• Two Sermons of Christian watch­fulnesse.
  • The first upon Luke 12 37.
  • The Second upon Revel. 16.15.
  • An Exposition of part of the second Chapter of the Epistle to the Philipp.
  • A Sermon upon Mal. 4.2.3.

By the late Reverend Divine Richard Sibbes, D.D. Master of Katherine Hall in Cam­bridge, and sometimes Preacher at Grayes-Inne.

1 TIM. 4.8.

But godlinesse is profitable, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

LONDON, Printed by T. Cotes for Peter Cole, and are to be sold at the Glove & Lyon in Corne-hill, neare the Royall Exchange, 1639.

TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE Sr. MAVRICE ABBOT KNIGHT, now Lord Maior of the Ho­norable Citie of London.

Right Honorable,

MY respects unto you (being your Ho­nours ingaged ma­ny wayes) have put me upon a designe or project for you; the God of Heaven graciously prosper it in my hand. The tenour of it is briefly this: to encrease your honour, and to ease the burden of that laborious government, which now lyeth upon your shoulder.

To mention your name before the glorious labour of so great and wor­thy [Page] an agent in the factorage of Heaven (as the Author of this piece was) and to make you a Protector of them: can­not (I conceive) in sober interpretati­on, but be conceived, to adde honour un­to him that hath, and cause him to have more abundantly. Blessed is the wing that is spread over any of the things of Iesus Christ to shelter them.

Againe, to put into your hand, and from your hand into your heart, the remembrance of that God, that will gloriously recompence your faithful­nesse in that great trust committed to you, cannot but (by the blessing of him to whom blessing belongeth) be a cor­diall meanes to strengthen your heart in the pange of government, and cause you to travaile and bring forth with more ease. There is no labour, nor travaile, nor sorrow, nor difficultie, nor danger, nor death that hath any evill or bitternesse in it, when Heaven is be­fore us, and the truth and faithfulnesse [Page] of the living God embracing us.

If I have miscaried in point of good manners, or otherwise in this Dedica­tion, your Honour shall doe but justice to charge your owne courtesie and re­spects alwayes shewed unto mee, (at least in part) with the blame of it. Had not there beene the tempter, doubtlesse in this case I had not beene the trans­gressour. The God of peace prosper the government of this great Cittie in your hand; and make it a glorious rise and advantage unto you of your greater glory in the Heavens. And your Ho­nour may assure your selfe that so it shall come to passe, unlesse that God that heareth prayer shall reject the prayer of,

Your honour to command in the Lord; I. G.

To the Reader.

GOod Reader, to discourse the worth or commendations of the Author, (especially the pens of others having done sacrifice unto him in that kind) I judge it but an impertinencie: and make no question, but that if I should exchange thoughts or judgements with thee herein, I should have but mine owne againe. The booke it selfe, judiciously interpreted is a volume of his commen­dation: and those though from his owne mouth, without any touch or tincture of vanitie or selfe affectation.Lo [...]uere ut videa? The best sight of a man is to heare him speake, the tongue being a voluntary and pleasant rack to the heart, to make it confesse its treasure whether it bee good or evill. The diligence and care of those, that have interposed for the preser­ving of what came from him in this way from perishing, have made the Christian world deb­tors unto them, and great pitty it had beene, that what he spake in publicke, should have dyed in se­cret, and not be made seven time [...] more publicke, then speaking could doe. The sparkes of such fires as he kindled, would have beene ill quenched, till the world had beene further serv'd with the light and heat of them.

[Page]It is true, heapes of bookes is one of the oppressi­ons of the world, and the invention of the Presse hath beene the exaltation of weakenesse and vani­tie amongst men as well as of learning and know­ledge. Yet know I no way better to reteine the op­pressed in this kind, then for men of worth and growne judgements and learning, to appeare in bookes also among the multitude. The time was, when there were (as the Apostle speaketh) Gods many, 1 Cor. 8.5. and Lords many in the world, when the world was pestred with Devills of all sorts, in stead of Gods: but the onely meanes of discharg­ing the world of them, was the setting forth and preaching of the one true God, and Lord Iesus Christ: so the furnishing the world with such bookes, as are bookes indeed, that breathe spirit and life, and are strong of heaven, speaking with au­thoritie and power to the consciences of men, is the onely way to affamish the multitude of Idoll books, and to have them desolate without a reader. It is (questionlesse) with men in respect of bookes, as it is in respect of men themselves (and indeede how there should be any difference betweene men and bookes I know not, the booke being but the minde of a man, and the minde of a man being the man himselfe) Homo homini Deus, Animus [...]u­jusque is est quisque [...]. homo homini Lupus. There are men that are Gods to men, and there are men that are Wolves to men; and the more men-wolves there are in the world, the more men-gods there had neede to bee; otherwise the darkenesse would overcome the light, and make the [Page] earth as the shadow of death. So there are bookes that are laden with divine and true treasure, that will recompence the Reader, his labour and paines seven fold into his bosome, that will open his mouth and enlarge his heart to blesse God, that hath given gifts unto men: Againe there are bookes also that will deale cruelly and deceitfully with men, consuming their pretious time & oppor­tunities, taking their mony for that which is not bread. Now the more dreamers of dreames there are, there had neede be the more that see visions. The more weake, hungry, loose and emptie discour­ses the world is overlayed and encumbred with all, the more neede it hath, by way of a counter recom­pence, of a full provision of solid and masculine writings, that may make men, men; and not al­wayes children in understanding.

But I must remember, that prefacing Authors with long Epistles is no imployment of any sove­reigne necessitie. Therefore I will no longer sepa­rate betweene thee, and that which I desire to re­commend unto thee more then any thing of mine owne. The blessing of him that giveth the increase be upon the labour of him that planted and watred much in the courts of the house of his God; that though hee be dead, hee may yet speake to the edifi­cation of thine and of many soules.

Thine with a single heart and multiplied affections in the Lord. I.G.

AN EXPOSITION OF THE THIRD Chapter of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians.

PHILIP. 3.1.

Finally my Brethren, rejoyce in the Lord.

THIS Chapter con­taines a general Exhortation to severall duties: In this Verse you have the manner of doing them, all must bee done in rejoycing. From thence he proceeds to backe other particular [Page] [...] [Page 1] [...] [Page 2] Exhortations, with reasons and examples of himselfe, which we will speake of particularly when we come at them. Now in this Verse I wil speake first of the Compellation, Brethren: then of the Exhortation, Rejoyce: and lastly of the Limitation, In the Lord.

The Ap­pellation.[Brethren.] By this loving Compellation hee labours to enter into their hearts and affe­ctions; well knowing, That exhortations are of the more force, being directed to those that are perswaded of the good affection of the speaker. If exhortation comes from the pride of a man, the pride of man in the hearers will beat it back, and give no entertainment there­unto.

But why are Christians Brethren?

First, they have the same beginning of life from the same Father: as also they have the same common Brother, that is, Christ. They have the same wombe, the Church; the same food, the Word of God. They have the same promises: they are all heires, all borne to an Inheritance. Furthermore, the word Brother is a word of equality and of dignitiy: of equality, though in personall Callings one is superior to other, yet this takes not away the common Brotherhood. This should fill up the vallies of mens hearts dejected here, in regard of their meane estates; as also pull downe the mountaines of the proud hearts of men, lifted up through these outward things. Kings must not lift up themselves in disdaine of others, be­cause [Page 3] all these personall respects end in death, we carry them not to Heaven; and in those re­spects that we agree in here, as in Grace and Goodnesse, we shall continue united for ever. And yet must we honour such as are in emi­nencie, and acknowledge them as men worthy of all respect, and give them dignity accor­ding to their places.

But further, this is a name of Dignitie, it ar­gues that we are not basely borne, that we are sonnes of God, and heires of Heaven: Christ after his resurrection, the first terme he gives his Disciples, tell my Brethren (saith he) I go to my Father and their Father. This word is also a word of love, and therewith the Apostle insinuates the affections of the Philippians. Ex­amine therefore thy affections towards the sonnes of God. If we love and respect them as our own Brethren, good is our estate: if we hate them, our estate cannot be good.

And in the second place, Let not this word be appropriated to some, and not to others, which are notwithstanding of the same number. For one brother cannot make another no brother: for it is one and the same Father that makes Bre­thren. So long therefore as thou seest any thing of Christ in any, breake not off thy af­fection, and disdaine not the name of brother to such: for where the spirit is, it workes in us a resemblance of God; and where it stamps his Image, it makes them Brethren.

[Rejoyce. Exhor­tation.] It is not only an affection, but a [Page 4] dutie that we are injoyned. Wherein first ob­serve,

1 It is a Christians dutie to rejoyce. It is com­manded here: Ministers are injoyned to speak comfort to such, Isa. 40. Comfort yee, Com­fort yee my people; and Christ came to binde up the broken in heart, and the Ministers sent to shew men their unrighteousnesse. Iob. 33.23. The spirit that is in such is the spirit of joy: and therefore joy is reckoned as a fruit of the spirit Gal. 5.22.

And why should not Christians rejoyce? they are free from the spirituall Egypt, from greatest miseries. Nay why should not we sing as the Israelites did after their deliverance? our enemies, and deliverance, is farre greater than theirs. And we have the greatest prerogatives; we have here an assured hope of eternall per­fect happinesse hereafter, we have peace with God. Rom. 5.1. We have free accesse in all our wants to the throne of grace, and wee have a God ready to heare all our prayers, and to helpe us; we have many gift, already received, Christ is already given us, we are in a state of regeneration; and for the time to come, wee have promises from God, the God of truth, that nothing shall separate us from Christ: surely these are great causes of joy in us: and having such things as these, wee dishonour them, the giver of them, and our selves, and our profession, if we rejoyce not in them.

2 In the second place observe, That it be­longs [Page 5] only to Christians to rejoyce. Others have neither cause of joy, nor commandement to rejoyce: the Ministers and Prophets are bidden to bid such howle and lament, to shew them their miserable estate. And indeed what ground can a condemned person have of joy? for the wicked, till they have remission of sins, they are in a damned estate, and though they will snatch this to themselves, and say that they are sure to be saved, yet is salvation not their portion. They joy indeed, but it is in sinne; in seeing, or doing evill to others. Or if sometimes they joy in the Gospell, (for a wicked man may doe so) it is but a forced joy: and much like hot waters to a cold fit of an Ague, it brings heate, and expulses cold for the present, but it burnes them after. So this joy seemes to comfort them now, but when triall comes it failes him, and makes him more disconsolate to see himselfe thus beguiled. Fit­ter it were for such to bee first humbled, and brought to the sight of their estate, than to ad­minister comfort to them, to speake peace where none belongs is to undoe men. It is the broken that must be healed, and the wearie that must come to Christ.

3 In the third place observe,Limita­tion. The limitation of this joy; it must be in the Lord; That is, in Christ, who in the new Testament is often cal­led Lord, and he is our Lord: First by gift, God hath given us all to Christ. Secondly, by Conquest, he hath gotten victory of Sathan. [Page 6] And thirdly by marriage. And therefore we may well call him Lord, and rejoyce in him, because he is our Lord: for by him we come to conquer all our enemies, by him wee have peace, Rom. 5. he makes us Kings and Priests, and brings us to heaven.

Now for the practise of this dutie of rejoy­cing in the Lord, that we may be incouraged, let us consider how it is a meanes not onely of adherence to God, but also of obedience to his Lawes.

1 Ioy, if it bee sound, knits us firme to God, so as we rest contented in him as our on­ly and sufficient joy, seeking for no other joy in any other thing. To us Christ is made all in all; That we should solace our selves in his fulnesse, which if we truely doe, we will count all other things as despised, assuring our selves, they cannot minister, or adde, any jote of sound comfort at all, and therefore will not indure any thought of mixture of other things with Christ, thereby to make him more sufficient and compleate for our joy to rest on.

Obedience to his lawes: for joy stirres up chearfulnesse to every duty, and makes all du­ties acceptable to God and man: for the want hereof many are dead, and dull in good duties; and where a large portion of this joy is, it will remove all lets and delayes to dutie. It doth not only inable us to, but in dutie. Cain no doubt came cheerfully to a good duty, to sa­crifice: but for want of this cheerfull, and joy­full spirit, what was his behaviour in the per­formance [Page 7] thereof? His countenance was cast downe: this God espies sodainly, and so hee doth in all our dull performances: for he looks things should be done cheerfully, and reason too, for he hath left us a treasure of excellent promises to incourage us. We see it in men, they love when a thing is done cheerfully, they know it betokens love in the partie that doth it: and can we then thinke it strange that God re­quires it. Againe, if we can fashion our selves to this dutie, God hath promised to increase our joy more abundantly: And he performed it to Hezekiah, 2. Chron. 29. end. He will give delight as a reward to him that delighteth in his worke. And therefore we ought to labour to bring our selves to this dutie; to the ob­taining of which, observe these directions.

First,Meanes to get Ioy. consider, that joy comes from Faith. For it is the sense of our reconciliation with Christ, that makes us rejoyce, Rom 5. and 1 Pet. 1.6. Now therefore whatsoever streng­thens Faith, strengthens also our joy; and contrarily what weakens the one, must of ne­cessitie weaken the other. Furthermore, joy comes from peace. Whatsoever therefore dis­turbs our peace, must needs disturbe our joy. Therefore Sathan to despoile us of our joy, he spoiles our faith through our sinnes, and by them he weakens our hope and our comfort. What is to be done then? Surely repaire to the fountaine of health, the well of joy, the Word of God, Isa. 12.3. And from thence [Page 8] must we draw all our comfort. Use therefore the ordinances of God, but use them as in the Lord, in obedience to his commandement, and expect the issue with patience. Many there are that use the meanes, but take no joy at all in them: why? they doe it not as in obedience to Gods command, but they rest in the deed done, and they thinke God is bound to give them joy: God justly denies such that which they presume of.

In the second place; Pray that your joy may bee full. See this in most of Davids Psalmes, at the first he complaines for the want of Gods presence of Gods wrath and anger, but comes off with a large portion of comfort▪ Depart from me yee wicked, for the Lord hath heard my prayer, Psal. 6. In the use of all meanes there­fore joyne prayer: pray for faith, for hope, and such graces as may bring joy. Though at first thou findest thy selfe to bee cold, to have little or no comfort at all, yet give not over, thou shalt at length find plentie thereof. Re­member the woman of Canaan: at the first de­spised and called dogge, but what did her con­stancy gaine? A gracious answer, O woman, great is thy faith, bee it to thee as thou desirest.

In the third place; Remember former times as David did, Psal. 77.6. hee was so oppressed, his sore ranne in the night, and ceased not, (as hee saith.) But then, I remembred the daies of old, &c. Consider thou also in thy deepest affliction, times were once when thou hadst the cleare, [Page 9] and comfortable light of Gods spirit present with thee: he will not leave thee, his nature is unchangeable, &c.

In the fourth place: Have societie with the Saints, and keepe company with those that are good, and as the two Disciples hearts did burne when they talkt with Christ; so verily thou shalt finde this heate of comfort, by little and little to increase: For God blesses the communion of Saints, and such as are discer­ning Christians, can tell us more, and oppor­tunely bring things to mind which thou thy selfe remembrest not, and can informe our judgments when they are blinded with griefe and melancholly. Use therefore the company of the good, when thou findest doubts arise, and make thy griefs knowne to some wise and judicious Christian, for the divell is too strong for any one alone, hee will prevaile against thee, thou wilt be too weake too wrestle with him hand to hand. It is no wonder therefore that Melancholy persons are so destitute of com­fort.

Q. It will be asked: May we not rejoyce in friends societie, deliverance from dangers, and the like good things of this world?

A. I answer yes: and yet joy in the Lord al­so, for when as whatsoever we have, we receive it as a token of Gods particular love to us in Christ who both gives us our daily bread, and the word of life; comforts both heavenly and earthly, These outward things then, I say, doe [Page 10] strengthen the faith of a Christian, and there­by our joy is strengthened: wherefore wee may thus joy in them, nay it is our duty to do it. The wicked they indeed receive them, but onely as from Gods care of the generall good of the world, or race of mankinde: And there­fore can take no joy truely from them as the child of God doth: who in the right use of them, first rejoyceth that he is the child of God, and is reconciled to him in Christ, that Christ is his; and then that he having the field, hath also the pearle; all blessings belonging to this life and a better are in Christ made his, and he so rejoyces in them, as he referres the com­fort, and strength that he receiveth from them to the honour of God. Gods children recei­ving good things from him, are threatned for not rejoycing in them, Deut. 28.47. in the 45. verse he saith: The curses shall be upon thee, for that thou servest not the Lord thy God, with joyfulnesse, and gladnesse of heart, for the abun­dance of all things. And it is expresly comman­ded, Deut. 26.11. Thou shalt rejoyce in everie good thing, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, and thine house.

Q. But it may be questioned. Why (if this be true) are Gods children so disconsolate, none are so much troubled in conscience, as they?

Answ. 1.I answer, Their sorrow proceeds not from their good estate, in that they are Christians, but from the want of the perfections to make them absolute Christians indeed.

[Page 11]2 They either doe not know themselves, or 2 if they doe, because they glorifie not God, nor adorne their profession, God justly suffers his joy to be hid, by [...]iding the comfortable pre­sence of his spirit.

3 Gods childrens joy, though it be great,3 yet is not discerned of the world, it is a hidden joy: the feast is kept in the conscience, it is not seene of the world, which discernes all things carnally: carnall joy is alwayes outward, and easie to expresse.

4 While Gods children live here, they have 4 ever a mixture of the two affections of joy, and griefe, to temper one another: for fulnesse of joy is onely in Heaven, this life will not in­dure perfect joy, but ever when there is cause given of joy, we have something to humble us; and to keepe us from being exalted above measure. As Paul had some base temptation, which he cals the pricke of the flesh, who there­fore bids us to feare and tremble, that we lose not the sense of Gods spirit, by the prevailing of our corruptions.

But it will be objected,Ob. that the Christian is fuller of sorrow than joy. To which

I answer,Answ. it arises either from ignorance of the grounds of comfort, or from want of ap­plication of them. When a man is a you [...]g Christian, newly begun, he knowes not, nor understands, what grounds he hath of joy; they are as children, that know not their inheritance at the first, nor their fathers love: especially if he [Page 12] correct them, they thinke he loves them not. Even those that are growne Christians, faile too often in this, either by mis-applying the grounds, and mis-judging of their estate; or sometimes through the distemper of their body through melancholly. These judge of Grace by the measure, when they should judge by the truth of it, be it never so little. For it is not the measure, that is the evidence of the childe of God, but truth of grace. For there are degrees of grace, in some more, in some lesse, and in one more in one time, than in another. Take therefore a Chri­stian in his right estate, one that is a growne Christian, whom neither melancholy, nor temptation doth trouble, take him I say, as he should be, he doth rejoyce more soundly with true ioy, and hearty, than any one can, being an ungodly man, be he never so merry. How ever, this we may be sure of, a Christian hath the greatest cause to reioyce, and, as I sayd be­fore, hee ought to stirre it up in him by all meanes. And therefore how ever undisposed he be thereto, he ought to search what good things God hath wrought in him: if he doth not know his estate he cannot praise God as he should. He must meditate also of the vanitie of all worldly things, they vanish, and they that put their trust in them ever failed of any true joy, it never comes to the heart of a man, they are not deep enough to comfort men that meet with afflictions: they only touch the fancie, as [Page 13] the fancie of a beast may be delighted.

Let him also compare all discomforts that can come with this ioy in the Lord: and hee shall finde that it countervailes a world of sor­row: this has no end, they are momentany, they last but for a night; this is in the Lord, in whom is fulnesse of ioy. This made the Saints of God so resolute, that they set light by all afflictions whatsoever: and therefore in their greatest afflictions they have the sweetest ioy and greatest comforts. And let him also consi­der, that by this he avoides the reproach of religion, and shewes the force, and efficacie thereof to be such, as is formerly declared. And let him take heed of the hinderances of this joy. As first of all; of sinne committed and not repented: let him repent betimes, else it keeps a man dead, and dull, and backward: so long as this Achan is unfound, it will keep him in discomfort. Let him take heed of secret purposes either to sinne, or to favour himselfe in any one sinne (how small soever) for time to come. This will robbe him utterly of com­fort, for joy cannot lodge in such a heart. If I regard iniquitie in my heart the Lord will not heare me, (saith David Psal. 66.) Further­more, let him take heed of negligence in good du­ties. For it is not enough to doe them, but he ought to stirre up the graces of God in him, to doe them thorowly; and he must strive against his corruptions. For Christians have never so much joy, as when they have laboured with [Page 14] their endeavours to overcome their imperfe­ctions in good actions.

Lastly, let him take heed of casting himselfe into dull or dead acquaintance. It is true, we can­not avoid conversing with them, but we must have no secret and inward acquaintance but with the best: a companion of fooles shall be beaten, and the wise with the wise will learne wisedome. We are all travellers to Heaven; let us therefore chuse such company, as may (as it were) be a chariot to carry us thither, with their good example and discourses: And with the Prophet David, thinke it a great griefe when we have not such society as may doe us good.Psal. 120.5 Woe is me that I am constrained to dwell in the tents of Meshech. And therefore if hereto­fore any of us, have beene faulty, let us take warning of this hereafter.

VERS. 1. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not greevous, but for you it is safe.

ALthough the Apostle had formerly bid­den them to rejoyce, in the former chap­ter, 18. and 28. verses; Yet notwithstanding he bids them rejoyce againe, saying; that it is safe for them to heare the same thing [...] often, and it is not grievous to him, to write the same things twice. Besides, he doth also bid them, [Page 15] to beware of such as may hinder their joy, as Dogges, and those of the Concision. Preven­ting thereby secret objections, which they might make against repeating the same things. Whence we may in generall observe,

The wisedome of the Word and spirit of God,Doctr. 1. to know secret objections that might bee made, and to prevent them; turning away thereby whatsoever might hinder the force of the Word. And in the second place, it tea­ches us;

That it is the dutie of those, Doct. 2. that meane to prevaile by instruction, to know the secret dispo­sitions of those they deale withall. For when their mindes are not quieted or cleered from doubts and hindrances, they are not fit to entertaine any good counsell at all.

And Thirdly,Note. 3. (for I cannot stand on these things) it shewes our disposition by nature, to count repetition of the same things to bee tedious and irksome. For since the fall of man, we wan­der in our thoughts, affections, and intentions, and it is a part of our losse to lose our constan­cie, and setled disposition. Wherefore we find it noted of the Israelites, that they were weary of one kinde of food, although it is called An­gels food.

In the fourth place (which I intend more to stand upon) observe with me,Doct. 4. That dwelling on the same things is necessarie, even for the best Christians. And the reasons are

First,Reason. 1. Because truth is supernaturall, and our [Page 16] mindes are carnall, and that which must change these our mindes must be assiduous, or else our mindes will [...] into their first estate. Wee are naturally changeable, and therefore had ne [...]d to have the truth (as at the first to change us,) even so to be continually presented to our soules, to keep us perpetually in this spirituall change. And a

Reason. 2.Second reason may be: Because we often regard not the truth at the first, second, or third time urged, and taught unto us. Wherefore Iob. 33.14. It is said, God speaketh once or twice, yet man perceives not. Therefore, if the caution and point be necessary, the repetition must needs be necessarie also.

Reason. 3.In the third place, There is such a breadth, and depth in the points delivered out of the Word of God, that although wee heare often the same thing, yet we never come to understand the full extent of them. Our soules are narrow, wee cannot at the first so soundly, and deeply con­sider of them, neither can wee understand so many particulars as otherwise we should: for in every Christian truth there is milke for chil­dren, and strong meate which requires dige­stion, and likewise repetition.

A fourth reason may be, Because our cor­ruptions daily increase and grow upon us, Reason. 4. and varietie of occasion and worldly businesse (being naturall to us, and therefore more delightfull) are too powerfull, and doe thrust out the consideration of divine truths which are commonly against the [Page 17] haire. And wee cannot have varietie of two things in our mindes at the same time in strength. Whence it comes to passe that the better is ever more subject to bee thrust out: and therefore had need to bee hammered in with often repetition, and insisting upon againe and againe.

A fifth Reason may be,Reason. 5. Because we worke as wee understand, weakly, or strongly. When we worke well, we must have things present, strongly in the understanding; as when we tell men of Gods justice, omnipresence, of the day of judgement, of death and the like: the lively, and present remembrance of these things, keeps the minde of man so in frame, as it cannot will any evill, no more than a lewd person will offend in the presence of the Iudge. And this lively remembrance of things, is wrought chiefly by repetition, and often infor­cing the same things; and it makes the minde to be wholly taken up therewith. And there­fore it is a good way when we would doe any good action well, to be taken up with reading, or hearing of good, by way of preparation thereunto. And the want of the presence of good things in our minde, layes us open, and makes us fit for all companies and occasions of sinne.

In the sixt and last place:Reason. 6. Our memories are very weake to remember, and to reteine any thing that is good. Since the fall, they are broken, and good things sinke through them, [Page 18] as water through a sieve, and therefore hath great need of remembrancers. And after this manner hath God dealt with man: as in the pro­mise of the blessed seed; how often is it reite­rated, and typified: and to Abraham is it re­newed seven times. So God to David, often renewed his promise concerning the King­dome: as also, the promise concerning the de­liverance of the people of Israel from captivi­tie, in Esay is often repeated. This also did Christ the great Doctour of his Church in his Para­bles, in one Chapter argueth one principall metter with foure Parables one after another, although with some varietie; teaching Mini­sters thereby, to doe the like to avoid tedious­nesse. Repetition in Scripture serves to divers ends. Sometimes for the stronger averring of the certaintie thereof. Wherefore it was, that Pharoahs dreame was doubled: Sometime for Emphasis sake, as Christ did often, Amen, A­men: and in dying, thou shalt die, and the like phrases. But the maine end is, to stirre up us and our affections, and to keepe them in life and action when they are stirred up. Therefore, 2 Pet. 1.12. Because they knew they could not bee over-sure of salvation, nor grow too much in grace: he sayes, so long as he lives hee will put them in minde of such things.

Vse. 1. Let it not therefore bee grievous to Ministers to doe what is for the safetie of Gods children. They must doe it till they see practise come to perfection, and they must cast, and cast again; [Page 19] Peter hee cast often and got nothing, yet at Christs word hee cast againe. So must Mini­sters: God that blesseth not every cast, may blesse the last cast to the catching of many, and therefore a Minister had need of a father-like affection to his hearers, as St. Paul had, 2 Thes. 2.11.

A second use,Vse. 2. may be for our selves: If we heare the same things repeated, heare them as an impression: which may carry force, and work upon our hearts more strongly than before: and know that God may worke on us, by one meanes, at one time, which he did not at ano­ther: as a dart pierces deeper, being cast by one, than by another. And therefore, Let us not be weary of attendance on Gods ordinances, for our corruptions daily increase, as our age doth; our minding of things is but slight, and our me­mory very brittle. And we must know that the word teaches doing, and practising, as well as knowing. And therefore to conceive a neces­sitie of a continuall Ministrie to perfect a Church as well as to begin it. The Sacraments are necessary: receive them often, the Primi­tive Church had them every Lords day. Till we come to the holy Land of that heavenly Canaan, let us submit our selves to this Man­na. It is Angels food, and they desire to looke into these mysteries. And therefore, take heed of fulnesse, or loathing; for when we come to that passe that we must have Novum, or Nihil, God takes away this Manna thus loathed. [Page 20] Thus did he with the Greeke Churches,Rev. 1. and 2, 3. they gave themselves not to the plaine, sincere truth, but mans inventions, whereby God gave them over to strange opinions: and indeed it is a rule; None absents himselfe from Gods word, but he is given over (and that justly) to beleeve toyes, to attribute all praise and de­light to this or that idle Authour, which it may be is Heathenish, or Popish. The Greek Chur­ches affecting Novelties, were justly given o­ver to Mahomet; but to a true Christian heart, there cannot be more delight than in the expe­rimentall knowledge of Christs death and of­fice, of perseverance in grace: these are stan­ding dishes in this Christian banquet. It is a signe God meanes to plague that person, or nation, that is delighted in such ill sawces, he will make them come out of our nosthrils, we shall have our fill of them, and never hunger after the sincere milke of the Word.

VERS. 2. Beware of Dogges.

IN this generall exhortation, Consi­der first the persons to whom it is di­rected;Doctr. 1. To all the Philippians, not on­ly to the Pastor, but even to the com­mon Christians, They must beware of false Tea­chers. [Page 21] Is it so? Then surely they ought to take notice of them, and to know them, and therefore they ought to have rules to discerne them by. Christs sheepe they discerne between a wolfe, and a shepherd, Ioh. 10.45. His sheepe discerne an Heretike, or false-teacher, from those that are true shepherds in the maine points of Christian Religion, and there­fore, 1 Ioh. 4.1.1 John 4.1. He bids all in generall, to try the spirits: and the Apostle, 1 Thes. 5.21. bids them prove all things, and hold fast the good: if they were then all of them bound to try, and prove, they were no doubt bound to know the rules, by which they were to try, which rules are only laid downe in the word of God.

But some Popish heart may aske:Quest. How com­mon people should know the Word, to be the word of God?

For answer,Answ. I would aske such an one, How they know the Popes Canons, or any Booke of his Constitutions to be the Popes? they will say, their teachers brings them in the Popes name, and they beleeve their teachers. So say wee, We beleeve our Teachers and Ministers, who tell us this is the Word of God.Ob. But they ob­ject and say, that wee make every one a Iudge. I answer,Answ. there is a three-fold manner of judg­ing. First,A threefold judgment, to wit; a judging whereby we discerne of anything, and this every Christian must have, so as it cannot be any plea to him at the day of judgment,Of Discre­tion. to say, my Teacher did mislead me. No, both the leader and he that is led, if they [Page 22] be blind, shall fall into the ditch, Matth. 15. Then there is a second kinde of judging,Of Dire­cti [...]n. which is by way of direction, this is required princi­pally in the Pastor, to direct his flocke. And there is a third kinde, that is of jurisdiction;Of Ju­risdiction this belongs to the Church and the Magistrate: yet every one must have a judgment to discern the good from the bad. For hee that knowes not his Masters will shall be beaten.

2 In the second place: Not onely the young ordinary Christians but euen the best setled Christians had need to beware also. The Philip­pians were a Church established in the truth: Eve was seduced, being in her innocent estate▪ but I need not stand on this at this time. I proceed;

To the dutie: which is to beware. Which word signifies; First, to discerne of, then to avoid: and 3 because those that are aware of evill, by nature will avoid it. therfore beware, here intends both discerning and avoiding of evil. For the Church of God in this world is ever subject to danger, and God suffers it to be so: First, to try who be true, and who false. And secondly, to try them that are good, and to be as an evidence to them of their owne estates, so as where such triall, and danger is, it is true, ingeniosum est esse Christianum.

But concerning the words: Dogges, Conci­sion, Evill workers, they all signifie the same thing, and he repeats the word beware, thrice: to shew the necessitie thereof, take heed of them that urge workes of the law with Doctrines of [Page 23] faith, especially of Pastors. Nay take heed of these (for so the word in the originall is) these Dogges. By Concision, he meanes those that ur­ged Circumcision, when it was out of date, and when it was dangerous to be admitted of; But observe the terme, the Holy Ghost calls these Dogges, a strange terme, and such an one as I should not have dared to have given them, had not the holy Spirit led the way thereunto: and therefore since it is so, let us not be more mo­dest than he is; but boldly affirme, that wicked men are Dogges. Doctrine. Now wicked men, are eyther without the Church, or within. Without the Church, all are Dogges. Matth. 15.26. Its not meet to take the childrens bread and to cast it to Dogges. Of this number are all Turkes, and Iewes, who were Filii, Children, but are Ca­nes, Dogges. We were Canes, bu [...] now through Gods mercy are come to be Filii. All there­fore, that are without the Church are Dogges. But there are also Dogges within the Church, and therefore the Philippians were bidden be­ware of them, which St. Paul needed not to have done, if they had not beene troubled with them. And those Dogges he describes, in that they joyne workes of the law, and Christ toge­ther, in matter of salvation; these are in St. Pauls esteeme Dogges. And the reason hereof, may be grounded on Gods esteeme, on their beha­viour towards other men, and in regard of themselves. For Gods esteeme, we may see it in Esay 66.3. he detests them as dogges. For [Page 24] their behaviour towards men, whom they goe about to seduce, they fawne on them, and use all manner of inticing, flattering, and false al­luring words, Rom. 16.18. See the picture of a Iesuited Papist, a pleasing, humane, fawning nature, they creepe into houses, and when these dogges cannot prevaile by flatterie, then they snarle, and barke against them, by false calumnies, and slanders, and railings, and bitter scoffes, and the like; and this they doe when they cannot bite. But having gotten power in their hand, they persecute with fire and sword, and the most exquisite torments that they can devise. In regard of themselves also they are Dogges, rotten in nature, corrupt in life, filthie in their owne Courts: devou­ring their owne vomit, and God justly puni­shing them, by suffering of them to heape up wrath in store, 2 Pet. 2.22. and to returne with the sow that was washed, to wallow in the mire of corrupt courses. Hence wee may observe, and see, what a man is now brought to by sinne: he that would be like to God, is justly compared to the beasts that perish. Now all by nature are no better than dogges, who are all for their bellies, for present content­ments, an envious and currish disposition a­gainst any that shall indeavour to crosse them in their unlawfull lusts: and that rule of reason which should over-rule him, and amend him, he so abuses it, as thereby he is made more like a Divell than a Dogge. Would wee be then [Page 25] changed, let us attend on that word, that is able of Lions to make Lambes, it can cleanse us throughout. Ioh. 15.3. It sanctifies and al­ters us. Morall precepts may restraine and alter outward practises; the Word that alters the condition and nature of men, it is the word of him that workes all with his spirit. And therefore take heed of them, and deale not more with them than thou must needs. They will fawne, they will not be dogged at the first, but till Religion altereth him, assuredly hee hath a currish nature. But to proceed. Hee saith not onely, beware of Dogges in generall; But beware of these Dogges, of the Concision, and these also ought we to beware of, for there is a perpetuall l [...]t [...]er of them: though those that the Apostle spake of are gone, yet the same spi­rit is now a dayes in many; fawners they are, and flatterers, yet doe they barke at Prote­stants: and of this sort are our Iesuited Papists and Seminaries. Our Fathers were troubled with them: let these take heed, for were these men dogges that presse Circumcision with Christ; and shall not such be also, that presse merits with Christ, Saints with Christ, and equall traditions with the Word of God. The dogges in St. Pauls time, had some excuse: Circumcision they urged, but it was first foun­ded by God; but these men out of their owne braine endeavour to establish fancies: and where they cannot prevaile by conference, they by scattering of Bookes seeke to accom­plish [Page 32] their intents. Magistrates therefore in their place ought to looke to them, and every private person looke to their owne salvation. We ought also to take heed of Neuters, such as are, or would be mediatours, and will be of every Religion, or rather of none, who jumble Re­ligions, mixing truth and falshood, light and darknesse together. But hee that made distin­ction between the seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent, made also eternall distinction betweene Religion and irreligion: though Iu­das thought he might keepe faire quarter with the Pharisees and his master, yet his fawning kisse could not keepe him, but desperation o­vertooke him. So these Neuters, let them fawn never so much, let them halt betweene two opinions never so long, they shall at length know that they have betrayed their Religion, & desperation shall at length assuredly overtake them, as it overtook Spira. Take heed of them, there hath beene a continuall brood of them in the Emperours time: the Iewes had some li­berty granted to them, because their ceremo­nies carried a shew of a reverend antiquitie. The Christians they were Ludibrium humani generis, there were even then (as St. Paul found) such Christians, as finding they were scorned, because they would be scorned of neither, took part with either.

Quest.But some will say: What a great matter doe you make of this? is it not policy, and wisedome for us thus to avoid reproach, and to get the good will of all?

[Page 33]Remember what [...]hrist saies,Answ. he that denies me before men, I will deny him before my Father. True say they, I yet may inwardly be sound in my heart, I may honour Christ, though outwardly, I may please others. What place is left for profession? with the mouth man confesses to salvation, and such as are ashamed to confesse Christ before men, Christ may justly denie to acknowledge them in that fearfull day of judgement. For shall we try all things to be sure of our tempo­rall estate? and shall not we much more seeke to assure our spirituall and eternall estate unto us? God forbid.

In the next place, Let us not be discouraged, or hindered in a good course, though these dogges barke never so much; yet they are but like the dogges who barke against the Moone; though we meet with many changes, let us keep our course still constantly, without tur­ning aside. For thou must looke to be barked at before hand; thou art, or shouldst be a stranger to this world, and then assuredly the Dogges will take notice of thee. And comfort thy selfe, thou shalt be admitted into thine own Country, when these Dogges shall be kept out; as it is in the last of the Revelations.Rev. 22.15. And though we cannot have too harsh a conceit of them in regard of their estate; yet are we to re­spect the Image of God they carry about with them, and to esteeme of them as of such as may become Lambes. And thus did St. Paul re­spect, and reverence Agrippa: Yet see how [Page 32] [...] [Page 33] [...] [Page 32] [...] [Page 33] [...] [Page 28] sharpe he is, not to those that are Heathen; but to those that making a profession of Christia­nitie, did adde Circumcision to Christ, where in we may observe his zeale for Christs ho­nour.

VERS. 2. Beware of Evill workers.

BEware of such, as in generall were bad, and in this particular especially, they were evill workers, thereby seducing men from Christ. Seducers therefore are evill workers, and Magistrates ought to looke to them.

They are the keepers of the two Tables, and are to looke to the soules of men, as well as to their bodies. Let also private men looke to them­selves, lest they be seduced by them. Neither is it likely, that these were onely seducers by false doctrine, but were also ill men and wicked livers: for God justly gives such up to wicked­nesse in life, that are seduced in judgment. And thus dealt he with the Scribes and Pharises, Doe not after their workes, (saith Christ.) Some thinke, if they so live as none can lay any grosse sinne to their charge, they are good enough, its no matter what the heart is, how ignorant, how dark, God wil beare with them. Alas poor ignorant men, is not the understanding Gods, as well as the outward parts? Thou shalt love [Page 29] the Lord thy God with all thy minde: the under­standing is (sponsa veritatis.) And know, God lookes to purity of judgement; he cannot in­dure his children should be ignorant, for it is a dishonour to God for his children to conceit of things (in Religion especially) otherwise than is fitting, yea otherwise than they are.

VERS. 2. Beware of the Concision.

THat is (as I formerly said) Circumcision; Called here by the name of Concision, because it tended to cut & make a division and s [...]ct in the Church, with a naturall and proper elegance, not affected, describing, and naming it by the effect. Its Gods use to call things from the event and effect of them. Why will you perish? That is, why will you doe those things that will lead you to destruction? the end of them is death, and those that neglect wisedome hate themselves. As it was also said to the Iewes, that neglected the Gospell; they judged them­selves unworthy of salvation, because in effect, they hated themselves, and deprived them­selves of salvation. Circumcision formerly had beene an honourable Ceremonie, serving for a partition between Iew and Gentile; and for a seale of the Covenant of grace; but the Ceremonie was to cease, it not having a con­tinuall [Page 36] promise, it was to last till Christ came, & when he died, it, and all other died also. St. Paul, and Christ, and Timothy, were circumcised; but after the time came that Christ had broken downe the partition wall by his suffering, they did not only die; but were also deadly to all such as would maintaine the observancie of them: the use of them was prejudiciall to Christs ho­nour, and therefore Paul bids us beware of them. And now adayes, this instruction by propor­tion is of good use. For are there not those that teach Concision? and that urge merits, as the Papists doe? take heed of them, they say wee are the Concision, we have cut our selves from the true mother Church of Rome.

I answer, We have suffered a Concision, we have made none. And again, we acknowledge we have separated from these Romans, not from those that were in Pauls time, its they that have made a Concision, and cut themselves from the mother Church. But to passe from these, we have a Concision among us; and that in a contrary extreame, that thinke every Ce­remonie, and thing that suits not with their o­pinion, to be Antichristian and Concision. Not considering, that there be many things ur­ged, as fitting for order, being no parts of Gods worship; yet even for these things, they make a Concision, cutting themselves off from our Church, and unchurching us: Its dange­rous for such; for when the member is cut from the body, it must necessarily die, and [Page 37] how can we receive grace from Christ as our head, but by union of our selves to the bodie, whereof Christ is the head.

It must be our dutie to beware of all manner of seducers,Remedies a­gainst sedu­cers. and to this end let us

First,Remedy 1. get fundamentall truthes into our hearts, affect and love truth: for want hereof the Ea­sterne Churches were given up to Mahomet, and Antichrist ruled over many in these We­sterne Churches, because they loved not the truth. 2. Thes. 2.10. For none are seduced that are not cold in love.

Secondly,Remedy 2. let us labour to practice that wee know, and God will give us a fuller measure of knowledge, whereby we shall learn to finde and know seducers. Ioh. 7.17- If any man will doe his will, he shall know.

Thirdly,Remedy 3. Pray to God for wisedome to discern of Schismes and Heresies, and ill disposed per­sons: God hath promised us any thing that is necessary for our strengthening and bringing us to Heaven, God will not deny us so neces­sary an aide as this is.

Fourthly,Remedy 4. let us looke that we keepe in us a holy feare, and reverence of God. Psal. 15.12. What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way he shall chuse. And those things are we duly to observe, the rather be­cause we shall ever finde seducers, it will ever be a hard matter for men to finde the way to Heaven. And though the doctrine and profes­sion of Religion, be not ever in all places oppo­sed, [Page 32] yet shall we ever finde the practisers there­of maligned: As it is in these dayes, where none are accounted of to be Protestants, that are not loose libertines, and thus instead of Con­cision from Religion, they joyne that with it which is quite contrary to the power there­of. Beware also of such; for their courses of life are as pernicious, as fundamentall errors, for none shall be saved for his knowledge.

VERS. 3. For wee are the Circumcision.

IN these words, and those that fol­low, our Apostle describes, who are truely circumcised. We are the true Israel, the circumcised Sonnes of Abraham, who are members of Christ. The Philippians, they were not circum­cised outwardly, yet were they truely cir­cumcised, they had the truth of it; even as they that were under the cloud and in the Sea, were said to be truely baptized in the Cloud, and in the Sea. The Sacraments therefore, before and after Christ, were in substance all one, as the Church was one and the same, they may be said to be baptized, as we, and we circumcised as they: the difference was only in the outward Ceremony and shew, which the Church being [Page 41] then young had need of. It is the same Religion, cloathed diversly. Bellarmin saith, that their go­vernment was carnall, & the promises to them were carnall, but it is carnally spoken of him. Heb. 11. The Fathers before Christ, had respect to the recompence of reward: and in vers. 35. they accepted not deliverance, that they might obtaine a better resurrection: are these carnall promises? The Anabaptists, they presse re­baptizing, not considering that the same Co­venant was before Christ, and after, in sub­stance. So as every true Christian is spiritually circumcised, being once regenerate: before indeed he is uncircumcised, and a spirituall le­prosie over spreads all his frame of body, and minde, which must be washed, pared, and cut off. Wee must part with uncircumcised hearts, eares, and lippes: that is, such eares as doe de­light themselves to heare corrupt lewd dis­course, such a tongue and lippes, as delight to u [...]ter, and let out words savouring of a rotten and uncircumcised heart: such eyes as doe de­light th [...]mselves, in the beholding of lustfull and sinfull [...]bjects, whereby the heart is kind­led in [...]o vaine d [...]sires. I say, a Christian must circumcise himselfe, his heart, and those parts that are uncircumcised, before hee can ever thinke to goe to Heaven, whither nothing that is corrupt, or uncleane entreth. Religion there­fore is no easie thing. Circumcision is painfull and bloody. Mortification is very hard, cor­ruption it must be cut off, though the blood [Page 32] [...] [Page 41] [...] [Page 32] [...] [Page 41] [...] [Page 42] follow, else it will kill thee at length. Where­fore, wee are also to labour for circumcised hearts to understand Gods truth, his will and commandements; Cut off all extravagant de­sires, who by lit [...]le and little, take away com­fort, and communion with God, its no mercy therefore to spare them. Circumcise thy eyes, pray with David, Turne away mine eyes from re­garding vanity. Stoppe thy [...]ares at the char­ming of such objects as may infect thy soule: we can never injoy that beatificall vision here­after, if we weane not our selves from the liking of these things. And though we cannot while we are in this house of clay come to that per­fection we should; yet indeavour to it earnest­ly, and God will accept our very indeavours, and will further them; yea, we shall get the victory at length. If sinne begins to fall, it shall surely fall: the house of David in us shall grow stronger,Meanes and waies to mor­tifie sinne. and the house of Saul shall dayly be weakened. The meanes to this dutie, are

1: First, know thy sinne, and thy particular sinne: by thy checks of conscience, and by the checks we receive from our enemies, who will spie what they can in us, thereby to scandalize us. As also, observe what thy thoughts worke most upon; what is the maine thing, that ge­nerally takes up your cogitations.

2 When thou hast found out thy sinne, Make it as odious as thou canst: For Circumcision im­plies a thing that is odious, and superfluous: now all sinnes that be cherisht in us, may well [Page 43] be odious to us, for that it hinders us from all good, and clothes us with all evill, and makes all outward things evill to us; who otherwise, are no further ill, than as they strengthen our corruptions. It hinders us from all good duties, pride of heart and corruption doe dogge us: this made Paul cry, not of temporall bonds, but of the bonds of sinne and of death; Who shall deliver me, wretched man that I am, saith he? Rom. 7.23.24.

Thirdly, having found out thy sinnes, and 3 the abominablenesse of them: Complaine of them to God, as Hezekiah did of the blasphe­mous letter that Senacherib wrote, and chal­lenge the fruit of Gods promise. For hee that bids us circumcise, Deut. 10.16. Promised that he himselfe will doe it, Deut. 30.6. Faith in the promises is an effectuall meanes to at­tain to them. Men come with doubtings, they see a great deale of corruption, they think their labour is vaine, they cannot be releeved against them, they are deceived. Touch but thou the hemme of Christs garment, flie to God in his name, and thou shalt finde this issue of sinne, though not wholly dried up, yet much abated. And here is the excellencie of Faith, that as­sures us of all the promises, concerning sancti­fication here, as concerning glory here­after.

VERS. 3. Which worship God.

THe Apostle places [...]ircumcision before worship: for unlesse there bee a cutting off,Three parts▪ viz. we cannot bring our corruption to per­forme duties of Gods worship aright.

The Act, Worship.The words containe, a description of a Christian by his proper act, Worship, and by the proper object thereof, God; and by his most proper part, in spirit. And the word Wor­ship, is taken for the inward worship of God, commanded in the first Commandement; also, comprehending our feare, love of God, and joy in him: issuing from the knowledge of the true God. All our obedience, issuing here­from, is worship of God▪ including our duties to man, in obedience and relation to Gods Commandement. The ground of this obedi­ence and worship, is the relation betweene God and the re [...]sonable creature▪ being the Image of God▪ now this image being lost in the fall of our first parents, wee must worship him, not onely as our creator and maker, but as reconciled to us in Christ, as he hath made us a­new.

The Ob­ject, God.Secondly, we are to worship him, as the well-spring of all grace, goodnesse, excellencie, and greatnesse.

The most part, viz. in Spirit.Thirdly, As he doth communicate all unto us, he is ours, Christ is ours, all is ours: this [Page 45] should carry our soules to love him, be his, as he is ours: especially, to be his in Spirit. By which is meant the reasonable soule, understan­ding, will, and affections. And Secondly, with sanctified understanding, sanctified will, and sanctified affections. Thirdly, with all our strength, spirit, life, and chearfull readinesse. Wherefore, God is the proper object of spirituall worship. Trust on him, love him, joy in him, invoke and pray to him, and to him onely; not to the Virgin Mary, Saints, or Images, as the Papists doe. Mat. 4.10. Him onely shalt thou serve, as Christ saith, because our commande­ment is onely from him, and extends onely to him. The promises are onely from him, he one­ly is present, in all places, he onely supplies our wants, and he onely knowes, what our wants are; and how to helpe. Saints are not present in all places, they cannot heare many at once, nay they cannot heare our prayers unlesse they be present, they are finite creatures, they have no infinite properties. Christ, he bids us, in­vites us to come to him, he hath promised to heare us, and to ease us.

And further, God knowes the secret wants, which the Saints cannot know, no, wee our selves know them not, and therefore are we to goe onely to God in all our necessities: be­cause it is most gainfull for us to goe to him that can helpe us, nay we owe him this honour, by going to him, to acknowledge his omnipre­sence, his willingnesse and ability to doe good.

VERS. 3. In Spirit.

THe Apostle in these words, shewes the manner of true worship, by the most proper, and fit part of a Christian; to wit, his Spirit, that is, as soule truely sanctified, lively, and cheerfully,Reasons why God must be worshipped in Spirit. with a willing and ready mind, fitly disposed. Contrary to outward, false, and hypocriticall worship.

1 And the reason is, Because God is a Spirit, and therefore must be worshipped in spirit.

2 Secondly, it is the best part of a man; and God who challenges all, and that justly, looks especially that he hath the best part.

3 Thirdly, the Spirit hath a being of it selfe, and praiseth, love [...]h, and rejoyceth in God, when its out of the body; and the body is stir­red up to this du [...]y onely by the spirit, it being of it selfe senselesse as a blocke: and outward worship without inward, is but the carkasse of worship. The Prayer of a wicked man is abo­minable, because he regards iniquitie in his heart, Psal. 66.18. And this spirit of ours without the spirit of God, cannot worship him: and therefore every one that is not changed, makes God an Idoll.

Vse,This may deprive all such of comfort, as care not for this spirituall worship, thinking they have done enough, if they have mumbled a few idle words over: God accepts it no more [Page 47] than if they had sacrificed a dogges head, as he saith, Esay 66.3. And verily, what other is Poperie, but a bodie without a soule? when they worship in blinde sacrifices, in a strange lan­guage. Is this a spirituall worship? when they neither know what they doe nor say? Let us shew that we are not of their number: Come we with love, and with the intention of all our affections, and this will sway the whole man, body and soule; and so shall we worship him in truth, and not in hypocrisie as many doe, that bring their Idols with them; their mindes are on their pleasures and riches, though their bo­dy be present before God. And it hath ever been an error in the world, this limiting and tying Gods worship to outward worship of the body,Reasons why outward wor­ship is so well liked and lo­ved. with a kinde of ceremonious ge­sture: and it is very much liked for such like Reasons as these are.

  • First, the outward gesture: as holding up 1 hands, bending the knee, casting up the eyes, they are things that may easily be done.
  • Secondly, they make a glorious shew in the 2 eyes of the world ▪ its a commendable and good quality to be religious, especially if they bee observed so to be.
  • Thirdly, its beneficiall to men: when as here­by they are knowne to be no Atheists, and 3 therefore not that way uncapable of prefer­ment, or the like.
  • Fourthly, outward worship satisfies consci­ence 4 a little: men know they must worship [Page 46] [...] [Page 47] [...] [Page 48] God, and go [...] to Church, that these are means to save men, and th [...]y thinke that in doing so, they stoppe the cryes of their consciences. A­las! Alas! these sleepie, blinded consciences of theirs, will [...]t length awake, and will accuse them, for the outward ceremonious hypocriticall worship of him, that requires the spirit to worship him with.

Ob.But some men may say, how shall we know whether we serve God in spirit, or no?

Answ.I answer, observe these properties.

Signes of spi­rituall wor­shippers.First, W [...]ether thou lamentest thy defects in the best actions thou dost, and art not puffed up with conceit of the sufficiencie of thy perfor­mances. Paul found this in him; for although he lived, being a Pharisee, as concerning the Law unrebukable: yet when he was converted, he saw much corruption which before he knew not, and laments and bewailes it, Rom. 7.

2 Secondly, Exami [...]e thy selfe, whether thou makest conscience of private closet duties? Of prayer in thy studie when none sees thee? Of thy very thoughts? Dost thou serve God with thy affections? and thy very soule? Dost thou weepe in secret for sinnes? yea for thy secret sinnes. Dost not thou doe good duties to be seene of men, as the Pharisees did? Contrari­wise, wil [...] thou omit no place nor time, but alwaies and in all places thou wilt worship God. This must be done, for God is alwayes and for ever God and he is in all places, in pri­vate as well as publike▪ and therefore a Chri­stians [Page 49] heart must be the Sanctum Sanctorum, where God must remaine present continually, and therefore he makes conscience of, and is humbled for the least sinnes, yea those that the world esteemes not of, and counts them as niceties, and that in as great a measure as ordi­narily men are, for the greatest sinnes they commit.

Thirdly, Canst thou indure the search of thy 3 selfe? and thy infirmities by all meanes, by thy selfe, by others, by the word, by private friends? Nay, canst thou desire this search, that thou maist know thy [...]inne more and more? for this end, that thou mayst truely hate it, with a more perfect hatred? Canst thou truely appeale to God, as Peter did to Christ, thou knowest that I love and preferre thee above all? It is a sure signe of thy sinceritie which the world cannot have: and therefore when they see their sinnes laid open, they spurne at the ordinances, and spite the Mini­ster and their true friends, that put them in minde of their faults, accounting them as their onely enemies. Surely they shall never be able to indure the search of God hereafter, and the last day when he shall lay them open, they shall be overcome with shame.

A fourth signe is, That at the houre of thy 4: death, this spiritual worshipping of God will give thee content, when nothing else can: Thou mayst say with comfort as Hezekiah did; Lord remem­ber how I have walked before thee in sinceritie. [Page 50] When down-right affliction comes, outward verball profession vanisheth, with all the com­forts thereof, then perisheth the hope of the hypocrite. Two things upheld Iob in comfort, in his great extremity: he was first assured, that his redeemer lived: and secondly, he knew his innocency in those things that his friends char­ged him with: and such times will fall on us all, either at the time of death, or before, when nothing but innocencie, and sincerity shall be able to uphold us.

Labour therefore for sincerity and spirituall worship, Worship God in spirit, but let it be done outwardly also. But first, bring thy heart and intention to what thou dost, and that will stirre up the outward man to its duty, and for the performance hereof,Helps unto spiritual wor­ship. follow these di­rections.

1 First, learne to know God aright: For wor­ship is answerable to knowledge, for how can we reverence God aright, when we know nei­ther his goodnesse, nor his greatnesse? how can we trust on God, when we see not his truth in the performance of his promises, in the Scrip­tures, and in our owne experience: those that doe not these, know not God, for as the heart affects according to knowledge. So also its true in divinitie, as we know his justice wee shall feare, as we know his mercy wee shall love him, and as we know his truth we shall trust on him. Psal. 9.10. They that know thy name shall trust in thee: and in other places of the [Page 51] said Psalme, the Lord is knowne in the judge­ment he executeth, vers. 16.

Secondly, know God to be the first mover 2 and cause of all: men ordinarily feare the crea­ture, attributing that to it, which belongs to the Creator. But God, he is the giver of all, and Christians looke on the secondary means, as to the first author and ground of all the rest, they behold the Magistrate as in God: feare them no otherwise, but in the Lord. Atheists they will not sticke at any sinne whatsoever, to get the love of those, that may bring them any worldly commodity. A Christian, hee pleases, and seekes the love of him that can make enemies friends, when he lists, and when its for our good; he knowes, in him we live, move, and have our being.

Thirdly, make much of spirituall meanes: 3 God he works by meanes, by his word, attend to it: it works love, feare, joy, and reverence in us: and therefore, no marvaile if those that neglect these meanes, are not acquainted with these graces of Gods spirit.

4 Fourthly, Lift up thy heart to Christ, the 4 quickening spirit, 1 Cor. 15. Our hearts natu­rally are dead: Christ is our life, when thou art most especially called to love, to feare, to humilitie, pray to him to move thee, and yeeld thy selfe to him, and then shalt thou pray in spirit: as it is said in Iude 20. heare in spirit, doe all in spirit: doe outward workes of thy calling in spirit, for a true worshipper will out [Page 52] of spirituall grounds doe all outward works of his particular calling; as well as the workes of his generall Christian vocation. Let us there­fore doe all things from our hearts to God, and to our neighbour: else will not God accept of our workes. It is the Iew inwardly, who shall have praise of God. The want of this sincerity, hath extinguished the light of many a glorious professour, and thereby hath brought a great scandall upon the true worshippers of God in spirit.

VERS. 3. And rejoyce in Christ.

THe word rejoyce, implyes a boasting, or glorying of the heart, manifesting it selfe in outward countenance and gesture; as also, in speech, it also implies a resting on, and con­tenting in, the thing we glory in: proceeding from an assurance, that we glory in a thing wor­thy of glory, for they are fooles that delight in bables. Observe hence therefore,

Doctr. 1.That those that will worship Christ aright, must glorie in him: For the worship of Christ is a thing that requires incouragement, and no­thing can worke this incouragement like the glorying in Christ: and therefore Paul in the first part of his Epistle to the Romans, having shewed that God had elected them freely, and [Page 53] had begun the worke of sanctification in their hearts: he comes in the 12. Chapter: I beseech you (saith he) present your selves as a holy, living, and acceptable sacrifice, to God. And in Tit. 2.11. The grace of God teacheth, by incouraging us to deny ungodlines, & to walk unblameably, soberly, righ­teously, and godlily, in this present world. And therefore, whensoever wee grow dull or dead, think of the great benefits that we have by Christ, and it will quicken us, and all our perfor­mances.

In the next place observe:Doct. 2. That Christ is the matter, and subject of true glory and rejoycing, and onely Christ: for they well goe together, a full, and large affection, with a full and large object: boasting is a full affection, the object is every way as full. First, as he is God and man, he is God full of all things, he is man full of all grace, and void of all sinne, he is Christ anointed to performe all his offices, he is a Pro­phet all-sufficient in all wisedome, in him are the treasures of wisedome: he teaches us, not onely how to doe, but he teaches the very deed: he is our High-priest, he is the sacrifice, the altar, and the Priest, and he is our eternall Priest in Heaven, and on earth: on earth as suf­fering for us; in Heaven as mediating for our peace. Who shall condemne us, it is Christ that dyeth? yea rather that is risen againe, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us, Rom. 8.34. He is also our King, he is King of all: King of kings, and [Page 54] Lord of lords, a King for ever, and at all times, subduing all rebellions within us, and all ene­mies without us; and he is all these so, as none is like him: and therefore is worthy of our glory.

Reason. 2.Secondly, Christ is communicative in all these: he is Prophet, Priest, King for us, he is God, man, he is Christ for us: he sought not his owne, it was his communicative goodnesse that drew him from Heaven, to take our na­ture.

Reason. 3.Thirdly, he is present, and ready to doe all good for us. he is present with us to the end of the world: nay,

Reason. 4.Fourthly, we are his members, he is in us: we are his wife; nay we are him. Saul, why per­secutest thou me? 1 Cor. 12. We are all one body with Christ.

Reason. 5.Fifthly, We are even, whiles we are here, glo­rified with Christ: he is our husband, if hee be honoured, we his spouse also are advanced: if he be our King, we are his Queene: if the head be crowned, the body is honoured: and

Reason. 6.Sixthly, all this is from God, and freely comes from him: Christ is anointed by the spirit, and sent from the father. 1 Cor. 1.30. He is made of God, wisedome, righteousnesse, san­ctification, and redemption to us. And Ioh. 6.44. No man can come to me, except the Father who hath sent me draw him: and it is further said that God sealed him. So that we may re­joyce in Christ, because that thereby we come [Page 55] to joy in God, for he reconciles us to God, who called him to this office, which was wit­nessed at his baptisme, when as the whole Tri­nity bare witnesse thereof.

But it may be questioned.Quest. What? may wee not joy in any other thing else but in Christ.

I answer,Answ. there may be two causes of our joy. One principall;Causes of true joy. the other lesse principall. We must onely rejoyce in Christ, as the maine and principall cause of our happinesse. But we may rejoyce in creatures, so farre forth as they are testimonies of Christs love, and in peace of conscience, as comming from Christ: and in the word of God, as it is the Gospell of the revelation of Christ to us.

For use.Vse. 1. We may observe this doctrine, as a ground of the necessitie of particular faith. For none can boast, but the boasting must arise from a particular faith, which onely is the true ground of every mans particular assu­rance.

Secondly,Vse. 2. let it serve as a direction to every Christian that will rejoyce, let him goe out of him­selfe and rejoyce in Christ, his King, his Priest, and his Prophet: let him observe what he hath done for him, and what he will doe for him, and thereby see himselfe perfectly happy, and

In the third place,Vse. 3. Let us first boast, that we have Christ, and then in his benefits and blessings that follo [...] him. First, rejoyce that we have the field, then rejoyce in the pearle. And there­fore the Apo [...]tle sayes not, rejoyce in faith, or [Page 56] in obedience, but in Christ: who being once mine, how shall I not have all things with him?

Vse. 4. Those that are burdened with sorrow for their sinne, let them consider. Why doe they grieve? doe their sinnes trouble them? Christ, hee came to dye for sinne, he is their high-Priest, he came to save sinners. Doth the devill accuse them? let them know Christ chose them, he pleades for them, who can lay any thing to their charge, Christ he is dead, risen; nay he is ascended into Heaven. Are they troubled with crosses? That is the best time to rejoyce in Christ. We joy in tribulation, Rom. 5.3. When nothing comforts us, then hath Christ swee­test communion with our hearts. St. Steven, when the stones [...]lew about him, and Paul in the dungeon had the most sweet consolation, and comfortable presence of Gods spirit that upheld them. Nay in death, wee may glory most of all: it lets us into that state, into that sweet society with our Saviour and the Saints, the very hope whereof, doth now sustaine us, and cause us to glory here: as in Rom. 5.2. And death now is but a droane, the sting is gone, all enemies are conquered.

Vse. 5.In the fifth place, See wherein the glory of a man, of a nation, of a kingdome consists: it is in Christ, and that which exhibites Christ. What made the Iewes rejoyce? marke the preroga­tives they had. Rom. 9.3. Adoption, cove­nant, promises, and Christ. What made the [Page 57] house of Iuda so famous? and Mary so blesse her selfe? All generations shall call me blessed: Christ that vouchsafed to proceed out of her loynes, and from that stocke. Abraham re­joyced to see Christs day, though he saw it a farre off by the eye of faith. And what should we glory in above the Iewes? above other nations? but in this; the vaile is taken away, Christ shines, and we have the Gospell in its puritie. This the Apostle lookes for in the Co­rinthians, 2 Cor. 2.3. Having confidence that my joy is the joy of you all. Now what was Pauls joy? God forbid (saith he) that I should rejoyce, but in the crosse of Christ, Gal. 6.14. Let us not therefore rejoyce in peace, or plenty, fortified places, or the like. No, if we had not Christ to rejoyce in, we were no better than Turkes. Happy is the people whose God is the Lord; for in him shall we have fulnesse of joy and comfort: make use of this in time of temptation. When the divell would robbe us of our joy, fly to Christ, oppose him against all: oppose the second A­dam against the first, he came to doe what ever the other did undoe. Learne to see the subtilty of the divell, and thine owne heart, and fill thy heart with the Scriptures, and with medita­tions of the promises, and they will cause our love to be so fervent, as all our service of God will seeme to be easie to us. As the time that Ia­cob served seemed nothing, for the love he bare to Rachel.

But how shall wee know whether wee [Page 58] rejoyce in Christ, or not?

Answ.I answer▪ by these signes:

Signes of true Christian joy.First, when we glorie, see the ground whence it arises, whether from God reconciled to us or not. 1, Signe. If otherwise: remember that of Ier. 9.23. Let not the wise man glory in his wisedome, nor the strong man in his strength, all such rejoycing is evill. But let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth, and knoweth me that I am the Lord.

2. Signe.Secondly, If we glory in the Lord, it will stirre us up to thankes: What we joy in we will praise: if we joy in Christ, we shall like the Spouse in Canticles, ever be setting forth the praises of our beloved. Thus did Paul, Ephes. 1.3. and Peter, 1 Pet. 1.3. and therefore where dead­nesse, and dulnesse is, it shewes no true Chri­stian joy.

3. Signe.Thirdly, Our glorying will be seene in dutie: delight ever implies the intention to doe any good worke, and diligence.

4. Signe.Fourthly, if we glory in Christ aright, we shall not indure any addition to Christ; and therefore we shall abhorre that Popish Tenent, which puts so many additions to Christ, in the meritorious worke of our salvation. A true re­joycer in Christ, sees such all-sufficiency in Christs merits, and worke, that he abhorres purgatorie and such trash: and so much the more, by how much his glorying in Christ, is the more fervent and sincere. Christ is our husband, we are his spouse: if we cleave to any [Page 59] other, than to Christ, we are adulterers. No, let him kisse us with the kisses of his mouth, and none but he.

Fifthly,5. Signe. this joy where it is, it will breed con­tent in all estates: Paul could want and abound, and so can a true rejoycer: in Christ he hath all, he cares not for earthly wants, so he wants no heavenly comfort; if he be poore, he is rich in heaven; nay what he most complaines of are good for him, life or death, all's one with him, Christ is his, and in him all things.

But it may be said:Quest. There are many Christi­ans are not in this happy condition?

I answer.Answ. Its their owne fault, to yeeld to the divels policie, and their owne weaknesse, that will not labour to breake through these clouds, and challenge the promises.

VERS. 3. And have no confidence in the flesh.

THese words are in truth included in the former: for he that glories in Christ, will have no confidence in the flesh. But the Apo­stle notes this as a plaine demonstration and evidence of the glorying in Christ. For by the copulative conjoyning of them, it is all one as if he had said: what a man trusts to, he glories in, and what he glories in he trusts to, and is confident of. If in wit his glorying be, he trusts [Page 60] to it though it be to his ruine; as it fell out with Achitophel. If in eloquence of speech, hee trusts to it, and it brings shame, as it did to He­rod. If in honour, hee trusts to it, and brings himselfe to dishonour, as Haman did.

By flesh, is meant outward things, as pre­rogatives, priviledges, actions of a mans owne doing, and particularly, he aimes at Circum­cision, which he calls outward, and that of the flesh. So as the observation that wee may ga­ther is: That confidence in Christ, takes away confidence in outward things. The reason is: if Christ be fully all sufficient, what need is there of any outward thing to put confidence in? For these are two opposite things, and one o­verthrows the other.

The second instruction is, That naturally men have confidence in outward things:Doctrine▪ for having not hearts filled with grace, they relish not Christ, but flye to ceremonious outward acti­ons as their refuge. Nay, in the Church, till we be converted, we naturally flie to outward fleshly con­fidence. We have the Word taught to us, we come to heare it twice on the Lords day: alas what is this if thou be not transformed, and inward­ly and outwardly conformed in obedience? Hast thou the Sacraments? dost thou uncover thy head, or bow the knee? these are good, and they seeme faire: but where is the heart? how is that prepared? hast thou an earnest desire to leave off thy course of sinning? and dost thou resolve hereafter to amend thy life? O here is [Page 61] the hard spirituall worke. So, in outward fast­ing, and abstinence, its an easie matter, the Pharisee did it often: but this is the fast that God hath commanded, to loose the bands of wickednesse, Esay 59.6. to fast from sinne. The suffering of the flesh, if it be separated from spirituall use, and almes, they profit nothing, 1 Cor. 13.3. All Pauls prerogatives, which were many, 2 Cor. 11, and 12. chapters. Yet were they in his account but drosse and dung, in comparison of Christ. Most men are like E­phraim, Hosea 10.11. as heifer [...], who serve to tread out corne, and to plow: Ephraim loved to tread corne where hee might eate his belly full; for by the law of Moses, the mouth of the Oxe that treadeth out the corne, was not to bee musled: men, they are delighted in the perfor­mance of slight duties, but to put their necke under the yoke, to plow its a hard worke, who can beare it?

But some will say,Ob. O what doe you condemne outward duties, and use of them?

I answer,Answ. wee may consider religious duties two wayes. First, as they are outward meanes to salvation, for so they are. Secondly, as they are expressions of inward truth, and so out of a sincere intire affection wee beare to them, and out of a desire to bee wrought upon by them, we doe them; thus they are commended that use them: but let them want but an inch of this, all is abominable, all is flesh. The Iewes, they boasted in the name of holy people, in their law, [Page 62] in the Temple, in the Holy land: yet for all these (saith God) you shall goe into captivity: against such Christ preached; Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, you tithe mint, but let passe justice and judgement. And Paul, bee not high minded, but feare. And the reasons, why men are ta­ken up with this fleshly confidence, are.

  • Reason. 1.
    First, outward things are easie, and men can­not bend themselves to performe the hard mat­ters of the law.
  • Reason. 2.
    Secondly, they are glorious, and men desire to be observed.
  • Reason. 3.
    Thirdly, men have a foolish conceit that God is delighted with the outward act, when the in­ward sinceritie is wanting.
  • Reason. 4,
    Fourthly, men want knowledge of them­selves; want the inward change, want sense of their owne unworthinesse, and Christs wor­thinesse.
  • Reason. 5.
    Fifthly, God followeth such with prosperitie in this world; thereby they thinke God is well pleased with them, til the houre of death come, and then they finde all but froth.

Quest.How shall we know whether our confidence is fleshly or not?

Answ.I answer, where this fleshly confidence is, there is bitternesse of spirit against sinceritie:Signes of fleshly confi­dence. the Pharisees, the Doctours of the law, sate in Mo­ses 1 chaire, yet who more opposed Christ than they? Nay, they wholly and onely, in their whole course, sought to persecute him, and made it their trade.

[Page 63]Secondly, where this fleshly confidence is,2 there is also a secret blessing of our selves, in our performance of good duties, without humilia­tion of our defects. Hypocrites think that God is beholding to them, and therefore doe blesse themselves in the deed done.

In the fourth verse, hee comes to an argu­ment taken from himselfe against those of the Concision.

VERS. 4. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh, if any other man thinketh, that he hath where­of he might trust in the flesh, I more.

AS if he had said: if any other man may glory in the flesh, then may I much more. But I doe not thinke, that I have cause sufficient to glory in the flesh; therefore have not they, or may not they, glory in the flesh. And the reason, or ground of this proposition, is taken from his many prerogatives he had,St. Pauls pre­rogatives. which he comes to in the 5. and 6. verses following.

Circumcision was the first prerogative be­fore 1 conversion, and it was not before the eighth day, to the end, that the childe might ga­ther some strength to beare, and indure the [Page 64] ceremony, for it was of it selfe grievous, and a bloudy ceremonie. Wherefore it was that Moses his wife called him a bloudy husband: and this ceremony was not to be respited a­bove eight dayes, that the parents might not be delayed in their comfort. Whence we may gather, that dying before baptisme is no neces­sary impediment to the salvation of the childe: for the same covenant is annexed to circumci­sion, that is, to baptisme: and the Papists that hold, that the death of children before baptisme hindreth the salvation of the infant, may as wel hold, that all the children that dyed before the eight day (being the day of circumcision) were damned. Secondly, observe this; that chil­dren, though infants, may, nay must bee bap­tized, if it may be with conveniencie; for chil­dren were circumcised, nay they were injoyned circumcision on the eighth day. Now seeing the covenant is the same, and given to chil­dren, now as then: why may not the seale ther­of be now given in their infancie, as then?

VERS. 5. Of the stocke of Israel.

2 IAcob had his name changed of his wrestling with the Angell, and pre­vailed: St. Paul sayes, he was of that stocke of Israel that prevailed with God.

VERS. 5. Of the Tribe of Benjamin.3

THere were two Tribes of especiall credit: Iuda and Benjamin, they were Kingly Tribes. Benjamin was honoured with the first King, Saul the sonne of Kish, who though he were a cast-away, yet its a matter of great joy in the flesh, to have great men, personages, and learned men of their linage.

VERS. 5. An Hebrew of the Hebrewes.4:

MOre ancient than an Israelite: for Abra­ham was an Hebrew, before Iacob was an Israelite: and he was an Hebrew borne, no proselyte, or converted Iew.

VERS. 5. As touching the Law, a Pharisee.5

BEfore Christs time, there were divers sects among the Iewes; as Pharisees, Scribes, Herodians, and Essaei; but the Phari­sees were the greatest sect of all: and as the word signifies, so they did separate themselves as [Page 66] better than other Iewes whatsoever. And St. Paul layes downe this, as one especiall carnall thing, wherein hee might glory; hee was no common Iew, but a zealous Iew: so as thence we may observe: That there is a fire and zeale that is not kindled by heaven: but, as St. Iames saith of the tongue, is set on fire of hell, out of ignorance, blind zeale therefore is a ground of destruction: we are therefore to take heed; for unlesse our zeale have an eye, nothing is more tempestuous and troublesome, than that man is whom it possesses.

VERS. 6. Concerning zeale, persecuting the Church.

WHere zeale is, if it be meant in the lar­gest sense, it is very hot against all op­posites, it hath the name from fire, separating Heterogenies, and gathe­ring things Homogeneall: our Apostle was none of those drowsie professours, that would be content to mingle Religions: so as, where there is no opposition there is no zeale: and therefore those that would reconcile religions, false and true, they have not a sparke of zeale, but are key-cold. Againe, Paul well joynes per­secution and a Pharisee together ▪ for there was never hypocrite but he was a persecutor. For [Page 67] he, making and grounding his profession on pride, and a desire to be counted holy, when a downe right person esteemes him not, but by his integrity puts the others outward professi­on out of countenance, presently hee falleth a persecuting; especially if his hypocrisie brings any profit, or gaine. As it was with Demetrius in the Acts. And as it is now with the Romish Church, whose chiefe end is profit, as appeares by their Purgatorie, Indulgences, Pardons, Dispensations, and the like: you shall have as much Masse as you will, and as little preaching. We may observe further, That carnall zeale is persecuting zeale, and the persecuting Church is the false Church. Christs flock never persecutes wolves, it will not indeed indure to bee neare them; but its not cruell against them. The Pa­pists indeed they speake much of their mild­nesse and meeknesse, but what is the reason? their hands are bound, Solve leonem, & senties leonem, loose the Lion, and then shall you find he is a Lion.

VERS. 6. Touching the righteousnesse which is in the law blamelesse.

THis was a great prerogative.Obj. But how can he be said to be blamelesse as concerning the law, when he was without the law? Rom. 7 9.

[Page 68]I answer, its true he was without the law, in respect of the inward man, in respect of sancti­fied knowledge, love, and feare▪ but in regard of his outward course of life, no man could blame him. Let this be observed by carnall civill men; they may bee blamelesse as concerning out­ward conversation, and yet without the law.

Quest.But if he was blamelesse as concerning the law, how could hee blame himselfe so as hee did? Rom. 7.15.

Answ.I answer; St. Paul then had a new esteeme and judgement, hee had a new light which shewed him much corruption, where before he saw none. This meets with weake Christians, that thinke themselves unconverted, and cast-awayes, because they see a great deale of sinne in them. Paul was without blame, now miserable man who shall deliver me. Christians therefore are to bee comforted: and to know that they are not the worse, because they see themselves sinfull daily more and more, but that they are better, as to whom God does dayly bestow the light of his holy spirit, to make them see more clear­ly into their estates. We know that we see one­ly the moates where the Sunne shineth, yet cannot we deny but all the ayre is as full as that part which the Sunne inlighteneth.

Let not such therefore be discouraged, but let them know, where there is any opposition, there is spirit as well as flesh, and that at length the spirit will have the victory.

VERS. 7. But what things were gaine to me, those I count losse for Christ.

THose things and priviledges, that for­merly 1 hee counted gaine, now hee counts them losse.

It is good therefore to teach by ex­amples:2 as St. Paul does here inforce rules by his owne experience and example.

It is also expedient sometimes, to speake of prerogatives, and priviledges that a man hath in himselfe, and its not universall that wee must not speake of any thing, that might concerne our owne praise. For we may doe it as St. Paul does here, to beat downe the pride of others, that are vaine glorious; or wee may as Paul does, lift up our selves to abase and beat down our selves the lower.

In the third place, when God vouchsafes his children any outward priviledges, he doth it for the good and helpe of others, though we see it not at the first. Paul had these priviledges, that hee might beate down the pride of the Iewes more powerfully. And Solomon had all abundance of wisedome, riches, and the like; why? But only that he might without controule judge of all, as of vanitie and vexation of spirit: and make it to bee beleeved more firmely. For had an [Page 70] ordinary man said it, men would have thought its easie for him to say so: but if he had tried thē, he would have been otherwise minded. In these latter times, our best teachers were at the first Papists, and of the more zealous sort: As Bucer and Luther, being also learned men; as also Peter Martyr and Zanchius, was brought up in Italy, and all this, that they seeing once their blindnesse, might be the more able to confound them, as being not a whit inferiour to them in any outward respect whatsoever, when they were of their beleefe.

In the fourth place, God (having to deale with men of a desperate condition) suffers great and famous men to be in ignorance, nay to be per­secutors, that after their conversion they might comfort weake Christians: and therefore let them comfort themselves, doe they finde that their sinnes are many, and great? Paul was a Pharisee, a persecuting Pharisee, and conti­nued so a long while Nay, after his conver­sion, he complaines of a body of sinne, and yet found mercie, and therefore doe not despaire.

But to proceed, wee see what St. Paul was, and what now he is, how his judgement is quite contrary to that it was; for where grace is, it makes men opposite to themselves: and there­fore this re-creation, is called a new creature. Paul quite contrary to Saul, and yet both one person. Out of which we may gather;

First, That a man before conversion, hath ever that which is his gaine: for wee are prone to [Page 71] thinke too highly of naturall things, and our esteeme shall be grounded upon probabilities, rather than we will lose our esteeme of them. For we know this outward gaine is easily got­ten, the duties are easily performed; faire out­wardly, and will procure praise from men, which is all we naturally looke for.

Secondly observe hence; That, that which we before conversion thought gaine, is indeed losse and unprofitable, nay it is dangerous: for things may in use be good, but in abuse dange­rous. Riches are good in use, but in abuse mammon and thornes, as Christ termes them. Circumcision, and Sacrifices, and Baptisme, in themselves were good, and many things are still good: yet when we trust in them, and neg­lect inward graces, sacrifice is no more accep­table than a dogges head. Good workes are in their proper nature good, yet if wee relye on them, they stoppe the way to Christ. So as it is our wicked and abusing affections, that hath brought an ill report on the good creatures of God, so as to us they are drosse, and dung, nay losse: these termes doth the holy spirit give to alienate our affections from these earthly things; an outward, civill, and conformable life, are, by our too high esteeme of them, stoppes, staying many from Heaven: for while they tell themselves they live honestly and justly, doing no wrong, they suppose them­selves to be very Saints, and looke no further. But every true Christian knowes his infirmity, [Page 72] and the more he is inlightened, the more hee sees his darknesse: he knowes these things can­not be gaine to him.

For first, he knowes they are meaner than the soule: these are earthly, the soule is from hea­ven; these are outward, the soule is spirituall; and therefore is onely satisfied with spirituall and heavenly comforts.

Secondly, A Christian sees these things are fading▪ arising of nothing, and tending to nothing; contrarily, he knowes his soule is eternall, and re­quires comforts that may last with it for ever. For those that joy in these outward things, when they leave him, or he leave them, as of ne­cessitie he must; its true they vanish to nothing: but he cannot, but must continue comfortlesse for ever, and undergoe the just wrath of God. Furthermore, a Christian doth not only know these things to be no gaine, but he also knowes them to be losse. For thats losse which a man findes by experience to be losse, when his under­standing is awakened. But all things outward, what ever they bee, whether that a man is a Christian by profession, or that hee is a Prea­cher, who hath good utterance, and is im­braced of the people, and approved of, or what priviledge else soever: when the conscience is awakened, they breed more horrour; at the houre of death when we are to give an account of them, and they set us further off from Christ. A prophane person is nearer conversion than a proud Pharisee: as Christ saith; the publican, [Page 73] and harlots, goe before you into the Kingdome of God: the reason is, because they that are thus outwardly affected, sing peace to their soules; whē as the prophane man hath no starting holes of excuse, his vilenesse being more manifest.

Secondly, God detests such boasters, more than those that are outwardly prophane: and there­fore Christ inveighes against such ever. Woe to you Pharisees, Hypocrites, and often threatens such with the punishment that is provided for hypocrites, as if those were the men which his soule ab [...]orred, and for which onely hell was prepared.

But how shall we be qualified, that out­ward things may not be hinderers of us?

First, looke to the foundation of all conver­sion▪ consider the nature of God, and his law: by them we shall see a further degree of holi­nesse, than the best of us can attaine to. The ex­cellencie of Gods nature is such, as Gods chil­dren have beene ashamed to be in his presence: As Iob when God spake abhorred himselfe. Pe­ter when he saw the power of Christ, said; Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinfull man. We are therefore to thinke often of the presence of God, before whom ere long we must all ap­peare.

Secondly, Bring thy selfe to the spirituall mea­ning of the law; as Paul did. Rom. 7. See into thy thoughts, and behold the uncleannesse of thy heart.

Thirdly, converse with those that are better [Page 74] than thy selfe, and compare thy selfe with them. Not as the Pharisees, who compared them­selves with the Publicans: and herein are ma­ny deceived, and by undervalewing others, they over-valew themselves. For things com­pared with lesse, they seeme somewhat; but with bigger, seeme nothing: it ought not to be so with us, let us compare our selves to that rule that we live by; and to such examples as we are to follow. Compare we our selves with Christ, our righteousnesse with his, and then shall we see our wants.

4 Fourthly, Practise that which Christ so much beates on, that is, selfe-deniall: hate fa­ther, mother, world, nay thy selfe, or never thinke to come to Christ; they will be losse to thee, unlesse thou account them losse: the young rich mans wealth made him a loser: the love of the praise of men, kept the Phari­sees that they could not beleeve. Whosoever nourisheth any lust, it will rule him and his af­fections, that he shall make it his gaine, be it never so vile in it selfe. But St. Paul being gui­ded by another spirit, casts away all, and so must we; if we will not lose Christ, and suffer shipwracke, cast away these commodities that loade us and hinder us in our course. Neither is it meant here of an actuall casting away of our goods, thereby to establish the foolish vow of povertie; But herein is meant a judicious dis­cerning of the true worth of these things in com­parison of Christ, and from thence a preparation, [Page 75] and ar [...] solved minde, to part with all that may hinder us from the injoyment of peace of consci­ence, and the love of Christ. For a man may have a weaned soule, in the middest of abun­dance: and he may live in the world, though not to the world, which is a dutie easily spo­ken of, yet not easily performed: neither was it easily wrought in our Apostle, who being a persecutor of the Church, was powerfully al­tered and changed from Heaven: and thus doth God deale with his children, whom hee doth first cast downe and afflict, that they may finde by experience, that these outward things can stand us in no stead▪ it may be hee suffers them to fall into some grievous scandalous sinne, that they might see the bodie of sinne that lies in them, and seeing no good, nor help in themselves, their desires are stirred up to the imbracing of some better thing, wherein they may finde comfort: then doth God reveale Christ to us, to whom he will have us to flie, and say: Lord what wilt thou have mee to doe? So as this power of changing our selves, is not in our selves, but it is an almightie power.

If we thinke therefore that wee are selfe-lo­vers, goe to God, present thy selfe in the meanes, and then our eyes shall be opened to see and discerne good and evill: For God hath promised to annex his spirit to the use of the meanes, if that wee in obedience submit our selves to them.

VERS. 8. Yea doubtlesse and I count all things but losse.

THe words containe a kinde of corre­ction; as if in few words he had said: All things, whatsoever I formerly boasted in, nay my very priviledges, I count them not onely dung, but I doe count them to be losse to me: nay, I have suffered the losse of them all, in comparison and for Christ my [...]ord. Yea, I desire to expresse the earnest intention of my affections, by my desire to win him, to know h [...]m, to be found in him, and to formable to his death.

In generall observe:

The Apostles resolution, and zeale, his assu­red 1 certainty, his large heart being not able to expresse his affection (but by many words) viz. his love of Christ, and hate of all outward things whatsoever. Therefore we also in maine fundamentall points must be resolute, carrying a full saile; as in the truth of the thing there is a certainty, so in us there must be an assured per­swasion thereof. For even from these uncer­taine irresolute hearts comes Apostacie, men being not grounded, are carried about with every winde of doctrine: and hence also comes different measures of grace in Christians; some [Page 77] say with Paul, Doubtlesse: others are of doubt­ing hearts. But the end of the word is to settle us. Ephes. 4.13. And though it be ne­ver so true, yet if we not beleeve it; though the foundation be sure, yet if we not build on it; the tru hand force of it, is not good unto us.

In the second place, f [...]om the Apostles ex­ample:2 We are to learne in fundamentall truthes to be zealous. The Apostle speaking of any thing that [...]e [...]kes competition with Christ for value, how doth he vilisie it? that he hath not words sufficient to e [...]pr [...]sse his fervent hatred thereof. For zeale is such an affection as causes a constant hatred against any thing that opposes that which we intirely love: even such a ha­tred, as will cause us not to indure to heare of it: And God therefore promiseth Ephraim he shall so abhorre Idols, as he shall not have to doe with them. And indeed a jealous God, and a zealous heart doe well agree; when wee have to doe with any one that opposes God in his [...]ruth, we are not to be cold, but to be zea­lously affected.

In the third place: Wee are to learne to bee 3 large hearted, in expressing our affection wee beare to the truth: and therefore we are to bee ashamed of our shortnesse of breath, in speaking or meditating of Gods honour, and glory, and his truth. But particularly from our Apostles esteeme, wee may learne: That Gods children have sanctified and regenerate thoughts and esteemes. For with new soules, they have new [Page 72] [...] [Page 77] [...] [Page 78] eyes, new senses, new affections, and judge­ments; what they saw before to be gaine, they see now to be losse. Beasts we know conceive not of mens matters, neither doe weake simple men of state matters: that which weake silly men admire, the Apostle scornes and con­temnes. Moses accounted of the afflictions with the children of God, more than of the pleasure of Egypt. We may observe this as a marke to know our estates by: what is high in thy esteeme? is honour, riches, pleasure, or the like? thou art not yet throughly sanctified; for if thou wert, thou wouldst have a sanctified judgement.

But some may say, did Paul esteem all things to be losse, yea his good workes?

1 I answer, good workes in their own nature are good: but weighing them with Christ, as Paul did, they are also drosse, and dung.

Secondly, it teaches us, that wee are not 2 righteous, or justified, by any workes ceremoniall, or morall, either before or after our conversion. The Papists alledge works as meritorious, we contrarily doe disclaime them. As to that pur­pose: I (say they) you meane ceremoniall works: we say no, we meane also morall. For Paul was unblameable as concerning the works of the law, and yet counts them dung. O (say they) St. Paul meaned those works be­fore his conversion, and not those after his conversion. I answer, yes; all things in re­spect of Christ, I doe now account them as drosse, and losse. To prove this the fuller; If [Page 79] nothing after conversion bee perfect, then cannot they intitle us to heaven, but all our best works, in state of regeneration are imperfect: to prove this; See the examples of David, a man after Gods owne heart, Psal. 143.2. None righte­ous in thy sight, and who can say his heart is cleane. And Esay 64.6. Wee are all as an un­cleane thing, and all our righteousnesse as filthie ragges.

O but Bellarmine sayes, the Prophet speakes this in the person of the wicked. I hope he will not put the Prophet into that number; for he saith, wee, and our, and our righteousnesse; not our ill deeds; and all our righteousnesse. Nay of himselfe in particular: Esay, saith as much in Esay 6.5. And besides, the wicked doe not use to pray, as the whole Chapter is to that end. And Daniel also includes himselfe in his confession, Dan. 9.20. And to prove this by reason; We know that weake and corrupt principles, must needs produce imperfect ef­fects: now the principles of all our motions, are evilly affected; our understandings, memo­mories, affections, all are corrupt and weake. Corruptions make combates in all parts of the soule and body: in whatsoever therefore we doe, there is flesh and spirit; and their owne Authours agree hereunto: as Ferus, and Catha­ren a Cardinall of their owne, sayes there is do­natajustitia, and inhaerens. When the question is what we must leane to, it must be onely on Christ and his righteousnesse, wherewith from [Page 76] him we are indowed. And a Pope of theirs, Adrian the fourth, saith that all our righte­ousnesse is as the reed of Egypt, which will not onely faile us if we rest on it, but will pierce our sides. St. Cyprian saith also, that he is ei­ther Superbus, or Stultus, that sayes or thinkes he is perfect. And good reason, for that which shines in the eyes of m [...]n, in Gods esteeme is base. In thy sight shall no flesh be justified: Now there are divers degrees of judgements; in Gods judgement none sh [...]ll be justified, nor in judgement of l [...]w, for in many things we offend all: and for the judgement of the world, what is it if it cleare us? can that [...]cquit us, if God and the law condemns us? & for the judg­ment of our owne consciences, if they be cle­ared they will condemne us. Yea the Papists are not satisfied in their own consciences for this point. For if there may be a perfect fulfilling of the law in this life, by a mans owne inherent righteousnesse, why doe they teach the do­ctrine of Doubting, as necessary to salvation? But how ever they may br [...]bble in schooles to maintaine this their assertion, yet when death comes, they must flye those shifts, and lay hold onely on Gods love.

Some will say: what are the graces of Gods spirit? are the sacrifices, the sweet odours, and ornaments of the spouse, are these dung?

I answer, Things admit of one esteeme sim­ply considered, and of another comparatively; starres in the day are not seene, yet in the night [Page 81] are great lights. So workes in regard of Christs workes, are not visible, are nothing, but in themselves are good.

Secondly, I say there are two courts, one of justification, another of sanctification: in the Court of justification merits are nothing worth, insufficient: but in the Court of sancti­fication, as they are ensignes of a sanctified course, so they are jewels and ornaments.

But the ignorant Papist objects against us, Obj. say­ing that we discourage men from good workes, be­cause we doe so basely esteeme of them.

I answer.Answ. A sick man cannot eate meat, but it breeds humours that strengthens the disease: shall he therfore forbeare all manner of meats? No, for meat strengthens nature, and makes it able to overcome the power of the disease. So by reason of our corruption we have within us, we halt in every good worke we put our hand to: shall we not therefore worke at all? Yes, for notwithstanding our weaknesse, though we merit not any good, yet God he over-lookes the ill-nesse of our workes, and accepts and re­wards the good that is in them, giving us com­fort and assurance of our justification, by the sanctified fruites, which though imperfect, yet are true. To conclude, Seeing we cannot have Christ, putting any confidence in outward things: Let us labour to get an esteeme of the weaknesse and imperfections that are in them, as also in our persons, and actions: that wee may hunger after Christ. To this end, dayly renew [Page 82] we our repentance, and examination of our hearts, and when we doe any good, Examine what weaknesse, want of zeale, want of affection or attention hath possessed us in our performan­ces (of praying, hearing, reading the Word, and the like) and want of watchfulnesse in our courses, and then shall we be of St. Pauls mind, all will be naught. And take heed of spirituall pride, and conceit of any good in us, for it hinders spirituall comfort from us. Let us meditate of the greatnesse of Gods love to us, and the infinite reward, and it will make us ashamed of our weake requitance of Gods love to us. Consi­der the multitude of our sinnes, before the time we were called: and consider of our pronenesse to spirituall pride, let us by all meanes abase our selves. For those that God loves, he will have them vile in their owne esteeme: for it is his method; First, to beate downe, then to raise up. And therefore Iohn he comes thundering, Hypocrites, generation of vipers. Then comes Christ; Blessed are the poore, those that hunger and thirst after righteousnesse: as if onely they were blessed that feele their wants. We must disdaine any other titles to any good, but one­ly in Gods mercy, and accordingly give the glory of all to him. Thus did the Church mi­litant, Not to us, not unto us Lord, but to thy Name: and thus doe the Church triumphant, Rev. 7.12. Honour, glory, and power, bee to the Lambe; those that doe not thus, are no mem­bers of the Church.

[Page 83]Last of all, Let us take heed of extenuating sinne: the Papists tell us of divers sins that are veniall, such are surreptitious thoughts, taking of pinnes, stealing of points, and the like; these they call veniall. But we must know, (to ad­mit, that sinne, as a sinne, to be veniall, is a con­tradiction, though God doe pardon it, for that is out of his free mercy) these surreptitious stealing motions, that unawares doe creepe in­to us, though the Papists doe make them of small account, God may punish with his fierce indignation. Moses, his anger kept him out of Canaan. Adam, his apple, cast him out of paradice, every sinne is a breach of the law, the least sinne soiles us, we must give account of idle words: and the wages of any sinne (though never so small) is death.

VERS. 8. For the excellencie of the knowledge of Christ Iesus.

THat is, either all things are losse to me, that hinder me from the knowledge of Christ Iesus; or, all things are losse in compa­rison of Christ Iesus. Wherefore, before wee can know Christ as we ought, wee must know all other things to be losse: for when we learne to know Christ aright, we then cast those things out of our affections, which would else keepe [Page 84] Christ out of our heart. Wherefore its no won­der that great Schollers, should bee erronious in many points of Religion: for looke to their lives, and we shall see them envious, and ambitious; they maintaine Idols in their hearts, they ac­count not those things losse, which must be losse, or else they must account Christ losse. Secondly, This knowledge of Christ is an excel­lent knowledge, better than the Iewes, who had all their knowledge shadowed out in ceremonies: but this is unvailed, and therefore Christ said, Blessed are the eyes that see those things that you see. And as the estate of the Church growes more excellent now, than before Christs com­ming, and shall be most excellent hereafter in heaven: even so our knowledge doth, and shall grow in its excellent perfection.Wherein, and how the knowledge of Christ ex­ceeds humane knowledge. Its bet­ter also than humane arts and sciences: not in re­gard of the Authour, for all knowledge is from God; but

1 First, in regard of the manner of revealing therof: for whereas we come to the other by the light of nature and reason, this is inspired into us by the spirit.

2 Secondly, In regard of the matter of this knowledge: which is farre beyond the other, for this teaches the natures and person of Christ, God and man in one person, which may swal­low up the thoughts of man. Great is the mi­sterie of godlinesse. In the next place, It teaches us his offices: that he is a King to rule over us, and deliver us, a Priest to make us acceptable [Page 85] to God, a Prophet to teach and instruct us. And thirdly, it teaches us the benefit of his offices: ex­ercising them in his state of humiliation, and exaltation. Fourthly, It teaches us to know our duties: to entertaine him, rest on him, glory in him only, and that all other things are losse in comparison of him.

This knowledge is better than other know­ledge,3 in the effects it hath: it being a transfor­ming knowledge, 2 Cor. 3.18. It makes glori­ous, happy, full of comfort, carrying the spi­rit with it, which changes us into his simili­tude, and therefore is it called the word of the spirit.

In the fourth place, its better than other 4 knowledge, In regard of the depth of the know­ledge: and therefore called, The manifold wise­dome of God, Ephes. 3.10. That a virgin is a mother, God is become man, this is farre above naturall reach, and therefore Christ may well be called wonderfull, Esay 9.6. who being God, should be also man, die, rise, and ascend farre above all power.

Fifthly, This knowledge is a sweet knowledge:5 and therefore excellent. It telles us who were miserable, and lost; it telles us also of redemp­tion, of a kingdome, of a Saviour. How sweet are thy testimonies to my mouth, Psal. 119.103. And if the promises here bee so sweet to us, what shall then the accomplishment of them be to us hereafter.

This knowledge, furthermore is excellent,6 [Page 86] In regard of the continuance thereof: the know­ledge of other things dies with the things; the world must perish, and what use is there then of our skill in the nature thereof: onely this knowledge abideth for ever, working grace, love, heavenly mindednesse, and brings us tis to glorie.

7 In the seventh place, This knowledge of Christ, teacheth us to know God aright: his ju­stice in punishing sinne his wisedome and mer­cie in reconciling us to him, and in willing that Christ should become man, and dye for us. Neither could we know these things, but by knowing Christ, who is the ingraved image of his father.

8 Furthermore, It teaches us to know our selves: our filthinesse, our ignorance, in esteeming tri [...] ­lingly of sinnes, counting them veniall: But great surely must the sore be, that necessarily requires such a salve, and such a Physitian as Christ, and his blood to be shed for the cu­ring thereof.

9 In the next place, This knowledge is altoge­ther sufficient in it self without all other know­ledge; and none without this to make a man wise to salvation, both of soule and body; and all men without this, are but fooles.

Vse. 1.For Use hereof. This improves the shallow conceit men have of Divinitie: that the know­ledge is but shallow, that every man may know it, and that any man may soone have enough thereof. But alas, St. Paul had a large heart, [Page 87] and had more in [...]ight into the deepe mysteries of this knowledge than such, how ever they boast, and yet he desires more, and could not pierce to the depth therof, for none ever could doe it but Christ Iesus onely. Nay, the very Angels they desire to pry, and look into, and to know more of these deepe mysteries, 1 Pet. 1.12. Its therefore no shallow knowledge.

In the second place,Vse. 2. This ought to put us in minde to put apart times, to meditate of the excel­lencie of this knowledge: and to this end, we are to emptie our selves of whatsoever fills us. Especially, we are to emptie us of sinne, and of care for the world, and the vanities thereof, and the knowledge of them: because both it, and they shall all perish; make no excuses of ventu­ring displeasure, or suffering discommodity: true love pretends no delayes, nor will in­dure them. Behold Lord, halfe of my goods I doe give to the poore, and I doe restore to every man his owne, said Zacheus.

In the next place,Vse 3. We must call upon God to open our eyes: that we may see and know his nature, his offices, his benefits, and our duties, to know more distinctly, effectually, and set­ledly, to see the wonders of his law: that we may be even ravished, when we behold his ful­nesse. We

In the fourth place,Vse. 4. are to frequent places, where we shall have a fuller knowledge of Christ: such places where the commerce is betweene Christ, and the Church, in the 5. Cant. 1. vers. [Page 88] Christ had made love to his Church, and wo­ed her by his gracious promises: she in the 2. ver. being drowsie, pretends excuses. Hereupon Christ goes away, but leaves a gracious scent of his quickening spirit, enough to stirre her up to seek after her well-beloved that was gone (to the 8. vers.) who asking after her well belo­ved, those whom she enquired of, enquired of her who he was? and upon her description of him, are enamoured with him, and stirred up to seeke him also: (where by the way marke the benefit of conference) Cant. 6.1. and are told that he is gone into his garden to the beds of spices: that is, into the congregation and as­sembly of his Saints. If we will know Christ therefore, wee must goe into these gardens, where hee is ever present, and there will he teach us.

Vse▪ 5.And then shall we be stirred up to magnifie Gods goodnesse, and mercie, that hath reserved us to these times of knowledge: and this marvailous light, wherein we are more blessed than Iohn, who was the greatest of those borne of wo­men, we see (more than he saw) Christ our Sa­viour, already ascended, to bee our eternall high-priest.

VERS. 8. My Lord.

THis is the end of all our knowledge, to know Christ to be our Lord, for else the Divels knew Christ Paul I know, and Christ I know, said he to those Conjurers, but he could not know Christ to be his Lord. My Lord. Not onely for his title that he hath in me, but My Lord, for the title I have in him: My Beloved is mine, and I am his. Mine he is, for he made him­selfe mine, by redeeming me and paying the price for me. My head, from whom I receive force and vigour, my husband, my head of eminenci [...]: briefly, my Lord, making me his, and stirring up in me, a love and desire to make him mine, and to rest upon him by faith. In the Covenant of grace therefore, there is a mutuall consent betweene God and us: he is ours, we are his by faith to trust on him, and by love to im­brace him, which stirres up the whole man to obedience; we may not think that this procee­ded from a spirituall pride in the Apostle, as though he thought himselfe the onely darling of Christ; no, they are the words of a particular faith, and love, in the Apostle; not excluding others from the like, for every Christian must labour for this faith, that we may know Christ to be our Iesus, our Saviour which we shall be assured of; for if he makes us his, hee will make us to love him, and to say from our hearts, my [Page 90] Lord, and my head: his love of us, is the cause of our love to him; we love him, because he lo­ved us first, hi [...] knowl [...]dge is the cause of ours, he chose us, and therefore we chuse him, and if he loved me when I hated him, surely now I love him, he must needs love me. Againe, we shall know that we are Christs: for then there will be a likenesse of Christ wrought in our hearts. For that spirit that stirres us up to own Christ, doth ever worke the Image of Christ in our soules, as a seale it imprin [...]s on our soule the image of Christ, in all graces, of love, meek­nesse, heavenly mindedn [...]sse, and good­nesse: if we be the spouse of Christ, we shall represent and shew forth his glory, for the wo­man is the glory of the man. Else what ere we boast, wee are therein but hypocrites: wee must forsake all in regard of Christ.

VERS. 8. For whom I have suffered the losse of all things.

HEre St. Paul confirmes his resolution and judgement of the value of Christ above all other things: first, he said he accompted him gaine, and all other things losse: lest men should thinke these were but brags, he inferres he had suffered the losse of all for him, and therefore did so highly esteeme of him: and then it was he was for Christs sake stripped of [Page 91] all, he was in want, hungry, naked, went in dan­ger of his death often, nay he willingly suffe­red the losse of his priviledges, he was an Apo­stle, yet not worthy of the name, as he sayes: and for his care in his office, though he were very diligent, yet by it did hee not looke to merit: he suffered the losse of all willingly, he wrought this on his heart, to lose all for Christ: which is the dutie that a Christian must learne, not to be onely a patient, but willingly to lose, to part with all: and therefore wee are bidden to examine our selves, to judge and condemn our selves; and though the Lord hath not called us to the losse of all, yet winne thus much of thy minde, as to be prepared for to lose all when we shall be called thereunto, and that in regard thereof, we may say we have parted with all, for in that we part with themin our affections, God beholdes it, and takes notice thereof, and likes it, and lookes for it, and therefore he bids us leave all and follow him, and if we forsake not all, honour, credit, yea our lives, we cannot be his Disciples.

VERS. 8. And doe count them but dung.

SHewing his lothing of them, and that he could not in dure the thought of them, but did abhorre it as dogges vomit or dogges meat, [Page 92] accounting it fit meat for none but such dogges as he spake before of: if therefore we love Christ, there will bee a detestation of those things that crosse the power of Christs merits, in the same de­gree that we love Christ, and we will expresse our degree of love of him, by expressing the degree of hatred we beare to other things in comparison of him.

Quest.But why doth the Apostle so often incul­cate these words?

Answ.To shew the expression of the largenesse of his owne heart, and thereby to worke an im­pression thereof in the hearts of the Philip­pians.

2 Secondly, to shew the power of the spirit, that where it once leades, it leades further and further to a higher degree of love of Christ, that the longer he is loved, the greater will love grow, and more fervent, so as the spirit con­straines the person where it rules, that he can­not but speake, Acts 4.20.

3 Thirdly, to shew the excellencie of the subject, he dwels upon it, that we should thinke high­ly of it: Also

4 Fourthly, to shew the necessitie thereof, with­out which we cannot looke for salvation.

5 Fifthly, to shew the difficultie of comming to this esteeme of Christ, and to subdue our proud imaginations of our owne selves, which however it will prove a hard and difficult mat­ter.

6 Lastly, in regard of the Philippians, he knew [Page 93] it would be a difficult matter for them, and therefore he sought out fit words to expresse the nature of the subject, and the truth of his esteeme, thus did the wise man, Eccles. 12.10, 11. who knew that the words of the wise man are as goades: its our dutie to take notice here­of therefore, and to learne in what respect these outward things are good, and to ranke them in their right places.

VERS. 8. That I may winne Christ.

TO winne Christ, in this place, is to get a more neere Communion with Christ, a fuller assurance of him, and a larger portion in him: for St. Paul had Christ already, and that made him desire a fuller injoyment of him, though his heart was not large enough to en­tertaine all Christ, yet he desired to be satisfied with his fulnesse.

First, then, it is here to be granted that Christ 1 is gaine, else why should the Apostle desire to winne him: He is gaine I say, both in himselfe considered, and having respect to us: In him­selfe considered, for no jewell is comparable to God-man, to a Mediator, he was inriched with all graces that the manhood was capable of. But much more in regard of us; for first, he is our ransome from the wrath of God, now [Page 94] we know a ransome must bee a gainfull thing, and of no small price that must satisfie Gods wrath.

2 Secondly, He is not only our ransome, but our purchase, purchasing Gods favour and hea­ven to us.

3 Thirdly, he is our treasure: for all things for this present life, as also for a better, in him are the treasures of heavenly wisedome, and of his fulnesse we all receive grace for grace: he is our comfort in trouble, and direction in all our perplexities.

4 Fourthly, he is of that precious vertue, as he turnes all to gold: all things are sanctified to us, death, grave, crosses, all which though we be not freed from, yet he turnes them all to worke our good.

5 Fifthly, by him we are made heires, and have title to all things: he is our Lord, and hee that hath given Christ to us, how shall he not with him give us all things, so as in all our wants we may boldly come to the throne of grace.

6: Sixthly, We by Christ gaine such offices as he himselfe had: we are Kings, we are Priests, we are over the greatest of our enemies, no more thrals to lust, or to the world, we may freely offer sacrifice for ourselves and others, in the name of this our high-priest.

7 Seventhly, we have communion with all that are good, the Angels, the Saints, the Mi­nisters, they are all ours to defend and pray for us had the yong rich man this spirit of St. Paul, [Page 95] he would have thought it the best bargain that ever he made, though hee had parted with all, if he had gotten Christ.

But it may be said,Obj. true, Christ is gaine, but what hope is there for us to attaine hereunto, it may be as Paradise in it selfe, yet kept from us by a flaming sword.

I answer,Answ. no, this gaine may be gotten; which is the thing I propound to speake of: Christ is a treasure in a field, if any one will seek he may finde, we had a Saviour before we were borne, he was elected thereunto, and we to gaine heaven through him; and he was manifested in the flesh in the fulnesse of time to incourage us, and Christ our gaine calles us to buy without mo­ny, and invites us that are loaden with sinne to come to him: Isa. 55.1. 2 Cor. 5.20. To this end, he appoints men to lay open his riches to allure us.

Secondly, we have the spirit, by which we lay 1 hold on this gaine ▪ if wee depend on God by prayer for his spirit, and when we have gotten but a little portion of this gaine, it makes our gaines increase; to this end hee gives us the Word and Sacraments: and this condemnes those that live in the field where this pearle is, and have the ministerie to shew them it, and yet they doe neglect this so great a jewell; and this ought to stirre us up to magnifie Gods goodnesse to us, who hath recovered us that were the lost sonnes of a lost father, and keeps us from returning back into our former natural estate.

[Page 96] 3 Thirdly, this gaine is not to be gotten but at a price, it must begotten by parting with all out­ward things: so farre, as to make them gaine to us?

Quest.Ah, but is God thus hard to us, that he will not allow us the injoyment of the comforts of this life, but we must for them lose Christ?

I answer, God denies us not our worldly comforts,Answ. for Paul had them. But when they come in competition with Christ, for excellen­cie and superiority in esteeme; as also, when thou art called forth for the confession of the truth, then bee at a point to count all, yea thy life, drosse and dung: wee must therefore resolve and fore-cast the worst, and leave not till thou workest this minde within thee, to in­dure the worst rather than lose peace of con­science.

And therefore we may well conclude from hence, that confidence in Christ and in outward things cannot stand together: wee cannot love God and Mammon, and therefore if wee part not with the world, looke to part with Christ; which we may note against the politicians of our times, that thinke themselves the onely wise men, in their esteeme Paul was but a weake man, and knew not how to esteem things, they can trust in God they hope, and yet provide a­gainst the worst; the time will come, when they will finde they have been made fooles indeed, when God will say he knowes them not, and their riches shall take their wings and leave [Page 97] them, without hope of comfort.

And therefore let us acquaint our selves with Christs value, with the vanity of outward things, and meditate hereon, and at length thou shalt finde the same minde in thee, that was in St. Paul.

In the last place we may hence observe, who they be that have not gained Christ: for are there not many that will not part with a sinne, no though it be a sin that brings no profit or plea­sure at all with it, as swearing and blaspheming Gods name, nay are there not those that (Iudas like) sell Christ for 30. peeces of money, nay, it may be for lesse. A goodly price to set hea­ven, happinesse, and their owne soules at, let any man tell them hereof, they will sweare you do them open wrong, and be ready to cut your throat for saying so, how farre are these from true grace?

The fourth and last generall observation is,4 that when we have parted with all, we are to know that we are gainers: For Christ in Mark. 10.30. saith, (whose promises are yea and amen) That he shall have a hundred fold in this life [...] that is, so much content as shall be worth an hundred fold: for when a mans conscience can tell him, these and these things I parted with, onely to obtaine peace of conscience, that peace of con­science shall give him more content, than the whole world can bring to him, and what can a man desire above content and comfort, its all we seeke for here, which if we have not, all is nothing.

[Page 98]Secondly, he that hath Christ can bee no loser; for in him all things are, Eminently and Fundamentally: for he is Lord of all, and what I lose for his sake (if it be good for me) he hath said I shall have it.

Hence we may see therefore, the wisest man, and the noblest spirit, who is the wisest man? He that makes the best choyce, its judgement makes a man: not hee that hath confused no­tions swimming in his braine: Now a Christi­an considers things, layes them together, jud­ges of them duly; he therefore is the wise man. The wicked man he is a foole, he parts with an invaluable pearle, for his present delight in a few idle, vaine, childish bables and toyes. Who is also the most truly noble minded? An advised true Christian, he is able to set at nought that for which the world forget God, heaven, soule and all for; hee can despise the pleasures of a Court and of a countrie, his eye is on his soule, on heaven, on the innumerable companie of Angels, on that presence where is fulnesse of joy: a wicked man routs in the durt of this world, see what manner of stones and building are here, that is their delight, to admire the stage of this world: But had they knowne this gift of God, this peace of conscience, and the com­fort thereof, they would looke after another citie and foundation, whose builder onely is God.

Quest.But how shall we know whether wee have made this choyce, or not?

[Page 99]I answer,Answ. by these signes;

First,Signes of the choice of Christ. if a man accompts of any thing, his eye and minde will be on it: if we account Christ as our gaine, our hearts will be set on him con­tinually; if he be our treasure, our hearts will be on him.

Secondly, if we have made choyce of him,2 our hearts will joy in him above all things: as he that found the jewell, went away rejoycing. Shew me the light of thy countenance, for therein doe I delight, saith David; where true beleefe is there is joy: Zacheus, the Iaylor, and the Eunuch, after they were converted they re­joyced. This makes a covetous man not re­gard at all what men say of him, for hee hath that which they would be glad of; so ought it to be with us, let us be taunted, mocked, flou­ted at, if we have chosen Christ, [...]ll's one, wee have other things to comfort us, and our eyes will be upon them.

The third note is, if we can part with any thing 3 for Christ, and indure any hard measure for the sense and assurance we have in Christ Ie­sus: many are so farre herefrom, as they will not part with the least earthly pleasure for Christ; such as these, though they say they have peace of conscience, they lye, for they can have no more peace of conscience, than they have love to Christ, nor more love, than they have an esteeme of him above all things.

Fourthly, hee that hath made this choice,4 [Page 100] must part with all things what ever he loves, yea his dearest affections & lusts: for a bird catched, though but by a wing, yet is she as surely the fowlers, as if her whole body were bound; so if we favour, or like and imbrace but one sinne, though we thinke not thereof, there is a floud of sinne comes in at that gate, he that is guil­tie of one sinne, is guiltie of all.

Quest.But the weake Christian will object, are wee not (yea the best of us) troubled with our perso­nall secret infirmities, what shall then become of us?

Answ.I answer, feare not: for its true, though the best child of God be thus troubled, yet hee pleades against it, he hates it, he undermines it, and strives against it, and thus opposing it, it is not accounted to him by God. But if hee for­sakes all sinne in heart but one, the devill will suffer it, and indure it well enough, for he knows he is sure enough.

5 The fifth note is, That such an one can be con­tent to be at some cost, yea losse and paines for the Word, for the field wherein this pearle is hid: hee that is not of this minde cares not for the word. It is not that men can speake well and commend it, for many will doe so, yet after­ward make a mocke of it, especially being in some company: but he that esteemes it once will ever esteeme it, and in all company wil ex­toll it. Herod a very reprobate, may seeme well affected, where there is no temptation, or while the word is preached, can this be a plea to [Page 101] God at the last day, who searcheth and knowes thy heart, many dream they have this, when in­deed they have naught but the shell. How few can say in truth, I have denied this or that com­modity, and refused my profit for Christs sake: Those that have done this, let them know they have a most rich gaine, and the best gain of all o­thers; they have an universall gaine, that will comfort at all times, riches and honours cannot cure the troubled minde, neither can they deliver in the day of wrath.

Then in the next place, let them know they have an everlasting gaine, that will comfort us for ever and ever. In the last place, such as have won [...]e Christ, they have such a gaine as makes them that have him, truly rich, and noble, and good: other riches without grace, doe corrupt us, the Image of God is the true and intrinsecall worth: Let this incourage us to labour to get Christ, to attend the meanes that lay his riches open; and thereby shall our love bee so stirred up, and our judgement so sanctified, as wee shall bee of St. Pauls minde, to account all other things losse in regard of him: and there­fore its no wonder that those that have not the benefit of the meanes, want this esteeme.

VERS. 9. And be found in him.

SOme reade the words actively, th [...] may finde Christ; but the phra [...]e is in the originall varying from the former, and therefore it is better translated as we have it, passively; But when is it that St. Paul desireth to be found in Christ? Ever no doubt, but especially at the houre of death, and day of judgement.

The Phrase implies, first that there is an estate in Christ; Secondly, an abiding in it; and Thirdly, to be found abiding in him. For the handling whereof, wee will first explaine the phrase; Secondly, we will shew what doctrines it doth cleere, then we will come to some in­structions arising therefrom. The phrase, to be in Christ, is taken from plants which are graf­ted into stocks, or from the branches which are said to be in the tree, thus are we in the vine; its Christs owne comparison, and of this uni­on with Christ, there are three degrees.

  • First, we are in Christ, and in God, first lo­ving us, and so wee were in him before wee were, he chose us from all eternitie.
  • Secondly, when Christ died, then we were in him as a publike person.
  • [Page 103]Thirdly, we are said most properly to be in him, now when we beleeve in him, and thus principally is the sense understood in this place: and thus we are in Christ, not as the manhood is in Christ, but mystically; not as friends in one another by love, but by faith wee are in­grafted; as truly as the branches are in the vine, so are we one.

But Christ is in heaven,Obj. wee are on earth, how can we be united to him that is so farre di­stant from us?

I answer,Answ. if a tree did reach to heaven, and have its roote in the earth, doth this hinder that the branches and the roote are not united? In no wise. So Christ he is in heaven, and we on earth, yet are we united to him by his spirit, and receiving influence from him of all grace and goodnesse.

Now lets see what doctrines are cleared 2 hereby: first, it cleares the point of justification by Christ: For if the question be, how wee are saved by Christs righteousnesse? I answer, Christ and we are both one, doth not the eye see for the bodie, are not the riches of the hus­band and wife all one? yes, and even also whatsoever Christ hath is ours, he is our hus­band, he is our head. In the second place, it cleares the matter of the sacrament: the Papists would have the bread transubstantiated into the bodie of Christ, that it may be united to us. I answer, how is the foot in the head, is it not by spirituall vigour passing to and fro through [Page 104] the body, but chiefly in the head: it is not therefore necessary that there should bee any corporall union. Nay, Christ comforted his Disciples more by his spirit when he departed from them, than he did by his corporall pre­sence. We say also, that the mysticall body of Christ is invisible, because the spirit whereby we are made one is invisible.

3 This should comfort us at all times, and in all estates: before we were in Christ, we were in an estate of horrour, in an estate of damnation, now to be reduced to Christ: (what comfort is it to be one of a politique body its but for life, or to be in any mans favour its but at will) this is a most excellent, glorious, and eternall being, that mans nature should be so highly advanced as to be unit [...]d to the Godhead, yea our per­sons are mystically united to Christ. Second­ly, In all crosses or losses, what though we lose other states, here is a state cannot bee shaken. Thirdly, in the houre of death wee are in Christ: and blessed are they that dye in the Lord; death that separates the soule from the body, cannot separate eyther from Christ. Fourthly, after death can it go hard with me that am in Christ, that am his spouse, I am in him in whom is ful­nesse of comfort. Fifthly, in all wants here, I have him to supply all, hee will give what is necessarie; if we should have fulnesse of grace here, we should not desire to be in heaven here­after. Sixthly, in persecution all my hurt re­dounds to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou [Page 105] me? that which thou dost to my members thou doest to me?

In the fourth place, let us consider how this being in Christ, is a ground of doing of all dutie. I say therfore, it will direct us in duties to God, towards men, and to our selves.

First, in duties towards God, how thankfull ought we to be to him: for taking us to himself, for being Emmanuel God with us, so that wee are become bone of his bone [...] what need wee now Saints or Angels to intercede for us, who should Christ heare above his owne flesh? For duties towards men, this ought to stirre us to duties of peace and unitie, shall wee be so unna­turall as to fall out with the members of our owne body, Non est concors cum Christo ubi est discors cum Christiano.

Secondly, it ought to stirre us up to duties of respect to each other: considering they are mem­bers of Christ as we are, and shall so be found in him ere long.

Thirdly, this should stirre us up to charitie to the poore members of Christ: they being his members are fellow members, and in loving them and doing them good, we sh [...]w our love to Christ himselfe.

And in the last place, towards our selves we are to carry our selves with more respect: and not to prostitute our selves to every base pleasure: consider in whom am I, & to what I am redee­med, and with what price; shall I make my bo­die the member of an harlot, who am the mem­ber [Page 106] of Christ, this pride and high esteeme of our selves above base pleasures and lusts, this is commendable; and therefore the Apostle had good reason thus to account of these earthly things to bee drosse and dung. In the second place, this will teach us to see our residence in Christ, and growth in him: for if we be in Christ, wee will have an especiall eye to our conver­sation, that we be not feet of iron and clay un­der a golden head, as many base licentious drunkards and filthie persons esteeme of them­selves: will Christ owne such members as these, think we? no, those that are in Christ Christ will be in them, discovering himselfe by ruling in them; his house is holy, if we bee of his house, we will not desire, grieve, nor affect, but by the sway of his spirit.

5 In the last place, How shall we come to be found in Christ?

Answ.I answer, we must first come where he is; we shall finde him in the Temple,The meanes how to be u­nited to Christ. teaching and strengthening our faith, and love, and so in our judgements and affections we shall bee in him. Secondly, we must separate our selves from the contrary to Christ, as a loyall wife will from all doubtful acquaintance; we must depart from Antichrist, our owne corruptions and lusts, and dayly we must labour to get ground of them.

And from the words this wee may learne; First, that a Christian is continually under Christs wing, till he be in heaven: else how could the [Page 107] Apostle desire to be found in him at the day of judgement.

Secondly, we learne that there is such a time when God will, as it were with a Candle, search men out, and lay them open as they are. This is not thought upon, men now shuffle it off, I shall be saved as well as any other, and this and that good company I am acquainted withall: trust not, I say, to good acquaintance, there is a time of separation, when thou shalt bee found out as thou art in thine owne colours.

Thirdly, hence we learne that the foundation of future happinesse must be laid now: before we can be with Christ in the Kingdome of glorie, we must be his members in the Kingdome of grace: dost thou live therfore a corrupt and car­nall life here, never thinke to be found in him hereafter. And therefore let the uncertainty of this life be a spurre to thee, to watch over thy wayes, so as thou be such at this and all other times, as you would be willing to bee found at that day: many boast hereof, but their lives savour nothing hereof, but are knit altogether to their lusts or to Antichrist; woe to such, they shall goe on the left hand. But snch as Christ findes in him, it must needs go well with them, Christ will not judge them for whom he died, but shall set them on his right hand for ever more.

VERS. 9. Not having mine owne righteousnesse which is of the Law.

IN these words and those following, the Apostle, layes downe summarily his desire; fi [...]st negatively in these words, he desired not to be found in Christ trusting to his own righteousnesse, implying a difference and distinction betweene his righteousnesse by the Law, and that by Christ: the righteousnesse by the Law he disclaimes (as any way meritorious) and that as well habitu­all, wrought by God in him, or actuall righte­ousnesse, consisting in the outward workes that he did, and that with good reason: for first mans righteousnesse is but finite, and therefore unfit to worke or deserve infinitely, and impos­sible to deserve heaven and the joyes thereof. Secondly, this righteousnesse is imperfect and stayned as a menstruous cloth and unable to quiet or satisfie our owne consciences, much lesse God, who is greater than our owne con­sciences: and therefore the Saints prayed, En­ter not into judgement with thy servants Lord, for in thy sight shall no flesh be justified. But the Papists answer, the worke of God is perfect, but our righteousnesse is the worke of God, and there­fore perfect. We say, that the workes of God are within us or without us, the works of God without us are perfect, but those that are with­in [Page 109] us are imperfect, still savouring of our polu­tion and corruption, by reason that the old man in us perverteth all that is good in us, and therefore partus sequitur ventrem. Secondly, it is true that the workes of God within us are so farre perfect, as tend to the end hee workes them for in us, but our righteousnesse was ne­ver ordained of God to that end, as to save us by them, and therfore they cannot accomplish that end; but God workes this righteousnesse in us, to convince us of our owne weaknesse, and to be a testimonie of the presence of his spirit in us: Paul therefore sayes not, I will not have mine owne righteousnesse, but I desire not to be found in my righteousnesse; so as to merit sal­vation thereby.

VERS. 9. But that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousnesse which is of God by faith, that I may know him and the power of his Resurrection.

THat is, that righteousnesse which is in Christ, but laid hold on of me, and ap­prehended by faith, and all that righteousnesse that he had, both active and passive as Media­tour, but especially his passive, for he was born obedience, lived and dyed for us: and this is [Page 110] that which St. Paul desired to be found in, and this is that which we must trust to.

But how can this righteousnesse performed whol­ly by him, be mine?

I answer, by faith its made ours, for if Christ be ours, all his righteousnesse must con­sequently be made ours.

But how can this righteousnesse performed by Christ be sufficient for us?

I answer, first because God ordained it to that purpose: 1 Cor. 1.30. Christ by God is made to us wisedome, righteousnesse, sanctifica­tion and redemption: and to this end, God the father sealed him, Ioh. 6.27.

Secondly, I say Christ is a second Adam, and a publick person, and became ours, wee then being in his loynes, so the righteousnesse of Christ is made ours, wee being borne in Christ by faith, and found in him: hee being our head, we have a spirituall life descending upon us; he being our husband, all his goods are ours also. This point is the soule of the Church, and the golden key which opens hea­ven for us: if we joyne any other thing to it, it opens hell to us, as God will reveale at that great day. Its true the Papists doe acknow­ledge now that their good workes are not of themselves, but from God: but thus did the Pha­risee, he thanked God that he was not as other men, nor as the Publican; but the poore Pub­lican disclaiming all such goodnesse, went a­way justified rather than the other: let it bee [Page 111] our wisedome therefore to relye onely on Christ, whose obedience and righteousnesse is so all-sufficient, as nothing may bee added thereto, and say with the Apostle, not I, but the grace of God in me.

VERS. 10. And the fellowship of his Sufferings.

THe Apostle having shewed his desire of Christs righteousnesse, now comes to shew his desire also of ha­ving communion with Christ in his sufferings; shewing that whosoever brags of justification, he must shew it in his sanctifica­tion: he must shew that he hath his part in the fellowship of his sufferings, if hee meaneth to shew he hath his part in the power of his resur­rection, water is not alone, but water and blood must goe together. Now Christs sufferings are either for us as mediatour, or with us, as being our head, and we his members: As me­diatour he suffered death, which was onely for our good, we can have no trust in our death, as to deserve any thing thereby as he did: for by his death he appeased Gods wrath, and got his favour to us which we lost, and by it he san­ctifies our sufferings, and puls out the sting of all our afflictions▪ as it is with the Vnicorne, who [Page 112] having put his horn into the water, discharges all poison thereout, so as the beasts may freely drinke without hurt: so it is with us wee may suffer and indure afflictions without hurt, see­ing Christ hath purged them of all poisonous nature that was in them.

But there are other sufferings, that wee and Christ suffer joyntly, he as our head suffering with us his members; for as if the foot be grie­ved, the head is grieved, so the Christians suf­ferings are called Christs sufferings: and a Christian must looke to suffer, if he be a lively member of the body of Christ. Yet is not eve­ry suffering of affliction Christs suffering, for a man may suffer justly for his deserts, notwith­standing even then when a man suffers for his faults, after repentance Christ may bee said to suffer with him: and therefore the Fathers cal­led the death of the repentant Thiefe, a mar­tyrdome. For in all our sufferings Christ is in us, teaching and helping us to beare them with patience, and as a sanctifier of all of them to a blessed end, and as one that frames us to beare all of them, even as he himselfe did.

Vse. 1.This ought to teach us to conceive aright of the estate of a Christian, that hee is not alone when he seemes to bee alone: Christ leaves them not in miserie, no for in miserie he is most neare and present. It is therefore a good estate (though miserie in it selfe be not desirable) for Christ desired to die, and not to die; and so we in severall respects may doe: for if wee regard [Page 113] death as a destroyer of nature, so is it not to be desired, but considering it as the will of God my father, so are we to desire it, and yeeld our selves to it: and accordingly wee desire not afflictions for their proper naturall good, yet in regard they are a meanes to prepare and fit us for heaven, we say with David its good for us to be afflicted.

In the second place, this will teach us that we 2 are not to feare any thing that we shall suffer; be­cause there are more with us than against us. Ioseph in the dungeon, Israel in Egypt, Daniel among the Lions, the three children in the fire, Paul in prison, feared not danger: for what ca­red they, so long as they knew God was with them, and therefore they rejoyced; if we have Christ we have all, if we want Christ we want all.

Thirdly, this may serve to daunt Christs ene­mies,3 they cannot hurt the least of his little ones but they hurt him, Saul, why persecutest thou mee?

Fourthly, this should teach us to take part 4 with Gods children; what though they suffer affliction? Moses chose the better part, that did chuse to bee with the afflicted people of God, before the Court of Pharaoh; wicked men may bite and kicke, but they can doe no hurt, lingua malorum est lima bonorum.

VERS. 10. Being made conformable to his death.

THis conformitie here meant, is not in re­gard of the end, that as Christ dyed for sinne, so should we; but in the manner of suffe­ring as he did suffer and die, so must wee suffer and desire death. Secondly, as he died patient­ly and meekely, so must we suffer patiently and meekely. Thirdly, as he had, so must wee have sweet comforts to sustaine and support us, and Fourthly, as he had, so must wee indeavour to obtaine the same issue of our afflictions, that is, eternall glorie; briefly, we are to bee confor­mable to Christ in grace, in suffering, and in glorie, all these are unevitably linked together, and our head having led us an example, we are to follow. Every Christian must therefore die to sinne, as Christ died for sinne.

But how shall we know whether wee die to sinne or not?

Signes of mortifica­tion.A dead man does no harme, hath no power; contrarily are we strong to commit sinne, and doe we earnestly intend it? surely wee are not mortified. Secondly, dead mens senses are not delighted with faire and sinfull objects, if we be dead with Christ, let the sinfull objects bee never so delightfull, they will not move us or affect us one whit, nay, they will be distastfull to us. Most are of a contrary minde, offer them good discourse and occasions, they cannot [Page 115] away with them; offer any fleshly pleasure, (like tinder) they are soone set on fire, such as these, as they have no heart to suffer for righte­ousnesse, so if for vaine glory they would: neither would God honour them so much as to suffer them. For grounds of this doctrine:

First, its honourable to bee like Christ our Cap­taine, our head, our husband.

Secondly, its not proportionable for the head to be crowned with thornes, and the members to bee clad delicately: that the naturall sonne in whom is no blemish should suffer, and the adopted sonnes who are the causes of all offence should goe free. It is equitie that we having taken Christ for our husband, he should bee accompanied by us in sicknesse and in health, in dishonour as in honour.

Thirdly, it is long agoe decreed of God, and predestinated: and therefore cannot bee avoy­ded. Rom. 8. [...].9. Whom hee did fore-know, them he predestinated to be conformed to the Image of his Sonne.

Fourthly, its equall that if hee were confor­med to us, we should be conformable to him: now he was conformed to us, in that hee suffe­red that which wee should have suffered, and did that for us which we were to do and could not: he having drunke deepe of the cup prepa­red for us, let us therefore at the least taste of it. Yea, let us suffer any thing with an undaunted courage, when we are called thereto for Christ he will come with comforts, he is not emptie, [Page 116] he will make us like him, hee will prepare us hereby for glorie, feare not therefore, God will turne all thy troubles to thy good. And thus we doe fill up the measures of the afflicti­ons of Christ in our flesh. Col. 1.24. And are made partakers of Christs sufferings. 1 Pet. 4.13. We have the like exhortations hereunto, 1 Pet. 2.21. 1 Pet. 3.14. to 18. Thus did Paul 2 Cor. 4.10. hee carryed the dying of Christ about with him. Let no Christian therefore promise to himselfe immunitie from crosses, he that will be a Christian, must be conforma­ble to Christ, and he that will be like to him in glorie, he must be like to him in drinking the Cup hee dranke of, while hee was here in the flesh.

VERS. 10. If by any meanes I might attaine to the Resur­rection of the dead.

BY Resurrection of the dead, he meanes the glorious estate after this life, whereas the resurrection is but the beginning: and the words sound as much in effect, as if the Apostle had said; I know I shall be happie at length, but betweene this time and that, I know I shall meet with troubles, with many crosses; yet let the way [Page 117] be never so difficult, I passe not by any meanes to come to such an excellent end, as the resur­rection of the dead is: in which words wee will

First, consider that there is a happie estate re­served 1 hereafter, which begins with the resur­rection of the bodie, whereby wee are farre more happie than the Angels that fell, and al­so more happie than we were in our first estate in Adam, which we lost: and therefore our hearts should be inlarged with thankes to God, that respects us above the Angels whom hee hath left without hope of recoverie.

In the next place, consider that the beginning 2 of our blessed estate hereafter, is at the resurre­ction: which is called the day of restoring of all things, and a time of refreshing, Acts 3.19. Its a day when all good shall be perfected, and all evill shall cease, all griefe of minde, all trou­ble of body, and death it selfe, shall be swallow­ed up into victorie.

But why are we not happie before our resurre­ction? Quest.

I answer,Answ. because our bodies and soules are partakers of miserie and sinne here, and therefore cannot partake of fulnesse of happinesse, before they be united together again. God will have us to stay while all his familie of blessed Saints shall meet together, as well us that are now alive, as our seed and posteritie after us.

In the third place observe, that the Apostle 3 makes resurrection of the dead the last thing: [Page 118] establishing thereby an order, that there must be meanes to the resurrection, and then the resur­rection it selfe. Ought not Christ to suffer these things, and so to enter into his glorie: Math. 28. And if we suffer with him, we shall also reigne with him: the second resurrection must begin with the first, we are sonnes and Saints hereaf­ter, but so we must also be here, onely a diffe­rence there will be in degree of holinesse: this resurrection doth not follow every manner of life, although men ordinarily expect a crowne without crosses, and never looke for justifica­tion and sanctification, but thinke they shall be in heaven at an instant without them. But we must suffer with Christ in Mount Calvarie, be­fore wee come with him to the Mount O­livet.

4 In the fourth place, wee may likewise note, that its hard to come to heaven: because of this order established by God, not in comparison of the end, for that surmounteth in excellencie the hardnesse of the meanes, but in respect of the meanes, some by faire death, with many crosses in their life, some not by many out­ward crosses, yet have store of inward troubles of the minde, by reason of their inward cor­ruption that doth trouble them: others by vio­lent deathes and by martyrdome: the wayes are so many, and the meanes so diverse, as there is no certainty which way wee shall passe. As St. Paul knew not the meanes, so he cared not what the means were, for he was content to go [Page 119] thither by any meanes: let the cup of affliction be never so bitter, the glorie insuing will swee­ten all.

Away therefore with all idle and secure thoughts of sparing our selves: Pitie thy selfe, said Peter to Christ, but was answered sharpe­ly, get thee behinde me sathan: no, the way is very hard, we must come to health by physick, the end is so amiable, as it will sweeten all sowre meanes, and therefore its good for us to be afflicted; crosses bring at length the sweetest comforts. Denie wee our selves therefore, in Christs cause, know no bodie, looke upon God and Christs promises, and promise wee ourselves no more than God promises, its be­yond our knowledge what God will doe with us, he promises no immunitie from crosses.

Nay, the Saints and the Apostles chose cros­ses and afflictions, rather than the pleasures of sinne, who were wise, and had triall of both kindes, and yet accounts these momentanie afflictions, not worthy of comparison with the glory that shall bee revealed, they were but light; 2 Cor. 4.17. Rom. 8.18. And if wee would truly beleeve this, it would be easie for us to be resolved as St. Paul was, to come to heaven by all assurances, and to come to all manner of assurances, by any meanes: for no worldly thing can bring content, like these hea­venly assurances, of the presence of the light of Gods love, which the children of God will by no meanes lose.

[Page 120]Secondly, in all crosses let us not looke into the state we are in, so much as that we are going into: we are going to a Pallace, let us not bee deje­cted in the consideration of the narrownesse of the way that leadeth thereto. God will not suffer this fierie triall to consume any thing but drosse, and therefore let us with Christ suffer the crosse, and despise the shame, Heb. 12.

Thirdly, labour for a right esteeme of the things of this world: they are but momentarie and fading, yea our lives they are given to us by God, what if we part with them, if it be for his cause, he will bring us to a better life, which shall not be taken away from us, and this life we must part with ere long: and thus we ought to worke on our selves by often meditating of them, as the Saints have done.

In the fourth place, we are to labour to streng­then three graces in us especially: Faith, to assure us that wee are the children of God, and that we have heaven and all things belonging there­to, laid up for us; and we are to labour to see more and more into the valew of them: and then we are to strengthen our Hope, which makes us cheerfully to undergoe, and doe any thing for Gods cause, through our expectation of that which faith beleeves. Lastly, let us che­rish our love of Christ; this made St. Paul de­sire to be dissolved, and to bee with Christ: which was best of all. And this love comes from Faith and Hope, and these together will breed a largenesse of heart, that cares for no [Page 121] worldly thing, and will bee daunted with no affliction or crosses what ever.

But how farre are we here from? did St. Paul part with life? It pertaines not to us, no not to leave a new fangled fashion, nor an oath whereby wee teare Gods name dayly: alas, where is faith, what corruption is here over­come, which of us will ever be of Paul or Da­vids minde, to become vile or base for Gods cause? where is he that will indure a scoffe or scorne for religion? let us beg of God this large spirit, and large affections, the children of heaven have a free spirit, basely esteeming all worldly things: Zacheus when hee is called cares not for his goods, nor Paul for his privi­ledges. The Stoicks commend this resolution in men, to be willing and readie to die: alas, crosses and afflictions Paul esteemed not, so as he might attaine to the resurrection of the dead: these are the things that the Stoicks feared most, and it was the feare of these made them so willing and readie to die, together with a base servitude to pride: but a Christian heart is more noble, it not only feares not these, but it contemnes them; yea cares not for life without afflictions, but with joy can undergoe all man­ner of torments.

Let us therefore take heed how wee quiet our selves in our earthly dwellings here, supposing our estate to be happie, surely it is the maine ground of Apostacie; wee shall never come to see the price of religion, nor the excellencie of [Page 122] a peaceable conscience, nor the vanitie of these things, so long as we blesse our selves in them. And contrarily, let us exercise our graces in the dayly trials we meet with here: doth favour of great men, doth pleasure, profit, or honour, crosse and oppose thy conscience, let the peace thereof be preferred above all evermore; else shalt thou never come to Pauls holy resolution. And dreame not of a vaine emptie faith, thou hast no more than thou dost practise, its not Lord, Lord, that will prevaile at the day of judgement, but Christ will be ashamed of them at the day of judgement, that made no more account of him while they lived, than to pre­ferre every vaine, idle, wanton delight and pleasure, before his honour.

VERS. 12. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.

IT is a correction of the Apostle; hee formerly spake of his desire, choice, and esteeme of Christs death and resurrection, and the force thereof hee found in him: Now lest secret insinuating proud conceits might arise, either in himselfe or in them, con­cerning [Page 123] his holinesse, hee crosses them with a Not as, shewing that the best estate of Gods chil­dren in this world is imperfect: there is ever some thing to doe or suffer, some lust to con­quer, or some grace to strengthen.

There is no absolute perfection but onely in God himselfe, yet in Christians there is a kind of derivative spirituall perfection, which con­sisteth chiefly in the parts: a Christian hath this perfection, he hath all grace in some measure; we have no other perfection, no not so much as perfectio viae, though the Papists say they have it, indeed we are so far from it, that never could Christian keepe the rules of nature; much lesse can we attaine to the perfection of obedience to the law, for by it we are all cursed: nay in Christ none attaines to evangelicall perfection of grace so as thereby wee can be justified, as by a worke of our owne, for our righteousnesse is but in part; and this perfectio viae, which they boast of so much, differs not from their per­fectio finis, no more than love to a man raised by good report of him, differeth from love cau­sed by the good I finde in him, by personall communicating with him; and this is onely in degrees in nature, they are the same love.

But why, or how is it that there is no perfe­ction of grace in this life?

Because, there is and ever shall be in us, during this life, a perpetuall combate betweene the flesh and spirit, so as one weakens and hinders the other. Paul at the best found a law in his [Page 124] members warring against the law of his minde, Rom. 7.23. the flesh continually lusting against the spirit. Gal. 5.23. Hindering us from do­ing good, or in doing good, or in doing there­of, from doing it in a right manner.

Obj. 1.But the Papists object, love is the fulfilling of the law, we may love: ergo, we may fulfill the law, and consequently be perfect.

I answer, love, in the abstract being per­fect, is the fulfilling of the law, but in this or that subject its not perfect: Pauls love, nor Pe­ters love was not the fulfilling of the law.

Obj. 2.They urge further, all Gods workes are per­fect: ergo, the grace that is in us.

Its true Gods workes are perfect, but in their times when they are finished; grace at length shall be perfect in us.

Secondly, all Gods workes without us are perfect, as justification and glorification they are perfect, for we are perfectly justified even now, but his workes within us, such as are his sanctifying graces, are not perfected till our time of glorification: for he suffers the old A­dam to be within us for divers reasons, so long as we live in this earthly Tabernacle.

For use hereof, observe this as a ground for justification by faith. Paul, Rom. 5.9. proves, that even now he was justified, and in this place he denies and disclaims absolute perfection, and therefore could not be justified by it; and there­fore must needs be justified by faith: if it were his case, it is much more ours, who come not [Page 125] to that measure of the fulnesse of grace that hee attained to.

Secondly, this may serve to comfort Christi­ans that finde themselves burthened with diverse wants, with dulnesse and frowardnesse of spi­rit, and with manifold corruptions, and are in­duced thereby to call in question their Christi­an estate, let them looke upon a better patterne than themselves, they may bee growne Chri­stians, and yet complaine with Paul of corrup­tions. Nay, the most strong Christians see most deeply and cleerely into their corrupti­ons, and finde most opposition. There is in all men by nature, a spring of Poperie, they would faine deserve heaven by a perfect and holy life, without blot; and God to humble them, suffers corruption to checke them, and to keepe them under, who else would bee lifted up through good conceipt and esteeme of themselves.

Thirdly, it may serve as a caution to many, who being reproved justly for their faults, what (say they) we are not Angels: you have your owne imperfections as well as I. And stirre them up to any good dutie, they are presently so good, as those that are better than they, are too precise and too nice: St. Paul contrarily rests in no degree of goodnesse, but strives on to perfection: and its the devils sophistrie to turne that to a plea for negligence, which should stirre us up to be more diligent, watch­full, and carefull.

VERS. 12. But I follow after, if that I may apprehend that, for which I also an apprehended of Christ Iesus.

THe word that is translated, I follow after, signifies properly to labour with earnest intention of the heart and affections: and the les­son that we may hence learne is, That the life of a Christian is a laborious and painfull life: for in what proportion the things we labour for, are more excellent than these worldly things, so much greater our desire and labour should bee in the obtaining of them, than in the obtai­ning this worlds goods: and to this end, the Scripture ever inforceth this dutie with words sutable to our worke; Labour for the meat that perisheth not, strive to enter in at the straight gate, give all diligence to make your calling and election sure.

Those that will take no paines, its a sure signe they finde no sweetnesse in the thing, and therefore in such there can bee no true good­nesse; and hence we may observe a difference between the desires of men, some are effectuall, some uneffectuall; those that are uneffectuall commonly desire and delight in the thing they desire, but will none of the meanes: let me die the death of the righteous, sayes the wicked man, glory and happinesse is excellent, but the gate [Page 127] is narrow, the way is tedious and full of trou­ble, he will none of that; we will laugh at one that shall wish his work and jorney were done, when as he will sit downe and never goe about it; why should wee not much more laugh at such sluggards that wish dayly, O that they might bee saved, when as they doe not onely not further, but hinder their salvation. But where true desire of grace is, there will will be joyned thereto an indeavour, with jealousie over our corruptions, with griefe and shame for them, and for our backwardnesse and want of goodnesse, for else hell itself is full of good wishes and desires: if we meane to be better, we must use all meanes, undertake all paines and travaile with vehemencie, even as those that pursue gains with delight, they follow through thicke and thin, especially if the gaine bee in the eye, and those that goe for companie, they are soone tired; and thus did Paul, hee went through fire and water, through all manner of dangers, good and ill report, his gaine is still in his eye, hee lookes not after the way, if by any meanes hee may attaine his desired marke.

But how shall we come to this grace?

I answer, get first Faith, for by it the weake are made strong, Heb. 11. Get assurance that Heaven is thine, and God hath promised thee grace sufficient, and this is Pauls argument; be yee constant and unmoveable, alwayes aboun­ding in the worke of the Lord, knowing you la­bour [Page 128] shall not be in vain: where hope of reward is in the use of the meanes, it will stir us up to a constant use of the meanes 1 Cor. 15. last. Se­condly, get a fervent love, for it is a strong af­fection if lust so prevaile with us, as we will omit no meanes to accomplish it; then a love in it selfe is much more powerfull, nothing be­ing too hard for it, it hath an enlarging knitting and cōmunicating power: it makes a man be­stow all, and rejoyce more in doing good, by much then in receiving. Its a grace cōprehends a number under it, and therfore Christ com­prehended all the law under love of God, and our neighbour. Thirdly, cut off all superfluities, men thinke they are happy, when they have much to doe, when indeed they were happie if they had lesse to doe then they have. Sathan he does as Cyrus did with the waters of Baby­lon, hee diverts and separates our affections, that hee might passe over. As Nurses, they hurt themselves and the children too, when they keep over many: so doe men hurt them­selves with overmuch businesse. The Lord hath not made us all for the world, but hath reserved one day in Seven for his service. For shame lets shew we have some respect of Religion and goodnesse, seeing God requires but one in seven; let us not bee so un­just, as to denie him his service on that day.

Well, let those that professe themselves of another world, by all meanes pursue it. In Nature, every thing tends to his center and [Page 129] place, heavie things goe downward, light things ascend upward, in handicrafts and arts every one lookes after excellencie, shall it bee thus with them, shall mediocritie in other arts merit dispraise, and is it onely praise-worthy in Religion? The wicked they labour for hell, venturing losse of credit, strength, and estate, and is there not better gain in goodnesse? have we such rich promises and doe we esteeme of them no more, are not the afflictions wee shall meet with many and great, and doe wee thinke to undergoe them with ordinarie grace, gotten without labour and watchfulnesse? But lets goe on to the next words;

That I may apprehend. Whence we may ob­serve, that the maine scope of a Christian is to ap­prehend Christ here by revellation, that we may apprehend him hereafter by vision: many there are that may follow good things, and use good meanes, yet wanting these apprehending gra­ces of faith and love, (which makes us have communion with Christ) they perish notwith­standing: humane knowledge is commenda­ble, yet is it no other than as a scaffold in this building, it helpes, but the building once done, its for little use; apprehend we therefore him by knowledge of his truth, relye on him by faith, and imbrace him by love: and then if we be chased by him, we may as Ioab, lay hold on the hornes of the Altar Christ Iesus, and there live and die, and as we have dayly brea­ches, even so get more and more hold on him, [Page 130] and this will make us desire with Simeon; Lord let me now depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. Let us therefore dayly learne to see our owne foulnesse, and goe to him the rock of our refuge.

Ob.O but some will say, Christ is in heaven, and we on earth, wee cannot goe to him when wee please.

Answ.I answer, yes; for the armes of faith are large, it takes hold of things past and to come, no height is out of the reach thereof: and be­sides, Christ he is present with us, he is in his word, in the Sacraments, in the Communion of Saints; where two or three are gathered to­gether in my name, I will be in the middest of of them, its his owne promise.

For which I am apprehended of Christ: Christ he apprehends us, and that in severall degrees.

First, as he is God: In his eternall love wee had a being before we had any being here, God conceived us in his eternall affection, and im­braced us. Secondly, Christ apprehends us in his effectuall calling of us: Paul he was posting another way, when Christ called him, Saul, Saul; others hee calles from their mothers wombe, some by afflictions and powerfull crosses, as he did the Iaylor, others by more gentle meanes, as Lydia.

Thirdly, there is an apprehending in all our actions, courses, and estates, directing us continually in them, never leaving us; none can plucke us out of his hands, hee is stronger [Page 131] than our corruptions, he will not let us goe till he hath drawne us up to heaven, and placed us with himselfe; for the use of this doctrine more shall be said in the next doctrine, which is taken from the order.

Christ he first apprehends us, Doctrine. then we apprehend him: he apprehends us that we may apprehend him, and because hee hath apprehended us, therefore is it that we apprehend him: for in him it is that we live, and move, and have our be­ing; and therefore much more our best being: he it is that gives us the will and the deed, to us it is given by him to beleeve, and suffer with him.

For use hereof,Vse. 1. it would teach us in all our a­ctions to beg ability and strength of him, and get a perswasion that his spirit doth apprehend us in love, and that he will direct us, and remove all impediments, and stand by us in all our cros­ses, that we are able to doe nothing but by re­flection from him, that though wee are natu­rally dead and dull, yet he will quicken us by shining on our hearts with the sun-shine of his grace.

Secondly, give him the praise of all the good thou doest, for the deed is his: those that doe not, doe apprehend, and are apprehended of themselves: and therefore it may serve as a marke to discerne of our estate, whither doe wee runne? and what doe wee apprehend in our trou­ble? is it Christ who is our present help in time of trouble? then there is a blessed change in [Page 132] us, but doe we seeke to our owne devices, to our owne policies and inventions? surely wee have not apprehended Christ as wee ought to doe, and therefore wee are to stirre up the gra­ces in us, and beg increase of grace from him that is the fountaine of all grace.

In the next place, it should comfort us, by the consideration of the certaintie of our estate, with­out falling away, if we hold fast unto the end: if it were ourselves that did apprehend us wee could not long continue, but it being Christ that holdeth us, our comfort is he will not for­sake us; its the mother that holds the childe, the childe cannot lay hold on the mother, but is subject to falling every houre: Christ hee holding us, hath promised to love us to the end, and to put his feare in our hearts, that we shall not fall or depart from him: this being dayly considered, will greatly comfort a weake Christian, Christ may seeme to let him fall by suffering him to fall into some great sinne, but it is onely to humble him, and to teach him not to trust to his owne strength, which will soone faile him, but upon his mercie and grace: And therefore,

In the next place, it teacheth us to hold fast un­to him, and relye on him, and to pray to him that he would hold us fast. and then we fall not from God, but to God, hee hath delivered us, and will deliver us and keepe us to his heavenly kingdome: if we fall into sinne, let us repent and goe to God, there is mercie in Israel con­cerning [Page 133] this and with him is plenteous redemp­tion, his right hand is under us ever to hold us up, that we cannot fall so deeply but hee will lift us up againe.

In the next place, this may be a comfort to us in all our troubles and afflictions of this life: Are troubles neare? God is not far off (Psal. 22. and Psal. 118.) But full of comforts for such: we have an invisible wall about us, the wall of Angels, and God fights for us, there is more with us than against us, God will not suffer us to be tried above that we are able to beare: let us therefore pray, forsake me not Lord, lest I forsake thee: if wee pray to him he will bee found of us. Paul prayed for this. Christ also that knew he was apprehended, yet prayed all night; and this are we to doe: he hath promi­sed, to heare us. And therefore let us goe in faith and assurance to him, in all our trou­bles.

VERS. 13. Brethren, I count not my selfe to have appre­hended.

THe holy Apostle dwels upon the point, that hee might presse it the more, and its good to presse matter of waight: the Apostle shewing that [Page 134] conceipt of perfection to be dangerous, againe tells the Philippians, that he had not that which they boasted of. This pride of our selves, and conceipt, is a sinne that climbes up to heaven, and enters on Gods prerogative, and a sinne that God doth directly set himselfe against: of this compellation, Brethren, I have formerly spoken.

I might also touch that doctrine, that the Kingdome of heaven is not perfected in us here, but that it growes by degrees: its at the first, as a graine of mustard seed, there are babes in Christianitie, and old men growne Christi­ans. And the ground hereof, may be partly in the subject, partly in the object.

In regard of the subject, for that graces are imperfect in us, the more the soule hath, the more it desires.

In regard of the object, for that Christ is so full, that we are not able to receive all his fulnesse: so as there is imperfection in us, and superabun­dant perfection in him. Paul had a large affe­ction, yet came farre short, this possibilitie of the soule to receive more will bee in us, till we be in heaven, where we shall bee full; and therefore while we are here, wee pray still, thy will bee done, on earth as it is in hea­ven, and thy Kingdome come, more and more: its a strange conceipt therefore, for any to thinke he may be too good, yet doe these dayly (or should doe) pray for more and more perfection here on earth, although they say [Page 135] they know not what. And another reason why we apprehend Christ not so fully here as wee shall doe hereafter, is, because the manner of making Christ knowne to us, is by revela­tion. 1 Cor 13. We behold him here but as it were in a glasse, in the glasse of his Word and Sacraments, which cannot represent him to our understanding so cleerely, as hereafter we shall behold him in the beatificall vision.

Take heed therefore of a selfe conceipt of perfe­ction: when we begin to be unwilling to grow better, we begin to waxe worse, there is no stay in Christianitie. It is the sight of our im­perfection, that makes us strive to perfection, and the more we see into our miserie, the more earnestly we strive on to be freed from it.

VERS. 13. But this one thing I doe, forgetting those things which are behinde, and reaching forth to those things that are before.

SEe what is the Apostles unum necessarium, to grow more and more to the fulnesse of the knowledge of Christ. All other things he counts as dung and losse. So as we may hence observe, that the spirit of God in a Christian heart, subjects all things to one Christ.

One thing have I desired of the Lord (said David) Make this therefore a rule to difference [Page 136] our estates by. What is the thing wee intend chiefly, is it riches, or pleasures, or honours? this one thing will be the utter overthrow of all religion in us; Christ will be supream, or he will not be: He that loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of mee, saith Christ of himselfe. There is none so wicked but would be religious, till religion comes to crosse that one thing, their darling sinne. And thus have they base limitations, which must needs pre­judice their grow [...]h in religion, for where reli­gion is, it will crosse their base affections and lusts.

Therefore, whosoever we are that intend to be true Christians indeed, resolve first to pre­ferre the peace of conscience and the fruite of of religion above all, and resolve to abhorre all things that will crosse this one thing of St. Paul.

VERS. 14. I presse towards the marke.

BEhold an excellent description of a Christian course, borrowed from the exercise of running a race, being a man-like and commendable exer­cise, fitting men and inabling them for warre. The very heathen herein condemne us, whose [Page 137] ordinary chiefe exercises, what are they but good company (as wee call them) continuall lying at T [...]vernes, to the impoverishing of our estates, and weakning our bodies: the kinde I condemne not, but the excesse is such, as the Heathen would be ashamed of, for which they shall even rise up in judgement against us, and condemne us.

But from the similie, wee may gather thus much; That Christianitie is a race, the begin­ning of this race is at the beginning of our con­version, it should begin at our baptisme: the first thing we should know ought to bee God, the race is the performance of good duties, concer­ning our generall calling, and concerning our particular. For the length of our races, some are longer, some shorter, but the end of every mans race is the end of his life: some mens wayes are plainer, some rougher, the prize is fulnesse of joy; the lookers on, are heaven, earth, and hell, God is the instituter of this race, and the rewarder; the helpers, are Christ, good Angels, and the Church, which helpes by prayer; the hinderers are the devill and his in­struments, who hinder us by slanders, perse­cutions, and the like. For ground of this race in us, we are to know that man is created with understanding, directing him to doe things to a good end and scope, other creatures are car­ried to their end, as the shaft out of a bow, on­ly man fore-seeing his end, apprehends meanes thereto: his end is to receive reconciliation [Page 138] and union with God, to which hee aymes by doing some things, suffering others, and resi­sting others.

And this race is also ordered by lawes, for every runner is not crowned, there is a running ill, that shall never procure the prize. The lawes hereof concerne either preparation, or the acti­on it selfe; for preparation,

1. Direct.First we are to know, that there is a dieting requisite, as those that runne in a race, have a care hereof, to use such diet as did strengthen not cloy, and such apparell as might cover them, not clog them; so ought it to bee in our spirituall race, we must cast aside all heavie loads, every weight and sinne, which doth so easily beset us; as it is Heb. 12.1. If God cast on us any place or riches, let us use them for a good end, but not make them our end, and there­fore with them take up dayly examination of our selves, how we behave our selves towards these worldly things. It were a madnesse in a runner, in his race to take up a burthen, and not to thinke it will be a sore trouble to him, and why doe we not think thus in our spirituall race? Cast we off therefore originall corrup­tion, and the corruption of our place, time, and calling, which in time will grow unsupporta­ble to us. Let us desire no more than God gives, and what afflictions God sends us, let us take, assuring our selves they are for our good.

2.A second law is, to consider the wayes that we are to runne in, what dangers wee are like to [Page 139] meet with, forecast and resolve against the worst, and withall promise we our selves Gods assured protection in our worst estate, the want of this is the seminarie and ground of all Apo­stacie, when men promise to themselves in Christianitie, such things as God never pro­mised. Christ therefore promiseth, and shew­eth the worst first: but the devill to deceive us keepes the worst out of our eyes, and shewes a sort of vaine delights and pleasures, but the sting of them (through his subtiltie and craft) he suffers us to feele before we see it.

A third law is, that we enter the race betimes, its the devils tricke to put off the care of this,3. tel­ling us, we need not yet enter, we are but yong and have many yeares to live, as they did that hindered the building of the Temple, but con­sider wee the uncertainty of our life, that wee may die suddainly, and that its just with God to take us away after that manner, if wee neg­lect our selves and him; and we must know al­so, we shall lose no pleasure nor delight, but we shall finde such sweet delights in those wayes, as we shall with St. Augustine be greeved that we enjoyed them no sooner. And besides, those that begin betimes get a great advantage of others, and through continuall custome, come at length to a habit of Religion.

In the next place, we are to take heed of hin­derances of us in our preparation▪ as

First of all, hope of long life, whereby we are besotted, thinking life and death is in our com­mand [Page 140] that we shall have time enough, and need not so soone enter upon good duties.

2. Hind.Secondly, a conceit that when wee have once given up our names to Christ, that presently we bid adieu to all delight, mirth, and plea­sure, when alas we are farre deceived; God de­nies not pleasure to us, but will give us what­soever is good for us, we shall delight and re­joyce, but with a joy spirituall, and wee shall see nothing in this world, that may any way deserve our delight therein.

3. Hind.A third hinderance, is a dispaire of ever go­ing through this race; this settles upon some strangely making them cast away all care, and desperately trust to Christs mercie. This made Cyprian to complaine of his corruptions, say­ing, they were bred and brought up with him, and therefore feared they would hardly give place to grace, being but a stranger; while men consider how great and powerfull their cor­ruption is, they with the Israelites despaire of ever entring into the land of Canaan, these sons of Anak doe so terrifie them.

But consider we withall, that God is above all our corruptions, that he can make of a Li­on a Lambe, and that if wee will trust upon him, in his time he will helpe us, and wee shall overcome these Giant-like corruptions, Christ he hath conquered them already, and though while we live wee cannot wholly overco [...]e them, yet Davids house shall grow stronger and stronger, and Sauls house weaker, we shall [Page 141] have grace sufficient for us: God will sweeten Religion to us, that wee shall delight therein, and Christ will not leade us into temptation, till he hath fitted us to it by his grace, and then we shall rejoyce as the Apostles did Acts 5. that we are accounted worthy to suffer.

Contrary to this humour, some thinke it so easie a matter to runne this race, as they thinke they cannot be out of it, or tired therein, when as indeed they never set foot therein; let such looke to themselves if they be in this race, they shall finde it no easie matter.

But thus much concerning rules or lawes for preparation to this race, now there are lawes to be observed of those that are in the race, as

First,Direct. 1. they must resolve to hold on without dis­continuance of their course of good duties, for some by omitting good duties, now and then upon slight occasions, do come through Gods just sufferance to leave them off, and never take them up againe, and thereby whiles they are not getting ground by continuing their course, they doe lose thereby, even as water-men rowing against the streame, if they doe not row but rest never so little, the streame car­ries them backe againe, and they cannot reco­ver themselves, but with great difficultie: so it is in this Christian race, a little interruption of dutie, causes thrice so much paines to recover our former estate; therefore we are to take up a holy resolution, not to be interrupted in good duties.

[Page 142]The next law is, that wee must looke to gaine ground still to grow from grace to grace. Its the A­postles ayme still to grow better than himselfe, contrary to this many forsake their first love, they thinke themselves wise but are fooles, such as the Lord will spew out of his mouth, as he threatens the Church of Laodicea. And in­deed the most men at the best are but civill, and doe but provide for their owne ease, and can indure any mixture of religion or company, and the ground of this coldnesse is a selfe-con­ceit, whereby men thinke well of themselves, and their estate; Paul he was of another spirit, ever pressing forward.

A third law is, that we doe things with all our might, that we runne this race with all our ear­nest indeavour, there is no bodily exercise that profiteth, but it must be with putting forth of our strength; so our Christian actions should shew even outwardly, that we doe things as if we intended thereby to honour God indeed, and to this end wee are to depend on God by prayer, that he would give us strength, and mindes to put forth our strength, for gaining most honour to his Majestie, and this will bring great assurance and comfort to us in time of need.

A fourth rule is, that wee are to runne this race with a cheerfull and speedie course: a dead performance of duties, is no part of our race, yea as many goe to hell by ill performance of good duties, as by committing sinnes that are [Page 143] scandalously evill; for this resting in the work done, is the cause of hardnesse of heart, and there by of despaire, and at the best never brings any sound comfort at all to us: and ther­fore we are injoyned to doe good duties, and to doe them in a good manner, Let a man ex­amine himselfe and so let him eate of this bread, and drinke of this cup, and so runne that you may obtaine. Its no lingring, we know not how long we shall live, how soone we shall die, and there­fore let us make haste to doe our worke, before God takes away time from us, by taking us out of the world. And those especially are to look to this, that have lived long in their owne cour­ses, and are but lately reclaimed, they are much behinde, and had need make haste, the journey is long, their time but short. And to this end, looke we not what wee have done, and how farre we have gone, but looke what remaines to be done, and know we have done nothing, till we have done all.

But it will be asked,Quest. what may wee not thinke of duties that are past?

I answer,Answ. we may thinke of them by way of defence, and to give God the glorie, and also to incourage us on, but not to rest, or solace our selves on them till we have done all.

But men may say,Quest. what is there no pause, is there no Sabboth?

I answer,Answ. yes when we are dead. Blessed are the dead in the Lord, its they that rest from their labours, heaven is a sufficient reward for [Page 144] all the paines we can any way take here, be­sides the comforts that wee have here are ma­ny, which none knowes but them that injoy them. And God hath promised the continuall assistance of his blessed spirit, that shal incou­rage us and leade us into all truth, alas what comfort have we of all that we have done, if we continue not, but sit down and take up our rests here? what good got they that came out of Egypt and died in the wildernesse, it may be e­ven in the border of the land of promise, yet never saw it? It will assuredly fall out with us, as it did with them, if wee harbour any infidelitie in our hearts, we shall be cast out, that we shall never see this good land, the spirituall Canaan.

In the next place, take we heed of such hin­derances, as may make us eyther slacke, or in­termit this race of ours.

1.As first, wee must take heed of idle scruples and temptations: these are no other than as dust cast in the eyes of the runners, and as stones that gaule their feet, interpret them to bee the subtilties of the devill, and therefore shake them off, and intend thy dutie thou art about, and pray for wisedome to discerne aright of things; regard not the golden apples of the profits and pleasures of this life, that lye in thy way to divert thy steps, and sweepe off ever­more the dirt of these worldly cares, which we gather in our race, and by little and little grow to clog us.

2.In the second place, beware of sinnes against [Page 145] conscience: they take away joy, and make our hearts dead, there are many that seeing diverse of their sinnes before them, concerning which they finde no peace in themselves, are soone out of breath, and quite out of heart, and so by lit­tle and little runne into despaire, and without hope ever to attaine the price.

Thirdly,3. Hind. take we heed of ill and dull compa­nie, that are cold in religion, that cannot away with good religious duties; for as it is in our ordinary travels good companie makes time and way passe away speedily and with com­fort, so is it in this race, good and gracious company by exhortation and example, doe wonderfully incourage us, and ill companie contrarily doe dishearten us, disswade us, and clog us, and draw us backe from every good dutie we take in hand. But many mens conceits are, they need not all this adoe, they are well e­nough though they be not thus holy, all can­not come to the high pitch of mortification▪ surely there is hardly any beginning of grace in such, who allow themselves in a dead course, for where the love of God is, it will constraine men to shew their thankfull and loving hearts to him, in walking before the Lord with all their might.

In the fourth place,4. Hind. take heed how we suffer our mindes to wander in this race: let us not looke at the lookers on; the world, and the de­vill, and wicked men, passe not for their cen­sures, we may assure our selves before we enter [Page 146] this race, we shall have no applause from them, let a slow dull jade come by (like Dogges) they let him passe, none regards, but if another comes by a pace, every man runnes barking, and slandering, and backbiting after him, and if they can, they will bite too; shall a man care for such as these? no wee must resolve before hand to have the world, the devill, and all the enemies he can make to bee against us, let us therefore set our eyes onely on him that has our reward in his hand, that observes us and is ready to crowne us, and let us beg courage and strength from him, and spirituall wisedome; how we should performe every action, with what intention or remission of heart and affection, how to sanctifie his name in the performance of the duties of our callings, how to make every action, yea our recreations, a furtherance in this our Christian race.

Secondly, let us dayly search and trie our hearts and wayes, see how we profit or go back, how we grow like or unlike Christ: particu­larly, examine we how the pompe of the world seemes to us? whether base and contemptible? if so, then the further wee are runne in this Christian race: for as in objects of sight, the further we are from them, the lesse they seeme to us, and the nearer we are to them, they ap­peare the greater; so it is in the object of our mindes: doth heaven appeare full and beauti­full to us, its a signe we are neare to it, and wee are come a good way in our race: but contra­rily, [Page 147] if it be mean and of no esteem or account, its farre from us, we are at the most but com­ming towards it.

Secondly, examine what doth take up dayly the powers of our soules and affections: doe wee delight in the best things? and with Marie chuse the better part, which shall not be taken away from us? or contrarily, are our delights here below, and our rest set up here, then we have our reward here, and the price is not pre­pared for us, but God will spew us out for our coldnesse: and therefore, if we finde coldnesse creeping on us, let us take heed of it, it is a dan­gerous estate, God cannot indure it; for while we allow of good things, but shew not inten­tion of spirit in the performance of them, wee do even judge them, and tell the world they be things not worthy of our paines and indea­vours: let us therefore not allow of this cold­nesse, though it be in us, b [...]t strive against it, meditate of such things as may inflame us, and pray against it.

VERS. 14. For the price of the high calling of God in Christ Iesus.

I Presse forth. Its a word of vehemencie, sig­nifying to set forth his utmost bent and in­deavour, both of the inward man and of the [Page 148] outward and all is to heaven, so as a Christians ayme is alwayes to Ierusalem, his lookes is that way, his tongue speakes the language thereof, his carriage will tell he seekes another Citie, Heb. 11. But for these words, observe there is first a price. Secondly, its a price of a calling. Thirdly, this calling is high. Fourthly, this calling we have here in part.

Concerning this word price, its a metaphor taken from the reward of victory, gotten in some exercise.Doctrine. God hereby brings heaven downe to us. Because wee cannot goe to it, he insinu­ates into our affections by pleasing things, and teaches faith by sense.

Vse.And therefore, we must not rest in these bor­rowed words, but ever know that the thing that is described, goes beyond the description by any earthly similitude.

Doct.From the thing observe, that God hath reser­ved a happie estate for such Christians as are ele­cted to runne in this race, that are fitted to it, and that are preserved to it.

Vse. 2.And this should teach us, to magnifie Gods goodnesse: that whereas by nature, death with his pale horse, and hell should follow us, now the course is altered; a holy life in Gods com­mandements is given to us here, and then glory shall be heaped upon us. God hath begotten us to a lively hope, but hath passed by the Angels, and left them without hope of recoverie.

Doctr.Secondly observe, this happie price is to bee given, after running: God keepes this order, to [Page 149] exercise his graces in us, that we might bee a meanes to gaine others, and that wee might value happinesse the more. If we did not suffer here, we could not taste heaven so sweetly af­ter labour, sleepe and rest is sweet. And its fit­ting that we should be followers of Christ, to fill up the measure of his sufferings; hee did first runne, and then was crowned, and this or­der we must keepe, if we meane ever to be with him.

And let us bee comforted herein, Vse. though the race be long and painfull, yet there is an end: it will not continue for ever, and with the end, there comes a price. The world runnes in a mase here and there, they have their reward, and their happinesse will end soone, but a Christians happinesse will never end.

In the next place observe,Doctr. that it is expedi­ent and usefull to have an eye to this price [...]: it made Paul, and it will make us runne cheerful­ly, and God tells us of it, to the end wee may fixe the eyes of our mindes upon it, Colos. 3.23. Whatsoever we doe, doe it heartily, as to the Lord, knowing of the Lord we shall receive the reward of the inheritance.

But some may say,Quest. if it bee an inheritance to us, how is it then propounded as a price to us?

I answer,Answ. its both a reward, and an inheri­tance, its an inheritance because its given to adopted sonnes, its a reward after labour, not for labour; so as running is the way to a crown, not the cause of it.

[Page 150] Quest.But the Papists say, we have it by faith, why then is it a price or reward? why or how can it be a price or reward, and yet ours by be­leefe?

Answ.I answer, incouragement and this price are not given to workes, as workes, but as workes by faith, for by it wee runne and overcome all trials and troubles: reward is due to perseve­rance, but perseverance cannot bee without faith.

But for the matter in hand; I say its expedi­ent to looke to the price; that we be not carried away with temptations on the right hand, or on the left, and therefore let us not looke on them. Moses eye was so fixed on this price, as he set light by all the pleasures of this life; the eye of faith in a Christian, is stronger than that of sense, yet let us take these cautions. First, that we know ourselves sonnes, and that wee come to this price by inheritance. And second­ly, that we love not God so much for his good­nesse to us, as for that goodnesse which is in him: for a Christian aymes first at Gods glo­rie, then at his owne good; and so hee loves God for being goodnesse it selfe, then for be­ing good to him. And yet a Christian in order, comes first to see Gods goodnesse to him, and therefore loves him, and then he arises higher to the love of God, even for that he is good­nesse, and thenceforth admires and adores his fulnesse, for else to love God because God loves us, is mercenarie.

[Page 151] Wee are therefore to thinke of this happie estate: Vse. 1. and as children, though at the first wee know not what belongs to inheritances and rewards, yet the elder wee grow in Christianitie, the more let us search into these things, and see what is laid up for us. It is an unvaluable price that will free us from all evill, of companie of enemies, of Sathans anoyances, of hinderances, of sinne, from all occasions without us, and inclinations within us, from sicknesse of bo­dy and troubles of minde: its a Saboth after sixe dayes worke. It is beyond all earthly crownes, the runners have envie not one ano­ther, nay they helpe and further one another, and are glad of one anothers forwardnesse: all are heires, all happie, all shall be crowned, and with an incorruptible crowne, an inheritance that fadeth not, but is undefiled; and such an one as is kept for us, 1 Pet. 1.4. Its not like the crownes of leaves that soone fade; no, we shall ever bee in the presence of the sonne of Righteousnesse, where we shall have a continu­all spring.

But to proceed in the next place, this is a price of calling, we must be called to it: who can 2 take a calling on him, unlesse God calles him? and who can be inabled but those that hee ina­bles? This calling of his, is the beginning of his golden chaine of salvation, hee calles us from a cursed estate, to a happy communion; from death and bondage under the devill, to be Kings and Princes. And this is done by out­ward [Page 152] meanes, and inward worke of the spirit, this calling is a powerfull calling, inabling them to come that are called.

And hereby we may try, whether wee have any title to heaven or not;

1, Signe.For first, if wee be effectually called, it suppo­seth we are chosen, called and singled out from others of the world: and therefore all swearers, and those that are given to drunkennesse and profanenesse, they are not called nor singled, they remaine as they were, for this singling out, is the first part of the execution of Gods decree of election. And whom God calles, he qualifies, Princes they may call men to places, but they cannot qualifie them. But God when he calles Saul to be a King, hee gives him a Kings heart, so if we be called to this heaven­ly kingdome, we shall have holy and Kingly hearts and mindes given us.

2. Signe.Secondly, mens tongues will shew what calling they are of, in their discourse. A Christian will remember he is a Christian, and will walke worthy of his calling, and with Nehemiah hee will reason, shall such a man as I doe thus? speake thus? thinke such vile sinfull thoughts? and those that are not of this carriage, shew no great religion in them. And just it is with God, to give such over to a great measure in sinne.

3. Signe.Thirdly, this calling is to glorie; and there­fore he that is called, he will thinke of heaven, and magnifie and admire Gods goodnesse to [Page 153] him, what thing is man Lord, that thou shouldst bee mindfull of him? and therefore those that admire the pompe and glory of this world, its a signe their calling is worldly, and that they are called by the world.

Fourthly;4. Signe. if a man be called by God, hee shall finde a spirituall answering within him­selfe to Gods call. If God say, thou art my sonne, the heart answereth, thou art my God. Behold I come quickly, (saith Christ) even so come Lord Iesus, saith the Christian heart. And therefore a rebellious disposition, shewes that Gods spirit is not there.

Thirdly, this calling of ours is a high calling: its from heaven, to heaven; its from a heaven­ly spirit, by spirituall meanes to Christ in hea­ven, to Saints, to spirituall imployments and priviledges.

Hence therefore wee may learne who are the greatest men: sensuall men thinke those in out­ward place the greatest men of all other▪ alas they are nothing to a Prince of heaven, hee is a spouse to Christ, shall judge all the world, and triumph over Sathan. All other callings end in the dust with our bodies; Kings shall rise as Pesants, and it may bee in a worse estate than many of the meanest, there is no difference in death. All other callings are by men, from men, to men, to earthly purposes; let us make therefore a difference, and know whence our calling is, that we may be thankfull, and whether it is, that we may be joyfull.

[Page 154] Vse 2.We may also in the next place hence gather, who are of the highest spirits? its a Christian and onely he, he overlookes all these base things, his way, his minde, is ever upwards, and with Paul, he thinkes [...]ll drosse and dung that is here. It is the disposition of the world to minde high matters, here in religion are the true aspiring thoughts; as if men will be covetous of ho­nour, here's the right honour and these are the honourable persons. Who honour me, I will ho­nour, (saith God) onely a Christian is parta­ker of his desire, other men desire high mat­ters, God knowes to what end, but they leave them in the dust; but when a Christian dyes, hee is then partaker of his desires in ful­nesse.

Quest.But it will be questioned, does a Christian ever know he is called?.

Answ.I answer, sometimes a Christian staggers a little, either being not an experienced Christi­an, or through sight of corruptions and temp­tations: but setting these aside, a Christian knowes his calling, and will live by his rules, for it is not onely a calling, but it workes a dis [...]position; and therefore if we finde it not, at­tend we on the meanes of the Gospell, which is called the Kingdome of heaven, and it will bring us into a good estate, and shew us our estate also, which being once made knowne to us, wee may assure our selves it will remaine with us for ever, which also may bee gathered from this, that its a high calling, for nothing [Page 155] can breake any one linke of that chaine made by God, and demonstrated in the 8. of the Rom.

But to proceed, this is the calling of God▪ for by nature we are dead, and it can bee none but God that revives the dead; God together with the voice of his Ministers, sends his quicke­ning spirit, giving eares to heare, and under­standings to understand.

Againe, wee are not onely dead, but in thral­dome under the devill: it must needs bee one that is stronger than this strong man, that must dispossesse us of him. This calling is Gods cal­ling in Christ, and that is first as our head: God lookes on us as we are in him, and he elects us as in Chri [...]t. For from eternitie he appointed so many to be members of Christ, as he meant to save: we are called, and justified in Christ, he must be ours, before his obedience be ours: we are sanctified in Christ, we mu [...] be in him as branches in the vine, partaking in the quick­ning sap and juyce of his grace, and when we are glorified, we must be glorified as being of his members. Then wee are called by Christ, who is the Authour of this holy calling: and lastly, we are called through Christ as our me­diatour; and thus chiefly is it meant here, not through workes, as the Papists will have it: no, Christ is the author and finisher of our faith, in him are we crown [...]d, as the body i [...] said to bee crowned when the head is; let us therefore che [...]ish this communion with Christ, by all [Page 156] meanes, for thereby wee shall communi­cate with him of his fulnesse.

VERS. 15. Let us therefore, as many as bee perfect, bee thus minded.

ST. Paul hee proceeds to others; If any of you be perfect as I am, bee you also thus minded as I am; per­fection in this place, is not meant of that perfection wee shall have hereafter, or should have now, or legall perfection; but he is said to bee perfect, that is in his growing e­state, increasing more in grace, righteousnesse, and sinceritie, or it may bee meant of perfecti­on in regard of degrees comparatively, where­by one out-goes another that is but a novice in Religion: such are those that can rule their affections, and can live in a setled course of ho­linesse, called in Heb. 5.14. men of full age: for there are children in Religion, new entered into Christsschoole, then those that are come to full age, surely are exercised to discern good and evill, and then those that are come to their full pitch in heaven; betweene whom and the former, there is no more comparison, than is betweene the Sunne and a starre for light, so as in regard of the Saints in heaven, the best here [Page 157] are imperfect, yet in regard of the beginners, they may be said to be perfect: however, wee may safely gather this.

That in Christianitie there are degrees of holinesse: Doctrine. divers grounds, some bring 30. fold, some 60.

Let this comfort those, that discomfort themselves in regard of their imperfections, grace must be at the first as a grain of mustard seed, and therfore let such with patience attend the meanes, and trust God for the issue.

Secondly,Doct. we may observe, that there is a kinde of perfection attainable in this life: which we ought to strive to, the reason is, that in all things God hath ordained a set pitch, beyond which they cannot come, and to which they all tend; and as its in nature, so in grace, though he hath appointed to every one his se­verall portion and measure of grace here, yet a pitch he also hath set to all, which wee are to ayme at, to grow better still, though in this life we cannot attain to it, and the reason is because we know not how God wil exercise us: he doth exercise all his children, but some with greater trials than others; besides wee have a perfect God, and a perfect word, that is able to make the man of God perfect to every good worke: and these are not given to us for nought, and therefore its a shame for a Christian to sit down at any degree, upon pretence of imperfection: we see plants in nature desire growth, that they may be able to stand in, and withstand storms. [Page 158] And where this spirituall nature is, and this new creature, there will bee indeavour to in­crease in strength, to undergoe and overcome all temptations and hinderances whatsoever

And to know whether wee have this perfe­ction or not.

1. Signe.There will ever be a base esteeme of these out­ward earthly priviledges and honours: nay of the good indowments of our mindes, counting them losse in comparison of Christ, and this will worke a sure setled hope in Christ ever­more.

2, Signe.Againe, there will be a perfection of holinesse a neglect of things passed, and an earnest indea­vouring to things before, to presse to the price.

3. Signe.Thirdly, a perfect Christian desires the com­ming of Christ: but the weake one ever cries, let me O Lord recover my selfe before I goe from hence, hee has not that assurance of his good estate, that a well growne Christian hath.

4. Signe.Fourthly, a perfect Christian hath sweet communion with Christ, and can goe to God with boldnesse, without feare of judgement, or ter­rour of his presence, where as the weakest are driven to God by feare, others by hope, this man comes to God, being moved by a sweet disposition of love.

5. Signe.Fifthly, a strong Christian is not moved with any change, either of prosperitie or adversitie: weake braines are soon overturned with strong [Page 159] waters, so weake Christians are soone drunken with prosperitie. But a strong Christian in any prosperitie, is pliable and fit for any thing: David in the middest of all his royalty, saw a greater blessednesse than honour, and riches; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not sin, and in whose lippes is no guile. Psal. 32. In adversitie also, a sound Christian will not shrink, knowing God cānot be changed, though his estate may alter, and therefore he can want, as well as abound; growing strong in patience as in other Christian graces. But it is contrary with the weake Christian, for every crosse strikes at his heart, and at the foundation of his faith, making him presently doubt of Gods love and favour to him.

Sixthly,6. Signe. A growne Christian he is experienced to finde out Sathans devises and plots: and can put a difference betweene the motions of the flesh and the spirit, and therefore knowes what corruption to weaken, and what grace to strengthen; when as new beginners, for want of practice and experience, sees not these things, and therefore ere hee is aware, runnes into many offences, and lookes for no re­medie.

Seventhly,7. Signe. A well grounded Christian can withstand the bitter blasts and oppositions of this world: nothing could move Paul nor separate him from the love of God, but a weake Chri­stian either is blowne away, or at the least sha­ken, with every blast; as it is in yong trees new­ly planted.

[Page 160]Eightly, A grounded Christian beares with the infirmities he sees in others he pities them, and helpes them if he can; but judges not of them as those that are weake, who for the most part are captious; you that are spirituall must re­store (saith the Apostle) those that are weake with the spirit of meeknesse. Gal. 6.1. So as it is the weake ones that are scandalized, and as they are soone offended, so doe they soone give occasion of offence to others, by their ill exam­ple; but the growne Christian indeavours to live free from offence, in the least things hee is watchfull against Satans wiles.

9, Signe.Ninthly, a perfect man doth most of all others see into his particular wants, and lookes hence after a further degree of grace: and therefore the Apostle bids such as are perfect, to forget things past, not to looke on those that are be­hinde, but to see what is yet before, to bee at­tained unto, and to presse forward there­unto.

10. Signe.Tenthly, A strong Christian is of abilitie and indeavour, still to beget other Christians: Its the propertie of a growne creature, to beget its like, a weake Christian hath enough to doe to looke to himselfe; there may be many more signes named, but these will suffice. Lets come to the meanes whereby we may grow to this strength and perfection.Meanes unto perfection.

1 And first of all, we must know there must bee an order; we are to grow in fundamentall gra­ces in the first place, for we water not the leaves [Page 161] but the root of our plants, and the graces that are the foundation of all workes being gotten, and diligently cherished, the workes, which are but as leaves, will soone put forth. The maine fundamentall grace of all is faith: which we are principally to looke after.

First, in getting assurance of our salvation; to this end walke holily, for many live in sinnes against conscience, and so can have no assu­rance of the pardon of their sinnes, and how dead and blockish are they? David, though a man after Gods own heart, yet losing the com­fortable assurance (by his sinning against con­science) of the pardon of sinne, thought Gods holy spirit had quite forsaken him, therefore he prayes; Take not thy holy spirit from mee, Psal. 51.11. Therefore labour for assu­rance of pardon of sinne, for where the soule is wounded with the guilt of sinne, it cannot in­large it selfe in love, but is possest with a fear­full expectation of judgement, but when the soule is assured of the pardon of its sinnes, it breeds love to Christ; and there its said of Marie, shee loved much for many sins were forgiven her.

In the next place, we are to labour for faith in the promises of the forgivenesse of sinne, and Gods goodnesse to us: that hee will give grace and glorie, and that wee shall want no­thing, this will put courage into us.

And as we are to labour for faith, so also for love: which is cherished by meditation of [Page 162] Gods mercies, and his love to us, and this will set us on fire in all good workes, and so much of this grace as wee have in us, with so much strength and intention of spirit shall wee indeavour to please God in all things: and this argument the Apostle used to stirre up the Co­rinthians, 1 Cor: 7.1. Having these promises, lets clense our selves from all filthinesse, perfect­ing holinesse in the feare of God.

2 In the next place, Whatsoever wee doe, lets labour to doe it with the best advantage: labou­ring to practice and exercise as much grace, and as many as we can; as in giving, give in zeale to Gods honour, in love to mercie to­wards our brother that is in need, and in regard of justice, we owe it to him; God hath com­manded us to give him, and he will reward it, for we lend to the Lord, when wee give to the poore. If we are to abstaine from any evill, we are to abstaine from it with a perfect hatred thereof, and consider how it will offend, it will breake peace of conscience, and dishonour re­ligion, scandalize those that are weake, dis­honour God, and bring shame to our selves: yea, wee must remember that the talents that God gives us do increase, in the use of them, the more we strive to doe things exactly, the more perfection we shall attaine to, in the use of per­formances.

3 Thirdly, Let us not neglect litle things either ingood or ill: omit no occasion of doing good, and take heed of the least beginnings of ill, [Page 163] abst [...]ine from all occasions and appearance of evill, for though in comparison they seeme small, they are of great consequence.

Fourthly, Wee must keepe our affections to ho­ly 4 exercises and meanes: for God workes by meanes; neglect none, for so much perfection thou losest thereby, and consider what meanes will fit our disposition when we are indisposed; are we dull in prayer? then reade; if that will not be endured, then use the communion of Saints,Motives to the use of the meanes, and unto perfe­ction. and still remember that we be not wea­ried with prayer, for God sends not his away emptie, and that those things may be the more effectuall, observe some motives to stirre us up.

And to this end, consider the priviledge of 1 a perfect Christian; He is as Mount Sion, which cannot be moved: if wee tell him of death, its his hearts desire, tell him of afflictions he is re­solute, he lookes for them, he knowes he lives Gods childe, and so he shall die: when a weak professor, feares afflictions, feares ill tidings, feares death, and when it comes, seekes for comfort, and hardly findes it.

Secondly, a perfect Christian is a beautifull 2 example, and makes others in love with Religion, he is throughly exercised and practised: the weakling is scandalous, makes men offended at Religion, soone takes offence, soone stumbles, and gets many knockes, so as his life is bitter.

Thirdly, the perfect man honours God, and 3 gets him much glorie, by hearing▪ reading, pray­ing, and such duties; now as parents love those [Page 164] children best that are most like unto them, so those whom the Lord findes like unto him, hee will make them more nee [...]e to him in like­nesse.

4 Fourthly, the perfecter a man is, the more neere communion he hath with Christ, and hath the greater fruit of Christs love, and findeth peace of conscience, and joy in the holy spirit: to such as these, Christ hath promised to come and sup, and feast, and refresh with his graces, for even to this end Christ came, to make us holy and pure, that he might present us to him­selfe a glorious Church, Ephes. 5.26.27. and therefore that Christ may attaine to his end in us, let us indeavour unto perfection.

5 Fifthly, our estate hereafter should move us hereunto: we looke for a new heaven, and a new earth, and we desire to be ever with the Lord, in that heaven wherein dwelleth righte­ousnesse, and therefore we ought to be diligent that we may bee found in him in peace, with­out spot and blamelesse. It is the Apostle Pe­ters argument, 2 Pet. 3.13.14. and therefore as many of us as be perfect, let us be thus min­ded, that we cannot goe farre enough, we must strive still on to perfection.

VERS. 15. And if in any thing yee bee otherwise minded, God shall reveale even this unto you.

ST. Panl aymes at the comfort of those that are weake, implying that every Christian stood not in this pitch of disposition with the Apostle, and yet they were not to be discoura­ged, God will reveale the same minde to them also in his time.

In which words we may observe; first, that some Christians see not so farre as others, neither at some times so well as at other times: but are like the man in the Gospell, they see at the first men walke like trees, and after see things more plainly. The way of the righteous shineth more and more, unto the perfect day as the light doth: (saith the Wise man, Prov. 4.18.) And as the Church grew to knowledge by degrees, so do we, for we first know things in generall; at the first, Peter knew not that the Gentiles should be called, Acts 10. And the Disciples were at the first weake, and subject to many infirmities, and therefore we must take heed of judging and censuring others, and also that we discourage not our selves, by reason of our weaknesse, God willin his time strengthen us, and it may be call them.

Secondly, observe it is God reveales this un­to such. It is God that must take away the vaile [Page 166] first, the vaile of the thing, opening our under­standings by reading and hearing, and thus the thing it selfe is made fit to be knowne, then he opens the vaile of the heart and affections, to imbrace and love the things. Its God that ope­ned the heart of Lydia, let us therefore beare with the ignorant, though Gods time is not yet come, it may hereafter.

Secondly, Ministers when they come to preach, must pray that God would take away the vaile from the peoples eares and hearts: and people when they come, let them pray that God would open their hearts: and not come in the strength of their owne wit, knowing that God openeth and shutteth, none can open or shut till hee doth it.

In the third place, wee may observe, that God in mercie will doe this for us: hee will open our hearts; he will reveale, though not every particular truth, yet all necessarie truthes ac­cording to our estates: some stand in need of more than others, as Ministers ought to have more than people, and Governours are to have a larger spirit than other inferiours, yet all shall have sufficient.

Therefore for our necessities, let us goe to God, he hath promised to leade us, and with David pray; Lord open thou mine eyes, that I may see the wonders of thy Law: he hath promi­sed to anoint our eyes with eye salve, and its his office to guide us, he is our Prophet to in­struct us.

[Page 167]In the next place, observe that if any man be­long to God, he must at one time or other bee thus minded as Paul was: to hate all things as vaine, to strive on to perfection, to make conscience of the least offences, yea, of idle thoughts and words, of loose wanton behaviour, to know he is not perfect enough, vigilant enough, to look how farre hee is short of that pitch of perfecti­on he ought to attaine unto, not to content him­selfe that he hath out-gone others: these things they shall know either here in time of triall and temptation, or at the houre of death, when no man ever repented of his goodnesse or for­wardnesse in Religion, nor of his care or con­stancie in good courses.

And therefore let us be stirred up to bee of the same minde now, and if any man shall think with himselfe, because God will reveale this, therefore he will neglect meanes, and stay till God inspires this minde into him; let such take heed, if they love goodnesse, they will set a­bout it presently, but if they quench the good motions of Gods spirit, God will take his spi­rit from such. Beg that God would now change thee, for thou art not master of thy thoughts: if we now put off God till we die, its just with God to suffer us to forget our selves: let us bee well affected for the present, and though wee see not so cleerly as wee should doe, let us at­tend the meanes, and though we cannot grow in religion, yet let us not thinke it a shame, but allow and uphold such courses, else is our estate desperate.

[Page 168]Observe further, this speech as its a discove­rie of a moderate spirit in the Apostle, there are some graces that seeme in shew to crosse one another, as zeale and moderation, but they doe not, for zeale when it meets with a fit sub­ject for moderation, can bee moderate: Paul condemnes not, but hopes; and its an exam­ple for our imitation, love beares all, and hopes all: whiles God suffers, why should not wee suffer? Christs spirit will not breake the bruised reed, in whomsoever it is: God hath a time for such as we condemne, even as he had a time for us, and therefore wee must use all meanes, way­ting if at any time God will give us repentance. 2 Tim. 2.25. Ministers must not be harsh with weake Christians, its Gods worke to bow af­fections, and not mans.

And secondly, when wee have used all the meanes we can, wee must depend on Gods provi­dence: and therefore we are to fetch grounds of toleration and patience towards others, from Gods love and wisedome, who reveales the seed sometimes long after.

The Papists, they checke us for want of meanes to reduce men into unitie, and to com­pound controversies, they brag of the Popes power this way, but its but a brag, for why doe they not conclude their owne?

They are farre more happie than the Church was in Christs time; hee sayes, offences must come. Paul sees there must be errors, hee could not compose all, God must reveale it in his time.

[Page 169]But how doe they compose differences? by excommunication, imprisonment, and death, and this by the censure of an ignorant man per­haps, which is brutish and unfit for the Church of God. For our part, we want no meanes, but the effect or successe we must leave to God, we are not to force men tyrannically to our opi­nions in lesser matters, but leave them to Gods time of revelation.

And lastly, as this hope of revelation is pro­mised, so are wee to expect it and waite for it: for to him that hath, more shall be given; and therefore let them that have beginnings of grace, bee comforted to walke on, and for those that are not entred, let them not be discou­raged, God will reveale: But upon what con­dition, it followes:

VERS. 16. Neverthelesse, whereto wee have already at­tained, let us walke by the same rule.

THe word Neverthelesse, some reade it Onely, as if it were a condition; but it implyes both a precept and a condi­tion, shewing that those that looke for revelation of further knowledge and good­nesse, they must walke according to that mea­sure of knowledge they have. The word Rule, [Page 170] implyes in generall the Scripture; more parti­cularly, a company of sound truthes, concer­ning faith, love, and hope There is a great Bi­ble which is the whole Word of God, the little Bible is the grounds of Religion, and these are not onely to be understood in the Booke, but comprehended and invested in our understan­ding and affections, and according to these we must walke. Truth is no guide to us being one­ly in the Booke, but as it is seated in the heart.

Doctrine.But lets come to some observations; first, we may learne that God out of his goodnesse, hath left to his Church a rule of faith and man­ners: there is a rule whereby men must walk, otherwise should we be in a labarinth of errors continually, having no other light but this torch-light of Nature, to guide us in this thick darknesse, wherein we are by nature.

The properties of this rule are divers; First, its a fixt and unchangeable rule, and therefore we must bring all to it, not it to all.

Secondly, this rule is a perspicuous and cleere rule, thy word is a lanthorne to my steps, and a light to my pathes.

Thirdly, this rule is homogeneall: all things therein are spirituall, all holy, all pure, and therefore when the question is about Religion, we must have recourse thereto, as the onely ab­solute compleat rule. And therefore we must know this rule, and then be led by it, for the word Rule implyes, that there must bee a thing [Page 171] to be ruled, else what needs rule, or to what use should it serve? an instrument is in vaine without use: its true, many men make religion and Scripture, but a meere object of discourse. But their example ought to be no rule to us, if we looke to be saved, it must be by walking ac­cording to this rule, and therefore a Christian life is no licentious life, though hee be freed from the law, yet must he serve God day and night: therefore it is that the Christian pro­spers not, nor thrives in this world, because he will not lie, nor sweare, nor have a broad con­science, as the children of this world have, that take all occasion and scope to bee rich: but a Christian lives by rule, he hath little, and it is blest to him, for he lookes at riches and profits of another kinde.

In the second place, wee may observe that a Christian walketh by this rule: he thinkes it not sufficient to take a step, but keeps a right course stedfastly onward.

But how may this bee done?How to walk according to the Rule. may some men say.

I answer, let us use the meanes; as first, let 1 us treasure up the word in our consciences: let us get the rule within us, get the articles of faith, and assurance of the promises: and let this bee betimes whiles we are yong: its the ordinarie cry the Scriptures are hard, they cannot under­stand them. But whats the reason? they are bred up in earthly businesses, and are stuffed with them, so as they finde no place for the [Page 172] Word, and its a miracle to see men thus brought up, to live by this rule.

Secondly, when wee have once treasured up 2 the knowledge of these things, wee must learne to apply them upon severall occasions: for where no practice is, there knowledge is idle, and makes us worthy of more stripes, many have generall truthes in their mindes, but comming to apply them, they finde a great want. David knew adulterie was a sinne, and Peter knew it was dangerous for a man to relye on himselfe, yet how foulely did they fall?

3 Thirdly, let us compare our experience with our rule, wee shall finde there is nothing therein but is fulfilled, that there is no suffering but for some sinne or other, and that besides heaven hereafter, God rewards particular obe­dience here, with particular rewards, and par­ticular sin with particular corrections, we shall know that his judgements are not scarcrowes, the worke of the wicked is accursed, but it shall goe well with the righteous▪ and by this meanes we shall bee incouraged to good, and scared from bad courses.

Fourthly, bee inquisitive and watchfull over 4 our particular steps, take and heare admoniti­ons and instructions, and bee inquisitive after them; those that are otherwise minded, no marvaile if they (like libertines) spurne against all instruction and advice, and accordingly feele the smart of their wayes before they see it.

[Page 173]Fifthly, get a wonderfull jealousie over our 5 hearts: wee often offend in thoughts and de­sires, which God the searcher of the heart lookes into, and we must therefore be jealous of idle thoughts and words, not only of othes, for so an hypocrite may be.

But loose persons will say,Ob. O this is an un­pleasant course, we must bid all joy farewell, when we come to this.

I answer no, the wayes of wisedome are wayes of comfort and pleasure,Answ. God approves of them, and our consciences will tell us so, and thereby will fit us for life or death, and will so settle us, that no estate shall bee unwel­come to us: and as Psal. 50.23. To such as or­der their conversation aright, God will shew his saluation: and as in the text fore-going, God will reveale himselfe more and more, so as if we be faithfull and conscionable in little, wee shall have greater matters revealed to us; and and contrarily, if we be unfaithfully and care­lesse, God will take from us the key of know­ledge, and the use thereof, and will give us up to foule vices, even sinnes against nature, as he punished the Gentiles, and to beleeve lyes, as Paul sayes 2 Thes. 2.11. And will answer us as he did the Idolaters, even according to their multitude of Idols, Ezek. 14.4. So as would we have favour in our sinnes, and teachers that shall bolster us up in them, and not crosse our vaine courses? God will let us have our hearts desire, but we must know this is an unevitable [Page 174] way to a desperate estate, and therefore mar­vaile not so much at the loose liver because of his good breeding, for as they desire the ill, so they have and are justly punished there­with.

VERS. 16. Let us minde the same thing.

OBserve here, that wee are not only to walke sutable to others, but wee must minde the same thing that others of our pro­fession doe:Doct. So as this is a direction to concord, shewing that a Christian is a member of Christ as his head, and of the mysticall bodie the Church: faith ties him to Christ, love ties him to the body, so as he must walke with Christ, and al­so with the body, hee must looke to himselfe first, and then to the body: the ground of this union is laid downe here, to bee first an union of minde and affection, and this must bee in good, or else wee are brethren in evill. Its no marvaile the world complains of want of love, when there is no agreement in the rule of our love; when there is no agreement in the ob­jects of our love, its not riotous fellowship, but fellowship in the gospell that unites us, let us minde this same thing, and then we shall af­fect one another; and because our knowledge doth not extend to every particular alike, let [Page 175] us agree in the maine points, and let not lesse things breake us off one from another. If wee did walke according to our measure of know­ledge in those things wherein wee agree, be­tweene us and the Lutherans, would not bee that bitternesse of spirit that there is, all cen­sures and distempers would cease, and its a [...]ault in manie Christians, though bred up well in knowledge, yet being of a harsh spirit and na­ture, while hee walkes not according to the same rule, and mindes not the same things in the maine as hee should doe, he growes to be bitter, as for those that would be sincere, they must indeavour to bee united in one, as they have one God, one faith, one baptisme, for a Christian loves not to goe to heaven a­lone; and when he is there, he knowes he shall be one with Christ, and one with the holy Saints, and therefore will indeavour to be in perfect unitie here, considering there is no good he hath, but he injoyes it as being a mem­ber of the body of Christ, he knowes its a hor­rible thing, that members of the same bodie should fall out one with another, and there­fore what shall separate or divide us? shall in­firmities? Alas, we are all sicke of this disease, veniam petimus damusque: are they too hot, we are too cold, why should we not stoope and yeeld? Christ he stooped from heaven to us. Shall errors? why the time will come, God will reveale himselfe more fully. Shall sinne? Wee know what the Apostle saith, Gal. 6.1. [Page 176] those that are spiri [...]uall must restore such with the spirit of meeknesse, wee must not cut off members for every sore. Shall injuries? Its the honour of a man to passe by such, doe wee looke Christ should forgive us, when wee will not forgive others? consider it is the practice of all holy men; Paul became all things to all men, if by any meanes hee might winne some. Peter received reproofe of him, yet fell not out with him: some there are of such a perverse spirit, as if they see in any one any infirmitie, presently they breake out into these or the like words. I will not be of that mans profession; thus forsaking all the good in the holy profes­sion, because of some weaknesse in the profes­sors.

If they will needs be separating, let them se­parate from the world, from scandalous, care­lesse, riotous persons▪ else Sathan rules in divi­sion, he knowes hee is best able to deale with them that are alone, and therefore drawes Eve from Adam, and one Christian from another, and so quickly overcomes them. If in compa­nie one fall, another may helpe him up, if hee be cold, another may warme him by exhorta­tion and example.

Consider therefore who are best minded, and minde the best things with them: if we finde we have attained to a greater degree in grace than others, indeavour to bring them to us, the Communion of Saints is an Article of our faith, every one beleeves it, but few knowes what [Page 177] it meanes, and therefore no marvaile they de­sire it not.

VERS. 17. Brethren be followers together of mee.

THese words containe another ex­hortation, with a friendly compel­lation, which I passe over, having heretofore had often occasion to speake of it: the exhortation is to imitation of the Apostle, follow me. And because I cannot ever be with you, therefore follow those a­mong you, that walke as I doe.

Whence wee lear [...], that together with the rules of religion, wee must propound Gods graces in us, as examples for others to imitate: and this arises not from pride, but from confidence of truth and holinesse in our owne hearts, and conversations, and religion maketh this a ver­tue and dutie, without which it were boasting: and so it doth make many things (of them­selves not seemely) very fitting. Davids dance was in worldly esteeme counted but folly, yet having respect to Gods glory is commenda­ble; and therefore we must not be captious, when we see such things in others, that men ordina­rily count indiscretion, but mark their ground, and by it esteeme of them, and accordingly fol­low [Page 178] such. Bee yee followers of mee, saith St. Paul, that is, observe what my doctrine is, and what I doe and acknowledge, follow and imitate me. The Apostles doctrine consists chiefly of three heads; whereof the first, concerneth our naturall condition, as Rom. 1, 2, 3. chapters, and Ephes. 2. And the second, concerneth our remedy by Christ Iesus, God and man being King, Priest, and Prophet, as in the Heb. And the third, the māner how Christ is become ours by imputation, and is laid hold on by faith, which is given to us by God, who being un­changeable and true, we persevere in this rule and course of obedience, by the mercies of God, though with many combatings and strivings, even to fulnesse of glorie. The Apostles example see in part in this chapter, in holi­nesse of life, and death [...] sinne, and esteeme of the goods of this world as base. In the Acts see his paines in the Ministerie, his calling, his heavenly and holy mind in the next verse.

And therefore, let us reade these often, and consider them: they are an excellent glasse, that will transforme us into an holy forme and fashion; many things there are in him that are extraordinarie, and not immitable, he wrought in another calling for his living, he was an A­postle, had extraordinarie gifts by revelation, and indeed not so much by studie, as the Miniters of the Gospell now, to whom God gives guifts, but in the faithfull and painfull use of the meanes, and therefore are they not bound [Page 179] to imitate the Apostle in this thing, as in other things which he did as an Apostle.

But to proceed to particulars;Wherein imi­tation con­sists. imitation im­plyes foure things:

  • First, a doing that which another doth.
  • Second, a doing it in the same manner.
  • Third, a doing thereof grounded upon the same affections: not as in a stage play, where hee that acteth the person of a King, is often a var­let, but it implies such an imitation as is in a childe, that indeavoureth to be like the father in disposition, as well of minde as of bodie.
  • Fourth, it implies a doing, studio imitandi, with an earnest desire to be like him, for he that doth that which God commands, and not as expressing his desire of imitation, he is no fol­lower, and therefore in all our actions wee ought to desire to be like God, and indeavour to expresse in action, what we desire, and to this end wee are to search for examples and patternes in the Scripture, for those that are more excellent; for the most excellent in all kindes, are the best rules for others: and be­cause in many things we offend all, let us fol­low the examples of men no further than they follow Christ, 1 Cor. 11.1. And it was one end of Christs incarnation, that he might bee an example unto us. As I your Lord and Ma­ster have washed your feet, so yee ought to wash one anothers feet,
    Why exam­ples are laid downe in Scripture.
    and learne of me, for I am meek.

Hence we may gather, the ground why we have not only rules in Scripture to live by, [Page 178] [...] [Page 179] [...] [Page 180] but also examples. For first, they shew that the things commanded are possible to bee done. Then they shew us the way and meanes more plainly, how to doe them. Thirdly, they shew how gracefull & acceptable they are when they are done. So as the Scriptures are not penned alto­gether in a commanding fashion, but have min­gled sweet alluring examples: for there are foure wayes of teaching; rule, reason, simi­litudes, and examples. The two former in­joynes, but workes not on the affections, similitudes are but slight, onely examples conformes us in a most sweet alluring manner.

Vse. 1.And therefore wee ought to be exemplarie, as to follow others, and especially those that are a­bove other: they should be burning and shi­ning lights, as starres giving light to passen­gers in the darknesse of this world; to this end observe some meanes. And

1. Dir.First, reverence not onely the eye of God, but of weake Christians, Maxima debetur pue­ro reverentia. We are to be awfull of our car­riage, that we may give no ill example to them: and to this end we are to know that wee shall give account for those sinnes, that wee either cause or suffer others to fall into, if wee may hinder them; give therefore no offence or scandall to the little ones.

2. Dir.Secondly, Labour to denie our selves in li­berties: especially when we are in the presence of such as will take scandall, and to this end labour for the grace of love, which will cause [Page 181] us to indure much, and put up many things which we count injuries.

Thirdly,3. Dir. in our carriage wee are so to demeane our selves, that wee shew wee value, esteeme, and respect those with whom wee converse: for else our actions being visible to others, they will seeme to be done out of a selfe respect, and so will not affect or worke on them. Grace will teach us to honour the meanest, as those that may bee deerely beloved of God, who also may excell us in many excellent qualities, and in some kinde of grace may also goe be­yond us.

Secondly,Vse. 2. if wee be bound to give good ex­ample, then woe to the world for offences; what shall become of those who wound and vexe continually the hearts of those with whom they converse? Many are in hell, propter alie­num peccatum. In the eyes of God, who knowes the heart and intentions, sinne is committed before it be acted: and therefore its all one, whether thou committest it or not. But its not thus before men, for when it is committed it turnes to scandall, and opens the enemies mouthes, and grieves the spirit of God in his children, the Prophets complaine hereof, and wee may observe God correct his chil­dren most, to keepe them from scand [...]lizing o­thers, and that others may beware of scan­dall: so Davids sinne was pardoned, yet because hee gave scandall the childe di­ed.

[Page 182] Vse 3.Thirdly, as wee must give good example, so wee must indeavour to take good from others ex­ample: and to this end;

1 First, wee must eye them, and prie into their actions; for this end hath God left us a con­tinuall succession of examples.

2 Secondly, we must eye them not to observe their weaknesses, to uncover their shame; for this is a poysonous disposition, proceeding even from the divell: neyther are wee to ob­serve them, thereby to take libertie, to the flesh from their ill example; but wee are to eye them as we view glasses, to deck and adorn our selves by them, and to compose our selves in a good course.

3 Thirdly, in imitation we are to observe the best, and the best of the best, and not to com­pare our selves with those that are inferiour to us: for he that thinks himself good by compari­son, he is not good, as a runner will not con­clude he runnes swiftly, beeause he hath out­runne a lame man. And therefore St. Paul sayes else where, Brethren follow mee, as I follow Christ: propounding to himselfe the most ex­cellent patterne of all, Christ Iesus. Contrari­wise he blames the Corinthians, because they measured themselves by themselves, 2 Cor. 10.12.

Fourthly, wee must learne truthes before wee 4 practice, for the best have their blemishes: so that wee must learne to know how to avoid them. The Papists urge us with the succession [Page 183] and universalitie of their Church. No say we, it is the doctrine that must trie the Church, whether it be true or false; for men are Men­sura mensurata, its the doctrine is Mensura men­surans, the measure measuring, whereby our actions ought to be squared and framed aright. The Papists urge us with an implicite faith. Alas, what example? what imitation can there be, when they know not what to imitate? they know not what the Church beleeves, and and yet they must beleeve as the Church be­leeveth.

Fifthly, wee must labour to have soft hearts, 5 sanctified with grace and molified, for a stonie hard heart will receive no impression, and to this end are wee to use the meanes, to imbrace the word, to receive the Sacraments, and to pray that God would open our eyes, and sof­ten our stonie hearts.

Sixthly, wee are to looke to everie one that 6 hath any good thing worthy of imitation: as those that delight in gardens, where they heare of any choise flowers, they will have a slip for their owne garden: thus it should bee with us, where we see any flower of any grace, get that and place it in our owne gardens; in every Christian there is something immitable, and something that may further us: and therefore this Apostle longed to see the Romans, that hee might be comforted by their faith, 1 Rom. 12. It is with the Church as with the firmament, ever some are rising and some are fitting, let us [Page 184] looke to the starres of our time, and walke by their light. Its not enough that wee can com­mend the Martyrs, for that is ordinarie, as it was with the Iewes in Matth. 23.29. though they builded the sepulchres of the Prophets, if they had beene alive, together with them, they would have persecuted them, and there­fore Christ saith, they killed the Prophets. And the ground of it is, bec [...]use its a dishonour to God, not to take notice of his goodnesse and glorious graces in others, and therefore if the starres doe praise him, surely these starres must much more set forth his glorie, that being of themselves sinfull wretched men, by his power are made glorious lights for others to walke by.

7 And in the seventh place, in things whereof there is no certaine rule to direct us, wee ought to imitate the example and custome of the most holy and sober sort. As in apparell much question is what sort, what fashion is most to be imitated, let the most sober and moderate of thine owne ranke be guide unto thee. Its singularitie to dif­fer from such, with a desire to be noted, and it savours of pride, and such shall be condemned by their examples, even as Noah condemned the old world.

Vse.For use of all this, learne hence what is the best succession, that is the best and surest note of succession, which is both in doctrine and example; locall succession is nothing, they are the children of Abraham, that doe the [Page 185] workes of Abraham; they are Iewes which are Iewes inwardly in the spirit: the Papists they cry out against us we have no succession; but it is they have no succession, their doctrine every where crosses the doctrine of the ancient Church of Rome, their practice is without pre­sident, what president have they for rebellion? for their equivocation? and the like; they follow indeed, but as corruption doth ge­neration.

VERS. 18. For many walke, of whom I have told you often.

THese wo [...]s containe, a reason of Pauls exhortation; and from the connexion wee may observe, that where truth is, error is: where wheat is, there are tares; walke as I doe, for there are many with whom yee converse, that walke as enemies to the crosse of Christ. Our ene­mies tell us, because of our errors wee are not the true Church, they may better conclude contrarily, that because we have some few er­rors, therefore there is a true Church amongst us, where truth is there will be opposers; and therefore we are not to be scandalized hereat: the skill and courage of a Christian, is seen most [Page 186] where truth is in danger, as the goodnesse of a Pilate is seene specially in a tempest.

The Papists will not have the Word read in the vulgar tongue. why? because they say ma­ny errors will thence arise, while the common people understand it not. They may as well argue, because there is much deceipt, there­fore I will not buy nor sell. St. Paul was of an­other minde, he would preach at Ephesus, for a great dore and effectuall was opened, though he knew there were many adversaries. 1 Cor. 16.9.

In the next place, observe he saith many there were, meaning of the better and more eminent sort, that is of teachers: a pitifull thing, that in the golden times of the Church, the chiefe leaders of the Church should be mislead, and therefore we are not to wonder that we should finde it thus, and therefor [...] wee must not bee scandalized by the multitude, one Micaiah is better than 400. false Prophets, and there­fore we must not number the followers, but weigh them aright,

To proceed; he saith there are many, he na­meth none in particular, yet no doubt but noted scandalous persons, may and ought to bee particu­larly named, that others may take notice and heed of them; yet this must bee warily done. The Apostle curses the Copper-smith, but onely names Demas. Those that are weake, must be gently touched, those that are obsti­nate and scandalous, must bee plainely made [Page 187] knowne, and this draweth some of our writers particularly to lay open the vices and fals­hoods of those that are obdurate, and there­fore we must not take scandall thereat, it arising from a zealous care of Gods Church, not of malice.

In the next place, he saith he told them often, the Apostle was affectionately bent for their good▪ and therefore to write the same things often to them, it was not greevous to him, seeing to them it was safe; for the nature of man is very dull in conceiving of things that belong to sal­vation, and their memories are but brittle. If therefore we doe often inculcate and lay open the danger of that whorish Religion, long since condemned, it must be well taken in these times, especially wherein men are so secure, daring to venter on any thing, yea to goe to their Masses, upon pretence of their strength, that they c [...]n come away without being de­filed.

VERS. 18. And now tell you weeping.

AS if he should have said, if nothing else will make you beware, yet let my teares move, my teares proceeding from griefe, and compassion of the miserable estate of such Tea­chers, and of such as are led by them.

[Page 188] Affections therefore are lawfull, yea neces­sarie in Gods children: all actions in Gods worship are esteemed according to the affecti­ons that they are done with: we are as we love, not as we know, what is the life of a Christian, but the performance of things with courage, delight and joy? and therefore the strongest Christians have strongest affections; for Reli­gion doth not harden the heart, but molifies it, and regeneration doth not take affections away but restores them sanctified and pure.

But to come particularly to the matter here; he is compassionate, and so compassionate, as his na­turall constitution will admit, hee expresseth this with teares: which ariseth from griefe for something within our selves, or by reason of sympathie with others, for some danger that they are in, or like to fall into.

Reason. 1.The reasons hereof are, because they are led by the spirit of Christ, who was all made of com­passion: for he wept for his friends, for Laza­rus, and for his enemies. O Ierusalem, Ierusa­lem, how often would I have gathered you, and you would not: hee was tender in bearing the infirmities of his weake Disciples, and of weak women, his compassion was such, as drew him to the lowest degree of humiliation to free us from danger.

Reason. 2.Secondly, the Saints have cleere sanctified judgements, to apprehend true causes of remorse: they know what danger is, as Paul saw here that the Sheepe were in danger of wolves, and [Page 189] saw the danger so much the greater, by how much they saw not the danger they were in.

Thirdly,Reason. 3. the Saints have their hearts broken with sense and feeling of Christs compassion in their hearts, and so are molified, expressing it out­wardly towards their brethren: contrarily, the wicked never felt any remorse or pitie of Christ in them, and therefore know not what com­passion meanes, so as their mercies are cruel­ties. Use this as a note, whereby we may dis­cerne of our Christian estate, for surely where there is no compassion, there can be no excel­lent estate.

Againe, from the Apostles object of com­passion and weeping, observe; that spirituall evill and danger is the most proper object of Chri­stian compassion. Paul he pities not himselfe be­cause of his fetters he was in, but it was the bonds of sinne made him cry, Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the bodie of this death? and good reason, for these spiritu­all evils of errour in judgement, hardnesse of heart, securitie, seared conscience, and the like, they leade us the assured way to damna­tion, as it is said in the words following, whose end is damnation. Contrarily, outward crosses being sanctified to us, they bring us to heaven, as it is 1 Cor. 11.32. Wee are chastened of the Lord, that we should not bee condemned with the world. For those crosses are occasions of good affections, purging the heart from deadnesse and fleshly trust, they draw us to God; and [Page 190] therefore spirituall danger, is the proper object of pitie. It is otherwise with us, wee lament Christian bloud-shed; but how many soules are carried into error dayly, turned to Poperie, and no remorse, no pitie. There is great need thereof both in the Magistrate and the Mini­ster, that they should bee moved to provide re­medies against such mischiefes.

And let us be farre from envying such as are in ill courses, let their outward pompe be ne­ver so great, rather lament their miserie: alas poore soules, how are they hurried, nay doe willingly runne to destruction, while they are blinded with those idle shewes of vanitie.

But much more miserable is their estate that draw on others to mischiefe, that are brethren in evill: what other end can they looke for, but to bee as tares bound up, and cast into the depth of hell, being guiltie of as many mens deathes, as they are of ill examples in their passed life?

But for our selves, let not our soules come into their secrets, lets mourne at the lewdnesse of some, and the danger of all: and to this end, let us consider duly of the afflictions of Ioseph, taking heed of sensualitie, which as Hosea saith, ta­keth away the heart. Hos. 4.11. Moses saw the miserie of his brethren, and pitied them; so should we consider of the danger of Popery, of Schisme and rebellion, and this will breake our hearts, and cause us with Ieremie to mourne in secret for the sins of the times. Ier. 13.17.

VERS. 18. They are the enemies of the Crosse of Christ.

IN these and the following words, is a de­scription of these in ordinate walkers, which the Apostle speaketh of, they are described by their disposition: First outwardly, that they are enemies to Christs death. Then inwardly, their bellie is their God, they glorie in their shame, and they minde earthly things. Then by their end, which is damnation. They are pointed out and described to us, to the end wee might take no­tice of them: by the Crosse is not meant the signe of the crosse, as the Papists fondly imagine, but Christs death on the crosse, whereby was made satisfaction,Who were e­nemies to Christs crosse and redemption, and reconcilia­tion.

The enemies of this crosse are; first, such as 1 added thereto the ceremoniall obedience to the law, and their owne satisfactorie workes.

Secondly, such as are carnall, denying the 2 power of Christs crucifying, in not crucifying their affections.

Thirdly, such as could not indure, of suffer for the testmonie of Christs crucifying, and 3 therefoe to avoid persecution, they pressed cir­cumcision with Christ, and so were enemies to his crosse: Gal. 6.12. Such were the enemies thereof then, and such have wee now of the Papists, let them brag never so much of their esteeme and reverence they give to the signe [Page 192] thereof, while they seem to kisse it, they betray it Iudas▪ like. For while they teach merits, sa­tisfaction in purgatory, indulgences, & the like; they make the crosse of Christ of none effect, whic his onely and wholly sufficient in it selfe.

And whereas they say they doe adde, they take nothing from the sufficiencie of Christ;

I answer, circumcision was added here by these, who are notwithstanding condemned: for as to joyne poyson with wholesome meate takes away the nourishment of the meate, so if we be circūcised, Christ shall profitus nothing, and grace is no grace, where there is merit. Rom. 11.6. Againe, consider the equitie there­of in naturall reason; can it be thought likely, that God should become man, to doe any thing which lies in the power of man to patch up and make good or else its unsufficient? shall finite corrupt man be able to make an infinite worke perfect? no, God will not give his glo­rie to another, and will he part with his glorie in this great worke? which propounds his glo­rie as the maine end thereof? Ephes. the 1.6. and 12. verses.

Fourthly, there are another sort of enemies, 4 such as cast not themselves on the merits of Christs crosse, those whose consciences were never convict of sinne: abundance there are, who glorie in their proud presumptious swag­gering courses, shewing that they are either blinde or starke mad; they wilfully runne to [Page 193] perditiō, they wil not heare nor be controuled. Others that see their fore-passed life how wicked it hath bin, they are so far from casting themselves on Christs merits, as they despair, & grow more & more obstinate therein, even to their own de­struction, either by not seeing the merits of Christ, or through want of confidence on thē, though they see his righteousnesse to be above their sins: and some are so detestably wicked, as because they see no salve for them, they run de­speratly into a custome of sin, & continue ther­in to their death. As we would desite to avoid this fearfull estate and condition, so let us take heed of custome of sinning, for that wil make us senselesse, and will move God to give us over. And therefore let us take heed that we receive no the grace of God in vaine, it being so freely proffered to us. And to this end, know that so far as we suffer our lusts to over rule us & we not cru­cifie them so far we are enemies. Gal. 5.4. For while we know and consider Christ, as crucified for our sins, it will make us (if we have any grace) think of sin as of a thing that deserves to be crucified, and hate that, that caused the death of our deere Savious, for they were the cruell tormenters of Christ. And if we embrace Christ, we shal have the same affectiō to sin that Christ had, for Christ wil not lodg but in a hart humbled for sin. And the estate of those men is miserable, that are so farre from crucifying lusts, as they thrust them­selves upon all occasions of temptation and sinne, and esteeme them as their onely ene­mies, [Page 194] that tell them of their unchristian cour­ses: Surely, however they may daube for a time, yet their outward profession will never administer sound comfort to them, but they shall finde bitternesse at their latter end.

There are yet another sort of enemies; name­ly, such as will indure nothing for Christ: who notwithstanding bore his crosse, and bids us take up our crosse of reproach for religion: some will indure any paine, travaile, danger and watchings for riches or ambition, but dare not speake a word, or appeare in Christs cause, are not these enemies? Shall Christ out of his love come from heaven to the basest abase­ment for us, and shall not wee indure for a while here, seeing it is also for our owne good, and we are gainers thereby, and considering that Christ called us to suffer? for while wee live here, and imbrace true religion, there will ever be a crosse and shame in the world, accom­panying the profession thereof, if it bee sin­cere.

Preachers therfore that preach not Christ plain­ly, and boldly, and hearers that come to the hearing of the Word rather for Rhetoricall flourishes, wit­tie sentences fit onely for discourse sake, even thus farre they are enemies. For if Christ bee not preached mainly and chiefly to this end, to amend the lives of men, to winne soules to Christ. And if men (comming to heare) come not even for this end mainly, to be bettered in their salvation, to bee strengthened in grace, [Page 195] they shall be damned as enemies for this; that the meanes of salvation they prophane and despise.

And therefore, let us abase our selves for our sinnes, and magnifie Gods goodnesse, in affording meanes of salvation. Labour also to shew how wee profit by suffering for the Gospell, and count it an honour, and rejoyce that wee are worthie to suffer for Christ, labour to overcome the world and our lusts, and to honour Christ even in his meanest children: If the love of Christ will not constraine us, no motives will draw us.

VERS. 19. Whose end is destruction.

THe word signifies a rew [...]rd, and is translated, and taken often for an end; because reward is gi­ven at the end of the worke: and thus is salvation called a reward for goodnesse, because it is given at the end of a holy life. The other word signifies damnation or destruction, which implyes all things tending to, or accom­panying the punishment of a wicked life: and the connexion of these words with the former, may be thus framed; hee that is an enemie to the cause of life, is an enemie to life, but those that are enemies to the crosse of Christ, are [Page 196] enemies to the cause of life, and to that which saves them; and therefore they must needs be destroyed: this made the Apostle judge of them thus, and withall be saw they were void of grace, and were incorrigible: and from hence we may inferie,

That wee may in some sort judge of the spiri­tuall estate of men, even while they are alive ▪ for as Astronomers can judge of eclipses, and statesmen of the continuance or danger of the state, and Physitians of the event of diseases, by the course of naturall causes; so in religion, there are predictions on good grounds, what will follow of ill courses, tending to dam nation.

A threefold judgment.But more particularly, there is a three-fold judgement.

  • 1 First, one by Faith, which (concerning our selves) brings certainty, and so wee are able to judge of our selves.
  • 2 Secondly, there is a judgement by fruits; comparing mens disposition and state, with their fruits, and so wee say, if men walke rio­tously, we can inferre, surely he is in no good estate: by their fruits shall you know them, saith Christ.
  • 3 Thirdly, there is a particular revelation of Gods spirit, this the Prophets and Apostles had, but now we have no such rule; yet by the fruits and course of men, its an easie matter to judge, what the end of those men will be, fol­lowing those courses; for Gods word is the [Page 197] same now that it was then. Indeed, when wee judge men in things indifferent this is rash, and condemned by the Apostle. Rom. 14.

For Use hereof, let us learne to judge our selves, and know if wee breake wilfully the knowne rules of salvation, we are in a fearfull estate. And we should also submit to the judge­ment of Gods ministers while we are here, and amend, for else looke assuredly for the sen­tence of death hereafter, from God himselfe, when there will be no revoking thereof. For though punishment may be deferred a while, yet assuredly it sh [...]ll not goe well with the wic­ked (Eccles. 8.13.) at the last.

In the next place observe, There is an end to every way: for it is taken for granted that they have an end, and surely wee will not, nor can­not be alwayes as we are, wee are labourers, and there is a time of payment of our wages. And therefore wee should looke whether our wayes doe tend, there will bee an end of this life, but damnation shall be without end. We should also bee inquisitive to see if wee be out of this way, that we may be reformed, for these worldly pleasures must end in eternall venge­ance, and this life is but a way to that end.

And in the third place learne to bee patient, when wee see the wicked runne on in a broad high way, what though they be admired here, and lifted up, they are but condemned persons: and therefore envie them not, seeing we would be loath, upon serious deliberation, to change [Page 198] estates with them. Observe wee further from these words, that God will judge eternally, not onely for grosse scandalous sinnes, in the course of our life, but even for errors in judgement. For wee must judge aright, as well as affect aright, and God hath no service from corrupt judge­ments. Those that joyne mans merits with Christs merits, they cannot relye on God a­lone, neither can they rejoyce in Christ, Christ hath but halfe of them: therefore let us keepe the virginitie of our judgements, pro­stitute them not to lyes, but reserve them chaste and pure to Christ.

And secondly, take we heed how wee con­verse with such as are of corrupt judgements, they are Gods, and Christs enemies, and will labour to bring us into their wayes, and then assuredly let us looke for their end. Its reason that those with whom we converse here, wee should converse withall hereafter.

VERS. 19. Whose God is their belly.

THese words, doe partly shew the inward disposition of these m [...]n, by Bellie, in this place hee meanes in generall all content­ments, and worldly pleasures, whereof these Teachers being satisfied, they lived at large, and at ease.

[Page 199]But how may they be said,Quest. to make their bel­lie their God?

I answer we may be said to make any thing our God.Answ. First, when we count it one, as some of the Papists have esteemed of the Pope, as of an essence betweene man and God, and some Emperours have required themselves to be so esteemed, and adored as a Dietie.2

Secondly, when wee give such affections to it, as are onely due and proper to God, as to trust in it, to repose content in it, to joy in it, and so is that sentence true, amor tuus, Deus tuus.

Thirdly, when wee use actions of invocation 3 and adoration thereto: and thus the Papists make Saints their God, attributing such power in working to them, as is onely proper to God.

Fourthly, when wee bestow all labour to giv [...] 4 satisfaction thereunto: for explication, these men gave the intention of their most inward affections, to procure content to their lusts, all their labour was to this end, and so quieted themselves in the injoyment of them, and as they made their bellie their God, so their belly acted the part of a god, in giving them lawes, bidding them to doe, proiect, devise this or that, undermine such, and grounding them in this first fundamentall law. Thou canst not live long, neither wilt thou live well therefore while thou livest live for thy pleasure, take thy ease, and from thence inioynes them to use all meanes thereto, take all acquaintance, under­mine [Page 200] all that crosse thee: and all to this end, that thou maist have thy ease.

As it was then, so now is it with the Papists their successors: all the differences in Religion betweene them and us, are by them grounded on the bellie, that is the Monarchie of the Pope, and worldly pompe, and Masses inven­ted for idle Priests, latine prayers, little or no preaching, onely that the people being igno­rant, they might more easily command them. If their errors were not invested in gaine, wee should soone accord, their worship, especially the manner thereof, onely to delight the sense.

And among our selves, many are not wan­ting that make profession of religion, but de­nie the power thereof: so long as religion and outward content doe meet, and when Religi­on brings preferment, all will be religious, for they live by no rules. but those that their lusts prescribes, morning and evening taking care for the flesh, how to bee rich, how to live at ease, and for this will sell their birthright in happinesse, refusing the Word, refusing good companie, yea heaven it selfe. And this justly comes as a iudgement for mans first rebellion, when men will not serve God as they should, they are iustly given over to the service of those that are no Gods.

Quest.But it may be asked, may wee not seeke to content our flesh?

Answ.I answer, wee may respect our bodies, and [Page 201] there is a due honour that belongs to the out­ward man, but we must so seeke for them, as in the first place and principally we seeke the Kingdome of heaven, and is righteousnesse, and then God hath promised to cast these things upon us. But when wee breake order and measure, being first and principally care­full for our lusts, the divell knowing our haunts offers baites fitting for our humours, and wee like filthi [...] swine devoure our owne destru­ction.

And therefore to avoid this, let us set the feare of God and damnation before our eyes, and if we use not these things moderatly and sober­ly, let that in Rom. 8.13. be as a flaming sword to keepe us from the way to destruction. If we live according to the lusts of the flesh, we shall die: and therefore, as strangers and Pilgrims let us abstaine from fleshly lusts, which fight against the soule: against our comfort here, and our hap­pie estate hereafter.

Secondly, let us avoid the companie of con­demned persons, but looke on them with a kinde of horrour, and detestation of them, and and passe not for their wicked censures, their end is damnation, and their bellie is their God.

But because the best are drawne away by these pleasures, let us observe some directions;

And first, let us see the reasons why we are thus inveagled with them.

  • First,
    Reason. 1.
    these earthly contentments are present to our sense: the other onely are present to [Page 202] faith, which the carnall man lookes not after, neither cares for.
  • 2 Secondly, wee nusle up our selves in an opi­nion of the necessitie of these things, seeing the present use of them, and wee see no present use of those better things.
  • 3 Thirdly, these things are bred up with us, and wee are acquainted with them from our in­fancie: and so they pleade prescription, and when we are thus taken up before, Religion comes after, and very hard it must needs be, to keepe our mindes lifted up, and yet is it most necessarie to be, for lusts doe drowne men in perdition,
    1 Tim. 6.9.

1 But for helpes in this estate of ours, observe first, with due consideration, the nature, dignitie, and excellencie of the soule: that it is a spirit of an excellent beautie, adorned with understan­ding and judgement, not made to cast off the crowne, submitting it selfe to the rule of every base lust, which indeed is the onely happinesse of the beasts, nay if happinesse consist in plea­sing the senses, beasts are more happie than we, for they have neither s [...]me without, nor conscience within, to disquiet them in the in­joyment of their pleasures.

And know also that this bodie of ours, be­ing of that excellent temper, is a fabricke which was not made onely for to be a strainer for meate to passe through: The qualitie of the braine in man, the structure of the eve, doe testifie man was made for divine meditation, [Page 203] to contemplate of the workes of God, which it doth behold with the eye, as through a glasse.

Secondly, wee must know, by giving our af­fections 2 to these things, we are made like the things we affect: for the soule is placed in the middest, as it were betweene heaven and earth, and as it affects the one or the other, so is it fashioned; if we love the flesh we are flesh, if wee follow the spirit, wee are transformed to its like­nesse.

Thirdly, consider that God is better than 3 the worshipper, else is hee mad that will wor­ship it; but the bellie is baser than our selves: reason teacheth us the pleasures of this life end in death, when our soules must still continue after all: now to seeke such pleasures as cannot continue with us is madnesse, as appeares even by the light of reason: and therefore are of more power with naturall men, than pure reli­gious truthes, but for those that are called; The Scripture puts them in minde of the last day of judgement, and telles them that they are made for heaven: and such are therefore to set their mindes on things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; Col. 3.1. and when they begin to grow worldly, and to follow their belly, it calles them backe with a but know for all this, God will bring thee to judgement: which duly pondered, cannot but be as a hooke in our jawes, to bring us back to a more diligent watch over our wayes.

VERS. 19. And whose glorie is in their shame.

A Second part of the inward disposition shewing, that they glorie in that which brought shame to them for circumcision was a ceremonie given to the Church when it was but in the infancie, and for them that were borne in the strength of the Church, being well growne, to glorie in such beggerly rudi­ments was shamefull; in the words, first consi­der the affection, second the object or end: for the word implyes both: and in the first consider the sinne, then the cure.

The sinne that is reproved in them, is vaine-glorie; that is, glorying in a thing not to bee gloried in, and it is grounded upon pride, which is a desire of excellencie in vaine things, and it is for the most part in vaine injuditious men, who ordinarily doe glorie in things that tend to shame. These Philippians saw that Paul was now committed, the doctrine hee taught they thought was not good enough, they would be wiser than he, and of deeper reach.

And thus even within the p [...]le of the Church, what a scandall is it that men should glorie in a gracelesse grace of swearing? filling up rotten discourse, with new devised othes. And others glorie in their foolish (conceipted) gallant ap­parell, which was for no other end, but princi­pally to cover shame, is not this to glorie in [Page 205] shame? And much more those, that blaming (as it were God) for making them no fairer, will mend the workmanship of God by painting: these while they seeke to keepe outward blemishes from the eyes of men, doe discover to the whole world, that they have a spotted rotten heart within them.

And indeed, its too common for men ill­bred up, to thinke admirably of themselves, when all their courses are meere vanitie: He is the onely man of accompt, that cannot put up a crosse word without bloud: is not this to glorie in shame? when as its the glory of a man to passe by an offence, and they are the best men, that can overcome themselves. And as helpers on of this vaine boasting, we have a generation of ignorant unsetled understandings, that ad­mire at such shamelesse boasters, and so are cau­ses of strengthening such in their vain-glory, such are flatterers of great men: let them re­member what is denounced against such, woe be to them that call evill good, and good evill.

In the next place, shame is not onely the ob­ject of vaine glorie, but the end: they that are vaine-glorious, shall bee brought to shame at length: thus is it sayd of Babylon in Esay, and mysticall Babylon in the Revelations: Though she say I sit as a Queene, and shall seen [...] mourning, yet stall her plagues come in one day, death, and destruction, and mournlng. Isa. 47.9. & 51.19. Revel. 18.8.

[Page 206]For God hath knit vaine-glory and shame, a punishment proportionable and fitting to the sinne, and striking the offender most neere even to the heart and thus did God meete with Achi­tophel, Absalom & Haman they sought vain-glo­ry, and their ends were shamefull, & such shall be the end of all such, as boast that they can doe mischiefe like Doeg: Psa. 52. And the righteous shall see, and feare, & laugh at them.

For use to our selves, therefore let us take heed of this sinne. For by nature, the best of us are subject to it, we are all inclinable either to glory in such things as we should not, or to receive glory from such things as wee ought not, or else to glorie after an inordinate man­ner, and in that measure we glorie amisse, in that measure wee consult shame to our selves: glory we may, but it must bee well grounded, and in a right manner.

And to the attaining thereto, we must first labour for a sound knowledge of God, and for a sound dependance upon him in all things, and al­so labour for to see our owne estate, and our many wants. for wanting this knowledge, men glo­rie in merits while they live, but when they die they grow ashamed of their courses, and blinde judgement, for while they live, they judge of themselves by their owne conceipt of them­selves, which is grounded either by comparing of themselves with those that are worse than themselves, as the Pharisee, that thanked God he was not as the Publican: or else upon the [Page 207] conceipt that shallow persons have of them.

But these are not rules for us to follow,Remedies a­gainst vaine-glory. look rather what sayes the humbled conscience, what sayes Gods Word and his Iustice, and 1 take example of the Apostles and holy men of God, that gloried in the Lord reconciled to us in Christ, who is made to us wisedome, sancti­fication, and redemption. 1 Cor. 30.31. Rejoyce that our names are written in heaven. Luke 10.20. Rejoyce that we understand and know God to be [...]ust and mercifull. Ier. 9.23.24. Glo­rie in the testimonie of a good conscience, that we are true Christians, though but weake: 2 Cor. 1.12.

Secondly, we should be content with the judge­ment 2 and approbation of God, and hearken to the admonitions of his Ministers, and care not for the censures of the world.

Thirdly, take wee heed of the first beginnings 3 and motions of sinne: at the first they are ever modest, the worst man that ever was, was not shamelesse in sinne at the beginning, but gi­ving way to sinne by little and little, loses all shame, and causes at last corruption in judge­ment, and justifying a mans selfe in wicked courses; pleasures, riches, and such things, they are like a vizard, onely an outside of beau­tie, or like one that vaunteth himselfe hee can act the person of a King, but is in himselfe a bondslave: they act their parts here on this worldly Stage for an houre, and leave all their followers in eternall bondage forever. There­fore [Page 208] let us not bee ashamed for Christs cause, but stand out, labour for sinceritie now, and wee shall have glorie hereafter, which as the light, shall increase, when as the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

VERS. 19. Who minde earthly things.

TO Minde, in this place is taken largely, to thinke upon, remember, desire, joy, and to have all the soule exercised. Earthly things, that is lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes, pride of life, pleasures, and profits, and honours: which are therefore called earthly, because they are conversant about earthly things, and because they make their followers earthly min­ded: and lastly, they are called earthly, in op­position to those that are heavenly: and thus in particular, those that minde honour are am­bitious; those that minde riches are covetous, if pleasure then they are voluptuous, and all of them are earthly. For as the Ocean is but one, and yet divers parts thereof have severall names, so worldlinesse is but one sinne, yet having many kindes, it hath also divers names.

The observation that hence we may gather, is, that the earthly disposition and minde, is the temper of that man, who is in the estate of [Page 209] damnation: for the minde of such doe shew a dead soule, estranged from the life of God: to be carnally minded is death, saith the Apostle, Rom. 8.6. For a man lives as hee mindes and loves.

Secondly, earthly disposition is opposite to God, so Rom. 8.7. The carnall minde is enmi­tie against God.

Observe we further, the Apostle describes not these by any notorious grosse scandalous sinne, but by the inward disposition of the heart▪ for outward actions are onely effects and rivers flowing from the spring of corrup­tion in our hearts.

Whence we may note, that God lookes to the inward frame of the soule in men: and there­fore though in the eyes of men, a man may be without spot, yet is his corruption that is with­in, open and manifest to the all-seeing eye of God.

And therefore, from hence we are to be stirred up, to humble our selves before God, by exami­ning our hearts, and laying open our most se­cret corruptions.

And secondly, this ought to comfort us, that though in our dayly practice we often fall, yet God in his goodnesse lookes at the inward frame of the soule, and accepts of it.

Thirdly, this justly layes open the folly of mens censures: if a man breake not out into o­pen outragious sinnes, they esteeme and com­mend such for good men, though it may bee [Page 210] his soule is full stuffed with Atheisme, revenge, and all manner of villanie.

Fourthly, this should teach us to condemne our selves, even for our sinfull thoughts: for know, though thou livest without danger of mans law, thou maist have a rebellious minde opposite to the divine law of God, by which thou shalt be judged.

Yet seeing for this present life, wee stand in need of earthly things, and are not to cast off all care of them, let us hearken to some dire­ctions in the use of them: For riches and o­ther necessaries, God sends them unto us to be as meanes to sweeten our pilgrimage here.

Rules.In the using them, take heed they doe not pos­sesse 1 and take up our whole heart, immoderately labouring after them, and before any spirituall grace: This the Apostle blames in these men, he saw they made religion to bee subordinate, and to give place to their worldly lusts, and that as he cared not, if by any meanes he could attaine to the resurrection of the dead: so they contrarily cared not, if by any meanes, through any crosse or losse whatsoever, they could at­taine to riches, honour, or the like; yea, if religion stood in their way, though it were with the losse of Religion and a good con­science.

2 Secondly, we must take heed that wee use these earthly things so, as to draw good out of them, and to imploy them to good; labour we to see God in pleasure, in rich [...]s, and in our [Page 211] abundance, knowing and esteeming of them, as a beame of the bright Sun-shine of Gods fa­vour to us, and thus to be lifted up, to admire and praise his goodnesse.

Thirdly, make them instruments of mercie 3 and bountie: its an excellent way to further our accompts, so receive the good as wee avoide the snare, the way is not to hide our talents in a napkin, to enter into a Monasterie, to live idle; but to occupie, use, and imploy them in the service of God, and of our neighbours.

To conclude, let us so use them, as they be hel­pers 4 of us to a better life, not binderers: for wee are in an estate betweene two, in a warring and conflicting estate, even as a peece of iron betweene two loadstones, and know not which way to leane, and yet may offend in the ex­cesse of either side.

And therefore let us observe some signes, whereby we may know whether we bee right or not.

And first of all,Signes. this affection of love being the primarie and principall part, is knowne by 1 other affections. If therefore our love bee set on the world, we shall greeve and vexe our selves for worldly losses, and fret and be chafed when wee are crossed in them: and this made Ahab so lum­pish, as nothing could comfort him but Na­boths vineyard.

Secondly, let us observe whether our labours 2 and indeavours are carried: what wee talke of most, what thinke we or meditate wee on, first [Page 212] and last, morning and evening, if wee observe our carriage, it will discover our minde.

Such, are also opposite to any religious good course: he that is rich, bitterly opposeth good­nesse, and therefore it is that Christ said, Yee cannot serve God, and Mammon, and conclu­deth; It is harder for a rich man to get into heaven, than for a Camell to passe through a needles eye.

But to cure this sore, Let us fetch arguments from the nature of the soule of man, and the na­ture of these things, and consider the incongrui­tie betweene the soule, a pure heavenly spiri­tuall essence, and base earthly corrupt things, dust was made meate for the serpent by a curse, and not for man.

And remember, The God of truth hath threatned vengeance against his dearest children, that doe not mortifie their carnall lusts. Abhorre we therefore, the first thoughts of this sinne, and divert our soules to higher thoughts, and bee humbled, shaming our selves for debasing our soules in that manner, else will God take us in hand, for he will not suffer his children to surfeit on the world, but will bring them backe, that they shall see and know, all is but vanitie and vexation of spirit.

VERS. 20. For our conversation is in Heaven.

T [...]e word translated here For, in the former translation is But, and so it depends on the fore going words, some walke as enemies to the crosse of Christ, &c. But our conversation is in heaven. If it be as it is here translated, For, then doth it follow the 17. ver. Mark them that walke as ye have us for an example, for our conversation is in heaven: Shewing the reason why he was so confident in propounding his example to bee imitated: which way it be taken it is not much materiall, onely from the opposition between those examples he speakes of immediately go­ing before, and is propounded in this verse.

Note that in the Church, there are alwayes men of divers dispositions ▪ some ever goe with the current into Mare mortuum, and others ever a­gainst the streame, like the starres that are car­ried with a secret motion of their owne: not­withstanding that in this world, they seeme to be carried by the violent motion of the com­mon course of men.

And this was first, in Gods eternall decree, that their should be perpetuall enmitie between the seed of the woman, and of the serpent.

[Page 214] 2 Secondly, There is a difference in calling ▪ some onely outwardly, some inwardly by his spirit. Many are called, but few are chosen.

3 Thirdly, they differ in their rulers: one are governed by the Divell, and led captive to doe his will, others by God.

Fourthly, in regard of their conversation: 4 some are heavenly minded, others are altoge­ther earthly.

Fifthly, their ends are different: the way of 5 one is upwards to heaven, the way of the o­ther is downward, tending to the gates of death, even to hell.

But to come to the words; The Apostle saith, not my conversation, but our conversation; implying, that those that meane not to bee of the number of those that have their end in damnation, they must bee of the number of those of a holy conversation. The word in the originall, signifies most properly a freedome, or a Burgership: So as from the metaphour, we may gather thus much.

That Heaven is a Citie, and all true Christi­ans are Citizens, Doctr. and inhabitants of this Citie: for as it is in the Citie of this world, so may it be said comparatively of this Citie and the inhabitants.

First, its under a governour, who is the Lord Christ.

Secondly, its governed by law, which is Gods law.

Thirdly, it hath a store-house of all good [Page 215] things, as of food, and of other of the like sort, which is heaven, for it hath bread of life, it hath rich and plenteous treasure.

Fourthly, it hath liberties, they are free from Sathans tyrannie, free from the lawes curse, and condemning power, and are all Kings, and shall all raigne, they shall bee free from all weaknesse, from ill comp [...]nie, from temptation, the lambe shall be all in all, glori­ous things are spoken of thee thou Citie of God.

Fifthly, they speake one language, the lan­guage of Canaan, the language of the beast they abhorre.

And lastly, their carriage is alike: grave like Citizens of heaven, their faces are still as they were going to Ierusalem, their continuing and abiding Citie, for while they are in this life, they are still as it were in the Suburbs.

Hence, we may gather divers grounds, that while we live in this world, a Christian is but a Pilgrim and stranger: heaven is his home, and this life is but a way, and he a passenger. And thus David accompt [...]d of himselfe, though a King, yet but a stranger, both himselfe and his fathers: and therefore, as a passenger, hee provides for his journey, he stands not for ill usage, cares not to looke after delights in the way, but uses them as advantagious to his journey.

And secondly, hee is inquisitive after the way: fearing he should goe amisse, and furni­sheth himselfe with cordials, to cheere him and [Page 216] strengthen him in his journey, he inquires af­ter the guide of Gods spirit, to be as the pillar of fire to guide him in the darknesse of this world.

Thirdly, Hee is well provided of weapons, against such enemies as hee shall meet with in the way: he hath the shield of faith, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

2 The second ground that arises hence, is that a Christians indeavours are of a high nature: his looke is high, his soule and minde are ever upward, casting all burthens of earthly cares and delights from him, that hee may freely mount up in the presence of his maker.

3 Thirdly, this carriage of a Christian is not by fits, but it is his trade, his conversation, and course of life, in all things he lookes to heaven, his course is by rule, and by law: whatsoever he does, he does as in obedience to God chief­ly, with all his power, as approving himselfe to God, in whose sight he ever sets himselfe: briefly, hee doth all things as a Citizen of heaven.

4 Fourthly, we may also ground hence, that a Christian may have his conversation in heaven, even while he is here alive: for hee is borne a­new, having received the life of grace, God requires not impossibilities, but alwayes gives abilitie to the discharge of that which hee in­joynes.

Quest.But in particular, how may a Christian bee said to be in heaven, or to have his conversa­tion in heaven.

[Page 217]I answer,Answ. a Christian may be said to bee in heaven; first, as in his head Christ Iesus, who is 1 in heaven already, beeing gone to prepare a place for us.

Secondly, he is there by faith: which makes 2 things absent as present: and so it is that Abra­ham saw Christs day, and was glad; and there­fore is faith called, The evidence of things not seene, Heb. 11.

Thirdly, a Christian is in heaven by his 3 hopes.

Fourthly, he is there by his desires, animus 4 est ubi amat.

Fifthly, a Christian is in heaven, when as 5 his meditations are there: when his thoughts are thereon continually busied, as St. Paul was, when in admiration of those joyes he cri­eth out, O the depth both of the riches and wise­dome of God! Rom. 11.33.

Sixthly, hee is there, when by continuall 6 prayers to God, he hath an inward admittance to the throne of grace, where hee may freely open his heart to his God, and therefore it is that those that are Christians indeed, are often in this dutie.

Fifthly, hence we may gather, that the glo­rious estate in heaven, is of the same kinde with 5 this life of grace, onely differing in degrees of happinesse: both estates are free; there onely a freedome of glory, here a freedome of grace, both are estates of redemption: there wee are redeemed from sinne, and death, and the divell, [Page 218] here we are onely redeemed from the power of them; there have we the full harvest, here we have the first fruits, here wee are heires by faith, there by full possession; to all of us Christ is all in all, onely there hee rules im­mediately, here he rules by meanes, by his de­puties. There they have communion with the Saints, here we also have communion, though we live amongst the wicked. There they praise God continually, here we indeavour it conti­nually. There they have communion with the beatificall vision, here wee have communion with the ordinances which will bring us to it.

And therefore, let such as intend to be Saints hereafter, be Saints here, and live by the lawes that are given us from heaven, and that they live by in heaven: for the kingdome is in such sort one and the same, the kingdome of grace, the preaching of the word, is called the king­dome of heaven, as well as the kingdome of glorie; and men doe thinke in vaine ever to en­ter into glorie, without comming in at the gates of grace, as appeareth out of the Apo­stles argument, 2 Pet. 1.10, 11. Give diligence to make your calling and election sure, for so an entrance shall be ministred unto you abundantly, into the everlasting kingdome of our Lord and Sa­viour Iesus Christ.

And to this end, amongst many other, ob­serve with me these following directions.

1. Dir.First, for a preparation, heare the word of God, for by this wee are in heaven in part already, [Page 219] for where the word is preached, there is the presence of the blessed Trinitie, and the holy Angels bringing downe heaven it selfe to us, teaching us in the lawes of that Kingdome. Vse reading also, for even thereby wee talke with the Saints, who wrote those things for our instruction, and that spirit that guided them in writing, will also guide thee in rea­ding. Receive the Sacraments often, for these ordinances are the heavenly Manna to us, and and strengthen us in our way, to the spirituall Canaan.

Secondly,2. Dir. Rejoyce in often communicating with the Saints: these earth moles that are de­lighted in Coeno, not in Coelo, all companie is alike to them, but a Christian will here con­verse with such, as hee shall be with hereafter, and the Saints have found much helpe this way, even Saul in the companie of Prophets, became a Prophet, and the most earthly man that is amongst good men, in good discourse, will sute himselfe to them, and indeed good discourse is of much availe this way, if it bee frequent as it should be. I inforce it not as a du­tie to be done at all times, but it should be oft­ner than it is.

Thirdly, Vse such meanes as are of force to subdue the hinderances of this disposition: 3. Dir. such as are lusts of youth, which ought to be tamed by fasts, and such watchfulnesse that may make us at the length wise, for so [...]acre as wee over­come our lusts, so farre we have our conversa­tion [Page 220] in heaven, and therefore wee must often in private watch, and in private pray; as the Scripture saith, we must watch unto prayer.

4. Direct.Fourthly, Vse much meditation: bee ever setting our mindes something to this end, that our affections may bee wrought upon, to for­sake the world with detestation, and to love and imbrace heaven, and for this dutie wee ought to redeeme some time continually. Thus principally Enoch walked with God, and David, though a King, meditated in Gods law day and night.

5. Dir.And from this dutie, let us bee brought to a holy use of soliloquies: checking and shaming our selves for following these pleasures, for unthankfulnesse, and want of cheerefulnesse, as David why art thou cast down O my soule, why art thou so disquieted? By these recollections a Christian is indeed himselfe, and for the pre­sent, even seated in heaven.

6. Dir.In the last place besides ejaculations, use dayly a set prayer: for thereby wee ascend into heaven, and are fitted thereby to be more and more heavenly, its the trade of Citizens that make them rich, this is our trade, to trade by prayer, with that heavenly Citie, where our treasure is, and by it wee shall grow dayly in riches. Thus is our soule strengthened, and our affections stirred up to converse with God, and thus come wee to set our faith in heaven, together with our love, where our father is, where Angels and Saints, our Citie, and eter­nall [Page 221] happinesse is, thus is our hope strengthe­ned, which carries us through all afflictions un­dauntedly, and so is a heaven to us before hea [...]ven: and thus are our [...]esires in heaven, to be at rest, to bee with Christ, which is best of all.

But some will say,Obj. wee cannot alwayes in­tend such things as these, we have our callings, and are busied about earthly matters and cares?

I answer true it is,Answ. yet in the use of these things, wee may bee heavenly minded, for God in mercie appoints us callings, to busie our mindes about, which else would bee del­ving in the idle pleasures of sinne, onely he re­quires, that we in the first place seeke for heaven, we shall not continue here, but wee are travel­ling still, and therefore it is good for us ever to redeeme some time for heaven, that wee may come with more speed to our journeyes end.

Secondly, as a helpe to us, hee hath left us his Saboths, in pitie to our soules, which else would altogether be rooting in the earth: Let us have a care of the well spending of them: for by this we pay homage to heaven, and are put in minde thereof.

Thirdly, everie day redeeme sometime for meditation of the vanitie of this world, hereby will our untunable soules be still set in tune, and for our callings, every day sanctifie them by prayer, and then all is cleane.

Fourthly, goe about them as in obedience to [Page 222] God, knowing that God hath placed us in these callings, and he looks for service in imploying those talents bestowed on us, and in our ser­ving one another. And let us indeavour to shew what our religion is, in avoiding the corruptions of our callings. Labour also to see God in every thing, in crossing us, in incouraging and assist­ing us, and this will stirre us up accordingly to pray continually, & in al things to give thanks, and it will make us feare alwayes, for the same care and love of God that brings us to heaven, doth guide us in our particular actions and callings. And in other matters use our selves so, as we by these things raise our mindes on high, for there is a double use of the crea­tures. First, temporall, and from thence a spi­rituall use is raised; thus did Christ, by consi­dering water, he was raised to think of spirituall regeneration and washing: and thus we should doe, labour to see God in his creatures, and thus shall wee helpe our soules by our bodies, God will have it thus; and therefore setteth downe heavenly things in earthly compari­sons.

7. Dir.Lastly, wee must indeavour to make a spiritu­all use of all things as God doth: doth God send crosses on us? then before they leave us beg a blessing, that they may worke his intended ef­fect in bettering us. Doth God blesse us with prosperitie? pray that God would sanctifie it to incourage us on to good duties: so as in all estates wee may have our conversation in hea­ven. [Page 223] Let no man therefore make pretence that he is poore, that he hath no time for this; no, grace workes matter out of every thing, poore Paul, nay Paul a prisoner, see how he is busied. And the truth is, that worldly prosperitie is the greatest enemie to a heavenly minde that can bee.

But the weake Christian will complaine, Ob. that he cannot finde this in him, but he is still carried away with worldly matters, though hee strive against it never so much, yet the world goes a­way with him.

To such I answer,Answ. strength of grace this way is not in every Christian, neither is it at the first. Paul had his destractions, Rom. 7. from 15. to 24. yet must our labours and indeavors be that way: the sinne that is in us cannot hurt us, if we strive against it. God suffers his chil­dren to see their weaknesse, as he did deale with Solomon, to humble us, and make us learne his lesson, that all is vanitie and vexation of spirit. Let not such therefore bee discouraged, but cheerefully goe on in a good course, where­in the more we labour and strive, the more wee beautifie Religion, and credit our Citie, and draw on others to bee fellow Citizens with us.

And thus shall we free our selves from ter­rors of conscience, and from the snares of the divell, even as birds when they soare aloft need feare no snares. Thus also shall wee get a portion here, for its the promise of the God of [Page 224] truth, that if we first seek the Kingdome of hea­ven, al these things shalbe cast upon us. Thus al­so shall wee be sure of Gods gracious and faithfull protection: who hath said hee will keepe us in our wayes.

And lastly, thus shall wee end our dayes with comfort, woe bee to him that dies not to the world, before hee goes hence: but to him that hath his soule in heaven, even while it is in his bodie, this life is but a pilgrimage, and death is advantage.

VERS. 20. From whence wee also looke for the Saviour, the Lord Iesus Christ.

THese words lay downe such an estate of a Christian, as is both a cause, and a signe, of heavenly conversation, and in them we may consider: First, that Christ is in heaven. Se­condly, that there is a second comming of Christ. Thirdly, that Christians expect it. Fourthly, that this expectation is a cause of heavenly carriage.

For the first, that Christ is in heaven, wee have the Scripture to warrant it: but the text is pregnant herein, we looke for him from hea­ven, ergo, he is in heaven.

And therefore its a grosse conceipt of the Papists, that dreame that his bodie is every [Page 225] where in the bread, or with the bread, as the Lutherans would h [...]ve it: the scripture deter­mines that the heavens must contain him, that he sitteth now on the right hand of God, that he shall hereafter come to judge, and there­fore he is not now here; nay because he is not here, he sent us the comforter, the spirit, that shall leade us into all truth, as he himselfe ex­presly saith

Secondly, hence wee may observe, that there is another comming of Christ, which yet is not fulfilled; there is a two-fold com­ming of [...]hrist, one whereby he comes in the fl [...]sh, this was his first comming: the second comming is in triumph, when he shall perfect our salvation. This appeareth by the desires of the creature, Rom. 8. Secondly, by the faithfull desires of his children, which cannot be in vaine. Thirdly, to this end he tooke our flesh to draw us after him. Fourthly, to this end he left his spirit with us to testifie it. Last­ly, he hath left us his promises, and prophe­cies thereof, witnessed by the Angels, Acts 1. This Iesus shall so come, even as you have seene him goe into heaven.

Thirdly, that Christians doe expect this comming of Christ, is evident out of the words from whence we looke for the Saviour, saith the Text: the word looke signifies an earnest expectation, implying faith, hope, and pati­ence; faith is a ground of hope, supposing the promises which are grounded on an almightie [Page 226] God of truth; now patience comes from hope, so as the word implyes thus much: wee hope, we beleeve, we patiently waite for the second comming of Christ. This is the disposition of every sound Christian, and it begins with the beginning of our new birth: for so (1 Pet. 1.3.) it is said, we are begotten to a lively hope: and (Titus 2.13.) the grace of God once ap­pearing, teacheth to looke for the blessed hope.

Reason. 1.For as in nature, the seed desires growth, eve­ry thing desires perfection, so much more in grace; where once it is setled, it continually desireth a more perfect estate, untill the com­ming of Christ, when it commeth to the top and pitch thereof.

Reason. 2.Secondly, there is such a relation betwixt Christ and us, wee being contracted to him here, as there is a continuall longing for the consummation of this marriage, even as the time betweene the contract and the marriage is a continuall longing.

Reason. 3.Thirdly, our estate here is a warring and laborious estate, and a painfull service, and therefore what marvaile if a Saboth, a peace­able, victorious, and triumphant estate bee sweet, and to be desired.

Vs [...]:Hence we may learne, that the estate of the children of God here is imperfect, for they are under hope of a better estate; before Christs time, they expected the first comming of Christ: so it is said of Abraham, that he longed [Page 227] to see Christs day. Now after Christs first comming, we looke after his second comming when we shall be perfected; and thus the soules in heaven, are in expectation of a further hap­pinesse.

And this is the reason of the contrarieties of 2 estate that are in a Christian. Hee rejoyces be­cause he is under hope, but he sorrowes because he hath not already obtained the thing he ho­peth for; he rejoyceth because of his assurance, but sorroweth because of the crosses hee dayly meets with; rejoyceth in the communion of Saints, but woe is me that I dwell in Meshek. We are Kings, but over rebels; Prophets, but have much ignorance, for we see but in part; Priests, but daily polluted with the soile of this world, and therefore doe stand in need of con­tinuall washing.

Thirdly, this expectation is not onely a 3 worke of ours, but a grace wrought in us by Christ, by vertue of the covenant, for God fits us with graces that have reference to our future happinesse, and it arises from love and patience, grounded upon assurance of an end and glorious issue, Christ knew wee were to meet with enemies, and therefore gives us hope as an helmet and an anchor to keepe us from shipwracke, for hee is a Saviour as well in saving us here from despaire, as hereafter from hell.

This lastly, may serve for a triall of our 4 estates, for many that thinke themselves to be [Page 228] good Christians, thinke with Peter it is good being here, its good for them to bee in this world, they feare the comming of Christ, the very thought thereof destroyes all their mirth, it is to them like the hand writing on the wall to Balthasar. The childe of God is of another disposition, hee is begotten to this hope, his desire is accordingly, his indeavour and labour is by any meanes to attaine to the resurrection of the dead.

Object.But it will bee said, that its often seene that good Christians doe not alwayes desire the com­ming of Christ.

Answ.To which I answer, it is true; but it is caused by their carelesse carriage, and yet ever there is a spirit in them, to indeavour to doe something that may prepare for his comming: but a strong Christian hath ever this desire, and if hee bee a mortified and growing Christian hee never wants this hope, and comfort, and earnest longing, and therefore his prayer ever is; Come Lord Iesus.

Fourthly, we may observe out of the words; where this hope is, and this expectation, it stirres up and quickens the soule to a holy con­versation, it is propounded here as a ground of the Apostles holy conversation.

For it stirres us up to be pure, even as hee is pure, as it is (1 Ioh. 3.3.) For wee are a holy Spouse, and there will shortly come the marri­age day, and fitting it is that wee prepare our selves fitting for such a husband. Thus it was [Page 229] with the concubines of Akashuerosh, though a temporall and earthly King, yet the custome was, they should bee twelve monthes before they came to the King: and much more should it be our dutie, ever more to bee prepared to come into the presence of our eternall heaven­ly King to meet with the bridegroome, be­cause we know not how soone it may be, that he will come and send his Angels for us, to ap­peare before him in glory, to call us to the wed­ding.

Secondly, this hope will stirre us up to doe all good duties, and to right performance of good du­ties,2 to doe all things sincerely, as in the presence of God our judge: And therfore not only the du­ty of preaching is urged upon Timothy, but the manner, 2 Tim. 4. Who is charged by the Lord Iesus Christ, who shall judge all at his appearing, that he should preach the Word, bee instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long sufferance. And the Apo­stle Peter having declared the second com­ming of Christ, thence inferres; what manner of men ought wee to be in all godly conversation? 2 Pet. 3.11.) And indeed, meditation of the principles of Religion, will informe us well in the manner of our duties, as in the nature of them, and thus shall we be fruitfull in particu­lars, according as our meditations are direct­ed though the principle matters and objects of our meditation are but few.

Thirdly, this hope and expectation will stirre [Page 230] us up to pray for the consummation and brin­ging to passe the performance of all those promi­ses which are to be performed before the comming of Christ: as that the Gospell should bee prea­ched in all places, that the conversion of the Iewes might be hastened, and the downefall of Antichrist might speedily come to passe. And this hope will also incourage us and put us for­ward, that in our severall callings and stand­ings, we should helpe on the performance of them, as much as is in our power to performe, by helping on the building of the Church, and the inlargement of Christs kingdome, and the confusion of his enemies.

Lastly, this hope will worke in us a sweet and comfortable carriage in all estates and conditions, carrying us through all impediments with cou­rage. For yet a little while, and hee that shall come will come, and will not tarrie, and hee will come full handed. My reward is with me, (saith Christ) and lest we should thinke it long before he comes, hee told us long agoe, that those were the latter dayes, and that the ends of the world were then come upon them. Doe men then molest us, persecute and vexe us? let us be comforted, hee comes that will tread all our enemies under our feet. Do we find that we have but short spirits, that our graces are but weake? let us not dishearten our selves, hee that keepes heaven for us, will give us necessarie graces to bring us thither: if we want, goe to the God of faith and love, hee hath promised to give [Page 231] us his spirit, to make all grace abound in us, ne­ver to leave us nor forsake us, till he hath per­fected his worke, in setting us with him in glorie.

But to proceed to the object of this expe­ctation, it is Christ who is described unto us by the Saviour, whom hee calles also Iesus, which signifies a Saviour: and this he doth, to impresse it the deeper into his affections.

But some may say,Quest. Christ hath saved us al­ready, what need is there therefore of his se­cond comming?

I answer,Answ. it is to perfect our salvation: for redemption of our bodies, and glorious liber­tie are reserved to his second comming, wee looke not that he should die any more, but ap­peare as a Lord of glorie in glorie, without hu­miliation for sinne, having already gotten vi­ctorie of it.

The observation is,Doctrine. that Christ is a Saviour, and the Saviour by way of excellencie: he saves all that are of his mysticall body, from all e­vill, and preserves them to all good, hee saves their bodies and their soules now from the power of all evill, and hereafter hee will free them from all evill, he is the everlasting Savi­our, while we live here his bloud runnes con­tinually, this is the fountaine opened for the house of Iudah, for sinne and uncleannesse, in it are we cleansed from the guilt and damnati­on of sinne, what would wee have more? Wee are kept by faith to salvation, 1 Pet. 1.5. Let [Page 232] this raise up our soules Are wee swallowed up with the sense of any miserie? Let us know that we trust a Saviour that is every way ab­solute, that invites those that are sicke with sinne, to come unto him: and how can wee escape, if wee neglect so great salvation. Heb. 2.3. Away therefore with all [...]opish conceipts of meriting by our works. All glorie must bee gi­ven onely to his mercie, all that hee did for us was to the glorie of his grace, Ephes. 1.6.

Lastly, this should comfort us when wee thinke of the last day, to thinke withall, that he shall be our judge that is our Saviour, and therefore should cast away all terrour from us, knowing that our head will not destroy his members, but that hee our husband being a great King, will also crowne us his spouse with a glorious crowne, therefore when wee see the fore-going signes come to passe, let us lift up our heads, knowing our redemption draweth neere.

To goe on in the next place, Christ is not only our Saviour, but he is our Lord: wherein we may see the Apostles Christian wisedome, hee useth such titles as may most of all strengthen his faith and affection of the present meditation, which being a point of the resur­rection, a thing seeming contrarie to reason, to flesh and bloud: hee strengthens himselfe in this consideration, that he is the Lord, who ha [...]h all power and authority committed to him, Math. 28.18.

[Page 233]Secondly, he is Lord by title of redemption▪ so as we are no more our owne but his, for he hath bought us with a price.

Thirdly, he is Lord of the world, and of the divell by conquest, Heb. 2.14.

Fourthly, hee is Lord over his Church by marriage, hee is our husband, governing his Church with sweetnesse and love.

He is also the Lord by way of excellencie above others, depending on no creature, hee is Lord of Lords.

Secondly, he is Lord of body and soule, and conscience, punishing with terrors here, and damnation hereafter.

Thirdly, he is Lord eternall, hee indures for ever and cannot die.

Fourthly, he is such a Lord, as cannot abuse his authority, he cannot tyrannize, his grace and vertue, are of equall extent with his power.

Fifthly, he is a holy Lord, holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabboth, that is Lord of hosts.

In all these, hee is farre above any earthly man, yea above all creatures. And therefore, its a sweet estate, to bee under government and rule. They then that are Lords here on earth, must consider though they rule and are above others, yet are they under the Lord: thus did Ioseph. Therefore they must rule, but in the Lord, it is his will, that must rule their wils.

Secondly, this should comfort Christians: that they have such a Lord, as is Lord of An­gels, at whom the divells tremble: whom [Page 234] stormes, windes, seas, sicknesse, death, and all creatures doe obey. Yet wee cannot challenge this comfort, but upon condition of our obe­dience: the Apostle joynes Lord and Saviour together, to shew that he is a Saviour onely to those that take him for their Lord, to governe and rule them; as he is our Priest, he must also be our King, he comes by water to purge and wash us, as well as by bloud to suffer for us. The wicked they will not have this man rule over them, but they shall not say nay, God wil be a Lord over them, ruling by his power, with a rod of iron hee will bruise them in pee­ces, none shall deliver them. If we will avoid this miserable estate, let us make him Lord in us: thus shall we crowne him, and then he will crowne us with himselfe.

VERS. 21. Who shall change our vile bodie.

THe words are plaine, and shall need no exposition: therefore wee will briefly come to the doctrines.

And first, we may observe hence That our bodies are base: and thus are the bo­dies not onely of wicked prophane men,Doctr. 1. but of the servants and dearest children of God, all are vile, and that in these respects.

[Page 235]First, in life our originall is base, wee are dust, and to dust wee must returne, and our conti­nuance is full of change, subject to diversitie of estates, sicknesse, health, paine, ease, hun­ger, fulnesse. And base wee are, because wee are upheld by inferiour creatures. We enter in­to the world by one way, but goe out by divers deaths, some violent, some more naturall, and by divers sicknesses lothsome to the eyes, to the nosthrils, and especially when wee are nearest our end, when as our countenance is pale, our members tremble, all our beautie is gone. But after wee are departed, so lothsome is this our carcasse, it must bee had out of sight: yea though it bee the body of the Patriarch Abraham, Gen. 23.4. For as the bodie of man is the best temper, so the corruption there­of is the most vile, the best countenances of the greatest personages are the most ugly gastly objects of all others, by so much the more, by how much they were the more ex­cellent, so much the greater is their change. And yet are wee not to conceive of this bodie, so as though there were no glorie belonging to it: for first, its Gods workmanship, therefore excel­lent, and so excellent, as the heathen man Ga­len being stricken into admiration at the admi­rable frame thereof, breakes out into a hymne in praise of the maker. And David could not expresse it, but sayes, I am wonderfully made. God made this his last worke, as an Epitomie of all the rest.

[Page 236]Secondly, we are told that we owe glorie to our bodies: and therefore we are bidden that wee should not wrong our bodies, and the Scrip­ture speakes infamously of selfe-murtherers, as of Iudas, Saul, Achitophel, they are branded with a note of shame and reproach. And God to shew the respect we owe to our bodies, hath provided to every sense pleasing recreations, as flowers for the smell, light for the eyes, mu­sicke for the eare, to be briefe, hee made all things for the bodily use of man.

Thirdly, these bodies of ours are members of Christ, redeemed and sanctified Temples of the holy Ghost, as well as our soules: And therefore we must take heed when wee read of the base termes that are given to the bodie, that we doe not mistake. For it is true, in regard it keepes the soule from heaven, it is the grave of the soule, but indeed it is the house, the temple and instrument of the soule, but being misused it proves an unto ward darke house, an unweldie instrument.

Wee are to take heed therefore, of the error of those who afflict it by writing and declaiming a­gainst it, or by whipping of it, when alasse it is the sinne of the soule, the unruly lusts and affections that are the causes of all rebellions in us, and if the body doth rebell, as often it doth come to passe since the fall, this proceeds from the corruption of the soule, yeelding to the bodie ayde to serve the lusts, and God hath appointed a religious abstinence as a [Page 237] meanes to tame such lusts and weaken them, which it were to be wished were used oftener than it is.

But it will be said,Quest. are the bodies of Christi­ans base, for whom Christ shed his most pre­cious bloud?

I answer, while we live here we are in no bet­ter condition than others,Answ. as concerning our bodies. Hezekiah is sicke, Lazarus hath his sores, David and Iob troubled with lothsome diseases, and thus its fitting it should fare with us.

For first, Christ laid us this example, he tooke our base ragged nature on him, hee hungred and thirsted, was pained, and death had a little pow­er over him, and shall we desire a better estate than our master, our head had? or doe we ever thinke to partake with him in happinesse, that will not partake with him in his mean estate? the decree of God is, that to dust wee must, as all the rest of our fellow Saints and ser­vants shall.

Secondly, hereby God doth exercise our faith and hope: causing us to looke and expect a better resurrection, and by this meanes are our desires edged to a better life, for else would we set up our rest here, and make this our Para­dise.

Thirdly, as yet there is sinne in us, from the danger whereof though wee be deliuered, yet there is a corruption that remaineth behinde in us, and by this hee will teach us the contagion [Page 238] of sinne, and teach us to see how the divell hath deceived us, by the effects thereof bring­ing paine, torment, and lothsomnesse.

Forthly, it shewes Gods wisedome in van­quishing sinne by death, which is the childe of sinne, for by it shall we be purged from sinne, from corruption both of bodie and minde, and thus is our base estate made a way to our ex­cellent estate hereafter.

Wee must therefore moderate our affections to the best things of this life: health is change­able and will not continue, beautie is a flower of a stalke, the flower quickly fades away and perisheth, the stalke that is more base continues longest, flesh is grasse either cut downe by vio­lent deart, or if by age, the longer it lives the baser it is, and increases continually therein till death, when as it is most base.

It is therefore foolish for any to swell because of beautie or strength, which at the best, are but curious excellencies of a base bodie: and farre more sottish are they, that thinke to resist old age and Gods decree, by trimming up and painting a withered stocke, this is not the way to conquer vilenesse. But if we will be rid there­of, labour for the meat that perisheth not, Ioh. 6.27. But that which maketh us indure to ever­lasting life, is with Marie to chuse the better part, that shall not be taken away: meat for the belly, and the belly for meate, but God shall destroy both the one and the other.

And let this be as a cooler, to quench the base [Page 239] wild-fire of love, and con [...]ider what is it wee so affect, its but beautifull dust, a painted sepul­chre, a body that after death will bee vilenesse it selfe, that while it breathes its full of rotten­nesse, the matter of wormes, supported it may be, by a carrion soule, that whether it willeth or nilleth, must leave it and goe into a farre worse place.

And contrarily, in the last place, it should teach us to be at a point, cheerefully to honour God by sacrificing our selves to him when hee calles for us: count it no shame with David to be vile in the eyes of men for Gods cause, if the worst could be imagined (which cannot be) we had as good perish with usage aswith rust. But this is the onely way to be glorious, to avoid vile­nesse, even to sacrifice our bodies and all in a good cause: what though the world esteem vile­ly of us, as good for nothing but the shambles, Rom. 8.36. shall wee feare them? no, feare him that can destroy both body and soule: its better to goe to heaven without a limbe, than to goe to hell with a sound healthfull bodie, therefore men temptation of the world doe begin to provoke thee, say to thy flesh with Bernard, stay thy time: (the time is not yet to be happie.)

And therefore conclude, our soule is but a stranger here, wee must entertaine it well into this house of our bodie: its but a guest, use it not basely, its no ill guest, it gives us sight, taste, speech, motion, when it goes away, our body [Page 238] [...] [Page 239] [...] [Page 238] [...] [Page 239] [...] [Page 240] is but a dumbe, dull, base lumpe of earth. Nay, when it is gone whilst the body is in the ground the soule having a most vehement and earnest desire to be knit to it again, puts God continual­ly in minde of raising it up at the last day of the generall resurrection, and of glorifying it 2 in a holy, eternall, and happy estate.

Secondly, out of the words wee may ob­serve; That these vile bodies of ours shall bee changed: this we receive as anarticle of our faith, and yet were it beleeved truely as it ought, it would worke a strange alteration in the mindes and manners of men, contrary to that they are now, and howsoever it is not im­braced, yet it remaines a grounded truth, that these bodies of ours sowne in corruption, shall rise incorruptible, 1 Cor. 1.15. It was fore­told in way of consequence in Paradice, for the head of the serpent could not bee broken but by conquering death, which is the last enemie: it was figured out unto us in Aarons dead seare rod that budded, and Ionahs deliverance out of the bellie of the fish, where he had beene 3. dayes and three nights. It was beleeved of all the fathers, Heb. 12. And for securitie before the floud Enoch, and after the floud Elias, were taken up in their bodies.

And besides, it is not contrarie to reason, (I doe not say that reason can reach unto it) for Christ he is alive still, the dust whereof we are made, and whether we goe is preserved, it is not annihilated, and why cannot Christ raise [Page 241] a body out of the dust, as at the first make it out of dust? why should he not be as able to quicken dust now as at the first? and especi­ally, seeing the soule is reserved in heaven to this end, till the day of his second comming.

Nay it is not contrarie to the course of nature: we see every yeere summer comes out of win­ter, day out of night, youth out of infancie, mans age out of youth: And the Apostle in the Corinthians, Thou foole, the corne is not quickned, except it die: nay wee see what strange changes are dayly wrought by Art, and shall wee thinke Gods almighty power cannot worke farre more strange effects?

The use therefore,Vse. is to instruct us if we be­leeve that Christ shall change these vile bo­dies, Then sure the same bodies shall rise that died, for change is of qualities, it abolisheth not substances: and therfore Iobs confidence here­in is remarkable, Iob. 19. Whom I shall see for my selfe, and mine eyes shall behold, speaking of Christ, so is it, 2 Cor. 15.53. This corrupti­ble must put on incorruption, and this mortall must put on immortalitie, and the ancient Creeds had, credore surrectionem carnis hujus.

Secondly, its very unequall that one body should honour or defile it selfe, and another bodie should be honoured or damned: its comfortable therefore to us that love our bodies and honor them, that they shall rise againe, and wee shall injoy them for ever.

Thirdly, Christ our surety hee raised the [Page 242] same body that was crucified, and therefore the same bodies here that fulfill the measure of the sufferings of Christ here, shall partake of his fulnesse in glorie.

A second use is for comfort; is this a life of changes, let it not daunt us, but know they are all to end in glorie, and they all tend to bring us thither, we ever change for the bet­ter, and the last change of all is the best of all, and therefore let us indure these changes with a light heart.

In the third place, who is the Authour of this change in us, the Text saith that Christ shall change us, Iob. 6.39. and 40. I will raise them up at the last day, saith Christ of those that know him and beleeve on him: Hee is further­more our head, now wee know the body must be conformable to the head, if it bee crowned the body is crowned: and therefore (Rom. 8.11.) the Apostle saith, that if the spirit dwell in us that did dwell in him, the spirit that raised him up, will raise us up also.

Thirdly, Christ is a whole Saviour, he there­fore will raise up our bodies as well our soules, for he is the Saviour of both, he hath delivered both from hell, hee will raise up both to hea­ven.

Fourthly, he is the second Adam, as wee did beare the image of the first Adam in corrup­tion, so must we beare the image of the second Adam in glorie.

Fifthly, hee is the seed of the wowan: that [Page 243] must breake the serpents head, and therefore hee must worke this change.

Sixthly, Christ changed his owne bodie, be­ing burthened with all our sinnes, and there­fore as an exemplarie cause, shall much more raise us up, for sinne being once overcome, which is the sting of death, what can keepe us in the grave?

Let this strengthen our faith, Vse. 1. in the conside­ration that wee have such a strong Saviour, that nothing shall bee able to separate us from his love, nor to take us out of his hande.

Secondly,Vse. 2. make it a ground how to direct us how to honour our bodies, not making them in­struments of sinne against him, but so to use them, that we may with comfort and joy ex­pect and desire his comming, to change these our vile bodies.

Thirdly,Vse. 3. let us labour to assure our selves of our parts in this change, in this resurrection. This we shall know if we finde Christs spirit in us, the same spirit that raised up him, if it bee in us, will raise us up also. Rom. 8. for the first resurrection is an argument of the second, and he that findes his understanding in lightned, his will pliable, his affections set upon right objects, will easily beleeve the second resur­rection of his bodie.

Secondly, if wee hope for this change, and so hope that we are stirred up thereby to fit our selves for it, to cleanse our selves.

Thirdly, if wee grow in grace, 2 Pet. 1.11. [Page 244] it is a si [...]ne that wee have an entrance into Christs kingdome, for God doth ever honour growth, with assurance of a blessed estate.

4 Fourthly, this should comfort us in time of death, considering wee lose nothing but base­nesse, and our bodies are but sowne in the earth, and this depositum which God committeth to the fire, ayre, earth, and the water, they must render up againe pure and changed by Christ, and therefore it was a foolish conceipt of the heathen, to burne the Martyrs bodies, and to cast their ashes into the water, thereby to put them out of hope of their resurrection, not knowing God is as able to raise them out of fire and water, as out of earth.

Fifthly, this ought to administer comfort to 5 us at the death and departure of our friends out of this life, knowing that they are not lost, that the earth is but a house, and a hiding place for them to sleepe in, and that at length God will not forget to raise them up, with the residue of his Saints, hee will change them, and make them like his glorious bodie, and this was the 6 use made by the Apostle, 1 Thes. 4.18.

And lastly, pray to God to teach us to number our dayes, so as we may apply our hearts to wisedome. But when is the time of this bles­sed change? It is not laid downe, onely it is implyed by the word (Shall) that the time is to come, but out of all question it is meant at the last day and not before.

First, because all are to bee gathered toge­ther, [Page 245] even those that were baried 4000. yeers agone, must stay till the number bee fulfilled, and it will make for Gods glorie that we should all meet together to attend on him, with mul­titude of Angels, so as they cannot be perfect­ed without or before us, and wee shall not pre­vent those that are asleepe.

Secondly, it is for the comfort of Christians that are weake, that the Martyrs and constant professors of Christ, should be pledges of their rising, who continually cry, how long Lord?

Thirdly, God wils that things should now bee carried as in a cloud: and that the last day should bee a day of revelation, which could not be,Vse. if before there should be this change.

For use, this must teach us to desire that day, and pray for the hastening thereof▪ till when, the soules in heaven are not perfectly happy, for all must be brought in, before they can be made perfect: and therefore they de­sire and hope for, and pray for to be united to those bodies again, that they lived withall, and so deerely loved.

But who are these that shall be thus changed? The Text saith, our bodies, that is our bodies that have had our conversation in heaven: and therefore those that have had no part in the first resurrection, they shall have no p [...]rt in the second: the Baker and Butler of Pharaoh all shall arise and be lifted out of prison, but some to the resurrection of life, and others to the resurrection of condemnation: But to pro­ceed.

VERS. 21. That wee may bee fashioned like unto his glo­rious bodie.

SO that Christ shall be the exemplary cause, as well as the efficient cause of our resur­rection, for he is our head and our husband, and it is reason we should bee sutable to him, and be ruled by him, he came not to make him­selfe like us, but us like him; he first must be a King, blessed and anointed, and a sonne, the head makes us like to him, Kings, blessed and glorious, and sonnes: Enoch and Elias, though before his reall incarnation, yet they ascended by vertue of his resurrection, and so shall we, they are glorious like to him, so shall wee in his good time and pleasure.Qu [...]st.

Answ.But how?

I answer, in these particulars:

First, as he is immortall never to die againe, so shall we, we shall bee freed from all sinne, and so consequently from all mortalitie.

Secondly, we shall be uncorruptible, wee shall have no corruption whithin us or without us; as it is 1 Cor. 15.53. We shall be embal­med with the spirit, that shall cause us to re­maine for ever incorruptible.

Thirdly, we shall be unchangeable: alwayes the same, without sicknesse of bodie, or indis­posednesse of minde.

Then in the fourth place, wee shall bee in [Page 247] perfect strength, here we contract to our selves weaknesse by every little thing, as alteration of [...]ire, study, and the like; there the body shall be inabled to every thing, but here we are weak unfit, and soone wearie of any dutie, soone ti­red in prayer, wearie of hearing, so as even Moses his armes must be supported.

Fifthly, we shall have beautie and comelinesse, the most lovely complexion and proportion of parts, there shall be no dregges in our body, all shall be spent by death, farre better than after Physicke, which notwithstanding brings the body into a quiet repose, all wants shall be supplyed, what is misplaced shall be reduced into right order: and therefore, what though we lose limbes for Christs [...]ake, he will not be indepted to us, none shall goe thither maimed.

But some will say,Obj. Christ himselfe retained wounds after his resurrection, and therefore much more shall we be imperfect.

I answer,Answ. this was a voluntarie dispensati­on, he suffered them to appeare for the faith of Thomas, not of necessitie.

Sixthly, these bodies of ours shall be spirituall, as it is 1 Cor. 15. a naturall bodie is upheld by naturall meanes, as meate, drinke, Physicke, but then shall there be no need of such things, Christ shall be al in all to us; and again, our body shal obey the spirit, now the body keeps the spi­rit in slavery, but thē shal it readily ye [...]ld to eve­rie motion of the spirit. The Vbiquitaries when they speak of the spiritualitie of Christs body, [Page 248] they would have it in all places. But they may as well conclude, because wee shall have spiri­tuall bodies, therefore our bodies also shall be in all places like to Christs bodie. The ground of the glorie of these our bodies, shall be the bea­tificall vision, and our union with Christ: if our beholding him here in his ordinances bee of such a power as to transforme us from glory to glory, 2 Cor. 3.18. What a change shall be wrought in us, when we shall see him as he is? and if his first comming had that power to make all things new (2 Cor. 5.17.) much more when hee commeth the second time in glory, shall he make all things new and glori­ous.

Vse. 1.This therefore in the first place, should in­courage us, in all causes of dismay and trou­ble, rather than wee will offend God to lose our bodies, knowing that wee give them to God, and shall receive them againe with ad­vantage.

Vse. 2.Secondly, labour wee to make our bodies in­struments of his honour, that honours us, and let us honour our bodies wherein are the seeds of immortalitie, and glory in so using them, as that they bee carried to the grave with ho­nour.

Vse. 3. Let us also honour the bodies of the deceased Saints of God, and the places of their sepulture: as Cabinets wherein the precions dust of the holy Saints are laid up in keeping.

Vse. 4. And let us not be like them without faith, that [Page 249] thinke the bodies are lost for ever, that are cast into the grave; like children that seeing the sil­ver cast into the furnace, thinke it utterly cast away, till they see it come out againe a pure vessell. And when wee die, let us not trouble our mindes with the discomfortable thoughts of wormes,Vse: 5. rottennesse, darknesse, and the like; but with the eye of faith let us looke be­yond these, on the haven whether wee are go­ing, this made Iob though covered all over with ulcers, to say with a cheerfull heart, My redeemer liveth, Vse. 6. though after my skinne, wormes consume this flesh. If wee want limbes to our bodies, comfort our selves, the resurrection will restore all things.

Furthermore,Vse. 7. let us serve here with our best indeavours, it is but a while and it shall not be in vaine: is it not better thus to doe and partake of this blessed change, than to spare this vile body, and pamper it by sacrificing all, or to imploy all our time in the serving and pleasing others, and to that end not to care to prostitute our selves to all manner of filthinesse? what shall we get by these courses? but at the resur­rection of the just when wee should lift up our heads because our redemption draweth nigh, then shall we be overcome with shame, griefe, terror, and horror of conscience. But happie are we therefore, if in a good course wee can so resigne up our selves, so as to bee resolute with Hester, If I perish I perish, if I live I live to Christ, if I die I die to him:: what I have [Page 250] committed to him, he will keepe I am assured thereof, and therefore I will not offend him for any pleasure or profit whatsoever: these resolutions had the Patriarches, and Gods Saints, and these made them die with comfort.

VERS. 21. According to the working, whereby he is able even to subdue all things to Himselfe.

THe word that is translated working, may and doth signifie power, and so it was translated heretofore, and is to be meant. But the words being plaine, we will come to some observations.

Doctrine. 1.And first of all observe, That Christ hath a power able to subdue all things to himselfe: and this hee hath by vertue of his office of Media­torship, and this in respect of God to reconcile and appease him. Secondly, in respect of op­posite powers to overcome all of them. Third­ly in respect of the persons to be saved, that he might free them from all ill, and raise them to all happinesse, and these things requires a power, that must be above all created powers, for God could not bee appeased but by an infi­nite price, the bloud of one that is God: and wee could not bee defended from sinne and hell (whose power is the greatest of all finite power) but by a power beyond it, and such a [Page 251] power as must regenerate and renew us not­withstanding the opposite power of the divell, and our corruptions within us, which is a grea­ter worke than the worke of our creation. And all this he hath done, he hath subdued him that had the power of death, the Divell. Heb. 2.14. He hath subdued diseases and windes with a word, and with a word he smote his enemies to the ground, he hath subdued all ill of the bo­dy and minde, forgiving sinnes, opening our hearts, subduing our corruptions, and death hath yeelded to his power. O death, I will bee thy death.

In the next place, as Christ hath this power,2 so he will use this power for the good of his Saints. and this hee will doe, because what ever Christ is, he is for the good of his Church, hee is power­ful, merciful and loving, for his Churches sake.

And secondly, because our bodies doe require it: for it must be an infinite power that makes the body of dust: and therefore though Christ was the sonne of God, declared from the begin­ning, yet it was said hee was mightily declared to be the son of God by his resurrection from the dead, for from a privation to a habit, there can be no regression by a naturall course, and therefore for our bodies to returne from dust, must be by a supernaturall infinite power of one that is God. Let those that are enemies to Christ his members consider this, against whom doe ye strive? even against the Almighty, who in his humiliation, was able with a word to [Page 252] strike his enemies to the ground, and now being in glory, how fearfull and terrible should his power be to such? who should learn betimes to kisse the sonne, before they perish in the mid­way. And for his children, let them comfort themselves that are under the government of so powerfull a majesty, for he will bruise all their enemies under them. Nay they are already all conquered, and let them consider of all his pro­mises, and apply them to his power. It is a pow­erfull Saviour that said, Come to me all you that are heavie laden, I will raise you up, it is he that is able to subdue all things to himselfe, that promises my grace shalbe sufficient for you, he is a Prophet to instruct fully, a Priest to satisfie Gods wrath to the utmost, a King to subdue all their corruptions.

3 Thirdly, let this incourage us to set our selves against our corruptions: some there are that ha­ving a little strove with their lusts, and finding not that they have gotten any sensible ground against them, they as out of hope and heart, sit down with this opinion, as good never a whit as not the better; and so yeeld up the bucklers: what a distrustfull incredulous estate is this? is not he God that hath promised? is hee not truth it selfe? hath he said, and shall it not come to passe? feare not these Anakims nor Cananites, depend on God in the use of the meanes, and let him alone with the performāce of his promises.

4 Fourthly, despaire of none though never so weake, so long as they use the meanes, for [Page 253] Christ hath created all by his word, hee will raise us up by his word, and will change us by his word, and by this word he is able to change others, though never so obstinate; for so long as they are under the word and meanes, they are under the armes of an almighty power, and therefore if any be in our power, or if wee wish well to any, we should perswade them to prize the word, and to use the meanes.

In the next place, this is a ground of triall of 5 our estates: would we know whether we are of the number of those that shall bee raised up hereafter and changed, then examine whether we have found this power changing us, and bring­ing us to grace here, for Eph. 1.19, 20. the same power worketh in us to beleeve, that raised up Christ, doe wee then finde our understandings inlightned, our wils conformable to his wil? do we finde the strong holds of sin in us rased, and new spirits, new thoughts, new desires in us? O these are blessed evidences of Christs almighty power in us, that will raise us up at the last day.

By this meanes also wee may try our profession: 6 doe we come by faith and religion, with plea­sure and ease? alas this is no signe of any power­full strong worke in us, its easie to goe to Church, to heare the word, or reade it, to re­ceive the sacraments, contrarily if we finde an inward change that our hearts are so altered as we can over rule our members contrary to our lusts, and contrary to occasions, then stronger is he that ruleth in us, than hee that ruleth in [Page 254] the world, 1 Ioh. 4.4. it is easie to resist a temp­tation where none is, the mightie power of Christ is seene, when being invironed with temptations, we are inabled to resist: I pray saith Christ, that thou should keepe them from evill in the world, and not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, Ioh, 17.15. If we be under crosses, if this spirit and power of Christ be in us, it will enable us to beare all pa­tiently, it will keepe us from murmuring and fretting. It will also convince us of our naturall estate, so as wee shall see evident necessitie of Gods almighty power to change us; this made the Apostle Paul and the Iaylor to looke about them for helpe, Lord what wouldest thou have me to doe? and thus it will make us never to give God rest, nor Christ respite, till that power that shall raise up our bodies, doe raise up al­so our soules, and he shine in us by his spirit, that did bring light out of darknes, and fashion us as in his wisedome shall be most meet.

6 In the next place, the consideration of Gods Almightie power, should teach us not to be dejected or cast downe, at the reports of the af­flicted state of the Church abroad, it should bring us rather to God, to rely upon his goodnes and power, for God is ever God almighty, and the same mercifull God that ever he was, and ther­fore we should pray for the Church the more instantly, that God would give them beautie instead of ashes, wee should urge him with his promise of building up and defending of his [Page 255] Church, and destroying of Antichrist, and let us make the resurrection of the body a ground to strengthen us in the beleefe thereof, as the returne of the children of Israel from Babylon, was sealed by the resurrection of the dry bones, Ezek. 37. as also the Apostle from the resur­rection of the dead, gathereth that God by that power, hath and will deliver him. 2 Cor. 1.9, 10.

Furthermore, when wee are oppressed with any 7 extremitie, though never so great, by continuall meditation of his promises, wee should strengthen our selves, and apply them to our present estate and condition, knowing that he that raised us out of dust, will not suffer us to bee buried in miserie, but will with the triall give us a gracious issue at the last, by raising up our bodies at the last day by his almighty power, which made also the Patriarch Abraham to hope above hope: what though our helpes be few? its no matter what the instrument is, so as Christ is the chief worker.

In the next place, This should incourage us, to 8 stand out sted fast in a good cause for the truth; do not think with our selves, alas I am but one, and a weake sillie man; what can I doe against a multitude? let not such thoughts discourage thee: thinke of Luther a poore Monke, who alone set himselfe against the whole world, and wrought that effect, that wee have all cause at this day to honour the memorie of him: it is not thou, but God in thee, that is able to con­found all thine enemies, and therefore with [Page 256] Moses, behold him that is invisible.

9 Yet further, this should bee observed by a Christian, as a ground of his perseverance to the end: for when wee know we are Christians, what can bereave us of our blessings? what can make our faith faile? its Gods power that will keepe us to salvation, and he that beleeveth shall have life, and shall not come into condemna­tion, Ioh. 6.39, 40.44.47. and many other places; and Christ by his almighty power swayes all our life, to our building up to salva­tion, and therefore in contraries we should be­leeve contraries, that death will worke life, mi­serie happinesse, corruption incorruption, and this vilenesse glorie; for its Gods order to worke by contraries, that his power might the more appeare.

10 And at the houre of death then behold him that is thus able and all-sufficient; that shall present­ly glorifie our soule, and at length will raise up our bodie also, and unite it to our soule, to partake with it in glorie and happinesse, that will then quit us of all sinne, corruption, death, change, all our enemies shall bee troden under our foote, and all this by his almightie power, whereby he is able to doe farre above that wee are able to think; and therefore let us with a holy admiration thereof, say with the Apostle, (Ephes. 3.20.) To him be glorie for evermore. Amen.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.