[Page] THE BRVISED REEDE, AND SMOAKING FLAX. Some Sermons contracted out of the 12: of Matth. 20. At the desire, and for the good of weaker Christians.


ZACH. 4. 10.

Who hath despised the day of small things?

LONDON, Printed for R. Dawlman, dwel­ling at the signe of the Brazen Serpent in Pauls Church­yard, 1630.

TO THE RIGHT Honourable, Sir Horatio Veere Knight, Lord Veere of Tilbury, and Generall of the English Forces under the High and mighty Lords the States generall of the united Provin­ces in the Netherlands. And to his pious Consort, the Lady Mary Veere, increase of grace, &c.

Right Honourable,

SOuldiers that carie their lives in their hands, had [Page] need above all others to carie grace in their hearts, that so having made peace with God, they may bee fit to en­counter with men. And having by faith in Christ disarmed death before they dye, they may sacrifice their lives with the more courage and comfort: which to neglect being a mat­ter of eternity, is not valour but desperate madnesse, because in [Page] this businesse as in o­versights of war, there is no place for a second repentance, the first er­ror being unrecovera­ble. In evills above the strength of man to pre­vaile and his patience to endure, there God hath planted the affecti­on of feare, which might stirre us up to avoyd the danger by flying to him in Christ who being our friend it is no matter who is [Page] our enemy: wee may be killed, but cannot be hurt; so safe it is to be under his command that hath command over Death, Hell, Iudg­ment, and all that wee most feare. Yet such is our nature that by fa­miliarity with danger, wee grow by degrees insensibly to be harde­ned against it, and to looke no further then death, as if to die were onely to give up the [Page] ghost, and then an end of all. And hereupon it is that they that fol­low the warres are ge­nerally taken to be men not most religious. The more respect those of that profession de­serve, that have learned upon what tearmes to live and dye, that are sure of a better life be­fore they leave this, that have layd up their life in Christ; Amongst whom (right Honou­rable) [Page] the world hath a long time taken no­tice of you, in whom both religion, and mili­tary imploymēt, meek­nesse of spirit, with height of courage, hu­mility with honor, by a rare and happy com­bination have met to­gether. Whereby you have much vindicated your profession from common imputation, and shewed that Piety can enter into Tents, [Page] & follow after camps. and that God hath his Iosuas, & his Corneliuses in all ages. But I will not use many words of your selfe to your selfe, because though you have done much that may and will bee spoken of, yet you love not to heare or speake of what you have done.

I may seeme to some unbefitting to offer a discourse of a bruised [Page] reede, to such a strong and flourishing Cedar. But experience shew­eth, that the strongest plants in Gods house are exposed sometimes to strong windes of temptation, and there­upon meet vvith brui­sings; that they may the better know by whose strength they stand, and that the greatest may learne to goe out of themselves to the same common rocke and [Page] fountaine of strength with the meanest. DA­VID was a valiant man, yet upon experi­ence of his oft failings and recoveries, he be­came towards God as a weaned child. Low­linesse of mind to God­ward, and greatnesse of spirit against his ene­mies may well stand together, for the way to bee above all other things, is to submit to God first. Besides; this [Page] Text speaketh of the prevailing government of Christ in his Church and in his Children, which may bee an in­couragement to your Lordship still not only to owne the c [...]use of Christ in these times wherein men are asha­med of what they should glory in, and glory in their shame; but likewise to fight the Lords battels (whē called to it) and helpe [Page] him against the migh­tie, for victory atten­deth Christs side in the end. Though God to revenge the quarrell of his Covenant, suffers his enemies, to prevaile yet for a time, to harden them the more, yet they have undertaken a damned cause, and howsoever the Church hath justly provoked God, yet the cause shall stand impregna­ble against all created [Page] power of Devills and men. We naturally de­sire victorie, and many desire it more then truth o [...] goodnesse, which onely are victo­rious, and so out of a depraved judgement they crosse their owne desires, seeking to o­vercome in that where­in it were safer for them to be overcome, they then are sure to meet with shame in the conclusion in stead [Page] of victory; or else we must deny Christ to be King of his Church, and Iudge of the world. Proceed on still (honorable Lord) to stand for Christ both in Peace and Warre, and this shall be found to your Honour, when Christ shall come to bee glorious in his Saints, that he thought you worthy to honour himselfe by, when o­thers that oppose or [Page] betray the cause of Christ for base ends, shall not dare to hold up their ha ds.

I would not divide you from your Hono­rable Lady, being ob­liged to both, and both being one as in other bands, so in that above nature, in love to the best things: both ex­emplary in all religious courses, both in your places likewise having been imployed in great [Page] services for the com­mon good, so that not onely this, but forraign States are bound to bless God for you both. Going on in these waies you will finde God making his pro­mise good of honoring them that honour him.

I doe not so farre o­ver-value this poore worke, as to thinke it worthy of your Ho­nors, but thus I thought [Page] meet to witnesse my deserved respect to you both. If I bee to blame for suffring these Sermons long since preached, thus to come forth, others must di­vide the fault with me, who had brought it to that passe, that it was al­most necessary for mee to take this course. The Lord continue to bless your Honours with all your branches, and to maintaine his grace in [Page] you, untill hee hath brought forth judge­ment unto victory.

Your Honors to command in the Lord, Richard Sibbes.

To the Christian READER.

TO prevent a fur­ther inconve­nience, I was drawne to let these notes passe with some review; Conside­ring there was an intendmēt of publishing them, by some who had not perfectly taken them. And these first, as be­ing next at hand, and ha­ving had occasion lately of some fresh thoughts concer­ning this argumēt, by dealing [Page] with some the chiefe groūd of whose trouble, was the want of cōsidering of the gracious nature and office of Christ. The right conc [...]ipt of which is the spring of all service to Christ, and comfort from him. God hath laid up all grace and comfort in Christ for us, and planted a wonder­full sweetnesse of pitty and love in his heart towards us. As God his Father hath fitted him with a body, so with a heart to be a mercifull Heb. 10. 7. Redeemer. What doth the Scriptures speake but Christs love and tender care over those that are humbled: and besides the mercy that resteth in his owne brest, hee workes [Page] the l [...]ke impression in his Mi­nisters and others, to com­fort1 Th. s. 5 14the feeble minded, and to beare with the weake. Ministers by their calling are friends of the Bride, and to bring Christ and his Spouse together, and therefore ought upon all good occasions to lay open al the ex­cellencies of Christ, and a­mongst others, as that hee is highly borne, mighty, one in whom all the treasures of wisedome are hid, &c, so likewise gentle, and of a good nature, and of a gracious d [...]s­position. It cannot but cheere the heart of the spouse, to con­sider in all her infirmities and miseries she is subject unto, [Page] that shee hath a husband of a k [...]nd disposition, that knowes how to give the honour of milde usage to the weaker vessell. That will be so farre frō rejecting her, because she is weake, that he will pity her the more. And as hee is kinde at all times, so especially when it is most seasonable, he will speake to her heart, espe­ciallyHosea 2. 24.in the wildernesse. The more glory to God, and the more comfort to a Chri­stian soule ariseth from the beliefe and application of these things, the more the enemy of Gods glory & mans comfort, labours to breed mis­perswasions of them, that if hee cannot keepe men from [Page] heaven, and bring them into that cursed condition he is in himselfe, yet he may trouble them in their passage. Some and none of the worst, Sathan prevailes withall so farre, as to neglect the meanes, upon feare they should (being so sinfull) dishonour God and in­crease their sins: & so they lie smothering under this temp­tation as it were bound hand and foote by Sathan, not da­ring to make out to Christ, and yet are secretly upheld by a spirit of faith, shewing it selfe in hidden sighes and groanes unto God. These are abused by false representati­ons of Christ; all whose waies to such, being wayes of mercy [Page] and all his thoughts, thoughts of love. The more Sathan is malicious in keeping the soule in darknesse, the more care is to be had of establishing the soule upon that which will stay it. Amongst other grounds to build our faith on, as the free offer of grace to all that will receive it; the gracious invitation of all Rev. 22. 17. M [...]. 11. 28 that are weary and heauy la­d [...]n, those that have nothing to buy withall; The command binding to beleeve, the danger Esay 53. 1. 1 Ioh. 3. 23. Ioh. 16. 9. 2 Cor. 3. 20. of not beleeving, being shut up prisoners thereby under the guilt of all other sinnes, the sweet intreatie to beleeve, and ordayning Embassadours to desire peace, putting tender [Page] affections into them answera­ble to their calling, ordaining Sacraments for the sealing of the covenant. Besides these (I say) and such moving in­ducements, this is one infu­sing vigor and strength in­to all the rest, that they pro­ceed from Christ, a person au­thorized, and from those bo­wels that moved him not on­ly to become a mā, but a curse for us, hence it is that hee will not quench the smoa­king wick or flax. It addes strength to faith, to consider that al expressions of love is­sue frō nature in Christ, wch is constant. God knowes that as wee are prone to sinne, so when conscience is throughly [Page] awaked, wee are as prone to despaire for sinne; and there­fore hee would have us know that hee setteth himselfe in the Covenant of grace to triumph in CHRIST over the greatest evills and enemies we feare, and that his thoughts are not as our thoughts are, that he is God Es. 5. 8. and not man, that there is heights, and depths, and Hos. 11. 9. breadths of mercy in him a­bove Eph. 3. 18. all the depths of our sin and misery; that wee should never bee in such a forlorne condition, wherein there should be ground of despaire, considering our sinnes bee the sins of men, his mercy the mercy of an infinite GOD. [Page] But though it be a truth clee­rer then the Sunne beames, that a broken hearted sinner ought to embrace mercy so strongly enforced: yet there is no truth that the heart shutteth it selfe more against, then this, especially in sense of misery, when the soule is fittest for mercy, untill the Holy spirit sprinkleth the con­science with the blood of Christ, and sheddeth his love into the heart, that so the blood of Christ in the consci­ence may cry lowder then the guilt of sinne; for onely Gods Spirit can raise the consci­ence with comfort above guilt; because he is only grea­ter then the conscience. Men [Page] may speake comfort, but it is Christs Spirit that can onely comfort. Peace is the fruit of the lips, but yet created to bee Es. 57. 19 so. No creature can take off wrath from the conscience, but he that set it on, though all the prevailing arguments be used that can bee brought forth, till the Holy Ghost ef­fectually perswadeth by a di­vine kinde of rhetoricke, which ought to raise up our hearts to him who is the com­forter of his people, that he would seale thē to our soules. Now God dealing with mē as understanding creatures, the manner which he useth in this powerfull worke upon their consciences, is by way of [Page] friendly entercourse, as in­treaty, and perswasion, and discovery of his love in Christ, and Christs gracious inclination thus even to the Loquitur Deus ad [...] nostrum, agi [...] ad mo­dum suum. weakest and lowest of men. And therefore because hee is pleased by such like motives to enter into the heart, and settle a peace there, we ought with reverence to regard all such sanctified helpes, and among the rest this of making use of this comforta­ble description of Christ by God the Father, in going boldly in all necessities to the throne of grace. But wee must know this comfort is onely the portion of those that give up themselves to Christs [Page] government, that are wil­ling in all things to be dispo­sed of by him. For here we see in this Scripture both joyned together, mercy to bruised reedes, and yet go­vernment prevailing by de­grees over corruptions. Christ so favoureth weake ones, as that he frameth their soules to a better condition then they are in. Neither can it be otherwise, but that a soule looking for mercy should sub­mit it selfe at the same time to be guided. Those relati­ons of husband, head, shep­heard, &c. imply not onely meeknesse and mercy, but go­vernment likewise. When we become Christ ans to pur­pose, [Page] we live not exempt from all service, but onely wee change our Lord. Therefore if any in an ill course of life snatch comforts before they are reached out unto them, let them know they doe it at their owne perills. It is as if some ignorant man should come into an Apothecaries shop stored with varietie of medicines of all sorts, & shold take what comes next to hād, poyson perhaps in stead of Physicke. There is no word of comfort in the whole booke of God intended for such as regard iniquity in their Psal. 66. 18. hearts, though they doe not act it in their lives. Their onely comfort is that the sen­tence [Page] of damnation is not executed, and thereupon there is yet opportunity of safer thoughts and resolutions, otherwise they stand not onely convicted, but condemned by the Word, and Christ that rideth on the White horse will spend all his ar­rowes Rev. 6. 2. upon them, and wound them to death. If any shall blesse himselfe in an ill way, Gods wrath shall burne to hell against such. There is no more comfort to bee expected from Christ, then there is care to please him. Otherwise to make him an abetter of a lawlesse and loose life, is to transforme him into a phan­sie, nay into the likenesse of [Page] him whose workes hee came to destroy, which is the most detestable Idolatry of all. One way whereby the Spirit of Christ prevaileth in his, is to preserve them from such thoughts; yet wee see people will frame a divinity to themselves, pleasing to the flesh, sutable to their own ends, which being vaine in the substance, will prove like­wise vaine in the fruit, and as a building upon the sand.

The maine scope of all, is, to allure us to the entertain­ment of Christs milde, safe, wise, victorious government, and to leave men naked of all pretences, why they will not have Christ to rule over [Page] them, when we see salvation not onely strongly wrought, but sweetly dispensed by him. His government is not for his owne pleasure, but for our good. We are saved by a way of love, that love might be kindled by this way in us to God againe, because this af­fection melteth the soule, and mouldeth it to all dutie and acceptable manner of performance of dutie. It is love in duties that God regards more then du­ties themselves. This is the true and Euangelicall dispo­sition arising from Christs love to us, and our love to him againe; and not to feare to come to him as if wee were [Page] to take an Elephant by the tooth. It is almost a fundamen­tall mistake, to think that God delights in slavish feares, when as the fruits of Christs Kingdome are peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, for from this mistake come weake, slavish, superstitious con­ceits.

Two things trouble the peace of Christians verie much, their weaknesses han­ging 1. 2. upon them, and feare of holding out for time to come. A remedy against both is in this Text, for Christ is set out here as a milde Saviour to weake ones; and for time to come, his powerfull care and love is ne­ver [Page] interrupted, untill hee bring forth judgement to victory. And thereupon it is that both the meanes of salvation and grace wrought by meanes, and glory the per­fection of grace, come all un­der one name of the KING­DOME of GOD so oft; because whom by meanes he brings to grace, he will by grace bring to glory.

This maketh the thoughts of the latter Iudgement com­fortable unto us, that he who is then to be our Iudge, can­not but judge for them who [...]ve beene ruled by him here, for whom hee gu [...]des by his Psal 73. 24. counsell, those he brings to glory. If our saith were [Page] but as firme as our state in Christ is secure and glorious, what manner of men should we be?

If I had gone about to af­fect writing in a high straine, I should have missed of mine end, and crossed the argument in hand. For shall we that are servants quench those weake sparkes which our Lord himselfe is pleased to cherish? I had rather ha­zard the censure of some, then hinder the good of others; which if it be any wayes fur­thered by these few observa­tions, I have what I aymed at. I intended not a treatise, but opening of a Text, what I shall be drawne to doe in this [Page] kind must bee by degrees, as leisure in the midst of many interruptions will permit: The Lord guide our hearts, tongues, and pennes, for his glory, and the good of his people.


A TABLE OF the Contents.

I. Part. Christ will not breake the bruised Reed.
  • THose that Christ hath to deale withall are bruised.
  • Bruising is necessary.
    • 1, Before conversion. 10
    • 2, After conversion. 16
  • Vse. Not to be rash in iudging such. 18
  • Christ will not breake the bruised Reed. 19
  • Confirmed from his borrowed titles. 20
  • Relations. 21
  • Offices. ibid.
  • Vse. 1. Goe boldly to the throne of grace. 25
  • Vse. 2. Despaire not in thy bruisings. 27
  • Vse. 3. See the contrary to this in Sathan. 28
    • [Page]1 Signes of bruisings. 30
    • 2 M [...]anes of bruisings. 33
    • 3 Measure of bruisings. 39
    • 4 Comfort to the bruised. 43
II. Part. Nor quench the smoa­king flaxe.
  • Grace is little at the first. 46
  • Vse. Not to be discouraged at small begin­nings. 49
  • Grace is mingled with corruption 52
  • Vse. Hence wee iudge so variously of our selves. 56
  • Christ will not quench small and w [...]ake beginnings. 58
  • Because it is
    • from him 58
    • for him ibid.
  • Vse. No more should we; therefore
    • 1 Let all men in generall cary them­selves [Page] with moderation. 61
    • (Yet with wisedome to discerne those that are not such) 67
    • And tendernesse towards begin­ners. 70
    • 2 In particular to admonish of this
      • 1 The Church. 76
      • 2 Ministers. i [...]id.
      • 3 Magistrates. 77
      • 4 Private Christians: that they quench not good things in o­thers by their
        • 1 Example. 81
        • 2 Slanderings. 82
        • 3 Censuring and iudging them
          • 1 For matters indifferent. 83
          • 2 For weaknesses. 85
  • Use. 2. Examine whether wee be such as Christ will not quench;
    • 1 Rules how to examine our selves 91
    • 2 Signes whereby to examine our selves 101
  • [Page] Some scruples of heart answered, that keepe us from the comfort of our ex­amination. 122
  • Vse. 3. We are incouraged to set upon duties notwithstanding our weaknesses and disabilities. 130
  • A case about indisposition to dutie re­solved. 139
  • Two doubts of acceptance, either
    • 1 From scruples about duties. 149
    • 2 Ignorance of our condition in Christ. 151
    • Weaknesses what, 153
    • How to recover lost peace. 157
  • Vse. 4. Let us frame our conceits accordingly, and not beleeve Sathans representati­ons of Christ to us. 160
  • Or of us unto our selves. ibid
  • Vse. 5. Reproofe of such as sinne against this mercifull disposition in Christ, as those doe,
    • [Page]1 That goe on in ill courses, either
      • from despaire, 175
      • or presumption, 177
      • or a wilfull purpose to quench the light that is in them. ibid.
    • 2 Neglect good courses from hopes to have comfort, because Christ is thus mercifull. 182
    • 3 That ill require so gracious a Savi­our as Christ is,
      • 1 By neglecting his Mediatorship.
      • 2 Or by being cruell to him in his
        • 1 Members 195
        • 2 Name 195
        • 3 By divisions in opinion. 197
    • 4 That walke contrary to Christ in their dealing with the tender, for their owne gaine, 202
    • 5 That [...] and stumble at this low stooping of Christ. ibid.
III. Part. Vntill hee send forth judgment unto Uictorie.
  • [Page]Explanation of the words. 208
  • The spirituall government of Christ is joyned with judgement and wisedome. 215
  • Vse. 1. Spirituall wisedome and iudgement is excellent, and in what respects. 217
  • Why Sathan envies and spighteth it. 221
  • It is most necessary for the mannaging of a Christians course. 224
  • Where true wisedome and iudgment is, there Christ sets up his government, 230
  • The best method for practice. 236
  • Use. 2. There is no true iudgement where the life is ill governed. 238
  • [Page] Christs government is victorious. 239
  • 1 In eve [...]y private Christian. 240
  • 2 In the Church in generall. 248
  • Why the victory seemes sometimes to goe on the contrary side. 250
  • Vse. 1. Confort to weake Christians, the least sparke in them if it be right will pre­vaile. 257
    • 1 Signes whether there bee any such grace in us as will bee victorious. 260
    • 2 Meanes to bee used that it may bee so. 268
  • Use. 2. To admonish,
    • 1 Nations and States.
    • 2 Families.
    • 3 Every one in particular,
      • 1 For himselfe, to side wth Christ, & to imbrace his government 286
      • 2 His friends, to side wth Christ, & to imbrace his government 286
  • [Page] Vse. 3. To informe us that then Popery must downe. 290
  • ¶ Grace shall be glory. 291
  • Vse. Deceit and error shall be shame and con­fusion. 297
  • ¶ This government is advanced and set up by Christ alone. 304
  • In all spirituall Essayes looke for strength from Christ, and not from thy selfe. 307
  • ¶ This prevailing and victory will not be without opposition, 316
  • Because it is, 1 government, 2 spiri­tuall government, 3 government with iudgement, 319, 321.
  • Use. It is no signe of a good condition to find all quiet. 323
  • Wheresoever Christ commeth there [Page] will be divisions. 324
  • Miserable are those men that stand out against him, and are still under Sathans government. 325
  • Conclusion and generall Applicati­on of all this third part. 328
  • To incourage Christians to goe on com­fortably and cheerfully, with confi­dence of prevailing, both in respect of our selves, although beset with corrup­tion; and the Church, although com­passed with enemies. 337

THE Bruised Reed, and Smoaking Flax.

MATT. 12. 20.‘A bruised Reed shall be not breake, and smoking Flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgement into victorie.’

THE Prophet Esay being lif­ted up, and ca­ried with the wing of propheticall spi­rit, passeth over all the [Page 2] time betweene him, and the appearing of IESVS CHRIST in the flesh, and seeth with the eye of prophesie, and with the eye of faith, CHRIST as present, and presenteth him in the name of GOD to the spirituall eye of o­thers, in these words, Be­hold my servant whom I have chosen, &c. which place is alledged by Saint Matthew, as fulfilled now in CHRIST. Wherein is propounded,

First, The calling of CHRIST to his office:

Secondly, The execu­tion of it.

For his Calling: GOD Division. [Page 3] stileth him here his righte­ous 1. servant, &c. CHRIST was GODS servant in the greatest piece of service that ever was; a chosen, and a choice servant: hee did and suffered all by commission from the Father: Wherein we may see the sweet love of GOD to us, that counts the work of our salvation by Christ his greatest service. And that he will put his onely beloved Son to that ser­vice. He might well pre­fixe [Behold] to raise up our thoughts to the high­est pitch of attention and admiration. In time of temptation, misgiving [Page 4] consciences looke so much to the present trouble they are in, that they need bee rouzed up to behold him in whom they may finde rest for their distres­sed soules: In temptations it is safest to behold no­thing but CHRIST, the true brazen Serpent, the true Lambe of God that taketh a­way the sinnes of the World: this saving object hath a speciall influence of com­fort into the soule, especi­ally if we looke not onely on CHRIST, but upon the Fathers authority and love in him. For in all that CHRIST did and suffered as Mediator, wee must see [Page 5] GOD in him reconciling the World unto himselfe.

What a support to our Faith is this; That GOD the Father, the party of­fended by our sinnes, is so well pleased with the worke of Redemption? And what a comfort is this, that seeing GODS love resteth on CHRIST, as well plea­sed in him; we may gather that hee is as well pleased with us, if we be in Christ. For his love resteth in whole CHRIST, in Christ mysticall, as well as Christ naturall, because hee lo­veth him and us with one love. Let us therefore im­brace CHRIST, and in [Page 6] him GODS love, and build our faith safely on such a Saviour, that is furnished with so high a Commis­sion.

See here (for our com­fort) a sweet agreement of all three persons: The Father giveth a cōmission to Christ: The Spirit fur­nisheth, and sanctifieth to it: CHRIST himselfe exe­cuteth the office of a Me­diatour. Our Redempti­on is founded upon the joynt agreement of all three persons of the Tri­nitie.

For the execution of 2. this his calling, it is set downe here to be modest, [Page 7] without making a noise, or raising dust by any pō ­pous comming, as Princes use to doe: [his voyce shall not be heard:] his voyce in­deed was heard, but what voyce? Come vnto me all Matth. 11. yee, that are weary and hea­vy laden &c, he cryed, but how? H [...] every one that Isai. 55. 1. thirsteth, come &c. And as his comming was modest, so it was mild, which is set downe in these words The bruised Reed shall he not breake, &c. wherein wee may observe these three things.

First, the condition of those that CHRIST had to deale withall. 1, They [Page 8] were bruised Reedes. 2, smoaking Flax.

Secondly, CHRISTS 2. carriage towards them he brake not the bruised Reed, nor quenched the smoaking Flax: where more is meant, them spoken; sor hee will not onely not breake the bruised Reed, nor quench &c. But hee will cherish them.

Thirdly, the con­stancie and progresse of 3. this his tender care, untill Iudgement come to victory, that is, untill the sanctified frame of grace begunne in their hearts, be brought to that perfection, that it prevaileth over all oppo­site [Page 9] corruption. For the first, the condition of 1. men, whom hee was to deale withall, is that The condi­tion of such Christ had to deale with. they were bruised Reeds, and smoaking Flax, not Trees, but Reeds; and not whole but bruised Reeds. The Church is compared to weake things; to a Dove amongst the fowles; to a Vine amongst the Plants; to The Church likened to weake things. Sheepe amongst the beasts; to a Woman, which is the weaker vessell: and here GODS Children are compared to bruised Reeds, and smoaking Flax. And first we will speake of them as they are brui­sed [Page 10] Reeds, and then as smoaking flax. They are bruised reeds before their conversion, and of­ten times after: Before Conversion all (except such as being bred up in the Church, GOD hath delighted to shew him­selfe gracious vnto from their Child-hood) yet in different degrees, as GOD seeth meete; and as diffe­rence is in regard of tem­per, parts, manner of life, &c. so GODS intend­ment of imployment for the time to come: for usu­ally hee empties such of themselves, and makes them nothing, before hee [Page 11] will use them in any great services.

This bruised reed is a Bruised Reed wha [...]. man, that for the most part is in some miserie, as those 1. were, that came to Christ for help, and 2, by mise­rie, 2. brought to see sinne the cause of it; for what­soever pretences sinne maketh, yet bruising or breaking is the end of it: 3, hee is sensible of sinne, 3. and miserie, even unto bruising, and 4, seeing 4. no helpe in himselfe, is carried with restlesse de­sire to have supplie from another with some hope, which a little raiseth him out of himselfe to Christ; [Page 12] though hee dareth not claime any present inte­rest of mercy. This sparke of hope being opposed by doubtings, and feares rising from Corruption, maketh him, as smoaking flax, so that both these together, A bruised reed and smoaking flax, make up the state of a poore di­stressed man, such an one, our Saviour Christ term­eth Poore in spirit, Math. 5. who seeth a want, & with­all seeth himselfe indebt­ed to divine Iustice, & no meanes of [...]uppie frō him­selfe or the Creature, and thereupon mournes, and upon some hope of mercy [Page 13] from the promise, & exā ­ples of those that have ob­tained mercy is stirred up to hunger, & thirst after it.

This bruising is requi­red before conuersion, 1. Why brui­sing is re­quisite, 1. Before conversi­on. that so the spirit may make way for it selfe into the heart, by levelling all proud high thoughts, and that wee may understand our selves to be, what in­deed we are by nature: we love to wander from our selves, and to be strangers at home, till GOD brui­seth us by one Crosse, or other, and then wee be­thinke our selves, and come home to our selves with the Prodigall. [Page 14] A marvellous hard thing it is, to bring a dull, and a shifting heart to cry with feeling for mercy. Our hearts (like malefactors) untill they be beaten from all shifts, never cry for the mercy of the Iudge. Againe, this bruising ma­keth us set a high price up­on 2. CHRIST, the Gospell is the Gospell indeed then, then the fig-leaves of morality will doe us no good: and it maketh us more thankefull, and from 3. thankefulnesse more fruit­full in our lives; For what maketh many so cold, and 4. barren, but that bruising for sinne never indeered [Page 15] Gods Grace unto them. Likewise this dealing of 5. God doth establish us the more in his wayes, having had knockes and bruisings in our owne wayes. This is the cause oft, of relapses, & apostasies, because men never smarted for sinne at the first, they were not long enough under the lash of the Law. Hence this inferiour work of the Spirit, in bringing downe high thoughts, is necessary before conversion. And for the most part, the Ho­ly Spirit to further the worke of conviction, ioy­neth some afflictiō, which sanctified, hath a healing [Page 16] purging power.

Nay, after Conversion 2. After conversi­on. wee neede bruising, that reedes may know them­selves 1. to be reedes, & not Oakes; Even Reedes need bruising by reason of the remainder of pride in our nature, and to let us see, that we live by mercy, and that weaker Christians 2. may not be too much dis­couraged, when they see stronger shaken and brui­sed. Thus Peter was brui­sed, when he wept bitterly; This Reed, til he met with this bruise, had more wind in him, then pith. Though all forsake thee, I will not, Mat 26. &c.

[Page 17] The people of God can­not be without these ex­amples. The Heroicall deeds of those great wor­thies comfort the Church not so much, as their falls and bruises doe.

Thus David was brui­sed, until he came to a free Psal. 32. confession without guile of spirit: nay, his sorrowes did rise in his owne fee­ling, unto the exquisite paine of breaking of bones, Psal. 51. Psalm. 51. Thus Hezekiah Isai. 38. 13. complaines, that God had broken his bones as a Lion. Thus the Chosen vessell S. Paul needed the messen­ger 2 Cor. 12. of Satan to buffet him, lest hee should bee lifted [Page 18] up above measure.

Hence wee learne, that wee must not passe too harsh judgment upon our selves, or others, when God doth exercise us with bruising upon bruising; There must bee a confor­mitie to our head Christ, who was bruised for us; Isa. 53. that wee may know how much wee are bound unto him. Profane spirits igno­rant of Gods wayes in bringing his children to Heaven, censure broken hearted Christians for de­sperate persons, when as GOD is about a gratious good worke with them. It is no easie matter to bring [Page 19] a man from Nature to Grace, and from Grace to Glory; so unyeelding, and untractable are our hearts.

The second point is, 2, Point. That Christ will not breake the bruised Reed; Physiti­ans, though they put their Patients to much paine, yet they will not destroy nature, but raise it up by degrees; Surgeons will launce and cut, but not dismember; A mother that hath a sicke, and fro­ward Child, will not ther­fore cast it away; and shall there bee more mercy in the streame, then in the spring? shall wee thinke [Page 20] there is more mercy in our selves, then in GOD, who planteth the affecti­on of mercy in us? But for further declaration of Christs mercy to all brui­sed Reedes: Consider the comfortable relations hee hath taken upon him of Husband, Shepherd, Brother, Isa. 53. &c. which hee will dis­charge to the utmost; for shall others by his grace fulfill what hee calleth them unto, and not he that out of his love hath taken upon him these relations, so throughly founded up­on his fathers assignement, and his owne voluntary undertaking? Consider [Page 21] his borrowed Names from the mildest Crea­tures, as Lambe, Henne, &c. to shew his tender care: Consider his very name Iesus, a Saviour, givē him by GOD himselfe: Consider his Office, an­swerable to his name; wch is that he should heale the broken hearted, Esay. 61. 1. At his Baptisme the Holy Ghost sate on him in the shape of a Dove, to shew that he should be a Dove­like gentle Mediator. See the gracious manner of executing his Offices, as a Prophet, he came with bles­sing in his mouth, Blessed Matth. 5. be the poore in spirit, &c. and [Page 22] invited those to come to him, whose hearts sugge­sted most exceptions a­gainst themselves, Come unto me, all yee that are wea­ry, Mat. 11. 25. and heavy laden: how did his boweis yearne, when hee saw the people as sheepe without a Sheepherd? Mat. 9. 36. he never turned any backe againe, that came unto him, though some went a­way of themselves. Hee came to dye as a Priest for his enemies: In the dayes of his flesh hee dicta­ted a forme of prayer un­to his Disciples, and put Petitions unto GOD in­to their mouthes, and his Spirit to intercede in [Page 23] their hearts, and now makes intercession in hea­ven for weake Christians, standing betweene Gods anger, and them; and shed teares for those that shed his blood: so he is a meeke King, he will admit mour­ners into his presence, a King of poore, and affli­cted persons: as hee hath beames of Majesty, so hee hath bowels of mercies & compassion: A Prince of peace; Why was hee temp­ted, but that hee might suc­cour those that are tempted? What mercy may we not expect from so gracious a Mediatour, that tooke our nature vpon him, that hee [Page 24] might bee gracious; hee is a Phisitian good at all diseases, especially at the binding up of a bro­ken heart, that hee might heale our soules with a plaster of his owne blood, and by that death save us, which we were the procurers of, our selves, by our owne sinnes, and hath he not the same bowels in heaven? Saul, Saul, why per­secutest Act. 19. thou me, cryed the Head in heaven, when the foot was trodden on, on earth. His advancement hath not made him forget his owne flesh: though it hath freed him from pas­sion, yet not from compas­sion [Page 25] towards us. The Li­on of the Tribe of Iudah will onely teare in pieces those that will not have him rule over them. Hee will not shew his strength a­gainst those that prostrate themselves before him.

What should we learn Vse 1. Incourage­ment to the bruised from hence, but to come boldly to the throne of Grace in all our grievances? Shal our sinnes discourage us, when hee appeares there onely for sinners? Art thou bruised? Be of good comfort, he calleth thee; concoale not thy wounds, open all before him, keep not Satans counsell. Go to Christ though trembling [Page 26] (as the poore woman) if wee can but touch the h [...]m of his garment, we shall be healed, and have a graci­ous answer: Goe boldly to God in our flesh; for this end that wee might goe boldly to him, he is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. Never feare to go to God since we have such a Medi­atour with him, that is not onely our friend, but our brother, and husband. Well might the Angells proclame from Heaven, Behold, we bring you tidings Luke 2. of joy: well might the A­postle stir us up to rejoice in the Lord againe and a­gaine: Phil. 4. he was well advi­sed [Page 27] vpon what grounds he did it: peace and joy are two maine fruits of his Kingdome. Let the world be as it will, if we cannot rejoyce in the world, yet wee may rejoyce in the Lord. His presence ma­keth any condition com­fortable. Bee not afraid (saith hee to his Disciples when they were afraid as if they had seene a Ghost) it is I; as if there were no cause of feare where he is present.

Let this stay us, when Vse 2. wee feele our selves brui­sed; Christ his course is first to wound, then to heale; No sound whole [Page 28] soule shall ever enter in­to heaven: think in temp­tation, CHRIST was tempted for mee, accor­ding to my tryalls will be my Graces, and Com­forts. If CHRIST bee so mercifull as not to break me, I will not breake my selfe by despaire, nor yeeld my selfe over to the roaring Lyon Satan to break me in pieces.

Thirdly, see the contra­ry Vse 3. disposition of CHRIST and Satan, and his instru­ments. Satan setteth up­on us when we are weak­est, as Simeon and Levi up­on Gen. 34. the Si [...]hemites, when they were sore; But CHRIST [Page 29] will make up in us all the breaches sinne and Satan have made, hee bindes up the broaken hearted, and as a mother tendreth most the most diseased, and weakest childe; so doth CHRIST most mercifully incline to the weakest: and likewise putteth an in­stinct into the weakest things to rely upon some­thing stronger than them­selves for support. The Vine stayeth it selfe upon the Elme: and the weak­est creatures have oft the strongest shelters. The consciousnesse of the chur­ches weaknesse makes her willing to leane on her [Page 30] beloved, and to hide her selfe under his wing.

But how shall we know Object. whether wee are such as those that may expect mercy?

By bruising here is not Answ. meant those that are brought low onely by crosles, but such as by thē are brought to see their sinne, which bruiseth most of all. When conscience is under the guilt of sinne, then every judgement brings a report of GODS anger to the soule, and all lesser troubles runne into this great trouble of con­science for sinne: As all corrupt humours runne to [Page 31] the diseased, and bruised part of the body: And as every Creditor falls upon the Debtor, when hee is once arrested; so when conscience is once awaked all former sinnes, and pre­sent crosses joyne toge­ther to make the bruise the more painfull: Now he that is thus bruised will be content with nothing, but wth mercy frō him that hath bruised him, he hath wounded, and he must heale. 2. Againe, a man truly bruised, judgeth sinne the greatest evill, and the fa­vour of God the greatest good. 3. Hee had rather heare of mercy, than of a [Page 32] kingdome. 4. Hee hath meane conceits of him­selfe, and thinketh hee is not worth the earth hee treads on. 5. Towards o­thers, he is not censorious, as being taken up at home, but is full of sympathy and compassion to those that are under GODS hand, 6. He thinketh those that walke in the comforts of GODS Spirit the happiest men of the world. 7. He trembleth at the word of Isa. 66. God, and honoureth the very feet of those blessed Rom. 10. instruments that bring peace unto him. 8. Hee is more taken up with the inward exercises of a bro­ken [Page 33] heart, than with for­mality, and yet carefull to use all sanctifyed meanes to convey comfort.

But how shall we come to have this temper? Quest.

First, we must conceive of bruising either as a state Ans. Meanes of bruising. into which God bringeth us, or as a duty to be per­formed by us: both are here meant, we must joyn with GOD in bruising of our selves; when hee humbles us let us humble our selves, and not stand out against him, for then hee will redouble his strokes; and let us justifie CHRIST in all his cha­stisements, knowing that [Page 34] all his dealing towards us is to cause us to returne into our owne hearts; his work in bruising, tendeth to our worke in bruising our selves. Let us lament our owne untowardnesse, and say, Lord, what an heart have I, that needs all this, that none of this could bee spared? Wee must lay siege to the hard­nesse of our owne hearts, and aggravate sinne all we can: wee must looke on CHRIST, who was brui­sed for us, looke on him whom wee have pierced with our sinnes. But all directions will not pre­vaile, unlesse GOD by his [Page 35] Spirit convinceth us deep­ly, setting our sinnes be­fore us, and driving us to a stand. Then we wil make out for mercy. Convicti­on will breed contrition, and this humiliation. Therefore desire GOD, that hee would bring a cleere and a strong light into all the corners of our soules, and accompany it with a spirit of power to lay our hearts low.

A set measure of brui­sing our selves, cannot be prescribed, yet it must be so farre, as we may prize CHRIST above all, and see that a Saviour must be had: And secondly, un­till [Page 36] we reform that which is amisse, though it be to the cutting off our right hand, or pulling out our right eye. There is a dan­gerous slighting of the worke of humiliation; some alledging this for a pretence for their overly dealing with their owne hearts, that CHRIST will not breake the bruised Reed; But such must know that every sudden terrour and short griefe is not that which makes us brui­sed Reeds; not a little hanging downe our heads Isa. 58. 5. like a Bulrush, but a work­ing our hearts to such a griefe, as will make sinne [Page 37] more odious unto us, than punishment. Vntill we of­fer an holy violence a­gainst it: else favouring our selves, we make work for GOD to bruise us, and for sharpe repentance af­terwards. It is dangerous (I confesse) in some cases with some spirits, to press too much, and too long this bruising; because they may die under the wound and burthen, before they be raised up againe. Ther­fore it is good in mixt as­semblies to mingle com­forts, that every soule may have its due portion. But if wee lay this for a ground, that there is more [Page 38] mercy in CHRIST, than sinne in us, there can be no danger in through dea­ling. It is better to goe bruised to heaven, than sound to Hell. Therefore let us not take off our selves too soone, nor pull off the plaister, before the cure be wrought, but keep our selves under this work till sinne bee the sowrest, and CHRIST the sweetest of all things. And when GODS hand is upon us in any kinde, it is good to divert our sorrow, for o­ther things, to the root of all, which is sin: let our griefe runne most in that channell, that as sin bred [Page 39] griefe, so griefe may con­sume sinne.

But are we not bruised Quest. unlesse wee grieve more for sinne, than we doe for punishment?

Sometimes our griefe, Answ. from outward grievances may lye heavier upon the soule, than griefe for Gods displeasure; because in such cases the griefe workes upon the whole man, both outward and inward, and hath nothing to stay it, but a little sparke of faith: which by reason of the violent im­pression of the grievance is suspended in the exer­cises of it: and this is most [Page 40] felt in sudden distresses which come upon the soule as a torrent or land flood, and especially in bodily distempers, which by reason of the sympathy betweene the soule and the body, worke upon the soule so farre, as they hin­der not onely the spiritu­all, but often the naturall acts. Hereupon S. Iames wisheth in affliction to pray, our selves, but in case of sicknesse to send for the Elders; that may, as Iam. 5. 14. those in the Gospell, offer up the sick person to GOD in their prayers, being un­able to present their owne case. Hereupon GOD ad­mitteth [Page 41] of such a plea frō the sharpnesse and bitter­nesse of the grievance, as in David, Psal. 6. &c. the Psal. 6. Lord knoweth whereof we are made. Psal. 103. he Ps. 103. 14. remembreth wee are but dust, that our strength is not the strength of steele. It is a branch of his faith­fulnesse unto us as his crea­tures, whence he is called a faithfull Creator, God is 1 Pe. 4. 19 1 Cor. 10. 13 faithfull, who will not suffer us to bee tempted above that wee are able. There were certain Commandements which the Iewes called the hedges of the Law: as to fence men off from cruel­ty, hee commanded they [Page 42] should not take the dam [...] with the young, nor seeth the Kid in the mothers milke, nor muzzle the mouth of the Oxe: Hath GOD care of beasts, and not of his more noble creature? and therefore we ought to judge chari­tably of the complaints of Gods people, which are wrung from them in such cases: Iob had the esteeme with GOD of a patient man, notwithstanding those passionate com­plaints; faith overborne for the present, will get ground againe; and griefe for sin, although it come short of griefe for misery [Page 43] in violence, yet it goeth beyond it in constancy; as [...] running stream fed with [...] spring holdeth out, when a sudden swelling brooke faileth.

For the concluding of this point, and our incou­ragement to a thorow worke of bruising, and pa­tience under Gods brui­sing of us, let all know that none are fitter for comfort than those that thinke themselves furthest off. Men (for the most part) are not lost enough in their owne feeling, for a Saviour. A holy despaire sin our selves is the ground of true hope. In GOD, [Page 44] the fatherlesse finde mer­cie: Hosea 14. [...]. if men were more fa­therless, they should feele more Gods fatherly af­fection from heaven: For GOD that dwelleth in high­est Isa. 66. 2. heavens, dwelleth like­wise in the lowest soule. Christs sheepe are weake Sheepe, and wanting in something or other; hee therefore applyeth him­selfe to the necessities of every Sheepe. Ez. 34. he Ez. 34. 16. seeks that which was lost, and brings againe than which was driven out of the way, and bindes up that which was broken and strengthens the weak [...] his tēderst care is over the [Page 45] weakest. The Lambs he ca­ [...]ieth Es. 40. 11. in his bosome: Peter, [...]eed my Lambs. Hee was most familiar and open to [...]he troubled soules. How carefull was he that Peter & the rest of the Apostles should not bee too much dejected after his resur­rection, Goe tell the Disci­ples, and tell Peter. Christ Mar. 16. 7. knew that guilt of their unkindnesse in leaving of him, had dejected their spirits. How gently did hee indure Thomas his un­beleefe? & stooped so far into his weaknesse, as to suffer him to thrust his [...]and into his side. The secōd branch.

For the second branch, [Page 46] GOD will not quench the smoaking flax, or wieke, but will blow it up till it flameth. In smoaking flax there is but a little light, & that weake, as being not able to flame, and this little mixed with smoake. The observations hence are first, That in GODS Children, especially in their first conversiō, there is but a little measure of grace, and that little mixt with much corruption, which as smoake is offen­sive. Secondly, that Christ will not quench this smoa­king Flax.

For the first. Grace is Observ. little at the first. There are [Page 47] severall Ages in Christi­ans, some Babes, some young men: Grace is as a graine of Mustard-seed. Nothing so little as grace at first, and nothing more glorious afterward: things of greatest perfection are longest in comming to their growth. Man, the perfectest creature, comes to perfection by little and little; Worthlesse things, as Mushromes, and the like, like Ionas Gourd, soon spring up, and soone va­nish. A new creature is the most excellent frame in all the world, therefore it groweth up by degrees. Wosee in Nature, that a [Page 48] mighty Oake riseth of an Akorne. It is with a Chri­stian as it was with Christ, who sprang out of the dead stocke of Iesse, out of Davids family, when it Jsa. 53. 2. was at the lowest, but hee grew up higher than the heavens. It is not with the trees of righteousnesse, as it was with the trees of Paradise, which were cre­ated all perfect at the first. The seeds of all the creatures in this goodly frame of the world, were hid in the Chaos, in that confused Mass at the first, out of which GOD did command all creatures to arise; in the small seeds of [Page 49] plants lye hid both bulke and branches, bud and fruit. In a few principles lye hid all comfortable conclusions of holy truth. All those glorious fire­workes of zeale and holi­nesse in the Saints, had their beginning from a few sparkes.

Let us not therefore be discouraged at the small beginnings of Grace, but looke on our selves, as e­lected to bee blamelesse; and Ephes. 1. without spot. Let us onely look on our imperfect be­ginning, to inforce further strife to perfection, and to keepe us in a low con­ceit. Otherwise, in case of [Page 50] discouragement, we must consider our selves, as CHRIST doth, who looks on us, as such as he inten­deth to fit for himselfe. CHRIST valueth us by what we shall bee, and by that we are elected unto. Wee call a little Plant a Tree, because it is grow­ing up to be so. Who is hee that despiseth the day of little things? Zach. 4. CHRIST would not have us despise little things.

The glorious Angells disdaine not attendance on little ones: little in their owne eyes, and little in the eyes of the world. Grace, though little in [Page 51] quantity, yet is much in vigour and worth.

It is CHRIST that rai­seth the worth of little and meane places and per­sons. Bethlem the least, and yet not the least; the least in it selfe, not the least in respect CHRIST was born there. The second Temple came short of the outward magnificence of the for­mer: yet more glorious than the first, because CHRIST came into it. The Lord of the Temple came in to his owne Tem­ple. The pupill of the eye is very little, yet seeth a great part of the heaven at once. A pearle, though [Page 52] little, yet is of much e­steeme. Nothing in the world of so good use, as the least dram of graces.

But Grace is not onely little, but mingled with corruption; whereof it is that a Christian is said to be smoaking flax: whence we see, that Grace doth not waste corruption all at once, Observ. but some is left to conflict withall. The purest acti­ons of the purest men need CHRIST to performe them, and so is his office. When we pray, we need to pray again for CHRIST to pardon the defects of them. See some instances Instances. of this smoaking flax. Mo­ses [Page 53] at the red Sea being in a great perplexity, and knowing not what to say, or which way to turn him, groaned to GOD: no doubt, this was a great conflict in him. In great distresses we know not what Rom. 8. to pray, but the Spirit makes request with sighes that can­not bee expressed. Broken hearts can yeeld but bro­ken prayers.

When David was be­fore the King of Gath, and 1 Sam. 21. dis-figured himselfe in an uncomely manner, in that smoake there was some fire also; you may see what an excellent Psalme he makes upon that occa­sion, [Page 54] Psalme 34. Wherein Ps. 34. 18. upon experience, vers. 18. he saith, the Lord is neare unto them that are of a con­trite spirit, Psal. 31. 22. I Ps. 31. 22. David. said in my haste, I am cast out of thy sight, there is smoake; Yet thou heardest the voice of my prayer, there Matth. 8. M [...]r. 9. 24. is fire. [...], carest thou not that we perish? (cry the Disciples,) here is smoake of infidelity, yet so much light of faith, as stirred them up to pray to Christ: Lord I beleeve, there is light; But help my unbeliefe, there is smoake.

Ionas 2. 4. cryes, I am Ionas. cast out of thy sight, there is smoake; yet will I looke a­gaine [Page 55] to thy holy Temple, there is light.

O miserable man that I Rom. 7. 24. am, (saith Saint Paul upon sense of his corruption;) but yet breakes out into thanks to God through Iesus Christ our Lord.

I sleepe (saith the Church Cant. 5. 3. in the Canticles) but my heart wakes. In the seven Churches, which for their light are called seven gol­den Candlestickes, most Rev. 2. & 3. of them had much smoke with their light.

The ground of this mixture is, that we carie about us a double prin­ciple, Grace and Na­ture. The end of it is espe­cially [Page 56] to preserve us from those two dangerous Rockes our Natures are prone to dash upon, Secu­rity and Pride, and to force us to pitch our rest on Iustification, not san­ctification, which besides imperfection hath some soile.

Our spirituall fire, is like our ordinary fire here below (mixt.) But fire is most pure in its owne E­lement, above: So shall all our graces be, when we are where we would bee, in Heaven, which is our proper element. From this mixture it is that the Vse. people of GOD have so [Page 57] different judgements of themselves, looking some­time at the work of grace, sometimes at the remain­der of corruption; and when they look upon that, then they think they have no grace: though they love CHRIST in his ordi­nances, and children; yet dare not challenge so neer acquaintance as to be his. Even as a Candle in the socket sometimes shew­eth its light, and some­times the shew of light is lost: so sometimes well perswaded they are of themselves, sometimes at a losse.

Now for the second [Page 58] observation, Christ will not Doct. quench the smoaking Flax: First, because this sparke is from heaven, it is his owne, it is kindled by his owne Spirit. And second­ly, that tendeth to the glory of his powerfull grace in his children, that he preserveth light in the middest of darknesse, a sparke in the middest of the swelling waters of cor­ruption.

There is an especiall blessing in that little spark Isay 56. 8. When Wine is found in a cluster, one saith, Destroy it not, for there is a blessing in it. We see how our Saviour CHRIST [Page 59] bore with Thomas in his Ioh. 20. 27. doubting: with the two Disciples that went to E­maus, who staggered, whe­ther Luke 24. he came to redeeme Is­rael or no: hee quencheth not that little light in Pe­ter, which was smothered: Matth. 26. Peter denyed him, but he denyed not Peter. If thou Matth. 8. wilt, thou canst, said one poore man in the Gospell: Lord if thou canst, said ano­ther; both were this smo­king flax, neither of both were quenched. If Christ had stood upon his owne greatnesse, he would have rejected him that came with his [if,] but CHRIST answers his [if] with a [Page 60] gracious and absolute grant, I will, be thou cleane. The woman that was disea­sed with an issue, did but touch, and with a trem­bling hand, and but the hem of his garment, and yet went away both healed and comforted. In the seven Churches wee see he Rev. 2. & 3 acknowledgeth and che­risheth any thing that was good in them. Because the Disciples slept of in­firmity, being oppressed Matth. 26. with griefe, our Saviour CHRIST frameth a com­fortable excuse for them, The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weake.

If CHRIST should [Page 61] not be mercifull he would misse of his owne ends; There is mercy with thee that thou maist be feared. Now all are willing to come under that banner of love which hee spreadeth over his. Therefore to thee shall Psal. 65. all flesh come. Hee useth moderation and care, lest the spirit should faile before Esay 57. him, and the soules which he hath made. CHRISTS heart yerned, the Text saith, when hee saw them without meat, lest they should faint: Much more will hee have regard for the preventing of our spirituall fain­tings.

Here see the opposite [Page 62] disposition betweene the holy nature of CHRIST, and the impure nature of Man. Man for a little smoake will quench the light: CHRIST ever wee see cherisheth even the least beginnings. How bare hee with the many imperfections of his poor Disciples? If he did sharp­ly checke them, it was in love, and that they might shine the brighter. Can we have a better patterne to follow than this of him by whom we hope to bee saved? Rom. 15. 1. We that are strong ought to beare with the infirmities of them that are weak. I become all things 1 Cor. 9. [Page 63] to all men, that I may winne some. O that this gaining and winning disposition were more in many! Ma­ny (so farre as in us lyeth) are lost for want of incou­ragement. See how that faithfull fisher of men S. Paul, labours to catch his Iudge, I know thou Act. 26. beleevest the Prophets; and then wisheth all saving good, but not bonds; hee might have added them too, but he would not dis­courage one that made but an offer, hee would therefore wish Agrippa only that which was good in Religion. How care­full was our blessed Savi­our [Page 64] of little ones that they might not bee offended? How doth he defend his Disciples from malitious imputations of the Phari­ses? Mat. 121 & 23. How carefull not to put new wine into old vessels, not to alienate new begin­ners with the austerities of Religion (as some in­discreetly.) O (saith hee) Mat. 9. they shal have time to fast when I am gone, and strength to fast when the Holy Ghost is come upon them.

It is not the best way to fall foule presently with young beginners for some lesser vanities, but shew them a more excellent [Page 65] way, and breed them up in positive grounds, and other things wil be quick­ly out of credit with them. It is not amisse to conceale their wants, to excuse some failings, to commend their perfor­mances, to cherish their towardnesse, to remove all rubs out of their way, to helpe them every way to beare the yoake of Re­ligion with greater ease, to bring them in love with God and his service, lest they distaste it before they know it. For the most part we see CHRIST planteth in young begin­ners a love, which we call [Page 66] the first love, to cary them through their profession with more delight, and doth not expose them to crosses, before they have gathered strength, as wee breed up young plants, and fence them from the weather, untill they bee well rooted. Mercy to others should move us to deny our selves in our lawfull liberties often­times, in case of offence of weake ones, it is the little ones that are offended. The weakest are aptest to think themselves despised, ther­fore wee should bee most carefull to give them con­tent.

[Page 67] It were a good strife amongst Christians, one to labour to give no of­fence, and the other to la­bour to take none. The best men are severe to themselves, tender over others.

Yet people should not tyre and weare out the patience of others: Nor should the weaker so farre exact moderation from others, as to beare out themselves upon their in­dulgence, and so to rest in their owne infirmities, with danger to their own soules, and scandall to the Church. The Church suf­fereth much from weake [Page 68] ones, therefore wee may challenge liberty to deale with them, as mildly, so oftentimes directly. The scope of true love, is to make the party better, which by concealment of­tentimes is hindred: with some a spirit of meeknesse prevaileth most, but with some a rod. Some must be pulled out of the fire with violence, and they will blesse God for us in the day of their visitation. Wee see our Saviour multiplyes Mat. 23. woe upon woe, when hee was to deale with hard­hearted Hypocrites; For Hypocrites doe neede stronger conviction than [Page 69] grosse sinners, because their will is naught, and thereupon usually their conversion is violent. An hard knot must have an answerable wedge, else in a cruell pity wee betray their soules. A sharpe re­proofe sometimes is a pre­cious pearle, and a sweet balme. The wounds of se­cure sinners will not bee healed with sweet words. The Holy Ghost came as well in fiery tongues, as in the likenesse of a Dove, and the same holy Spirit will vouchsafe a spirit of prudence and discretion, (which is the salt to season all our words and actions) [Page 70] And such wisedome will teach us to speake a word in season both to the weary and likewise to the secure soule. And indeed he had need have the tongue of the learned that shall either raise up, or cast downe: But in this place I speake of mildness towards those that are weake, and are sensible of it: These wee must bring on gently, and drive softly, as Iacob did his Gen. 33. 14. Cattell, according to the pace, and as his children were able to endure.

Weake Christians are like glasses which are hurt with the least violent u­sage, otherwise if gently [Page 71] handled will continue a long time. This honour of gentle use we are to give to the weaker vessells, by which we shall both pre­serve them, and likewise make them usefull to the Church and our selves.

In uncleane bodies if all ill humours be purged out, you shall purge life and all away. Therefore though GOD saith, Zach. 13. 9. that he will fine them as silver is fined. Yet Esay 48. 10. he saith, He hath fi­ned them, but not as silver, that is, so exactly as that no drosse remaineth, for hee hath respect to our weaknesse. Perfect refi­ning [Page 72] is for another world, for the world of the soules of perfect men.

Divines had need to Vse for Ministers. take heed therefore how they deale with these in divers particulars: as first, let them be carefull they straine not things too hie, making those generall and necessary evidences of grace which agree not to the experience of many a good Christian, and lay salvation and damnation upon those things that are not fit to beare so great a waight, whereupon men are groundlesly cast down lower by them, than they can hastily be raised up a­gaine [Page 63] by themselves or o­thers. The Ambassadors of so gentle a Saviour should not bee over ma­sterly, setting up them­selves in the hearts of peo­ple, where CHRIST alone should sit as in his owne Temple. How carefull was Saint Paul in cases of conscience not to lay a snare upon any weak con­science!

They should take heed likewise that they hide not 2 Darke speches. their meaning in darke speeches, speaking in the clouds. Truth feareth no­thing so much as conceale­ment, and desireth no­thing so much as cleerely [Page 64] to bee laid open to the view of all: When it is most naked, it is most lovely and powerfull.

Our blessed Saviour as he tooke our nature upon him, so he took upon him our familiar manner of speech, which was part of his voluntary abasement. Saint Paul was a profound man, yet became as a nurse to the weaker sort. 1 Thes. 2. 7.

That spirit of mercy that was in CHRIST should move his servants to bee content to abase themselves for the good of the meanest. What made the Kingdome of hea­ven suffer violence after [Page 65] Iohn the Baptists time, but that comfortable truths were with that plainnesse and evidence layd open, that the people were so af­fected with them, as they offered a holy violence to them?

CHRIST chose those to preach mercy, which had felt most meroy, as S. Peter, and S. Paul: that they might bee examples of what they taught. Saint Paul became all things to all men, stooping unto them for their good: CHRIST came downe from heaven and emptied himselfe of majesty in tender love to soules: shall not we come [Page 64] [...] [Page 65] [...] [Page 66] downe from our high con­ceits, to doe any poore soule good? shall man be proud, after GOD hath beene humble? Wee see the ministers of Satan turn themselves into all shapes to make proselytes. A Iesu­ite will be every man. We see ambitious men study accommodation of them­selves to the humours of those by whom they hope to raise themselves: and shall not wee study appli­cation of our selves to CHRIST, by whom wee hope to be advanced; nay, are already sitting with him in heavenly places? After wee are gained to [Page 67] CHRIST our selves, wee should labour to gaine o­thers to CHRIST. Holy ambition and covetous­nesse will move us to put upon our selves the dispo­sition of CHRIST; but we must put off our selves first.

Wee should not third­ly racke their wits with 3 Doubt­full [...] [...] [...] [...]. curious or doubtfull dis­putes, for so wee shall di­stract and tire them, and give occasion to make them cast off the care of all. That age of the church which was most fertile in nice questions, was most barren in Religion. For it makes people thinke Re­ligion [Page 68] to be onely a mat­ter of wit, in tying and un­tying of knots, the braines of men given that wayes are hotter usually than A caveat. their hearts. Yet not with­standing, when we are cast into times and places wherein doubts are raised about maine points, here people ought to labour to be established. God suf­fer questions oftentimes to arise for tryall of our love, and exercise of our parts. Nothing is so cer­taine Nil tam cer­tum quàm quod ex du­bio certum. as that which is cer­taine after doubts. Sha­king settles and roots. In a contentious age, it is a witty thing to be a Chri­stian [Page 69] and to know what to pitch their soules upon: It is an office of love here to take away the stones, and to smooth the way to heaven. Therefore wee must take heed that under pretence of avoydance of disputes, wee doe not suf­fer an adverse party to get ground upon the truth: For thus may we easily be­tray both the truth of God, and soules of men.

And likewise those are 4. Austerity. failing that by over much austerity drive backe trou­bled soules from having comfort by them, for by this cariage many smother their temptations, and [Page 70] burne inwardly because they have none, into whose bosome they may vent their griefe, and ease their soules.

We must neither binde where GOD loseth, nor lose where GOD bindeth, nor open where GOD shut­teth, nor shut where God openeth; the right use of the Keyes is alwayes successfull. In personall application there must be great heed taken: for a man may bee a false Pro­phet, and yet speake the truth, if it bee not a truth to the person to whom he speaketh: if hee grieve those whom God hath [Page 71] not grieved, by unseasona­ble truths, or by comforts in an ill way, the hearts of the wicked may bee strengthned. One mans meat, may bee anothers bane.

If we looke to the ge­nerall temper of these times, rouzing and waking Scriptures are fittest: yet there be many broken spi­rits, need soft and oily words. Even in the worst time the Prophets ming­led sweet comfort for the hidden remnant of faithfull people. GOD hath com­fort comfort ye my people, as well as lift up thy voyce as a Trumpet.

[Page 72] And here likewise there A caveat. needs a caveat. Mercy doth not rob us of our right judgement, as that we should take smoaking firebrands for smoaking flax: none will claime mercy more of others, than those whose portion is due severity. This ex­ample doth not counte­nance lukewarmnesse, nor too much indulgence to those that need quick­ning. Cold diseases must have hot remedies. It made for the just com­mendatiōs of the Church of Ephesus, that it could not beare them which are evill. Rev. 2. 2. We should so beare with [Page 73] others, as wee discover withall a dislike of evill. Our Saviour CHRIST would not forbeare sharp reproofe, where hee saw dangerous infirmities, in his most beloved Disci­ples. It bringeth under a curse to doe the worke of the Lord negligently: Even where it is a worke of just severity: As when it is sheathing the sword in the bowels of the enemy. And those whom we suf­fer to be betraid by their worst enemies their sinnes wil have just cause to curse us another day.

It is hard to preserve just bounds of mercy and [Page 74] severity, without a spirit above our owne: which we ought to desire to bee led withall, in all things. That wisedome which dwel­leth with prudence will Pro. 8. 12. guide us in these particu­lars, without which virtue is not virtue, truth not truth: the rule and the case must bee laid toge­ther: for if there be not a narrow insight, seeming likenesse in conditions wil be the breeder of errours in our opinions of them. Those fiery, tempestuous, and dist [...]ctive spirits in Popery, that seeke to pro­mote their Religion by cruelty, shew that they [Page 75] are strangers to that wise­dome which is from a­bove, which maketh men gentle, peaceable, and ready to shew that mercy they have felt before, thē ­selves. It is a way of pre­vailing, as agreeable to CHRIST, so likewise to mans nature, to prevaile by some forbearance and moderation.

And yet oft wee see a false spirit in those that call for moderation, it is but to carry their owne projects with the greater strength; and if they prove of the prevailing hand, they will hardly shew that moderation to others, [Page 76] they now call for from o­thers. And there is a proud kind of moderation like­wise, when men will take upon thē to censure either party, as if they were wi­ser than both, though if the spirit be right, a looker on may see more than those that are in conflict.

So in the censures of the Church, it is more su­table 2. For the Church in censures. to the Spirit of CHRIST to incline to the milder part; and not to As Pari [...]entis. kill a flye on the forehead with a beetle; nor shut men out of heaven for a trifle. The very snuffers of the Tabernacle were made of pure gold, to shew the [Page 77] purity of those censures, whereby the light of the Church is kept bright. That power that is given to the Church, is given for edification, not de­struction. How carefull was Saint Paul that the in­cestuous Corinthian repen­ting, should not bee swal­lowed up with too much griefe?

As for civill Magi­strates, 3. For ci­vil Magi­strates. they for civill exi­gences and reasons of State, must let the Law have its course: yet thus farre they should imitate this milde King, as not to mingle bitternesse and passion with authority de­rived [Page 78] from GOD. Au­thority is a beam of Gods Majesty, and prevaileth most where there is least mixture of that which is mans. It requireth more than ordinary wisedome to manage it aright. This string must not bee too much strained up, nor too much let loose. Iustice is an harmonicall thing. Herbs hot or cold beyond a certaine degree kill. We see even contrary Ele­ments preserved in one body by a wise contempe­ration. Iustice in rigour is oft extreame injustice, where some considerable circumstances should in­cline [Page 79] to moderation, and the reckoning wil be easier for bending rather to mo­deration than rigor.

Insolent cariage toward miserable persons, if hum­bled, is unseemly in any who look for mercy them­selves. Misery should bee a Loadstone of mercy, not a footstoole for Pride to trample on.

Sometimes it falleth out that those that are un­der the government of o­thers are most injurious by way wardnesse and harsh censures, herein dispara­ging and discouraging the endeavours of Superiours for publike good. In so [Page 80] great weaknesse of mans nature, and especially in this crazie age of the world, wee ought to take in good part, any mode­rate happinesse wee injoy by government; and not be altogether as a nayle in the wound, exasperating things by misconstructi­on. Here, Love should have a mantle to cast upon lesser errors of those a­bove us. Oft-times the poore man is the oppres­sor by unjust clamours: we should labour to give the best interpretations to the actions of Governours, that the nature of the a­ctions will possibly beare.

[Page 81] In the last place, there is some thing for private 4. For pri­vate Chri­stians. Christians, even for all of us in our common relati­ons, to take notice of: we are debtors to the weake in many things. 1. Let us be evill exam­ples. watchfull in the use of our libertie, and labour to be in offensive in our cariage, that our example compell them not. There is a com­manding force in an ex­ample, as Peter, Gal. 2. A loosnesse of life is cru­eltie to our selves, and to the soules of others, though wee cannot keepe them frō perishing, which will perish, in regard of the event; yet if wee doe [Page 82] that which is apt of it selfe to destroy the soules of others, their ruine is im­putable to us.

2 Let men take heede Slandring. of taking up Sathans of­fice, in deprauing the good actions of others, as he did Iobs, Doth hee serve God for nought? or slande­ring their persons, judging of them according to the wickednes that is in their owne hearts. The Devill getteth more by such dis­couragements, and these reproaches, that are east upon religion, then by fire and faggot. These (as un­seasonable frosts) nip all gratious offers in the bud, [Page 83] and as much as in them ly­eth, with Herod labour to kill Christ in yong profes­sors. A Christian is a hal­lowed and a sacred thing, CHRISTS Temple, and hee that destroyeth his Temple, him will CHRIST destroy.

3 Amongst the things Censuring and Iudg­ing. that are to be taken heede of, there is amongst pri­vate Christians a bold u­surpation of censure, not considering their tempta­tions. Some will vnchurch & unbrother in a passion, 1 For the vse of indif­ferent things. But distempers do not al­ter true relations, though the child in a fit shold dis­claime the mother, yet the mother will not disclaime the child.

[Page 84] There is therefore in these iudging times good ground of S. Iames his Ca­veat, that there should not be too many masters; that we should not smite one another, by hasty censures especially in things of an indifferent nature: some things are as the minde of him is, that doth them, or doth them not; for both may be unto the Lord.

A holy ayme in things of a middle nature, makes the judgements of men, although seemingly con­trary, yet not so much blameable. Christ, for the good aymes hee seeth in us, over-looketh any ill in [Page 85] them, so farre as not to lay it to our charge.

Men must not bee too 2. For weaknesses Nemo curi­osus qui non malevolus. curious in prying into the weaknesses of others; we should labor rather to see what they have that is for eternitie, to incline our heart to love them, then into that weaknesse which the Spirit of GOD will in time consume, to estrange us: some thinke it strength of grace to endure no­thing in the weaker, wher­as the strongest are readi­est to beare with the infir­mities of the weake, Where most holinesse is, there is most moderation, where it may be without [Page 86] prejudice of pietie to God and the good of others, wee see in Christ a mar­vellous temper of absolute holinesse, with great mo­deration in this Text. What had become of our Salvation if he had stood upon termes and not stoo­ped thus low, unto us! We need not affect to be more holy then Christ, it is no flatterie to doe as he doth, so it bee to edifica­tion.

The Holy Ghost is con­tent to dwell in smoakie offensive soules, Oh that, that spirit would breath into our Spirits the like mercifull disposition? We [Page 87] indure the bitternesse of Wormwood, and other distastfull plants, & herbs, onely because wee have some experience of some wholsome qualitie in thē; and why should we reject men of usefull parts, and graces, onely for some harshnesse of disposition, which as it is offensive to us, so grieveth them­selves?

Grace whilest wee live here is in soules, which as they are unperfectly re­newed, so they dwell in bodies subject to severall humours, which will in­cline the soule sometimes to excesse in one passion, [Page 88] sometimes to excesse in another.

Bucer was a deepe, and a moderate Divine. Vpon long experience resolved to refuse none, in whom hee saw (aliquid Christi) something of Christ.

The best Christians in this state of imperfection, are like Gold that is a lit­tle too light, which needs some graines of allowance to make it passe. You must grant the best their allow­ance. We must supply out of our love & mercy, that which wee see wanting in them.

The Church of Christ is a common Hospitall, [Page 89] in all are in some measure sicke of some spirituall disease, or other; that we should all have ground of exercising mutually the spirit of wisedome and meeknesse.

This that wee may the How to at­tain a right spirit to deale with infirmities. better doe, let us put upon our selves the spirit of CHRIST: The spirit of GOD caryeth a majestie 1. with it. Corruption will hardly yeeld to eorrupti­on. In another, Pride is intolerable to pride. The weapons of this warfare must not bee carnall. The great Apostles would not Luke 24. 49 set upon the worke of the Ministerie, untill they [Page 90] were cloathed, as it were, with power from on high. The Spirit will only work with his owne tooles. And we should think what affe­ction Christ would cary to the party in this case. That Aug. in 6. Gal. Nil sic spi­ritualem virum indi­cat quam a­lient pecca­ti tractatio. great Physitian, as he had a quicke eie, and a healing tongue, so had he a gen­tle hand and a tender heart.

And secondly, put up­on us the cōdition of him, 2. whom wee deale withall, wee are, or have beene, or may bee such: make the case our owne, and with­all consider in what neere relation a Christian stan­deth [...] unto us, even as a [Page 91] brother, a fellow-mem­ber, heire of the same sal­vation. And therefore let Nil magis ad miseri­cordiam in­clinat quam pro­pry periculi cogitatio. Aug. us take upon our selves, a tender care of them every way: and especially in che­rishing the peace of their consciences. Conscience is a tender and delicate thing, and so must be used. It is like a Locke, if the Wards bee troubled, it will be troublesome to o­pen.

For tryall, to let vs see whether wee be this smo­king Vse 2. For tryall. Flax, which Christ will not quench. In this Tryall remember these Rules.

1 Wee must have two 1. [Page 92] eyes, one to see imperfe­ctions in our selves and o­thers; the other to see what is good. I am blacke, saith the Church, but yet comely. Those ever want comfort, that are much in quarrelling with them­selves, and through their infirmities are prone to feede upon such bitter things, as will most nou­rish that distemper they are sicke of. These delight to be looking on the dark side of the cloud onely.

2. We must not judge 2. of our selves alwayes ac­cording to present fee­ling: for in temptations wee shall see nothing but [Page 93] smoake of distrustfull thoughts. Fire may be ra­ked up in the ashes, though not seene; life in the win­ter is hid in the root.

3 Take heede of false 3. reasoning; As because our fire doth not blaze out, as others, therefore we have no fire at all, and by false conclusions come to sinne against the Commande­ment in bearing false wit­nesse against our selves. The Prodigall would not say hee was no sonne, but that hee was not worthy to be called a sonne. Wee must neither trust to false evidence, nor deny true; for so wee should disho­nour [Page 94] the worke of Gods Spirit in us, and lose the help of that evidence which would cherish our love to Christ, and arme us against Sathans discou­ragements. Some are so faulty this way, as if they had beene hyred by Sa­than the Accuser of the Brethren, to plead for him, in accusing themselves.

4 Know (for a ground of this) that in the Cove­nant 4. of Grace, GOD re­quires the truth of Grace, not any certaine measure, and a sparke of fire is fire as well as the whole Ele­ment. Therefore wee must look to Grace in the spark [Page 95] as well as in the flame. All have not the like strong, yet the like pretious Faith, whereby they lay hold, & put on the perfect righte­ousnesse of Christ. A weak hand may receive a rich Iewell; a few grapes will shew that the Plant is a Vine, and not a Thorne. It is one thing to be wanting in Grace, and another thing to want Grace alto­gether. GOD knoweth wee have nothing of our selves, therfore in the Co­venant of Grace he requi­reth no more then hee gi­veth, and giveth what hee requireth, and accepteth what hee giveth; Hee that [Page 96] hath not a Lambe, may bring a paire of Turtle Doves. What is the Gospell it selfe but a mercifull mo­deration, in which Christs obedience is esteemed ours, and our sinnes laid upon him; and wherein GOD of a Iudge becom­meth a Father pardoning our sinnes, and accepting our obediēce though fee­ble and blemished. Wee are now brought to hea­ven under the Covenant of Grace, by a way of love and mercy.

It will prove a speciall help to know distinctly the difference betweene the Covenant of workes, and [Page 97] the Covenant of Grace; be­tweene Moses and Christ: Moses without all mercy breaketh all bruised Reedes, and quencheth all smoaking Flax. For the Law re­quireth, 1, personal, 2, per­petuall, 3, perfect obedi­ence, 4, and from a perfect heart; and that under a most terrible curse, and giveth no strength, a se­vere Taske-master, like Pharaohs, requireth the whole tale, and yet gi­veth no straw. CHRIST commeth with blessing af­ter blessing, even upō those whom Moses had cursed, and with healing Balme for those wounds which [Page 98] Moses had made.

The same duties are re­quired in both Covenāts; as to love the Lord with all our harts, with all our soules, &c. In this Covenant of workes, this must bee ta­ken in the rigour: but un­der the Covenāt of Grace, as it is a syncere endevour proportionable to grace received: and so it must be understood of Iosias, and others, whē it is said, they loved GOD with all their hearts, &c. It must have an Euangelicall mitiga­tion.

The Law is sweetned by the Gospel and becom­meth delightful to the in­ner Rom. 7. [Page 99] man. Vnder this gra­tious Covenant synceritie is perfection. This is the Death in the pot in the Ro­mane Religion, that they confound two Covenāts: and it deads the comfort of drooping ones, that they cannot distinguish them. And thus they suffer themselves to be held un­der bondage, when Christ hath set them free; and stay themselves in the pri­son, when Christ hath set open the doores before them.

5 Grace sometimes is so little, as is undiscerna­ble 5. to us: the Spirit some­times hath secret operati­ons [Page 100] in us, which we know not for the present; but Christ knoweth. Some­times in bitternes of temp­tation, when the Spirit struggles with sense of Gods anger, wee are apt to thinke GOD an enemy; and a troubled soule is like troubled waters, wee can see nothing in it; and so farre as it is not clean­sed, it will cast up mire and dirt. It is full of objections against it selfe, yet for the most part we may discern something of this hidden life, and of these smothe­red sparkes.

In a gloomy day there is so much light whereby [Page 101] wee may know it to bee day, and not night: so there is something in a Christian under a cloud, whereby hee may be dis­cerned to be a true Belee­ver, and not an Hypocrite. There is no meere dark­nesse in the state of Grace, but some beame of light, whereby the kingdome of darknesse wholy prevaileth not.

These things premised, 2. Particular trials to know if we be smoa­king Flax. let us know for a Tryall.

First, if there bee any holy fire in us, it is kin­dled from heaven by the Father of lights, who com­manded 1. light to shine out of darknesse. As it is kindled [Page 102] in the use of meanes, so it is fed. The light in us, and the light in the word spring one frō the other, and both from one Holy Spirit: and therfore those that regard not the word, it is because there is no light in them. Heavenly truths must have a hea­venly light to discerne them. Naturall men see heavenly things, but not in their own proper light, but by an inferiour light. GOD in every converted man putteth a light into the eye of his soule, pro­portionable to the light of truths revealed unto thē. A carnall eye will never [Page 103] see spirituall things.

Secondly, the least di­vine 2. light hath heate with it in some measure: Light in the understanding bree­deth heate of love in the affections. In what mea­sure Charitas in intellectu parit ardo­rem in affe­ctu. the sanctified under­standing seeth a thing to be true, or good, in that measure the will imbraces it. Weake light breedes weake inclinations: a strōg light, strong inclinations. A little spirituall light is of strength enough to an­swer strong objections of flesh and blood; and to looke thorow all earthly allurements, and all oppo­sing hinderances, presen­ting [Page 102] [...] [Page 103] [...] [Page 104] them as farr inferiour to those heavenly objects it eyeth.

All light that is not spi­rituall, because it wanteth the strength of sanctifying grace, it yeeldeth to eve­ry little temptation, espe­cially when it is fitted and suted to personall inclina­tions. This is the reason why Christians that have light little for quantitie, but yet heavenly for qua­litie, hold out, when men of larger apprehensions sinke.

This prevailing of light in the soule, is, because to­gether with the spirit of Illumination, there goeth [Page 105] in the godly) a spirit of [...]ower, to subdue the heart [...]o truth revealed, and to [...]ut a taste and relish into [...]he will, sutable to the sweetnes of the truths, else [...] meere naturall Will, will rise against superna­turall truths, as having an antipathy and enmitie a­gainst them. In the godly, [...]oly truths are conveyed by way of a taste, gratious men have a spiritual pallat as well as a spirituall eye. Grace altereth the relish.

Thirdly, where this hea­venly light is kindled, it 3. directeth in the right way. For it is given for that use, to shew us the best way, [Page 106] and to guide in the parti­cular passages of life: if o­therwise, it is but commō light, given onely for the good of others. Some have light of Knowledge, yet follow not that light, but are guided by car­nall reason and policie: such as the Prophet speakes of, All you that kindle [...] Isa. 50. [...]1. fire, walke in the light of your owne fire, and in the sparkes that you have kin­dled, but this you shall have of mine hand, yee shall lye downe in sorrow. GOD de­lights to confound carnall wisedome, as enmitie to him, and robbing him of his prerogative, who is [Page 107] God onely wise. We must therefore walke by his [...]ight, and not the blaze of our owne fire. God must light our candle, Psal. 18. 28 or else we are like to abide in darknesse. Those sparkes that are not kindled from heaven, are not strong e­nough to keepe us from [...]ying downe in sorrow, though they make a grea­ter blaze and shew then the light from above, as mad men doe greater things then sober, but by [...] false strength: so the ex­cesse of these mens ioy a­riseth from a false light, The candle of the wicked shal [...]e put out.

[Page 108] The light that some m [...] have, it is like lightning, which after a sudden fla [...] leaveth thē more in dark­nesse. They can love th [...] light as it shines, but hat [...] it as it discovers, and di­rects. A little holy ligh [...] will inable to keepe th [...] word, and not to betray Religion, & deny Christs name, as CHRIST spea­keth of the Church of Phi­ladelphia, Rev. 3. 8.

Fourthly, where thi [...] fire is, it will sever thing [...] 4 of divers natures, & shew a difference between [...] things, as gold and drosse. It will sever betweene flesh and spirit, and shew [Page 109] this is of Nature, this of Grace. All is not ill in a bad action, or good in a good action. There is gold in oare, which God and his Spirit in us can distin­guish. A carnall mans hart is like a dungeon, wherein is nothing to be seene but horrour and confusion: this light maketh us judi­cious, and humble, upon clearer sight of Gods pu­ritie, and our owne un­cleannes: and maketh us able to discerne of the worke of the Spirit in an­other.

Fiftly, so farre as a man is spirituall, so far is light 5 delightfull unto him, as [Page 108] willing to see any thing a­misse, that he may reform, and any further service discovered that hee may performe: because he tru­ly hateth ill and loveth good: if hee goeth against light discovered, hee will soone bee reclaimed, be­cause light hath a friend­ly party within him. Whereupon, at a little sight of his errour, hee is soone counsellable, as Da­vid in his intendment to kill Nabal, and blesseth God afterwards when hee is stopped in an ill way.

In a carnal man the light breakes in upon him, but he labours to shut the pas­sages, [Page 111] hee hath no delight to [...]ome to the light. It is impossible before the spi­rit of grace hath subdued the hart, but that it should sin against the light, either by resisting of it, or keep­ing it prisoner under base lusts, burying it as it were in the earth; or perverting of it, and so making it an agent and factour for the flesh, in searching out ar­guments to plead for it, or abusing that little mea­sure of light they have, to keep out a greater, higher, and more heavenly light, and so at length make that light they have, a mislea­ding guide to utter dark­nesse. [Page 112] And the reason is that it hath no friend within, the soule is in a contrary frame, and light alwayes hindreth that sin­full peace that men are willing to speake to them­selves, whence we see it oft inrage men the more: as the Sunne in the Spring breedeth agui [...]h distem­pers, because it stirreth hu­mours, and doth not wast them. There is nothing in the world more unquiet, than the heart of a wicked man, that sitteth under meanes of knowledge, un­till like a thiefe hee hath put out the candle that he may sinne with the lesse [Page 113] check. Spirituall light is distinct, it seeth spirituall good, with application to our selves; but common light is confused, and lets sin lye quiet. Where fire is in any degree, it will fight against the contra­ry matter [...]: GOD hath put irreconciliable hatred betweene light and dark­nesse at first, so betweene good and ill, flesh and spi­rit. Grace will never joyne with sinne, no more than fire with water. Fire will mingle with no contrary, but preserveth its owne purity, and is never cor­rupted as other Elements are. Therefore those that [Page 114] plead and plot for liber­ties of the flesh, shew themselves strangers from the life of God. Vpon this strife gracious men oft cō ­plaine that they have no grace, but they contradict themselves in their com­plaints: as if a man that seeth, should complaine he cannot see, or complain that he is asleepe, when the very complaint sprin­ging from a displeasure a­gainst sinne, sheweth that there is something in him opposite to sinne. Can a dead man complaine? Some things, though bad in themselves, yet disco­ver good; as smoake dis­covers [Page 115] some fire. Break­ing out in the body shews strength of Nature. Some infirmities discover more good than some seeming beautifull actions; excesse of passion in opposing evil, (though not to bee justifi­ed) yet sheweth a better spirit, than a calme tem­per, when there is just cause of being moved. Better it is, that the water should runne something muddily, than not at all. Iob had more grace in his distempers, thā his friends in their seeming wise ca­riage. Actions soiled with some weaknesses, are more accepted than com­plementall [Page 116] performances.

Fire, where it is 6. in the least measure, is in some degree active; so the least measure of grace is working, as springing from the Spirit of GOD, which from the working nature of it, is compared to fire. Nay, in sinnes, when there seemeth no­thing active, but corrup­tion, yet there is a contra­rie principle, which breaks the force of sinne, so that it is not out of measure sin­full, as in those that are carnall.

Fire maketh metalls 7. pliable and malliable, so doth Grace, where [Page 117] it is begunne, it worketh the heart to bee plyable and ready for all good im­pressions. Vntractable spi­rits shew that they are not so much as smoaking flax.

Fire turneth all, as 8. much as it can, to fire; so grace maketh a gra­cious use even of na­turall and civill things, & doth spiritualize them, what another man doth onely civilly, a gracious man will doe holily.

Sparkes by nature 9. flye. upwards: so the spirit of Grace carrieth the soule Heaven-ward, and setteth before us holy and heavenly aimes, as it [Page 118] was kindled from heaven, so it caries us back to hea­ven. The part followeth the whole: Fire mounteth upward, so every spark to its owne element. Where the aime and bent of the soule is God-wards, there is grace though opposed. The least measure of it is holy desires springing Desires. from faith and love, for we cannot desire any thing which we doe not beleeve first to be, and the desire of it issues from love. Hence desires are counted a part of the thing desired in some measure, but then they must bee, First, con­stant, for constancy shews [Page 119] that they are supernatural­ly naturall, and not infor­ced: Secondly, they must bee caried to spirituall things, as to beleeve, to love GOD, &c. not out of a speciall exigent, be­cause if now they had grace, they thinke they might escape some dan­ger, but as a loving heart is caried to the thing lo­ved for some-excellency in it selfe: And thirdly, with desire there is griefe when it is hindred, which stirres up to prayer: Oh that my wayes were so direc­ted, Psal. 119. 5. that I might keepe thy Statutes, Psal. 119. 5. O miserable man that I am, [Page 120] who shall deliver? &c. Rom. 7. 24. Fourthly, desires put us onward still, O that I might serve GOD with more liberty; O that I were more free from these offensive, unsavoury, noy­some lusts.

Fire worketh it selfe (if it hath any matter to feed on) into a larger compass, and mounteth higher and higher, and the higher it riseth, the purer is the flame: So where true grace is, it groweth in measure and purity. Smo­king flax will grow to a flame, and as it encrea­seth, so it worketh out the contrary, and refineth it [Page 121] selfe more & more. There­fore Ignis qu [...] magis l [...]cet, eo minus fumat. it argueth a false hart to set our selves a measure in grace, and to rest in be­ginnings; alledging, that CHRIST will not quench the smoaking flax. But this mercifull disposition in CHRIST is joyned with perfect holinesse, shewed in perfect hatred to sinne: for rather than sin should not have its deserved pu­nishment, himselfe be­came a sacrifice for sinne, wherein his Fathers holi­nesse and his owne mo [...] of all shined. And besides this, in the worke of san­ctification, though hee fa­vours his worke in us, yet [Page 122] favours he not sin in us; for he will never take his hand from his worke, untill hee hath taken away sin even in its very being from our natures: the same Spirit that purified that blessed Masse whereof hee was made, clenseth us by de­grees to bee sutable to so holy a Head, and frameth the judgement and affecti­on of all to whom hee sheweth mercy, to concur with his owne, in labou­ring to further his ends, in abolishing of sinne out of our nature.

From the meditations of these rules and signes, Vse. much comfort may bee [Page 123] brought into the soules of the weakest; which that it may bee in the more a­bundance, let mee adde something for the helping them over some few ordi­nary objections, and se­cret thoughts against thē ­selves, which getting with­in the heart, oftentimes keepeth them under.

Some thinke they have 1. no faith at all, because they have no full assu­rance, when as the fairest fire that can be will have some smoake. The best actions will smell of the smoak. The morter wher­in Garlicke hath beene stamped will alwayes [Page 124] smell of it: So all our ac­tions will savour some­thing of the old man.

In weaknesse of body some thinke grace dyeth, 2. because their performan­ces are feeble, their spirits being the instruments of the soules actions, being wasted, not considering that GOD regards those hidden sighes of those that want abilities to ex­presse them outwardly; he that pronounceth them blessed that consider the poore, will have a merci­full consideration of such himselfe.

Some againe are haun­ted with hideous repre­sentations 3. [Page 125] to their fanta­sies, and with vile and un­worthy Vellem ser­vari Do­mine, sed cogitatio­nes non pa­ [...]iuntur. thoughts of GOD, of CHRIST, of the word, &c. which as busie flyes disquiet and molest their peace; these are cast in like wilde-fire by Satan, as may be discerned by the 1 strangenesse, 2 strength and violence, 3 horrible­nesse of them even unto nature corrupt. A pious soule is no more guilty of them, than Benjamin of Io­sephs cup put into his sack. Amongst other helps pre­scribed by godly Writers (as abomination of them, and diversion from them to other things, &c.) let [Page 126] this be one, to complaine unto CHRIST against them, and to flye under the wings of his protecti­on, and to desire him to take our part against his and our enemie. Shall e­very sinne and blasphemy of man be forgiven, and not these blasphemous thoughts, which have the Devill for their father? When CHRIST him­selfe was therefore mole­sted in this kinde, that he might succour all poore soules in the like case?

Some thinke, when 4. they beginne once to bee troubled with the smoake of corruption more than [Page 127] they were before, there­fore they are worse than they were. It is true, that corruptions appeare now more than before, but they are lesse. For first, 1. sinne the more it is seene, the more it is hated, and thereupon is the lesse. Moats are in a roome be­fore the Sun shines, but they then onely appeare.

Secondly, Contraries, 2. the nearer they are one to another, the sharper is the conflict betwixt them: now of all enemies the spi­rit and the flesh are nea­rest one to another, being both in the soule of a re­generate man, and in all [Page 128] faculties of the soule, and in every action that sprin­geth from those faculties, and therefore it is no mar­vell the soule (the seat of this battell) thus divided in it selfe, be as smoaking Flax.

Thirdly, the more grace, the more spirituall life, 3. and the more spirituall life, the more antipathy to the contrary, whence none are so sensible of cor­ruption, as those that have the most living soules.

And fourthly, when 4. men give themselves to carnall liberties, their cor­ruptions trouble thē not, as not being bounded and [Page 129] tyed up. But when once grace suppresseth their ex­travagant and licentious excesses, then the flesh boyleth, (as disdaining to be confined) yet they are better now than they were before. That matter which yeelds smoake, was in the Torch before it was ligh­ted, but it is not offensive till the Torch beginnes to burne. Let such know, that if the smoake bee once of­fensive to them, it is a signe that there is light. It is better to injoy the be­nefit of light, though with smoake, than to be altoge­ther in the darke.

Neither is smoake so [Page 130] offensive, as light is com­fortable to us, it yeelding an evidence of truth of grace in the heart, there­fore though it be comber­some in the conflict, yet it is comfortable in the e­vidence. It is better, cor­ruption should offend us now, than by giving way to it to redeeme a little peace with losse of com­fort afterwards. Let such therefore as are at vari­ance and oddes with their corruptions, looke upon this Text, as their portion of comfort.

Here is an use of incou­ragement Incourage­ments. to duty, That CHRIST will not quench [Page 131] the smoaking flax, but blow it up. Some are loath to performe good duties, because they feele their hearts rebelling, and duties come off unto­wardly. Wee should not avoid good actions for the infirmities cleaving unto them: CHRIST looketh more at the good in them that hee meaneth to che­rish, than the ill in them that he meaneth to abo­lish. A sicke man though in eating he something in­creaseth the disease, yet he will eate, that nature may get strength against the disease: So though sin cleaveth to what we doe, [Page 132] yet let us doe it, since wee have to deal with so good a Lord, and the more strife we meet withall, the more acceptance: Christ loveth to tast of the good fruits that come from us, although they will alwaies rellish of the old stock.

A Christian complain­eth hee cannot pray; O [...] am troubled with so many distracting thoughts, and never more than now. But hath he put into thine heart a desire to pray? he will heare the desires of his; owne Spirit in thee. Rom. 8. 26. Wee know not what to pray as we ought, (nor doe any thing else as [Page 133] wee ought) but the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, with unexpressible sighes and grones, which are not hid from GOD. My groanings Psal. 38. 9. are not hid from thee; GOD can picke sense out of a confused prayer. These desires cry louder in his eares, than thy sinnes. Sometimes a Christian hath such confused thoughts, hee can say no­thing, but as a childe cry­eth, O Father, not able to shew what it needs, as Moses at the Red sea.

These stirrings of spi­rit touch the bowels of GOD, and melt him into compassion towards us, [Page 134] when they come from the spirit of adoption, and from a striving to be bet­ter. Oh but is it possible Object. (thinketh the misgiving heart) that so holy a GOD shold accept such a praier? Yes, hee will accept that Answ. which is his owne, and pardon that which is ours. Ionas prayed in the Whales belly, being burdened with the guilt of sin, yet GOD heareth him: Let not therefore infirmities dis­courage us. Saint Iames taketh away this objecti­on, Cap. 5. 17.

Some might object, If I were as holy as Elias, then my prayers might be [Page 135] regarded: But (saith he) Elias was a man of like pas­sions to us, he had his passi­ons as well as we; For doe we think that GOD heard him because he was with­out fault? No surely. But looke we to the promises. Psal. 50. 15. Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will heare thee. Matt. 7. 7. Aske and ye shall receive, and such like: GOD accepteth our prayers though weake, first, because wee are his Why first God ac­cepteth of weake Prayers. 2. owne children, they come from his owne Spirit. Secondly, because they are according to his owne will. Thirdly, because they are offered in Christs [Page 136] mediation, and hee takes them, and mingleth them with his own odours. There Revel. 8. is never a holy sigh, never a teare we shed, lost. And as every Grace increaseth by exercise of it selfe, so doth the grace of prayer; by prayer wee learne to pray. So likewise wee should take heed of a spi­rit of discouragement in all other holy duties, since we have so gracious a Sa­viour. Pray as wee are able, heare as we are able, strive as we are able, do [...] as we are able, according to the measure of Grac [...] received; GOD i [...] CHRIST will cast a gra­cious [Page 137] eye upon that which is his owne. Would S. Paul doe nothing, because he could not doe the good hee would? Yes, hee pressed to Phil. 3. 14. the marke. Let us not bee cruell to our selves, when CHRIST, is thus gracious.

There is a certain meek­nesse of spirit, whereby The effect of Christi­an meek­nesse, con­tentation. we yeeld thankes, to God for any ability at all, and rest quiet with the mea­sure of Grace received, seeing it is GODS good pleasure it should bee so, who giveth the will and the deed; yet so, as we rest not from further endeavours. But, when upon faithfull endeavor we come short [Page 138] of that we would be, and short of that others are, then know for our com­fort, CHRIST will no [...] quench the smoaking flax, and that sincerity & truth (as before was said) with endeavour of growth, is our perfection. It is com­fortable what GOD saith, 1 King: 14. 13. He only shall goe to his grave in peace, be­cause there is some goodnesse; though but some good­nesse: Lord I beleeve with a weake faith, yet with [...]aith; love thee with a faint love, yet with love; endeavor in a feeble man­ner, yet indeavour; a little fire is fire, though it smoa­keth. [Page 139] Since thou hast ta­ken mee into thy Cove­nant to be thine of an ene­mie, wilt thou cast me off for these infirmities, wch as they displease thee, so are they the griefe of my owne heart?

Frō what hath bin spokē, (with some▪ little additiō) it wil not be difficult to re­solve that case which some A case a­bout indis­position to duty. require helpe in, namely, whether we ought to per­forme duties, our hearts being altogether indispo­sed. For satisfaction, we must know, I, our hearts of themselves doe linger after liberty, & are hardly brought under the yoake [Page 140] of duty: & the more spiri­tuall the duty is, the more is their unto wardnes. Cor­ruptiō getteth ground for the most part, in every neglect, it is as in rowing against the tyde, one stroke neglected will not be gained in three, and therefore it is good to keepe our hearts close to duty, and not to he a rken unto the excuses they are ready to frame.

In the setting upō du­tie, God strengthneth his 2. owne partie that hee hath in us: wee finde a warme­nesse of heart, and increase of strength, the Spirit go­ing along with us, and rai­sing [Page 141] us up by degrees, un­till it leaveth us as it were in heaven. God often de­lighteth to take the ad­uantage of our indisposi­tion, that hee may mani­fest his worke the more clearely: and all the glory of the worke may be his, whose all the strength is.

Obedience is most di­rect, when there is nothing 3. else to sweeten the action, although the sacrifice bee imperfect, yet the obedi­ence, with wch it is offred, hath acceptance. 4. That which is wonne as a spoile from our corruptions, will have such a degree of com­fort afterwards, as for the [Page 142] present it hath of comber. Feeling and freenesse of spirit is oft reserued untill duty be discharged: re­ward followeth worke. In and after dutie, wee finde that experience of Gods presence, which without obedience wee may long wait for, and yet go with­out. This hindreth not the Spirits freedome in blow­ing upon our soules when it listeth. For wee speake onely of such a state of soule, as is becalmed, and must row (as it were) a­gainst the streame. As in sailing, the hand must bee to the sterne, and the eye to the starre: so here, put [Page 143] forth that little strength we have to dutie, & looke up for assistance.

Yet in these duties that require as well the bo­dy Caution. as the soule, there may bee a cessation till strēgth be repaired: whet­ting doth not lett but fit. [...]. In sudden passions there should be a time to com­pose and calme the soule, and to put the strings in tune. The Prophet would haue a Minstrell to bring his soule into frame.

So likewise we are sub­ject to discouragements in Discou­ragement from impa­tience in suffering sufferings, by reason of im­patiency in us: Alas, I shal never get through such a [Page 144] crosse. But if God bring us into the crosse, hee will be with us in the crosse, and at length bring us out more refined. Wee shall lose nothing, but drosse, as in Zach. 13. 9. Of our own strength wee cannot beare the least trouble, and by the Spirits assistance wee can beare the greatest, the Spirit wil joyne his shoul­ders to help us to beare our infirmities. The Lord will put his hand to heave us Psal. 37. 24. up. You have heard of the patience of Iob; (saith [...]ames) wee have heard likewise of his impatiency too. But it pleased God mercifully to over-looke that. It [Page 145] yeelds us comfort also in desolate conditions, as contagious sicknesses, and the like, wherein wee are more immediately under Gods hand. Then Christ hath a throne of Mercy at our beds side, and num­bers our teares and our groanes. And to come to the matter we are now a­bout. The Sacrament it was ordained not for An­gels, This was preached at the Sa­crament. but for Men, and not for perfect men, but for weake men, and not for Christ, who is truth it self, to binde him, but because we are ready by reason of our guilty & unbeleeving hearts to call truth it selfe [Page 146] into questions. Therefore it was not enough for his goodnesse to leave us ma­ny pretious promises, but he giveth us seales to streng­then us: and what though we are not so prepared as we should, yet let us pray as Hezekias did, The Lord 2 Chron. 30. 19 pardon every one that pre­pareth his heart to seeke the Lord God of his fathers, if hee be not cleansed according to the purification of the San­ctuary. Then wee come comfortably, to this holy Sacrament, & with much fruit. This should cary us through all duties, with much chearefulnesse, That if we hate our corruptions [Page 147] and strive against them, they shall not be counted ours. It is not I (saith Saint Rom. 7. 17. Paul) but sinne that dwelleth in me, for what displeaseth Quod non pl. cet, non nocet. When sin is our sor­row, it shall not be our ruine. us, shall never hurt us, and we shall bee esteemed of GOD to be that we love, and desire, and labour to be. What wee desire to be, we shall be, and what wee desire truely to con­quer, wee shall conquer; for God will fulfill the desire of them that feare him. The Ps. 145. 19. desire is an earnest of the thing. How little incou­ragement will cary us to the affaires of this life? and yet all the helps GOD of­fers will hardly prevaile [Page 148] with our backward na­tures. Whence are then Discou­ragements whence? discouragements? not from the Father, for hee hath bound himselfe in 1. Covenant to pitty us as a father pittieth his children, Psal. 103. and to accept as a father, our weake indeavors, and what is wanting in the strength of duty, he giveth us leave to take up in his gratious indulgēce, wher­by wee shall honour that grace wherein hee deligh­teth as much as in more perfect performances.

2. Not from Christ, for he by office will not quēch the smoaking flaxe. 3. Not from the Spirit, he helpes 3. Iohn 16. [Page 149] our infirmities, and by of­fice is a Comforter. Dis­couragements then must come from our selues and Satan, who labours to fa­sten on us a loathing of duty, and among other causes of discouragement, some are much vexed with scruples, (even a­gainst Discou­ragement from scruples. the best duties) partly by distemper of body, helped by Satans malice, casting dust in their eyes, in their way to heaven: and partly from some remainder of igno­rance, which like darkness breedeth feares: and as ignorance of other things, so especially of this merci­full [Page 150] disposition in Christ. The perswasion of which would easily banish false fears; they cōceive of him as one sitting at a catch for all advantages against thē, wherein they may see how they wrong not onely thē ­selves but his goodness This scrupulosity for the most part is a signe of a godly soule, as some weedes are of a good soile: therefore are they the more to be pitied, for it is a heavy affliction, and the ground of it in most is not so much from trouble of cōscience as frō sicknes of fātasy: the end of Christs comming was to free us [Page 151] from all such groundlesse seares. 2. There is still in some such ignorance of Discou­ragement from igno­race of our condition in Christ. that comfortable conditi­on wee are in under the Covenant of Grace, as by it they are much discou­raged. Therefore we must know, that weaknesses do not breake covenant with GOD: they doe not be­tweene husband and wife; and shall wee make our selves more pitifull then Christ? who maketh him­selfe a patterne of love to all other husbands.

2. Weaknesses do not debarre us from mercie, nay they incline GOD the more. Psal. 78. 39. Mercy [Page 152] is a part of the Churches joynture, CHRIST marrics her in mercie. The husbands be bound Hos. 2. 19. to beare with the wife, as being the wea­ker vessell, and shall wee thinke hee will exempt himselfe from his owne rule, and not beare with his weake Spouse. Possibilitas tua mensu­ratus.

3. If CHRIST should not bee mercifull to our infirmities, hee should not haue a people to serve him.

Put case therefore wee bee very weake, yet so long as wee are not found amongst malicious oppo­sers, and underminers of [Page 153] GODS truth, let us not give way to despairing thoughts, wee have a mer­cifull Saviour. But lest we flatter our selves without groūd, we must know that weaknesses are accounted Weaknes­ses what? either 1. imperfections cleaving to our best acti­ons, or 2. such actions, as proceed from want of age in CHRIST, whilest we are Babes; or 3. from wāt of strength, where there hath beene little meanes, or 4. they are sudden in­deliberate breakings out, contrary to our generall bent and purpose, whilest our judgement is overcast with the cloud of a sud­den [Page 154] temptation. After which, 1 we are sensible of our infirmity, 2 we grieve or it, 3, and from griefe complaine, and with com­plaining strive, and labour to reforme, and in labour­ing get some ground of our corruption. There be some (almost) invincible infirmities, as forgetful­nesse, A necessi­tatibus me­is libera me Domaine. Aug. heavinesse of spirit, sudden passiōs, feares, &c. which though naturall, yet are for the most part tain­ted with sinne, of these we are weary, and would faine shake them off, as a Sickman his Ague; other­wise it is not to bee estee­med weaknesse, so much [Page 155] as wilfulnesse, and the more will, the more sinne: and little sins when God shall awake the consci­ence, and set them in order before us, will prove great burthens, and not onely bruise a Reed, but shake a Cedar. Yet GODS chil­dren never sinne with full will, because there is a contrary Law of the minde, whereby the Do­minion of sinne is broken, which alwaies hath some secret working against the Law of sinne. Yet there may bee so much will in a sinfull action, as may won­derfully waste our com­fort afterward, and keepe [Page 156] us long upon the racke of a disquieted Conscience, GOD in his fatherly dis­pensation suspending the sense of his love. So much as we give way to our wils in sinning, in such a mea­sure of distance we set our selves from comfort. Sin against conscience is as a theefe in the Candle, which wasteth our joy, and thereby weakneth our strength. We must know therefore, that wilfull breaches in Sanctificatiō, wil much hinder the sense of our Iustification.

What course shall such take to recover their Quest. peace?

[Page 157] Such must give a sharp sentence against them Answ. selves, and yet cast them­selves upon GODS mercy in CHRIST, as at their The way to recover our lost peace. first conversion. And now they had need to claspe about CHRIST the faster, as they see more need in themselves, and let them remember the mildnesse of CHRIST here, that will not quench the smoaking flaxe. Oft­times wee see that after a deepe humiliation, Christ speakes more peace, then before, to witnesse the truth of this reconciliati­on, because he knowes Sa­tans enterprizes in casting [Page 158] downe such lower; and be­cause such are most aba­sed in themselves, and are ashamed to looke Christ in the face, by reason of their unkindnesse. We see GOD did not onely pardon David, but after much bruising, gave him wise Salomon to succeed him in the Kingdome. We see in the Canticles, that the Church after she had beene humbled, (for her slighting of Christ) Christ sweetly entertaines her a­gaine, and falleth into commendation of her Beauty, Cant. 6. We must know for our comfort, that CHRIST was not [Page 159] annointed to this great worke of the Mediatour for lesser sinnes onely, but for the greatest, if there be but a sparke of true faith to lay hold on him. There­fore if there bee any brui­sed Reed, let him not ex­cept himselfe, when Christ doth not except him; Come unto me all ye, that are weary, and heavy laden, &c. Why should we not make use of so gracious a dispo­sition; we are onely there­fore poore, because wee know not our riches in CHRIST. In time of temptation rather be­leeve CHRIST, then the Devill, beleeve truth from [Page 160] Truth it selfe, hearken not to a lyar, an enemy, and a murtherer.

Since CHRIST is thus comfortably set out unto us, let us not beleeve Sarans representations of him. When we are trou­bled in conscience for our sinnes, his manner is then to present him to the af­flicted soule as a most se­vere Iudge armed with Iu­stice against us. But then let us present him to our soules, as thus offered to our view by GOD him­selfe, as holding out a Scepter of mercy, and spreading his armes to re­ceive us. When we thinke [Page 161] of Ioseph, Daniel, Iohn the Evangelist, &c. we frame conceipts of thē with de­light as of milde & sweet persons, much more when we thinke of CHRIST, wee should conceive of him as a mirrour of all meekness. If the sweet­nesse of all flowers were in one, how sweet must that flower needs be? In CHRIST all perfections of mercy and love meete, how great then must that mercy be that lodgeth in so gracious a heart? What­soever tendernesse is scat­tered in, husband, father, brother, head, all is but a beame from him, it is in [Page 162] him in the most eminent manner. We are weake, but we are his; we are de­formed, but yet carry his Image vpon us. A father lookes not so much at the blemishes of his child, as at his owne nature in him; so Christ findes matter of love from that which is his owne in us. Hee sees his owne nature in us, wee are diseased, but yet his members; who ever neg­lected his owne members because they were sicke or weake: none ever ha­ted his owne flesh. Can the head forget the mem­bers? Can CHRIST forget himselfe? we are his fulnesse as he is ours. He [Page 163] was Love it selfe clothed with mans nature, which hee united so neere to himselfe, that hee might communicate his goodnes the more freely unto us. And tooke not our nature when it was at the best, but when it was abased, with all naturall and common infirmities it was subiect unto. Let us therefore abhorre all suspicious thoughts, as either cast in, or cherished by that damned spirit, who as he laboured to divide be­tweene the Father and the Sonne by jealousies, If thou beest the Sonne of Mat. 4. 6. God, &c. So his daily s [...]u­dy [Page 164] is to divide betwixt the Sonne and us, by bree­ding misperswasions in us of CHRIST, as if there were not such tender love in him to such as we are. It was his art from the be­ginning, to discredit God with man, by calling Gods love into question, with our first Father Adam: his successe then makes him ready at that weapon still.

But for all this, I feele Object. not CHRIST so to me (saith the smoaking flaxe) but rather the cleane con­trary, he seemeth to be an enemy unto me, I see and feele evidences▪ of his [Page 165] just displeasure?

CHRIST may act Answ. the part of an enemy a lit­tle while as Ioseph did, but it is to make way for act­ing his own part of mercy in a more seasonable time; hee cannot hold in his bowells long, he seemeth to wrastle with us, as with Iacob, but hee supplyes us with hidden strength, at length to get the better. Faith pulls off the vizard Fides Chri­sto [...] detra [...]t. from his face, and sees a loving heart under con­trary appearances. At first he answers the woman of Canaan crying after him, not a word; 2. then gives her a deniall; 3. gives an [Page 166] answer tending to her re­proach, calling her dogge, as being without the Co­venant; yet she would not be so beaten off; for shee considered the end of his comming. As his Father was never neerer him in strength to support him, then when he was furthest off in sense of favour to comfort him; So CHRIST is never neerer us in power to uphold us, then when he seemeth most to hide his presence from us. The influence of the Sun of righteousnesse pierceth deeper then his light. In such cases, whatsoever CHRISTS present ca­riage [Page 167] is towards us, let us oppose his nature and office against it, hee cannot deny himselfe, he cannot but discharge the office his Father hath laid upon him. Wee see here the Father hath underta­ken that hee shall not quench the smoaking flaxe; and CHRIST againe undertaken for us to the Father, appearing be­fore him for us; untill he presents us blamelesse before him. The Father hath given us to Christ, Iohn 17. and Christ giveth us back againe to the Father.

This were good com­fort, Object. if I were but as [Page 168] smoaking flaxe.

It is well that thy ob­jection Answ. pincheth upon thy selfe, and not upon Christ, it is well thou givest him the honour of his mercy towards others, though not to thy selfe: but yet doe not wrong the worke of his Spirit in thy heart. Sathan as he slaundereth CHRIST to us, so hee slandereth us to our selves. If thou beest not so much as smoaking flax, thē why doest thou not renounce thy interest in Christ, and disclame the Covenant, of grace? this thou darest not do; why dost thou not give up thy selfe wholly [Page 169] to other contents? this thy spirit will not suffer thee. Whece comes these rest­lesse groanings and com­plaints? Lay this thy pre­sent estate, together with this office of CHRIST to such, and doe not de­spise the consolation of the Almighty, nor refuse thy owne mercy. Cast thy selfe into the Armes of CHRIST, and if thou perishest, perish there; if thou dost not, thou art sure to perish.

If mercy be to be [...] any where▪ it is there, herein appeares Christs care to thee, that hee hath given thee a heart, in some [Page 170] degree sensible: he might have given thee up to hardnes, security, and pro­phanenesse of heart, of all spirituall judgements the greatest. Hee that dyed for his enemies, will hee refuse those the desire of whose soule is towards him? hee that by his mes­sengers desires us to bee reconciled, will hee put us off when wee earnest­ly seeke it at his hand? No, doutblesse, when hee prevents us by kindling holy desires in us, hee is ready to meete us in his owne wayes. When the Prodigall set himselfe to returne to his father, his [Page 171] father stayes not for him, but meets him in the way. When hee prepares the heart Psa. 10, 17. to seeke, he will cause his eare to heare. He cannot finde in his heart to hide him­selfe long from us. If God should bring us into such a darke condition, as that wee should see no light from himselfe, or the crea­ture, then let us remember what he saith by the Pro­phet Esay, Hee that is in Es [...]. [...]0. 10. darknesse, and seeth no light, no light of comfort, no light of Gods countenance, yet let him trust in the name of the Lord. Wee can never bee in such a condition, wher­in there will be just cause [Page 172] of utter despaire; therfore let us doe as Marriners doe, cast Anker in the darke. CHRIST knows how to pitty us in this case; Looke what comfort he felt from his Father in his breakings, the like wee Es. 53. 5. shall feele from himselfe in our bruising.

The sighes of a bruised heart, carry in them some report, as of our affection to CHRIST, so of his care to us. The eyes of our soules cannot be towards him, but that he hath cast a gracious looke upon us first; The least love wee have to him, is but a re­ [...]ion of his love first [Page 173] shining upon us. As Christ did in his example what­soever hee gives us in charge to doe, so he suffe­red in his owne person whatsoever hee calleth us to suffer, that he might the better learne to relieve and pitty us in our suffe­rings. In his desertion in the Garden, and upon the Crosse, he was content to want that unspeakable so­lace in the presence of his father, both to beare the wrath of the Lord for a time for us, and likewise to know the better how to comfort us in our grea­test extremities; GOD seeth it fit we should taste [Page 174] of that cup of which his Sonne dranke so deepe, that we should feele a lit­tle what sinne is, and what his Sonnes love was; but our comfort is, that Christ dranke the dreggs of the cup for us, and will suc­cour us, that our spirits utterly faile not under that little taste of his dis­pleasure which wee may feele. He became not one­ly a man, but a curse, a man of sorrowes for us. Hee was broken, that wee should not be broken; he was troubled, that wee should not be desperate­ly troubled: he became a curse, that wee should not [Page 175] be accursed. Whatsoever may bee wished for in an all-sufficient Comforter is all to be found in Christ. 1, Authoritie, from the Father all power was gi­ven him: 2, Strength in himselfe, as having his name The mighty GOD: Esay 9. 3, Wisedome, and that from his owne experience how and when to helpe: 4, Willingnesse, as being flesh of our flesh, & bone Es. 9. 6. of our bone.

Wee are now to take notice of diuers sorts of men that offend deeply against this merci­full disposition of Christ: As, 1. Such as goe on in ill [Page 176] courses of life upon this conceit, as if it were in vaine to goe to CHRIST their lives have beene so ill; when as so soone, as wee looke to heaven, all incouragements are ready to meet us, and draw us forward. Amongst others this is one allurement, that CHRIST is ready to welcome us, and leade us further. None are damned in the Church, but those that will. Such as either enforce upon themselves hard conceits of CHRIST, that they may have some shew of reason to fetch contentment from other things: as that unprofitable [Page 177] servant, that would needs take up a conceit, that his Master was a hard man; hereby to flatter himselfe in his unfruitfull courses, in not improving that ta­lent which he had.

2. Such as take up a hope of their owne, that Christ will suffer them to walke in the wayes to hell, & yet bring them to heaven: whereas all cōsort should draw us nearer to Christ, else it is a lying comfort, eyther in it selfe, or in our application of it.

And 3. those that will east water themselves up­on those sparkes, which Christ labours to kindle [Page 178] in them; because they will not be troubled with the light of them.

Such must know, that the Lambe can be angry, and they that will not come under his Scepter of Mercy, shall be crushed in pieces by his Scepter of Po­wer. Psal. 2. 9. Though he will gra­tiously tender, and main­taine the least sparke of true grace, yet where hee findeth not a sparke of Grace, but opposition to his Spirit striving with them, his wrath once kin­dled shall burne to hell. There is no juster provo­cation, then when kind­nesse is churlishly refused.

[Page 179] When God would have cured Babylon, and she would Ier. 51. 9. not be cured, then, she was given up to destruction.

When Ierusalem would not bee gathered under the Matth. 23. wing of Christ, then their habitation is left desolate.

When Wisedome stretch­eth Prov. 16. out her hand and men re­fuse, then Wisedome will laugh at mens destruction. Salvation it selfe will not save those that spill the potion, and cast away the plaister. A pitifull case, when this mercifull Savi­our shall delight in De­struction: when hee that made men, shall have no Es. 17. 11. mercy on them.

[Page 180] Oh say the Rebels of the time, God hath not made usto damne us. Yes, if you will not meet Christ in the wayes of his mercy, it is fit you should eate the fruit of your owne wayes, and Pro. 1. 3. be filled with your owne de­vices.

This wil be the hel of hel whén men shal thinke that they have loved their sins, more then their soules: when they shall thinke, what love and mercy hath beene almost inforced up­on them, and yet they would perish. The more accessory wee are in pul­ling a judgment upon our selves, the more the con­science [Page 181] wil be confounded in it selfe, when they shall acknowledge Christ to be without all blame, them­selves without excuse.

If men appeale to their owne consciences, they will tell them, the Holy Spirit hath often knockt at their hearts, as willing to have kindled some ho­ly desires in them. How else can they be said to re­sist the Holy Ghost, but that the Spirit was rea­dier to draw them to a further degree of good­nes, then stood with their owne wills? whereupon those in the Church that are damned, are selfe-con­demned [Page 182] before. So that here we need not to rise to higher causes, when men carry sufficient cause of their owne damnation in their owne bosomes.

4 And the best of us all may offend against this mercifull disposition, if wee bee not watchfull a­gainst that liberty our car­nall dispositions will bee ready to take frō it. Thus we reason. If Christ will not quench the smoaking Flax, what need we feare that any neglect of our part can bring us under a comfortlesse condition? If Christ will not doe it, what can?

[Page 183] Ans. You know the Apostles prohibition not­withstanding 1 Thess. 5. quench not the Spirit. These cautions of not quenching are sanctified by the Spi­rit as meanes of not quen­ching. CHRIST per­formeth his office in not quenching, by stirring up sutable endeavours in us, and none more sollicitous in the use of the meanes, than those that are most certaine of the good suc­cesse: the ground is this, the meanes that GOD hath set apart for the ef­fecting of any thing, fall under the same purpose that he hath to bring that [Page 184] thing to passe; and this is a principle taken for gran­ted even in civill matters: as who if he knew before it would bee a fruitfull yeare, would therefore hang up his plough and neglect tillage.

Hence the Apostle stirres up from the certain 1 Cor. 15. [...] expectation of a blessing, and this incouragement here from the good issue of finall victory is inten­ded to stirre us up, and not to take us off, if we bee negligent in the exercise of grace received, and use of meanes prescribed, suf­fering our spirits to bee oppressed with multi­tudes [Page 185] and variety of cares of this life, and take not heed of the damps of the times, for such miscariage GOD in his wise care suf­fereth us oft to fall into a worse condition for fee­ling, than those that were never so much inlightned. Yet in mercy hee will not suffer us to be so farre ene­mies to our selves, as wholly to neglect these sparkes once kindled, were it possible that wee should be given up to give over all endeavour wholy, then wee could looke for no other issue but quench­ing. But CHRIST will tend this sparke, and che­rish [Page 186] this small seed so as hee will preserve in the soule alwayes some degree of care. If we would make a comfortable use of this, we must consider all those Helps of not quen­ching. meanes whereby CHRIST doth preserve grace be­gun, as first, holy commu­nion 1. whereby one Chri­stian heateth another: Two are better than one, &c. Did not our hearts burne, said the Disciples? Se­condly, Much more com­munion 2. with GOD in ho­ly duties, as Meditation and Prayer, which doth not onely kindle, but ad­deth a lustre to the soule. Thirdly, wee feele by ex­perience 3. [Page 187] the breath of the spirit to goe along with the ministeriall breath, whereupon the Apostle knits these two together, Quench not the Spirit, De­spise not Prophesies. Nathan by a few words blew up the decaying sparkes in David. Rather than God will suffer his fire in us to dye, hee will send some Nathan or other, and some thing alwayes is left in us to joyne with the word, as connaturall to it as a coale that hath fire in it will quickly catch more to it: smoaking flaxe will easily take fire. Fourthly, grace 4. is strengthned by the ex­ercise [Page 186] [...] [Page 189] [...] [Page 188] of it, Vp and be do­ing, and the Lord bee with thee, saith David to his son Salomon. Stirre up the grace that is in thee, for so holy motions turne to resolutions, resolutions to practice, and practice to a prepared readinesse to every good worke.

Yet let us know that grace is increased in the Caution. exercise of it, not by ver­tue of the exercise it selfe, but as CHRIST by his Spirit floweth into the soule, and bringeth us nea­rer unto himselfe the fountaine, and in [...]illeth such comfort in the act whereby the heart is fur­ther [Page 189] inlarged. The heart of a Christian is Christs Garden, and his Graces are as so many sweet spi­ces and flowers, which his Spirit blowing upon ma­keth them to send forth a sweet savour: therefore keepe the soule open for entertainment of the Ho­ly Ghost, for he will bring in continually fresh forces to subdue corruption, and this most of all on the Lords day. Iohn was in Revel. 1. the Spirit on the Lords day, even in Pathmos, the place of his banishment, then the gales of the Spi­rit blow more strongly and sweetly. As we looke [Page 190] therefore for the comfort of this doctrine, let us not favour our naturall sloth, but exercise our selves to god linesse, and labour to keep 1 Tim. 4 7. this fire alwayes burning upon the Altar of our hearts, and dresse our Lamps daily, and put in fresh oyle; and winde up our soules higher and higher still: resting in a good condition, is con­trary to grace, which can­not but promote it selfe to a further measure: Let none turne this grace into wantonnesse. Infirmities Iud. 4. are a ground of humility, not a plea for negligence, not an incouragement to [Page] presumption. We should bee so farre from being ill, because CHRIST is good, as that those coales of love should melt us, therefore those may well suspect themselves in whom the consideratiō of this mild­nesse of CHRIST doth not work that way. Surely where grace is, corrupti­on is as Smoake to their eies, and vineger to their teeth. And therefore they will labour in regard of their owne comfort, as likewise for the credit of Religion, and the glory of GOD, that their light may break forth. If a sparke of faith or love bee so precious, [Page 190] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] what an honour will it be to be rich in faith! Who would not rather wa [...]e in the light, and in the com­forts of the Holy Ghost, than to live in a darke per­plexed estate? and not ra­ther bee caried with full saile to heaven, than bee tossed alwayes with feares and doubts? The present trouble in conflict against a sinne is not so much as that disquiet which any corruption favoured, will bring upon us afterwards: True peace is in conque­ring, not in yeelding. The comfort in this Text in­tended is for those that would faine doe better, [Page] but sinde their corruptiōs clog them, that are in such a mist, that oft times they cannot tell what to thinke of themselves; that faine would beleeve, and yet oft feare they doe not be­leeve, and thinke that it cannot bee that GOD should be so good to such sinfull wretches as they are, and yet they allow not themselves in these feares and doubts.

And among others. 5. How doe they wrong themselves and him, that will have other Medi­ators to GOD for them than he: are any more pi­tifull than he, who became [Page] man to that end, that hee might be pitifull to his owne flesh? let all at all times repaire to this meek Saviour, and put up al our suits in his prevailing name. What need wee knock at any other doore? can any bee more tender over us than CHRIST? What incouragement have we to commend the state of the Church in ge­nerall, or of any broken hearted Christian, unto him by our prayers? Of whom we may speake un­to CHRIST as they of La­zarus, Lord, the Church which thou lovest, and ga­vest thy selfe for, is in di­stresse: [Page 195] Lord, this poore Christian for whom thou Esay 53. wert bruised, is bruised and brought very low. It can­not but touch his bowells when the misery of his owne deare bowells is spred before him.

Againe, considering 6. this gracious nature in CHRIST, let us thinke with our selves thus, when he is so kinde unto us, shall we be cruell against him, in his name, in his truth, in his children? how shall those that delight to be so terrible to the meeke of the earth, hope to looke so gracious a Saviour in the face: they that are so boy­sterous [Page 196] towards his Spouse, shall know one day they had to deale with himselfe in his Church. So it can­not but cut the heart of those that have felt this love of CHRIST, to heare him wounded who is the life of their lives, and the foule of their soules: this maketh those that have selt mercy weepe over CHRIST whom they have pierced with their finnes; there cannot but be a mu­tuall and quicke sympa­thie betweene the Head and the Members. When wee are tempted to any sinne, if we will not pitie our selves, yet we should [Page 197] spare CHRIST in not put­ting him to new torments. The Apostle could not finde out a more heart­breaking argument to en­sorce a sacrificing our selves to GOD, than to conjure us by the mercies Rom. 12, 1. of GOD in CHRIST. This mercy of CHRIST like­wise should moove us to 7. commiserate the estate of the poore Church torne by enemies without, and renting it selfe by divisi­ons at home. It cānot but work upon any soule that ever felt cōfort frō Christ, to consider what an af­fectionate intreaty the A­postle useth to mutuall a­greement [Page 198] in judgement & affection, If any consolation Philip. 2. 1. in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, any bowells and mer­cies, fulfill my joy, be like min­ded. As if he should say, unlesse you will disclaime all consolation in Christ, &c. labour to maintaine the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace: What a joyfull spectacle is this to Satan and his faction, to see those that are separa­ted from the world, fall in pieces among them­selves. Our discord is our enemies melody.

The more to blame those that for private aims [Page 199] affect differences from o­thers, and will not suffer the wounds of the Church to close and meet toge­ther. Which must not be understood as if men should dissemble their judgement in any truth, where there is just cause of expressing themselves, for the least truth is Christs and not ours, and there­fore we are not to take li­berty to affirme or deny at our pleasures: there is a due in a peny, as well as in a pound, therefore wee must bee faithfull in the least truth, when season calleth for it, then our words are like Apples of gold [Page 200] with pictures of silver. One word spoken in season will doe more good, than a thousand out of season. In some cases peace by keep­ing our faith to our selves, is Rom. 14. 22 of more consequence, than the open discovery of some things we take to be true, considering the weaknesse of mans nature is such that there can hardly be a dis­covery of any difference in opinion, without some estrangement of affection. So farre as men are not of one minde, they will hard­ly be of one heart, except where grace and the peace of God beare great rule in c [...]loss. 3. 15. the heart, therefore open [Page 201] shew of difference is never good but when it is neces­sary; howsoever some from a desire to bee some body, turne into by-waies, and yeeld to a spirit of cō ­tradiction in themselves; yet if Saint Paul may bee Iudge, Are they not carnall? if it bee wisedome, it is 1 Cor. 3. 3. wisedome from beneath; for the wisedome from a­bove, as it is pure, so it is Iam. 3. 17 peaceable. Our blessed Saviour when hee was to leave the world, what doth hee presse upon his Disciples more than peace and love. And in his last prayer with what earnest­nesse did he beg of his Fa­ther [Page 202] that They might be one as he and the Father were Iohn 17. one. But what hee prayed for on earth, we shall one­ly enjoy perfectly in hea­ven. Let this make the meditation of that time the more sweet unto us.

And further to lay open 8. offenders in this kinde, what spirit shall we think them to be of, that take advantages of the bruised­nesse and infirmities of mens spirits, to relieve them with false peace for their owne worldly ends. A wounded spirit will part with any thing. Most of the gainfull points of Popery, as confession, sa­satisfaction, [Page 203] merit, Purga­tory, &c. spring from hence, but they are Phy­sitians of no value, or ra­ther tormentors than Phy­sitians at all. It is a grea­ter blessing to bee delive­red from the sting of these Revel. 9. 5. Scorpions, then wee are thankfull for. Spirituall tyranny is the greatest ty­ranny, and then especial­ly when it is where most mercy should be shewed, yet even there some like cruell surgeons, delight in making long cures, to serve themselves upon the misery of others. It bring­eth men under a terrible curse: When they will not [Page 204] remember to shew mercy, but persecute the poore and needy Ps. 109. 16. man, that they might even slay the broken in heart.

Likewise to such as raise temporall advantage to thēselves out of the spiri­tuall misery of others, join such as raise estates by be­traying the Church, and are unfaithfull in the trust committed unto them: when the children shall cry for the bread of life, and there is none to give them, bringing thus upon the people of GOD that heavie judgement of a spi­rituall famine, starving CHRIST in his members. Shall we so requite so [Page 205] good a Savior, who coun­teth the love and mer­cie shewed in feeding his Lambs, as shewed to him­selfe.

Last of all, they carie themselves very unkindly towards CHRIST, who [...]umble at this his low stooping unto us in his government and ordinances, that are ashamed of the sim­plicity of the Gospell, that count Preaching foolishness. They out of the pride of their heart thinke they may do well enough with­out the helpe of the Word and Sacraments; and think CHRIST tooke not state enough upon him, and [Page 206] therefore they will mend the matter with their own devises, whereby they may give the better con­tent to flesh and blood, as in Popery. What greater unthankfulnesse can there bee, then to dispise any helpe that CHRIST in mercy hath provided for us. In the dayes of his flesh, the proud Pharisees tooke offence at his fami­liar conversing with sin­full men, who onely did so, as a Physitian to heale their soules. What defen­ces was Saint Paul driven to make for himselfe, for his plainnesse in unfolding the Gospell? The more [Page 207] CHRIST in himselfe, and in his servants shall de­scēd to exalt us, the more we should with all humi­lity and readinesse enter­taine that love, and mag­nifie the goodnesse of GOD that hath put the great worke of our salva­tion, and laid the govern­ment upon so gentle a Sa­viour, that will carry him­selfe so mildely in all things wherein hee is to deale betwixt GOD and us, and us and GOD; The lower CHRIST comes downe to us, the higher let us lift him up in our harts: so will all those doe that have ever found the expe­rience [Page 208] of CHRISTS work in their heart.

We come to the third part, the constant progress The third part. Iudge­ments Victorie. of CHRISTS gracious power, untill hee hath set up such an absolute go­vernment in us, which shal prevaile over all corrupti­on. It is said here, he will cherish his Beginnings of Grace in us, untill he bring forth judgement unto victo­rie. By judgement here is meant the Kingdome of Grace in us; that Govern­ment, whereby CHRIST sets up a Throne in our hearts. Governors among [Page 209] the Iewes were first called Iudges, then Kings, whence this inward rule is called Iudgement: as likewise, be­cause it agrees unto the judgement of the word, which the Psalmi [...]ft cal­leth Psal. 72. 7. judgement, because it agreeth to Gods judge­ment: Men may read their doome in GODS: word, what it judgeth of them, GOD judgeth of them. By this judgement set up in us, good is discerned, allowed, and performed; sinne is judged, condem­ned and e [...]ecuted. O [...] spirit being under the Spi­rit of CHRIST, is go­verned by him, and so far [Page 210] as it is governed by Christ it governes us graciously. CHRIST and wee are of one judgement, and of one will, he hath his will in us, and his judgmēts are so in­vested into us, as that they are turned into our judge­ment, we carrying his Law in our hearts, written by his Spirit: and the law in the inner man, and the law written answer as coun­ter pa [...]es each other.

The meaning then is, that the gracious frame of holines set up in our hearts by the Spirit of CHRIST shall goe forward untill all contrary power [...]ee brought under. The spirit [Page 211] of judgement will be a spi­rit of burning, to con­sume Es [...]y 4. 4. whatsoever oppo­sed corruption like rust eats into the soule. If GODS builders fall into errors and build stubble up­on 1 Cor. 3. 13. a good foundation, GODS Spirit as a spiri­tuall fire will reveale this in time, and wast it: they shall by a spirit of judgement condemne their owne er­rours and courses.

The whole worke of grace in us is set out under the name of judgement, and somtimes wisedome, because judgement is the chiefe and leading part in grace; whereupon that [Page 212] gracious worke of repen­tance is called a change of the minde, and an after▪ wisedome. As on the o­ther [...] side in the learned languages, the words that expresse wisdome, implie likewise the generall re­lish and savour of the [...]. [...]pere. whole soule: and rather more the judgement of taste, then of [...]ight, or any other sense, because Taste is the most necessary sense, and requireth the neerest application of the obiect of all other▪ senses. So in spirituall life, it is most necessary that the spirit should alter the taste of the soule, so as that it [Page 213] might savour the things of the spirit so deepely, that all other things shold be out of rellish.

And as it is true of every particular Christian, that CHRISTS judgement in him shall be victorious, so likewise of the whole body of Christians, the Church. The government of CHRIST and his truth whereby hee ruleth as by a Scepter, shall at length bee victorious in spight of Satan, Anti­christ, and all Enemies. CHRIST ryding on his white horse, hath a Bow and goeth forth conque­ring Revel. 6. 2. Rev. 19. 11. in the ministery, that [Page 214] hee may overcome either to conversion or to confu­sion. But yet I take Iudge­ment, for CHRISTS Kingdome and governe­ment within us, principal­lie. 1, Because GOD espe­cially requireth the sub­jection of the soule and conscience as his proper Throne. 2, Because if judgment should prevaile in all others about us, and not in our owne hearts it would not yeeld comfort to us; hereupon, it is the first thing that wee desire when we pray, Thy King­dome come, that CHRIST would come and rule in our hearts: The Kingdome of CHRIST in his ordi­nances [Page 215] serve but to bring CHRIST home into his owne place, our hearts.

The words being thus explained, that judge­ment here includeth the governmēt of both mind, will, and affections, there are divers conclusions that naturally doe spring from them.

First, that CHRISTS 1. Conclusiō. It hath 2. Bra [...]ches. government in his Church and in his children, is a wise and well ordered go­vernment, because it is cal­led Iudgement, and Iudg­ment is the life and soule of wisedome. Of this Con­clusion there are two bran­ches; 1, that the spirituall [Page 216] government of CHRIST in us is joyned with judge­ment and wisedome. 2, Wheresoever true [...]spiri­tuall wisedome and judg­ment is, there likewise the Spirit of CHRIST bring­eth in his gracious govern­ment. For the first, a well guided life by the rules of 1. CHRIST, standeth with the strongest and highest reason of all; and therfore holy men are called the children of wisedome, and are able to justifie both by reason and experience all the wayes of wisedome. Opposite courses are solly and madnesse. Hereupon Saint Paul saith, that a spi­ritual [Page 217] man judgeth all things 1 Cor. 2. 15. that appertaine to him, & i [...] judged of none that are of an inferiour ranke, because they want spirituall light and sight to judge; yet this sort of men will bee judg­ing, and speaking ill of what they know not, they steppe from ignorance to preju­dice and rash censure, without taking right judgement in their way, and therefore their judge­ment comes to nothing. But the judgement of a spirituall man, so far forth as he is spirituall shal stād, because it is agreeable to the nature of things: as things are in themselves, [Page 216] [...] [Page 217] [...] [Page 218] so they are in his judge­ment. As GOD is in himselfe infinite in good­nesse and majesty, &c. so he is to him, he ascribes to GOD in his heart his di­vinity and all his excellen­cies. As CHRIST is in himselfe the onely media­tour, and All in All in the Church, so he is to him, by making CHRIST so in his heart. As all things are dung Philip 3. in comparison of CHRIST, so they are to Paul a san­ctified man. As the very worst thing in religion, the reproch of Christ is better Heb. 11. then the pleasure of sin for a season, so it is to Moses a man of a right esteeme, A [...] [Page 219] one day in the Courts of God is better then a thousand else­where, so it is to David a man of a reformed judge­ment. There is a confor­mity of a good mans judg­ment to things as they are in themselves, and accor­ding to the difference, or agreement put by GOD in things, so doth his judg­ment differ or agree.

Truth is truth, and er­ror error, and that which is unlawfull, is unlawfull whether men thinke so or no. GOD hath put an e­ternall difference betwixt light and darknesse, good and ill, which no creatures conceipt can alter, and [Page 220] therefore no mans judge­ment is the measure of things further then it a­grees to truth stamped up­on things themselves by GOD. Hereupon because a wise mans judgement a­grees to the truth of things, a wise man may in some sense bee said to bee the measure of things; and the judgement of one ho­ly wise man, to bee prefer­red before a thousand o­thers. Such men usually are immoveable as the Sun in its course, because they thinke, and speake, and live by rule. A Iosuah and his house will serve God whatsoever others doe, [Page 221] and will run a course con­trary to the world, because their judgements leads them a contrary way. Hence it is that Sathan hath a spite at the eye of the soule, the judgement, to put out that by igno­rance and false reason, for he cannot rule in any, un­till either hee hath taken away or perverted judge­ment: he is a Prince of dark­nesse, and ruleth in darke­ness of the understanding. Therefore he must first be cast out of the understan­ding by the prevailing of truth, and planting it in the soule. Those therefore [...] [...] ­ledge, [Page 222] helpe Sathan and Antichrist (whose King­dome like Satans is a king­dome of darkness) to erect their throne. Hence it is promised by CHRIST that the holy Ghost shall con­vince the world of judgment, that is, that he is resolved to set up a Throne of go­vernmēt, because the great lord of misrule Sathan the Prince of the world is judged by the Gospel, and the Spirit accompanying it, his impostures are discove­red, his enterprizes layd open; therefore when the Gospel was spred, the O­racles ceased. Sathan fell fr [...]m heaven like lig [...]g, [Page 223] men were translated out of his Kingdome into Christs. Where prevailing is by lyes, there discovery is victory: they shall proceed no further, for their [...]lly shall 2 Tim. 3. 9. be manifest to all. So that manifestation of error gi­veth a stop to it, for none wil willingly be deceived▪ Let truth have full soope without check or restraint, and let sathan & his instru­ments do their worst, they shall not prevaile; as Ierom Sententi [...] vestras pr [...] ­didisse, [...] ­perasse est. Hier. i [...] Epist. ad Tessep [...]. primae f [...]nte ap­parent blasphemi [...]. saith of the Pelagians in his time, The discovery of your opinions is the van­quishing of them, your basphemies appeare at the first blush.

[Page 224] Hence we learne the ne­cessity that the understan­ding Vse. The neces­sity of knowledge bee principled with supernaturall knowledge for the well managing of a Christian conversation.

There must bee light to discover a further end then nature, for which wee are Christians, and a rule suta­ble directing to that end, which is the will of GOD in CHRIST, discovering his good pleasure towards us, and our duty towards him, and in vertue of this discovery, we doe all that we doe that any way may further our reckoning: the eye must first be single, and then the whole body and [Page 225] frame of our conversation will bee light: otherwise both we and our course of life are nothing but dark­nesse; The whole conversa­tion of a Christian is no­thing else but knowledge digested into will, affecti­on, and practice. If the first [...] in the stomach be not good, that in the liver cannot be good: so if there bee errour in the judgement it marres the whole practice, as an error in the foundation doth the building: GOD will have no blind sacrifices, no unrea­sonable services, but will have us to love him with all our minde, that is, with our [Page 226] understanding part, as well as with all our hearts, that is, the affecting part of the soule.

This order of Christs government by judgment, is agreeable unto the soule, and GOD delighteth to preserve the manner of working peculiar unto man, that is, to doe what he doth out of judgemente as grace supposeth nature as founded upon it, so the frame of grace preserveth the frame of nature in man. And therfore Christ bringeth all that is good in the soule through judg­ment, and that so sweetly that many out of a dange­rous [Page 227] error thinke, that that good which is in them and issueth from them, is from thēselves, & not from the powerfull worke of grace. As in evill the devill so subtlely leadeth us accor­ding to the streame of our owne nature, that men thinke that Sathan had no hand in their sinne: but here a mistake is with lit­tle perill, because wee are il of ourselves, & the devil doth but promote what ill he findeth in us. But there are no seeds of supernatu­rall goodnesse at all in us, GOD findeth nothing in us but enmity, onely hee hath ingraven this in our [Page 228] nature to incline in gene­rall to that which we judge to be good. Now when he shall cleerly discover what is good in particular, wee are caried to it, and when convincingly he shal discover that which is ill, we abhorre it as freely as we imbraced it before.

From whence we may know when we worke as we should doe or no, that is, when we doe what we doe, out of inward princi­ples, when we fall not up­on that which is good on­ly because we are so bred, or because such; or such whom we respect doe so; or because wee will main­taine [Page 205] a side, so making religion a faction: but out of judgement, when what wee doe that is good, wee first judge it in our selves so to be: and what wee abstaine from that is ill, we first judge it to bee ill from an inward judge­ment. A sound Christian as hee injoyeth the better part, so hath first made choice of it with Mary, he establisheth all his thoughts by counsell. GOD indeed useth carnall men to very good service, but wthout a thorow altering, & convic­tion of their judgements. He worketh by them, but not in them, therefore [Page 230] they doe neither approve the good they doe, nor hate the evill they abstaine from.

The 2 branch, is that 2. Branch. wheresoever true wisdom and judgement is, there Christ sets up his govern­ment, because where wise­dome is, it directs us not only to understand, but to order our waies aright; where Christ by his Spirit as a Prophet teacheth, he like wise as a King by his Spi­rit subdueth the heart to obedience of what is taught. This is that teach­ing which is promised of GOD, when not onely the braine, but the heart it [Page 231] selfe is taught. When men doe not onely know what they should doe, but are taught the very doing of it, they are not only taught that they should love, feare, and obey, but they are taught, love it selfe, and feare, and obedience it selfe. CHRIST sets up his chaire in the very heart and alters the frame of that, and makes his sub­jects good, together with teaching of them to bee good. Other Princes can make good Lawes, but they cannot write them in their peoples hearts. This is CHRISTS Prerogative; He infuseth into his sub­jects [Page 232] his owne Spirit, upon him there doth not onely rest the spirit of wisedome and Esay 11. 2, 3 understanding, but likewise the spirit of the feare of the Lord. The knowledge which wee have of him frō himselfe is a transforming knowledge. The same spi­rit that inlighteneth the mind, inspireth gracious inclinations into the will and affections, and infu­seth strength into the whole man. As a gracious man judgeth as he should, so he affecteth and doth as hee judgeth, his life is a commentary of his inward man; there is a sweet har­mony betwixt GODS [Page 233] truth, his judgment, and his whole conversation. The heart of a Christian is like Ierusalem when it was at the best, a City compact Psal. 122. 3. within it selfe; where are set up the thrones of judge­ment. Iudgement should have a throne in the heart of every Christian. Not that judgement alone will work a change, there must be grace to alter the bent and sway of the will be­fore it will yeeld to bee wrought upon by the un­derstanding; GOD hath so joyned these together as that whēsoeuer he doth savingly shine upon the understanding, he giveth a [Page 234] soft and plyable heart, for without a worke upon the hart by the Spirit of God, it will follow its owne in­clination to that which it affecteth whatsoever the judgement shall say to the contrary: there is no con­naturall proportion be­twixt an unsanctified hart and a sanctified judgment. For the heart unaltered will not give leave to the judgement, coldly and so berly to conclude what is best, as the sick man whilst his aguish distemper cor­rupteth his taste, he is ra­ther desirous to please that, then to hearken what the Physitian shall speake. [Page 235] judgment hath not power over it selfe, where the wil is unsubdued, for the will and affections bribe it to give sentence for them when any profit or plea­sure shall come in compe­tition with that which the judgement in generall on­ly shall thinke to be good, and therefore it is for the most part in the power of the heart, what the under­standing shall judge and determine in particular things. Where grace hath brought the heart under, there unruly passions doe not cast such a mist before the understanding but that in particular it seeth [Page 236] that which is best; and base respects, springing from selfe-love doe not alter the case and byas the judg­ment into a contrary way, but that which is good in it selfe, shall be good unto us, although it crosse our particular worldly inte­rests.

The right conceiving of this hath an influence into Vse. practice, which hath drawne me to a more full explanation: this will teach us the right method of godlinesse, to begin with judgement, and then to begge of GOD toge­ther with illumination, holy inclinations of our [Page 237] will and affections, that so a perfect government may be set up in our hearts, and that our knowledge may bee Phil. 1. 9. with al judgment, that is, wth experience and feeling: when the judgement of CHRIST is set up in our judgements, and thence by the Spirit of CHRIST brought into our hearts, then it is in its proper place and throne, and un­till then truth doth us no good, but helpeth to con­demne us. The life of a [...] Christiā is a regular life, &. he that walketh by the rule Gal. 6. of the new creature, peace shall be upon him, he that despiseth his way, & loveth to Pro. 19: 16. [Page 238] live at large seeking all li­berty to the flesh shall dye. And it is made good by Saint Paul, If we live after Rom. 8. 13. the flesh we shall dye.

VVe learne likewise that men of an ill governed life have no true judgement: no wicked man can bee a wise man. And that with­out CHRISTS Spirit the soule is in confusion, without beauty and form, as all things were in the Chaos before the creatiō. The whole soule is out of joynt till it be set in againe by him whose office is to restore all things. The baser part of the soule which should bee subject, ruleth [Page 239] all, and keepeth under that little truth that is in the understanding, holding it captive to base affections, and Sathan by corruption getteth al the holds of the soule, till CHRIST stron­ger then he commeth, and driveth him out, and ta­keth possession of all the powers and parts of soule and body, to be weapons of righteousnes, to serve him, and then, new Lords, new Lawes, CHRIST as a new Conquerour changeth the fundamentall lawes of old Adam, and establisheth a government of his owne.

The second Conclusion 2. Conclu [...]. is, that this government is [Page 238] [...] [Page 239] [...] [Page 240] victorious. The reasons are: The rea­sons why Christs go­vernment in victori­ous.

1, Because CHRIST hath conquered all in his owne person first, and hee is GOD over all blessed for evermore; and therefore over Sinne, Death, Hell, Sa­than, 1. Rom. 9. 5. the world, &c. And as he hath overcome them in himselfe, so he overcomes them in our hearts and consciences. Wee use to say, Conscience maketh a man a King or a caitife, be­cause it is planted in us to judge for GOD, either with us, or against us. Now if naturall conscience bee so forcible, what will it be when besides it owne light it hath the light of divine [Page 241] truth put into it? It will undoubtedly prevaile, ei­ther to make us hold up our heads with boldnesse, or abase us beneath our selves. If it subject it selfe by grace to CHRISTS truth, then it boldly over­lookes Death, Hell, Iudge­ment, and all spirituall ene­mies, because then Christ sets up his Kingdome in the conscience, and makes it a kind of Paradise.

The sharpest conflict which the soule hath is be­tweene the conscience and GODS Iustice: now if the conscience sprinkled with the blood of Christ hath prevailed over as­saults [Page 242] fetcht from the ju­stice of GOD as now sa­tisfied by CHRIST, it will prevaile over al other opposition whatsoever.

2 We are to encounter 2. with accursed and damned enemies; therefore if they begin to fall before the spirit in us, they shall fall: if they rise up againe, it is to have the greater fall.

3 The spirit of truth to whose tuition CHRIST 3. hath cōmitted his Church: and the truth of the spirit which is the Scepter of CHRIST, abide for ever; therefore the soule begotten by the immortal 1 Pet. 1. 23. feed of this spirit, and this [Page 243] truth, must not onely live for ever, but likewise pre­vaile over all that oppose it, for both the word and spirit are mighty in opera­tion; Heb. 4. 12. and if the ill spirit be never idle in those whom GOD delivereth up to him, we cannot thinke that the Holy Spirit will bee idle in those whose lead­ing and government is committed to him. No, as he dwelleth in them, so he will drive out all that rise up against him, untill hee be all in all.

What is spirituall is e­ternall; truth is a beame of CHRISTS Spirit both in it selfe, and as it is ingraf­ted [Page 244] into the soule, there fore it, and the grace (though little) wrought by it, will prevaile; a little thing in the hand of a Gy­ant will do great matters. A little faith strengthned by CHRIST will worke wonders.

4 To him that hath shall be given, the victory over a­ny 4. Mat. 25. 29. corruption or tempta­tion is a pledge of finall victory. As Ioshua said when he set his foot upon the five Kings which hee conquered; Thus God shall Jos. 10. 25: doe with all our enemies; hea­ven is ours already, onely we strive till we have full possession.

[Page 245] 5 CHRIST as King, 5. brings in a commanding light into the soule, and bowes the necke, and sof­tens the Iron sinew of the inner man, and where he begins to rule, he rules for ever, his Kingdome hath Luk. 1. 33. no end.

6 The end of CHRISTS, 6. 1 Iohn 3. 8. comming was to destroy the workes of the Devill, both for us and in us. And the end of the resurrecti­on, was as to seale unto us the assurance of his victo­rie; So I, to quicken our soules from death in sinne, 2, to free our soules from such snares and sorrowes of spirituall death as ac­company [Page 246] the guilt of sin, 3, to raise them up more comfortable, as the Sunne breakes forth more glori­ously out of a thick cloud, 4, to raise us out of parti­cular slippes, and failings, stronger; 5, to raise us out of all troublesome and darke conditions of this life: And 6, at length to raise our bodies out of the dust. For the same power that the Spirit shewed in raising CHRIST our Head, from the sorrowes of death, and the lowest de­gree of his abasement; The same power obtained by the death of CHRIST from GOD now appeased [Page 247] by that sacrifice, will the Spirit shew in the Church which is his body, and in every particular member thereof.

And this power is con­veyed by faith, whereby after union with CHRIST in both his estates of hu­miliation and exaltation, we see our selves not only dead with Christ, but risen and sitting together with him in heavenly places. Now we apprehending our selves to be dead, and risen, and thereupon victorious over all our enemies in our Head. And apprehending that his scope in all this is to conforme us to himself, [Page 248] wee are by this faith chan­ged into his likenesse, and so become conquerors over all our spirituall enemies as he is, by that power wch we derive frō him who is the storehouse of all spiri­tuall strength for all his. CHRIST at length will have his end in us, and faith resteth assured of it, and this assurance is very ope­rative, stirring us up to joyne with CHRIST in his ends.

And so for the Church in generall, by CHRIST it will have its victorie: CHRIST is that little stone cut out of the mountaine Da [...]. 2, 35. without hands, that breaketh [Page 249] in peeces that goodly Image, that is, all opposite government; untill it become a great mountaine, and filleth the whole earth. So that the stone that was cut out of the mountaine; becomes a mountaine it selfe at length; who art thou then O mountaine, that thinkest to stand up against this mountaine: all shall lie flat and levell be­fore it. Hee will bring downe all mountainous high-exalted thoughts and lay the pride of all flesh low. When chaffe strives against the winde, stubble against the fire, when the heele kickes against the [Page 250] prickes, when the pot­sheard strives with the potter; when man strives against GOD, it is easie to know on which side the vi­ctorie will goe. The winds may tosse the ship wherin CHRIST is, but not o­verturne it. The waves may dash against the rock, but they doe but breake themselves against it.

If this bee so, why is it thus with the Church of Object. GOD, and with many a gracious Christian: the victorie seemeth to goe with the enemie.

For answer, remember, Answ. 1. I, GODS children usual­ly in their troubles over­come by suffering, here [Page 251] Lambes overcome Lyons, & Doves Eagles by suffe­ring, that herein they may be conformable to Christ, who conquered most, whē he suffered most, together with Christs kingdome of patience, there was a Kingdome of power.

2 This victory is by de­grees, and therefore they 2. are too hasty spirited, that would conquer so soone as they strike the first stroke, and be at the end of their race at the first set­ting forth: the Isra [...]ites were sure of victory in their voyage to Canaan, yet they must fight it out. GOD would not have us [Page 252] presently forget what cru­ell enemies CHRIST hath overcome for us, de­story them not, lest the people forget it (saith the Psalmist) Psal. 59. 11. That so by the experience of that anoyance wee have by them, we might be kept in feare to come under the power of them.

3 That GOD often worketh by contraries, 3. when hee meanes to give victory, he will suffer us to bee foyled first, when hee meanes to comfort, he wil terrifie first, when hee meanes to justifie, hee will condemne us first, whom he meanes to make glori­ous, he will a base first. A Christian conquers even [Page 253] when hee is conquered; when hee is conquered by some sins, he gets victory over others more dange­rous, as spirituall Pride, secu­rity, &c.

4, That CHRISTS 4. worke both in the Church and in the hearts of Chri­stians often goeth back­ward, that it may goe the better forward: As seed rotts in the ground in the Winter time, but after comes better up, and the harder the Winter, the more flourishing the Spring, so wee learne to stand by falls, and get Virtutis custos infir­mitas. strength by weaknesse dis­covered, we take deeper [Page 254] root by shaking; and as torches, flame brighter by mooving. Thus it pleaseth CHRIST out of his free­dome, in this manner to maintaine his govern­ment in us. Let us herein labour to exercise our Faith, that it may answer Christs manner of cariage towards us, when we are foyled, let us beleeve wee shall overcome, when wee are fallen let us beleeve we shall rise againe. Iacob af­ter he had a blow upon which he halted, yet would not give over wrastling till hee had gotten the blessing, so let us never give over, but in our thoughts knitt the be­ginning, [Page 255] progress, and end together, and then we shal see our selves in, heaven out of the reach of all ene­mies. Let us assure our selves that GODS grace even in this imperfect e­state, is stronger then mans free will in the state of first perfectiō, and it is founded now in CHRIST, who as he is the author, so will be the finisher of our faith, we are under a more gra­cious covenant.

Here upon it followeth, that weaknesse may stand with the assurance of sal­vation; the disciples not­withstanding, all their weaknesses, are bidden to [Page 256] rejoyce that their names are Luke 10. 20 written in heaven. Failings (with conflict) in sanctifi­cation should not weaken the peace of our justificati­on and assurance of salva­tion. It mattereth not so much, what ill is in us, as what good, not what cor­ruptions, but how we stād affected to them: not what our particular failings bee so much, as what is the thred and tenor of our lives: for CHRISTS mislike of that which is a­mi [...]e in us redounds not to the hatred of our person, but to the victorious sub­duing of al our infirmities.

Some have after con­flict [Page 257] wondered at the goodnesse of GOD, that so little and shaking faith should have upheld them in so great Combats, when Sathan had almost cat­ched them. And indeed it is to be wondred, how much a little grace will prevaile with GOD for acceptance, and over our enemies for victory, if the heart be upright. Such is the goodness of our sweet Saviour, that hee delight­eth still to shew his strēgth in our weaknesse.

First therefore for the Vse 1. great consolatiō of poore and weake Christians, let them know, that a sparke [Page 258] frō heavē though kindled under greene wood that sobbes and smoakes, yet it will consume all at last, Love once kindled is strong as death, much water cannot Cant. 8. 6. quench it, and therefore it is called a vehemēt flame, or flame of GOD, kindled in the heart by the Holy Ghost. That little that is in us, is fed wth an everlasting spring. As the fire that came downe from heaven in Elias his time, licked up all the water, to shew that it came from GOD, so will this fire spend all our cor­ruption, no afflictiō with­out, or corruption within shall quench it. In the [Page 259] morning we see oft clouds gather about the Sun, as if they would hide it, but the Sunne wasteth them by little and little, till it come to its full strength. At the first, feares and doubts hinder the breaking out of this fire, untill at length it gets above them all, and CHRIST prevailes; and then hee backes his owne graces in us. Grace con­quers us first, and we by it conquer all things else, whether it be corruptions within us, or temptations without us.

The Church of CHRIST begotten by the word of truth, hath the doctrine of [Page 260] the Apostles for her crowne, and tramples the Rev. 12. 1. Moone, that is, the world, and all worldly things un­der her feet; Every one that is borne of God overcomes 1 Joh. 5. 4. the world. Faith whereby especially CHRIST rules, sets the soule so high, that it overlookes all other things as farre below, as having represented to it, by the Spirit of CHRIST, riches, honour, beauty, pleasures of a higher na­ture.

Now that we may not come short of the com­fort intended; there are two things especially to bee taken notice of by [Page 261] us, I, whether there bee such a judgement, or go­vernment set up in us, to which this promise of vic­tory is made. 2, Some rules or directions how we are to cary our selves, that the judgement of Christ in us may indeed bee victorious.

The evidences whereby Triall to know whether this judge­ment in us is such as will be vi­ctorious. wee may come to know, that CHRISTS judge­ment in us, is such as will be victorious, are, 1, If we bee able from experience to justifie all CHRISTS 1. wayes; let flesh and bloud say what it can to the con­trary; and can willingly subscribe to that course [Page 262] which GOD hath taken in CHRIST, to bring us to heaven, and still approve a further measure of grace then we have attained un­to, and project and fore­cast for it. No other men can justifie their courses when their conscience is awaked. 2, When reasons of religion, be the strong­est 2. reasons with us, and prevaile more▪ then rea: sons fetcht from worldly policy. 3. When wee are so true to our ends and fast 3. to our rule, as no hopes or feares can sway us anothe [...] way, but still we are look­ing what agrees, or differs from our rule. 4, When 4. [Page 263] wee can doe nothing against 2 Cor. 13. 8. the truth, but for the truth, as being dearer to us then our lives, truth hath not this soveraignty: in the heart of any carnall man. 5, When, if we had liber­tie 5. to choose under whose Government wee would live, yet out of a delight in the inner man to Christs government, wee would make choyce of him only, to rule us before any o­ther, for this argues that wee are like minded to CHRIST. A free and a vo­luntarie people, and not compelled unto Christs service, otherwise then by the sweet constraint of [Page 264] love. When we are so far in liking with the govern­ment of CHRISTS Spi­rit, that wee are willing to resigne up our selves to him in all things, for then his kingdome is come into us, when our wills are brought to his will; it is the bent of our wils that maketh us good or ill. 6, A well ordered uni­forme 6. life, not by sits or starts, shewes a well orde­red heart, as in a clocke when the hammer strikes well, and the hand of the Dyall points well, it is a signe that the wheeles are right set. 7, When Christs 7. will commeth in competi­tion [Page 265] with any earthly losse or gaine, yet if then in that particular case the heart will stoope to CHRIST, it is a true signe; for [...] the truest tryall of the power of grace is in such parti­cular cases which [...]ch us neerest, for there our cor­ruption maketh the grea­test head; when CHRIST came neere home to the yong man in the Gospell, hee lost a disciple of him. 8, When we can practise 8. duties pleasing to Christ, though contrary to flesh, and the course of the world. And when we can overcome our selves in that evill, to which our na­ture [Page 266] is proane, and stand­eth so much inclined un­to, and which agreeth to the sway of the times, and which others lie inthralled under, as desire of re­venge, hatred of enemies private ends, &c. then it appeares that grace is in us above nature, heaven above earth, and will have the victory.

For the further clearing of this, and helping of us in our tryall; wee must know there bee three degrees of victory. 1, When we re­sist though we bee foyled. 2, When Grace gets the better though with con­flict. 3, When all corrup­tion [Page 267] is perfectly subdued. Now when wee have strength but onely to re­sist, yet wee may know CHRISTS government in us will bee victorious, be­cause what is said of the Devill, is said of all our spirituall enemies; If we re­sist, Iames 47. they shall in time flye from us: because stronger is hee that is in us, that taketh Iohn 4. 4. part with his owne Grace, than hee that is in the world. And if wee may hope for victory upon bare resist­ance, what may wee not hope for when the Spirit hath gotten the upper hand?


[Page 268] For the second, that is, di­rections.

Wee must know, though Christ hath under-taken Directions this victorie, yet hee ac­complisheth it by training us up to fight his battells; hee overcommeth in us, by making us wise to salvati­on: and in what degree we beleeve Christ will con­quer, in that degree wee will endevour by his grace that wee may conquer: for Faith is an obedient and a wise grace: Christ maketh us wise to ponder & weigh things, and thereupon to ranke and order them so, as we may make the fitter choise of what is best. [Page 269] Some Rules to helpe us in judging are these.

To judge of things as Rules whereby we may better judge. they help or hinder the maine: as they surther or hinder our reckoning: as they make us more or lesse 1. spirituall, and so bring us 2. neerer to the fountaine of Goodnes, GOD himselfe: 3. as they bring us peace or sorrow at the last: as they 4. commend us more or lesse 5. to GOD, and wherein we shall approve our selves to him most: Likewise to 6. judge of things now, as we shall doe hereafter, when the soule shall be best able to judge, as when wee are under any publike calami­tie, [Page 270] or at the houre of death, when the soule ga­thereth it selfe from all o­ther things to it self. Looke backe to former experi­ence, 7. see what is most a­greeable unto it; what was best in our worst times. If Grace is or was best then, it is best now. And labour to judge of things as hee 8. doth, who must judge us, & as holy men judge, who are led by his Spirit: more particularly, what those judge, that have no interest 9. in any benefit that may come by the thing which is in question: for outward things blinde the eies even of the wise; we see Papists [Page 271] are most corrupt in those things, where their honor, ease or profit is ingaged, but in the doctrine of the Trinitie, which doth not touch upon these things, they are found. But it is not sufficient that judgment be right, but likewise readie and strong. Further di­rections for judge­ment.

Where Christ establi­sheth this government, he inspireth care to keepe the Iudgement cleare & fresh, 1. for whilst the Iudgement standeth straight & firme, the whole frame of the soule continueth strong & impregnable. True Iudge­ment in us advancet [...] Christ, and Christ will [Page 272] advance it. All sinne is ey­ther from false principles or ignorance, or mindles­nesse, or unbeleefe of true. By inconsideration, and weaknesse of assent Eve lost her hold at first. It is good therefore to store up true principles in our harts, and to refresh them often, that in vertue of them our affections and actions may be more vigorous. When Iudgement is fortified, e­vill findes no entrance, but good things have a side within us, to entertaine them. Whilest true con­vincing light continueth, wee will not doe the least ill of sinne, for the greatest [Page 273] ill of punishment. In vaine Prov. 1. 17. is the [...]et spread in the eyes of that which hath wings. Whi­lest the soule is kept aloft, there is little danger of snares below: we lose our high estimation of things, before wee can be drawne to any sinne.

And because knowledge 2. and affection mutually helpe one another▪ it is good to keepe up our affe­ctions of love and delight by all sweet inducements, & divine incouragements, for what the heart liketh best, the minde studyeth most. Those that can bring their hearts to de­light in Christ, know most [Page 274] of his wayes. Wisedome lo­veth them that love her. Prov. 8. 27. Love is the best entertai­ner of truth, and when it is not entertained in the love of it, (being so lovely as it is) 2 Thess. 2. it leaveth the heart, and will stay no longer. It hath beene a prevailing way to beginne by with-drawing the love, to corrupt the Iudgement; because as we love so wee use to judge: and therefore it is hard to be affectionate and wise in earthly things, but in hea­venly things, where there hath been a right informa­tion of the judgement be­fore, the more our affecti­ons grow, the better and [Page 275] clearer our judgements will be, because our affecti­ons though strong, can ne­ver rise high enough to the excellencie of the things. Wee see in the Martyrs, when the sweet doctrine of Christ had once gotten their hearts, it could not be gotten out againe by all the torments the wit of crueltie could devise. If Christ hath once possessed the affections, there is no dispossessing of him again. A fire in the heart over­commeth all fires with­out.

3, Wisedome likewise 3. teacheth us, wherein our weaknesse lyeth, and our [Page 276] enemies strength, wherby a jealous feare is stirred up in us, whereby we are pre­served. For out of this godly jealousie wee keepe those provocations which are active and working from that wch is passive & catching in us, as we keep fire from powder. They that will hinder the gene­ration of noysome crea­tures, will hinder the con­ception first, by keeping male and female asunder. This jealousie wil be much furthered by observing strictly what hath helped or hindered a gratious tē ­per in us: and it will make us take heed that wee con­sult [Page 277] not with flesh and blood in our selves or o­thers. How else can wee thinke that Christ will lead us out to victorie, when we take counsell of his and our enemies.

4, Christ maketh us like­wise 4. carefull to attend all meanes, whereby fresh thoughts and affections may be stirred up and pre­served in us. Christ so ho­noureth the use of meanes, and the care he putteth in­to us, that hee ascribeth both preservation and vi­ctory unto our care of kee­ping our selves. Hee that is begotten of God, keepeth him­selfe; 1 Iohn 3. 1 [...]. but not by himselfe, [Page 276] [...] [Page 277] [...] [Page 287] but by the Lord, in depen­dance: on him in the use of meanes. We are no longer safe, then wife to present our selves to all good ad­vantages of acquaintance, &c. By going out of Gods walkes, we goe out of his government, and so lose our frame, and finde our selves over-spread quickly with a cōtráry disposition. When wee draw neere to Christ in his ordinances, he drawes neere to us.

5 Keepe grace in exer­cise: it is not sleepy habits 5. but Gracein exercise that preserveth us. Whilest the soule is in some civill or sacred imployment, cor­ruptions [Page 279] within us, are much suppressed, and Sa­thans passages stopped, and the spirit hath a way open to inlarge [...] it selfe in us, and likewise the guard of Angells then most neer­ly attend us; which course often prevailes more a­gainst our spirituall ene­mies then direct oppo siti­on. It stands upon Christs honor to maintaine those that are in his worke.

Sixthly, in all directiōs 6. we must look up to Christ the quickning spirit, and resolve in his strength, though wee are exhorted to cleave to the Lord with Act. 11. 23 full purpose of heart, yet we [Page 280] must pray▪ with David, Lord for ever keepe it in the thoughts of our hearts, and prepare our hearts unto thee: 1 Chron. 29. 1 [...]. our hearts are of them­selves very loose and un­setled, Lord unite our hearts unto thee to feare thy name, or else without him our Ps 86. 11. best purposes will fall to the ground. It is a pleasing request out of love to GOD, to beg such a frame of soule from him, where­in hee may take delight; and therefore in the use of all the meanes, wee must send up our desires and complaints to heaven to him for strength and help, and then we may bee sure, [Page 281] that he will bring forth judg­ment into victory.

Lastly, it furthers the state of the soule, to know 7. what frame it should bee in, that so wee may order our soules accordingly; we should alwayes bee fit for communion with GOD, and bee heavenly minded in earthly busines, and be willing to be taken off from them, to redeem time for better things; we should bee ready at all times to depart hence, and to live in such a condition, as we would be content to dye in: wee should have hearts prepared for every good duty, open to all [Page 282] good occasions, and shut to al temptations, keeping our watch, and being al­wayes ready armed: so farre as we come short of these things, so farre wee have just cause to be hum­bled, and yet presse for­ward that wee may gaine more upon our selves, and make these things more fa­miliar and lovely unto us, and when wee finde our soules any wayes falling downewards, it is best to raise them up presently by some waking meditatiōs; as of the presence of God, of the strict reckoning we are to make, of the infinite love of GOD in CHRIST, [Page 283] and the fruits of it, of the excellency of a Christians calling, of the short and uncertaine time of this life: how little good all those things that steale a­way our hearts, will doe us ere long; and how it shall bee for ever with us thereafter as we spend this little time well, or ill, &c. the more we give way for such consideratiōs to sink into our hearts, the more we shall rise neerer to that state of soule which wee shall enjoy in Heaven. When wee grow regard­lesse of keeping our soules, then GOD recovers our taste of good things again, [Page 284] by sharpe crosses, thus Da­vid, Salomon, Sampson, &c. were recovered: it is much easier kept then re­covered.

But notwithstanding Object. my striving, I seeme to stand at a stay.

Grace (as the seed in the Answ. 1. Parable) growes we know not how, yet at length when GOD seeth fittest wee shall see that all our indeavour hath not beene in vaine, the tree falleth upon the last stroke, yet all the former strokes help it forward.

Sometimes victory is sus­pended, Ans. 2 because some A­chan is not found out, or [Page 285] because wee are not hum­ble enough: as Israel had Iudg. 20. 26. the worst against the Benjamites till they fasted and prayed, or because wee betray our helps, & stand not upon our guard, and yeeld not presently to the motions of the Spirit, which mindeth us alwayes of the best things, if wee would regard it. Our owne consciences will tell us, if wee give them leave to speake, that some sinfull favouring of our selves is the cause. The way in this case to prevaile, is I, to get the victory over the pride of our owne nature, by ta­king shame to our selves, [Page 286] in humble confession [...] GOD; and then [...]23 to overcome the unbeliefe of our hearts by yeelding to the promise of pardon, and then 3, in confidence of CHRISTS assistance to set our selves against those sins which have pre­vailed over us; and then prevailing over our selves we shall easily prevhile o­ver all other enemies, and conquer all conditions we shall be brought into.

If Christ will have the Vse 2. victory, then it is the best way for Nations & States to kisse the Sonne, and to im­brace Christ & his religiō; to side with Christ, and to own his cause in the world, [Page 287] his side wil prove the strō ­gest side at last, happy are we if Christ honour us so much as to use our helpe to fight his battell against the mighty. True religion in a State, is as the maine piller of a house, & staffe of a tēt that upholds all: 2 so for fa­milies let CHRIST be the chiefe Governor of the fa­mily; & 3, let cuery one be as a house for CHRIST to dwell familiarly in, and to rule; where CHRIST is, all happinesse must follow. If Christ goeth, all will goe; where Christs governmēt in his ordinances, and his spirit is, there all subordi­nate government wil pros­per: [Page 288] Religiō inspireth life & grace into al other things, all other vertues without it are but as a faire picture without a head. Where Christs lawes are writtē in the heart, there all other good lawes are best obey­ed, none despise mās law, but those that despise Christs Nemo hu­ma [...]m au­thoritatem [...], nisi qui di­vinam pri­ [...]s contemp­s [...]. first. Of all persons a man guided by Christ is the best, and of all creatures in the world, a man guided by will & affection (next the devil) is the worst. The happiness of weaker things stands in being ruled by stronger: it is best for a blind man to bee guided by him that hath sight; it it best for sheepe and such like shift­lesse [Page 289] creatures to bee gui­ded by mā; & it is happiest for man to be guided by CHRIST, because his government is so victori­ous that it frees us from the feare and danger of our greatest enemies, and tends to bring us to the greatest happinesse that our nature is capable of. This should make us to joy when CHRIST reign­eth in us. When Salomon was crowned the people shou­ted, so that the earth rang; much more should we re­joyce in CHRIST our King. And likewise for those, whose soules are deere unto us, that Christ [Page 290] may raigne in them also, that they may bee baptized Mat. 3. 11. by CHRIST with this fire, that these sparkes may be kindled in them. Men labour to cherish: the spirit and metall (as they terme it) of those they traine up, because they thinke they wil have use of it in the ma­nifold affaires and troubles of this life. Oh, but let us cherish the▪ sparkes of Grace in them: sor a natu­rall spirit in great trou­bles will faile, but these sparkes will make them conquerors over the grea­test evills.

If CHRISTS, judge­ment sall bee victorious, Vse. 3. [Page 291] then Popery being an op­posite frame, set up by the wit of man [...] maintaine stately [...]enesse, must fall. And it is falne already in the hearts of those upon whom CHRIST. hath shined. It is a lye, and founded upon a lye, upon the infallible judgement of a man subject to sin and error: When that whi [...]h is taken for a principle of truth, becomes a principle of error, the more relying upon it, the more danger.

It is not only said, judg­ment 6 Corclusiō. shall bee victorious, but that CHRIST will bring it openly forth to victorie. Whence we ob­serve [Page 292] that Grace shall bee glory, and runne into the eyes of all. Now CHRIST doth conquer and hath his owne ends, but it is in some sort invisibly: his enemies within and with­out us seeme to have the better. But he will bring forth judgement into victory, to the view of all. The wicked that now shut their eyes shall see it to their torment. It shall not be in the power of subtile men to see or not see what they would, CHRIST will have power over their hearts, and as his wrath shall immediately seize upon their soules against [Page 293] their wills; so will he have power over the eyes of their soules to see and know what will increase their misery; Griefe shall be fastned to all their sen­ses, and their senses to griefe.

Then all the false glos­ses which they put upon things shall bee wiped a­way. Men are desirous to have the reputation of good, and yet the sweet­nesse of ill; nothing so cor­dially opposed by them, as that truth which layeth them open to themselves, and to the eyes of others; their chiefe care being how to daube with the [Page 294] world and their owne consciences. But the time will come when they shall be driven out of this fooles paradise, and the more subtile their conveyance of things hath beene, the more shall be their shame. CHRIST whom GOD hath chosen to set forth the chiefe glory of his ex­cellencies, is now veyled in regard of his body the Church, but will come ere long to bee glorious in his Saints; and not lose the cleere manifestation of any ofhis attributes, and will declare to all the world what he is. When there shall be no glory but [Page 295] that of CHRIST and his Spouse, Those that are as smoaking flaxe now, shall then shine as the Sun in the firmament, and their righteousnesse breake forth as the noone day.

Th [...] Image of GOD in Adam had a commanding majestie in it, so that all creatures r [...]vereneed him, much mo [...]e shall the I­mage of GOD in the per­fection of it; command respectin all. Even now there is a [...] awe put into the hoasts of the grea­test, towards those in whō they▪ see any grace to shine▪ from whence it was that Herod [...]eared [...]ohn Bap­tist, [Page 296] but what will this bee in their day of bringing forth, which is called the day of the revelation of the son [...]es of God.

There will bee more glorious times, when the Rev. 11. Kingdomes of the earth shall be the Lord Iesus Christs; and hee shall raigne for ever: then shall judgment and truth have its victory: Then CHRIST will plead his owne cause, truth shall no longer bee called heresie, and schisme, nor heresie catholike doctrine, wickednesse shall no lon­ger goe masqued and dis­guised, goodnesse shall appeare in its owne lustre, [Page 297] and shine in its owne beames, things shall bee what they are, nothing is hidden but shall be laid open. Iniquity shall not be cari­ed in a mystery any lon­ger. Deepe dissemblers that thinke to hide their counsells from the Lord shall walke no longer in­visible as in the clouds.

If this were beleeved, Vse. men would make more ac­count of sincerity, which will onely give us bold­nesse, and not seeke for co­vershames; the confidence whereof as it maketh men now more presumptuous, so it wil expose them here­after to the greater shame.

[Page 298] If judgement shall bee brought forth to victory, then those that have been ruled by their own deceit­full hearts, and a spirit of errour, shall bee brought forth to disgrace: That GOD that hath joyned grace and truth with ho­nour, hath joyned sin and shame together at the last; all the wit and power of man can never bee able to sever what God hath coupled. Truth and piety may bee trampled upon for a time, but as the two witnesses af­ter they were slaine rose againe and stood upon their feet; so whatsoever is of GOD shall at length [Page 299] stand upon its owne bot­tome. There shall bee a resurrection not onely of bodies but of credits. Can wee thinke that hee that throw the Angells out of heaven, will suffer dust and wormes meat to runne a contrary course, and to ca­ry it alwayes so; No, as verily as CHRIST is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, so will hee dash all those peeces of earth which rise up against him, as a p [...]t­ters Psal. 2. vessell. Was there ever any fierce against God and, prospered? No doubtlesse, I [...]b 9. 4. the rage of man shall turne to CHRISTS praise: Psa. 76. 10. What was said of Pharaoh [Page 300] shall bee said of all headdy enemies, who had rather lose their soules, then their wills, that they are but raised up for CHRIST to get himselfe glory in their confusion.

Let us then take heed that wee follow not the wayes of those men, whose ends we shall tremble at: There is not a more feare­full judgement can befall the nature of man, then to bee given up to a repro­bate judgement of persons and things, because it com­meth under a w [...]e, to call ill good, and good ill.

How will they be laden with curses another day [Page 301] that abuse the judgement of others by sophistry and flattery, deceivers, and be­ing deceived? Then the complaint of our first mo­ther Eve will be taken up, but fruitlesly; The serpent hath deceived me, Sathan in such and such hath de­ceived me. Sinne hath de­ceived me, a foolish heart hath deceived mee. It is one of the highest points of wisedome, to consider upon what grounds wee venture our soules. Happy men will they bee who have by CHRISTS light, a right judgement of things, and suffer that judgement to prevaile o­ver [Page 302] their hearts.

The soule of most men is drowned in their senses, and caried away with weake opinions, raysed from vulgar mistakes and shadowes of things. And Satan is ready to in­large the imagination of outward good, and out­ward ill, and make it grea­ter then it is, and spirituall things lesse, presenting them through false glasses. And so men trusting in va­nity, vanish themselves in their owne apprehensions. A wofull condition, when both wee and that which wee highly esteeme shall vanish together, which [Page 303] will be as truly as Christs judgement shall come to victory; and in what mea­sure the vaine heart of man hath beene inlarged to conceive a greater good in things of this world then there is, by so much the soule shall be in­larged or be more sensible of misery when it sees its error. This is the diffe­rence betwixt a godly wise man, and a deluded worldling; that which the one doth more judge to be vain, the other shal hereaf­ter feel to be so, when it is too late. But this is the va­nity of our natures, that though we shun above all [Page 304] things to be deceived and mistakē in present things; yet in the greatest matters of all we are willingly ig­norant and mis-led.

The fourth conclusion is, Conclusi [...] 4. That this government is set up and advanced by Christ alone. He bringeth judgement to victory. We both fight & prevail in the power of his might, we over­come by the Spirit obtain­ed by the blood of the Lambe.

It is he alone that teach­eth our hands to warre, and Ps [...]l. 144 1. fingers to fight. Nature (as corrupted) favors its owne being, and will maintaine it selfe against CHRISTS government. Nature (sim­ply [Page 305] considered) cannot raise it selfe above it selfe to actions spirituall of a higher order and nature, therfore the divine power of CHRIST is necessary to cary us above all our own strength, especially in du­ties wherin we meet with greater opposition; for there, not onely nature will faile us, but ordinarie grace, unlesse there bee a stronger and a new supply. In taking up a burthen that is waightier then or­dinary, if there bee not a greater proportion of strength then weight, the undertaker will lye under it. So to every strong en­counter [Page 306] there must bee a new supply of strength: as in Peter when he was as­saulted with a stronger temptation, being not up­held and shored up with a mightier hand, notwith­standing former strength foully fell. And being falne, in our raisings up a­gaine it is CHRIST that must doe the worke, 1, by removing, or 2, weakning, or 3, suspending opposite hindrances, 4, & by advan­cing the power of his grace in us to a further de­gree then wee had before wee fell; therefore when we are fallen, and by falls have gotten a bruise, let us [Page 307] goe to Christ presently to binde us up againe.

Let us know therefore Vse. that it is dangerous to look for that from our selves, which we must have [...]om CHRIST. Since the fall, all our strength lyes in him as Sampsons in his haire, we are but subordinate agents moving as we are moved, and working as we are first wrought upon, free so far forth as wee are freed, no wiser nor stronger then he makes us to be for the pre­sent Sic s [...] [...]: [...]ortalium cord a quae scimus, [...] necesse non est, in neces­sitate [...] ­mus. Ber [...] ▪ de cons [...]. in any thing wee un­dertake. It is his Spirit that actuates and inlive­neth and applyeth that knowledge and strength [Page 308] we have, or else it saileth and lyeth as uselesse in us; we worke when we worke upon a present strength. therefore dependant spi­rits, are the wisest and the ablest. Nothing is stronger [...] [...]ititur qui non [...]. then humility, that goeth out of it selfe; or weaker then pride that resteth up­on its owne bottome: and this should the rather bee observed, because natural­ly we affect a kinde of Di­vinity, Ass [...]llalie di [...]initatis. in setting upon actions in the strength of our owne parts; whereas CHRIST saith, without me you can doe nothing, he doth not say you can doe a lit­tle, Iob. 15. but nothing; therefore [Page 309] in all (especially difficult encounters) let us lift up our hearts to CHRIST, who hath spirit enough for us all, in all our exi­gences; and say with good Iehosaphat, Lord wee know 2 Chro [...]. 20▪ 2. not what to doe, but our eyes are towards thee; The bat­tell we fight is thine, and the strength whereby wee fight must be thine. If thou goest not out with us, wee are sure to be foiled. Sa­than knowes nothing can prevaile against CHRIST, or those that relye upon his power; therefore his study is, how to keepe us in our selves, and in the creature: but we must cary [Page 310] alwayes in our minds, that that which is begun in self­confidence will end in shame.

The manner of Christs bringing forth judgement to victory, is by letting us see a necessity of depen­dance upon him: hence proceed those spirituall desertions, wherein he of­ten leaveth us to our selves, both in regard of grace and comfort, that we may know the Spring­head of these to be out of our selves. Hence it is that in the Mount, that is, in ex­tremities, Gen. 22. 13. God is most seen. Hence it is that we are sa­ved by the grace of faith, [Page 311] that carieth us out of our selves to relye upon ano­ther; and that faith work­eth best alone, when it hath least outward sup­port. Hence it is that wee often faile in lesser con­flicts, and stand out in greater, because in lesse we rest more in our selves; in greater wee fly to the rock of our salvation which is Psal. 61. [...]. higher then we. Hence like­wise it is, that wee are stronger after foyles, be­cause hidden corruption undiscerned before, is now discovered, and thence wee are brought to make use of mercy pardoning, and power supporting: [Page 312] One maine ground of this dispensation, is, that wee should know it is Christ that giveth both the will, and the deed: and that as a voluntary worker, accor­ding to his owne good pleasure. And therefore we should workout our sal­vation in a jealous feare and trembling, lost by unreve­rent Phil. 2. [...] and presumptuous walking, wee give him cause to suspend his graci­ous influence, and to leave us to the darknesse of our owne heart.

Those that are under CHRISTS governmēt, have the spirit of Revela­tion whereby they see and [Page 313] feel a divine power sweet­ly & strongly inabling thē for to preserve faith when they feele the contrary, & hope in a state hopelesse, and love to GOD under signes of his displeasure, and heavenly mindedness in the midst of worldly af­faires & alluremets draw­ing a contrary way; they feel a power preserving pa­tience, nay joy in the midst of causes of mourning, in­ward peace in the midst of assaults. To make so little grace so victorious over so great a masse of corrup­tion, this requireth a spirit more then humane; this is as to preserve fire▪ in the [Page 314] sea, and a part of heaven even as it were in hell. Here wee know where to have this power, and to whom to returne the praise of it. And it is our happinesse, that it is so safely hid in CHRIST for us, in one so neere unto GOD and us. Since the fall, GOD will not trust us with our owne salvati­on, but it is both purcha­sed and kept by CHRIST for us, & we for it through faith, wrought by the power of GOD, and laying hold of the same: which power is gloriously set forth by Saint Paul, I, to be a great power, 2, an Ephes 5. 19. [Page 315] exceeding power, 3, a work­ing and a mighty power, 4, such a power as was wrought in raising Christ from the dead. That grace which is but a perswasive offer, and in our pleasure to receive or refuse, is not that grace which brings us to heaven; but Gods people feel a power­full work of the Spirit not onely revealing unto us our misery, and delive­rance through Christ, but emptying us of our selves as being redeemed from our selves, and infusing new life into us, and after strengthning us and quick­ning of us when we droop [Page 316] and hang the wing, and ne­ver leaving us till perfect conquest.

The fift conclusion is, that this prevailing Go­vernment 5 Conclu­sion. shall not bee without fighting; there can be no victory where there is no combate; in E­say it is said, hee shall bring Esay 42. 3. judgment in truth: here it is said, he shall send forth judg­ment into victory. The word send forth hath a stronger sense in the ori­ginall, to send forth with force, to shew, that where his government is in truth, it will be opposed, untill he get­teth the upper hand. No­thing is so opposed, as [Page 317] CHRIST and his govern­ment both with in us, and without us. And within us most in our first con­version, though corruptiō prevailes not so farre as to make voyd the powerfull worke of grace, yet there is not onely a possibility of opposing, but a proannesse to oppose, and not onely a proanness, but an actuall withstanding the working of CHRISTS Spirit, and that in every action, but yet no prevailing re­sistance, so far as to make void the worke of grace, but corruption in the is­sue yeelds to grace.

There is much: adoc to [Page 318] bring CHRIST into the heart, and to settle a Tri­bunall for him to judge there, there is an army of lusts mutiny against him. The utmost strength of most mens indeavours and parts, is to keepe CHRIST from ruling in the soule, the flesh still laboureth to maintaine its owne regen­cy, and therefore it cryes downe the credit of what­soever crosseth it, as Gods blessed ordinances, &c. and highly prizeth any thing, though never so dead and empty, if it give way to the liberty of the flesh.

And no marvaile if the [Page 319] spirituall government of CHRIST be so opposed, Reasons why Christs govern­ment is opposed. 1, because it is governmēt, & that limits the course of the will, and casteth a bri­dle upon its wanderings, 1. every thing naturally re­sists what opposeth it; so corrupt will labours to beare downe all Lawes, and counteth it a generous thing not to be awed, and an argument of a low spi­rit to feare any, even GOD himselfe, untill unavoyd­able danger seizeth on men, and then those that feared least out of danger, feare most in danger, as we see in Balthazar. Dan 5. 6.

2, It is spiritual govern­ment, 2. [Page 320] and therefore the lesse will flesh indure it: Christs government brin­geth the very thoughts & desires which are the most immediate and free issue of the soule into obedi­ence, though a man were of so composed a cariage that his whole life were free from outward offen­sive breaches, yet with Christ, to bee carnally or Rom 8 6 G [...]atius est, peccatum diligere quā perpetrare &c. Greg. Moral lib. 25. cap. 11. Object. worldly mindeded is death, he looketh on a worldly mind with greater detesta­tion then any one particu­lar offence.

But Christs Spirit is in those who are in some de­gree earthly minded?

[Page 321] True it is, but not as an Ans. allower and maintainer, but as an opposer, subduer, and in the end as a Con­querour: Carnall men would faine bring Christ and the flesh together and could bee content with some reservation to sub­mit to Christ, but Christ will be no underling to a­ny base affection; and ther­fore where there is allow­ance of our selves in any sinsull lust, it is a signe the Keyes were never given up to Christ to rule us.

3, Because it is judge­ment, 3. and men love not to be judged and censured. Now Christ in his truth [Page 322] arraigneth them, giveth sentence against them, and bindeth them over to the latter judgement of the great day. And therefore they take upon them to judge that truth that must judge them, but truth will bee too good for them; Man hath a day now, which Saint Paul calls mans day, wherein hee getteth upon 1 Cor. 4. 3. his bench, and usurpeth a judgement over Christ and his wayes; but GOD hath a day, wherein he will set all straight, and his judgement shall stand. And the Saints shall have their time, when they shall sit in judgment upon them 1 Cor. [...]. 2. [Page 223] that judge them now. In the meane time CHRIST will rule in the middest of Psal. 110. his enemies, in the midst of our hearts.

It is therefore no signe Vse. of a good condition, to [...]nde all quiet and nothing at oddes. For can we think that corruption wch is the elder in us, and sathan the strong man, that keepeth many holds in us, will yeeld possession quietly: No, there is not so much as a thought of goodnesse discovered by him, but he joyneth with corruption to kill it in the birth. And as Pharaohs cruelty was e­specially against the male [Page 324] children; so Sathans ma­lice is especially against the most religious and manly resolutions.

This then wee are al­wayes to expect, that wheresoever Christ com­meth, there will be oppo­sition: when Christ was borne all Ierusalem was troubled; so when Christ is borne in any man, the soule is in an uproare, and all because the heart is un­willing to yeeld up it selfe to Christ to rule it.

Wheresoever Christ commeth, he breedeth di­vision, not only I, between man and himselfe, but 2, betweene man and man, [Page 325] and 3, betweene Church and Church: Of which disturbance Christ is no more the cause, they Phy­sicke is of trouble in a di­stempered body, of which noysome humors are the proper cause, for the end of Physicke is the peace of humors. But Christ think­eth it fit that the thoughts of mens hearts should bee discovered: and hee is as well for the falling, as the rising of many in Israel.

Thus the desperate mad­nesse of men is layd open, that they had rather bee under the guidance of their owne lusts, and by consequent of Satan him­selfe [Page 326] to their endlesse de­struction, then put their feet into Christs setters, and their neckes under his yoake; whereas indeed Christs service is the only true libertie, his yoake an easie yoake, his burden but as the burden of wings to a bird, that maketh her flie the higher. Sathans go­vernment is rather a bon­dage then a government, unto which Christ giveth up those that shake off his owne, for then hee gi­veth Sathan and his factors power over them, since they will not receive the 2 Thes 2. 20. truth in love, take him Ie­suite, take him Sathan, [Page 327] blind him, and binde him, & lead him to perdition. Those that take the most liberty to sinne, are the most perfect slaves, be­cause most voluntarie slaves, the will in everie thing is either the best or the worst, the further men goe on in a wilfull course, the deeper they sincke in rebellion; and the more they crosse CHRIST, doing what they will, the more they shall one day suffer what they would not. In the meane time they are prisoners in their owne soules, bound over in their consciences to the judgement of him after [Page 328] death, whose judgement they would none of in their lives. And is it not equall that they should feele him a severe Iudge to condemne them, whom they would not have a milde Iudge to rule them.

For Conclusion and ge­nerall application of all that hath beene spoken, unto our selves. We see the conflicting, but yet sure and hopefull state of Gods people. The victo­ry lyeth not upon us, but upon CHRIST who hath taken upon him as to con­quer for us, so to conquer in us. The victory lyeth neither in our own strēgth [Page 329] to get, nor in our enemies to defeat it. If it lay upon us wee might justly feare. But CHRIST will main­taine his owne govern­ment in us, and take our part against our corrupti­ons; they are his Enemies as well as ours. Let us Eph. 6. 10. therefore bee strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; Let us not looke so much who are our ene­mies, as who is our Iudge, and Captaine; not what they threaten, but what he promiseth; wee have more for us, then against us. What coward would not fight, when he is sure of vi­ctory; none are here over­come, [Page 330] but he that will not sight. Therefore, when any base fainting seizeth upon us, let us lay the blame where it is to bee layd. Wee see here what wee may looke for from heaven. O beloved it is a comfortable thing to con­ceive of CHRIST aright, to know what love, mercy, strength we have layed up for us in the brest of CHRIST. A good con­ceit of the Physitian (we say) is halfe the cure; Let us not suffer Sathan to transforme Christ unto us, to bee otherwise then he is to those that are his. Let us make use of this [Page 331] his mercy and power eve­rie day, in our daily com­bats: CHRIST will not leave us, till he hath made us like himselfe, all glorious within and without, and pre­sented us blamelesse before his Father. What a com­fort is this in our conflicts with our unruly hearts, that it shall not alwaies be thus; let us strive a lit­tle while, and we shall bee happy for ever. Let us thinke when wee are trou­bled with our sinnes, that CHRIST hath this in charge of his Father, That he shall not quench the smoa­king slaxe, untill hee hath subdued all. This putteth [Page 332] a sheild into our hands to beat backe all the fiery darts of Sathan: he will object, [...]hes. 6 16. thou art a great sinner; we may answer, CHRIST 1. is a strong Saviour: but he will object, thou hast no faith, no love? Yes a 2. sparke of faith and love: but CHRIST will not re­gard that? Yes, he will not quench the smoaking flaxe. 3. But this is so little and weake, that it will vanish, and come to nought? Nay, but CHRIST will cherish 4. it untill hee hath brought judgment to victory. And thus much for our comfort we have already, that even when we first beleeved we [Page 333] overcame God himself (as it were) by beleeving the pardon of all our sinnes; notwithstanding the guilt of our owne consciences, and his absolute justice. Now having beene pre­vailers with GOD, what shall stand against us if we can learne to make use of our faith?

O what a confusion is this to Sathan, that hee should labour to blow out a poore sparke, and yet should not bee able to quench it; that a graine of Mustard seed should bee stronger then the gates of Hell; that it should be able to remove mountaines of op­positions [Page 334] and temptations cast up by Sathan and our rebellious hearts between GOD and us. Abimelech could not indure that it should bee said a Woman Iudg. 9. 54. had slaine him, and it must needs be a Torment to Sa­than, that a weake childe, a woman, and decrepit old man should by a spirit of faith put him to flight.

Since there is such com­fort, where there is a little truth of grace, that it will be so victorious, Let us oft try what: GOD hath wrought in us, search our good, as well as our ill, and be thankfull to GOD for the least measure of [Page 335] grace, more then for any outward thing, it wil be of more use and comfort then al this world which passeth away & comes to nothing. Yea let us be thankfull sor that promised and assured victory, which we may re­lie on without presumpti­on, as Saint Paul doth; Thankes bee to GOD, 1 C [...]. 25. 57. that hath given us victorie in Iesu Christ. See a slame in a spark, a tree in a seed; see great things in little beginnings; Looke not so much to the beginning, as to the perfection, and so we shall bee in some de­gree joyfull in our selves, and thankfull unto Christ.

[Page 336] And let all this that hath beene spoken, allure those that are not yet in state of grace, to come under CHRISTS sweet and victorious government, for though wee shall have much opposition, yet if we strive, hee will helpe us, if we faile, he wil cherish us, if wee bee guided by him, we shall overcome, If we overcome, wee are sure to be crowned. And for the presēt state of the Church we see now how forlorne it is, yet let us comfort our selves, that CHRISTS cause shall prevaile, Christ will rule, till he hath made [...]. 110. 1. his enemies his footstoole, [Page 337] not onely to trample up on: but to helpe him up to mount higher in glory. Babylon shall fall, for strong is the Lord who hath condem­ned her, Rev. 18. 8. Christs judgement not onely in his children, but also a­gainst his enemies shall be victorious, for hee is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. GOD will not suffer An­tichrist and his supports to revell and ruffle in the Church as they doe.

If we looke to the pre­sent state of the Church of CHRIST, it is as Daniel in the midst of Lyons, as a Lilly amongst thornes. As a ship not onely tossed, [Page 338] but almost covered, with waves. It is so low, that the enemies thinke they have buried CHRIST in regard of his Gospel, in the grave, and there they thinke to keepe him from rising: but CHRIST as he rose in his person, so hee will roule away all stones, & rise again in his church: how little support hath the Church and cause of CHRIST at this day▪ how strong a conspiracie is against it. The spirit of Antichrist is now lifted up, and marcheth furious­ly; things seeme to hang on a small and invisible thread. But our comfort [Page 339] is that CHRIST liveth and raigneth, and standeth on Mount Sion in defence of Re [...]. 1 4. 1. them that stand for him; and when States and King­domes shall dash one a­gainst another; CHRIST will have care of his owne Children and cause, seeing there is nothing else in the world that he much estee­meth. At this very time the delivery of his Church, and the ruine of his ene­mies is in working: we see not things in motion till CHRIST hath done his worke, and then wee shall see that the Lord raigneth. CHRIST and his Church when they are at the low­est, [Page 340] are neerest rising: his enemies at the highest are neerest a downefall.

The Iewes are not yet come in under CHRISTS banner, but GOD that hath perswaded Iaphet to come into the Tents of Shem, will perswade Shem to come into the Tents of Gen. 9. 27. Iaphet. The fulnesse of the Gentiles is not yet come in, Rom. 11. 25. but CHRIST that hath the utmost parts of the earth given him for his possession, will gather all Psal. 2. 8. the sheepe his Father hath given him into one fold, that there may bee one sheepfold, and one shep­heard. Ioh. 10. 16.

[Page 341] The faithfull Iewes re­joyced to thinke of the calling of the Gentiles: and why should not we joy to thinke of the calling of the Iewes?

The Gospels course hath hitherto been as that of the Sun from East to West, and so in GODS time may proceed yet fur­ther West. No creature can hinder the course of the Sun, nor stop the influ­ence of heaven, nor hinder the blowing of the winde, much lesse hinder the pre­vailing power of divine truth, untill CHRIST hath brought all under one head, and then he will pre­sent [Page 342] all to his Father; these are they thou hast given unto me; these are they that have taken mee for their Lord and King, that have suffered with mee. My will is that they bee where I am, and raigne with mee. And then hee will deliver up the King­dome even to his Father, and put downe all other rule, and authority, and 1 C [...]. 15. 14. power.

Let us then bring our hearts to holy resolutions, and set our selves upon that which is good, and against that which is ill, in our selves or others, ac­cording to our callings: [Page 343] upon this incouragement, that CHRISTS grace and power shall goe along with us. What had be­come of that great worke of Reformation of Religi­on in the latter Spring of the Gospel, if men had not beene armed with invin­cible courage to out­stride all lets, upon this faith that the cause was CHRISTS, and that he would not be wanting to his owne cause. Luther ingenuosly confessed, that he caried matters often in­considerately, and with mixture of passion, but upon acknowledgement, GOD tooke not advan­tage [Page 344] of his errors, but the cause being GODS, and his aymes being holy, to promote the truth, and being a mighty man in prayer, and strong in faith, GOD by him kindled that fire, which all the world shall never bee able to quench. According to our faith so is our incourage­ment to all duties, there­fore let us strengthen faith that it may strengthen all other graces. This very beliefe, that faith shall bee victorious, is a meanes to make it so indeed. Be­leeve it therefore, that though it bee often as smoaking flax, yet it shall [Page 345] preuaile. If it prevaile with GOD himselfe in tryalls, shall it not prevaile over all other opposition? Let us waite a while, and we shall see the salvation of the Lord.

The Lord reveale him­selfe more and more unto us in the face of his Sonne Iesus CHRIST, and mag­nifie the power of his grace in cherishing those beginnings of grace in the middest of our corrupti­ons; and sanctifie the con­sideration of our owne in­firmities to humble us, and of his tender mercy to incourage us: And per­swade us that since he hath [Page 346] taken us into the covenant of grace, hee will not cast us off for those corrupti­ons; which as they grieve his Spirit; so they make us vile in our owne eyes. And because Sathan labours to obscure the glory [...] of his mercy, and hinder our comfort by discourage­ments. The Lord adde this to the rest of his mer­cies, that since he is so gra­cious to those that yeeld to his goverment, we may make the right use of this grace, and not lose any portion of comfort that is layd up for us in CHRIST. And hee vouchsafe to let the prevailing power of [Page 347] his Spirit in us, bee an evi­dence of the truth of grace begun, and a pledge of fi­nall victory, at that time when he will be all in all, in all his for all eternity.



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