be duly nourished and maintained: for they are so sweete, and so farre aboue all that they can aske, or B looke for, that except it bee through mens owne default, they are euery day new and fresh, and so farre from bringing tediousnes, that the oftner they be daily considered, and the longer they be inioyed,Gods sauour the longer it is inioyed, the sweeter. the more they will cause wondring at the loue of the giuer, and what should moue him to bestow so great a portion (euen more then the whole world) vpon so vnworthie an one, as would haue thought a little before, that it had been an happie estate, not to haue been at all. The Sunne in the beautie and strength thereof, doth not more cause the eye to dazle, then the viewing and beholding of this glorie, which God communicateth with his beloued ones, doth astonish and abash the heart to thinke of it: which is so true that Dauid the man of C God, did many yeeres, after hee felt himselfe beloued of God, fall into this holie admiration, as that God should doe such great things for his soule, Psal. 116. v. 8.139.34. as deliuer him from the neathermost graue, by which he meant hell.

And therefore it cannot be without grosse bewitching of many professors by Sathan, that if they haue, at the hearing of this tidings published, meruai­led a little, they thinke they haue receiued this benefit with that reuerent ac­count, that it deserueth, though after it waxeth a common thing with them: for this they say, it were foolish daily to bee wondring at one thing, as when we first heard of it.

Full well all such declare what fruite they reape by it: but if they did daily D consider their vnworthines, they should see more cause to wonder euery day, then at the first, if comparison may bee made in such a case: It is to be wondred at, that God pardoneth sinnes daily, in that his mercie continueth daily to pardon them, and for that it being so great,Psal. 118.4. should bee so indu­ring also. For who can thinke vppon his slippes, and rebellions (I speake of the best of vs) which breake foorth from him daily, for the which the wrath of God is iustly prouoked against him; and what might bee feared thereby, and how notwithstanding them all, hee may come to God for re­fuge by Christ, and bee without feare, as if hee had not sinned:1. Ioh. 2.2. yea and hold fast his confidence, that God yet loueth him: who (I say) can consider E this, but hee must needes bee astonished at the inioying of so great kindnes; when a cursed man, no better then ourselues, must be sued vnto, and intrea­ted by vs, and all the friends that we can make, and being displeased, must be pacified with gifts, and yet hardly holden from vexing, imprisoning, and pursuing vs to the death, and may not be intreated? Therefore magnifie the lo­uing kindnes of our God for euer, euen as it indureth for euer, Psalm. 118.4. For though naturall reason, euen flesh beare a great stroke in this matter: yet wee [Page 58] are not debtters to it: and we haue great cause whiles we liue, to doe this.F

So that, although I confesse, that in nature it is otherwise, that a man can­not alwaies admire the greatnes of some rare deliuerance, or fortunate estate befallen him by his friend, which at the first raised great admiration; yet it ought to be farre otherwise with the spirituall man being a beleeuing Chri­stian: he, I say, hauing the louing countenance of God shining daily vppon him as before, which is a treasure vnualuable, should wonder at the continu­ance of it; especially seeing he prouoking the Lord with his sinnes daily re­nued, might therefore feare that such former comforts as had been inioyed, might haue been turned into as great sorrowes, and his light into darknes, rather then be continued and multiplied. And this he shall do, vnles through G vnthankfulnes (the corruption of nature leading him thereto) hee burie the same in obliuion, and begin to affect too much, and to bee ouer neere glued to things present and temporarie, setting the creature before the Creator, and the gift before the giuer. For thereby, he shall (no doubt) slacke his mer­uailing at that kindnes of God, that hath neuer end, although it be most pre­cious: whereas otherwise, he shall be able from day to day, to beare downe all transitorie things before him, with the estimation and high prizing of it. And this of the second companion of faith, namely, holy admiring the great­nes of Gods kindnes.

The third com­panion of faith, loue.But that I may not dwell vpon this matter, who haue purposed but in brief H manner to shew what a traine of heauenly companions do attend vpon this faith, and certaintie of Gods eternall fauour, and to leaue the meditation of and vpon it, to the reuerent and deuout reader: Another therefore is heartie and vnfained loue, in him (who feeleth this loue of God shed into his heart) retur­ned to him againe. The which although in hollownes and hypocrisie, the most affirme boldly to be in them towards God, before they haue found and felt themselues to be beloued of him; yet the Scripture teacheth vs that it is farre otherwise,1. Ioh. 4.19. Ioh. 15.16. seeing we haue not loued him, but he hath loued vs first. But when we see indeed what great things God hath done for vs, from what dreadfull bondage he hath deliuered vs, vnto the which in all our life we were in dan­ger,I and to what gracious liberties and priuiledges he hath restored vs, by forgiuing vs all our sinnes; then we see iust cause to say with the Prophet: I loue the Lord, Psal. 116.1 Luk. 7.47. because he hath done so great good things for my soule: and with the woman to be thus affected, that seeing many sinnes are forgiuen vs, therefore wee must needes loue much. So that although before this we were louers of pleasures, more then louers of God, as others are: yet now that we know Gods bountiful­nes towards vs, and the vanitie of our fond delights, we haue our harts more set vpon God, then vpon the best pleasures which we inioy.

The true belee­uers feele sensi­bly the loue of God to shadow the loue of o­ther things.And although sometime before this wee loued father, mother, friends, goods, more then God, when wee were meerely naturall: yet now that wee K know God, yea rather are knowne of God, we haue our hearts set on him, as being our chiefe treasure. For this our spirituall kindred with Iesus Christ, hath knit vs to him with a farre more neere bond of loue: and therefore wee rest in him, ioy in him, and satisfie our selues with him; for there shall be euer cause so to doe, and that without wearines. There is no end of his bountie and kindnes, his mercie indureth for euer: and who doth not see that such in­finite [Page 59] A loue of God to vs, may prouoke and raise vp in vs, truth of loue to him againe, that we be euer filled with the fulnes of him, as it is said of the spouse in the Canticles: I am full of loue yea sicke, chap. 5.8? And yet they who shall say to vs for thus doing: What is thy welbeloued more then another welbeloued? We may answere them, that know not the loue of our welbeloued: Our wel­beloued is the chiefest of ten thousand: wholy delectable: his head, as fine gold: &c. Cant. 5.10. But indeede, I must say: except wee haue tasted of this, our loue shall be cold enough towards him, as may be seene too commonly, euen in many who worship God with vs, that all the loue and mercie of God which they boast of, cannot make them forsake their vile lusts.

B But to proceede: where these before mentioned are found,The 4. compa­nion of faith, is thankefulnes. how can there be but vnfained thankfulnes, and acknowledging of this gift of God to his great praise, when we shall weigh what he hath done for our soules, and what so­lace he hath filled our liues withall, which otherwise must needs be full of dead­nes, or deceiueable and vnsauourie follie? They must of necessitie worke the same affections in vs which were in the man of God, mentioned in the Psal. 116.12. What shall I giue vnto the Lord for all his mercies? I will praise his name be­fore his congregation, and commit my selfe wholy to his gouernment hereaf­ter, who heretofore hath regarded me so gratiously: yea and we shall be pro­uoked daily, to this honouring of him, euen to sing a new song of praises to him, Lamen. 3.23. C who will renew his kindnes, and goodnes daily vpon vs still: so that we shall say that his first receiuing of vs, was but the beginning of our happines. So it shall follow, that our hearts being daily exercised in praise and thanksgiuing, the more wee doe it, the more wee shall see cause to doe it still, and so shall waxe thankfull still in all that God sendeth, and so in all parts of our life, euen in our troubles, as it is written, In all things be thankfull. 1. Thess. 5.18. And although the world see none other cause, but to murmure and rage in their afflictions, yet shal we see Gods fauour to vs euen in them, and knowing that they turne, as well as benefits, to our good; wee shall praise God, euen for them also: for it becom­meth well the righteous (who know how greatly they be occasioned hereto) D thus to be thankfull. It is the loue of God that constraineth vs, and inlargeth our harts to Godward, and giueth vs matter and occasion of singing and making melodie to the Lord, and of praising him, alone, as well as in the assemblie of the righ­teous: and no meruaile (whereas without that sweete smell of his loue, wee should be vtterly lumpish, and farre from all cogitation of any such matter.) And I say, it is no meruaile that continuall and oft thinking on Gods kindnes should make vs thankfull: for how seruiceable, yea how slauish shall ye see a poore man to a benefactor to him in his bodily necessities, though it be but a little? when he can be content to lose his life for him, Rom. 5.7. and the very bor­rower is a seruant to the lender.

E These formentioned affections, which accompanie faith in vs,The 5. compa­nion of faith, is a desire of an holy commu­nion with God. 2. Cor. 5.1. doe take such taste and sweetnes in God (he making vs so acquainted with his father­ly kindnes and bountie) that we finding no such welfare in any estate beside, doe now desire to be with him, that we may see his glorie, and so long after his bles­sed presence, that we desire nothing more then being vnburdened of this earth­ly tabernacle, and prison of our bodies, euen to be with Christ to see his glory. For thus wee resolue with our selues vpon deepe consideration, and certaine [Page 60] triall, that if we might haue our choise, whatsoeuer we should wish: one day in F sweete communion with God, and so passed and bestowed in his seruice (as our frailtie is able to attaine to) is better then a thousand in all varietie of earthly pleasures.Psal. 84.11. Gods presence in heauen to be preferd before it on earth. And if his fauour be so much to be desired here, where we see but as in a glasse; and his benefits, which he bestoweth vpon his beloued ones so sweete, where we are but strangers: what thinke wee shall they appeare to vs, when we shall see him, in his maiestie, as he is? and when we shall inioy the plea­sures of his house in fulnes for euer? Yea, I say, if here, where we liue but in a vale of miserie, God doth so shew his bountie towards vs; what (thinke we) shall our estate be,Reuel. 14.13. Psal. 16.11. Reuel. 22.20. when we shall rest from our labours, and haue fulnes of ioy with God at his right hand for euermore? The beleeuing and weighing of this, hath caused G Gods deare seruants to say, Come Lord Iesus, come quickly: And againe, I desire to be dissolued, Phil. 1.23. and to be with Christ.

And this (if wee be not grossely deceiued) shall cause vs, euen when our daies shall be at the best, to receiue, and hold fast this minde and heartie de­sire to go home, and be euer with the Lord. And if this heauenly affection, & holie desire be a companion to true faith, it might be meruailed, where their faith is become, and where it lieth a rusting, who make so little haste home, and haue so small desire to be with Christ, where he is in his fathers house, that they may see his glorie (and where there are many mansions, euen for vs as well as for him) that they cannot abide to heare of departing thither,1. Sam. 25.37. no more then Nabal: H who when hee heard of his death, he was as a stone: and who are so besotted with that which is visible, that they haue no longing after that which is not seene with eye but eternall: when yet all should know this, that the presence of God in heauen is farre to bee preferred before his presence here on the earth, yea when our estate is at the best.

The 6. compa­nion of faith, to forsake the vvorld. 1. Pet. 2.10.But to ioyne the next companion of faith to this, from which it cannot be separated. This maketh vs sigh oftentimes, and to desire to goe hence, and (that which we thought would neuer haue been) to become strangers and pilgrimes here, and so to haue no more to doe in this world, then we needes must. And this I may truly say, is more then was like euer to haue been, if it be conside­red,A great grace not to be tied to the vvorld. I how exceedingly we haue been tied to the world, what pleasure it hath been to vs, to thinke what we haue here, and may haue: how we haue sought to fulfill the lusts of our heart, the lust of our eye, and what pride, and what glorie we haue had in the things which we haue loued best: yea and how like vn­to mad men, wee haue nestled, and delighted our selues here (where yet we haue had no certaintie of abiding til to morrow) as though we should haue con­tinued alwaies: and yet who seeth not, that euen then when we ioyed most in our life, we were but as the bankerupts, which flourish in their kinde, and occupie with other mens goods? So that, in which we gloried, was not our owne: goods, and glorie which wee tooke such pleasure in, they were ano­thers,Luk. 16.12. K they were but borrowed: In which times, God was not knowne of vs, nor the daily course of his liberall dealing with his faithfull ones, was not once dreamed of. And therefore we being earthly minded, could not sauour of heauenly things, but onely of the earth.

But since that the Lord hath by faith perswaded vs of his fauour, and gran­ted vs to see, what varietie of holie & heauenly delights may be inioyed of vs [Page 61] A in this our Christian course, in comparison of the pleasantest estate, that euer we liued in before, we haue (as I haue said) determined with our selues to re­nounce our former course: to hold all things here, as transitorie, vaine,Matth. 13. and soone flitting away, and beleeuing that we our selues are with al other things, daily drawing to our end; we desire to haue nothing to hold vs here, rather then to abide here in the flesh, which ought to admonish vs, that we keep fast a willingnes to die, and when wee haue gotten it, that wee lose it not againe:A great liberty to be vvilling to die, such only are fit to liue. and the rather, seeing it is that alone which maketh vs fit to liue, while we re­maine here, as we ought. Euen this grace accompanieth faith in vs, after that it is effectually wrought in vs: I say not,1. Cor. 7. that wee loath the benefit of life B which God hath giuen vs here, neither doe we forsake our particular callings in the which we are commaunded to abide, The forsaking the world, is not to leaue ne­cessarie duties. neither condemne wee the moderate care of maintaining our selues and ours, and prouiding for our outward e­state, retaining (in all these) heauenly mindes: but we renounce the corruption that is in the world through lust, 2. Pet. 1.4. and prophane abuse of earthly af­faires and dealings, which will not stand with the practise of Christianitie, nor with the word of God.

Which I say for two causes: The one, because in some respects it is law­full, yea holie, to desire to liue; namely, to doe good in the Church:Phil. 1.20.21. and wee may and ought to say with Dauid, I will liue and not die, to set foorth the praise of C the Lord. The same I say of dealing in our earthly affaires,Psal. 119.17. to the end we may not be burdensome to others, and of performing the duties of our particular callings: in the which actions, we may haue proofe of the grace that is in vs; I meane patience, righteousnes, hope, faith, loue; that so our whole conuer­sation may bee well ordred, and proportionable to other holie duties: and therefore in these respects we may be willing and content to liue, while God will haue it so, that wee may shew foorth the vertues, which he hath giuen vs, a­mongst men: which otherwise should be hidden, and it could not otherwise be seene of men, that any can possibly liue godly, who hath an hand in the world; when in the meane while God forbiddeth not the actions mentio­ned, D but commaunds them: only he chargeth, that in doing of them,Luk. 21.34. we be not tainted, neither haue our consciences defiled.

The 2. cause, why I say, that we should not contemne life, and other lawful liberties, is, because vpon this principle falsely grounded, and as falsly vnder­stood (that wee should forsake the world) diuers haue troubled many weake people & abused them; saying and teaching (and that vnder a great pretence of godlines) that when we begin to be deuout, and to sauour of religion, wee ought to leaue the world: that is to say, depart from our earthly callings, and dealings, and also from the societie and fellowship of men who are occupied therein. And to the end that greater deuotion and pietie may be bred in vs,Cloystring and such like no point of godli­nes. E we are (say they) to goe aside into Abbeyes, Frieries, Armetages, and Cloy­sters, where we may neither heare nor see any such dealings. And as the opi­nion is plausible to the ignorant and vnstable, though palpable to them that are staied in iudgement: so it hath deceiued many,2. Cor. 10.14 and the diuell hath shewed himselfe as an angel of light in perswading, that such a kinde of life is the highest degree of holines, although it hath been and easily may be proued to be the denne and depth of abomination.

[Page 62]For though many haue of a good meaning at the first, gone apart from F secular affaires; and betaken themselues to liue in sequestred places, because they would not be troubled with earthly dealings: yet subtile theeues arose afterwards, of the popish prelacie, who abused this to horrible mischiefes: for we must not be ignorant of this, that when men will venture without their warrant, the longer they doe it, the further they fall into the depth of sinne; as a man once gone out of his way, goeth further astray, till he seeke to come in againe. Which hath been the cause, why much wickednes hath in time broke forth in the Papacy (where the people haue been hartned to this monasticall life, and superstitious deuotion) as idlenes, whoredome, sodomitry, hypo­crisie, and most cruell murthering of the soules of many infants which were G misbegotten. So that (not to digresse too farre) this is the second reason, why I made plaine my meaning, in saying that the contempt of the world is not, the wearines of our life, the leauing of our affaires in the world, or the forsaking of our particular calling; as though no man may be godly and a beleeuer that vseth these: but to proue that one may be a contemner of the world that vseth them all; and by consequent, that he who is sure of his sal­uation by faith, may haue this grace to despise the world: which I haue set downe as the sixt propertie or inseparable companion of faith.

The seuenth companion of faith, is shame for our former vnkindnes to God.To proceede therefore, when we see that we be thus made rich by the Lord, after that we haue fastened on his promises, (whereas we were before H so vnlike to find the least part of such preferment) we begin to lament our for­mer vnkindnes to our God, which we dailie offered him, when as yet we knew no such thing; and are ready to be reuenged on our selues for it: as the woman in Luke bewailed her vnkindnes, which she had shewed to her Lord and Sauiour before, and did now witnes it, after she had felt his loue so sweete,Luk. 7.44. Act. 2.13. by washing his feete with her teares, and wiping them with the haires of her head. For we cannot be ignorant, that when he sought vs, we fled from him, and refused to come: such fruites we yeelded him of all his patience and long suffering,Deut. 32.32. whereby he sought to winne vs: we were as the vines of So­dome, and our grapes as bitter as Gomorrha: euen as much as if we had offered I him the venome of Dragons in a cup, and the poison of Aspes to drinke. It was the vnspeakeable mercie of God, Lament. 3.22. Iob. 21.14. that we were not consumed, when we regar­ded not to know him, nor to haue acquaintance with his waies: though he sent his ministers dailie amongst vs,The beleeuers reuenge them­selues for their former sinnes. to reclaime vs. We therefore now are a­shamed to thinke what we haue done, and are deepely grieued to remember that we should finde him so louing and gracious to vs, who had done all this iniurie vnto him.

And therefore we sorrowing thus, haue been brought to a greater care of ordering our waies aright,2. Cor. 7.11. and desire to please him; yea, to be euen angrie with our selues, and to seeke an holy reuenge at our owne hands, that thus we K may declare, that we doe vtterly condemne our former course: of the which who would haue said, that the Lord would euer haue pardoned it, and haue brought vs to be wearie of it? But thus it hath pleased him to get himselfe honour in this world, by shewing himselfe gratious and kinde to vs so vn­worthie ones,1. Tim. 1.16. that we may be examples (as the Apostle speaketh of himselfe) to all that shall in time to come beleeue in him to eternall life: that they may the [Page 63] A more easilie be perswaded, that he will receiue them to mercie. Euen this made Dauid say, Remember not, O Lord, the sinnes of my youth: and againe,Psalm. 25.6. & 130.30. if thou shouldest looke streightly, what is done amisse; who should abide it? The eight com­panion of faith, is to conuert and bring on others. And to come to the last, we seeing and knowing our selues thus to be redeemed out of so deepe miserie, we wishing the same good to our brethren, which we our selues haue receiued of God, declare vnto them how we are redeemed, as occasion is offered, as Philip and Andrew did priuately, Iohn 1. and Paul pub­likely being called thereto.Acts. 9. For we cannot chuse but speake the things which we knowe (the loue of God constraining vs) as well to them, who knowe the same, that we may reioyce together; as to them who know it not, that they, being yet B in the estate wherein we were, may be perswaded to make speede out of it.2. Cor. 4.13. And the rather remembring,Luk. 22.42. that as it is our dutie being conuerted our selues to strengthen others: so also because, if we turne any from their euill waies, we haue been meanes to saue so many soules from death. Psalm. 66.16. Neither are we of their mindes, who thinke it both vnciuill, and vnseasonable, either among stran­gers, or their owne neighbours, to acquaint the ignorant and wandring soules with this heauenly matter, or to build vp the weake in the more sound and cleere certaintie of it: but pitying their miserie, who cannot helpe them­selues, we thinke it meete to benefit them with whom we are conuersant, 1. Thess. 5.14. with that which we haue found to be greatest happinesse to our selues. And although C our naturall corruption doth leade vs another way, and our vntowardnes to good things, doth counsell vs to refuse the labour, and to count it toyle and tediousnes to doe so: yet we knowing it to be a manifest signe of our loue,1. Thess. 5.11. and so of our faith, and a dutie commanded vs of God; we desire therefore rather to neglect our owne pleasure which we might inioy in the libertie of other talke, then to let goe such good oportunities, with hope of the fruite which may come thereby. And mee thinkes, seeing edifying talke is one meanes to season our selues with grace, Edifying talke, good for our selues and o­thers. and to stablish our owne hearts more con­stantly in a good course, as well as to glad the hearts of others, me thinkes (I say) if we haue comfort by our beleeuing, and know the benefit of faith D effectuallie our selues, it should doe vs the more good, the oftener that we should vse it, and giue hope to vs thereof also towards other. The greatest discouragement is, that men (with whom we are wont to communicate such things) are dull, or earthly minded, or light hearted: so that we seeme to preuaile little thereby with them: but seeing we know it to be a due which we owe to our brethren, we ought to be patient towards them, 1. Thess. 5.14. Vse it, as it may be, though we see not pre­sent fruit of it. bearing with their ignorance, infirmitie; yea, and with their waiwardnes also, waiting to see if God at any time will giue them better mindes: and not tie him to worke when we would, nor to thinke our labours to be such, that if we see not present successe and blessing, we may therefore iustly leaue off. But the truth is, this grace is E rare to be found in the world, because men are louers of themselues amisse, rather than of their brethren, to seeke their good: for while they labour themselues too much, in medling ouer greedilie in the world, or in taking vp their delights some other way amisse, there is small place left to this dutie: and where they liue with others, vnkindly, and vncharitably, their talke is sutable to their hearts, that is, vnkinde, froward, and harsh; seeing two cannot walke together, if they be not of one mind, Amos 3.3. Or if they conuerse more [Page 64] familiarlie with them, and turne their meetings and companie to idle, light,F vaine, and worldly talke; such can haue small part in this busines, nor conse­quently any great testimonie of their faith, nor comfort thereby (if they haue occasions offered them to shew their loue) seeing she goeth not with­out her traine:Prou. 10.21. Psalm. 119.13. whereof this is one, to exhort, and admonish one another: and with our lips to feede many. These with such holy affections constantly setled in our hearts, are inseparable companions of faith vnfained, as I haue said; although it is not to be denied, that a resemblance of all these eight may be in the wicked by starts, and in their good mood, their affections may thus be stirred vp to shew for the time, some likelihood of them (especially, where they are vnder ordinarie teaching) which yet otherwise, and at other times G for the most part are vnsauorie, and wearisome to them. And thus to make an end of this matter, these are the graces which doe accompanie him which beleeueth, and who holdeth this assurance of happinesse, from the foremen­tioned grounds of Gods promises, Christs working of our saluation, and the vniuersall publishing of this tidings by the Gospell to all beleeuers: That by these infallible grounds to build his faith on, and those graces following and accompanying it, which haue been spoken of, euery one may proue him­selfe, whether he be the Lords: and if at the same time, he find it not so, yet how to goe about to recouer himselfe againe, seeing it cannot be, that he who hath had these fast setled in him at any time, should be any long time to H seeke of the true way to happines, (except in temptation, when he is grossely bewitched, and blindfolded) but he shall finde it againe.

CHAP. 11. How weake faith is confirmed, and the comfort of it.

ANd now a little, I will adde yet further (as I promised) for the staying and satisfying of those which haue attained to lay hold of Gods promises, and haue some measure of true I faith, how small so euer it be. They who haue tasted how good the Lord is, by any small light of true faith, they finde and feele it to be so sweete, that in feare of forgoing and losing it againe,1. Pet. 2.2. they desire aboue all things to know how they may hold and keepe it. And it is indeede the most necessarie question that they can moue. This question I thinke very fitly to be answered in this place, because it is the doubt of them which are newly borne of God: for otherwise of the dailie and continuall growing in faith, it is more fitly to be spoken of in another place, where I shall speake of the new life, and the holy course of such as are the Lords people already. Therefore to this question, it is thus to be answe­red,K that as they came by that little measure, which they haue by this meanes, that they were led by God to thinke it the most precious iewell in the world; of the which when they were perswaded, they thought it no paine by hea­ring,The first means to hold and to be confirmed in faith. meditating, and praying to seeke to beleeue: euen so let them settle, and accustome themselues to doe still.

And if they doe desire to keepe and hold their faith from day to day, till [Page 65] A they see that it is past the danger of losing, let them daily account it their chiefest happinesse, which they haue in this life, euen their preciousest trea­sure and best portion: which if they doe, their heart will be euer vpon it;Matth. 6.21. Matth. 13.44. Reuel. 3.11. Hebr. 10.35. their feare will be vsuallie, least they should lose it; they will thinke it most necessarie to regard, and looke to it, whatsoeuer they haue besides it, worth the looking after: Euen as the husbandman will more especiallie regard his cattell, and corne, being his chiefe substance,A simile. The best things must best be re­garded. then his pullen which is smaller and of lesser value. And otherwise euery small occasion will hinder them from nourishing and looking to it: and euery trifle and fond desire of their owne, will carrie them after it, and cause their hearts to be taken vp with it: B and much more, their earnest busines, and waightie affaires, for the which they thinke, that any exercises of religion ought by good right to be neglec­ted, and to giue place to them: for we are not ignorant of the diuels enterprises;2. Cor. 2.11. what swarmes of euill lusts, and noisome delights, and other matters of like sort, he filleth mens heads withall, euen such as he knoweth doe like them best, that they may minde no better things: and euen such especiallie as are in the way to know Gods great kindnes towards them, that they may be,Euill must be auoided, and lawfull liber­ties soberly v­sed. af­ter some sort, put out of the way againe. Therefore not onely these, which are euill of themselues, must grow loathsome to them; but they must also be so­ber, and moderate themselues, euen in their lawfull liberties and dealings so, C as that one thing be thought needfull of them, whatsoeuer they goe about,Luk. 10.42. euen this; to nourish their faith, and to hold fast their hope of eternall life, and Gods fauour, seeing God, who giueth it, doth neuer change his minde, Iohn 13.1. nor repent him.

And that they may doe this the better (which is too slacklie performed of many,The second meanes to con­firme faith. who yet haue felt some sweetnes in the promises) they are further to be directed, that daily and oft, (which few will be brought vnto) they send vp strong prayers to God for it, and that they doe of set purpose separate themselues from all other things in the most conuenient manner, that they can, to call to remembrance the manifold and gracious promises of God: D that they meditate and consider deepely of them; of the nature and truth of them; of the vnchangeablenes and perpetuitie of them;Exod. 34.7. how louing also and kind God is: that thus their faith may be confirmed in them: and so bring their hearts by little and little to a new course and custome, that they may haue more neere acquaintance with Gods nature, his mind and purpose towards them: how louingly he is affected to them: how little they neede to feare his anger and displeasure: and how free they may be from doubting and wauering. For it must be well considered and oft thought vpon, that weake bleeuers, who are priuie to themselues of their many doubtings, doe soone let slip out of their memorie, and so out of their hearts, such grounds of their E faith, as they haue sometime holden and imbraced, after hearing publikely, or any such like meanes inioyed of them: they doe soone (I say) let them slip,True beleeuers are soone faint and fearefull. vnlesse they can bring themselues to reuiew and call them to mind vsuallie: Yea, and further; vnles they do prouide to helpe their feeblenes of heart and memorie (as they shall be able) with some pithie and cleere prooues of their saluation and safetie; such as they haue before rested on, and found comfort by: as this, Come to me, all ye that are heauie laden, and I will ease you: Matth. 11.28. and let them [Page 66] reason thus from it: If Christ call them that are loden, and promiseth to ease F them, and therefore they may come boldly, that is, beleeue his promise, and claspe about it, and inioy it as their owne: then may I, being such an one, doe so, and take it as spoken to me, as well as Peter, Paul, or any other. Thus should the weake applie it.Ioh. 7.37. Another: If any thirst, let him come to me, and I will giue him the water of life to drinke. 1. Ioh. 5.14. Hos. 14.2.3.4.5 Prou. 28.13. And many other such: as in the margine.

Some of these and such like are oft to be thought on, and applied, as I haue said, if wee desire to keepe in the safe estate, which I haue spoken of; that is to come to God in prayer when we will, with boldnes and confidence: and yet when we doe not pray, not to be afraid of him, but to walke in any of our actions without slauish feare before him. And if we doe not thus, we shall by G and by wauer & wander either on the left hand or on the right, Luk. 1.75. & go out of the roy­all way; euen that way of which the Prophet speaketh, when he saith: Thou vp­holdest me in mine integritie, & settest me before thy face continually. As if he should say,Psal. 41.12. They must much helpe their weaknes and oft. thou wilt see that I take no hurt, being euer in thine eye, as ye child in the mothers eye, that it may haue no daunger. I say, in this royall way wee shall not keepe safe and sound, except we doe (as men dimme of sight, vse of spe­ctacles) helpe our spirituall eye sight with oft looking in the glasse of Gods word and promises: which I say not, as though God did change his minde so oft (seeing there be so many doubts in vs) who is euer one and constant; but for that wee haue riuen memories, wandring affections, and deceitfull H hearts, in all which respects we haue neede of such helpe and remedie. And if it trouble any at the hearing of this, asking, what shall the weake doe, who cannot doe thus? I answere, they that know not this, cannot doe it: but yet is not their estate therefore to be rested in, no although they feare God; only let them follow that which they know: and they who know this, which I now teach, will neglect nothing willingly of that which I say, though they be weake; for it is their owne gaine and aduantage, which they would not lose: yet I meane not that they should neglect their particular calling for all this, seeing both may well, yea and ought stand together. Thus therefore let Gods children keepe themselues from feare and doubting, when they are in grea­test I daunger of both, by an oft and serious weighing, how gracious and good the Lord is vnto them, that it may comfort them euen at the heart. And for a testimonie hereof, let them vse to trie in smaller benefits, how they can be­leeue that God will keepe couenant with them; for thereby shall they haue further proofe, with the former, to their consciences, that they grow to be­leeue him in greater. For although there must be some measure of true iusti­fying faith, before wee can doe any thing acceptable to God, Hebr. 11.6. yet for the confirming of it, wee must obserue how Gods word is performed in other things also.

The 3. meane to confirme faith. 1. Thess. 2.10.13. & 1. Thess. 3.10. Luk. 22.19.And to this purpose they are also to helpe their weakenes in faith, by ordi­narie K and reuerent hearing the glad tidings of reconciliation publikly prea­ched vnto them: for that is one speciall end thereof, as the Apostle saith; and therefore are the Sacraments also giuen by God, which seale vp this truth in their hearts, which they haue begun to taste of: Doe this as oft as ye doe it, in re­membrance of me. With these two they must carefully retaine a viewing of their sinnes,Lam. 3.40. which by examination they haue found out: They must, I say, be [Page 67] A daily kept within that compasse, and keepe vnder their hearts,The 4. meane to confirme faith. by a meane and base thinking of themselues from fulnes and loathing of Christs death, as it is made too common a reckoning of. Neither can it be felt sweete and plea­sant of any, except their sins be felt bitter and tart. And besides all this, their former experience is not the least helpe to establish and settle them in this perswasion: that for as much as they cannot denie,The 5. meane. but that they haue belee­ued with ioy, and receiued much ease to their heauie hearts thereby: therefore much more now they ought, and lawfully may rest and perswade them­selues so againe. And therefore to say with themselues,Psal. 77.9. it is but their own weak­nes, when they are pierced thorough with such doubts: from God there is B not the least occasion offered, who is euer one and chaungeth not: Iam. 1.17. for all this might they haue with Gods good liking; and worse estate then this they neede not to be in, if they would be aduised by him, and not by the euill cu­stome of their hearts, whereby they are easily brought to thinke, that faith and other graces will dwell in them, though they be sleightly cared for, and regarded: which conceit is most false and erronious.

And that the Lord giueth his beloued ones such bold and free accesse to him, to know his minde toward them,The faithfull haue neere ac­quaintance with God. They are called his friends. Ioh. 15.14.15. Ephes. 2.4. Zach. 2.8. and to haue this holie acquaintance with him (which can hardly be perswaded to the weake in faith, at their first comming to him) hereby it may appeare, that he saith, he will not count them C as seruants, but as friends, with whom he will communicate his very secrets, as farre as shall be expedient for [...]em to know them: and as Paul saith; God of his rich mercie hath loued vs thr [...]gh much loue. God saith, they are as the apple of his eye, and therefore deare vnto him: he telleth them that hee hath taken from them the spirit of bondage, that they should no longer be afraid of him, Rom. 8.15. Luk. 1.74.75. Phil. 4.4. but serue him without feare: and to reioyce in him alwaies: which cannot be, except they knew his minde, and affection to them, yea and that more cleerely then the sonne can know his fathers, or the wife her husbands minde. And there­fore if they who haue begun to lay hold on eternall life through beleeuing, should by some occasion lose the feeling comfort of their faith; as by Sa­thans D fearing them, with their coldnes, falles, weaknesses, or such like: yet are not they to giue place vnto doubting; especially being such as haue felt as­suredly the loue of God by Christ shed into their hearts: Let no place be giuen to doub­ting. Ioh. 13.1. but to count it their frail­tie and timorousnes, and that without cause; euen for that they were not better acquainted with the will of God, who loueth to the end all such as he hath once loued.

And yet this is not without the most wise prouidence of God, who dis­poseth all these weaknesses of theirs to their good, that they may be humbled the more in themselues, and rise to their faith againe; and to the glorie of God, who bringeth backe againe, those who were almost in their owne fee­ling, E at the brinke of hell. The same I say of other lets which they may bee ouertaken by, as of their losing of the sense of their faith,How faith is weakned. through neglecting the meanes whereby it ought to haue been preserued; or by sleightnes in the vse of them; or by letting loose the heart after some vanitie or worldlines, which it lusted after; or being disquieted, and vnsetled otherwise: this is not their refuge to say, we must be content to goe without it: and it is impossible to hold it: when wee haue bestowed all our trauaile, we haue done it but in [Page 68] vaine:Reuel. 2.5. But as they espie their weaknes, so let them remember how they haue fal­len, F acknowledge it to the shame of the euill heart, and so recouer that one thing which is amisse, and hold their confidence as before, and let not the whole frame, and well ordered course of their life be broken off for that one thing:A simile. as he that hath ach in his teeth, or a wound in his legge, doth not neg­lect the health of his whole bodie for that, but seeketh the redresse of that one, that the whole may be in good case, as it was before.

And seeing it helpeth much to the nourishing of our faith, among all o­ther times, to season our hearts, in the morning, if it may be, with the recor­ding and thinking vpon Gods promises of his loue and saluation: therefore, if the morning meditating on the promises, with earnest prayer thereto ad­ioyned,G should by any necessarie occasions, or weightie affaires, or other lets of necessitie be intermitted, being the thing which ought most carefully to be looked to; yet let them prouide, that this dutie be not altogether omitted, as though it were some light matter, which needed no such attendance to be giuen vnto it: but let it, assoone as it may, with conueniencie be performed, if they desire to passe the day in safetie and peace; as knowing otherwise that Sathan in this their weaknes will giue them little rest. And so shall they haue it as a strong weapon through the day to shield them from the violence and furie of the enemie.

But this is not the place to shew how the day is to be passed; that shall fol­low H after, but onely by the way, as in most fit or [...]ace to aduise how the weake Christian is to keepe his faith.

The sixt meane to confirme faith. Compare Exo­dus 4. with chap. 10.The sixt meane to hold and confirme faith, is the examples of others, whom of weake, wee haue seene to become strong in faith: as Moses, with whom as God hath been, and with other his good seruants to strengthen them: so will he be with vs, till he perfecteth in vs in like sort the work which he hath begun. And this be spoken of the meanes, by which weake faith is helped and confirmed.

I

CHAP. 12. The sweete fruite and benefit of the preseruing and confirming of our faith.

NOw if any thinke the looking to these meanes, and this dai­ly diligence for the preseruing of faith to be ouermuch, let them vnderstand, that the benefit is most great which it bringeth. And if this answereth them not, let them heare the Apostle,1. Cor. 2.4. who saith, that our faith consisteth not in the wise­dome of men, but in the power of God: as if he should say, that K it is not a matter so soone wrought, as it is said to be in vs, but a gift wrought by God, and therefore (by seeking it, as he hath appointed) and to be nouri­shed, and continued, as hee hath prescribed, which is by ofte recourse to God, and much searching out of our hearts for and about the same. And therefore (as I haue said) if men make it not the chiefest of all other things, as it is in it selfe,No outvvard meanes con­firme faith, if we prize it not the best of all things. and hold it fast, as the first and principall: it is not their hea­ring▪ [Page 69] A and reading about it, nor their talking of it, that shall be able to profit them. I will rehearse a speech of a godly Christian preacher, and one that de­serued to be heard, whom I haue oft been present with, when he vttered the same.

Whiles I thought verely (said he) that I had faith,A pithie speech of a vvorthie person. but yet held it not by the surest grounds, I thought of it sometimes, and was glad to thinke that I had it: holding my perswasion thereof, by such euidences as I had before in­ioyed, rather then I could tell what sure warrant I had then of it: but I tooke no great paine to cōfirme it by daily meditating on the promises, neither be­stowed any more diligence in and about that, then vppon other duties. But B when I saw more cleerely how gainfull and beautifull a grace it is, and how I must liue by it, hauing no lesse neede of it, then of the ayre to breathe in: I sought more certaine ground of it, and that with greater care then I had be­fore: and since I knew that I had it by more, and those infallible arguments and testimonies, I could neuer be wearie of looking to and increasing it (as I had learned how) but for some yeeres space haue done, and do euery day nourish and strengthen it, and I recreate my selfe in thinking what benefit I haue by it, vntill my gaine thereby, and pleasure therein, doe keepe me there with delight, more then in all pastime; and the labour which I bestow about it, is so farre from toyle or wearisomnes, that it is my greatest solace: neither C doe I thinke or feele my selfe to be armed to the well going through the af­faires of the day, before I haue prepared my selfe thereto,Psal. 9.14. by refreshing my soule, with considering Gods aboundant loue and fauour towards me, and rest vppon it as mine owne. But when I haue done it, I am (by good heede taking) cheerefull, and in good estate, all the day after: and so I am (in reue­rence be it spoken) said he, perswaded, that I shall continue to doe.

Now to make vse of this Christian speech, because it is according to know­ledge, and I haue said nothing of him, which is not as needfull for vs; and his practise agreeth with the doctrine of the Scriptures: if wee will speake euery man the truth, what comfort, or well ordered estate can be in our liues any D day without it? And when that true and liuely beholding of Gods gracious kindnes is not present with vs to begin the day, what going forward in it, is to be looked for? but in vnsauourie lightnes, and so be deceiued:The chiefest thing euery morning is to remember Gods loue. or in care and sorrow, and so bee disquieted? Therefore if men were wise, they would see that they could not well want this any day; especially seeing God hath giuen libertie to them to inioy such sweet communion with him by meanes of this pretious faith: but they would consider their end, how vncertaine it is, as all other things which they inioy, and therfore be readie for it, at one time as well as another, which they might doe, if they held fast their confidence, that bringeth with it so great reward. And how shall wee leade our whole life by E faith, in our particular parts thereof, beleeuing that God will guide and blesse vs, as we shall heare in the next Treatise, if wee be not first well seasoned and acquainted with this iustifying faith?

But, alas, we verifie the saying of our Sauiour,Gods children not so wise for their good, as the bad for theirs. though to our great shame it may bee spoken: that the children of this world are wiser in their kinde then we: who if they bee disappointed of their desire one way, haue twentie shifts to seeke it another. But it is too manifest, that the most part, euen of the better [Page 70] sort, and those who haue tasted of this faith and assurance alreadie, doe not F thinke this possible to keepe, yea and increase it from day to day: and there­fore go not about it, but are content to hold it by starts, now and then, when it is reuiued in them by some speciall helpe of preaching.Many good Christians haue not halfe the comfort they might haue. Ephes. 5.18. Deut. 33.12. Psal. 90. And thus doing, they see not the twentith part of Gods bountie and fatherly affection to­wards them, who giueth them not some taste now and then of his abundant loue, but would haue them filled with it, and that continually; yea and there­by to be in safetie all the day long: which if many of Gods seruants did be­leeue, as they doe any article of their faith, that it is true; how greatly should their heauie hearts bee made ioyfull, and their heads lifted vp with cheereful­nes, whereas now deceiueable mirth, or vnprofitable sorrow holdeth them G downe, either at their labour, or from it, seeing they haue not this boldnes to reioyce in the Lord alwaies, and that because they beleeue not alwaies, neither thinke that they may, or can possibly attaine to it.

And by this meanes, that they are so ofte cast from their hold, of faith, and so of peace, and constancie therein, the diuell weakneth and holdeth backe sundrie (which are comming on) by their example: thinking them­selues well in the case they are in, rather then in following them, except they saw some beautie and excellencie in their liues, more then is in them­selues.

Vnsetling of our selues from nourishing faith, is full of dangers.Besides this, they not holding their perswasion for continuance, as well as H for some speciall time, doe bring much vnprofitablenes into their liues, and sometimes daungerous outstrayings, and giue many offences, which other­wise they should not: by al which, their heauines is increased, and somtimes long lien in. And that which is hardest of all the rest, they either dare not rise vp againe out of their sorrow, or know not how they should: and so they make the most part of their life to bee very bondage, which through belee­uing should be most sweet libertie: & thereby inioy not many comfortable fruits of faith in their liues, which other Christians doe. And whiles all this commeth to passe, we must needs say, that God is not honoured of them, nor his praises so in their hearts, as they should, and might be; if they from time I to time did nourish and liue by this their faith and confidence. But though I would haue it receiued, that much sweetnes accompanieth this faith, yet I meane not here to set downe the priuiledges, which accompany it and a god­ly life; that is done in another place.

This spirit of bondage therefore, which holdeth them oft in feare, I earnest­ly wish were abandoned: and that this wauering and needles doubting, which possesseth so great part of their life (especially when any great affli­ction arresteth them, or lieth long vpon them) were as farre from them, as the East is from the West: so that they might see the aboundant fauour of God farre greater towards them, then euer they did: and that by how much they K may inioy it more vsually, then euer they thought it possible. And as for them that count their aduice and direction for the preseruing of faith, they shall goe without the fruite of it; till they see that they lost not their labour, who were thought to doe too much, seeing they did more then themselues could be perswaded to doe. Therfore (as I haue said) let all such, as to whom God hath sealed vp their saluation by his spirit, by the which he hath giuen [Page 71] A them an earnest of it, be diligent to heare and marke the promises daily: so shall they waxe familiar, and well acquainted with the mind and purpose of God, howsoeuer the prophane worldlings make them common things, and are soone wearie of hearing thē. Let thē weigh thē also, and applie them to their owne soules daily by priuate meditation: let them learne of other the faith­full seruants of God, how they doe most especially preserue their faith. And let them be throughly perswaded, that how crossely soeuer things come to passe, yet the Lord seeketh their good by them, and doth not delight in their sorrow and troubles: for if hee did, he could a thousand waies make a rid­dance of them, but sendeth them specially for their benefit and good; so B shall they grow rooted, and established in their faith, as the graine of Mustard seede, which after rooting becommeth a stalke,The longer we liue, the better we should be. and hath branches and boughes: and as that groweth, so shall sound peace and safetie, and strength against their corruptions; yea and these meanes whereby it is preserued, how wearisome soeuer they haue been sometime, shall become easie and pleasant, and from time to time more and more, so that they may be assured that they haue cause in all things to be thankfull. Many haue found small cōfort through their life. And that should be thought a rare and speciall benefit, if wee consider how many thousands haue not an houre of this comfort through the yeere, no not through their whole life. And thus much to shew who is the Lords, and how the weake beleeuer is to be vphol­den: C and how he differeth from him who is not, and what graces accompa­nie them who beleeue; and how hee who hath faith should grow till hee be setled; and what ease and gaine is found thereby. And by that which hath been said in this treatise, it may bee gathered: that although this faith bee in substance one, and the same: yet that there are three degrees of it.2. Pet. 1.1. The first is the weakest and least measure: when there is yet no assurance in the belee­uer; and yet inseparable fruits, and infallible tokens of it: as I haue set down. The second degree is, when some assurance is wrought in the beleeuer at some time, but very weake: and is often to seeke and wanting, and recoue­red againe by entring into due consideration of his estate, and of the truth D of God, who hath promised it. The third is the highest degree of it, though more strong and better setled in some then in other: and this hath assurance accompanying it for the most part vsually, vnlesse the beleeuer doe quench the spirit in himselfe; or the Lord (to shew him that he standeth by grace) do leaue him to himselfe, for his owne glorie, and the better establishing of him afterwards.

This I haue said for their cause, who being tender and weake in faith, would desire some helpe herein: the larger handling of the helpes is to bee sought in the third part of this treatise, where the helps to preserue the whole heart, and consequently faith, and all godlines in the beleeuer, is set downe. E Now I thinke it conuenient to leade forward this beleeuer to set this faith of his a worke by a godly life, and teach him what manner of course and estate that is: which is the second treatise of this booke.

The end of the first part of this Treatise.

THE SECOND TREA­TISE, SHEWING AT LARGE WHAT THE LIFE OF THE TRVE BELEEVER IS, AND THE CON­uersation of such, as haue assured hope of saluation.

CHAP. 1. The summe and order of this second Treatise.

HItherto I haue shewed, who are they whom the Scrip­ture H calleth beleeuers, and the sonnes, and daughters of the Lord Almightie. Now, it is necessarie, and fol­loweth in order, to shew what the life of the true be­leeuer is: and how he, who hath faith, must behaue himselfe throughout his whole conuersation: for as yet nothing hath been said of that. But that treatise; namely, what the life of the true beleeuer is, was reser­ued to this place, for auoiding confusion: and without it, a man could nei­ther well see the excellencie,Iames 2.26. and beautie of faith, which without workes is dead: neither could the beleeuer know how to occupie himselfe throughout his I life, but must of necessitie be idle and vnprofitable: who yet must ioyne with his faith, 2. Pet. 1.5, 6, 7 vertue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godlines, brotherly kindnes, and loue, &c.

This (I say) is the argument and matter to be handled in this treatise. And seeing there is much difficultie about this point, as about the other, in the for­mer treatise; and seeing it is of greatest weight and moment of all other, ex­cept that:Diuers opini­ons about god­lines. Matth. 27.3. it must with like care be looked into and laid forth. For some thinke, that repentance and godlines, is nothing else, but griefe for some of­fence committed: and so Iudas might haue been godly. Some thinke, that to amend some thing which was amisse, is godlines, especially, if they also doe K some good therewith; and so Herod that caused Iohn to be beheaded, might haue been godly:Mark. 6.20. For he reuerenced Iohn, and when he heard him, he did many things. Some thinke, that if they haue been well moued at the hearing of the word of God, and doe bowe themselues before God, for the time, in out­ward signes of repentance only; that then they be godly in deede: but so might Ahab haue been godly. Some, if they can shut vp all their vaine talke, [Page 73] A bad dealings, foolish iestings, with such other merriments at their meetings, in this manner [Lord haue mercie vpon vs, we are all sinners] that then they haue repented: and so the common sort of wicked ones, may be said to re­pent and to be godly. And lastly, popish contrition, auricular confession, and satisfaction, is thought in poperie to be good repentance: which (as they vn­derstand them) are as farre from it as any of the former. These are some few, of a great many opinions about this matter; all which are most dangerous and erronious: It is therefore very necessarie,Jt is necessarie to vnderstand wherein a god­ly life consi­steth. that we may vnderstand the will of God aright concerning this, and what to leane vnto, that we be not deceiued.

B My purpose is therefore in this treatise, to set downe at large what a godly life is, and wherein it consisteth, that he who desireth it, may see,The necessarie connexion of this treatise with the for­mer. whether his course and behauiour be such or no: and the triall of this must be made of him, who hath tried himselfe by the former, that the one may be seene to goe with the other, and both together as twinnes; so that he who hath not both, may be truely said to haue neither. And in laying forth this matter, I will fol­low this method and order: to referre all that shall be spoken about it,Faith and a godly life, are as twinnes, and goe together. The heads of this treatise are foure. to foure generall heads or parts. The first, that a godly life must of necessitie goe with the faith before spoken of: and that it is the foundation and ground thereof, whereby we receiue and giue credit, not only to the promise of our C saluation; but also to all other promises of temporarie benefits appertaining to this life, and also to the whole word of God, with a mind to relie vpon it, and to be guided by it. This is the first head of this treatise. The second, that there must be a pure heart in him who must lead a godly life: a pure heart, I say, renued and changed from that it was before, as Ezekiel speaketh,Ezek. 36.26. I will take away your stonie or hard heart from you, and put a new heart in you: This must of necessitie be in him who shall liue godly, and so consequently, that the whole man be changed. Thirdly, I will set downe the first part of a godly life; and shew that it is a renouncing and forsaking of all sinne, both inward and outward. And fourthly, I will adde the other part of godlines, declaring that D it consisteth in a full purpose of the heart, and a true indeuour of life, to obey God in all things, euen vnto the end. By which also may be gathered a short description of this life of the beleeuer; that it is such a conuersation, as being grounded on faith in a sanctified person, renounceth all euill, and practiseth good duties, though weakely, yet constantlie afterward. And to these foure shall be annexed reasons to perswade to a more cheerefull practising of this godly life (seeing the best need spurres) and the answering of obiections, which might with-hold and hinder from it. All which considered, it shall not be hard for him that will learne, to vnderstand plainely and cleerely, what the life of the beleeuer is, and withall, whether he which professeth himselfe E to haue true faith, be also in his life and conuersation reformed, and how he may be so. So that although there be many measures of grace, and some are in many degrees before other in this estate and condition of liuing godly: yet euery one in whom these things shall be found, may proue himselfe god­ly, howsoeuer he wanteth somewhat, which many others haue. And of the summe and order of this treatise in generall, thus much be said.

F

CHAP. 2. That a godly life cannot be without vnfained faith; nor this faith without it: which is the first poynt in the first generall head to be handled.

THus, hauing shewed what the summe of this treatise is, and the order and parts of it, I will now proceede: and first, seeing I haue taken in hand to describe the life of the beleeuer, and what the godly life is, which he must leade:G I will indeuour my selfe to helpe and direct him herein; as God hath inabled me, that as in the former treatise he may proue and see himselfe to haue faith to be saued, so he may learne by this, to ioyne with his faith, godlines.

But before I lay forth this godly life at large, in this chapter, I will begin with the first point of the first generall part of this treatise, that is, that seeing godlines cannot be without iustifying faith, but springeth and ariseth from it, as the branch from the tree;Iames 2.18. for so Saint Iames saith, Shew me thy faith by thy workes: therefore where no true iustifying faith is, there can be no godly life. And so he,Where true faith is not, there is no good life. Ephes. 2.3. who is no true beleeuer, cannot haue any sparkle of godlines in H him; but is vtterlie destitute, and voide thereof, euen altogether vngodly, as the Apostle writeth: We all had our conuersation sometime as other disobedient men, in the lustes of our flesh, doing those things which liked vs: where we see, that this was the life of all, euen the best, to be strangers to the life of godlines, and the children of wrath, before they beleeued, Ephes. 2.8. But least any through igno­rance might say: though we did that which liked the lusts of our hearts, yet we did not onely so, nor all that we did, was not such, but some good we did amongst the euill which we committed, (and if it be so, they thinke that the one may answere for the other:) I further say to them, out of the place to Titus 1.15. Vnto the pure, are all things pure: but vnto them that are defiled and vn­beleeuing,I is nothing pure; but euen their minds and consciences are defiled: to the Hebrues,Heb. 11.6. that without faith, it is impossible to please God, whatsoeuer things we doe, but all is abhominable, odious, and vile before him. For as is the foun­taine, so are the riuers which runne from it; and as is the heart, and the cogi­tations of it, so are the actions which proceede from it: but the cogitations of the heart are alwaies, Gen. 6.5. No good thing in the vnbelee­uer that plea­seth God. Gen. 9.6. Prou. 28.9. Psalm. 50.16. Gen. 4.4. and onely euill. So that (to returne) in the vnbeleeuer there is no good thing that pleaseth God: his best actions are turned into sinne: his praiers, almes, reading, hearing, confessions, thankes-giuings, and whatso­euer else, they are all abominable in him; and God will neuer be pleased with his workes and seruices, vntill the person, namely, euen he himselfe be accep­ted K of him; and that is not till he beleeue: as it is in the epistle to the He­brues 10.38. The iust shall liue by faith, but if any withdraw himselfe [that is, tho­rough vnbeliefe] my soule shall haue no pleasure in him, saith the Lord.

And this is the worke which God requireth of him, aboue, and beyond all workes, that he beleeue in his sonne, that he hath alreadie wrought his happines: and therefore that he shall be saued by him onely. Now if a man, [Page 75] A before he haue some sure tokens of Gods loue, and consequently some mea­sure of true faith, cannot so much as enter into a godly life, nor haue any thing which he doth, approued of God (as we haue seene, and the Scriptures doe more fully proue): how dangerously then doe many thousands deceiue themselues? of which number, some are verely perswaded that they loue, feare, and serue God, not knowing what faith is: other thinke they haue re­pented truly, because they haue mourned and been sorrie for their sinne, by fits at some time; yet haue no faith, nor any constant desire of it: and others, because they doe many things in their owne nature good, imagine them­selues to liue godly, when yet a man may doe many good actions, and for all B that, they shall not be good to him, as long as faith the principall is wanting in him, as hath been said.

And if any count this doctrine hard, and say, that if this should be true,No new do­ctrine. it were the next way to driue many to discomfort, yea and to desperation: let such know, that if any despaire because their wicked liues are condemned of God, the doctrine is not to bee blamed, but the persons themselues, who should rather repent; for the doctrine is the doctrine of the Scriptures:Jt is hard only to the obstinate 2. Pet. 3.16. and al sound Diuines both old and new haue taught it. And if it be hard, it is hard to the ignorant, vnstable, and obstinate, who indeede can take little comfort by it, but peruert all things to their owne destruction: and although they despaire C not, yet their case will be no better in the end then desperate, if they so a­bide. But the truth of God may not be buried for mens frowardnes, who can not away with it.

But let this suffice to shew, that no man can leade a godly and Christian life, before he hath some measure of true faith, as it hath been set downe and described in the former treatise. And as I haue shewed,None that haue faith can liue wickedly. that no man liueth godly which beleeueth not: so it is on the contrarie, to be marked, that no man who beleeueth, and nourisheth and preserueth his faith, can liue wic­kedly, nor fashion himself after men of the world, or returne to the offensiue, and vnsauourie course, which he walked after before: but as he is new borne,2. Cor. 5. D so hee is a new creature, and (as hee doth except at the first beginning of his conuersion, or in vehemencie of temptation) knowing himselfe to be of the number that shall be saued, he honoreth him who will saue him: for his loue constraineth him so to doe. Which although it bee most true, and will be granted of the greater part: yet because many content themselues to affirme it onely, and other in a generall manner doe coldly goe about it, I meane to honour God and shew foorth the fruits of faith (which they think they haue) as though any little would serue, I thinke it very meete to set downe some speciall proofes of it, that cannot be excepted against.

And first, by that place to Titus: The grace of God, that hath appeared, Proofes of the former. Tit. 2.12. teacheth E vs to denie vngodlines and worldly lusts: and to liue holily, righteously, and soberly in this present life; he saith plainly, if we be once inlightened by that diuine grace and gift of the Gospell to see our selues partakers of saluation: we are by the same knowledge, taught (and so learne it) to renounce our old conuersation. So that euen as a scholler plainly taught by his master, becommeth skilfull in those points wherein he was instructed: so is a man taught, to see God wor­thie all honour, and to giue it him, by casting away the workes of darknes, when [Page 76] he seeth that he hath brought him out of most wofull bondage, into the glo­rious F libertie of Gods children. And is it any meruaile? For what will we not be readie to doe, for such a one as hath but once saued our liues from death? How much more doe all they which know that they are discharged for euer from fearefull damnation, see infinite causes why they should chaunge their wicked liues (which so much displeased God) and are also readie to doe the same? Be not therefore deceiued, God is not mocked by them, who professe they looke to be saued, and doe not bring foorth fruiteworthie amendment.

Faith is not content with a wandring de­sire of godlines.It is not a bare wandring desire to please God, which this pretious faith, and assurance of saluation worketh: but it frameth also the man vnto it, and teacheth him in some true and acceptable measure to goe about it. The ti­dings G of this treasure appeared so glorious to Agrippa, being a King, and therefore acquainted with earthly felicitie; and a Heathen, and therefore vnfit to see very easily into spirituall things:2. Cor. 5. yet this appeared so glorious ti­dings to him, when he heard it by Paul, not preaching in the pulpit, but stan­ding a prisoner at the barre,Act. 26.28. that it caused him at the first to say: Thou hast al­most perswaded me to become a Christian. And therefore he, who hath not onely heard a sound of this heauenly newes with his eares (which yet did weigh equally against a Princes kingdome in a Heathen mans iudgement) but hath beleeued it to bee his owne, and that for euer: doe we thinke, that any thing will be thought too deare for him,Gospell despi­sed, because it is not knowne. who hath freely giuen it him? And there­fore H when I see one cursed man raile against the doctrine of Gods word, and his faithfull seruants: another to loue the Christian life, but from teeth out­ward, and diuers men diuersly bewitched; but all of them to loue darknes more then light, because their deedes are euill, Ioh. 3.19. I meruaile not at it: they do af­ter their nature and kind. As they are not obedient to the will of God, so nei­ther indeed can they be; who yet for all this, know not any cause why they should accuse themselues: but if they might see what kindnes God offereth them, euen to bee made happie, and might beleeue the same, ye should see them changed, as sensible as euer was Saul, of a persecutor to become a prea­cher; so they of oppressors, mercifull persons, and restorers of that which I was ill gotten; and of prophane, holy: and so to bee conuerted, as that wee might say of them, compared to the best seruants of God, the lambe and the lion doe eate together.

Many would be thought be­leeuers, vvho liue not a godly life. Hos. 7.8.But to let these goe, as too grosse, I would wish such to weigh these Scrip­tures aright; who will take no nay but that they belong to Gods election, when yet their goodnes is as the morning dew, soone vanishing and blowne away; or as a cake halfe baken. Let them see how well this becommeth them, to bee sometime forward, sometime backward: in some things, zealous, and yeel­ding to the will of God: in othersome, sinning against their owne know­ledge: and when they be straying from dutie, to make no haste to it againe; K neither to see that any thing is amisse in them: nay to be put in minde, and reproued, though neuer so iustly, and kindly, they cannot beare it. It must in no waies bee denied them, that they beleeue, and are sure to be saued: but where is the spirit which S. Paul speaketh of, in those which know themselues saued?Rom. 7.4. which, as an husband, ruleth and beareth sway, which commaundeth holy and heauenly motions and affections into the heart, not suffering poy­soned, [Page 77] A and earthly corruptions to defile the same? where is that authoritie and gouernment ouer the members of the minde and bodie, as ouer a wife, that they may bee well ordred? where are the traines and companies of all sorts of good fruites, as their children? and comely ornaments also, & beau­tifull to adorne and set out their liues? when a professor of the Gospell shall not be able to denie, that his heart is corrupt, by fretting, raging, and vnquiet­nes for euery small trifle, and yet not once trembling for it, nor saying,Phil. 2.12. Ierem. 8.6. what haue I done? or els loose, vaine, and foolish by other occasions, and all this without repentance. Where is his testimonie, that his heart is a good treasurie, and nurserie of good things? when his tongue shall be walking, not onely B vnnecessarily, and idly, but in vnsauourie and offensiue speech, in foolish ie­sting, taunting, railing, mocking, lying, swearing, slandering, currish and chur­lish speaking; how are the powers and members of the bodie in subiection, as a wife vnto the power of Christ, which ruleth as an husband, in the heart of Gods beloued ones? where is those mens religion, which S.Iam. 1.26. Iames boldly saith is none, where the tongue is thus vngouerned, what shew soeuer be made thereof?

And so I might goe forward to conuince many of our countrimen, who haue often heard me, and other of Gods Ministers vrging them after the same manner, in our Sermons: and doe know, I tell them the truth, that such C things are in them indeed, who yet seeme to be religious. I haue said it oft, and now say it with griefe, that all these, who haue such things raigning in them, are not onely their owne enemies, but also to our preaching of the Gospell of Christ: neither is their reioycing good, who glorie in their faith and hope, when yet they are thus earthly and carnally minded.

They must know it (howsoeuer they beleeue) that God hath ioyned with faith, vertue, and godlines, patience, temperance; and that who so beleeueth, is thereby turned from his old conuersation. For mine owne part,Too hastie re­pentance sel­dome sound. I haue long misliked this haste, and sudden shewes of great repentance in men, who in their first acquaintance with the word preached to them, haue not only pro­fessed D that they haue repented (when besides some gripes of grief, they haue not knowne what repentance meaneth) but they haue thought themselues able almost on the sudden to censure, yea to condemne other, and teach them; and so although with boldnes enough ioyned with as much igno­rance, they haue taken in hand to doe. I speake not of such as are humbled in their hearts for their sinne, who desire nothing more then to be set at liber­tie from the feare which oppresseth them, learning daily to beleeue, and to be grounded therein; who dare no otherwise beleeue their sinnes forgiuen them, then they walke humbly before God and men: but of such as passe from sorrow for sin without faith, to newnes of life, as they imagine,Note. which E was neuer, nor euer shall be attained; leauing the learning of faith,Change of life without faith, vaine. and as­surance of Gods fauour, which is the beginning, and worker of all new life, as a thing soone gotten: and therefore it is so sleightly laboured for of them, and so to seeke with thē, for want of thorough prouing whether they haue it or no, that many are driuen againe to seeke for it, many yeeres after, they thought they had been sure of it, yea and (that which is more to be lamen­ted) many of them neuer attaine vnto it at all. It standeth with no sound rea­son, [Page 78] that young beginners in learning of any trade, should by and by, be­come F occupiers,A simile. and setters vp; or that they should rule well, who haue ne­uer learned to obey: so it standeth not with religion, that they should count themselues good Christians, or that they should be so indeede, who haue not tasted of Christ, and the benefit thereof; neither learned him, as the truth is in him, that is, to put off the old man with his affections and lusts, and to put on the new: and who haue not felt him so good and bountifull to them, that for his sake they be readie to doe any thing.

This I haue spoken by occasion of the matter in hand; namely, that faith bringeth alwaies with it new life; in so much, that when it is ouermatched with the fleshly corruption, yet it raiseth sighings and striuings in the heart G till it be subdued, that I might at least preuaile with some of my brethren, that they please not themselues in thinking they haue faith, when their liues are filled,It is vaine to thinke we haue faith without a new life. not only with many offensiue actions; but also with custome and commons in the same: whereas he which is honored with the title of Gods seruant, must be known by the liuerie of vncorrupt life, and proue by his sauour and smell of good conuersation, that he came from God, and is not of the earth,1. Pet. 3.4. that so he may shew himselfe to be a man of God indeed: his rootes must be fastened as the trees of Lebanon:Hos. 14.6. he must flourish as the Lillie, and finde the graces of God as dew to quicken them. For of this be we sure, that whatsoeuer men alleage, why their liues cannot beare the H mould and print of sound doctrine,Rom. 6.17. and yet they will needes goe for the approoued seruants of God; it is a strong delusion which perswadeth them so.

And therefore seeing the Scripture doth (as I haue said) so fully, and so often set downe this truth vnto vs, that such as haue obtained mercy of God, are taught and guided by him: ought not men to settle themselues to ano­ther course, then in times past they walked in, being now deliuered from so great bondage?Luk. 1.75. For to that end, as they haue heard, they were deliuered. Wherefore,Matth. 11.29. if any be assured of saluation, let them either willingly be sub­iect to the Lords yoke, I meane his commandements, and commit their whole I life to him to be gouerned, and be diligent to doe good workes; or else let them hold their peace: for they are nothing lesse, as in time it shall appeare, and hath done already in many such as they are,Tit. 3.8. to their cost: and be they well assured, that God will not be slacke to reuenge such boldnes. But I will shut vp this matter in one sentence. Saint Paul to the Ephesians most liuely describeth this life, which is to be led of them which are sure of Gods fa­uour:Ephes. 4.22. saying, Put off, or lay aside, as concerning your conuersation past, that old man, that is, that corrupt nature; and so the powers of your mind and bodie, which were infected with deceiueable lusts: and be renued in the spirit of your mindes, (euen where the force of reason should be greatest) that so you may put on K the new man which is to be sanctified, that the powers of your bodies and mindes may be renued, and changed also: so shall ye be framed, to bring forth righteousnesse, and true holinesse, wherein ye shall carrie some resem­blance of God.

A

CHAP. 3. That for the leading of a godly life, is required faith in the temporall promises of God, and hartie assent and credit to the commaundements also, and threatnings in the word of God, as well as faith to be saued.

NOw I haue shewed, that true iustifying faith and a godly life, must of necessitie goe together, and that the one can­not B be without the other: I will goe to the second point in this first generall head or part; and proue that it is necessa­rie to the leading of a godly life, to beleeue and giue credit to the whole doctrine of the word of God, to be led and guided thereby, as well as to haue faith in the promises of saluation, and for­giuenes of sinnes. This I say therefore,The beleeuer must beleeue other promises beside that of saluation. 1. Cor. 1.30. that he which beleeueth in Christ to saluation, must not stay himselfe and rest therein only, as though he were giuen vnto vs of his father to be our righteousnesse only, and to make for vs a way to eter­nall life: but to be our wisdome also, to make vs wise; our sanctification, to make vs holy, and also our redemption and deliuerance, to ridde vs in his good time, C from all calamities and miseries, which here befall vs: This, he that truly be­leeueth, must be perswaded of: and that all the promises of this life, 1. Tim. 4.8. and of the life to come, which serue to confirme him in obedience (whether the great and principall, as of the graces of the spirit; or the smaller, as of bodily safety and preseruation from dangers, so farre as they shall be good for him) doe belong vnto him.

And beside both these, he must beleeue,Also the threats and commaun­dements. that both all the commaunde­ments which teach obedience, and the threatnings, because they restraine the contrarie, are set downe for him particularlie, as well as for any other, to binde his conscience thereunto: these also, I say, must he beleeue,Rom. 15.4. according D to that of Saint Paul: Whatsoeuer things are written aforetime (as either promi­ses, threats or commaundements) they are written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might haue hope. So that he is bound to depend vpon this word of God, written in the canonicall Scrip­tures, and to build his faith thereon (in such wise, that he dares ieopard his soule vpon the truth and doctrine of them) euen as he is to looke for salua­tion, only by our Lord Iesus Christ: euer counting that for sinne, which shall be found to iarre or iangle with the same, either in his heart or life.

But though all, who haue hope to be saued, should doe this;The beleeuers doe not thus. 1. Cor. 3.1. yet it is mani­fest, they doe not. They make not conscience of many sinnes: they looke E not to many promises; they feare not many threats: all which doe much te­stifie against them, that they be not so well fenced, as they might be: and by meanes hereof, they holde euen the promise of saluation it selfe more weakely. And this commeth to passe the more commonly,The cause why. that they be no better stablished and rooted in the truth to beleeue it, because these things (as they be worthiest and most excellent) so they be not plainely, soundly, and thoroughly beaten into the people, and that againe and againe, till they [Page 80] that are willing,A second. haue them for their owne. And another cause is, for that the F people, who haue some taste of this doctrine, namely, how they should ioyne good life with their faith, take not paine, when they haue been well taught them, to call them to minde and digest them: onely they haue pieces and fragments of many good points, but rarely it shall be found, that one Chri­stian among many groweth to see this, which I now speake of, by teaching; much lesse hath it in vse and practise for his owne: that is, to giue credit to one part of the word as well as to another; and not euery one to take that which liketh him.

VVant of this faith worketh much inconue­nience.And therefore when they haue some work of true faith in them; yet they see not how to set vpon repentance, and a godly life: how to begin, and how G to proceede therein, but are off, and on, now forward, then backward, and scarcely at any time setled and staied: the which although it be so, in great part through their owne weaknes, yet is it also in respect of their ignorance: I speake of the better sort of people, and such as haue receiued the first fruites of the spirit. Whereas, if they were perswaded that they ought to make consci­ence of all sound doctrine that they heare, and to giue assent to euery part of the word of God, and submit themselues thereto, promises, threats and com­mandements; they should hold more firmely the perswasion of their salua­tion, and also be better prepared how to flie euill, and how to doe dutie, and how to trust God in all kindes of his promises. Therefore it is said to the H Hebrues:Heb. 4.2. To vs was the Gospell preached as also vnto them: but the word that they heard, profited not them, because it was not mixed with faith in those that heard it. A­gaine,Heb. 11.6. Rom. 14.23. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. With the which agreeth that which is written by S. Paul to the Romanes: Whatsoeuer is not of faith, is sinne: that is, whatsoeuer we doe, not being perswaded in our consciences, that we please God in doing of it, we sinne against him. Now then, when our iudge­ments be not setled in this doctrine and truth, and consequently, we follow no such rule in our actions, must wee not needes wander vp and downe the more vnprofitably and heauily; or, when we be at the best, must we not needs be doubtfull and vncertaine, whether wee please God or no? whereas our I chiefe care should be, least we doe any thing which might crase or cracke our faith: especially, when it is tender and weake, and like the bruised reede, which is easily broken.

The beleeuer must beleeue that he shall be sanctified.Therefore if any beleeue to be saued, let them beleeue also that they shall be sanctified (for with one and the same faith we beleeue both) and that they shall receiue grace from God to bring foorth fruites of amendment of life, and that they shall be made able by him through the hearing of the holie Scriptures, to cast off their old conuersation. This faith much auaileth to the furthering of the deare children of God in a godly course, euen at their first comming vnto God, as it doth alwaies after, to liue by it. And although God K by the same spirit regenerateth them, by the which he assureth them of their adoption: yet is it wrought in them much more hardly, and in greater feare, when they doe not first know and be perswaded in their iudgements, that it shall be so. And though it can be but weake in any, at their first conuersion to God,And particular promises of be­nefits and deli­uerance. yet shall they sooner wade through their doubts, and grow out of their feare, if they haue this faith as a foundation to vphold them, and incourage [Page 81] A them to goe about it: But otherwise, they shall faint and feare oft times, and be without hope (nothing is more cleere then this, if we obserue it in weake christians.) And thus must they be perswaded also concerning all blessing, good successe, deliuerance out of troubles, or patience and meekenes to beare them, as well as to beleeue the forgiuenes of sinnes: and finally, whatsoeuer God saith in his word, either the forbidding of any sinne, or the requiring of any dutie, they are bound to beleeue it as the truth of God; to depend vpon it, and to be built vpon it: and to trust him vpon his bare word,And precepts and threats, euen the word it selfe. Rom. 1.5. and to suffer themselues to be led by it (and that because it is his word) hauing in them al­waies a setled purpose to doe so: and this is called by the Apostle, the obedi­ence B of faith. For they must be resolued of this, that to whom God giues Christ, to them also he giues all things needfull for this life, and the life to come, in and by Christ.

And thus Noah did not only beleeue that he was made heire of righteousnesse;Examples of such as did st. Hebr. 11.8. but also, that he and certaine of his household should be saued in the flood: and Abraham likewise beleeued not only, that he was iustified, but also went to a place which he knew not, only seeing God commaunded; and abode in the land of promise, as in a strange countrey; and beleeued, that he should haue a sonne in his olde age. And they who beleeued among the Israelites in the Sauiour which was to come, of whom Moses, though darkely, had taught before:Iohn 5.46. the C same beleeued other promises, as that the walles of Iericho should fall downe, Ios. 6.10. after they had bin compassed about seuen daies. Many other such examples, who shewed themselues not only to beleeue the promise of forgiuenes of sinnes, and of eternall life, but also other temporall promises; yea and precepts also and threats, which God had set downe in his word, very profitable for vs, to this purpose: many such (I say) both thoroughout the Scriptures; and namely, in that eleuenth chapter to the Hebrues, are set downe vnto vs. And this generall faith, (so called, for that it giueth assent and credit to the word of God, in the elect, as well to one part as to another, with an honest heart ready to obey it) euen this faith (I say) must be planted in them, as well as faith to D be saued, because by it, as well as by this, Gods people must liue afterwards, and be vpholden.

And this doctrine, because it is occupied about the promises of this life, and the commandements of God, which are to guide vs to full sanctificati­on here, I did not therefore ioyne it with my discourse of faith in the former treatise; but referred it to this place as the fittest, where I teach how to liue godly: to the attaining whereof, the beleeuing, that I haue spoken of, is a spe­ciall helpe and furtherance. And so I wish the christian reader to marke well that which I say about this matter: for it is one of the hardest points in all christianitie to practise, and one of the darkest to conceiue and see into, and E to be rightly perswaded of, and setled in: and a point in deed lesse stoode vpon and taught and made cleere by Preachers themselues, in their Sermons and Catechizings; and yet our liuing by faith, throughout our whole life, which is the fruit of it, is as plainely taught and brought to light in the Scrip­tures, as any need to desire it: and namely in those places to the Hebrues and the Galathians: one, The iust shall liue by faith: the other, I liue no longer, Hebr. 10.38. Gal. 2.19. but Christ in me, and the life that I leade is by faith in the sonne of God. As if they both [Page 82] should say; Christ by his spirit doth draw his faithfull ones to be led and gui­ded F by the word of truth which he hath set downe to them: and they desire no other life, then that which there they are moued and perswaded vnto, whether we meane the commaundements or promises.

This kinde of faith not oft beat vpon by teachers.I said that this beleeuing which I speake of, is not much laide open in pub­like teaching, but only this (which is the effect of it) that we ought to be obe­dient to the word of God: and therefore it is, that the forwarder sort of good hearers (except some few,The lesse con­ceiued, and in vse with the better kind of hearers. who haue been throughly made acquainted with it, and exercised in it by long experience) doe little see into it: namely, that they may vndoubtedly be perswaded, that God will make them able to obey his will, as they are fit to reach vnto it: and that he hath promised, if they once G come to know that they are beloued of him, that he will afterwards be with them (to quicken their will, and draw their affections, and strengthen them to doe their duties:Luk. 1.28.) as it was said by the Angell to Mary, Haile, thou that art freely beloued, the Lord is with thee. Many of Gods deare children, when they are somewhat staied about the assurance of their saluation, after that they haue been long labouring about it, and then come to heare that they must leade new liues; many of them (I say) are willing to goe about it: but they are much discouraged, because they see not how they shall be able. And least any should obiect,Obiection. that Paul himselfe was so troubled, who said, To will, is pre­sent with me; Rom. 7.18. but I finde no meanes to performe that which is good: I answere, he H complained not of that which I doe;Answere. that is, that he had no hope in God, nor no promise of strength from him to performe: for he said the contrarie in sundry places.Philip. 4.13. I am able to doe all things through the helpe of Christ which strengtheneth me. And againe, I liue no longer, but Christ in me: but he complai­ned, that for all the hope of helpe that he had, yet the rebellion of his flesh, and nature that was vnreformed, did mightily resist him. And this hinde­rance he had, and we all shall haue while we liue. But what is that to this, that besides this rebellion of the old man, they haue this also to hinder them: that they cannot tell, whether they shall haue strength to make them able, or no: nor whether God haue giuen them any promise, that their burthen shall be I made light: and that Christ himselfe will beare the greatest part of it for them, that so it may be made easie?

This it is, that killeth the heart of right good christians, when they are ig­norant of it, and when they be not well grounded in it, and throughly per­swaded of it, that God will make them able and fit for so great a worke, as the leading of a godly life is: euen like the burthen of the Israelites, who were in­ioyned their taske of bricke that they had made in times past, Exod. 5.11. (which worke was hard enough) and yet themselues to seeke and prouide their strawe. This, I am sure, hath troubled many,VVhat causeth tedious trou­bles to many christians. who yet were willing and readie to doe any duties re­quired of them, and hath been the cause why they haue gone about the seue­rall K actions of their life, the bearing of their trouble, and the offering vp of their prayers, the more deadly and vncheerefullie; and therefore the more aukely and wearisomely.

The testimonie of good chri­stians.And for the benefit of many good soules, I will say that which hath been acknowledged vnto me, by sundrie well approued christians, when I haue in conference set downe plainelie to them the point which now I write of: [Page 83] A namely, how necessarie it is to beleeue in generall, whatsoeuer other promi­ses or precepts in the word of God, as well as the promises of saluation by Christ. Oh, haue many said, if wee could haue holpe vp our selues, out of di­strust, feare, and vncomfortable dumpes, by applying the promises of God concerning grace necessarie for vs, outward deliuerance from daungers, and good successe in our lawfull dealings of this life; wee might with much ease and peace haue staied vp our selues, when for want therof, we were sore plun­ged, and almost fainted: and with halfe the toyle which wee vsed for it, wee might haue vpholden our selues in hope & with comfort. For many houres, yea and sometime daies, wee haue beate our braines and reasoned to and fro B with heauie hearts, how to wade thorough some afflictions, and how to bee contented with some accidents which were like to fal out and come to passe: and this we did, because we missed of the right way of trusting to Gods pro­uidence, that he would turne all to the best: without which resolution, who can quietly rest in any vncertainties here below? So effectuall and good a meane it is, to be led by faith, and to haue it as a daily companion with vs. By which wee hauing perswasion of the greatest benefit of all other, namely Christ: we might the more easily haue assured our selues (we see now) of a­ny smaller, whether any trouble, to haue a good issue out of it; or any good thing (as it should haue been expedient for vs) to inioy it. And wee may say C truly, wee know nothing to haue been the cause of so much and so long vn­profitablenes and heauines these many yeeres, as this: that we haue not been rooted and grounded in faith, as we haue had a care to please God. For wee being subtilly vndermined by Sathan to hold in this errour of vnbeleefe (al­though wee see manifestly that the seede of faith was in vs) it was the cause why in all other good things we went forward the more sleightly. So that we see great cause to season our hearts with beleeuing throughout our whole life, whatsoeuer labour it cost vs. To this purpose was the speech of those Christians.

And to goe forward, who doth not know, that when some certaintie of D saluation is attained of men, yet for all that, in as much as it is but weake, that they haue many heart griefes for this, that they see they haue a long weari­some pilgrimage to goe thorough; and little knowledge and perswasion of any great guiding of them through all the feares and difficulties of it?An exhorta­tion to the Mi­nisters. Pitie therefore the distressed estate of Gods poore people, ye shepheards of his flocke. Although this is but one point of many which ye are to teach them: and arme your selues with that minde, which was in the Apostle:2. Pet. 1.12. who saw it meete as long as he should abide in this tabernacle, to put the people in mind of al things necessarie to saluation from day to day, though they knew and were stablished in them. And let me with your patience, say one thing more to you, which if ye will E be aduised by me, will be much to your owne benefit, and of those that heare you. Aboue all things, seeke to haue that your owne and effectually wrought in your selues, which you teach the people (for you know that the Phisitions who practise by experience, are best able to deale with their patients). Espe­cially in this matter of faith, labour to be more exercised: how you haue vse of it, in beleeuing for your owne parts, either precepts or promises, and con­tent not your selues with bare knowledge of the truth. And so doing, ye shall [Page 84] make good gaine of that which you shall teach, if your hearers should not:F and yet such teaching, while ye bee sure that it hath done your selues much good, shall set such an edge on your doctrine by your more liuely, cheereful, and powerfull deliuering of it, that it shall farre more easily procure an appe­tite in the people to receiue it, as they did in Iohn Baptists time with greedi­nes,Matth. 11. and as it were with violence; and so, that if they be not brought to the true practise of Christianitie by it, they will not bee brought to it by any other teaching.

And this I wish, that ye be not of the minde that some haue been of (for it is no opinion fit for the Minister of God) that is to say, that they thinke, though some preach by experience, yet no man is bound to do so: as though G it were in mens choice to doe which they list; when wee know, that the good shepheard doth go before the sheepe, Ioh. 10.4. and they follow him: And if he goe before them in example of good life, then he cannot chuse but teach them by experience, that which he himselfe doth practise in his good example. And so, hee that shall thinke that he is not bound to teach by experience, as well as by the let­ter, concludeth that hee is not bound to bee a good man himselfe, who tea­cheth.

Let faith and godlines be oft taught.Now I haue said what I purposed, I will goe forward. In teaching, labour much in this manner, which I haue mentioned, to beate into the people, (with making it plaine to them, how they may be assured of their saluation,H as I haue taught in the first treatise) beate in (I say) this doctrine of beleeuing, that God will minister all helpe to inable them to liue godly. For in both points (if view might be taken throughout this dominion) it should be found that the people are ignorant and to seeke; both how to come to the assurance of saluation, and also how they should be rightly taught to leade a godlie and a Christian life. And how commeth this to passe, but because men teach not oft (of which all may see what neede there is) or els they doe not in commi­seration of the peoples weak capacitie and memorie, beate vpon these things among all other againe and againe.Phil. 3.1. So S. Paul hath left behind him his pra­ctise for our instruction, saying: It grieueth me not to write (when hee cannot I come to preach them) the same things to you, and for you, it is a sure thing. And we should know, that it is no shame to preach the same things oft, yea in our owne congregation; but meete and fit (especially if they bee these speciall matters) vnlesse we contend for the vaine praise of men, and will shew our pride by seeking after nouelty,The same things without vaine repetition and barbarousnes. rather then our desire of the peoples edifying. Yet I nourish not barbarousnes, nor the vttering vnseasonably and vnsauour­ly either of the same words and sentences, or in bosome Sermons, the same things: but in the euidence of the spirit, and in renuing our labour and paine, euen about the same doctrine which we taught before, it shalbe so farre from being wearisome and tedious, that the best hearers shall affirme that they K cannot heare them too oft, but desire with all their hearts to heare them againe.Act. 13.42.

And because I am by fit occasion come to vtter this, I will adde one thing which ought worthily to preuaile much both with Preacher & people. And that is this: that in this long and gracious time of peace and libertie, of free preaching the Gospell, he is a rare priuate man (that I goe no further) who is [Page 85] A able, plainly and soundly to set downe, how a sinner may know himselfe to be in the state of saluation, and assured that he is the child of God; and when he is so, how hee should bring foorth the fruites of repentance, and leade a godly and Christian life. I know it is the holie Ghost, who alone can worke this in mens hearts, but I speake of the expressing and setting down thesame. And though I doubt not but that some conceiue it, yet if they did that well, they could in some sort vtter it also: as wee are commaunded to take vnto vs words to expresse that which we conceiue; as well as to haue matter in our minds.Hos. 14.2. And although the knowledge of this in generall, doe bring men in liking with it: yet who seeth not, that the particular vnfolding hereof, by fit cohe­rences B knitting one point with another, is the way to make it vnderstood and conceiued aright? By the which the hearer is farre more easily brought to haue the effectuall worke thereof in him.

And thus to returne againe to that from whence I digressed not vnneces­sarily, and so to draw to an end about it: Although people profit thus far that they get some true taste of saluation by preaching; yet they shall very much stagger and goe backe, and coldly set vpon the practise of godlines, if they be not well grounded in beleeuing, that God will build them vp more strong­ly from day to day, and perfect the good worke in them which he hath begun, euen to full sanctification in the feare of God. A simile. If a chiefe and maine post in a building C be wanting, will not the whole house bee soone shaken? so if a Christian, who must reforme his life, goe about it, not beleeuing that God will make him able; he may be sure he shal want a maine helpe hereto, euen that which will goe nigh to pull downe all that is set vp. For if he haue not faith, to be­leeue that God will strengthen him; what strength hath hee but his owne? which is as fit for such a worke to bring it to passe, as a child is to build a great Castle by his skill. But if he be well setled in this confidence (his heart also be­ing purified and chaunged; which (as we shall heare afterwards) is necessari­ly required; he shall goe about it with cheerefulnes and readines; he shall be incouraged to pray as his necessities shall giue cause; hee shall be kept from D fainting and dismaiednes, when his strength is not very great, and rise vp a­gaine when he is fallen: all which shall be great meanes in such a case to vp­hold him, and set him forward to depend vpon God, without any great vn­setling of him (and yet shall he not for all this, be without sense and feeling of his infirmities:) which another as willing to obey God as he, shall neuer be able to doe; but euery while cast downe and dismaied, vntill hee get the same furniture. And this must here be marked, that there shall be the better proceeding herein, of euery weake Christian, as his knowledge shall be grea­ter in the word of God: which before grace came (as fire to the stubble to kindle and set it a worke to burne) although it were idle and vnprofitable in E him, and lay voide, and vnoccupied, as timber lieth by, till the building goe forward: yet it shall then helpe much to the leauing of euill, and the doing of good, especially after experience in time, shall be ioyned to both. And when all these meete together in an vpright hearted Christian, how weake soeuer, if he acquaint himselfe familiarly with the promises of eternall life, and treasure vp in a good conscience the certaintie of the forgiuenes of sins from day to day: then this is he who hath laid a strong foundation of a god­lie [Page 86] life, vpon which it shall be no hard matter to set the building of his life su­table F and proportionable afterwards:Matth. 7.25. so that, although the raine fall, and the flouds come, and the winde blow, and beate vpon that house, yet it shall not fall; for it is builded on a rocke. But he who laieth not this foundation, but buildeth on the sand, shall soone his building turned ouer. And thus the case standeth with many in these daies, who therefore are cast downe oft times from their good beginnings, because they had not skill to make them more substantiall and sure. And I feare not to affirme (the Lord witnessing to that which I say) that the offensiue liues of many, with many startings aside from the good way which they haue entred into, and the crooked and halting steppes that they make grossely in the sight of men, who yet durst not somtime before quench G the spirit in themselues, not hurt their tender consciences secretly in the sight of God: these (I say) are chiefly from hence, that they laid not the founda­tion aright, nor made not their first entrance into a Christian life, sound and sure. Among other things, they haue failed for the most part in this, of which I doe most specially speake in this place, that they haue not been builded vp in this faith and perswasion, that God will further their weake beginnings, and fortifie their hearts against the stumbling blockes and discouragements, which shall stand vp in their way. I haue now onely shewed that this faith should bee in a Christian, when hee first setteth on a godly life: but how it should accompanie him after throughout his life, that so he may liue by it,H being the same to the whole life that the eye is to the bodie, I shall in place fit for it, if God will, declare and shew so farre as shall be expedient.

CHAP. 4. Of the heart, and how it should be clensed and changed, and so the whole man which is true sanctification, tending to repen­tance and a godly life.

ANd now that I haue shewed, that true godlines commeth I from faith which iustifieth, and that the one cannot bee without the other; and that with the same faith wee must beleeue all other his promises also, made to his children; and all doctrine that doth instruct vs to obedience: I will goe forward. Now therefore, to the end, the beautie of the godly life may bee seene in some sort, and that the beleeuer may bee able to practise it, and know that hee doth so: I will, as I propounded, speake of the heart: which is the second generall head in this treatise, and the next to bee handled, according to the diuision made in the first chapter. And thus I will speake of it: first shewing, that it must be renued and chaunged; and then (in K place fit) that it must be kept so afterwards: for both are necessarie to the be­leeuer. And when he is resolued to be guided by Gods word in all things, as he hath been taught before, and so to liue by faith, and then hath an heart fit to yeeld it selfe to do so: who doth not see, that the worke is in good for­wardnes (to liue godlie) and (as wee say) by such a good entrance and begin­ning, halfe at an end?

[Page 87] A Here therefore vnderstand and know, that the heart which is the foun­taine from whence the practise of godlines must growe and come,The heart the fountaine of godly life, must first be purged. ought to be purged and clensed: and consequently, the bodie it selfe, ought to be first made a fit instrument for the same (to the accomplishing of that which is good, and to the well ordering of the life) in which two, consisteth the sanc­tification of the whole man: We must thus be changed before we can will well, or liue well: euen as a filthie and vnsauorie vessell must be well and thoroughly seasoned, before it can be put to vse and occupied: and we must hate sinne with a deadly hatred, and haue the power of it abated in vs, and loue goodnesse and righteousnesse, and be renued in them before we can B bring forth fruites of repentance and amendment of life. But to the end we may see it more necessarie, that this change and sanctification of the heart should be wrought, and also what an excellent grace and gift of God it is; it shall be meete to lay forth the nature and disposition of the heart: what it is since the fall of our first parents in it selfe, and of it selfe, before there be any worke of grace in it, and before the most exquisite cunning and workeman­ship of the holy Ghost in reforming and renuing thereof, be shewed vpon it. And when we haue seene into it, know we that as is the heart; so is the life,Like heart, like life. both before the clensing and change of it, and after. And according to the prouerbe, like tree, like fruite: for a good man, out of the good treasurie of his heart, Matth. 12.35. C bringeth forth good things: and the wicked man out of the ill treasurie of his heart, bringeth forth euill things. This heart of man therefore must be good, and holy, and pure: it must be brought to yeeld, and submit it selfe willinglie to better instruction, then naturallie it hath been acquainted with; that so it may bring forth fruite of amendment of life, and be readilie disposed vnto euery good worke.

But (as I sayd) that men may not deceiue themselues, who for the most part being ignorant about the heart, and the nature and properties of it, doe thinke that they may liue godlie, whatsoeuer corruption doth infect the heart; it shall be requisite to know it better, and how all godlinesse is but fan­tasie D or hypocrisie, vnto the heart be reformed and changed. We must haue it clensed and well seasoned, and afterwards kept so, that it may be no longer an enemie to vs, or an hinderer of vs, in any of our good actions: but con­trarilie, that by the helpe of it, we may dailie goe forward in well doing; at least by striuing, or after a repulse, to returne againe. For this we are to know,The heart is a dungeon of iniquitie. that the heart of man before it be emptied, is a dungeon of iniquitie: before it be inlightened, a denne of darkenes, before it be clensed, a puddle of filthi­nesse: and that which Saint Iames speaketh of the tongue, may much more be said of the heart, that before it be tamed, it is an vnruly euill. Iam. 3.8.

If then such an heart be the guide of our life, how monstrous, and loath­some E must that life needes be? Hereby therefore it is cleere, that the heart must be purged of this corruption, as I haue said: it must be changed from this nature and custome; that when any departing from sinne should be, or any dutie to God offered, this may not be a pulbacke, and hinderer, but rea­dy to giue consent thereunto; and a furtherer thereof, in subduing the cor­ruption of the same, from time to time. For who seeth not that this were o­therwise a toile most tedious, yea, a thing altogether impossible; as oft as we [Page 88] should goe about any good dutie, then to haue our heart to seeke (as they say)F and to be set in frame:A simile. as if an husbandman should alwaies be driuen to mend and sharpen his plough share, when, and as oft as he tilleth the ground; or a Carpenter to grinde his tooles so oft as he goeth to worke: but much more, seeing the heart is backward, and not willing, and ready to any good thing, yea rather rebellious against it; must not all of necessitie the more pre­posterouslie goe forward?A view of the filthines of the heart. But to proceede, more particularlie to anatomize and describe the heart, and in few words to say much of it; we must know that it is ouerspread with vnbeleefe, deceitfull, vnruly, loose, hardned, wilfull, vaine, idle, blockish, cold in goodnes, and without sauour, and soone wearie of it: high, big, proude, disdainefull, selfe-louing, vncharitable, vnkind, con­ceited,G impatient, angry, fierce, enuious, reuenging, vnmercifull, froward and tuchie, churlish, sullen, medling, worldly, filthie and vncleane, louing plea­sure more than godlinesse; vnprofitable, repining, earthlie, greedie, or coue­tous; idolatrous, superstitious, vnreuerent, hypocriticall, disobedient to bet­ters, iudging rashlie, hardlie reconciled: and in a word, prone to all euill: is it not then hardlie tamed? Which must needes be graunted, when the most part of people vnder the Gospell, doe either not know, nor suspect this, and therefore are farre from abilitie to hunt these corruptions out: and they who know it, doe yet loue them as their owne flesh, and therefore be neuer the neerer to the purging out, or remouing of them.H

It is not without cause therefore, that Salomon saith, there are seuen abomina­tions in the heart, Ierem. 17.9. that is many. And Ieremy in like manner affirmeth, that the heart of man is deceitfull and deepe aboue all things: who can gage or search it out? Euen I the Lord (saith God) am the searcher or finder out of it. Therefore also our Sauiour to set out the nature of the heart, saith: Out of the heart come euill thoughts, Matth. 15.19. murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, slaunders. Must it not then needes be a filthie sinkehole, out of which so vnsauorie stinkes doe arise? So that it may truly be said, the heart of man is euill aboue measure: and in the kindes thereof, in number as the sparkles that come out of the furnace; and as the sand of the sea shore, which is innumer [...]le. And what should I I say more? The time would be too short to proceed further, and I shall haue occasion, in another place, to speake of the same. But by the way, this is wor­thilie to be lamented, that where the Scripture is so plentifull in describing and setting out of the manifold and foule defilements of the heart, that men are so blind in vnderstanding them; and see so little, when the holy Ghost be­wraieth so much. And hereof it is, that they feare so little danger, and suspect so little hurt to be comming towards them thereby, in the middest of so great and iust cause to feare and suspect both. For who is merrier or more secure, than he that hath most sinne in his heart to witnes against him? Which be­ing so, who doth not see that such a draft-house is to be emptied, and that K much grace and water of life had neede to be poured in, to sweeten and sea­son it, before it be fit to be imployed to good vse, and to be made a temple for the holy Ghost to dwell in, and a good treasurie, that out of it, a good man may bring forth good things? Yea, an admirable thing it is, that it should euer be brought to good.

What the pur­ging of sinne is.But to go forward now, to shew what this purging of the heart is, and how [Page 89] A it should be purged. For the first, we must know, that it is a renuing in holi­nes and righteousnes by little and little, of all true beleeuers, they being first deliuered and freed from the tyranie of sinne, and feare of damnation: for a man is no sooner set at libertie from the feare of euerlasting death, and the wrath of God, but he is also sensiblie drawne to let goe his holde, and interest in sinne, which before he had; and feeleth the same to receiue a deadly wound in him, and the power thereof to be abated and crucified: And so, fin­deth that verified in him which the Apostle setteth downe to the Romans; that is to say, How can such as are dead to sinne, liue any longer therein? Rom. 6.2. And with­all, he is quickened and sensiblie stirred vp to a loue and earnest desire of B things holy and heauenlie, euen that he may please God;Ephes. 4.23. and being renued in the spirit of his minde, doth affect and long after righteousnesse and true holi­nes. And herein consisteth this purging and changing of the heart, which I now speake of, and such a thing it is, shewing it selfe by an hatred of sinne, and a delighting in goodnes. Which no power nor will of man can effect: for it is an enemie thereto.

And although this new change be not such, as that it is able to beare down all the old corruption, that raigned in him sometime, and to intertaine holy things only: yet it is a mightie alteration, that goodnes hath any place in him in truth, which was before so farre from him, and sinne and euill hunted out C in will, and desire, which alone bare sway before.He that dieth in this weake estate is saued. For there is (without que­stion) the first fruite of the spirit, which will afterwards bring forth an in­crease of the same for continuance: which worke of grace and sanctification (if he in whom it is wrought should not liue to shew forth any further fruite of it) is an infallible marke of Gods election and loue towards him, and can no more be in a reprobate, then light can be in the bellie and bowels of the earth. But if any will demaunde, what becommeth of this grace in time;Holy desires be oft times quenched in the beleeuer. because it is too cleere, that it is not only dimmed, but euen choaked also in many, in whom it began to shine and giue light: such must vnderstand, that God doth strengthen and continue this grace of holines and sanctification, D as it is nourished, esteemed, and set by; and as men do stir it vp in themselues by asking after it, when they misse it, and prouoke themselues to pray for such good affections, and cannot be satisfied without them. As Dauid did often, sometime one way, and sometime another: Why art thou heauie, O my soule, Psalm. 43.5. and why art thou so disquieted within me? Also,Psalm. 103.1. praise thou the Lord (O my soule) and all that is within thee, praise his holy name. And thus, and by the like means, we shall cherish our sparkles, which (as the fire is blowne vp with bellowes) shall not ordinarilie faile vs, not be extinguished in vs, especiallie for any long time, (except in time of temptation, or when melancholy oppresseth vs) vnlesse through our default and folly. Thus vnderstand what it is,How the heart is purged. to haue the heart E purged and changed, that thereby it may be fit to set vpon a godlie life.

The next thing is, how this is done; and how it commeth to passe, that men after they haue receiued the grace of iustifying faith, doe finde and per­ceiue in themselues such an alteration from that which was before? euen as if a benumming colde should be on the suddaine turned into a glowing and burning heate. I say, this is the proper and wonderfull worke of God:By the power of the holy Ghost. who mortifying our worldly lusts and euill desires in vs by his holy spirit, doth re­forme [Page 90] vs, and create this holines and sanctification in vs. He it is, S. Luke saith,F that purifieth our hearts. Act. 15.9. He kindleth good affections, and subdueth the con­trarie in vs. There is no other besides him in heauen, who can worke it: much lesse on earth that can set his hand to it. Which if that man of sinne had duly considered, he would not haue arrogated to himselfe a greater worke then it, (which also is inseparable from it) namely, the authoritie of forgiuing sinnes. The Lord (I say) by his holie spirit, it is, who stirreth vp in our hearts godlie motions and good desires: namely, of knowledge, good gouernment, feare of him, communion with him and his people, the desire of spirituall reioy­cing, and strength against infernall foes, and such like: which good affections when they be kindled in vs, hee suffereth not to vanish away, but teacheth vs G to feed and nourish them by reading, meditation, & prayer. And the spirit of the Lord which raiseth vp and worketh in vs these holy affections, is therfore described by these most excellent titles: for it is called the spirit of wisedome, strength, Esai. 11.2. feare of the Lord, &c.

This is at the first turning of a sinner to GodAnd this he doth to his deare children, when they are first brought to this happie chaunge (euen in their first entring into the estate of grace) to the end they may loathe, as stinking garments, the old custome, in which they had long lien; I meane, the vnsauourie draffe of their owne cogitations, desires, and lusts of their hearts: the least daunger whereof, was this, that they decei­ued them. These, when they see what varietie there is of better matter to sea­son H and occupie their mindes and hearts withall,A simile. they doe shunne and flie from, as one that had escaped the loathsome prison, doth crie out when hee must be brought backe to it againe. And although I denie not, but that they must hold and retaine the sauour and smell of their old filthines and profane­nes, which in times past, as bands and chaines, did keepe them in captiuitie: yet is not their condition,Euen this is a gracious work. for all that, to be counted meane and little worth, because they haue not full deliuerance from it, but happie and highly to bee iudged of, in that they haue obtained deliuerance in part, and doe see how they may be partakers of a farre better.

I speake now but of the beginning of a Christians change, when hee can I discerne no more in himselfe then this, namely, that hee hath with faith vn­fained, an heart sanctified, and purified from his naturall corruption and wicked disposition. And without regard of the fruite hereof, euen the whole worke of Christianitie, which shall follow this happie beginning (then the which, he desireth and longeth after nothing more) the weake Christian, that hath his part in this, thinkes himselfe, euen for this exceedingly indebted to God. True it is, that no man is to stay and abide in this estate, but is to pro­ceede further, euen to repentance, which commeth from it; as hereafter shal be seene.VVe must not stand at a stay in this. But yet seeing the clensing & purging of the hart, at the first conuer­sion of a sinner, is a distinct worke of the spirit, and in man but the beginning K of all the worke of Christianitie, which shall follow it; I would not passe it o­uer in silence: and the rather I say so, because it is but darkly and confusedly seene into and discerned. And although it bee but as the graine of Mustard seede, in comparison of the tree it selfe, to the full growth and perfect age in Christ: yet is it in possibilitie, nay in certaine and sure hope, euen the same, and alreadie of the nature of it; and therfore hath part of the reward also. And [Page 91] A now it tarieth but for further building vp in knowledge and grace, that so it may appeare to other, as it is in it selfe, the estate of a regenerate person, and new borne vnto God.

But for al this which I haue said of this matter, namely, both what this chāge of the heart is, and how it is wrought by Gods spirit, yet one thing is wanting, which the diligent reader will desire to know: That is, why the Scripture saith, that although it be God which purifieth the heart, yet that it is ascribed to faith; their hearts were purified by faith, saith S. Luke: And S.Act. 15.9. 1. Ioh. 3.5. Iohn (which is little difference) attributes it to hope, saying, he that hath this hope, purgeth him­selfe: To this I will speake somewhat at large, seeing it is a point of great mo­ment B and weight. It is true indeede, that our hearts are made new,Hart is purged by faith. and pur­ged by faith: wee knowing thereby our selues to be made the beloued of God. For it is faith in the pretious promises of God which the holy Ghost worketh in vs (whereby wee flie the corruptions that are in the world through lust) and which purgeth the heart,Act. 15.9. Act. 26.18. casting out the draffe and filthines which was in vs. And vntill our minds be thus inlightened that wee see cleerely that our sinnes are forgiuen vs, and we vnited to Christ, and made one with him, and partakers of the graces of his spirit; wee neuer come out of our selues, neither haue any desire to heauenly things: but our wisedome is earthly, diuellish, Iam. 3.15. and sensuall.

C For we being not yet assured of the happines of heauen,VVorldly de­lights so sought for, because the heauenly are not felt. doe know no bet­ter delights, then our blind and deceitfull hearts do dreame of here on earth. The which though wee see by experience, that they are short and momenta­nie (seeing they who haue greatest part in them, cannot keepe them long) yet we, who haue least part in them, will neuer forgoe the loue of them, vntill we see how we may certainly inioy better (which may cleerely bee seene in the poorer sort of people destitute of grace, that although they haue no wealth, yet it doth their hearts good to talke of it, in token that it is the thing which they loue best of all). And hereof it is, that many thousands, through igno­rance, passe their time in sport, play, pastime and pleasure: accounting that D the onely life that is to bee wished, to liue deliciously for a season. Others,Iam. 5.5. in quarrelling, contention, murmuring, debate, suites, and accusing of their neighbours: The most tolerable, and honest course seemeth to be the spen­ding of mens yeeres, in, and about the worldly goods. And thus are men oc­cupied, although one sort diuersly from another, yet all to bee pitied, seeing they walke amisse: I speake of such as know no better. Notwithstanding, no one of these can be brought to mislike his course, or to turne his hart and de­light from it, vntill he be assured of a farre better portion. No, although wee bring tidings hereof vnto them, so as they beleeue that it is true, and haue great liking of the same: yet, till they see that it may be their owne, they will E not so much as goe about the dispossessing of such vnsauourie and fond lusts from their hearts.Hebr. 11.6. Hos. 1.10. But when they beleeue that God is a plentifull rewarder of all that seeke him, and that they who were once no people, are now freely made his people, and beloued of him, which were sometime not beloued: then their hearts turne, and aske after him: then they desire to know more of his will and mind: and re­pent that they were so ignorant before, and that so long time; and that they drunke vp the draffe of vnsauourie puddles, euen deceitfull pleasures, when [Page 92] they might haue drunke of the sweet cesternes which were able to refresh F their soules with the water of life. And although there are many doubtings before they be setled in this perswasion, & assured of better delights: yet they are no sooner resolued of their saluation,So soone as any are assured of Gods fauour▪ so soone are their harts changed. and what liberties they haue by Christ, whereby they are made happie (which how it is attained, hath been shewed in the former treatise) but so soone are their euill harts and affections changed, so farre as the iudgement is inlightened, and they contrarily affec­ted to that sin, which they liked before: as seeing now cause sufficient why they should doe so; for they receiue from Christ by his spirit both will and power thereunto.Gal. 5.6. For faith worketh by loue, and so causing them to loue God, and for his sake their brethren, it maketh them also readie to doe any thing G for him, whom they loue; and therfore to auoide and cast off all allurements to euill, and sinne, which he cannot abide.

Faith purgeth only as the in­strument.So that it is faith which purifieth and changeth the heart, not as the chiefe and highest cause; for that is the holie Ghost (as hath been said) which at the same time, when it assureth vs of our reconciliation with God, doth worke this change and sanctification also: which is a purging of vs from the corrup­tion of our owne nature,Col. 3.9. and an induing of vs with a new qualitie, and dispo­sition of minde, whereby wee begin to will well, and sincerely to goe about the things which please God:Rom. 6.4, and both by the merits and power of Christs death and resurrection. Which I do aduisedly mention againe briefly, for the H weaks sake, who shall (the point being somwhat hard to conceiue) the better vnderstand the one by the other. And these two, faith and a pure heart, cleere and appease the conscience from accusation and checkes, and worke most sweete peace and holy securitie, Rom. 5.1. For from faith and a pure heart ari­seth a good conscience, that is, a quiet and excusing conscience (euen as true loue to God and to our brethren proceedeth from both.1. Tim. 1.5.) And these do set on work the will to hate sinne, which before it loued: and contrariwise cause the affections, as feare, hope, loue, ioy, &c. to be well ordered, in such sort, as the whole man is carried thereby (euen as the chariot on the wheeles) agree­ably: and the heart being thus renued, doth worke that glorious repentance I in vs (a thing much in speech amongst professors of the truth, but little in vse or set by) being both a purpose of the heart, Act. 11.23. an inclination in the will,True repen­tance. 1. Thess. 5.23. 2. Cor. 7.1. Col. 3.9.10.15 Psal. 119. vers. 44, 57. and a continuall endeuouring in the life Act. 24. vers. 16. to cast off all euill, and to obey God both inwardly and out­wardly, according to the measure of knowledge in euery one: For when we are sanctified, wee are deliuered from the tyrannie which sinne had ouer vs, into the libertie of the sonnes of God, to walke righteously, and obediently; that we receiuing new increase of grace from Christ daily,Rom. 6.2. 1. Pet. 2.24. may hold fast the same libertie vnto our end.

This I haue said, seeing it maketh way to the renouncing and forsaking of K sinfull life, and to the practising of the contrary (of the which more shall be said anon) it so necessarily following the change of the heart: and for that the reader may the better see, that if he can finde his heart to goe with this do­ctrine, and that he hath a part in it; he may be assured, that all that I shall speak of hereafter, being of the same kinde, and necessarily depending vpon it, shal the more easily be receiued of him to his singular comfort: and that all men [Page 93] A may see (whatsoeuer the wicked world doth glorie of) that without this ef­fectuall clensing and purging the heart, there is no sound repentance,VVithout the change of the heart, there is no amendment of life. and currant and true fruites of amendement to be found amongst them.

And this though all true Christians cannot expresse, as I haue set it down: yet the most simple, when they heare mention made of it, can affirme,The simplest Christian finds some measure of these. that they finde it so, to their no small consolation and contentment.

Now I hauing shewed that the heart, and consequently the whole man must necessarily be changed and purged, before good life can come from it;Prooues that this change is wrought by faith. and wherein this chaunge consisteth; and how it is wrought: I will returne to this last point, from which a little I digressed, that by faith in Christs pro­mises, B and by spirituall vnion with him this change is wrought. To this end (as I said) S. Peter doth plainly lay foorth this truth vnto vs, that the heart is purged by faith, when he saith: By the pretious promises which wee haue from God, 1. Pet. 1.4. opened. (and they are made ours by faith) we are made partakers of the diuine nature, or the graces of the holie Ghost, by whose heauenly power, we are able to flie the cor­ruption, and naughtines both of our hearts and liues, which is the principall let of our obeying God. And therefore that corruption being subdued in vs by a stronger power then it selfe, we haue libertie to goodnes; whereas before we were in bondage: And not only so, but the nature and qualities of our harts being changed, we are no more they, who we were before; but are led con­trary C to our former course. The which selfesame thing, though not in the same words, S. Paul by a most apt similitude setteth downe, saying:Rom. 7.5.6. opened. When we were in the flesh, the affections of sinne which were by the law, had force in our mem­bers, to bring foorth fruite vnto death: but now we are deliuered from the law (he be­ing dead of whom we were holden downe) to serue in the newnes of spirit, not in the old­nes of the letter. Here he describing the first estate of life, wherein all liue, diuel­lish, and vnrenued, and setting as contrarie to it the regenerate and happie estate of Gods children after they be changed, maketh this comparison: That as our corrupt hearts like an husband stirred vp euill desires in vs, hauing the powers both of minde and bodie as the wife at commaundement, and both D these together brought foorth all sorts of euill workes to our destruction: so the spirit, that is, the power of Christ being giuen vs, stirring vp holie affecti­ons in vs, is as an husband, and hath the powers both of minde and bodie (as the wife) at commaundement, and both these together bring foorth all sorts of good workes (as children) to our saluation. Whereby it is manifest, that although there be nothing in vs, as of ourselues to do the will of God, and to bring foorth fruites of amendement; yet God, who purgeth the heart by faith, putteth also a new nature into it, and maketh vs loue, and delight in the good and holy things which before wee loathed; and to loathe the euill which we once loued.

E And for this purpose, to make more full this matter, which I haue entred into, which of the simple (I know) is hardly conceiued; that no exception may be taken against it, consider what our Sauiour saith: he compareth him­selfe to a vine, and his beloued to branches of the same. To teach vs,Iohn 15.1.2. that as the branch beareth no fruite if it grow not in the vine, but being cut off, withe­reth: so if we be not knit to him by faith, wee can beare no fruite. But as the branch abiding in the vine sucketh sappe, and draweth iuyce from it, and is [Page 94] fruitfull: so all faithfull, and true beleeuers receiue strength from him, and F grace,Ephes. 4.16. by the which they crucifie their owne lusts, resist their corrupt will; and so bring forth fruite according to the will of God. For from him the whole bodie gathereth increase fit for it: who in manner of the soule, quickeneth all the members.Gal. 1.4. Luk. 1.74. And to this end, Christ wrought our saluation, and gaue him­selfe for our sinnes, to deliuer vs from this present euill world. And from him we haue receiued a minde to know God: 1. Iohn 5.20. Luk. 7. Psalm. 50. Rom. 6.6.11. an heart to loue him: a will to please him; and strength also in some sensible measure to obey him, as he saith: Know ye, that ye are dead to sinne, that is, so made partakers of the vertue and power of Christ, that naturall corruption hath lost her vigour, and force, to bring forth most bitter fruites:By this change, the beleeuer sensibly discer­neth his pre­sent state from his former. and also, that ye are aliue to God, that is, haue G strength to liue holilie through Iesus Christ: which grace although it be not perfect, yet it is such, and that in the weakest beleeuer, that there is apparant difference by it, from his former estate; and such as whereby a godly life is not irkesome to vs, as before, but sweete and pleasant.

The weake troubled, that this change is so small.That which most troubleth the weake about this matter is, that this change of the heart, and renewing thereof, is so hardly seene, and so meanely felt within them; that they cannot satisfie themselues in wishing, and desiring to be more changed: And although before, their open grosse faults did not ac­cuse them, yet now their inward corruptions doe disquiet them: now idle motions and vaine thoughts, and fantasies much trouble them: in their pray­ing,H reading, and hearing, they cannot be ridde of them: now they feare that they beleeue not (euen after they haue receiued to beleeue with staiednes of minde and peace) and all because they want the feeling comfort of their faith oftentimes: their vnkindnes to God much greeueth them, and besides, their vnfruitfulnesse: to be short, they haue many accusations against them­selues.Yet this is a note that their state is good. All which duly considered, doe testifie in deed another estate of their minds, then was before; though through their weakenes, and the diuels ma­lice, they feare hereby sometimes, that they are not renued, and changed at al. But that is not to be maruailed at, for as much as they were so lately drowned in sinne, and had no delight in goodnes: it must needs be strange vnto them I to be perswaded, that they are in any better case, then they were; seeing the motions of sinne doe trouble them now, which did not before, and they haue not skill nor strength enough to thinke, that it is a good signe of their welfare to be grieued for them (as it is in deede) but they thinke it a signe of their miserie, that they haue them at all. And yet in that they doe so earnestly seeke to be better staied, euen from idle and vaine wandrings, and labour to see their spirituall pouertie, and their inward corruption of selfe loue, priuie pride, distrust, &c. they may haue cleere testimonie, that they (though but in part) are truely reformed.

This change of the heart, is the foundation of a godly life.And this change of the heart, they haue neede to be perswaded of, who K desire to liue christianly (which shall be no hard matter for them to proue, if they compare themselues with that which I said, about this matter, and finde it so with them) but otherwise they shall but coldly goe about any seruice of God whatsoeuer: this pure heart (I say) comming from faith vnfained, must be as a strong foundation laid in them, vpon which only a godly life can be builded, that they may not neede to feare, that they are of a double heart: for [Page 95] A God abhorreth that in his seruice, and doth not accept the heart by halues, nor to be serued by halues, as Saul did, 1. Sam. 15.3. but will haue the whole to be giuen vnto him. He will not be loued a little:Note. for that is neither beseeming his greatnes, neither fit for them to offer, who receiue so great good things at his hands. And as none can doe this, but such as shall see sufficient cause hereof; namely, that they are infinitely indebted to him for his bountifulnes towards them; so will he, that such shall make him their chiefest delight, and treasure, as other doe the world; and therefore to account it no tediousnesse, nor toile to labour for it, till they haue obeyed the voice which saith,Prouer. 13.26 Jf men at first gaue God their hearts, then should their whole life be better. Giue me thine heart, my sonne. And if all men did at the first imbracing of the Gospell, B thus giue their hearts wholy to the Lord (as all they doe who vnfainedly be­leeue in him) then should we see it a common thing to haue God honoured in the world, his true religion, and worship aduaunced, and there should be no such difficultie to pull men out of their filthie and sinfull liues, but they should be as readie to seeke it, as the godliest Preacher is, in Gods name to vrge and require it. But seeing that will not be, let them, which see better, what the infinitnes of Gods fauour is towards them,Not a peece of the heart. giue him their hearts a­gaine, as they are commaunded, not a peece of their heart, but their whole heart: Euen as the burnt offering in sacrifices, was not in part the Lords, ano­ther part the Priests, or his who did offer it, but it was wholy the Lords: so C God will haue those, whom he maketh reckoning of,Leuit. 1.13. to turne to him with their whole heart, that so (as farre as their knowledge leadeth them) they may be at his commaundement: not halting, not flitting, not giuing him their seruice sometime, and at other times refusing and holding backe by such occasions, as shall fall out; as for their owne pleasure, profit, for mens friendship and fauour, or such like: for so doing, they shall neuer be fit to re­nounce either their will, or lusts, when they are inticed to euill by them, but must yeeld, and giue place to them; which kind of vnsauorie and fickle ser­uice God abhorreth. But if we freely giue ouer our selues wholy to God, and be resolued to be guided by him in all things, and to this end, waxe better D setled daily in the assured perswasion of Gods fauour (which is better then all things besides) so that we may alway see cause why we doe so; then and not before, shall we haue good euidence that our hearts are changed from their old custome in sinne, and renued. And although men will long halt,Many hardly brought to giue their whole heart, there­fore giue ouer. and driue off, before they will be brought to this, hoping that lesse may serue, and that they may please God without all this adoe, (as accounting it too hard) yet must they be brought to this, when all is done; or else they shall see, that all is in vaine that they doe besides, what faire shewes and colours soeuer they set vpon their doings.

For want of this soundnes, and through purging of the heart, as the people E of Israel made many turnings to God, when he punished them,Psalm. 78.35. but euer tur­ned backe againe from their couenants, and promises of amendment:Iudg. 2.11. euen so at this day, there are many vowes to God of holy life, and purposes of re­pentance, but none of them hold, nor take any good effect, though some in longer, some in shorter time, doe vanish away, and come to nothing: because men goe to worke in their moode, and hastilie, not sufficiently considering how weake such foundations are to beare vp so great, and weightie buil­dings, [Page 96] as the whole course of their liues to be holilie passed. Iudas his prea­ching F and working of miracles, (who was companion with the other Apo­stles:) Ahabs hastie repentance in haire cloth, and ashes: yea, Iehu his zeale for the Lord of hoasts: with all other such shewes, as for a time, in the eyes of men seemed to be great godlines,1. Sam. 15.4. together with Sauls speedie executing of Gods commaundements against the Amalekites: they had a time to be be­wraied, and brought to light to the world, to haue been, either meere hypo­crisie and fained godlines, or suddaine and rash attempts, or without roote from the heart, euen the best of them.

Therefore first let this be knowne of vs, that before the euill life can be re­nounced, God purgeth and maketh cleane the heart, that so it may be fit for G so great a worke. But seeing the heart is false aboue measure, and they soonest deceiue themselues, who doe least suspect, and feare danger; let it thoroughly be weighed, which hath before been set downe: that there is deadly hate of sinne and corruption, and that with much striuing against it, with gripes of griefe when it preuaileth, and contrarilie, great ioy, when it is subdued: this (I say) is in him,Ezech. 36.25, 26, 27. whose heart is truly renued.

CHAP. 5. Of the renouncing of all sinne: which is the first effect of a renued H heart in the true beleeuer.

We must be changed be­fore our liues can be amen­ded. NOw the heart being renued and changed, must be kept so: but of that afterwards, in more fit place. In the meane sea­son, I will passe to the effect of this clensing and change of the heart, and shew what worke it bringeth forth in him that is thus renued and changed. For I hauing spoken of the clensing of it, as I purposed, namely, that it must, with the whole man, be changed and renued, before the life can be amended; it followeth,What the life of the beleeuer is. that I should now further proceede to this; that is, to the descrip­tion I of the christian life, whereby I meane true repentance; or the life of the beleeuer, as I propounded: which is the building that must be set on that foundation: and that conuersation, which commeth from the forenamed change; and is a renouncing of all sinne, and a care to walke in a new life, (to glorifie God thereby, euen vnto death) as was said before. Concerning which, more particularlie (as I promised) this first is to be marked, that (the godly life standing in these two parts: that is, the renouncing of sinne, and practising of godly duties) all vngodlines,All vngodli­nes, not some onely is to be renounced. and not some part or kinde only, is renounced of the true beleeuer, and of him who will soundly professe to liue godly: and they are brought to this power and grace, who trust in the liuing K God, and are indeede godly, that they are out of loue and fauour with the whole course of iniquitie, which was their only delight, and pleasure before. They are so changed from that which they were, that now they hauing ta­sted of heauen and happines (being become the beloued of the Lord:) they freely and willingly bid farewell to all the follies of their former times, and the vnlawfull liberties, (with the which they were deceiued) at least in affec­tion [Page 97] A and desire, as their frailtie doth permit: for they know (who haue so farre been instructed) that they cannot loath some sinne and loue other; that were but halting: but as he who taught them that they should not commit adul­terie, taught also they should not lie, nor steale: in like manner they, who are taught of him, doe so iudge, and therefore disclaime the one and the other. For how can they loath one sinne, and loue another? which were to do con­traries? And as pure and sweete water, and filthie cannot come from one fountaine: so neither doth the heart reformed, send foorth good and euill. So that as one in prison hardly dieted, feedeth with great appetite and greedines vppon scrappes and parings, and is well at ease if he may fill his bellie with them;The beleeuer loatheth his former filthie life. B who yet when he is set at libertie, and conuersant with his friends, where hee findeth varietie and plentie, cannot fall to his old fare againe; but wondreth now, how he could finde sauour in euery mans leauings: euen so it is with him who hath besotted, and made drunken himselfe with the deceitfull baits of sinne, who if like a swine he may fill himselfe with that which his heart de­sireth, and his eye lusteth after, he is safe and hath what he would: but when he shall see his estate as in a glasse, how shamefull and daungerous it is, and hath but tasted of the heauenly priuiledges and liberties of a Christian, he ca­steth out that former draffe as vomite, and by no meanes can be brought to be in loue with it againe. Behold such honour giueth God to his seruants, C that their old conuersation wherein they liued sometimes with the rest of the world, and could by no meanes be drawne from it,Reuel. 3.9. they haue it in most vile account and detestation, and they which were of the synagogue of Sathan shall worship God among the faithfull. This is the power of faith (which hath chan­ged their heart) that it is able to make him, who hath it, to ouercome, I say not, himselfe, but euen the spirituall craftines, whereby the diuell deceiueth many thousands, and euen the poysoned baites and allurements of the world also.

O power vnconquerable, and not to be matched!Power of faith, and gaine thereby. If there were any earth­ly stay or fleshly hold in any sort comparable to it (which is impossible) in D what price and reckoning should it be had, think we? If there were any thing which at mens request, could giue the life of their enemie into their hands, or helpe them with long life, or satisfie their desire with abundance of wealth, and varietie of sinfull pleasure, oh how welcome should that be? But consi­sider (O ye seruants of God) and behold it, ye mightie and wise of the world, here is a greater, and another manner of treasure, then all these: and bringeth other delights, then these are able. This suffereth you not to pine away with desire of your enemies death: but it will make you as it did Dauid, 1. Sam. 24.10.11. to turne your hearts towards your greatest enemie (which is true manhood and wise­dome) and to preserue his life, when you had him in your hands to kill him. E And this suffereth not you to hunt about the world for varietie of sinful plea­sures, as though there were no better vse to bee made of the time, which is so pretious: but this will make you (with Moses) to renounce them when yee might haue them, and to finde greatest pleasure in doing so,Heb. 11.24. and yet in forgo­ing them, to thinke your selues plentifully rewarded.Heb. 11.6.

Finally, this will not suffer you to fret and to be vnquiet in thinking vpon the day of death, and to put the remembrance of it farre from you by wish­ing [Page 98] long life: but it will make you sigh and groane to be out of your life, and with F Paul to account it a prison to liue in the bodie still: 2. Cor. 5.3. and as the Preacher saith, to reckon the day of death when you must liue here no longer,Eccles. 7.1. better then the day of birth, which is the beginning of life. O ye men of this world! if ye can tell vs of greater commodities, and tidings of better things then these, and assure vs how we may come by them, wee will forsake and leaue all, and reioyce with you:Vanitie of worldly ioyes. If ye cannot, but rather your best things are those which I haue spoken of alreadie; namely, great riches, pleasures, your enemies death, and desire of long life to your selues, the vanitie, vncertaintie, and danger of the which I haue set downe alreadie;1. Timot. 3. then renounce you all that ye cannot safely keepe; and reioyce with vs: doe but taste and see how good the Lord is: and when you G see what is best, imbrace it: or els I will pronounce the saying of the Prophet against you: which in time shall most surely finde you out, and take holde of you,Act. 13.41. although you hide your selues from it. Behold, and wonder, and vanish a­way: for I will worke a worke in your daies, that if a man tell you the truth, ye shall not beleeue it.

More might be said of this point, but the treatise is too long: now I will returne againe to shew that the beleeuing Christian doth renounce the sin­full course,1. Ioh. 5.19. which all the world besides lieth and walloweth in though some more then others) who, as I haue shewed, that he renounceth al kinds of wic­kednes: so hee doth it not in some good moode onely, neither crieth out of H his old conuersation,He renounceth sinne in good aduisednes, and not in some good mood onely. Hos. 14.9. Ephes. 4.24. when he seeth shame or daunger approch, he doth not (I say) then onely signifie his mislike of it; but vpon good deliberation, hee maketh protestation no more to haue to doe with it: as Ephraim was coun­selled to say, being called to repentance: What haue I to doe with Idols, which yet before had been her glorie? So whatsoeuer others doe, he is resolued to forsake it: and casteth off all such behauiour, as a loathsome and ragged garment. And this is it which our Sauiour acquainted his Disciples and followers with,Matth. 16.24. after that they had testified (Peter answering for the rest) that they be­leeued in him vnto saluation: He that will be my disciple, must denie himselfe, which is as much as vngodlines, and worldly lusts: for then onely indeed,I and not till then, are men fit to heare of any such thing; but doe keepe out of the sound of such doctrine,For want of this setled de­nying our selues, diuers neuer attaine true godlines. as much as they can: which is the cause at this day, that many professing the Gospell, yet neuer know what this meaneth, namely, to abstaine from the filthie lusts which fight against their soule.

Others which doe, and must needs heare such things taught, that all Gods seruants doe, and shall disclaime their liues past, and be ashamed of them, it is pitie to thinke how coldly they receiue it. Some of them scorne it and mock, and so turne it off that way: some neuer conceiue it: some are often accused and made afraid to see their liues so farre off from that which is taught them, but soone forget it, because they see the most of the world to doe so. Some K are euer in learning how to depart from euill, and to forsake their sinnes: but the diuell holdeth them at a stay, that they neuer obtaine it, because they goe about it preposterously, not yet beleeuing assuredly that they shall be saued. A few find the way, the Lord directing them to beleeue: which, others, who will not be taught of God how they should beleeue, but by their owne rea­son, doe neuer reach vnto.

[Page 99] A But I haue not yet spoken of the worst sort of all, who heare this doctrine:VVorst sort of Protestants, who hate this doctrine. For they hate them who teach it, most deadly: they raile on them and dis­grace both them and it; and if they can, bring them into danger for teaching of it: although their pretence shall be another thing. Yea doubtlesse (I say more) if by her Maiesties gracious authoritie and protection wee did it not, (which more preuaileth with them then the authoritie of God, from whom and in whose name wee teach it) their poysoned and malicious stomackes would suffer none to walke peaceablie, who plainly and soundly publish it. These therefore are farre from ouercomming themselues: and yet whiles many sorts in the world are thus farre off (as I haue shewed) from victorie B getting ouer their wicked hearts, and consequently their liues;Gods seruants are at vtter de­fiance with the world. in the meane while the seruants of God, who know what the Lord hath done for their soules, renounce all inordinate desires, and wicked actions: that they haue after­ward no more fellowship with the vnfruitfull workes of darknes, howsoeuer they were sometime chiefe doers in committing of them. So that as the true re­pentant people of Iuda, who had before offended God by Idolatrie, when they were brought captiues into Babylon, loathed the sight of false gods: and as the good people, who repented by Ezra his preaching,Ezra. 10.12. did put away their strange wiues, how deare soeuer they had been vnto them: and as Ephraim was heard complaining thus; I am ashamed and blush, Iere. 31.19. that now I beare the repro­ches C of my youth; so loathsome and wearisome it was vnto her: So are they who haue felt the saluation of God, at vtter defiance with the corruption of the world. And yet if this were done but for a time, or for companie,They leaue not sin for a time, nor by con­straint, or for company, feare, &c. or by constraint, and for feare, or any such like corrupt end, it were not worth the speaking of: for it is to be seene that after these sorts, iniquitie is left of many: which kind of renouncing euill is little to their reioycing, and shalbe to their reproch, when it shall appeare in how euill manner they haue gone about it. I will not digresse, but this I must say: wee haue had too much experience in our parts, and (I doubt not) so haue others, of sundrie persons, who once ac­counted their teachers burning lights, and for a season they receiued and reioyced in D them, casting off their old course in the sight of men readily: but some for companie of those, who perswaded them; some for feare of the woe which hung ouer them; and others for good report, as long as they could hold out: but these, because they renounced them not, neither vpon good considera­tion abiured them, they returned to them againe, as the dogge to his vomite: Whereas such, who truly beleeuing do of conscience renounce sinne, doe as they in Nehemiah, came to the oath and the couenant, Nehem. 10.29. Abiure sinne. that they would neuer take a­gaine their strange wiues, which they were commaunded to put away, nor looke back to Sodome any more: nor (being washed) wallow againe in the mire. Not our owne strength. Which I say not as though their word, protestation, or oath, could alone by any E strength thereof, performe such a weightie vow: but because therewith they duly considered what cause they had to doe so: how infinitly they were bound to God to discharge it: and how firmely they were perswaded,Phil. 4.13. Rom. 9.31. that God would make them (who had made them willing alreadie) able also to doe it.

And therefore although they saw not that helpe present, with eye; yet they hoped for that which they saw not, and therefore waited patiently for it, till it should be granted them. And thus both faith and hope being nou­rished [Page 100] and strengthened in them from day to day, they who are the Lords, do F finde both will to desire, and strength (though not perfect) to accomplish, to the peace of their hearts, that which they haue set vpon and attempted; I meane a departing, and that with willingnes, from their former intempe­rance.Got with much striuing. Indeede it must be graunted, that this is not obtained without much striuing against the same, and that it will cost many prayers to weaken such corruption, and to hold such rebellion vnder: of meditating vppon Gods promises also: much sighing, and sorrow to see what vnlikelihoods there are of subduing such vnruly passions, through our owne manifold weaknesses. But what then? Is it much, if so great a worke require our watching thereto, and diligence, when God is pleased that it be bestowed that way, and with­out G it no common worke will goe forward?No discourage­ment. Matth. 19.29. Or is that any iust cause of dis­couragement to vs, to take paine for so great profit, when we are sure of it be­fore we goe about it?

Faithfull al­waies preuaile not.But it may bee demaunded, doe God seruants alwaies preuaile in striuing against euill? and obtaine that which they seeke thereby? for otherwise (say some) what discomfort and dismaiednes will come thereby? I say, that as God oftē helpeth them, that they ouercome; so they are oft ouercome them­selues of their affections against which they striue: but yet they haue lear­ned not to be troubled at this,Yet finde com­fort. 1. Pet. 1.5. as at any strange thing, as if their hope were ei­ther wholy or chiefly vpholden hereby, and as though they held their happi­nes H by feeling onely; when they are taught, that by grace they stand. Neither yet on the other side, doe they make light of it, when they are foiled and pre­uailed against:2. Cor. 12.6. Psal. 116.11. but as they reioyced in measure, and gaue God the glorie, when they felt strength of grace against their temptations: so after they come to themselues againe, they are troubled, and sorrowfull chiefly for displeasing God,2. Cor. 7.8.9. & they take view of their owne frailtie, ignorance, & negligence better, and confesse the same to God, and take shame to themselues: and cast not away their confidence, but bee incouraged, and heartened both to hope for pardon, and also to bee more circumspect in looking to their waies after­wards.I

No hurt by a­basing.Now tell me, if Gods children be thus brought low and abased, somtimes to pull downe and asswage the strength of pride in them, what fearefull mat­ter is hereby fallen out? what rasing out of their faith is there hereby procu­red? or what great cause of complaining is this? when it is manifest to all who can iudge, that the thing which through ignorance and weake faith they feared would separate them from God, doth fasten them more neerely vnto him: and through his working, that which they thinke to bee cause of great sorrowing, is turned indeede into sound reioycing, and that for this cause especially, that they doe better know themselues hereby, and haue ex­perience of his grace working in them; which otherwise they should not K haue had.

Gaine of our falles to purge vs.I cannot more liuely compare the malice of Sathan in this case, then to one who thrusting thorough his enemie, and purposing to kill him, doth thereby let out the vlcer and corruption out of his bodie, and so preserue him. After the same manner is it with Gods children: much priuie pride remaineth yet; and much secret fauouring of, and bearing with themselues is in them; [Page 101] A which is like to worke them great sorrow and daunger: the diuell therefore sore thrusting at them, and seeking to wound them with the feare of Gods anger, because of their sinnes, or some especiall fall, doth thereby purge that corruption out of them by their seeing and confessing & forsaking the same, preuenting and watching against it afterward, and resorting vnto God by prayer of faith for pardon thereof, and that in earnest sort; so that they doe,Prou. 28.13. or may thereupon, obtaine it.

And thus we may see that euen then when Gods seruants are mastered of their affections, and in fighting against them, are found the weaker: yet euen those falles of theirs, doe turne to their exceeding good, afterwards. And B therefore it is not their vndoing, when any such thing falleth out,This is only to the beleeuer. as for want of faith, and experience many doe often feare. But yet let this (which I say) be wisely receiued: that to the true beleeuers it shall thus come to passe, and not els: least any hearing this, should after he hath fallen, be little carefull to rise vp againe in such manner as I haue shewed, and yet thinke all should bee well with him notwithstanding, which is not possible.

Thus by occasion of this obiection I haue bin longer then I had purposed in this matter. By this it may appeare,Beleeuers can renounce all. that how vnskilful soeuer the Christian beleeuer was, and as vnable, as he was vnskilfull to renounce his ignorant and sinfull lusts before the Lord became his teacher; yet since that he taught him C to fight, he hath growne expert in that spirituall battell:Vnbeleeuers cannot. whereas others who haue not beleeued truly, shall find it is as possible for a black Moore to chaunge his skinne, or the Cattamountaine her spots, as for a man accustomed to euill, to leaue it. As Christ said of the rich man: It is as easie for a camell to goe thorough the eye of a needle, as for a rich man to enter into the kingdome of heauen: so no more can a wicked man renounce his course: for the wisedome of the flesh, that is, of man vnrenued, is an enemie to God, because it neither is, nor can be subiect vnto him. If this were throughly setled in mens hearts,No dramme of goodnes in a naturall man. that there is no dramme of good­nes in them, by which they might be able to turne from their former wicked waies, but that their carnall wisedome and reason, to the which they most D cleaue, doe hinder and hold them backe from it; whereby it commeth to passe that it is so hard for them to renounce al that which is euill: would they not thinke it worth all labour and trauaile to come by it? who now are con­tent to be deceiued in thinking that they haue it, and yet are vtterly without it? Neither can this bee otherwise with them whiles their hearts are vnta­med, and remaining in their old estate: but when they be indued with new qualities, they shall finde this both possible and easie (as hath been said) to commaund their lusts and desires (which were sometimes vnruly) and haue them in subiection by little and little.

E
F

CHAP. 6. Of the diuers kinds of euill to be renounced, and namely of inward against God and men.

BVt to proceed: as we haue seene, in what manner sinne is to be renounced; so let vs now consider the diuers kindes of euill, which are to be renounced, before we lay foorth the good fruits and duties which proceed from the same. And these kindes of euill are of two sorts,Diuers kinds of euill to be renounced. either inward or out­ward.G

And to speake distinctly of them (that I may proceede) we are taught, that in the godly life,First inward lusts. in whomsoeuer it be found, the lusts and concupiscences which reigne throughout the world, and make them whom they rule, to be as bruite beasts: these corrupt lusts (I say) with all other such defilements of our actions, are in the godly life renounced, according to the light which we haue to discerne thē; yea the faithful desire to abstaine from thē, as men who haue receiued another manner of spirit then the men of the world, and ther­fore can take vp their delight in better things: and who know the hurt which these vnruly euils bring with them, whatsoeuer shew of pleasure they offer.H And although all haue conflicts with them,Not all in like measure. and doe not hold them vnder in a like measure; yet of the weakest of Gods children they are hated, and striued against, when they are once seene and perceiued. But by these inward euils, I meane not the natiue infection of the heart, for of this I haue spoken be­fore,The effects of our naturall corruption here be meant. Iam. 1.14. but the fruits hereof, namely, the wandring, noisome, & blind thoughts, fleshly desires, and worldly lusts, which arise from the hart so infected, which are contrarie to the commaundements of God, and tending directly to the destruction of them, who bring them foorth: So that as the hands, feete and eyes be the members of the bodie,A simile. and doe whatsoeuer the bodie hath need of;Col. 3.5. euen so these are the members, and as the armes, feete and eyes of the I heart, and execute and performe whatsoeuer it desireth. And although they are so many that no man can number them (euen as the fountaine of the heart is so deepe that no man can gage it) yet because they are much vn­knowne, I will giue some helpe in the vnderstanding of them, and so much the rather, because they being vnknowne, many neuer mislike their liues, nei­ther are ashamed nor wearie of them, though they bee stained shamefully with them, and so become most abominable. And first the roote of all the rest is vnbeleefe,Heb. 3.12. when a man not giuing sound credit to the word of God, and the holie Scriptures, dareth be bold to harbour the same whatsoeuer is forbidden in them.K

Three sorts of lustes.From hence growe out, euen in those which professe; three armes, or boughes, of the which euery one shooteth forth as branches, innumerable worldly lusts:A view of some corruptions. first, impious against God: second, iniurious to men: and the third sort, most properlie concerning themselues.

1. Against God and his honour and worship in the first Table.As touching the maiestie of God, as mens hearts are full of blindenes, and couered with darkenes; so it goeth against them to be taught the true know­ledge [Page 103] A of the true God:Iob. 13. it is death to them to be drawne out of their igno­rance: they cannot abide to heare of his iudgement day: they would there were none: they rebell against the spirituall and true seruing of God,Acts 24.25. and that which they yeeld him, is a will worship, euen that which phantasie,Iob. 21.14, 15. Matth. 15.9. cu­stome, or fleshlie wisdome teacheth them.

And whereas he requireth that confidence should be put in him, for con­tinuall defence, deliuerance, and succour in soule and bodie,Distrust. they are carried with distrust, as with a whirlewind, and therefore their hope is faint, or none at all, before they see their desire accomplished. In their great dangers,Jn aduersitie. when meanes to come out, doe faile them, they are ouercome with feare, and al­most B beside themselues. In losses impatient, and full of murmuring,Jmpatient. receiuing them as from a cruell iudge, and sorrowing for them deadly. And as some haue their hearts thus boiling in their trials, and afflictions: so others haue their hearts swelling against God in obstinacie and contempt for his afflic­ting them, and are loose, careles, and desperate, whatsoeuer pincheth them:Obstinate. yet in a scoffing spirit they say within themselues, let him doe his best, yet will we not turne vnto him, nor seeke vnto him: (oh horrible blasphemie, feare­full to be once named!) that I say nothing of them, who ascribe all to blinde fortune, (in cursing of the which, they curse God;) or as the Atheists doe, to nature. Are not these loathsome guestes to lodge in the hearts of Christians?Loathsome guests. C I doe not goe about to set downe the poisoned corruptions, and lusts of Hea­thens, Turkes, and Atheists, as they are properly called, that is, such as deny God vtterly, for so should I neuer haue done; but to lay forth some part of the corruptions which dwell, and abide in the hearts of such as goe for Chri­stians: that many of them who can beare out matters boldly here among men, may see what villanie and treacherie they commit against God. This is a little of a great deale of the dishonour which they offer to God. And as this declareth what rebellion is in men vnder the crosse:Jnward cor­ruptions in prosperitie. No thankeful­nesse. so how they be­haue themselues towards him in the daies of their prosperitie, experience teacheth, and I could shew at large, if the time would suffer me to declare it. D As for thankefulnes, there is little or none in them: I appeale to their owne consciences, what doe their hearts yeeld to God the whole day thorough, for his manifold mercies; and if some doe, yet is it done onely in words for a fashion onely, and from the very teeth outward: and yet many are ashamed euen at their table to doe that. They reioyce in the merry world, whilest they haue ease, and plenty; they looke for no other, but wish it alwaies so:Carnall reioy­cing. yet what grace doe they desire the more, although they haue their fill, but are rather more headstrong, and inordinate? And if they aske ought of God, it is to be­stowe it on their lusts, being made drunken with their pleasures:Iames 4.4. Drunke with pleasures. so that they are louers of them, more then louers of God, and become insensible thereby, and past E all feeling. If some be not thus hardened, yet shall they be found to haue small desire to furnish their hearts with the best gifts, when yet they see, that he which hath giuen the one, is as readie to giue the other also. And as for the true worshipping of God, how farre are the most from taking pleasure therein; when yet one day bestowed in it is better then a thousand in any delights beside? For superstition and blind deuotion carrie many to false worships: affirming boldly, that they cannot rest in that manner which [Page 104] God prescribes in his word,Ioh. 4. Ioh. 5. that is, to doe it in spirit and truth: though God F sendeth vs to the Scriptures to know his will and minde; but the will-wor­ship which they deuise to themselues, and which they take vp by tradition, as to represent God by an image, and Christ by a Crucifixe, that onely pleaseth them: and their deuotion is frozen and cold, except it be helped by such counterfeit delusions. And many of them which imbrace the truth, and re­taine the right manner of worshipping God according to his word, yet are content to be deceiued, while they denie that which onely maketh the other well pleasing to God, and sauourie to themselues, that is, to doe it with their heart and ioyfully,Matth. 15. without which God telleth them plainly that in vaine they worship him. And as in their worshipping of him, by the vse of religious exer­cises,G their harts take no delight; euen so in his seruice, throughout the course of their priuate conuersation, how vaine, prophane, and dissolute are their hearts, what pleasure is it to them to please him, though it should be their meate, drinke and pastime, and how lightly are his iudgements passed ouer, how fearefull soeuer they be? so farre is it off, that they can expell their hy­pocrisie and other sinnes.

Moreouer, they haue no desire in peace to bee taught the true vse of it: namely, to haue peace with God, and as much as in them lieth to be at peace with all men, Deut. 28.46. Rom. 12.18. no, not in their owne houses, which yet to be without, is a little hell to them.Abuse of peace. And as for the Lords Sabboth, and other many good H meanes appointed on the same to season and change their hearts, they sensi­blie loath them, or finde no sauour in them: neither is it any part of their thought, to seeke any comfort in them (although they be the chiefe flower of a true Christians garland:) or if some of them doe, it is in superstitious deuo­tion, wishing that religion vp againe, whereby God is dishonoured highlie: but as their fathers before them did, euen so doe they passe through the world,Psal. 8.5.6. as shadowes, their mindes looking no higher: so that though they were made to honour, yet they not vnderstanding it, are like the beasts that perish.

These may serue for a taste of the corruptions and worldly lusts, which men not worse accounted of, doe swarme with, directly tending to the disho­nour I of God: from which with the rest that follow, when wee shall see how God deliuereth his beloued, we shall haue cause to loue the godly life more heartily, which is by Gods grace freed from such intemperancie: freed, I say, so that it ruleth them not, neither reigneth in them, although sometimes in some thing it preuaile against them, till they repent of it: which grace none of the other doe finde, nor obtaine, when they be at the best.

VVicked lusts towards man. The 2. table, fift Comman­dement. Contempt of betters.But to goe forward: to acquaint men with some of the vnbridled and worldly lusts, which carrie them after the hurt of their neighbour: what vn­reuerence, contempt, and obstinacie appeareth to be in the hearts of many a­gainst their betters, diminishing that authoritie, credit, and estimation, which K God hath giuen them, so that place, yeeres, and gifts are had in meane ac­count of them? Where is that ancient reuerence which younger men in the Ministerie haue giuen to those who haue gone before them in labours, gifts, and good example? they imagining themselues able to doe farre better then their elders, and therfore ambitiously aspiring to that which they ought not: and lifting vp themselues aboue them, when yet they should haue learned to [Page 105] A honour and submit themselues to those of low degree? Rom. 12. Vnthankeful­nes to men. What vnthankfulnes in the people, to them which labour for their peace and welfare in their out­ward estate, and are instruments to conuey the glorious Gospell of Iesus Christ vnto them? I meane Christian Princes, and gouernours? How many esteeme of them, who labour to make them happie and to liue for euer? what wishing is there that there were none such, which is all one as to make sure worke to goe to hell? How doe many hunger for their death (yea though they be their naturall parents) by whom they might be inriched and prefer­red, although to make their follie and madnes the better appeare to them­selues and others, the Lord taketh them oftentimes away before them? What B stoutnes, saucines, and boldnes in youth towards their ancients and rulers,Saucines in youth. till it breake out from within and shew it selfe in gesture and words? which bringeth forth such rudenes and barbarousnes, as were too bad among Hea­thens. But I will containe my selfe.

Further, whereas the soule of our neighbour should be most pretious to vs, how doe many reioyce to see them fall into any sin,Reioyce in euil. deuise to make them offend, as to be drunke, to leaue off hearing Sermons, and fret or disdaine at them who liue Christianly; rather then to reuerence the graces of God in them? And whereas wee should loue others as our selues, that is, indeed, 1. Ioh. 3.18. and vn­fainedly, not in word and shew onely; yet how truly is it verified through the C world, that through the strength of their lusts, one man is a woolfe, yea a di­uell to another? What anger, which cannot bee appeased? what deadly ha­tred one against another? what earnest and bitter seeking of reuenge;VVrath. and yet they goe not once to their heart to take shame for them? How easily and readily doe men take the least occasion from others of hard conceiuing of them, and yet how vnmeete doe they thinke it, that others should take the least displeasure by the greatest occasions which they offer them? What little care is there that none be hurt by them, but a churlish senselesnes, of it, if it be so, rather then pitie and compassion in steede of it? As concerning cutting off broiles betwixt men, who is warie to auoide occasions thereof, sometime D by readines to lose some part of their right, as Abraham did to Lot, Gen. 13.8. & 9 and com­ming to lawfull and equall conditions of peace, which were but their dutie? Nay rather,No bearing. men bethink them of all meanes to prouoke others further then they haue done. And as for bearing of them, if they passe bounds toward a­ny, what meekenes or mildnes is there in vs to forbeare them, and to be pa­tient and long suffering towards them? and when it may well bee done,Prou. 12.15. to passe ouer their offence and burie it? where is any pacifying of wrath in mens selues, and a free forgiuing of them,Ephes. 4.32. but rather a seeking of reuenge for the smallest wrong? This is farre from the Apostles rule:Rom. 12.15. No fellow fee­ling. Weepe with them which weepe: reioyce with them which reioyce, and be alike affected towards all men. E In these kinds of fleshly lusts, the commonnes which I see of them, and the bold iustifying of the same, hath made me somewhat the longer.

Now I come to that kinde of these fleshly lusts,Vncleane lusts. which are most properly so called: And they are, when men let loose their hearts to filthie vncleane thoughts and desires, with purposes of defiling their bodies, which should be kept holie to the day of mariage, and after to the end of their life. What varietie of vncleane wishes and desires doe occupie them? how are they in­flamed [Page 106] through euery obiect, of such persons as please their eye, and so are F caught and deceiued with that which is pretious in them? And least that should not be enough against thē, they rest not in this, which is most shame­full;Feed their lusts but they delight to blow vp these burning lusts further, euen to occupie their thoughts in all talke of vncleane matters, to feede their eyes wantonly, that they may shew themselues to be those, whom the Scripture describeth, namely, to haue eyes full of adulterie: and to such places their delight is to goe, where they may haue that carnall humour satisfied, or incensed by all prouo­cations, that thus the pretious treasure of the minde which is fit to haue recei­ued most diuine matters, and to haue made it more like vnto the Angels, is made a stinking brothel-house,Zach. 12.8. and a nurserie of filthines: What beating of G their braines is there about deceiuing and intrapping innocent Virgins, and modest Matrones to bring them to their lure? for common strumpets, and such harlots as haue been defiled alreadie, may be come by with lesse studie. I speake not of the practise of the worst sort of the people of our land, but of them which are ciuill, liue outwardly in some honest course: yea and many of them maried persons themselues, and for want of better, beare office to see good order in townes, of which sort there are many thousands, who are pos­sessed of these deceiueable lusts, neighing after their neighbours wiues, as the Prophet speaketh, and so stopping the course of a Christian life, from the which some of them otherwise had not been farre off. But this for a taste.H

8 I will proceed vnto that kind of lust which is the greedie desire of money and gaine,Couetousnes. if they may come by it, whosoeuer smarteth by the losse of it. What a sea of euils is there in this kind? how many waies, and that all the yeere through, are mens heads occupied about this, how they may by some new deceit, winde somewhat from others? what vnsatiable desire is there of other mens goods? and how doe men resolue that they will be rich, though the Apostle to Timothie doth shew them the danger of that purpose?1. Tim. 6.9. What repining is there in all sorts to see others get that which they themselues can not come by? How doth the mightie deuise to pill and make bare the mea­ner sort, the Landlord the poore tenaunt, till he hath fleeced him of all, and I left the bare carkasse? whereas the predecessours of them both liued toge­ther before them in loue and good will, the one well contented, the other well refreshed vnder him and sufficiently maintained? which is one maine cause of so great beggerie. How doe many, without regard of other, follow this point of wisedome, that they may haue some commodities wholy in their owne hands, that so they may raise an vniuersall dearth for the satisfying of their priuate appetite? In common dealings, nothing (to speake of) is sweete to men,Prou. 9.17. but stolne waters, as it is in the Prouerbs, when men can see how to get more then their owne: the borrower (though he hath found friend­ship) yet seeketh & bethinketh how to defraud the lender, if by any meanes K he might pay it backe no more: so doth the lender deuise new kinds of vsury and oppression against the borrower, whereby so many thousands are vn­done:1. Thess. 4.4. Psal. 15.6. when the Lord commaundeth streightly that there be no oppression nor vsurie at all: So of the seller, and the buyer; the loue of equitie and in­differencie is thrust to the walles amongst men, if it stand not with their gaine.

[Page 107] A And this they will doe, who are otherwise not voide of religion: by all which it may be seene how mens minds are occupied, and with what good stuffe their heads are filled.

But to draw to an end in the laying forth of these worldly lusts, tending to the hurt of our neighbour in his goods; and to goe to another kinde:Lust against our neighbours name. 9 whereas men should seeke to preserue the good name and credit of others, as their owne, they are carried to nothing more preposterously, thorough their vnruly lusts. For how rare are those men, which take well, and interpret in the better part things done, or words spoken doubtfullie, but rather suspect as soone as they heare them, that all was done of malice, and therefore conceiue B hardly against them by and by: so strong are their rebellious lusts, that they cannot be held in: what deepe conceits therefore doe arise,Surmises. 1. Sam. 22.8. and rash surmi­ses of them, (as they did in Saul against Dauid and Ionathan his sonne) and all thorough mistaking of that which was rightlie done, and honestlie meant and spoken? how doe their hearts burne hereupon (thinke we) to speake and doe, not ambiguouslie and doubtfullie against them, but resolute­lie whatsoeuer commeth into their head, as Shemei did against Dauid? 2. Sam. 15.7. So that they thirst to defame them by word or writing: yea, and if many yeeres before there were any offence committed by them, of which they are priuie, although they concealed it till then, and made light of it: yet now,Exod. 2.14. Libels. (if it han­geth C them) are set on fire in their mad moode to disclose it: as the wicked Hebrue did abuse Moses. What inuentings of libels,Psalm. 50.22. and deuising of new slaunders; yea, against our owne brother and mothers sonne: and with such shame­lesse boldnesse, and impudencie, that Iezabel was not able to goe beyond them in that facultie. And by these, it may be gessed not doubtfullie what swarmes of outragious lusts doe lurke secretly in their bosomes, who yet see little, or nothing amisse in themselues, and oftentimes set as good a shew vpon their doings in the sight of others, as the best: nay, I say more, who shall with a Iudas his kisse imbrace them, whom behinde their backe they thus abuse. And none of these foule and shamefull faults would breake out open­ly D by mouth and life, if they were not nourished secretly in the heart before.

But that I may shut vp all that I haue to say of these sorts of worldly lusts, least many should obiect,Though not al­waies, yet these be common. that although they graunt that sometime they be led with these frensies, yet they be not alwaies so bad: I say that is smallie to their commendation and reioycing: for as they are now too oft and com­mon, so should they be commoner, if other things did not breake them off. But can they denie this, that whereas their desires should tend to good, and leade them to God, that yet they are the most of their time taken vp in wi­shing 10 somewhat of their neighbours to their hurt? Whereby, besides their deceiuing of their owne hearts, and spending their pretious time in dreames E about things which come not to passe; so they plainely shew what they would haue: wherein, although some containe themselues at one time with­out consenting to that which they haue foolishly wished: yet haue they no more gouernement ouer their hearts, but to offend after the same sort at an­other time: and what a deceiueable, vnprofitable, & wearisome life is this, (to say nothing of the perill which commeth to their soules hereby) thus to be­come seruants to their own lusts, who are created of God to so singular ends?

[Page 108]Thus I haue in some sort laid forth the lusts of the heart against God and F men thoroughout the commaundements, the which swarming in wicked men,These lusts be causes of all woe. as I haue shewed, and ruling and carrying them, are the causes of all dis­solutenes, licentiousnes, and disorder in their liues, and of many sore punish­ments thereby. By that which I haue said of this matter, it may appeare, what a singular mercie of God it is vnto his children, that their hearts are not nur­series of such draffe, but that they abhorre it rather: For though this grace of renouncing such filthines be little regarded of the common sort, but counted precisenes, yet shall it be an ornament in these before God, and a most preci­ous comfort vnto themselues.

G

CHAP. 7. Of other inward euils and sinnes, most properly concerning our selues.

NOw follow the branches of earthly corruptions, and world­ly lusts,Euill lusts con­cerning our selues. which although they doe offend God; yet they doe not directly concerne the person of God, or of their neigh­bour, but especiallie themselues, that in some sort I may discouer and bewraie the loathsome kennell from whence H all ill life doth come: which few doe well knowe, and therefore suspect in no sort the danger that they are in: a taste of the which, as of the former, but more briefelie, I will set downe. And they are so euill and monstrous, that though men who are possessed of them, deale neither with God, nor men directly; yet their hearts are too lamentablie, yea, and that for the most part continuallie incumbred with them: these outragious lustes of theirs doe sometime so wilfully carrie them (as it were a streame) that mis­sing of their will,Fretting when crossed of their will. 1. Sam. 31. Acts 16. euen that which they would haue, they desire nothing more then to be out of the world; forgetting all Gods kindnes toward them: and yet when God calleth them hence indeede, they cannot abide to I heare of it, but rebell against it, more then against any thing in the world.

Excessiue de­light in abun­dance.Againe, they are so vnruly, that if God giueth them the bridle, and follow them with abundance of his outward benefits, they haue no delight in them, except they abuse them most excessiuelie in eating, and drinking, not to liue thereby, but to surfet, to be pampered so as they be fit for no good thing: in play from one kind to another,Iames 5.5. counting it pleasure to liue deliciously for a season: in costlines of apparell, and curious trimming vp of their carkases, not mindfull of the necessities of others, howsoeuer their superfluity would helpe to appa­rell many which goe naked. How doe they please themselues, and imagine that others doe admire them for the same? yea and for all this, oftentimes K (that I say nothing of them which runne in debt for it) wringing and pow­ling others, for the maintenance of it; ioying beyond measure in their chil­dren, though little caring for their good education: which is the very pride of life so manifestlie condemned.Pride of life. Vpon these, and such like, their hearts are set in their plentie,Iohn 2.13. and contrarilie fretting, murmuring, and vexing their hearts, when they fall into necessitie: although they heare that a good name is [Page 109] A better than golde; yet they will followe their appetite so grosselie, vntill the fruite of it causeth them to lose credit, and good name, as if it were nothing worth. What should I say of their priding in their wit, wealth, beautie, strength, wisdome, and other gifts? when they are, who knoweth not what, if it were but by this description, and when as also they know not how long they shall inioy them: they account of to morrow what they will doe, Iames 4.13. and cannot tell what may fall out to day. Their lightnes, vnsetlednes,Frowardnes. Prou. 27.1. and wilfull frowardnes for euery thing that doth displease them; their vaine, idle, and deceitfull de­sires of things, which become not the grauitie of such as are borne to a better life; their deadly pangs of sulleines, when nothing will please them; with B their curious heads, which are euer medling in things not pertinent to them; with their sottish selfe loue, that so much blindefoldeth them from seeing that any thing in them is offensiue, with innumerable other concupiscences,Selfe lov [...] that dailie come from them: may easilie perswade them to confesse that their hearts are burthened, and loaden, though they had not outward sinnes to presse them downe, and to say that it is diuine power and grace from aboue, that must purge these and such like vnsauorie draffe out of them. And yet these, and many other such are renounced as they come to be knowne of Gods seruants, and are resisted according to the wisdome which God hath giuen them, although in others they rule and raigne. And the obtaining of C grace to doe this, is one part of the christian life, as I haue said. For they ma­king the word of God their guide, haue this benefit by it, that they are made wary and circumspect against their euill and noisome corruptions, as Dauid saith in the Psalme 19.11. where he setting downe many vses and benefits of the law and word of God, as that It is more to be desired then fine golde, and more sweete then the hony combe; addeth this: Moreouer thereby is thy seruant made cir­cumspect and wary. And Salomon saith the like, Prou. 2.10. When wisdome deligh­teth thy heart, and knowledge entreth into thy soule, then shall counsell preserue thee, and vnderstanding shall keepe thee from the euill way: And what way is worse, then the deuices and desires of our euill hearts? Saint Paul likewise, to shew D that God hath giuen this grace to his faithfull ones, saith 2. Cor. 10.4. The weapons of our warfare, are not carnall, but mightie through God to cast down holds: casting down the imaginations, and euery high thing that is exalted against the know­ledge of God, and bringing into captiuitie euery thought to the obedience of Christ: and to the Ephesians 4.22. If we haue learned Christ aright, we haue been taught to cast off, concerning the conuersation in time past, the old man, which is cor­rupt through deceiueable lusts.

Thus therfore now hauing laid open the packe of these worldly lusts,A speciall part of a godly life to renounce these. and proued that the Lord by the Scripture giueth greater grace to his, then to o­bey them, Iames 4.6. Rom. 6.16. I will proceede now to shew, that this is a E speciall peece of christianitie, thus to hold vnder, and resist them; so as in some sort, we may be made able to ouercome them. No man will greatlie denie this, if he be aduised: for what should hinder one (if he be vnburthe­ned of his passions, and inordinate desires which binde him from dutie as cords) but that he may goe forward without let, readilie, and roundly? This being alwaies vnderstoode, that he is not without dailie striuing to obtaine it, and closed about of infirmities still.Hebr. 3.12. It is the euill heart that causeth men to fall [Page 110] away from the liuing God: Iusts marre al. they are their fleshly lusts which fight against their soules, F that both hinder them from walking with God,1. Pet. 2.10. Iam. 4.1.2. and will bring destruction in the end: euen these lusts, as S. Iames saith, which fight in our members, they are that carrie vs violently and foolishly after them from our setled peace, to fret and rage (as enemies in warre, one against another) when wee haue not our desires satisfied, nor obtaine what wee would. Therefore these being weakened, and their force restrained, we may cleerely see, that with ease and cheerefulnes the Christian life shall be set vpon: for as our Sauiour Christ, because he was voide of all corruption and sinfull desires, therfore the prince of this world attempting him (as hee doth other men) yet found nothing in him which he sought, fit for his purpose; and as Adam in the time of his in­nocencie G stood free for a season from falling, when as yet his heart was not tained: euen so our hearts being clensed and purged from their natural cor­ruption, although not wholy ridde of it, and our troublesome lusts and pas­sions being appalled and weakened within vs, and hauing receiued a deadly wound, cannot so master vs, as that we shall not loue, desire, long after, and do the will of our God, though, in respect of that which we ought, weakely, and vnperfectly; yet in respect of that which otherwise wee should doe, both soundly and in good sort.This shall be accepted. Psal. 130.3. 1. Ioh. 2.2. And this will God accept for holie seruice, and not looke streightly what is done amisse, but pardon our sinnes because of our aduocate: so that notwithstanding our obedience be farre from that it should be; yet we H may rest therein, euen such as it is, with sound peace, voide of feare.

And thus farre, God in great mercie, hath made vs partakers of the know­ledge of his will, that wee hauing our desires in this wise subiect to him, as I haue said, wee may possesse our soules after in peace and heauenly manner. Therefore if any man,He that ob­serues these, is occupied in a godly life. Iam. 4.7. whose heart is purified by faith, doth exercise himselfe in knowing these his soule and shamefull lusts, and marke how he is led away of them, and deceiued by them, and which of them doe most trouble him, and oftest preuaile against him, and therefore by the helpes which God hath gi­uen him (which shall be set downe in the next treatise) doth resist them; let not him doubt, but that he is occupied in the godlie life, and that he is come I out of the stinking Sodome, of his old sinfull course: and thus doth the god­ly man carrie himselfe, and at this marke doth hee chiefly aime. For the true wisedome which is from aboue, of the which euery godly man hath his name, that is, he is called wise, this wisedome sheweth it selfe in all manner of holy con­uersation in meekenes, and suffereth not the contrary lusts to dwell and abide in the heart, as bitter enuying, prouokings one of another, swellings, tumults, and stor­mings one against another, with such like, as euery one hath his measure. In deede all men haue not ouercome themselues alike;All ouercome not these alike. no not euen they, who haue set themselues to this worke of plucking downe the ruines of their old building: for they who haue great and cleere knowledge of the will of God,K and of the whole mysterie of godlines, ioyned with affection, they are the most forward:The better sort. And to speake plainlier, they who make faith and a godlie life their treasure indeed, finding and feeling that they are greater riches and plea­sure to them, then gold or all substance, and in their account take them so, as in their iudgement they know and will say, they ought to be so; they are the men, who will take most paine to withstand their lusts and desires; they get [Page 111] A most victorie ouer them, and are least ouercome of them: they (it must needs be graunted) haue greatest aduantage ouer them, and know best what fruite in sound peace, and many other waies is reaped thereby. And such examples, God be blessed, we haue, and those not a few in the Scriptures, who haue at­tained to this, I meane, to a great measure Moses meeke, Numb. 12.3. Abraham be­leeuing, Rom. 4.3. Ioseph con­tinent, Genes. 39.10. Daniel zealous for the Lord, Dan. 1.8. & 6.11. The woman in Luke full of loue, Luk. 7.47. with many more such. Therefore they ruled their euill hearts from the con­trary corrup­tions. The weaker are not to di­strust for not matching the best. of such grace: and by their good example, there are through Gods goodnes in this age many, who haue in­ioyed great libertie from God this way, that no man may thinke this (which I am now about) to bee a thing impossible to attaine vnto, neither denied to be granted vs of God, as it shall be sought and cared for. But, as I said, all Gods seruants haue not one and the same, therefore not this excellent measure.

B To goe forward then, for the edifying of the rest, who, by Gods grace, are many more then the former, who all desire to leaue and forsake their noy­some corruptions, and rebellious willes; but yet haue nothing the largenes of heart, and measure of grace, which some others haue, I would willingly say to them that which the Lord hath reuealed vnto me: That they be not trou­bled at this, that they bee behind others of Gods seruants in the ouercom­ming of themselues, and haue not gotten masterie of all affections in such sort, as some haue done: neither doubt they that faith and godlines are vtter­ly to seeke with them, because of this. For all beleeuers haue not their part in one and the same measure of mortification, and grace: all men cannot reach C and attaine to that which some do: all know not alike; all value not goodnes and libertie from fleshly lusts alike: and therefore cannot take paines for the same, as some others doe: some receiue thirtie fold, some sixtie fold, and some an hundred fold, by that which they heare. It is commendable and meete, that we should walke, as wee haue the best, for our examples; and to follow them, as they are paternes of good things vnto vs: but to stay at this, that wee are not at all in Christ, because we are not in all points like vnto some other in subdu­ing our affections, that is in no sort to be yeelded vnto, if that which is in vs, be in vs in truth. Which thing I speake for their cause, who both thinke, and oft vtter the same, saying: Oh I am not, as such of Gods children! they are D happie, for that they are not troubled with frowardnes, impatience, anger, wearines of good exercises, wandring in hearing of Sermons, reading and prayer, and such other like carnal desires, as I am: and yet the same persons both haue had a true taste of eternal life, and earnest combates with their cor­ruptions: yea and while they complaine, they testifie their going forward in subduing their corruptions, farre otherwise then they who are not so trou­bled; and doe declare plainly that they loue the grace which they mourne for, and hate deadly the corruption, which they complaine and crie out of. Therefore let no man measure himselfe by another: but in that little which he knoweth, let him be faithfull, renouncing fleshly lusts, as he seeth what an E excellent estate of life it is to be freed from them, I meane, not to bee in bon­dage to them: for there is no libertie like this: all other, when wee seeke to fulfill our owne desire, is vtter slauerie and bondage.

And these things being rightly considered, it may appeare,These lusts are resisted of all beleeuers in their measure. that in a godly life the inward lusts of the heart, and knowne corruptions of it, how com­mon soeuer they bee in the world, are resisted and declined from, of all true Christians in their measure, according to that which is alleaged by the A­postle [Page 112] S. Peter: We hauing most pretious promises giuen vs of God, are made there­by F partakers of the grace of the holie Ghost, by the which wee are able to flie the corrup­tion that is in the world, and reigneth amongst the vngodly. If they then who im­brace and beleeue the promises, and therefore haue fastened vpon a godlie life,They who be ruled by their lusts, cā claime no part in a godly life. doe flie the lusts and corruptions which others delight in and imbrace; it followeth on the contrarie, that they, who are ruled and led by them, can claime no part in a godly life. For he that is so minded cannot be but carnall: estranged from God, and a bondman of hel: which if it were weighed, would cause many thousands, who now thinke themselues good Christians, to take some paine to bridle their intemperate and vnruly hearts, & to be wounded for the same deeply, who contrarily giue libertie to them in most things that G they desire.The weake may stay for their comfort in these three spe­ciall graces. Let such weake Christians (to omit these) rest their hope in some certain estate: and not ouerreach themselues with things which they canont compasse: I meane by resting in some certain estate, this: First, that they haue a cleere knowledge of their saluation. Secondly, that they account it as their chiefe treasure. And thirdly, be set forward in some plaine and good course of life, whereby they may grow in faith, and the obeying of God, though with some striuing. But if they walk destitute of any of these three, they shall be snared much with feare, & vnquietnes, while they feele that all is not well with them: oft fearing that they haue not begun aright, nor were euer truely called: and yet (if they should forgoe this hold) seeing there is some liuely H sparkle of the new birth in them, let them not breake off and faint vtterly, as the wicked doe,Cant. 3.3. but moane and seeke home againe, as a bird wandring from her nest, least otherwise they walke heauily many moneths, it may be, yeeres, before they finde deliuerance. And vntill they doe so set themselues to nou­rish their faith with great care & diligence,Note. their godly life (with what labour and toyle soeuer it be) is but a building vp and a pulling downe: for one day they shall like, and another day mislike: sometime they may feele themselues well staied, and oft otherwise without peace. Yea and I say againe, when they are staied, yet if they hold not this as their best riches, to solace their soules euery while (as they may well and easily doe, hauing so many good helpes a­mong I them) with this sweete fauour of God, which may surmount all other follies and delights, in their perswasion and estimation, they shall not either abide long in that possession of peace, or like the course of their life which they leade: but the diuell who knoweth their weaknes, and enuieth their godly and sweete estate, will raise many occasions to vnsettle and trouble them.

These three must be ear­nestly laboured for.These three things therefore being of so especall price, must bee more re­garded, and sought after of such as want them, more carefully then they haue been: and preachers not onely heard teaching these, but also conferred with about the same: that the peoples hungring after the same, may whet on and K incourage their teachers with all willingnes and readines to resolue & com­fort them comming vnto them,Luk. 8.1. Matth. 13.36. as the people in the Gospell: or rather as Christs Disciples came oft to him to be taught, and haue their questions an­swered. And although other doctrine is not to bee neglected, yet I would haue all to know, that nothing is so necessarily to bee learned as these three are, of such as haue alreadie attained to the knowledge of true happines by [Page 113] A Iesus Christ, what other things so euer be wanting. All goeth forward vn­towardlie, without these, as I haue said. And as a man knoweth nothing pro­fitable vnto saluation before he beleeueth: so after he beleeueth, he kno­weth nothing profitablie to growe on with comfort, in his christian course, without these three faithfullie and carefullie looked vnto and preserued.

For my part, I doe thee to vnderstand,A chiefe end of this booke, is to set forward a weake Chri­stian. that it was the most principall re­gard I had in setting out this booke, to helpe and direct the weake Christian thoroughout from his first entrance into the knowledge of Christ Iesus, that he vnderstanding and beleeuing, what a rich portion God hath bestowed vpon him, he may make such account of it, as it deserueth, that is, esteeme it B farre better then all that he hath; and then inioy the fruites of it in an holy life after, as God hath taught him. Who so trauaileth faithfullie in purchasing these things (and yet the purchase is easie and cheape enough,How to make godlines a pleasure. euen without money) shall goe forward readilie, and with ease, and make no toile of god­lines but pleasure: neither haue his teeth watering after the greatest mens dainties, but they after his. He shall not be at the point of them, whom I de­scribed a little before by their speech in the way of obiection, who some­times are driuen to doubt of their calling, but be able to guide himselfe, how to rise when he is fallen, and to returne when he is stept out of the way:Note. and to walke in most sweete safetie vnder Gods protection all the day long,Deut. 33.12. as C shall be seene afterward.

Thou wilt aske me, what thou shalt haue for thy portion:Gaine of your course. I say not this measure, nor that of heauenlie peace, full contentation, and other graces: nei­ther as this man or that: but such as for the beautie and brightnesse of it, shall cause thee to maruaile, and to say, as it is, euen more then thou couldest haue asked. If thou further demaundest, how thou shalt attaine to this: that thou maist thus knowe, esteeme, and keepe it: this present treatise (besides all helpe of publike Ministerie, and priuate conference) shall teach thee: nei­ther doe I doubt, but that in one part or other of it, the humble and teache­able reader shall finde it.

D But yet further to satisfie those who cannot rest, because of the want of such graces as God affordeth to some of his children; they are to vnderstand, that as we cannot, nor may not appoint the Lord his times, and measures; so we can shew no reason, why we should not hope for that which he hath pro­mised, if we seeke it as he teacheth vs, and as hereafter shall be shewed.Why God with­holds some grace from his. And if the Lord, in this case, increaseth not our faith, knowledge, experience, strength ouer our corruptions, our comfort, and such like fruites of his spirit, (as we haue no cause to feare it, while we feruently desire it) he knoweth suf­ficient cause why he doth not: that is, because he knoweth it should not be good for vs, if he should giue vs them: So that his holding backe, is not,Note. for E that he is vnwilling to bestowe them vpon vs, but because he seeth that they would be to the hurt of vs; as that we may be vnfit to vse them well (but ra­ther as many doe) to waxe proude of them: for the which cause the Apostle himselfe saith, That the Lord did denie to him a gift, which he had oft, 2. Cor. 12.9. and earnestly praied for. And for this cause God may denie blessing to his owne faithfull seruants, as also to trie them, whether they loue them so well, that they will seeke after them still, and yet this ought not to be taken hardly of them. But [Page 114] otherwise (these excepted) if they grow not,Causes in our selues of not growing. it is most iustly to be imputed F to their owne fault; as their ignorance, or darke sight in knowing how they ought to labour for these graces,Jgnorance. and their slouthfulnes in refusing paines ta­king,Slouth. Fauouring sin. or sleightlie and houerlie going about it, and fauouring themselues a­gainst their consciences, and not remouing out of their way such clogges as they saw to hinder them: Or if these be not the causes, then is it their owne timorousnes, and vnbeleefe; they fearing that such heauenlie grace as they seeke after,Timorousnesse. shall not be giuen vnto them, wherein they doe God no small dis­honour:Iames 1.6. who is more ready to giue then they to aske: and giueth plentifullie to them which aske, and casteth no man in the teeth; but then they must also aske in faith, and wauer not, but that they shall receiue; for if they wauer, they can receiue nothing. G Can the Lord prouide more strongly and surely,Remedie of our vnbe­leefe. to remedie our distrust, then by speaking in this wise vnto vs, to imbolden vs, who are so sore letted and hindred by vnbeliefe, that when wee doe that which in vs lieth to please him, and to grow on in grace; yet we sticke fast in it, as in the myre of vnbeleefe? and when we haue done all, yet we doubt, God will not graunt vs our re­quest? so ingrauen in vs it is: thereby shewing that we can hardly beleeue further, then we can see. I know mens answere herein is this; they dare not be so bold, as to assure themselues that they shall haue the grace which they pray for and seeke: But I say, let an euill conscience be taken out of the way, and their doubt may soone bee at an ende. Oh but they are afraide, least H they should presume? What? when God promiseth and commaundeth vs to trust him? Reuerence (no doubt, least we should be too bold and light-minded in dealing about so holy matters) is a vertue much to be sought after, and imbraced: but we must be able to put a manifest difference betwixt a full perswasion of that which God promiseth, and an vnreuerent boldnes to challenge that which he promiseth not. And therefore to returne, faile not thou (to the accusation and wound of thy conscience) in seruing Gods pro­uidence, and in vsing the meanes faithfullie to growe and increase in his gra­ces and gifts, staying vpon the Lord by faith: and assuredlie he will not faile, nor disappoint thee.I

CHAP. 8. How the mindes and hearts of the beleeuers are taken vp vsuallie, seeing they renounce inward lusts.

How the minds of the godly are occupied. BVt to returne to the renouncing of our lustes: If ye aske me what manner of persons they be who are at defiance with this vnsauorie stuffe, and what thoughts such haue, as ex­pell these corruptions, and haue them in heartie contempt,K seeing the minde is euer busie,Three ages of Gods children. and seldome vnoccupied? I answere, that the persons are, as I haue said, sinners, as o­thers be, but sanctified: and weake, but willing to be better; and that their thoughts are according to the diuers growths and ages of Gods children, 3. Childhood. 1. Pet. 2.1. 2. Middle age. Ephes. 4.14. 1. Olde age. Heb. 5.14. Heb. 12.12, 13which are three. The highest degree, is olde age, or the experienced estate: which yet is not the perfect age in Christ, for that shall not befall vs vntill the [Page 115] A life to come, but a firme, constant, and setled going forward vnto that perfec­tion. The second, is the middle age in christianitie, in which, as young men in wrastling, we haue courage against our sinfull lustes; but yet like vnto them; we haue many foiles, and are oftentimes cooled in our courage, though we sometime preuaile. And in this estate, we are very fitly compared to the graine of mustard seede, after that it is shot vp, and hath a blade and stalke, till it come to haue boughes and branches to shelter the fowles of the ayre; so in this we are euer growing, though slowlie: and this degree of christianitie, is betwixt olde age and infancie. The third is childhood or infancie, the lowest and the last, the which is principallie discerned by an earnest desire of the sin­cere B milke of the worde; and namely of the promise of the forgiuenes of sinnes: which although some of these deare children of God cannot with full assu­rance lay holde of, yet this their hungring desire after it (which cannot be sa­tisfied without it) with a sensible feare to offend God, is a true signe thereof. And this is the lowest degree of true beleeuers; which estate is at first, weake in respect of the other two, as it is in the naturall bodie: for in the young babe, it is first weake, and after groweth to greater strength, as it groweth in yeares: yea, and this is an excellent estate, in respect of the counterfeit, which haue most neere resemblance of it, in whom may be seene some flitting mo­tions after good things, but in time, they vanish and goe away, as they came. C These degrees of the spirituall birth being thus described, which by the Scriptures may easilie be discerned, I will now shew,Heb. 5.14. Ephes. 4.14. 1. Pet. 2.2. The highest de­gree of Chri­stians. about what things the thoughts of these three are chiefelie occupied, or desire at least to haue them occupied, though they doe not euer attaine to that which they desire. And to begin with the first, some of Gods elect, through long experience, and much acquaintance with the practise of a godlie life; haue obtained grace to guide them more constantlie then others: whereby they so serue God, that they may please him with a reuerent awe of his maiestie, which holdeth them within bounds, and in holie and religious feare of offending him, while the other often breake out more easilie. And this estate, though it be to be aimed D at, of all godlie people; yet it is not obtained, but of such as haue accustomed their mindes to the heauenlie course, and to whom good meditations and thoughts, to shunne and auoide euill, are become a pleasure; and as well to be able to discerne the same by their vnderstanding, and iudgement,Heb. 5.14. as to haue their will in good sort at commaundement to follow the good, and shunne the euill. Such as Saint Iohn calleth fathers, in his epistle (saying,1. Iohn 2.13. I write vnto you fathers) because they had knowne the Lord, and his manner of dealing with his people, and had experience of the discipline and gouernement of his house in a godly life a long time.

Now such as haue been trained vp in the obedience, which the Scripture E teacheth, from their youth, are able,Heb. 10.24. vpon their so long triall of Gods direc­ting them in that course,Matth. 13.31. not onely to goe forward cheerefullie and readilie themselues, but also to perswade and hearten on others. And such therefore, thorough this grace receiued at Gods bountifull hands, are much freed from this bondage, and seldome so grosselie holden vnder of their corrupt lustes, as others, sauing that God will make them see their weakenes from time to time, especiallie to subdue pride in them, which is soone kindled in them, and [Page 116] to holde them vnder: they haue therefore their mindes vsuallie set vpon F some one or other of the infinite heauenlie instructions, which from time to time they haue treasured vp in their hearts, both out of the Scriptures, and the fountaines of other holy men; whereby, although they are not quicke­ned as they would, and desire to be, yet they are held from much euill. The particulars, of Gods vnutterable kindnes, of mans mortalitie, the momenta­nie estate of all things vnder the sunne, the blessed estate of the elect, the end­les woe of the damned, &c. who can recken? They haue much time taken vp in the beholding and meditating of Gods maiestie, as they can conceiue of him, his power, his wisdome, his euerlasting being: of his iudgements, and how he is prouoked: of his patience, and long suffering towards the G world; his dailie pulling of them from their pleasures, who thought they should neuer be taken from them: and their owne estate, and seuerall parts of their liues much occupie them;Prou. 14.8. how they may keepe in their way: For it is the wisdome of the prudent to vnderstand their way. Also, how they may hold out constantlie the profession of their hope with ioy vnto the ende: how they may resist all occasions of euill (for they presume not without dailie helpe from God for all their strength) they consider what lets they shall finde from Sathan, the world, and their owne hearts: how they may order well their particular actions in, and through the day, in their callings, giuing to all men their due: that they may prosper, and also, that they may make a good ac­count H at the ende of the day,Prou. 2.10.11. and so at their last ende. They who haue these, and the seuerall particularities vnder all these contained, to occupie their mindes about,Prou. 6.22. is it doubted, what thoughts, desires, and occupying of their heads,2. Pet. 1.8.9. and hearts they haue, to keepe them that they may neither be idle, nor vn­profitable? The thought they take daily (vnlesse they be much blinded) is in the greatest part, this: how they may haue a good conscience in all things, pleasing God,Acts 24.16. Coloss. 1.10. and how they may be prepared for the crosse, and to keepe the same minde vnder it, that being exercised therein oft and much, they may reape the fruite of righteousnesse,Hebr. 12.12. euen most sweete peace: and as their saluation groweth neerer, Rom. 13.11. then when they first beleeued; so they may be fitter, and readier to I meete the Lord; their latter daies being farre better than their former: to be merie whilest they thinke he hath blessed them,Reuel. 2.22. Acts 2.25, 26. and neuer at ease, nor to thinke themselues well, but while they are vnder his gouernement.

Haue su [...] no other things to doe, but that with the scumme and ofscou­rings of the world, they must aske how to spend the long sommers day, and the wearisome winter nights? Although others, who are prophane, haue not,Psalm. 1.2. Psalm. 119.67 yet with these we may see, it is otherwise. What? doe men thinke, be­cause the diuell hath filled the most parts of the world with darkenes, so that the most see none of these things, and hauing no experience of, nor acquain­tance with them, doe not desire to be partakers of them: doe men, I say, there­fore K thinke, that there is no other, nor better way to take vp their mindes, then as they doe? but like brute beasts, and wilde Irish, to passe their time, or to iumpe with the world, and so to be like others? Oh land! oh people, infa­tuate and sottish! that vnder the Gospell, and the same so long in thee conti­nued, yea, and that in many places so fruitfullie and faithfullie preached, art yet to seeke of the true fruite of the Gospell; and art not led to God by it, [Page 117] A more then if there were none: oh that men created of God to liue for euer, should be content to bee ignorant, and without care or loue of the infinite good things which are reuealed to be knowne and delighted in of them! The Lord hath done great things for thee (ô man!Luk. 19.42.) but they are not wonderful in thine eyes: this blessed time is the day of thy visitation, but it is hidden from thee.

But to returne: I haue shewed thee, how some of Gods people haue their minds exercised, when they haue chased away the noysome droue of such vncleane lusts, as were wont in times past to possesse them as well as other;The best are molested some­times with lusts. yet doe I not conclude that these are not at all troubled with euill thoughts and B vaine desires, as though I would preferre them before the Apostle himselfe, who said, that the messenger of Sathan (euen some prickes of corruption) was sent to buffet him: and at another time, Oh wretched man that I am, 2. Cor. 12.9. Rom. 7.24. who shall deliuer me from this bodie of sinne! Nay I am so farre from saying so, that I contrarily af­firme, that their purest actions are mixed with corruption: and no better then good water running thorough an vnsauourie vessell; as their faith, loue, vp­rightnes, mercie, &c. Now then, if God should look vpon their faults, though they may be kept from foule and filthie vncleannesses, how should they be able to abide it? no, if it were no more then vntowardnes and vnfitnes to the du­ties of their callings, and to other good works, and much wearisomnes there­in.Not compa­rable to the A­postles. C I doe not (therefore) forget my selfe in speaking thus of some of Gods seruants: for whatsoeuer I say of them, let no man gather that it is a making of them equall with the singularest of the Apostles. For we know what Paul could say, of his ioy in his sufferings, and that oftentimes, and the strangenes, 2. Cor. 12.4. and va­rietie of them, of his lifting vp into paradise, and that he had heard such things, as are not lawfull for a man to speake.

These and such others, I thinke, God gaue him as priuiledges,Paul had spe­ciall priuiled­ges. which were meere arrogancie and ostentation for any man among vs to dreame of, or compare with him in: seeing our sufferings (to speake of them who haue su­stained the greatest afflictions for the Gospell in our age) haue bin small: and D the other things mentioned to haue bin shewed him, are more extraordina­rie: but to haue our minds and hearts so clensed, & purged from the strength of corrupt lusts, as I haue said, to haue no fellowship with them: and when they are kindled in vs, to haue grace and strength ordinarily, and vsually against them, and to see and know how to auoide them;Zach. 12.8.9.10. it is so farre off from arrogancie to thinke that it should be so, that it is farre vnbeseeming the grauitie and age of fathers in Christ, and strong Christians, not to haue it so. So that as an­cient men, who haue liued long, are called fathers for their age, skill,These be fa­thers. and ex­perience: so these for their time and long continuance in Christs schoole are called fathers; and therefore ought to haue wisedome and knowledge, how E to walke thorough the world (though a wildernes) in safetie: how to with­stand the diuell in his assaults (though subtile) and skilfull also in their course and cariage of themselues, how to be paternes of good life vnto the younger sort. Tit. 2.4. And thus they hauing their minds established with grace, and vnburthened of such affections and thoughts, they may rightly, and in good sort, goe a­bout their workes and dealings: as labouring, bargaining, iourneying, com­panying, seruing their prince, and doing any other lawfull actions; and yet [Page 118] not be distempered by them: which things for want of such a well ordered F minde, no other men can doe, as by the complaints of the better sort may bee seene, and by experience of the bad sort is perceiued, and daily found. And this for the highest degree, and greatest measure of grace in Gods chil­dren.

The third sort of the godly, in battell.The second sort is compared to yong men, who then are in their strength, rather then when they are either children, or old men: so some of Gods ser­uants are as yet neither experienced nor throughly acquainted in the Chri­stian battaile as the fathers, nor vtterly ignorant of it, as the new borne Chri­stians: these are especally occupied in fighting against temptations, and re­sisting and ouercomming their vnruly desires, which hale and draw them af­ter G the same. Therefore, as they who are yong men in age, and in their lustie yeeres, are commonly of this middle sort of Christians (if they bee truly reli­gious:1. Ioh. 2.14.) so S. Iohn writing to them, doth shew them what is their chiefe and principall worke: that is, to resist the diuell, and his strong assaults, which in them, lustie and strong, are not easily subdued: and perswadeth them to this combat, not only by telling them what a glorious victorie it shall be to them to vanquish such an enemie; but also that they may bee sure of it, as if they had got it alreadie. These knowing by the light of the Scriptures and the Commaundements, how corrupt their hearts are, and how many sinfull thoughts and desires doe swarme in them, they watch their hearts; whereas H before they knew of any daunger, they little looked after them: they pray a­gainst them now, often, and earnestly: they haue some feare in companie, and alone by themselues (which is no part of euill mens thought) least they should be ouercome by any such affections, as they are in danger of, and yet they are oft ouercome. They do also oft times consider how they may auoid the occasions of sinne, least thereby they should be inticed and so disquieted in their mindes, and breake out to the offence of their brethren, and the re­proch of their profession among the bad: anger, impatience, frowardnes, fretting,Sinne is odious to them, though not euer ouer­come of them. sensible desiring of their neighbours goods, as wife, seruant, or such like, which in times past were common matters with them, and their delight,I their hearts haue now such smart and wound for the same, that they grow to beware of them, wearie of them, ashamed to thinke that such vices should bee found in them: and count it no needlesse nor lost labour to haue their care thus set on worke, that they may auoide them. Therefore such as know the vse of fasting ioyned with their prayers, do vse it as occasion serueth, & as their neede requireth, that they may the easilier purge out that old sower leauen. They renue their couenants with the Lord to please him better, when they see how they haue slipped and fallen from their good purposes; and yet are soone vnsetled againe. They are in very good case this day or weeke, to with­stand any sinne; and yet to morrow or next weeke vnsetled and sensiblie di­stempered; K in their prosperitie soone forgetfull of their feruent care which they had, and then as much misliking themselues for it, when they see it: and to bee short, they are much grieued for their sinnes, and yet oft ouercome of them by inward suggestion and outward occasions. And what is such a life, but a combat and conflict? which, although it may seeme miserable, yet is it safe: and the life that is voide of this, is the life full of woe and dangers. Fur­thermore, [Page 119] A whatsoeuer their earthly dealings are, although they neglect them not, yet they are not most deepely and earnestly setting their hearts vpon them (as farre as they can espie it in themselues) but often looking to the prin­cipall, and that which is most worth, that they may finde peace betwixt God,These are sometime dis­couraged. and their hearts. Through ignorance and vnacquaintance in their Christian course, knowing, what hardnesses and difficulties are in their way, they are many times discouraged; but they, who haue laide their foundation strongly, rise vp after some heauines, and discomfort, out of their sleepines and securi­tie, complaining thereof, and come to themselues againe.Cant 3 2.3. Glad to vse all helpes. All good helpes that they can inioy, they are glad of, publike, or priuate, and thus (I meane, B by the strength hereof) they haue oft and much refreshing of their minds, and put away much tediousnes, fearefull panges, and dangers of euill: by all which, and such like, it may be perceiued, what the thoughts of such are, and how their hearts in great part are occupied. And although they haue not, as the former sort which I haue spoken of, abilitie and strength to occupie and exercise their senses and minds so continuallie and constantlie to be heauen­ly hearted, and to haue God their guide so sensiblie, as they (for want of ex­perience, and perhaps knowledge to) yet are they much delighted with the good examples of such as goe before them, and giue them light: and to be framed after them, as they are after Christ, is the thing which they most looke C after and desire.

They hauing thorough Gods goodnes preuailed somewhat, especiallie at sometimes against their strongest corruptions, which were wont to beare too much sway in them, they earnestlie are set against the smaller,Set against smaller sinnes. and such as seeme lesse dangerous; as the idle, and vnprofitable rouings of their braine: (which do not directlie so much carrie them after euill, as hinder them from good, blindefolding their iudgements first, and then poysoning the will afterwards) as the dreaming of outward peace, and prosperitie, of long life, of pleasure, and profit; vaine wishings of that which other haue, being things pretious in their eyes: Which they are oft tickled with, till they come D to better remembrance of themselues; much like the Apostles (when they were yet weake) dreaming of promotion, of an earthlie kingdome, and who should be greatest among their fellowes: which toies and other like building of castles in the ayre, the diuell had filled not onely their heads, but also their hearts with the delight of them sometimes, and their mouthes also with the talke of them, as their chiefest pleasure.

So that they hauing thorough custome long lien in them, they cannot so easilie and readilie cast them off, though they see the shame and vanitie of them. Their labour therefore (of their mindes, I meane) is in great part, this: to keepe themselues from being taken vp of them, seeing good meditations E are hindered, yea, and estranged hereby; sometime preuailing, sometime preuailed against, whereby their sorrow is the more: but they doe not all this while, see the happines of this their combate, which seemeth their greatest miserie. Because it is certaine,These be held vnder their infirmities for their good. that for their great good they are holden vnder of their infirmities, euen that they may be the more humble, when they see themselues so vnperfect, and corrupt, who yet had dreamed sometime be­fore, that they were voide of that corruption (though the more was their ig­norance) [Page 120] a long time before: and their short mourning shall bring after deli­uerance F from that bondage, great measure and continuance of reioycing: whereas if they were not held downe after this manner, they should forget what they were in times past, when they liued vnder the power of darkenesse and the bondage of sinne. By this which I haue said, it may appeare how the mindes of these are occupied, and that this second age and growth in Chri­stianitie, is a striuing rather, betwixt feare and hope, sorrow and ioy, then a superioritie ouer the vnrulie affections: and an estate standing in neede of counsell and helpe, rather then fitted and experienced to counsell, direct and settle others. But the more sure they be of their saluation, the more expert they shall be in the battaile.G

The third sort of the godly.Now the third sort of the people of God, are compared to little children: of the which, some are as it were in the birth: of whom the Apostle speaketh, Gal. 4.19. My little children, of whom I trauaile in birth againe, till Christ be formed in you: who, though they as yet know it not, are deare to God, and haue sure tokens of it, as I haue shewed in the first treatise: and they haue many proper­ties of the other young ones, which are of this third sort. The other be such as are young, and hang vpon the breast, that as such growe to know the father and mother, when as yet they know nothing else; crie after them, and desire the breast, whereby they are nourished, and ioy and take their pleasure in these: euen so it fareth with this third sort of Gods elect, if they be well H grounded in the truth, and haue rightlie been taught, how weake soeuer they be,1. Iohn 2.14. except in temptation. For they (as the Apostle saith) know the father: such light and vnderstanding they haue of the Gospell, that though they know not how to serue him; yet they know that his fauour is all in all to them: in so much, as if some of them haue not full certaintie that he is tenderly affected towards them, they so long after it, that nothing can satisfie them with­out it: About which their thoughts are chiefely occupied, and in the which their delight is, after they know what it is worth; and in the meanes of their spirituall nourishment, which is the word of God; and not least of all in this, that they may not in the least thing offend or displease God. This Saint Peter I setteth forth by the same similitude of young children, when he teacheth young Christians, how they must looke to growe vp in their spirituall life; Desire (saith he) that sincere milke of the word, 1. Pet. 2.2. that ye may growe thereby.

And these are the especiall things which are most apparantly to be seene in them, by others; and felt of themselues: who also are much troubled for want of stronger faith, thirsting after, and ioying in the sense and feeling of Gods louing kindnes. True it is, they haue little minde to the sinne, which they were wont to offend in; yet that is not so much to be counted sound practise of godlines, (for that they oft times little marke and consider how they are tempted and inticed, hauing their minde taken vp in that, wherein K they most desire:) but are more like to fresh and vnexpert souldiers, who haue not, as yet, been feared in the field: but where they see that they haue offen­ded God, they take it heauilie. Their calling is cheerefullie followed, whilest their small faith is vpholden, by cleauing to the promise: and as vncheereful­ly, when that faileth, moning and pining, if it be long wanting. There is great danger to be feared in both these their estates through Sathans malice and [Page 121] A subtiltie, which they yet are ignorant of, and vnacquainted with, as they are with most of the other hindrances of their going forward.

The one of them is, least whilest their comfort continueth,The first dan­ger in comfort. they should neglect their lawfull busines, as thinking it to be the greatest let which they haue: seeing by meanes thereof, they cannot attend to reading, praying, and thinking of Gods loue, to the quickning of their hearts when they would: although when they haue leasure and opportunity to such duties, they haue no such desire for the most part; neither doe they vse it commonly to the most and best aduantage of their soules as they might. Here Sathan appea­reth as an Angell of light.

B The second danger is, least when they be voide of this comfort,The second danger, when they feele want of comfort. they fall into heauie dumpes, distrustfulnes, and feare that all was but a shadow, and a dreame: from hence may arise despaire for a time; and after, a sleepie and se­cure conscience, as fearing that the Lord will no more restore to them the grace that they were wont in him to finde. Here the diuell sheweth himselfe as a roring Lyon. But before experience teach how to deale herein, counsell and helpe of other, who are able to minister it, with calling vpon God, (as well as ordinarie hearing of Sermons) is chiefelie (when they are so weake, that they cannot helpe themselues) to be sought for, and regarded. And the rather, for that their childishnes doth require the same: For many follies,Many defects of these. C weakenesses, grosse ignorance are in the most of them, and many deceiuings of themselues, many phantasies, and ouersights are carried about of them: yea, and these not only long lien in, if they be troubled with melancholy, and not teacheable, following carefully the light which God reuealeth to them; but also the lusts which ruled them before, will hardly be maistered, but keepe their hold, and abide in great strength to their disgrace and discou­ragement: especially when after that they haue a while ioyed in their salua­tion, they afterwards not well knowing how to occupie themselues, shall waxe idle and vnprofitable, and so growe to their olde course againe, when they cannot get into a better, which Sathan doth mightily labour to bring D them to.

For we must remember, that they are compared to children,Young Christi­ans compared to children. for that they should daily growe out of childishnes; and not looke, as it were, to be alwaies set on the lap. Which wisdome God giueth, teaching euen his weake ones to know themselues better from day to day: and to looke to beare some crosses (which God sendeth for the exercising of their faith and patience) because he their father doth see it meetest for them to haue it so; and to prepare them for greater by little and little: And as children growe to leaue childishnes, so they should begin to mislike such faults as they espie in themselues, and not to thinke, that they should be from time to time borne with and winked at in E them.These must growe. Matth. 13.31. Therefore our Sauiour compareth the estate of his Church and peo­ple in the first age and beginning of it, to a graine of mustard seede, which be­ing once rooted, how small soeuer it be, groweth forward from appearing a­boue the ground, to be a blade, and so to branch: Teaching his thereby, that they should so looke to go from one degree to another, that though they did not knowe what was to be done of them in this their christian course, when they first entred into it: yet now after they haue been trained vp in it for a [Page 122] season, and haue tasted of the promise of life, they should hasten thither, tho­rough F all lets which might hinder them; and purge out, as they come to espie them, many vnbeseeming qualities and customes, as excrements. And seeing their happines is not here below, therefore they may not dreame of any such thing, that is, to haue their heauen here: nor for their professions sake looke, that the ignorant and wicked world should commend and esteeme of them; but contralily:Psal. 88.9. yea, perhappes of their owne flesh to be despised and hated for it.

Their dutie.They are to begin to know the multitude of fleshly lusts, which secretly lurke within them, seeing they are now much fitter to discerne and finde them out in themselues, then euer they were at any time, the Lord tenderlie G dealing with them, as not to shew them all at once, which were enough to dismay them; nor how many afflictions abide them, which were like to con­found them. Their religion must not be to espie faults in other (for that re­ligion is soone learned) and to hold a vaine and deceitfull hope of their own righteousnes, when it is but froth: for that is readie enough to take holde on them, especially where they are not vnder good teaching. Neither let them thinke much to heare a rebuke, which sauoureth in them of much pride and blindnes; nor to thinke euery good thing rare and admirable in themselues, when many euils are within them, which they doe not yet espie and finde out: but reuerence Gods graces in others, that they may the sooner be like H them.

Thus I haue shewed in some sort what are the thoughts, affections, and desires vsually, and for the most part of the weaker sort of Gods children (a­bout matters of the soule) this being added, that they are grieued, when they are led of the contrarie: and this is to bee vnderstood of that part of their e­state, which is free from strong and vehement temptations: for otherwise, it may best be gathered out of the former treatise how it is with thē; the which I haue partly laid foorth and described plainly, and partly set downe in the way of exhortation. For the same things that I exhort them vnto, are the ve­rie anatomie and representation of their hearts, except the diuell hath cast I them into some spirituall sicknes, as I haue said: which he doth to many of this weake sort, as also he may doe, and doth where hee can enter, with both the other sorts also.Gods children are in danger sometimes to be dazeled and without fee­ling. My meaning is, that the children of God weak or strong, doe not onely step aside sometimes from the peaceable estate, wherein they desire to keepe: but also are in daunger (without continuall watchfulnes, and earnest and oft praying) to be sensibly dazeled, as men not knowing where they are, and stript of grace vtterly to their owne feeling, as if there had neuer been any: Which I say, that none may be dismaied (as they might easily be) if they should heare onely the best of the state of the godly, and not vnder­stand something of the worst also; and yet, euen that worst part God turneth K to their good, as they in time by experience doe easily perceiue. But if any thinke that this last sort of Gods children (which indeed is the weakest of the rest) or either of the other, bee nothing differing from the vnregenerate in their thoughts and desires: they must know, that the secretest hypocrite, which of all vnreformed ones commeth neerest them, is yet farre differing from the weakest true Christian: as both may bee seene by that which hath [Page 123] A been said of both, and as the same hypocrite would confesse, if he might bee conuerted. And I will in few words shew as much as shall be expedient. For when a godly man dislikes himselfe most, yet euen then he is farre before the best of the other: who haue not their mindes occupied about heauenlie matters; the thought thereof is tedious vnto them: they desire no acquain­tance therewith: neither delight they to thinke how they may be better re­formed; neither can they bee brought to put themselues in the weights of the Sanctuarie, that is, to trie their estate by the word of God: But their thoughts and desires are about carnall libertie, pleasure, profit, long life, reuenge, &c. euen as their speech is, that commeth from their hearts, frothie and vaine, B idle and vnsauourie, earthly and worldly. And when it is any better, it is ei­ther by constraint of others, or to shew the pride of heart, or for vaine glorie, or to some such end, or els they are soone wearie of it. So that, it may trulie be said, that the desires and thoughts of Gods people, euen the weakest, differ much from others, who are vnrenued. And this may in some sort shew the vsuall thoughts and desires of this third kinde of godly people, as of the two former. As for the diuers measures of spirituall growth in them, in degree one aboue another, as I haue followed the Scripture in the setting out there­of; so I thought good in a word to put the reader in minde of this,These degrees may in some respect fall one into another. that euery action mentioned in the three kinds of our estate, must not precisely be so ap­propriated C to that kind, in which it is reckoned, that it may not also pertaine to one of the other: but for the most part, the affections which are reckoned to euery one, are most proper to that, to the which they are referred. Neither is any to think that these cogitations, which I haue set downe to belong most properly to euery kind of age in Christ, are the only meditations & thoughts of them; but that amongst others (according to the diuers occasions of euery one) they haue oftentimes these, and such like occupying their hearts, but more oft desiring, then inioying them: whereas others which are not parta­kers of the promise of life, haue seldome any good thoughts; or if they haue, they are fleeting and momentanie, and either caused by feare, or prouoked of D others, and as I may say, violent, so that they abide not; and not voluntarie, seeing they haue not the spirit of Christ, which only doth worke them. And all this that I haue said of the three sorts of Gods people, may cleerely be il­lustrated and proued by the many examples out of the holy Scriptures, who of weake became strong: As Moses, Exod. 3.11. who was first afraid to looke Pharao in the face, desiring that another might goe who was meeter then he:Exod. 10.29. yet after­wards hee was not afraide to doe his message boldly and thoroughly in the name of the Lord. And Peter, who in his middle estate, as I may say, was so faint and fearfull, that hee was striken and flighted with the voyce of a sillie damsell, Luk. 22.57. yet after, when he grew to the degree of a father, was not E abashed at the threat of the high Priest, Act. 5.29. and yet both these were weaker then in either of these estates, at their first beginning: As the plants, corne, and grasse, are first tender, then stronger, and at last setled and at their full growth. And thus much of the cogitations and affections of the three sorts of Gods children, that it may be seene that they are not caried about of their lusts as the vnregenerate: but haue their hearts occupied in farre better manner.

[Page 124]And thus to returne, and to ioyne this which followeth to the end of the F seuenth chapter (for this former came in by way of a parenthesis, to answer a question propounded in the entrance into it.) Now that I haue spoken of inward lusts and sins of the heart, and shewed how they are disliked and re­nounced of all true beleeuers: it followeth, that the same be proued, concer­ning the outward sinnes of the life, that they abhorre and shunne them also; that all may see, they haue little cause to please themselues, or to reioyce either.

CHAP. 9.G Of the second kinde of euils or sinnes to be renounced, namely outward.

Outward wic­kednes to be renounced. TO reioyce either about their saluation, or the goodnes of their heart, if their behauiour be stained with outward wic­kednes, & their holie profession blemished with open and shamefull sins, is vaine: which is the more to be marked, seeing many boast that they haue good harts to God, whē their liues are wicked.1. Sam. 7.4. Vide Iudg. 10.14. Hos. 14.1. When Samuel willed the people to trie their repentance to be sound, he willed them to put away Baalam and Ash­taroth, H that is, their strange gods, and shamefull Idolatrie which they had de­lighted in. And Paul telleth the Corinthians, that they must clense themselues from all filthines of the flesh, 2. Cor. 7.1. as well as of the spirit. But the lesse shall be needfull to bee said of this, seeing the whole course of the Scriptures, both doctrine and examples, as also common reason doth testifie the same, that none can proue their hearts vpright, if their behauiour be offensiue and euill.

2. Pet. 2.20. Beleeuers must forsake their former sinnes.For doctrine first, that of S. Peter doth plainly shew it, where he saith, If a man after he hath professed a Christian course by acknowledging the forgiuenes of his sinne, and the hope of euerlasting life, shall yet be intangled againe in his old sinnes, and ouercome of them, the latter end of that man is worse then the beginning: for it had I been better neuer to haue acknowledged the way of righteousnes, then afterwards to turne from the commaundements giuen vnto him: And they that do so, are most fitly compared to dogges which returne to their vomite, and to swine which hauing been washed, Iam. 1.25. doe wallow againe in the mire. S. Iames also is bold to say, that if the tongue onely be vnbridled (be the rest of the life reformed how it can) euen that one disorder in a man professing the Gospell, shall be enough to testifie a­gainst him, that his religion is nothing worth, but vaine. If his religion be in vaine, he can neither haue any part in saluation, nor in a godlie life: How can we which are dead to sinne (saith the Apostle) liue any longer therein? Rom. 6.2. The reason is, seeing they which are dead to sinne, are so made partakers of the power,K vertue and grace of Christ, that naturall corruption hath lost here force to bring foorth bitter fruites. So that neither men can professe religion without casting away their old behauiour, but they must be dissemblers▪ neither can they bee truly godly, but they must endeuour to walke free from offensiue euils (this alwaies prouided, that these offensiue euils be such, as are knowne of the parties to be sinnes.)

[Page 125] A As for examples, they are many and cleere,Examples. which set this truth plainely before our eyes. When Ioseph saw that he could no otherwise keepe fauour with his mistresse, & hold still many other liberties, which in his place he did inioy, vnles he would defile his body, & giue ouer himselfe to her whoorish demaund: because he was a godly man, he would neuer consent;Genes. 39.10. although he brought vpon himselfe thereby, vtter displeasure, and for ought he could see, perpetuall misery: How can I (said he) doe this great wickednesse, and sinne a­gainst God? Moses being a very man of God, refused, when he might haue inioyed it, to be called and counted the sonne of Pharaohs daughter an idolater,Hebr. 11.24. and chose rather to leade an hard life with the people of God in the wilder­nes, B then to liue in sinfull pleasures for a season.Luk. 19.2. Zaccheus one of the chiefe tole-gatherers, an infamous man counted by the very multitude (in so much that they thought hardly of it, that our Sauiour Christ would goe into the house of so bad a man) yet when Christ had conuerted him, whilest he a­bode that day with him, and for proofe thereof, had pronounced of him o­penly, that he was that same day made the sonne of Abraham, who at his entring in vnto him, was a manifest oppressor, and poler of the people, what did he? A thing seldome seene in such as haue their hearts nailed to their goods, and haue their whole delight taken vp in them: He reuenged himselfe vpon his couetous, and miserlike minde, and his greedy deuouring of other mens C goods: and as sweete as they had been to him in times past, yet to shew how this sinne was in account with him, he giueth halfe of them to the poore: and made restitution with the rest fourefolde, to such as he had wronged.

Oh worthy example to all oppressors, or Vsurers! with whom all is fish that commeth to net: and which (whosoeuer smart for it, begge, complaine, yea and pine away for very sorrow of that which they haue lost) will not for­goe any peece of their appetite: herein comming behinde Iudas the traitor. Oh happie Zaccheus! who haddest learned in so short time,Luk. 7.37. that which many of thy companions in sinne, as greedie as thou wert, as vnmercifull to the poore, as violent in drawing from others, to the inriching of themselues, can D neuer learne in all their life time. Full truly doe they verifie the Scripture, which saith, It is as easie for a Camell to goe thorough a needles eye, as for a rich man to enter into the kingdome of God: Well it were with them, if they could learne of thee to cast vp their gorge, and to set lesse by that, which aboue all things, yea aboue God himselfe, though to their owne perpetuall shame and woe, they haue made their delight.

But I must proceede. To ende therefore with laying forth any more ex­amples: how forcible is that of the woman in the Gospell of S. Luke, who hauing been (as Zaccheus had) a woman of notorious life; yet when she saw that her many and great sinnes were forgiuen her, had her vnchaste life in such E detestation, that in token thereof, she made her eyes which had allured men to vncleanenesse, a basen of water to wash Christs feete, and her haire of her head, which had been abused to the same purpose, (now in token of vtter re­nouncing such vngodlines) a towell to wipe his feete: and yet this detesta­tion is not said to haue been shewed toward sinnes, which had not greatly troubled them, but they were those, which had stucke most neere them.

Now if these with many other could not allow their sinnes, which by na­ture [Page 126] they loued, and by custome they had long lien in, we need not doubt,F but that other, lesse inticing them were much further from them, and re­nounced of them: that it may truly be concluded, that the beleeuer in Christ forsaketh his olde sinnes, though they were neuer so pleasant vnto him.

CHAP. 10. Of foure sorts of such as hope for saluation; yet renounce not open sinnes, and outward offences.

G

BVt we need not spend many words about this matter, that the seruants of God haue, and ought to cast off outward sinnes.The vngodly will scorne pro­fessors, if their liues be faulty. Another thing here is chiefely to be regarded; and this I thinke good to aduertise the christian reader of: that there are many who seeme godly, and are not; that he may take more heede to himselfe, least he be found of the num­ber of any of them. I referre them all, to foure speciall kindes: the first are grosse offenders, whom euery vile person which knoweth them to haue made greater shewes of godlines, then the common sort doe (and yet not to be lights in good liuing) nor such indeed, as they go for, but deceiuers; euery H vile person (I say) will be readie to laugh them to scorne, and hath reason e­nough, he thinketh (they being such) to bring them into disgrace. For when such a prophane person once hath found out their hypocrisie and hollow­nes of heart, by open and oft committed euils, he is the further off from all little reuerence (which yet he shewed to them before) and hath Christian religion it selfe in meaner account for their cause. I will not deny, but (such is his shame) that if any walke sincerely indeed, and without iust cause of re­buke, yet he is little moued at their example, neither greatly reuerenceth them, or takes any good by them, but reprocheth them rather. But that is be­cause he hath seene so many, who beside some outward appearance of zeale,I were little more gratious in their liues, or better then himselfe; and therefore he is hardened to thinke so of all the rest. Which wilfull blindnes and hard­nes of heart, though it be too fearefull a signe of Gods vengeance to him, and that God hath giuen him ouer into his owne hearts desire; yet in the meane while, this in great part may be iustly attributed to the liues of those, who professing godlinesse, in their deeds denied the same, and were nothing lesse then they went for.2. Tim. 3.5.6. Whose cursed course of liuing (I meane them which haue caused others to fall most dangerously) doth witnes and speake fore a­gainst them: and they are enemies to their own soule, and nothing the men they goe for: and seldome haue I seene such to be reclaimed from their euill K custome and course when they haue long lien in it, and to be brought to any such change, that in charity, better hope might be conceiued of them, but as they liued, so they haue died; that little other good could easily be reaped by thee, but this, that such as knew them might beware of them. For when they be so grosse in their liues, that for all the appearance of religion, they be iust­ly ill spoken of among the prophane: it had been better they had neuer [Page 127] A made any profession at all: As in that one example of Saul is to be seene, who though he offered sacrifices to the true God; yet did things odious in the eyes of the wicked world, 1. Sam. 22.18. and such as the worst of his ser­uants could not be brought to approue, and ioyne with him in, saue that one, euen cursed Doeg the Edomite.

To the forementioned sort,The second sort of bad pro­fessors, igno­rant and care­lesse. if we shall adioyne three other kindes of bad ones, it shall easily appeare that there are infinite persons liuing among good Christians, and of some so accounted of also, at least of themselues; who yet haue not renounced open and apparent sins. The first of these three kinds, are the rude & common sort of people: and as ignorant for the most part, as they B are rude & barbarous. They feare no danger, and their own speeches do best bewray them: when they be reproued, their shift & answer is, that their hearts are as good as the best mens, though they cannot talke greatly of religion, nor make no such shewes as many can: and as for their liues, they hope they serue God, as Christian people ought; and keepe their Church, and haue no ac­quaintance with any which hold false opinions, but haue the good will of their neighbours, and if need were, could get the hands of many, for their honesty. Indeed, (they must needes say) they haue such euill nature, that they cannot but be angry, when they haue occasion offered them; and re­uile, and reuenge when men prouoke them: and that some are so euill, that C they can neuer be in charity with them: and though there be hard agreeing betwixt them and their wiues, yet it lasteth not long, though it be often: nei­ther haue they many times had their neighbours to set them together, they thanke God: and they thinke the best couples iarre sometimes. They giue their seruants and children liberty to doe what they will, and to goe where they list, on Sabboths, and at some other daies, as long as they will doe their busines: and if they happe to curse and ban, or sweare,Note the wofull estate of the rude ignorant. (they say) they were greatly vrged to it: and though they doe not like this singing of Psalmes, and Prayers, and reading in their houses (for they thinke there is reason in all things) yet they loue as well to heare their owne man say seruice, (I speake in D their owne phrase) and sometime to heare a good pulpit man too, as the best: They are no common gamsters, they say, but after they leaue worke, when they haue any good company, such as they themselues be, and on the Sun­day out of seruice time. The world being so hard as it is, they are faine (they say) to put away their bad ware for good, and to mixe drosse with corne, and to make a lie in commending of that which is euill, or else they cannot liue: And if they be tolde that God will cast such into hell for their euill liues, they hope, they say, in most things, they serue God as well as others; and God haue mercy on vs, they say, if we should be damned for euery such thing: and we repent when we haue done: we cannot be saints here: we will set E our good will to Gods, and that which we cannot doe, we hope Christ hath done for vs: and if the hardest should fall out, yet if we may haue but one houre to repent vs before we die, we trust to doe well enough.

These with many more such speeches, which lay open their heart, and e­state which they are in, towards God; to euery man that can iudge, are su­table fully to the course of their liues: and therefore he that iudgeth by the Scriptures, will thinke them farre from euerlasting life. And yet as grosse and [Page 128] brutish as they are, there want not such who should tell them the truth more F plainely, who yet hold thē vp with good hope of their saluation, in so dange­rous estate as they are in: which they themselues so flatter themselues in, that they had need to be driuen from their deceitfull hold by all meanes possible, and not vpholden therein: not vnlike to them in the Prophet Ieremy, where he saith,Ierem. 8.11. They haue healed the sores of my people with gentle words, crying peace, peace, when there is no peace. Alas, the Apostle might ill say, that he, to whom the Lord hath giuen assured hope of saluation, must renounce vngodlines, of necessitie, if a man loaden with such a burthen, might yet as one that run­neth well, attaine to the crowne of glorie in the Lords kingdome!

If any maruaile what I meane to set downe this rabble of euill qualities, it G may please him to vnderstand, that it is the thing which I am to proue, that no such life stuffed with grosse iniquities can be that life, which God will ac­cept of: and yet, many thousands thinke otherwise, and their opinion being most welcome to these, whom I haue described, it was most meete that I should by so good occasion, debarre such ignorant men, hauing no good con­science (as much as in me lieth) from such boldnes.

Many laugh at the rude for their homely speeches, who yet are like them in quali­ties.Besides, I would wish others (who doe not perhaps vtter their mindes so rudelie and plainelie as these, but are more subtile to beguile themselues) to take me as speaking to them, if their liues be corrupted, and defiled with these, and the like offences; and yet will needs hope and trust for saluation:H for it is to be feared (and therefore I account this watchword not in vaine) that many a one will be readie to laugh, when they heare the homelinesse of their speeches,Note. who had more need to weepe for being so like them in qua­lities.

A third sort. Ciuil Profes­sors.But to proceede: There is a third sort, which come yet more neere to the godly life, and may seeme to haue great wrong offered them, if they be not so taken: who because they keepe within some ciuill course of honestie, and are free (some of them especiallie) from grosse offences, thinke themselues to be of the best sort of good liuers, and scorne to be accused, though their open faults are many: whom though God doth sufficiently brand, when he saith,I That harlots shall enter sooner into his kingdome then they: Matth. 21.31.5, 20. yet because they take no warning by his word; he doth further bewray them, and set them out in deed to be knowne, such as he neuer tooke pleasure in, by suffering now and then, here and there, in all ages some such to hang and drowne themselues, or to die in despaire, or other miserable manner, if possibly he might bring some of the rest to repentance. These perswade themselues that they doe liue godly, and yet by apparant proofe of Scripture may see plainelie, that they doe not so: for of such our Sauiour speaketh when he saith to his Disciples, Matth. 5.20. Except your righteousnesse exceede the righteousnesse of the Scribes and Pharisies, ye cannot enter into the kingdome of heauen. These (it feareth me to vt­ter K it, but that it is Gods truth) as farre off as they be from Gods kingdome, goe in sundrie points farre before the two former sorts, who yet thinke their estate to be good. Oh therefore how many perish! And Some of all these 3. sorts are sometimes prickt in con­science. yet some of all these three sorts, are sometime pricked in conscience, and sore disquieted in them­selues for their sinnes (which is hardly procured and wrought in the most hearers, no not euen by oft and sound teaching) but yet in deed this is only a [Page 129] A slauish terrifying of them, for feare of the punishment:Exod. 9.27. 1. King. 21.27. in which feare they doe also confesse their sinne, and that in teares somtime. There may be seene in them also a leauing for the time of some of their old euill qualities, that a man would marueile at them, as Iohn Baptist did, when he saw the Pharisies resort to his baptisme. For this is but externall, in some things, and for a season as He­rod, who did many things at Iohn his teaching: and as Ephraim in Osee, Mark. 6.19. Hos. 6.4. Mich. 6.6 whose good­nes was as the morning dew. In their trouble they seeke the Lord, but they seeke him not, as they who would find him: for then would they not leaue off to seeke, vn­til they had found him (as the church did in the Canticles, chap. 3.3.4.) Nei­ther doe they regard his waies, when their trouble is ended; as Iob speaketh, B describing the hypocrite thus: The hypocrite doth not pray, that is,Iob. 27.8.9.10. These be hy­pocrites. serue God al­waies: meaning, in one condition of life, as in another: in peace as in trouble. Yea more particularly, whē God smiteth and plagueth them (either by their enemies, diseases, losses, and such like) they couenant religiously with him, that they will neuer fall from him any more: but they flatter him with their mouth, Psal. 78.36. and dissemble with their tongue, their heart is not vpright with him; neither are they faithfull in his couenant. They will sharply tell others of their faults, though they be but small; yea though they be but so in their opinion: as though they could not abide that God should bee dishonoured: but they themselues will not take a reproofe, they hate to be reformed. They are zealous in some things;Psal. 50.16. Ioh. 3.19. C but it breaketh out many waies, not to haue been true godlines by their in­constant feruencie and other passions.

They heare the word of God willingly sometimes,Sudden flashes of grace. and some of them speake of it with ioy, and wonder at the heauenly wisedome of it; but it vani­sheth away and fleeteth: whereas if it had been sound, it would haue increa­sed and continued, as the hearbe that taketh roote in good ground, becom­meth fruitfull. So they attaine to many good gifts of God, whereby one would thinke sometimes that they were not farre from eternall life; but they either burie them in a napkin, and doe no good with them, or vse them amisse, as Iudas did Christs communion with him, to their owne hurt, while they D dare bee bolder by meanes of these good gifts to offend God, then if they had them not.

But if I should reckon vp the beadrolles of grosse faults which they suffer in themselues, and nourish (yet vnder the name of infirmities) it should easily appeare, to such as haue any iudgement in the Scriptures, that they cannot be reckoned among the beleeuers, and beloued of the Lord. For howsoeuer he gather his elect out of all these kinds, yet are none of them to be accounted for his, while they abide and continue so. From these faults therefore let the beleeuers separate themselues.

A fourth sort, and those diuers from these now mentioned may be added,A fourth sort of bad professors, schismatikes, inordinate li­uers. E who, being sore stumbling blockes, and offences to many, deserue to bee re­prooued with the former: ye shall know them by the description which I set downe of them, by rehearsing their particuler properties: who if they re­pent not, will in the end (though I hope better of some of them) prooue no better then the rest. Among whom they are to bee counted, who seeming to be of the forwarder sort, doe yet offend dangerously, and suffer the same ble­mishes before men, to breake foorth in countenance, speech, behauiour (a­gainst [Page 130] such as they mislike, though farre better then themselues) which testi­fie F that their hearts are inwardly poysoned in the sight of God: who for their zeale that they haue towards the worship of God, do thinke so well of them­selues, that they cannot brooke nor abide any other, who differ from them in iudgement, about some things; though they haue no cleere ground in the word of God. And if they bee at variance with any (how honest and godlie soeuer) yet cannot affoord them a Christian and friendly countenance, nor speake a word to them,They are taun­ters, railers, and slaunde­rers of their brethren. without taunting, girding, rating or wounding them, and in their absence deface and defame them very vncharitably, for some­what which they mislike in them: and yet oft times without any iust cause at all. Yea, and some of them being themselues but priuate men (but put the G case some of them bee in the Ministerie) and men vnlearned, doe make it a great piece of their religion,And censurers of others. to censure sharply, and descant arrogantly of their betters and superiours: so that it is well knowne that many of them haue turned vtterly to become Schismatikes, and others haue not been farre from them. Which kind of zealous professors, I do the more boldly reproue, because some haue thought me a fauourer of such: their readines in recei­uing the Gospell I haue well liked, and as I haue been able, furthered it: but this arrogant, bold, and vncharitable spirit of theirs bringing forth such fruit, as I haue mentioned (neuer taught them in any sound Ministerie) I vtterlie mislike, and haue done from time to time, since I had any iudgement. Who H hauing been content for some yeeres space,Soone ride in their own con­ceit. to be taught (as seeing great need thereof) haue in a few yeeres, I may say moneths, outgrowne their teachers, (in their owne iudgements) and haue thought almost none of them, good and meete enough, or sufficient for them: and therefore some of them haue giuen themselues (as they say) to grow by their priuate reading, when they might haue been taught also in the publike assemblie: which some of them refuse to doe, especially by the ministerie of such as they are exasperated a­gainst: and so, for the seruing of their owne cankred humour, they sinne a­gainst God in breaking one of the greatest commandements. I giue herein a taste of the rest of their qualities of like sort: Is this behauiour seeming I Christians?

To whom may bee referred these, who goe for zealous persons, who liue inordinately, Tit. 3. without attending vpon any honest trade, idle, vnprofitable, bu­sie bodies,Inordinate li­uers. and counting it godlines to talke of the faults of others; yea and of­tentimes speake to please such as are in the companie, and this not by vna­wares, or suddenly, at some one time; but oft, and without any heartie repen­tance (for then they would amend:) which when they haue done, how can they deserue any such name of reuerent Christians, or to bee so accounted? when they, who will be thought forwarder then other, shall not looke also, that they liue more without offence then other,Worse in dea­ling then men who professe no religion. but in their dealings one K with another shall be worse then ciuill men, who haue no religion: what a reproch is it to thē? when there shalbe contending in words, bitternes, open braules, vnseemely crowings one ouer another, casting one another in the teeth with their infirmities, reporting in all companies what wrongs they haue sustained one by another, laughing for ioy when they are fallen, whom they mislike; when there shall be froward and currish answers, taking all [Page 131] A things in the worst part, and for no perswasion,Rom. 1. remitting any thing of their vt­termost due, toward such as be in their dāger. What reckoning is to be made of their religion? when men will be taken for earnest professors, and yet they shall be found hollow, and double in their dealings, one speech to some, and at some time, but contrarie at other times, to other persons; and so be void of plaine dealing: so that for commoditie, they depart from manifest dutie. What are they in respect of that which they do pretend? when they dare yet feede their eyes with vnchast lookes, thereby making way to the defiling of their bodies, when they will nourish the occasions thereof, although not so openly, as others doe, by companie, talke, amorous lookes, lasciuious and B wanton stage-playes: and to conclude, when they carrie about them such other bad qualities, though more subtilly couered and secretly hidden in them; let no such please themselues in their seruing of God, by praying, hea­ring the word, or in the best things that are in their liues, for all their hope is but deceiueable; they are grossely guiltie of great vngodlines, the which the true Christian hath banished from his life and renounced.

Now if this sort (partly mentioned alreadie, and partly to be mentioned) who (I must needes say for some religious duties which they do) come most neere of all other to the godlie life (as no doubt they doe) doe yet faile of it, and haue little part in it: I shall not neede to shew how farre others (of what C profession soeuer they bee) are off from it, I meane Papists, the Familie of loue, which sect are no better then coloured Atheists; or any other such: of whom, as a matter needlesse, I will now be silent.

For the benefit and good of the offenders whom I haue bewraied, and to gather into a summe, that which I haue said of the renouncing of inward and outward euils: this I say, if by any meanes, I may set before their eyes, and perswade them, how odious their estate is (and I say it in compassion of them) that neither the inward rebellious lusts, which I haue spoken of, nor the outward behauiour which I haue mentioned, is any way or in any man­ner beseeming the Christian man. But whiles the Lord vrgeth this at his D peoples hands, that they haue no fellowship with such vnfruitfull workes of darknes, Ephes. 5.11. but clense themselues from all that is euill, both of soule and bodie: so long shall it be reprochfull for all which reioyce in the name of Christians,2. Cor. 7.1. to bee either in their hearts stained with such corruptions, or in their liues defiled with such treacheries. Which being so, is it not to be wondred at, especially, seeing the will of God is so cleerely reuealed, that this should be so harsh & vnsauourie a thing; yea & foolish euen among such as will be thought zealous, that wee should so particularly sift our selues from these, when yet the Lord by the Prophet requireth that this be done againe and againe, saying, Soph. 1. Fanne your selues, fanne your selues, O nation not worthie to be loued? It is manifest in the E better sort of those forenamed, that in their particular actions, & daily course of their liues, there is small moderation of their affections, and vnbridled de­sires, or watchfulnes ouer them: so that well ordered gouernment is as farre off: and therefore rash and vndiscreete going about their matters is almost euery where to bee seene, which, beside offence to God and men, bringeth bitter repentance (if any) to themselues.

Beare with me (gentle Reader) though I go farre and abide long in them; [Page 132] it may be some shall take more good at the hearing of them, and their hearts F more relent, then euer they could be brought to doe at the committing of them.Other disor­ders of such professors. Earthlines. Such frowardnes, heartburning, and most sore broiles there are one against another, and that for trifles: such earnestnes is also in their worldly dealings: and yet deadnes of heart, and little courage in matters of the soule: such nimblenes and vnweariednes in the one, and such tediousnes and irke­somnes in the other, that all which see their conuersation in the one and the other, would gesse that the things which they contend about, were matters of life and death, the other very light and of small reckoning: such griping of the poore and needie, in their sales, couenants, and other dealings, espe­cially not forgoing or yeelding the least piece of their right (be their neces­sitie G neuer so great) nor any regard had of their distressed estate, who can thinke of it without lamentation?Note. Such giuing mens selues the bridle in their merie makings (I speake still of such as fauour the Gospell) to talke what they will, so as it be not meerely impious, how vnprofitable soeuer it be to edify­ing or hurtfull to example,Matth. 12.36. when yet for euery idle word men shall giue an account: when as also such times of friendly meetings should be vsed for the gaining of one another to God, or confirming one another in their most holie faith, as also for the prouoking to loue. Such vnquietnes in the gouernours of families, for euery thing that is not to their liking, as pettie losses, and discommodities in house, or without, by neighbours or seruants, when yet their owne vnrulie H hearts and impatience doe make their losses farre greater then they are, and they should haue learned to be prepared in the day for the troubles thereof: (I vnderstand this of professed Christians) let such as exceede these in euill, little reioyce in themselues.Vnquietnes. Such broiles and breach of dutie betwixt hus­band and wife, such strife, and oft contentions, that euery small occasion of dissenting one from another about any thing, must bring peeuishnes, heart­burning, strangenes, sowernes; yea and oft times absence from bed & boord: so that they must commonly haue a day of debating the case before it can be forgotten and digested: who can think, how common it is, without deep bewailing it? And where more agreement is betwixt couples, yet to marke I how little one is the better for the other,Heb. 10.25. to Godward in knowledge, faith, a­mendement, meekenes, patience, by reading, praying, communing togither, and watching ouer one another, for their mutuall good (which yet they should doe to others) and therein be helps each to other,Gen. 2.18. as well as in things of this life: to marke, I say, how little good is done betwixt them, is it not worthily to bee complained of? And yet of these two things the latter is thought needlesse to be vrged, as though weightier matters were in hand alwaies: the former is defended, that sometime iarres must needes be, and it cannot be otherwise, and therefore not to be spoken against.

Againe, in such as receiue the Gospell with good liking: how doth the K pride of life (I meane iolitie in earthlie things) beare sway in them, the fittest bane of many other to poyson them? What resting of themselues is there in the commodities, pleasures, preferments of this life (which yet they may lose ere to morrow) in ease and prosperitie, in wife, children, friends (great benefits no doubt) and in that which they haue? and in the sumptuous ap­parelling of themselues, thinking themselues thereby, to be others then they [Page 133] A are; and therein not only to impouerish themselues, but in all outlandish and monstrous manner to disguise themselues, thinking that others admire them as greatly, as they doe themselues: how doe they fill their hearts with these, and please themselues therein, I say not till they displease God, but till they are eaten vp of the loue of them; yea and their religion so quailed and cooled in them, that ye may easilie see, that they loue darkenes more then light, and pleasures more then God, howsoeuer they hold still with the Gospell, least their iniquitie should be too manifest to them? I may say, as many haue con­fessed, and I hope by this, and such like remembrance, some other will be ad­monished to remember, consider, and confesse, that they haue so offended in B some of these, that their consciences haue accused them, that the life thus led is not the life which God requireth, nor these are not the works which faith affoordeth: neither is this a denying of themselues, to giue all to themselues, which heart wisheth, or eye lusteth after:Luke 9.23. neither is this to take vp their crosse dailie, that is, receiue meekely the troubles which God sendeth them, with­out which yet, they cannot follow Christ, nor be his disciples.

What should I speake of them, who although they will boldlie affirme,Ill educating their Children. that they will not beare with the sinne of any, (no not their owne children) to offend God for their sakes; yet will take part with them hauing done wic­kedlie, and bolster them vp, when they should be punished, though it be to C the offence of many? What grieuous eye sores are they to many, who suffer such as are vnder their gouernement, not only to runne after their pleasures at such times as they should serue God, and neither teach them their selues, nor bring them where they may be taught, but also are priuie to their stea­ling of their neighbours commodities: yea, beare their saucines, stoutnes, and malepartnes, and annoy other with such intolerable burthens, vntill they be checke mate with the most auncient elders; and at last, come to a fearefull ende themselues, and kill their parents with sorrow and griefe? But alas, what ende is there of complaining, (I say againe, not of irreligious, pro­phane and blockish men, but of such as looke verilie to be saued) if I should D not plucke my pen from paper? For I haue said nothing of the hollownes in friendship among Christians, as they are accounted: how their loue is mixed with much dissimulation in word only, not in heart and in deede: Rom. 12. 1. Iohn 3. Prouerb. 20.7 and how hardly credit may be giuen to their faire words, or countenances? But as for fashion they were shewed; so according to the fashion of the world, they are changed into another affection, then they promised: I haue not mentioned many of the strong corruptions and ranke rebellions breaking out in some Christians, and those of no common hope among their brethren.

I haue scarcelie mentioned this,Vncharitable surmises. what deadly suspitions and hard concei­uings they haue of many, better men then themselues; how imperiously they E iudge, and maisterlike they censure them, whom they are not worthie to liue with: when yet it is giuen vs in charge, that we be not many maisters: yea,Iames 3.1. and these faults are committed many times, when no occasion is giuen; which maketh their sinne the greater: and if there were any, yet meekenes and leni­tie, which should be in all reprouers, might easilie remoue them, whereas froward and vncharitable condemning doth no good. A poison which dwelleth; as I haue said, most principallie in the Schismatikes of our time, and [Page 134] such as haue leaned that way: who if they had not deceiued themselues, in F thinking themselues the most zealous of others, they should haue alaide the bitternes of their stomacks with humilitie and loue, whatsoeuer they thinke of themselues. But here an ende of these things.

CHAP. II. Of certaine obiections raised from the former doctrine, and answeres thereto: as why we should put differences betwixt men: and whether the godly may fall reprochfully, and what infirmities they may haue.G

Ob. Are all such damned. BVt me thinkes I heare some obiecting thus: what? are all damned, and out of the estate of grace, which commit any of these sinnes? And may not many of these offenders notwithstanding their faultes, be the children of God? And if men commit such faultes, doe they not (thinke we) repent afterwards? (I say, if they doe, that obiection is an­swered) Also they say, they cannot abide that such differences should be made of men. And haue the godly, whom ye shoale out of others, no faults, but are they without infirmities? are they so pure, that they liue not as other H men? and doe not their liues gather vp the common sinnes of the time, as holy as they be? and doe they not lie in them also for a season, as well as they who are not thought so holy? Which if it be so, why should we haue such differences of men?God shoales out some from others. Psalm. 1.2.50.16. 1. Thes. 1.9. Iohn 1. & 10. why should one be shoaled from the other? I answere, as for differences of men they are put, by the Lord himselfe, both in name, conuersation, and reward: to the Thessalonians, he saith: The Lord shall recom­pence tribulation to them which trouble his: but to those which are troubled, peace and rest: and the end of the Ministerie is to shoale Gods elect and beloued ones from the world, and to bring them to his sheepefold.

Infirmities in all. Matth. 7.22.25.34.As concerning infirmities, it is defended by no Christian, that the most I godly which liue here, are voide of them, but rather confesse that they be burthened sore with the weight of them: and so may they be, although these foule euils be not common with them, nor long lien in of them, which I haue spoken of; of whose infirmities I will say more, when I haue satisfied in some sort these obiections.

The godlie somewhat in­fected with common cor­ruptions.Therefore where it is demaunded, if they be not partakers of the same sinnes, that other men are; I denie not, but that it is possible for them in some sort, and for a time, to be carried after the streame of the euill example of so many, which are in the world so common, and almost vniuersall: for the best liue, where Sathans throne is, (euen as the Israelites and the Aegyptians dwelt K together:) whose vnsauorie and stinking breath, what maruaile were it, if the whole and sound should be infected with it? And further, as they may pos­siblie haue their part in the sinnes of the vngodly; so I denie not, (if God beare not the greater authoritie with them, and be not the more regarded of them) but that they may also lie still in the same loathsomenes for a season, though smallie to their comfort. This to be true, both lamentable examples [Page 135] A of the Scripture doe shew in Noah, Lot, Dauid, and Peter: and wofull experi­ence among vs in all ages doe testifie. But what then? Are they therefore giuen ouer of the Lord to lie and abide in them, and being washed to wallow againe in the mire?

And as I deny not but that it may be possible,Difference be­tweene the fals of the god­ly and the wic­ked. and is too cleere by wofull experience, that the best may be snared with the sinnes of others; so yet, I say, that when they fall, it appeareth plainelie, that it was the subtill malice of the diuell, watching his opportunitie so narrowlie, that he deceiued them, rather then that they were giuen ouer like wicked men; to lie therein, and to adde sinne to sinne without combat and conflict, as though they had made a league B with sinne, and were without God in the world, as the other be. And the rather I say this, because when they haue been awaked,Cant 5. and come to themselues a­gaine, they are so strangely amased at their offence,Note. and so tremble to thinke what they haue done, and can haue no peace within themselues vntill they returne: and that after they haue got out, they are made more warie and vi­gilant against the like another time: the which of the wicked cannot be said,Cant. 3.4, 5. in any of their repentings, till God change their hearts in deed, although in suddaine, and rash feare they may be flighted, till it vanish away againe like smoake, and so come to nothing.

Last of all, when haue they fallen dangerouslie, who had so well begun?The godly fall not, but when they are secure and take liber­tie. 1. Sam. 35.24. C Hath it been, while and when they haue held on in their course of Christian dutie? Haue they been violentlie carried from the platforme and direction of a godlie life, whether they would or no, as not knowing what they did? or how they were brought to it? Yea rather, haue they not at such times giuen themselues the bridle, and suffered their mindes to runne too farre, after that which they tooke pleasure in, and offended by? And haue they wisely auoided the occasions of such mischiefe and danger at such times, as they vsuallie were wont? Neither obiect here, that a man can­not be at all times watchfull: and the wisest shall or may bee sometimes ouercome? I answere: were they warie, but as they haue been vsuallie, D in which times they were preserued from such reprochfull falles? For if it were so with them, they could not thus offend: but if they haue been wearie of Gods gouerning of them, and haue thought long till they haue gotten more libertie to the flesh; and to be at their owne hand with the world, and to count stollen waters sweete: it is no maruaile though they haue smarted with Dinah, for ranging and seeking to haue their will a­misse: for if his owne children prouoke him,Psalm. 89.31. he must punish euen their sinnes with the rod, and their offences with the scourge, till they returne and say, wee haue sinned.

God hath promised to keepe vs in all our waies, Psalm. 91.11. wherein he appointeth vs to E walke, and whiles our mindes are leading vs thither, we are in no danger,Philip. 3.13. and he hath promised vs strength to walke in them. But if wee will runne out of our bounds, with Shemeia, 2. Chron. 16.9 Philip. 4. where our owne hearts tell vs that we are in daun­ger, is it any wonder, if afterwards it take hold of vs? And was it not thus with that deare seruant of God, whom the Scripture commendeth by this title, that he was a man according to Gods minde? that when that one time befell,2. Sam. 11.4. (more to his reproch, then all other) he was found to giue himselfe the bridle [Page 136] of vnlawfull libertie,Psal. 51.5. and to shaking off the secret reigne of holie feare, more F then vsually he did. And who denieth but that in such a case, if they refuse to stand vpon their watch, they may become like other men? but yet for all that, is there great difference betwixt the one and the other, as hath bin said: the one offending in that sort, seldome, neither then long lying therein: the other making it his practise to breake out, one way or other. And therefore we must know, that when we haue obtained once to beleeue, and thereby to haue our poysoned hearts purged and made cleane, as it is the greatest of all other benefits;Prou. 4.23. so it is and may bee kept, by such meanes as God hath proui­ded, and not lost any more, but confirmed and continued in the feare of God. But then, as we be one with Christ, and partakers of him, and as bran­ches G of a vine, which sucke our sappe and draw our spirituall strength and nourishment from him: so it is required of vs (and we willingly yeeld to it) that we hold fast the beginning of our abiding in him, Heb. 4.1. Heb. 3.12. that is, our faith, vnto the end, and that we take heed that there be not at any time in vs an euill and corrupt heart, which will make vs fall from the liuing God, to our owne deceitfull imaginations and desires, and so to fall dangerously, and to purchase heauines thereby, our bellies full.

How we may be fenced.And this let euery one endeuour to doe, and he shall see himself so strong­ly fenced, that through Gods blessing, which faileth not in such a case, he shal be free from the diet of the carelesse liuers (who are euery while shaken) be­cause H they who walke vprightly, walke safely: but he that peruerteth his waies, God will finde him out, Prouer. 10.9. For whereas many of Gods beloued ones pro­cure sore wounds in their liues, and anguish thereby, it is but the fruit of their owne labours, who will not bee held within holie compasse, but pleade for some vnlawfull libertie, and count it strictnes more then needeth (by hark­ning too much to the vnruly flesh) to tie themselues to any certaine directing of themselues in his seruice, (when yet his seruice is perfect freedome) whose euils I defend not: but yet I say, as I haue said, if they be his, they shall rise and repent with Peter, if they haue fallen with him, when yet the wicked shall lie still and waxe worse. 2. Tim. 3.13. I

But ye demaund, and would needes haue me answere, whether I can war­rant such as feare God,No warrant of not falling deadly. that they shall neuer fall into some reprochfull and dangerous euill, as other men doe, as well as they may breake out some other waies. If I might answere a wise and sober demaunder, I would not refuse to speake my minde; although it may in part be gathered by that which I haue said alreadie: vnto such a one therefore I say (for if any other see his owne practise not to agree with my answere, let him impute it to his owne sinne rather then to my rashnes) I say therefore, seeing rare and deare seruants of God haue fallen thus into shamefull sinnes, it may seeme scarce possible for the best in these latter times, being far inferiour to some of them in grace,K to be free from the like fearefull falles.VVe may be preserued from foule falles. But yet wee must know, that some o­ther of his good people God hath preserued from that kinde of shamefull sinnes and staines, as Enoch, Abraham, Caleb, Iosua, with many others: and therefore it may of vs be hoped for, especially seeing it is no other thing then we are commanded to haue speciall regard and care of:2. Pet. 1.5. Col. 1.2 [...]. Iam. 1.27. that is, to liue without iust reproch in the middest of a crooked generation and vnstained. Saint Peter saith, [Page 137] A If ye haue these things, ye shall neuer fall: that is, dangerously,2. Pet. 1.10. to take any great hurt thereby.

Therefore by these, and such other perswasions, wee ought to be incoura­ged; for to vs there is good hope to obtaine grace hereunto. But seeing all Gods children cannot alike be perswaded, that they ought to giue all diligence hereunto; euen that they may be vnrebukeable amongst men, as Paul did,1. Cor. 4.3.4. and so taught other to doe; but thinke it impossible to liue so constantly,Act. 26.18.19. but that they shall sometime breake out dangerously: Therefore such must be taught wisedome by experience, and some of them being more proud then others, must haue their pride humbled, and healed by such medicines:The first end, why God suf­fers some to fall so. Some to be humbled by their falles. VVhy many fall. for grieuous B falles are phisick for pride; and many who haue some grace, but not the grace which is sufficient for them, are daungerously proud, because they haue not fallen shamefully, that is, into some odious crime: and yet they haue fallen shamefully (if they could see it) in that they are dangerously proud: If God therefore seeth it meete to abate their pride thereby, they may possibly fall after such a manner. Or if it be for the more manifesting of his glorie in for­giuing them so great a trespasse, they may also fall dangerously.The secōd end, to magnifie his mercie in for­giuing great sinnes. Ioh. 21.15.

This doth our mercifull father see expedient oftentimes, as both in Peter and Dauid it came to passe, as also in others: who doubtlesse loued the Lord, more then some others of his faithfull people, which neuer fell in that man­ner C(as Peters answere, and Dauids Psalmes doe cleerely testifie) yea, and such loued him the more, Luk. 7.47. euen for that very cause, seeing they obtained mercie against so great sinnes of theirs, and fearefull iniquitie.

Yea and to adde a third end, God is highly magnified by others,A third end why the faith­full fall in re­gard of others. which know and see this, that hee hath forgiuen so great offences, in such as haue fallen grieuously: who otherwise beholding the heauenly course of such excellent seruants of his, how holie and sincere it was (saue in some such of­fence) should haue been vtterly discouraged, yea and like to haue despaired of their owne good estate: and the rather for the high opinion that they con­ceiued of them, if they had not seene or heard of these their falles. For these D causes therefore the Lord may, and often hath, let some of his deare seruants fall dangerously: first, for the humbling of them: and secondly, for that they may see his exceeding bountifulnes in pardoning so great sinnes; that they may loue him the more: and thirdly, that others farre weaker then they, yet faithfull, may be incouraged to beleeue that their sins shall be pardoned, and their weake seruice accepted of him; for as much as they haue seene that God hath pardoned great offences in some, otherwise farre more excellent then they: which if they were not perswaded of, should be discouraged much, because of the great graces and gifts in them,1. Tim. 1.16. farre exceeding those which are in themselues.

E And otherwise, or in other respects,Otherwise no feare of falling they neede not feare that God taketh any pleasure to cast them downe, who desire to stand (when his propertie is rather to raise vp them that are fallen:) or that hee seeketh euery aduantage,Psal. 130.3. a­gainst their infirmities, who doth not look streightly what is done amisse of them;Luk. 1.54. Gods tender­nes ouer his. but helpe their weakenes, supplie their wants, and deliuer them from such dangers, as they feare, so far as it is expedient; or els make them able to beare them. For proofe whereof, they may remember, how he kept them, when [Page 138] they had small skill or abilitie to keepe themselues,Deut. 33.12. after that they first imbra­ced F his promises: will hee not much more keepe them safe, now they haue experience of his kindnes, and the power of Christ working in them? Nay, that which is more,Rom. 5.10. when they were his enemies, he gaue his sonne to die for them: and now they are reconciled vnto him, and approued of him, as his beloued ones, shall they not much more be preserued (by his liuing in glorie) from the fearefull iudgements, which in his wrath he executeth against the vngod­ly of the world?

Col. 1.23. Sweet comfort to the weake.Therefore if thou beest grounded and established in faith, and holdest fast the beginning of thine ingrafting into Christ, be of good comfort, thy greatest danger is past: for can he that loueth thee dearely, meane hardly against thee?G Is there with him yea and nay, with whom there is no shadow of chaunge? The Lord witnessing to that which I say, with reuerence and thankfulnes beleeue it: ei­ther thou shalt not fall reprochfully; or if thou doest, it shall be thus, as I haue said,Note. euen so as it shal turne to thy good: and it neede to be to thy great good, which cannot be without the great offence of so many as shall know it. For though such as shall perish may turne this which I say,Rom. 8.31. 2. Pet. 3.16. Tit. 1.15. Cant. 3.4. to their owne great hurt, as they doe the Scriptures also (seeing to the vncleane all things are vncleane:) yet if thou shouldest slide, the Lord would hold thee vp, and make thee stand more constantly after. The world seeth no whit of this, but counteth it all arrogan­cie, boasting, and falsehood, because indeed they beleeue no more then they H see, or then their reason and fleshly wisedome can prie into; which is an vtter enemie to this heauenly truth: but ô faith, what pretious secrets art thou able to reueale to vs of Gods minde and will?Cant. 2.14. and how safe is he (yea in this dan­gerous wildernes of the world) in whom thou dwellest, seeing the Lord hath said:1. Ioh. 5.4. This is the victorie that ouercommeth the world, euen our faith?

And this for answere to these obiections: Now as I haue promised, I will shut vp this part of Christianitie, concerning the renouncing of inward and outward euils,VVhat infir­mities the god­ly be subiect to. concluding what infirmities the godlie shall be subiect vnto: which shall both sufficiently proue, that they count not themselues without sinne, as they are charged by many: yet for all this, that they are not compa­nions I with the vngodly in harbouring and nourishing these worldly lusts and vngodlines, which I haue spoken of. The lesse shall neede to be said of this, seeing it may, and that not obscurely, bee gathered, by that which hath been set downe: both that they doe not (with the Puritanes) dreame of any such perfection,Luk. 17.10. Rom. 7.24. but that when they haue done all, they are vnprofitable seruants, and say with the Apostle: Oh wretched men that we are! and also, further then they are glad to be ruled by God, they feare the same falles that others doe. But because they are not al spiritual, that is, spiritually minded wholy and al­together, as they are not wholy flesh, that is, corrupt, but both these contra­ries fighting together (as the Apostle saith) one against the other, are in their K soules:Gal. 5.17. therefore it commeth to passe, that they are subiect through this con­cupiscence and infection which is in their flesh, both to the diuels sugge­stions, and delusions of the world, and they may bee caried after diuers and strange lusts, and to commit outward sinnes one after another further forth, then by the grace of Gods spirit their corruption be bridled, held backe, and subdued. But if that grace bee quenched or quailed, then euill desires are [Page 139] A kindled, and gather strength to bring foorth fruite accordingly.

And this may be, yea and no doubt is,The state of weaker Chri­stians. the estate of the many of Gods ser­uants: such especially, as for want of good experience, and acquaintance in the Christian life, and battaile, are more easily deceiued, and beguiled then others are. And hereof it is, that many haue been ouertaken, and oft doe slide, and fall daungerously, and are carried from keeping a good conscience, and from well doing: And diuers commit those sinnes which they had long ab­stained from, hoping that they should neuer haue fallen into them any more: But what then?These much differ from all wicked. Are they therefore like to the sundrie sorts of the former wicked ones, of whom I spake before? No, nothing lesse: for either they are B wary and watchfull against them, before hand, least they should fall; and it is their greatest care, that they may not fall into them: or when they see how they haue been ouercome, and deceiued, they lay it to heart by and by,Phil. 2.12. be­waile it, and are much humbled to see how they haue been circumuented, and cannot be quiet, whiles they seeing God offended, are not reconciled to him againe. And on the contrarie, if they preuaile ouer their sinnes, and hold vnder their affections, and keepe their consciences excusing them, that so they may walke with God and abide in his fauour;1. Iohn 3.21. then are they more ioyfull then they, who haue all that their hearts can wish.Psalm. 4 8. And although all haue not the like knowledge, how to doe and goe about it; yet it is the earnest C desire of their heart to haue it so: In token whereof, euen the weakest which are new borne, are heauie and cannot be comforted, for that they see conti­nually how they haue displeased God.

And to this purpose I might say much more, whereby all that can iudge, may see, that these sinnes are of infirmitie committed by them: and that they are haled and drawen to doe such things, as in no wise they would, when they are come to themselues, and when the spirit of God ouerruleth and sub­dueth their loose and ranging affections: neither would they haue been car­ried after them, euen then when they were haled to the committing of them, but that they were weake to performe that, which faine they would haue D done. I say, who doth not see, that these men sinne not like the other, but in such wise as the best, and dearest of Gods children in all ages haue done, who neuer fully satisfied themselues (no not the best of them) in that which they did.

And this is properly sinne of infirmitie, when partly of knowledge,What sinne of infirmitie is. but more through frailtie, an offence is wrought to the displeasing of God: and when of such an one it is committed, as because he hath his heart sanctified, would not doe it:Note. and yet because the power of corruption at that time is greater in him, then the strength of grace, therefore he was ouercome of it, and forced to yeeld to it.

E But I demaund whether any such combat or conflict be found in the vn­godly, & workers of iniquitie, in them of whom I haue before spoken.Wicked sinne boldly. Haue they feare before the sinne committed, least they should fall into it? But by what signe doe they proue it, and by what reason can they perswade it? who neither watch against it, neither haue their hearts out of loue with it: nay they are so farre from striuing against it, that they are set on fire to commit it, and would hate him deadly, which should earnestly disswade, much more [Page 140] withhold them from the committing of it: or doe they after the committing F of it,Their sorrow is carnall. bewaile it for that God was offended thereby, and for their vnkindnes against his maiestie, and for his dishonour thereby? It may be for feare of hell, and damnation, if they be neerely vrged, and least it should come to light, and so bring reproch and punishment vpon them; They may bowe them­selues like a bulrush for a season. Which kinde of men (that I may prooue it to be true,Note. which I say of them) when that pange and qualme is ouer, are not onely mery and quiet againe, when yet they haue no word of comfort from God, but are readie to the like sinne againe; yea and many of them commit it a­gaine indeede a little while after.

But will any call this, wholesome and Godly sorrow which bringeth repentance? G Alas! it is as farre from it, as is the East from the West. Neither haue they any strife or combat before, or after the committing of sinne, as distracted in themselues for that, which they haue done; or fearefull, least they should commit the euill which they goe about, further then this, that their consci­ence may secretly tell them it is euill: but they repell it, and will in no wise heare the same: And therefore they sinne not, as Gods children doe; that is, by infirmitie. And thus much for answere to the former questions: And of the first part of godlinesse also of the life of the beleeuer, this be said.

H

CHAP. 12. Of the keeping of the heart once purged, in it good plight afterward.

The heart pur­ged, must so be kept. NOw I hauing shewed how God maketh the heart new, and changeth it, before it be fit to be imployed in well doing, and in bringing forth fruites of amendment; and also how it being changed, renounceth euill both inward and outward: we must know how to keepe it in good plight af­terward; that so we may be able from time to time, to con­tinue I that course which by the first change was begun, and so to doe any such duties as we are bound to performe: which otherwise cannot be. For as ves­sels, which haue been vnsauourie, are not only once seasoned, but kept sweete afterwards, that they may be fit for vse; and as men vse to purge their springs from that which might stoppe them: so are our hearts to be preserued in the same sort, that they become not bitter and corrupt, as of themselues natural­lie they are prone to be. For the best haue neede of this helpe whiles they carrie flesh about them, therefore much more young beginners. It is the Lords commaundement,Prouerb. 4.23. How the heart is kept. that when our hearts are once clensed, we should keepe them so with all diligence, that is, watch, trie, and purge them from all de­filements,K whereby they are wont to be tainted, and poysoned. We must watch them, least we should, for want thereof, be deceiued with the baites of sinne: we must examine and trie them, seeing no man can watch so carefully, but that much euill will creepe in: and we must purge out that filthie drosse of concupiscence which we find by examining, that it set not our will on fire to satisfie, and performe the desires thereof.

[Page 141] A And the man of God,Psal 119.9. who was best acquainted with the heart among many thousands, both how euill it is, and how it is in the best manner to be looked vnto and preserued, he hath taught the same: that the seruant of God, who hath by his mercie his former life purged by the forgiuenes of his sinnes, must keepe it from new infections hereafter, by taking heede, and loo­king to the same, according to Gods word.

This is plaine to them that haue experience in the Christian life, that men walking among so many snares of the diuell, baites of the world, and meeting with so infinite rebellions, and lusts of their owne hearts, as cannot be expressed, but as we finde them out by obseruing them, are not without B continuall danger and hurt, if they be not acquainted with this holie watch and ward, that their knowledge may be as a light to them in this dark world, and their prouident care as a preseruatiue from the infection of sinne, which in all their dealings will meete with them: yea and (that I say nothing of them, who are without Christ in it) euen the beleeuers themselues (I meane) doe find much annoyance, and discomfort in their liues,Luk. 12.35. which neither they needed to feare, neither should finde, if this counsell of the Prophet were pretious to them.

And to this end, that they who haue their hearts thus clensed, as I haue said, may continue them so still,Great labour thus to keepe the heart. they must know that it is no idle occupation thus C to doe: but they must be content and glad to weane their hearts from many vnprofitable, and wandring thoughts and desires, which hold them here be­low, and with the which others are caried away, as with a whirlewinde: and to season them with holie and heauenly meditations, as namely, of Gods goodnes, of their own frailties, and of their duties; that by the helpe of these, they may the better containe themselues within their bounds, and breake not foorth into dangerous euils. These are especiall helpes for the well or­dering of their hearts still, who haue at any time brought them in order al­readie: this being added, that their reading priuately, their hearing publike­ly, with their oft and earnest prayers, and Christian conferences bee wisely, D and at due times adioyned hereunto: of the which here is no fit place to giue any rules more particularly, because I haue appointed to direct men how to vse these, when I shall come to speake of the helpes and meanes which are to be vsed for the well gouerning of their hearts and liues, in the next treatise.

And thus the heart being renued and kept, it is easie to renounce euill, which otherwise is impossible: for euery one that listeth may see,VVith this heart easie to renounce euill. both by Scripture, Psalm. 32.4, 5, 6. Hebr. 10.38. and by experience (notwithstanding our affections are strong, vnruly, and most hardly subdued) with what ease we may renounce and forsake them, and haue power ouer our will and ap­petites, E when our hearts bee thus renued and kept mastered: That is to say, when first they are purged, and our corrupt nature changed into a better by beleeuing the forgiuenes of our sins, and a partaking of the graces of Christ, and after, watched ouer and obserued that they continue so: who doth not see that the stubbornnest & wilfullest heart which hath most rebelled against good instruction and reformation, yet when it is thus looked vnto, will be ta­med? And to speake more particularly (for the weake christians sake) when a [Page 142] man hath once felt damnation, the iust reward of such a course; and on the F other side full deliuerance from the same to be freely giuen him of God: and thus hath his heart humblie turned towards God againe to loue, and delight in him: who doth not see (I say) that such a man daily hauing in remem­brance this vnspeakable kindnes of God towards him, and the wofull estate that he was in otherwise; that he will be loath to displease this his so gracious God? Who doth not see, but that his heart also hauing sustained so many checkes from God, for the disorders of it, and accusations, for the manifold euils of it, and that he weaning it daily from the old lusts thereof, and seaso­ning it with grace by faith receiued daily, which vanquisheth them, and inu­ring it with the helpes that may nourish it from time to time; but that it shall G with great ease serue God in this life, and haue nothing the toyle and labour that others haue, in the going about any good dutie, or resisting any sinne? Let men say what they will,An ill gouer­ned hart cause of all disorder. it is the euill gouerning of the heart, and letting it loose to follie, wandrings, and needlesse phantasies, that causeth it to be sur­feited with all manner of iniquitie; and the most know not their hearts how deceitfull, corrupt, and vnholie they be: I speake not onely of the wicked of the world, as the reader may see, I am faine often to put him in minde, but euen of those whom God hath separated from the prophane sort to serue him. And although, according to that which they know of the will of God, they haue some care to auoide offences; yet doe not many of them seeke, nor H set themselues to know that which they might, of God, nor of their owne du­ties: neither to grow forward in many good things, as they might doe, belee­uing assuredly that God will supplie their wants, and helpe their infirmities, as he would they should; but rather doe many things to the great offence of others,Little acquain­tance with our hearts brings great bondage. and al for that they are so little acquainted with their hearts (which (in many) are tuchie, froward, wilfull, worldly in a daungerous manner) nor with Gods minde and will: by meanes whereof, some maintaine dangerous opinions: As that the law, in no wise, is to be preached; that Papists and Pro­testants disagreeing in fundamentall points of religion, may yet agree toge­ther, and be saued, and such like. Many also waxe secure and slouthfull, and I that in no common sort, and otherwise blemished daungerously more then with common frailties: and are not, for the most part, roused vp, but by some of Gods sharpe chastisements, as in taking away their deare friends from them: afflicting their owne bodies with some sore sicknes, diease, and feare of death, their minds with darknes and ignorance, feare of Gods wrath and heauines, which they thought sometime should neuer haue taken hold of them. The vse of the which being learned by the word, they are much check­ed and humbled to remember their boldnes, pride, and other faults: and somewhat quickened by a liuely hope, that God will againe bee intreated: also their hearts bee brought to stoope and bow to the will of God, more K meekly and readily, and not so stifly to stand in their owne conceit, as before they did. After this manner, God is forced to call backe many of his: but had it not been better for them, without these sharpe corrections, to haue made it their meate and drinke before, to please him in all things? But thus, their hearts being inlarged and inlightened, they see themselues readilie to withstand sundrie temptations, which before they did so hardly resist and [Page 143] A gainsay, that they found it a continuall irkesomnes and toyle to goe about it: or (that which was worse) through hardning of their hearts, they would not see them at all, which was a sore blemish vnto them.

Now these and such like, will any say, outstrayings in them, till God by chastisements call them backe againe, that they be not the fruites of an ill or­dered heart? euen as I said before, it is the ill gouerning of the heart, that cau­seth such excrements to come from it, and such disguising of the person, in whom it breaketh out so offensiuely; the which therefore had need to bee looked vnto with all holie and religious care: which is the point now in hand. And although it bee the exceeding fauour of God,An high grace to liue well, without the whip. to correct such B faults in his children, and to purge them out and amend them by some fa­therly afflictions, rather then they should remaine to the vtter ruine of the persons: yet had it not been much better, that they should neuer haue giuen occasion thereof? and that they had been carefull to keepe themselues with­in compasse, as some other of their brethren doe? Who though they be not (no not the best of others) exempt from the common frailties of Gods elect, yet doe they so labour to espie, hinder, and hold their corruptions vnder, in secret sifting them, and suing vnto God with groanes and requests; that they breake not foorth openly to the iust offence of others, at least rarely: so that it may bee seene, they keepe their hearts with all obseruation and diligence, more C then the other doe.

And yet for all that hath been said, I denie not, but that the dearest chil­dren of God may possiblie, nay easilie, as we haue seene, and are at sometime holden vnder this bondage by Sathans subtiltie, some more then others:The faithfull in part thus kept downe. so that for a time they shall be more drowned in the loue of earthly things, or be caried away by those which are sinfull, then obtaine a delight in heauen­ly. But by the spirituall armour of Christians, if they be once well exercised in it, they may and doe thus farre preuaile, that they recouer themselues a­gaine, and get superioritie ouer their hearts, and finde and feele that God is chiefe, and all in all with them, to delight and ioy in him (as I doe not see D why it should bee otherwise with any such as haue truly tasted how good the Lord is) and then they shall cut off numbers of such earthly and noysome pleasures, as they were wont to solace themselues with amisse, before they considered more aduisedly of it. But will any gather, that I doe make so light a matter of sinne (whiles I thus speake) as though I thought, it might be sha­ken off as a burre hanging on our garment; which the holie Ghost saith,Sinne is not shaken off as a burre. Heb. 12.1. clea­ueth fast to vs, and is euer about vs? For I know sinne is raging, and the diuell is strong as a lion in his suggestions and assaults, and hardly gainsaid, shewing himselfe as an Angell of light, and wee seelie to discerne, and weake to resist: yet this I must say, that the mightie Lion of the tribe of Iuda is stronger, and E Christ giueth wisedome to finde out his subtilties:2. Cor. 2.11. and greater is the spirit of God which is in vs, if wee confidently beleeue and trust thereto, then the sin which deceiueth and inticeth vs to the same.

But we haue not this grace (ye will say) and therefore what is it to vs?Grace to van­quish sinne. This may be ob­tained, and more and more from day to day. we haue had it (I say againe, so many as I speake of) and haue been taught, and haue a promise to ouercome by faith: and therefore we may doe so still: and that better and better euery day, the more experience wee haue. And al­though, [Page 144] I graunt that these things are hard to such as are not throughly seaso­ned F with the knowledge of this doctrine, nor instructed oft, and made famili­arly acquainted with the wil and louing kindnes of God (whose case is much to be pitied, and their growings cannot be great) yet it is most certaine, that where these things are often taught, and vnderstood, it shall goe farre better with them then with others. And they shall with ease get victorie ouer their speciall corruptions, as slouth, distrust, and such like: where as they, who are not acquainted and seasoned with them, shall not haue experience of Gods power in helping them to ouercome the same; but be seruants vnto them, which they might otherwise haue maistered. Examples hereof, as we haue many; so that of Dauid doth declare it, when he was constrained to cry out of G it,Psal. 51.5. saying: Against thee (O Lord) I offended, and did this great euill: as if he shoull haue said; my sinne had neuer broke out openly in the sight of men, if I had not let loose my heart first, in the sight of God.

Such gouernment therefore, as euery of Gods seruants according to the measure of their knowledge, may haue ouer their hearts, I wish might be kept and continued: which doubtles, although it ouercome not all tempta­tions; yet should it weaken them very much, and diminish their strength, so that the cursed fruites of them should not so easily, nor so often breake fourth to annoy them.Luk. 6.45. The good treasurie of the heart if it were carefully kept, would bring foorth better things. If ye aske what; my meaning is, not, that onely in H the exercises of religion, as prayer, reading and hearing, we should haue helpe and furtherance thereby, to worship God feruently (which commo­dity were not small) but in our common actions, affaires, and busines, we should reape the benefit thereof. For though it be no common thing to be found in the world; yet if men had a continuall care ouer their hearts, to keepe them well ordered, they should shew it in their talke and dealings: at the market, in their buyings and sellings, in their families, and among their neighbours, as well as among strangers, and in all things about which they may lawfully be occupied. In all these, I say, men should behaue themselues plainely and simply;Gal. 5.22. iustly, peaceably, patiently, meekely, kindly, gently,I faithfully, temperatly, and humbly, (of what state and degree so euer they be, and yet without any disgrace to them; nay the greatest honour and cre­dit) yea and mercifully also, as occasion should be offered: which (I thinke) if they were found in christians (as, where else are they to be looked for?) they would no lesse ioy the hearts of them who should behold them, then adorne and beautifie them,A peece of hea­uen to liue with such as keepe their hearts well. Psal. 120.5.6. who should be paterns of them. And who can say otherwise, but that it were a little heauen, to deale with, and liue among such? Euen as we see it is a peece of hell, to dwell with them that are of the contrarie disposition: As Iacob must haue been constrained to abide with Esau, and as Gods people in their captiuitie, did with the Edomits. God of K his singular loue (I confesse) restraineth many from the excesse of euill, that they would otherwise doe: seeing otherwise, none could be able to liue by them: But whereas some are thus bridled by good lawes, and some for shame and vaine glory, doe depart from much iniquitie; and thus patch vp a kinde of life among men: yet know they, that without religion (that is, a feare of breaking out of christian bounds) which onely is to be found in an [Page 145] A heart well gouerned) they shall neuer please God,VVithout it nothing sauory. nor haue fauour nor ap­probation, no not euen of common men. But of this we may complaine and cry out, till we haue worne our tongues to the stump, without redresse. For the fowle staines, and shamefull blots which are contrary to the forementi­oned vertues, are still vsuall (as they haue been) almost euery where, both in many of the ministery and people, and so will bee; as though godlinesse were tied to the Church walles, and to the pulpit. And for a further illu­stration and proofe of the benefit of the well guiding of the heart, this I haue said.

Thus we may see that the heart being well ordered,Fruite of a well ordered heart. will neither suffer the B affections to stray farre, nor willingly harbour euill lusts: and though they may creepe in by stealth; yet by examination, we shall finde out many of them, and shall be readie, when they are found, to purge them out, and expell them also, before they shall (being so nestled in vs) be able to poison our liues. Oh gaine vnualuable! for who can say lesse of it? that by the benefit of a well ordered heart, we may conquer many daungerous sinnes, which o­thers (for want of it) doe vsually commit, with shame and much sorrow ac­companying them. Now when we see the fruite of this well seasoning and keeping of our hearts, in frame, what should be in more account with vs? yea, what should hinder it from being so? or what should we thinke more C needefull to be done, then the labouring for it, when we see it so great a trea­sure; and such fearefull bondage for want of it, to come vpon vs? But, alas,Good moode. this looking to our hearts by fittes, now and then, when the good moode taketh vs, as it is too common, so it is most daungerous; and suffereth not christians to see, much lesse to inioy one halfe of the sweetenes, which God bequeatheth to them: I meane, if we gouerne and looke to them, but as men in the world commonly looke to their outward seruing of God: that is, to pray when night commeth, goe to the Church when the Sabboth com­meth, to fast when Lent commeth, and repent when death commeth. And so the wisedome of the flesh counselleth vs to looke to our hearts sometime: D but that we resolue and arme our selues that the heart bee thus looked to in all that we doe (as frailty will permit) and care had ouer it, that it follow the light of knowledge going before it, oh that is thought too heauie a burthen, and an estate too vncomfortable! To reioyce alwayes, to pray continually, in all things to be thankefull: as the Apostle commaundeth, 1. Ephes. 5.16. Day and night to be meditating on the word of God, Psalm. 1.2. and the varietie of the infinit good things contained in it, and aiming at it, as at a marke, how we may walke after it: Psal. 119.15. Heart may al­wayes be looke to. oh that is counted tediousnes, and bondage intolerable! And yet none of all these precepts can be vnderstoode of the outward actions of our life, the eare, and tongue cannot doe these things alwayes: but the heart may medi­tate, E reioyce, praise, and pray at all seasons, and vpon all occasions, if once it hath gotten a pleasure in them, for it shall neuer want occasion. And if we can obtaine to haue God in our remembrance more vsually then we were wont, or then others desire to doe, and spend our thoughts and set our de­light on him: shall we thinke any thing too good for him? should we not constantly take vp our hearts in heauenly cogitations, as we are willed, Col. 3.2. when we see, that all other are but vanitie and vexation of spirit? If it [Page 146] pleaseth him to aske our hearts, as he doth, when he saith, My sonne giue me F thine heart: Pro. 23.26. should we not thinke our selues happie that he will take any thing at our hands,Psalm. 116.12. when Dauid being a King, wished that he had any thing that would please him?Another cause why the heart should be lookt to, other wise it will not be rea­die to any duty. This taking vp of our delight in the looking to our hearts, as we are able, should the more be sought after of vs, if it were but for this cause, that if wee haue not rule ouer them in our common actions thorough our life, we cannot haue them at commaundement in the chiefe seruices of God. And from hence it is, that christians of good hope, doe com­plaine,Note. and that oftentimes with bitternes, that their hearts are so swarming vsually with vaine thoughts, euen whiles they are in hearing and praying: the reason is, because at other times they are vsually so occupied throughout G the day, feeding vpon their delights, that God is almost wholy out of their remembrance, especially to direct and leade their hearts: and therefore also their actions, and speeches are much offensiue in lightnes, rashnes, and vn­reuerence: The which being common with them in the daily course of their life, they cannot possibly haue them otherwise at hearing or praying. All which yet are contrarily done, when the strength of concupisence, I meane, the corruption of the heart (which is without measure euill) is mortified and as­swaged first;How we may be fit to pray and meditate. and then still subdued after and restrained, and daily seasoned with good meditations, and watched ouer, that it may be kept cleane, and fit to dutie.H

The onely way to curbe our lusts, is to looke to our hearts.And thus I conclude; that the onely way to curbe vp, and hold in our in­temperate lusts, and euill desires, that they breake not out into further vngod­lines, is, that our hearts be first purified through beleeuing that our sinnes are forgiuen vs, and wee made partakers of Christ his grace; and so our consci­ences appeased: and that they bee continued in the same good order after­wards.

Without this small fruite or comfort.And they, who wil not see and follow after this, but thinke to abstaine from sinfull temptations, and serue God in an honest and godly life, howsoeuer the heart be little looked after, shall reape a sleight fruite of their trauaile; nei­ther leade the life which is approued of God (as hath been said) nor finde the I comfort which they imagine they shall haue, at leastwise which they heare, to be graunted by the Lord.Matth. 19.29. But it commeth to passe, as it is written, that as they serue him, so he serueth them: for as they serue not God in heart, and deed,Matth. 6.6. & 15.7. but in word; so their peace is not in heart and deed, but in word: their ioy,Note. not in soule, but in countenance: a false comfort (and that appeareth in time of neede) as they gaue to him a false worship. It is profitable for vs to weigh this: for such as crie out of vs, as of Precisians, for teaching and vrging this, doe proue, to their cost and shame oftentimes, that they had been happy if they could haue receiued this our doctrine, howsoeuer they reproch and speake ill of our liuing. Who should not haue branded themselues with K sinnes, that they could neuer after weare out the staine of them any more; if they had been as the strictest Precisians before.

It hath been shewed, how the heart being kept pure and cleane, the vnruly desires and appetites which arise from thence, shall be kept vnder in vs, and the power of them shaken and weakened: this is thus to be vnderstoode: that euen as, if our hearts were altogether pure, all our thoughts and desires [Page 147] A should be altogether holy, and none of them vncleane:This clensing of the heart is not perfect. so our hearts being purified and clensed, but vnperfectlie, and in part, our desires therefore can­not be (in the perfectest and best Christians) altogether good and pleasing to God, but vnperfit: that is to say, many of them euill, and many which are holy, yet mixed with euill and corruption. Whereby it commeth to passe, that the holiest seruants of God, both carrie about them the noisome rem­nants of sinne whilest they liue,Hebr. 12.1. as loathsome ragges (for they cleaue fast vnto them) and also they complaine and grone vnder them as heauie burthens,Rom. 7. saying, Oh wretched men that we are, who shall deliuer vs? And againe, If thou, O Lord, shouldest looke streightlie what is done amisse, who should be able to abide it? Psalm. 130.3. B This (I say) is the perfection of the best: that they, who charge vs to chal­lenge a puritie to our selues, may be ashamed.This clensing though weake, is a great priui­ledge. But yet least wicked and vn­godly men should thinke this a small gift and priuiledge, that Gods seruants haue in this, that they be in part renued, and so be brought to thinke, that there is no great difference betwixt the godlie and themselues, they are to knowe, that to haue our hearts changed but in measure, so as it be in truth, is a benefit of greater value, then the whole world: and what meruaile if the ouercomming of malice, and reuenge (but one affection) be of greater value, then the winning of a Citie? Prouerb. 16.32. And whereas they thinke there is no difference betwixt the one, and the other, they may vnderstand, that the C meanest person hauing a cleane heart, though not perfect, is by infinite de­grees happier then the most glosing professor which wanteth it, the one sa­ued, the other damned: as we reade of the poore Publicane, Luk. 18.9.10. and the vaine glori­ous Pharisie.

CHAP. 13. Of the summe, and manner of handling this second part of a godly life: and particularlie of the rules to be obserued for the effecting of it: namely, knowledge and practise.

D

ANd thus (Christian reader) I haue set downe to thee, one part of the life, which God requireth of thee, whosoeuer thou art, who lookest for saluation at his hands, being a be­leeuer in Christs: that is, that thou shouldest renounce the euill lust which swarme euery where in the world, and vn­godly life following the same: and how this should be done, and how farre thou maist attaine hereunto, euen so farre as mans frailty will permit, and not as the vnbeleeuers: only be sure that thou hast this in some measure wrought in thee in truth.The second ge­nerall branch of the life of the beleeuer. But in all this thou hast been taught E onely to cast off that which is sinfull and naught; which to doe, is (no doubt) a great part of godlinesse: but there hath been nothing said of the manifold pointes of dutie on the other side, and of the goodnesse which is to be found in vs, and in the which, Gods people must shine as lights vnto the world: Matth. 5.16. Prouer. 19.22▪ For this is the glory and beautie of a man, as Salomon saith: That which is to be de­sired of a man, is his goodnesse. Of this life therefore, which must be wrought in stead of the former euill conuersation, and bringeth foorth fruites of amend­ment, [Page 148] and consisteth in the doing of good workes, I am now to intreate F and speake.More hard and excellent to doe good, then to eschew euill. And as this is more hard to attaine to, then the other: (as hard as that is) so it is farre more pretious, and beautifull to bee doing of good, then to auoide euill; though he is a rare man, who is not to be charged that way.

The which I say, first, that they may see what a great portion they haue euen in this world, whom God hath framed thereunto, how contemptible soeuer their estate be to them, who know it not, neither can iudge of it accor­ding to the truth.

Not to rest in that.And secondly, that they, who rest in it, and can say, they hope, yea see no great euill in them, may know, that if they bee not also giuen vnto good G workes, the greatest perfection that they can reioyce in, is this, that they are but halfe christians.

But the matter is much and large, which must needes be handled in the laying forth of this point, to shew fully and cleerely for the simple hearted Christian, what this part of a godly life is: therefore I will make no longer stay in any thing (as neere as I can) then I must needes.

First then, I will set downe some generall rules to direct thee how to pra­ctise all duties commaunded,Three bran­ches of this se­cond part of this treatise, and which they are. Obiections, if any be. Necessitie of rules to liue well by. which otherwise might be done to small pur­pose: then I will more particularly shew, wherein this part of godlines, or of doing good, doth consist: that is to say, in duties of holines to God: and in H righteous dealing towards men, with reasons of both: lastly, I will answere some obiections brought against the godly life.

And where I say I will giue thee rules which shall helpe thee to practise the godly life, marke them well: for because this point is not well learned, therefore many which would gladly liue well, attaine to it in no good sort to bring it in credit with others, but meete with many vnsetlings, discourage­ments, and coolings of their zeale, yea oft times dangerous outstrayings: nei­ther finde the going about it so pleasant, as toilesome and tedious. And it is so in great part, because it is a worke whereto they haue not been trained: but as they partly see by the examples of others, and partly also doe gesse them­selues,I but not able to direct their waies soundly, as Gods word teacheth. Now the generall rules are these: First, knowledge of dutie, with a deligh­ting therein. Secondly, practise of that which wee know; the which practise or indeuouring to follow that which we know, is that liuing by faith, or labou­ring to keepe a good conscience, which the Scripture so oft and diligently com­mendeth vnto vs. And for the better furthering of vs herein, these vertues are necessarie: vprightnes, diligence, and constancie.

The first rule to liue well, is knowledge.And to begin with knowledge, as it is in all sciences, professions and trades, that they who goe about to practise therein, must needes haue some cleere and good vnderstanding of those things which appertaine to the K same; so much more in this practise of Christian duties, it is requisite, that he who beleeueth in God (for such an one onely can be a practiser here) should haue some true knowledge, what is good and godly, that he may discerne it from the contrarie, and of things good, which are the best; so that by know­ledge I meane,Knowledge what. such an inlightening of the minde to vnderstand the will of God about good and euill, that wee haue with it spirituall wisedome to ap­plie [Page 149] A and referre the same to the well ordering of our particular actions, that we rest not in seeing the truth onely, but approoue and allow of it, as that which is fit to counsell and guide vs: but yet so,And to grow in this know­ledge. as euery one is able to con­ceiue and attaine vnto that which I say, that both he may grow and increase in this knowledge, who is indued with the greatest measure of it alreadie: and he may not be discouraged that hath any true measure of it at all. This knowledge, S. Peter saith, must be ioyned with faith (that particular duties,2. Pet. 1.5. Rom. 2.29. as pa­tience, temperance, and such other like may be practised) and that not in the let­ter onely, but in the spirit. And it is that, of which our Sauiour Christ saith:Iob. 13.17. If ye know these things, happie are you if ye doe them.

B This heauenly vnderstanding, if it be loued and delighted in of vs,VVith this knowledge must goe a de­light in it. Prou. 2.4. and de­sired as gold, and sought after as siluer, and not weighed and esteemed of vs, as a thing common and of no value; will with her beautie so inflame our hearts, and set vs on fire with the loue thereof, that we shall thinke long, till we haue been led by it to the practising of that which we know (being the way to the King palace) which is farre more pretious then the knowledge it selfe, and will most certainly follow the same. Therefore Salomon saith:Prou. 2.10. Without this delight no fruit of know­ledge. If knowledge once enter into thine heart, and wisedome delight thy soule, then shall vnderstanding preserue thee, and counsell shall keepe and direct thee. And they who haue not this knowledge in greatest account, and delight not in it, whatsoeuer learning, or C wisedome they haue, they are as farre from practise of it, or bringing foorth the fruite thereof in their liues, otherwise then ciuilly, as if they were blinde and ignorant like the common sort: which in Nichodemus, Ioh. 3 10. a great man in Israel, and other of the Pharisies and Scribes is easie to be seene.

And this is the cause why many which are learned, and of the Ministerie, or otherwise, wittie, and acquainted with the Scriptures, are farre from a godly life indeede, for that they haue not their hearts led by Gods spirit to loue and delight in this knowledge of Gods sacred will (vnles it be for some earthly aduantage, which they hope for thereby, or for vaine glorie) more thē all other things beside: nor spiritual wisedom to square their actions ther­by, D to the end they may follow it as their guide in their whole course, as see­ing it worthy to set their delight therein: but account that a foolish thing, and easie to be attained (when yet it is the most pretious, and the hardest of all o­ther) yea, a farre more hard and difficult matter, then the getting of all their learning by labour and studie. What then doe I say? that their learning and great knowledge is nothing?Knovvledge an excellent gift. or doe I goe about to deface and make both o­dious? No, I am farre from it: but rather I say freely, that they are great and excellent gifts of God: and by many degrees, they may be neerer to an hap­pie estate who haue them, then such as want them.

But yet this I say, that many which haue them, haue not therewith that E which giueth an edge to them, and which maketh them profitable, sweete, and pretious both to themselues and others: they haue not the salt of grace,But without the salt of grace vnsa­uourie. 1. Cor. 13.1. which onely maketh them sauourie, nor the loue which onely maketh them fit to edifie (whereas knowledge without it, pusseth vp, and the tongues of Angels to expresse it, were but as a tinckling cymbale:) Neither haue they eye-salue to see that, except in humilitie they be content, yea glad to be led in their dailie conuersation by the light and helpe of the same; they haue no other fruite [Page 150] of it then earthly and transitorie: in ostentation, and comparing with others,F to disgrace them, and to be counted great masters when they attaine to great applause; when yet indeede many of them haue not the sweete fruite of it themselues, nor shew that amiable vse of it to others, as some meane countrie men which labour faithfully to make conscience of that which they know. And I say with the Psalmist, that he who hath fewer gifts of vnderstanding, so as he liue after them which he hath, is wiser then they: for thus hee saith: Thou hast made me wiser then my teachers, Psal. 119.99. then the ancient, or men of experience, be­cause I haue kept thy commaundements. Therfore with the Wiseman I conclude, that the delighting in this spiritual knowledge, which I haue spoken of, is one speciall thing, necessarie to the leading of a godlie and vpright life; without G the which the minde is not good, and consequently the life cannot bee ap­prooued:Prou. 19.2. so that they, who care but little for knowledge to guide them, haue as small pleasure in the godlie life, whatsoeuer they thinke of themselues: to the shame of such I speake it,The second rule. who say in their hearts, they know enough for their parts (for if they knew more, they must follow more.)

Therefore condemning both bare literal knowledge, without the loue of, and delighting in it; and much more the loathing and contempt of it: I pro­ceed to shew, that with such a well affected heart, we must practise that which is commaunded vs,Col. 1.10. that is, seeke to walke worthie the Lord, and please him in all things. And this practise is the second rule to direct vs to the life of the belee­uer,H and is both inward and outward: inward, when in resolution of our minds, and desire and purpose of heart we doe it, Psal. 119.10. Act. 11.23. Out­ward, when in our liues wee expresse and declare the same in our walking, Act. 9.31.

Practise, is first in an heartie desire.But to begin with the first. We must haue our hearts prepared and readie to bee set on worke, and imployed in any good seruice to God, or our bre­thren, as I shewed at large before in the renouncing of euill (and therefore the lesse shall be spoken of it.) And this well ordering of the heart, is a most precious grace of God, as without the which, no good can be well done. But when wee haue such awe ouer our affections, as to choose, desire and delight I in that which we know to be good, and as occasion shall be offered; yea and to bee vehemently grieued with that which hindreth vs therein: the mem­bers and powers of our mindes shall be readie to put in vre and practise the same.

Therefore this inward readines of the minde and feruent desire of the heart (we see) must be blowne vp in vs, and nourished as a sparkle or coale of fire: that (as it may bee obtained) there may bee some abilitie and strength thereunto. For the which cause, the Lord requireth, that wee loue him with all our heart, Deut. 6.5. soule and might.

This strength although where it is not knowne, there is felt no want of it:K yet such as see it requisite in their actions, doe soone feele it to be missing, and a great piece of the beautie of those workes which are done without it, to be wanting. As when they are gone about coldly and in deadnes of spirit: and so likewise, they can best tell, how well it beseemeth their actions, who haue obtained it of God, and testifie it throughout the course of their liues. For when men vnderstand, that God hath so appointed, that they should be zea­lous [Page 151] A in doing their duties, as remembring that of him they shall receiue their reward, and that his busines ought to be gone about feruently and with conscience;Ierem. 48.10. though they haue no great example of such practise in the world, it will har­ten them on with courage vnto the same, by the helpe of his spirit, which lea­deth thereto. And yet if the zeale of Gods house consumed them, as the Prophet saith, it did him; this were no perfection, but that which ought to be laboured for, as euery one may attaine it; and in the whole course of mens dealings and duties to God, some measure of it: in so much, as where it is not found and inioyed of men, they should count it their sinne.

And here this one thing is to be considered, that our affections of choo­sing, B and imbracing good things be so ordered, that they may be equally more slacke or strong, as the goodnesse of the thing shall be greater or lesser:Our affections must be stron­ger, as the good is greater. (as in praying to God, rather then giuing their due to men.) Also that (in an equall comparison) the duties of holines to God, be preferred before duties to men: and with more bending our force and strength, when we goe about to performe them, rather then these.

And if it be demaunded here, how we shall come by such grace,How we come by this grace. Ephes. 4.22. 2. Pet. 1.4. as where­by we shall be able to imbrace, choose, and follow the good, which we know: I answere: that we receiued such grace, when we first beleeued in Christ; whereby our hearts were purified, and clensed from the strength of our old corruption: C which (if we remember) doth warrant vs not onely, that our Lord Iesus Christ hath taken away the guilt, and punishment of our sinne, and impar­ted to vs, and giuen freely his obedience; but also grace and will to loue pie­tie, and goodnesse; and power, as to kill sinne, so to quicken vs to newnes of life. Rom. 6.4.5.

So that if we feele it not vsually, and ordinarily, we haue lost and forgone it, either through our forgetfulnes, slouth or careles negligence: or if it be through infirmitie weakened in vs, wee ought to stirre vp our selues with cheerefull confidence, to the recouering of it againe, and not to be content to be spoiled of so great a treasure. But if this earnest desire after goodnesse, and vehement zeale of honoring God by that which we know, be quench­ed: D whether it be ouerwhelmed with sorrow, feare, or such like passions, or dulled and made blunt in vs through lightnes, and in following the desire of our hearts amisse, we are in no wise fit to honour God in any seruice. Thus much of the first part of practise, namely inward.

I will now goe forward with the second part,As we desire, so must we inde­uour to do good. Psal. 122.8, 9. which is a branch of the se­cond rule, and helpeth forward to the leading of a godly life; that the be­leeuers may, by it, be able to guide themselues aright, and with much ease, in respect of those, who be not acquainted therewith. And this it is, that in well doing, we stay not in our good desires, and in the readines of the heart to doe good, but procure, accomplish and performe the same duties outwardly; that E we indeuor at least, euen where we cannot performe, as occasion shall be of­fered, and that in one commaundement as well as in another, so farre as it may be obtained. So that in all parts of sanctifie and holines, which shall be wrought in, and by vs, this ought to be as a perpetuall law, that all the mem­bers of our bodies, and our particular actions, may all become most fit instru­ments and helps to shew forth, and expresse the same. And that is it, which the Apostle to the Romans meaneth, when he saith:Rom. 6.12.13. Let not sinne raigne in [Page 152] your mortall bodies, that ye should obey it in the lustes thereof, neither giue ye your F members as weapons of vnrighteousnesse to sinne, but giue your selues vnto God, as they which are aliue from the dead, and giue your selues as weapons of righteousnesse vnto God.

All parts of our bodies giuen to serue God.By this we see, that not only the heart with her members, that is, the cogi­tations and desires in those which are iustified by faith, must be consecrated to the honour and seruice of God, but also the bodie with the parts thereof; the eare in hearing, the tongue in speaking, the eye in seeing, &c. that so we should be his wholy: and in one part of our life, as well as another, doe that which pleaseth him.

No man doubteth, but that we should doe good works, as well as haue G our mindes and hearts inwardly purged,Make a trade of godlines. 1. Tim. 5. but that we should be diligently giuen vnto euery good worke, and make a trade of godlines, to applie and follow it; so that while we doe one good dutie, we should not neglect ano­ther (which in good husbandrie about things of this life is much regarded:) that few will grant, or be readie to yeeld thereto: yea and that our conuersa­tion should be in heauen, that is, that our common course of life should be hea­uenly,2. Cor. 6.3. whilest we liue here vpon earth: and that we should not only giue no occasion of offence in any thing, but also in all things seeke to approue our selues as the faithfull seruants of God. Thus much of the rules: the vertues which further vs herein followe, which are, vprightnes, diligence, and constancy or H perseuerance.

The first ver­tue is vpright­nes.The first then of these vertues, which should make our practise both in­ward and outward more pure and perfect, is vprightnes, and that is, when in a single and true heart, we loue, choose and desire, and doe any good thing, specially because God commaundeth,Deutr. 18.13 Ephes. 6.14. Iohn 1.17. and for that end. This vertue was commended by our Sauiour in Nathaniel, when he said: Behold a true Israe­lite, in whom there is no guile. Many actions, otherwise feruent enough, for want of this sinceritie, are but froth (as were the hot enterprises of Iehu a­gainst idolaters) and cause them who haue long pleased themselues therein, at length, to crie out of their doings (though admirable in the eyes of others)I and to say, they were but hypocrisie.

There are many starting holes in the denne of our hearts, and many waies we can deceiue ourselues, that the good which we doe, is not as it seemeth: but as it is not all gold that doth glister, so the touchstone of Gods word doth finde much drosse therein:Pretences in good actions. yea, the Lords weights of the Sanctuarie doe proue them light and windie, which in our iudgements and perswasions were weightie and substantiall.

We are brought oft times to be earnest in good causes, and to further them, as for friendship of others, and for companie sake: so for malice, for our commoditie, vaine glorie, and for feare of some sore punishment or dan­ger,K if we should doe otherwise: when our pretence in all these, is, that it is good, and commaunded; yea and we meane well many times, and are fer­uent in a good thing without these euill respects; and that partly for the com­maundement of God: but not only, nor resolutely for that, but more for o­ther considerations, then that: Therefore we are found to be others, then we would. Although I would not be taken, as though I should meane, that there [Page 153] A were no vprightnes, if any feare,Psal. 130.3. or other fleshly respects should be mixed therewith (so as we be not ruled by them) for otherwise our best actions are mixed with corruption.

And thus I conclude this point as the former, and say with the Apostle:1. Cor. 1.12. This shall be our reioycing (if we haue any worthy the speaking of) that in simplicitie, and godly purenes we haue our conuersation in the world among men: This vertue therefore (I meane faithfulnes, and vprightnes) going with our practise, in performing the duties which we knowe, shall both set our selues about them with more roundnes, and (as farre as they can be discerned) shall cause them to shew more beautie to others, and raise more admiration in B them.

Now if this should be thought needeles of some which shall reade it, that I speaking of the true Christian, doe vrge and require vprightnes and sin­glenes of heart in practizing godlines, seeing I haue said as much before in the chapter of renouncing sinne: I answere, that it is alike requisit in both: and that as well we shew integritie in the practise of good duties, as in the forsaking of euill. And thus with the rules, I haue set downe one of the ver­tues namely vprightnes: which is necessarily to be learned and kept of all such as hauing obtained the gift of true faith, doe set themselues to lead a godly life: I say, such as haue true faith, because no other haue any possibilitie C to enter, and set vpon it. And if thou thinkest to set vpon the godly life with­out it, thou shalt offer to God a broken peece of worke:Necessitie of those rules and vertues. no better then the offering of Caine; although it shall seeme to thy selfe, to be as holy as the sa­crifice of Abel.

But if thou hast tasted aright of this gift of faith, and then going about to leade a godly life; thou being soundly instructed in these rules, before set downe, and perswaded that they with the vertues here added, must guide and helpe thee to the right performing of all dutie; then (euen as skill and vnderstanding of the rules in any science or trade, with willingnes and in­deuour, maketh the workeman fit to vse and practise it) thou shalt finde great D ease, not onely in withstanding the deceitfull baites of sinne, but also con­stantly breake through many and diuers lets, which thou shalt meete with, that they shall not withhold thee from going forward in thy Christian course. For it is mens naked, and vnarmed venturing, and going abroade in the world (which is as a shop of vanitie and inticements) it is this, I say,Vnarmed ven­turing abroade is cause of sore wounds. that maketh them come home with so many deadly wounds, fearefull falles, and greeuous offences, (I speake of the better sort of people, as well as of the com­mon professors, though the worst seldome feele them) and they shall neuer finde it otherwise till they doe better addresse themselues and be furnished, as hath been said, to this great worke of Christianitie.

E But because I haue appointed a more conuenient place hereafter, where I shall more fully speake of the armour, which God hath prepared for the safekeeping of his, I referre the reader thither, for more full satisfying of him about this matter. Onely one or two obiections, which may arise from the doctrine which I haue set downe, shall more fitly be answered here.

F

CHAP. 14. Of the aunswering of some obiections about the former doctrine, and of the other two vertues which helpe to a godly life.

Obiect. We cannot doe as we desire. AS first this, whereas these rules haue been said to be able to carrie the Christian beleeuer, in a well ordered course of liuing, some obiect thus: It falleth out often times, that we haue a very good desire to doe that, which we know, plea­seth God; but wee finde no strength to performe. And G further, they say; we doe not so much maruaile that we attaine not that which we seeke, when the Apostle himselfe maketh the same complaint, where he saith, to will is present with me, but I finde no way to accomplish that which I desire. I will not answere this as the deuoutest Ie­suites doe, namely, that God giueth his grace, and we may receiue it if we list, although we haue no assurance of his fauour by faith: which is a meere mocking of poore people, whiles they are warned to seeke that with vnsauo­rie and vncomfortable wearying of themselues, which they can neuer pos­sibly finde:Answer. 1. But this I say, if this be oft and earnestly desired of thee (as it was of Paul) Gods grace shall be sufficient for thee.H

And further, if thou hast neuer so feruent a desire to ouercome euill, and to doe that which thou knowest to be good, and yet hast not thy heart pos­sessed of the fauour of God,2. The best de­sire without as­surance of Gods helpe is vaine. and taken vp therewith, but standest waueringly affected about that matter, thy desire is not that desire which I haue spoken of: neither therefore able to helpe thee in that which thou wouldest; it be­ing no fruite of faith.1. Iohn 5.4. For this it is, that ouercommeth all lets in the world, and no other thing, euen this faith I meane, whiles by it we are perswaded that Christ Iesus so loueth vs, that he is readie to doe any thing which is ex­pedient for vs: because of the great fauour that he beareth vs, whereby we are made able also,Phil. 4. and in whom we can doe all things, as shall be expedient I for vs.

For as nothing can separate it from vs, so he thinketh nothing too good, or too pretious for vs. So that he, into whose heart his loue is shed plentifully, is perswaded, that as he hath saued him from the greatest daunger of hell; so he will much more saue him from the smaller, of being ouercome of his corrupt lusts: and that he, who hath bestowed by free graunt and sure promise, the greatest benefit vpon him, namely, the kingdome of heauen; will not denie him the smaller,Rom. 5.10. Rom. 8.30. that is, grace to liue Christianly here on earth. For he that hath giuen vs Christ, by whom we haue the former, how shall he not with him giue vs other things also? And if, not as we would, yet that is best which he giueth.K

Now for the other part of the obiection, that Paul himselfe did not finde grace to ouercome the rebellion of the old man,VVhy Paul o­uercame not all rebellion. that is, his corrupt nature: I say, it is true, that fullie and perfectly he did not: to the end, that he might al­waies haue a marke of his vnworthines, and sin remaining in him, and there­by remember, that it was of only mercie that he was pardoned, and the grace of God, that kept him from falling away from him. And for both these cau­ses, [Page 155] A that he might be abased, and kept humble vnder so great grace as hee had receiued: in regard whereof, he had (as he confesseth himselfe) been exalted and lifted vp aboue measure: and last of all,2. Cor. 12.9. that he might from time to time finde sweetnes still in the forgiuenes of his sinnes. But although he was not perfect here, as an Angell; yet was he not caried of his lusts into grosse iniqui­tie (as some dreame, because he cried out and complained, I am carnall, Paul was not caried into grosse iniquity. solde vnder sin: O wretched man that I am!) And it was necessary that he should mis­like and be grieued with the smallest rebellion or resistance of goodnes, and with some vnfitnes to his calling which he felt sometimes, and to other good duties: but yet Gods grace was sufficient to keepe him, that he fell not into B that depth that he might haue done.

But I haue in effect answered this alreadie by another occasion.VVe may looke for the like grace that Paul had in our measure. Now to applie this to our selues, and not to bee glutted with it as many are, I say; that wee likewise through the same grace in our measure, may looke with good cheere to bee deliuered from the yeelding to our wicked lusts, which most dangerously incumber vs, as hee was from his: wee being resolued, that our most louing father (for the tender care hee hath ouer vs) is alwaies looking downe from heauen, and beholding who is vpright hearted towards him (how weake soeuer) that he may shew himselfe strong towards him, 2. Chron. 16.9. and thereby supplie his weaknes. And thus the desire to keepe a godly course being soundly plan­ted C in vs, and the same proceeding from faith also, who doubteth but that it may haue strength to doe such outward duties as are required, though weak­ly:1. Chron. 28. [...] to endeuour at least (which God will accept) though wee doe not alway preuaile ouer such strong corruptions, as oftentimes for want of such grace doe master vs. But in thus speaking, I shew what Gods children may confi­dently looke for, not what euery one obtaineth. And except the sinne of in­continencie, against the which God hath prouided a lawfull remedie,2. Cor. 12.9. Rom. 7.25. wee haue both promise from God, and wee by the power of our faith, doe inioy such victorie ouer other sinnes, as whereby wee may walke without iust re­proofe amongst men, and keepe our peace toward him also: this being ad­ded, D that when we are craftily deceiued by the vncessant malice of the diuel, (although not without our owne slouth, sleepines and securitie) we haue ac­cesse, as in time past, and recourse to God by the meanes of our aduocate,1. Iohn. 2.1. and doe recouer our hope and hold againe.

Thus I haue shewed, how they who haue a will and good desire, may look for strength also to performe in some good sort, the duties which seeme so difficult and impossible to them, so that they neede not be greatly troubled with that obiection: howsoeuer there are many, and those also fauourers of Christian religion, who neuer finde nor feele the same. But because many of Gods deare seruants finde it not thus oft times, neither are able to say,Many weak [...] discouraged for want of this victorie. that E they feele this, but contrarily doe complaine that their life is full of disquiet­nes, for that they cannot ouercome the force of anger, impatience, raging, frowardnes, and such like, neither liue godly to their contentation, although they desire it: because I say these may be discouraged by this doctrine, I would haue them vnderstand, that I haue not in the former answere to the last obiection set downe, what euery godly Christian doth or shall feele (as I said before) but what God of his bountifull liberalitie hath prouided, that [Page 156] they may feele and find:Many know not their liber­tie. and how their estate may be bettered, and their spi­rituall F libertie enlarged.

Besides, many good people doe not know this, in a long time what God hath bequeathed them: nay, many of them neuer know one of the many sweet liberties and priuiledges of Gods children; but only receiue so much light from the father of light (and therefore are rightly called the children of light) as whereby they see the way to his kingdome:Ephes. 5.8. and according to the knowledge they haue of his will, thereafter they declare and shew it forth in their liues; but nothing as they might, and as some others doe.

Now to proceede to the other vertues which further our practise of a godly life: such as receiue and desire to attaine to the grace which I haue G spoken of, that is, to be more sound and better setled in an holy course, they are and must be glad with all their heart to be diligent and painefull in this worke of the Lord,The two next vertues, dili­gence and con­stancie. and to abide constant therein, that they may by these two vertues adioyned, nourish all good desires, and holy endeuours, after they be once planted in them: and hold out the contrarie, whilest they be not yet greatly troubled with them: and set on worke their knowledge in such prac­tise, as it may well be seene whose seruants they are.

Diligence and constancie bring great matters to passe.This diligence and constancie, in whatsoeuer they be vsed, they bring great things to passe, whether it be in any trade, or in the searching out of things obscure and hard to be found out, when only the light of reason is H followed: and who doubteth then, but that in holy duties, wherein men are guided by the spirit of God, most excellent effects are brought forth of them? Neither is any dutie indeed well performed without them: for which cause S.2. Pet. 1.5. Peter speaking of the godly life, teacheth that all diligence must be added thereto: Giue all diligence (saith he) to ioyne with your faith ver­tue, as if he should say, that all is lost without it: and Ieremy saith, that he is cur­sed, Ierem. 48.10. Iam. 1.25. that doth Gods busines negligentlie: And of constancie, what saith S. Iames? He that looketh in the perfect law of libertie, and abideth therein, if he be not a forget­full hearer, but a dooer of the worke, shall be blessed in his deede, that is, in so beha­uing himselfe.I

VVhat dili­gence.Therefore, by the first of these two, namely, diligence, let them be readie to take all occasions and opportunities to the doing of some good, and to shunne idlenes and vnprofitablenes, that so they may bring foorth much fruite redeeming the time wisely,2. Pet. 1. Ephes. 5.15.16. while they may: and that with a thousand times more gaine then others doe: and not as slouthfull, and vnthriftie per­sons,Rom. 16.19. & 12.9. passe it ouer idly and vnprofitablie, for the pleasing and satisfying of their foolish appetite, for the present time.

Constancie. Iohn. 8.31. & 15.5.By the second, namely, constancie, and continuance, let them not onely keepe their hearts and liues in the same good estate, which by diligence they haue alreadie nourished in themselues, but also waxe more fruitfull, and K their hearts more inlarged: and so daily become followers of euery good worke,Gaine of these. Reuel. 2.19. 2. Tim. 4 8. vntill their latter yeares be better then the former, and vntill they haue finished their course with ioy. And being once acquainted with the gaine that these bring with them, they shall doe as the merchants (who hauing their mindes set vpon their aduantage, suffer not themselues to range after pleasures, but busily follow their trade which bringeth in commoditie) so [Page 157] A that whatsoeuer part of the Christian life they are occupied about (holding these for their companions) they may count it the most happie time, which is so bestowed. For in so doing, they weane their hearts and mindes from much draffe and worldly lusts, which would, if they might be lodged there, much annoy them: and thereby they are much more readily disposed vnto dutie, then such as will not imbrace them: who being contented with any vncertaine and deceiueable perswasion of Gods fauour, and refusing to bee holden within such narrow streights and compasse of this holie and Chri­stian counsell, that is, of going forward by diligence and constancie in their course, breake out oftentimes to their trouble, daunger, and discredit; when B the other are quiet and merie.Many pay deare for their liberties. And because they account it bondage to bee held in after that manner, therefore they finde that they pay deare for their liberties, when they be after constrained to repent the seeking of them,Note. and yet cannot easily recouer their inward peace which they lost for them, nor shake them off againe, when yet most gladly they would.

And for want of these two, and through the contrarie,Want of these daungerous. slouth and incon­stant vnsetlednes, in that they doe not settle themselues to one good thing or other, euen the most of the godly doe not finde that sweete fruite in their life, which is to bee found, namely, of safetie vnder Gods protection from time to time: but by improuidence, and wearines of well doing, they doe by C little and little plunge themselues into some deepe vnsetlednes, out of the which, it is hard to arise againe. Therfore Salomon in two words hath fitlie expressed them both, saying: Let the feare of the Lord be in thy heart continually: Prou. 23.17. which is as much, as a diligent care to please him with constancie therein.

Thus as I haue said, to these former rules and vertues which guide vs to liue godlie, these two are commanded, diligence and constancie. By the one,Ephes. 5.6. that we be readilie prepared, as wee ought to practise good, and so resist euill: whereas slacknes and no care, or too little, is condemned. By the other, that thereby wee may continually goe forward in doing good, and fleeing euill:1. Thess. 5.3.6. Gal. 5.7. wherein all staying, ficklenes, or going backward, is very dangerous. Hereto D belongeth that to the Corinthians, when he hath said:1. Cor. 15.58. Awake to liue righte­ously, and sinne not, he addeth, Be stedfast and vnmoueable, alwaies abounding in the worke of the Lord: knowing that your labour is not in vaine. And after; Watch, 1. Cor. 16.13. stand fast in the faith, quite your selues like men, and be strong. And this is necessa­rie aboue all things, that so wee may become that simplicitie which is meete for them who are in Christ.

Now that this our diligence and care in all good duties ought to bee for continuance, and euen while life lasteth; let vs know, that the Lord com­maundeth it to all his children: according to that which is written,Matth. 24.12. Ioh. 8.31. & 15.7. He that abideth to the end, he shall be saued. And in another place, If ye continue in my E word, and it abide in you, then are ye my disciples indeed: and, Aske what ye will, and it shall be done to you. And yet this might bee spoken to small purpose, if the Lord had not promised as much to his faithfull seruants; that they shal haue grace to perseuere giuen them from aboue: as he saith by the Apostle: He that hath begun this good worke in you, will performe it vntill the day of Iesus Christ: Phil. 1.6. Also to the Thessalonians: Faithfull is he that hath called you, 1. Thess. 5.24. which will also doe it. If it be demanded, how he will inable them, seeing there are many feares [Page 158] in their life of finall falling away: the same Apostle answereth this, in the F Epistle to the Colossians, saying: To the end ye may walke worthie of the Lord, (and please him in all things) and be fruitfull in al good works, Col. 1.10.11. & increase in the ac­knowledging of God, ye must be strengthened with all might through his glorious po­wer vnto all patience and long sufferance with ioyfulnes. And S. Iohn speaketh to the same purpose,1. Iohn 4.4. thus: Greater is he that is in you (that is, the spirit of God) then he that is in the world, that is, the diuell. The fruite of such a course is both an happie end here (as it is written:Psal. 37.37. Marke the end of the vpright and iust, for the end of that man is peace) and happines for euer after. As wee reade where Paul saith: I haue fought a good fight, I haue finished my course, and kept the faith: 2. Tim. 4.8. from henceforth is laid vp for me the crowne of righteousnes, which the Lord G the righteous Iudge shall giue me at that day: and not to me onely, but to all that loue his appearing. But I haue been long in the former points, and by occasion haue shewed throughout the whole discourse of the godly life, that it must be continued to the end: I cease now to say any more.

Thus hauing set downe these vertues which must guide vs to practise the godlie life throughout our whole course, it may easily bee seene how euerie man who is come thus farre, may prooue himselfe a repentant person, and be apt and fit to bring foorth the fruits of amendement in his particular actions, and how his whole conuersation may bee such as may beseeme a man of God, so farre as humane frailtie will suffer: wherein, because wee follow H Christ Iesus himselfe,Other two ver­tues, humilitie and meeknes. Matth. 11.29. wee must know, that all our duties must be practised in humilitie and meeknes: for so he saith, in submitting your selues to my doctrine, and in leading the godly life, learne of me to be humble and meeke.

As if hee should say, if ye bee hautie and high minded, so as ye despise the simplicitie of my doctrine, and thinke it too base a thing for you to be subiect to; or froward and vntractable, that in some points ye wil hold back, though in some other ye be obedient, ye can neuer liue godlie, as God requireth of you. These therefore must haue no place in Christians, either Ministers, or priuate persons, but the contrarie vertues, as I haue said: which are oft times in the Scriptures set downe together,Ephes. 4.2. Col. 3.12. as well as in this place: that wee may I know how needfull it is, that they should alwaies goe together; and that al­though there bee many goodly gifts in a man, yet if he hath not these, they shall lose their credit, and beautie amongst those which behold them, and withhold their commoditie from him who wanteth them.

These alwaies necessarie.And these two are not particular vertues which sometime only may haue vse, but such fruites of the spirit as necessarily are required in all actions: so that at no time, humblenes of minde, and meeknes of spirit may be wanting. All these vertues (I confesse) are common, as well to the forsaking of euill, as to the doing of good: and so vnderstand it, though it be put out of place. But I set them down here, seeing the former part of this treatise was so large. And K that which I haue said of this matter, I wish to be well obserued, that the life of the beleeuer is a continuall proceeding in the departing from euill, and endeuouring after duties, in such manner as hath been said: and a setled course in repentance, and a constant walking with God; and not an idle, or vncertaine stumbling vpon some good actions (whiles a great part of his life is neglected, and not looked after) he must not be sometime at commaund, [Page 159] A and readie to offer his seruice to God in some good moode, and after take his owne libertie to doe what he listeth.

The Lords seruice is not like the disordered seruice of many vnreformed gentlemen, where, besides the attending at table and on horsebacke, the at­tenders may runne where they will: but it is like to a well gouerned familie, where all are appointed their office and place, in one thing after another to be well occupied, and kept from idlenes; and yet not discharged thereby, to doe what they will after. So our Sauiour teacheth it should be with his ser­uants, as with a seruant in a familie: who when he hath wrought in the field,Luk. 17. [...]. is not by and by discharged of other duties, but then doth busines at home: B so they, when they haue been fruitfull, and haue purposed to doe all that is required of them, haue done but their dutie.

So that the end of one worke is the beginning of another:Deut. 18. and yet al with­out toile and tediousnes. For so hath God prouided, that his seruants may be merie at their worke, yea whatsoeuer they shall put their hand vnto; and the more duties they do, redeeming the time from idlenes, and vnprofitablenes,Matth. 11.30. Deut. 12.18. the merrier. There is much work in the Lords familie, as there are many pla­ces to serue in: And the slouthful & idle ones, howsoeuer they can haue place sometime in earthly gouernment, yet are they expelled from thence. And this is that which Saint Peter warneth vs, that we be neither idle, nor barren, C which we shall auoide, if wee be filled and furnished with the traine of hea­uenly vertues: as knowledge, faith, loue, patience, godlines.Iohn. 15.5. And herein is our heauenly father glorified, if we bring foorth much fruite.

To this end we must know that Christianitie is fitly compared to a trade, wherein men goe from one worke to another: and a Christian hath many sins to weede out, and to labour against, and therefore not carelesly to marre all his worke in an houre, that he hath well followed sundrie daies: as he that loseth all that he hath by a cast at dice. He hath also many duties to looke vn­to, towards God, his neighbour, and himselfe: wherein it shall bee found re­quisite for him to be carefull, after the doing of one, to goe to another: and D not to admit any thing against the peace of his conscience, no not in his re­creations, nor in his weightiest worldly dealings, feastings, companie, &c. but to see the vnitie of the spirit kept in the bond of peace.Ephes. 4.3. And as the Phisitions doe wel direct, that for the preseruing of bodily health, it is good to rise from our meate with an appetite, and not to ouercharge the stomack: so it is none of the meanest rules for maintaining our soules health, to keepe alwaies an appetite to some new dutie, when we haue performed the old, and not to be so wearied in the doing of one, that wee bee vtterly vnfit to goe about ano­ther.

This one thing being thus from time to time carefullie regarded, shall E make all the rest well and rightly vsed, and the whole life thereby kept in frame and good order. For thus to bee setled in our Christian course, that with full resolution we be willingly weaned from our euill lusts and corrup­tions, or readilie disposed to one good dutie or other, and not wearie, but it be forthwith disliked (as we neede not, seruing so bountifull a master as we doe, who haue God the commaunder of our worke, and a promiser of bles­sing vnto it:) Thus (I say) to be setled, who can say, but that it is a singular te­stimony [Page 160] of their spirituall welfare to all that practise it, and a furtherance of a F godly and well ordered life.

CHAP. 15. Of some particular duties pertaining to God directly in the first, second, third, and fourth commaundements.

The second point in this second part of godlinesse, wherein this performing of good duties doth consist. NOw the rules and vertues hauing been set downe, which helpe to the practise of a godly life, I will shew in what points this life consisteth, and set downe a summe of it: but G more briefly I will doe it, because it may in some sort be gathered by the description of the vngodly life: and also for that no man can set downe all the particulars of it, but they must be learned and knowne of the true Christian, out of good catechismes, and by daily and attentiue hearing of his ordinarie teacher, who is able to instruct him herein, and by a diligent search into his owne life by the commaundements.

But yet to helpe the weake, that they may see how to drawe out of this whole treasurie, and rich hoard of the commaundements, for the better or­dering of their wayes, through their whole course, that which shall be neces­sarie H (seeing they shall not alwaies haue other helpes at hand) I will set downe some of the chiefest, throughout them all. And first those duties which directly pertaine to God (following the order, which I did in setting downe the sinnes before:) According to that which is in the Apostle, where he saith, that the knowledge of saluation teacheth vs to liue holily, &c. and to giue vnto God, the things which are Gods.

Duties to­wards gods person.And first of all, to begin with the duties of the first commaundement (the life and light of all the rest) it is first required, that we seeke and desire to know God,Knowledge of God. though not perfectly (which we cannot doe) yet as he may be knowne of vs, as his word doth reueale him to vs: that in his nature and properties,I he is spirituall, infinit, pure, holy, righteous, onely wise, constant, omnipo­tent, onely good, one in essence, three in person: and in his workes; as his constant decree, and execution of the same in creation and gouernment: in all most admirable; as wee see in the earth with hir furniture, wherewith we are best acquainted: although that be but as his footestoole, to conceiue of his glorie in heauen, which is as his throne. But alas, this knowledge of God is weake euen in many a true Christian beleeuer: but that euery one is then fit to learne it aright, when he is once a Christian. Furthermore, we must acknowledge, that is, allow, and in heart, yeeld and consent vnto the truth of those things which we know of him: that then we may safely and K boldly beleeue in him, and cleaue to him. For this knowledge of his maiestie causeth al his faithfull ones to be truely knit vnto him, and to fixe their whole delight in him:Psalm. 73.18. so that, they say with the Psalmist: Whom haue I in heauen (O Lord) but thee? and who is he on earth, whom I desire in comparison of thee? So that none is, as the Lord, vnto them.

We thus cleauing vnto him, and knowing our selues to be safe vnder his [Page 161] A winges, grow to put our confidence in him,Trust. that he will helpe vs in all our necessities and tribulations. And from this confidence, arise many other Christian duties:Hope. as to hope and looke for that helpe which in confidence we assure our selues of, from the Lord: yea although meanes be wanting, yet we giue glorie vnto God;Dan. 3. as the three children which being cast into the burning fornace, committed themselues vnto his protection, although at that time they saw no likelyhoode of helpe at all. Againe, through this con­fidence, we are not afraide, no not in greatest daungers, but are patient,Patience. and without murmuring hold our peace, because we know,Psalm. 3.7. the Lord hath done it: and that which is more, we count it good for vs that wee are afflicted,Phil. 4 10. Rom. 52. Col. 1.11. Ioy. Phil. 4.4. Psalm. 4.4. B and receiuing all as from a father, doe reioyce soundly, and heartily in them, through hope at least. And through the same confidence, we reioyce in euery condition of life vnspeakably: yet no otherwise, then as we be afraide to doe any thing, which may displease God, as I shall say afterwards: because we know, that although this is wearisomnes to the wicked; yet there is cause continually offered vs, to be carefull, that in all things we may be approoued of him.

And seeing we behold, how all good things doe flow to vs from God,Thankfulnes. 1. Thes. 5.18. therefore we offer vnto his maiestie, this other dutie, in all things to be thank­full: namely, with a kinde heart testifying, that all our well-fare commeth C from him: and so doe we in our wants, and necessities lift vp our hearts vnto him by prayer, for the obtaining of the things which we want.Request. And when he thus bountifully imparteth to vs all good things, which yet are but the smaller fruites of his fauour, (and yet, if they were not enough, he would send vs more and greater) who doubteth that with al our hearts and strength, we are affected to loue him, more then wife, children, house, land,Loue. or what­soeuer is of greatest price in the world beside? yea that in comparison there­of, the best things of price, are reckoned but as doung?Phil. 3.8. Cant. 2.4.5. Psalm. 16. And in token of this true loue to God, we giue our selues to solace our soules in him, as Dauid, euen when he was in daunger of his life, did comfort himselfe in his God, D 1. Sam. 30.6. because it is so sweete and beautifull, to thinke and meditate oft times vpon the infinit good things that doe flow from him vnto vs:Desire Gods presence. but most of all desiring to inioy his presence in heauen, which shall be with ful­nes of pleasures for euermore.

And further, because all which know God, and put their confidence in him, and loue him, are ouerwhelmed as it were, with the infinitnes and ex­cellencie of his glorious maiestie, therefore they are drawen to behaue them­selues more reuerently, and vprightly before him,Reuerence. then before the greatest potentates in the world: and therefore are prepared to walke before him continually in an holy and childlike feare,Feare. 1. Pet. 1.17. Act. 9.31. desiring that he will teach them by E his wisdome, direct them by his prouidence, and blesse their whole course, so as they may comfortably feele the same, through their life.

Now besides these duties of holines which we owe directly to the person of God, meerely spirituall and inward,The second commaunde­ment. there are other whereby we worship him outwardly, which also are parts of this holines towards God: it follow­eth therefore, now to mention some of the chiefe points of this externall worship of God both publike and priuate; and in what manner it should be [Page 162] vsed:Gods worship. but before it is to be knowne, that he will allow of no other meanes of F worshipping him outwardly, then he hath appointed and prescribed him­selfe in his word.Isay 1.12. Iohn 4.23. And therefore the office of the ministerie it selfe (by which God is truely worshipped publikely) must not be an office to sacrifice and say masse for the sinnes of the quicke and dead (which Gods word plainely condemneth) neither must it be any other then that which God acknow­ledgeth for his:Ministerie. that is, a publishing and preaching of the Gospell, and glad tidings of saluation by Iesus Christ to penitent sinners and beleeuers,Rom. 1.16. and a ministring of the sacraments, which he hath ordained for the comfort of them.

Such ministers they must be at the least, which serue him, whatsoeuer gra­ces G they haue beside, if they would that God should acknowledge and take them for his: and after such outward manner must they worship him in all dutifulnes of heart, both magistrate and priuate person, who will worship him aright: And amongst the publike seruices of God, these are some and the principall,Publike pray­ers. with prayers by voice expressed, thanksgiuing, confessions of sinnes,Censures. and singing of Psalmes, the fruite of the lippes; with the censures of admonition, and excommunication, as cause doth require: which I knit together for breuitie sake, seeing I haue onely taken in hand, to set downe shortly, what the partes of Gods outward worship are, (not largely to han­dle them) that all may see the better hereafter, when I shall come to it, how H the daily direction for a Christians life, may fitly bee drawne out, and made vp of the whole body of godlines layde together in the commaun­dements.

Publike fasts.To these may be added, publike fasts, when the people of God by some especiall calamities either hanging ouer them, or alreadie vpon them, or for greeuous transgressions against God, do abase and humble themselues more earnestly and feruently,Ioel. 2.12. Extraordina­ry thankes. to intreate God against them: Also publike thanks­giuing for some rare benefit or deliuerance sent vpon the Church: In all which publike actions the Lord requireth streightly,Hester. 9. besides, that we should loue, desire and procure them by all meanes that we can; so, that we shew I all reuerence in the vse of them: as by bowing our neckes in making our prayers,Luk. 18.13. Iohn 11.41. lifting vp of our hands, or eyes, as occasion is offered; so casting downe of lifting vp the countenance with cheerefulnesse, as the matter heard requireth.

Priuate wor­ship.An other part of Gods worship is, when the most of these now spoken of, are vsed priuately of vs: Also the talking and conferring of the word of God, in mutuall instructing, admonishing, exhorting, comforting, or any way else which is fit for edifying; as singing of Psalmes, and thanksgiuings in Chri­stian families, both ioyntly and seuerally, according to their particular oc­casions and oportunities, and namely at meate and at rest. And to conclude,K we must all both magistrate, minister, and people carefully auoyde, and watch against all occasions of superstition and idolatrie: and be zealous against the same, to the rooting out and abolishing of them, as much as in vs lieth: and carefully retaine, and hold our company and familiaritie with the true pro­fessors and worshippers of God; and continue daily our frequenting of the places of publike assemblies of Gods people, and not breake off our fellow­ship, [Page 163] A as the manner of some is: Neither giue or take occasion, one or other of vs, in our seuerall estates or places, of hindring or cooling our holy and com­fortable proceedings in the Lords pure worship and seruice.

But seeing the Scripture teacheth, that he is not a Iew, which is so onely in the eyes of men; neither is the drawing neere with the lips and bodie onely,Manner spiri­tuall. spirituall: therefore the manner of doing these duties in Gods outward wor­ship, is also to be learned (as in a word I haue touched before) that as in them­selues they are good and godly; so they may, as they come from the belee­uers, be also sweete and sauourie in the Lords nostrils, namely, that (as they proceede from faith) so they may be seasoned with holie affections, as oft as B they are offered to him.

So that wee are to know this, that when wee shall set vpon any part of his worship, which now hath been spoken of, it is highly displeasing to him, to goe about the same lightly, rashly, falsely, hypocritically, and vnprofitably: for that were abominable to him, as a dead sacrifice. But contrarily, wee must vse them with al high reuerence, being prepared rightly before: wel affected in the vsing of them: and ayming at the most profitable end which he hath appointed, that so we may be approoued and allowed of him.

Now if I should particularly declare how and after what manner, euery part of the outward worshipping of God should be vsed, as I haue shewed in C generall; I should tarie too long in this matter:Hovv Gods worship is to be vsed. The word. Act. 26.18. Preparation. 1. Pet. 2.1. Iam. 1.21. Act. 10.33. but in some few of the prin­cipallest particulars I will shew it, that thereby may be seene what is required in the rest. In the preaching of the word, being the way to inlighten vs, first with faith; and after, to settle and establish vs in the truth; wee should come prepared to the hearing of it after this manner: laying aside all filthines of heart and hands, which might hold out wisedome, we being readie and de­sirous to receiue it with a hungrie soule: and therefore not rashly, and little regarding what we goe about; neither comming with a captious and mali­tious purpose to heare. In the action it selfe, we should be thus affected:In hearing. Isai. 61. Act. 2.37. with our whole soule to marke and weigh the matter, that so we may bee touched D with it accordingly: that is to say, with hearing our faults, wee should bee pricked, and relent: with hearing promises, beleeue,2. Thess. 3.4. and receiue comfort by them: by doctrine of dutie, to be fullie resolued to practise it: and therefore not to haue our heads full of other matters, running vpon our profits and pleasures, or in hypocrisie: and though wee take some delight in that which we heare, yet not to bee contented to rest therein, without the feeling of the true worke of it in vs. After wee haue heard,Hauing heard. wee should giue all diligence to muse and conferre of the things which we haue heard, examining them by the Scriptures, with the good men of Thessalonica:Act. 17.11. and finding agreement betwixt both, with more boldnes to set our selues forward in euery good E way by the helpe thereof.

This is the right manner of hearing the word of God preached, which the Lord hath taught his people to endeuour after: as whereby he warran­teth them singular fruite and blessing. And although this be but the vse and helpe of one part of Gods worship; yet if wee were alike directed in all the rest, how greatly (thinke wee) might a Christian bee holpen and enabled to the true worshipping of God by the same? which now being not knowne [Page 164] of many, neither reuerently practised, is a thing most vnsauourie and irke­some F vnto them. Not much vnlike to this, is the true manner of the priuate exercise of Gods word in reading and conferring vpon it:How confe­rence and rea­ding should be vsed. that with high re­uerence in hope to get profit thereby, and praying earnestly for the same, we should goe about it: whiles we are at it, withdraw our mindes from all other things; and after, applie it profitablie and readilie to vse it.

How the Lords Supper should be receiued.To the Lords Supper, if we desire to finde it (as it is in it selfe an heauenlie banquet) we should see that we come in our wedding garment, meet guests for such a table, apparrelled with the robe of faith and repentance; without which, the Lord of the feast will neither looke vpon vs, nor welcome vs, but expell vs rather. Matth. 22.13. In the time of our receiuing, we should be heauenly minded,G much comforted and made glad, as feeding vpon such dainties, whereby our soules and bodies shal liue happily for euer. And afterwards, to be thank­full to the giuer of so great good things; and a long time after, to retaine the strength we receiued by them, to the end wee may feele ourselues readie to testifie the same by all dutifull obedience for the time to come.

Hovv prayer should be made. Matth. 6.9.Of prayer also, which shall be more fully spoken of in another place, there is an holie and reuerent vse to be made (though many are little acquainted with it) namely, that we should seriously weigh Gods almightie power, and how fatherly he is affected to vs, which two things should be our pillars to leane vnto, so that we may be the better prepared thereto: that whilest wee H are in powring out of our prayers vnto him, wee may through this confi­dence,1. Tim. 2.8. feele our selues effectually moued to lift vp pure heart and hands vnto him with cheerefulnes:Psal. 116.13. and after blessing receiued, bee made more readily disposed to pray often with thanksgiuing. And these are some of the chiefe duties to God, and in such manner, as is before mentioned, they are to bee performed vnto him.

The third com­mandement. Luk. 1.75.Now further we are commaunded not onely in his worship, but also in our whole life, euery where to seeke his glorie: for so he hath willed vs, that we should frame the whole course thereof holilie throughout the sixe daies, that so we may glorifie him therein. And who doth not see, that this should I be so? namely, that in our life and behauiour we should as well walke worthie the Lord in al things, as in the worshipping of him both publikely and priuate­ly, as we haue been directed before? That so there may be in these two com­mandements, fully laid foorth vnto vs, a summe of all outward duties, which in the sixe daies we ought to performe vnto him: and in the due practise of both, we may shew foorth the fruite of that knowledge, acknowledgement, faith, feare, and loue of God, and all other inward graces, which we haue bin taught to honour him with, in our hearts, by the first commandement. Ther­fore, as I said, the duties inioyned vs in this third, doe most fitly go with those of the two former: that not onely in the time of preaching and prayer, and K such like exercises of religion, but also in our common and vsuall speech and actions, we declare what a worthie and reuerend estimation wee haue of the Lord: as by speaking all good of his name, word, and workes: and in our lawfull callings, by ordering and behauing our selues wisely and graciously: that al which liue with vs, may see that our religion is ioyned with the power of godlines: And that this bee done of vs in all estates and conditions of our [Page 165] A life, both in prosperitie and aduersitie: and that as many as wee can preuaile with (our owne familie and charge especially) wee labour to perswade vnto the same: yea and if wee at any time fall by infirmitie, yet that wee acknow­ledge the same, as cause requireth, and so returne to the Lord againe;Ioshu. 7.19. as Iosua exhorted Achan to doe; To be short. Whether we eate or drinke, 1. Cor. 10.31. In all things to glorifie God. or whatsoeuer we doe els, all is to be done to the glorie of his name. And in mentioning the com­monest of our actions, as our eating and drinking, he excepteth none; to the end, that wee may carie our selues in a staied and well ordred course con­tinually, whilest wee shew that in the smallest matters, and in our actions, which seeme least weightie, we be afraid to offend: as in our common talke, B that it be sauourie, and for edifying. And seeing we vse the name of God very oft both in our common speech, and particularly in an oth; his mercie, iustice,Col. 4.4. Psal. 118.5.12. wisedome, and power are to moue our hearts, as oft as we haue cause to speak of him, with all high reuerence to vse the same. But more especially,In an oth. when iust occasion of swearing by him is offered, wee should diligently consider the person of the Lord, how he is a reuenger of all such as take his holy name in vaine: and the matter it selfe, about which wee sweare, that wee doe it in truth, in righteousnes and iudgement. In truth,In truth. so that whatsoeuer be affirmed or denied, may truly and for certaintie be affirmed or denied: and whatsoe­uer be vowed or promised, be promised and vowed without fraud, and sim­plie. C In righteousnesse, that there bee a iust cause of our swearing,In righteous­nesse. and that which is agreeable to the will of God. In iudgement,In iudgement. that it bee done adui­sedly, not lightly, or rashly, but that we may take comfort in performing that great dutie aright, namely, that wee haue made knowne the truth, which be­ing made knowne by vs, hath cut off some great doubt and controuersie.

And so should wee in the beholding of the workes of God (as the firma­ment; with the Sunne, Moone, and Starres: the earth with her furniture,In beholding Gods workes. as the corne, grasse, trees, and her large prospect) take sweete feeling of Gods Maiestie, and beautie which shineth in them, reioycing with reuerence, that he hath giuen vs this cleere glasse to behold his face in (although this wee D must know that in all these inferiour creatures and workes of his, wee see not any part of his throne, but onely some part of his footstoole:) which should moue vs therefore, in all our actions to beware of hypocrisie.

Seeing therefore we haue daily vse of these, I thought good to make men­tion of them (yet in as few words as I could so large matters) how wee ought to vse them: let the residue bee learned by ordinarie hearing those, who be­ing furnished with gifts fit for this purpose, are appointed of God to make his people sound and skilfull in them: that they may shew to the world, that the honouring of God, as it is set foorth in his word, is another manner of life then the world is acquainted with, and so bringeth another manner of E honour to him, and comfort to men, then the imbracers and louers of the world can be partakers of.

Thus I haue spoken of the behauiour which inwardly and outwardly, both in Gods holie worship and in our whole conuersation towards God directlie, we are to shew in the whole sixe daies throughout our life.

That which followeth next, is that part of holines & obedience which is to be giuen to the Lord, one day in seauen:The 4. com­mandement. Nothing differing from all the [Page 166] three former,Holy keeping of the seuenth day. Exod. 20.10. sauing that, all our owne workes though lawfull on other daies,F are on this day, as much as is possible, to be laid aside, that is, except in case of necessitie: and the whole day to be bestowed in his worship, and seruice, and in things directly tending to the same. So that, by vertue of this part of Gods honour, we are not restrained from our sinne onely (which we are forbidden euery day) but from common labour also, which is an hinderance from the consecrating of the whole day vnto God: And therefore lawfull workes being forbidden, we may assure our selues, that much more he con­demneth the intermixting of vaine and foolish Enterludes and Playes, with such like misspending of the time: and the filling of mens mouthes as well as their heads with worldly cares and dealings, to too common on that G day, although not tolerable on other.

But because the Lord knoweth how prone, and readie we are to weari­nes of well doing,Varietie of holy exercises. therefore he hath not onely appointed some part of this day to be passed in publike, and other some in priuate exercises of godlines; but also he hath giuen vs great varietie of both sorts, that so the whole time may be bestowed without tediousnes and toyle; euen from our preparing our selues to the sanctifying of it, at our vprising, vnto the last duties at our lying downe: which mercifull and wise regarde of his, ouer vs, if it cannot mooue vs to giue our selues to practise this part of holines (whatsoeuer our excuses be) we plainely shew, that our mindes are earthly and carnall, and H that we doe but fauour our selues in worldlines, or profanenes, idlenes and ease, when we reason against it, as being too precise.

Publike assem­blies.The publike duties, are the reuerent assemblies of Christians in the preaching of the word, in prayer, and administring of the sacraments, on that day especially to be vsed, howsoeuer on other dayes by occasions oft intermitted: All of them are most blessed helps for the establishing of vs in an holy life. Of the priuate, some doe particularly concerne our selues alone: some are as well for the benefit of others,Priuate exer­cises. as for our owne comfort: for our selues, we are to meditate on the works of God, vpon his wonderfull workes, which he hath done for the sonnes of men;Psalm. 92. that so we may feele his goodnes many waies; I and from the sweetnes which we perceiue in the creatures, we may be lifted vp, to behold the beautie and fauour of the creatour.

We are also to thinke of the doctrine which we haue heard, that it may the easilier be imprinted in vs. And on this day we are more freely to consi­der of our estate: how we proceede in the religious keeping of our coue­nant with God: and how we grow in the assurance of Gods mercie, and our redemption: or whether we goe not backe, or stand not at a stay. And euery way as our neede shall most require, we are to vse our examinings of our selues, meditations and thanksgiuings on this day, not only for our pre­sent comfort; but for our more fruitfull walking all the weeke following.K Conference of good things, tendeth as well to the edifying of others, as our selues. Beside the which there are other duties to be don to them, as to do the workes of mercie to them, as well in visiting them in their sickenes, releeuing their necessities, breaking off their disagreements, and reconciling them who were at variance, as in spirituall comfortings of them, as God doth inable vs. And these al laid together are as a continuall direction for the holy vse of the [Page 167] A Sabboth to vs (euen as the daily direction which I shall adde afterwards, is to serue a Christian daily as long as he shall liue:) for the profitable and hea­uenly spending of the Sabboth is the market of the soule, in the which, he, who is wise, will prouide and store himselfe for all the other dayes of the weeke, wherein it is like he shall haue little helpe, but much discouragment, as in the world may be seene. And this holy passing of the Sabboth must be religiously regarded of al the Christian family, as the charge giuen to the go­uernor thereof doth shew: and of the stranger also who shall come vnder his roofe. This is the sum of the holines, which we are to shew towards God: he that desireth to heare more fully of this matter, which I may not handle at B large, let him reade such treatises as are written of that argument.

CHAP. 16. Of certaine duties to men, in the fift, sixt, and seuenth commaundement, the obeying whereof is a part of the godly life.

NOw followeth another branch of the second part of this godly or Christian life, requiring of vs righteous dealing towards all men: Where by the way, this is to be carefully C regarded, that seeing there is an apparant distinction and difference betwixt those forenamed duties of holines to God, and these of righteousnes to men which shal follow, and yet both alike commaunded; therefore that no man disioyne in his prac­tise, or separate the one from the other, seeing the Lord hath set them downe ioyntly together. I speake this, because there are many,Duties to God and man not to be separated. who delighting in hearing the word preached, and prayer, and reading (which are duties di­rectly appertaining to God; yet are very negligent in performing that which is due to men; as in doing workes of charitie to the poore, liuing peaceably and comfortably in mariage, or in shunning hastie iudging of their bre­thren, D and in being dutifull to superiours, as magistrates, parents, maisters, (when yet they commaund in the Lord:) and so, contrarily some shall be found doing many things commendable to men, and no religion in them towards God. Which thing, if it be of ignorance, is a shamefull blemish in them, who are guiltie of it, seeing they haue had so long a time graunted them of God, in which they might haue learned better: but if after it bee knowne, it remaine still;Iam. 1.27. it plainely testifieth that there is in them a wilfull disobedience against God, and that the best of their workes are in vaine.

And before I enter into the particular duties of righteousnes to all sortes of men, it is here as in the fittest place to be taught,Beare loue to al. which cannot be after­ward E so conueniently added: That we haue this minde in vs, that we beare loue towards all men euen our greatest enemies; from which ground and roote of loue, we may be readie to performe all the duties, which we shall know to belong to them from vs, required particularly in the commaundements fol­lowing: And secondly, that we ioyne with it an other generall vertue,Brotherly kind­nes to Christi­ans. which is brotherly kindnes to Christians, which are brethren with vs, which is an holy and especiall loue of one faithfull brother towards another. And these [Page 168] two,1. Pet. 1.7. are those which Saint Peter speaketh of, when he saith, ioyne with brother­ly F kindnes, loue: where this vertue is, they haue learned to giue euery one of the faithfull their brethren (according to the knowledge wherewith God hath inlightened them) the seuerall duties required in the second table. A rare and singular gift of God; which if we could see the practise of it, what light of good example it giueth, and what profit, it would inflame vs won­derfully to the practising of it.

Now follow the seuerall parts of righteousnes to men, as they are distinct­ly set downe in the sixe commaundements following,The fift com­maundement. to be performed of Christians, and which helpe to make vp the second part of a godly life. In all which,Many duties to our neigh­bour. although there are many more particular duties to be mentioned G then were in the former part (because we haue so many dealings, and that with infinit persons) yet I will set them downe with the like breuitie as neere as I can, that I haue done the duties of holines to God, leauing the reader to learne the other (as I haue said before) by other ordinarie meanes.

Duties of inse­riours.And first the dutie which men owe as they are inferiors to others, and the superiors to them againe, come here to be considered, both generally, and one particularly towards another. Where this is required of all inferiours, that they so carry themselues in their whole course to them, which by Gods appointment are aboue them, or excell them, that they may shew in their whole course that they honour them: for so the will of God is, not to re­quire H any one especiall action or dutie of them, but that their whole conuer­sation be such towards them, that the person which they take vpon them, and the place wherein they are, may haue more credit and estimation among men, and be vpholden and maintained in such sort, that they may weigh downe all wicked practises of men against the same.

Common to all inferiours.The duties in generall, which belong to all inferiours, doe arise from this one, as from a fountaine, that is to say, subiection: which is a voluntarie ac­knowledging,Subiection. Rom. 13.1. that they are set vnder those, which are their superiours by Gods ordinance and appointment. The which when men are perswaded of, they will readily goe vnder any dutie that appertaineth to them. And I from hence issueth inward reuerence towards them,Reuerence. as to thinke highly of them for that person, which God hath put vpon them: and therefore also to giue them that outward reuerence, which is due to them: as to rise and bowe to them, Iob. 32.4. to giue them the higher place, libertie to speake before them, and to giue them reuerent titles; and submitting themselues to them euery way, as it is meete: which if in loue it be not regarded, and the benefit, which God hath appointed thereby to come to their inferiours, considered, that so there may be a preseruing of the dignitie and worthines of such persons and places amongst men, all confusion and barbarousnes must needes insue and follow.K

Superiours duty.And for this cause the superiours againe for their parts must see, that they carry themselues towards them as brethren, in all curtesie, sauing their autho­ritie: and further also that they goe before them, both in all innocencie, and example of good life. And because there are some superiors to vs by ciuill authoritie,Diuers kinds of superiours. as princes and other magistrates; and some ecclesiasticall, as Church officers; some by nature as parents; some by age, as the gray headed, [Page 169] A and some by gifts, as of knowledge, experience, and other graces: therefore both their inferiours to them, and they to their inferiours (besides the for­mer duties in generall set downe) haue somewhat seuerally to looke to,Subiects and seruants. one towards the other. To such as haue authoritie ouer them, inferiours must submit themselues, in bearing their rebukes, and receiuing their corrections willingly, and without resistance, by not answering again, Tit. 2.6. by stomack or coun­tenance; yea though they suffer wrongfully: which commaundement Saint Peter giuing to seruants toward their masters,1. Pet. 2.19. who are not superiours of the highest power, or of greatest authoritie, doth much more binde other infe­riours to be subiect thereto.

B And further besides this, such inferiours are charged by God to be obe­dient onely to their lawfull commaundements;Rom. 13.6. Obedient. so that God be not thereby depri­ued of his due: for this cause subiects pay tribute to their Princes: & hold both their goods and liues so, as they be at their commaundement. And seruants, which will testifie and shew, that they count their masters worthie all honour, Tit. 2.9. do frame themselues to serue them with faithfulnes and diligence, not with eye ser­uice: by the one, seeking their profit and good trustily; by the other,Col. 3.23. doing their duties with care and painfulnes, euen as to the Lord himselfe.

So all high Magistrates, both Kings,All in autho­ritie as Prin­ces. Psal. 78. two last verses. 2. King. 11.17. and such as are in authoritie vnder them, owe this particularly to the people, ouer whom they are, to regard, that C the Gospell of Christ Iesus be published freely and purely by the Ministers thereof, thorough their whole dominion, to bring the people to God: and the same dominion to bee well gouerned, by the right executing of whole­some and good lawes, that the people may liue an honest and quiet life vnder them. So also Masters for recompence to their seruants, are charged by the Lord,Masters. to shew themselues, as well good and bountifull towards them in recompen­cing their labour and trauaile to the full, as besides it, to doe that which is iust and equall vnto them, the which they for their parts doe owe to them againe: which is to prouide that they may bee taught in the congregation, and at home: as also of themselues, to see that no necessaries, in meate, drink, work, D and honest intermission in due time bee wanting; neither that they with whom they haue so couenanted, bee kept ignorant, and vnexpert in their trade.

Another kinde of superiours, are kindred by nature,Childrens duty. and parents in the flesh, to whom their inferiours and children for the singular benefits which they receiue from them (except they degenerate farre from their duties) do acknowledge much to be due to them againe. Among which, this is not the least, that they shew themselues forward in the imbracing of holie instruc­tion according to the ripenes of their yeeres.Iob. 1. Luk. 2. That their reuerence and obe­dience continue (of children I speake) euen vnto their end, although with E more libertie, when they shall be of more ripe yeeres, their parents them­selues consenting thereto.Genes. 24.55. 1. Cor. 7.36. Also that they make no mariages without their consent. That in token of thankfulnes, they be readie to helpe their necessi­ties. And that they be carefull also to doe their duties,Numb. 30.4. Gen. 47.12. Ruth. 1.16. & 3.6. Parents. Prou. 22.6. euen to those which shall succeed their parents, by way of second mariage: For their parents are bound to teach them from their youth, as was said of seruants; to keepe them from idlenes, to traine them vp in some lawfull and honest trade, to [Page 170] gouerne them wisely, and kindly, to prouide for their necessitie of mariage,F and to minister things needfull for this life,2. Cor. 12.14. as they shall be able, and as they may doe it religiously and lawfully.

Ministers. Matth. 13.52. Act 26.18.Of those superiours which excell their inferiours in gifts, the Minister of God is chiefe: who is furnished with knowledge and grace to conuert many to God, and to perfect them, as Gods instrument vnto the day of Christs comming. And so particularly,Ezech. 34.4. & 6. 1. Thess. 5.14. 1. Cor. 9.22. to lift vp the faint-harted by comfort, to strengthen the weak, to direct him that wandreth vncertainly for want of knowledge, and to waite with patience; and by becomming all to all, that he may gaine some to God. There­fore the Lord hath giuen him a great honour with them whom hee preuai­leth with,1. Cor. 4.15. Hearers. 1. Cor. 9.11. not to bee counted their teacher onely, but their father: they who G know their duties, for this heauenly communion, which they inioy with God himselfe, and with Iesus Christ, by his ministerie, doe with gladnes make him partakers of all good things for this life,1. Thess. 5.13. and haue them in singular loue for their workes sake. And this they doe, besides the subiection, reuerence, and obe­dience (which they haue in common with all inferiours) who are willing to be taught, and reioyce to be counted obedient children in the faith.

Strong Chri­stians.Among these which I count superiours in gifts of the mind, they are to be reckoned, who are strong Christians, and whom God hath indued with a li­berall portion of heauenly grace, wisedome, experience, &c. more then o­ther of their brethren, and who know their libertie which they haue by H Christ in things indifferent, and abuse it not. Towards these, the weaker sort must know,Weaker. that it is their dutie, not to iudge them who vse their libertie, which they haue by Christ, neither to count them as prophane men for do­ing that, which they themselues dare not doe; but to thinke them such, as God will confirme vnto the end: and to consider that they themselues had more neede to bee setled in the knowledge of the truth, then to take vppon them to censure those which are wiser then themselues. The dutie of the strong is to beare their infirmities,Rom. 14.3.4. neither to please themselues in the things which they doe, but to build vp the weake, and to vse their libertie aright, seruing Christ therein, and seeking the good and benefit of their neighbour: which I is done, when for his sake they abstaine (when neede is) euen from things lawfull: and then it is necessarie, when their weake brother by their example is led to doe that which he hath no warrant of, and therefore his conscience is defiled and wounded thereby, and so he waxeth the more backward in the ser­uice of God.

Excelling in gifts.But besides these gifts in the stronger sort, such as God hath beautified with any gifts, which others doe want, ought to bee had in honour and ac­count for the same, and not saucily and proudly to be contemned: for by such, God helpeth forward the welfare of those who do want the same. And namely,Ancient in yeeres. Iob. 32.4. the ancient in yeeres and gray-headed are of the yonger sort to bee K esteemed, and had in reuerence: as Elihu hath giuen example in the booke of Iob; who being in the companie of sage and graue men, himselfe but yong, did keepe silence a long space: and when he spake, he said, he did so re­uerence their age, that he was afraid to speake.

And if wee can frame our selues to giue these duties to our betters and in­feriours, it shall be the easier to regard the dignitie and worthines of those, [Page 171] A which are our equals, which in that one sentence of the Apostle is taught vs:Our equals. Fom. 12.10. that when the case so standeth, that we might seeme as worthie persons as o­thers, and not any thing inferiour to them in the iudgement of men; yet let vs giue ouer our right vnto thē (if it be any) and in giuing honour to them, go be­fore thē. And when we haue had experience of carefull practise in giuing this due to our neighbor, we shall both perceiue our want,By examining, see our wants and neede of Christ. and be ashamed to see how manifoldly wee sometime failed herein (which without faithfull exa­mining will neuer appeare, by meanes of our secret selfeloue) and what be­nefit wee haue of Christs righteousnes in this one commandement, to couer our so great vnrighteousnes against it, and thereby set our selues more ear­nestly B to grow sound in the duties of it. This point of humilitie is for good cause required of vs towards our neighbour,Iohn. 13.14. that wee may the more readilie yeeld to other duties which follow.

And this of the duties which we owe to the person of our neighbour:Maintaine our own reuerence. to the which, if we adde this, that wee be carefull to maintaine our owne reue­rence and credit among men, by a course beseeming our holy profession, we shall doe well. Now we are to see what God inioyneth vs towards their life. To name the duties onely, and barely to mention them, doth little good to the most that shal reade them, either for vnderstanding or practising of them: and to stand long I may not, the least that can be said of the particular du­ties C in euery commaundement (though breuitie bee studied for) is more then I meant to bee occupied about: the wise reader must haue considera­tion thereof. The duties to their liues are many:The 6. com­mandement. Bodily life and health. and those both to the bo­dily life, and the spirituall. From whence wee must fetch for our daily prac­tise, all that wee are bound to performe, about this part of dutie. And to the preseruing of bodily life, health and welfare in our neighbour, as much as lieth in vs, it is required at our hands: first, that he sustaine no hurt by vs,Hurt not. Exod. 21.22. or any of ours, as farre as we can hinder it, in stripe, wound, bitter taunt, or hard handling any other way, either he or his, whereby his life might be made vn­pleasant, while he liueth harmelesse amongst vs: nay though he should ouer­shoote D himselfe towards vs, and prouoke vs; yet God will haue vs armed a­gainst such offences, by that mildnes of spirit, which changeth our boisterous nature into sweete amiablenes (verifying that which is written by the Pro­phet, the lambe and the lion shall feed together, Esai. 11.6.) whereby we are made able, and fit to liue euen with bad persons: Which mildnes teacheth vs, to beare much and suffer farre, rather then to bee angrie in our owne cause;Prou. 17.19. Prou. 19.11. which how weightie soeuer it seemeth to vs, is no better then follie and madnes: therefore not to desire reuenge at their hands, but to wish still their good.

And for our owne parts, wisely and carefully, both in words and in deeds E to auoide, and cut off all occasions of discord; yea though it be with the for­going of some part of our right, as Abraham did to Lot; and to procure peace, Gen. 13.7. so farre as it may be, without offence to God, or the hindring of our own salua­tion: and taking al things in good part, as far as possibly we may.1. Cor. 13.7. Oh how much doth he comfort the life, and glad the heart of his neighbour, whose earnest endeuour it is, to liue thus with all men! though it be a gift of God, which should shine euen in the rich themselues, as the Apostle sheweth, saying: [Page 172] Charge them which are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, but easie to F be liued withall. 1. Tim. 6.17.

Doe good to their liues.But yet is it further required at our hands, that besides the hurting no man (as hath been said) we should doe them good. And indeede, such should our whole course be towards others, that we might make easie as ma­ny mens burthens as we can,1. Iohn 4.11. seeing God in the riches of his mercie, hath vn­burthened vs of so intolerable weight, as pressed vs by our sinne: euen as he hath loued vs therefore, so from hence it is, that we haue loue one to an­other, as to haue care of their life, and welfare, to maintaine it, as their ne­cessitie shall require, and our abilitie can performe: To manifest it in their miseries by pitying them, and hauing a fellow-feeling of the same with them,G and so to testifie it both by words and deedes; as our Sauiour by doing the the same in pitying the people, Matth. 9.26. who were dispersed as sheepe without a shepheard, gaue vs example, to doe the like: And as their troubles and calamities shall be the greater;Pro. 3.27. so the more speedily to lend our helpe to them, to ease them, as much as in vs lieth.

Shew mercie.That this may the better be conceiued and practised of vs, we may take two examples for all the rest, to shew it in: for this being so needefull, and that oftentimes (I meane, to shew mercie) and so much complained of, to be wanting, I will stay a while in it. The one is in the distressed case of seruants, who if all hard measure being offered them, they must yet not be suffered to H answere for their innocencie, their burthen should be great: Iob therefore shewed himselfe to haue learned this compassion effectually, when as he saith,Iob. 31.13. & 14. If I did contemne the iudgement of my seruant, and of my maide, when they did contend with me, what then shall I answere, when God standeth vp against me? For he that made me in the wombe, hath he not made him? This (all men must needes say) is mercie to the life of our neighbour indeede, when wee shall shew compassion to them, whom we might oppresse, as being not able to re­sist vs.

Visit the sicke.The second example is of such as our Sauiour speaketh of, who visited him in his members (though many other who saw their miserie did not so)I saying:Matth. 25.35. When I was hungrie ye gaue me meate: Here by his owne words, we may see, that true compassion will shew it selfe by releeuing in time of neede, and shutteth not vp it selfe with an vnsauorie answere,Iam. 2.16. as Iames speaketh, God prouide for you. And as we should shew our helpe, chiefely to the needie and poore, so ought we euer to be readie to helpe all other with whom we liue, as they shall stand in neede of it, by counsell, trauaile or the like: euen as Simeon did his brother Iudah against the Cananites:Iudg. 1.3. and the rest of the tribes did Gideon against Midian, Iudg. 6.35. and the Amalekites.

But I will with adding a little more now make an ende of this dutie to­wards the life of our neighbour: That which I haue said thereof, may teach,K how pitie is to be shewed to the bodily necessities, as to the whole life of the needie and afflicted; and likewise how we must be readie to helpe all sortes that are distressed: and therefore much more to be harmelesse and in­nocent. Vertues they are of singular price, though little set by in this euill world: and yet he that is voyde of them, were better be out of the world. For both of them are accompanied with other vertues, which doe set out [Page 173] A the worth and beautie of them; euen as a chaine of golde, rings, and brace­lets doe beautifie, and adorne a comely person. For the latter, that is, inno­cencie and harmelesnes, is accompanied with meekenes, patience, and long suffering, without standing stifly vpon an offence, or hotly pursuing it, but ea­sily passing by it. Also he that is harmelesse, is gentle, tractable, and soone intreated to forgiue a trespasse, though some can neuer be brought to it: he is also peaceable and communicable, and fit to be liued with; which vertue is rare to be found. Therefore the innocent and harmeles man is much to be set by: and as profitable to him who liueth with him, as of himselfe, he is commendable. And this is to be ioyned with the other vertue, which in this B place, I before commended, namely helpfulnes: and which hath adioyned to it, mercie and tender compassion to succour them that be in misery: and kinde heartednes and goodnes, as the scripture calleth it, to preuent euill and daunger from our neighbour, before it take holde of him. And thus much of the dutie which we owe to the body and life of our neighbours.Pitie to the soule. That which remaineth, is of the regarde and compassion which is to be had ouer their soules particularly. That seeing the multitude of bad examples is one especiall imboldening of the world in euill: we,Good example. who are marked more then others, how we liue after the Gospell, which we haue in so great price, ought both to walke warily towards such, as are yet in vnbeliefe, as well as vnblameable C amongst our brethren, that so we may hope, that one time or other, it may please God to call them home,1. Pet. 3.1. as the Apostle speaketh to the beleeuing wiues: And who seeth not, that good example and innocent life, doth more moue the ignorant, and vnstayed persons at the first, then the doctrine, be­cause though they heare it, yet they vnderstand not the power and autho­ritie of it, neither are able to weigh the soundnes of it, vntill they see the beautie of it appeare in practise: And therefore he saith; Let your conuersation be pure, that they which obey not the word, may be wonne by you.

With this holy example of life, another dutie is required, that all occasi­ons be taken, and the oportunities vsed of winning men to God,1. Cor. 10.33. VVin and con­firme others. and of D confirming them who are in Christ alreadie, and peace making, and recon­ciling such as be at variance, and obseruing one another, and prouoking to loue, and good workes, the fruites thereof, by instruction, by exhortation, admonition,Heb. 10.24. consolation and such like. If the desire of the saluation of our brethren were such, when oportunitie serueth, and especially in companie, as that for the same, we could neglect our owne ease, and vaine liberties in idlenes, and vnprofitable talke; there is no doubt, but by kinde and wise dealing with them, we should preuaile with some: especially this one thing being added,1. Thes. 5. Helpe the poore. (a thing of all other most looked after) that with godly counsell, we pitied the necessities of those that be in wants, as their case requireth, and that with E the bowels of compassion, whereby both their hearts are comforted,Rom. 12. and they better prepared, to take good by our counsell and instructions,Phil. 7. euen as Boaz did to Ruth in both, when his kinde and sweete words to her with his friendly dealing, caused her to say, Oh my Lord, thou hast comforted me, Ruth. 2.13. thou hast spoken to the heart of thine handmaid.

These two former duties being rightly obserued and duly regarded,The seuenth commaunde­ment. that is, that we honour the image of God in our neighbour, as it shall appeare to [Page 174] vs, and that with this humilitie we ioyne tender loue to his life and person,F as now hath been said: we cannot rest there, but we must declare the same loue in not hurting or greeuing him in any good thing that he hath, and set­teth by: neither can we in truth say, we loue him, when we can be content for all that, to doe the thing which we know, will offend and vexe him. And therefore euery Christian which hath this loue in him,Not to attempt our neighbours honestie. will be readie to giue his neighbour his due in this commaundement, not to attempt his hone­stie and chastitie, which is principally forbidden in this precept. So that through this loue to our neighbour, and all that is his, we must liue so inno­cently and chastly, that none may haue cause to complaine, that they be hurt or annoyed by vs, this way: and that we our selues doe warily shunne,G and auoyde all occasions, whereby wee know wee might bee in daunger thereof.

Our minds and bodies must be chaste.Therefore for the better obtaining of this at our hands, God requireth this of vs, that both our mindes and bodies be chaste: the one pure from vn­cleane lusts, desires, and thoughts tending to vnchastnes: the other kept in honour (for so the Apostle calleth it) free from all executing of such vn­cleane desires by any strange pleasures, which he condemneth. And there­fore that all the parts of our bodies be kept continent, as well as the face, eyes, eares, tongue, hands, and feete be turned away from such occasions, as may leade thereunto.H

And this is commaunded to the vnmarried, and to those which are mar­ried;Vnmaried. but yet with some consideration, and regarde had in the same. The vnmarried, that they see, that through an especiall gift of God, their abstai­ning from marriage be according to the rules before set downe. And for this cause, that they be very wary and circumspect in the vse of all lawfull liber­ties, as of meates, drinkes, apparell, sleepe, recreations: and that they giue themselues deuoutly to all exercises of godlines, and amongst the rest to fasting with prayer, as they in wisedome shall see cause, alwayes remem­bring,1. Cor. 7.32. that the vnmarried are they who may best care for the things of the Lord; how they may please him. By the which meanes notwithstanding, if they shall I feele and perceiue, that they cannot serue God with peace, as in time past, but that their mindes and bodies are haled, and distracted, the one by strong lusts carrying them, the other by burnings; they must know, that they are called to the vse of the remedie, which God hath in this case prouided for their behoofe and reliefe, that is, the change of their estate, marrying in the Lord.

Maried.The married couples being cut off (as I haue said) from all other, saue themselues, must know that their sinne is tenne fold greater then the o­thers, if they shall be found either secretly attempting, or openly defiling themselues, whereby it may be seene, that they doe not regarde and conscio­nably K seeke to preserue the chastitie of their neighbour, a thing prouided for by the Lord most principally in this precept: but rather let them know how to vse their libertie rightly, which God hath in this behalfe, graunted them: That is to say, that they marrying in the Lord, may also liue in the Lord toge­ther: and (to speake more plainly) as they haue married, with hope, they shall finde more helpe thereby vnto godlines, then they could haue inioyed alone [Page 175] A without it (seeing mariage was ordained by God himselfe, an helpfull estate many waies, Genes. 2.18.) so they dwell together according to knowledge, 1. Pet. 3.7. to per­forme the more easily all duties one to the other for their mutuall helpe, and comfort in the communion of their goods, graces and persons.

But though God accounteth the mariage bed vndefiled, and the vse of it law­full, for the increase of posteritie, and the subduing of concupiscence: yet to the end that Gods people may remoue from them much vnseemely pro­phanenes therein, which the irreligious sort inuēt to themselues, who neuer vse to looke further into their liberties, if they vnderstand once that they be lawful; and to the end they may haue the right vse thereof, God hath taught B them to sanctifie the mariage bed with prayer and thanksgiuing, and that no­thing be done betwixt themselues to the wound of conscience, or the brea­king of their peace. And that is the true vse of it, when they are made the more fit and cheerefull thereby, to all duties of holines, or at leastwise neuer the vnfitter, which is to liue in mariage, euen as if they were not maried, and so liue more happily: whereas to liue otherwise, is a great abuse thereof. And as for the Papists malicious railing on maried persons, that they liue in ye flesh, and serue not God, as Pope Siricius: to their shame be it spoken, yt God hath made knowne his wil in this commandement, as cleerely as in the rest: and giuen grace to thē which feare him, to obey him in the same either minister or pri­uate C person, more then to them, who in pride & hypocrisie, or in blind inten­tion haue vowed against it. If they had complained, that the maried estate is through the ignorance and prophanenes of the world much blemished, and (for so honourable an ordinance of God) defaced, the most being careles in the vse of their liberties, they had spoken to good purpose, and might haue had many to confirme their saying: But to chalenge holines as proper to themselues in their vowing against it, is rather arrogancie and follie, then sound reason which requireth a substantiall answere; especially, except they could shew vs more glorious proofes of holinesse in their professed Vo­taries.

D

CHAP. 17. Of some duties to men in the 8.9. and 10. commaundements.

ANother part of righteous dealing with our brethren is,The 8. com­mandement. that they be not iniured by vs in their goods, which God hath giuen them, for their necessarie vse and comfort in this life:Not to iniurie in his goods. And therefore, as we would desire our selues to inioy with safetie, and without feare, the portion which by Gods E goodnes is fallen vnto vs, euen so should our neighbour liue by vs without daunger, or iust cause of complaining, that he is any way annoyed by vs. Loe this is the order which God hath taken and strongly prouided for, that if he be regarded amongst vs, we shall not dare be bold to iniurie one another in the smallest piece of his commodities, but giue him his owne, as the commaundement chargeth vs, saying, Thou shalt not steale: Rom. 13.8. and as another Scripture saith: Owe nothing to any man but this, that ye loue him. [Page 176] And if we loue him, how can we grieue him, in withholding that from him,F (as was said before) which is deare vnto him?

Not lay claime to that which is another mans.So that, where the case is plaine, that any thing is another mans, we cannot so much as lay claime to it, but God is despised of vs. But seeing it is doubt­full oft times whose the right is; and the most contentions, and vncharitable­nesses arise from hence,In controuersie. that it cannot easily nor cleerely be seene into, whose it is indeed: here therefore, although men without Christ, will not easily be aduised, yet the Lord hath prouided, [...]hat his seruants shall be ordered, for the retaining of loue and righteous dealing: That partly they shall forgoe somewhat of their owne right,Gen. 13.8. To forgoe part of our right. as Abraham did to Lot (if it shall be thought expedient) rather then to breake the bond of loue; partly, if it bee in such a G matter as is made doubtfull by the subtiltie, negligence, or other default of either partie (as when a bargaine is made, and yet left vncertaine in some point, which after breedeth contention) the damage ought to fall on him, through whom it came: and if it be otherwise so difficult, that it cannot be­twixt themselues be determined, let other men of wisedome take it in hand, that if it be possible,1. Cor. 6.5. Matth. 5.40. suite of law may be auoyded; and yet if that cannot be, let it in loue be prosecuted.

Thus much generally, to shew, that God will haue equitie maintained in the comming by, and inioying of our commodities, and no man wronged in the least part of his goods by vs. But for the more cleere beholding of our H duties in this branch of obedience,Diuers states. or righteousnes (seeing they are many) it is very expedient, to lay them foorth more particularly, according to the diuers states of men. Therefore, as some are meerely poore men, and by Gods appointment and ordinance, doe liue by almes: other can in some sort partly maintaine themselues, but not without the helpe of others, by bor­rowing of them:Luk. 3.10. and the third sort is able to lend, or to giue, or to do both: therefore according to these diuers sorts of men, the seuerall points of righ­teous dealing one with another, must be spoken of: and those which are be­side this, shall be considered afterwards.

The dutie of them who liue by almes.They who haue no other way to liue, or to be maintained, but by recei­uing I mens beneuolence, haue their proper dutie assigned them of God, a­bout their neighbours goods, first to know, that their poore estate is allotted them of God, as the rich mans is also: according to the Scripture, which saith,1. Sam. 2.7. Contentation. The Lord maketh poore, and he maketh rich: and therefore he is to liue in it with contentation. As also hee may doe, if hee know God to be his father through Christ his redeemer:1. Tim. 6.8. for there is incouragement enough from thence, to liue contentedly and comfortably in any condition, in the which God shall set him: For want of the which, it is, that neither poore nor rich are contented without hunting after that which is another mans. Now as it is the poore mans dutie, to be contented with his portion: so it is in no sort K tolerable in him,Not to grudge. Matth. 20.15. to grudge at other mens abundance; for shall his eye be euill seeing God is good? Neither ought he so much as to wish the same, and so to iniurie his neighbour: but to receiue thankfully that which befalleth him, acknowledging such to be Gods instruments,Rom. 16.3.4. and as it were his hands, wher­by he ministreth to his necessities. And because the people of God, which either sent reliefe to the poore of other Churches,Rom. 15.26. as they of Macedonia, and [Page 177] A Corinth to Ierusalem; or who prouided for their poore,2. Cor 9.2. Act. 4.34.35. as they in the Acts; they did it to incourage them, to remaine and abide constant in the do­ctrine of the Gospell: therefore the poore which liue with vs, must know this, and looke to performe this dutie also, that hauing such incouragement, they make it their chiefe worke to liue godly and obediently: That is to say,Liue godly. to glad their hearts, who refresh their bodies, when they may see their inno­cent conuersation, and zeale to Godward according to their knowledge.

But I lament the estate of the poore,Iust complaint of our poore. euen as I doe many thousands of o­thers, to thinke how few of them are fit to heare this their dutie with any hope to be the better for it: and what an vniuersall blindnes and securitie is B amongst them; seeing they are as farre from the desire of true knowledge, as they are from possibilitie of obtaining it, yea though there bee offered vnto them a plaine and easie manner of teaching them: which as it is at this day for the most part, in that estate to be seene, so it seemeth to haue been vsuall a­mong such long agoe; that the poore liued for the most part without care of religion, as by Ieremy his words doth appeare. Who when he had, after in­quirie, found, that there were few that sought the truth, he said:Ierem. 5.4. Surely they are poore; for they know not the law of the Lord: I will get me to the great men, for they haue knowne the way of the Lord: but these haue altogether broke the yoke, and burst the bonds. God moue the hearts of them (in whom it lieth to redresse C it) to pitie the one and the other: and to haue a greater care of their good (by prouiding that they may bee taught the saluation, and happines of Chri­stians) then they (being yet ignorant) haue care of themselues: Euen to be meanes to bring light to some of them, who haue long sate in darknes,Act. 26.18. and e­specially for the obtaining of the forgiuenes of their sinnes, and the change of their liues.

But I must remember, that I am in setting downe the duties of all Chri­stians about the goods of their neighbours: although intire pitie hath mo­ued me to make this short digression. The last dutie therefore of this sort of poore people, is, with the former, that as much as they be able, and their bo­dilie D infirmities of age, blindnes, lamenes, and such other, will suffer them,Auoid idlenes. that they redeeme their time from idlenes, and consequently from other euill passing of the same, to doe any profitable worke which they are fit for, euer tying their hearts, eyes, and hands from pulling to them, or desiring that which is anothers.

The second sort that I am to deale with here, are they, who cannot liue by their labour alone, but stand in neede of the helpe of others by borrow­ing some thing of them, that so they may the better prouide for themselues, and theirs. Their dutie is, carefully and faithfully to purpose the restoring of that, which they borrowed, at the day appointed, and that with thanks.The dutie of the borrower. Repay truly. E And therefore in no wise to abuse their creditor, by a dishonest denying of it, or vnwillingnes to repay it: thereby, and by other delayes seeking to defraude him, and thinke hardly of him, if he requireth it; which to doe, is as if they counted it their owne, and a kinde of theft: and so they shut vp mens compassion from lending: For a chiefe cause of little lending,Kind of these. Psal. 15.14. is euill paying. It is further required of them, that they borrow not without neede;Borrow not without need. as many doe, to maintaine themselues in play, and idlenes: for by that [Page 178] meanes they depriue him, who hath neede indeede to borrow, seeing the F lender cannot pleasure both. And although they finde fauour to borrow for their necessitie, yet they must not looke to borrow that, which they are not like to pay againe, by taking more dealings into their hands, then their abilitie will serue vnto: for many vndoe themselues, and others, by that meanes: much lesse may they borrow to lend to another for vsurie, as we call it.If they cannot keepe day. Lastly, if their simple meaning in purposing to repay it at the due time, be disappointed; yet their care must be, to satisfie their creditor, and con­tent him, with promising new day, and paying part, and euery way that they can (except it be forgiuen them altogether) to shew, that they were not faul­tie, nor negligent in this matter.G

The dutie of the giuer.And this for the borrower: now as concerning such as are able to giue, and to lend, first I will set downe their duties in those respects, and how they should vse their goods, to the end they may continue this dutie of lending and giuing still: after, I will shew what rules of righteous dealing they must vse in the getting and increasing of their goods, with all men, and in all kindes of their dealings, that so they may be free from this common euill, of wronging any, in their commodities.

How to giue freely. Matth. 5.42. Rom. 12.8. Philem. 7.They who giue, must giue freely, not by compulsion, and cheerfully, de­siring thereby to relieue and comfort them who receiue it, for charitie and conscience sake; as the necessitie of the poore body requireth, and their abi­litie H will giue leaue: and so, as they may giue to one, as well as to another, and continue the same duty:Iam. 2.16. 2. Cor. 8.3. Act. 4.35. Numb. 36.12. and in greatest necessitie to stretch out their hand the more largely, without the which necessitie they may continue their patrimonie and inheritance, to their posteritie.

The dutie of the lender.The lender is bound to helpe his neighbour, such an one (I meane) as I haue described the borrower to bee: if hee bee able to forgoe it, and for the appointed time that he hath lent it, not to require it againe: and to receiue it at the due time without any commoditie; much lesse to com­pound or agree with him for any: for whiles he pretendeth to seeke his poore neighbours commoditie, and yet thereby laboureth to seeke his owne I aduantage, with the others hurt, that were intolerable. But yet it is lawfull for him to take a pledge of him, if he doubt of his credit, so that it bee not his bed,Exod. 21.26. or such a necessarie thing as he cannot well spare: And yet if he see that it cannot be repayed without hazard of his vndoing, he must beare with him, and shew compassion either for a time, or forgiuing it wholy vnto him.Matth. 18.25.

These things considered and wisely regarded, what should it greeue them, whom God hath indued with riches, and the commodities of this life, more then they neede (to the end he may proue them, what liberalitie they will shew to their poore flesh) to reach out their hand, as they see most K neede both in giuing and lending, and there especially, where God hath placed them,Men ought to be moderate in spending, that they may lend. and to their owne kindred? And for this cause, men ought to know, that they should be more moderate in spending wastfully vpon o­thers (where they neede not, neither doth any charitie binde them) or vp­on themselues in diet, apparrell, or such like: considering that he which hath made them able to giue, might and could haue made them stand in [Page 179] A neede to receiue: and therefore we haue the poore alwayes amongst vs, Deut. 15.11. that we may doe good to them. But all is too little for mens selues, by meanes either of a li­centious wasting; as excesse and needeles sumptuousnes of clothing, and prouiding for their bodies, or by a miserable pinching and hoarding vp for their posteritie; that they may exceede and passe their bounds; and that they may match any of their equalles to the vtmost: whatsoeuer commeth in by the yeare, or by the quarter, they haue a bottomles bag to put it in; none are the better for it, but themselues and theirs: whereas indeede, none are more the worse for it, then themselues, and theirs, as we see it oft to come to passe; they themselues comming to an heauie reckoning for it, their children for B the most part, spending it wastfully. But I cannot now bring examples, which in scripture and experience, are innumerable. And whereas there are two sortes of them, who haue goods for their destruction:Two sortes haue goods to their destruction. the one hath no other thought abiding with him, but about encreasing, though he know not why, and perhaps haue neither childe nor brother: of whom it is veri­fied, that the couetous neuer doth good, till he be dead,The couetous doth no good, while he liueth. like the water in the ice, which neuer is profitable, vntill it be thawed. The other sort goe so farre in satisfying the desire of the heart, and the lust of the eye, and take such pride, and iolitie in their life, whiles they haue that, which they would, that in stead of giuing and lending, they haue not sufficient at the yeares C end to satisfie all their expences: what doe I say, to satisfie, when they are a whole yeares reuenue afore hand in charges, besides other debt: so that they,The lauishing spenders hurt such as they should doe good to. who might with Iob haue comforted the hearts of many poore men by lending, are faine to greeue the hearts of many, and those meaner then themselues, by borrowing; or which is all one, by deferring of them, who haue neede to vse it being their owne, that they may verifie the words of the wise man chap. 5.12. There is an euill sicknes that I haue seene vnder the sunne: to wit, riches reserue to the owners thereof for their hurt.

And thus much of lending, whereby this one thing may appeare,Lending neede­full. that lending is an helpe appointed of God, for the reliefe and ease of the poore D(without taking any thing for it, and so oppressing him thereby with vsurie) which could not otherwise maintaine their charge;Exod. 22.25. Luk. 6.33. rather then for the be­nefit and behoofe of such as are well able to liue. Which sort of men yet if in some extremitie, they stand in neede, and haue no way to prouide for it, but by diminishing of their inheritance, or by impairing their stocke and trade, in such a case for a present necessitie, shall not offend,Rich borrowing should recom­pence the len­der. if they require and seeke helpe by borrowing, for some short time (so as they be readie to affoord the like helpe againe in the like neede:) But to do this for the increa­sing of their patrimonie, or for any long time, and any great summe; other­wise then by agreement betwixt both parties, that the like gratifying of his E part may be performed, if he will require it, there is no band in Christianitie so streight, that it tyeth the one partie to lend it; nor any libertie therein so large, that it giueth leaue to the other to request it. Both which, I draw from the generall law, which all must be subiect to: namely, Whatsoeuer ye would that men should doe vnto you, the same doe ye vnto them: and contrariwise.Matth. 7.12▪

Now concerning suretiship,Of suretiship, this briefly is to be said (seeing it is of the like nature vnto lending.) Although it should pitie vs to see a man fallen into [Page 180] daunger to his creditour through any default; yet no dutie bindeth vs to take F vpon vs for him, to meddle where we haue nothing to doe, except it were in a matter of so small value,Luk. 10.35. Pro. 22.26. & 6.1. that by benefiting him, we should not hurt our selues greatly. But otherwise wee haue commaundement oftentimes to beware of it: As where it is said; Be not thou of them who are sureties for debt: And againe: If thou hast striken hand, and entred into suretiship, thou art snared: And so by needeles dealing in other mens busines, they bring vpon them­selues needeles troubles, and are also oft hindred from following their owne calling.

How farre we may be surety.But yet least we should thinke that in no case, this dutie were to be per­formed, we must know, that for such as are knowne of vs to be approued G Christians, or our brethren, with good aduise we may, that is, so farre as we are able to beare the burthen:Genes. 42.37. as Ruben did offer a pledge to his father, for the safe bringing backe of Beniamin his younger brother. But if any such weight should lie vpon it, as that our vndoing and vtter impouerishing should thereby be procured,Pro. 22.27. I say with Salomon, Why shouldest thou cause thy bed to be taken from vnder thee, when thou hast nothing to pay? For of thee it shall be required.

Now the duties of righteousnes which follow, are such, as we are bound to performe towards all in our common dealings, whereby we encrease our commodities: that in none of them, we be iustly charged to doe them any H wrong.

Lawfull voca­tion. 1. Pet. 4.10.First therefore let euery man see, that his vocation and trade, by which he getteth his liuing, be approued of God, and profitable to men, as the Apostle willeth: and therefore, that they be no idle persons, Parasites, Iesters, Iug­glers, sturdie Rogues, Players, or other gamesters, dicers, carders, and such like.Deale lawfully. Then, that they deale lawfully in euery part of it, that righteousnes may be preserued by them: In buying and selling, that the one giue his peny for his penyworth;Deut. 15.15. Leuit. 25.14. fully satisfying also the trauaile of the other, and cost that he hath been at: and that the seller performe his peniworth as good as is agreed for,Amos. 8.5. and faithfully: and therefore deceitfull ware, vniust waights, vnequall I measures, delay in time, wherein it should be performed, and such like, ought to be farre off from the practise of a sound Christian: for herein pro­mise is to be kept, Psalm. 15.4. though to the mans hinderance that made it.

The same I say of hiring, and letting, that neither partie alone be regarded, but indifference vsed (as much as may be) for the mutuall good of both, vn­till the time agreed vpon,Partnership. betwixt them, be expired. Partnership and fellow­ship in bargaining, when both are at the like cost, or the ones labour and trauaile goeth with the others money, by their mutuall agreement, this kinde of contract (I say) giueth no libertie to the one to prouide for himselfe, without regarding the other; but faithfully and truely to deale, that they K may both be partners in losses, and in gaine: neither iustly openeth the mouth of others, to condemne it.

Vsury vnlaw­full.These being the most vsuall kindes of contracts, doe shew the nature of the rest, which are in vse amongst men, and doe leaue no place to that op­pression in the world, called vsurie, or any other such seeking of mens pri­uate profit in their dealings, without regard of the common benefit of both: [Page 181] A when both parties are not prouided for, to their contentation and satisfying according to equitie, and to the meaning and prouision made by God in that behalfe: which is, that the one without the other should not be benefi­ted nor inriched; but the one to haue care and consideration of the other,Regard had of both parties is no vsurie. and the commonwealth of both (as I haue said) respected. Which if it were regarded betwixt both parties, could in no wise be iustly complained of; nei­ther is such dealing of the nature and kinde of vsurie, whether it be in hiring and letting, or in any other kinde of contract whatsoeuer: but that common dealing for ten in the hundred, or nine, or eight, or any such like, which is without due consideration of the commonwealth and vpholding of both, is B vtterly to bee condemned. Which if it bee well and duly considered,Matth. 7.12. will soone answere all conscionable men, about the question of vsurie and op­pression, that there can bee no vse of them in the Church of God,Vsury and op­pression haue no place among Christians. nor the Christian commonwealth: the Law-maker hauing said of both, as of witch­craft & of idolatrie, there shalbe none such in Israel, that is, among Gods people. And as for teaching others their dutie (especially in money matters) who haue not giuen themselues in full resolution to be guided by Gods word, Preachers may sooner weare their tongues to the stump, then they may pre­uaile with them. But there is another thing, of which, some professing the Gospell, desire to be resolued, and that is about the buying and selling of an­nuities: C and whether they be not vnlawfull.

Of this therefore by so good occasion, as is here offered, I thinke it conue­nient, to set downe the wil of God and our duties:Of annuities. and the rather for the ig­norance of many about this point, and for the satisfying and answering of the well disposed Christian. For this purpose, we are to know,VVhat they be that by annui­ties are meant, certaine yeerely rents or reuenewes comming in, for some yeeres space: and that the owner may sell them quite away for his owne be­hoofe, there is no more doubt, then there is of selling his patrimonie or inhe­ritance it selfe (if it be expedient) which is (as we call it) perpetuall.

Now further,Two kinds of them. there are two sorts of annuities bought and sold among D men. The one is, a yeerely summe of money for yeeres, when the seller hath no such annuitie, but as hee hopeth to make it of his labour and commodi­ties. The other is, a certaine reuenew, rent, or part of rent, which he inioyeth, and is willing to forgoe it. The first sort is full of daunger, and causeth much wrangling, disagreeing, and contention betwixt the buyer and seller.The first kind full of danger. And no meruaile, when that is bought & sold which the seller hath not: I meane, when there is no such, either for him to inioy at his time, who hath bought it, or for the other to performe that hath sold it: Much like them,Men must not sell that which they haue not. who sell Hops or Corne, before they see whether they shall haue any to performe or no. In this case, the change of the price causeth the one partie to repent him, E and so hee studieth how hee may shift for himselfe, by what meanes soeuer.Forehand bar­gaines seldome end well. And indeede no former bargaines doe commonly end without iarres and controuersies: neither ought any to make them, before the proofe of their commodities, except they be both able to beare, and also willing to stand to the vttermost of the hurt, that may befall them. But to returne to annuities: let not him who is wise and peaceable, meddle with this first kind of them.

Now concerning the second, there is no doubt (as I haue said) but that a [Page 182] man may helpe himselfe with his owne:The second kind not vnlaw­full. and therefore such annuities may F be lawfully and Christianly bought and sold. But where (then) is the daun­ger in this kind of trafficke? I answere, it may be on the behalfe of both par­ties.Yet abused on the sellers be­halfe. On the sellers, by fraudulent and craftie dealing: as if he haue either sold the same annuitie before to another; or if he know it to be litigious, and incumbred, and so he selleth sorrow and trouble to his neighbour, in steed of a commoditie. This dealing is so grosse, and branded with the marke of in­famie and dishonestie by the Lord himselfe, that I need say no more of it. On the buyers behalfe,On the behalfe of the buyer. the sin and offence is, when he knowing the other must sell, and within a certaine time, holdeth him off, as though hee cared not for it, to the end he may haue it, not according to the worth of it, and as many o­ther G will giue, but for a little; perhaps halfe the value, and so copeth him vp, and sucketh out of him no small aduauntage.Such buyers are grinders. This is a grinder of his neigh­bour. Thus come in the annuities that gripe more then ten in the hundred, when the seller might, if he had had good measure, haue made his benefit al­most as much more.Some annuities worse then ten in the hundred. This dealing, if it be vsed towards the wealthie, is ranke oppression, when the buyer lieth thus in the winde, as it were, and will not giue according to the value: but if it be practised vpon the weake stated, and men behind hand, it is as the plucking off their skin from their bodie. If it be asked, what commoditie a man may reape lawfully this way: I say, if he buy the annuitie or rent of him,How to redresse such abuse. who is wealthie, so as there be plaine dealing, he H may safely inioy the benefit which the other offereth: If he be but weake or in debt who selleth it, let him be sure he giue to the vttermost value, and in token that hee doth so, let him not bee vnwilling to release him againe after­wards: which shal alwaies proue, that he seeketh no aduantage by him. And this of annuities, both to direct a Christian how to deale in them, and to an­swere such as thinke (without any ground) that no dealing about them is lawfull, what our libertie is. Now that all may come by, and inioy their right in these, and in all other vsuall contracts, exchaunges, societies, and dea­lings amongst men (for want whereof are the most broyles and contentions in the world) let this be, for conclusion marked, that truth in words, equitie I in deeds, and simple meaning in purposes and thoughts, is to be firmely and constantly retained: and where that hath not been practised, full restitution is to be made.

Restitution.Now another dutie is, to restore to the right owner, the thing which wee finde, if we can know him, and not to count it our own. Also to restore faith­fully and without delay any thing which is committed to our keeping for trust, and not to defraud the partie: whether executors of the will of the dead, or guardians, that take vpon them the care of orphanes liuing: that as the beloued Disciple Iohn being put in trust by his Lord and Master, with Mary his mother to regard her, was faithfull, and tooke her home to him, Ioh.K 19.27. euen so may they bee true and iust in that which is committed vnto them. The Lawyer also, to take no causes into his hands, which he seeth can haue no good end with equitie, and those which he doth become defender of, to shew all honest faithfulnes, and diligence in following of them: That they in whom it lieth, make no delaies in the ending of the suites which come before them, but with all expedition possible dispatch the same: that [Page 183] A their light may breake foorth cleerely as the noonetide. Which grace is commen­ded in Iob thorough all the world, where it is heard of,Iob. 31.16. that he restrained not the poore of their desire, nor caused the eyes of the widow to faile, by long waiting for her request.

Last of all, to suffer all men to inioy their owne, and as neither by play, lot­teries, laying of wagers, neither by force, violence, or any kind of oppression; so neither by deceit and craft, we seeke or procure the hurt of our neighbour, to increase our owne profit. And thus I haue set down a summe of the chiefe duties, which our God hath bound vs to performe towards our neighbour, concerning his goods, that we be found no way vnrighteous in our practise B and dealings with him, but suffer him to liue safely by vs, as hee trusteth to doe:Prou. 3.29. wherein though I haue laid out nothing in any large manner (which was not my purpose to doe further then need requireth) yet he that considereth how many duties here are to be performed, shall see it the more needfull to haue a briefe rehearsall of them, being so many; to the which, as to a glasse, he may repaire when hee will, rather then to desire some few of them, handled more largely, with omission of the rest. In these duties performing, who so setteth himselfe to delight, and maketh it his pleasure to walke after these rules; and when he can finde by due obseruing himselfe (that he hath taken any thing wrongfully) to turne backe vnlawfull gaine: as his libertie shal be C great with the Lord, and his confidence strong, when hee seeth that for his cause and for the hope of the reward promised him, he can be willing to de­nie himselfe, and his owne will: so his example shall be highly commen­ded, and do much good amongst men: And yet this should not be to seeke with such as goe for Gods seruants, as it is written: It is ioy to the iust to doe iudgement. And let it bee remembred that I here teach them,Prou. 21.15. who professe that they are willing to learne, not the scorner. To conclude: let not onely the forementioned sinnes against this commandement be auoided, and the contrarie duties practised: but let vs euery way so vse our goods, that wee may be thereby more fruitfull in euery good worke, then we could be if we wan­ted D them: else how shall we be able to giue a good account to our Lord and Master, and to say: Behold, Lord, here are thy fiue, or two talents: I haue gained with them many more? Luk. 19.18.

The next dutie wherein we are to serue our neighbour through loue,The 9. com­mandement. and to deale righteously with him, is about his name. Herein our loue must shew it selfe to be such, that we be afraid to vexe or grieue him this way, as well as in his person or goods. The sinnes haue been mentioned more at large, which are committed against this commaundement, the duties shall bee put in a narrower roome. One of the which is,To reioyce in our neighboure credit. 3. Iohn 2. to reioyce in the good report of as many as we can heare, and be perswaded of: as the Apostle did for the E good name of the elect Ladie, who had so carefully walked after the Gospell her self, yt by her feruent trauaile, he had found her children also doing the same. This reioycing for the good name of others, banisheth this secret repining at the same, and enuying them for it,Gal. 5.26. 1. Thess. 5.14. Sorrow for their infirmi­ties. and the poysoned desire of vaine glo­rie, out of our selues; to the which belongeth this: that we sorrow for their in­firmities: so farre it ought to be off from vs, to report them, or heare them of others with delight.

[Page 184] Hope the best.Another is, to hope through patience for better things, then as yet can F be seene in men,Ephes. 2.5. 1. Cor. 6.11. Matth. 7.1. Tit. 3.2. remembring what we our selues haue been sometime: and therefore not rashly to iudge and condemne such, so much as secretly, and least of all to make them odious in company by vttering their crimes, or allowing others to doe soe, of whom we haue good hope. Concerning the rest who sinne boldly, I say: Let Baal pleade for himselfe: for such as defame themselues by their wicked behauiour, are not iniuried by vs in giuing war­ning of them. It is also further required of vs here, that as we shall be able, and may get good oportunitie thereunto,To couer faults. we helpe to couer these faults of theirs through loue, who may be recouered and brought to repentance: and yet not by flattering them therein, or dissembling the same (for that is rancke G hating of them,Leuit. 19.17. when we by suffering them to goe on in their sinnes, cause them thereby to come to some open shame and punishment:) but doe we rather,Iam. 5.20. as the Apostle Iames expoundeth this hiding of faults, saying: He that shall conuert a sinner from going astray, shall saue a soule; and hide the multitude of sinnes.

Rebuke.Thus we should labour to keepe them from an euill name (who are not shameles) and so from further daunger, by this our telling them of their faults; which if they be not yet gone abroade, may by it be amended: But as for open and bold defamers of others, they are not to be dealt with pri­uately, when their slaunder is spred farre, but to be censured by the magi­strate,H that so taking shame for their sinne, they may be brought to repen­tance. And this remedie, as it may, so it ought to be sought and vsed in loue, euen as the other by reproofe and admonition: and by these meanes (the Lord blessing them) both sorts may blot out the remembrance of their sins, both before God and men.

Not to disclose vnmeete se­crets.To this dutie belongeth another, much agreeing with the former: that is, not to bewray a secret, when it may safely and without displeasing of God, be kept in: For both this and the former go so heauily to the heart of our neigh­bours, when they heare that we haue no regard of them, where it might doe them good; neither doe spare, by inlarging of the report of that which I was secret before, to encrease their miserie and infamie: though they haue loued vs before, yet now their hearts are turned from vs (though that be their sinne) for that they see vs not bearing a part of their griefe and sorrow with them, but to publish that, which we know of them, by want of loue to them. For euery truth,Note. and the whole truth, is not alwayes to be vttered; although all kinde of lying and slaunder be alwayes to be abhorred. I say further, if we should speake of mens faults with bewailing them,Not to speake of faults. or with a desire that they, to whom we vtter them, might helpe to redresse them; yet could we not be iustified in so doing, except we haue vsed all meanes which we know, to amend them, and (when there is no other remedie) goe about the ope­ning K of the same, as it were, vnwillingly; and in louing faithfulnes, reueale it onely to such a one,Matth. 18.15. as is likest and fittest to reforme them, and not please our selues therein: In which case the house of Cloe sent word to the Apostle Paul, 1. Cor. 1.11. that there were dessentions in the Church of Corinth. But here let this be con­sidered, that all reports of mens faults are not to be admitted, least we should nourish the slaunderer, Prouerb. 25.23. nor all such reports to be reiected, [Page 185] A or coldly reproued, least wee should imbolden the offender, and the com­mitter of them, 1. Sam. 2.22.23. but so farre as they may be prooued; that the guiltie may be duely censured, as Paul did the Corinthians: but not with­out proofe, least the slaunderer should be fleshed: for the which cause Da­uid said to Saule in this very case, why doth the King giue an eare to them which say, Dauid seeketh to kill thee? 1. Sam. 24.9. It is moreouer required of vs, that we vphold the good name of our neighbour, when we be in place, where he is vnchristianly and reprochfully spoken of, that so we may cause slaunder and enuie to cease: and not to deliuer him being innocent,Pro. 14.25. To defend his credit. Act. 26.15. in such a case, when we may, is little differing from defaming him, our selues. Which B was the sinne of those cruell Iewes mentioned in the Acts; who when Paul was accused as an euill doer, stoode by; allowing the same against him, who knew, that those things were not so; and if they had rightly learned to practise this part of dutie, would haue answered in his defence. But the neglect of this dutie is the greater, if it be done in a publike case before many, as that was against the Apostle, when the Iudge will not giue sentence, the depo­nent will not speake the truth on the side of him, who is falsely and vniustly brought in question; and the accuser will not let his suite fall, as they see they ought, and should doe: but indirectly at least, doe pursue him, either ma­king a small crime in him to be an odious offence; or when he is innocent C and cleere, yet charge him as a trespasser.

It is our dutie also, by our hand writing,To giue testi­monie. or any other credit bringing vn­to him, whose good conuersation is approued of vs, to free his name from vniust reproch: yea, and if the case be waightie and vrgent, so farre as we be priuie to his innocencie, not to be vnwilling to free him by our oath. There is yet another thing, wherein our loue should shew it selfe towards our neigh­bour, as necessarily as in any of the rest: And that is, by vprightnes of heart,Take all in best part. and kindnes to interpret all such of his sayings and doings, as may be well taken, in the best part; and not for some little blemish, and as it were halfe a fault, to deface the whole: and to be free from surmizing and conceitednes D about that which cannot be proued, and brought to light:Matth. 1.19. As godly Ioseph is commended to haue been in iudging of Mary; and as the Apostles, who iudged simply of Iudas himselfe, so long as they saw him not conuicted. And this wee should doe the rather, not to stand vpon the vttermost, as through vncharitablenes being able to beare with nothing: For who doth not know, both how prone our nature is to be medling, and going too farre? about such vncertainties: and also,Iohn. 13.28. that when we haue concluded and giuen sentence, as though there were no doubt in the matter, yet it falleth out of­tentimes, that we were (and that to our great shame) meerely ledde with rashnes, and vtterly deceiued? (which cannot be more cleerely seene, then E in Saul against Dauid and Ionathan, both by bare conceit against both, 1. Sam. 22. and by hearkning amisse to Doeg against one of them, vers. 11.Luk. 7.39.) To our shame, I say, because what shame almost can be greater, then first to take that in the euill part, which was neuer so meant? and from so thinking of it, to proceede to rash iudgement accordingly? Like him in the Gospell, who seeing our Sauiour to admit a penitent woman neere vnto him, who had before that, bin an offensiue liuer, proceeded immediatly to this conclusion: [Page 186] If this man were a prophet, he would surely haue knowne what manner of woman this F is, We should cen­sure our selues. for she is a greeuous sinner. But this taking all things in ill part will not be a­mended in vs, before we begin to censure our selues sharpely for knowne of­fences which lurke in vs: wherein, when we shall see how slenderly and cold­ly we set vpon them, we shall be inforced to confesse, that our rigour was too seuere against others, especially for bare surmizes of faults, which had no sufficient ground. As for those, of whom we through charitie thinke the best, when yet we sometimes see them prooue otherwise, and our selues de­ceiued in them, I say it maketh no matter: we haue done but our dutie, to be charitabile minded towards them. And as for them, their sinne is their owne, and shall double their punishment, in as much as they haue deceiued G our hope, which we had of them: for if there were any sparke of goodnes in them, our good hope of them, would make them ashamed to deceiue our expectation.Not too credu­lous. Yet let vs not be fooles in iudging well of them, whose mindes and purposes we know to be euill by their words, conuersation, and long knowledge of them, or by such like testimonies of their profanenes and boldnes in sinne: for that were vnsauorie and silly foolishnes: and (whiles we would goe about to be charitable) to shew our selues vngodly in calling euill good: Matth. 10.17. and to forget the commaundement of our Sauiour, who saith,To note out euill men. beware of men: therefore much more beware how ye commend them. Of such we should make no scruple nor doubt to know, and thinke of them H to be wicked as they be, and to giue warning to others, who are simple and innocent; and therefore might easily be deceiued, and mocked by them: as Peter did to them who were conuerted, when he said to them; Saue your selues from this froward generation, Act. 2.40. meaning those who had been their com­panions.

Thus it behooueth vs to examine our dealings with our neighbors cre­dit, and good name, that as we haue learned to thinke and conceiue: so we teach our tongues to speake the best of all men,Tit. 3.2. and ill of none, whose do­ings haue not in an obstinate and stifnecked manner spoken worse of them­selues:Pro. 15.1. so that they haue cast away their good name themselues (although I more pretious then gold) and not we, who giue that due to them (in making this account of them) which they themselues seeme to desire, and doe most truely deserue: So we shall in this part of righteousnes also, as in the former, make our reioycing sound. But aboue all that hath been said of this argu­ment, let our chiefest care be, that we staine not our owne good name and credit any way, but maintaine and preserue it.

The tenth commaundementThe last part of dutie to our neighbour, is to acquaint our hearts with the thoughts and desires of his good: and to bring our selues to this custome and practise,To acquaint our hearts with desires of our neighbours good. that whatsoeuer in these fiue former precepts and fountaines of neighbourly dutie, we are commaunded to performe to him, the same K by vertue of this, we oft wish, desire, and delight in, seeing our God will haue it so, that thus the contrarie lustings after that which is his, may (as the most vnsauorie vomit) be cast vp, and auoyded of vs. But this dutie of de­siring that our neighbour may prosper, which should be felt to dwell in vs, as a daily guest,This is a great stranger. and which should rise vp and lie downe with vs, and through­out our course accompanie vs, behold it is at this day, such a stranger to the [Page 187] A most, euen who goe for good Christians,Note. that it is almost buried amongst men, saue that God of his goodnes hath some few, who keepe it in remem­brance, that the rest may know,Few examples. that such practise he looketh for of all his ser­uants. For though it be written in the booke of God, neuer to be raced out by the Serpents subtiltie, yet except some liuely paterne of it may be seene in mens liues, the practise of it, as of many other excellent truths beside, doe grow into vnaccustomednes, euen as the manifest and cleere path, being not vsually troden, is soone couered with weedes and grasse.

And this part of righteousnes must finde more care in vs for the perfor­mance of it,This a helpe to all the rest. because the well regarding of this dutie maketh vs the better able B to serue our neighbour in all the former. And ought we not to weane our hearts from dreaming after any thing that is his, when wee can in no wise a­bide that the like measure should be offered vs? and also because wee haue consecrated our hearts to the Lords vse, to bee taken vp in the delighting in those things which please him? And if wee loue him, wee should consider, that loue thinketh none euill of our neighbour, nor intendeth any hurt against him: yet when his profits, and lawfull liberties, and delights are wished to be ours, I denie not but we can and doe perswade our selues, that for all this we loue him: but the Scripture which saith,Matth. 7.19. as ye would that men should doe vnto you, euen so doe ye vnto them, shall condemne vs for it. Alas, doe we not see, that C all the incouragements and helpes, which wee haue in this life (through the exceeding naughtines of our hearts) are all little enough to carrie vs through all hindrances? and shall we then adde sorrow to sorrow vpon such, as wee our selues are? or repine, that they may more easily go on to eternall life, by such helpes as God giueth them? and therefore desire that which is pretious to them, that so they may be holden backe, if not vtterly oppressed, through the want of them with heauines? It was farre from him, who said,Act. 26.29. I would thou wert altogether as I am (that is, vnfainedly a Christian) but yet without the bands which I haue.

Therefore let vs know, and rest in this, that the marke which we must aime D at, is this: that in liuing with our neighbor, we desire neither his hurt in per­son, goods, or name; but count it the greatest ioy yt wee haue by our fellow­ship and acquaintance with him, when we can reioyce in his welfare & pro­speritie both outward and inward:Reioyce in his welfare. and therefore heartily desire and wish it from time to time, and in one thing as well as in another, and giue those thoughts or lusts small rest in vs, which stirre vs to the contrarie: That so wee may declare, that we haue the same spirit which was in the Apostle; which taught him to say; I wish that thou prosperedst, euen as thy soule prospereth. 3. Ioh. 2. And here to shut vp this matter with a word or two of sobrietie (which is a vertue more properly concerning our selues,We ought to liue soberly. rather then the person of God or our E neighbour, consisting in the moderating of our affections in the vse of things lawfull) this I say in few words: that we must haue speciall care to vse al our lawfull liberties, both in the workes of our calling, and in buying, selling, mo­deratly and aright. And the same I say of eating, drinking, mariage, recrea­tion, prosperitie, youth, age, beautie, friends, strength; because I would briefly conclude with the Apostle in this wise:1. Cor. 7.29. This I say (brethren) because the time is short hereafter, that they which haue wiues, be as though they had none: and they [Page 188] that weepe, as though they wept not: and they that reioyce, as though they reioyced not:F and they that buy, as though they possessed not: and they that vse the world, as not a­busing it. For the fashion of this world goeth away. He therefore that looketh to these things so, that hee liue in the vse of his lawfull liberties, to make them serue him (that he may better serue God) and not he them; that man may be said to be sober indeed, and he shall haue great reioycing, whatsoeuer the world thinke of him.

These duties I haue thought good to set downe together, as it were in one view, before the eyes of the reader, that hee may fetch from hence, light to shew him the way, and matter to season his heart and life, when he shal waxe emptie, barren, and forgetfull. And for the more large and full handling G of them, or the exact setting downe of all particulars, it was not my pur­pose, and it would haue been too large, seeing in one Catechisme or other, and in sundrie treatises, as also by ordinarie teaching (such as inioy the same) may be satisfied in that thing: which particulars, all true Christians must be very carefull to know, after that they be willing to be directed. Now after what manner wee may draw a daily direction out of this whole treasurie of godlines, it shall in fit place hereafter appeare, when I come to shew what way God hath taught vs to walke in, throughout euery day.

And now I hauing finished that which I purposed about the sinnes to bee renounced, and the duties to bee practised in a godly life; here vnderstand H that this renouncing of euill and turning from it, and the contrary practising of dutie,The renoun­cing of euill and the contra­rie, is all one with repen­tance. is nothing els but repentance, and the selfesame thing. And the bringing foorth of the fruites of amendement or of repentance, is all one with that liuing by faith, which the Scripture calleth the life of the righ­teous, or a Christian conuersation. The which I make mention of, that none may thinke, that the godly life, the liuing by faith, and the repentant life, are diuers things the one from the other: which might raise much trouble in many to thinke: so that when they haue laboured much and tra­uailed painfully in one of them, they should bee new to begin in the other. But seeing the holie Ghost in the Scriptures doth lay foorth the life of the I beleeuer in sundrie manners of speech (euery one setting out the nature and propertie thereof for the more full and cleere vnderstanding of it) it is meete we should not be ignorant of it.

And as I said, that this godly life which I haue written of, is all one with the bringing forth fruits of amendement or of repentance, & liuing by faith, and no straunge nor new or diuers thing from it, thus in few words I shew. Concerning the one,Act. 26.18. I meane the bringing foorth the fruites of repentance, what is it els, but for the person who is assured of saluation and of the forgiue­nes of his sinnes, to turne to the Lord, and to come vnder his gouernment, from the power of Sathan and sinne? and in full purpose of heart to labour K to be reformed from day to day more and more? And what other thing in substance, hath been spoken by me in the description of a godly life? And those things about it I haue chiefly handled; which may especially instruct the beleeuer,Liuing by faith and liuing god­ly, all one. what true godlines is, and how hee may bee able to practise it. Now for the other, of liuing by faith, what is it also but a relying vpon the word of God, with full purpose to be guided by it, either by resting vpon his [Page 189] A promises (I vnderstand not here the promise of saluation) or obeying his commaundements? And a godly conuersation is euen the same: that is, an endeuouring to liue after the word of God, which teacheth vs to beleeue, that he will inable vs thereto, and blesse vs therein. So that, he that liueth not godly, liueth not by faith: nor hee liueth not by faith, who doth not liue godly.

And now to shut vp this point, namely, wherein a godly life doth consist: a little more I will adde, of liuing by faith, as I promised in the beginning of this treatise, where I shewed that this faith to beleeue the spirituall and tem­porall promises of this life, must be conceiued and wrought in vs, before we B can liue by it. We are therefore to know, that after the Lord hath giuen this gift of faith (for it is the gift of God) he requireth,Phil. 1.29. The godly liue by faith. that wee should liue by the same faith: and that is, not only to beleeue throughout our life, that we shall be saued in the life to come; but also, that we shall haue whatsoeuer is expe­dient to bring vs safely thither, giuen vs freely by the Lord in this life: I say,1. Tim. 4.8. faith reacheth to, and laieth hold of the promises of both, euen as God hath giuen vs both. So that to liue by faith, is a most glorious and rich preroga­tiue, as we may see: and so should we be able by good proofe and experience to say, if we would be perswaded, but to take a taste of the benefit and sweet­nes that it bringeth: for if we did but taste of it, wee would neuer suffer our C selues to be withdrawne and plucked from it any more, as farre as in vs lieth.The fruite of such a life. For by this faith, we are confident, and rest quietly about our saluation from time to time; whereas others, who liue not by it, doe wauer and are oft vnset­led, euen the best; and therefore much disquieted. By this, we walke in new­nes of life, and all the parts of it: and by it, we may be assured in our prayers to be heard: against fearefull sinnes to be preserued; to haue the rage of our strong lusts weakned: and to haue grace against them, although not alwaies to preuaile (which were not expedient for vs) yet at least, to be in combate with them, which is euer a good testimonie of our safetie: for thereby, wee prooue that wee be of the militant Church of Christ. Yea and to goe fur­ther; D by this, if we liue by it, we haue deliuerance from many sharpe and bit­ter afflictions, and beare those which we must goe vnder, more meekely and patiently, because it maketh vs depend on Gods promises, and not to tye or stint him to any set time, any manner of deliuerance, or any measure of affliction. And by it wee walke in our callings more cheerefully, and with lesse toyle and vexation, then they that haue all shifts, and cunning sleights and deuices to gaine by: I say that which is incredible to the worldlings, po­litikes, and hypocrites (but that is a heauie iudgement of God, that though they be told the truth, yet they shall not beleeue it.) For when wee are per­swaded, that our callings are approoued of God, and profitable to men,Faith maketh earthly busines to be done cheerefully. by E maintaining the state of Church, common-wealth, or any familie; and that they are those, in which God will bee serued of vs: then wee take them in hand, not like drudges and droyles, who doe their worke for feare of the whip, nor like hirelings, who worke only for wages, and so they must starue, if they did not worke: but we consider, we serue the Lord, who is a bounti­full paymaster, and hath promised a large blessing vnto vs: and because wee doe Gods worke and busines; therefore we are assured that he will assist and [Page 190] further vs therein, that both we may goe about it more willingly, and that it F may the better go forward: And therefore we disburden our selues of much needlesse and troublesome care and thought taking (seeing he hath said, Cast your care on me, Heb. 13.5. for I will care for you.) Neither doe we make reckoning of our commoditie what it shall be, before God doe shew vs; but when wee haue serued Gods prouidence by lawfull labour & trauaile, and vsed the meanes, we commit the successe to him: and the fruite of our paine, we receiue with thankfulnes (whatsoeuer it be) and that we take for our daily bread. Faith maketh our crosses more easily borne. And if we be crossed in the good things which wee goe about (as euery calling and tra­uaile since sinne came into the world, hath affliction and sorrow adioyned to it) we doe here, by faith, consider, that this is by the prouidence and good G pleasure of God, who sometime crosseth our good and lawfull attempts, least wee should be glued too fast to these earthly things: and wee remem­bring, that God loueth vs deerely, and that of loue he chastiseth vs, so as they, and all other our miseries, shall in the end turne to our good, and therefore we rest and vphold our selues in our estate with contentation. And this may bee vnderstood of all other earthly dealings and actions, which are lawfull, and for the which we haue warrant in the word of God: assuring our selues, that whiles wee see God euer going before vs in them (as wee should more looke to it,Act. 2.25. that we finde it so, then to our greatest profits and weightiest dea­lings) this faith shall vphold vs in the quietest estate and most sweete peace:H such as all the carnall wisedome of man shall neuer finde nor inioy. For to speake,The vnbelee­uers life mise­rable. as the truth is, what a life doe the vnbeleeuers of the world leade, who will not learne what this life of faith meaneth? what sinne doe they com­mit in all kindes of their dealings, to the end they may bring that to passe which they would haue? for in God they haue no hope (for if they had, they would be counselled and commaunded by him.) And although this doe not appeare and breake out, by and by, to the sight of such as are igno­rant like themselues; yet I would haue them answere me to this: From whence is it,The proofe of it. that they are often arraigned and forced to crie out fearefully; they are damned, and there is no mercie for them from God; they haue I done against their consciences, and what shall they doe? &c. From whence come these speeches and complaints, I say? doe they not prooue, that they sinned against their knowledge dangerously, though they would not see it then?1. Sam. 28.15. and that God will be reuenged vpon their wickednes, though for a while they beare al out boldly, as Saul did? Therfore be we well assured, that the sinne of such lieth at their doore: and one time or other it will find them out. For besides their necessarie affaires and busines, they runne into many needlesse and superfluous dealings, which must needes fill their heads with cares, and their hearts with sorrow: And in their lawfull labours, they are so farre from depending vppon God for successe, that they are euer fearing K deadly, least they should be crossed, and inordinately set on hope that they shall prosper and gaine: in both which, when they be disappointed, how like to mad men are they? neuer contented with their state and condition. In which cases, how can it otherwise be, but that they be tossed, as the chaffe with the winde? and neuer quiet nor cheerefull, but when they haue what they would: whereas if they did by faith build on Gods promises, they [Page 191] A should not neede to be vexed, as they are, with such distractions, nor to spend their precious time as they doe in worldly cares: For they should finde bet­ter successe and more blessing with lesse care and toyling of themselues, if they would rest on God and put their confidence in him, and they should with free hearts and more quiet mindes, haue also more time to looke after the heauenly life.

CHAP. 18. Of certaine reasons, perswading to the practise of a godly life: which is the B fourth generall part of this treatise.

THus I haue after a sort declared what the Christians, and the beleeuers life is, and in what duties it consisteth: and haue disclosed in some sorte, the sinnes, which insteed of this godlines doe possesse men: The whole I confesse hath been large and long: but therefore it must be considered, that the Christian life is in a manner all the substance of religion, and that which must giue light and lend helpe to vs in all things while we liue: and therefore so great a matter containing all duties of all C persons with the right manner of performing them, could not with any playnenes and profit to the most, that shall reade it (in my iudgement) haue been set downe more briefly. Onely this is here to bee looked vnto: that he may cleerely and soundly know, what is good, and what is amisse in some particular manner, and be the better able to gouerne himselfe by that know­ledge euery day, as he shall haue occasion, which as I said, shall further be declared in place most expedient: And to make this summe of a Chri­stian life, his glasse (as it is here, and by other writers set downe, according to the word of God) whensoeuer hee shall repaire vnto it, to see himselfe therein: Now heare some reasons, why the beleeuer should leade his life D thus.

And first I will begin with that, which deserueth the first place,The first reason▪ why the belee­uer should liue godly, is, that God may be glorified by this aduancing his. and of right, ought to preuaile with vs: that seeing this Christian course doth so highly honour God, it ought without all exception, to be sought out and attained of vs: And how highly God is glorified in it, euery one may see, when euen sinfull and contemptible persons, who much dishonored him by their bad conuersation, yet after being reformed, are made fit to glorifie him? and if this be in their new birth, and regeneration at their first com­ming to God, how much more (thinke we) shall it be in their life afterward? A miserable caytife to be made a Kings sonne, is admirable: but behold, here E is more: for in Christianitie, we finde, that he which was the bondman of the diuell, and of the familie of hell, is aduanced to the honour of the sonne of God, and made heire and inheritour of the kingdome of heauen. And if this be honour to Princes, that they can giue great gifts, what is the Lords honour, in and by them, whom he indueth with other gifts, then all princes haue to giue?

It was a great part of Salomon his royaltie, that he gaue siluer, as stones; VVhat honour God hath, by the grace of his. and [Page 192] goodly Cedars, as the wilde figge trees: the Lord giueth graces and possessions,F that neither siluer nor golde can purchase: and an habitation that neither Ce­dars nor any Almond trees can make resemblance of. It is a great honour to God, that hee hath made and fashioned man so excellent a creature of slime:Iohn. 6.70. but it is a greater honour, that he hath of a rude, vnbridled and vn­cleane diuell, made a well ordered, sober, and meeke Christian: yea a sancti­fied person;Esay. 11. as the Scripture calleth him: for by his holy spirit through the worke of the Gospell, he hath made of an extortioner, and oppressor, a libe­rall and bountifull giuer,Luk. 19.7. & 8. as Zaccheus: of an adulteresse, a penitent woman, reclaimed from the course of vncleane life,Ioh. 4.18. & 29. Luk. 7.38. Act. 9.15. as the woman in Luk. 7.47. and of a persecutor, a preacher: yea himselfe a persecuted man, euen Paul the G Apostle. And how doth such a change (thinke we) when it is seene of men, and the reporte of it heard among such as knew them before, cause them to say:Matth. 5.16. The Lord hath done great things? And such grace doth God giue, to them (I meane) that feare him,Prou. 16.7. that he causeth by their light which shineth among men, The best things of Gods ser­uants, are with­in them. euen their very enemie; to be at one with them: yea to speake well of them, and to glorifie their father which is in heauen. And yet their beautie is (to speake as the truth is) chiefly within, and not seene with eye.

As all was not heard of Salomon a farre off, which was to be seene at home: and yet not all seene, that might be knowne to be in him. The faithfulnes, innocencie, and rare continence of Ioseph, with other graces which were H in him, when they brought him into such fauour, credit and admiration a­mongst men, how (thinke we) was God honoured, who was the giuer of them?1. Sam. 2.30. Thus doth God honour them, that honour him, that he may be all in all, and by them shewed, to be most honourable. And to speake of our owne time, wherein we liue,God is not with­out honor euen in this our age. notwithstanding it affoord not so many examples of so excellent gifts and graces of holy life (though in learning and knowledge few haue gone beyond it) as so long libertie vnder the Gospell might iustly challeng (which sinne (I pray God) be not laide to our charge, but speedi­ly repented of:) so yet we will not be ashamed to affirme, to the great praise of God, that both many gratious and godly people, since the raigne of our I most noble Prince, haue been alreadie gathered to their fathers, who in the dayes of their flesh, did honour God highly; and many remaine (God be blessed) amongst vs, who haue, and doe, and to their end shall (we doubt not) to the great comfort of many weake ones, commend the power of the Gospell preached amongst vs, and cause that vnfained thankes be giuen to God by many for them. And that both of the ministerie (though nothing be more ridiculous to the Papists our aduersaries) the Lord hath raised vp many, who both preach sincerely, and diligently, and walke warily and worthie the Lord, Col. 1.10. and vnoffensiuely seeking to please him in all things: and of the peo­ple, he hath drawne not a fewe, who doe beautifie their profession, and car­rie K themselues vnrebukeable, among them who can iudge aright, and are free from reprochfull and daungerous euils. In such (as I haue said) is the Lord made admirable: As it is written: In Sion (his Church) shall God be praised: and why? because for them he hath done great things.

The Lord maketh the weake strong, the ignorant prudent, and such as sate in darkenes to see great light: holy and glorious is his name: Yea further [Page 193] A the Lord teacheth his beloued ones in their prosperitie,How God gra­ceth his chil­dren. to count themselues but strangers in this world: he causeth the things of greatest price, to be little set by of them in comparison of his treasures, which are not seene: This honour haue many of his Saints. The Lord giueth strength in tribulation aboue hope, and maketh anguish and sorrow to become comforts:Note. false accusa­tions, and contumelious reports, to be crownes to their heads and chaines of golde to their neckes which beare them. And to be short, he teacheth his, to sucke sweetenes out of sowernes, and to make good vse of all estates: and they are able to doe all things through him that maketh them able;Phil. 4.13. yea persecution it selfe he maketh tolerable, and ioyfull; and (when our weakenes can see so B farre) the greatest aduancement.

If these gifts of God with other such, doe not greatly honour the Lord in the congregation of the righteous, and if they which inioy them, being gra­tious and of high estimation, doe not most highly commend the giuer, which is God, where will men say, that God is honored at all? And so doth the Apostle require, that it should be with Gods people:1. Pet. 2.12. The peace and ioy of the godly. Haue your conuersa­tion honest among the Gentiles, that they which speake euill of you as of euill doers, may glorifie your father which is in heauen. And yet I haue said nothing of their peace of conscience, which Salomon saith, is as continuall banquetting to them: Prou. 15.15. Saint Paul saith, it passeth all vnderstanding: euen in this one thing,Iohn. 14.27. Phil. 4.7. which the C vngodly (because they haue not) they therefore know not (for the stranger is not partaker of the childrens ioy) know not (I meane) as it is felt and knowne of them which haue it:Prou. 14.10. In this one thing (I say) doth God get himselfe great glorie: For they beleeuing in their hearts, they cannot choose but vtter with their mouthes, their deliuerances, and the wonderfull things that he hath done for them. And though they be for the most part contemptible in the world, yet is the meanest of them more happie,Psal. 84.11. then the greatest of the world.

And if these things be well weighed, which haue been said of this mat­ter, it shall not be marueiled at, that the Prophet thus speaketh in the Psalme: D Glorious things are spoken of thee, O thou citie of God! Yea glorious indeede,Psal. 87.3. as we here inioy them (though we haue but a small part of our glorie in this life) and so glorious, that if they could be seene with eye, they would so in­flame men with the beautie of them, that they would force them to set all their loue vpon them. And thus by the graces, which are in the life of Gods seruants, and which are not to be found in other men, it may be seene, how God is honoured of them; the contrarie whereof, is done most apparently by the vngodly, as much as lyeth in them. Therefore to conclude this first reason, except we can like to see Gods name ill spoken of, his Gospell light­ly accounted of, and his person dishonoured, and that by our selues (the E recompence whereof cannot be borne nor abidden of vs) let vs not onely come out from the vncleane conuersation of the vnbeleeuers, but let vs so lay hold on eternall life, that we presse hard vnto the marke, for the price that is set before vs, and let the words of the wise be as goades to pricke vs forward, Eccles. 12.11. out of our slouthfulnes; and as nailes to fasten vs ioyntly and closely to Christ our head with­out hypocrisie, that we faint not neither fall away, but grow vp vnto the perfect age of Christians: that so we may giue good testimonie that God is truely ho­nored [Page 194] of vs, when our conuersation shall be such, as his word laieth foorth F to vs.

The second rea­son.Another reason, why men should with full resolution addresse themselues to passe the time of their dwelling here in reuerence and feare, is; because it is the on­ly estate wherein they can prosper, and be in safetie:The prosperitie and safetie of Gods seruants thereby. Heb. 12.28. 1. Pet. 1.17. and when they are strip­ped of this heauenly robe, they are naked and exposed to infinite falles, shamefull reproches, and dangers, out of the which they shall finde it no ea­sie matter to deliuer, and free themselues againe. For this, consider what Salo­mon saith:Prou. 2.10. When wisedome once entreth into thy heart, and knowledge delighteth thy soule, then shall vnderstanding keepe thee, and counsell shall preserue thee, from euery euill way, and from the straunge woman, and from those which leaue the way of righ­teousnes, G They which de­light in Gods seruice, finde the sweete be­nefit of it. Iob. 31.35. Psal. 91.11. to walke in the waies of darknes. When a man setteth himselfe to seeke the Lord, and is willingly weaned from vnlawfull liberties, and hath made it his pastime to be well occupied, hee shall not feare the accusations of his ad­uersaries; for he hath made innocencie his defence: neither shall he fall iust­ly into the reproch that other doe. For why? he hath setled himselfe against it: when thousands shall fall on euery side, yet shall he stand, and not be remoued: Yea the longer hee is acquainted with this estate, the better hee shall like it (how­soeuer to the worldly man it be most irkesome and vnsauourie) and be much grieued, when through naturall corruption and vntowardnes, hee shall feele and perceiue himselfe to be any whit weakened or cooled.H

They who haue experience, best know it.And how much such an estate is to be desired (as they can best tell which haue any time inioyed it, though such as know it not, finde no want of it) it shall better appeare hereafter in place more conuenient, when I shall speake of the priuiledges of true Christians: yea and though he be drawne by his calling and necessarie occasions, to affaires and dealings in the world, where no prouocations to breake off this course shall be wanting; and be occupied amongst men of all sorts, which shall be a strong coard to draw him after them: yet shall he be the more estranged from them, and loathe them, by as much as they are differing from that vprightnes, which he hath purposed to walke in.Returne again. And if he be vnsetled or broken off at any time, yet shall he neuer I thinke himselfe well, nor where he should be: but as the bird which is wan­dring from her nest, and as a stranger heauie in heart from his owne coun­trey, vntill he returne to his place againe.

And if any shall thinke this little, and of small account, which I haue spo­ken, and among the rest, a man to liue vnrebukeable in the middest of a froward and filthie generation (for I reserue to a further place, as I haue said, to set down the manifold prerogatiues that accompanie such a life) let such compare it with the liues of those,These are free from many euils, which o­thers fall into. which count it ouermuch strictnes to looke careful­ly to their waies, and they shall finde it by infinite degrees worthie to be wi­shed and preferred: for what is there in the liues of such men, as haue but K this world in possession, to draw one to be in loue with it, who looketh for a better? I will not sticke to goe further: that not onely common professors of the Gospell (who yet lie dead in their sinne) may bee constrained to com­mend and reuerence them that haue attained to it, as knowing how infinitly they be blessed aboue themselues: but euen such also, as haue receiued some likelihood of grace from God, yet slenderly going about to nourish the same, [Page 195] A shall see many outstrayings, and offences in their liues, which the other shall be discharged of.

For it is not enough that we purpose no wickednes, nor euill,For want of ar­ming many fall where [...] fea­red little. but we must be strongly armed alwaies with full purpose against it; especially that, where­to we be most prone, and wherein wee haue had by wofull trials, experience of our weaknes. For while we doe commit none, yet we make a way for it to enter into vs a fresh, while we become secure, and improuident.1 Examples of this, Peter. Matth. 26.72. This which I say, is manifestly to be seene in Peter, whō no man wil iudge so vncharitably of, that he came into the hall of the high Priest with any mind or purpose to denie his master: yet his sleight regarding of his masters so weightie admo­nition B & watchword a little before, that is (Sathan hath desired to sift you:) and that rashnes of his, neither casting with himselfe, what daunger might rise by occasion of the place and persons there (as Christian wisedome would haue moued him) neither weighing his owne weaknes, how easily he might bee snared, hauing no commaundement to be there: into what lamentable woe and bitter anguish did it bring him, by his fearefull denying and swearing that he knew him not?

And can wee, in charitie, iudge any lesse of the old Prophet that dwelt in Bethel, when he hearing of the man of God that came from Iuda,1. King. 13.18. 2. The old Pro­phet of Bethel. to crie out against the Idolatrous Altar of Ieroboam, did curteously inuite him to his C house, as he saw his dutie did require: but being answered, that he was com­manded to eate no bread in that place: at that word he began to stomack it, that he being a Prophet of God, should not bee beleeued, and did hastily replie vpon him againe, saying, that an Angell was sent to him, who commaunded him to bring him into his house to eate: But the Scripture sheweth vs that he lied. And the like example is that of Iuda the Patriarke,3. Juda. who went out in the mor­ning to his sheepshearers, thinking of no such matter as fell out by the way;Gen. 38. but meeting with a woman in harlots apparell, hauing not strongly armed himselfe against all sinne, agreed and lay with her.

By all which it appeareth, that when men feare not their frailtie, and arme D not themselues against the same, they come home men lesse godly, then they went out: and for that they will take no warning from the Lord of the slip­perie paths that they walke in here in the world, therefore they cast them­selues into fearefull daunger. And what is more plainly prooued, then this by daily experience; that as God directeth vs, when we commit our selues to him;Prou. 3.6. Prou. 10.9. so when we willingly betake our selues from his gouernment, we run head­long into many and daungerous euils?

And yet when I consider the course of mens liues (and those none of the worst) how egarly and greedily euery one, for the most part, is giuen and set about his worldly busines and commoditie, hauing little thought of hea­uenly E rules, in the meane while, to moderate him therein: this walking with God shall be thought so needlesse a companion for them, yea and vnwel­come, that they would willingly haue their earthly troubles increased,Note. rather then that ye should fasten vpon them such a burthensome yoke of comman­dements, as this is, to walke armed against euill. For if ye will force their thoughts with delectation to bee taken vp in fearing, and auoyding sinne, and in labouring still to bee better, this strict chaining of them, is a taking [Page 196] away of their whole comfort: for it is death to them, to goe about to bridle F their thoughts, and vnruly desires: so that ye may perswade them to any thing, saue that which should be in them: and therefore is there so small shewing forth of the light of the Gospell in mens liues. Yet doe I nothing doubt, but where men of God doe faithfully (in the pitie they haue of their brethrens miseries) shew them the way to this, by doctrine, and liuing, that some shall growe by little and little to a liking of it. But oh happie they, who haue chosen this way of Gods testimonies to walke in; Hos. 14.6.7. for their soules shall be bound vp in the bundle of life, and they shall flourish as the plants, and growe as the Lily: and fasten their rootes as the trees of Lebanon. Their branches shall spread: and their beau­tie shall be as the Oliue tree, and their smell as Lebanon. And thus much of the se­cond G reason.

The third rea­son: for a god­ly life no exer­cise of religion without this can profit vs.And what shall we say further? for no exercise of religion, nor godly meanes of the best sort can doe them any good, who will not resolue them­selues to come to this faithfull practise of true religion and obedience to God his commaundements: nothing shall be found more true then this, if we will suffer it to come vnder triall. For to begin with the Scripture: What did all the priuiledges of the stifnecked Iewes profit them, the law, cir­cumcision,Psalm. 147.19.20. the couenant, and sacrifices? There were no greater prerogatiues to any people or nation vnder the sunne: And they also did in the outward practise of religion,This is exem­plified in the Iewes. ioyne with the best of their brethren, both in keeping the H appointed dayes, and places in the worshipping of God, and also in being readie to offer their extraordinarie seruices to him, and that voluntarily: yet what saith the Scripture from their first comming out of Egypt both in the wildernes and afterward?1. Cor. 10.5. In many of them God had no delight, but slew them: Many thousands of them at sundrie times perished, for their false hear­tednes, that when they had bin deliuered out of their daungers, they did not cleaue fast vnto the Lord, as in their afflictions, and anguishes they promised to doe; but started aside like a broken bowe.

And therefore, how doth the Lord take vp this complaint against them, Oh that there were an heart in them, Deut. 5.29. that they would feare me and keepe all my com­maundements I alwaies? Psal. 78.34. &c. And in the Psalme: When he slew them, they sought him, yea they turned and sought God earely: they remembred that God was their strength, and the most high God their redeemer: but they flattered him with their mouth, and dissembled with their tongue: for their heart was not vpright with him, neither were they faithfull with him in his couenant. And after that he saith of other gene­rations:Hos. 6.4. Oh Ephraim! how shall I entreate thee? Oh Iudah! what shall I doe vnto thee, Psalm. 81.13. which I haue not done? And againe: Oh that my people had hearkened vnto me! and that Israel had walked in my waies! I would soone haue humbled their ene­mies, and turned my hand against their aduersaries.

Thus we see because they did not seeke him daily, in the vprightnes of K their hearts, all the helpes of religion did them no good, brought them no wisedome, experience nor comfort: all which, on the contrarie, Gods faith­ful seruants inioy. For Dauid the man of God vttereth this sweete speech, and the like through the booke of Psalmes: Thou hast made me (O Lord) more wise then my teachers: Psal. 119.99. Psal. 119.67. then mine elders, and men of experience, because I haue kept thy commaundements: before I knew thee I went astray, but since, I haue brought my feete [Page 197] A into the way of thy testimonies. The religious women, of whom we reade in the Gospell, after that they sawe the power of the Scriptures,Luk. 8.2.3. and had their hearts humbled and meekned by the wisdome of them, how did they growe in holy affections, & Christian duties, painefully labouring to attaine more knowledge by hearing Iesus his sermons from day to day?

For when the word is receiued into a good and honest heart, both it and all other holy exercises with it, become profitable to singular vses.The contrary is to be seen in the godly. But where men propound not this, with themselues, to be cast into the mould of holy doctrine, and to be fashioned after it in their liues, it is farre otherwise. For to say nothing of them who from the beginning of the weeke to the latter B end, aske not after God (so little sauour they finde in the Scriptures, or sweete­nes in him) yet this is worthie our consideration: that there are thousands which come to Church and heare prayers and sermons, who for all this, are neuer the better to themselues; and the most of them doe more hurt to o­thers by their offensiue life, nothing fashioning themselues after the doctrine of faith and amendment. Of whose lamentable condition, what other cause can be shewed but this, that their hearts are hardened with the deceitfulnes of sinne; so that they walke afterwards, in their olde wayes still: and that they see no such beautie in the truth, which shineth amongst them that they will be subiect to it: though Christ raigneth onely by the power thereof in the C hearts of his? Iohn. 18.37.Rom. 1.19. For seeing they haue not beleeued and reuerenced that which they saw and knew, the Lord hath kept backe his grace from them, which he did not owe them, and so giuen them into Sathans hands to make them bondmen in euill at his pleasure. The which people being not renued and changed in their mindes, and so brought to a louing and delighting in good things, their lippe-labour in their seruing of God, and time which they giue to it, commeth to nothing; neither commendeth them any whit to him; neither leaueth any fruite thereof to themselues.

And yet we must know, that there are others of the same companie, at the same time, and vsing the same meanes with much blessing of God vpon D their liues, who also declare, as I haue said, that they haue effectually receiued into their hearts the heauenly doctrine, which hath sounded amongst them: for why? they haue set themselues to seeke the Lord. By whose gaine in godlines the greater it is (as there is no comparison betwixt all the pleasures of the world and it) so much we may see the other to haue lost. And is it not lamentable to see, that any should take such a course?All prayers, &c. lost, yea worse. that they should bestow all their prayers, confession of sinnes, and hearing of sermons in vaine? I might more rightly say, to their iust condemnation in the day of the Lord: Men will not be made fooles in any thing sauing in this: though foolishnes in all other things is not to be compared with this.

E What man is there to be found, who being deepely in debt and greatly behinde hand, when he hath sowen his field, will be contented to reape no fruite of it, or being in suit of law, wil lend his money to his aduersary to hold plea against him? But such men are amongst vs (I say not) who take much paine to come to eternall life, and yet are well inough content to goe with­out it (For being louers of pleasures more then louers of God, 2. Tim. 3.4. they knowe that they cannot haue it:) but as though the diuell were not strong enough to accuse, [Page 198] and inchaunt them, they doe negligently, yea willingly offer him aduantage F by keeping in a bad course (though they know how to come out of it) or grow worse and worse to their speedie confusion.

Or who is it, which being warned out of his house, yea and that in earnest manner, will yet delay, and neglect to seeke and prouide for himselfe, till he be cast into the streete?

Great woe by prophane life.But concerning the matter which I deale in, if mens prophane liues and slouthfulnes, driuing off their repentance from day to day, were but perpetu­all beggery, and going about all the dayes of their liues from doore to doore, I would haue said nothing (though it were pitifull to see any cast themselues into such misery:) but they sell themselues bondmen to hell without reco­uerie,G and are as stubble before the Lords wrath, which is a fire to burne them, and therefore it requireth more earnest calling vpon. The Lord commended the vniust steward, not for his particular act, but because he had done wisely: who,Luk. 16.3. when he had warning to be put out of his stewardship, he prouided elsewhere to be receiued. But such warning will not preuaile, nor such wis­dome fasten vpon these men, vntill, as they haue liued in pleasure and libertie of the flesh, they die in sorrow and vtter bondage, and so receiuing a iust recom­pence of their liues, they finde, though too late, how true this is, which I say.

And if this be the estate of many, who yet doe commonly resort to heare Gods word, who wil reade at home, yea and haue praiers in their houses, (for H this I am sure many of our countrie do; whose case yet, because I know, I doe heartily bewaile,What shall be the state of such as heare not Gods word. for that the Christian life is not for all this, aimed at, almost, in many of their actions) good Lord, what shall the estate of others be, who come as farre behinde them,Note. as they doe behinde the best of Gods seruants? euen those others (I say) who being the greatest part of the people, are not troubled with any thought of God or diuell, heauen or hell, throughout the weeke? but hauing their heads filled, and their time continually taken vp in matters of the world, and in hearing and telling newes and tales (yet many of them nothing concerning themselues) and leauing their callings, doe busie themselues with other mens matters needlesly, and spend many dayes I in the weeke in idlenes, prating, vaine games, and pastimes, and cannot finde one houre in it to bethinke themselues of any account giuing to their heauenly Lord and maister (though to that very end they are set here) that once yet at last they might begin to returne vnto him.

But I haue taried longer about this matter then I meant: Therefore lea­uing them who trouble not themselues greatly with godly exercises, I will returne to such, who are in profession, and in shew farre before them; and yet because they doe not hartily and faithfully seeke to be bettered (I meane) to be setled in a Christian life, doe therefore reape no good by the meanes which they vse. But some perhaps may thinke some hardnes in this speech,K and may obiect thus:Obiect. you dis­courage vs. doe wee not therefore repaire to the word and vse good meanes, to the end we may become faithfull and vpright, and get good by them? and haue not they, who haue most profited in godlines attained vnto it hereby? why then doe ye affirme (they say) and that to the discou­ragement of many, that if our hearts be not reformed, the meanes doe vs no good?

[Page 199] A I answere,Answere. that it is farre from my meaning to raise the least discourage­ment to any; in whom, if I knew but the smallest desire to be reconciled to God, I would be most readie to cherish and to strengthen the same:The least desire of good [...]es in men, is to be cherished. and he that exerciseth himselfe in reading, hearing, prayer, God perswade him ten fold more, if he desire to profit thereby: neither doe I doubt,Note. but that such shall see in time to their great comfort, that it is not in vaine to waite patiently on the Lord, for a blessing vpon his own ordinance. But this I say, when men either thinke, that they doe as much as they neede, while they ioyne themselues to the exercises of religion, and rest contented therein, and see not that they are enemies to God, vnder his curse, and without faith, and therfore without God B in the world, and see not their wants and emptines of grace, how they are fraught with many sinnes vncontrolled, and strong rebellions not restrained; let not such looke to glorie in their meanes vsing: their reioycing is not good, their estate is wofull, and that in no meane degree. They may be said vnto, as they of Laodicea were in the Reuelation by the holy Ghost:Reu. 3.1 [...]. Thou saist thou art rich and needest nothing, and knowest not, that thou art miserable and blinde, and poore, and naked: I counsell thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, and eye­salue?

And marueile not, that I haue said, that such, whose hearts are not purged by faith, receiue no profit by the exercises of religion, as might further be shew­ed C by many more examples of Capernaum, Corazin and Bethsaida: For euen the deare children of God, when they waxe wanton against the Lord, Gods children growing care­les lose the fruit of good exercises. Psal. 89 31. and grow slouthfull in performing their duties to God, or doe them in a sleigh­ter manner, then they sometime had done: as he punisheth their transgres­sions other waies; so doth hee this one way chastise them, that they shall feele no sweetnes, nor finde no sauour in the best things they shall doe, or exerci­ses of religion which they shall goe about.

And this it is, that we heare many, euen good people complaine of, that they cannot profit at a Sermon, their hearts are rouing elsewhere all the time (almost) of prayer; reading is irkesome to them, and they withdraw them­selues D euen from good companie: All which with meditating about their estate, were wont to bee the things wherein they tooke greatest delight and comfort: what is the cause (thinke wee) that they are now become so con­trarily minded? Surely this;Note. they haue waxen wearie of their reuerent at­tending vpon God (as all good things doth the flesh soone turne into weari­nes) and begin after the manner of men, with whom they liue, to seeke their vnlawful libertie some way, not being circumspect enough about ye keeping of the best things, in price and estimation: and when the Lord seeth this, hee taketh from them the priuiledges which they enioyed before; he dimmeth the light of their mindes, that they see not so cleerely; and shutteth vp their E hearts, that they delight not in the matters which were wont to be of grea­test account and reckoning with them.

With what ioy (may it be thought) did Dauid performe the duties of reli­gion after his hainous sinne in the matter of Bethshabe and Vriah? when it is cleere that he slept in it (as it were) all the time before Nathan the Prophet was sent to awake him, and bring him to repentance. Or what comfort (is it to be thought) had Ionas in thinking of his happines, or vpon any part of the [Page 200] true worship of God, which yet had vsually been his whole delight, after he F fled away from the presence of the Lord? who labouring to forget his sinne, (as may be gathered by his hastie paying the hire of the Ship-master before hand, that he might be sure to be caried away frō the fulfilling of the Lords commaundement) such a palpable blockishnes was cast vpon him, that hee laid himselfe downe to sleepe in most great daunger,Ionas 1.5.6.7. in which the Heathen mar­riners fell to prayer, and came to him to awake him: and after, being vrged to exa­mine himselfe by them, did not very hastily come to the confessing of it.

To omit others, the daily experience that Gods children haue of their ma­ny complainings, vnquietnesses, discomforts, & such like tediousnes (which neede not to presse them, but for the conscience and remembrance of some G treacherie against God, and too vnkind and vndutifull dealing with him) do sufficiently prooue, that God taketh away euen the heart and life (as I may say) of prayer, knowledge, and other meanes of religion, and leaueth his chil­dren without comfort in the vse of them, when they waxe wanton against his maiestie, and keep not holie compasse, as they haue experience, that both they may and haue done, and as he in his word hath taught them to doe. By all which it may appeare, that much more they who worship him with vn­cleane hearts neuer washed nor purged,Tit. 1.15. cannot receiue into them the sweet and holesome liquour of his grace, by what outward exercise soeuer they present themselues before him. Thus much of the reasons, why the belee­uer H should labour with all diligence to practise this godly life.

CHAP. 19. Of answers to certaine obiections brought against the necessitie of practising this godly life.

ANd now that I haue added these reasons to the description of the Christian, which beleeueth in God, I would cease to say any more of this matter, if I did think, that men, who I haue receiued the Gospell among them, were perswaded and resolued to yeeld to this doctrine, and to cast away all clogges and cloakes of shame, feare, and other lets, and heartily goe about to practise the same willingly, when they haue heard it: But I know there are few such.This streight course not easi­ly yeelded to. Act. 26.28. For they who doe thus, doe not onely them­selues walke after the rule which I haue set downe, aiming thereat, as at a marke, but also desire that many other were as they be.

But the multitude of such, as haue either no faith, nor grace, but onely heare our doctrine, who yet professe that they looke for saluation by Christ, doe thinke, that this which I haue drawne out of Gods word, and set down K for their edifying, is more then they neede to looke after, or trouble them­selues with: which kinde of persons seeing they swarme euery where, I doe oft say and professe, that I oppose my selfe throughout this my booke against that their damnable opinion and practise, and doe bend the force of Scrip­ture and sound reason against them. For while these thoughts preuaile with them and possesse them, they do but reason against their owne benefit, com­fort [Page 201] A and happines: yea, and euen many of those, who haue further tasted of the Gospell, of whom it becommeth vs to hope well; yet are for the most part, ignorant of the course, which I haue described, and content themselues with this, that they haue some good affections at some times and flitting de­sires to liue honestly.

And therefore, I would meete with some of the obiections, which they alleage, why they should be no further dealt withall, but suffered to goe on as they doe in a fruitles, dead and dull manner. Some of these say,First obiection, against the godly life: this life cannot be led. they hope their desire is to please God, although they cannot doe it as some doe: and namely, such as endeuour to follow this doctrine which in this booke I pro­pound. B For my part, I doe not marueile, that they should as it were shrinke and hold backe from such a course, though they would seeme religious, as hauing not yet seene how great incouragement God hath giuen them to walk in it; neither what great cause they haue to lay hold of such incourage­ments, hauing many things to hinder them. These persons therefore, so ma­ny of them as will be teachable, and not resist the truth wilfully, I will an­swere; and giue them some worthie examples of such as haue gone before them herein: that they may not thinke, they are pressed too farre, and to do more then they need (if possibly they may see their error, and so finde grea­ter libertie and delight in well doing.) The which being done, they shall see C what difference is betwixt the estate they are in, and that which they are stir­red vp and called vnto.

And that which hath perswaded and moued me to this, is, (as I partly said in the first entrance) for that I see many of good hope, and some not without a right and true beginning in this holie course, to bee kept at a stay,Many long kept at a stay. or driuen backe, and seeme not to know what the Christian life is, nor in many yeeres to come thus farre, as to be perswaded how pleasant and profitable it is, and by how many degrees to bee preferred without all comparison, before any other course. For many of the forwarder sort, though they would not wil­lingly forsake it, yet complaine, that they find much tedious heauines, strong D discouragements, and many relapses which breed doubtfulnes and feare.Complaine of much tedious­nes. Some which are weaker, are vnder deadly dumpes, strange questionings, whether they shall goe forward or no,Doubt of going forward. and such small comfort they finde in their profession, that they declare plainly, that they are farre from the staied­nes which I speake of: and this not at the first onely, but many yeeres after they haue liked well of the Gospell.

Diuers others account the Christian life, mopish, solitarie,Obiection. Christian life mopish. and such an estate, the which they hold great wisedome to auoyde; that I say nothing of the Atheists, whom I vouchsafe no answere. Now therefore except these can be otherwise perswaded, that the godly life is neither irkesome in it selfe, E nor full of deadly discouragements, except, to the flesh,Rom. 8.12. whereto they are not debters, neither without great comfort; yea euen in tribulation (through hope which deceiueth not) but such an estate,Rom. 12.12. as hath caused many for the delight they haue found in it, to refuse all other, which could not stand with it: except (I say) they can be thus perswaded, what likelyhoode is there,Phil. 3.8. that they shall euer be brought to be acquainted with it?

For answere to all, let such vnderstand and know, that this Christian life [Page 202] is not to be peeced vp with some good actions in the which we may rest,Christian life is not in some good actions. Mark. 6.19. F neither consisteth of good intents, and in chopping and changing our course from good to euill, and contrarily: but it is the same which I haue said, euen the keeping of our hearts sincere and vpright, and vnfainedly bent to walke with the Lord after all his commaundements throughout our whole course, according to our knowledge: and that in such wise, and with such delight, that he who hath experience of it, would not change it for any other: for why? it yeeldeth an hundreth fold for one in all carnall liberties or delights, which we forsake.

And that it must be thus with the people of God, and may possibly be also, that of the Prophet doth plainely declare, that the man which may reioyce G and speake of his estate with comfort indeede, is he which doth not by fittes and at some odde times,Psal. 119.97.98. lift vp his heart to God: but who doth so loue his law, that he meditateth in the same all the day long, as he himselfe did, meaning this, that his thoughts should leade him to God from time to time; and when they are occupied about euill, or ranging in the world vnprofitabile and amisse, that he should by and by without dallying, or delay, call them backe againe. And what (thinke we) doth he meane in another place, when not speaking particularly of himselfe, but generally of all which are the Lords,Psalm. 1.2. Psalm. 119.9. he saith? The blessed man doth exercise himselfe day and night in this, that he may please God (as his word directeth him) and haue peace thereby H with him, and so may testifie, that God is his treasure, because his heart and loue is set vpon his commaundements. He doth not meane that we, who will be happie, must be occupied in prayer, hearing or reading onely both day and night; neither yet doth he meane, that in some pange, or when we thinke good, we should be occupied thus, and well affected, and haue our liues well framed: but this he meaneth, that he, who is godly and happie in­deede, indeuoureth to this, that his minde may delight in, and be possessed of good matters, or rightly vsing lawfull: or carefully resisting those which are sinfull.

Phil. 3.20.And it is the same, which the Apostle ment when he said, our conuersation I is in heauen, though we are on earth: teaching therein himselfe and all o­ther Christians, that their whole course (so farre as mans frailtie would per­mit) (and how farre it may permit, let this treatise out of Gods word testifie) ought to be a setled and constant carrying of themselues (as I said before) throughout their liues in such sort, as they might shew and approue them­selues to be men of God.Examples of godly men. If we desire to see examples of these things, the Scripture setteth out many vnto vs: and namely the life of our father Enoch, that in his time,Enoch. Genes. 5.24. which soone after the creation of the world was corrupted, he did yet walke with the Lord: as if it should say, he did so liue in the world amongst men, that he had yet, through his life, an heauenly and most happie K communion with God.

Abraham. Genes. 12.7. Abraham, though he be not exempted from infirmities, yet from the first time of his calling vnto his death, what a rare paterne did he set before the eyes of men in his example, of a man consecrated to God, and not earth­ly minded? For wheresoeuer he came, he set vp an altar vnto the Lord: d