[Page]

The reverend faithfull, and profitable Minister of Gods word Richard Sibbes, D: D: master of Katherine Hall in Cambridge & preacher of Grayes Inne, London.

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[Page] A BREATHING AFTER GOD. OR A CHRISTIANS DESIRE OF GODS PRESENCE.

BY The late Reverent and worthy Divine RICHARD SIBS, Doctor in Divinity, Master of Katherine Hall in Cambridge, and sometime Preacher of Graies-Inne.

Psal 42 1.

As the Hart panteth after the water brooks; so panteth my soule after thee, O God.

Lam. 3. 56.

Hide not thne eare at my breathing.

LONDON Printed by Iohn Dawson for [...]. M. and are to be sold by Thomas Slater, at the Swan in Duck lane. 1639.

TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.

MAN in this world (espe­cially since his defection from God) standing at a di­stance from his hap­pinesse [Page] in respect of full possession; it is not the least part of his blisse to be happy in expectation. Happi­nesse being by all men desireable, the desire of it is naturally ingraf­ted in every man, and is the Center of all the searchings of his heart and turnings of his life. But the most of men, like the men of Sodome grope and finde not the right dore: onely to a true Chri­stian [Page] (by a supernatu­rall light) is discove­red both the right ob­ject, and the right way to felicitie. Vpon this discovery, finding himselfe (while hee is here) a stranger to his happinesse hee desires to take leave of this sublunary condition, that he may enjoy him who is The desire of all Hag. 2. 7. Nations.

Now although God cast common bles­sings promiscuously [Page] upon good and bad, yet hee holds his best favours at a distance as Parents doe Cherries or Apples from their children, to whet their appetites the more after them. And indeede the best per­fection of a Christian in his military condi­tion is, in desire and expectation, and it is enough to him that, for that he hath Gods acceptation, who knowing whereof [Page] wee are made, and how unable to hold waite in the ballance of the Sanctuary, takes his best Gold with grains of allow­ance.

The soule of man is like a Cipher, which is valued by that which is set before it: if it wea­ry it selfe in the desire of earthly things, like the Silke-worme, it finisheth its worke with its owne de­struction: but if on [Page] things above, when this earthly Taber­nacle is turned to Ashes, there shall re­sult a glorious Phoe­nix for immortali­tie.

There are no Cha racters better distin­guishing a Christian, then those that are in­ward (hipocrisie like sale-worke may make a faire shew outward, an hypocrite may per­forme external works but cannot dissemble [Page] inward affections) and amongst them, none better discovers his temper, then the bea­ting of the pulse of his desires, wch this wor­thy Author (who de­parted not without being much desired, and no lesse lamented hath most lively set forth in the ensuing Treatise, which a Christian holding as a Glasse before him, may discerne whe­ther hee have life [Page] or no by these brea­things.

For the obiect here propounded, what more desirable then the chiefe good? for the place, where can it bee more desired, then in his house, where his presence is manifested? what bet­ter end to bee in that house, then to behold God in the beauty of holinesse? what terme of happinesse better then for ever? This [Page] was the desire of the holy Prophet David, and that it may be thy desire, is the desire of

Thy Christian Friend,

H. I.

[Page] Imprimatur

Tho Wykes.

The Contents.

  • Difference of things in the world. page 20 The scope of a good heart in the use of Gods ordi­nances, what it is. 25
Observation 1.
  • The object of a Christians desire what, 23
  • Why said to be one thing 27
    • In respect of God, ibid
    • In respect of the soule. 28
    • In respect of grace. 30
Vse.
  • To shew the folly of worldly men in the neglect of theone [Page] thing necessary. 35
  • Thoughts and desires the the primitive issues of the heart. 37
  • How they are begotten 39
Obser. 2.
  • The spirit of God in the hearts of his children is effectuall in stirring up holy desires. 42
  • Trial of desires whether true
    • By their obiect. 44
    • By their fervencie. 45
    • By their constancie. ibid
    • By their rise 47
    • By their end. 48
    • By their endeavours. 54
Vse.
  • Exhortation to examine our desires. 51
  • Strong desires how to know when they are so. 57
Obser. 3,
  • [Page]Holy desires are to bee tur­ned into prayers. 66
Reas. 1.
  • Thereby wee maintaine ac­quaintance with God. ibid
Reas. 2.
  • Thereby we manifest a good conscience. 69
Obser. 4.
  • Perseverance and importu­nity requisite in prayer. 70
  • God doth not presently an­swer our desires and why 78
    • Because he loues to heare us pray. ibid
    • To keepe us humble. ibid
    • To exercise our graces. 79
    • To make us prize his bles­sings. 80
    • To teach vs to use them [Page] better when we enjoy them ibid
  • The having the spirit of prayer, better then the enjoyment of particular blessings. 81
  • Assurance before we pray to receiue what we pray for, no hinderance to prayer 84
  • Gods house what it is 91
  • Love of Gods children to good things constant. 99
Observa. 5.
  • God is beautiful in himself 117
  • In his Church. 118
  • Especially in Christ. 121
  • Christ most louely in his greatest abasement. 125
  • The Church beautifull.
  • In regard of the Angels 129
  • [Page] In regard of the ordinances. 13 [...]
    • The word preached. 133
    • The sacraments. 1 [...]8
    • Discipline. 141
    • Ioynt service of God. 143
  • In regard of the Evidences of Gods loue. 146
    • Protection. 147
    • Effectuall calling. 148
    • Instification. 149
    • Sanctification. 150
    • Inward peace & joy. 152
  • The Church of God a Para­dise. 157
Vse.
  • Exhortation to bee in loue with the beauty of God and his house. 160
  • Carnall men see not this beauty and why. 163
  • True delight wherein it [Page] consists. 166
  • Happines of man what. 170
  • How to come to see the beauty of God. 172
    • Get spirituall life ibid
    • Beg the spirit of revela­tion. 173
    • Labour to see our owne deformity, 176
    • Consider Christs relations to us. 177
  • A continuall necessitie of the ordinances, 183
  • Private duties must give way to publique. 186
  • Papists their error in addi­tion. 192
  • There hath alway beene a Church. 198
  • Marks of the true Church. 199
  • Abuse of things takes not a­way [Page] their use. 200
  • What estate they are in that are cast out of the Church. 202
  • Tryals of our love to the beauty of Gods house, 206
  • How to come to see the beau­ty of Gods house. 213
    • Vse Gods means. ibid
    • Come in faith. ibid
    • Compare the excellency of Gods house with other things. 215
  • Desire God to reveale him. selfe in his ordinances. 225
  • Motives to labour to see the beauty of God him­selfe, and of his house. 228
    • It makes us glorious. 229
    • Our soules are made for [Page] these things. 231
  • Least God remoue his ordi­nances. 234

A BREATHING after GOD.

PSAL. 27. 4.‘One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seeke after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the dayes of my life; to behold the beautie of the Lord, and to enquire in his Temple.’

THis Psalme is partly a Prophesie; it was made after some great deliverance out of [Page 2] some great trouble. The blessed Prophet David, having experience of Gods goodnesse, sutable to the trouble hee was Contents of the for­mer part of the Psalme. in, in the first part of this excellent Psalme, he shewes,

His comfort, and
His courage, and
His care.

His comfort it was al­together 1 Davids comfort. in the Lord, 1 In Gods goodnes to him­selfe. whom hee sets out in all the beauties, and excel­lencie of speech he can; he propounds the Lord to him in borrowed termes. The Lord is my light, and my salvation, the [Page 3] strength of my life. So hee fetcheth comfort from God, the spring of com­fort, the Father of all com­fort; hee labours to pre­sent 2 Cor. 1. 4. God to him in the sweetest manner that may be, he opposeth him to every difficulty, and distresse; In darknesse, he is my light; in danger he is my salvation; in weak­nesse he is my strength; in all my afflictions, and streights, he is the strength of my life. Here is the Art of faith in all perplexi­ties whatsoever, to be able to set somewhat in God, against every mala­die in our selves. And this is not simply set out, [Page 4] but likewise with a holy insultation, The Lord is my light and salvation, whom shall I feare? It is a question proceeding from a holy insultation, and daring of all other things. The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? that is one branch of his comfort.

The second branch, and ground of his comfort, is 2 In the de­struction of his ene­mies who are de­scribed. the goodnesse of God, in the ruine and destruction of his enemies; when the wicked, even mine enemies, and foes came upon me to eate up my flesh, they stum­bled and fell; he describes his enemies by their ma­lice, and by their ruine: [Page] his enemies were cruell 1 By their malice. enemies, blood-suckers, eaters of flesh, wee call them Canibals: As in­deed men that have not grace, if they have great­nes, & be oppposed, their greatnesse is inaceessible, oneman is a Devill to ano­ther: the Scripture calls them Wolves, that leave no­thing till morning. As the great fishes eate up the lit­tle ones: so great men they make no more conscience of eating up other men, then oseating bread; they make no more bones of overthrowing men, and undoing them, thenof ea­ting bread. They eateup my people as they eatebread.

[Page 6] But notwithstanding 2 By their ruine. their cruelty, they were overthrowne, saith Da­vid, when my foes came upon me to eate up my slesh, they stumbled and fell: for, in­deed, Gods Children, when they are delivered, it is usually with the con­fusion of their enemies; God doth two things at once, because the speciall grievance of Gods childrē it is from inward and out­ward enemies; he seldome or never delivers them, but with the confusion of their enemies; so he sets downe his owne comfort in the Lord, by the confu­sion of his enemies. This will be most apparant at [Page 7] the day of Judgement, when Satan, and all that are lead by his spirit, all the malignant Church shall be sent to their own place, and the Church shall be for ever free from all kind of enemies. When the Church is most free, then the ene­mies of the Church are nearest to destruction; like a paire of Ballance, when they are up at the one end, they are downe at the other: so when it is up with the Church downe goe the enemies, so here are the two bran­ches of his comfort.

Now his courage for 2 Davids courage. the time to come, that is [Page 8] in the third verse: Though an Host incampe against me, my heart shall not feare: he puts the case of the grea­test danger that can be, though an Host of men should incompasse me, my heart should not feare; though warre rise against me, in this will I be confi­dent. Here is great cou­rage for the time to come. Experience breeds hope and confidence. David was not so couragious a man of himselfe; but upon expe­rience of Gods former comfort and assistance, his faith brake as fire out of the smoke, or as the Sunne out of a cloude: though I was in such, and [Page 9] such perplexities; yet for the time to come, I have such confidence, and experience of Gods goodnesse, that I will not feare. He that seeth God, by a spirit of faith in his greatnesse and power; he sees all other things below, as nothing, therefore he sayeth here, he cares not for the time to come for any opposi­tion, no, not of an Army. If God be with us, who can be against us? Hee saw God in his power, and then looking from God to the creature, alas, who was he? as Michaia, when he had seene God sitting upon his Throne, What [Page 10] was Achab to him, when he had seen God once? so when the Prophet David had seene God once, then though an Host incampe against me, I will not feare, &c. Thus you have his comfort in the double branch of it; his courage also, and his confidence for the time to come.

What is his care? that is the next (I will not 3 His care. analyse the Psalme far­ther then the Text) after his comfort in the Lord, and in the confusion of his enemies, and his cou­rage for the time to come, he sets downe his care, One thing have I de­sired of the Lord, and that [Page 11] will I seeke after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord, all the dayes of my life, &c. This was his care; he had so sweet experience of the goodnesse, and power of God being light, and salvation, and strength to him in confounding his enemies; that he studyed with himselfe how to be thankfull to God, and this he thought fittest in the open great Congrega­tion; in the Church of God, among many others: therefore hee saith, one thing have I desired of the Lord, and that will I seeke after still, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the dayes of my life.

[Page 12] Now in the words of the Text that I have read, Division of the Text. there is conteined, the holy Prophets care, and desire set downe first in generall, one thing have I desired of the Lord, and that I will seeke after.

And then a specifica­tion of that desire he spe­cifies, what is that one thing hee desired, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord: with the circum­stance of time, All the dayes of my life.

Now after the desire in generall, set out here by the object, in generall; the transcendent object, one thing have I desired of the Lord: and likewise by the [Page 13] frequency, and fervency of the desire, I will seeke after it still: I have desired it, and I will not cease: so my desire, it shall not be a flash soone kindled, and soone put out; No, but one thing have I desired of the Lord, and that I will seeke still, I will not be quiet till my desire be accom­plished, there is the gene­rall desire, and the degrees of it.

The particular is, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord.

Then the grounds and ends of the particular de­sire, of dwelling in the house of the Lord,

[Page 14] Because it is the house of God, there is a strong argument to moove him to dwell in the house of God, it is good dwel­ling where God dwells, where his Angels dwell, and where his Spirit dwells in the house of the Lord, there is one argu­ment that moved him, I desire to dwell there, because it is the house of God, which is set out by the extent of time, that I may dwell in the house of God, all the dayes of my life, till I be housed in heaven, where I shall need none of these Ordinances that I stand in need of in this world I de­sire to dwell in the house of [Page 15] the Lord all the dayes of my life.

Then the secondend is, To behold the beauty of God, that was one end of his desire, to dwell in the house of God, not to feed his eyes with specula­tions, and goodly sights: (as indeed there were in the Tabernacle goodly things to be seene,) no; he had a more spirituall sight then that; hee saw the inward spirituall beauty of those spiri­tuall things, the other were but outward things, as the Apostle calls them, I desire to dwell in the house of the Lord, to behold the beauty [Page 16] of the Lord, the inward beauty of the Lord, espe­cially.

And then the third end of his desire is, That I may enquire in his Temple, hee desired to dwell in the house of God, because it was the house of God; and to see the beauty of God; the sweet alluring beauty of God, that ap­peared in his Ordinances: and then his desire was to dwell in the house of God, that hee might en­quire more and more, of the meaning of God still, because there is an unsa­thomed bottome, and an endlesse depth of excel lency in divine things, [Page 17] that the more wee know, the more wee may, and the more wee seeke, the more we may seeke; they are beyond our capacity, they doe not onely satis­fie, but transcend it, therefore hee desires still further and further, to wade deeper into these things, to enquire in Gods Temple. Thus yee see the stateof the verse. There is a generaldesire propounded One thing have I desired of the Lord, & that wil I seek after.

And then the desire specified, To dwell in the house of the Lord. And to see the beauty of the Lord, And to enquire in his Temple. These be the 3. ends.

One thing have I desired of the Lord, &c.

To speake first of this desire, generally pro­pounded, One thing have I desired, &c.

And then of the in­crease of it, in that hee saith, I will seeke after it still, he desired it, and he would seeke more and more after it.

In the desire, consider,

First the object, One thing.

And then the desire or seeking it selfe.

First the object,

One thing.

Was there but one Quest. thing for holy David to make the object of his de­sire? was there but one thing needfull? Alas this poor life of ours, it is a life of necessities; how many things are needfull for our bodies? how many things are needfull for the de­cencie of our condition? how many things need we for our soules? it is a life of necessities; how then doth hee say, One thing have I desired? yes; Answ. his meaning is, compara­tively, I seeke for other things in their order, and [Page 20] rancke, and as they may stand with the mayne: but indeed one thing principally; all the rest will follow: Seeke yee first the Kingdome of God, and all the rest will be cast on you. The best way to have all other things, is to seeke one thing in the first place. Therefore in hea­venly wisedome he saith, I desire unum uni [...]è, one thing after an entire man­ner, that I desire more then all things else.

Hence we may see that, Diffe­rence of things in the world.

There is a difference of de­grees of things. God hath e­stablished in the world de­grees of things; there are some good, & some ill by [Page 21] his permission, & of good, there are some that are greater goods, and some lesse, there are spirituall goods, and outward goods; and of spirituall good, there are some that are meanes leading to that which is spiritually good, and some that are spirituall good things in their owne essence, and nature: the leading pre­paring things, are the meanes of salvation, the Word, and Sacraments, and being in the visible Church; the true spiritu­all good, it he good that wee get by these things, faith and love, and spiri­tuall inward strength. [Page 22] Now that there is de­grees of things, the Pro­phet here insinuates when he saith, One thing have I desired, that is, of all these variety of things, hee de­sired the best that includes all in it. God to exercise the wisedome that hee hath given to man, hath planted adifference in the creatures, and hath given a faculty to man, to make a right choise in those differences: and then man makes a right choise, when hee chooseth as God chooseth: Now God makes choise of spi­rituall things to be the best things, and them he gives to his best friends; [Page 23] he knowes they will make us good, and supply all outward wants whatsoe­ver, and sanctifie all estates, and conditions to us; and they are eter­nall, sutable to the spiri­tuall nature of oursoules. God knowes this very well: therefore God hath set spirituall things, as the one only thing: & so the soule when it is made spirituall, and hath the Image of God upon it, it chooseth as God choo­seth.

One thing have I desired.

But here it may be as­ked, why doth he say, One Quest. [Page 24] thing? he desired not one­ly to live neare the Taber­nacle; but to heare and see, to have the Word read, and he desired there­upon Grace, and then nearer Communion with God by grace, to have more communion here, and fuller communion in heaven, here is more then one thing.

I answere, it is all one, Answ. as a chaine that hath ma­ny linkes, yet it is but one chaine; so all these are but one. I desire one thing; What is that? To live in the Church of God, to enjoy the Ordinances of God, and they will draw on faith, & feare, &c. the [Page 25] Spirit accompanying the Ordinances, it will be a spirit of faith, and repen­tance, and grace, and by those graces of faith, and the rest that accompany the Ordinances, I shall have nearer communion with God here, and eter­nall, and everlasting com­munion with God in hea­ven, and all these are but one; because they are all linkes of one chaine. Therefore when he saith, One thing have I desired, he meanes that one thing that will draw on all o­ther. The scope of a good heart in the use of Gods Or­dinances.

That is the scope of a gracious heart, when it attends upon the meanes [Page 26] of salvation and lives in the Church; not to heare The scope of a good heart, in the use of Gods Or­dinances. that it may heare, and there an end, and to read that it may read, to per­forme it as a taske, and all is done: but to have the worke of the Spirit together with it, to have the Ministery of the Spi­rit in the Gospell, and the spirit to increase saith, and faith to in­crease all other graces, and so by grace to grow into nearer communion with God in Christ, that is the scope of every good hearer: therefore hee speakes to purpose, when he saith, One thing have I desired.

[Page 27] But to speake a little more of the object, why The Pro­phet saith, One thing have I de­sired. doth he say, One thing?

First, it is from the na­ture of God, wee must have the whole bent, and sway of our soules to 2 In respect of God. him, he will have no hal­ting. The Devill is con­tent with halfe, if we will sinne, because then hee is sure of all; but God will have the whole heart, My sonne give me thy whole heart, and Thou shalt love the Lord withall thy heart, and withall thy soule; the bent, and sway of the soule must be that way: for it is the nature of ex­cellent things, except w [...] desire them in the chiefe [Page 28] place, they take state upon them, God takes state upon him in this case, hee will not have us serve him and Mammon, he will not have the heart divided.

Then againe, it is from the nature of the soule, 2 In respect of the soule. therefore hee saith, One thing. It is the nature of the soule, when it is upon many things, it can doe nothing well: therefore that I may be religious to purpose, One thing have I desired. A streame cut into many channels runs weakely, and is unfit to carry any thing. Babylon was so taken. They cut the River into many [Page 29] channels, and then hee that tooke it, easily pas­sed over them. When the soule is divided into many channels, to many things, that it lookes af­ter this thing, and that thing, and that with ex­pence and intention of care, and indeavour. Alas, where is the desire of one thing necessary all the while? For the soule cannot goe with that strength as it should ex­cept it mind one thing: the soule of man is a fi­nite thing, therefore ex­cept it gather its strength, as a streame that riseth of many particular lesser rivers which makes it run [Page 30] strongly: so the soule it cannot desire one thing as it should, except it bring all other petty streames to it, and make that the mayne desire to be saved in another world, and to have communion and fellowship with God in Christ Jesus, by the Spirit of grace in this world, in the use of the meanes; unlesse this be the maine care, the soule takes no good, when it is so much set on other things.

Then thirdly hee sets 3 In respect of grace. downe this One thing, (To dwell in the house of God, to grow in grace there, as a Cedar, to be a [Page 31] Tree planted there) from the very nature of grace, which is to unite things to the mayne; the Spirit of grace sets before the eye of the soule, heaven­ly spirituall things in their greatnesse, and ex­cellency: and the Spirit of grace, seeing there are many usefull things in this world, it hath an uniting, knitting sub­ordinating power, to rancke all things so, as they may agree to, and helpe the mayne. Grace confines the soule to one thing: man after his fall sought out many in­ventions, saith the Wise man: he was not content [Page 32] with his condition when he stood, but hee sought out many inventions. When man falls to the creature, he knowes not where to stay; no crea­ture can afford a stay, and rest, for the soule long, the soule is never quiet till it come to God againe, and that is the one thing the soule desi­reth. The soule being sanctified by the Spirit of God, it subordinates all things to this one thing. David desired ma­ny things besides this one thing, but not in that degree, but as they might stand with the desire of this one thing necessarie. [Page 33] Grace subordinates, and ranckes all things, so as that the best things have the preheminence. There­fore hee might well say, One thing, from the dis­position, that grace hath to rancke all things to one. It is a promise in the Covenant of grace, saith God, I will give you one heart, as soone as a man becomes a Chri­stian, he hath one heart, his heart before was divided, there was variety of ob­jects it was set upon, God had the least piece, the slesh had a piece, and this delight, and that delight had a piece: but saith God, I will give you one [Page 34] heart, that is, a heart uni­ting it selfe in desire to the best things, and re­gulating all things, so as all shall be but one, that a man shall use the world as though hee used it not; so as it shall helpe to the maine. As I sayd little streames they helpe the mayne streame running into it, so grace hath a subordinating power o­ver all things in the world, as they may helpe the mayne. One thing have I desired; and I desire other things as they may helpe the mayne; Grace will teach us that Art, it hath a speciall Art that way. So wee see both in regard [Page 35] of God, and in regard of the soule being finite, and in respect of the wise disposing of grace that aymes at the mayne, and ranckes all things as they may helpe the mayne, he doth well say, One thing have I desired.

This shewes the vani­tie, Vse To shew the vanlty of wordly men. and basenesse of every worldly man, that makes the mayne worke and la­bour his by-worke, and the by-worke, his mayne worke: that that is the One thing necessarie, is set after all. Indeed without grace this is so: The first worke of grace is to set the soule in order, to sub­due base affections, to [Page 36] sanctifie the judgement: and when it hath set the soule in tune, and order, then it is fitted to set a right price on things, to rancke and order them as it should. So much shall be sufficient to unfold the object it selfe in ge­nerall,

One thing. Have I desired.

Now I come to the af­fection it selfe, set forth here by the degrees.

One thing have I desired, and that I will seeke after.

[Page 37] I have desired it, and I Thoughts and de­sires the first issues of the heart. will desire it still, desires are the issues of the heart: thoughts, and desires are the two primitive issues of the heart: the birthes of the heart. Thoughts breed de­sire; thoughts in the minde or braine, the braine strikes the heart presently. It goes from the understanding to the will, and affections; what we thinke of that wee desire, if it be good. So thoughts and desires, they, imme­diatly spring from the soule. And where they Motion stirred up by desire. are in any efficacy and strength, they stirre up [Page 38] motion in the outward man: the desires of the soule, being the inward motion, they stirre up outward motion, till there be an attaining of the thing desired, and then there is rest. Desire to the thing desired, is like motus ad quietem, as motionis to rest: when motion coms once to rest it is quiet: so desire which is the inward motion, it stirres up outward mo­tion, till the thing desi­red be accomplished, and then the soule rests in a loving content, and en­joying of the thing de­sired.

Now this desire it was [Page 39] a spituall desire One thing have I desired of the Lord. Holy desires they issue from choyce: a holy wise desire (when it is Holy de­sires arise not a meere notion) it 1 From Christ. ariseth from a choyce of a thing that is good: for desire is nothing but the imbracing, and closing with a thing that is good. The understanding must choose the good first, before the soule imbrace it. The will is but the carryage of the soule, the furthering, and promo­tion of the soule, to the good things discovered: so it supposeth a choyce of good things.

And choyce suppo­seth [Page 40] an esteeme of the 2 Esteeme. things before we choose them. And that suppo­seth 3 Delibe­rate judg­ing. a deliberate judging, that workes an esteeme. So that it was no hastie sudden thing, this desire, but it rose from the san­ctified judgement of Da­vid, that bred a holy esteeme of these excel­lent things; the meanes of salvation, having the Spirit of God accompa­nying of them, contai­ning such excellent com­forts, as they doe. I say this desire supposes a right judgement, and thence an esteeme, thence a choyse upon all, choo­sing these things above [Page 41] all other contentments, and things in the world besides. For at this time he wanted in his family. the comfort of his wife and house, &c. Tush, what doe I regard these things? if I could enjoy the sweet, and strong, and comfortable pre­sence of God in his Or­dinances, other things I could beare well enough, the want of house, and wife, and children, the pleasures, and content­ments of my Country: therefore One thing have I desired. It was a desire out of a high esteeme and choyse of that one thing he speakes of.

[Page 42] The point of Doctrine that I will observe in brief, (because I hasten to the maine thing) is this, that

That the spirit of God, in Observ. The spirit stirres up holy de­sires, in Gods chil­dren. the hearts of his children, is effectuall in stirring up holy desires.

There is nothing tha charactizeth, and sets a stampe upon a Christian so much as desires, All o­ther things may bee coun­terfeit, words and actions may bee counterfeit, but the desires and affections cannot, because they are the immediate issues and productions of the soule, they ate that that comes [Page 43] immediately from the Soule, as fire cannot bee counterfeit. A man may aske his desires what he is, according to the pulse of the desires, so is the tem­per of the man: desires are better then actions a great deale: for a man may doe a good action, that hee doth not love, and he may abstaine from an ill action that he hates not: but God is a Spirit, and lookes to the Spirit especially. It is a good Character of a Christian, that his desire for the most part is to good; the tenour and sway, and bent of his desire is to good. One things have I de­sired: the spirit of God is [Page 44] effectuall in stirring up these desires.

But how shall we know Quest. that these desires are the chief things to distinguish an Hypocrite from a true Christian, and whether they be true or no.

To goe no farther than the Text: desires are holy, Answ. Desires are true. and spirituall, if they bee about holy and spirituall 1 By the ob­ject. things, One thing have I de­sired saith David, what was that? to be rich and great in the World, and to bee revenged on my enemies? No, no, that is not the matter, I have many ene­mies; GOD will take a course that they shall fall; that that I desire, is to [Page 45] have neerer Communion with God, I desire to en­joy the Ordinances of God: so his desire it was set on spirituall objects, and that argued it was a holy desire. 2 Fervency.

And then againe his de­sire, it was a fervent desire, as he saith, one thing have I desired & thatwil I seek after. It was not a blaze or flash, that was soon in, and soon out, it was not a meere ve­leitie, a kind of inefficaci­ous desire: fervency shew­ed that his desire was sound, hee would not bee quieted without the thing accomplished.

And then Constancy, 3 Constan­cie. when a man will not bee taken off, there is not the [Page 46] wickedest man in the Word, but he hath good flashes, good offers, and desires sometimes, Lord have Mercy upon me, &c. he hath good ejaculations sometimes: I but what is the bent and sway of his desires? This was Davids constant desire: as it was about spirituall, and was a fervent, and eager desire, that he would not bee qui­et, so it was constant: that that is naturall is constant, and that that is supernatu­rally naturall, that that is naturall in spirituall things it is constant, nature is constant. For how doth nature differ from Art? Artificiall things are for a [Page 47] time: teach a creature be­yond his nature, hee will shew his naturals, so let an Hypocrite act a part, if it be not his nature, he will soone turne to his naturals, and shew that he is an Hy­pocrite againe. Constan­cy and perpetuity in good things, a tenour of good desires shew that the heart is good, because it is co­stant.

And then againe his 4 From Gods Love. desire here of DAVID, it was kindled from the love of God, and not out of base ends. Holy desires are kindled in the Soule from the love of God: for what saith hee here? One thing have I desired, what [Page 48] was that? To dwell in the house of the Lord, what to doe? To behold the beauty of God: to see God in his excellency and beauty, and worthinesse. All his desire was from this, that his soule was enamoured with the beauty of Gods house. The love of God stirred up this blessed de­sire in the Prophet, there­fore it was a holy and spi­rituall desire.

Againe, as they spring 5 Tend to Gods ho­nour. from the love of God, so they tend to the honour of God: for what comes from heaven, goes to heaven backe againe: As waters that comes from a spring, they goe [Page 49] as high as the place they come from: so holy de­sires being kindled from heaven, from a Spirit of love, they goe to heaven againe: the love of God stirres them up, and hee seekes Gods glory, and honour, and inward com­munion with God in this. For a man out of a naturall desire, may de­sire holy things some­times, to be free from such or such a sin, and to have such, and such a grace, not out of a desire to ho­nour God: but if he had grace, hee sees he might escape troubles, he might be free from temporall judgements, and hee [Page 50] might ingraciate him­selfe, and commend him­selfe to this or that per­son, whom hee desires to benefit by, therefore hee desires as much grace as may helpe forward his intentions in the world, he joynes the world, and God together: oh no, these are not the desires that distinguish a Chri­stian from another man: but those that spring from the love of God, that pro­ceed inwardly from the truth of the heart, and that the things them­selves please God, and that there is a lovelinesse in them, and that they tend to the honour of [Page 51] God especially, and our own good in a secondary place, this is a character of good desires. Thus we see, though I should goe no further then the Text, how we may distinguish holy and heavenly desires, from other desires. One thing have I desired, and that will I seeke, &c.

Therefore let us exa­mine what our desires To exa­mine our desires. are, what our bent is▪ de­sires issue from the Will and affections, and they shew the frame of the soule, more then any thing in the world. As the springs in low pla­ces Simile. are discovered by the steames, and vapours [Page 52] that come out of the place: men gather that there is a spring below, because of the ascent of vapours: so the vapou­ring out of these desires, shew that there is a spring of Grace in the heart, they discover that there is a spring within.

And let those that mourne in Sion, that have some evidence, (though they are not so good as they would be:) let them looke to their hearts: what is thy desire? what is the bent of thy soule? when a man is once con­verted and turned, where­in is his turning? Espe­cially, his minde and [Page 53] judgement, and esteeme of things as altered, there is a change of minde, and withall the desire, and bent of the soule is alte­red: that if a man aske him, and examine what the bent is of all the course of his life; oh that God might be glorified, that his Church and cause might prosper, that others might be conver­ted, this is the bent of his soule: not that hee might be great in the world, and ruine those that stand in his way, (this shewes that a man is a rotten hypocrite) the bent and sway of the soule shews what a man is.

[Page 54] Because I would not Vsing all meanes and re­mooving all hinde­rances. have any deceived in the point, take one evidence and signe more with you, and that shall be in stead of all, and it is out of the Text too, One thing have I desired, and that will I seeke after; not by prayer onely, but in the use of all meanes: as indeed hee was never quiet, till hee was setled againe in Sion; nor then neither, till he had gotten mate­rials for the Temple, and a place for Gods honour to dwell in. If desires be not the desires of the sluggard, there will be indeavour: as wee see in the desire of David here, One thing [Page 55] have I desired, and that will I seeke: he used all meanes to enjoy communion with God sweetly.

The Slug gard lusts and hath nothing: so there are many spirituall slug­gards that lust, and have nothing: because they shew not their desire in their indeavours: there will be indeavour, where the desire is true. For desire springs from the Will; the Will being the appetite of the whole man, Voluntas appetitus, &c. The understanding car­ries not, but the Will: when the Will, will have a thing, it caryes all the parts; hereupon when [Page 56] the desire is true, it stirs up all the powers and faculties to doe their du­tie, to seeke to attaine the accomplishment, and possession of that that is desired.

Those therefore, that pretend they have good desires to God, and yet live scandalously, and negligently, and will take no paines with their soules, alas it is the slug­gards desire, if they take not paines to remoove all lets, and hindrances: for a man may know the de­sire of a thing is good, when hee labours to set the hindrances out of the way if hee can; if the [Page 57] lets and hindrances be not impossible, hee will remove it if hee can. Therefore those that pre­tend this, and that, (There is a Lion in the way) when they might remoove it if they would, there is no true desire: for desire is with the remooving of all possible hindrances of the thing desired.

But to resolve one que­stion. Quest. How shall I know whether my desire be strong enough, and ripe enough or no, to give me comfort?

I answer; if the desire Answ. How to know good desires are strong. of grace be above the de­sire of any earthly thing, that a man may say with [Page 58] David, One thing have I desired. I desire to be free from sinne, as a greater blessing to my soule, then to be free from any cala­mity: oh, it is a good signe. And surely a man can never have comfort of his desire, till his de­sires be raysed to that pitch. For none ever shall come to heaven, that doe not desire the things that tend to hea­ven, above all earthly things, nor none shall ever escape hell, that doe not thinke it worse, and more terrible then all earthly miseries. God brings no fooles to hea­ven, that cannot discerne [Page 59] the difference of things. Therefore let us know, that our desires are to lit­tle purpose if wee have some desire to be good, &c. but wee have a grea­ter desire to be rich, and great in the world, to have such, and such place: if the desire of that be greater, then to be gracious with God. If we hate poverty, and disgrace, and want, and this and that more then sinne and hell, to which sinne leads, it is a signe that our judgements are rotten and corrupt, and that our desire is no pure spirituall desire: for it is not answerable to the [Page 60] thing desired; there is no proportion. David saith here, One thing have I desi­red: his desire carryed him amaine to One thing necessary, above all other things whatsoever. Thus you see out of the Text, what are the distinguish­ing notes of true desires from those that are false. I need name no more, if we consider what hath beene spoken.

Now for, our comfort, if we find these holy de­sires: oh! let us take comfort in our selves: for God will fulfill the de­sires of them that feare him: holy desires, they are the birth of Gods Spirit, and [Page 61] there is not one of them that shall be lost: for God regards those de­sires, My groanings are not hid from thee; my groan­ings in trouble: and de­sires of grace. There is not the least thing stirred up in the soule by the Spirit of God, but it prevayles with God in some degree; answerable to the degree of worth in it: therefore if wee have holy desires stirred up by God, God promotes those desires, God will regard his owne worke, and to him that hath shall be given. Lord be mercifull to thy servants, that desire to feare thy Name, saith [Page 62] Ezechias. It is a plea that wee may bring to God, Lord, I desire to please thee, as it is, Isay 26. 8. The desire of our Isay 26. 8. soules is to thy Name oh Lord; Wee faile some­times, that wee cannot performe actions, with that zeale and earnestnes, as wee should: but the desire, and bent of our soule is to thy Name. A Christian may make it his plea to God, truly our desires are towards thy Name, and wee have some sutable indeavours: and our desires are more that way, then to any thing in the world. It is a good plea, though wee [Page 63] be much hindred, and pulled backe by our cor­ruptions. So much for that, the Act upon this object, One thing have I desired.

Of whom doth hee de­sire it?

Of the Lord.

One thing have I desired Object of Davids de­sire, God. of the Lord.

It was not a blind de­sire of the thing, but a de­sire directed to the right object, to God to fulfill it. Holy desires are such as we are not ashamed of, but dare open them to God himselfe, in [Page 64] prayer, and desires to God. A Christian, what he desires as a Christian, he prayes for; and what he prayes for he desires; he is an hypocrite else. If a man pray (as Saint Austin in his confessions) August. that God would free him from temptations, and yet is unwilling to have those loving baites from him, he prayes, but he doth not desire. There are many that pray, they say in their prayers. Lead us not in temptation; and yet they run into Temp­tation; they feed their eyes, and eares, and sen­ses with vaine things: you know what they are [Page 65] well enough, their lives are nothing but a satisfy­ing of their lusts, and yet they pray, Lead us not in temptation. And there are many persons that desire that, that they dare not pray for, they desire to be so bad. But a Christian what hee de­sires, he prayes for: I de­sire in earnest to be in the house of the Lord, I desire it of the Lord, I put up my request to him; and what I pray to him for, I ear­nestly desire indeed. Learne this in a word hence, that,

When wee have holy de­sires [Page 66] stirred up by God, turne Observ. To turne desires in­to prayers. them to prayers.

A prayer is more then To keepe acquain­tance with God. a desire; it is a desire put up to God: let us turne our desires into prayers, that is the way to have them speed.

One thing have I desired of the Lord.

The reason why wee should in all our desires, make our desires knowne to God, is, to keepe our acquaintance continual­ly with God. Wee have continuall use of desires of grace, and desires of [Page 67] mortification of corrup­tions, and of freedome from this, and that evill that is upon us: as ma­ny desires as we have, let them be so many prayers, turne our desires into prayers to God, and so maintaine our acquain­tance with God. And we shall never come from God without a blessing and comfort: hee never sends any out of his pre­sence empty, that come with a gracious heart, that know what they de­sire. And it brings peace with it, when wee make our desires knowne to God by our prayer, It brings peace that passeth [Page 68] understanding; Ephes. 4. Ephes. 4. Put case God doth not heare our request, that he doth not grant what we aske? The peace of God which passeth understan­ding, shall keepe your hearts and minds: So that when we put up our requests to God with thankefulnes for that wee have recei­ved, the soule will finde peace: Therefore I say, let us turne all our de­sires into prayers, to maintain perpetuall com­munion, and acquain­tance with God: oh! it is a gainefull and com­fortable acquaintance.

It is an argument, and Note of a good con­science. signe of a good consci­ence, [Page 69] for a man to goe oft to God with his de­sires; it is a signe that he is not in a wicked course: for then he dares not ap­peale to the presence of God. Sore eyes cannot endure the light: and a galled conscience cannot endure Gods presence. Therefore it is good to come oft into the pre­sence of God: it shewes that the heart doth not regard iniquity. If I regard iniquity in my heart, God will not heare my prayers. It is an argu­ment of a good consci­ence to come oft into the presence of God: but I will not enter in­to [Page 70] the common place of prayer.

Wee see next his ear­nestnesse I have desired it of the Lord, and

I will seeke after it.

I will follow God still. Davids im­portunity. Here is his importunity in prayer, his fervency, his uncessancy and per­severance, (as the Apo­stle exhorts,) hee perse­vered in prayer. I will seeke after it. In prayer, and in the use of all good meanes, I will doe what Observ. Perseve­rance, and importu­nity re­quisite in prayer. I can. So you see one qualification of prayer, it must be with perseve­rance, and importunity. [Page 71] God loves importunate suitors: though wee can­not endure to be trou­bled with such persons, yet God loves importu­nate suitors.

As wee see in Luke 18. Luke 18. in the Parable of the Wi­dow. God there vouch. safes to compare him­selfe to an unrighteous Judge, that cared neither for God, nor man: yet the importunity of the Wi­dow mooved him to re­gard her. So the poore Church of God, shee is like a Widow, with her hayre hanging about her. This is Sion, whom none re­gardeth: yet this Wi­dow, the poore Church [Page 72] of God, and every parti­cular member of it, they are importunate with the Judge of heaven, and earth, with God, and will not he more regard the importunity of his chil­dren whom he loves, and delights in that, Call upon him day and night? will not he regard their petitions; when an unrighteous Judge shall care for the importunity of a poore Widow? Thus you see the excellent fruit of im­portunity in our blessed Saviour himselfe, and here in David, I will seeke after it, I will have no nay. Therefore wee are exhorted in the Scrip­tures, [Page 73] not to keep silence, to give God no rest, you that are the Lords remem­brancers, keepe not silence, give him no rest: as Iacob with the Angell, wrastle with him, leave him not till wee have a blessing. As the woman of Canaan, let us follow him still, and take no nay. Oh this is a blessed violence (be­loved) when wee can set upon God, and will have no nay, but renew suite upon suite, and desire on desire, and never leave till our petitions be answe­red. Can the hypocrite pray alway? Would you know a comfortable note to distinguish an hypocrite [Page 74] from a true Christian? take it hence, Will the hy­pocrite pray alway? Some­times he will pray; but if God answere him not presently he gives over; but Gods children pray alwayes; if the ground be good, if they see the ex­cellency of the thing, and the necessity, and with­all joyne at the amiable­nesse of it, that it may be gotten. When they see the excellency, and the necessity and usefulnesse of the thing, and the at­tainablenesse of it, and that it is attainable in the use of meanes, they need no more, they will never give over. That is the [Page 75] reason of that in the peti­tions, Thy Kingdome come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. But can wee doe the will of God on earth as it is done in hea­ven? and doth Gods glo­rious Kingdome of hea­ven come while wee are here in earth? No, it doth not, but the soule that is guided with the spirit of prayer, it rests not in this or that degree, but prayes till it be in heaven, Thy Kingdome come, I have grace now, but I desire glory, Thy will be done, I desire to doe it as thy Saints in heaven; though I cannot doe it: but I desire, and I will not give [Page 76] God rest, but pray, till all my prayers be answe­red in heaven; and then I shall doe the will of God as it is done in heaven indeed. Thus we ought eagerly, and constantly to persevere in our de­sires, till they be fully satisfied, or else wee are but hypocrites.

Let us make con­science I beseech you of this duty more then wee have done, and never give God over for grace, for strength against our corruptions; for his Church: for the prospe­rity of the meanes of sal­vation: for those things that we have ground for; [Page 77] let us never give him over till we see hee hath an­swered our desires. And when he hath answered our desires, let us goe on still to desire more: for this life is a life of de­sires, the life of accom­plishment is heaven, then all our desires shall be accomplished, and all promises performed, and not before then. This is a life of desires, and we must be in a state of desires, and prayers still till we be in heaven.

What is the reason Quest. that God doth not pre­sently accomplish our desires?

There be diverse rea­sons. Answ. [Page 78] First of all he loves Answ. God doth notanswer our desires presently. to heare the desires of his servants, hee loves to be sued unto: because hee knowes it is for our good. 1 God loves to heare our pra­yers. It is Musicke that best pleaseth Gods eares to heare a soule come to him to request, especial­ly spirituall things of him which hee delights most to give, which hee knowes is most usefull, and best for us: this plea­seth him so marvellously, that he will not presently grant it, but leads us along, and along, that still he may heare more, and more from us. 2 To keepe us hum­ble.

And then to keepe us in a perpetuall humble [Page 79] subjection, and depen­dance on him, hee grants not all at once, but leads us a long, by yeelding a little, and a little, that so hee may keepe us in a humble dependance.

And then to exercise all our graces: for a spi­rit 3 To exer­cise our graces. of prayer is a spirit of exercise of all grace, wee cannot pray, but we must exercise faith, and love to God and his Church; and a sanctified judge­ment to esteeme what are the best things to be prayed for: and to exer­cise mortification, If I re­gardsinne, God will not re­gard my prayers. A spirit of prayer is a spirit that [Page 80] puts all into exercise: therefore God, to keepe us in the exercise of all grace answeres not at the first.

And then hee would 4 To praise Gods bles­sings. have us to set a high price upon what wee de­sire, and seeke after; if we had it at the first, we should not set so high an esteeme and price of it.

And then that, wee 5 To use them bet­ter. might better use it when we have it: then wee use things as wee should doe when wee have gotten them with much adoe, when we have won them from God with great im­portunity, then we keepe and preserve them as wee [Page 81] should. These, & the like reasons may be given, & you may easily conceive them your selves. There­fore let us not be offen­ded with Gods gracious dispensation if he answer not our desires presently, but pray still: and if wee have the spirit of prayer continued to us, that spi­rit A spirit of prayer better then par­ticular lessigs. of prayer is better then the thing wee beg a great deale. Oft-times God answers us in a better kind, when he gives us a spirit of prayer: for in­creasing a spirit of pray­er in us, he increaseth all graces in us; what is it we would have? This or that particular grace, but [Page 82] when God gives us a spi­rit of prayer, he answeres us better then in the thing we aske, for there is all grace. He will answer in one kind or other. But I will not be large in these points: you see then what was the affe­ction of the holy Pro­phet, to that one thing. One thing have I desired. And he did not onely de­sire it, but turned his de­sire into a prayer, hee prayed to God, and hee not onely prayed once or twice, but hee seekes it still, till God vouchsa­fed to grant it.

Well, but that that he prayed for, hee was assu­red Object, [Page 83] of, and therefore what need hee pray for it? hee had a promise, Psalme 23. 5, 6. Hee shall prepare a Table before mine Psal. 23. 5. 6. enemies, my Cup doth over­flow. But what is that to this? these be things of this life? Oh! but saith he, God will be good to me in the things of ano­ther life, and all the dayes of my life too: Doubtlesse the loving kindnesse of the Lord shall follow me all the dayes of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord: hee takes in trust his dwelling in the house of God, and that the lo­ving kindnesse of God should follow him all [Page 84] the dayes of his life, hee was assured of it, and yet here hee seekes it, and prayes for it.

I note it, to shew that the assurance of the thing Answ. Assurance of that we pray for, no hinde­rance to prayer, Dan. 9. takes not away the ear­nestnesse of prayer. Da­niel was assured Dan. 9. That God would deliver the Jewes out of Babylon: he had read Ieremies Pro­phesies, he knew the time was accomplished; yet we see what an earnest prayer hee makes there. Christ knew that God heard him in all his de­sires, that he should have all good from God, being his onely Sonne, yet he prayed whole nights [Page 85] sometimes, and a whole Chapter Ioh. 17. is an ex­cellent Ioh. 17. prayer of his: so that the assurance of the thing, takes not away prayer to God: nay it stablisheth it, for God so makes good his pro­mises for the time to come, as that hee makes them good this way, hee will be sought to by prayer. And I may know hence that hee will make good his promises for the time to come to me, if I have a spirit of prayer for them: if I pray for perseverance to the end, that God would vouch­safe me grace to live in the Church, and to grow [Page 86] up as a Cedar; God sure­ly meanes to grant this, because hee hath given me holy, and gracious desires, which he would not have given me, but that hee meanes to give the thing. For this is an encouragement to pray, when I know I shall not loose my labour, I pray, because I have a promise to have it, and I know the promise runnes upon this; But I will be sought unto of the house of Judah for this, Ezek. 36. Ezech. 36. For if wee have it, and have not sought it by prayer, for the most part we cannot have a comfor­table use of it, unlesse we [Page 87] have things as the fruite of our prayers: though there be not a particular prayer for every particu­lar thing we have of God: yet unlesse it be the fruit of the generall prayer, that wee put up daily, we cannot have comfort in it: if God give it by a generall providence as he fills the bellies of the wicked with good things. But if we will have things for our good in particular, we must receive them as the fruite of our prayers from God, you see here he seekes, and de­sires that that hee had a promise to have, one thing have I desired of the [Page 88] Lord, and that will I seeke.

That I may dwell in the House of the Lord.

It was generally pro­pounded before, One Specifica­tion of Davids de­sire. thing have I desired, and that will I seeke after, with all my might, and what is that? the specification of it is this,

That I may dwell in the To dwell in the House of God. House of the Lord for ever.

His desire is, not only to be in Gods house, but to dwell in it, to abide; and not for a little while, but to dwell, and to dwell all the dayes of my life.

[Page 89] The House of God then was the Tabernacle, the Sanctuary, the Tem­ple was not yet built: he desired to be neare the Tabernacle, to dwell in the Sanctuary, the place of Gods worship. In the Tabernacle, which in those times was the House of God, there was the Arke, and the mercy­seate; types of many glo­rious things in the new Testament, the Holy of ho­lies, &c. And hee desired to dwell in the Taberna­cle, to be neare the Arke, the House of God, why? because God manifested his presence there, more then in other places. The [Page 90] Arke hath Gods name in diverse places of Scrip­ture; because God gave his answers in the Arke, in the Propitiatory, or Mercie-seate, they came there to know his mea­ning, what hee would have; he gave his answers there. He is said to dwell betweene the Cherubins: there were two Cherubins upon the Mercy-seate, and God is said to dwell betweene the Cherubins: that is, there he was pre­sent to give answers to the high Priest, when hee came to aske. David knew this well enough, that God had vouchsa­fed a more speciall pre­sence [Page 91] in the Tabernacle, then in all the places of the world, and therefore saith he, I desire to dwell in the house of the Lord all the dayes of my life.

House, we take for the persons that are in it, and House what. persons that are ordered, or else it is a confusion, and not a house, it is a company of those that are voluntary, they come, not by chance into our house, those that are members of our Society: but there is an order, there is a governour in a house, and some that are under government, and there is a voluntary con­junction, and combina­tion. [Page 92] So the Church is a voluntary company of people that is orderly, some to teach, and some to be instructed, and thereupon it is called a house.

And it is called the House of God, because House of God. he is present there, as a man delights to be pre­sent in his house. It is the place where God will be met withall. As a man will be found in his house, and there hee will have suitors come to him, where hee reveales his se­crets; A man rests, hee lyes, and lodgeth in his house; where is a man so familiar as in his house? [Page 93] And what other place hath he such care to pro­tect, and provide for as his house? And he layes up his treasures, and his jewels in his house: so God layes up all the trea­sures of grace and com­fort in the visible Church. In the Church hee is to be spoken with as a man is in his house; there hee gives us sweet meetings; there are mutuall spiri­tuall kisses. Let him kisse me with the kisses of his Cant. 1. mouth, Cant. 1. A mans house is his Castle as we say, that hee will protect and provide for. God will be sure to protect, and provide for his [Page 94] Church. Therefore hee calls the Church of God, that is, the Tabernacle (that was the Church at that time) the house of God. If wee apply it to our times, that that an­swers the Tabernacle now, is particular visible Churches under particu­lar Pastors, where the meanes of salvation are set up, particular visible Churches now are Gods Tabernacle. The Church of the Jewes was a Na­tionall Church: there was but one Church, but one place, and one Taber­nacle: but now God hath erected particular Ta­bernacles, every parti­cular [Page 95] Church & Congre­gation under one Pastor▪ their meeting is the Church of God, a seve­rall Church indepen­dant. Our Nationall Church, that is, the Church of England: be­cause it is under a go­vernment Civill, which is not dependant upon any other forraine Prince, it is a particular Church from other nations.

In that God calls the Gods re­spect to his Church. Church his House, it shewes the speciall re­spect that hee hath to his Church. God though he be present every where, yet he is present in ano­ther manner in his [Page 96] Church. As for instance, Simile. the soule is present in all the parts of the body: but the soule as farre as it understands, is onely in the braine, as farre as it is the fountaine of life, it is in the heart: it hath offices, and functions in all the parts: but in the speciall function, the ra­tionall function of it, as it discourseth, and rea­soneth, it is in the braine: so (for our apprehension sake) God is every where: but as hee sanctifies, and poures out his blessings, and opens, and manifests his secrets, so he is in his Church especially. God is every where, but hee is [Page 97] in another way in heaven then in other places, hee is there gloriously: so in earth hee is every where, but he is in another man­ner in the Church, (the heaven upon earth) then in other places, hee is there as in his house to protect them, & provide for them, as his family, and there hee abides by his Ordinances, and takes solace, and delight; God delights himselfe in his Church, and Children, that attend upon his Or­dinances; where Two or three are met together, I will bee in the middest of them. When Gods peo­ple meet together in the [Page 98] Church, God is present among them. So you see in what respect, the Ta­bernacle then, and par­ticular Churches now (which answer it) are cal­led the House of God.

Let us learne this for To carrie our selves decently, in Gods. House, our duty as well as consi­der our comfort, in that the Church is the House of God, let us carry our selves as wee should, de­cently in the house of God. Those that are to looke to the house of God, they should purge out all uncleane corners, that God may delight to dwell in his House still, that we give him no cause to depart out of his [Page 99] House. That I may—

Dwell in the house of the Lord, &c.

The act here is, that I Love of Gods chil­dren to good things constant. may dwell in the house of the Lord. Hee did not desire to be in it for a day or a little time, to salute it, and so to leave it: but to dwell in the House of the Lord, and to dwell there for ever. You see here that Christians have a constant love to the best things, a constant desire to dwell in the house of God. You may thinke it a strange desire of this holy man to dwell in the House of God: but [Page 100] thinke then of the conti­nuednesse of his desire, it was even to heaven it selfe, he desired to dwell in the House of God for ever.

For what end? David de­sired to dwell,

I desire to dwell in the 1 In Gods love to him, House of God, that I may dwell in the love of God, and in the care of God to me in Christ for ever. I doe not desire to dwell in the House of God, as it is a meeting, and there an end: but I desire to dwell in the House of God, that I may dwell in the love and 2 In his love to God. care of God, and not [Page 101] onely dwell in his care and love to me, and his care and esteeme of me, but that I may dwell in my love to him, that I may abide in his love, and faith in him, that I may abide in Christ. It is not onely for a man to abide in the House of God, and goe no further then so, but to abide in the love of God, and in our love, and care, and faith, and dependance upon him, to make God our house to live, and walke, and abide in, to dwell in God, as Saint Iohn saith, not onely in the House of God, but God himselfe. And the upshot of all his

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