Taken by pen in the publique delivery by one of his flock, a little before his death. Anno 1622.

Published now at last by the said writer, as a love token of remembrance to his brethren, to inkindle their affections to prayer, that scandalls (of manie years continuance) may be removed, that are barrs to keep back manie god­ly wise and judicious from us, wher­by we might grow to farther perfection again.

Matth. 9. 37. 38.

Surely the harvest is great, but the labourers are few. Wherefore pray the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

Imprinted 1630.

To my beloved brethren in the faith and fellowship of the Gospell in all places specially those my native countrymen resident in Am­sterdam, grace and peace from our God in Christ.

BEloved the Scripture tells us that while the Ark of God taryed in Kiriath-jearim, the time being long (for it was twenty years) all Jsraell lamented after the Lord 1. Sam. 7. 2. The same affections me thinks I perceive in manie of you, even for the sundry years absence of the Lords ministers, wherby our comfortable portion in the Lords house is greatly lessened, for being left now as sheep upon the bare commons, I fear we may truely cry with the Pro­phet, My leannes, my leannes, and with all being di­vers times hurryed and torn with the loud out cryes, and hard handling of furious and unmercifull spirits, who under pretence of godly zeal and hatred against sin, ungodlily massacre the true & living members of Christs body, and by pulling out the squared living stones in­danger [Page] the fall of the house. And herewith consi­dering what reproach not onely our selves, but also the truth it self sustains by reason of such courses, for now the wayes of Syon mourn, in that few or none come to her solemnityes so that we may truely take up that com­plaint of the Prophet Lament. 1. 8. Ierusalem hath greivously sinned, therefore shee is in derision: all that honoured her, despise her, because they have seene her filthines: yea, she sigheth and turneth backeward. And besides all this, the vigilant adversary is as forward to discourage and dishearten us by slaunde­ring our holy practise with scisme and profanesse. Who duely weighing these things brethren cā refraine pitying us as our saviour Christ did the multitude, because they were dispersed, and scattered abroad, as sheepe having no shepheard. But this being now toward the end or last dayes, love in men towards others is growen cold, every man seeking his own and not that that is Christs, Therefore brethren let us at last learn to be wise for our selves, in weighing the daunger of biting and de­vouring one another which tends to the consuming one of another Gallat. 5. 15. Let us hereafter study to be quiet. 1. Thess. 4. 11. and if any yet lust to be conten­tious, we must answere with the same Apostle, We have no such custom. 1. Cor. 11. 16. And touching those that seeme to be possessed with Diotrephes spirit, who are unwearyed to prate against us with malicious words, & not therwith content thrust them out of the Church that [Page] witnes for us, and testify against their iniquitye, what shall I say of them (since they reject the word of God, and all wholsom counsell for their amendement, contrary to the very letter of the 38. Article of our published confession of faith) but onely leave them to the Lord who onely hath power to change them or cutt them of. In the mean time read & consider that affectionate ex­hortation of the Apostle Rom. 16. 17. Now I beseech you brethren mark them diligently which cause division and offences, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoyd them, for they that are such serve not the Lord Jesus Christ but themselves. Yet least they should take themselves hereby to be wronged if nothing be said farther, amongst the manie evills done us, I have thought fitting to give the Christian reader a tast of some, to will them in the fear of God to consider their waies in their hearts, and judge without partial­lity their courses by the law of God, so may they soone see, how injuriously and irregularly they have walked ever since the death of our wise, faithfull, and honoured guides, who spake enough to declare our daunger, and the means (through Gods blessing) to avoid it, for who can forget those oft pressed speaches of our Teacher upon his death bed when he earnestly exhorted even to his last breath, to Christian moderation in the affaires of the Church, as the main thing wherein our tranquilly would consist, and he had greate reason to urge it upon some, because manie yeares experience bad taught him [Page] how feirce, unadvised, & preposterous he had found some (to be left now in main trust as the principall) from time to time, in kindling fire that their wisedom and under­standing found work enough to quench. And the last deceassed Elder that best knew him that was principally aymed at, said in direct words, that it would never be well with the Church while it was guided by a stran­gers head, & who can deny his words to be true hitherto, nay let even himself and his privy counsellours speak, whether in their firey zeale they did not instantly so far forget our Teachers counsell for moderation, that they sought up and forced into the Church new causlesse trou­bles contrary to the Law & Gospell, as the Church of Leyden plainly proved to them, & contrary to the very letter of the 8. Position of our Apologie.

For when even in a meere matter of advise (desired of us by another Church) the Church here had come to a peacable conclusion to the content of ech part that differed in matter of judgment, and that the Elder had solemnly promised to write a letter accordingly, certain discontented brethren made a meeting to change that solemn agreement of the Church, the Elder consenting & acting with them, which he bringing and reading to the Church, it was instantly blamed in the Elder, for writing contrary to the Churches joynt agreement, and his own promise, and so he was turned back (after much striving by him & his confederats, who were afterwards discovered as guitly of that they unjustly had censured [Page] others for) & willed to write the first peacable agreemēt, that the church might not be farther troubled, but in soms absence (minded chief) the next Lords day, there was advantage taken of the time, & the letter brought again unaltered in the least, and by a strong and violent hand those manie masters then so far prevailed against those that pressed the former conclusiō, that the letter was con­sented to by the Church to be sent away as it was, onely crossing out my name, because I could be no testimonie, in that my name was produced for, and now the Church was so transported, that they refused so much as to signi­fy under their letter, either that some brethren were dif­fering minded thereto, or to take the advise of the Church of Leyden that were joyntly interessed with them.

But farther here was another thing yet worse, for either the Elder alone, or these privy counsellers with him, stood not to this second agreement the Church made, but wrote another with alterations, additions, and diminishings besides the Churches knowledge or consent, & sent it for the Churches minde and acte; yet behold the other brethren that never saw or heard this newe for­ged letter, till near two years after they were cast out of the Church (which was dispatched in hast, even in 14. dayes time least they should bee prevented) upon the very suspitiō, that a few of thē met to write to cōtradict the Churches action, in hir letter of advise, by the sole, yet false, information of the Elder, two of them were sin­gled out, and selected from the rest, and produced to the [Page] Church for evill, which yet the informer professed, that the thing informed and accused, might be holy just, and good, for ought he knew, yet being desirous to get matter, the matter was prosecuted in the Church by interroga­toryes to finde out sin, which the brethren testifyed a­gainst, as contrary to the law of love which thinks no evill, & rule of Christ Matth. 18. Yet offred they the suspected act to sight & correctiō wherin soever it should be found amisse, and with all protesting solemnly they had neither done the thing so suspected, nor intended it; & yet behold the brethren were cast out without the knowledge of sin or due dealing for sin, save that for refusing to answere intrapping demaunds, which they urged submission unto as Gods word & Christs govern­ment, they were Consured as contemners of both, and the maintenance of this both Elders & Church are now so wedded to, that the chief of them blush not to affirm, that rather then they will goe back from what they have done herein, they will goe on in it, yea though two of them doe not remain together. And yet who sees not their palpable grosse partiallity in sparing their offen­ding favourites in matters of scandalous and evill na­ture, least their evill combination be weakened, discover­ed, or broken. Oh how much better were it they would ceasse to abound in their own sence, and take counsell from such as in the fear of God are both able and wil­ling to direct them better. O that they would learn to be wise at the last, so through the good hand of our God [Page] there might be some recovery of what is lost. Whereas now their irregular proceedings have made our bre­thren in all places to hang down their heads, as they have been plainly certifyed frō sundry Churches. Now from these and the like offences divers that were of us turn their backs upon us, and betake themselves to live at large, as if now the doore of indifferency or liberti­nisme were sett open, that it matters not whom they hear, or where they walk, anie where or no where, and measuring these mens sins with others they think they can hardly goe to worse: And whence riseth all this, & much more of the like, but even for the want of faith­full Pastors and Teachers, and godly discreet and able guides or Rulers in the Church? but what hope of ever such worthyes coming in, when there is such an hideous noyse in the house, by such unruly masters which cruel­ly smite some, wound others, & cast their dear brethren out at the windowes. Hence come familyes to be devi­ded, the loving husband from his beloved wife, the affe­ctionate parents from their dear Children, hence come familyes to be spoyled by remissnes in neglect, nay, in utter laying aside of joynt family dutyes; the new vessels want their seasoning, the tender plants their due wa­tering, and so become barren before their full growth. So that we may justly take up the complaint of the Pro­phet Habakuk 1. 2. 3. 4. Oh Lord how long shall I cry and thou will not heare! even cry out to thee for violence and thou will not help! Why dost thou [Page] shew me iniquity, & cause me to behold sorrow? for spoyling and violence are before mee: and there are that raise up strife and contention, &c. Oh consider this ye that are so bent to spoyling, repent and turn in time, least the living stones crying in the wall of the spirituall house, the corner stone be of­fended, and fall upon you and grind you to peeces. But I desire your conversion and not subversion, if the will of the Lord so be, though ye have been bold to vent your worst you can imagine against me upon all occasions, and for your presumptuous determining my eternall estate, the Lord forgive you. If you please to read what is here writt, I hope through the Lord it may turn your courses, that ye may see your duty is to build and not to destroy. They were the instructiōs our late faithfull Tea­cher M. Aynsworth, delivered to us all, the last time he ever executed his ministery with us, which was at such a time as his bodye & naturall strength were so decayed, that he wanted (as ye know) ability to come up again, even that very Lords day in the afternoone as his usuall manner was, wherein his faithfullnes may be seen even to his last gasp, in striving to feed the flocke even when the hand of God was heavy upon him in that sore perplexing and tedious disease of the stone, of which in a few dayes after he dyed, yet since even in his strong paines (that sometime by reason of the extre­mity caused a stay of speach, to the griefe of the hearers and beholders) he was delivered of this, as the last fruit [Page] of his ministery, let the Israell of God love it as Iacob did Benjamin the dear sonne of his beloved wife, of whom she dyed. It is not for nothing that the Holy Ghost expressly tells us. These be the last words of David 2. Sam. 23. 1. Give me leave therefore (though not to call you together as Iacob did his sons when he was to deliver his last words to them Gen. 49.) yet to en­treat you to read what our loving Teacher as a father spake in his charge last to us. And though some or the most of you heard them sett out in the lively voyce Gods solemn ordinance of preaching, yet let it not greive you, that I write to you some of the same things, so farr as my slow hand could extend to compasse, the fullnes of his words I professe not to report, no nor yet the summe or substance of every thing he hence delivered, no nor yet have I published things so well as J might have done, had I sett upon the work to write it out fair instantly, while things were green in my own & others memo­ryes, but now these notes having layen by me near 8. years before I sett upon this resolution, it is more defec­tive then is requisite for the report of a work of so able and faithfull a man, yet I trust none will be offended at me for this my service of love, since if ought shall be found amisse, I am willing the blame lye upon my misunderstanding or forgetfullnes, and so let him be free, who ever approved himself in his ministery to every mans conscience. Besides, had I been exact in taking, yet considering his condition at the time of the delivery, [Page] it is not probable to come so refined to satisfy this curious carping age, whom nothing almost pleaseth, but novelly garnished with humane art. But as the contents of the sermon tend not that way, so neither doe J passe to please the world herein. My chief drift is, to commend the remembrance both of the person and work, that ye may be affected with the dayes of old, when we went together to the house of God with joy, as those that keep a feast, that so we may resolve with the Prophet Esai. 62. 1. 6. 7. Not to hold our tongues for Ierusalems sake, nor give the Lord rest till he repaire and set it up, that so the righteousnes thereof may break forth as the light, and salvation thereof as a burning lamp. I end with the heavenly words uttered when our great and good shep­herd came into the world. Luk. 2. 14. Glory to God in the highest, & on earth peace, good will toward men.

Your brother in all Christian affection SABINE STARESMORE.
1. PETER 2. 4.

To whom comming as unto a living stone disalowed of men, but chosen of God and precious.

5. Ye also as living stones, be made a spirituall house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spirituall sacrifices accepta­ble to God by Iesus Christ.

THe purpose of the Apo­stle in these words and those following, is to exhort all Christians to the encrease of faith and holines of life. He ha­ving before mentioned the bounty of our Lord Iesus Christ, who hath affoarded the sincere milk of his Word, that they might grow thereby: Now because Paul may plant, & Appollos 1. Cor. 3. 5. 6 may water, but it is onely God that gives [Page] the encrease, he doth therby lead them to the Lord Iesus Christ, who hath so provided for his newborn babes that they may have wherewith to grow up.

First he speaks of coming to Christ, describing him a living stone as he is els­where called the chiefe corner stone in this building, upon whom all the people of Matth. 21. 22. God ought to rely, he being then the chief corner stone, notwithstanding he be disalowed of men, yet to God he is elect and precious.

The first duty the Holy Ghost here teacheth us is, That we should be care­full to get faith and holines in our per­sons which we doe obtain by coming to Christ: secondly we are next to come to his house, that is, to become members of his visible Church. Now we come to Christ first by his call of us by the prea­ching of his word, as Christ saith Come Matth. 11. 28 to mee, &c. secondly by the drawing of the father. So that there are two waies or Ioh. 6. 44. means to come to Christ, the one is out­ward, the other inward, the first is the Word, the second is the Spirit, by per­swading our hearts and bringing us to the obedience of the Gospell.

[Page] Next we are to consider from what we are called, namely from that that is by nature sinfull, from our sinfull estate, secondly whereto we are called, that is, to Christ, that we may become living stones, to be built a spirituall house.

Christ is called a living stone as having life in himself, and giving life to his Iohn. 5. 26 & 1. 4. church, he is called the chief corne stone in way of similitude; for as the corner stone to the building, is to joyn the walls together, so Christ is to the whole Church, he joyns all his, both Iewes and Gentiles into one spirituall house. Again he is called a stone in respect of his firm­nes of grace given of God by him; so that all that are built upon him, are as a Matth. 7. 24. 25. & 26. house built upon a rock which stands sure against all assaults, opposed by our Saviour to an house built upon the sand which falls when tempestuous assaults come: so is it with us, we have a firm foundation which is Gods decree, his love stablished to us in Christ.

Is Christ then such a firm and sure foundation, it is for the exceeding com­fort Vse. of all his people, that however they be opposed by the world and satan yet [Page] they shall remain firm for ever, the gates of hell shall never prevaile against them. Matth. 16. 18.

Again hath Christ life not onely for himself but for us, this is to shew us our Vse. dutyes that we carry our selves as living stones in his spirituall house which is his Church, he that is Christs must be a new creature, by faith he must put on Christ, for unlesse we come to Christ by faith, we shall depart from him without fruit: and by these severall comparisons laid down in scripture we are to know the grace of Christ is sett forth to us. He is a living stone and he makes us living stones, he gives life to the whole bodye.

He is called also living bread, who­soever eate him (that is beleeve in him) shall live by him, if anie man eate of this bread he shall live for ever. Iohn. 6. 50. 51.

He is called the vine and we the bran­ches, he that abides in him brings forth fruite, but without him we can doe no­thing, Iohn. 15. 5. by him alone we bring forth fruit, and expect salvation in the day of the Lord.

Disalowed of men.) First this was in his own person when he was here, so also in his after. In himself, in that he had [Page] neither house nor home; for he was a carpenter & brought up without schoole learning, and because of his base and Mark. 6. 3. lowe estate, he was despised and men regarded him not.

2. The Iewes were crossed in their errour, while they expected salvation by the works of the law, but he declares, if they will have salvation they must Rom. 10. 3. have it by him, without him none can see God, to the Iewes then Christ was a stumbling block, by them judged an enimie to God and Moses.

3. Christ came preaching the death 1. Cor. 1. 23. of the crosse, which to the Gentiles is foolishnes, and in respect of his plain & simple administration of the Gospell, for these causes he may be said to be disa­lowed of men.

This is spoken to comfort us against Vse. the scandall of the crosse, when we see he is rejected of the world not onely in himself, but in his servants, Is Christ then not respected? let us not be offen­ded, for Christ was to enter into glo­ry Luk. 24. 26 by suffring, let us then willingly endure despising here, that we may have glory in the life to come, for this cause 1. Pet. 4. 1. [Page] are we to arm our selves against the temptations of this world, because if the maister of the house was thus entreated and disalowed of men, we his seruants Matth. 10. 24. 25. must not murmure if we drink also of the same cup, therefore we are not to think that the Kingdom of Christ here Ioh. 18. 36. is a pompous outward Kingdom, but it consists in righteousnes peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, and those that are his Rom. 14. 17 subjects must be meeke and humble; and therefore let all take heed that they be not offended at Christs meannesse, nor Matth. 11. 29. yet stumble at the afflictions that come for his sake.

The 3. thing, (elect of God and pre­cious.) Whence we may observe, how opposite the actions of God and men are, men make no accompt of Christ, but count him vile, but God honours and preferres him, it is prophecyed of him that he should grow as a branch out of a dry ground, so saith the Pro­phet Esaie of him, and David com­pares him to a worme and no man, Esai. 53. 2. Psal. 22. 7. despised of men, yet this hinders not Gods respect of him, for after suffring he came to glory: Thus it is with all Hob. 12. 2. [Page] his people, although they are despised of men, yet are they in accompt with God, God accompts them his treasure, he pitcheth his tabernacle amongst them, with whom he will dwell.

Christ is called the elect of God by the Prophet Esaie, my servant whom I Esai. 44. 1. 2. Eph. 1. 4. 2. Tim. 1. 9. Ioh. 10. 10. & 28. have chosen, so wee are chosen in Christ, before the world was, God givs us eter­nall life by him.

In that Christ is elect and we in him, Vse. it is to shew the assurance of salvation by Christ, as Christ dyed and went to glory, so shall we also, even as God did regard him as his onely begotten Matth. 3. 17 sonne, in whom he is well pleased, notwithstanding all his basenesse in the worlds esteem; so doth God accompt of all true Christians, for this is for far­ther manifestation of the glory of God in accepting them in his sone Christ.

(Ye also as livinge stones are builte up a Spirituall House.) As in the first place we said, it is not enough to come to Christ in our persons, but we must adjoyn to his Church, so now we must not content our selves with per­sonall good, but we must seek farther [Page] perfection to becom members of his visible Church, It is not lawfull for Christians to wander in the world or to live alone, nor to adjoyn themselves in communion with false Churches, but as it is in the Acts, The Lord added to the Act. 2. 47 Church such as should be saved, unto this estate all are bound to come, and so to be made pertakers of all Christs graces, who couples all the bodye together, for this cause are they called living stones in si­militude from the stones of the temple cōpacted into one bodye, but the stones of the Temple were liveles, these living, and herein they differ. As the first Tem­ple was a figure of Christ, so also it signi­fyed all the bodye of the faithfull, who Heb. 10. 21. make all one house, over which Christ is set. If we then be his house let us hold fast our rejoycing to the end.

Moreover although those stones in that first Temple built by Salomō were with­out 1. King. 8. 10. life, yet God tooke possession of it; and dwelt in the middest of it, how much more with them that are a temple joyned together of living stones.

Now as this is for incouragement to Vse. all to become members of his Church, [Page] so also it sheweth who are the fit mem­bers of his Church, even those one­ly that are living stones.

And in that the members of the Church ought to be living stones, it should teach us, not to be idle in good Vse. works, faith without works is dead, Iam. 2. 17. Hab. 2. 4. and just men live by faith, by faith we are made pertakers of the death of Christ and all other benefits, Christ is the head of the body: As is the nature of the head, so must the members be, and Ephe. 5. 23. as the parts of the body naturall, have life from the head, so also we from Christ, as he is the head and is living, so ought all true Christians that come to him; it is a thing against nature that a dead body should be fastened to a living head, and therefore whoever is not fastened to him by faith, cannot be made partakers of 10 hn 8. 24. his life, therefore however hypochrites may come into the Church by their see­ming regeneratiō, yet not having the life of God in them, they can receive no be­nefitt from Christ by the ministery of man. But because we are to insist upon the similitude of a building we will re­turn to that.

[Page] We are built into an house three man­ner of waies, first by the gifts of the spi­rit, 1. Cor. 12. when God gives ability to build up one another by the graces we receive frō the Spirit of God, 2. Besides these, there vers. 4. are offices proceeding from the Lord Christ, of which some were maister buil­ders vers. 5. as the Apostles, and Prophets, next after them the Euangelists, upō the Do­ctrines they taught and writt the church is builded, as the Apostle testifyes to the Ephes. 2. 20. 21. To these he adds the ordinary ministery of the church, Pa­stours and Teachers Eph. 4. 11. 12. Vnto these two we have a third namely the o­perations of God the father, who makes vers. 6. his word powerfull and effectuall, giving us grace to understand and apply it; and to bring forth the fruit of it: so that from the Father, Sonne and Holy Ghost, we receive life & these benefitts here spokē of, and so become a spirituall house. This spirituall house is opposed to the mate­reall house builded by Salomon, which was but a figure as the Apostle saith to the Hebrewes. Hebr. 9. 9.

We are therefore to bee carefull that Vse. the graces of God be not received in us [Page] in vaine, but that we grow in grace in faith and holines, that we may be built up 2. Pet. 3. 18. an holy house & habitation by his spirit. In this life we are but in the growth, but in the life to come, we shall come to be perfect men, nowe in the mean time we Luk 2. 52 1.Sam. 2. 26. Prov. 3. 4. are to know we are in this world as Christ was in this world, still growing.

There is all waies an end of building, as the Apostle saith Eph. 2. 20. The whole church is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets Iesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building is coupled toge­ther. 1. groweth to be an holy temple in Lord, wherby the holy Ghost shews, the state of the Church figured by the Tem­ple. The second end is in the 22. verse, to be the habitation of God by the Spi­rit, hence is it the holy Ghost saith, know ye not that your bodye is the temple of the holy Ghost? 1. Cor. 6.

Thus being the temple of God, we may build upō the assurāce of the Lords Vse. promise of dwelling amongst us, as it is Lev. 26. 11. 12. 2. Cor. 6. 16 said, I will walk & dwell amongst them and pitch my Tabernacle amongst you, I will be your God & ye shall be my peo­ple, [Page] thus the most heavenly promises are sett downe under this mystery, the full accomplishment wherof shall be fullfil­led in the world to come: In the mean time as Salomon prayed at the dedicatiō of the Temple, behold the heaven of 1. Kin. 8. 27 heavens cannot contain thee, so we may say, what are we, that God should dwell amongst us, or that he should poure out the graces of his spirit upon us? and forasmuch as we should be a spirituall house, we are to take heed that we defile not our bodyes or soules: see what care Vse. God had of old of the Temple, none de­filed, might enter therein, if a matereall house was so carefully kept, how much more the living house the church of God, if the former were carefully watched and looked to, to keep it from pollution, how much more should we be carefull to keep our selves from our own or others sins, therefore let us take heed that we 1. Tim. 5. 22. harbour not uncleannes within us, but that we labour to be holy as he is holy, because we are built a spirituall house. Sa­lomons 1. Pet. 1. 16 1. Kin. 6. 38 house was seven years in build­ing, so we in this house of God must be still in building in that faith to which [Page] God hath called us.

The end of that house was to declare Gods word amongst them, and there did the Lord promise he would accept their offrings.

From the house we are now to speak of the priesthood, for that he speaks of next, (an holy priesthood.) As of Christ, we are called Christ [...]ans, so from the par­ticular offices of Christ, as of Prophet, Act. 11. 26. Priest, and King, we are ever with h [...]m made partakers of the same, we have the annoynting of Christ to make us prophets priests and Kings, of his priesthood we see here, that we should be an holy priest­hood. Touching the holines of the priest­hood it was appointed by the Lord one­ly Exod. 28. 1 1. Chro. 23. 13. Heb. 5. 4. to some, for none might take that ho­nour upon them but he that was called of God as was Aaron, so no spirituall priest now, but he that is called of Christ, therefore there is now no true priests but of Christ, as Christ offred to his father a spirituall sacrifice acceptable, so we by him are made able to offer spirituall sa­crifices.

The second thing belonging to the priesthood, they must be without blemish, Lev. 21. 17 [Page] if anie were blemished they were to be putt from their office, signifying therby that he that is our high priest, must be Heb 7. 26. holy harmlesse and undefiled, seperate from sinners, the priest must abstein from unclean things, we are not to marvel the Lord should be so carefull of the priests, since he will be honoured in those that Levit. 10. 3. come near him, they were to be tryed and known to be of holy conversation in the sight of God; the same thing is required of us, that we purge out that naturall cor­ruption wherein we were born, that we should be changed frō our deformityes, and shake off our corruptions in the sight of God, that we may be holy as the priests of God, to offer holy sacrifices to him.

The sacrifices that the priests did offer of old were of two sorts, some were to putt away sin, some for thansgiving to God. These sacrifices are now ceassed, for Christ once offring himself hath sa­tisfyed all, and hath putt an end to all those legall types, therefore now no sa­crifice Heb. 10. 4. with 11. 12. 1. Iohn. 1. 7 either bloody or unbloody is anie sacrifice for our sin, but onely the blood of Christ which cleanseth us from all sin.

First for the burnt offrings they were [Page] signes of our offring our bodyes and soules to the Lord, for in it the whole creature was given unto God, onely the priest had the skin for his labour, other Lev 7. 8. free will offrings, some were of beasts, some of fowles, and other of corne, now in those offrings of beasts ad fowles, they were not to be brought dead: but living, and therefore no fish that dyes so soone as it is out of the water was fitt for sacri­fice.

God hereby teacheth us, not to bring Vse. lame and dead sacrifices, but to present ourselves as living sacrifices, holy, accep­table Rom. 12. 1. to the Lord in Iesus Christ. These things did the lawe of Moses teach them in those legall sacrifices, but unto us we know all those outward sacrifices are a­bolished, and therefore we are not to doe so, but we are to kill our worldly lusts, we must present our bodyes and soules to Matth. 22. 37. Mark 12. 30. 33. God, and serve him with all our hearts, with all our soule, and with all our strength, and this more then all burnt offrings and sacrifices.

For first spirituall sacrifices doe consist in the heart, of which David speaks in the 51. Psalm, The sacrifices of God are a broken Psal. 51 17. [Page] heart, a broken and contrite heart, O God thou wilt not despise. Then is there the fruit of the lips, so that we must not Hose. 14. 2. Heb. 13. 15. Psal. 69. 30 31. Eph. 4. 29. onely have holy affections, but also out mouths and lips must sing to his praise, we must have no unproffitable and pro­fane words to come out of our mouths. 3. Likewise all our actions and benefits to the poore are acceptable sacrifices, To Heb. 13. 16. Act. 24. 17. Philip. 4. 18 doe good, and to distribute forgett not, for with such sacrifices God is well plea­sed, so that in generall, all good works God appoynts us to walk in, in prayer, in thansgiving, in performing dutyes one to another, in releife of our brethren, wher­in 1. Cor. 8. 5. we are poured out as in sacrifice for our brethren.

Acceptable to God by Iesus Christ. These sacrifices then must be so offred as they may be accepted in Iesus Christ. If a man offered sacrifice not accepted, he both lost his charge and his reward, so God doth not respect sacrifices that are not offred in Iesus Christ.

He then that would have his service pleasing to God, must first have his person accepted, otherwise his sacrifice cannot be well pleasing to God, so in Cain and [Page] Abell, the Lord had respect to Abell, & his offring, first his person was accepted Gen. 4. 4. then his offring, the reason is, because the the sacrifice of the wicked is abhomina­ble Prov. 15. 8. Psal. 69. 18. to God, therefore no wicked man can offer a sweet smelling sacrifice to God, because himselfe being wicked all his actions the Lord hath no respect to. Secondly God doth not onely require holines in our persons, but he farther re­quires that they be done at his cōmaund, for if men had offred anie other sacrifice then he commaunded, it was a thing that he abhorred, therefore in offring their children to Moloch the Lord protests a­gainst Ier. 7. 31. 2. King. 23. 10. it as a thing he never commaunded, whatsoever worship then is done by the precepts of men without the commaun­dement of God it is vaine and sinfull, In vain doe they worship me (saith Christ) that teach for Doctrines the commaun­dements Matth. 15. 9. of men.

3. As we have a care to doe what God commaunds, yet are we not to think for the worthines of the work done to be accepted; but simply to delight to doe it as a thing commaunded of God in obe­dience to him.

[Page] 4. We must have faith, that so it may be well pleasing to him, we must perform it Heb. 11. 6. in him in whom the father is well plea­sed, that is in Iesus Christ, the reason is, because every man by nature being cor­rupted, we cannot offer anie thing where­with God is pleased, As it was impossible Hebr. 10. 4. that the blood of bulls and goates should purge sin, so is it not possible to offer anie other sacrifice pleasing to God, but onely that that is done in faith of Christ. 2. It must be by and through Iesus Christ, be­cause he is the Mediatour of the new te­stamēt, because God & we are not at one, therefore we must have a Mediatour, and Hebr. 12. 24 there is no other Mediatour between God and man but Iesus Christ, therefore whosoever offer anie duty & not in faith 1. Tim. 2. 5 in Christ, they cannot please God, be they prayers or anie other service. In the sa­crifices of old they were still to have salt, Lev. 2. 13. Mark 9. 49. as salt keeps from putrifying, so it also alters the relish of the flesh: which is to teach us, not to think to come to God in Vse. the tast of our own works, but by the Covenaunt of Iesus Christ.

The summe of all is that we are called of God from our naturall and corrupt [Page] state, to the state of grace in Iesus Christ, which is despised in the world, but rich in the sight of God, and so ought it to be esteemed of us above all things, even the greatest riches & honours of this world. Let us not then passe for the reproach of the world, for having Christ we have all, therefore we are to esteem of this privi­ledge aright, and forasmuch as God re­quireth holines should be in his house of old, and we are his spirituall house, let us not think that God requireth lesse of us thē of old. Labour we to keep our selves without spott, As Christ was said to be Heb. 3. 6. faithfull in his own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence, & rejoycing of the hope firm unto the end, for this is our happines that we are called to the communion of himselfe & spiritt, he defends us frō evill, & doth us good, here and for ever, and so should we be thankfull to God, for if God would be honoured of the fathers in the matereall temple, how much more of us, to whom he hath given the spirituall house & spiri­tuall sacrifices, the fathers saluted the pro­mises a farr off, God providing some bet­ter thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Heb. 11. 46.

A Postscript to the Brethren absent.

BRethren, it may haply seem strange Did you but know the wholsom counsell of Mr. Thorp our Elder which would have pre­vented all. See the answer to the 14 que stiō in our Loving Tender, pu­blished 1623. to you, that the people here complained of, should be so irregular, in their proceedings, & so singular, as to reject the help of all, but since they had their reasons, I thought it re­quisite to give thē their due herein. The reason why they proceeded not by the rule Matt. 18. was, because in this case, they had nothing to doe with it, but Iosua 22. & 1. Thes. 5. 22. And the reason why they rejected all others help was, because they said they were 1. Thess. 2. 15. con­trary to all mē. As for farther things obser­ved, J referr myself to the indifferent present, whether I have not sett down their offences sparingly, they having beē mostly in addition in a constant course more then 7. years: yet (with griefe I speak it) they are so confident Notwith­standing all this, the Lord in mercy hath here raysed a­nother church void of these scandalls that walk in the fear of God. Act. 9. 31. and overjust in their courses, that they conti­nue wearylesse condemning all others, & cen­sure those within their power that withstand them in it, and this in deed and truth, is the fountain whence all our present troubles have issued. This I thought necessary to declare, be­cause it ministers just occasion to manie god­ly persons to stumble at us. Things thus pro­posed: Let the Brethren judg between us. Gen. 31. 37.


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