Wherein thou mayst taste and see those things which God hath pre­pared for them that love him.

The secrets of the Lord are with them that feare him, &c. Psal 23.14

By R. SIBS D. D. Master of Katherine Hall, and preacher of Grays Inne London.

LONDON Printed by E. G. for Iohn Rothwell,at the Sun in Pauls Church-yard. 1638

To the Christian Reader.


IT's growne a cu­stome, that every booke, whose so­ever, or of what­soever subject, must be pre­sented to you in state, with some prescript purposely. Were it not that Custome is a Tyrant, this labour might now be spared. Such mat­ter, from such an Elder as here followes, needs no epistle of recommendation. The Reverend Au [...]hours▪ is wel ap­proved to be a man of God, a Seer in Israel, by those things [Page] which without controule, have already passed the presse. Might I have my with, it should bee no more but a double portion of that Spirit of God which was in him. The divine light, which radiated into his breast, displaies it selfe in many other of his labours, but yet is no where more condens'd than in this fol­lowing. It's truly sayd of Moses, by faith hee saw him that was invisible, Heb. 11. 27.

And S. Paul prayes for the Ephesians, that they might know the love of that which passeth knowledge, Eph 3. 19. These things imply a con­tradiction; yet in like phrase I feare not to say of this Fa­ther & Brother, he saw those things which eye hath not seen, [Page] spake those things which eare hath not heard, and uttered those things which have not entred into the heart of man to conceive. This knot needs no cutting: hee that rightly understands the text, will easily looke through this mystery, without the helpe of an Hyperbole. His scope was to stirre us up to love God: his motive to per­swade, is taken from the ex­cellencie of those things which God hath prepared for them who love him. That excellencie is expres­sed in a strange manner. By intimating it cannot be ex­pressed, no nor so much as comprehended by any na­turall abilitie of the body or minde; yet it is expressed in the doctrine of the God­pell [Page] sufficiently. So as here­in, as in a glasse, we may be­hold the glory of God, and in beholding, bee changed from glory to glory. What duty more necessary than to love God? what motive more effectuall than the Gospell? for what is the Gos­pell but a revelation of such things as naturall men could never invent? Such things, that is, so pretious, so useful, so comfortable to us; so di­vine, admirable, and tran­scendent in themselves. Ma­ny of us are like the Angell of Ephesue, Wee have lost our first love. Rev. 2. 4. yea as our Saviour prophesied, Matth. 24. 12. The love of many maxes cold. One reason may bee, because to see to, wee reape so little fruit of our love. [Page] Were it so, that we had no­thing in hand, no present pay, that we served God al­together upon trust without so much as an earnest: yet there is something prepared. Let us believe that, and our hearts cannot but bee war­med, wee shall then bee fer­vent in spirit, serving the Lord. Be we perswaded of that, God is not unrighteous, to forget your worke, and la­bour of love, which you h [...]ve she [...]ed to wards his name, Heb. 6. 10. and then wee may tri­umphantly insult with Paul, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Rom. 8. 38. There is this difference be­tween natural sight and spi­rituall. The one requires some nearnesse of the ob­ject: the other perceives [Page] things at greatest distance As Faith makes future things present, so it makes remote things near, & things prepared to affect as if they were enjoyed. But what hath God prepared? If I could answer this, it might not onely [...]atisfie, but in­ [...]briate. Such as eye hath not seene, &c. It seemes to bee a proverbial forme of speech, whereby the rich plenty of the divine blessings and be­nefits which God intendeth to us in and by Christ, ac­cording to the Gospel is sha­dowed forth. The words are to see to, as a riddle; but here is one of a thousand an Interpreter, at hand to un­fold them: I could say much to invite you, but that the matter it selfe is as a Load­stone. [Page] My testimony will adde little weight; yet ha­ving some care committed to me by Mr. P. N. whom this businesse chiefly con­cerned, I could doe no lesse then let you understand, here is one rich piece of Spirituall Workmanship, wrought by a Master-buil­der, very usefull for the building up, and beautify­ing of Gods Temples. The blessing of God Almightie bee with it, and upon the whole Israel of God.

So prayes

A Table of the Contents of this Booke.

  • THe Coherence. pag. 1
  • The best Ministers will not shun to bee tryed by the best judgements. p. 3.
  • The scope of the words and ex­plication. p. 5.
  • The mystery of the Gospell hid from naturall men. p. 6
  • The excellency of the Gospell declared by way of negation. 7.
  • What is meant by those things that eye hath not seene. p. 11.
  • Doct. God hath a company of beloved Children in the world that he meanes a speciall good unto. p. 12.
  • Doct. That God hath pre­pared great matters for them idem, [Page] obj. If these excellent things in the Gospell bee secret, how come we to know them? p. 14.
  • Three degrees of revelation. p. 18.
  • The Gospell is hid without the Spirit, discover the mind of God. p. 21.
  • Vse. of instruction to shew there is no principle at all of the Gospell in nature. 23
  • Why so many heresies have sprung out of the Gospell. 24
  • 2 Vse. In Divine truths above nature wee are not too much to trust to Beason. p. 26.
  • 3 Vse. How to study and read Divine truthes. p. 28.
  • Ths course that God takes to shew his children these my­steries. p. 32
  • [Page] Supernaturall [...]objects require Supernatur all senses. p. 34
  • Knowledge joyned with feeling p. 37.
  • Of spirituall sight. p. 40
  • Nature cannot shew divine mysteries. p. 41
  • Vse. value things as they are in another world. p. 42
  • It is the best wisdome to be wise to salvation. p. 47
  • A ground of the Martyrs pati­ence. p. 50
  • A godly man suffers those things in his senses for those things that are above his senses. p. 51
  • What Popery is. 52
  • Merit hath no proportion with Glory. 53
  • We cannot be too exact in ho­ly duties. 54
  • Wisedome of God hid from wise men. 65
  • [Page] Wicked men talke of repen­tance, but do not repent. p. 61.
  • A holy man feels sin heavy. p 62.
  • Carnall men have the light. pag. 63.
  • They know them but by a com­mon light. p. 64.
  • What true riches and beauty is. p. 69.
  • Gods people have a tast of hea­ven before they come there. p. 71.
  • What peace in heaven is. p. 72.
  • How to come to know the things of heaven, reason from the lesse to the greater. p. 74.
  • Ioyes of heaven are pure. p. 76.
  • Heaven on earth. p. 77
  • Reasons why God hath prepa­red such great things in hea­ven. p. 80.
  • We are not capable of the joyes of heaven here. p. 87.
  • Meditation of heaven steeres a [Page] Christians life here. p. 88.
  • Faith sets heaven in our eye, by it conquers the world. p. 89.
  • The nature of hope. id.
  • What inforceth to keepe a good conscience. p. 91.
  • Vse. How to abase our selves. p. 93.
  • Vse. Of thankefulnesse. p. 94
  • Every petty crosse will not cast downe a believer. p. 97.
  • Vse. Comfort our selves against the slightings of the world. p. 98.
  • Why men are drowned in the world. p. 100.
  • How to get the conquest in any temptation. p. 104.
  • Religion not an empty thing. p. 106.
  • What are the greatest ils. 109.
  • They that desire to growbetter, they shall grow to perfection. p. 113.
  • [Page] Rejoyce in beginnings of grace 112
  • Admire at those things that eye hath not, &c. 113
  • To know whether these things are prepared for us, or no. 116
  • Labour to know thine inheri­tance more and more. ibid.
  • God prepares them for grea [...] matters for whom they are prepared. 117
  • For whom all these things are prepared. 120
  • Faith a hidden grace. 120
  • Obs. God doth qualifie all those in this world, that hee hath prepared happinesse for in an other wo [...]ld. 125
  • A natural man cannot see hea­ven, nor desire it as holy. 126
  • Take heed of vaine hopes. 128
  • Look within thee for thy evi­dences. 131
  • Look to thy affection. 132
  • [Page] God prepared happinesse before all eternitie. 136
  • That happinesse which the world shewes, is not the true happinesse, because it can be seene. 141
  • It's base to be too much in love with the world 144
  • Try thy selfe by this love. 145
  • Wee may know heaven to bee ours by the disposition of our hearts. 147
  • God hath not ordained heaven for his enemies. 149
  • Merit confuted. 151
  • There goes somewhat of ours, and somewhat of Gods to­gether, to witnes to us what God doth. 153
  • Love a commanding affection. 154
  • Our actions are but still-borne without affection. 157
  • [Page] Begin not first with election, but see if God hath taught thee to love God. p. 159.
  • What it is to love God. p. 160.
  • Foure things in this sweet af­fection of Love observeable. p. 162.
  • When a man puts God in stead of himselfe. p. 166
  • How to know we have a sancti­fied judgement. p. 168
  • If we esteeme God we shall part with any thing besides. 172.
  • where is true love, there is a desire of union. p. 175
  • Try whether wee have this branch of love. p. 178
  • Where wee love wee shall con­sult. p. 181.
  • Where union, there is a desire of death it selfe. p. 182
  • God able to fill our soule. p. 188
  • Whither to fly, if a confusion of all things should come. p. 190
  • [Page] In losses and crosses thou wilt fetch what thou loosest out of the love of God. p. 192.
  • Provide that for God that hee loves. p. 194.
  • Love will purge your heart. 196
  • Love from faith wounds Christ 198
  • Men under the Gospell live unworthy of it 202
  • Those that love God love his members. 204
  • If wee love God wee shall love whatever is divine. 205
  • Love wil make us please God in all things. 207
  • Love to God studies how to please God. 207
  • Study in thy place how to put out the best of thy endeavour 209
  • In heaven all promises are ful­filled indeed. p. 2. 3
  • [Page] God gives his a taste afore­hand. 2. 4
  • A Christians knowledge of his title to heaven, makes him work. 2. 5
  • Love the fittest grace to de­scribe a Christian. 2. 7
  • What the affection, passion, Grace of love is. 2. 8
  • Vse of examination, how our affections are byassed. 2. 11
  • Ob. May we not love the crea­tures at all? 2. 12
  • Ob. How shall I know I love God? 2. 14
  • Ob. My love to God is saint, how to be maintained and cherished. 2. 17
  • Ob. Why mean poore Christi­ans have more tender love to God than great schollers. 2. 19
  • How to love God with all our might. 2. 25
  • God expects more love in a [Page] Magistrate, than other [...]. 2. 26
  • The may to love God, is to see our misery. 2. 27
  • Another way, consider Gods mercie▪ goodnesse. 2. 31
  • Hee feedes our soules with his owne son. 2. 32
  • Benefites will worke on a beast. 2. 35
  • Consider with what love those of old loved the law, when we have Gospell, and yet love not. 2. 39
  • Converse much with those that love God. 2. 39
  • Get a new nature, & then thou wilt love without provoca­tion. 2. 40
  • Dwell on the meditation of the love of God. 2. 43
  • Love will carry us through all duties and difficulties 2. 48
  • Love increaseth by suffering. 2. 50
  • [Page] Consider the vanitie of our af­fections being set on any thing else. 2. 54
  • Be ashamed of the want of love to God, when thou hast such meanes to kindle it. 2. 57


2 COR. 2. 9.‘But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor Eare heard, nei­ther have entred into the heart of Man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’

THE holy Apo­stle St. Paul, The cohe­rence. (the Trumpet of the Gospell, the ves­sell of election) was or­dained to bee a messenger of reconciliation, and to spread the sweet savour of [Page 2] the Gospell every where: And answerably to his cal­ling, hee makes way for the excellencie of his Am­bassage into the hearts of those he had to deale with. This he doth by the com­mendation of his function. And that he might the bet­ter prevaile, hee removes all objections to the con­trary. There were some that would debase his Of­fice, saying, that the Gos­pell he taught (Christ cru­cified) was no such great matter: Therefore in the 6. verse of this chapter, hee shewes, that the Gospell is Wisedome, and that among them that are perfect; among the best and ablest to judge. St. Paul did not build as the Papists doe now, upon the [Page 3] blindnesse of the people. But it were not Poperie, if they did not infatuate the people. St. Paul sayth to this effect:The best Ministers will not shun to be tried by the best judgments Wee dare ap­peale to those that are the best, and of the best judge­ment, let them judge whe­ther it be wisedome or no: the more perfect men are, the more able they are to judge of our wisedome.

It might bee objected a­gain, You see who [...]ares for your wisedome, neither Herod, nor Pilate, nor the greatmen and Potentates, the Scribes, and Pharisees, great, learned men, and withall, men of innocent lives, notable for carriage. Therefore, sayth he, Wee speak not the wisedome of this world, or the Princes of this [Page 4] world, that come to nought. Doe not tell us of such mens wisedome, they and their wisedome will come to nought too. Wee teach wisedome of things that are eternall, to make men eter­nall. As for the Princes of the world, they and all that they know, their thoughts, and all their plots and de­vises perish. But wee speake the wisedome of God in a my­sterie, That is the wisedome of Gods revealing, a deepe wisedome, a mysterie, that God or dained before the world. Ancient wisedom, not a ye­sterdayes knowledge, tho lately discovered: the prea­ching of the Gospell is the discovery of that wisdome that was hidden before the world was.

[Page 5] And to invite you, and make you more in love with it, it is a wisedome To your glory. God hath a de­light to shew himselfe wise in devising a plot to glori­fie poore wretched man.

As for the words them­selves, Scope of the words, and expli­cation. they are a proofe of what he had sayd before, why none of the Princes of the world knew this great mysterie. If so be that the eye of any man hath not seene, nor the eare of any man hath heard, nor the heart of any man hath con­ceived, what doe you tell us of the wise men, which were not all, nay what should I speake of men? the very Angels (as we know by other places) are excluded from a full knowledge of [Page 6] these mysteries. Therefore it is no mervaile,The myste­ries of the Gospell hidden from natu­rall men. though none of the Princes of this world knew them. They are universally hidden from all naturall men. This I take to be the sence of the words. They are taken out of Isaiah: Isai. 64. 4▪ S. Paul delights to prove things by the Pro­phets: but here it is not so much a proofe as an allu­sion; which we must ob­serve to understand many such places. For Isaiah there speakes of the great things God had done for his Church, such as Eye had not seene, nor Ea e heard: And the Apostle alludes to it here, and addes somewhat, This clause (nor hath entred into the heart of man) is not in that place: but it is ne­cessarily [Page 7] understood: for if the eye doe not see, and the eare heare, it never enters into the heart of man. For whatsoever enters into the heart of man, it must be by those passages and win­dowes, the gates of the soule, the sences.

And whereas St. Paul sayth, For them that love him, It is for them that ex­pect him, as in Isaiah. The sence is all one: Whoso­ever love God, they expect and wait for him, where there is no expectation, there is no love.

This is the Apostles drift, If God did doe such great matters for his Church, as eye hath not seen, nor [...]are heard, according to the Prophet Isuiah, what shall [Page 8] we thinke he will do in the kingdome of grace here, and of glory hereafter.

The words then as wee see, containe the excellen­cie of the mysteries of the Gospell, described first by the hiddennesse of it to men at first.

Secondly, by the good­nesse of the things revea­led, such as neither eye hath seene, &c.

The hiddennesse and excellency of the Gospell in that respect, is set forth by way of negation, Eye hath not seen, nor Eare heard, nor Heart conceived. And indeed this is the way to set forth excellent Divine things.The way to set forth divine things. God himselfe is set out by way of deniall; by removing imperfections, he [Page 9] is invisible, immortall, &c. And so heaven, that is neare to God, as being prepared by him, it is set out by way of deniall, as S. Peter sayth, It is an inheritance immor­tall, 1. Pet. 1. undefiled, &c. 1. Pet. 1.

So here, positive words could not be found suffici­ent to set out the excellen­cie of the things that God hath prepared.

As for the Knowledge of the mysterie of salvation in Jesus Christ, we neither can come to it by naturall in­vention, nor by naturall discipline. All the things that we know naturally, we know by one of these two wayes, but divine things are knowne neither way.

Where could there have been any knowledge of [Page 10] Christ, if God had not ope­ned his breast in the Gos­pell, and come forth of his hidden light, and shewed himselfe in Christ, God­man, and in publishing the Gospell, established an or­dinance of preaching for this purpose, where had the knowledge of salvation in Christ been?

To prove this, wee have here a gradation: the eye sees many things; but wee heare more things than we see, yet neither Eye hath seen, nor eare hea [...]d: I but the con­ceits of the heart, are lar­ger than the sight of the eye, or the hearing of the eare; yet neither eye hath seen, nor eare hath heard, nor hath entred into the heart of man to conceive, &c. The [Page 11] Philosopher sayth, there is nothing in the understan­ding, but it came into the sences before: and therefore it cannnot enter into the heart of man, if it enter not by the eye, or by the eare.

The things here spoken of,What is meant by those things the eye hath not seen. be especially the gra­ces, and comforts, and pri­viledges to bee enjoyed in this life, and the consum­mation, and perfection of them in heaven. Christ brings peace, and joy, justi­fication, & sanctification, &c. the like. And even in this life; the perfection of these is in heaven, where the soul and the body shall be both glorified, in a glorious place, together with glori­ous, company, The Father, [Page 12] Sonne, and holy Ghost, in­numerable Angels and just­men. These are those things that eye hath not seen, &c. The beginnings here, and the perfection and consummation of them hereafter. Having thus farre unfolded the words, I come to the poynts consi­derable.

First,D [...]trines God hath a com­pany of beloved children in the world, that he means a speciall good unto.

The second, God hath prepared great matters for them.

If great persons prepare great things for those whom they greatly affect, shall we not thinke that the great God will prepare great things for those that [Page 13] hee hath affection to, and that have affection to him? If God be a friend to the l­lect, & they be his friends, surely he wil answer friend­ship to the utmost: answe­rable to the great love he beares his children, he hath provided great things for them.

If that bee excellent that is long in preparing, then those things which belong to Gods children, must needs be excellent: for they were preparing even before the world was. Sa­lomons Temple was an ex­cellent Fabrick, it had long preparation. Ahasueros made a feast to 127. Pro­vinces, it was long in pre­paring: great things have great preparation. Now [Page 14] these things that God in­tends his children, have been preparing even from everlasting, and they are from everlasting to everla­sting: they must needs bee excellent. But before I dwell on any particular poyn [...], here is a question to be answered.

If the things that God hath prepared for his chil­dren,A question be secret and excel­lent, how then come we to know them at all?

We come to know them 1. by Divine Revelation. God must reveale them first, as it is in the next vers. God hath revealed them by his spirit▪ God re­veals secret things that are excel­lent to his children.

The Spirit reveales them by way of negation, and in­definitely, as also by way of [Page 15] eminence. Whatsoever is excellent in the world, God borrowes it, to set out the excellencie of the things that hee hath provided for his Children in grace, and glory.

A feast is a comfortable things they are called a Feast. A Kingdome is a glorious thing; they are cal­led a Kingdome. Marriage is a sweet thing; they are set forth by that, by an in­heritance, and adoption of children, and such like: So that all these things are ta­ken to [...]e shadowes of those things. And indeed they are but shadows, the reali­tie is the heavenly king­dome of grace and glory: the heavenly riches, the heavenly inheritance, the [Page 16] heavenly sonship: when all these things vanish, and come to nothing: then comes in the true King­dome, Sonship, and Inheri­tance.

2 Againe, 2. wee know them in this world by way of taste: for the things of the life to come, there are few of them, but Gods children have some experimentall taste of them in this world: God reserves not all for the life to come, but he gives a grape of Canaan in this wil­dernesse.

Thirdly, by arguing from the lesse to the greater: If peace of conscience bee so sweet here; what is eter­nall peace? If a litle joy here bee so pleasant and comfortable, that it makes [Page 17] us forget our selves, what will bee that eternall joy there? If the delights of a kingdome bee such, that they fill mens hearts so full of contentment, that oft­times they know not them­selves, what shall we think of that excellent kingdom? So by way of taste and rel­lish, we may rise from these pettie things, to those ex­cellent things, which in­deed are scarce a beame, scarce a drop of those ex­cellencies.

If Peter and Iohn when they were in the mountain, were not their owne men, when they saw but a glimpse, but a little glorie of Christ manifested in the mount, what shal we think, when there is the fulnesse [Page 18] of that glorious revelation, at the right hand of God, where there is fulnesse of pleasures for ever? How shall our soules be filled at that time? Thus by way of rising from the lesser to the greater, by tasting, feeling, and by divine revelation, wee may know in some measure the excellencie of those things prepared for us.

Now to cleare this thing more fully,Three de­grees of revelation. know that there are three degrees of reve­lation.

First there must bee a reve­lation of the things them­selves, by word, and writing, or speech, and the like, as we know not the minde of a man, but either by speech, or writing: so there must [Page 19] bee a revelation of these things; or else the wit of Angels could never have devised, how to reconcile Justice and Mercie, by infi­nite wisedome; by sending a Mediator to procure peace, God-man, to worke our salvation. Therefore wee could not know them without a revelation, and discoverie outward: this is the first degree that wee may call Revelation by scripture, or by the doctrine of the Gospel. Who could discover those things that are meerly supernaturall, but God himselfe?

Then againe 2. when they are revealed by the word of God, and by men that have a function to un­fold the unsearchable ri­ches [Page 20] of Christ, by the mini­sterie of the Gospell, yet notwithstanding they are hidden riddles still, to a company of carnall men. Put case the vaile be taken off from the things them­selves; yet if the vaile bee over the soule, the under­standing, will, and affecti­ons, there is no apprehensi­on of them: therefore there must bee a second revelation, that is, by the Spirit of God. Ofnecessitie this must bee: for even as the Apostle sayth in this Chapter, None knoweth the minde of Man, Vers. 11. but the spirit that is in Man: so none knoweth the mind of God, but the Spirit of God. What is the Gospel without the Spirit of Christ, to discover the minde of [Page 21] God to us? We know not the good meaning of God to us in particular:The Gos­pell is hid, without the Spirit to discover the minde of God. wee know in generall that such things are revealed in scrip­ture: but what is that to us, if Christ bee not our Savi­our, and God our Father? unlesse we can say as S. Paul sayth, He loved me, and gave himselfe for mee. Therefore you see a necessitie of reve­lation by the Spirit.

But this is not all that is here meant, there is 3ly a higher discovery, and that is in heaven▪ that that is re­vealed here, is but in part. and thereupon if wee be­lieve, wee believe but in part, and wee love but in part, If our knowledge, which is the ground of all other graces and affections, [Page 22] be imperfect, all that fol­lowes must needs bee im­perfect also. Therefore St. Iohn sayth,1 Iohn 3. 2. We know that wee are the Sonnes of God, but it appeares not what we shall bee. What we shall be in heaven it doth not appeare now; there must bee a further re­velation, and that will bee hereafter, when our soules shall bee united together with our bodies: and then indeed our eyes shall see, our ears heare, and hearts shall conceive those things that while wee are here in the wombe of the Church, wee neither can see nor heare, nor understand, more than the childe in the wombe of the mother can conceive the excellencies in this civill life. Thus we see [Page 23] these truths a little more unfolded. I will now adde somewhat to make use of what hath been spoken.

First of all therefore for matter of instruction,1. Vse. Instruction if it be so, that the things of the Gospell bee such, as that without a revelation from God, they could not bee knowen, then we see, that there is no principle at all of the Gospel in nature. There is not a sparke of light, or any inclination to the Gospell but it is meerly above na­ture: for hee removes here, all naturall wayes of know­ing the Gospell, eye, eare, & understanding: therfore the knowledge of it is meerly supernaturall. For if God had not revealed it, who could ever have devi­sed [Page 24] it? And when hee re­vealed it, to discover it by his Spirit, it is supernatural: but in heaven much more, which is the third degree I spake of.Why so many he­resies tou­ching the Gospel. Therfore (by the way) you may know the reason why so many here­sies have sprung out of the Gospel, more than out of he Law, & the misunderstā ­ding of it. There are few or no heresies from that, be­cause the principles of the Law are writtē in the heart: men naturally know that whoredome, and adulterie, and filthy living, &c. are sins; men have not so quen­ched nature, but that they know that those things are naught: therefore there have been excellent Law­makers amōg the heathens. [Page 25] But the Gospel is a meere mystery discoured out of the breast of God, without all principles of nature: there are thousands of errors that are not to be reckoned, a­bout the nature, the per­son & the benefits of Christ, about justification, and san­ctification, and free will and grace, and such things, what a world of heresies, have proud wits conti­nually started up? This would never have beene but that the Gospell is a thing above nature. There­fore when a proud wit, and supernaturall knowledge revealed meete together: the proude heart stormes, and loves to struggle, and deviseth this thing and that thing to commend it selfe, [Page 26] and hereupon comes here­sies, the mingling of na­turall wit with divine truthes. If men had had pas­sive wits to submit to di­vine truthes, and to worke nothing out of themselves, as the spider out of her own bowells, there had not beene such heresies in the Church, but their hearts meeting with supernaturall truthes, their proud hearts mingling with it, they have devised these errours that I note in the first place.

Then againe if the things that wee have in the Gos­pell be such divine truthes above nature altogether:2. Instru­ction. In d [...]vine truths a­bove na­ture, wee are not to trust to reason too much. Then we must not stand to looke for reason too much, nor trust the reason or wit of any man, but divine authority her [...] [Page 27] especially. For if divine au­thority cease in the Gospel, what were it? nothing; the law is written in mens hearts: but we must trust divine authoritie in the Gospel above al other por­tions of scripture, and not to the wit of any man whatso­ever.

The Church of Rome that is possest with a Spirit of pride, and Ignorance and tyranny; they will force knowledge on them that be under them, from their sole authoritie; the Church, saith so; and wee are the Church, and it is not for you to know, &c. and scriptures are so and so; but is the Gospell a super­naturall mysterie above the capacitie of any man? and shall we build upon the au­thoritie [Page 28] of the Church for these truthes? oh no! there must bee no forcing of E­vangelicall truthes from the authority or parts of any man. But these are not things that wee stand in so much need of, therefore I hasten to that which is more usefull. Eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, &c.

Here then we have an use of direction how to carrie our selves in reading, An use of direction. How to study and read di­vine truths and study­ing holy truths, especially the sacred mysteries of the Gospel, how shall we study them? Wee thinke to breake into them with the engine of our wit, and to understand them, and never come to God for his spirit: God will curse such proud attempts. Who [...]nowes the things of man [Page 29] but the spirit of a man? and who knowes the things of God, but the spirit of God? Therefore in studying the Gospell, let us come with a spirit of faith, and a spirit of humility, and meeknesse there is no breaking in­to these things with the strength of parts; That hath been the ground of so ma­ny heresies as have beene in the Church. Only Christ [...] the key of David that shutteth and no man openeth, and openeth and no man shut­teth, he hath the key of the Scripture, and the key to open the understanding. And to presse this poynt a little; if eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, nor hath entred into the heart of man to con­ceive, the things of the [Page 30] Gospell without the reve­lation of the spirit; then we must come with this mind, when wee come to heare the things of the Gospell: Lord, without thy holy spirit they are all as a clasped booke, they are hidden mysteries to mee, though they be revealed in the Gospell. If my heart be shut to them, they are all hidden to me.

Wee see men of excel­lent parts are enemies to that they teach themselves, opposing the power of the Gospell: whence is all this? because they thinke only the opening of these things makes them divines, wher­as without the holy Ghost sanctifying, and altering the heart in some measure, [Page 31] to tast, and rellish these things, that as they are di­vine in themselves, so to have some what divine in the heart to tast these things, it is impossible but that the heart should rise a­gainst them; and so it doth: for when it comes to parti­culars, you must deny your selfe in this honour, in this pleasure, & cōmoditie, now you must venture the dis­pleasure▪ of man for this, and that truth: the heart riseth in scorn, and loathing of divine truth: when it comes to particulars they know nothing as they should. For when is truth knowne, but when in parti­culars wee stand for it, and will neither betray it, nor do any thing that doth not be­nefit a [Page 32] Christian? If we have not the spirit of God to relish truthes in particular, they will doe us no good. And except the spirit sanctifie the heart of man first by these truthes, the truth will never be understood by the proud, naturall heart of man.

Therefore the course that God takes with his children is this;GODS course with his children to shew them these mysteries. those that he meanes to have; he first inspires into their hearts some desire to come to heare, and attend upon the meanes of salvation, to un­derstand the Gospell, and then under the means of sal­vation, he shines into the un­derstanding by a heavenly light; and inspires into the will and affections some [Page 33] heavenly inclination to this truth of the Gospell, to ju­stification, sanctification, selfe-denyall, and the like: and workes a new life, and new sences, and upon them wrought under the meanes comes the soul to relish, and to understand these my­steries, and then the eares, and the eies are open to see these things, and never be­fore. A holy man that hath his heart subdued by the spirit of God in the use of the meanes, oh, he relisheth the point of forgivenesse of sins, hee relisheth the point of sanctification, he studies it daily more, and more, and nearer communion with God, hee relisheth peace of conscience, and joy in the holy Ghost, they are sweete [Page 34] things, and all the duties of Christianity, because hee makes it his maine busines to adorne his pro [...]ession: and to live here, so, as hee may live for ever hereafter. And this must be of neces­sitie: for marke out of the text; If the naturall eye, and eare, and heart can never see nor heare, nor conceive the things of God, must there not be a supernaturall eare, and eye, and heart put into the soule? must not the heart,Superna­turall ob­jects re­quire su­pernatu­ral senses. and all be new mold­ed againe? If the former frame bee not sufficient for these things, of necessitie it must be so.

From hence learne to arme your selves against all scandalls: when ye see men of parts, and account, (and [Page 35] such there may be) men of deepe apprehensions, and understanding in the Scrip­ture for matter of notion, and for the language of the Scripture exquisite, and yet to be proud, malicious, ha­ters of sanctity, next to di­vells, none greater; consider what is the reason: either they have proud spirits that despise, and neglect the meanes of salvation altoge­ther; or if they doe come, they come as Iudges, they will not submit their proud hearts to the sweet motions of the Spirit: stumble not at it, if such men bee both enemies to that they teach themselves, and those that practise it, the reason is, because their proud hearts were never subdued by the [Page 36] Spirit to understand the things they speake of. For such a teacher understands supernaturall things by a naturall light, and by hu­mane reason; that is, to talk, and discourse, &c. but hee sees not Supernaturall things by a supernaturall light, divine things by a divine light. Therefore a poore soule that heares the things published by him, understands them better by the helpe of the Spirit, than he that speakes them: bet­ter indeed for his use, and comfort.Simile. As we see, there are some that can measure land exactly; but the man that oweth the land mea­sured, he knowes the use of the ground, and delights in it as his owne: the other [Page 37] can tell, here is so much ground, &c. So some Di­vines, they can tell there are such poynts, and so they are raysed; and they can bee exquisite in this: but what profite have they by it?

The poore soule that heares these things, by the helpe of the Spirit, hee can say, these are mine, as the man for whom the ground is measured. As it is with those that come to a Feast, the Physitian comes, and sayes, this is wholsome, and good; and this is good for this and that, but eates no­thing: others that know not these things, they eare the meate,Of know­ledge joy­ned with feeling. and are nouri­shed in the meane time: so when such men discourse [Page 38] of this and that, a poore man that hath the Spirit, he relisheth these things, as his owne; the other goes away, onely discourseth as a Philosopher of the meate, and eates nothing.

And therfore when you read & heare these things, content not your selves with the first degree of re­velation: no, that is not e­nough; when you have done that, desire of God to joyne his Spirit, to give you spiri­tuall eyes, and hearts, that you may close with Divine truths, and be divine as the truths are; that there may bee a consent of the heart with the truth: then the word of God will be sweet indeed.

Againe, here we see this [Page 39] divine truth, That a man when he hath the Spirit of God, knowes things other­wise than hee did know them before, though he did not know them by out­ward revelation of hearing and reading, &c. And hee believes them otherwise than he did before: he sees them by a new light. It is not the same knowledge that an unregenerate man hath,1 Cor. [...]. 14. 15. with that he hath af­ter, when God workes up­on his heart: for then it is a divine supernatural know­ledge. And it is not the same faith, and beliefe: the Spirit of God raiseth a man up in a degree of creatures above other men, as other men are above beasts: hee gives new eyes, new ears, & [Page 40] a new heart;Concer­ning spiri­tuall sight. he moulds him anew every way. There­fore you have good men, somtimes wonder at them­selves (when God hath touched their hearts) that they have had such shallow conceits of this and that truth before. Now they see that they were in the darke, that they were in a dampe before, that they conceived things to be so and so, and thought them­selves some body; but when God opens their eyes, and takes away the skales, and lets them see things in their proper light, heavenly things, by a heavenly light, and with a heavenly eye; they wonder at their for­mer foolishnesse in divinity, especially so farre as con­cernes [Page 41] the Gospell: for there is more in the Scrip­ture then pure supernatu­rall divinity, there are ma­ny other arts in the Scrip­ture.

The Gospell I say is a knowledge not of naturall men,It is not in nature to shew us these di­vine my­steries. or great wits, but of holy sanctified men. There­fore we must not think that these things may be known by nature, &c. It is a sacred knowledge so much as will bring us to heaven, it is a knowledge of holy men, that have their hearts brought to love and tast, and relish that they know. Therefore it is no wonder though a company of men of great partes live naugh­tily, they are no true di­vines, because they have no [Page 42] true knowledge. The divell is no divine, nor a wicked man properly; though hee can discourse of such things, yet he is not properly a di­vine: because he knowes not things by a divine light, or heavenly things by a hea­venly light. The know­ledge of the Gospell, it is a knowledge of sanctified, holy men: but to come neerer to our practise.

If eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, Another use of In [...]struction. nor hath entered into the heart of man, to con­ceive those things that God hath prepared for his: Then let us make this the rule of our esteeme of any thing that is good, or any thing that is ill, make it a rule of valuation. The Apostle here you see, hath a ranke [Page 43] of things above the sight of the eye, or the hearing of the eare, or the conceiving of the heart of man: if there be such a ranke of things a­bove this; then the greatest ills are those that eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, nor hath entred into the heart of man: and indeed they are so. Wee grieve at the Ague, and at the Stone, and the Goute, they are grievous things indeed; oh! but what bee these things that wee feele, and see, to those in another world, that wee cannot apprehend for the greatnesse of them? The torments of hell wee cannot conceive, and un­derstand them here: for it is indeed to bee in hell it selfe, to conceive what hell [Page 44] is: and therfore when God enlargeth mens spirits to see them, they make away themselves. And so for the greatest good; these goods here, this outward glory, we can see through it. Christ could see through all the glory in the world, that the Divell shewed him. And these are things that wee can heare of, and here the utmost that can be spoken of them: therefore surely they are not the greatest good, there are more excel­lent things than they, be­cause the eye sees them, the eare heares of them, and the understanding can con­ceive of them; but there be things that the eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, not the soule conceived; [Page 45] and those bee the joyes of heaven.A rule to value things by. And thereupon (to descend to practise) if this bee a rule to value things, that the best things are transcendent, beyond sence and comprehension: then shall I for those things that I can see, & can heare, and feele, and understand, shall I lose those excellent good things, tha [...] neither eye hath seen, nor eare heard? &c. Is not this desperate folly, to venture the losse of the best things, of the most transcendent things, that are above the capacitie of the greatest reaches of the world? shall I lose all for pettie poore things, that are within my owne reach and compasse?

How foolish therefore [Page 46] are those that are given to pleasures! they feele the pleasure indeed; but the sting comes after. They de­light in those ill things that they can heare, and heare al that can be spoken of them, and never thinke of the excellent things that eye hath not seen, nor eare heard, &c.

Let this make us in love with divine truthes in the Scripture, with the Gospel, that part of the Scripture that promiseth salvation by Christ, and all the graces, and priviledges of Christi­anity, they are above our reach. Wee study other things, we can reach them, we can reach the mysteries of the Law by long study, and the mysteries of phy­sicke, [Page 47] and to the mysteries of trades by understanding, & when men have done all, they may be fooles in the maine; Solomons fooles: they may do al these things, and be wise for particular things, by particular reaches of that which eie hath seen, and eare heard, &c. and then for the best things that are above the capacitie of men, they may die empty of all,I [...] is the best wise­dome to be wise to salvation. and goe to the place o [...] the damned. To bee wise to Salvation is the best wis­dome.

What a pittifull case is this, that God should give us our understandings for better things then wee can see or heare in this world, yet we imploy thē in things of the world wholly? Let us [Page 48] not doe as some shallow, proud heads, that regard not divine things; the holy Scriptures they will not vouchsafe to read once a day, perhaps not once a weeke; nay, some scarce have a Bible in their studies. For shame, shall we be so A­theisticall? when God hath provided such excellent things conteined in this booke of God, the Testa­ment, shall wee slight these excellent things for know­ledge that shall perish with us? as St. Paul saith before the Text: the knowledge of all other things is peri­shing, knowledge of peri­shing men. Learne on earth that that will abide in hea­ven, Augustine. sayth S. Austin. If wee bee wise, let us know those [Page 49] things on earth, that the comfort of them may abide with us in heaven. There­fore let us be stirred up to value the Scriptures,Value the Scriptures the mysteries of salvation in the Gospel, they are things that Eye hath not seene, nor Eare heard,&c. Nay, I say more, that little that wee have here, by hearing truths unfolded, whereby the Spirit of God slides in­to our hearts, and workes with them: there is that peace that a man hath in his heart, in the unfolding of the poynt of Iustificati­on, or Adoption, or any divine comfort, that it breeds such inward peace and joy as is unspeakable and glorious. All that we have in the world is not [Page 50] worth those little beginings that are wrought by the hearing of the word of God here. If the first fruits here be joy oftimes un­speakable, and glorious, if the first fruits be peace that passeth understanding; what will the consūmation, and perfection of these things be at that day?

Againe here you see a ground of the wonderfull patience of the Martyrs. Ground of the Mar­tyrs pa­tience. You wonder that they would suffer their bodies to be torne, and have their soules severed so violently from their bodies: Alas; cease to wonder; when they had a sence wrought in them by the spirit of God of the things that eye hath not seene, nor eare heard. [Page 51] If a man should have asked them why they wold suffer their bodies to be misused thus when they might have redeemed all this with a little quiet? oh! they would have answered presently, as some of them have done; wee suffer these things in our bodies,A godly man suf­fers these things in his senses for those that are above his senses. and in our sen­ces, for those that are above our sences, wee know there are things layd up for us that eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, &c. What doe you tell us of this torment, and that torment? we shall have more glory in heaven then wee can have misery here: for wee can see this, and there is an end of it▪ but wee shall have joy that eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, &c. As St. Paul most [Page 52] Divinely in diverse places in Rom. 8.Rom. 8. the things that wee suffer here are not Worthy of the glory that shall be revealed. Therefore let us not wonder so much at their patience as to lay up this ground of patience a­gainst an evill day when we may be drawne to seale the truth with our blood. By the way learne what Popery is,What Po­pery is. they thinke to merit by their doing, but especially by their suffer­ings, though they be ill doers, and suffer for their demerits; this is their glo­ry. Shall those stayned good workes (put case they were good workes, they be defiled, and stayned, and as menstruous cloathes, as it is Isaiah 64.)Isai. 64. shall they merit [Page 53] the glory to bee revealed, that is so great that eye hath not seene, &c. What proportion is there? In me­rit there must be a propor­tion betweene the deed done,Merit hath no propor­tion with glory. and the glory: what proportion is there be­tweene stayned imperfect defiled workes, and the glory to bee revealed? Should not our lives be al­most angecall? What man­ner of men should wee be in all holy conversation, Consider­ing what things are layd up in heavē, & we have the first fruits of them here? Can men be too holy and exact in their lives, that looke for things, that eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, &c.

I wonder at the stupidi­tie, and hellish pride, and [Page 54] malice of mens hearts, that thinke any man can be too exact in the maine duties of Christianity,We can­not be too exact in holy du­ties. in the expres­sion of their love to God, in the obedience of their lives, in abstinence from the filthinesse of the world, and the like. Can a man that lookes for these excellent transcendent things, be too careful of his life? I beseech you your selves be Judges.

The end of the first Sermon.

The second Sermon.

I. COR. 2. 9.‘As it is written, Eye hath not seene nor eare heard, &c.’

THE Apostle sets out the Gospell here with all the commendations that any skill in the world can be commended by.The scop [...] coherence & division, more clea­red. From the authour of it, God. From the depth of it, it is Wisedome, in a mystery, hid­den wisedome. From the an­tiquity [Page 56] of it, it was ordained before the world was. From the benefite and use of it, for our glory. God is content his wisedome should be honou­red in glorifying us, such is his love. And then when it was revealed, that none of the Princes of the world (he meanes not onely comman­ding Potentates, but he be­ing a scholar himself, estee­med Philosophers, Phari­sees, and learned men to be Princes: because the excel­lencie of a man is in the re­fined part of man his soul) none of these Princes of the world,The wise­dom of God h [...]d from wise men. for all their skill and knowledge, knew this.

In this verse hee shewes the reason why Eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, &c. He removes knowledge, by re­moving [Page 57] the way and means of knowledge. The meanes of knowledge in this world is by the passage and en­trance of the sences: Now this heavenly mystery of the Gospell, it is such a know­ledge as doth not enter into the soule by the sences.

The poynts we propoun­ded, 1 Point. were these, I That God hath a people in the world, whom he favours in a speciall manner.

Then secondly, For these 2 that he accounts his friends he hath prepared great matters.

Kings prepare great mat­ters for those they meane to advance: what shall wee thinke then God will doe for his friends?

Now these things pre­pared,3 they are great mat­ters [Page 58] indeed, for in the third place they are such as Eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, &c.

4 And then in the fourth place the disposition, and qualification of those for whom God hath prepared such great matters, it is for those that love him, not for his enemies, or for all men indifferently, but for those that love him.

Of the first, and second I spake in the former, and I wil not now stand to speake of them, but enlarge my selfe in the two last.

The things that God hath prepared for them that love him, Observa­tion. are such excellent things, as neither eye hath seene, nor eare heard, &c. He meanes the naturall eye, and eare, [Page 59] and understanding or heart of man.

There bee 3. degrees of discovery of heavenly things.

First in the doctrine of 1 them, and so they are hid to them that are out of the Church.

And then secondly, in 2 the spirituall meaning of them, and so they are hid to carnall men in the Church.

And then thirdly, in re­gard 3 of the full compre­hension of them, as they are indeed, and so they are reserved for heaven: wee have but a little glimpse of them, a little light into them in this world. Now in this place is meant the things that are discovered [Page 60] in the Gospell, especially as they are apprehended by the Spirit, together with the consummation of them in heaven. For they differ onely in degree, the disco­very of the heavenly things in the Gospell here the pri­viledges, and graces, and comforts of Gods children, and the consummation of them in heaven. And wee may reason from the lesser to the greater, if so be that a naturall man, (though hee have naturall eyes, and eares, and wits about him) cannot conceive the hidden mysteries of the Gospell, Naturall wits con­ceive not the Gospel spiritually with applicati­on: much more unable is he, and much lesse can hee conceive those things of a better life. Now the things [Page 61] of the Gospell, the privi­ledges, the graces and com­forts which Christ the spring and head of them all, in whom all are, and whence we have all, cannot be comprehended by a na­turall man, he can discourse of them as far as his natural wit conceives them; but not understand heavenly things in their owne light as hea­venly things, as the things of the Gospell.Wicked men talk of repen­tance, but do not re­repent. They can talke of repentance (that wee commonly speake of, which is a mystery) but not­withstanding who knowes repentance by the light proper to it, but he that by the spirit of God hath sinne discovered to him in its owne colours? H [...] knowes what it is to grieve for sin. [Page 62] The sicke man knowes what it is to bee sicke: the Phisitian knows it by defi­nition, by books, and so he can inlarge it: but if he be not sicke, the sicke patient will speake to better pur­pose. So there is a mysteryin the common things of the Gospell; repentance, and griefe for sinne. A holy man feels it another matter because he feeles sinne dis­covered by the Spirit of God:A holy man feeles sin heavy. and so in faith, in the love of God, and every grace of the Gospell is a mystery. If one come to the schoolemen, they will tell you of faith, and dispute learnedly of it, and deduce this from that: but when he comes to be in extremi­tie? when the terrours of [Page 63] the Lord are upon him, when he comes to use it, he is a meere stranger to it: to cast himselfe being a sinfull creature into the armes of Gods mercy, hee cannot doe it without a further light of the Spirit dis­covering the hidden love of GOD to him in par­ticular; and so for other graces. Therefore they do but speake of these things, (men that are unsanctified) as a blind man doth of co­lours, they inwardly scorne the truth they speake of: and those to whom they speake, if by the power of Gods Spirit they come to profit by the things they teach, if themselves be car­nall,Carnall men hate the light. they hate them. A car­nall man believes not a [Page 64] whit of what hee sayth: hee hath onely a common light for the good of o­thers: a common illumina­tion to understand and dis­cover things, and a doctri­nall gift to unfold things for other, and not for themselves: for themselves they scorne them in their hearts, and in their lives & conversations; and they will speake as much, when it comes to selfe-deniall in preferment, in pleasures, in anything that is gainfull: tush tell him what hee hath taught, or what hee knowes out of the booke of God, he cares not, hee knowes them onely by a common light:They know them but by a common light but for a particular heavenly light with appli­cation, and taste to himself, [Page 65] springing from an alterati­on by the Spirit, hee never knowes them so. Therefore content not thy selfe with a common light: for toge­ther with our understan­ding, God alters the taste of the whole soule: he gives a new eye, a new eare, to see and heare to purpose, and a new heart to conceive things in another manner than he did before.

But you will aske, How can a godly man know them at all, seeing eye hath not seen, nor eare heard, &c.

I answer: First,An objec­tion an­swered for explicatiō. the things of another life (as wee see here) are knowne by nega­tion, as God is,1. Answ. by way of removing imperfections. The naturall eye sees them not, nor the naturall eare [Page 66] heares them not, &c. no, nor the spirituall eye, nor eare, in a full measure: so things transcendent, that are above the reach of man, are described in the Scrip­tures by the way of denial, which is one good way of knowledge.

That yee may know the love of God that is above knowledge, sayth the Apo­stle,Ephes 3. Ephes. 3. that yee may know it more and more: but it is above all know­ledge in regard of the per­fection of it. As a man may see the sea, but hee cannot comprehend the sea: hee may be much delighted in seeing the sea, but hee sees neither the bottome nor the bankes, he cannot com­prehend such a vaste body: [Page 67] he may see the heavens, but hee cannot comprehend them. So a man may know the things when they are revealed, but hee cannot comprehend them: appre­hension is one thing, and comprehension is another; there may be apprehension in a poore degree, sutable to the capacitie of the soule here: but alas it is farre from the comprehension that we shall have in hea­ven.By way of negation. That is one way of knowing them by way of negation, and deniall of imperfections to them.

And then secondly,By way of eminence. they 2 are knowne (as wee call it) by way of eminence; that is, by comparing them with other things, and prefer­ring them before all other [Page 68] excellencies whatsoever; as wee may see the sunne in water by resemblance: for God borrowes from nature termes to set out grace, and glory, because God will speake in our language, for they are called a Kingdome and a feast, and a crowne by way of comparison. Shallow men thinke there is a great deale in a king­dome;What tho we should have of the world? and indeed so there is, if there were no other. There is great matters in a crowne, in the feasts of kings, and the like: but a­las these be shaddowes, and there is no Rhetoricke or Amplification in this, to say they be shaddowes; a shad­dow is as much in propor­tion to the body, as these are to eternall good things; [Page 69] the true reality of things, are in the things of another world, for eternity. If wee talke of a Kingdome, let us talke of that in heaven. If of a crowne, of that where­with the Saints are crow­ned in heaven. If we talke of riches, they are those that make a man eternally rich, that hee shall carrie with him when he goes out of the world, what riches are those, that a man shall out live, and die a begger, and not have a drop to comfort him,What true r [...]ches are. as we see Di­ves in hell had not? here are riches indeed. So if we talke of beauty, it is the Image of God that sets a beauty on the soule, that makes a man lovely in the eye of God. True beauty is [Page 70] to be like God.What true beautie is. And to bee borne a new to that glori­ous condition, is the birth and inheritance. All these poore things, are but acting a part upon a stage for a while, as the proudest crea­ture of all that is invested in them will judge ere long; none better judges then they. This is one way of knowing the things of the Gospell, by naming of them in our owne lan­guage. As if a man go into a forraine country, he must learn that language, or else hold his peace: so God is forced to speake in our owne language, to tell us of glory, and happinesse to come under the name of crownes, and kingdomes, and riches here. If God [Page 71] should set them out in their owne lustre, wee could not conceive of them.

But thirdly, the most comfortable way, whereby 3 Gods people know the things of heaven, and of the life to come, is in regard of some tast, for there is no­thing in heaven but Gods Children have a tast of it before they come there, in some measure: they have a taste of the communion that is in heaven in the communion they have on earth: they have a taste of that eternall Sabbath,Gods chil­dren have a taste of heaven be­fore they come there. by some relish they have of holy exercises in these Christian Sabbaths. A Chri­stian is as much in hea­ven, as he can be, when hee sanctifies the holy Sabbath, [Page 72] speaking to God in the Congregation by prayer, and hearing God speake to him in the preaching of the word.What peace in heaven is. That peace that wee shall have in heaven, which is a peace uninter­rupted, without any distur­bance, it is understood by that sweet peace of consci­ence here that passeth all un­derstanding. We may know therefore what the sight of Christ face to face will be, by the sight wee have of Christ now in the word and promises: if it so trans­forme and affect us, that sight that we have by knowledge and faith here; what will those sights doe? So that by a grape wee may know what Canaan is: as the spies, they brought of the [Page 73] grapes of Canaan into the desart: we may know by this little taste, what those excellent things are.

The fourth way is by au­thoritie, and discoverie. St. Paul was wrapped up in the third heaven, he sayth, they were such things that he saw, that could not bee spoken of, strange things. And Christ tels us of a king­dome. Christ knew what they were, and the word tells us what they are: our faith lookes to the authori­tie of the word. If wee had not the first fruits, nor any other discoverie. God that hath prepared them, hee sayth so in his word, and we must rest in his authori­tie. And there are some that have been in heaven: Christ [Page 74] our blessed Saviour that hath taken into a perpetual union, the man-hood with the second person, which he hath knit unto it, he knowes what is there, and by this meanes wee come to have some kind of knowledge of the things to come.

Againe by a kind of rea­soning likewise from the lesser to the greater, we may come to know not only the things, but the greatnesse of them. As, is there not cōfort now in a litle glimpse, when God shines upon a Christi­ans soule, when he is as it were in heaven? is there such contenment in holy company [...]here? what shall there be in heaven? Is there such contentment in the de­lights of this world, that are [Page 75] the delights of our pilgri­mage? they are no better, our houses are houses of our pilgrimage, our con­tentments are contentments of passengers, if the way, the gallery that leads to heaven, bee so spread with comforts, what bee those that are reserved in another world? A man may know by raysing his soule from the lesser to the greater. And if the things that God hath provided in common for his enemies as wel as his friends: (as all the comforts of this world; all the deli­cacies, and all the objects of the sences, they are com­forts that are common to the enemies of God, as well as his friends) if these things be so excellent, that men [Page 76] venture their soules for them, and lose all to bee drowned in these things: oh! what peculiar things are they that God hath re­served for his owne Chil­dren, for those that love him? when those that are common with his enemies, are so glorious and excel­lent! These kind of wayes we may come to know them by the helpe of the spirit.

Those unmixed joyes, those pure joyes, that are full of themselves, and have no tincture in heaven, are understood by those joyes we feele on earth, the joy of the holy Ghost, which is after conflict with tempta­tions, or after afflictions, or after hearing, and medita­ting on good things: the [Page 77] heavenly joyes that flow into the soule, they give us a taste of that full joy that we shall have at the right hand of God for evermore. That comfort that we shall have in heaven, in the pre­sence of God, and of Christ, and his holy Angels, is un­derstood in some little way by the comfortable pre­sence of God to the soule of a Christian, when hee findes the Spirit of God rai­sing him, and chearing him up,Heaven on earth. and witnessing his presence: as oft-times to the comfort of Gods peo­ple, the holy Ghost witnes­seth a presence, that now the soule can say, God is pre­sent with me, he smiles on me, and strengtheneth mee, and leads mee along. This com­fortable [Page 78] way Gods chil­dren have to understand the things of heaven, by the first fruits they have here: for God is so farre in love with his children here on earth, and so tender o­ver them, that hee purposes not to reserve all for ano­ther world; but gives them some taste before hand, to make them better in love with the things there; and better to beare the troubles of this world. But alas, what is it to that that they shall know? as it is 1 Ioh. 3. Now wee are the sonnes of God, but it appeares not what we shall bee: 1 Ioh. 3. That shall bee so great in comparison of that we are, that it is sayd not to appeare at all: it ap­peares in the first fruits in a [Page 79] little beginnings; but alas, what is that to that glory that shall bee? Our life is hid with Christ in God. It is hid, there is no man knowes it in regard of the full manifestation: be­cause here it is covered with so many infirmities, & afflictions, and so many scornes of the world are cast upon the beautie of a Christian life: it is hid in our head Christ. It is not altogether hid: for there is a life that comes from the root, from the head Christ to the members, that quic­kens them; but in regard of the glory that shall be, it is a hidden life.

Let us consider the rea­sonsReasons. why God will have it thus (to make it cleare) be­fore [Page 80] I goe further: We must be modest in reasons when we speake of Gods counsels and courses. I will onely name them to open our under­standings a little.

First,1 Reason. It is enough that God will have it so: a mo­dest Christian will be satis­fied with that, that God will have a difference be­tweene heaven and earth, Gods dispensation may sa­tisfie them. 2. God wil have a difference betweene the warring Church, and the triumphing Church.

This life is a life of Faith, and not of sight. We walke and live by faith. Why? partly to try the truth of our faith, and partly for the glory of God, that he hath such servants inn the world [Page 81] here, that will depend up­on him, upon termes of faith, upon his bare word, that can say, there are such things reserved in heaven for me, I have enough: what a glory is it to God, that he hath those that will trust him upon his bare word? It were no commen­dation for a Christian to live here in a beautifull glorious manner, if hee should see all, and live by sight. If he should see hell open, & the terrours there, for him then to abstraine from sinne, what glory were it? the sight would force abstinence. If he should see heaven open, and the joyes of it present, it were no thanks to be a good man: for sight would force it.

[Page 82] The second Reason is this,2 Reason. that God will have a known difference, between hypocrites, and the true Children of God. If heaven were upon earth, and no­thing reserved in faith, and in promise, every one would be a Christian: but now the greatest things being laid up in promises, wee must excercise our faith to waite for them; now there are none that will honour God in his word, but the true Christian: that there are such excellent things reser­ved in another world, in comparison of which all these are base: there is none but a true Christian that will honour God upon his word, that will venter the losse of these things here [Page 83] for them in heaven, that wil not lose those things that they have in reversion and promise for the present de­lights of sinne for a season? Wheras the common sort, they heare say of a heaven, and happinesse, and a day of judgement, &c. But in the meane time they will not deny their base plea­sures and their Rebellious dispositions, they wil crosse themselves in nothing: doe wee thinke that God hath prepared heaven for such wretches as these? oh, let us never thinke of it. God therefore hath reserved the best excellencies for the time to come, in promises, and in his word, if we have grace to depend upon his word: and in the meane [Page 84] time goe on, and crosse our corruptions, it is an excel­lent condition to be so, it shewes the difference that God will have between us, and other men.3 Reason.

Againe thirdly, our vessells could not containe it: Wee are uncapable, our braine is not strong enough for these things: as weake braines cannot digest hote liquors: so we cannot digest a large revelation of these things. As wee see St. Peter was not himselfe in the transfiguration, hee forgot himselfe; and was spiritual­ly drunke with joy, with that hee saw in the mount; hee wote not what hee said as the Scripture saith, when hee said, Master let us make three Tabernacles, &c. Nay [Page 85] Saint Paul himself, the great Apostle, when hee saw things in heaven, above ex­pression, that could not, nor might not be uttered, could not digest them. They were so great, that if he had not had somewhat to weigh him downe, to ballance him, hee had been overtur­ned with pride: therefore there was a pricke in the flesh sent to Paul himselfe to humble him. Are wee greater than Paul and Peter, the great Apostles of the Jewes and Gentiles? when these grand Apostles could not containe themselves, when they see these hea­venly things, and but a glimpse of them, the one did not know what he said, and the other was humbled [Page 86] by way of prevention, with a pricke in the flesh; and shal we think to conceive of these things? No, we can­not: for that is to be in hea­ven before our time. These and the like reasons wee may have to satisfie us in this, why wee cannot con­ceive of the things to come as they are in their proper nature. God sayth to Mo­ses, when Moses would have a fairer manifestation of God, No man can see me and live. If we would see God as he is, we must die. If we would see heaven,If wee would see God as he is, we must die. and the joyes of it as it is, wee must die first. No man can see the things that the Apostle here speakes of, in their proper light and excel­lencie, but he must die first.

[Page 87] They are not proporti­onable to our condition here: for God hath resolved that this life shall bee a life of imperfection, and that that shall be a perfect estate of perfect glory. Alas, our capacities now are not ca­pable, our affections wil not containe those excellent things; therefore God traines us up by little, and little, to the full fruition, and enjoying of it. Thus we see how wee come to have some knowledge of them, and why we have not a full knowledge of them here.

Well, to leave this, and goe on;Use. I. If this be so, then let us oft thinke of these things.

The life of a Christian is wondrously ruled in this world, by the considerati­ō, [Page 88] and meditation of the life of another world,The medi­tation of the life hereafter, steeres a Christians life here. no­thing more steeres the life of a Christian here, then the consideration of the life hereafter: not only by way of comfort, that the consi­deration of immortal life, & glory, is the comfort of this mortall base life: but like­wise by way of disposition, and framing a man to all courses that are good. There is no grace of the spi­rit (in a manner) but it is set on worke by the consi­deration of the estate that is to come, no not one.

What is the worke of faith? It is the evidence of things not seene. It sets the things of another world present before the eye of the soule, and in that re­spect [Page 89] it is victorious, it conquers the world; be­cause it sets a better world in the eye. Where were the exercise of faith, if it were not for hope of such an e­state which feeds faith? the excellencie of faith is, that it is about things not seene: it makes things that are not seene to be seene; it hath a kind of omnipotent power: it gives a being to things that have none, but in the promise of the speaker.

And for hope, the very nature of hope is to expect those things that faith be­lieves. Were it not for the joyes of heaven, where were hope? It is the helmet of the soule, to keepe it from blowes, and tempta­tions. It is the Anchor of [Page 90] the soule, that being cast within the vaile into hea­ven, stayes the soule in all the waves and troubles in this world: the considera­tion of the things to come, exerciseth this grace of hope; we looke within the vaile, and cast anchor there upward, and not downe­ward, and there wee stay our selves in all combusti­ons, and confusions by the exercise of hope.

And where were pati­ence? If it were not for a better estate in another world, a Christian of all men were most miserable. Who would endure any thing for Christ, if it were not for a better estate after­wards?

And so for sobrietie; [Page 91] what forceth a moderate use of all things here? the consideration of future judgement, that made even Felix to tremble. The con­sideration of the estate to come, causes that we surfet not with the cares of the world, and excesse, but doe all that may make way for such a glorious condi­tion.

What enforceth the kee­ping of a good conscience in all things? St. Paul loo­ked to the resurrection of the just and of the unjust; and this made him exercise himselfe to keepe a good conscience.

And so puritie and holi­nesse, that we take heed of all defilements in the world, that we bee not led a­way [Page 92] with the errour of the wicked: but keepe our selves unspotted. What forceth this, but the consideration of a glorious condition in another world? He that hath this hope, purgeth himselfe. There is a purgative power in hope, a cleansing effica­cie, that a man cannot hope for this excellent conditi­on, but it will frame and fit the soule for that conditi­on. Can a man hope to ap­peare before a great per­son, and not fit himselfe in his deportment and attire before hand, to please the person before whom hee appeares? So whosoever hopes to appeare before Christ, and God, of necessi­tie that hope will force him to purge himselfe.

[Page 93] Let us not stand to search curiously into particulars, what the glory of the soule or of the body shall bee, (the Apostle discovers it in generall, we shall bee con­formed to Christ our head in soule and body) but ra­ther study how to make good use of them: for therefore they are revealed before hand in generall.

And with all to humble our selves, 2 Vse. and to say with the Psalmist, Lord what is Man, that thon so farre considerest him? Sinfull man, that hath lost his first condition, and hath betrayed himselfe to thine, and his enemy, to ad­vance him to that estate, that neither eye hath seene, nor eare heard, &c. This consideration will make [Page 94] us base in our owne eyes.

Shall not wee presently disdaine any proud con­ceits? shall wee talke of me­rit? what can come from a Creature that shall deserve things that eie hath not seen nor eare heard; that such proud conceits should enter into the heart of man? sure­ly grace never entred into that mans heart that hath such a conceite to enter­taine merit. Shall a man thinke by a penny to merit a thousand pound, by a little performance to merit things that are above the conceit of men and Angels? but a word is enough that way.

And with humiliation, 3 Vse. take that which alwayes goes with humiliation, thankeful­nesse, [Page 95] even before hand. When the Apostle S. Peter thought of the inheritance immortall, and undefiled, &c. he begins, Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, &c. Hee could not think of these things with­out thankfulnesse to God. For wee should begin the life of heaven, upon earth, as much as may bee; and what is that, but a blessing and praising of God? Now we cannot more effectually and feelingly praise God, than by the cōsideration of what great things are reser­ved for us: for faith sets them before the soule as present, as invested into them. Now if we were in heaven already, we: should praise God, and do nothing [Page 96] else; therfore faith making them sure to the soule, as if we had them, sets the soule on worke to praise God, as in Ephes. 1. and in Pet. 1.Ephes. 1. 1 Pet. 1. Saint Peter and Paul, they could never have e­nough of this. Thus wee should doe, and cheare and joy our hearts in the consi­deration of these things in all conflicts, & desolations: wee little thinke of these things, and that is our fault: wee are like little children that are born to great mat­ters, notwithstanding not knowing of them, they carry not themselves an­swerable to their hopes: but the more the children grow into yeares, the more they grow in spirit and con­ceits, and carriage sitting [Page 97] the estates they hope for.

So it is with Christians at the first, when they are weake, they are troubled with this temptation, and with that, with this losse, and with that crosse: but when a Christian growes to a full stature in Christ, every petty crosse doth not cast him downe: hee thinkes, what shall I be dejected with this losse, that have heaven reserved for mee? shall I bee cast downe with this crosse, that have things that eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, &c. Prepared for me? He will not; he makes use of his faith to fetch com­fort from these things that are reserved for him,Every pet­ty crosse will not cast downe a believer. that are unexpressible, and un­conceiveable.

[Page 98] And let us comfort our selves in all the slightings of the World. 4 Vse. A man that hath great hopes in his own coū ­try, if he be slighted abroad, he thinkes with himselfe, I have other matters reserved elsewhere, and I shall have another manner of respect when I come home. The world it knowes not God, nor Christ, nor us: shall not we be content to go up and downe as unknowne men here, when God the father, and Christ our Saviour are unknowne?Hee com­forts him­selfe with his hopes of heaven, against the slightings of the world. There are bet­ter things reserved at home for us: therfore let us digest all the slightings and abu­sage of carnal men. And let us not envy them their con­dition that is but for terme [Page 99] of life, use it as well as they will; that hath a date that will bee out wee know not how soone? Alas all their happinesse it is but a mea­sured happinesse, it is with­in their understandings, their eyes can see it, and their eares can heare it: and when they can neither see nor conceive more in this world, then there is an end of all their sensible happi­nesse. Shall we envie when they shall shortly be turned naked out of this world to the place of torment?Envie not wicked men, but pitty them We should present them to us as objects of pitie, even the greatest men in the world, if wee see by their carriage they be void of grace; but not envy any condition in this world. But what affecti­on [Page 100] is due and suiting to the estate of a Christian? If we would have the true affecti­on, it is admiration, and wonderment. What is won­derment? It is the state, and disposition of the soule toward things that are new, and rare, and strange, that we can give no reason of, that are beyond our reach. For wise men wonder not, because they see a reason, they can com­pass things: But a Christian cannot but wōder: because the things prepared, are above his reach: yea when he is in heaven, he shall not be able to conceive the glory of it: he shall enter in­to it, it shall bee above him, he shall have more joy, and peace then he can compre­hend, the joy that hee hath [Page 101] there, it is beyond his abili­ty, and capacity, beyond his power; he shall not be able to compasse all. It shall be a matter of wonder, even in heaven it selfe; much more should it bee here below. Therefore the holy Apostles when they speake in the Scriptures of these things, it is with termes of admiration and wonderment,joy unspe [...] joy un­speakeable & glorious, & peace that passeth understanding, & when they speake of our deliverance, out of the state of darknesse into the state of grace, they call it a being brought out of darknesse into his mervailous light. And so God loved the world, 1 Ioh. 3. he can­not expresse how, I Ioh. 3. Behold what love hath the Fa­ther shewed us, that we should [Page 100] bee called the sonnes of God? To be called,To be cal­led a son of God, is to be so. and to be, is all one with God, both be­yond expression.

Againe, if this be so,Vse. that God hath provided such things as neither eye hath seen, nor eare hath heard, &c. Begge of God first, the Spi­rit of grace to conceive of them as the Scripture re­veals them: and then begge of God a further degree of revelation, that hee would more and more reveale to us by his Spirit those excel­lent things. For the soule is never in a better frame, than when it is lift up above earthly things. When shall a man use the world, as though hee used it not? when he goes about his bu­sinesse in a commanding [Page 101] manner, as seeing all things under him,Why men are drow­ned in the world. when he is ray­sed up to conceive the things that are reserved for him above the world: that keepes a man from being drowned in the world: what makes men drowned in the world? to be earth-wormes: they think of no other hea­ven but this, they have no other thing in their eye. Now by the Spirit discove­ring these things to the [...] that have weaned soules, it makes them goe about the things of the world in ano­ther manner, they will doe them, and doe them exact­ly, with conscience, and care, considering that they must give an account of all: but they wil doe them with reserved affections to bet­ter [Page 104] thing. Therefore let us oft thinke of this, and la­bour to have a spirit of faith to believe them, that they are so, that there are such great things; and then up­on believing, the meditati­on of such excellent things will keepe the soule in such a frame, as it will bee fit for any thing without defiling of it selfe. A man that hath first faith, that these things are so: and then that hath faith exercised to thinke, and meditate what these things are,How to get the conquest of any tempta­tion. he may bee tur­ned loose to any temptati­on whatsoever: For first of all, if there be any solicita­tion to any base sin, what will he thinke? shall I for the pleasures of sin for a season, if not lose the [Page 105] joyes of heaven and happi­nesse, that eye hath not seene, &c. yet surely I shall lose the comfort and assurance of them. A man cannot enjoy the comfort of hea­ven upon earth, without self-deniall, and mortifica­tion: shall I lose peace of conscience, and joy in the holy Ghost for these things? When Sathan comes with any bait, let us thinke hee comes to rob us of better than he can give: his bait is some present pleasure, or preferment, or contentment here; but what doth he take from us? that which eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, &c. Hee gives Adam an Apple, and takes away Pa­radise: therefore in all temptations consider not [Page 104] what he offers, but what we shall lose; at least the com­fort of what we shall lose; we shall lose the comfort of heaven, and bring our selves to terrours of con­science.

Religion is not so empty a thing, as that wee need to be beholding to the Divell for any preferment, or ri­ches, or contentment, or pleasure. Hath God set up a profession of Religion, and doe wee thinke that we must bee beholding to his, and our enemy for any base contentments? No; it is a disparagment to our religi­on, to our profession and calling, and to our Lord and Master we serve, to thinke that hee will not provide richly for his: you see here [Page 105] he hath prepared things that eye hath not seene, &c.

And by this likwise wee may judge of the difference of excellencies, the diffe­rence of degrees of excel­lencies may bee fetched from hence. The things that the eye can see, they may be excellent good things; but if the eye can see them, there is no great matters in them. The thing that the eare heares by re­ports, are more than the eye sees; wee may heare much that we never saw: yet if we can heare them, and con­ceive of them upon the hearing, they are no great matters: for the soule is lar­ger than they. We conceive more than wee can heare; the conceit is beyond sight, [Page 108] and hearing, if we can con­ceive the compasse, and la­titude of any thing it is no great matter: for it is with­in the reach, and module, and apprehension of mans braine, it is no wondrous matter. I but then the things that are most excellent of all, they are above sight, and beholding, and hearing: and conceite, that the soule can­not wholly compasse, and reach them, those are the excellent things of a [...]l. The rule of excellencie is to know what wee can con­ceive, and what is beyond our comprehension: The wit of man can conceive all things under the heavens. All the knowledge we have comes within the braine of man, the government of [Page 109] states, and the like. Oh! but the things that God hath provided for his, ne­ver came wholly within the braine of man; and there­fore they are the most ex­cellent.

And so by way of con­traries for ills, what are the greatest ills? those that the eye can see, that wee can feele, and heare of, and con­ceive? Oh! no, the grea­test ills are those torments that never eye saw, that eare never heard of, it is to be in hell to know these things; they are beyond our con­ceit, the worme that dies not, fire unquenchable, the things above our apprehension are the most terrible things. It is not the gout, or the stone; men feel these things, [Page 108] and yet suffer them with some patience: these are not the greatest ills, but those of another world that are reserved for Gods ene­mies, as the best things are those that are reserved for his friends.

Therefore let us make use of our understandings in laying things together, and make use of Gods dis­covery of the state of Chri­stianitie, the excellencies of religion. Why doth God reveale these things in the word? that wee should oft meditate of them, and study them, that we may bee hea­venly minded: for there are none that come to hea­ven, but they must have a taste of these before hand; there are none ever enjoy [Page 109] them in perfection; when the day of revelation shall come (the Gospell now is the time of revelation, but) the day of revelation is the time of judgement, then we shall wee be revealed what we are. But in the meane time there is a revelation by the spirit in some begin­nings of these things, or else we shall never come to have the perfection of them in heaven. If wee know not what peace, and joy, and comfort, and the commu­nion of the Saints, and the change of nature is here in sanctification, wee shall ne­ver know in heaven the ful­filling of it.

And those that have the first fruits here, if they bee in a state of growth, that [Page 112] they desire to grow better continually, they shall no question come to the perfe­ction: for God will not lose his beginnings: where hee gives earnest, he will make up the bargaine.

Therefore let us all that know a little what these things are by the revelation of the Spirit, let us be glad of our portion: for God that hath begun, hee will surely make an end.

The affection, and bent, and frame of soule due to these things is admiration, and not only simple hear­ing. If these things in their beginnings here, be set out by words of admiration, peace that passeth under­standing, and joy unspeak­able, and glorious: what af­fection, [Page 113] and frame of Spirit is sutable to the hearing of those things that are kept for us in another world? If the light that wee are brought into here bee ad­mirable, great, wee are brought out of darknesse, into admirable wonderfull light: If the light of grace bee so wonderfull to a man that comes out of the state of Nature, as it is indeed; a man comes out of a dampe into a wonderfull cleare light; what then is the light of glory? Therefore let us often think of it. Those that are borne in a prison, they heare great talke of the light, and of the Sunne, of such a glorious Creature; but being borne in prison they know not what it is in [Page 112] it selfe: so those that are in the prison of Nature, they know not what the light of grace is: they heare talke of glorious things, and have conceits of them. And those that here know not the glory that shall bee after, when they are revealed, that affection that is due to them is admiration and wonderment. So God loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Sonne; and behold what love the Fa­ther hath shewed to us, that wee should bee called the sonnes of God! what love! he could not tell what, it is so admirable, and to know the love of God that is a­bove all knowledge! Who can comprehend the love of God, that gave his sonne? [Page 113] who can comprehend the excellency of Christs gift? the joyes of heaven by Christ, and the misery of hell, from which wee are delivered, and redeemed by Christ? These things come from the Gospell, and the spring from whence they come, is the large, and in­finite, and incomprehensi­ble love of God. And if it bee so, what affection is an­swerable but admiration? Behold what love! If God have so loved flesh, and blood, poore dust & ashes; so as to be heires of heaven, and of such glory as eye seesnot, nor cannot in this world, nor eare heares not, nor hath entred into the heart of man, till we come fully to possesse them; let [Page 116] us labour to admire the love of God herein.

And labour to know more and more our inheri­tance, as we grow in yeares, as children doe, they search into the great matters their parents leave them, and the nearer they come to enjoy them, the more skill they have to talke of them: so should wee, the more wee grow in Christianity, and in knowledge, the more we should bee inquisitive after those great things that our father hath provided in another world: but to goe on.

How shall we know whe­ther these things be prepa­red for us or no? whether wee bee capable of these things or no? God hath [Page 117] prepared them, and he hath prepared them for those that love him; but how shall wee know that God hath prepared them for us?

In a word, whom God hath prepared great mat­ters for, hee prepares them for great matters: we may know by Gods preparing of us, whether he hath pre­pared for us. God prepa­red Paradise before Adam was created: so God pre­pares paradise, he prepares heaven before wee come there; and wee may know that wee shall come to pos­sesse that, if we be prepared for it. What preparation? If we be prepared by a spi­rit of sanctification; and have holy desires, and long­ing [Page 116] after those excellent things: for certainly there is preparation on both sides. It is prepared for us, and us for it; it is kept for us, and wee are kept for it: whom God keepes heaven for, he keeps them for hea­ven in a course of pietie and obedience. We may know it by Gods preparing of us, by loosing us from the world, and sanctifying us to himselfe. Thus a man may know whether those great things bee prepared for him, or no.

But the especiall thing to know whether they be provided for us, or no, is love. God hath prepared them for them that love him: not for his enemies: hee hath prepared another place, [Page 117] and other things for them, those torments that eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, nor hath entred into the heart of man, for those that are his enemies, that would not come under his govern­ment: but these things are prepared for those that love him.

For those that love him: especially that love is all in all, in the disposition of a holy man: all graces are one in the spring, which is love: they are severall in the branches, but they are one in the root.

Thus you have heard the use we are to make of this, that there is a reservation of a glorious condition for the people of GOD, so great, that neither eye hath [Page 120] seene, &c.

But who bee the parties, that God hath prepared these things for?

For them that love him.

This is the fourth part,The fourth particular. the disposition of the par­ties for whom, for them that love him.

Why not for those that God hath elected? Why doth he not goe to the root of all?Some que­stions an­swered for explica­tion. the great things that God hath prepared for those that he hath chosen to sal­vation? No, that is out of our reach; hee would not have us goe to heaven, but rather goe to our owne hearts; wee must search f [...]r our election not above our selves, but within our selves.

Why doth he not say,2 Quest. to them [Page 121] that believe in h [...]m?

Because Faith is the radi­cal grace from whence the rest spring.Answ.

But faith is a hidden grace many times,F [...]ith a hidden grace. and the Apostles scope is to poynt to such a disposition, that every one may know, that is more familiar. Somtimes faith is hidden in the root, and it is shewed in the effect more th [...]n in it selfe, in Love. A poore Christian that is in the state of grace, that sayth, Oh! I cannot b [...] ­lieve, aske him if hee love God; Oh, yes, he loves the preaching of the word, hee loves good people, and good bookes, and the like: when hee cannot discover his faith, hee can his love; therefore the holy Ghost [Page 122] sets it out by the more fa­miliar disposition, by love, rather than faith.

Why doth hee not say,Quest. For those that God loves? Gods love is the cause of our love.

Because Gods love is ma­nifested more familiarly by our love to him:Answ. for that is alwaies supposed; where­soever there is love to God, and good things, there is Gods love first. For our love to God is but a reflexion of that love hee beares to us: First, hee shines on us, and then the beames of our love reflect upon him; therefore hee need not say, whom God loves (though that be the cause of all) but who love God, and know thereby that hee loves them.

[Page 123] But why for them that love him,4 Quest. more than for any other thing?

Because all can love,Answ. therefore hee sets downe this affection: there is no man living, not the poorest Lazar in the world, that hath a heart, and affections, but he can love. He doth not say, that are prepared for this great Christian, and that learned Rabbi; no,For whom these are prepared. but for all that love him, bee they poore or rich, great or small, all those that love him. Therefore hee sets down that to cut off all ex­cuses: yea, and all that love him, bee they never so ma­ny, are sure to have these great things prepared for them. God hath prepared these things for those that [Page 124] love him.

To come therefore to some observations. The first generall thing is this, that

God d [...]th qualifie all those in this world,Observ. that he hath prepa­red heaven and happinesse for in another world.

The cause of it is his free love: but if you aske mee what qualification the per­sons must have? They are such as love him. This is not the proper cause why, but t [...]e qualification of the per­sons [...]on [...]hom these things are. There must bee an inward disposition and qualifica­tion, before wee come to heaven: all those that hope for heaven without pre­sumption, must have this qualification, they must bee such as love him.

[Page 125] Why?

The Scripture is plaine,R [...]asons. 1. No uncleane thing shall en­ter into heaven: No whore­monger, or drunkard, or fil­thy person: bee not decei­ved sayth the Apostle, you thi [...]ke God is merciful, and Christ died, &c. but neither such, nor such as you are, (and your consciences tell you so) shall ever enter into heaven. We must not think to come è coeno in coelum, out of the mire and dirt of sin, into heaven: there is no such sudden getting into heaven;No gett [...]ng to heaven, without change of our na­tures. but there must be an alteration of our dispo­sitions, wrought by the Spi­rit of God, fitting us for heaven.

2. Another is that that I touched before, that heaven [Page 126] and earth differ but in de­grees: therefore what is there in perfection, must be begun here.

Then againe thirdly, It is impossible for a man if he be not truly altered, to desire or wish heaven as it is holy. He may wish for it under the notion of a Kingdome, of pleasure, and the like: but as heaven containes a state of perfect holinesse, and freedome from sinne, hee cares not for it. A man that is out of relish with heavenly things, and can taste onely his base sinnes, whereon his affections are set and exercised, cannot rellish heaven it selfe. A common base sinner, his desires are not there. There must bee some proportion [Page 127] between the thing desired, and the desire; but here is none, hee is not fit for that place, being an unholy wretch.

Therefore his own heart tells him, I had rather have this pleasure and honour that my heart stands to, than to have heaven, while hee is in that frame of de­sire: therefore there is no man that can desire hea­ven, that is not disposed a­right to heaven before. Beetles love dunghils bet­ter than oyntments, and swine love mud better than a garden; they are in their element in these things: so take a swinish base crea­ture,A carnall man-wants eyes to see heaven. he loves to wallow in this world: tell him of hea­ven, hee hath no eyes to see [Page 128] it, no eares to heare it, ex­cept hee may have that in heaven, that his heart stands too (which hee shall never have) he hath no desire of heaven. Therfore in these, and the like respects, of ne­cessitie there must be a dis­position wrought before wee come there. These things are prepared for those that love God.

If this be so, Vse. let us not feed our selves with vaine hopes: there are none of us, but we desire, at least wee pretend that we desire heaven; but most men conceive it onely as a place free from trou­ble and annoyance, and there are goodly things they heare of, kingdomes, crownes, and the like; but except thou have a holy, [Page 129] gracious heart, and desir [...]st heaven that thou mayest be free from si [...]ne, and to have communion with Christ, and his Saints, to have the image of God,Take heed of vaine hope. the divine nature perfect in thee, thou art an hypocrite, thou car­riest a presumptuous con­ceit of these things, thy hope will delude thee, it is a false hope. Every one that hath this hope, purgeth him­s [...]lfe: Every one, hee ex­cludes none. Doest thou defile thy selfe, and live in sinful courses, and hast thou this hope? Thou hast a hope, but it is not this hope: for every one that hath this hope, purgeth himselfe. No, no, how ever in time of peace, and pleasure, and contentment that God fol­lowes [Page 130] thee with in this world, thou hast a vaine hope; yet in a little trouble, or sicknesse, &c. thy owne conscience will tell thee another place is provided for thee, a place of torment, that neither eye hath seene, nor eare heard, nor hath entred into the heart of man to con­ceive the misery of it. There is not the greatest man li­ving, when hee is troubled, if he be a sinfull man, whose greatnesse can content him: all his honour, and friends, cannot pacifie that poore conscience of his; but Death,G [...]eatnesse nor hono [...]s can pacifie conscience the King of Feares, wil affright him: he thinks, I have some trouble in this world, but there is worse that rem [...]ines, things that he is not able to conceive [Page 131] of. Let us not therfore de­lude our selves, there is no­thing will stand out but the new creature, that we finde a change wrought by the Spirit of God; then wee may without presumption, hope for the good things which neither eye hath seene, &c.

Againe, we see in the se­cond place,2 Vse. Look with­in thee for the evi­dences. Gods mercie to us, the qualification is within us, that we need not goe farre to know what our evidence is. Sathan abuseth many poore Christians; oh, I am not ele­cted, I am not the Childe of God. Whither goest thou man? doest thou breake in­to heaven? when thou car­riest a soule in thy breast, and in that soule the affe­ction of love, how is that [Page 132] set? whither is thy love car­ried, and thy delight, and joy, those affections that spring from love? Thy evi­dence is in thine own heart, our title is by faith in Christ; his righteousnesse gives us title to heaven: but how knowest thou that thou pretendest a just title? Thou hast the evidence in thy heart. What is the bent of thy soule? whither is the poynt of it set? which way goes that?Looke to thy affecti­ons. doest thou love God, and divine things, and delight in them? then thou mayst assure thy selfe that those things belong to thee, as verily as the Scriptures are the word of God, and God a God of truth. When thou findest the love of God in thy heart, that thy [Page 133] heart is taught by his Spirit to love him, then surely thou mayst say, Oh, blessed be God that hath kindled this holy fire in my heart. Now I know that neither eye hath seene, nor eare heard, nor hath ent [...]ed into the heart of man, those ex­cellent things that are layd up for me.

The end of the second Sermon.

The third Sermon.

1. COR. 2. 9.‘Eye hath not seene, &c.’

SAINT Paul as we heard before,A briefe re­capitula­tion of some for­mer things with addi­tion. gives a reason in these words, why the princes of this world, (not onely the great men, that oft-times are not the grea­test Clerkes, but the lear­ned men of the world, [Page 136] Princes for knowledge) why they were ignorant of the mysteries of the Gos­pell.

Now the fourth is the disposition of those for whom he doth all this, the qualitie hee infuseth into them; they are such as love him.

1. He hath prepared them before all eternitie, he pre­pared happinesse for us be­fore we were; nay, before the world was. As hee pre­pared for Adam a Paradise before he was; hee created him, and then brought him into Paradise: so hee pre­pared for us a kingdome with hims [...]lfe in heaven,God pre­pared hap­pinesse for us before all eterni­tie. a blessed estate before wee were: i. e. in election, be­fore the heavens were. And [Page 137] then in creation, hee prepa­pared the blessed place of the happy soules of happy persons hereafter, where he himselfe is; he prepared it for himselfe, and for all those that he meanes to set his love upon from the be­ginning to the end.

And then secondly, hee 2 prepared them more effe­ctually in time, he prepared these things when Christ came in the flesh, and wrought all things for us, in whom we have all. Of these things thus prepared, he sayth, Eye hath not seene, nor eare heard them, &c. In what sence it is meant, wee heard before. Now take the whole of the matter, the meaning is, the matters of grace, the kingdome of grace, [Page 138] and the Kingdome of Glory, they are but one. For (to adde this by the way) the kingdome of heaven in the Gospell, includes three thing.

1 First, the doctrine of the Gospell, the publishing of it.

2 And then secondly, grace by that doctrine.

3 And thirdly, glory upon grace, the consummation of all.

So the mysteries of sal­vation, is first the doctrine it selfe, that is the first de­gree of the kingdome. The doctrine it selfe is a mysterie to all those that never heard of it: for what crea­ture could ever conceive how to reconcile Iustiee and Mercie, by devising such a [Page 139] way, as for God to become Man, to reconcile God and man together? that Emma­nuel, hee that is God with us, should make God and us one in love: this could bee no more thought of, than Adam could thinke of him­selfe to bee made a man▪ when hee was dust of the earth. Could man when he was worse then dust, in a lost damned estate, think of redemption? It is impos­sible for a man that cannot tell the forme, and the quintessence, that cannot enter into the depth of the flowers, or the grasse that hee tramples on with his feet, that hee should have the wit to enter into the deepe things of God, that have been concealed even [Page 140] from the Angels them­selves, till God discover them. I adde this, to illu­strate what I sayd before: therefore the doctrine it selfe, till God discover it out of his owne breast, was concealed to the Angels themselves; and since the discovery, they are students in it, and looke and pry in­to it. But where the do­ctrine is no mysterie, but is discovered: there the ap­plication, and spirituall un­derstanding, to those that have not the light of the Spirit, is such a thing, as eye hath not seene, nor eare heard; and therfore we must have a new light, a new eye, a new eare, and a new heart, before wee can apprehend the Gospell, though we un­derstand [Page 141] it for the literall truth. As for the things of glory, wee have no conceit of them fully, but by a glimpse, and weak appre­hension; as a childe con­ceives of the things of a man, by some poore, weake resemblances. As St. Paul sayth, When I was a childe, I spake as a childe, I thought as a childe: so when we are now children, in comparison of that perfect estate wee shall attaine in heaven, we think and speake as children, of these holy and heavenly things that shall be accom­plished in another world.

And observe this too, that when wee would under­stand any thing of heaven, and see any thing, say, This is not that happinesse I look for, I can [Page 142] see this, but that is not to be seene. And when we heare of any thing that is excel­lent, I can heare this, it is not my happinesse: and when we comprehend any thing, I can comprehend this, therefore it is not the happinesse I looke for: but those things that are above my comprehension, that are unutterable, and unexpres­sible.

Moreover, Let us bee stir­red up to thinke it a base thing for a Christian to lose the comfort and assurance hee hath of these thing: that eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, for any earthly thing whatsoever. Wee account it a poore thing of Esau, to sell his Birth-right for a messe of pottage. And we all smart [Page 143] for Adams ill bargaine that hee made, to sell paradise for an Apple. And it was a cursed sale that Iudas made, that sold Christ himselfe for 30 pieces of silver: sure­ly it is that that every car­nall man doth, and howso­ever wee cannot lose hea­ven, yet it should be our in­deavour to enjoy heaven upon earth, to enjoy the as­surance of this condition. When we doe any thing to weaken our assurance, and to weaken our comfort, what do we but with Adam lose heaven for an Apple, and with Esau, part with our birth-right, as much as the assurance, and comfort of it is, for a messe of pot­tage? Therefore let us ac­count it a base thing to bee [Page 144] overmuch in love with any earthly thing,It is a base thing to be too much in love with any earthly thing. whereby we may weaken, though wee could lose the comfort, and assurance of this happy condition, which is so tran­scendent. All wicked men, and indeed all men, whe­ther good or bad, as farre as they fall into sinne, are fooles; the Scripture termes them so. There is none wise indeed but the true Christian, and that Christi­an that preserves the sence and feeling, and assurance of his happy condition.

For those that love him.

The disposition of the parties is, they are such as love God. He sayth not, such as are elected, because that is a thing out of our reach to know; but by going up­ward, [Page 145] by going backward, to goe from our grace to our calling; & from thence, to election. Nor such as believe, because that is lesse discernable than love. Nor the love of God to us: for that is supposed when wee love him; our hearts being cold, they cannot be warme in love to him, but his love must warme them first. Love is such an affection as commands all other things, therefore hee names that a­bove all. And love is such a thing as every one may try himself by:Try thy selfe by thy love. if he had na­med either giving, or doing of this or that, men might have sayd, I cannot doe it, or I cannot part with it; but when he names love, there is none but they may love. [Page 146] The poynt considered was, that

There must be a qualificati­on of those that heaven is pro­vided for.

They must bee such as love God, such as are alte­red and changed, and san­ctified to love him; Because no uncleane thing shall en­ter in thither; Because wee cannot so much as desire heaven without a change; we cannot have communi­on there with Christ, and those blessed soules, with­out likenesse to them, which must be by a spirit of love: our natures must bee altered: Therefore it is a vaine presumption for any man to thinke of heaven, unlesse he finde his disposi­tion altered. For wee may [Page 147] read our eternall condition in heaven, Wee may know hea­ven to bee ours by the dispo­sition of our hearts. 1 Pet. 1. by our disposition up­on earth. The Apostle Pe­ter sayth, 1 Pet. 1. Blessed bee God, the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, that hath begot­ten us to a lively hope of an in­heritance immortall, and un­defiled▪ reserved in heaven. So that the inheritance in hea­ven, wee are begotten to it, wee must be new borne, we must have a new birth be­fore wee can inherit it, hee hath begotten us to an inheri­tance immortall, &c. Hee that is not a childe, may not thinke of an inheritance. Put case there bee never so ma­ny glorious things in hea­ven, that eye hath never seene, nor eare ever heard, &c. if our names be not in Christs will, that we are not his, and [Page 148] prove our selves to be his, by the alteration of our dis­positions, what are all those good things to us, when our names are not contai­ned there?

It is called a hope of life, a lively hope; because hee that hath this hope, purgeth him­selfe, it makes him vigorous and active in good: if his hope of life make him not lively, he hath no hope of life at all. Therefore those that will looke for heaven, that Sathan abuse them not by false confidence, let them looke whether God have altered their hearts, that the worke of grace be wrought in some measure. For God hath not ordained these great things for his enemies, for blasphemers, [Page 149] that take Gods name in vaine,God hath not ordai­ned hea­ven for his enemies. that run on in courses contrary to his will, and word, that live in sinnes a­gainst the light of nature; do you thinke he hath pro­vided these great matters for them? he hath another place for them. Therefore let us not be abused by our owne false hearts, to thinke of such a happy condition: unlesse we finde our selves changed, unlesse we be new borne, we shall never enter into heaven.

Lord, Lord, say they, Christ brings them in pleading so, Lord, Lord; not that they shall say so then, that is not the meaning: but now they cherish such a confidence; Oh, we can speake well, and we can pray wel, Lord, Lord. [Page 150] Oh, thou vaine confident person, thy confession, and profession, Lord, Lord, shall doe thee no good. I will not so much as owne thee, Away hence thou worker of iniquitie, thy heart tels thee, thou livest in sinnes against conscience; away, avaunt, I will none of thee. God in mercie to us will have the triall of the truth of our evidence in us. The ground of all our salvation is his grace, his free favour, and mercie, in his owne heart; but we cannot goe thither, he would have us to search within our selves, and there we shall finde Love.

—God hath prepared for those that love him.Observ.

In particular therefore, Those that God hath provided [Page 151] so excellent things for, they are such as love him. They are such first of all that are be­loved of him; and shew that they are beloved of him, by their love to him. Therefore when the Papists meet with such phrases, they think of merit:Merit con­futed. he hath provided heaven for them that love him, and shew their love in good workes. But we must know, that this is not brought in as a cause why, but as a qualification of the persons who; who shall inherit heaven, and who shall have these great things? It is idle for them to thinke, that these things are prepared for those, whom God foresees would doe such and such good workes: it is as if we should [Page 152] thinke hee hath provided these happy things for those that are his enemies. For how could he look for love from us in a state of corruption, when the best thing in us was enmitie to him? Is it not a vaine thing to looke for light from darknesse? to look for love from enmity and ha­tred? therefore how could God foresee any thing in us, when he could see no­thing but enmity and dark­nesse in our dispositions by nature?

And then (as we shall see afterward) this love in us, it must bee with all our heart, and soule, and might, it is required and comman­ded; and when wee doe all this, wee doe but what wee [Page 153] are bound to doe. But they abuse such places upon so shallow ground, that indeed it deserves not so much as to be mentioned.

To come then to the poynt it selfe, the disposi­tion of those that shal come to heaven then, is, they must be such as love God. Now hee names this, because these two goe alwayes to­gether: there goes some­what of ours together with somewhat of Gods to wit­nesse to us what God doth. There goes our choyce of God, with his chusing of us; our knowing of God, with his knowledge of us; our love to him, with his love to us▪ therefore because these are so connexed, and knit together, hee takes the [Page 154] one for the other; and to make it familiar to us, hee takes that which is most fa­miliar to us, our love to him.

Now hee names this a­bove all other affections; because love is the com­manding affection of the soule,Love a comman­ding affe­ction. it is that affection that rules all other affecti­ons, hatred, and anger, and joy, and delight, and desire; they all spring from love: & because all duties spring from love both to God and man, therefore both Tables are included in love. And when the Apostle would set downe the qualification of those that shall enjoy these things, he sayth, they are for those that love him. Because it stirres up to all [Page 155] dutie, and addes a sweet qualification to every duty, and makes it acceptable, and to rellish with God; it stirres up to doe, and quali­fies the actions that come from love, to bee accep­ted.

All duties to man, spring from love to man; and love to man from love to God: it is the affection that stirres up the dutie, and stirres up the affection fit for the du­tie: it stirres up to doe the thing, and to do all in love. Whatsoever wee doe to God, or man, it must bee in love; all that God doth to us, it is in love, hee chuseth us in love, and doth every thing in love; and all that wee doe to God, it must be in love. Therfore he names [Page 156] no other affection but this, because it is the ground, the first borne affection of the soule: Therefore Christ sayth, it is the great comman­dement to love God; it is the great commanding com­mandement, that com­mands all other duties whatsoever, it is the first wheele that turnes the whole soule about.

Againe, it is such an affe­ction as cannot bee dissem­bled: a man may paint fire, but hee cannot paint heat; a man may dissemble acti­ons in religion, but he can­not affections: love is the very best affection of truth: a man may counter­terfeit actions; but there is none that can love but the childe of God. God hath [Page 157] prepared these things for those that love him.

Then againe, without this, all that we doe is no­thing, and wee are nothing: wee are nothing but an emptie Cymball: whatsoe­ver we doe is nothing; all is emptie without love. My sonne, give me thy heart, that is, if thou wilt give mee any thing, give mee thy affecti­ons, or else they are still­borne actions,Our acti­ons are but still­born with [...]out affe­ctions. that have no life in them. If wee doe a­ny thing to God, and doe it not in love, hee regards it not; that is the reason why hee mentions love in stead of all: It is so sweet an affe­ction, and so easie, what is more easie than to love? It is comfortable to us to con­sider that God hath made [Page 158] this a qualification of those that hee brings to heaven, they are such as love him.

But why doth he set down any qualification at all, and not say, for Christians?

Because profession must have expression: when God sets down a professor of re­ligion, hee sets him downe by some character that shall discover him to be as hee is termed. How doest tho [...] know thou art good? Doest thou love God? or call up­on God? as it is in other places, To all those that call upon his name. To let us know that religion and ho­linesse is a matter of power, Wouldst thou know what thou art in religion? Doest thou love God? or call up­on God?

[Page 159] It is not to be tolerated, to be Christians, to professe as Demas: oh no; but they must bee such, as from the heart root are good, such as love God.

Therefore darke dis­putes of election & prede­stination, at the first especi­ally, let them go: how stan­dest thou affected to God, and to good things? look to thy heart, whether God have taught it to love or no, and to relish heavenly things: if he hath, thy state is good; and then thou mayest ascend to those great mat­ters of predestination, and election: but begin not with those, but goe first to thine owne heart, and then to those deep mysteries after­ward. If a man love God, [Page 160] hee may looke back to ele­ction, and forward to glo­rification, to the things that eye hath not seene, nor eare heard, &c. But see first what God hath wrought in thy heart, what affection to heavenly things; & thence from thy affections to goe backward to election, and forward to glorification, there is no danger in it.

To come therfore to ex­presse more particularly this affection of love, which is the disposition that God requires and workes in all those that hee intends hea­ven to. Let us search into the nature of this love to God. What it is to love, we need not bee taught, for all men know it well e­nough; it is better knowne [Page 161] indeed by the affection, than by discourse; what it is to love, is knowne by those that love, better than by a­ny books or treatises what­soever: for it is the affecti­on that is in all men. Na­turall love, it is in those that have no grace at all; and civill love, in those that are evill men. They know what it is to love, by reason of that wilde fire, that car­nall love that is in them, that transports them. A man may see the nature of it in those, as well as in a­ny: for set aside the extra­vagant nature of it, in such kinde of persons, we may see the nature of it: there­fore I wil not meddle with that poynt, it is needlesse. I come therefore to this [Page 162] love of God, to shew how this streame of affection shold be caried in the right chanel to God the right ob­ject of it, who onely can make us happy by loving of him. O­ther things by loving of them, they make us worse, if they bee worse than our selves: for such as we love, such we are. Indeed our un­derstandings make us not good or ill, but our love doth. By loving God, & hea­venly things, wee become good: our affections shew what we are in religion.

There bee foure things in this sweet affection, in true naturall love.

There is an estimation & valuing of some good thing, especially when the love is to a better, when it is not [Page 163] between equals. Now there is a great distance betweene God and us. There is a high esteeme in common love, love will not stoope to no­thing: there cannot be love maintained, but upon sight of a supposed excellencie: love will not stoope, but where it sees somewhat worth the valuing: there­fore there is a high esteeme of somewhat as the spring of it. And that is the rea­son that wee say a man can­not bee wise, and love, in earthly things: because love will make a man too much to value those things that hee that apprehends better would not.

In the second place, there is a desire to be joyned to it, that we cal the desire of union

[Page 164] In the third place, upon union, and joyning to it, there is a resting, a compla­cencie, and contentment in the thing to which wee are united: for what is happi­nesse it selfe, but fully to enjoy what we love? when we love upon judgement, and a right esteeme, to en­joy, that is happinesse, and contentment indeed.

In the fourth place, where this true affection is, there is a desire of contentment to the party loved, to please him, to approve our selves to him, to displease him in nothing. Every one knowes that these things are in that affection by nature.

Look to carnal self-love, a man may know what it is to love: the affection is all [Page 165] one in both. Take a man when hee makes himselfe his Idoll, as till a man love God, hee loves himselfe a­bove all, hee is the Idoll, and the Idolater: hee hath a high esteeme of himselfe; and those that doe not highly esteeme him, hee swels against them. Againe selfe-love makes a man de­sire to enjoy himselfe, and to enjoy his content, to pro­cure all things that may serve for his contentment.

Now when the Spirit of God hath purged our hearts of this carnall Idola­try of selfe-love, and selfe-seeking, and sufficiencie, & contentment; in himselfe; then a man puts God in stead of himselfe, grace, and the Spirit doth so; and [Page 166] in stead of highly estee­ming of himselfe,When a man puts God in stead of himselfe. hee e­steemes highly of GOD, and of CHRIST, and religi­on: then in stead of pla­cing a sufficiencie in him­selfe, and the things of this life, and resting in them, there is a placing of suffi­ciencie in GOD All-suf­ficient: And in stead of seeking his owne will, and content in all things. Mens mihi pro regno. My minde is to mee a King­dome: then a man seeks to give contentment to GOD in all things, and to bee a foole, that hee may be wise; and to have no will, and no delight in any thing that cannot stand with the plea­sure of, and obedience to God. Thus a man by know­ing [Page 167] what his owne naturall corruption is, he may know what his affection is to bet­ter things.

First of all, there must bee an estimation, an e­steeme of God, and Christ; for to avoyd misconceit, wee take both these to bee one, God our Father in Christ, and Christ. What­soever Christ did for us in love, hee did it from the love of the Father, who gave him: And when we speake of the love of God, wee speake of the love of Christ to us. Therfore there must bee a high esteeming,There must be an esteeme of God and Christ. and valuing, and prizing of God above all things in the world, and of his love.

Now this must needs be so: for where grace is, it gives a sanctified judgment; [Page 168] a sanctified judgement va­lues and esteemes things as they are. Now the judge­ment apprehending God and his love to bee the best thing to make us happy, prizeth it above all, Whom have I in heaven but thee? Psal. 73. Psal 73. and what have I in earth in comparison of thee [...] he prizeth God and his love above all things in the world.

Now if we would know if we have this judgement, wee may know it by our choyce; this valuing it is known by choyce: for what a man esteemes and values highly, hee makes choyce of above all things in the world. What men make choyce of, is seene by their courses: we see it in holy [Page 169] Moses, Heb. 11.Heb. 11. hee had a high esteeme of the estate of Gods people that affli­cted people: as afflicted as they were, yet hee saw they were Gods people, in covenant with him, and more regarded of him, than all the people in the world besides: and upon his estimation hee made a choyce, hee chose rather to suffer afflictions with the peo­ple of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sinne for a season His choyce followed his e­steeme: so if we value and esteeme God, and religion, and love God above all things, we wil make choice of the Lord. As Saint Peter sayth, Iohn 6.Ioh. 6. when Christ asked them, Will you also forsake me? sayth hee, Lord, [Page 170] whither shall wee goe? Wee have made choyce of thee, whither shall wee goe? thou hast the words of eternall life. Let us doe that in truth, that hee for a time failed to doe, when hee sayd, Though all forsake thee, yet will not I. If wee make this choyce of Christ, from the truth of our hearts, this shewes our esteeme.

What is thy choyce? Is it Religious wayes, and religious company? is it the feare of God above all things? One thing have I de­sired, that I may dwell in the house of GOD for ever, and visit his Temple. Psal. 27. Psalm. 27. Hast thou with Mary, made choyce of the better part? Doest thou value thy selfe as a member of Christ, and [Page 171] an heire of Heaven, as a Christian above all condi­tions in this world? (for what a man esteemes, hee values himselfe by) then thou art a true lover, thou hast this love planted in thy heart; because thou hast a true esteeme? You see Paul accounted all dung and drosse in comparison of the ex­cellent knowledge of Christ. Oh! that wee could come to that excellent affecti­on of Saint Paul, to under­value all things to Christ, and the good things by Christ, and Religion. Cer­tainly it is universally true, where Christ is loved, and God in Christ, the price of all things else fall in the soule: For when we wel­come Christ, then fare­well [Page 172] all that cannot stand with Christ.

Againe, our esteeme is knowne by our willing par­ting with any thing for that that we esteeme, as a wise Merchant doth sell all for the Pearle. Wee may know therefore that wee esteeme GOD,If we e­steeme God, wee shall part with any thing be­sides. and his truth: for they goe to­gether, God, and his truth, and religion; wee must take God with all that hee is cloathed with, wherein he shewes himselfe unto us. If wee sell all for the truth of God, and part with all, & deny all for the love, and o­bedience of it, it is a signe wee have an esteeme an­swerable to his worth, and that we love him.

Those therfore that will [Page 173] part with nothing for God, nor for Religion, and the Truth, when they are called to it, doe they talke of love to GOD? they have no esteeme, they va­lue not GOD; if they did esteeme him, they would sell all for the pearl. There­fore those that halt in re­ligion, that care not which way religion and the truth goes, so they may have ho­nour, and pleasures in this world, where is their e­steeme of the Gospell, and of the truth of Christ, and of God? they have no love, because they have no esti­mation.

Againe, what we esteem highly of, wee speake largely of. A man is al­wayes eloquent in that hee [Page 174] esteemes: it will put him to the extent of his abili­ties, to bee as eloquent as possible hee can bee: you never knew a man want words for that hee prized, to set it out. Therefore when wee want words to prayse God, and to set out the value of the best things, it is an argument wee have poore esteeme of them. All goe together, GOD, and the things of GOD: What doe wee talke of loving GOD, and de­spise Christians, and Re­ligion? they are never se­vered. If a man esteeme the best things, hee will be often speaking of them. If a man set his affections up­on a thing, it will suggest words at will. Therefore [Page 175] those that are cleane out of their Theame, when they speake of good things, are to seeke. Alas, where is the affection of love? where is esteeme? esteeme it makes a readinesse to speake.

Esteeme likewise carries our thoughts: Wouldest thou know what thou e­steemest highly? What doest thou thinke of most, and highest? thou mayest know it by that. Wee see the first branch, how wee may know we love GOD, if wee have a high esteeme, and valuing of GOD, by these signes.

Secondly,2 Where there is true love, there is a desire of union. where there is true love, and affection, there is a desire of union, of knitting and coupling with [Page 176] the thing loved, of necessi [...]tie it must be so: for love is such a kinde of affection, it drawes the soule all it can to the thing loved; it hath a magneticall force, the force of a Load-stone. Every one knowes what this meanes.

This affection of love makes us one with that wee love. If a man love the world, hee is a worldling; a man of the world; be­cause affection breeds uni­on: though a man bee ne­ver so base in choosing, whatsoever a man loves, he desires union with it, and being so, hee hath his name from that hee loves: hee that loves the world, is a worldling, an earth-worm. Now if there be the love of [Page 177] God, as in covenant, as a father in Christ, for so we must conceive of GOD, there will bee a desire of fellowship and communi­on with him by all meanes, in the Word and Sacra­ment, &c. If a man desire strangenesse, that he cares not how seldome hee re­ceive the Sacrament, or come into Gods presence, is here love? how can love and strangenesse stand to­gether? thou art a strange person from God, and the things of God, thou hast no joy in his presence, where thou mayest enjoy his pre­sence here in holy things in this world, if thou delight not in his presence, and in union with him, how canst thou say, thou lovest him?

[Page 178] Can a man say he loves him, whose company hee cares not for? Thou carest not for Gods company, thou mayest meete him in the Word and Sacraments, and in good company, Where two or three are gathe­red together, I will be in the middest. Doest thou pre­tend thou lovest GOD, if thou carest not for these? thou hast no fellowship in this businesse: all that rel­lish not heavenly things, they doe not love.

Now to try whether we have this branch of love, that is, a desire of union. Where therefore there is a desire of union with the partie loved, of uniting to that person (for we speake of persons) there wil bee a [Page 179] desire of communion▪ a desire of Vnion will breed a desire of Communion; that is, there will be a course taken to open our mindes: if we have a desire of communi­on with GOD, wee will open our soules often to him in prayer; and we will desire that hee will open himselfe in speaking to our hearts by his Spirit: And wee will desire that he will open his minde to us in his Word: wee will bee care­full to heare his Word, and so maintain that sweet and heavenly Commerce be­tweene him and our soules, by this entercourse of hea­ring him, and speaking to him. Where two or three are gathered together, I will bee in the midst. Therefore th [...]se [Page 180] that make no conscience ei­ther of hearing the word, or of prayer publicke and private, a [...]d of using the glorious libertie wee have in Christ, of free accesse to the Throne of Grace, that doe not use this pre­rogative and priviledge to cherish that union and com­munion they may have with God, they love not God, and Christ▪ Strange­nesse is opposite to love,Strange­nesse is op­posite to lov [...]. and it dissolves, and dis­unites affections; therefore when wee are strange to God, that we can goe from one end of the weeke to the other, and from the be­ginning of the day, to the end of it, & not be acquain­ted with God, and not open our soules to him, it is a [Page 181] signe wee have no love, be­cause there is no desire of union, and communion with him.

Againe, where wee love, we consult and advise, and rest in that advice, as comming from a loving person; especially if he bee as wise as loving: so in all our consultations, wee will goe to God, and take his counsell; and when wee have it, wee will account it the counsell of one that is wise and loving.

Those therefore that trust to their owne wits, to poli­cie, and such like, what doe they speake of love, when they make not use of that Covenant that is betweene God and them? they con­sult not with him, they make [Page 182] not his word, the man of their counsell; they goe not to him by prayer for ad­vice, they commit not their wayes to him,Psal. [...]7. as the Psalmist speaketh.

And this distinguisheth a good Christian from ano­ther man. A good Christi­an hee is such a one as ac­quaints himselfe with his God, and wil not loose that entercourse hee hath with God, for all the world. As Daniel, hee would not but pray, they could not get him from it with the ha­zard of his life.

Againe, where this de­sire of union, and joyning is,Where thi [...] u [...]ion is, there is a desire of death it selfe. there is a desire even of death it selfe, that there may be a fuller union, and a desire of the consummation [Page 183] of all things. Therefore so farre as wee are afraid of death, and tremble at it, so farre we want love. When the contract is once made betweene Christ and the soule of a Christian, for him to feare the making up of the mariage, when wee are now absent from the Lord, to feare the sweet, eternal communion wee shall have in heaven, where we shall have all things in greater excellencie, and a­bundance, it is from want of faith and love. Therefore we should bee ashamed of our selves, when wee finde such thoughts rising in our hearts (as they will natu­rally) to bee basely and dis­trustfully afrayd of death. Saint Paul sayth, I desire to [Page 184] be dissolved, and to bee with Christ, that is good, nay it is much better for mee; nay, it is best of all to bee with Christ: therefore you see it stirred up his desire, I desire to bee dissolved, and to bee with Christ. Revel. 22. Come Lord Iesus, come quickly, sayth the Church, Revel. 22. and the spirit in the Spouse, stirres up this desire like­wise, Come, the Spirit and the Spouse say, Come. And wee should rejoyce to thinke there are happier times to come, wherein there will bee an eternall meeting together that nothing shall dissolve,1 Thess. 4. 17. as the Apostle sayth, 1 Thessal. 4. 17. when wee shall bee for ever with the LORD. Oh! those times cheare up the heart of a [Page 185] Christian before hand.

Now where these things possesse not the soule, how can wee say, that wee love God?Cant. 1. In Cant. 1. the Church beginnes, Let him kisse mee with the kisses of his mouth: shee desires a familiar com­munion with Christ in his word and ordinances, Let him kisse me, &c. Let him speake by his Spirit to my heart. In this world Christ kisseth his Church with the kisses of his mouth. But in the latter end of the Canti­cles, Make haste my beloved; she desires his second coming: thinks it not enough to have the kisses of his mouth, Make haste my beloved, and bee as the young Roes upon the mountaines of Spices, that is, come hastily from [Page 186] heaven, the mountaine of Spices, and let us meet to­gether my beloved. These things be somwhat strange to our carnall dispositions: but if wee hope ever to at­taine to the comfort of what I say, wee must la­bour that our hearts may bee brought to this excel­lent condition,Desire the presence of Christ. to desire the presence of Christ; that is, the second propertie of love.

The third is to rest plea­sed and contented in the thing when wee are joyned with it, so farre as wee are joyned with it, to place our contentment in it, and it is in the nature of that affe­ction to place contentment in the thing wee desire to have, whenwe have it once.

[Page 187] Now wee may know this our contentment, whe­ther wee rest in GOD, or no, by the in ward quiet and peace of the soule in all conditions; when whatsoe­ver our condition be in this world, yet wee know wee have the light of GODS countenance, and can rest, and bee content in it, more than worldly men in their corne, and wine, and oyle, as David sayth, Psalm. 4.Psal. 4. I rejoyce more in the light of thy countenance, than when they have their corne, and wine, and oyle. When wee can joy, and solace our selves with the assurance of Gods favour, and love in Jesus Christ. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, and rejoyce in God, as it is [Page 188] Rom. 5.Rom. 5. wee rejoyce in God as ours.

Therfore those that goe to outward contentments, that run out to them, as if there were not enough in God, and divine things, to content their soules, but they must be beholding to the divell, a [...]d to the flesh, for contentments; this is not to rest in God. Hee is over­covetous whom God can­not content. If we be in co­venant with him, hee is able to fill our soule, and all the corners of it: hee is able to satisfie all the delights and desires of it:God can fill our soules. hee is a graci­ous father in Christ. Whi­ther should wee goe from him for contentment? why should wee goe out of reli­gion to content our selves [Page 189] in [...]vain recreations & plea­sures of sinne for a season, when wee have abundance in God?

And where there is con­tentment, there will be tru­sting in him, and relying up­on him. A man will not re­ly upon riches, or friends, or any thing: for where we place our contentment, we place our trust. So farre as we love God, so farre wee repose affiance and trust in him; he will be our rock, & castle & strength▪ Wouldest thou know whether, thou restest in him or no? In the time of danger, whither doth thy soule run? to thy purse, if thou bee a rich man? or to thy friends if thou bee a worldly minded man? Every man hath his [Page 190] Castle to flye to. But the Name of the Lord is a strong Tower: hee that is a childe of God, flieth thither for refuge, and there hee cove­reth himselfe, and is safe. He enters into those cham­bers of divine providence, and goodnesse, and there he rests in all troubles.

Therefore aske thy affe­ctions whither thou woul­dest runne, if there should come a confusion of all things: when men are apt to say, Oh! what will be­come of us? and they think of this and that: A good Christian hath God to rest in; he hath God reconciled in Christ, and in his love he plants himselfe in life and death. He makes God his habitation and his Castle, as [Page 191] it is Psalm. 18.Psal. 18. I love the Lord dearly, my Rock and my For­tresse. And Moses in Psalm. 90. for his Psalme it is,Psal. 90. Thou hast been our habitation from everlasting to everla­sting. Wee dwell in thee; though in the world we are tossed up and downe, and live and die, yet wee alway dwell with thee. So a Chri­stian hath his contentment, and his habitation in God, he is his house he dwells in, his rocke, his resting place, his centre in which he rests, Come unto mee, and yee shall finde rest to your soules. When a man is beat out of all con­tentments he may know by this, whether he love God, or no: As David when hee was beat out of all, and they were ready to stone [Page 192] him; but hee trusted in the Lord his God. So in losses, and crosses, hast thou con­tentment in God, thou wilt fetch what thou losest out of the love of God; and what thou art crossed in, thou wilt fetch out of Gods love: thou wilt say, this and that is taken from mee, but God is mine, I can fetch more good by faith from him, than I can lose in the world. A soule that is ac­quainted with God, when hee loseth any thing in the world, he can fetch it out of the [...]cuntain and spring. He is taught to love God, he is skilfull this way, to pitch his hope and affiance in God, where he hath enough for all crosses. Let us labour to bring our souls more and [Page 193] more to this, and then wee shal know what it is to love God, by this placing of our contentment in him. Take all from me, sayth holy A [...] ­stin, Augustine▪ so thou leave mee thy selfe: So a Christian can say, take all from mee, so I have God.

Indeed where shall a man have comfort in ma­ny passages of his life, if he finde it not in religion? What will become of a man in this uncertaine world, if hee have not somewhat where hee may place his content? Oh! he will finde before hee die, that hee is a wretched man, hee knowes not where to finde rest, and contentment before he die; hee will bee beat out of all his holds here, either by [Page 194] sicknesse, or one thing or other.

The fourth and last is, where the true affection of love to God is, it stirs up the soule to give all content­ment to God, to doe all things that may please him. Se [...] what God loves, delight in that, and provide it for him. This is the nature of love, it stirs up to please the partie loved. Isaacks sons saw that their father loved Venison, therfore they provided ve­nison for him. Those that know what God loves, will provide what they can, that that God may delight in. He loves a humble, and a belie­ving heart. Thou hast woun­ded me with one of thine eyes. The eye of faith, when the soule can trust in the word, & humbly go out of it self: his delight is in a broken [Page 195] yeelding heart, that hardnes not it selfe against his in­structions, but yeelds. A broken heart that lies low, & heares all that God saith, Oh, it is a sacrifice that God is much delighted in: a humble spirit is such a spirit as God dwels in. He that dwels in the highest heavens, Isai. 65. dwels in a humble spirit. Doth God de­light in a meeke, broken, humble spirit? Oh, then it will be the desire of a Chri­stian to have such a spirit as God may delight in. A meeke soule is much estee­med, the hidden man of the heart is much prized; search in Gods word what hee de­lights in, and let us labour to bring our selves to such a condition as God may de­light in us, and we in him, & [Page 196] then it is a signe wee love him, when wee labour to procure all things that may give him content. You know that love where it is, it stirres up the affections of the partie to remove all things that are distastfull to the partie it loves. There­fore it is a neat affection; for it will make those neat, that otherwise are not so, because it will not offend: much more this divine hea­venly affection, when it is set on a right object, upon God, it is a neat, cleanly af­fection, it will purge the soule, it will worke upon the soule a desire to bee cleane,Love [...] will purge your heart. as much as can bee, because God is a pure, holy God, and it will have no fel­lowship with the workes of [Page 197] darknesse. Therfore as much as humane frailtie will per­mit, the soule that loves God, it will studie puritie, to keep it selfe unspotted of the world. It will not wil­lingly cherish any sinne that may offend the Spirit. Those therefore that are carelesse of their wayes, and carriage, and affections, that make nothing of polluting, and defiling their affecti­ctions, and their wayes, there is not the love of God in their hearts. It stirres up shame to be offensive, in the eyes of such a one, especi­ally if they be great, there is both love and respect meet together, where it is a reve­rentiall love with respect, there is a shame to bee in a base, filthy, displeasing cōdition. [Page 198] God hates pride and idola­try, &c. therefore a man that loves God, will hate I­dols, and all false doctrine, and worship that tends this way: his heart will rise a­gainst them; because hee knows God hates it, and all that take that course; he ob­serves what is most offen­sive to God, and hee will a­voyd it, and seeke what is pleasing to him.

God and Christ are won­drously pleased with faith. Thou ha [...]t wounded mee with one of thine eyes. Love from faith woun­deth the breast of Christ. Faith, and love from faith wounds the breast of Christ: therefore let us labour for faith. Oh woman, great is thy faith. It it is such a grace, as bindes and overcomes God, it ho­nours him so much. Let us [Page 199] ther [...]fore labour for faith, and in believing for all gra­ces: they are things that God loves, therefore let us labour to be furnished with all things that he loves, e­specially those graces that have some excellencie set upon them in the Scripture, wee should most esteeme. Isaac when he was to marry Rebecca, he sends her jewels beforehand, that having them, shee might bee more lovely in his eye. So Christ, the husband of his Church, that hee might take more delight and content in his Church, hee sends her Iew­els before hand, that is, hee enricheth his Church with the spirit of faith, meeknes, humilitie and love, and all graces, that he may delight, [Page 200] and take content in his Spouse. Those that have not somwhat that God may d [...]light in them, they have not the spirit of love. Those therfore that rebell in stead of giving God content, that resist the Spirit, and the mo­tions of it, in the ministery, and in reprehension, and the like: those that live in sinnes directly against Gods command, that are com­mon swearers, and filthy persons, neglecters of holy things, prophane, godlesse persons; doe they talke of the love of God, and of heaven? you may see the filthinesse of their hearts, by the filthiness that issues from them. God keepes not such excellencies for such persons: the love of [Page 201] God, and living in sinnes a­gainst conscience, will not stand together. A demon­stration of love is, exhibitio operis, the exhibition of somewhat to pleas [...] God. Shew me in thy course what thou doest to please God. If thou live in courses that are condem red, never talke of love. It is a pitti­full thing, to see in the bo­so [...]e of the Church, under the glorious revelation of divine Truth, that men should live apparantly, and impudently in sins against conscience, that glory in in theirshame. It is a strange thing that they should glo­ry in their prophanenesse, and swaggering, that they should glory in a kinde of Atheistical carriage: as [Page 202] they have beene bred, so they will bee still. Many are marred in that, they are either poysoned in their first breeding, or neglected in it.

To see under the glo­rious Gospel of Christ, that those that thinke they have soules eternall, that they should live in impudēt base courses, voyd of re­ligion and humanitie, one­ly to satisfie their owne lu [...]ts, in stead of satisfy­ing and obeying GOD; men that live in the bo­some of the Church, as beasts, and yet hope to be saved as well as the best: Oh! but the hope of the hypocrite, the hope of such persons will deceive them.

Oh! let us labour there­fore [Page 203] to have this affection of love planted in our hearts; that God by his spi­ [...]it would teach us to love him, and to love one ano­ther. This affection of love must bee taught by God, it is not a matter of the braine to teach that, but a matter of the heart. God only is the great Schoolmast [...]r and teacher of the heart, he must not onely command us to love, but teach our af­fections by his holy Spirit, to enable our affections to love him.

Where love is in this re­gard likewise to give con­tent, there will bee love of all those whom the partie we approve our selves to, loves. Is there any of Iona­thans posterity, saith David, [Page 204] that I may doe good to them for his sake. The soule that loves God, and Christ, sayth, Is there any good people, any that car­ry the image of God, and Christ? it will bee sure to love them, it will doe good to Ionathans posteritie. Those that hate them that carry the image of God, and Christ, that their sto­macke riseth against good men; how do they love him that begets when they love not him that is begotten? There cannot be the love of God in such a man: undoubted­ly if we love God, wee shall love his children, and any thing that hath Gods stamp upon it: wee shall lov [...] his truth, and his cause, and re­ligion, and, whatsoever is [Page 205] divine,If we love God, wee shall love whatever is divine, or touch­eth on God. and toucheth upon God, wee shall love it, be­cause it is his. It is such an affection as sets the soule on worke to thinke, wherein may I give content to such a person? It is full of devi­ces & inventions to please: therefore [...]t thinkes, can I give consent in loving such, and such? as Christ sayth, he that respects these little ones it is to me, it is accoun­table on my part, I will see it answered. If the love of Christ be in us, wee will re­gard this because wee will thinke, Christ will regard me for the good I doe for his sake, and in his name, to this and that partie. Thus we see how we may try this sweet aff [...]ction, and not de­ceive our owne soules.

[Page 206] And therefore where there is a desire of giving content, there will bee a zeale against all things, to remove all things in our places, and callings, that may offend: it will carry us through all difficulties, to please him, it will make us willing to suffer. I will please him, by suffering some indignitie for his cause. I will doe it, that I may ingage his affection to mee. Therefore the Disciples gloried in this, when they were thought worthy to suffer for Christs sake. Where there is a de­sire to please God, it is so farre from being asha­med, or afraid to suffer, that it joyes in this: Oh! now there is, occasion given to [Page 207] shew that God respects me more, if I, for his sake, stand out in his quarrel, and breake through all difficul­ties.

It will make us please him in all things that wee are capable, in all things that we can doe any way in our standings; as Christ de­scribes it out of Moses, to love God with all our minde, with all our soule, and with all our strength, where love is, it sets all on worke to please, and give content. It sets the minde on worke to studie, wherein shall I please God? and it will stu­dy Gods truth, and not serve him by our owne in­ventions: Love to God, studies how to please God. wee must serve and love GOD after his minde; that is, as hee hath [Page 208] commanded. It will set the wits on work to understand how he will be served, and to love him with all our soule, & with all our heart, that is with all our heart, that is with the marrow and strength of our affections, with all my strength, bee a man what hee will be; if hee bee a Magistrate, with the strength of his magistracy, if he be a minister, with the strength of his ministeriall calling: in any [...]ndition I must love him, with al that that condition inableth me to. For it is a commanding affection, and being so it commands all within and without to give content to the person loved: it com­mands the wit to devise, and the memorie to retaine good things; it commands [Page 209] joy, and delight, it com­mands anger to remove hindrances: and so all out­ward actions, love com­mands the doing of all things, it sets all on worke. It is a most active affection, it is like to fire, it is compa­red to it, it sets all on worke and commands all that man is able to doe. Therefore those that studie not in all their indeavours according to their callings and places according to every thing that God hath intrusted them with,Studie in thy place how to put forth the best of [...]hy indevours to please God. to please God, and to honour him in their conditions, they love not God.

What a shame is it, that when God hath given us such a sweet affection as love, that hee should not [Page 210] have our love againe? when wee make our selves happy in loving him. He is happy in his owne love, the father, Sonne, and holy Ghost, but when hee intends to make us happy, it is a shame that wee should not bestow our affections upon him.

Much might bee sayd to this purpose for the triall of our selves whether we love God, or no. Let us not then forget these things: for it is the command both of the old and new Testa­ment, they run both upon love. I give you a new Com­mand, sayth Christ, and yet it is no new command, but old and ordinarie. But it is commanded now in the Gospell; that is, it is renew­ed by new experiments of [Page 211] Gods love in Christ, that we should love him, as hee hath lo­ved us, which is wonder­fully; that wee should love him, and love one another. And all this is in this affecti­on, as we see when the ho­ly Ghost would set out the disposition and qualifi­cation of such, as those great things are prepared for, that neither eye hath seen, nor care heard, nor hath en­tred into the heart of man, hee sets it downe by this, They are for those that love him.


SERMON the fourth.

1 COR. 2. 9.‘As it is written eye hath not seene, nore care heard, nor hath entred into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him.’

THat which hath already been sayd should force us to begge the Spirit of God to teach the heart, to [Page 2] teach us the things them­selves the inside of them: for a spirituall holy man hath a spirituall knowledge of outward things, of the crea­tures, hee fees another man­ner of thing in the creature then other men doe. As an­other man hath a naturall knowledge of spirituall things, so a holy man hath a spirituall knowledge even of the ordinary Workes of God, and rayseth, and ex­tracts a quintessence out of them, that a worldly man cannot see to glorifie God, and to buyld up his faith in the sense of Gods favour, &c. This I adde by the way to that.

But the highest perfor­mance of this that there are [Page 3] things provided for Gods people, that neither eye hath seene, nor eare hath heard, &c. It is reserved for another World: for the promises of the Gospell have then their fulfilling indeed. These words are true of the state of the Gospell here now: but they have their accomplish­ment in Heaven, for what­soever is begun here, is ended there: peace, begun here, is ended there; joy that is be­gunne here, it shal bee ended there; Communion of Saints that is begun here, it shall be ended there; Sanctification that is begun here, it shall be ended there: so all graces shall be perfect, and all pro­mises performed then. That is the time indeed when [Page 4] God shall discover things that neither eye hath seene, nor eare heard &c. In the meane time, let us learne to beleive them, and to live by faith in them, that the [...]e are such things.

And GOD resetves not all [...]or another World, but gives his Children a tast of those things before hand to com­fort th [...]m in their distresses in this world; as indeed there is nothing in this world of great­er use, and comfort to rayse them, then the beginnings of Heaven upon earth: a little peace, & joy in the holy ghost will make a man swallow all the discontents in the world. Now God is so far good to us, as that he lets us have som [...] drops of these things before. [Page 5] hand to rayse up our spirits, that by a tast we may know what great things hee hath reserved for us: but of these things, and the use of them I spake before.

We came then to speake of the qualificatiō of the persons

For them that love him.

Not that we love God first, and then God prepares these things for us: but God pre­pares them, and acquaints us what he meanes to doe with us, and then we love him. A christian knowes before, what title he hath in Christ to Hea­ven, and then he works: he knowes Christ hath wrought salvation for him, and then he workes out his salvation in a course tending to salvation in a course tending to salvation: for there must be working [Page 6] in a course tending to the possession of salvation, that CHRIST hath purchased, wee must not worke, and thinke by it to merit Hea­ven: wee know wee have Heaven, and those great things in the Title of Christ, and then wee fall on loving, and working. There is a cleane contrary order, be­tweene us, and those merci­naries, they invert the order of God, for, for whom God hath prepared these things, hee discovers them to the eye of faith, and then faith works by love: this I adde by the way.

Now he sets downe this description of those persons for whom these excellent things are prepared, by this [Page 7] affection of love, by this grace of love, as being the fittest for that purpose to describe a Christian. Faith is not so fit, because it is not so discernable; we may know our love, when wee cannot know our Faith. Oft times those that are excellent Christians, they doubt whe­ther they beleive or no: but aske them, whether they love God, and his truth, and chil­dren or no? oh yes! they doe. Now God intending to comfort us, sets out such an affection, as, a Christian may best discerne: for of all af­fections, we can discerne best of our love. But to come to the affection it selfe, there are 3. things in love.

[Page 8] There is the

  • Affection,
  • Passion,
  • Grace,

of love wee speake of the grace here.

The affection is naturall.

The passion is the excesse of the naturall affection, when it over flowes its bound.

Grace is the rectifying of the naturall affection, and the elevating, and raysing it up to a higher object then nature can pitch on. The Spirit of God turnes nature into grace, and workes cor­ruption, and passion out of nature, and passion out of nature, and elevates, and ray­seth that, which is naturally good, the affection of love, to be a grace of love, hee rayseth it up to love GOD (which nature cannot dis­cover) [Page 9] by spiritualizing of it, hee makes it the most excellent grace of all. So that while I speake of the love of God, thinke not that I speake of the meet aff [...]cti­on, but of the affection that hath a stamp of grace up­on it: for affections are graces, when they are sa [...]cti­fied. And indeed all graces (set illu [...]ination a side which is in the understanding) spring from this. What is true grace, but joy, and love and delight in the best things, and all others spring from love? What doe wee hate, but what is opposite to that we love? and when are we angry, but when that we love is opposed, and wronged? Then there is a ho [...]y [Page 10] zeale: so that indeed all grace is in the aff [...]ctions, and all affections are in this one primitive affection, this first borne, and bred affection, love. I speake of it then as a speciall grace. Now the way of discerning of it wee heard partly before. The way to discerne of this sanctifi­ed affection, this grace, is to know what wee esteeme: for love it is from an estima­tion. And likewise in the second place esteeme breeds a desire of union. And de­sire of union breeds content in the thing, when wee have it. And contentment in the person breeds desire of con­tenting backe againe. These things I stood on, and will not presse further.

[Page 11] Let us examine, and trie our selves oft by our affecti­ons, how they stand biassed, and poynted, whether to God, and heaven whether to God, and heaven ward, or to the world: for we are, as we love. For what wee love, we (as it were) marry; and if wee joyne our love to baser things, we marry baser things and so debase our selves: if wee joyne in our affecti­ons to things above our selves, to God, and spirituall things, we become spirituall as they are. So that a man stands in the World be­tweene two goods, somewhat that is better then himselfe, and something that is mea­ner; and thereafter as hee joynes in his affections, there­after hee is: for the af­fection [Page 12] of love to God, and to the best things makes him exellent; and his affection to baser things make him base. Let a man be never so great in the World, if his affections to base, he is a base person: therefore wee have the more need [...]o trie our af­fections.

But to answere some cases breifly.

It will be objected, may we not love any thing but God, and holy things? may we not love the Creatures, because it is here specified as a note of those, that these things are prepared for those that love God?

Yes; we may love them, as we see somewhat of God [Page 13] in them; as every creature hath somewhat of GOD in them; whereupon GOD hath the style of every crea­ture that hath good in it. Hee is called a Fountaine, a Rocke, a Shield, every thing that is good: to shew that the Creatures, every one hath somewhat of GOD; hee would not have taken the style of the Creature else. We may love the Creature as it hath somewhat of GOD in it, a being, or comfor­table being, or somewhat, and as it conveyes the love of God to us, and leads us back againe to God. There is no Creature, but it convey [...]s, some love, and beames, & ex­cellency of God to us, in some kinde, and leads us to God: [Page 14] so we may love other things. We may love men and love GOD in them, and love them for God, to bring them to God, to leave a holy impression in them, to bee like God, there is no question of this: but the love of God that is the spring of all.

But it will bee sayd by some weake conscience, how shall I know I love God, when I love the world, and worldly things? I love my children, and other things (perhaps that are not ill) I feare I love them more then God.

We must know for this, that when two streames run in one channell, they runne stronger then one streame, [Page 15] when a man loves other good things; nature goes with grace, so nature going with grace, the streame is strong: but when a man loves God and Christ, and heavenly things, there is grace only, nature yeilds nothing to that. When a man loves his children or his intimate friends, &c. Nature going with grace, it is no wonder, if the streame bee stronger when two streames runne in one. So corruption in ill actions oft times carry the affections strong. As in many of our loves there is somewhat naturall, that is good, yet there is some cor­ruption, as to love a man for ill; here nature, and cor­ruption is strong: but in [Page 16] supernaturall things grace goes alone.

Then againe we must not judge by an indeliberate pas­sion, by what our affection is carried suddenly, and in­deliberately to: for so wee may joy more in a sudden thing, then in the best things of all, as in the sight of a friend there may bee a sudden affection: but the love of GOD it is a constant streame, it is not a Torrent but a Current, that runnes all our life-time: therefore those affections to GOD, and heavenly things in a Christian they are perpetuall; they make no great noyse perhaps, but they are perpetuall in the hear [...] of a Christian: a [Page 17] sudden Torrent, and passion [...]nay transport a man, but yet he may have a holy and heavenly heart. I speake this for comfort.

I, but my love to God is faint and little.

Well, but it is a heaven­ly sparke, and hath divini­ty in it; it is from Heaven, and is growing, and vigorous and efficacious: and a little heavenly love, will wast all carnall love at length, it is of so vigorous, and con­stant a nature. It is fed still by the spirit; and a little that is fedde, and main­tained, that is growing, that hath a blessing in it, (as the love of God in the hearts of his hath: for God continually [Page 18] cherrisheth his owne be­ginning) that little shall never be quenched, but shall overgrow nature at length; and eate out corruption, and all contrary love whatso­ever. Though for the pre­sent wee see corruption over­power, and oppresse grace: yet the love of God being a divine sparke, and there­fore being more powerfull (though it bee little) then the contrary, it hath a blessing in it to grow till at length it consume all. For love is like fire; as in other pro­perties so in this, it wasts, and consumes the contrary; and rayseth up to Heaven, and quickens, and enlivens the persons, as fire doth: and it makes lightsome [Page 19] dead bodies, it transformes them all into fire like it selfe. So the love of God by little and little trans­formes us all to bee fiery, it transformes us to be lovers. These cases needed a little touching to satisfie some, that are good, and growing christians, and must have some satisfaction.

But it may bee asked a­gaine, (as indeed wee see it is true,) what is the rea­son that sometime meaner Christians have more lo­ving soules, then great Schollers, men of great parts? one would thinke that know­ledge should increase love, and affection.

So it doth if it be a cleare knowledge; but great wits [Page 20] and pates and great Schol­lers busie themselves about questions, and intricacies, and so they are not so much about the affections A poore Christian oft times takes those things for gran­ted, that they study, and dispute, and canvasse, and question: there is a hea­venly light in his soule that God is my Father in Christ, and Christ God and man is my Mediator hee takes it for granted, and so his affections are not troubled; whereas the other having corruption answerable to his parts, great wit, and great corruption, he is tang­led with doubts, and argu­ments; he studies to informe his brayne, the other to be [Page 21] heated in his affections. A poore Christian, cares not for cold nicities that heate not the heart, and affections; he takes these for granted if they be propounded in the Scripture; instead of disput­ing, h [...]e beleives, and loves, and obeys; and that is the rea­son that many a po [...]re soule goes to Heaven with a great deale of joy, when others are tangled, and wrapped in their owne doubts: so much for satisfying of these things. To goe on therefore to give a few directions how to have this heavenly fire kindled in us, to love God, considering such great things are provi­ded for those that love God, It is a matter of consequence, as we desire Heaven we must [Page 22] desire this holy fire to bee kindled in us.

Let us know for a ground (as it were) that it is our duty to aime at the high­est pitch of love that wee can, and not to rest in the lowest. The lowest pitch of loving GOD, is to love GOD because he is good to us, that is good, the Scriptures stoupes so low as to allow that, God would have us love him, and holy things for the benefit wee have by them: but that is mercinarie if we rest there: but God stoupes to allure us by promises, and favours, though wee must not rest there But we must love God, not for our selves, but labour to rise to this pitch, to love [Page 23] our selves in God; and to see that we have happinesse in God, and not in our selves; our being is in him, we must love our selves in him, and be content to be lost in God: that is, so to love God, that if he should cast us away (his kindnesse is better then life) doe others what they will we will love him, and our selves for his excellencies, and because we see our selves in him, and are his children, we must labour to rise to that, and that is the highest pitch that we can attaine to, we must know that for a ground.

And know this for a­nother, that when we speake of the love of God, we speake of love incorporate into [Page 24] our conversations, and actions, not of an abstracted love and affection; but of love in our places, and callings, and standings, love invested into action. Therefore the Scripture sayth wee must love God, with all our minde with all our heart, with all our power, and strength, that is, in our particular places. To make it cleare. When we speake of love to God, we speake of love to him in our particular callings. He loves God that is a Ma­gistra [...]e, and executes justic [...] for Gods Sake; and he that is a Minister, and teacheth the people conscionably for Gods Sake, and shewes them the way to Heaven. He loves God as a man in the [Page 25] common Wealth, a states man, &c. That in that place seekes the glory of GOD, and the good of the Church, and Religion. Shall men talke of love to GOD, and their affections are stirred up I know not where­about? No, it is an affecti­on that is discovered in actions.

How can wee love God with all our might, except as farre as our might ex­tends our love extends? How farre doth thy activitie, thy power, thy sphere, that thou canst doe any thing, stretch? so farre must thy love, and thou must shew thy love in all the powers, and abilities that God hath fur­nished thee with.

[Page 26] For a man that hath great place, and opportu­nity to doe good, and to thinke it enough onely to love God in his Closet, &c. This is not the love wee speake of. A man must love God with all his might, as hee stands invested in relation this way or that way.

The love of God in a pri­vate man, will not serve for a Magistrate, or a publik man: hee must shew hi love in his place by stand­ing in the gappe, to hin­der all the ill, and to doe all the good hee can, every man must doe so, but such a one more especially, be­cause God hath tru [...]ed him with more; Well, these [Page 27] things premised, to come to some directions how to come to love God?

First of all, the way to love God is to have a hea­venly light, to discover what wee are in our selves, and our emptinesse: for be­ing as we are, we can ne­ver love God till wee see in what need wee stand of his favour, and grace, that wee are damned Creatures else.

Now when we come to have our eyes opened to see our sinfulnesse, and empti­nesse, we will make out to God, and make out to his mercy in CHRIST above all things. Indeed the first love is the love of depen­dance before we come to a [Page 28] love of friendship, and com­placency with God: a love to goe out to him, and to depend upon him for mer­cy, and grace, and all. A love that riseth from the sense of our misery, and goes to him for supply.

There is a sweet con­currence of misery, and mercie; of emptinesse, and fulnesse; of beggery, and riches.

Now when wee see our owne misery, and beggery, and sinfulnesse, and then a fulnesse in God to supply, of riches to enrich us every way, then this breeds a love; this is the way to all other loves that follow. And where this is not premised, and goes before, a man [Page 29] will never delight in God. In Luke 7. That good wo­man she loved much, why? much was forgiven her, many sinnes were forgiven her.

So when the soule shall see what need it hath of forgiving mercy, of pardo­ning mercy, and how many great debts GOD hath for­given us in CHRIST, there will bee a great deal of love because there is a great deal forgiven. And we must begin indeed with seeing the infinite mercy of GOD before any other at­tribute of God, and then we shall love him after. This is the first thing. There is no soule that ever loves God so, as the poore soule [Page 30] that hath been abased with the sense of sinne, and its emptinesse [...]at it is empty of all goodnesse, and then sees a supply in the mercy of GOD in Christ; those soules love GOD above all.

Another way to love God, is to consider of his won­derfull goodnesse, to me­ditate, and thinke of it, he is good, and doth good, it is a Communicative good­nesse. Let us thinke of his goodnesse, and the strea­ming of it our to the Crea­ture. The whole Earth is full of the goodnesse of the Lord. What are all the Creatures, but Gods good­nesse? Wee can see no­thing but the goodnesse of [Page 31] God, what is all the Crea­tures but Deus explicatus, God unfolded to our sen­ses? he offers himselfe to our bodies, and soules, all is Gods goodnesse.

And then see this good­nesse fitted to us, it is a fit goodnesse that comes from God, he is good, and doth good, and so fitly, he proportions his goodnesse: for hee hath fitted every part of us, soule, and body with goodnesse, all the sen­ses with goodnesse: what doe we see but goodnesse in colours? What doe we heare but his good in those delights that come that way? We tast, and feele his goodnesse, against the cold we have cloathing in [Page 32] hunger, wee have food, in all necessities in all exigences wee have fit con­siderations of God for all necessities whatsoever out­ward.

But then for our soules, what food hath he for that? the death of CHRIST his owne sonne to feed our soules. The soule is a spiri­tuall substance, and hee thought nothing good e­nough to feed it but his own sonne; wee feed on Gods love in giving CHRIST to death, and on CHRISTS love in giving himselfe to death.

The soule being con­tinually troubled with the guilt of some sinne or other, it feeds on this, it is nou­rished [Page 33] with CHRIST every day more, and more, especi­ally at the Sacrament. Thus we see how GOD hath fit­ted his goodnesse to us. And then in particular dan­gers, how hee fits us with severall deliverances, so sea­sonably, as we may see Gods love in it.

Then as GODS good­nesse is great, and fit, so it is neare us; it is not a goodnesse a farre off, but GOD followes us with his goodnesse in whatso­ever condition wee bee: hee applies himselfe to us, and hee hath taken upon him neare relations, that hee might bee neare us in goodnesse, hee is a Father, and every where▪ [Page 34] to maintaine us. Hee is a Husband, and every where to helpe; hee is a friend, and every where to comfort, and counsell: so his love it is a neare love: therefore hee hath taken upon him the nearest relations, that we may never want God, and the testimonies of his love.

And then againe this goodnesse of God which is the object of love, it is a free goodnesse meerely from himselfe, and an o­verflowing goodnesse, and an everlasting goodnesse, it is never drawn drie, hee loves us unto life everlast­ing: he loves us in this World, and followes us with signes of his love in [Page 35] all the parts of us, in body, and soule, till hee hath brought body, and soule to Heaven to enjoy him­selfe for ever there. These, and such like considerati­ons may serve to stirre us up to love God, and direct us how to love God.

Benefits will worke up­on a beast as it is Isaiah [...]. Heare oh Heavens, and hearken oh earth, [...] 1. the Oxe knoweth his owner, and the Asse his Masters Cribbe: but my people have forgotten mee.

Proud men become ba­ [...]er, and more brute then the very brutes: benefits will moove the very brute Creatures. So I say these favours to us in particuler [Page 36] should moove us, except wee will bee more brute, then the brutes them­selves.

Especially to moove us all, consider some par­ticularities of favours to us more then to others: for specialties doe much increase love, and res­pect.

Consider how God hath followed thee with good­nesse outwardly, when o­thers have beene neglected. Thou hast a place in the World, and Riches, and Friends, when many other excellent persons want all these. There are some common favours to all Christians: as the favour wee have in CHRIST, [Page 37] forgivenesse of sins, Sancti­fication, and such other favours. But there bee some specialties of Devine pro­vidence, whereby it ap­peares that GODS provi­dence hath watched over us in some particulars more then others, those bee speciall ingagements. And is there any of us that cannot say that GOD hath dealt specially in give­ing them some mercie more then to others? I adde this therefore to the rest.

Againe to help [...] us to stirre up this grace of love, consider those ex­amples of loveing, of those that have then lived in former times: take [Page 38] David, and Paul, and o­ther holy men. David won­ders at his owne love. Lord how doe I love thy Law? And have wee not more cause comparing the grounds of our affection, when wee have more then they in those times? What, did hee wonder at his love of GODS Law, when the Canon was so short? they had onely Moses, and some few Bookes; and wee have the Canon inlarged, wee have both the old, and new Testament: shall not wee say much more, how doe I love thy Law, thy Gospell, and Divine truthes? This should shame us, when they in darke times so loved the truth of [Page 39] GOD, and wee see all cleare and open, and yet are cold?

Likewise it is good in this case to converse with those, that are affectio­nate: as face answereth face, so spirit answers spirit, as Iron sharpneth Iron, so one sharpens another. Conver­sation with cold ones will make one cold. For the a­bundance of iniquitie, the love of many shall wax cold. Conversing with sinfull cold people casts a dampe upon us: but let us labour, if we will bee wise for our soules, when wee finde any coldnesse of affection, to converse with those that have sweete, and heavenly affections, it will mer­vaylously [Page 40] worke upon our hearts.

I might say much this way to stirre us up, and direct us how to love God.

But indeed nothing will so much inable us to love God, as a new nature: nature will love without provocation: the fire will burne, because it is fire; and the water will moysten, because it is wa­ter; and a holy man will love holy things, because hee is holy: a spirituall soule will love spirituall things, because hee is spirituall: therefore be­sides all, adde this that our natures bee changed more, and more, that they be sanctified, and circumcis­ed [Page 41] as God hath promised, I will circumcise your hearts, that yee may love me. There must bee a circumcised heart to love God, wee must bee sanctified to love God: for if nature bee not re­newed, there cannot bee this new Commandement of love; Why is love called a new Commande­ment, and an old Commande­ment?

It is called old for the Letter, because it was a command in Moses time, thou shalt love the Lord with all thy soule. But now it is a new Commandement: because there is abun­dance of spirit given by CHRIST, and the spi­rit sanctifies us, and writes [Page 24] this affection in our hearts. It was written in stone be­fore: but now it is written in our hearts by the spirit. And now there are new in­centives, and motives to love, since CHRIST came, and gave himselfe for us, new incouragments, and provo­cations to love, therefore it is a new Commandement, from new grounds, and mo­tions that are more a great deale then before Christ. But there must be a new heart to obey this new command of love; the old heart will never love.

Therefore we must with all the meanes that may be used, begge the spirit of sanctification, especially, beg the discovery of Gods love [Page 43] to us: for our love is but a reflection of Gods love: we cannot love God except he love us first: now our love being a reflection of Gods love, we must desire that he would give us his spirit, to reveale his love: that the spirit being a witnesse of Gods love to us, may there­upon be a spirit of love, and sanctification in us.

And let us labour to grow more in the assurance of Gods love, and all the evidences of it, let us dwell long in the meditation of these things, the dwelling in the meditation of Gods love, it will make us to love him a­gaine: as many beames in a burning glasse, meeting to­gether they cause a fire [Page 44] many thoughts of the many fruites of Gods love in this World, and what hee in­tends us in the World to come, our hearts dwelling on them, these beames will kindle a holy fire in our hearts.

Many are troubled with cold affections, and wish oh! that they could love! they forget the way how to love, they will not meditate; and if they doe meditate they thinke to worke love out of their owne hearts, They may as well worke fire out of a Flint, and water out of a stone: our hearts are a barren Wil­dernesse. Therefore let us begge the spirit that God would alter our hearts, with [Page 45] meditation and all other helpes: that God would sanctifie us, and discover his love to us, and that hee would give us his spirit (for hee doth the one where he doth the other,) when God doth so, then wee shall bee enabled to love him. Wee must not thinke to bring love to God, but we must fetch love from God, wee must light our Candle at his fire: thinke of his love to us, and begge the spirit of love from him, love is a fruit of the spirit That is the course wee ought to take, for GOD will teach our hearts to love.

Now to stirre us up the more, to adde some motives, [Page 46] and incouragments to labour more to get this affection. Let us consider seriously that without this love or God we are dead, and what­soever comes from us it is still-borne, it is dead: with­out love wee are nothing, without love all that comes from us is nothing, without love I am as a tinkling Cym­ball sayth Paul. For a man to be nothing in Religion, and all that comes from him to be dead, and still-borne, to bee abortive actions who would bee in such a cafe? Therefore let us labour be­fore we doe any thing that is good to have our hearts kindled with the love of God, and then we shall be somebody, and that that we [Page 47] doe will be acceptable, for love sweetens all performan­ces. It is not the action, but the love in the action: as from God it is not the dead favour that comes from him that comforts the soule of a Christian so much, as the love, and sweetnesse of God in the favour, that is better then the thing it selfe, when we have favour from God in outward favours; Consider the sweetnesse tast and see how gracious the Lord is Psal. 34.Psal. 34. The tast of the love and favour of God in the bles­sing is better then the thing is selfe, for it is but a dead thing. And so from us back againe to God, what are the things wee performe to him? they are dead: but [Page 48] when they are sweetned with the affection of love, done to him as a father in Christ, he tasts our performances as sweet; love makes all wee doe to have a relish, and all that he doth to us: therefore wee should labour for this sweet affection.

And with all consider, that we may be called to doe many things in this World; surely there are none of us but wee have many holy actions to performe, wee have many things to suffer, and indure in the World, many temptations to resist; what shall, or will carry us through all? Nothing, but love; if we have loving, and gracious hearts, this affecti­on will carry us through [Page 49] all good actions, through all oppositions and temptati­ons: for love is strong as death. Considering therefore that there are so many things that will require this affection, this blessed wing, and winde of the soul, to carry us along in spight of all that is con­trary, through all oppositi­on, let us labour for love, and that affection will car­ry us through all. Indeed if we have that, it is no matter what a man suffers: a man can never be miserable that hath this affection of love; if this heavenly fire be kind­led in him, he cannot be mi­serable, take him in what condition you will, take him upon the wrack. S. Paul in the dungen sung at midnight [Page 50] in the dungeon, in the stocks, at an uncomfortable time, and place, when he had been misused, his heart was inlar­ged to sing to God out of love. Nay every thing increa­seth it; the things we suffer, increaseth this flame: let a man love God, whatsoever he suffers in a good cause it in­creaseth his love, hee shall find his love increased with it; the more hee loves the more he can suffer, and the more he suffers the more he loves God, and the more he increaseth in a joyfull ex­pectation of the times to come: and love is alway with joy & hope, and other sweet affections; it drawes joy with it alwayes, and hope of bet­ter things; and as joy in­creaseth, [Page 51] and hope increaseth, so a mans happinesse increa­seth in this World. There­fore it is no matter what a man suffers that hath a gra­cious, and loving heart, en­larged by the Spirit of God: let him never thinke of what he suffereth of paine, of los­ses, and crosses, if God dis­cover his fatherly breast, and shine on him in Christ, and he looke on God reconciled, and tast of the joyes of Hea­ven before hand: if you tell him of sufferings, you tell him of that that incourag­eth him. It is an argument I might be long in, and to great purpose: for if we get this holy fire kindled once, we shall need little exhortation to other duties, it would [Page 52] set us on worke to all, and like the fire of the Sanctuary that never went out: so it is such an affection, that if it bee once kindled in the heart it will never out. It is a kinde of miracle in ill when we love other things besides God, baser then our selves; it is as much as if a River should turne backward. For man that is an excellent Creature, to be carried with the streame of his affecti­on to things worse then himselfe, it is a kind of mon­ster for a man to abuse his understanding so. What a base thing is it for a man to suffer such a sweete streame as love a holy current to run into a sinke? who would turne a sweete streame into a [Page 53] sinke, and not rather into a garden? into a sweet place, to refresh that? Our love is the best thing in the World, and who deserves it better then God, and Christ? we can never returne any thing, but this affection of love, wee may againe. And can wee place it better then upon de­vine things, whereby we are made better our selves? doth God require our affections for himselfe? No; it is to make us happy. It advan­ceth our affection to love him, it is the turning of it in­to the right streame. It is the making of us happy that God requires it. For consider all things that may deserve this affection. It will keepe us from all sin: what is any [Page 54] sin, but the abuse of love? for the crookednesse of this af­fection turnes us to present things that is the cause of all sinne. For what is all sin, but pleasure, and honours, and profits the 3. Idolls of the World? all sin, is about them. And what are all good acti­ons but love well place [...]? the well ordering of this affecti­on is the well ordering of our lives, and the misplacing of this affection is the cause of all sinne.

And to make us the more carefull this way, consider that when wee place our af­fections upon any thing else, consider the vanity of it; we loose our love, and the thing, and our selves. For whatso­ever else wee love, if we love [Page 55] not God in it, and love it for God; it will perish, and come to nothing ere long. The af­fection perisheth with the thing, we loose our affecti­ons, and the thing, and loose our selves too misplaceing of it. These are forcible con­siderations with understand­ing persons. And if we would use our understanding, and consideration, and meditati­on, and our soules, as wee should, to consider of the grounds, and incouragments we have to love God, and the best things whereby we may be dignified above our selves, it would not be as it is: we should not bee so devoyd of grace, and comfort. It was a miracle that the 3. yong men should bee in the mid­dest [Page 56] of the furnace, and bee there as if they were in ano­ther place, no hotter. And it is a miracle that men should be in the middest of all in­couragements that we have to love God: as there is not the like reasons for any thing in the World to keepe our soules in a perpetuall heat, of affection to love God; no motives, or arguments, or in­centives, all are nothing to the multitude of arguments, we have to inflame our af­fections: and yet to be cold in the middest of the fire, it is a kind of a miracle, to have darke understandings, and dead affections: that not­withstanding all the heavenly meanes we have to keepe a perpetuall flame of love to [Page 57] God, yet to be cold, and darke in our soules: let us bewayle it, and be ashamed of it.

What doe we professe our selves? Christians, heires of Heaven, so beloved of God as that he gave his owne Sonne to deliver us, being rebells, and enemies, in so cursed a state, as we are all in by na­ture: poore Creatures, inferi­our to the Angells that fell, that he should love man; sinfull dust, and ashes so much as to give his owne Son to free us from so great misery, and to advance us to so great happinesse, to set us in heavenly places with Christ, and to have perpetuall com­munion with him in Heaven, to have such incouragements, and to be cold, and dead [Page 58] hear [...]ed: nay wilfully oppo­site in our affections, to bee enemies to the goodnesse of God and grace, having such arguments to love God. And yet how many spirits edged by the Divell, oppose all that is good, and will not give way to Gods Spirit? God would have them Temples, they will be styes, God would marry them, nay, they will be harlots. GOD would have them happy here, and here after: no, they will not, they will have their owne lusts and affections.

Let us bee affrayd of these things, as we love our owne soules, and ourselv [...]s: and consider what incourag­ments wee have to love God for which such great things [Page 59] are reserved as, neyther Eye hath seen, nor Eare heard, nor hath entred into the heart of man to con­ceive.



Tho. Wykes.

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