AN EXPOSITION VPON THE CXII. Psalme.

The high way to euerlasting blessednesse.

Written for the benefit of Gods Church, by T. S.

Psal. 111.10. The feare of the Lord is the beginning of wisedome, a good vnderstanding haue al they that do his Commandements.
Eccles. 12.13. Therefore let vs feare the end of all, feare God, and keepe his Commandements, for this is the whole duty of man.

LONDON, Printed by Bernard Alsop dwelling in Distaffe Lane at the Signe of the Dolphin. 1621.

TO THE RIGHT worshipfull, right vertuous, truly religious and most worthy Mistres M. Murry, wife to the ho­nourable Mr. Thomas Murry Secre­tary to the Prince his highnesse, the encrease of grace, and all true hap­pines externall, internall, eternall.

RIght Worshipfull, the principall thing of which I reade in holy Scriptures which makes vs both acceptable to God, & approued of the god­ly, is the grace of regeneration, & to become new creatures, this a­lone, when all other things faile, commends vs to God, this distin­guisheth the good from the bad, [Page] the precious from the vile, the godly from the wicked: this grace Right worshipfull, as being of all others most requisite, I most wil­lingly commend to your wise and Christian Consideration, hauing experience of your Christian loue. The authour of this Psalme was blessed Dauid the sweet singer of Israel, wherein the Prophet tea­ches vs the way to true blessednes, that is, to feare God and delight in his Commandements, for cir­cumcision is nothing,1. Cor. 7.29 and vncir­cumcision, is nothing, but the kee­ping of the Commandements of God, I may truly say of this new creature,Prou. 31.29 as Salomon speaketh of the vertuous woman, many are the graces of Gods spirit, but this excels them all.

This is it indeede which will make you thrise blessed, both of [Page] God and all good men, for the kingdome of God is not meate & drinke, but righteousnesse, peace,Rom. 14.17 18. and ioy in the holy ghost, and hee that in these things serueth God is acceptable to him,1. Sam. 2.30 and approo­ued of men, they that thus honor God, hee will honour, whereas those that despise him neglecting the meanes of regeneration, shall be lightly esteemed, for there is no respect of persons with God, but be hee what he will be, noble or ignoble, in euery nation, he that feareth God,Act 10.35. and worketh righte­ousnesse, is accepted with him. First therefore seeke the kingdom of God and his righteousnesse, and all other things (as honour,Mat. 6.33. wealth, and riches) shall bee cast vpon you, namely, in the sober vse of lawfull meanes, this is the good and right way only to feare [Page] the Lord, and to serue him in truth with all our hearts:1. Sam. 12.23.24. by this ye shall be sure to haue the honor that comes from God, as Christ sayth,Ioh. 12.26. If any man serue me, him will my father honour; whereas on the contrary, without this we can neuer haue Gods approba­tion, though wee may haue the worlds commendation, yea thogh the world, and all men in the world speake wel of vs, we may be accursed:Luke 26. Cursed are you when all men praise you; that is, if God dis­praise you, and ye want his appro­bation and commendation. Woe be vnto you, though all men speak well of you, and know it for your vnspeakeable comfort,Psal. 4.3. that you being godly, God setteth you a part for his owne selfe, all Gods delight is vppon the Saints on earth,Psal. 16.4. and vpon such as excell in [Page] vertue, the Lord taketh pleasure in those that feare him, the Lord ta­keth pleasure in his people,Psal. 147. & 149.4. & will beautifie the meeke with saluation and remember with ioy the words of God by Moses, if wee heare Gods voyce indeed, with care & conscience to practise it, by liuing in faith, repentance, and new obe­dience,Exod. 19.5. you are Gods chiefe trea­sure aboue all people, though all the earth be his. Thus hoping for pardon of my boldnesse, I intreat your fauourable acceptance and patronage hereof, & humbly take my leaue, beseeching Almighty God to blesse you & yours, with the encrease of all blessings spiri­tuall and temporall, according to the many graces bestowed vpon you. The Lord Iesus Christ him­selfe, and God, euen our Father, which hath loued vs, and hath gi­uen [Page] vs euerlasting consolation, & good hope through grace, esta­blish you in euery good word & worke, the Lord fill you with all spirituall grace, that so you may be presented most glorious with­out spot & wrinkle in the Church triumphant, and that by our most blessed and alone Sauiour Iesus Christ the righteous, to whom be glory and maiestie, dominion and power, now and for euer, Amen.

Your worships seruant in all duty to be commanded T, S.

TO THE WOR­shipfull vertuous and wor­thy Gentlewoman, and my appro­ued louing cousin, Mistris Euelyen wife to the worshipfull Maister Rich­ard Euelyen Esquire, one of his Maie­sties Iustices of peace, in the county of Surry the encrease of all outward blessings and spiritual comforts, be multiplyed through Iesus Christ.

IT is a thing better knowne then well considered of, that in the mysticall body of Christ Iesus, e­uery member hath his seuerall office, whereon it must attend, the weakest as well as the strongest, and in the fa­mily of the great ruler of heauen and earth, each seruant hath his seuerall [Page] talent, which hee must employ the meanest as well as the worthiest, for want of greater abilitie, I haue done my best endeauour to shew the way to euerlasting blessednesse, for the doing whereof, I had rather vndergoe the censures of such as are curious, then depriue those of a benefite that are religious and spiritually minded, perhaps I shall be tossed by some with the stormy winds of euill censures, but for them I passe not, so I can be­nefit any: this part of the Psalme I am sure is excellent for the purpose, and Ierome doth call this booke of the Psalmes, the treasures of learning. Seeing therefore it was promised that vnder the kingdome of Christ, the meanest or least should bee like vnto Dauid, therefore trie your selfe if by grace you are partakers of Dauids di­sposition, recorded in this Psalme, you may be out of doubt that you shall [Page] be also partaker of his approbation, for the Lord is no accepter of persons what he approues in one, he will also approue another; therfore follow Da­uid in the practise of Pietie, and then you shal be partaker of his praise which he receiued from God, the ge­nerall complaint of the world is, that there is no end of making many books because there is little or no fruit in those that reade them; but as the grasse on the house top, which withers afore it commeth foorth, whereof the mower filleth not his hand,Psal. 129.6. nor the gleaner his lap, neither they which goe by say, the blessing of the Lord be on you, we blesse you in the name of the Lord: therefore read to some purpose, that is, intend of a reader to become a doer, so shall you auert this curse and reproch from you, so shall God and man call you blessed, and blessed shall you feele your selfe in so doing, now [Page] if you shall lay this to heart in the strength of your yeares, it shall be your chiefest wisedome, for it is religion and godlinesse that shall embalme your name, and make it shine before men, and glorifie your soule amongst Angels.Luk. 7.37. Maries boxe of oyntment shall neuer be forgotten, for godlines hath the promise of this life, and that which is to come, and that without it there is no internall comfort to bee found in conscience in this world, nor eternall happinesse to bee hoped for in the next, hoping it shall finde entertainment at your hands, and that you will finde time at your leasure to peruse it desiring your fauou­rable acceptance of my good meaning in this behalfe, I humbly take my leaue, recommending you to the Lord, and to the word of his grace, the God of heauen so vouchsafe to water you and yours, with the dew of [Page] heauen, that with the godly man in this Psalme your generation may bee blessed, and that at the end of this life your reward may be true blessed­nesse, which mercie the Lord grant you for his Sunne Iesus Christs sake, Amen.

Your most bounden and in all Christian duties to command, T. S.

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Christian Reader, I feare there are other faults besides these, I desire thee therefore to correct these and beare with the rest, and so I bid the [...] heartily farewell.

AN EXPOSITION ON THE CXII. Psalme. verse 1.2.

VERSE 1.‘Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, and delighteth greatly in his commandements, his seed shall bee mighty vpon earth, the generation of the righteous shall be blessed.’

THere is no greater encou­ragement or stronger mo­tion to stirre a man to an eager and earnest pursuite of the meanes, then to propose vnto [Page 2] him an end; wherein at length his heart may repose, as in a concur­rance of al comforts and content­ments: to which there is no possi­bility of attainment, but by pure­nesse of heart, holinesse of life, constancie in the course of sanc­tification, which onely leade vn­to the face and presence of God, where, and with whom alone, is the highest perfection of blisse, a riuer of infinite pleasures, the well of life, and endlesse rest of all created desires. For the capacitie of mans soule cannot possibly be filled with the sufficiency of a­ny creatures, no not with a world of creatures: for they are all no­thing to the worth of a mans soule: Christ himselfe hauing pre­ferred it in valuation: What shall it profit a man, though he should winne the whole world, if he loose his owne [Page 3] soule? And therefore can neuer be free from motion and vexation, vntill it reach vnto (either in cer­taine hope, or actuall fruition) an obiect; infinite, as well in excel­lency of nature as duration of time. Blessed then was the wise­dome of the disposer of these heauenly songs of Dauid. First, this Psalme doth teach vs these two worthy points; namely, how the blessed man liues, and that is in the feare of the Lord. Second­ly, what manner of life he leades, and greatly delighteth in his Com­mandements.

These Psalms of Dauid the sweet singer of Israel, are penned with such heauenly wisedome, that they are convenient for the state of the whole Church, and euery member thereof. It is a banquet of heauenly wisedome saith Am­brose; [Page 4] and as Basil speakes of ano­ther part of the Scripture likening it to an Apothecaries shop; so may this booke of the Psalmes fit­ly be compared: in which are so many sundry sorts of medicines, that euery man may haue that which is conuenient for his dis­ease; for there is no sickenesse of man, whereunto the booke of the Psalmes furnisheth not a present remedy.

First, this blessed mā is described, shewing what hee doth carefully embrace and follow: Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that is, that endeauors to the vtmost of his power to liue in the feare of the Lord.

Secondly, what is his practise; namely, to be much & often in se­rious & Christian meditation; and delights greatly in his cōmandements.

Thirdly, he sheweth the happy succes of this blessed man, his seed shall be mighty vpon earth.

Now seeing this is the maine proposition of the psalm, to proue that the godly man, and hee that feares the Lord is onely blessed; therefore the Prophet doth first shew who bee truely blessed, and then wherein their blessednesse doth consist. Dauid often vseth this phrase as in the first Psalm; Blessed is the man that walketh not in the councell of the vngodly, &c. And in the 32. Psalme; Blessed is hee whose wickednesse is forgiuen, whose sinnes is couered, &c. And as here we haue it: Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord. It seems to be the words of a man in admiration or admiring with himselfe, as if he should say, O the blessednesse of that man that feareth the Lord.

In this duty I obserue three points; first, what is the true feare of God. Secondly, what wee are to feare in God. Thirdly, by what meanes wee may attaine to this feare.

There is a two-fold feare; the one is holy and good, called filial or childish; the other is bad and naught, termed seruile or slauish: the filiall or childish feare is such an one, as is in children towards their parents, who doe reuerence and feare them, as being vnwil­ling to offend them any way, whe­ther by words or deeds, through the tender loue and affection, which they doe beare towards them: the seruile feare is such an one as is in bondslaues towards their maisters, who doe reuerence and feare them, through the dread and feare of punishment, which [Page 7] otherwise they are sure to haue, if they offend and doe contrary to their duties: so that some do feare him through loue, and care to of­fend him; and others do feare him through dread of punishment, and power to torment them; and it may be defined thus.What the feare of God is. It is a reue­rence of Gods maiestie in our hearts, whereby wee are made vnwilling to offend him in any thing, and most willing to please him in all things, through the loue, which wee beare to­wards him. This is a vertue most necessary and requisite for all Christians whatsoeuer, as might at large be shewed: but let the ex­ample of Abraham suffice,Gen. 20.11. who thinking that the feare of God was not in Gerar, vtterly despay­red of any other vertue, and there­fore mooued his wife to say that she was his sister: in this respect [Page 8] the feare of God is both by Dauid and also by Salomon called the be­ginning of wisedome;Psa. 111.10 Prou. 1.7. that is, the root and fountain of all goodnes, and therefore we must feare the Lord,Deut. 6.13. & stand in great awe and re­uerence of him. Thou shalt feare (saith Moses to Israel) the Lord thy God, and serue him, and shalt sweare by his name. Esay doth require the same,Esay. 8.13. when hee saith vnto them; Sanctifie the Lord of hoasts, and let him be your feare, and let him be your dread. But Salomon sayes; Let vs heare the end of all, Eccle. 12.23 feare God and keepe his commandements, for this is the whole duty of man.

These rea­sons should be motiues to vs to fear the Lord.And there are diuers reasons to mooue vs hereunto; as first, the greatnes of his power and might aboue vs. Secondly, his authority and iurisdiction which he hath o­uer vs. Thirdly, his goodnesse and [Page 9] mercy, which hee doth shew vnto vs. Fourthly, his maiesty & glory; which doth shine & glister round about vs. Fifthly, his purity and holinesse, that is in his eyes, be­holding vs. And lastly, the great blessings which the feare it selfe being had will bring vnto vs, for al these things may iustly worke a feare in men. Meane men do feare great men, and they dare not in a­ny case displease thē: childrē feare their parents, & such as haue a ru­ling tuition ouer thē. Workemen feare their masters by whom they liue & are maintained. Simple per­sons feare great states, and such as excell in glory and maiestie aboue themselues, though otherwise they owe no homage or subiectiō vnto them. Loose liuers and wan­tons feare graue and religious per­sons, and such as are zealous for Gods glory and earnest for the [Page 10] saluation of mans soule, as be­ing ashamed to poure out their euill words, or to commit their wicked facts before them and in their presence. Lastly, euery one by nature is forward to apply him­selfe to those things, which hee doth know will bring great pro­fit and benefit vnto himselfe, and to liue in happinesse and prosperi­tie all the dayes of his life.

Now to apply this to God and to our selues. First, he is of power, and he is able to pay vs home if we do displease him: this our Sa­uiour tels vs when hee biddeth vs not to feare men who can kill but the body, Mat. 10.28. but to feare the Lord who is a­ble to destroy both body and soule in hell. Secondly, he hath authoritie and iurisdiction ouer vs, wee are his, he hath made vs, and he may doe with vs what hee will, as the [Page 11] Potter doth with his vessell: this reason the Lord himselfe doth giue when he saith, A sonne honou­reth his father, Mal. 1.6. and a seruant his ma­ster, if then I bee a father, where is mine honour; and if I bee a master where is my feare, saith the Lord of hosts vnto you O Priests, that despise my name. Thirdly, he is good and kind to vs, his benefits which wee do enioy from him are infinite, we haue all that wee haue from him, euen our liues and all the rest:Psal. 130.4. this reason Dauid doth touch when he saith vnto the Lord, but mercy is with thee, that thou marest be fea­red. Fourthly, he is a God of infi­nite maiestie and glory, and wee are but poore simple creatures made of the dust and clay of the ground; the heauen of heauens cannot containe him, neither can the Angels themselues stand be­fore [Page 12] him for his brightnes, vnlesse they couer their faces with two of their wings: this reason doth Mo­ses glance at when hee shewes the end wherefore the Lord did pub­lish his law,Exo. 22.20. in that glorious and maiesticall manner as hee did, in thunders and lightnings, and the like, saying; For God is come to proue you, and that his feare may be before you, that ye sinne not. Fifthly, he is holy and righteous, his eyes are pure eyes, and cannot behold sin and iniquity; this reason is layde downe before the eyes of the Isra­elites, oftentimes in the old Testa­ments, by the spirit of God, when hee would draw them to the true feare and seruice of God, from all such manners as were found a­mong the Gentiles. Finally, the the commodities, which the feare of the Lord being had, will bring [Page 13] vnto vs, are exceeding great. For first,The bene­fits which we shall re­ceiue should moue vs to feare the Lord. it wil make vs holy and frame­able vnto Gods will, in auoyding those things which hee hath con­demned, and performing those things which hee hath comman­ded; The feare of the Lord (saith Sa­lomon) is to hate euill, Prou. 8.13. as pride and ar­rogancy & the euill way, where hee sheweth that in what measure any one feares God, in the same mea­sure he doth loath and detest all e­uill, for he saith not, to hate euill, as murther and adultery, but pride and arrogancy which lie in the heart, and doe not shew them­selues to the world: Yet hee that feareth God will hate them. Se­condly, it will make vs blessed and happy in all our wayes; Blessed (saith Dauid) is euery one that feareth the Lord, and walketh in his wayes: this reason the sweet singer of Israel, hath alledged, [Page 14] when he saith, feare the Lord, ye his Saints, for nothing wanteth to them that feare him; nothing he meanes which is good and wholesome for them,Psal. 84.11. as he speakes else where, say­ing; the Lord will giue grace and glo­ry, and no good thing will hee with­hold from them that walke vprightly.

First, this serueth to condemne those that haue not the true feare of the Lord before their eyes. A­las their case is miserable, for they serue not the true and liuing God, what shew of religion soe­uer they do make, or what brags soeuer they doe giue foorth con­cerning the same: for seeing the feare of God is the very beginning of wisedome, and the foundation or groundsill of Gods worshippe (as hath bene proued) it is vnpos­sible, that either they should haue any true wisedome in them, or else [Page 15] religiously should serue the Lord, when they want this feare, the on­ly cause and fountaine thereof.

Secondly, this may serue for to stirre vs vp to get the true feare of the Lord vnto our selues, and la­bour by all meanes possible to bring our hearts thereunto,Ioh. 4.18. that so we may truely say of our selues, that the Lord is our dread. But a­gainst this it may bee obiected, that perfect loue doth cast out feare; and we are commanded to serue God without feare.Luke 1.74. To this I an­swer, that perfect loue doth cast out hellish and slauish or seruile feare, whereof wee spake before, that makes men to tremble before God for feare of punishment: but on the contrary side, it causeth that holy and childish feare that makes man carefull to come vnto him, and to worship him as wee [Page 16] ought to doe. From the former of these wee are deliuered, but not from the latter. We haue not receiued the spirit of bondage to feare againe, Rom. 8.5. but the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abbah Father. So that true loue is so farre off from casting out this holy feare of adoption, whereby wee are drawne to hate sinne in loue towards God, and not for punishments sake, that it doth bring it in, and establish it within vs; yet this is to bee noted by the way, that seruile feare is a good meanes at the first to bring vs vnto God, for it prepareth a place for the holy Ghost to bring him into our soules, as the bristles bringeth in the thred. But when it is once entred into vs, and hath taken vp the possession of our soules within vs, then this feare is gone, as the bristle is when the [Page 17] thred is entred into the hole. Be­sides this we must marke, that as the children of God are not by and by perfect; so a peece of this feare may still remaine in them, but the feare that is here required, of vs, and which is to last for euer, is that feare of reuerence, where­by we beholding our owne weake­nesse, and the excellency of God, and his incomprehensible Maie­iestie, dare not lift vp our selues a­gainst him, but do stand in awe of him with all reuerence, being loath to offend him in any thing, and most carefull to please him in all things; it is such a feare as is in louing children toward their pa­rents, in dutifull wiues towards their husbands, and in faithfull subiects towards their Princes, the fountaine whereof is loue, and a due consideration of his excel­lency [Page 18] euery away about vs.A plain dif­ference be­tweene the true filiall and sonne-like feare, & the seruile & slauish feare. Here we may see a plaine difference be­tweene the true filial feare of God and the seruile and slauish feare: the filiall feare keepeth vs from fi­nall falling away, but the seruile doth not; the filiall is onely in the godly, the seruile in the wicked; the filiall is a peculiar gift of the spirit, so is not the seruile; and the filial feare is ioyned with loue, but there is no seruile feare in loue.

And as the true feare of God proceeds from loue, so it must bee continued in loue & end in loue: therefore if the Lord loue thee, then thou doest loue him againe; this Saint Iohn doth confirme, We loue him because he loued vs first: Ioh. 4.19. ex­amine then what loue thou bea­rest towards God, try whether it be sound; for certainely if thou louest him, thou art beloued of [Page 19] him. It is thought to be a commō thing, and easie to loue the Lord,This feare of God must be louely, for where God is not truly loued hee cannot be truly fea­red. and he is a wretch and vnworthy to liue that doth not loue his ma­ker: but let euery one beware lest it be found in himselfe, for it is not so common a thing to loue the Lord as the world takes it to bee. Bee thou therefore of a good ground, try thy loue by the fruits and effects; therefore if thou louest God truely,Mat. 10.37. Psal. 63.3. Phil. 3.4. thou doest esteeme him & his fauour aboue all things in the world besides, counting his louing kindnesse better vnto thee then life, and the signes of his fa­uour thy greatest ioy, all things shall be counted but as drosse and dung in comparison of it.

Thirdly, if thou louest God, thou wilt then delight in his pre­sence; for the nature of true loue is such, that it earnestly desireth the [Page 20] presence of the party which is be­loued:Psal. 26.8. thou wilt loue his house, and the place where his honour dwelleth, thou wilt haue frequent recourse to those means, by which the Lord is pleased to conuerse with his children, whether pub­like, as to the hearing of the word; or priuate, as reading, singing, &c. Take all occasions to speake vnto him by prayer and meditation:Phil. 1.25. yea thou wilt haue an ardent desire to be dissolued, that thou mayest bee with Christ, and to be absent from the body,2, Cor. 5.8. that thou mightest bee present with the Lord.

Readinesse to obey, signes of true loue.Fourthly, our loue to God may be tryed by our readines in obey­ing of his commands. Loue can hardly deny any worke which the party beloued doth enioyne. Loth we are to deny to doe any thing for those whom we entirely loue. [Page 21] Hee that hath my commandements and keepeth them, Ioh. 14.21 he it is that loueth me, saith our Sauiour: this is the loue of God, that wee keepe his com­mandements, & his commandements are not greeuous. So then,1. Ioh. 5.3. where there is loue, there is obedience, yea willing & carefull obedience. This may serue for the great com­fort of all such, as haue Gods loue manifested vnto them, for as the terrors are great, which that man hath in his conscience, who is in doubt of the loue of the Almigh­ty towards him: so is the comfort as great which that man hath, who is hereof perswaded, for come tri­bulation, or distresse, or persecution, Rom. 8 25, 11. Heb. 11. or famine, or nakednesse, or perill, or sword, or life, or death, yet the cer­tainty of Gods loue will support him: this assurance doth make bitter things sweet, and gall to re­lish [Page 22] as hony. Comfort then thy heart thou beloued of the Lord, let nothing dismay thee, though the wicked mocke, though the world scorne thee, though thy acquaintance hate thee, yet re­member God loues and fauours thee,1. Sam. 1.8. and hath manifested the same vnto thee. Is not my loue better vnto thee then ten children, said Elkanah, to Hannah? so is not the loue of God vnto vs better then tenne worlds: let then the meditation of this harden thy face like brasse against all dangers and sad times of temptations and persecution, for God shall giue his beloued rest, they shall be deliuered, for he will helpe them with his right hand.

Therfore to this feare we must stir vp our soules euery day, and so farre as we would either worship [Page 23] God aright, or haue his blessings powred downe vpon vs; whether for this life, or the life to come, we must striue and contend with our soules and our hearts to bring them hereunto: that so wee may alwayes reuerence and dread the great name of the Lord of hosts: doubtlesse we shall neuer serue the Lord aright, or become happy and blessed vntill this bee brought to passe: well wee may performe some duties in outward appea­rance, wee shall neuer looke to all with a good heart and conscience within. And howsoeuer we pros­per and flourish for a while, yet woe and destruction will ouer­take vs at the last; but let his feare bee once planted within vs, then shall wee inwardly and from the heart, haue a respect vnto all his commandements, and bee most [Page 24] carefull to please him in all things, and then againe shall wee prosper and flourish for euer, not onely in this world, but much more in the world to come. If any then shall come vnto vs, to entice vs vnto a­ny wickednesse whatsoeuer, as Potiphars wife came vnto Io­seph, Gen. 39.8. and enticed him vnto vn­cleanenesse, wee shall not con­sent vnto him therein, no more then hee did vnto her, who was kept therefrom by the feare of the Lord.

This should teach euery one of vs dayly to thinke of and bee fully perswaded of the glorious and continuall presence of Almighty God.The pre­sence of God euer looking vp­on vs, should be a meanes to keepe vs from sinne. That wheresoeuer we are, & and whatsoeuer we thinke, speake, or do, God vnderstands it, knowes it, & beholds it, our thoughts, our words.Psal. 139.4. There is not a word in my [Page 25] tongue, but thou O Lord knowest it altogether: our deeds in publike, & secret,Prou. 15.3. the eye of the Lord is in euery place, beholding both the euill and the good. This consideration and per­swasion, wee ought all to labour for it being a notable meanes to worke true feare in our hearts: therefore let vs esteeme of euery place as Iacob did of Bethel, what hee then sayde vrge still vpon thy soule, The Lord is present, and I was not aware of it. Let thy shop bee a Bethel, thy chamber a Bethel, thy closet a Bethel, for God is there present. Oh that this meditation did take place in our hearts, how many sinnes would it keepe vs from? how conscionably should wee walke? how vpright would be. The chiefe sountaine of all hy­pocrisie is either ignorance, or not cōsidering of this diuine property [Page 26] of God; and surely if any thing will banish hypocrisie, this will do it. A man cannot chuse but be good (sayth Boetius) who still remembers, that he stands in the presence of the Lord. Let this meditation then be euer in our mind, that God is be­fore vs and behind vs, within thee and without thee, on thy right hand and on thy left hand, alwaies neere and neuer farre off; and so shalt thou walke vprightly.

Holy Iob, we see, tooke that course that the Lord would haue vs take for the repressing of all in­ordinate lust and affections: I made sayth he,Iob. 31.1. a couenant with my eyes, why then should I thinke on a mayde. A carnal man would haue thought this too much curiosity and nice­nesse, what not to looke on the beauty and comely visage of a wo­man, at least, not to take some li­berty [Page 27] for thoughts tending that way, it is too too much precise­nesse, who can take any notice of such things in vs?Vers. 2. Oh (sayth Iob) what portion should I haue of God from aboue, and what inheritance from the almighty from on high. I durst not giue any way vnto the flesh in any sort, for that were the directest course to depriue my selfe of the comforts of the word and spirit here, and of the crowne of happinesse, which is reserued for the Saints in the world to come. Albeit I should speede litle the worse with men, yet I should bee sure to come short of many speciall fauours and blessings of the Lord: and further he addeth, Is not destruction to the wicked, and strange punishments to the workers of iniquitie. Suppose I should e­scape the censures of men, yet [Page 28] hath not the Lord meanes that I cannot conceiue of, for the punish­ment of rebellious sinners, and though things may be smothered for a time, cannot he bring secret sins to open shame: grant that it be kept close from the eyes of the world, yet doth not he behold my wayes, and tels al my steps; though the eyes of men take the view one­ly of the outward actions, yet hee looketh vpon the inward dispo­sition, and affection of the heart. These and the like reasons he vsed to keepe himselfe in order, and fright his conscience from all manner of sinne and impietie, as is more fully described vnto vs in that chapter.

Fifthly, this may serue for terror to all such as liue in sinne; what greater terror to a theefe, then to haue the iudge [Page 29] an eye witnesse of his vilany.Let all dis­semblers take notice of this. So what greater terror to the wicked then this, to haue the Lord behold their doings. Come then and learne thou dissem­bling hypocrite, thou that cog­gest and dallyest with the Lord, God hath spyed and doth e­spy thy rottennesse within, for all thy painted outside. Hee knoweth that though thou wea­rest Christs liuery on thy backe thou wearest the diuels fauour in thy bosome. Thinke vp­on this you lurking diuels, close enemies of the Church whose sleepe departs from you till you haue caused some to fall: the Lord seeth your plots and cun­ning deuises, your close pra­ctises against his Church and people, But hee that sitteth in Heauen shall laugh you to scorne, Psal. 2. [Page 30] the Lord shall haue you in derision. Take notice of this all you a­dulterers and whoremongers, who say in your hearts; Who sees vs, wee are compassed about with darkenesse, we need not feare. Behold the Lord himselfe seeth thy villa­ny, and looketh thee in the face, in the act of doing. Let vs all consi­der this and bee better aduised, thinke not by denying, excusing, colouring, or cloaking them to a­uoyde the shame, for what if men do count you innocent, yet God will bring in euidence to finde you guilty, and therefore he him­selfe will witnesse against thee,Psal. 50. and set thy sinnes order before thee.

Sixthly, this may serue to stirre vs vp, and encourage vs to well doing. What lazie seruant will not put foorth his strength when his maisters eye is on him? So, who [Page 31] is it, were he well perswaded that the Lord is a spectator and behol­der of his doings, would not put foorth his strength to the Lords worke. Were this well considered how couragious should wee bee, both in the duties of our generall and speciall callings;Seeing the Lord is the beholder of all our acti­ons, and wil reward thē let this en­flame vs to practise pie­tie, & cause vs to make euen holy thoughs precious. how forward would we be to euery good work. Be not then slothfull in Gods ser­uice, stand not all day idle, be euer doing of good. Not the least good can be done, but he doth know it, be it done neuer so secretly, yet he seeth it: hee seeth thy prayers, hee heareth thy grones, hee bottles vp thy teares which are shed at mid­night, and will reward them. Thou needst not looke for witnesse, to take notice of thy actions, God himselfe is witnesse, and thy owne conscience also: thy con­science is as a thousand witnesses, [Page 32] and God as a thousand conscien­ces: how many witnesses wouldst thou haue? canst thou desire more? Let this enflame vs to pietie, and cause vs to make euē holy thoghts pretious: for, as there is not the least euill in the heart which can escape Gods knowledge; no more is there the least good mo­tion and cogitation. Oh that this were well weighed, then would not there bee so many lazie Christians, as now there bee a­mongst vs. Let it bee considered, and let his knowledge support thee in euery good action.

And that we may the better at­taine to these graces let vs vse fer­uent prayer vnto almighie God, and that dayly, humbly beseech­ing him of his infinite goodnesse and mercy, to beget and worke this holy feare in our hearts. I will [Page 33] put my feare in their hearts, Ier. 32.39.40. that they shall not depart from me. Heere we see it is a propper gift,It is musike to God to heare Chri­stians pray­ers. and worke of God himselfe, and we must not thinke to haue it, vnlesse we vse the meanes of Prayer, which God hath ordained to obtaine his bles­sings and graces, as Saint Iames speaketh: Wee haue not, Iam. 4.2. because wee aske not. Therefore saith Dauid: Vnite my heart vnto thee, Psal. 86.11. that I may feare thy name: And God is so well pleased with our Prayers, when they come vnto him, that there is no melodious harmony so pleasant in our eares, as a Prayer proceeding from an hum­ble and broken heart, is in the eares of the Lord of Hosts: let vs present our petitions with our soules full of griefe, and our eyes full of teares vnto men, and wee shall bee tedious and troublesome [Page 34] vnto them for the most part, as the woman of Canaan was vnto the disciples. Send her away, say they to our Sauiour,Math. 15.13 for she cryeth after vs. But Christ hath no greater ioy then to heare and releiue such worthy beleeuers as she was. Now sith it is a thing so well pleasing vnto him, he cannot but grant and satisfie the desires of such as faith­fully and feruently call vpon him.

Therefore seeing the Lord is so pleased with penitent sinners whē they come vnto him,The true penitent sin­ner feareth to displease God by cō ­mitting the least sinne. let euery one of vs labour for true and sound re­pentance, to bee humbled in the sight and knowledge of our sinnes with godly sorrow, which may continually bring foorth in vs re­pentance to saluation, neuer to be repented of,2. Cor. 7.11 and this will bring foorth feare. Behold this godly sor­row, what feare it hath wrought in [Page 35] you. The penitent sinner feareth to displease God,This feare of God must be durable not onely for a time, but it must bee to the end of our dayes. to disobey his word or to do any thing which he know­eth will not bee well pleasing in Gods sight, and so out of his true loue vnto God, is afrayde lest by committing the least sinne, hee should procure the anger of God against him, and this our repen­tance must continue all the dayes of our life, according to Dauids saying: The feare of the Lord which bringeth repentance endureth for e­uer. And great reason it should be so, for wee are commanded to bee constant, and to perseuer in god­lines euen to the end: but this can­not be vnlesse the feare of God be in vs alwayes, therefore saith God, I will put my feare in their hearts that they shall not depart from mee. Ier. 32.40. And it is the speciall commande­ment of God, that we should feare [Page 36] the Lord our God for our good alwayes, in our youth, middle-age, and old age, euen vnto our death, and not post it off till old-age, as a number doe, spending all their time in ryot, and all manner of prophanenesse: it is long ere they beginne, yet at length they be­think themselues, and so are afraid to sinne as they haue done; but a number of such neuer leaue sinne, till sinne leaues them, whose ca­ses are pittifull and lamentable. It is true which is said, better late then neuer,Psal. 72.5. so it is as true, that large teares, and late repentance is not alwayes true. Dauid descri­bing the time,Pal. 119.8. saith, They shall feare thee, as long as the Sunne and Moone endures throughout al generations: let vs therfore continually vse al good meanes to keepe vs in this feare, that all of vs ioyntly, and each one [Page 37] in particular may truly say with Dauid, O Lord I am deuoted to thy feare. Seuenthly,Let vs not be discoura­ged, though our repen­tance be but in a begin­ning, yet if it be true, God will meete it with mercy. Rom. 7.19. here is great com­fort to al weak Christians, who are much discouraged with their weak proceedings in grace: they feele not their hearts so broken as they desire. They desire with all their hearts to turne vnto the Lord, to leaue sin, but still they fall, and that foulely. The good they would do they do not; the euill they would not do, that do they dayly: well, is it thus? yet bee thou not discoura­ged: for though thy repentance be but in a beginning, yet if it bee true, God will meete it with mer­cy. Thou sayest thou desirest: Is thy desire true and vnfained?2. Cor. 8.12 Doest thou desire to walke, so as that God may be glorified? Doest thou expresse thy desires by vsing of all good meanes? And is not thy [Page 38] desire idle? and art thou content to doe any labour, & take any paines for the obtaining of grace? doest thou thirst after it as the Hart doth after the riuers of waters? If it be thus, assure thy selfe thy de­desire is highly pleasing vnto God and most acceptable vnto him, the Lord he will not reiect it, nor thee in regard of it, hee will not breake the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flaxe.Mat. 12.20 Till he bring forth iudgement vnto victory, hee doth not contemne the least measure of his owne grace he hath bestowed on thee, be it neuer so smal a quan­titie if true, it is his owne guift, & his gifts are without repentance, Rom. 11.29 hee cannot despise that which himself hath giuen, neither take that away for euer which hee hath once be­stowed: thy creeping is acceptable to God, goe on with comfort [Page 39] constantly vnto the end.

Lastly, here the Prophet saith,Prou. 3.7. Let all men therfore ex­amine their owne con­sciences, whether they haue left their sins if they haue, they may safely con­clude they are such as feare God. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: & Salomon he saith, Feare the Lord and depart from euill; for no man can depart from euill vnlesse he feare God, so none feares God truely but he doth cease from sin, therefore they that boast of their feare, and yet liue in their former sinnes, are lyers against the truth, and deceiue their owne soules. Let all men therefore seriously examin their owne conscience, whether they haue left their sinnes, and are become new creatures in Christ Iesus, and whether they haue a full purpose and resolution of heart for time to come, to hate that which is euill: if they haue, they may conclude to their euerlasting ioy and comfort, that they are such as feare God; if not, then let them [Page 40] know, they cannot approoue vnto their owne soules that they haue this feare, for he that continueth in the practise of sinne, without any penitency, hath not the true feare of God.Psal. 36.1. The wicked haue no feare of God before their eyes.

Let vs there­fore keepe Gods Com­mandemēts and not on­ly talke of them, but practise them and doe them.First, this teaches vs to walke in the path of Gods Commande­ments, & not to talke of them on­ly, or to commend them, but to practise them and doe them: the Prophet Dauid therefore, sheweth plainely who they are that feares God; saying, The mercy of the Lord is from euerlasting to euerlasting, Psa. 10 [...].17 18. Psa. 128.1. Psa. 119 63. Deut. 8.6. vp­on them that feares him, to such as keepe his Couenant, and remember his Commandements to doe them, and blessed is euery one that feareth the Lord, and walketh in his wayes, and Dauid saith, I am a companion of all them that feare thee, and keepe thy [Page 41] Commandements. This must there­fore teach euery one carefully to obserue and keep Gods Comman­dements, according to the saying of God by Moses: Thou shalt keepe the Commandement of the Lord thy God, to walke in his wayes, and to feare him. In vaine therefore doe they boast of their feare, seruice, & worship of God, who instead of keeping Gods Comandements, break them all, & delight thēselues in nothing more, then in commit­ting of sin, & transgressing the Law of God, let vs therfore take Salo­mons counsell;Eccle. 12.13 In all Gods children in whom the true feare of God is, there must be vpright­nesse and sincerity of heart. Feare God and keepe his Commandements, for this is the whole duty of man.

Secondly, wee must get vp­rightnesse of heart in the whole course of Gods worship and ser­uice. Hee that walketh in his vprightnes, feareth the Lord. Iob [Page 42] was an vpright man, and one that feared God. Cornelius was a iust man, and one that feared God, with all his house:Pro. 14.2. Iob. 1. Act. 10.22. Verse 2. and certainely in all Gods people in whom the true feare of God is, there cannot but be vprightnesse of heart voyde of all hypocrisie, and a true endea­uour to approoue their hearts vn­to God, to bee true and sound in all things, as knowing, that God knoweth and beholdeth all, and he who will iudge them all at the latter day.To goe on constantly in grace vn­to the end, is a true signe of the holy feare of God. Ier. 32.40. Pro. 24.24. Therefore let vs all get vprightnesse of heart, and goe on constantly in the grace and fa­uour of God, cleaning so fast vn­to God, as neuer to fall away from him, for those that haue made some good beginnings, and yet afterwards fall away from him, do euidently declare, that they neuer had this true feare of God, for [Page 43] God doth so put his feare in the hearts of his Children, that they shall neuer depart from him: they may sometimes fall through infir­mities, but as Salomon saith, They rise vp againe, therefore they can­not finally fall away from God, none can plucke him out of his hands: Satan cannot,Ioh. 10.29. because he that is in vs,Iohn. 4.4. is stronger then hee that is in the world: Sinne can­not, because grace will preuaile a­gainst it: The world cannot,1. Iohn 5.4. be­cause this is our victory, whereby we ouercome the world, euen our Faith. And the Apostle concludeth ge­nerally for all other matters, that Neither death, nor life, nor Angels, Rom. 8.38, 39. nor Principalities, nor Powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate vs from the loue of God, which is in Christ [Page 44] Iesus our Lord. The excel­lency of this grace, shuld be a speciall motiue to vs to feare the Lord. And to stirre vs vp to the performance of this duety, whereby we may get the true feare of the Lord, let vs remember the excellency of this grace, and how it maketh all those in whom it is to be most excellent.Mal. 3.16. For, a booke of remembrance is written before God, for them that feare the Lord, and they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, Pro. 31.30. in that day when I make vp my Iewels. Here we see, God hath them in euerlasting remembrance, neuer to forget them, as being his Iewels and chiefest treasure. The woman that excelleth all, is shee that feareth the Lord;Pro. 15.16. Psal. 37.16. this Salomon describes the excellency of this feare, aboue all other things: Bet­ter is a little with the feare of the Lord, then great Treasure, and trou­ble therewith. A little that a righ­teous man hath is better then the [Page 45] riches of many wicked men, and of all people.Psa. 147.11 The Lord ta­keth pleasure in them that feare him.

Thirdly, we learne from hence that this blessed man that fea­reth the Lord,No good thing will the Lord withhold from them that feare him. hath the pro­mise of temporall blessings, as riches, honour, preferment, length of dayes, blessing vpon our labours, and all that wee haue. Doest thou then desire riches? Wouldest thou come to honour? Wouldest thou liue long, and see good dayes? Then bee carefull to feare the Lord, and bee thou sure thou shalt haue these bles­sings, or at least, as good in stead of them.Pro. 22.4. Pro. 10.27. Pr. 9.10.11. Psal. 128. By the feare of the Lord are riches, honour, and life, the feare of the Lord prolongeth dayes, and by it thy dayes shall bee multiplyed [Page 46] and the yeeres of thy life shall bee in­creased. Blessed is euery one that feareth the Lord, for thou shalt eate the the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee: Loe thus shall the man bee blessed that feareth the Lord. A­gaine, wouldest thou haue God to deliuer thee and saue thee from trouble? then feare the Lord. For the Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that feare him, Psal. 34.7. and deliuereth them. Wouldest thou haue plenty, or at least a compe­tent liuing, to enioy Gods good blessings? then feare God, for their is no want to them that feare him. The Lyons doe lurke and suffer hun­ger, Psal. 9.9.10 but they that feare God shall want to manner of thing that is good. Wouldest thou haue thy hearts desire granted thee of God, so far forth as shal be agreeable to his [Page 47] will?Psal. 37.4. Then delight thy selfe in the Lord, and hee shall giue thee thine hearts desire: yea, he will fulfill the desires of them that feare him, hee will heare their cry, and will helpe them. Wouldest thou haue all things to be well with thee? then feare the Lord, for he taketh plea­sure in them that feare him.Psal. 147 11. Eccle. 8.12. And though a sinner doth euill an hundred times, and his dayes be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall bee well with them that feare God, which feare before him. And though ma­ny troubles, and manifold mis­chiefes are in the world, & though the righteous fall into manifold afflictions. Yet as Salomon saith,Eccle. 7.18. He that feareth God, shall come forth of them all, so that it will make vs blessed & happy in all our waies, so that the feare of the Lord brings with it alwaies a plenty of al good [Page 48] things, and comes laden with the blessings of God, wheresoeuer it comes: for all these causes now re­hearsed, should we feare the Lord, and endeauor to please him.

The feare of the Lord giueth vn­derstanding to the sim­ple.Fourthly, hee that feareth the Lord, hath the promise of spiritu­all graces, as knowledge, instructi­on, wisedome, and the like. Art thou ignorant in Gods matters, and wouldest faine know and vn­derstand the wayes of God? then feare the Lord. For what man is he that feareth the Lord, him shall hee teach in the way that hee shall choose: Psal. 25.12. Verfe 14. yea, the secret of the Lord is among them that feare him, and he will shew them his Couenant, the feare of the Lord is the beginning of wisedome. A good vnderstanding haue all they that doe thereafter. Psal 111.10 Wouldest thou haue the Lord to shew pitty and compassion vpon thee, and to for­giue [Page 49] thee all thy sinnes? O then feare the Lord:Mal. 3.16.17 For the Lord wil spare them that feare him, as a man that spareth his owne sonne that ser­ueth him, & as a father pittieth his Children, so the Lord pittieth them that feare him: Yea, the mercy of the Lord is from euerlasting to euerla­sting vpon them that feare him, and his righteousnesse vpon childrens children: Againe,Psal. 103.13 the Lord heareth the Prayers of those that feare him, and granteth their request: Yea, the Lord will giue grace and glory, and no good thing will hee withhold frō them that walke vprightly. Psal. 84.11. Thus wee see no grace needefull to sal­uation, shall be wanting to vs, if we feare the Lord,

Lastly, it hath the maine promise of eternall life in the world to come: His end­lesse mercy is on them that feare [Page 50] him from generation to generation. The maine reason to enforce vs to labour for this ho­ly feare is, that it hath the promises of eternall life in the world to come. Luke 150. Psal. 85.9. Mal. 2.5. Psal. 25.12. This is a main reason to enforce vs to labour for this holy feare; and howsoeuer the wicked beleeue it not, but account it altogether in vaine to feare God and serue him, yet let no man doubt of it who belongs to God, for as Dauid spea­keth: Surely, Gods saluation is nigh all them that feare him. And the couenant of life and peace was with Leui, because he feared God, and the soule of him that feareth God shall dwell at ease:Deut 5.20. yea, If we feare the Lord alwayes, it shall be well with vs, and with our children for euer. The consideration of all which should moue euery one of vs to breake out with the Pro­phet saying, Who would not feare thee, Ier. 10.7. Reuel. 15.7, Psa. 115.13. O King of Nations, and with Gods seruāts. Who wil not feare thee O Lord, and glorifie thy Name, for [Page 51] thou onely art holy. Loe, These gra­cious pro­mises should moue vs to feare the Lord. 2. Cor. 7.1. Phil. 2.12. Esay 8.13. thus will the Lord blesse them that feare him, both small and great. Therefore seeing we haue such promises, let vs cleanse our selues from all filthinesse of the flesh and spirit, perfecting ho­linesse in the feare of God: Worke out your saluation with feare and trem­bling: sanctifie the Lord of Hosts himselfe, and let him be your dread. Now let the feare of the Lord be vp­on you, take heede and doe it. And whatsoeuer yee doe, doe it in the feare of the Lord faith­fully, and with a perfect heart. Let vs with good King Ieho­saphat, feare the Lord,2. Chr. 19.79. and set our hearts earnestly to seeke him: For as the Heauen is high a­boue the Earth, 2. Chr 20.3 Psal. 103.11 so great is Gods mercy towards them that feare him, as farre as the East is from the West, so farre hath God set our [Page 52] transgressions from vs. Psal. 33.8. O let all the earth feare the Lord, let all the Inhabitants of the World stand in awe of him: Psal. 2.11 Serue the Lord with feare, and reioyce before him with reuerence. The Lord of his mer­cy giue vs this grace, and good Lord vnite our hearts to thee, that wee may feare thy Name, For thou onely, Psal. 86.11. Psal. 76.7. O Lord, euen thou art to be feared, and who may stand in thy sight when thou art an­gry? Wherefore let vs performe these things with care and consci­ence, and no doubt but wee shall haue the true feare of the Lord within vs, which will bee a comfort vnto vs for euer­more.Our chief­est ioy and delight should be in the Com­mande­ments of God.

Now follwes the practise of this blessed man, and that is in a­ctions of piety, and delights greatly in his Commandements: [Page 53] that is, the whole Doctrine, diuinely inspired is the very ioy of his heart, and delight of his soule: It is sweeter vnto him, then the Honny and the Honny-combe: It is more precious vnto him then gold; yea, then much fine gold. It is more worth vnto him then the whole World, and where the heart is once enkindled with loue, there the imagi­nation imbraceth with dea­rest apprehension: the thoughts are impatient of any other obiect: all the powers of the Soule, are vnited in a strong endeauour for the attaine­ment, the whole minde must needes bee possest with Me­ditation and Prayer. If hee delight in the Law of the LORD his GOD, hee must needes meditate therein, [Page 54] And this feruency of the heart cannot possibly be inclosed with­in the compasse of the brest, it will spred it selfe in speech and actions as is plaine by Dauids speech:Psal. 37.30 The mouth of the righteous will speake of wisedome, and his tongue will talke of iudgement, for the Law of God is in his heart: Psa. 119.167. and Dauid saith, My soule hath kept thy testimonies, for I loue them exceedingly. And this loue, delight, meditation, and ex­ercise in the Commandements of God, of this blessed man, is not a morning cloud, and as the mor­ning dew, before the Sunne, but like the light of the Sunne, that shineth more and more vnto per­fect day: it is not for a start, for feare, vpon restraint, for re­reputation, for aduantage, or to couer the terrors of consci­ence for a while, but it is out of a [Page 55] free resolution, and with vn­daunted constancy, as hee speakes else where day and night.

So that Gods Law and Word cannot simply profit vs▪ Gods word cannot bee profitable, except first it be com­fortable vn­to vs. except we take ioy and comfort in the same. We must first taste and proue the sweetenesse thereof, wee must be­fore hand finde out and feele the vertue thereof. When wisedome en­treth into thy heart, Pro. 2.10.11 Psal. 1.2. and knowledge delighteth thy soule: then (and not before) shall counsell preserue thee, and vnderstanding shall keepe thee, and deliuer thee from the euill way, and from the man that speaketh fro­ward things, &c. When we once delight in the law of the Lord, & exercise our selues therein day and night, then shal we florish like the planted trees by the riuers of wa­ter, that are fruitfull in due season, [Page 56] whose leaues shall not fade in any drought of danger; thē I say, what­soeuer we do & take in hand shall prosper: so that if we delight in the Commandements, we shall finde comfort in the ministery of the word: for there is true ioy & peace to be found, there is ioy and salua­tion the sweet promises of God, faith, grace, spiritual strength, and euery good thing offered vnto vs.

The church of God should bee our greatest pleasure, for there wee shall find foode for our soules.Gods Church with the holy mi­nistry therof, is Christs Garden of pleasures, wherein he banqueteth with his elect, euen he which is the fountain of the garden (the true & only head of all Churches, the wel of liuing waters, & the Spring of Lebanon, Can. 4.12.15. & 5. hither he cōmeth to eate his pleasant fruit: this only true & Christian Church being his sister, & Spouse, is as a garden enclosed, as a spring & fountaine sealed vp: [Page 57] hither Christ commeth to make merry with his friends, and to banquet with his beloued; there hee gathereth his myrrh with his spices, there hee eates the hony-combe with his hony, and drink­eth his wine with his milke, de­lighting himselfe with the sweete pleasant and profitable fruits that the children of God doe yeeld vnto him.Comfort and loue to Gods word procures li­king and di­ligent hea­ring, and so by Gods blessing faith and o­bedience. Rom. 10.14 Now the reason why the word of God cannot profite vs without delight, is, because that comfort and liking, prouoke and procure men to bee diligent in hearing, & diligent hearing by Gods blessing begets faith, and faith brings vs assurance of Gods loue & protection, the euidence and certainety whereof are Gods promises which are yea & Amen.Gal. 5.6. 1. Co. 13.7. Gen. 31.30 40.

Againe, loue supporteth our la­bour and setteth our faith a worke: [Page 58] It suffereth all things, it beleeueth all things, if endureth all things. Iacob loued Rachel, serued twise seuen yeares for her sake: neither the heate of the day, nor the frost of the night, nor the breaking of his sleepe, no danger, losse or crosse could driue him out. So the Israe­lites toyled and trauelled many miles to the temple, hungry, wea­ry, and thirsty, they going through the vale of Baca, make wells therein, contented to refresh themselues with the raine that filled their pooles, in so barren a wildernesse,Psal. 84. &c. and thus they went from strength to strength till they appeared before the Lord their God, in Sion. And what was the reason hereof that they still pro­ceed without any interruption, e­uen this was the reason, O Lord of Hosts, how amiable are thy Taber­nacles, [Page 59] our soule longeth and fainteth for thy Courts, our hearts and flesh reioyce in the liuing God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, and in whose hearts are thy wayes. For the Lord our God is a Sunne and shield vs, the authour of all good things, and the deliuerer from e­uill: hee will giue grace and glory and no good thing will hee with­hold from them that are sincere: therefore O Lord of hosts, The onely way to pro­fit by the word and ministry is, to delight in the same. blessed is the man that trusteth in thee. Here we see that euery action without affectiō is laborious & toylesome, none euer soundly profited by the word, and holy ministry thereof, that delighted not in the same.

First, this serueth to stirre vp our loue and liking of Gods truth, to raise vp our dead affections, and to cause our dull senses more ear­nestly to embrace the same, and [Page 60] to set before our eyes the best ex­amples for imitation and practise:The word is of power and is able to conuert our soules to the li­uing God. and that we may be perswaded the better, for the performance of this duty, let vs consider the singular fruites and effectes of Gods word, which wee ought so worthily to affect. Gods law and word is per­fect of it selfe to conuert our soules from sinne and Sathan, to God and godlinesse, heauen and happinesse, his testimony is sure to giue wisedome to the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, Psal. 19.7.8 9.20.11. and reioyce the heart, the comman­dements of the Lord is pure, and giueth light to the eyes, the feare of the Lord is cleane, the iudgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether, by them is thy seruant made circumspect, in keeping of them there is great reward, and therefore they are more to bee desi­red [Page 61] then gold, yea then much fine gold, sweeter also then hony, and the hony combe. Gods word is the meanes for young and old to re­dresse their wicked wayes, a counseller to aduise vs, a Lan­thorne to our feete, a light to our pathes, a resoluer of our doubts, a sweetning of our affections, able to reuiue vs being dead, ther­fore saith Dauid, I will delight in thy statutes, I will not forget thy word, Psal. 119.16 72.97. ver. 103. the law of thy mouth is better vnto me then thousands of gold and siluer: O how loue I thy law, it is my meditatiō continually, how sweet are thy promi­ses vnto my mouth: yea more then hony vnto my tast, thy testimonies haue I taken as an heritage for euer, no earthly thing being compara­ble to them, for they are the ioy of my heart, they that know thy law [Page 62] haue great prosperitie, and they shal haue no hurt. Keepe them and doe them (sayth Moses) for this is your wisedome, Deut. 4.6.8.9. and vnderstanding in the sight of other people, who shal say, one­ly this people is wise, and what na­tion is so great that hath ordinances and lawes so righteous: therefore take heede to thy selfe, and keepe thy soule diligently: let not these things depart out of thy heart all the dayes of thy life, but teach them thy sonnes, and thy sonnes sonnes. Hence procee­deth all blessings from heauen and earth, vpon man and beast, corne and cattell, wine, oyle, or what can be desired,1. Tim. 4.8. for godlinesse hath the promise of this life, and of the life to come. If we seeke the kingdome of God and his righteousnesse, all o­ther things shall be ministred vnto vs:Mat. 6.33. Mat. 13.44.45.46. Luke 10.42. this is the best part and most necessary duty that caused Marie [Page 63] to be preferred before Martha, for setting all other things aside,Hauing such promises let vs with Ma­rie choose the best part which shall neuer be ta­ken from vs. to come sit at Iesus feete, to heare his word: this Pearle must be pur­chased with all wee haue, all other things are but drosse and dung in respect of the excellent knowledg of Christ Iesus our Lord, therfore we must not only heare and reade, and meditate, but encrease our loue, liking, and delight, to the ho­ly ministry of Gods word, lon­ging and thirsting after it,Psal. 42.1.2 with Dauid, As the Hart panteth after the water brookes, so panteth my soule after thee O God. Thus euery good Christian must whet the ap­petite of his soule to delight in Gods law, by conference, medi­tation, hearing, reading, praying, preaching, and dayly frequenting of holy assemblyes:Psal. 122.1. I was glad when they sayd vnto mee, let vs goe [Page 64] into the house of the Lord. So was it prophesied of the christian church that many people should go and say,Mich. 4.1. Esa. 2.3. Esa. 60.7. Come let vs goe vp to the moun­taine of the Lord, to the house of the God of Iacob, and he will teach vs his wayes, and we shal walke in his paths: who are these that flie like a cloude, and as Doues to their windoes? No­ting not onely the greatnesse of the number, but diligence and zeale of such as should come to Christ and receiue his doctrine: and Christ sayd,Mat. 11.12. that from the time of Iohn Baptist hitherto the king­dome of heauen suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Thus the zeale of Gods house should eate vs vp.The least danger or weaknesse doth put of such as are backward in Gods seruice.

Secondly, this serueth to con­fute and reproue all such as are backeward and carelesse in this necessary duty, being idle and [Page 65] vaine in their excuses or reasons, to hinder their zeale and loue to the word, any feare, the least danger,Prou. 22.13 Psa. 119.51 & 62.7.11.12. Luk. 14.18.19.20.23.23. and worldly businesse doth put them off, There is a Lion in the way. Some haue their oxen to prooue, their Farme to see, their wife to marry, all these yet are inuited to come to the Feast, though vnworthy of the same: therefore God will fill his house with any others then with such, euen those that sit in the high way and vnder hedges: the most ba­sest and vilest of men shall enter before them and bee saued,Mat. 21.31.32. euen whores and harlots shall sooner be receiued, then those that seeme children of the kingdome: God will raise vp to Abraham sonnes of stones rather then these vipe­rous serpents shall haue the name of his seed.Mat. 3.9.

Others there are that thinke; if we should make conscience of re­ligion, & begin to read the word, to frequent sermons, to haue pray­er in our families, and the like; this would make vs to bee scoffed, and mocked at: but let such heare what the word saith, that pro­nounces them blessed that delight in the law of the Lord,Psalme 1. and medi­tate therein day and night, and that seeke him with their whole hearts: yea albeit they should meet with some disgrace and oppositi­on in the world.Psal. 119. Math. 5. Blessed are yee (saith Christ) when men reuile you, and persecute you and speake all man­ner of euill against you falsly for my names sakt. Reioyce and be glad, for great is your reward in heauen: is it not better to endure a little mock­ing from men for a time, and that for well doing, then to vndergoe the [Page 67] wrath of God for euer for ill do­ing. Let vs consider in particular what benefit we may reape by the ministry of the Gospel:Isai 5.3. Heare, saith the Prophet Isaiah, Iam. 1.21. & thy soule shal liue: receiue the word with meekenes (saith Iames) which is able to saue your soules: Reu. 1.3. blessed is he that reades & heares the words of this Prophesie saith the spirit in the Reuelation. And on the other side:Prou. 28.9. he that tur­neth away his eare from hearing the law, his prayer shall bee abomination, saith Salomon: and againe, the wise­dome of God speaks thus, because I haue called, and ye refused; Prou 1.24.25.26. I haue stretched out my hand, & none would regard: but yee haue despised all my counsell, and would none of my cor­rection; I will also laugh at your de­struction, and mocke when your feare commeth. These and the like places, if wee could throughly [Page 68] consider of, they would worke more powerfully with vs to cause vs to desire the word, and to re­taine and keepe our hearts still in loue and liking of it, then all the reproches and persecutions in the world could, to withdraw our affections from it.

God is to be heard be­fore any.Therefore they that come to receiue benefit by the ministery must not harken what reasons flesh and bloud can yeeld them a­gainst it, but what reasons God can giue them for it; for the diuell will haue much to say against goodnesse, and our owne fleshly wisdome will haue haue as much, & the world will be as great a pul­backe vnto vs if we will giue it the hearing, but if we can bend an at­tentiue eare vnto the Lord, wee shall finde that hee will bring bet­ter arguments to perswade vs to [Page 69] goodnesse, then all those our ene­mies can to disswade vs from it: & therefore it is that men are so of­ten and so grossely deceiued, be­cause they heare what the one side can say to discourage and hinder them in actions of piety and god­linesse, but not what the other can say to harten and draw them on­ward in good wayes: for if they did bring a spirituall eare to re­ceiue the proofes that are brought from the word, they would be more forceable to bring them to God, then al other means could be to allure them to forsake God,Eph. 4.30. If wee cher­rish in vs the gifts of Gods holy spirit, it as­sures vs of deliuerance from the wrath to come. and to embrace or hearken to the allurements of this present world: & therefore Paul writing to the Ephesians, he saith thus, grieue not the holy spirit of God nor that ho­ly delight in the commandements: & he brings a forcible reason, wherby [Page 70] you are sealed vnto the day of re­demption. This is the onely eui­dence wee haue of freedome from condemnation, this is Gods marke and character set on vs, and seizing vs for his owne, this is like the blood that was stric­ken vpon the doore posts,Exo. 12.22 which shall make the Lord to passe o­uer vs, and not suffer the de­stroyer to come neare vs when he goeth to smite the Egyptians. By this wee are assured that the day of iudgement shall bee to vs no day of wrath, but a day of redemption: so then thus wee may take the Apostles mea­ning; as you desire to retaine assurance of your deliuerance from the wrath to come, and that the Lord should take no­tise of you for his in the day of that dreadfull separation, so [Page 71] see that by all meaanes you che­rish in you the gifts and ope­ration of Gods holy spirit, grieue it not by strangling and choa­king of those holy motions and operations, but let them be che­rished and preserued without any the least abatement.

Thirdly,Let vs be­ware of quē ­ching the motions of the spirit, for the sin is fearefull. this serueth to con­demne such as nip the bud so soon as euer it peepeth foorth, and quench euery sparke that at any time appeareth, yea, wilfully set themselues to repell all good mo­tions, hasting to their cursed company, to chase away those sweet inspirements of Gods holy spirit. Oh the cursed vnthanke­fulnesse of these men, what vnkind ingrateful; discourteous dealing is here with the spirit of grace, thus shutting him out so soone as euer he begins to enter:Reuel. 3.20 wouldest thou [Page 72] deale so vnkindly with thy friend, who commeth to thy doore? why dealest thou then so vncourteous­ly with Christ Iesus and his ho­ly spirit,Reuel. 3.20 who standeth at the doore and dayly knockes, but can get no entertainement,Act. 7.15. beware of this resisting the ho­ly Ghost, the sinne is fearfull and discomfortable, for here­by thy heart may grow more ob­durat, and thy life more brutish and abhominable.

Fourthly, let euery one of vs beware how wee suffer that bles­sed heate to slacke,This delight must shew it selfe by encrea­sing in spi­rituall gra­ces. which by Gods grace beginneth to bee inkindled in our hearts. Suffer not that coale, that holy motion which the Lord hath cast into thy bosome to die within thee, but blow it vp, lay on more fuell, adde dayly more and more matter [Page 73] to it, and tremble to lose the least measure of Gods gracious gift: be frequent in spirituall exercises, as in hearing, reading, meditati­on, Christian conference, pray­er, and the like: Let no meanes be neglected, that God hath or­dained for the working of esta­blishment. And as thou layest on fuell, so see thou giuest this ho­ly Fire vent, exercise and put these holy motions into practise: much Wood piled on a Cole, if vent be wanting, doth soone smother it, & put it out, see thē thou exercise the graces wch God hath giuen thee.

Therefore when the Lord shall put any good motion into our hearts,Good mo­tions are-not to bee qvenched, but cheri­shed. we are to nourish and che­rrsh the same: to one good moti­on wee must adde a second, and to that a third, and so fall to blowing, and giue not ouer [Page 74] vntill at length they breake forth into a comfortable flame of godly practises.1. Thes. 5.19. Quench not the Spirit (saith Paul) nor the gifts and motions of the holy Ghost: hee vsed a Metaphor borrow­ed from fire, whose heate and light when it is put out, is said to bee quenched: Thus also hee exhorts Timothy to stir vp the graces of God which bee in him.2. Tim. 1.6. Thus it is with them that liue the life of Grace, there is a dayly see­king after foode, for the pre­seruing of it,Psal. 1.2. a dayly vsing of the meanes, as Prayer, Reading, Meditation; and thus it is said of the blessed man: In Gods Law hee doth exercise himselfe both day and night. Many ex­amples might bee brought for proofe of this.

Iob rose vp early to offer sacri­fice, this did Iob continually:Iob. 1.5. and it was Daniels practise to pray three times a day: and Dauids: Euening, Dan. 6.10. Psal. 55.17. Psa. 119.164. Gen. 24.63 Morning, and Noone-tide, will I pray vnto thee: Yea, we may heare him speaking of seuen times a day praysing of the Lord: And Isaac went into the Field to pray and meditate in the Euening.Let vs ex­amine our selues in this duty, how we perform it in our practises. There­fore let euery Christian man and woman try and examine them­selues in this duty: For it is cer­tainely true, and cannot deceiue vs, that our prayers are proporti­onable to our faith: For hee that prayeth seldome hath but a weake faith; he that prayes often hath a strong Faith; and he that prayes not at all hath no faith: For,Rom. 10.10 with the heart man beleeueth vnto righ­teousnesse, and with the mouth con­fession is made vnto saluation. Let [Page 76] this be well considered of such as heare, and reade, and pray by fits and starts, now and then, as it were vpon rainy dayes. Alas, thousands there are in the World, who reade not, pray not, from Sab­bath to Sabbath; nay, nor then neither, haue these any life of grace in them? Sure I am, natu­rall life must be dayly fed, and shal be too, and is there not as much neede for the spirituall: be it ther­fore knowne vnto thee, and certi­fied to thy soule,We should let no day passe with­out exami­nation, nor suffer our eyes to slumber, nor our head to take any rest tell we haue made peace with our God. that thou decei­uest thy selfe, in thinking thou li­uest the life of a Christian, when there is no care had to a dayly performance of the excercise be­longing to a Christian: therefore let no day passe ouer without ex­amination, let vs call to mind what euils hath beene committed, what good duties omitted, which [Page 77] God hath required: suffer not thy eyes to slumber, nor the tem­ples of thy head to take any rest, till this taske bee performed. Would Christians keepe this course, and well consider of their carriages the day past, they would soone find the excellent commo­dities of it, to the vnspeakea­ble comfort of their soules for e­uermore.

Lastly,Phil. 3.13. let this admonish eue­ry one to grow in grace, let vs for­get that which is behinde, and en­deuour to that which is before; let vs presse hard towards the marke for the prise of the high calling of God, let vs not bee euermore as smoaking flaxe, or bruised reeds, or as new set Plants, but let vs a­bound more and more.Thes. 4.1. At a stay we cannot stand, iudge what wee will, not to goe forward, is to go [Page 78] backward, not to encrease is to decrease, like as the Sunne, we are euermore in motion, and as the Sea,Gen. 19, 26. Psal. 114.3. Eccle. 1. ebbing or flowing, and as the Angell on Iacobs Ladder, ascen­ding, or descending, therefore we must not looke backeward with Lots Wife, but forward with Lot himselfe, nor start backe as Iordan did, but runne forward as other Riuers doe, and trauell towards Canaan, with Caleb and Iosua, so that still we must profit in the way of godlinesse, there must bee no growing downeward, but grow­ing vpward;Luke 2.52. the Child Iesus grew not downeward but vpward in grace, wisedome, and stature, they which will haue their growth in Christ and towards his Kingdome must grow vp­ward:Psal. 84.7. Let vs therefore pro­ceede in sanctfication, and goe [Page 79] from strength to strength,Rom. 15.14. and la­bour euery day to abound more and more in all wisedome, and in goodnesse. If wee prayed once a day in priuate, and that somewhat coldly at the first; we must after­ward pray twice or thrice, or oft­ner in a day, as occasion is offered; and that more feruently and fee­lingly then wee did in the begin­ning, if we did heare and meditate more seldome, and with greater weakenesse and distraction at our first entrance into profession, in our proceeding we must vse those exercises more frequently,We must grow in grace, and neuer rest vntill we come to perfection. and performe them more seriously & cheerefully: So that if you bee in Christ, neuer rest vntill you be­come strong in Christ; nay, if you bee in Christ, you will not rest till you come to some perfection in him.2. Pet. 1.5. Ioyne therfore vnto your vertue [Page 80] faith, & with faith knowledge, & with knowledge temperance, & with tem­perance patience, and with patience godlinesse, and with godlinesse bro­therly kindnesse; for if these bee in you, they will make you neither vn­fruitfull nor vnprofitable. Keepe then thy grace in an honest heart, and it will encrease like the Wid­dowes oyle in the Cruise, and meale in the Barrell, till thou come to be a perfect man in Christ Iesus.

The markes of an vp­right heart, is vniuersall obedience.Now wee are come to the last part of this blessed mans delight, and that is said here to bee in the Commandements, and therefore that we may make sure worke in this regard, let vs try our sinceri­ty by the good effects that doe e­uer accompany the same: The first note therefore of a sound heart, which wee should take for [Page 81] our tryall, is to bee vniuersall in our desires, and in our practise, that wee haue respect to euery Commandement of God,Psal. 119.8. to the first table, as well as to the se­cond, and to the second as well as to the first, that we bee righteous towards men, as well as religious towards God, that wee looke to our hearts as well to our actions, and to our actions as well as to our hearts. Contrary to this rule is the dealing of those that will giue dispensations vpon them­selues for many things, so that they can make a shew of some things: what if we be not so libe­rall to the poore, say they, yet we are no swearers nor blasphemers; what if wee take a little liberty, these are but trifles; wee will not bee adulterers nor filthy speakers, &c, this is a shrewd signe of a [Page 82] heart full fraught with guile and deceit- The property of a good conscience is to bee willing and desirous in all things to walke ho­nestly:Heb. 13.18. if one be neuer so strickt in hearing Sermons, and abstaining from swearing: yet if he will helpe himselfe with a lye now and then, for his commodity; and if a man bee neuer so rigorous and seuere for matters of Iustice against o­thers, yet will dispense with him­selfe in a corner, thinking that the name of a Professor, and reputa­tion of the brotherhood will beare him out, this is an argu­ment of a false and dissembling heart, & therfore this must be taken heed of, as being very dangerous.

Therefore that we may not de­ceiue our selues in this one tryall, the sincere and honest heart, as our Sauiour calls it, is that which [Page 83] cherisheth hatred of all sin, with­out exception, and carrieth a constant purpose and resolution in nothing willingly to sinne a­gainst God, but to endeauour it selfe to the vtmost in euery good way of Gods Commandements: Whatsoeuer it shall know to be a sinnes, it will not purposely and deliberately do it for al the world: this note the Prophet Dauid gi­ueth, for hauing said:Psal. 119.3. Blessed are the vpright in their way, hee teach­eth vs to discerne them by this note: Surely they doe no iniquity. With my whole heart haue I sought thee, saith Dauid, Psal. 119.10 suffer mee not to wander from thy Commandements: Insinuating thereby, that such as doe not seeke God with their whole hearts, that is, in singlenes of heart vnfainedly, God will suf­fer them to wander in crooked [Page 84] blind wayes, and that fearefully & irrecouerably. To the like pur­pose is that in the same Psalme, Let my heart be vpright in thy sta­tutes, that I may neuer be ashamed. And although Saint Iames say,Iam. 3.3.2. In many things we offend all: yet wee must resolue our selues to leaue all sin: For if we liue & lie but in one sin, that one sin is sufficiēt to presse vs down to hel:Can. 4.7. therfore the spouse is said to haue no spot in her, for if she had but one spot, then were she not beautiful in his eyes; let the walls of the City bee neuer so strong, if there be one breach, the enemy will enter in, and sacke the City, if a strong ship do but leake in one place, it will be drowned, a beast which is caught in the snare but by one leg cannot escape, one Flie falling into the Apothecaries boxe will spoyle the whole oynt­ment.2. Sam. 15. Let vs remember Saul, and [Page 85] forget not our owne soules, God cōmanded him vtterly to destroy the Amalekites, he sparing but some of them, was cast off from God, & his Kingdome rent from him: our sinnes are the sinnes of the Amale­kites, which God cōmandeth vs to destroy, we must kill them all, and spare none, lest God forsake vs, & so we lose a better Kingdom then euer Saul found: For,Iam. 2.10. Iam. 1.17. Heb. 12.1. Whosoeuer shal keep the whole Law, & yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all, for pure religion and vndefiled, is to keep our selues vnspotted of the world. Let vs therfore cast euery sin away, which is as great weight,This disco­uers many to be lewd and disso­lute persons when the Comman­dements are distastfull vnto them. and lay aside e­uery sin with which we are beset.

First, this serueth for the disco­uery of many, to be the sonnes of Beliall, lawlesse, lewd, and disso­lute persons, to whom nothing is more grieuous then Gods go­uernement, [Page 86] and nothing more distastfull then the Commande­ments of the Lord: Gods Word is like hard meate lying heauy vp­on the stomacke, that cannot easi­ly bee digested, those precepts gi­uen, for the ordering of our waies: Sweare not at all, Mat. 5.34. sanctifie my Sab­both, they are hard sayings, who can endure them; nay, they could wish they were rased out of the booke, and there were no such in­iunction: debar them from swea­ring, you were as good sowe vp their lippes; keepe them from their sports on the Sabbath day, why then take away their liues; nay, they cannot nor will not bee so straight laced, their sports they must follow, their pleasures they must take, and no day fitter then that, thus Sampson like, they break Gods Lawes, like twind threds, [Page 87] and say: Depart from vs, wee will none of thy wayes. Let all such then know, that pretend what they will, they are but lawlesse persons, children of Belial, who de­sire nothing more, then to be from vnder Gods Commandements, and to cast his yoke from off their necks: therefore I may truely say, that where the Sabbath is not san­ctified, there is neither sound Religion nor a Christian con­uersation. How God esteemeth the sanctification of the Sabbath, may appeare by the exact deliue­ry of the Commandements, for he hath fenced it about like Mount Sinai, Exod. 19.12 with markes and bounds at the deliuery of the Law, that no prophanenesse might approach neere vnto you; first, by his watch­word, Remember; secondly,Exo. 20.8, 9 by his bounty, sixe dayes thou shalt labour, [Page 88] and doe all that thou hast to doe; thirdly, by his soueraignty, It is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; fourthly, by the latitude, thou, thy son thy daughter, thy man seruant, thy maid seruant, the stranger that is within thy gates must sanctifie it; fiftly, by his example, The Lord re­sted the seuenth day; lastly, by his be­nediction, he blessed and sanctified it. These sixe markes are like the sixe Water-pots in the second of Iohn, Iohn 2.7. Let euery one of vs re­member to sanctifie the Lords Sab­bath, & that shall bee a pledge of the eternall Sabbath in the kingdom of Heauen. fill them vp to the brim with a holy obseruation, then draw out & carry to the master of the feast, euen to Iesus Christ, the Lord of the new Sabbath: therefore let vs remember to sanctifie the Lords Sabbath, and that shall be vnto vs a pledge of the eternal Sabbath in the kingdome of Heauen, which shal be a day without euening, & shal yeeld vs rest without labor, & ioy without ending.

Secondly, behold a difference,There is great diffe­rence be­tweene the godly and the wicked in their o­bedience. whereby wee may try our selues, betweene the wicked and the god­ly, the one desires to draw in Gods yoke, and yeeld obedience to the commandements; and the other desires nothing more then to cast it of: let vs examine then how our heart is affected, doest thou finde this inward discontentment in o­beying? are Gods lawes as bonds and cords in thy esteeme? and as a stomackful horse dost thou foame at the bit which is put into thy mouth; an euident signe of a rebel­lious heart: but one the other side, art thou content to submit thy self to Gods commandements? art thou desirous that thy nature would bee more conformable to Gods law? art thou content to be restrained, and if it were possible to haue the wicked inclination of [Page 90] thy heart abolished? surely then thou needest not to want comfort, thy state will affoord it, goe on therefore constantly vnto the end.

Here is great com­fort for all such as find vprightnes in their harts thogh they haue many imperfections.Thirdly, here is great consola­tion for all such as find these notes of vprightnesse in themselues, and that they haue part in the com­mandements: though they haue many corruptions and imperfec­tions mixed with their best works; yet seeing they haue pure hearts, they are happy and blessed, and shall find the good effects of their blessednesse, true holinesse, and true happinesse are neuer separa­ted. As for perfections, God looks not for it at our hands, if sinne hang on vs, but wee would faine cast it off, if we finde vnbeleefe, but would most gladly get faith if wee bee troubled in our hearts with hardnesse, but are desirous of [Page 91] softnesse, if we be humbled for that we cannot be humbled sufficient­ly, nor get such a large heart as we would to desire and exspect grace from heauen, yet let vs not be dis­comforted for our defects and frailties for the Lord will spare vs and be gratious vnto vs in his be­loued sonne, according to that worthy prayer of good king He­zekiah; 2. Chro. 30.18.19. The good Lord be mercifull toward him that prepared his whole heart to seeke the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed ac­cording to the purification of the san­ctuarie.

Fourthly, this serueth for com­fort to the children of God,Our good purposes shall be re­warded. to let them see how highly God prizeth good purposes and desires, accep­ting and rewarding them when they come to him, as if they came accompanyed with the deedes [Page 92] themselues. Dauid did but con­ceiue a purpose to build God a house,2. Sam. 7.16 God rewards it with the building and establishing of Da­uids house: hee did but conceiue a purpose to confesse his sinnes, Gods eare was in his heart before Dauids confession could bee in his tongue.Psal. 32.5. The poore beggers that haue wanted food for themselues, Christ yet shall say at the last day, Ye haue fed mee when I was hungry, onely in regard of their strong af­fection if they had had abilitie:Luk. 15.20. the prodigall child when hee was but conceiuing a purpose of re­turning, was preuented by his fa­thers first comming to him,Isa. 65.24. and as Isay sayth, God will answer vs be­fore we call, that is in our purpo­ses of prayer. O sweete com­fort when wee addresse our selues to prayer in our priuate [Page 93] meditations, and bethinke our selues of our sundry wants, we purpose with our selues to beg such and such things, whereof yet happily wee forget some in the vocall prayer; shall any good soule now thinke that the memories weakenesse shall any thing preiudice her in this case? no, thy purpose of asking the thing forgotten was a most effec­tuall asking of it,Therefore when the Lord shall put any good mo­tions into our mind, let vs not delay but speedily put them in practise. and vnto thee be­longeth the comfort of that say­ing, I will heare before they calll. Therefore seeing the Lord doth so highly esteeme good purposes, let vs not delay, but speedily put then in practise. Before the Iron coole it is good striking, & while the waxe is plyable it is good setting on the Seale, doest thou then feele at any time that thy heart is warmed with good [Page 94] motions, enlarged with good af­fections, lift vp to heauen in spiri­tuall meditations: doest thou feele any sparkles of the heauenly fire? take, take thou the bellowes pre­sently, blow till the flame cherish in thee, and make much of the smoking flaxe:Eccles 5.31. and therefore what Salomon exhorteth in the case of vowes, is generally to be practised in all holy purposes and motions; bee not slacke to performe them, they that know themselues, know how fickle and vnconstant their hearts are: now as we would deale with a variable and vnconstant man, so let vs deale with these hearts of ours: we would take such a one at his word, and lay hold of the opportunity, least within a short space he alter his minde: our hearts are more vnconstant then any man is or can be; let vs then [Page 95] learne this wisedome, presently to lay hold of euery good motion, and put it in practise, do not stand debating the matter when God putteth any good thought into thy heart, or rayseth vp any good purpose or desire within thee, but presently proceed to execution, make no long tarrying before thou doest put them in action: there haue beene many who haue resolued to leaue such a sinne,Delaying of time very dangerous. or doe such a dutie, and put in pra­ctise what they haue heard, but by reason of their deferring vntill the next day, or such a time, those mo­tions die, and purposes vanish, and come to nothing for want of speedy execution.The right way to try our selues is to know that wee haue forsa­ken our sins

And therefore let vs trye our selues if these good purposes haue wrought in vs a forsaking of sinne, and a reformation of life: if it bee [Page 96] thus, then it is well; for this it is, & must bee with euery true penitent. True it is in the time of our impe­nitency, like wilde and mad horses we gallop in the way of sinne, yet in the day of our repentance the spirit of God as with a bit or bri­dle giueth vs a checke, and turnes vs backe, and setteth vs as fast a going the other way, insomuch that our olde companions stand wondering at the matter, admi­ring that wee so suddenly breake off company,1. Pet. 4.4. and runne not with them to the same excesse of ryot: so great is the change, that not onely our selues, but others also see it & admire it. Now then, thou that talkest of repentance, and of thy obedience to the commande­ments, is this change in thee; as­sure thy selfe, if thou hast repen­ted, it is, and all the world may see [Page 97] it. Canst thou with a good consci­ence say of thy selfe, as Paul did of the Corinthians:1. Cor. 6.10.11. I was once a thiefe a drunkard, an adulterer, a reuiler, an extortioner, a couetous person, and the like: but now I am washed, now I am sanctified, yea, iustified in the name of the Lord Iesus, and by the spirit of my God; canst thou thus say of thy selfe, and that in truth? why then to thy comfort be it spoken, this is a notable eui­dence of the truth of thy repen­tance; but if it be otherwise, thou mayest deceiue thy selfe, for if no reformation followes, these are not signes of true repentance, for this is true repentance, Augustine. saith Augu­stine, so to bewayle sinnes past, as that we commit them no more, which wee haue bewayled. It is to no purpose then for vs to bewayle our former courses, vnlesse there [Page 98] follow amendment: let not then this deceiue thee,For where the Lord giues repē ­tance, there he giues the grace of re­uocation, whereby they becom new crea­tures. for thou doest but mocke, and not indeed repent, when thou still doest that whereof thou hast repented, this is true repen­tance, so to repent, that thou hast sin­ned, as that thou doest so no more: till therfore thou doest cease from sinne and reforme thy wayes, vn­till thou doest find this change in thy selfe, so that thou canst truely say I was thus and thus, but now the case is altered, thou canst haue no comfort in thy repentance, nor in the commandements: for asure thy selfe that repentance and con­tinuance in the old wicked cour­ses can neuer stand together.

Lastly, this may serue for the comfort of all such as doe finde this change in themselues, who can say with that blinde man who had his sight restored, one thing [Page 99] know, that whereas I was blinde, now I see;Ioh. 9.25. whereas I was filthy and vncleane, I am now washed and cleansed: Oh happy is the condition of such a one, thrise blessed is the estate of that man: onely manifest this change vnto the world, that others may also say; How is this man cbanged from what he was? that as others haue beene witnesses of thy sinne, so they may bee also witnesses of thy repentance.

This may serue for reproofe,Loose pro­fessors re­prooued as being farre from kee­ping the comman­dements. against our loose and leud hypo­crites, masked vnder the name of pure professors, promising to thē ­selues, though liuing and lying in their sins, & far frō keeping the cō ­mants, the reward of glory, no, as thou sowest thou must reape, & as thou bruest thou must drinke, if thou sowe tares, neuer looke to [Page 100] reape wheate; if thou Brue with crabs, neuer looke to drinke milde Beere. Can men gather figges of thorns, or grapes of thistles: so I comparing our workes to trees, their rewards to the fruits; say the like: thinke you euer of the thorns and thistles of couetousnes, pride, vncleannes, blasphemy, swearing, profanation of the Sabaoths, euer to gather the sweet figges, or plea­sant grapes of glory and happines? will this gall and wormewood e­uer make pleasant drinke [...], will these wilde and sower grapes euer yeeld sweete wine? Oh that wee could seriously lay this to heart; that wee must all appeare before the iudgement seat of Christ, 2. Cor. 5.10 11. to receiue according to that which we here haue done, whether good or euill: that hee that soweth of the flesh shall of the flesh reape corruption, Gal. 6.8. and hee that [Page 93] soweth of the spirit, shall of the spirit reape life euerlasting; then would we presently begin to reason with our selues; Alas how poore, how how barren am I in good workes, how fruitfull in ill; it is true indeed that according to the quality of our works we shall be iudged; a­las what other works can I present the Lord withal, besides the works of death and darknes, if these had the promise of reward, then were my case good; let vs examine our hearts herein, and thinke euer with our selues, thus long haue I liued, but what good haue I done, eyther to my selfe or others? where are my prayers, fastings, humiliations, meditations, well spent Saba­oths, well gouerned children, and seruants? where are the workes of mercie to my bre­thren, [Page 102] either to their soules in holy admonition, reprehension, exhor­tation, or bodies in ministring re­liefe to their necessities; how can I look for the penny that hath stood idle in the market place, all the day long; for the crown, that refused to runne,Rom. 2.7. for a good crop in haruest, that would not sowe in seed time: let vs no longer deceiue our selues no glory, honor, and immortality can be found of any, but such as seeke it by continuance in well doing and in keeping the com­mandements, and delighting therein.

Seeing then the greater our zeal paines, and trauell hath beene in Gods cause, the greater shall bee weight of our glory: the twelue Apostles shall haue twelue special thrones at the day of iudgement: and whereas otherwise men shall [Page 103] but shine with the brightnesse of the firmament,Dan. 12 3. they that turne o­thers from their euill wayes, with brightnesse of the starres,Phil. 4.17. hee that soweth liberally shall reape liberally: and euery good worke added to the number of the former, helpeth to further our reckoning in the day of the Lord.Mat. 12. And here for our comfort let vs remember that God rewards euery one according to his worke, for he will reward the least good worke, euen a cup of cold water,ant. 5.1. eating not onely of our ho­ney, but of our hony-combe; yea at the last day notice will bee ta­ken of inferiour sorts of workes as giuing a peece of bread or a peece of cloath. God forbid then that any should say with those in Malachy, It is in vaine to serue the Lord, therefore let vs feare Gods saying, Behold [Page 104] I come quickely and my reward is with me. When Mordecay had performed a worthy seruice to Ahashuerosh in discouery of a dan­gerous treason,Est. 6.10. hee had not his reward presently, but yet his seruice was registred, and so af­terward when the king looked vp­pon the records, it was royally recompenced. Malachy teacheth vs that there are books of remem­brance written for them thar feare the Lord,Mal. 3.16. and in this Chronicle all our good seruices, euen euery action of obedience is recorded, that it may bee rewarded; our labour then shall not bee lost, nor so much as our teares but they are blotted; men may forget vs as Pharaoh did Ioseph, Iudg. 9.17. Gen. 41, 42. and Sechemites, Gedeon, but God wil not, our reward is sure though [Page 105] not so speedy as wee desire:Here is great comfort to all faithfull Ministers, who spend their strength to turne sin­ners from their euill wayes, great is their re­ward in Heauen. We must liue the life grace heare if we meane to shine in glory hereafter. God heere assures vs of reward in the Kingdome of Heauen. Behold what comfort shineth from hence to all you who haue spent your strength in the seruice of God, and conuersion of sinners, great is your reward in Heauen, you shall shine as starres in the Ftrmament, for euer and euer.

From hence we learne, that the degrees of glory heereafter, shall bee according to the degrees of grace here, so that if wee would then shine in glory, now we must shine in grace; therefore take the aduantage of this thy corruption, shake of all spirituall sloth, vse it as a goade in thy side, to make thee sweat againe in Gods worke, dou­ble paines shall bring thee double pleasure; double deligence, dou­ble delight; double holinesse, dou­ble [Page 106] honour: Who will be a com­mon stone in the building, when he might be a Piller? Who would be a Doore-keeper when he might be a Steward; therefore let vs looke to the whole course of our liues: God rewards vs not accor­ding to our good or euill worke, but according to our workes, to the ordinary course of them: this must teach vs faithfully to walke before the Lord, in the discharge of our seuerall callings; let vs look well to our worke that wee doe it, and God will looke farre better to reward our worke. Oh then that instead of taking thought how to get this or that good thing pro­mised, wee would once take thought how to doe this or that good thing commanded, and so doing our duty, we should be hap­py for euermore.

In worldly affaires no weighty thing can bee done without dili­gence, farre lesse in spirituall. Cur­sed be he that doth the worke of the Lord negligently, how shall hee looke for the penny that hath stood idle: Oh that there were no such to bee found in these our dayes,2. Tim. 4, 2. forgetting the rule of the Apostle: Preach in season and out of season. Hence it commeth to passe, that their Sheepe belonging to their charge are like Pharoa his Kine, so leane and euill fauoured, and so weake as euery bush is able to entangle, and euery ditch rea­dy to drowne them, and euery blast of vaine Doctrine able to blow them away. Oh that this charge were considered, and that we remembred, that belongeth to them that preach not the Gospell. Art thou a Steward? Art thou an [Page 108] Ambassador? Why then dost thou not distribute Gods food vn­to his people? How wilt thou be able to looke him in the face, at whose barre one day all flesh must stand?Luke 16.21 and if the rich man were cast into Hell, who did not re­lieue poore Lazarus with his bread? What shall become of those that haue famished the Soules of their people, for want of holy admonition and in­struction.

First, to all bee it spoken, both Minister and people, let vs a­uoyd all sinne, and endeauour our our selues to the vtmost of our power to keepe and delight in the Commandements, not one but al, and that we may not deceiue our selues herein, let euery man exa­mine himselfe at this marke, and with a single eye, and vpright [Page 109] heart take a view of his affecti­ons; whether his ioy bee inward and spirituall; that is, in the assu­rances of God fauour in his word, in his Children, in Prayer, and continuall practise of Godlinesse, or outward and carnall; that is, in attainement of greatnesse and worldly pleasures, in the encrease of our Corne, and Wine, and Oyle: vvhether hee loue the peace of Conscience, farre more dearely then the fauour of men, or his owne life: Whether hee bee more zea­lous for the honour and praise of GOD then his owne: Whether hee bee more afraid of secret sinnes, then open shame of offending God, then outward afflictions: Whether he bee more angry in the cause of Religion, and concerning [Page 110] Gods glory, or for our owne pri­uate wrongs, and so throughout the rest of our affections.

Secondly, wouldest thou re­pent thee of thy sinnes, turne from them, and haue them pardoned, then labour to know them, striue to find them out. Consider of thy wayes, make a stand for a while, and examine thy courses, put the question to thy soule, what haue I done, and againe propound it, wherein am I fayling, take the light of Gods Law, that will shew thee thy filthinesse, that will dis­couer vnto thee thy great corrup­tions, and many faylings: bee not backward in this duty, the more backward thou art, the greater cause thou hast to feare thy estate. Bankerouts that are not worth a groat do not dare look into their state, because they know they bee [Page 111] worse then nought: bee then per­swaded to call thy courses to ac­count. Consider the estate wher­in thou art, thy case is fearefull, be­cause thou art ignorant of it, but it is desperate, if thou wilt not be perswaded to looke into it; but on the other side, if thou wilt take thy selfe aside, and commune with thy owne heart, as Dauid speaketh,Psal. 4.4. surely then thou wilt be in a fayre forwardnesse to sound conuersi­on.

But heare some may aske,Obedience to all the Comman­dements is an infalli­ble signe of a true iusti­fying faith. how shall I know if I be such a one or not? I answere, thou mayst easily prooue it in keeping the Com­mandements, and delighting therein; by this maist thou know, and therefore try thy selfe, whe­ther thou hast respect to the first Table as well as to the second, & to the second as well as to the [Page 112] first? dost thou performe good du­ties for conscience sake, dost thou as well make conscience of dis­sembling with the world, defrau­ding thy neighbour, lying, or e­quiuocating for aduantage, as of blaspheming Gods name, of pro­phaning Gods Sabbath, of neg­lecting holy exercises? Dost thou lament and bewayle thy dulnesse and deadnesse, thy drowsinesse and heauines in the performance of holy duties to God, and honest duties to men? Art thou grieued and disquieted when thou findest not the efficacies and fruit of those good exercises in thy heart? hast thou learned to make conscience of sinnes of omission, as well of commission? Dost thou as well open thy mouth to speake to his honour, as keepe it shut from di­shonouring him? Dost thou as [Page 113] well make conscience of doing these good duties on the Sabbath Day, hearing, reading, medita­ting, and the like, which God re­quireth, as thou dost from abstai­ning of the workes of thy ordina­ry calling, which hee forbiddeth? and dost thou not rest in Nega­tiues, abstaining only from what is forbidden; but hast thou also regard to affirmatiues, doing what God hath enioyned to bee done, esteeming this latter as necessary as the former. Surely if it bee thus, thou mayst haue comfort that thy obedience to the Commandements is sound and good; but yet a little further: thou abstainest from grosse euils, and art seuere and sore against others that fall into them, such & such sinnes thou dost not commit, but what is the ground of thy ab­staining? [Page 114] Is it the law of the Ma­gistrate, feare of Gods wrath or shame of the World, or is it be­cause thou wantest ability or op­portunity? if this be the ground, let me tell thee, this is a false ground, & will deceiue thee in the end. But dost thou leaue these,H s. 3.5. Psal. 130.4. because they are euill and displeasing to the Lord: Dost thou feare the Lord and his goodnesse, and tremble to offend him because of his mer­cy? Why then, it is an euident signe of a sanctified soule. Oh that we would deale truely with our selues, that we would now at the last learne to be wise, and not gull our soules as most doe: and therefore consider with thy selfe, and be thou better aduised, cast of all profainenes, & follow holines and piety, for without it no man shal euer see God to his comfort. [Page 115] Seeing therfore examination is so necessary for euery one,Examinati­on so neces­sary, that without it no state of life can bee rightly orde­red. let vs goe one step further in this tryall of our selues: Hast thou felt by thine owne experience, this great worke of regeneration and change, wrought vpon thy soule? Hath the powerfull Word, by the inward and effectuall working of his Spi­rit, broken and bruised thy hard & stony heart? Hath it pierced and purged the very closest and vn­searchable corners thereof, hath it humbled it with the sight of thy sinnes, hath it filled it with feare­full terrours, remorse and true sorrow for thy life past, hath it af­ter quieted and refreshed it with a sure faith in Christ Iesus, and a de­light in heauenly things, hath it mortified thy inward corruptions & broke the heart of thy sweet sin, hath it planted a holy moderation [Page 116] in all thy affections, that whereas heretofore they haue beene enra­ged with lust, with immoderate anger with ambition, with insati­able desire, for the inlargement of thy possessions & greatnesse, and with hatred of Gods dearest ser­uants and their holinesse, are they now inflamed with zeale for Gods honor, truth & seruice, with a fer­uent loue vnto the Lord and his Saints, with Christian courage to oppose against the sinnes of the time, to defend goodnesse & good causes, to contemne the lying slan­ders and profane scoffes of worth­lesse men, hath it begot in thy will an hunger and thirst after the spi­rituall foode of thy soule, the Word and Sacraments, so that thou hadst rather part with any worldly good, then not enioy the incomparable benefit of a consci­onable [Page 117] and constant ministery, are thy thoughts which hertofore did wander vp & downe at randome wickedly, idly, wantonly, are they now bounded within a sacred compasse, and spent vpon holy things, and the necessary affaires of thy honest & lawfull calling? Is thy vnderstanding informed & ac­quainted with the mistery of salua­tion, which the world, & the wise men thereof account nothing but madnes and folly, is thy memory which hath heretofore bin stuffed with trash and toyes, vanities and follies, now capable and greedy of diuine knowledge, are thy words which heretofore haue bin full of profanenes & worldlines, now di­rected to glorifie God, & to giue grace to the hearers? Nay yet fur­ther, besides this reuocation of the faculties of thy soule, hath the [Page 118] power of grace sanctified all thy outward actions? Dost thou or­der in euery particular all the busi­nesses of thy vocation religiously, conscionably, & by direction out of the Word of God? Dost thou now heare the Word of God, not only of course and custome, but of zeale & conscience, to reforme thy selfe by it, & to liue after it? Do not the weekdaies duties and worldly cares drown thy mind on the sab­bath? dost thou exercise daily with fruit & feeling, prayer, that preci­ous cōfort of the faithfull Christi­an? Thou being conuerted dost thou labor the cōuersion of others, especially of those which are com­mitted any way to thy charge, and for whom thou must giue a more strickt account; as if thou be a ma­ster of a family, dost thou pray with them, & instruct them in the [Page 119] doctrine of saluation, & wayes of godlinesse? dost thou now not on­ly sticke at, and forbeare great and grosse sinnes, but dost thou euen hate the garment spotted of the flesh, and all appearance of euill?Thes. 15.22 doth the tendernes of thy consci­ence check thee for the least sin, & make thee feareful to offend, thogh it be but in a wandring cogitation after euery fal into infirmities? art thou carefull to renew thy repen­tance, & learn wisedom & watch­fulnes to auoid thē afterwards? dost thou feele thy selfe profit, grow, & increase in these fruits & effects of grace, & hast thou such a gracious taste of the glory of God, & of eter­nal life, that thou art euen willing & desirous to meete thy Sauior in the clouds, not so much to bee rid out of the miseries of this life, as to be freed from the heauy burden ofHeb. 12.1. [Page 120] sin which hangs on so fast, & to en­ioy his presence in the heauens for euer; in a word, as thy soule giues life, spirit & motion to thy whole body, & euery part thereof, doth the Spirit of God, euen so inspire thy soule and body, and all thy ac­tions with the life of grace? why then thou art possest of the state of true blessednes:Here is great comfort for all such as can find this vprightnesse in them­selues, they neede not feare, thogh the earth should bee mooued, yet they shall a­bide and be safe in the Day of the Lord. thou art then hap­py that euer thou wast borne, thy life is certainely the way of life, and I can assure thee, and I dare boldly speake it, that thou art al­ready out of the reach of all the powers of Hell; Satan is chained vp for euer doing thee any dead­ly hurt, all the creatures are recon­ciled vnto thee, & at league with thee, thou hast filled the angels with ioy at thy conuersion, they will for euer gard thee, thou shalt neuer more be afraid for any ill tidings, [Page 121] though the earth bee moued,Psal. 46.2. and though the mountains fal into the middest of the sea, thy heart shall abide strong, vnshaken, and com­fortable: when thou fallest downe vpon thy bed of sickenesse, thou shalt finde no mortall pryson in thy flesh, no sting in death, no darkenesse in the graue, no amaze­ment at that great and fearful day: for all the merits and sufferings of Christ are thine, all the comforts of Gods children are thine, all the blessings in the booke of God are thine, euen all things are thine, and thou art Christs, and Christ is Gods: onely stand fast in thy faith, quit thy selfe like a man and bee strong, gird thy sword vpon thy thigh, buckle fast to thee the whole armour of God, ride on because of the word of truth,Psal. 45.3. and the Lord thy God bee with thee; breake [Page 122] through for a while with vndan­ted courage the bitternesse of the worlds malice, the keene razours of empoysoned tongs, the teares and tediousnes of a few wretched daies, for thou art neerer the prize of the high calling, thē when thou first beleeuedst: shine more and more in faith, in patience, in loue, in knowledge, in obedience, and all other christian graces, vntill the perfect day, vntill thou reach the height of heauen, and the full glo­ry of the Saints of God.

A true mark of our repē ­tance, if we haue left our euill wayes to serue the liuing God.First, here is matter of great consolation for vs, for hereby wee may gather assurance vnto our owne hearts of the soundnesse of our repentance, and conuersion to the Lord, if we haue indeede tur­ned from our euill wayes to serue the liuing God, so that we delight in the commandements: therefore [Page 123] they may take this for their com­fort, who are still proposing of good questiōs, what they must do, and how they must do it, by what meanes they may get out of this or that sinne, and attaine to such or such a grace, how they may bee profitable, helpfull, and comforta­ble to themselues and others: this was the practise of the Publicans and Souldiers, and all sorts that were inwardly touched in their consciences by the preaching of Iohn Baptist,Luk. 3.10. euery one of them came vnto him, saying; What must we do: and of the Iayler who when once hee began to be humbled, came trembling and fell down be­fore Paul and Silas, saying;Act. 18.29.30. What must I doe to be saued. For howso­euer Gods seruants haue learned for the most part, what things in general must be done, yet still they [Page 124] need to bee enformed in many things; therefore if wee truely re­pent vs of our sinnes, the Lord wil neeuer leaue vs till all our iniqui­ties bee quite remoued from vs; for they that turne to the Lord by true repentance, the Lord will wash them from all their sinnes by the bloud of his Sonne; that what­soeuer offences we repent of, wee shal be sure to haue thē pardoned.

Secondly, God accepteth of pe­nitent persons the wil for the deed as for the fulfilling of the law in absolute perfection,If we haue a willing mind to per­forme our duty, the Lord will accept the will for the deed. that Christ a­lone hath performed, he hath paid our debt, and cancelled the bond, and taken away the hand-writing that was against vs; now this one­ly remaineth for vs, that we haue a good inclination, and a willing mind to performe our duty and labor to the vtmost of our strength [Page 125] so to do, seeing and bewailing our manifold imperfections, errors, & faylings, in euery one of our ser­uices, which if wee can doe God will bee as well pleased with vs through his beloued sonne, as if wee had kept the whole law, with­out any declining from it at al, ey­ther to the right hand or to the left. That which is spoken in the matter of communicating vnto the necessities of the Saints in the Epistle to the Corinthians (to wit) if there be first a willing mind it is accepted according to that a man hath,Cor 2.8.12. & not according to that he hath not, holdeth as true in all other seruices, that wee are ac­cepted with the Lord, according as we are inwardly affected, albeit our actions bee not answerable to our desires: for hee that hath a ready minde to what hee can, [Page 126] and doth the same, would bee as ready to doe a great deale more, if his ability did serue; and therefore the Lord will shew his gracious acceptance of that which is done by him, though it be neuer so little as well as if it had beene a matter of a farre greater worth.

Now that the true purpose and intent of the heart, is that which God principally regardeth in his seruants, is plainly proued out of holy Scripture; for we may reade in Genesis what God saith of A­braham,Gen. 22.7.By my selfe haue I sworne (saith the Lord) because thou hast done this thing, and not spared thine only son, therefore I will surely blesse thee: and yet Isaac was not slaine, but Abraham withdrew his hand from him and spared him: yet be­cause hee was content to kill him, and made all things ready for the [Page 127] sacrificing of him, God accounts it as good, and rewardeth it as wel as if he had killed him indeed.

So Dauid had but a purpose to build the temple,1. Chron. 17 1. 1. Kin. 8.16. which worke was afterward layd vpon Salomon, and by him performed, yet the Lord giueth him a good testimo­ny, and large reward for his readi­nesse that way: hee was content to spare him because he had beene at great paines before in shedding the bloud of many enemies of the Church, and some remained yet still to be subdued by him, yet this he telleth him for his comfort: whereas it was in thine heart to build an house vnto my name, 1. Chro. 17.10.11.12. thou diddest well that thou wert so minded: and besides this, he biddeth Nathan to carry him this message; that the Lord would build him an house, and would raise vp seed after him, [Page 128] and employ his sonne in that ho­nourable seruice of building an house vnto the name of the Lord, and that hee would establish his throne for euer: and therefore if we can beleeue that hee is pleased with our good actions, we may as well bee perswaded that hee is de­lighted with good our motions, and holy desires that are stirred vp in our hearts by his owne spirit.

And the reason why God ta­keth such small things in good worth is,Psal. 103.13 because hee is both in name and nature a father;Mal. 3.17. yea, an heauenly father, and therfore hath compassion of those that feare him: now hee that is a most merci­full, and wise, and louing father, (as those will be most mercifull to others, that haue tasted most of Gods mercy to themselues) when he seeth that his child doth [Page 129] as well as he can, though it be but simply and poorely, yet hee will shew his liking of it, & commend him for it: and so will God deale with vs, though wee cannot doe things perfitly, yet if we doe them obediently, hee will shew his loue and approbation of vs, and of our workes. When a little child doth cheerefully ayme and shoot at the marke which his father proposeth vnto him, though by reason of his weaknesse he shoot very wide and short, yet it is well accepted of his father, as if hee did hit the white: and the like fatherly dealing shall we finde in God, that if wee bee faithfull in a little hee will esteeme of vs as if wee performed a great deale more.The perfe­ction of a Christian here in this life. Indeed when we haue put off the image of the first Adam and haue put on the image of the second Adam, and haue changed [Page 130] the earth for heauen: then we shall not only obey truely, but perfect­ly; but here it is in truth, and so it must bee esteemed, one degree of perfection is to see our owne im­perfections; and that was in Nehe­miah, and in those of his time; O Lord I beseech thee, Nehe. 1.11 let thine eare now hearken to the prayer of thy ser­uant, and to the prayer of thy seruants who desire to feare thy name: hee could not say that they did so feare his name as they should, but this they could say, that they desi­red to doe it better, which desire was a fruite of the grace it selfe. This should encourage vs still to be doing in the seruices & workes of God. But here some may say, we finde many imperfections, and many wants and weakenesses in our selues: be it so; yet if we ayme at perfection, and haue respect to euery commandement of God, & [Page 131] come as neere to the marke as we can, the Lord wil accept vs accor­ding to that wee haue, and not re­iect vs for that we haue not; if wee could obey perfectly, to what end were Christ his obedience, and if God should looke after none but those that can fully please him in all things, he should bee a Lord & a maister without subiectes and seruants, If thou O Lord, Psal. 130.3. saith Da­uid, should marke what is done amisse who should stand.

Therefore though wee cannot pray with that feeling,Our infir­mities should not hinder vs, if we haue re­spect to eue­ry commandement. heare and reade with that profit, sing Psalms with that ioyfulnesse and cheere­fulnes of heart as we should, thogh wee cannot forgiue our enemies, long for Christ his cōming, haue such a tender feeling of the afflic­ctions of the Saints, nor attaine to such heauenly meditations night [Page 132] or day, as we doe desire, and as God doth command, yet let vs not be discouraged if wee striue to bring our wicked flesh to the performance of those du­ties: and though wee haue much adoe with it, yet if wee draw it as a Beare to the stake vnto Gods worship, and to the performance of good dueties in publicke and and priuate,Rom. 7.12. and when wee feele most backwardnesse and vnto­wardnesse in our nature, yet wee consent in our very soules, that the law of God is holy, iust and good, and that our willes and affections are indeed very corrupt and rebellious; but we would ra­ther then all the world that things were otherwise wise with vs, that sinne might be subdued, and grace planted in stead thereof, and it is our continuall griefe that God should be so gracious, and kind, & [Page 133] liberall to vs, and wee can bee no more obedient and loyall, and ser­uiceable vnto him? if (I say) we find such a heart within vs, we, need not to be dismayed, but may cheerful­ly go on with full perswasion and vndoubted resolution that the Lord will be mercifull vnto vs, & take our obedience in good worth if wee endeuour still to be better, and to do better euery day then o­ther, neuer standing vpon that wee haue done,The signe of a true heart. but pressing hard to the marke. This is an infallible note that wee are true hearted, he that feeleth but a little faith, a little loue, a little repentance, &c. And would with all his heart haue them increased, these very desires to obay, are euident signes that wee haue part in the Commandements. But here some may obiect and say, God [Page 134] requireth absolute perfecti­on in the Law; I answer, but not so in the Gospel, but qua­lifieth the rigour of the Law by the satisfaction of a Mediator, and in our stead accepteth the true indeauour for the deede, and the good will for the worke it selfe: the law commandeth workes and perfect obedience, doe this and thou shalt liue: the Gospell com­mandeth faith. This is the comman­dement that wee beleeue in the name of Iesus Christ, Iohn 3.23. and loue one another as he gaue commandement.

Thirdly, that wee may there­fore arme our selues with the com­plete harnesse of God to vanquish Satan,Let euery one there­fore arme himselfe a­gainst Sa­tans temp­tations. and quench all his fierie darts: true it is in part, wee were the children of wrath by nature, but by grace we are not so; wee are not now vnder the corrup­tion [Page 135] of nature, but vnder the state of grace, and therefore no repro­bates but members of Christ,It is the spi­rit of God that can as­sure vs that we are hls children. and heires of saluation: Satan cannot tell who be reprobates, he is one­ly an accuser, but no iudge in this case, he is a lying spirit, but the spirit of God which cannot lye, assures vs that wee are the children of God: God hath giuen vs a Law to keepe which wee cannot keepe, yet his law is performed of vs euen to the full, though not of our persons, yet in the person of Christ Iesus; and though wee can­not fulfill the law of workes, yet we can (by Gods inspiring and assisting grace) performe the law of faith which suffiseth to salua­tion. Christ is not onely a iudge to condemne, but also a Sauiour to pardon; as hee hath iudgement so he hath mercy, but his mercy [Page 136] is aboue his iudgement, for it is aboue all his workes: our sinnes are infinite, but Christ his mercy is more infinite to them that are in him, but wee are in him, and there is no condemnation to them which are in Iesus Christ. We cānot sinne so much as hee can pardon,It is no pre­sumption to hope for mercy, but the assurāce of faith. neither doe we sinne with an high hand, but vpon infirmities: we are onely captiues, but not ser­uants to sinnes; that is, we serue the law of sinne whether wee will or no, but wee doe not willingly submit our selues, vnto it nei­ther is it presumption in vs to hope for mercy, but it is faith: for God stands not so much vp­on the quantity as vpon the qua­lity of our faith, so as wee haue any at all, not the perfection but the truth of it, though it bee mix­ed with infidelity or vnbeliefe. [Page 137] we say with the father of the child, which had a dumbe spirit, I beleeue Lord, but helpe my vnbeliefe.Mat. 9.24. That this faith of ours is no phantasie or illusiō, or flattery of our selues, but a certaine assurance of Gods spirit, wee perswade our selues by these reasons; we hate our selues because of our sinne, we purpose to sin so no more, wee call to GOD to strenghen vs in this godly resoluti­on, we delight in the Law of God we loue all that feare him, we de­sire the furtherance of the Gospel,Rom. 7.22. and building vp the Kingdome of grace: We desire to be dissolued, and to be with Christ, that sinne may cease in vs, and this desire of faith, and the groaning for want of any grace belonging to saluati­on is the grace it selfe, and to such a desire a blessing is annexed. Bles­sed are they which hunger and thirst [Page 138] after righteousnesse, Mat. 5.6. for they shall be satisfied, euen at the full though not in this life, yet in the life to come.

Lastly, as we feele the disease, so wee must also feele the strength of the medicine.Rom. 7.23. Saint Paul feeleth a Law in his members, &c. which is the rebellion of concupiscen­ce, and lust in the flesh by origi­nall sinne:2. Cor. 12.19. So also, the grace of God by Iesus Christ, shall deliuer him from it: our Sauiour said to him in his greatest temptations, My grace is sufficient to strengthen thee againsh all: Mat. 14.31. He held Saint Pe­ter that hee could not sinke, and prayed for him that his faith should not faile him: Satan and our sinnes are as the great army of the Assyrians, against Eliseus, they appeared terrible, but on the o­ther side stood an army of Gods [Page 139] Angels, to fight for him:2. Kin. 6.17. there­fore still wee must looke to the helps of grace; in all these con­flicts we ouercome by the helpe of him that loued vs.Rom. 8.37. Phil, 4.13. Esay 41.10. Saint Paul saith, he could doe all things. God saith by the Prophet, Be not afraid, for I am with thee, step not aside, for I thy God haue strengthned thee, and haue assisted thee, the right hand of my iust man hath taken thy defence, and if God be with vs, Rom. 8.31. who can be a­gainst vs.

And that euery one of vs may be stirred vp to the performance of these duties:This should exhort eue­ry one to get part in the Com­mande­ments. let vs remember when God had made the heauens and the earth, he placed men and Angels in the same as his tennants to bring him in the rent of obedi­ence in keeping the Commande­ments, therefore euery one of vs must bring in some thing to the [Page 140] Lords Exchequer, for the which the Lord may remember him. When Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac vpon Mount Moriah, Gen. 22.2. Heb. 11.22. when Moses forsooke the pompe of Pharohs Court, to sustaine afflic­tions with Gods people,1. King. 18.4. when O­badiah hid and relieued the Lords Prophets:Iob. 31.20. When Iob caused the loynes of the poore to blesse him, when Mary Magdalen washed our Sauiours feete,Luke 7.38. and wiped them with the haires of her head, euery one of these had wherof the Lord might remember him:Here we see that those who warme the loynes of the poore and are an eye to the blind, haue that for which the Lord might remember them. Therefore let your light so shine before men, that they seeing your good workes may glorifie your Father which is in Hea­uen. Here wee see the men for whom our heauenly Father is glo­rified, are such whose workes shine afore men, who warme the loynes of the poore, and with [Page 141] their knowledge are an eye to the blind. I can hardly beleeue that God euer made any creature only to behold their glorious outsides; neither Starre, Pearle, Flower, or fethered Fowle, but to haue influ­ence, vertues & qualities benefici­al to mankind: much lesse a man to know onely, or an Art onely to to be knowne, but all to his glo­ry and mans seruice; which to ef­fect, is all the glory of man to keep the Commandements.Pure religion is seene not in affec­ted words, but in the effect of charitable workes. Who commends a Schoolemaster whose Schollers can say and vn­derstand their Rules, but speake not and write not any good stiles by them: A Captaine, whose Souldiers can skill of millitary termes and orders, vnlesse their acts and exploits of warre be suta­ble. Who prayseth a Courser that feedes well, or pranceth [Page 142] proudly, but is not deedy for the race, or trauell, speede or length. Little sayes the Scripture of the learning of the Apo­stles, but much of their acts, these are the richest, and vsu­all stiles of commendation in Scripture.Num. 14.19.20. Acts 10.2. Moses, a man mighty in words and deedes. Cornelius, a man fearing God, and giuing much Almes. The Centurion wor­thy of fauour, for he hath built vs a Synagogue.Acts 9, 39. Dorcas made thus many coates for the poore, &c. Such benefactors their workes shall follow them and praise them in the gates heere, yea, and at the great Day obtaine that, Come ye blessed of my Father, for I was naked, and you cloathed mee, I was hungry, and you fed me, for such men God is blessed of men, and such men shall be blessed of God [Page 143] in their deedes: and as the more knowing without doing, shall procure the more stripes, so the more doing with knowing, shall haue double honour, because God was double honoured in them:Reu. 22.12. Be­hold, I come quickly, and my reward is in my hand, to giue euery man ac­cording to his deedes: Reu. 22.14. Blessed are they that keepe my Cammande­ments: If you know them, and do them not, miserable are you, but these things if you know and doe them, you are the happiest men li­uing.

Of all men I hold them most wretched and selfe-condemned,Here are all those con­demned, who intend not to bee dooers of the Com­mande­ments, as well as hea­rers. that bend their studies to diuini­ty, not tending to be dooers, as well as Students and Preachers; not much wiser are such as will be precise Professors of Religion, but not Practisioners. Oh that heere [Page 144] were not too many such to bee found in these dayes. They may fitly be resembled to such as plow and sowe all the yeare, and neuer reape, to the Grashopper that sings all the Summer, and wants in the Winter, to women euer conceiuing, and neuer comming to the birth: and best of all, to that of Christ, comparing some hea­rers vnto fooles that build on the sand of bare hearing and profes­sing,Mat. 7.26, 27. who thinke that all Religion consisteth in hearing Sermons, neglecting the performance, but the wise are they that build on the rock of doing, vnshakeable. Search all the Scripture, and see if any couenants or grants were made to hearing or knowing, and not all to dooing the Commandements: is not the ancient tenour of the law; doe this, and liue: and the Gos­pell, [Page 145] repent belieue, & liue,Mat. 12.50. which implying sundry consequences and fruits of it. He that doth my Fa­thers will, he is my brother and sis­ter, not euery one that saith, Lord, Mat. 7.21. Lord, but he that doth my fathers wil; to him that doth ill, shall bee tribula­tion and anguish to euery soule of Iew and Grecian, Rom. 2.8.9, 10. to him that doth well, shall be honour and and peace to all the Israel of God. Vnto whom shall that Euge bee giuen at that great day, but to the dooer? and in what forme, but well done, thou good seruant, that hast not buried thy Talent in a Napkin; he himselfe ex­presseth the manner. Behold, I come quickly, my reward is in my hand, to giue euery man according to his workes: Blessed is euery one that doth my Commandements, that he may [...]ate of the Tree of life; and enter tho­ [...]ow the gates into the Citty: In all [Page 146] which happines in this life, & that to come is confirmed vpon the li­uing acts and exercises, not vpon the dead habits of any grace what­soeuer: In all labour there is abun­dance; but in the conceits of the braine, and talke of the lips, no­thing but emptinesse and misery.

Next to Gods glory and a mans owne good, a Christian placeth much happinesse in winning and edifying others,1. Cor. 12.10. to which purpose a speechles life hath more life in it then aliue speech. So Chrysostome commends a good life, aboue a­farre profession: For it is able, saith hee, to confute and conuert Pagans; withall he tels vs, they haue a louder language then the sunne and Moone, whose sound yet goes ouer all the world, publishing Gods glory: there­fore saith Christ to his Disciples, goe and tell, not what you haue [Page 147] heard me preach, but saw me doe. How the blind receiue sight, &c. If I doe not such workes as none other hath done before me, The best course for vs to take to winne o­thers, is to be doers of that wee professe. I desire not men to belieue in me. By these courses Peter would haue Christians win their neighbours, and wiues their husbands, rather thē by tutering of them: then would neighbours fol­low one another to the right Re­ligion and true Church, as Trads­mē do to those markets where they see them gather wealth fastest; yea imitate their liues, and bring forth fruits as Iacobs sheepe, if they saw their rods speckled with works, as well as with words: thus saint Au­gustines famous mother, taught one of her neighbour Gentlewo­men, complaining of her churlish Nabal, & wondring how she won her peruerse husband, why sayes she, I obserued his mind, and pleased [Page 148] him in all indifferent things, forbore him in his passions, gaue him all con­tent in dyet, and attendance, and so haue made him first Gods, and then mine by degrees. These are the Arts and charmes, that if they were now vsed by one Christian to a­nother, would couer multitudes of sins, and conuert multitudes of sinners. These things mind and ex­ercise, these things if you know and doe, you shall saue your selues and those you liue withall, and so be euery way blessed men.

The doers of the Com­mande­ments are only blessedThus wee see, that doing the Commandements only, brings in the blessednes without which all our knowing makes and leaues vs, but dishonorable to God, vncom­fortable to our selues, scandalous to others; in no neerer keeping the Commandements, then Balaam, Iudas, and the diuell himselfe, who [Page 149] the more they know, the worse for them, the more sinne, and the more punishment. If knowing made vp blessednes, England were an happy Nation, out times as happy as euer any, but if doing be required, great is the felicity of both questionlesse: the more any man knowes or professes to know, and the lesse they doe, the more they doe dishonor God.

And what are such themselues the better for their knowledge:They which know them & do them not, they do increase their sor­row. but as the Preacher speaketh in a­nother sence. Hee that encreaseth such knowledge, addeth sorrow. What a misery is it for a man to haue no inward faithfull know­ledge or affection to the Gospell, nor better proofe of his loue thereto, then that hee carried it alwayes about him, at his Girdle. [Page 150] My meaning is not to taxe Bible carrying, & Christian conference which I hold a better grace then Bootes, Spurres and Rapiers, on Sundayes, or Fannes of Fethers, & top-gallant Ensignes of vanity euery day, but only to shew the foppery of them that carry Gods word and law, not in their hearts but only in their heads, or in their memories or vnderstandings. Let these bee as wise as they may in their own conceits, to me they are no better then Asses which carry dainty burdens, but taste not of them, Verily a man knowes no more rightly then he Practises: it is said of Christ, hee knew no sinne, be­cause he did no sinne, and in that sence, hee knowes no good that doth no good. Hee that will obey, shall know my Fathers will, and such as will [Page 151] not doe what they know to bee good,The abuse of that wee know will be the chiefe cause to depriue vs of it. shall soone vnknow that which they know, it being iust with God to punish shipwrack of a good conscience, with the fraught of knowledge, according to that imprecation in the Epistle to the Hebrewes, that if they should abuse their skill in mu­sicke, their right hand might forget his cunning, and their tongue cleaue to the roofe of their mouth, from which iust Iudgement it comes to passe, that many become colder in matters of Religion, and kee­ping the Commandents: For, a good vnderstanding haue all they that doe thereafter, and cursed are all such as know these things, and doe the cleane contrary: Cursed, I say are they because they not onely cast away themselues, but also [Page 152] lay a stumbling block before o­thers, both weake ones within, and bad ones without, such as these know God, and yet deny him in their liues, and are repro­bates to euery good worke; such as buy by one Ballance, and sell by another, haue a forme of knowledge, which they pretend in themselues, & prescribe to others, with all seuere seuerity, and liue themselues in secret by contrary rules. Friends in shew, but indeed Enemies to the Crosse of Christ, Phil. 3.18. vn­cleane beasts, for all the chewing of the Cud, which makes men mis­like, not only their persons, but the very religion which they professe in the highest streine of strickt­nesse. I wonder with what face such can call themselues Christians, or vvith vvhat eares can heare themselues so [Page 153] called; doth any man looke to bee accounted a Carpenter, that cal­leth himselfe so, but neuer squares timber, nor erected frames; there­fore to all hearers and goers to Sermons I say, play not the fools as most doe, heare not to heare, goe not to Church as many now adayes do, for fashiō sake or to get an opinion of zeale, or as boyes go into the water to play and pad­dle there onely, not to wash and be cleane.

Therefore let vs all that lay clayme to that honourable name,Let vs ther­fore doe the workes of Christians and so ap­proue our selues. doe the workes of Christians and thereby approue your selues to God and man, as the Angell to Manoch who being asked of his name, made answer, It was wonder­full, and did wonderfully ascend in the flame, and made good his name by his action. The art of doing is [Page 154] that which requires study, strength and diuine assistance: do the sinnes that swarm in our times, proceed from ignorance, or incontinence rather, and wilfulnes? It were hap­py if men had that plea; if the light were not so great, the times & the nations had not sinne, who amongst vs is so ignorant but hee knowes that Idolatry, swearing, stabbing, whoring, and excessiue drinking are sinnes, and that for these things comes the anger of God? Is any so simple that hee knowes not the ten Commande­ments, and the sum of the Gospel yet how desperately doe men rush on the pikes, carelesly, & wittingly willingly, seeing the gulfe, and yet leaping into it. Vpon this there­fore doe I wish Christians would set prices, and spend their studies, euen about the art of doing the [Page 155] Conmandements. But here some may aske, how shall wee attaine this facility and faculty of doing? I answer, to wish it,Good de­sires is the best halfe, especially when it breeds prai­er for the dead. and heartily to desire it is halfe, yea and the best halfe of the worke, for a man or woman, to effect goodnesse a­boue cunning is a good signe, and a good helpe and step to bee such an one, especially when this desire breeds prayer for power to doe, knowing that without Christ wee can doe iust nothing: therefore let euery one of vs do that we should do, and blessed are we. If we know that Baal be God, if Rome be the true Church, let vs turne to it a­gaine; if wee know that swearing, dicing, swaggering, and foolish fashion following be good things; let vs all fall to doe those things: but if God hath giuen vs the truth and the light, let vs walke in it, and [Page 156] worke by it while it is to day, lest if we play reuell and riot, by it the Candlesticke be remoued, and the light put out: if purity, sanctitie, and sobrietie, be knowne to vs to be good things, and pleasing to God to keepe the Commande­ments, and delight therein, O hap­py then, thrise blessed are we if we doe them.

Therefore to conclude, though I confesse my selfe vnworthy to write,The consi­deration of the blessed­nesse of that man, that delighteth in the com­mandemēts shuld moue vs to get our part therein. yet I beseech you let my counsell be acceptable to the Rea­der; that is, let euery one of vs get some part in the Cōmandements, for the which the Lord may re­member vs, and the remembrance whereof may bee a comfort to vs at the houre of death, let vs pro­uide with Ioseph in the time of plenty against the day of scarcity,. Iohn. 92 the night commeth when no man can [Page 157] worke: God loues a liuing sacri­fice, and a chearfull giuer: therfore let vs thinke with Titus Vespasian wee haue lost thay day wherein wee haue not done some good. O what a blessed houre shall that be, where­in our soules shall expire with He­zekias words:Esa. 38.3. I beseech thee O Lord remember how I haue walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart and haue done that which is good in thy sight. Iud. 5.21. Then may wee say with Deborah, O my soule thou hast mar­ched valiantly. Psal. 116.7. Yea then may wee say with Dauid; Return vnto thy rest O my soule, for the Lord hath rewar­ded thee. Death is the worlds strict doore keeper, and will see,1. Tim. 6.7. that as wee brought nothing into the world, so we shall carry foorth no­thing againe: yet can he not hinder vs from that blessednesse which the Oracle of heauen hath pro­claimed [Page 158] to all those that delight in the Commandements: Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, they rest from their labours, and their works follow them. Reu. 14.13. Let vs consi­der, that onely our good workes will be our companions to heauen they shall bee our honour in life, our comfort in death, and our crowne at the last resurrection: beseeching him to enable vs with grace for the performance of all thy Commandements, for thy truth, and for thy names sake, A­men.

VERSE 2.‘His seed shall bee mighty vpon earth, the generation of the righteous shall be blessed.’

HAuing spoken of the blessed­nesse of that man that feareth the Lord, and delighteth in his [Page 159] Commandements. Now in this Verse the Prophet Dauid sheweth the happy successe of this blessed man; His seed shall bee mighty vpon earth, &c. That is, they shall not onely haue spirituall grace, but also right vnto, and the right vse of all the benefites of this life:True obedi­ence bring outward prosperity. for true obedience to Gods Comman­dements, though it bee not perfect, brings the blessing of God vpon vs for outwards things, as well as for inward.

This is promised in Deuterono­mie, where Moses speaketh thus vn­to the people of Israel:Deu. 28.2. &c. If thou shalt obey diligently the voyce of the Lord thy God, and obserue and doe all his Commandements, which I command thee this day, then the Lord thy God will set thee on high aboue all the na­tions of the earth, and all those bles­sings shall come to thee, &c. Belssed shalt [Page 160] thou be in the citie, and blessed also in the field, 2. Cor. 9.7. &c. Shewing that true and faithfull obedience is that which bringeth all manner of blessings for body and soule, for name and estate; yea, and for seed and poste­ritie also: and therefore the Apo­stle telleth Timothy, 1. Tim. 6.5. that godlinesse is great gaine, and that it hath the promises of this life, and of the life to come. In which regard Dauid saith, I haue beene yong, and now am old, yet haue I not seene the righteous for­saken, [...]sal. 4 [...]. 25. nor his seed begging bread: therfore Dauids speech is well to be obserued; for he doth not say, the righteous is neuer forsaken,How to vn­derstand Dauids wordes. but I neuer saw it; speaking there of his own experience and obseruation: hee had seene (and so may wee) that children of great men haue broken foorth into many horrible sinnes, and so haue beene brought [Page 161] to a strange and miserable and vi­olent death, & many wofull straits & extremities before their death: but he neuer saw, neither shall wee see, the godly seed of godly men forsaken, of God and men, and left as vagabonds to beg their bread, but God hath euer had (and still will haue) a speciall care of them, and euer made all necessary prouision for them, either hee himselfe by a more particular pro­uidence of his, casteth sufficency of these outward things vpon thē, or blesseth their labours, so that they are made a meanes of main­tenance vnto them, or if they fayle that way, hee mooueth the hearts of some other of his seruants to pittie them, and to supply their wants, so that whatsoeuer their necessities bee, they are freede from that curse [Page 162] that is denounced against the seed of the wicked, to wit, that they should wander vp and downe as vagrants, begging their bread, and making a trade of that vile wretched course of life.

Nothing that is need­full shall be wanting, when Gods fauour is not.Teaching vs this much, that no­thing that is needful shall be wan­ting to those that are in the fa­uour of the Lord, such as haue his fauour shall haue all good blessings flowing to them, and following of them. Dauid doth notably confirme this in many of his Psalmes, as in the three and twentieth Psalme where profes­sing God to bee his shepheard, maketh this inference therupon: Therefore I shall not want, Psal. 23.1.6. but doubtlesse, kindenesse, and mer­cie shall follow mee all the dayes of my life; Psa. 34 9.10 and againe, the Lyons doe lacke and suffer hunger, but [Page 163] they which seeke the Lord shall want nothing that is good: Psal. 84.11. also Dauid sayth, the Lord God is a sunne and a shield vnto vs, the Lord will giue grace and glory, and no good thing will hee with­hold from them that walke vpright­ly. And is not this the blessing that is promised to such as feare the Lord, that all good things should flow vnto them from hea­uen and earth, that they shall be hlessed in the house, in the field, in their basket, in their store, in the fruite of their bodyes, in the encrease of their cattle and in the aboundance of all things,Let no man doubt of this truth, for God is the Gouer­nor of hea­uen & earth and the di­ [...]oser of all things. thus wee see, that where Gods fauour is there is want of nothing that is needfull. And there is cause why we shuld rest fully resolued of this point, that none of Gods house­hold shall euer want necessary re­leefe, [Page 164] because all will yeeld that God is the Gouernour of heauen and earth, and the disposer of all things in them both, and then they must grant further, that those that are best, and doe best, shall speede best, because God loueth them most; and how then can we make question whether or no, the Lord will bestow vpon them a compe­tent measure, and a comfortable vse of these earthly blessings, see­ing all is in his hand, and he wish­eth so well vnto his owne peo­ple; especially seeing hee hath straightly charged vs, not to care what wee shall eate or drinke,Mat. 6.25. or what wee shall put on, but first to seeke the kingdome of God and his righteousnesse, promising vs faithfully, that if wee doe so all other things shall be cast vpon vs.

And as he hath promised this, [Page 165] so hath hee from time to time per­formed it,If we will prosper in our outward estate, wee must thriue in pietie. as wee may obserue throughout the booke of Iudges, of Samuel, and of the Chroni­cles, for there it is to be seene, that when godlinesse prospered in the soules of Gods people, they pro­spered their outward estate, & whē sinne (on the other side) had made hauocke in their soules, then the Madianites, and the Philistims and other enemies, made ha­uocke in their countrey, when they and their kings thriued in pietie, and did grow in the knowledge of God and zeale of his glory, then it went well with them for outward plenty and aboundance, but when I­dolatry and impietie, beganne once to thriue in their hearts, and in their land, they neuer had long nor settled prosperi­tie, [Page 166] but their enemies hands and swords preuayled against them, for taking away of their liues, and the ruinating of their estates.

Sinful cour­ses can ne­uer prosper.First, here is matter of terrour for all wicked worldlings that thinke to aduantage and ad­uance themselues by sinnefull and and naughty courses, that is an ill way to rise, for the riches of iniqui­tie shall not prosper, Pro. 10.2. Iere. 22.23.24. though they build their houses neuer so high, and aduance their nests vnto the starres, yet the Lords hand shall pull them thence, and cast them downe into the very dust: they thinke their houses, their names, and their substance shall remayne for euer, and that they shall make themselues and theirs, by ioyning house to house, and land to land, by oppressing the [Page 167] poore and needy, and by defrau­ding the fatherlesse and widow, and such as cannot right them­selues; but alas, they little consider in the meane while, that God is the Iudge of the world, and that hee will reward euery man accor­ding to his workes; they imagine their estate shall be according to their wealth, and so it might bee indeede, if God were not the go­uernour of the world, but sith he is so, it shall goe with euery one according to that he is, and not according to that hee hath: and therefore as God would haue it proclaimed to the godly,Isa. 3.10. say yee, surely it shall goe well with the iust, for they shall eate the fruite of their workes: so he would haue this denounced against the vngodly, Wo be to the wicked, it shall bee euill with him for the reward of his hands [Page 168] shall bee giuen him, Esa. 3.11. they shall reape that which they haue sowed. It were and absurd thing for one that hath sowne nothing but cockle and fitches to exspect a good crop of wheat, and as contrary to all rea­son is it for thē that sowe iniquity to think they shall reape any thing but affliction, they may delude themselues with vaine hopes, but they shall neuer obtaine any hap­pinesse and prosperity from the Lord nay surely he hates both thē and their practises, and therefore they & their wicked seed shall be rooted out, as wee may see it verified in many of the kings of Israel, as in Ieroboam, Ahab Baa­sha, &c. And most notably in that place of Ieremie, concer­ning Iehoiakim the sonne of Iosi­ah, woe vnto him, sayth the Lord, [Page 169] that buildeth his house by vnrighte­ousnesse, Ier. 22.13.89. and his Chambers without equity, hee vseth his neighbour without wages, and giueth him not for his works, &c. Shalt thou raigne because thou closest thy selfe in Cedar? did not thy Father eate and drinke and prosper, when he executed Iudgement and Iustice? &c. Where is declared in the example of Iosi­ah, Ios. 11.23. No certaine way to pros­per in, but in the practise of godlines, for that bringeth all true honor and prospe­rity. the godly Father on the one side, that the true knowledge of God, and the practise of godlines and righteousnesse, bringeth all true honour and prosperity; and on the other side in the example of Iehoiakim, the wicked sonne is shewed, that impiety ioyned with oppression; and cruelty with fraud and deceit, and iniurious dealing, man liues a base and dishonoura­ble life, and dyes a shamefull and Ignominious death, as wee see it [Page 170] many times comes to passe, that while he is in the World, he shall liue vndesired, and when he goeth out of the World, he shall die vn­lamented.

The best way to thriue in all the world is, to get Religion into our hearts.Therefore let this encourage men, if they would haue good things either in right or in posses­sion, to labour to get Religion in­to their hearts, and to be as much afraid of sinne as of misery, and as desirous of grace, as they are of prosperity: which if we could do, we should find Gods eyes open to consider of vs, and his hand to re­lieue vs continually in all our wants and necessities. And as wee should bee thus carefull for our selues, so we should be also for our children, there is no good parent but would wish his children might be prouided for, and liue in the World in good sort, now heere [Page 171] is the way to purchase them a good estate in the earth, vse the meanes to bring them vnto the feare of God, and to haue faith in God, for when the Lyons that are full of might, and rage and cru­elty, doe lack and suffer hunger, then they that seeke the Lord shal want nothing that is good,Psal. 34.10 God will haue a care that his sheepe shall haue conuenient pasture, and be in good liking, though the Lyons bee pined and hunger-star­ued, and when strong and mighty men are in misery, want, and ne­cessity,Heq. 13.15. yet then Gods poore and weake seruants shall haue that will satisfie and content them, for God hath said, that he will neuer leaue them nor forsake them: ther­fore are they the most proui­dent and wise Parents, that bring vp their children in the instructi­on [Page 172] and information of the Lord, for such shall possesse the earth, and the generation of the righteous shall be blessed. Psal. 37.11. Children are not alwayes the better for the goods of their Parents, but they are al­wayes the better for their good­nesse, for as we haue it heere, the generation of the righteous shall be blessed; it is more then if it had beene said, they shall enioy honor, credit, wealth, and whatsoeuer outward blessing else can bee na­med, for that implyeth thus much; that they shall haue the good gifts of God, so farre as they are need­full for them, and that they shall haue the right vse of them to their comfort.Heere is great con­solation for Gods chil­dren, they shall not want some to relieue them.

Secondly, here is a singular com­fort for Gods children that are in many wants & necessities, so long as there is any godly man or wo­man [Page 173] that will doe any thing for Christ his sake, for their owne comforts sake, they shall not bee destitute of reliefe, for God hath cōmanded his seruants to succour them, and hath made many graci­ous promises to such as are merci­full, & will beare the burdens of o­thers, and if men should faile them, the Lord himselfe will looke vn­to them, who beholds their trou­bles, and sees their teares, and is acquainted with all their griefes, and he that bids others to be mer­cifull, he will not be vnmercifull himselfe, and therefore it is, that men doe deny vs helpe, and com­fort many times, because God would haue vs draw neerer vnto him, whose eyes are euer vpon vs, and whose eares are alwayes open to heare the cryes of the poore, & of those that are humbled before him.

The wicked flourish.But heere some may obiect and say, that the wicked and prophane persons liue in all manner of plen­ty, when the godly sustaine penu­ry and scarcity, and in appearance, godlinesse is not the best course to procure a happy and prosperous estate: to this I answere, that how­soeuer the wicked of the World seeme to thriue best, and to enioy great matters, in comparison of that which good Christians haue, yet in truth their case is nothing so good as is the case of Gods ser­uants, for though they be pressed and pinched with many distresses and wants, and driuen to many extremities and straights, yet they may be fuller of ioy in the middest of their aflictions, then the wick­ed are in the middest of their iolli­ty,Act. 16.25 Paul and Silas were fuller of gladnes, and of true contented­nesse [Page 175] in the Dungeon,The childrē of God haue more ioy in the middest of their af­flictions, thē the wicked haue in their grea­test iollity. when their feete were fast in the Stocks, then Herod was on his Throne, hauing all flatterers about him, to extoll and magnifie him, the very teares of the people of God, are swee­ter and more comfortable then the greatest of carnall men can be, for the Lord is with his in mercy and goodnesse, Psal. 37.16. where as his face is bent against the wicked and impudent, and thence it is, that a little that the righteous hath, is better then great riches of the vngodly: better is a dinner of greene herbes, seasoned with the blessing of God, then many dainty dishes poysoned with Gods wrath and malediction. If the saints of God should want outward things, yet they shall haue Gods fauour. Psal. 84.11.

And albeit, the Saints of God be sometimes depriued of these things, yet they shall neuer be de­priued of Gods fauour, and that want of outward things, shall bee [Page 176] supplied with inward graces, they haue a sure promise, that they shal haue sufficient, and God neuer gi­ueth lesse then he promiseth, but many times he giueth more then we expect; and if that which is wanting in drosse bee paid home in good gold, wee neede not to complaine, as if we were losers by such an exchange, therefore saith saith Salomon, Prou. 2.20.21.22. Walke thou in the way of good men, and keepe the wayes of the righteous, for the iust shall dwell in the Land, and the vpright men shall remaine in it, bue the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out.

Thirdly, this sheweth vs a dif­ference betwixt the fauor of God, and the fauor of men, true it is, the fauour of Princes and of great men brings with it many priue­ledges and preferments, but they [Page 177] cannot assure vs if euery good thing, neither are they able to do all things that they would, yea many times they are preuented by sudden death, before opportunity be offered to manifest their loue, and when they doe shew fauour vnto any, how vnstable is it, and how vncertaine this Hammon found; to day hee is honoured,Est. 71.10. There is great diffe­rence be­tweene the fauour of God, and fauour of men. to morrow hanged, but it is other­wise with God, his fauour brings with it a supply of all things need­full, and they that rely vpon it shall neuer be deceiued nor disappoyn­ted, but may be assured of it.

His seed shall bee mighty vpon earth. The fauour of God is to be sought aboue all things. From hence we learne that Gods fauour doth make supply of all things needfull, let vs seeke then and labour for his fauour be­fore all things, for if this bee not wanting, no blessing shall be; this [Page 178] is the maine and mother blessing, so that if wee can obtaine it, wee shall obtaine all other blessings whatsoeuer, we see how farre men will goe, what labour and paines they will endure, and all for the fauour of a Prince,Psal. 4. whose breath is in his Nosthrils, and whose thoughts perish, and yet no King can be so bountifull to his fauouries, as is the God of Heauen: excellent things shall bee done to the man whom the King doth honour, but farre more excellent to him whom the Lord doth fauour: why then doe we no more respect his loue? why doe we not vse the meanes to become gratious in his eyes? Oh let vs all seeke his fauour before the fauour of Princes, let vs seeke his face euermore.

Fourthly, this teacheth vs to haue our conuersation without [Page 179] couetousnes, which is as insatiable as the graue, in euery estate & con­dition learne to depend vpon the Lords prouidēces, Commit thy way vnto the Lord, and trust in him, Psal. 37.5. & he shall bring it to passe. Vse no vnlaw­full meanes, take not any indirect course for the obtaining of wealth or supplying our wants, for God hath engaged his promise and his truth, to see our needs supplied.

Lastly, let it comfort the chil­dren of God in the middest of all the miseries of this mortall life;Nothing can make vs misera­ble, where Gods fauor is not wan­ting. for what can make vs miserable, see­ing we enioy the fauour of God, and the light of his countenance, which is the Fountaine of all good, and the ground of all other mercies whatsoeuer: what Elka­nah said to Hannah, complaining for want of children, may Gods fauour speake to all that haue their [Page 180] parts in it, in euery distresse. Am not I vnto thee instead of riches, wealth, glory and greatnesse in the world? surely yes, it is instead of these, and better then all these vnto vs; let therefore the inioy­ment of this serue for a supply for all our wants, of what kind soeuer; let vs make Gods fauour to bee that vnto vs which wee want, for he that can assure himselfe of this, hath a sufficient salue for eue­ry sore.

There is no certaine way to ad­uance our selues, but true religi­on and pie­ty. The generation of the righteous shall bee blessed. Hence we learne that Religion and true piety, is the ready way to the highest ad­uancement that can be, therefore let vs set our hearts chiefely there­upon, and aboue all the treasures in the World, principally to ef­fect that: wee count it good hus­bandry to seeke after those things [Page 181] that will doe vs most good, if sil­uer bee offered, we will preferre it before brasse; and if gold be offe­red, we will take it rather then sil­uer. Now concerning this hea­uenly wisedome it is said,Pro. 8.10.11 Receiue mine instruction, and not siluer; and knowledge rather then fine gold; for wisedome is better then precious stones, and all treasures are not to bee compared vnto her. And this should encourage vs rather to vse all in­dustry for the obtaining of this blessed estate, because it is a thing haue-able: it were in vaine for a base person to sue to bee a King, a Duke, or a Lord, none almost is so foolish as to seeke for such pre­ferments, because they know it would be but lost labour, but there is not the meanest Seruant, Slaue, or Bondman, but may attaine to this spirituall dignity, which is far [Page 182] beyond all the aduancement that the Kingdomes of this world can possibly yeeld: hee that can pray, heare, meditate, confer, and with all good care and conscionable respect, vse all Gods ordinances for the obtaining of faith and o­ther graces, which doe euer ac­company the same, shall be sure of good and happy successe; for the Lord will be found of those that seeke him with a true heart, therefore let vs not so cast our eyes on earthly commodities, as that in the meane time wee neglect this pearle of price, and this inestimable Iew­ell, that will so exceedingly enrich vs:2. Cor. 9.21 the Apostle telleth vs, that those that runne in a rase for a prize, though it bee but a Garland that is set vp, yet they will put off all that might clog & hinder them in their race, but es­pecially [Page 183] if they should runne for a Crowne of gold, neither will they be so foolish to stoope downe to take vp euery pinne or poynt that lyeth in the way, and yet they run but at an vncertainety, when they haue done their best, another may carry away both the honour and commodity from them: from all which the Apostle would haue vs draw this conclusion, that if such kind of persons will so bestirre themselues, and seeke to acquit themselues euery way like men, then much more ought we to put our selues to it, sith wee runne not at an vncertainety,Only the godly are sure to ob­taine the Crowne. but are sure to obtaine the Crowne, one shall not preuent nor depriue another, but all shall vndoubtedly get that which they doe expect, and shall attaine vnto not a fading and va­nishing, but an abiding and euer­lasting [Page 184] dignity, they shall be bles­sed: but here some may say, if wee bestow our paines and endeauour so much about spirituall things, in the meane time wee shall neglect those earthly things that are need­full, and so bring our selues to po­uerty. I answere, not so, for pro­uision of our euerlasting estate doth neuer impaire our present e­state:1. Tim. 4 8. For Godlinesse hath the pro­mises of this life, and of that which is to come, and thereby shal all mat­ters be blessed vnto vs.

Of all men they are the husbands, that labour most for grace.Seeing therfore they that spend their paines in seeking of grace, shall neuer lose their labour, nor misse of their marke, but alwayes obtaine that which they do desire, and when once they haue posses­sion of it, it will abide with them, they cannot lose it though they would, it is so durable and perma­nent [Page 185] that it will neuer decay, and so vnited and ingrafted into the nature of the parties, that it can by no possible meanes bee wholly ta­ken away; and therefore as in other things, so in this, the continuance of it addes greatly vnto the worth of it,1. Pet▪ 4. for grace is a perpetuall inhe­ritance that farre surpasseth al that the world can affoord: a man must leaue all his earthly inheritance and aboundance hee knoweth not how soone, neither can his great pompe descend into the graue with him, neither can he so make it ouer vnto his seed,Psal. 49.17. but that they may bee defrauded of it; but the heauenly treasure is ours whiles we liue, and when we die, and after death, yea at, and after the resurre­ction for euermore: and as the per­petuitie, so also the excellency of this in it owne nature should bee [Page 186] a forcible motiue vnto vs, and set an edge vpon our affections to pursue after it continually, for whereas other things are dange­rous and hurtfull,Godlinesse is profitable in this life, and in the life to come this is alwayes profitable and helpfull, it maketh vs blessed in this present life, and in the life to come; it bringeth with it the comfort of the spirit, the feeling of Gods loue and fauour, and the comfortable vse of all outward good things, wee are not likely, at least not certaine to con­tinue here many dayes, and what an vnspeakeable comfort then is it to be assured that when wee go frō men wee shall goe to God, and when we leaue the earth,Though man should forsake vs, yet God will not leaue vs comfortles. we shall inherit heauen, that we shall haue peace at our death, and glory after our death: if the pestilence enter into our houses, or take hold on our persons, when none dare come [Page 187] vnto vs, then God will be with vs, though our bodyes bee infected, yet our soules can neuer bee so in­fected, if wee haue grace in our hearts, but that God dareth to en­ter into our houses to visit vs, and when our soules shall bee parted from our bodyes, he will not think it too much to giue them a place of rest with himselfe in his owne kingdome, and at length vnite them to our bodies againe, that they may enioy euerlasting blisse together, this generation of the righ­teous shall be blessed.

First, therefore seeing religion is such an incomparable treasure,True pietie is the onely meanes to reforme our crooked wayes. this should teach vs to haue the meanes in due estimation, where­by we may bee made truly religi­ous, by which our mindes that are blinde may bee enlightened, our hearts of crooked may bee [Page 188] made straight, of prowd may bee made humble, and of fraudulent may be made true and faithfull; & those meanes are the word and sa­crament, prayer & the like, which are steps whereby we must ascend vnto this honourable estate, for it is as possible for men to make stayres to climbe vp into the skie, as for vs without these to ascend vnto heauen by any deuices of our owne framing.

The word of God preached is the chiefest meanes to loose vs frō the bonds of sinne and sathan.Secondly, the word is the key that must open hell gates to set vs at liberty from the bonds of sinne, of sathan, and of death, and to vn­locke heauen gates that wee may haue entrance into glory, in which respect it is, that Christ sayth vnto Peter, that he would giue vnto him, and consequently to all mi­nisters of the Gospel, the keyes of the kingdome of heauen; that is, [Page 189] the dispensation of the word & sa­craments, which maketh the way into heauen lie open to all such as by faith receiue the same into their hearts, so that we should not come vnto the meanes with a base conceit or light estimation there­of, but with a large and ample de­sire and exspectation of taking be­nefite thereby; if men can once e­spy away how they may rise in the world, either in great wealth or promotion, they will bee most in­dustrious and laborious in that course, they will refuse no paines in seed time, though the weather be vnseasonable & cold, and their worke euery way troublesome, but they will put themselues to it with all care and industry, in hope though it bee but an vncertaine hope of bettering their estate, so those that liue by fayres and mar­kets, [Page 190] will not faile one of them or­dinarily, neither heate nor cold, winde nor raine, nor any the like impediments shall hinder them from pursuing the commodity, & why then should we be negligent and play the sluggards while our seede-time lasteth, and the Lord biddeth vs plow vp the fallow ground of our hearts,Ierem. 4. that he may sow therein the seed of life, which will neuer faile to yeeld vs a plen­tifull haruest if wee can wait vpon him for the same? and why should we be slacke and carelesse when our chiefe market dayes and faire dayes come, and not rather set our hearts and endeuours to seeke af­ter those things, which all that seeke shall finde, and being found will make vs blessed for euer­more?

Therefore wee ought to breake [Page 191] through all impediments, and swallow vp al difficulties with the consideration of this, that our iourny tendeth not to the getting of some small commoditie, or to the purchasing of some worldly possessions, but that we are trauel­ling towards our owne countrey, where we shall receiue an inualua­ble and eternall crowne of glory: and albeit we must passe through many rough & craggy and thor­ny wayes, and meete with sundry things that will be very irkesome and vnpleasant,The defi­culty of the way should not hinder vs. yet let vs make ac­count with all, that we shall finde many sweee comforts, and ioyes vnspeakeable and glorious, in the midst of our pilgrimages and in the end shall haue the fruition of that blessednesse which will make amends for all.

Now that our desires may bee [Page 192] futher enlarged towards heauen, and our affections the better with­drawne from the loue of this de­ceitfull life, and world of vanities, let vs meditate on those compleat ioyes, which no tongue indeed is able to expresse, or heart of man conceiue, for if their estate bee so blessed in this life, what shall their happinesse bee when they depart out of this life,The happi­nesse of the life to come to haue the fruition of those ioyes which are prepared for the Saints in the kingdome of glory, where all teares shall be wi­ped away from their eyes, & they being altogether freed from sinne and sorrow, shall receiue an im­mortall crowne of blessednesse with the Saints and Angels in Gods owne presence, where is ful­nesse of Ioy,Psal. 16.11. and at whose right hand are pleasures for euermore. Therefore I may say with the A­postle, [Page 193] no eye hath seene, no eare hath heard, neither hath it entred into the heart of man, 1. Cor. 2.9. what vnspeakeable ioyes God hath prepared for them that loue him. If it be so sayth an an­cient Father, what can I doe else, but lift vp mine eyes to heauen, mine eares to God, and my heart to Paradise, to see and vnderstand what I can comprehend vpon earth; and therfore my soule long­eth after thee O God, and sigheth till it see the brightnesse of thy face, O kingdome of euerlasting blisse, where thou O Lord, the hope of all Saints art, reioycing them on euery side with thy bles­sed sight. If the wise men of the East came so farre off, and reioy­ced to see Christ in the manger. What will it be in the sight of his elect to see him in his glory? If Iohn Baptist a babe sprang in his mo­thers [Page 149] wombe for ioy of Christ so newly conceiued, & not yet seene. What shall his reall presence doe in his royall kingdome, but euen rauish with ioy our very hearts & soules, when we shall continually enioy his most glorious sight, for it passeth all other glory that the Saints haue in heauen, and to re­ceiue the beames of glory from the brightnesse of his Maiestie. If Salomons seruants were accounted happy (of Sheha the Southerne queene) for their dayly liuing in the Court of Salomon, & hearing of his wisedome, how happy then and thrice blessed shall the Saints and seruants of God bee accoun­ted, that liue continually in the Court of heauen, the very para­dise and Pallace of God himselfe? O how happy and blessed is hee which with the onely desire and [Page 195] loue of eternitie pineth away; such a one is neither prowde with pro­speritie, nor cast downe with ad­versitie, for as he hath nothing in this world that hee loueth, so is there no losse of any thing in this life that he feareth. Sweete is the fountaine to the weary traueller, and rest to the tyred seruant; com­fortable is the coole euening after a hot Sunny day; yet much more sweet will it be to the Saints of this heauēly citie to haue peace after warre, pleasure after paine, ioy after trouble, and constant se­curitie after their so long endured sorrowes, then shall we blessed in­deed as here the Prophet sayth.

If one Sunne can lighten and fill the whole world with his brightnesse,Dan. 3.12. Mat. 13 43 what shall so many glorified bodies of the blessed ap­peare, that shall bee as so many [Page 196] Sunnes, so many Lampes, and so many shining Lights in heauen? then shall we blessed indeed, when we shall be like vnto God,1. Ioh. 3.2. 1. Cor. 13. which by nature is blessed, and we shall bee like vnto God when we shall see him as he is; for this only sight of God is our whole happinesse. O what a ioy shall it bee when at one view, wee shall behold the most high and hidden mystery of the inseparable Trinity, and of the loue of God therein: then shall mans minde haue perpetuall rest and peace, neither shall it desire a­ny further vnderstanding, when he hath all before his eyes, that may be vnderstood, then shall mans will bee quiet, when hee en­ioyeth that felicitie, wherein all o­ther good things, as in the foun­taine of all happinesse are contai­ned, then shall faith haue her per­fect [Page 197] worke, and hope shall enioy that which shee long desired; but charity shall endure for euer: then shall bee sung continuall prayses vnto the Lambe,Reu. 14.3. and the song (al­though it be alwayes song) yet it shall be euer new, the ioy, mirrh, melody, pleasure, power, wealth, riches, honour, beauty, fellowship dainties, odors, glory, wisedome, knowledge, treasure, securities, peace, quietnesse, and eternall fe­licitie, is beyond al vnderstanding and comprehension of man which the faithfull shall haue and enioy world without end, with God the Father, the Sonne, and the holy Ghost, with Angels, and Arch-Angels, Patriarkes and Prophets, with the Apostles & Euangelists, with the Martyrs and Confessors, and with the Saints of God, in the pallace of the Lord in heauen, [Page 198] there shall bee an euerlasting Sa­baoth, which no euening shal end, then shall the geneartion of the righteous bee fully blessed.

There we shall rest, and we shal see,No content but in the kingdome of heauen. we shall see, and we shall loue; we shall loue, and we shall praise. Behold, saith Augustine, That which is the end, is without end: For what other end is there ordained for the godly, but to attaine to that Kingdome wich hath no end. Wee call Paradise our Country, and the Patriarkes our Fathers; and the Saints our brethren and friends. Why runne we not then with all speede to enioy our coun­try, and salute our Parents? a great number of our friends and kinsfolkes, brethren and children, doe there attend, wishing and ex­pecting our comming, what ioy [Page 199] will it bee both to them and vs, there to meete one another? what pleasures are there amongst the in­habitants of heauen, which now feare death no more, and are sure to liue for euer?Those whose vn­derstan­dings are darkened, cannot see their happi­nesse. Wo to the blind­nesse of our eyes that see not this, woe to the deafnesse of our eares that heare not this in such wise as a we should doe, where through we might be so farre from fearing death, that rather we should wish it, with old Simeon, Luke 2.29. Now let thy seruant depart in peace: Psal. 42.2. and with Dauid, when shall I come and appeare before thee, that we may be blessed for euermore.

Thirdly,If true faith were placed in our hearts, feare would va­nish away. if true knowledge and faith possest our hearts as they should, feare and doubtfulnesse would vanquish quite away, for assurance of heauenly things, ma­keth vs willing to part with earth­ly, [Page 200] he cannot contemne this life that knoweth not the other, if wee would despise this world, we must thinke of the glorious life that fol­loweth it, and if wee can endure paine for health, much more should wee abide a few pangs for glory, how foolish are we to feare a vanquished enemy? Christ hath triumphed ouer death, it bleedeth (as it were) and gaspeth vnder vs,Death be­ing conque­red, wee should de­sire to bee dissolued, & to be with Christ. & yet do we tremble, it is enough that Christ dyed, neither would he haue dyed, but that we might dye with safety and pleasure: how true­ly may we say of this our Dauid, thou art worth ten thousand of vs, yea, worth a world of Angels, yet he dyed for vs; who would there­fore liue that knowes his Sauiour dyed? Who can be a Christian, and would not bee like him, that would not dye after him? let vs [Page 201] thinke of this, and iudge whether all the world can hire vs to die.

But (alas) great is our vnbeliefe, full faint and weake is our faith, or else night and day, teares and cries should bee our meate and drinke, whilst the wicked say vnto vs, Where is now your God? Psal. 42.3. We should wish rather to be doore-keepers in the house of God,Psal. 84.10. then to dwell in these vngodly tents: For one day in his Courts, is better then a thou­sand: it is a token of little loue to God, to be so loath to goe vnto him when hee calleth, herein wee ought to lament the weakenesse of our faith, and seeing our wants to prepare for remedy against the time of neede, and to beg of God his aide, strength and comfort a­gainst the pinch: which things vn­doubtly if we aske in faith, we shall obtaine and find his promise true: [Page 222] God reacheth out his hand to conduct vs, but wee draw backe our owne, and runne away when hee calleth vs, if hee bring vs into the way of saluation, wee mourne for the World, and we looke behinde vs with Lots Wife, and hinder our desire of well doing, wee must therefore rouze vp ourselues, and not re­maine still in the mire, we must be fortified in this vertue, who sup­porteth and comforteth vs in all distresse.

Lastly to conclude, let vs at­tempt to despise corruptible things, and to desire heauenly and eternall, when God calleth at eue­ry occasion, let vs hearken vnto him: if he be our Guide, we must follow him: for to arriue in his house, let vs receiue his benefit, and himselfe too, for hee giues [Page 223] himselfe vnto vs in the person of his sonne, hee causeth vs to see the meanes how to come vnto him; wee must therefore request him to bestow vpon vs will and desire, to come thither by Faith, Repen­tance, Hope, &c. And that hee would mainetaine his gifts and graces in vs, to the end that heere wee may mourne in this mortall life, and attend in the assurance of his mercy, for the end of this world and our last day, which shal bee the beginning of our true life, when wee are to receiue an inheri­tance, not mortall but immortall; not earthly, but heauenly; not like the Goord of Ionas, Ionas 4.7. but the Cae­ders of Libans; Deut. 8.4. not like the gar­ments in Egypt, Gen. 3.7. but in the Wilder­nes; not like the morning dew, but the waters of Paradise;Ephes. 6.16. not A­prons of Fig-leaues, but the Hel­met [Page 204] of saluation;Gen. 5.14. not like Iacobs Pottage which hee sold, but the birth-right which hee bought;2. King. 2.11 not a Tabernacle, but a Temple; not time, but eternity; not like an a­bortiue child, but like Henoch and Elias which neuer tasted of death, beseeching God our heauenly Fa­ther, for his sonne Christ his sake, to keepe vs soules and bodies to his kingdome and glory; and to leade vs, order vs, and dispose of vs as he will, in all things, in all places, and for euer; that at the length we may come whether wee would; that is, into his owne bles­sed presence, and fruition of immortality with Christ and his Saints, world with­out end. A­men.

FINIS.

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