THE RICHES OF MERCIE. In two Treatises;

  • 1 Lydia's Conversion.
  • 2. A Rescue from death.

By the late learned, and reverend Divine, RICHARD SIBBS, Doctor in Divinitie. Published by the Authors own appointment, and subscribed with his owne hand to prevent imperfect Copies.

1 SAM. 2.6.

The Lord killeth, and maketh alive; hee bringeth downe to the Grave, and bringeth up.

LONDON Printed by I. D. for Francis Eglesfeild, and are to be sold by him at the signe of the Ma­rigold in Pauls Church­yard. 1638.

LYDIAS Conversion.

ACT. 16.14.

And a certaine woman na­med Lydia, a seller of Purple, of the Citie of Thyatira, that worship­ped God, whose heart the Lord opened, that shee attended to the things that were spoken of Paul. And when, &c.

THE holy Apo­stle Saint Paula vessell of mercie, having found mercie himselfe of God, [Page 2] was a fit instrument to preach mercy to others.

Hereupon he was appoin­ted to be a preacher to the Gentiles. Among the rest of the Gentiles, he was cal­led to preach to them of Macedonia, and it was by a vision, as we see in the former part of the Chap­ter. A man of Macedonia, Vers. 9 [...] appeared to Paul by night and sayd Come to Macedo­nia▪ and helpe us. Indeed the state of the people of Macedonia called for help, as now the state of many people doth: though there be not such a vision as a man of Macedonia, yet their wretched estate (being un­der the Kingdome of Sa­tan) [Page 3] cries Come and help us, though they doe not crie with their mouthes, yet their estate cries. The A­postle upon this vision, takes his journey to come toward Macedonia, and he stayed there a good while; Hee abode certaine dayes.

Though God called him to Macedonia: yet God did not giue him great incou­ragement for the present. This is the manner of Gods carriage, not to discouer at the present what he wil doe, but leads people on by gentle incouragements: and to humble them the more with little fruit at the first, hee abode there certaine dayes, without any [Page 4] great fruit. Afterwards he goes out to Philippi (the cheife City in Macedonia, and on the Sabbath day, the people were gathered together: a company of women were resorted to­gether, and there he prea­ched to them: As indeed holy communion is never without a blessing; they met together on a good day, the Sabbath, and for a good end they were met together; Now Paul tooke the advantage of their mee­ting together on the Sab­bath day, he cast his net, and he catcheth one with her family, namely Lydia. The Gospell was a sweete savour of salvation to her.

[Page 5]Hereupon there is a dis­course of Lydia, a short story of Lydia, a story worthy to bee thought of, which is in the words of my text.

A certaine woman na­med Lydia, &c.

SHee is described First by her per­son,Parts of the text. and sex, a certaine woman. By her name Lydia. By her calling a seller of purple. By her citie Thiatira. By her pious disposition, shee worshipped God. And then her conver­sion [Page 6] is set downe, by the cause of it. God opened her heart. And what followed upon that opening of her heart, shee attended to the things that were spoken by Paul, and likewise shee was baptised with all her house­hold.

And then the sweet fruit that this conversion of her with all her household had presently shee shewed the loue (that shee felt from God in converting her) to the blessed Apostle and his company, shee besought them saying, If yee haue judged mee faithfull to the Lord, Come to my house, &c. which words I shall vnfold as I come to them.

And a certaine woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, &c.

FIRST here-is a description of her person, and sexe, and name, and calling, and city, and disposition.

God takes notice of all the particulars of those that are his,God takes particular notice of his. he delights to speake of them, those that haue their names written in the booke of life, hee knowes their names, and callings, and [Page 8] persons, they are as Iew­els in his eye, they are written on the palmes of his hands, hee takes more spe­ciall notice of them then of the rest of the world: Therefore the Apostle is very punctuall in the de­scription of all particu­lars.

For her person I will be very short, I will giue but a note or two, and so come to that I mainly ayme at, her conversion.

A certaine woman named Lydia.

FOR her sex, shee, and the rest were women that were gathe­red together, as wee see in the former verse. In Christ Iesus there is nei­ther male nor female. Sin came in by a woman, and the meanes of salvation was by a woman too, here were a company of women gathered toge­ther.

For the most part wo­men haue sweet affections to religion,Womens affections to religion strong. and therein [Page 10] they oft goe beyond men.

Reas. 1.The reason is, Religi­on is especially seated in the affections: and they haue sweet and strong affections.

2Likewise they are sub­iect to weakenesse, and God delights to shew his strength in weaknesse.

3And thirdly, especially Child bearing-women, bring others into this life with danger of their own, therefore they are forced to a nearer communion with God, because so many children as they bring forth, they are in perill of their liues. Therefore the Apostle here mentions [Page 11] a company of women that were gathered toge­ther, and among the rest, a Certaine woman named Lydia.

What! a woman to bee the foundation of the Church of Macedonia, Great things in religion from small beginnings a poore woman, and then a Gaoler afterward, a rug­ged rough Gaoler: for these to be the foundati­on of so famous a Church as Philippi and other Churches in Macedonia! Oh! yes; the Kingdome of heauen is as a graine of mustard seed small in the beginning. It is so in re­gard of the Church it selfe; and in regard of the grace, that euery particu­lar [Page 12] member hath, it is lit­tle and weake beginnings Christians are not as the Angels were, perfect at the first: The Church growes by little, and lit­tle. Therefore we should not be discouraged when the plantation of the Gos­pell hath poore successe at the beginning: We see in the Church of Macedo­nia, there was little successe at the first: A woman and a rough Gaoler, a Gao­ler that both by calling, and disposition, and cu­stome was a man, hard and hardned too: yet these two were the foundation of a great Church.

Was it not so among [Page 13] our selues? The Church of latter times, in the time of reformation, how be­gan it? By a child, and a woman, King Edward the sixt, and Queene Elizabeth of famous memory▪ Ther­fore as the Prophet sayth, Who art thou that despisest the day of little things? despise not little things. There is nothing lesse then grace at the first: But as Christ the stocke of Iesse, rose from the dead and rose up to heaven, and o­verspreads the world now so euery Christian riseth of meane beginnings: and so doth the Church it selfe. A certaine woman named Lydia, shee was the [Page 14] foundation of a famous Church.

Then shee is set downe by her calling.

A Seller of Purple.

Callings allowed by God. GOD allowes cal­lings.

The calling of Christianity is shewed in particular cal­lings, which are sanctified by God to subdue the ex­cesse of corruptions. Men without callings are ex­ceeding vicious, as some Gentlemen, and beggars, in this I may ranke them [Page 15] together: those that haue no callings, nor fit them­selues for a calling, and that are out of a calling lawfull.

Callings are lawfull.Commerce lawfull. And so this calling of com­merce, and trade, A seller of purple: Though for the most part men gather a great deale of soile, and corruption, by commix­ture of manners with those they deale with: yet there must be commerce, and this particular com­merce of selling of Pur­ple.

The body of man needs many callings, there is not a part of mans body, not one member, but it sets a [Page 16] particular calling on work Therefore this life is a life of many necessities? and there must be callings and trading, and this parti­cular trading, selling of pur­ple. It may seeme super­fluous, but it is not alto­gether: for Garments are for 3. ends.


  • Vse of gar­ments.
  • Ornament.
  • Distinction.

Now purple, howeuer it be not for necessity, it is for ornament, and di­stinction, for Magistrats, and the like, persons of great quality. How-ever the pride of the times hath [Page 17] bred a confusion, that one will goe as well as another yet God that allowes di­stinction of callings, and persons, allowes distincti­on of habit, and attire Therefore selling of pur­ple is lawfull and the wea­ring of rich attire.The sel­ling and wearing rich attire lawfull. Kings daughters went in such, as it is sayd of Davids daugh­ters.

So there bee not over much delicacie:Object, for deli­cacie in this, in these times is fatall as there be many in the City, and in the countries that are given to over-much nicitie, and sumptuousnes in this kind; it is a fore runner of ruine.

Otherwise it is lawfull [Page 18] (for those that may,) to weare purple, as it is law­full to sell Purple, so that (as he sayd to the great Emperour) they doe not consider the purple so much, as that the purple couers dust, and base flesh that must turne to dust and ashes, and rottennesse ere long, so that people bee not lift up in that, that is borrowed from the poore creature, from wormes. It is a strange thing that men should be so sicke in their fancie, as to thinke them­selues the better for that they beg of the poor crea­ture: so a man take heed of fancie and pride, it is law­full to use purple, Shee was [Page 19] a seller of Purple, So much for her calling.

Shee worshipped God.

SHEE was per­haps a Iew, and looked for a Mes­sias. There were 3. sorts of people before Christ.3. Sorts of people be­fore Christ The Iewes and those that we call prose lites; and Religious per­sons fearing God. Shee might be one of the three it is not certaine what shee was. Certainely shee was one that feared God▪ She had some religion in her, [Page 20] though yet shee was not ripened in the true Religi­on, shee was a woman that feared God.

From such kind of pla­ces as this, we haue occa­sion to speake of workes of preparation. Saint Paul was sent to her, shee was a woman that feared God. To speak a little of works of preparation.

Workes of preparati­on necessary to con­version.It is true, God usually prepares those that hee meanes to convert: as we plow before we sow, wee doe not sow among the thornes, and we dig deep to lay a foundation, wee purge before Cordialls. It is usuall in nature, and in grace preparations: ther­fore [Page 21] preparations are ne­cessary. There is such a distance betweene the na­ture, and corruption of man, and grace, that there must be a great deale of preparation, many de­grees to rise by before a man come to that con­dition hee should bee in, therefore preparations we allow, and the necessity of them.

But we allow this,Preparati­ons are from God. that all preparations are from God, wee cannot prepare our selues, or deserue fu­ture things by our prepa­rations; for the preparati­ons themselues are of God.

And thirdly, though we grant preparations yet we [Page 22] grant no force of a merito­rious cause in preparati­ons to produce such an ef­fect as conversion is: No; only preparation is to re­mooue the hindrances,Preparati­ons re­mooue hindrances. and to fit the soule for conver­sion that there may not be so great a distance bee­tweene the soule, and con­version, as without prepa­ration there would be.

Quest.But when is preparation sufficient?

Answ.When the soul is so farre cast downe, as it sets a high price on Christ, and on grace aboue all things in the world, it ac­counts grace the onely [Page 23] pearle, and the Gospel to be the Kingdome of hea­ven: when a man sets a high price on grace more then all the world besides then a man is sufficiently prepared,

Some poore soules think they are neuer prepared e­nough: but let them looke to the end that God will haue preparation for that is, that a high price be set upon the best things, and value all things but grace meanely in their owne ranke, when a man is brought to that pitch that by the light of the spirit, hee esteemes all nothing but Christ, and that hee must be had, and he must [Page 24] haue sauing grace let him neuer talke whether hee bee prepared or no. This disposition shewes that he is prepared enough, at least to bring him to con­version.

Progresse of prepara­tion.Now, God in prepa­ration for the most part Civilizeth people, and then Christianizeth them as I may say: for the spirit of GOD will not be effectuall in a rude wild, and barbarous soule, in men that are not men; Therefore they must bee brought to Civilitie, and not only to civilitie, but there must be a worke of the law, to cast them downe, and then they are [Page 25] brought to Christianitie thereupon.

Therefore they take a good course that labour to breake them from their naturall rudenesse, and feircenesse: as by nature e­very man is like a wild asse-Colt, there cannot be more significant words a Colt, an asse Colt, and wild. Now ther is no sowing in the sand or on the water: there is no forcing of grace on a soule so farre indisposed that is not brought to Civilitie, rude, and barbarous soules therefore Gods manner is to bring them in the com­passe of Civilitie, and then seeing what their estate is in the corruption of nature [Page 26] to deject them and then to bring them to Christiani­ty as we see here in Lydia.

For howeuer there is no force of a meritorious cause in preparations to grace, to raise up the soule to grace: for alas that can­not be! it is not in it, to produce such a blessed ef­fect: yet notwithstanding it brings a man to a lesse distance then other wild creatures that come not within the compasse of the means. Therefore vsually to those that use the talents of their vnderstanding and will, that they haue well, God after discovers himselfe more, and more.

Therfore let all be incou­raged [Page 27] to grow more, and more to courses of civility, and Religion, and wait the good time, till God shine on them in mercy: For though those courses can neuer produce religion, yet it brings men to a proxi­mity, and nearenesse to God, and Christ, more then those that stand further off. But I will not force this point further at this time-Shee was a woman that fea­red, and worshipped God. Shee was faithfull in that light shee had, and to him that hath shal be given.

Shee worspipped God.

NOT in any sight of her owne, she had the grace of God from the spirit of God. All feare comes from the spirit of God, initiall feare, and ripened feare, all feare is from God, but I will not conflict with adversaries at this time. You see the person, a woman, her cal­ling; A seller of purple, and her pious disposition, shee was such a one as worship­ped God; And she heard Paul.

[Page 29]The sweete providence of God, brings those that belong to Election, vnder the compasse of the means at one time or other.God brings his elect un­der means. Let the divell, and the instru­ments of the Divell, rage and oppose, and doe what they can; those that be­long to God, God will haue a time to bring them with­in the compasse of his cal­ling, and effectually call them by his spirit. As here Lydia, there was a sweete preventing providence that shee never thought of, God brought an Apo­stle for the saluation of her soule, shee heard Paul and was converted. To come to the description [Page 30] of her conversion in the next words.

Whose heart the Lord opened to attend to the things that were spoken of Paul.

GOD opened her heart. To what purpose? To attend to the things spoken of Paul.

God by the word preach­ed opens the heart; to at­tend to the word: by the word, we are fitted to the word. The spirit and the word draw us to them­selues: The spirit, and the [Page 31] word draw us to regard the word, by the word her heart was opened to at­tend to the word.

First I will speake of the opening her heart: And then of her attending upon the word preached by Paul. God opened her heart. Shee was a religi­ous woman yet her heart was shut before God ope­ned it. Shee was religious in her kind, yet her heart must be further opened before shee could bee sa­ved. There is no staying in preparations in this or that degree:Preparati­ons not to be rested in. as many abortiues in our times that make ma­ny offers; they haue the spirit of bondage, and are [Page 32] cast downe: but there they stick and neuer come to proofe. But those that will attaine to salvation, must not rest in religious dispositions, in good affec­tions, and gracious offers, they must goe on further and further, as wee see here, God opened her heart.

Obserue then in the o­pening of the heart these things.God opens the heart.

The heart naturally shut.First the heart is natu­rally shut, and closed up as indeed it is to spirituall things: it is open enough to the world, and to base contentments here, but it is shut to heauen and hea­uenly things, naturally [Page 33] it is cleane locked up.

Partly in its owne na­ture, being corrupt, and earthly, partly because Sa­than he beseigeth all the senses, and shuts up all. There is a spirit of deafe­nesse, and blindnesse, and a spirit of darknes, and deaf­nesse in people, before God hath brought them by the powerfull worke of the Gospell, from the King­dome of Satan, that pof­fesseth every man natural­ly. Naturally therefore our hearts are not open, but locked and shut up (that is supposed here) so that except God be merci­full to breake the prison as it were, whereby by [Page 34] vnbeleife, and the wicked­nesse of our nature we are shutt up, there is no hope of salvation at all.

God opens the heart.

The second thing is this, that as our hearts are shut and closed up naturally:God a­lone o­pens the heart. so God, and God alone opens the heart, by his spi­rit in the use of the means, God opened Lydia's heart.

God hath many keyes, he hath the key of heauen, to cōmand the raine to come downe, he hath the key of the wombe, the key of hell, and the graue, and the key of the heart, espe­cially, He opens, and no [Page 35] man shuts, and shuts and no men opens. He hath the key of the heart, to open the vnderstanding, the memory, the will, and af­fections. God, and God on­ly hath the key of the heart to open that, it is his prerogatiue. He made the heart, and he onely hath to doe with the heart, he can vnmake it, and make it new againe, as those that make locks can doe. And if the heart be in ill temper, hee can take it in peices, and bring it to no­thing as it were (as it must be before conversion) and he can make it a new heart againe. It is God that opens the heart, and God [Page 36] only. All the Angels in heauen cannot giue one grace, not the least grace; Grace comes meerly from God: it is meerly from God: All the creatures in the world cannot open the heart, but God only by his holy spirit: For nature cannot doe aboue its sphere (as we say) aboue its owne power. Naturall things can doe but naturall things. For nature to raise it selfe up to beleeue hea­venly things it cannot be. Therefore as you see va­pours goe as high as the sunne drawes them up and no higher: so the soule of man is lift up to heauen­ly th [...]ngs by the power of [Page 37] Gods spirit: God drawes us and then we follow: God I say onely openeth the heart.

Because there is not on­ly want of strength in the soule,There is want of a­bility in the soule. to open it selfe: but likewise there is enmity, and poyson in the heart, [...]o shut it selfe, and shut out all goodnesse. A man hath no senses to spirituall things; no eyes, no eares, no taft, no life. Nay there is an opposition to all.There is an opposi­tion. A naturall man perceiveth not the things of God, neither can he, he wants senses: and those senses hee hath are set against goodnesse, as the Apostle saith he estee­meth them foolishnesse. I [Page 38] need not bee much in so easie an argument, that you are well enough ac­quainted with. Naturally the heart is shut, and God only must open it.

Vse Patience to others.This should teach us patience, when we can do little good with those that are under us by all our instructions, and cor­rections wait the due time. Grace is not of thy gi­ving, the heart is not of thy opening, or of any mans opening:2 Tim. 2. therefore as it is 2 Tim. 2. waite, and beare with patience men of con­trarie minds, waiting when God in due time giue them grace to repent. Grace is Gods creature it is none of [Page 39] our owne. Therefore take heed that we be not short, & angry spirited, if we can­not haue all we would haue of those that are under us, children, or servants, let us waite Gods time, he opens the heart in his time.

And if wee find not grace wrought in our owne hearts at the first, or second or third sermon Let us doe as hee at the Poole of Bethesda, lie there till the Angell stirre the water, till God bee effectu­all by his spirit. God doth it and he only doth it, on­ly we must waite, he will doe it in his good time, be not ouer short-spirited. This we ought to obserue [Page 40] out of these words God o­pened the heart of Lydia. Thankful­nesse.

The heart is put for the whole soule,What ment by heart. he opened her understanding to con­ceiue: for all things bee­gin with heauenly light of the understanding all grace comes into the soule by the understanding.

There is no sanctifying grace in the affections but it comes by enlightning the understanding, we see the grounds of it in the understanding first: God opens the understanding, and then he opens the me­mory to retaine. That the memory may bee as the pot of Mannah to hold heauenly things: he opens [Page 41] and strengthens it with re­tention to keepe them, and he opens the will to close with holy things, and the affections to joy and de­light in them. So the heart is the whole inward man, he not only enlightens the understanding, but infu­seth grace into the will, and affections, into the whole inward man. We must take it in that extent for else if God should only open the understanding, and not through the un­derstanding flow into the will by the power of his spirit, the will would al­way rebell: as indeed it is a poysonfull thing; there is nothing so malicious [Page 42] next the divell, as the will of man. God will haue one way, and it will haue ano­ther: Therefore God doth not only open the vnder­standing to conceiue, but he opens the will to close with, and to imbrace that that is good; or else it will take head, and take armes against the understanding in that that is good, and neuer come to the worke of grace: Therefore take it so, he opened the will and affections as well as the understanding: though what-soeuer is in the will, and affections, comes through the understāding, as well as heate comes through light. God ope­ned [Page 43] her heart, to what end?

To attend to the things that were spoken of Paul.

THe word signi­fies, to applie, and set her mind to the things that Paul said, to joyne and fasten the mind, to what Paul sayd.

First you see then, here is the opening of the heart before there is at­tending, before there can bee any attending,The mind must bee sanctified to attend to the word. and ap­plying [Page 44] of the mind, the mind must be sanctified, and strengthened: the soule must be sanctified before it can attend.

The reason is; nothing can flow but from a su­table facultie, and ability to attend is a power and act of the soule, it must come from a sanctified power of the soule, the heart must first bee ope­ned, and then the heart at­tends. God sayth, he will circumcise the heart, and then we shall loue him, he sanctifies the heart, and then it loues him. God changeth and altereth the frame of the soule, and then holy actions come [Page 45] from it. First, grace be­gins with the abilities and powers of the soule, the heart is opened, and then come holy actions sutable. There is no pro­portion betweene holy actions, and an vnsancti­fied soule, the heart must first be opened, and then it attends.

Whose heart the Lord ope­ned that shee attended, &c.

YOU see then in the next place, that God ope­ning the heart of any Christian, it is to [Page 46] carrie the attention to the word.God opens the heart to attend. God by grace carries the heart to the word, shee attended to what Paul spake. Where true grace is wrought it carries not to speculation or to pra­ctise this or that idle dreame, but where the heart is open, grace carries to attend to the word, e­specially to the good word the Gospell of Christ. As grace is wrought by the word: so it carries the soule to the word.

Vse. Triall whether our hearts be opened.And therefore it may be a use of tryall to know whether wee haue our hearts wrought on by the grace of God or no, whe­ther GOD by his spirit [Page 47] haue opened our hearts or no? if our hearts be carri­ed to the blessed word of God to rellish that. If they be, God hath opened our hearts to attend to the word. And there is no better evidence of a child of God, then that that is fetched from the affection that hee carries to the word and blessed truth of God: Oh! he rellisheth it as his appointed food, he cannot be without it, take away that, and you take away his life. My Sheepe heare my voyce, you are none of mine because you heare not my word. A delight in the blessed truth of God is an argument that God hath [Page 48] first opened the heart.

Therefore poore soules when they want good evi­dence, when they doubt whether their estate be good or no? Let them con­sider what rellish they have of diuine truths. Whether it be connaturall to the word or no? whether it be savourie or no? whether they could be without the meanes of salvation or no? and let them judge of themselves by their de­light in Gods truth, her heart was opened to attend to the word.

Shee attended to the things which were spoken of Paul.

WHich were the blessed truths of salvation. The forgiuenesse of sinnes, The free mercy of God in Christ. The parti­culars are not set downe, but it was the Gospell, and shee beleeued upon it, therefore it must needes be the word of faith: We see heere then, that [Page 50]The Gos­pell the Ground of faith:The seed and ground of faith is the Gospell.

Her heart was opened to attend to that, that Paul spake which was the Gospell. And indeed so it is. The foundation of faith, the word of faith is the Gospell: nothing can breed faith but the word of God: for how can wee hope for heauen, and hap­pinesse, but by the mind of God discovered? Can we looke for any thing but GOD must discover his mind to bestow it? and where haue wee the mind and bosome of God open­ed to us, is it not from [Page 51] the scriptures the word of God, from the good word especially? It is called the word of grace, and the word of the Kingdome, and of glo­ry; The word of life: be­cause by it all these bles­sed things are conveyed to us.

Now it is not the word simply here,The word preached the usuall meanes of faith. but the word spoken by Paul, that is, the word preached by an au­thorized minister, is the usuall meanes of faith, her heart was opened to at­tend to what was spoken by Paul an authorized minister, so the word prea­ched is the ordinary though not the sole foun­dation of faith. Therefore [Page 52] the Apostle saith, that God by that converted the world, by the foolishnesse of preaching, And in the lad­der of heauen in Rom. 10.Rom. 10. How shall they call on him of whom they haue not heard and how shall they preach except they bee sent: so there is no faith without teaching. The point is playne, you heare it oft: The word is the ground of faith, and the word e­specially as it is preached by a Paul, by a Minister unfolding it.

Vse. To pray [...]or labou [...]ers in Gods har­ [...]est.Therefore be stirred up as yee fauour the soules of Gods people, to pray to God to send labourers into his harvest, and to pray that [Page 53] the Gospell and the prea­ching of it may haue a free passage, that God would set vp lights in all the darke corners of the kingdome, and every where to those that are in darkenesse, and in the shadow of death: And blessed are their indeauour that labour, that the Gos­pell may be preached in e­uery part of the Kingdom. For we see here, it is the word unfolded, the unsear­chable riches of Christ spread open, the Tapestry laid open, that usually be­get faith. The mine must be digged: people must see it familiarly layd open.

Therfore saith he here, Lydia's heart was opened, [Page 54] and shee attended to the word spoken by Paul.

To prize the ordi­nance of preaching.Let this teach us to set a price upon the ordinance of God: doth God set up an ordinance; and will he not giue vertue, and power to it? Yes: there is a maje­sty, and a power in the word of God to pul peo­ple out of the Kingdome of Sathan, to the blessed light of Gods Kingdome. It was the word, and the word opened by the mini­stery of Paul.

Attention necessarie.But it was the word, and the word opened, and attended to, shee mixed it with her attention and her heart closed with it. There are these 3. goe together. [Page 55] The word, and the word preached, and then atten­ding to the word preach­edth at was the ground of her faith, these 3. meeting together.

There are these foure things must alwayes be in the senses of our body.Things re­quisite to [...]ight. If wee will see there must be an object to see, we must see something; and a facultie to see, our eye; and then a light whereby wee see we cannot see in the dark And then there must bee an application of the eye to see the object by that light. So in spirituall things there is the blessed truth of God, the mercie of God in Iesus Christ: that wee [Page 56] may see these things, wee must haue a light by which we may see them. And there must be a pow­er to see which is the san­ctified opened understan­ding, when the understan­ding is opened, then there is an application of the soule to attend to the word of God, by the light of the word. So that there must be application, and attenti­on to the word: before the word can doe us good, it must be applyed to the object, the tast to the thing tasted, and so in all the other senses.

Attention is a speciall thing: how many sermons are lost in this Citie, that [Page 57] are as seed drowned, that never come to fruite? I thinke there is no place in the world where there is so much preaching, and no place, where there are so many sermons lost; why; because people want a re­taining power, and facul­tie to attend, and retaine and keepe what wee heare shee attended to the word preached.

To giue a little directi­on in this poynt of atten­ding,Directions to attend on the word. and applying the mind, not to speake much I will name two or three principall things that I thinke fit at this time.

If we would come,Search our wants. as we should, to the word [Page 58] preached: let us search our wants before wee come, and all the occasions wee shall have to encounter with, all temptations, that we are like to encounter with, let us fore-cast by presenting to our soules. I am weake in knowledge, and I want such graces. I am like to encounter with such temptations, I am too weake for it; I shall meete with such adversa­ries, I know not how to answer them, I am plun­ged in such businesses, I shall be lost in them with­out grace: then the soule comes with a mind to be supplied, and then it will attend, and wll pray for [Page 59] the preacher! Oh Lord di­rect him that he may speak fitly to me, somewhat for my understanding, some­what for my affections, somewhat to helpe me a­gainst such, & such a temp­tation: this is wanting, and therfore we profit no more by the word then we doe.

Then when we come to heare the word,Come with subjection. let us heare it with all spirituall subjection, as that Word that hath power to Com­mand the conscience. This is the word of God: the Minister of God speaks in the place of God to me. I must give an account of it. I will subject my consci­ence to it: It is spoken with [Page 60] evidence, and proved, I will stoupe to it. Thus we should come with sub­jection of soule and con­science to whatsoever is taught; and not come to judge, and censure, or to delight in it as musique, as if wee came to a play, to heare some prettie senten­ces: but come to heare God, as to the ordinance of God, come as to that Word that shall judge our soules at the latter day; that is the way to attend.

Then againe, if we would attend, when we have heard the word of God,To get the word in­grafted. let us labour by all meanes to bring it neare to us; that it may be an ingraf­ted [Page 61] Word, that the soule may be leavened by it, that it may be so ingraf­ted in the understanding, and affections that we may thinke the better, in the vertue of it, and love, and speake, and doe the better as a Sience savours of the pla [...] it is put into. Let us labour that the word of God may be written in our soules in the tables of our hearts: that the truth of God may be neare us, as any tempta­tion shall be neare us, or any corruption neare us. What is the reason wee yeeld to corruptions and temptations? They are neare, and the Word is [Page 62] farre off, We never atten­ded to the Word to bring it neare home. If the word were as neare as corrupti­ons, and temptations, that it were ingrafted, and in vested into the soule, we should have the word rea­die for every temptation: there should not [...]e a temptation offered, nor a corruption arise, but wee should subdue it, and beat it downe with the blessed truth of God, accompa­nied with the spirit. Let us labour to get it neare us; that the reasons of the word and our reason, that the judgment of God, and our iudgement, that the wil of God, & our own wil [Page 63] may be all one: and so to have it incorporated, and naturalized into our hearts, that we may speake and thinke, and doe no­thing but that which is Divine: that is, to have the word written in our hearts, our attention should be to that end. Therefore when we heare, we should doe as nature doth with the meate we eate, it suckes out a strength sutable for every part, every part hath a power to draw out nou­rishment what is sutable to it selfe: so when wee heare the word of God, we should be able to say this is good for such, and [Page 64] such an end, and never leave thinking of the word of God when wee have heard it, till we have tur­ned the word into our soules, till we have it fix­ed in our understandings, that we can say, Now I know it; till we have sub­dued our hearts to it, and we be molded, and deli­vered up to it, that we can say, Now I have it; now the word is mine. Let us never leave the truth wee heare till we be brought to that: alas to what pur­pose is it to heare except we make it our owne, as nature makes the meate our owne that we eate! There is a second or third [Page 65] digestion, that goes be­fore digestion be perfect­ly made, and the meate turned into it. It is rumi­nating, and meditating, and altering of that wee heare, and working on it that makes spirituall nou­rishment: thus wee should doe to attend to purpose.

And that we may doe it let us adde some medita­tions to these practises.Meditati­on. Consider first of all whose word it is. It is the word of the great God, and the word of God for my good It is the good word of God, and the word of God that brings me much good, eternall salvation if I obey it, it is the word of [Page 66] God that brings eternall damnation if I obey it not.

It is the word of the great King, a Proclama­tion, a Law whereby I shall be judged, and per­haps that word that I shall not heare another time, perhaps the spirit may worke more now then at another time: there­fore I will be wise, & give way to the spirit of God, and not beate it backe, per­haps I shal never have such a gale of the spirit offered againe, it may be the last Sermon I shall heare while I live: we should have such meditatiōs, we that speak; as if it were the last time we should speake; and you [Page 67] that heare, as if they should be the last things that ever you should heare: for how doe wee know but it may be so? It is another manner of matter to heare, then we take it. Take heed how yee heare saith our blessed Saviour: We heare nothing but it sets us for­ward in the way of Grace to heaven, or forward to hell, we are helped by it to heaven, or else harde­ned by it further to hell. We had need to take heed how we heare, we must be judged by that wee heare: and that that wee heare now negligently, and carelesly, God will make good at the day of [Page 68] judgement. We may shake off (as prophane spirits doe) the Ministers exhor­tations: but will you shake off depart ye Cursed at the latter day? Will you shake off that sentence, you would not heare me, and I will not heare you? Oh! no: Therefore shake not that off now, that will be made good then. If thou entertaine the Gos­pell now, God will make it good then; if thou re­ceive mercie now, he will shew that thou art acquit­ted then before Divels, and Angells, and Men. Let us regard this, and let it make us heare the word with attention as this good [Page 69] woman here. God opened her heart, and shee atten­ded to the things that were spoken of Paul.

But you will aske,Quest. how shall I know a man whose heart is opened,How to know we attend a­right. and at­tends better then another man doth?

I will give two or three briefe rules of discerning.Answ. He that by the spirit of God attends to the good word of God to purpose,When wee know not the word, but the things. with an opened under­ding, he not only knowes the words, and the shell in preaching the word of God, but the things: he knowes not only what [Page 70] faith and repentance is in the words: but he hath a spirituall light to know what the things are, what repentance is, and faith, and love, and hope, and patience, hee knowes the things. And likewise he that hath attended to pur­pose he can do the things: he not only knowes what he should doe: but by the grace of the spirit, and at­tending upon the word of God, he knowes how to doe them. Grace teacheth him not onely that hee should denie himselfe, and live soberly, and righte­ously, and Godly, but it tea­cheth him how to live so­berly and righteously, and [Page 71] Godly. Grace, when we attend upon the word as wee should, teacheth us to doe the things; not only that we should repent, and pray &c. but to doe them it opens the things, and gives abilitie to doe them.

And in the next place,The soule ecchoes to the word. those that attend as they should doe, there is a spi­rituall eccho in their soules to every thing that is taught: that is, when they are exhorted to beleeve, they answer, Lord I will be­leeve; Lord I will heare, I will repent, and I will take heed of such sins by thy grace; when God saith seeke my face; Lord thy face will I seeke. This is [Page 72] the answer of a good con­science, this eccho, where there is attention to the word of God by the spi­rit, there is an eccho to that the spirit speaks, Lord it is good, and it is good for me, if I yeeld to this, if I doe not, it is naught for me to put off repen­tance till another day; I desire to yeeld now, and oh! that my heart were directed; if it be rebellious, and not yeelding, there is a desire that the heart may be brought into subjecti­on to every truth revea­led, there is a gracious eccho in them that attend to purpose.

Then againe those that [Page 73] doe attend from a sancti­fing grace,They see things in their owne light. they see things by another light, by a spi­rit of their owne, by a hea­uenly light, by a species in their owne kind, spirituall things with a spirituall light. Many come, and heare sermons, and can di­scourse, and wrangle, and maintaine janglings of their owne, and all this out of naturall parts, and out of pride of heart: but a gracious holy man, sees spirituall things by a spiri­tuall light, in their owne kind.

A man that is borne in a dungeon, and neuer saw the light, when he heares discourse of the Sun, and [Page 74] stars, and earth, and flow­ers, and plants, he that I­maginations what they should be, but he fancies other things: so a man that neuer had spirituall eye-sight, to see spirituall things in their kinde; he fancies them to bee this and that, but he sees them not by their owne light, many speake and talke of good things, but it is by the spirit of other men, out of books, and hearing and not by a spirit of their owne. He that attends by grace speakes out of a spi­rit of his owne, and not out of other mens spirits, he sees spirituall things in their owne colours. Thus [Page 75] wee see how to discerne spirituall attention.

And he that knowes what this meanes,They judge according to their profit. what is it to haue his heart opened to attend, when he goes from hearing the word, he judgeth of his profiting by it not by what he can say by heart; but by how much the meeker hee is, how much more patient, how much more able to beare the crosse, to resist temp­tations, and to haue com­munion with God, so hee values his attending upon the meanes and hearing the word by the growth of his grace, and the decay of his corruptions. Shee at­tended to the things that [Page 76] were spoken of Paul.

And shee was baptized, and her houshold.

Baptisme the seale of salvation. SHEE had the meanes of sal­vation, and shee had the seale likewise, which is bap­tisme. We haue all need of seales, wee haue need to hane our faith strength­ened: God knowes it bet­then wee our selues, We thinke Baptisme, and the Communion small matters but God knowes how prone wee are to stagger, [Page 77] hee knowes that all seales are little enough; there­fore it is sayd here, shee was baptized, and all her houshold. Baptisme is a solemne thing, it is the seale of the Cove­nant of grace: you are well enough acquainted, I ima­gine, with the thing, ther­fore I will not enter into the common place, it is needlesse. As the whole trinitie was at the Bap­tisme of Christ, so euery in­fant that is baptized, is the Child of Christ. And it is a speciall thing that we should meditate of.

We slight our baptisme and thinke it needlesse you see the holy woman [Page 78] here would bee baptized presently; shee would haue the seale of the covenant. There are many that are not booke-learned, that cannot read, at least they haue no leasure to read; I would they would read their booke in their Bap­tisme: and if they would consider what it ministers to them upon all ocasions they would be farre bet­ter Christians then they are.How to thinke of our Bap­tisme.

Thinke of thy Bap­tisme when thou goest to God, especially when hee seemes angrie, it is the seale of the covenant; bring the promise, Lord it is the seale of thy Covenant, [Page 79] thou hast prevented mee by thy grace, thou brough test mee into the Cove­nant before I knew my right hand from my left. So when we goe to Church to offer our seruice to God, thinke, by baptisme wee were consecrated, and de­dicated to God, we not on­ly receiue grace from God but we giue our selues to God. Therefore it is sacri­ledge for persons bapti­zed to yeeld to temptati­ons to sinne, we are dedi­cated to God in baptisme. When we are tempted to despaire, let us thinke of our baptisme: wee are in the Covenant of Grace, and haue receiued the [Page 80] seale of the Covenant, baptisme. The divell is an vncircumcised, dam­ned, cursed spirit, hee is out of the Covenant: but I am in the Covenant: Christ is mine, the holy Ghost is mine, and God is mine, therefore let us stand against all the temp­tations of that vncircum­cised, vnbaptized damned spirit. The thinking of our baptisme thus, will help us to resist the Devill, he is a coward, if hee bee resisted he will flee: and what will better resist him then the Covenant of grace, and the seale of it? When we are tempted to sinne, let us thinke, what [Page 81] haue I to doe with sinne? by baptisme I haue uni­on with the death of Christ; he died to take a­way sin, and my end must be his. I must abolish sin in my nature? Shall I yeild to that: that in baptisme I haue sworne against? And then if we bee tempted to despaire for sin let us call to mind the promises of grace, and forgiuenesse of sins, and the seale of for­giuenesse of sinnes, which is baptisme: For as water in baptisme washeth the body, so the blood of Christ washeth the soule: Let us make that use of our baptisme in temptati­ons not to despaire for sin. [Page 82] And in conversing a­mong men; let us labor to maintaine the vnitie of the spirit in the bond of peace, to live peaceably. Christians must not fall to jarre, why? There is one faith, and one Baptisme, have wee not all one fa­ther? one inheritance, one baptisme, one Religion, and shall wee breake one with another for trifles, they forget their Bap­tisme that are so in quar­rells. Thus if wee would thinke of it, it is such a booke as would be rea­die at hand for all ser­vices.

And then for our chil­dren▪ those that God hath [Page 83] committed to us, let us make use of baptisme, do they die in their infancie? make this use of it, I have assured hope that my child is gone to God, he was borne in the Cove­nant, and had the seale of the Covenant, bap­tisme, why should I doubt of the salvation of my child? If they live to yeares of discretion, then be of good comfort, he is Gods Child more then mine, I have dedicate him to God, and to Christ, he was baptized in the name of Christ, Christ will care for him as well, as for me. If I leave my Children behind me they [Page 84] are Gods, and Christs children, they have recei­ved, the seale of the Co­venant; baptisme, Christ will provide for them: and he that provides hea­ven for them, will provide all things in the way to heaven necessarie. God hath said, I will be the God of thee, and of thy children, they are in Co­venant, thine they were Lord. A man may com­mit his Children to God on his death-bed; thou gavest them me, and I commit them to thee a­gaine, as before I did by baptisme. All this wee have by thinking of our baptisme. If we looke [Page 85] no further (as prophane spirits doe not) then the water, and the elements, we can have no comfort by these things: but wee should consider Gods blessed institution, and ordinance, to strengthen our faith. And to our children when they come to yeares, baptisme is an obligation to beleeve; be­cause they have received the seale before hand, and it is a meanes to beleeve. Shee was Baptized

And her houshold.

Honour of good go­vernours of families. SO good is God where the governour of the familie is good, he gives all the familie good: because he makes conscience in governing, and instructing them; God crownes their indeavours with successe that they shall be all good. As we see Abraham, and his houshold; the Gaoler, and his houshold, Zacheus, and his houshold. Oh! it is a a blessed thing to be a [Page 87] good governour in a fa­milie; he brings a bles­sing upon his house: the Church of God is in his house. There cannot be a more honorable title to any house, then to say it is the Church of God: that the Governour of the fa­milie brings all in sub­jection to God; that as he will have all serve him, so he will have all serve God; that he will not have a servant but he shall be the servant of God, nor a child but he shall be the child of God; and he la­bours to make his wife the Spouse of Christ. Thus it should be said of every Christian familie, and [Page 88] then they are Churches.

Alas! in many places now they are hells be­cause there is little regard had of instructing of them. Beloved, many poore soules have had oc­casion to blesse God for­ever, that they haue bin grafted into such good families. And put case sometimes,Good in­structions may be ef­fectuall long after. thou hast instructed them, and ta­ken paines and there is no good done. When thou art dead; & twenty yeares after, it may come to their minds, all those instructions, when they are in worse families. Oh! in such a place, with such a Master I had such instructi­ons, [Page 89] but I had no grace to take good by them: but now I call them to mind: so the seed that was sowen long before may take ef­fect then. This should incourage those that are Governours of families to be good. Lydia was bap­tized, and her houshold.

And she besought them saying, if you have judged me faithfull to the Lord come to my house and abide there.

HEre is the fruit of Lydia's conver­sion, when shee was converted, and baptized, shee intrea­ted the Apostles to come to her house, and abide there, and she prevailed, shee constrained them by a morrall kind of violence they suffered themselves to be overcome.

If you have judged mee faithfull &c. Come to my house and abide there.

Here is her invitation; and the argument that she forceth it by. If you have judged me faithfull to Christ, then come to my house.

To speake a little of her argument, whereby shee forced the blessed Apo­stle, and the rest to her house.

If yee have judged me faithfull.

IT is a most bin­ding argument. If you judge me faithfull, you must judge me a child of God, an heire of hea­ven, the Spouse of Christ, you must judge mee all these, and the like. If you have judged mee faithfull come to my house. And if you judge me so, can you denie me this courtesie. It is a conjuring, wondrous forcible argument. If you [Page 93] have judged mee faith­full.

It implies that S. Paul, and holy men would be more strange else. And so there should not be inti­mate familiaritie (con­verse there may be, but not familaritie) with those that are not faithfull. In­different carriage to all a­like shewes a rotten heart: those that make no difference betweene good Christians and formall hypocrites, No; but if you have judged me faith­full come to my house. As if she had said, I know your spirits are such, that except you judge me faithfull, you will not [Page 94] take this courtesie at my hands.

Christians easie to be intreated.Againe she supposed if Paul judged her faithfull he would not denie her that courtesie. Those that upon good grounds wee judge faithfull, we should be gentle to them, and easie to be intreated. The wisedome that is from a­bove is so. Grace Sweet­nes the Carriage, and alters a mans disposition. Those that have felt pit­tie from God, are merci­full to others. Therefore if you have judged mee faithfull, &c.

It was an argument of a great-deale of sinceritie, to appeale to their know­ledge [Page 95] and judgement, If you have judged me faith­full.

If she had not beene sincere she would not have done so: but sinceritie makes a man bold to ap­peale to God himselfe. Lord thou knowest that I love thee saith S. Peter, and If there be any iniquitie in my heart saith David, they dare appeale to God and to Gods people, if yee have judged me faithfull.

In this speech likewise shee desires to have con­firmation of her estate from the Apostles.Approbati­on of strong Christians confirmes the weake. And indeed it is a great con­firmation of weake Chri­stians to have the judge­ment [Page 96] of strong Christi­ans that they are good, If you have judged mee faithfull, doe me this cour­tesie. And would it not comfort her soule to have the judgement of so strong a man as Paul?

It is a great strengthe­ning not onely to have the spirit of God wit­nesse for us, but the spirit of God in others. And sometimes in temptati­ons, the judgment of others will doe us more good then our owne, in a darke state: There­fore wee should appeale to those that feare God to judge us faithfull; though we be in a mist, and in [Page 97] darkenesse sometimes: that we are not able to judge of our owne con­dition.

And indeed when we judge the people to be truly good,To judge well of Christians. and true hear­ted to God, we owe them this dutie? to thinke them good people, and to shew it, it is a debt: we wrong good persons, when wee take wrong conceits of them. Shall wee not affect and loue them that God loues? It is as if shee had sayd, God hath taken me into his fa­mily, and will admit mee to heauen, and will not you come to my house? when Christ shall take [Page 98] men to be members of his body, shall not we take them into our company. It is a wrong to good people to be strange to them: sometimes there may by way of censure, in some sin, be a little strange­nesse: but ordinary stang­nesse becomes not Chri­stians, it becomes not that sweet bond the Commu­nion of Saints. If you haue judged me faithfull. That is the bond. Her invitati­on is,

Come to my house, and and abide there.

YOU see many sweet graces pre­sently after shee beleived,Lydias in­vitation. here is a loving heart? Why did shee desire them to come to her house?To shew her loue. To ex­presse the loue she did beare to them for their works sake, shee felt the loue of Christ by their ministery and now she desired to ex­presse the fruit of her loue in maintaining them.

And not onely so but [Page 100] she desired to be edified by them:To be fur­ther inst [...] ­cted. shee was yong­ly planted, and shee desi­red to bee watered from them. Shee knew Paul would drop heauenly things, and giue her that that might stablish her, therefore she desired that they would stay at her house, that she might haue benefit by their heauenly discourse, and be built vp, and edified further, and further.

So you see these two graces especially upon be­leeuing, a bountifull lo­uing heart, shee intreated them not onely to come to her house, but to abide there a good while, as [Page 101] they did. And here was her desire to bee edified. And a boldnesse to ap­peare to owne Christ, and his ministers in dangerous times: for in those times it was a dangerous thing to appeare to be a Christian; they were worse hated then the Iewes were, though both were hated: yet Christians were, a­boue all: Therefore false Christians would be cir­cumcised, they would be Iewes,Faith fruit­full. to auoid the Crosse that they might not bee accounted Christians.

You see in Generall, true faith that works loue and workes by loue: It workes loue in the heart, [Page 102] and by loue it works all duties of hospitallity, and bounty by loue. When it hath wrought that holy affection, it works by that holy affection? You see here it is neuer without fruit, presently faith brings forth fruit, as soone as shee was bapti­zed. shee shewes her loue, to the Apostles, and their company, and her bounty and her boldnesse in the cause of Christ.

We say of a graft, it is grafted to purpose, if it take, and bring forth fruite, so shee being a new sience graft into Christ, shee tooke presently as soone as she was bapti­zed [Page 103] into Christ, here is the fruite of loue and bounty, and boldnesse in the cause of Christ. Za­cheus as soone as euer he beleeved, halfe my goods I giue to the poore. So wee see the Gaoler afterwards presently upon beleeving, he entertained the Apo­stles with a feast and wash­ed their wounds.

Take heed of a barren dead faith, it is a false faith if thou beleeue indeed faith will worke loue, and worke by loue, as it did in this blessed woman, her faith knit her to Christ in heauen, her loue was as the branches of the tree, her faith knit her to the [Page 104] roote: but loue as the branches reached to o­thers, her branches rea­ched fruit to the Apostle and his company. So it is the nature of faith that knits us to Christ, the same spirit of loue knits us to others, and reacheth forth fruit to all wee con­verse with.

Triall of faith by loveAs wee desire to haue evidence of the soundnes of our faith, let us see what spirit of loue we haue, e­specially loue to these three things,To Christ. loue to Christ to whom wee are ingraf­ted, and loue to the mini­sters of Christ. We can­not shew kindnesse to Christ, he is in heauen: [Page 105] but his ministers,To his members. and his poore are upon the earth when wee can buy oint­ment to poure on Christs feete his poore members, and his Ministers; and loue to the word of God, To his Word. they are the three issues of a gracious beleeuing heart, and where they are not, there is no faith at all.

I beseech you let us imitate this blessed wo­man. You see here the name of Lydia, is precious in the Church: the name of Lydia, (as it is sayd of Iosiah) it is as a boxe of oyntment powred out: the name of Lydia can­not bee named in the [Page 106] Church, but there is a sweete sauour with it. As soone as shee beleeued; the Holy Ghost, the spi­rit of GOD blowing upon the garden of her heart, where the spice of Grace was sowed, stir­red vp a sweete sent of faith and of bountie and liberalitie in the cause of Christ.

Let not this bee in vaine to us: but euery one of us labour to bee like Lydia: you see what loadestone drew PAVL heere to goe unto her house: shee had Faith, and shee expressed it in loue.

Let us labour to haue [Page 107] faith, and to expresse it in loue to GOD vnto CHRIST, to his peo­ple, and word, and or­dinances that haue his stampe on them, and let us boldly owne the cause of CHRIST: let us not regard the censures of vaine men that say thus and thus. Faith and loue forget danger, it is bold. Shee forgot all the dan­ger that shee was in by countenancing Paul and such men.

Let us labour for faith and loue and wee shall not say this and that.

There is a Lion in the way, but wee shall goe on boldly vntill wee doe [Page 108] receiue the end of our faith and loue, the salvation of our soules.


The Table.


CHrists word powerfull in his abasement.
Affections ▪ to Religion strong in women.
Affliction, why sent of God.
Prayer a remedy in afflicti­on.
Praise, a duty fit for An­gels.
To blesse God for appetite,
Spiritual appetite how reco­vered.
Attend, Attention.
God opens the heart to at­tend.
Attention necessary.
Directions to attend on the Word.
Trials of attending aright,
Selling, and wearing rich Attire lawfull.
Atheisme, see Nature.


Baptisme, a seale of salva­tion.
How to thinke of our Bap­tisme.
Great things from small beginnings.
Boldnesse, see Sinceritie.


Callings, allowed of God,
Censure of wicked men not to be regarded.
Command of God over all things.
Commerce lawfull.
Approbation of strong Chri­stians confirmes the weak.
Gods children crie in affli­ctions.


Gates of death what.
Death how to disarme it.
God why hee deferres helpe.
Only wicked men disho­nour God.
To take heed of displeasing God.
What to doe in spirituall distempers.
Divinitie transcends other Arts.


Fooles forget their End,
Happinesse of Epicures un­stable.
Extremitie, see Crie.


Faith, trialls of it.
Fooles, Folly.
Wicked men, fooles.
Why they are fooles
Folly in Gods children.
True faith fruitfull.


Garments, the use of them,
Gates, see Death.
God to bee sought in trou­ble.
Gospell, the ground of faith.


God heares the prayers of the Heathen.
Heart opened by God,
Heart what meant by it,
Ground of humiliation of wicked men.


Iesting with sinne a signe of folly.
Lydia's invitation.
To justifie God in his judge­ments.


Labourers to be prayed for in Gods harvest.
Trials of faith by love,


God brings the elect under meanes.
The mind must be sanctifi­ed to attend to the Word.
Miserie of wicked men,
Why God suffers men to fall into great miserie.
Murmuring in trouble, the cause of it.


Atheisme against nature,
God takes particular notice of his.


Trials whether the heart bee open.
See heart.
Wicked men fooles for their passion.
Passion, how it presents things.
Patience to others, the ground of it.
Patience in our selves.
People of three sorts before Christ.
To praise God for delive­rance from the pestilence,
God the best Physitian,
Power, Powerfull.
Gods word Powerfull.
Incouragements to pray from [Page] Gods power.
See Abasement.
Sinne as poyson.
What state we are fit to pray in.
Prayer to God successefull,
See affliction.
All men to praise God,
Other creatures how they prayse God.
Prayse the end of all we doe,
Helps, and meanes to prayse God,
The Word preached, the usuall meanes of faith.
[Page] Preaching how to be prized,
Workes of preparation ne­cessary.
Preparation from God,
Preparations remove hin­drances.
Progresse of preparation,
Preparations not to bee re­sted in.
Instances of Gods provi­dence.


Sinne puts a rod into Gods hand.


Sinne, the cause of sicknesse,
Sicknesse how from God,
Extremitie of sicknesse,
Naturall cause of sicknesse,
How to converse with the sicke.
To have recourse to God in sicknesse.
Foure things requisite to sight.
Aggravation of sinne.
Vnhappy succession of sinne,
[Page]Beginnings of sinne to bee avoided.
Particular sinnes to be sear­çhed out
What sinnes hinder prayer,
The boldnesse of sinceritie,
God by his Word heales the soule.


Whence the breach of the se­cond Table comes.


Waiting after prayer ne­cessarie.
How to judge of weake Christians.
Spirituall Wisdome to bee begged.
Wicked men wittie in their Generation.
Women, See Affections.
Word, See Power.
The course of Worldlings,
Fooles wound themselves,

A Rescue from DEATH, with a Returne of Praise.

PSAL. 107.17. &c.

Fooles because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities are af­flicted, &c.

THis Psalme con­taineth some passages con­cerning Gods particular sweete Provi­dence, The scope of the Psalme. not onely to the [Page 2] Church, but to other men: for Hee that created all things even the meanest creature, must haue a pro­vidence over all things, his providence must extend it selfe as large as his crea­tion: for what is providence but a continuance of crea­tion, a preservation of those things in being that God hath given to have a being. The Prophet here of pur­pose opposeth the profane conceits of them, that thinke God sits in heaven, and lets things goe on earth as if he cared not for them, it was the fault of the best Philosophers to as­cribe too much to second causes. The Psalmist here [Page 3] shewes that God hath a most particular providence in every thing.4 Instance of Gods providence First hee sets it downe in generall, and then hee brancheth it out into particulars, espe­cially foure, wherein hee specifieth Gods provi­dence.

The first instance is of those that wander in the wildernes hungrie and thir­stie, vers. 4.vers. 4. They cry and God regards them.

The second is in verse 10.vers. 10. They that sit in darke­nesse and in the shadow of death, bound in iron, They cry and the Lord heareth them.

The third is in the words of the text,vers. 17. Fooles for their [Page 4] transgressions are afflicted, their soule abhorreth all manner of meate, him instan­ceth in sicknesse the most ordinary affliction, and shewes that God hath a most particular providence even in that.

The fourth is in vers. 23 Those that goe downe into the Sea, Verse 23 they see experi­ments of Gods particular providence.

Since the fall, the life of man is subject to a won­drous many inconvenien­ces, which wee have brought on us by our sins, now in this varietie it is a comfortable thing to know Gods care of us in our wan­drings, and imprison­ments, [Page 5] in our sicknesse &c. But to omit the other 3. and to come to that, that is proper to the place, that is, the instance of Gods pro­vidence in sicknesse.

Fooles because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities are af­flicted, &c.

In these words you have;

First the cause of this visi­tation,Division o [...] the text. and of all the greivance he speaks of, Transgression, and ini­quitie.

[Page 6]And then the kind of this visitation, sicknesse.

And the extremitie in two branches; Their soule abhorreth all manner of meate, and secondly, They draw neere to the gates death.

And then the carriage of the affected and sicke parties, They cry unto the Lord in their distresse.

And the remedie of the v­niversall and great Phy­sitian, He saves them out of their distresse.

And the manner of this re­medie, Hee sent his word and healed them, his o­perative, and comman­ding word, so as it workes with his com­mand.

[Page 7]Lastly, the fee that this high Commander askes for, all the tribute or re­ward that he expects, is Praise, and Thankesgi­ving. Oh that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodnesse, and his wondrous workes for the children of men, &c.

So you see this Scrip­ture conteines several pas­sages betweene God, and man, in misery, and in de­liverance. In misery, God afflicts man for his sinne, the passage of man to God is, hee cryes to God, Gods passage backe againe, is his deliverance: and then his returne backe againe [Page 8] must bee Thankesgiving. So here is a double visita­tion, in justice, God cor­recting sinne, and then a visitation in mercie upon their crying and praying, God restores them; and then mans dutie, Thankes­giving: But to proceed in order.

Fooles because of their transgressions, &c.

HERE you have first the qualitie of the persons set downe.


Wee must understand by fooles, wicked fooles, [Page 9] not such fooles as are to be begged as we say,Who ment by fooles. that are defective in their naturals; but the wise fooles of the world, they are the cheife of fooles, how ever in the Courts of men they be not found fooles, yet they are fooles in Gods esteeme, who is Wisedome it selfe, those that thinke them­selves wise, that are con­ceitedly wise, they are these fooles here.

In the phrase of Scrip­ture, and the language of the Holy Ghost, every sinner is a foole. It were a dis­gracefull terme if any man should give it, but let no man stumble at it, it comes from the wise God, [Page 10] that knowes what wise­dome is, and what is folly. If a foole shall call a man foole, hee doth not regard it, but if a wiseman, espe­cially the God of wisedome call a man foole, hee hath reason to regard it, who can judge better of wise­dome then God, who is onely wise?

Why wic­ked men are termed fooles.Why are wicked men fooles, and Gods children, so farre as they yeeld to their lusts?

In divers respects.

For lack of discerning.First, For lacke of dis­cerning in all the carriage, and passages of their lives. [Page 11] You know a foole is such a one as cannot discerne the difference of things, that is defective in his judge­ment; discerning, and judgement, that especially tries a foole: when he can­not discerne betweene pearles and pebbles be­tween Iewels, and ordina­ry base things, so wic­ked men are defectiue in their judgments they can­not discerne aright be­tweene spirituall and hea­venly things, and other things, all your worldly fooles he hunts after and placeth his happinesse in things meaner then him­selfe, hee takes shadowes for substances.

[Page 12]A foole is led with his humour,For passion and his lust even as the beast, so there is no wicked man that shakes of the feare of God, (which is true wisedome,) but hee is led with his humour, and passion, and affection to some earthly thing. Now a man can never bee wise, and passionate unlesse in one case, when the good is so exceeding that no passion can be answerable as in zeale, in divine mat­ters, that will excuse all exorbitant carriage other­wise. When David dan­ced before the Arke, a man would thinke it had beene a foolish matter except it had been in a divine busi­nesse, [Page 13] when the matter is wondrous great that it de­serues any pitch of affecti­on then a man may be ea­ger, and wise: but for the things of this life, for a man to disquiet himselfe and others, to hunt after a vaine shadow, (as the Psal­mist saith) after riches and honour; and to neg­l [...]ct the mayne end of a mans life, it is extreame folly a man that is passi­onate in this respect can­not be wise, all fooles are passionate, and wicked men have their affections set deeply on somewhat else besides God. Be­cause passion presents things in a false glasse,Passion presents things falsely. as [Page 14] when a man sees the sunne through a cloud he seems bigger, when men looke not on things in the judg­ment of the scripture, and the spirit of God, and right reason, but through affection, things appeare to them otherwise then they are and themselues afterwards see themselues fo [...]les: Take a worldling on his death bed, or in hell, hee sees himselfe a foole then, when his drun­kennesse is past, when hee is come to himselfe, and is sober, he sees that he hath catched all his lifetime af­ter shadowes, wicked men that are carried with their lusts to earthly things, [Page 15] they cannot be wise, ther­fore the rich man in the Gospell, is called a foole, and in Ier. 17. hee speaks of a man that labors all his life time, and in the end is a foole; Is not he a foole that will carrie a burthen, and load himselfe in his journey more then hee needs, and is not hee a spi­rituall foole, that loads himselfe with thick clay (as the Prophet calls it) and makes his pilgrimage more cumbersome then hee needs? Is not hee a foole that layes the heavi­est weight on the wea­kest: that puts off the heaviest burthen of repen­tance, to the time of sick­nesse, [Page 16] and trouble, and death, when all his trou­bles meete in a center as it were, and hee hath e­nough to doe to conflict with his sicknes.

Againe, hee is a foole that will play with edge­tooles,Iesting with sinne. that makes a sport of sinne, hee is a foole that provokes his betters, that shootes up arrowes, and casts up stones, that shall fall on his owne head, hee that darts out oathes, and blasphemies against God, that shall returne backe upon his owne pate, ma­ny such fooles there are, God will not hold them guiltlesse.

He is a foole that knowes [Page 17] not, or forgets his end,Forgetful­nesse of his end. every wicked man forgets the end wherfore he liues in the world, hee comes here into the world, and liues, and is turned out of the world againe, and ne­ver considers the worke that he hath to doe here, but is carried like a foole, with affections, and pas­sions to earthly things, as if hee had been borne on­ly for them. A wiseman hath an end prefixed in all that hee doth, and hee works to that end. Now there is no man, but a sound sanctified Christian that hath a right end, and that works to that end, o­ther men pretend they [Page 18] haue an end, and they would serue God, &c.

They pretend heaven, but they worke to the earth-ward, like moles, they digge in the earth, they work not to the end they pretend to fixe to themselues: All men how wittie soeuer they are o­therwise in worldly re­spects, they are but fooles. As we say of owles, they can see, but it is by night so wicked men are wittie but it is in the workes of darkenesse they are wise in their owne generation, Wicked men wittie in their ge­neration. a­mong men like themselues but this is not the life wherein follie, and wise­dome can be discerned so [Page 19] well, it will appeare at the houre of death, and the day of judgement, then those will be found wise, that are wise for eterni­ty, that have provided how it shall goe with them, when all earthly things shall fayle them, and those will bee fooles that haue only a particu­lar wit for the particular passages of this life, to contriue particular ends, and neglect the mayne they are penny wise, and pound foolish. Achitophel a wittie wiseman, his counsell was an oracle, yet he was not wise to pre­vent his owne destructi­on.

[Page 20]He is a madman, a foole that hurts and wounds himselfe,He wounds himselfe. none else will doe so, wicked carnall men, they wound, and hurt, and stab their owne consciences, oh if any man should doe them but the thousandth part of the harme that they doe themselves every day, they would not indure it, they gall, and load their consciences with many sins, and they doe it to themselves; therefore it is a deserved title that is given them. God meetes with the pride of men in this terme of folly: for a wicked man above all things is carefull to avoid [Page 21] this imputation of foole, account him what you will, so you account him, a shrewd man withall, that can over-reach others, that he is craftie and wise, he glories in the reputati­on of wisedome, though God account him a foole, and hee shall bee found so afterward, and to abate the pride of men, Hee brings a disgracefull terme over their wit and learning, and calls them fooles.

This should abase any man that is not a right and sound Christian,Vse 1. To humble wicked men. that the God of wisedome, and the Scripture that is GODS word esteemes of all wic­ked men, bee they what [Page 22] they will, to be fooles, and that in their owne judge­ments if they bee not A­theists, if they will grant the principles they pre­tend to beleeve.

Let this therefore bee an aggravation in your thoughts when you are tempted to commit any sinne, Oh! besides that it is a transgression and re­bellion against Gods com­mandement, it is follie in Israel, and this will bee bitternesse in the end.

Aggravati­on of sinne.Is hee not a foole, that will doe that in an instant, that hee may repent many yeeres after? Is hee not a foolish man (in matter of dyet) that will take that, [Page 23] that he shall complaine of a long time after? None will bee so foolish in out­ward things. So when we are tempted to sinne, thinke, is it not follie to doe this, when the time will come that I shall wish it undone againe, with the losse of a world if I had it to giue?

And begge of God the wisedome of the holy Ghost,Begge spi­rituall wis­dome. to judge aright of things, the eye salve of the Spirit of God, to discerne of things that differ: to judge spirituall riches to be best, and spirituall nobilitie and excellencie to be best, and to judge, of sinfull cour­ses to be base, how ever [Page 24] otherwise gainfull let us labour for grace, The feare of the Lord is the beginning of wisedome, those that doe not feare the Lord they haue no wisedome.

Not to passe for the cen­sures of the wickedAnd passe not for the vaine censures of wicked men, thou art hindred from the practise of reli­gious duties and from a conscionable course of life, why? Perhaps thou shalt be accounted a foole by whom? By those that are fooles indeed, in the judgement of him who is wisedome indeed, God him­selfe: who would care to be accounted a foole of a foole? We see the scripture judgeth wicked men here to be fooles.

[Page 25]Wee must not extend it only to wicked men,Folly in Gods chil­dren. but euen likewise Gods children when they yeeld to their corruptions, and passions they are foolish for the time, in Psa. 38.5.Psa. 38.5. My wounds stinke and are corrupt because of my foo­lishnesse, and in Psa. 73.Psal. 73. So foolish was I and ignorant, &c.

Therefore when any base thought of Gods pro­vidence comes in our mind, or any temptation to sin let us thinke it folly and when we are over­taken with any sin, let us be-foole our selues, and judge it as God doth to bee foolishnesse, this is the [Page 26] ground and foundation of repentance: So much for the quality of the per­son here described, Fooles.

I come to the Cause.

Because of their trans­gressions and because of their iniquities.

Transgression, especial­ly hath reference to re­bellion against God, and his ordinances in the first table, Iniquity, hath refe­rence to the breach of the second table against men, and both these have their rise from folly, for want [Page 27] of wisedome causeth re­bellion against God, and iniquity against men, all breaches of Gods will come from spirituall folly.

Why doth hee begin with transgressions against the first table, and then i­niquities the breach of the second?

Because all breaches of the second table issue from the breach of the first a man is never vniust to his neighbours,The breach of the se­cond ta­ble comes from the breach of the first. that doth not rebell against Gods will in the first table, and the foundation of obedi­ence, & dutie to man, it riseth from mans obedi­ence [Page 28] to God. Therefore the second table is like the first that is, our loue to our neighbour is like to our loue of God, not only like it but it springs from it: for all comes from the loue of God, therfore the first command of the first table runs through all the Commandements, Thou shalt honour God; and honour man, because we honour God. A man ne­ver denies obedience to his superiour to the magi­strate, &c. but he denies it to God first, a man never wrongs man, but he diso­beys God first, Therefore the Apostles lay the duties of the second table in the [Page 29] Scriptures vpon the first, Saint Paul alway begins his Epistles, with the du­ties to God, and religion and when he hath dischar­ged that he comes to pa­rents, and masters, and children, and servants, and such particular duties, be­cause the spring of our duty to man, is our duty to God, and the first justice is the justice of religion to God, when we are not just to giue God his due: there­upon come all breaches in our civill conversation, and commerce with men, for want of the feare of God, men doe this, as Io­seph sayd, how shall I doe this and offend God? and [Page 30] Abraham he had a conceit they would abuse his wife, Surely the feare of God is not here, therefore he thought they would not bee afraid to doe any thing, he that feares not God if opportunitie serue, he will not be afraid to violate the second table hee that feares God hee will reason, how shall I doe this, to wrong another in his name, and reputation, or in his estate, & sin against God? for I cannot sinne against man, but I must first sin against God, that is the reason he sets it downe thus, transgressions and i­niquities.

[Page 31]See an vnhappy successi­on of sinne, [...]nhappy succession of sin. that where there is transgression there will be iniquitie, when a man yeelds to lust once presently he breaks upon Gods due, and then upon mans, one sin drawes on another, as wee see Da­vid giving way to one sin, it brought another, so the giving way to transgressi­on, neglecting the word of God, and duties of religi­on presently another fol­lowes neglect of dutie to men.

Take heed of the be­ginnings of sinne,Vse. Take heed of begin­nings of sinne. there are degrees in Sathans schoole from ill to worse till we come to worst of [Page 32] all, and there is no staying it is like the descent down a steepe hill, let us stop in the beginning by any meanes, as we would a­void iniquitie, let us take heed of transgression.

Are afflicted.

HEE meanes especi­ally that affliction of sicknesse as appeares by the words following.

Doct. Sinne the cause of sicknesse.
Sin is the cause of all sicknesse.

Fooles for their trans­gressions, and iniquities are [Page 33] afflicted: for Gods quarrell is especially against the soule, and to the body be­cause of the soule, I will not dwell on this point having spoken of it,1 Cor. 11.31. at large on another text.

The Use that I will make of it now shall bee,Vse 1. To justifie God. First of all, If sinne be the cause of all sicknesse, Let us justifie God, and con­demne our selues, com­plaine of our selues, and not of God; Wherfore doth the living man complaine, and murmure, and fret, Man suffereth for his sinne, Iustifie God and judge our selues. I wil beare the wrath the Lord because I have sin­ned against him, judge our [Page 34] selues and we shall not bee judged.

To be pa­tient.Then againe is sin the cause of sicknes, it should teach us patience, I held my tongue because thou Lord did­dest it, Shall not a man be patient in that he hath procured by his owne evill and sin?

Search out our parti­cular sin.And search our selues, for usually▪ it is for some particular sin, which con­science will tell a man of, and sometimes the kind of the punishment will tell a man, for sins of the body, God punisheth in the bo­dy he payes men home, in their owne coyne, what measure a man measureth to others shall bee measured [Page 35] to him againe. If a man have beene cruell to o­thers, God will stirre vp those that shall be so to him, therefore we should labour to part with our particular transgressions and iniquities. It is a ge­nerall truth for all ills whatsoeuer as well as this of sicknesse.To seeke God in trouble. Therefore we should first of all goe to God by confession of sinne. It is a preposterous course that the athesticall carelesse world takes, where the Physitian ends,The course of worldlings there the divine begins▪ when they know not what to doe. If diseases come from sinne then make vse of the divine first to cer­tifie [Page 36] the conscience, and to acquaint a man with his owne mercy. First to search them, and let them see the guilt of their sins and then to speake com­fort to them, and to set accounts straite betweene God, & them, as in Ps. 32. (an excellent place.Psal. 32. David roared, his moysture was turned into the drought of summer, what course doth hee take? he doth not run to the Physitian presently but goes to God. Then sayd I it was an inward resolution, and speech of the mind, then I conclu­ded with my selfe, I will confesse my sinne to God, and thou for gavest my ini­quities [Page 37] and sinne, so body, and soule were healed at once.Divinity transcends other arts. Divinity herein tran­scends all other Arts, not onely corrupt nature, and corrupt courses but all o­ther: For the Phisitian hee looks to the cause of the sicknesse out of a man or in a man, out of a man and then especially in contagious sicknesse, hee looks to the influence of the heavens, in such a yeare, such conjunctions, and such eclipses haue beene, he lookes to the infection of the Ayre to subordinate causes, to contagious company, and to diet, &c. And then in a man to the distemper of [Page 38] the humours, and of the spirits, when the instru­ment of nature is out of tune it is the cause of sick­nesse. But the divine, and every Christian (that should be a divine in this respect) goes higher and sees all the discord be­tweene God, Sicknesse how from God, how from sin. and vs, there is not that sweet harmo­ny there, and so all the jarres in second causes come from God as the cause inflicting, from sin, as the cause demeriting: The Divine considers those two alway: The Phisitian lookes to the in­ward distemper and the outward contagion, and this is well, and may be [Page 39] done without sin, but men must ioyne this too, to looke into conscience, and looke vp to God together with looking for helpe to the Physitian, because we haue especially to deale with God.

I would this were con­sidered that wee might carry our selues more Christian-like vnder a­ny affliction whatsoever,The cause of murmu­ring in trouble. what is the reason that people murmure, & strug­gle, and striue as a bull in a net as the Prophet speakes, when God hampers them in some judgement? They looke to the second cau­ses, and neuer looke to cleare the conscience, of [Page 40] sinne, nor never looke to God, when indeed the ground of all is God offended by sinne,

Fooles for their transgres­sions are afflicted.

We by our sins put a rod into Gods hand,Sin puts a rod in Gods hand A rod for the fooles backe as Salomon saith, and when wee will be fooles wee must needs indure the scourge and rod in one kind or other: those that will sin must looke for a rod, it is the best reward of wic­ked, and vaine fooles that make a jest of sinne, (as the wiseman saith) They cast firebrands, and say am I not in jest? That raile and scorne at good things, [Page 41] that sweare, and carrie themselues in a loose, ri­diculous scandalous fa­shion, as if God did not eye their carriage, and yet am I not injest? Well, it is no jesting matter, sinne is like a secret poy­son,Sin a poy­son. perhaps it doth not worke presently, as there are some kind of subtile poysons made in these dayes (wherein the Devill hath whetted mens wits) that will worke perhaps a yeare after, so sinne if it be once committed per­haps it doth not kill pre­sently, but there is death in the Pot, thou art a child of death, as soone as euer thou hast commit­ted [Page 42] sinne, as Salvian saith well,Salvian thou perishest before thou perish, the sentence is upon thee, thou art a dead man, God to wait for thy repentance pro­longs thy dayes, but as soone as thou hast sinned without repentance, thou art a child of death, and as Poyson that workes secretly a while, yet in time it appeares, so at last the fruit of sinne will bee death, Sin and death came in together: take heed of all sinne, it is no dallying matter.

Their soule abhorres all manner of meate.Extremity of sicknes.

THIS is one branch of the extremitie of the sicknesse, the loathing of meate, for God hath put a correspondencie, be­tweene food that is nece­sary for man, and mans relish: for man being in this world to be suppor­ted, the naturall moysture being to be supplied, and repayred by nourishment as it is spent by the natu­rall heate which feeds up­on it, therefore God hath put a sweetnesse into [Page 44] meate that man might de­light to doe that which is necessary: for who would care for meate if it were not necessary? Therefore being necessary God hath put delightfull tasts in meates to draw men to the use of them, to pre­serve their being for the serving of him. Now when these things savour not, when the relish of a man is distempered that he cannot judge aright of meats, when the palate is viciated, there must needs follow sicknesse,Naturall cause of sicknesse: for a man cannot doe that that should maintaine his strength, he cannot feed on the creature, therefore [Page 45] the Palmist setting downe the extremity of sicknesse, he sayth their soule abhor­reth all manner of meate, This the great Phisitian of heaven and earth, sets downe as a symptome of a sick state when one can­not relish and digest meat, experience seales this truth and prooues it to be true.Happines of Epicures vnstable.

You see then the happi­nes of Epicures how vnsta­ble and vaine it is, whose chiefe good is in the crea­ture, God by sicknesse can make them dis-relish all manner of meate, and where is the summum bo­num then of all your belly­gods, your sensuall persons

Againe in that he saith, [Page 46] Their soule abhorreth all manner of meate, To blesse God for appetite. it should teach us to blesse God, not only for meate but for stomacks to eate, it is a blessing common, and therefore forgotten. It is a double blessing when God provides dayly for our outward man and then gives a stomack to relish his goodnesse in the crea­ture, sometimes a poore man wants meate, and hath a stomacke: some­times a rich man wants a stomacke, when hee hath meate, they that haue both haue cause to blesse God, because it is a judg­ment when God takes a­way the appetite that men [Page 47] abhorre and loath all man­ner of meate.

Therefore if we would maintaine thankfulnesse to God, labour to thanke God for common blessings, what if God should take a­way a mans stomacke, we see his state here he is at the gates of death, therefore thanke God that he main­taines us with comforts in our pilgrimage, and with­all that he gives us strength to take the comfort of the creature.

Wee fee here againe one rule how to converse with them that are sicke,How to converse with the sicke. blessed is hee that understands the estate of the afflicted and sicke, not to take it ill to [Page 48] see them wayward, it comes not from the mind, but from the distemper of the body: as wee beare with children, so we must beare with men in those distempers, if they have foode, and yet loath it, you see how 'tis with men in that case, Their soule abhorreth all manner of meate, It should teach us to sympathize with those that are sicke, if we see them in these distem­pers.

The next branch of the extremitie is;

They draw neere the gates of death.

DEATH is a great Commander, a great Tyrant,Gates of death. and hath gates to sit in, as Iudges and Ma­gistrates used to sit in the gates. There are things implyed in this phrase.

First,Death it selfe. They draw neere to the gates of death, that is, they were neere to death, as he that drawes neere the gates of a Citie, is neere the Citie, because the [Page 50] gates enter into the Ci­tie.

Authority of death.Secondly, gates are ap­plyed to death for authori­tie, they were almost in deaths jurisdiction; death is a great Tyrant, hee rules over all the men in the world, over Kings, and Potentates, over meane men, and the greatest men feare death most: hee is the King of feares as Iob calls him, I, and the feare of Kings. Yet death that is thus feared in this life by wicked men, at the day of judgement, of all things in the world they shall de­sire death most,Misery of wicked men. according to that in the Apocalips, They shall desire death, and [Page 51] it shall not come to them, they shall subsist to eter­nall myserie; that, that men are most affraid of in this life, that they shall wish most to come to them in the world to come, Oh that I might die! What a pittifull state are wicked men in? there­fore it is called the Gate of death, it rules and over­rules all mankinde:Rom. 5. there­fore it is sayd to reigne, Rom. 5. Death and sinne came in together, sinne was the gate that let in death, and ever since death raig­ned, and will, till Christ perfectly tryumph over it, who is the King of that Lord and Commander, [Page 52] and hath the key of hell and death: To wicked men (I say) hee is a Tyrant, and hath a gate, and when they goe through the gate of death, they goe to a worse, to a lower place, to hell, it is the trappe-doore to Hell.

Power of death.Thirdly, by the gate of death is meant not onely the authority, but the power of death, as in the Gospell, The gates of hell shall not prevaile against it that is, the power, and strength of hell, so here it implies the strength of death, which is very great for it subdues all, it is the executioner of Gods ju­stice.

[Page 53]If death have such a Iurisdiction,Vse. and power, and strength,To disarme death. let us la­bour to disarme it before hand, it is in our power to make death stinglesse, and toothlesse, and harm lesse: nay wee may make it advantagious, for the gate of death may become the gate of happinesse: let us labour to have our part, and portion in Christ, who hath the key of hell and death, who hath o­vercome and conquered this tyrant, Oh death where is thy sting? oh grave where is thy victory? 2 Cor. 15. 1 Cor. 15. Thanks bee vnto Ged who hath given vs victory through Iesus Christ our [Page 54] Lord, that now wee need not feare death, that though death have a gate, yet it is a gate, to let us in­to heaven, as it is a doore to let the wicked into hell; So much for that.

In the next place wee come to their carriage in their extremity.

They Cryed to God in their trouble.

THIS is the carriage of man in extreame ills; if hee haue any feare of God in him, to pray and then prayers are cries [Page 55] they are darted out of the heart as it were to heaven. It is sayd, Christ made strong cryes, in extremity prayers are cries hence I observe breifly these things.

That God suffers men to fall into extreame ills e­ven to the gates,Doct. God suf­fers men to fall to great mise­ry. of death, that there is but a step betweene them and death.


To weane them per­fectly from the world.Reas. 1. To make them more thankfull when they re­cover: for what is the reason that men are so [Page 56] sleight in thanksgiving? Usually the reason is they did not conceive that they were in such extreame danger as they were.

3.Likewise he suffers men to fall into extreame sick­nesse that he may have all the glory, for it was his doing, there was no se­cond cause to helpe here, for their soule abhorred all manner of meate, and they were even at the Gates of death, Now when all second causes fayle, then God is exalted therfore he suffers men to fall into ex­treamity, the greater the maladie, the more is the glory of the Physitian.

[Page 57]The second thing is this, as God brings his chil­dren into extremity, So;

Gods children in extre­mity they cry to him.Gods chil­dren cry to him in af­fliction.

EXtremity of afflicti­ons doth force pray­ers, In their affliction, they will seeke me early: When all second causes faile then we goe to God, nature therfore is against a­theisme (as one observes) that naturally men run to God in extremity;Atheisme against na­ture. Lord helpe mee, Lord succour me, so especially in the [Page 58] Church in extremitie, Gods people cry to God, and as afflictions, so p [...]r­ticularly this of sicknesse of body, drives men to God. God should not heare of us (many times) unlesse he should come neere us by afflictions, and deepe afflictions: Out of the deepe haue I cryed, Why God sendeth af­fliction. God brings us to the deepe, and then we crie. Our nature is so naught, that God should not heare of us, (as I sayd) unlesse he send some mes­senger after us, some af­fliction to bring us home as Absalom dealt by Ioab, when hee fired his corne. In the Gospel, Christ had never heard of many peo­ple, [Page 59] had it not beene for some infirmity: but bles­sed are those sicknesses, and infirmities that occa­sion us to goe to God, that makes us crie to God. It was the speech of a Hea­then, we are best when we are weakest, why? as hee saith very well, who is ambitious, voluptuous, or covetous for the world when he is sick, when he sees the vanity of these things?

This should make us submit more meekly vn­to GOD,To submit to God pa­tiently. when wee are vnder his hand when we are his prisoners by sick­nesse, when he casts us on our sicke beds, because [Page 60] GOD is working our good, hee is drawing us neerer to him.

Then they cryed to him.

Prayer a speciall re­medie in affliction.So we see then that prayer it is a remedie in a remedilesse estate, when there is no other remedy and this one difference betweene a child of GOD and another; In extremi­tie a carnall man that hath not grace, he hath not a spirit of prayer to goe to GOD, but a child of GOD, he cries to GOD, hee had acquaintance with God in the time of health, therefore he goes boldly to GOD as a fa­ther [Page 61] in the time of extre­mity. Gods children can answer Gods dealing; for as he brings his children to extremitie, when there is no second cause to help, so they answer him by faith, in extremitie when there is nothing to trust unto, they trust him. when there is no physick in the world that can-charme the disease, they have a spirit of faith to answere Gods dealing, in the greatest misery, as Iob faith, though he kill me yet will I trust in him.

For GOD is not tyed to second causes, and therefore if hee have de­light in us, and if he have [Page 62] any service for us to doe he can recover vs from the gates of death, Nay from death it selfe, as we see Christ in the Gospell raysed from the dead, and at the resurrection he will rayse us from death much more can he rayse vs from the gates of death when wee are neere death.

To be in a state fit to pray.Therefore considering that pra [...]er is a remedy in all maladies, in a reme­dilesse estate, Let us la­bour to haue a spirit of prayer, and to be in such a state as we may pray.

Take heed of knowne sinne.What state is that?

First take heed of being [Page 63] in league with any sinne, If I regard iniquitie in my heart, God will not heare my prayer, nay he will not heare others prayers for us, oh what a pittiful state is it when God will not heare us nor others for us! Pray not for this peo­ple (saith God to Ieremi­ah) and if Noah, Daniel, and Iob stood before mee they should but deliver their owne soules. If a man be in a peremptory course of sinne, and will not be reclaymed, but is like the deafe Adder that will not bee charmed, God will not heare prayers for him: will God heare a rebell when he comes to him for mercie, [Page 64] and is in a course opposite to Gods will? As if a Trai­tor should come to sue for pardon with a dagger in his hand; which were to increase the treason: So when a man comes to God and cryes to him and yet purposeth to live in sinne, and his conscience tells him that hee offers vio­lence to GOD by his sins, and lives in rebellious courses, GOD will not heare his prayers.

Heare God calling on us.Againe if we would bee in such a state as God may accept us when wee come to him, let us heare GOD when hee cryes to us, hee cryes to us in the ministrie of the word, Wisedome [Page 65] hath lift up her voyce, and this is GODS course, hee will heare us when wee heare him, Hee that turnes his eare from hearing of the Law, his prayer shall bee abhominable. Those that doe not attend upon Gods ordinances, that will have a kind of devotion private to themselves, & avoid the publike ordinance, that feare perhaps they shall heare somwhat that would awaken their conscience, and they would not bee tor­mented before their time, Let them consider (it is a terrible speech of Salo­mon) Hee that turnes his eare from hearing the Law, his prayer shall be abhomina­ble. [Page 66] Let us take heed, it is a fearefull thing to bee in such an estate, that neither our owne prayers, nor o­thers shall bee regarded for us, and let any man judge, if wee will not heare GOD speake to us, is it fit that hee should heare us speaking to him?

And before I leave the point, let mee presse it a little further, at this time wee have cause to blesse GOD for the deliverance of the Citie: Oh! but let all that have the spirit of prayer, that have any familiaritie with GOD,Exhortati­on to pray­er. improve all their interest in heaven at this time, doe wee not conceive what [Page 67] danger wee are in? What enemies wee have provo­ked? What if wee be free from the sicknesse, are we not in great danger of worse matters th [...]n the sicknesse? Is it not worse to fall into the hands of our enemies? Have wee not great, provoked, cruell Idolatrous enemies? ther­fore let us joyntly now all cry to GOD, and impor­tune him, that hee would bee good to the State, that as he hath given us a pledg of his favour in delivering us from the plague, so hee would not bee weary of doing good unto us, but that hee would still make it a token of further fa­vours, [Page 68] and deliverances hereafter: That as Hee delivered us in former times, in 88, and magni­fied his mercie to us, so now Hee would not ex­pose us to the crueltie of Idolatrous enemies, whose mercies are cruell. Let us stirre up our selves;Prayer best before af­fliction. Secu­ritie and carelesnesse alway fore-runnes one destruction or other.

Prayer will doe a great deale more good, now, then when trouble hath overtaken us, for now it is a signe it comes from a religious seeking of God, then it comes from selfe-love. There is a great deale of difference, when [Page 69] a malefactor seeks to the judge before the time of the Assises, and when hee seeks to him at the pre­sent time, for then it is meerly out of selfe respect and not respect to him. If wee seeke to God now hee will single, and marke out those that mourne for the sins of the time, and poure out their spirits to him in prayer that hee would still dwell and continue the meanes of salvation a­mongst us,Mal. 3: when God I say comes to gather his Iewells Mal. 3. He will single, and cull out them as peculiar to himselfe.Remember the Church in our pray­ers.

Therefore let us in all our prayers put in the [Page 70] Church, things doe more then speake, they cry to us to cry to GOD earnest­ly, put case wee bee not in trouble our selves, our prayers will bee the more acceptable: before trouble come it is the onely way to prevent it, as it is the on­ly way to rescue us when we are in trouble.

I come now to the re­medie.

Hee saved them out of their distresse.

GOD is a Physiti­an good at all manner of sick­nesses, God the best Physi­tian. it is no matter what the disease bee, if GOD bee the Phy­sitian, though they bee as these at the gates of death, hee can fetch them backe; herein GOD differs from all other Physitians.

First of all hee is a gene­rall Physitian, hee can heale a Land, a whole [Page 72] Kingdome of sicknesse, of pestilence and as it is in,2 Chron. 7.14. 2 Chro. 7.14.

Then he is a Physitian of body, and soule, of both parts; And then he is not tyed to meanes.

Other Physitions can cure, but they must haue meanes. Other Physitians cannot cure all manner of diseases, nor in all pla­ces, but GOD can cure all.

He saved them out of their distresse.

Other physitians cannot bee alway present but God is so to euery one of his patients he is a com­passionate tender present Physitian.

Which should incou­rage [Page 73] vs in any extremity (especially in sicknesse of body) to haue recourse to God, Vse. To haue recourse to God in sicknes. and never to despaire though wee bee brought never so low, he that can rayse the dead bodies, can rayse vs out of any sicknesse; therefore let vs use the meanes, and when there is no meanes trust God: for hee can worke beyond meanes, and with­out meanes.

They cryed to the Lord, and he saved them out of their distresse; It was the fruit of their prayers.Doct. Prayer to God suc­cessefull

There was never any prayer from the beginning [Page 74] of the world made to God successelesly.

What should I speake of prayer, our very brea­things are known to God when wee cannot speake our sighs, as it is Psal. 38. My groanes and sighs are not hid from thee. Psal. 38. God hath a bottle for our teares, and preserves our sighes and groanes, there is nothing that is spirituall in us, but God regards,Rom. 8. as in Rom. 8. We know not what to aske, but the spirit of God stir­reth vp in us sighs and groanes that cannot be ex­pressed, And God heares the voyce of the sighs of his owne spirit.

[Page 75]Let us also bee exhor­ted from this issue, to cry vnto the Lord: for there was never any man did, sow prayers in the breast and bosome of God, but he received the fruit of it, he is a God hearing pray­er, hee will not loose his attribute. God hears heathens. Nay, further (marke) the instances in this Psalme, are not made onely of men in the Church, but likewise of men out of the Church, of men that have not the true religion, they pray to GOD, as creatures to the Creator, and though GOD have not their soules, yet hee will not bee beholding to any [Page 76] man for duties, if Ahab do but hypocritically fast, Ahab shall haue outward deliverance for his outward humiliation, and these men mentioned in the text, if they call to GOD but as creatures, and not to Idols, GOD will regard them in outward things, and deliver them. GOD will not be in any mans debt for any service to him though it bee out­ward.

And doe we think that he that regards dogges out of the Church, will neg­lect his children in the Church?Much more his children Hee that regards heathen men when they pray to him in their ex­tremity, [Page 77] and delivers them to shew his over-flowing bounty, and goodnesse, will hee not regard his owne children, that haue the spirit of Adoption, of supplication, and pray­er, that put vp their suits, and supplications, in the mediation, and sweete name of Christ? will he not regard the name, and intercession of his sonne and of his spirit, the Ho­ly Ghost stirring vp pray­ers in them, and the state of his children, being his by adoption, since he re­gards the very heathen.

Nay more then so, God heares the very young ra­vens, and spreads a table [Page 78] for euery living thing, and will not suffer them to die for hunger, but provides for them, because they are his creatures, and will hee not for his children, those that he hath taken to be so neere him to be heires of heaven, & happinesse? Let us I say, be incouraged to cry unto the Lord upon all occasions, if God bee so good as to deliver sinfull men (that haue nothing in them but the principles of nature) when they flye to God in praier, as the author and preserver of nature, much more will hee heare his owne children,Luke 11. he will giue his spirit to them that aske him, Luke 11.

[Page 79]But here may an objecti­on be made, I haue cried long, I am hoarse with crying,Object. I haue wayted a longtime, I have bin a long time sick, or annoyed with some particular trouble, & God seemes as it were to stop his ears, to harden his heart against me, to shut up his bowels of compassion, and pitty, therefore I were as good giue ouer as conti­nue still crying, and not be heard.

I answer,Answ. there is no one duty almost more pressed in scripture then waiting & watching to prayer, Wayting after pray­er necessary. waite still, hath not God waited thy leasure long enough, and wilt not thou waite on him?

[Page 80]A patient when he feeles his body distempered with Physicke, oh hee cries out partly for the Physick, and partly for the sicknes, that trouble him both together, and make civill warre in his body, yet notwithstan­ding the Physitian wisely lets it worke he; shall haue no cordiall, nor nothing to hinder it, he lets it goe on till the Physicke have wrought well, & carried a­way the malignant matter, that he may be the better for it, and that hee is a lo­ving and tender Physitian, yet so God when we are in trouble it is as Physick we cry but God he turnes the glasse as the Physitians [Page 81] doe; nay this time shall be expired it shall work so long, till thy pride be taken away, thou shalt be humbled throughly, till thou be weaned from thy former wicked pleasures, till thou be prepared to receiue further blessings; therefore they crie, and crie, and God deferres to heare the voyce of his children, God de­ferres for our good. in the meane time he loues to heare the cry of his children, and their prayer is as sweet in­cense, yet he deferres stil, but all is for the patients good, be not weary of waiting, it is a great mercy that Hee makes thee able to continue crying [Page 82] that thou hast the spirit of Prayer, that thou canst poure out thy soule to God, it is a great mercy and so account of it.

Perhaps thou hast not cast out thy Ionas, thy A­chan, that there is some particular sinne,Beloved sins hinder prayer. vnrepen­ted of, and thou cryest and cryest but thy sinne cries louder, thy pride, or thy oppression cries, thy wicked course cries, thou cryest unto God, and there is another thing cries in thee, that cries vengeance as thou doest for mercie, therefore search out thy Achan, cast out thy beloued sinne, see if thou regard iniqui­ty [Page 83] in thy heart, if thou regard any pleasing, or profitable, or gainfull sin, and never thinke that God will heare thee till that bee out, for it will out-cry thy prayers.

The next thing is the manner of Gods cure.

Hee sent his word and healed them.

WHAT word? His secret com­maund,Gods pow­erful word▪ his will. Let such a thing be, as in the creation. Let there bee light, &c. Besides [Page 84] his word written, there is his word creating, and preserving things created, and so here restoring them that were sicke, Hee sent his word and healed them, and so at the resurrection, his Word, his voyce shall raise our bodies againe. It is a strange manner of cure for GOD to cure by his word, by his commaund. It shewes that GOD hath an universall commaund of all things in the world,Gods com­mand over all things. in heaven, and earth, over divells, and over sicknes­ses, as it is said in the Gos­pell, Hee rebuked the sick­nesses, Hee can rebuke the agues, the plague, and the pestilence, and they shall [Page 85] bee gone by his word, as the Centurion sayd, I am a man that have servants un­der mee, and I say to one come, and hee commeth, and to another goe, and he goeth, so thou hast all things un­der thee, thou art GOD, and if Thou say to a disease, Come, it commeth, if Thou say goe, it goeth, GOD sent his word of com­mand and healed them. It is but a word of God to heale, but a word of God, to strike, Hee is the Lord of Hostes, If Hee doe but hisse (as the Prophet saith) for the flie of Egypt; If Hee doe but call for an E­nemie, they come at his word, as wee see in Pha­raohs [Page 86] plagues, the Flies, and Frogs, all things obey his word.

There is a s [...]cret obe­dience in all things to God, when his will is that they shall doe this or that: why doth the Sea keepe his bounds, when as the na­ture and position of the Sea is to bee above the earth? It is the command of GOD that hath sayd, Let it bee there, and hither shall thy proud waues goe, and no further. I might give many instances how GOD doth all by his word; The Divells are at his word, the whales, the Sea, when Christ rebukes it obeyes.

[Page 87]It should teach us not to displease this GOD,Vse. Take heed of displea­sing God. that can strike us in the middest of our sinnes even with a word. Let us feare this GOD, put case we had no enemie in the world, God can arme a mans hu­mours against him, he can raise the spirit, and soule against it selfe, and make it fight against it selfe by de­sperate thoughts, hee nee­ded not forreine forces for Achitophel ▪ and Saul, he could arme their owne soules against themselves. And when hee will take downe the greatest Gyant in the world, he needs not forreine forces, it is but working of a disease, but [Page 88] giving way to a humour, but inflaming the spirits, and the soule shall abhorre all manner of meat.

Againe, he gives a com­mand, a rebuke, and they are gone presently, there­fore let us not offend this great God, that is com­mander of heaven, and earth; let us labour to please him, and it is no matter who else wee dis­please: for hee hath all things at his command, even the hearts of kings as the rivers of water, when Esau sought for Iacob to hurt him, there was a se­cret command God set up­on him to love him; there­fore we should feare him, [Page 89] and all other things shall feare us, we need feare no­thing (so we have a care to feare God) further then in God, and for God; but not so to feare them, as to doe evill for them, and offend the great God that can with a word command sicknesse to come or bid it be gone.

Againe, in that God when all second causes faile can heale by his word, Jncourage­ment to pray from Gods pow­er. therefore, let us never bee discouraged from praying though wee see a hurly-burly, and tumult in the Church, though we see all Europe in combustion, and the Church driven in­to a narrow corner, let us not give over prayer; for [Page 90] Christ, that with a word commanded the waves to bee still, and the divels to be gone, and they present­ly obeyed him; he can still the waves of the Church? hee can pt a hooke into the nostrils of his enemies, and draw them which way hee please, he can still all with his word; therefore how­soever things seeme to run contrary, and opposite to our desires, yet let us not give over, hee that sees no ground of hope in carnall fleshly reason, let him de­spaire of nothing, despaire shuts the gate, and doore of mercy and hope, as it were: you see here when all meanes faile, when they [Page 91] were at the very gates, and entrie of death, God fetch­eth them backe againe; how? with physick? no, hee is not tyed to phy­sicke, there is difference betweene God, and be­tweene nature and art; na­ture and art can doe no­thing without meanes, but the God of nature and art can doe it with his word. How made hee this heaven, and earth, this glorious fabrick? with his word; Let there be light, and there was light, &c. And how shall hee restore all againe? with his migh­tie commanding word, how doth hee preserve things? by his word, how [Page 92] are things multiplyed? by his word, increase and mul­tiplie, a word of blessing, he doth all things with his word.

So hee can confound his enemies with a word, Nay Christ in his greatest abasement when they came with [...]taves, and armes to take him; Whom seeke ye, Saith hee? that word struck downe all the Officers of the Scribes and Pharisees, Christs word in his abasement powerfull. they fell flat on the ground. Could he in his humiliation (before his great abasement on the crosse) strike downe his enemies with his word, what shall he doe at the day of judgement when [Page 93] all flesh shall appeare be­fore him? And what can he doe now at the right hand of God in heaven? Let us never despaire, what state soever we be in, in our owne persons, or in respect of the Church or common wealth; Let us yet pray, yet solicite God, and wrastle with him, for wee see here when they were at the gates of death, he fetcheth them againe with his word, hee can fetch things againe when they are at destruction, as it were, when mans wit is at a losse, that he knoweth not what course to take, God with a word can turne all things againe.

Oh that men would there­fore prayse the Lord for his goodnesse, and for his wondrous works to the chil­dren of men!
Let them sacrifice the sa­crifice of Thansgiving and declare his workes with re­joycing.

YOU see that God the great Physitian, he is good at all dis­seases, hee is never set at any thing for he can cre­ate helps, and remedies of nothing if there be none [Page 95] in nature, hee can create peace to the soule, in the the middest of trouble of conscience, God can make things out of nothing, nay out of contraries, you see here, what this great Phy­sitian hath done hee fet­ched them from the gates of death when their soule abhorred all manner of meate, and what doth he require for all this great cure? surely the text tells us he looks for no­thing but prayse.

Oh that men would there­fore prayse the Lord for his goodnesse, &c.

In which words you haue these circumstan­ces considerable, together with the substance of the duty.

First the persons, who must prayse God, Oh that men would prayse the Lord;

And then the duty they are to performe, to prayse God, to sacrifice to God, to declare his works, one main duty expressed by three termes.

The third is, for what they should prayse him; For his goodnesse, It is the [Page 97] spring of all: for all par­ticular actions of God doe come from his nature, his nature is goodnesse it selfe and indeed all other attri­butes are founded on goodnesse, why is he gra­cious, and mercifull and long-suffering? because he is good, this is the primi­tiue attribute.

And then another thing for which we must praise him, For his wondrous workes for the children of men.

Fourthly the manner how this should be done with rejoycing, and sing­ing as the word signifies, declare his workes with re­joycing. For as all holy [Page 98] actions must be done joy­fully, and chearefully, so especially prayse, God lo­veth a chearefull giver, much more a chearefull thanksgiver: for chearful­nesse is the very nature of thankesgiving, it is a dead sacrifice of thanksgiving it is a dead sacrifice else these are the mayne things considerable in these words,

First of all of the persons.

Oh that men would prayse the Lord.

THE blessed Psalmist who­soever he were, (directed by the spirit of God, All men praise Go [...]) hee would haue all men to prayse God, not onely those that participate and haue inte­rest in the favour but the beholders also of the goodnesse of God to o­thers, for here hee that [Page 100] was not interressed in these favours for his owne par­ticular, yet hee prayseth God for the blessings to others,To praise God for o­thers. and hee wisheth that God might haue praise from them.

For we are all of one so­cietie, of one family, wee are all brethren, there­fore wee must prayse God for his blessings, and be­nefits on others, and not onely our selues but we must wish that all would do so, and specially wee must prayse God for our selues,Especially for our selues. when we haue part of the benefit: for shall others prayse God for us, and shal notwe for our selues? Shall the Churches of God a­broad [Page 101] prayse God, for his great deliverance of this citie, (as there is no Church in the world that heares of it, but is thank­full for it) and shall not wee for our selues? Shall the angels in heaven prayse God, and sing for the re­demption of the Church by the blood of Christ, Glory to God on high peace on earth, Luke 2.1 [...] 14. good will to men, and shall not we that haue interest in the worke of redemption: For Christ is not a mediator of re­demption to Angels hee hath relation to them in another respect, yet they out of loue to God, and the Church, and a desire [Page 102] to glorifie God, hey prayse God for this, and shall not wee much more for our selues? wee must prayse God our selues and desire that all would doe so, as he saith here, Oh that men would prayse the Lord, &c. and in some other Psalmes, Creatures prayse God bow. he stirs up 'all the creatures hayle, and snow, and winde and all to prayse God.

How can these praise God?

They doe it by our mouthes by giving vs oc­casion to prayse him. And they praise him in them­selues: for as the creature groaneth, Rom. 8.Rom. 8. That [Page 103] none knowes but God, and it selfe, they groane for the corruption, and abuse that they are sub­ject unto, and God knowes those groanes, so the crea­ture hath a kind of voyce likewise in praysing of God, they declare in their nature the goodnesse of God, and minister occasi­on to us to praise GOD, therefore the Psalmist be­ing desirous that GOD might be praysed, for his goodnesse and mercy, hee stirres vp every creature, Psal. 103.Psal. 103. even the very Angels, insinuating that it is a worke fit for An­gels.

The children of God, [Page 104] haue such a loue, and zeale to the glory of GOD, that they are not content only to prayse GOD them­selues, but they stirre vp all: they need not to wish Angels to doe it, but on­ly to shew their desire, oh the blessed disposition of those that loue God in Christ!

What shall wee thinke then of those wretched persons that greiue that the word of God should run and haue free passage, Wicked men only dishonour God. and be glorious, and that there should be a free use of the sacraments and the bles­sed meanes of salvation? they envie the glory of God, and the salvation of [Page 105] peoples soules. What shall we say to those that desire to heare God disho­noured, that perhaps sweare, and blaspheme themselues, or if they doe not yet they are not tou­ched in their hearts for the dishonour of God by others,? this is far from the disposition of a Christi­an, he desires that all crea­tures may trumpet ou [...] the prayse of God, from the highest Angell to the lowest creature, from the Sunne, and starres to the meanest shrub, only di­vellish spirited carnal men take delight to blaspheme God, (that can strike them with his word and send [Page 106] them to their owne place to hell, without repen­tance) and can heare him dishonoured without any touch of spirit, a child of God desires God to be glo­rified from his very heart roote, and is greived when God is dishonoured any kind of way, so much breifly for the first,

Now what is the du­tie this holy man wishes?

That men would prayse God. And sacrifice the sa­crifice of thankesgiving, and declare his workes.

OUT of the large­nesse of his heart he expresseth the same thing in many words, therefore I shall not need to make a­ny scruple in particula­rizing of them, because there is not so much heed to bee given in the ex­pressions of a large heart as to be punctuall in eve­ry thing.

[Page 108]First he begins with prayse.

Oh t [...]at men would there­fore praise the Lord, &c.

Prayse a duty fit for Angels.It is a duty as I said before fit for Angels, fit? nay it is performed by them: For it is all the worke they doe, it is the onely worke that was religious, that Adam did in Paradise, and that we shall doe in heaven with God, therefore we are never more in Heaven, then when we take all occasions of blessing, and praising God, wee are never in a more happie estate.

It is a duty therefore we should ayme at, and the [Page 109] rather, because it is the fruite,Prayse the fruit, and end of all we doe. and end of all other duties whatsoeuer; what is the end of all the good we doe, but to shew our thankfulnesse to God? the end of our fruitfulnesse in our place, that others may take occasion to glorifie God. Of hearing. What is the end of our hearing? To get knowledge, and grace, that wee may be the better a­ble to prayse God, in our mouths, and in our lives. What is the end of recei­ving the sacrament?Of the Sa­crament. nay, what is the duty it selfe? a thanksgiving? what is the end of prayer? to begge graces, and strength that so we may carry our [Page 110] selues in our places, as is fit, that so wee may not want those things with­out which we cannot so well glorifie God, so the end of all is to glorifie God.

Praysing God the end of the creation,It is the end that God intended in all, he framed all things to his owne prayse, in the creation. Why hath God given man reason here upon the stage of the world? to behold the creatures, Rom. 1.Rom. 1. that see­ing in the creature, the wisedome of God, in orde­ring of things, the good­nesse of God in the vse of things, and the power of God in the greatnesse of things, the huge, vast [Page 111] heaven, and earth, hee might take occasion to glorifie, and magnifie this God, to thinke highly of him, to exalt him in our thoughts, that his crea­tures heaven, and earth, be so beautifull, and ex­cellent, what excellencie is in God himselfe?

And as the end of creation so in redemption, It is the end of re­demption. all is for his glory, and prayse, in E­phesians 1.Ephes. 1. how sweetly doth Saint Paul set forth the end of it. To the glory of his rich mercie and grace To bee mercifull to sin­ners to giue his owne sonne, for God to be come man, not for man in that estate as Adam was in in­nocencie [Page 112] but for sinners for God to triumph ouer sin, by his infinite mercy here is the glory of his grace shining in the Gos­pell, all is for the glory, and prayse of God there.

Psal. 50. Jt is the end of our particular deliveran­ces.And for particular de­liverances in Psal. 50. Call upon me in the day of trou­ble. I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorifie me, his deliverances of us in the passages of our life is that we may glorifie him, by taking notice in immi­nent dangers of some of his attributes: when there is no meanes of delive­rance, of his power and goodnes, &c. In Revel. 4.Rev. 4. The Elders are brought in [Page 113] praysing God for the work of creation,Rev. 5. and then in the fifth for redemption, Thou art worthy, for thou hast redeemed vs, so indeed the worke of creation, re­demption, and the parti­cular passages of Gods providence, and protecti­on, and preservation, they are matter of prayse in heaven, and earth among Gods people.

Now to name a few helpes, Helps and meanes to praise God. and meanes, to per­forme this duty the better.

If we would stirre up our selues to prayse God let us consider our owne vnworthinesse? Consider our owne vnworthi­nesse. As in pray­er, [Page 114] there must be a hum­ble heart, for a man will not seeke abroad, if hee haue somewhat at home, poverty of spirit and hu­militie of heart, makes a man pray: so it is the hum­ble soule that praiseth God, that sees no desert in it selfe, this is one way to help us to prayse God, to see nothing in our selues, why God should so regard us, as to giue us our lives for a prey, to set his loue on us, and to follow us with good, nay we haue deser­ved the contrary, that God should leave us, and ex­pose us to misery, rather then to watch over us by his providence: what is [Page 115] in vs? It is he that hath made vs, and not wee our selves, & he made us again, when we were sinners when wee were worse then naught, therefore to humble us, we must consider our owne vnworthinesse, hee that knowes himselfe vnworthy of any favour, hee will bee thankfull even for the least, as we see in Iacob, I am lesse then the least of all thy favours, therefore he was thankfull for the least: so wee see here in the text, these men are stirred vp to prayse God, they saw no other helpe, no wor­thinesse in themselues, they were at the gates of death, in a desperate estate, [Page 116] O that such men would praise God, indeed such men are fittest to praise God, that can ascribe help to nothing but to God, to no second causes.

Not to rest on second causes.Therfore in the next place (as a branch of the former) if we would praise God, dwel not on the second causes, if God use second causes in any favour he bestowes on vs, either in keeping us from any ill or bestowing any good cōsider it as a means that God might dispence with, that he might use if he would, or not vse: See God in the second causes, rise from them to him: Art thou healed by Physick? Use Physicke as a meanes, but see God in it, but if [Page 117] God hath cured thee with­out Physick, without or­dinary meanes, then see him more immediatly doing good to thee with­out the helpe of second causes, that is one way to helpe us to prayse God to see him in every fa­vour, and deliverance, for what could second causes doe, if hee should not giue a blessing? especial­ly prayse him when he hath immediately done it, as he can, did not he make light before there was a sunne? he is not ty­ed to giue light by the sunne, and hee made wa­ters before hee made the clouds; hee is not tied to [Page 118] the clouds, therefore e­specially prayse God, when wee haue deliverance we know not how, without meanes, immediatly from the goodnes, and strength of God.

Againe if wee would praise God for any favour,The neces­sity and use of the bles­sing. consider the necessitie, and vse of the favour wee pray for, as these men here, they were at Deaths doore, and loathed all manner of meate, alas they had died if God had not helped them, If thou wouldest blesse God, consider what a miserable stare thou should be in, if thou hadst not that favour to praise God for: If thou be to blesse [Page 119] God for thy sences, put case thou shouldest want thy sight, what a misera­ble case thou shouldest be in: so for any of the sences that a man wants, whereby hee should glo­rifie God, and take the comfort of the Creature, put case a man should want his tast, as these men here, their soule abhorred all manner of meate, alas what a miserable case is it to want a relish, and tast of the comfort that God hath put into the crea­tures, put case we should want the meanest benefite wee enjoy, how uncom­fortable would our lives be?

[Page 120]This sparke of reason that God hath given us, that wee have understanding to conceive things, which is the engine whereby we doe all things as men, and are capable of the grace of God, what a miserable thing were it, if God should take away our wits, or suspend the use of them?

But especially in matters of grace, if God had not sent Christ to redeeme the world, what a cursed condition had we lyen in? next to Divels.

Againe if wee would praise God, Dayly re­gister Gods favours. let us every day keepe a Diary of his fa­vours, and blessings; what good hee doth us private­ly, [Page 121] what positive blessings he bestowes upon vs, and what dangers hee frees us from, and continues, and renewes his mercies every day, and publikly what benefit wee have by the state we live in, Oh what a happie state is it that we live in peace, that wee en­joy such lawes, that every man may fit under his owne vine, and under his owne figtree and enjoy the comforts of this life, when all the world about us are, and have beene in combustion! We should keepe a Register of Gods blessings, Oh, that wee could learne to have such exact lives! it would breed [Page 122] a world of comfort, and wee should have a lesse ac­count to make, when wee die.

Every day labour to be humbled for our sinnes specially such as break the peace of our consciences, and never give our bodies rest till our hearts have rest in the favour of God, and together with matter of humiliation dayly ob­serve how God bestowes new favours, or else conti­nues the old, that notwith withstanding our provo­cation, and forgetfulnesse of him, hee strives with us by his goodnesse, this is a blessed duty that we should labour to per­forme.

[Page 123]And then when we have done this let us rouse up all that wee are, To prayse God with that which is in us. and all that wee have within us to praise God, Psalme 103. My soule praise the Lord, Psal. 103. and all that is within me praise his holy Name. What have wee within us to praise God? Let us praise God with our understan­ding, Our vnder­staning. to conceive, and have a right judgement of Gods favours, of the worthinesse of them, and our owne un worthinesse, and then a sanctified Memo­ry, Memory. forget not all his bene­fites; forgetfulnesse is the grave of Gods blessings it buries all. And then there is in us the affection [Page 124] of joy, Ioy. and love to God to tast him largely, and then all within us will be large in the praising of God. And our tongue likewise though that be not within us, Tongue. it is called our glory; let us make it our glory in this, to Trumpet our Gods praise upon all occasions, all that is within us, and all that we are, or have, or can do, let it be all to the glory, and praise of God.

To draw to a conclu­sion with some generall application, of all that hath beene spoken, and then in particular to the present occasion.

You know how God hath dealt of late with [Page 125] this Citie, In the great visitation. 1625. and with our selves indeed, for we are all of one body politike, and however God visited them, yet it was our sinnes also that provoked him, we brought stickes to the common fire. Simile. A Physitian lets the arme blood, but the whole body is distem­pered, God let the Citie blood, but the whole king­dome was in a distemper, so that it was for our sins as well as theirs wee, all brought (I say) some thing to the common flame, and God afflicted us, even in them: God hath now stayd the sicknesse almost as Miraculously as hee sent it: It was a [Page 126] wonder that so many should be swept away in so short a time, it is almost as great a wonder that God should stay it so soone. And what may we impute it unto? Sure­ly as it is in the text. They cried unto the Lord, God put it into the hearts of the Governours of the state to appoint humilia­tion and crying to God, and therefore since God hath beene so mercifull upon our humiliation it is re­ligiously, and worthily done of the state that there should be a time to blesse God

Againe, God did it with a word, with a command, [Page 127] it was both in the in­flicting and delivery (as it were) without meanes: for what could the Phy­sitians doe in staying the Plague? Alas all the skill in the world is at a losse in these kinds of sicknes­ses! it comes with Gods command, it is Gods arrow more especially then o­ther sicknesses, God sent it by his Command, first to humble us for our sin, and now hee hath stayd it with a word of command that from above 5000. a weeke, it is come to three persons, God hath sent his word and healed us.

It was a pittifull state wee were in before: for [Page 128] indeed it was not onely a sicknesse upon the Citie but a civill sicknesse: the whole state w [...]s distem­pered: for as there is sick­nesse in the body when there is obstruction, when there is not a passage for the spirits and the blood from the liver, & from the heart, and from the head these obstructions cause weakenesse, and fain­tings, and consumption, So was there not an ob­struction in the state of late? were not the veynes of the kingdome stopped? Was not civill commerce stayed? the affliction of this great Citie, it was as the affliction of the head [Page 129] or of the heart or of the liver; if the maine vitall part be sick, the whole is sicke, so the whole king­dome not only by way of sympathy, but it was civilly sicke in regard that all tra­ding, and intercourse was stopped, it was a heavy vi­sitation. And wee have much cause to blesse God that now the wayes of this Sion of ours mourne not, that-there is free com­merce, and intercourse as before, that we can meete thus peaceably, and quiet­ly at Gods ordinances, and about our ordinarie cal­lings,Concer­ning deli­verance from the plague, to blesse God. those that have an apprehension of the thing cannot chuse but breake [Page 130] out in thanksgiving to God, in divers respects.

That hee would cor­rect.First of all, have not we matter to praise God that he would correct us at all? hee might have suffred us to have gone on and beene damned with the wicked world as it is 1 Cor. 11.33.1 Cor. 11.33. We are therfore chastened of the Lord that wee should not be damned with the world: it is his mercy that hee would take us into his hands as children, that he would visite us at all.

Another ground of thankesgiving is this that since he would correct us,That hee would do it himselfe. he would use this kind of correction, that he would take us into his owne hands; [Page 131] might he not have suffred a furious, bloody darke spirited, divellish spirited enemy to have invaded us, to have fallen into the hard hands of men acted with divel [...]ish malice? David thought this a favour, even that God would single him out to punish him with the Plague of pestilence that he might not fal before his ene­mies. The mercies of God are wondrous great when we fall into his hands hee is a mercifull God, hee hath tender bowels fu [...]ll of pitty and compassion: but The very mercies of wicked Ido­laters are cruell, there was a mercie therefore in that, that God would take us [Page 132] into his owne hands.

That he stayed the Pestilence.In the third place, we see when he had taken us into his own hands, how he hath stopped the raging of the pestilence, and hath inhibi­ted the destroying Angell, even in a wondrous man­ner, that the Plague when it was so raging that it should come to decrease upon a sudden; God was wondrous in this worke, is not here matter of praise?

That our lives were spared.Then againe, it is a mercy to us all here that he should give us our lives for a prey as God sai [...]h in Ieremiah to Baruch, Wheresoever thou goest thou shalt have thy life for a prey, might not Gods arrow have followed us [Page 133] wheresoever wee went?

Whither can a man goe from this arrow, but that God being every where might smite him with the pestilence? now in that hee hath watched over us, and kept us from this noysome contagious sicknes, and hath brought us altogether here quiet­ly and freely, that so there may bee entercourse be­tweene man and man in trading, and other cal­lings, this is the fourth ground of praysing of God.

And that it did not rage in other parts: That it spread not farre. in former time God scatte­red the pestilence more [Page 134] ouer the kingdome: It is a great matter to blesse God for. I beseech you let us say with the same spirit, as this holy man h [...]re, Oh that men therefore would prayse the Lord for his goodnes, and for the won­ders that he doth for the children of men! For his goodnesse, that hee would rather correct us here then damne us, for his goodnesse, that hee would not giue us up to our ene­mies, For his goodnesse, that he stayd the infecti­on so suddenly, and that he stayd the spreading of it further, For his good­nesse vnto us in particular that hee hath kept us all safe.

[Page 135]What shall wee doe now but consecrate, and dedicate these liues of ours for he giues us our liues more then once, at the beginning, there is neuer a one heere but can say by experience, GOD hath given me my life, at such a time, and such a time, let us give these lives againe to God, labour to reforme our former cour­ses, and enter into a new covenant with God, this is one part of thanksgiving to renew our covenant with God, to please him better, and indeed in every thanksgiving, that should bee one ingredient. Now [Page 136] Lord I intend; and re­solue to please thee bet­ter, whatsoeuer my faults haue formerly beene, I resolue by thy grace, and assistance to breake them off, without this all the other is but a dead perfor­mance.

Now breifly by way of analogie, and propor­tion, to rayse some medi­tations from that that hath hath beene delive­red concerning the body to the soule, for God is the Physitian both to soule, and body.

If God with his word can heale our bodies as the [Page 137] Psalmist sayth here, much more can hee with his word heale our Soule.God by his Word heales the soule. There are many that their bodies are well (thanks be to God) but how is it with their soules? here you haue some symptomes to know their spirituall state and oh that people were apprehensiue of it!Symptome of a sicke soule. haue you not many that their soule loatheth all manner of meate, and they draw neere the gates of death, their soules are in a despe­rate state, they are deeply sick, how shall wee know it? their soule abhorreth all manner of wholsome meate: how many are there that relish Poets, and history, [Page 138] any trifle that doth but feed their vaine fancie and yet cannot relish the blessed truth, and ordi­nances of God? Where is spirituall life, when this spirituall sence is gone: when men cannot relish holy things? if they relish the ordinance of God, it is not the spirituall part of it, so farre as the spirit tou­cheth the conscience, but something that (it may be) is sutable to their conceit expressions, or phrases or the like, but it is a symptom and signe of a fearefull declining state, when men doe not relish the spiritu­all ordinances of God, which should be (as it [Page 139] were) their appointed food, when they doe not de­light to acquaint themselues with God in hearing of the word, and reading, and the like, let such there­fore, as delight not in spirituall things know that their soules lye gasping they are at the gates of spi­rituall death, all is not well there is some fearfull ob­struction upon the soule, that takes away the appe­tite, the soule runnes into the world ouermuch, they cloy themselues with the world, when men cānot re­lish heavenly things they are eate vp with the delight and joy of other things pleasures and profits.

[Page 140]Let them search the cause,To recover spirituall appetite. and labour for pur­ging sharpe things that may procure an appetite

Let them judge them­selues, and see what is the matter that they doe not delight more in heauenly things; let them purge themselues by confession to God, and consideration of their sins, and labour to recover their appetite, for it is almost a desperate e­state, They are at the gates of death.

Especially now when we come to the communi­on, what doe we heere if we cannot relish the food of our soules? let us ex­amine if we desire to tast [Page 141] the loue of God, and to be acquainted with God here if not,What to do in spirituall distempers, What shall wee doe in these spirituall di­stempers?

Desire of God, cry to God, that he would for­giue our sinnes, and heale our soules by his holy Spirit, that hee would make us more spirituall to relish heavenly things, better then we haue done before, that as the things, that are heauenly, are bet­ter in their kind then other things are; so they may be better to our tast.

A man may know the judgement of his state, when hee answereth not the difference of things: [Page 140] what the difference is be­tween the food of life, and ordinary food, what the difference is between the comforts of the holy Ghost, and other comforts, betweene the riches, and pelfe of the world, and the riches of the spirit, the gra­ces of God that will cause a man to liue and die with comfort, the true riches that make the soule rich to eternity, there is no com­parison: beg of God, this spi [...]ituall relish to discerne of things that differ, that we may recouer our appetite God by his word, and spi­rit can doe it, not only the word written, but the in ward spirituall word writ­ten [Page 141] in our hearts, desire God to joyne his spirit with his word, and sacra­ments, and that will reco­ver our tast and make us spirituall that we shall re­lish him that is both the feast-maker, and the feast it selfe, he is both the meat and the provider of the banquet.

For whence is it that all other things are sweet to vs? Deliverance from tro­ble, and sicknesse? be­cause it is a pledge of our spirituall deliverance in Christ, the deliverance from hell and damnation, what comfort can a man haue that knowes not his state in grace, in the en­joying [Page 144] of his health, when hee shall think he is but as a sheepe kept for the slaughter? hee knows not whether hee be in the favour of God or no?

Therefore let vs come, and renew our faith in the forgiuenesse of our sinnes through the blood of Christ, of whom we are made partakers in the Sa­crament. For if we beleiue our deliverance from hell, and damnation by the bo­dy of Christ broken, and his bloodshed, then every thing will be sweet, when we know God loues us to life everlasting, then every thing in the way to life e­verlasting [Page 145] euen day [...] bread will be sweete, be­cause the same loue that giues heauen, giues day­ly food, and the same loue that redeemes us from hell redeemes us from sicknes, therefore let us labour to strengthen our faith in the maine, that wee may bee thankfull for the lesse. And as we enter into new coue­nant with God; so labour to keepe it:Levit. 26. in Levit. 26. euery thing auengeth the brea­king of Gods couenant when we make couenant to serue him better for the time to come, and yet breake it, God is forced to send his messenger he sends sicknesse to avenge his Co­venant, [Page 146] considering that he hath lately so auenged it, let it make us so much the more circumspect in our carriage. So much for this time, and text.



Thomas Wykes.

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