DELIVERED IN CERTAINE Sermons in Oxford, and at Pauls Crosse:


2. CORINTH. 13.5. Prooue your selues whether yee are in the faith: examine your selues: know yee not your owne selues, how that Iesus Christ is in you, except yee be reprobates?

AT LONDON, Imprinted by Felix Kyngston, for EDMVND WEAVER, and are to be sold at his shop, at the great North-gate of Pauls Church. 1611.

TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFVLL, HIS VERY GOOD PATRONE, SIR AV­GVSTIN NICOLS, Knight, Serieant at the Law; the glorious comforts of Grace here, and the blessednesse of immortalitie hereafter.

SIR, I hauing been often and much solicited with varietie and iteration of strong importunitie, to publish and let passe into the eie of this censorious world, these, thevery first fruites and essaies of mine imployment and businesse in the Ministerie; did apprehend and embrace this season with better contentment, and with more cheerefulnes addresse and com­pose my self thereunto: because I did see op­portunitie offered thereby, to let appeare a­broad [Page] my thankfull acknowledgement of your respectfull and more then ordinary fa­uour vnto me; and a publike testimonie of your worthie and exemplarie integritie, in discharging your hands, and faithfully dis­posing that portion of the Church his pa­trimonie committed to your trust and con­science. An affaire (though in these despe­rately sinfull times, fearfully and accursedly abused) of high and waightie consequence, and of great power, as it shall be discharged with conscience, or corruption, either fur­ther to ruine our Church, and bring it to more miserie and desolation, or to repaire and aduance it to better state & more hap­pinesse. For mine owne particular, it hath so pleased God to guide your heart in this bu­sines, and to blesse me with his prouidence, that wheras too many Patrones now adaies; either by detaining sacrilegiouslie Gods portion, agai [...] all grounds of equitie both diuine & humane; or by furnishing Church­liuings simoniacally and corruptly, do cer­tainly pull vpon their own heads, soules and bodies, goods and posteritie, an heauie and [Page] horrible W [...]ll a man spoile his gods? yet haue [...]e spoi­led me. But yee say, vvherein [...]aue we spoiled thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are curs [...]d with a curse: [...]or ye haue spoi­led me, euen this whole nation. Malach. 3.8. curse, and shall thereby make their account to be without fauour at the last day: and whereas many worthie men, after they haue wearied and wasted their bodies and mindes, their spirits and patrimonie in stu­die, and worne out their hopes with long and tedious expectation, pursuit and de­pendance; come at length, with much adoe, to no great matters, and when all is done, it is well if they escape all galling and gash of conscience, such is the strange iniquitie of the times: yet I say, so worthily haue you dealt with me, & so vprightly in the Church his cause, that vpon your owne first motion you sent vnto me to accept the place I now enioy from you, and offered me a faire, a free and comfortable passage to the exer­cise of my Ministerie abroad; which next vnto the saluation of mine own soule, I hold most deare and precious; when I neither sought after, nor thought vpon preferment. This your rare and singular bountie, did at the very first affect me with a secret sense of an extraordinary obligation, for all inward affectionatnes, and with a desire of repre­senting [Page] it in some visible forme of outward testification. But when I did after further consider, first how that Sacriledge and Si­monie, that damned couple of crying sins, like two rauenous Harpies, and the two in­satiable daughters of the Horsleech, had seazd euen vpon the Heart of our Church, readie to rent and teare in peeces her very heart-strings, and to sucke out the inmost blood and last life of our dearest Mother: when I looked aboue me in this famous V­niuersitie where I haue liued, and saw many reuerend and learned men, full of the light of diuine truth, and of the water of life, able gloriouslie and comfortablie to illighten many darke places and drie soules in this land, readie to expire and powre out their soules in the bosome of this their famous Nurce; not brought vp by her to die at her breasts, but if they might haue honest and lawfull passage, readie and resolute to en­large Christs kingdome abroad, and to op­pose with all their power, against the bloo­die torrent of Poperie and rage of Anti­christ: lastly, when I weighed with my selfe [Page] mine owne naturall declination and resol­ued vnfitnes, to make a noise and stirre in the world for preferment: I did finde that as these considerations did before giue small hope of changing my station; so now they were of power yet further to double the impression of your worthie and extraordinarie goodnesse vnto mee, and freshly to renew the thankfull deuotions and apprehensions of mine heart. Out of which hath sprung in me a thirsting earnest­nes and contention of spirit, to returne vn­to you, for these temporall fauours, so farre as the nature of that high Ministeriall fun­ction, wherein I stand, shall guide me, and the power of my poore abilitie can reach; the Blessings of Heauen, and comforts of a better world. To which end, I here present vnto you this Treatise, which I haue inten­ded to be, so farre as my gracious God hath giuen me vnderstanding in the point, as it were a looking-Glasse or Touchstone, to whomsoeuer it shall please to take thorow notice thereof, for the discerning and try­ing, in some good measure, whether he al­readie [Page] bee of the number of those fewe which truly liue the life of God, and vnder the Scepter of his Sonne; or lie as yet en­thralled in the inuisible chaines of damna­tion and death, and vnder the large and powerfull raigne of Satan. For I am perswa­ded, that in this glorious noontide of the Gospell many thousands deceiue not only the world, and others, but euen themselues and their owne soules, about their spiri­tuall state: thinking, if they finde in them­selues a freedome from grosse and noto­rious sinnes, fairenes of conditions, ciuil ho­nestie, a formall profession of Christianitie, outward performances of religious serui­ces, that then their case is good enough for heauen; though there bee wanting the sa­uing power of inward sanctification, and the truth of a sound conuersion; though they bee strangers to the great mysterie of Godlinesse, and disacquainted with a con­scionable and constant course of Holinesse in their liues and actions. But we must con­ceiue, that ouer and besides these degrees of goodnesse, with which millions of men [Page] content and deceiue themselues; yea, and quite beyond, and vtterly without the com­passe of all worldly glorie, all visible pompe, the most admited greatnesse and sufficiency vpon earth, for which a great part of the world exchange the euerlasting happinesse of their soules; there is a Paradise of Chri­stian comforts, a Royall Peculiar, a victo­rious Simplicitie, a neglected Innocencie, a marueilous Light, an inuisible Kingdome, an Heauen vpon Earth; which I call the state of Grace; and labour in the ensuing Discourse to difference from al perfections and sufficiencies attaineable in the state of vnregeneration. I meddle not purposely with the notorious sinner: for me thinkes, in these daies of light, there should none so wil­fully and deeply inwrap himselfe in dark­nes; but that in his cold blood, and more so­ber consideration, will acknowledge and confesse, that the state of notorious sinful­nes, is the state of wretchednes and of death. And that there is no hope for the Drunkard, the Swearer, the Lier, the Vsurer, the vn­cleane person, the Sabbath-breaker, the Sa­crilegious, [Page] Simoniacall, and sinners of such infamous ranke; but a fearefull looking for of iudgement, and, without repentance and forsaking their sinnes, an eternall separation both from al possibilitie of grace and sound comfort in this life, and from the fruition of the ioyes and blessednes of heauen hereaf­ter. I therefore endeuour and desire to come neerer and closer to mens consciences, and to tell them, that out of a conceit of their morall honestie, and outward religiousnes, they may perswade themselues that they are rich and encreased in spirituall store, and haue need of no more for the attainment of heauen; when in deed and truth, as concer­ning the power of sauing grace, and sincere exercise of religion, they are wretched, and miserable, and poore, and blind and naked. In these luke-warme times, many there are, who with the fruites of a temporarie faith, and some light of the generall graces of the Spirit, make a faire shew, and win good re­putation for their spirituall state, both with their owne hearts, and with the world a­broad, when to the eie of heauenly wisdom, [Page] and in truth, they are but only Blazing-stars, and earthly minded, not fixed in the same firmament with the Sunne of righteousnes, nor of an heauenly stampe. And if they rise not higher in their affections and conuersa­tion from earth and earthly vanities, when their rootlesse graces shall be withered and wasted away, their fall will bee sudden and fearfull; and their former vanishing flashes of vaine hope for future happinesse, will be turned into horror and extremest miseries of despaire. Most behooffull then is it for euery man, in time, to search and examine himselfe whether Christ Iesus be in him or no. And it is one of the worthiest and no­blest imployment of the soule, to reflect vp­on it selfe, and with an vndazeled and vndis­sembling eye thorowly to trie and descrie cleerely it owne state, whether it be already washed with the blood of Christ, and enli­ued with a supernaturall vigour and life of grace; or yet lie polluted in it owne blood, and vnder the power of the first death. I wonder how any man can bee at rest and quiet, vntill he be assured and secur'd in this [Page] point, sith vpon it depends his euerlasting estate in another world. Nay, sith euen in this world, euery vnregenerate man, let him be otherwise neuer so great, or adored a­boue others, neuer so absolute in all other excellencies and perfections whatsoeuer; yet being out of the state of grace, is a very limbe of Satan, a child of darknesse, and one of the familie of Hell. The wrath and ven­geance of God, all the furie of the kingdom of darknesse, the rage of all the creatures, though hee little thinke vpon it, are euerie houre readie and addrest to seize vpon him, as a traitor and rebell to the highest Maie­stie, and to dragge him downe into the bot­tome of Hell. Whereas the state of true Christians, and Gods faithfull Ones, is most comfortable and glorious euen in this life in this vale of teares, and in these Taberna­cles of clay. For their comforts are not fa­ding and earthly, springing out of the sinfull pleasures & transitorie glorie of the world; not fastned vnto honors, greatnes and pos­sessions, to the encrease of Corne, and Wine, and Oyle: but they are of a right noble and [Page] heauenly temper, framed and emplanted in the sanctified soule by the spirit of all com­fort; and therefore euerlasting and vncon­querable, able to keepe a man in heart and resolution against the malice and cruelties of all aduersaries, of all creatures. They on­ly are truly and soundly perswaded by the sweet and secret testimonie of the spirit, and by the euidence and experience of their own holy life, that after the approching and much longed for period of a few and euill daies, they shall raigne with God almightie, the holy Angels and glorified Saints, in vn­utterable and endlesse pleasures for euer and euer: and therfore easily and resolutely with much indignation & contempt, ouer-looke and throw out of their hearts, all worldly thoughtfulnes, all excessiue desires of earth and earthly vanities, all restlesse aspirations after transitorie honors, the noble miseries of this wretched life. They alone haue fast­ned the eye of their mindes, illightned from aboue with sauing faith, vpon the vnualu­able pretiousnes and lasting beauty of their immortall crownes in heauen; and therfore [Page] all the glittering and golden representa­tions, with which the flattering world hath formerly deceiued and dazled their eyes, appeare to be nothing but darknes and de­solations. Their glorie indeed heere vpon earth doth not consist in outward pompe and state, it doth not shine to carnall eyes, it is vndiscernable to the sharpest sight of worldly wisedome and policie: but inward­ly and with spirituall fairenes, their diuine graces make them so truly honorable and louely, that somewhere in Scripture they are called the Glory of God, and are as deare vn­to him as the pretious ball and apple of his owne eye. They are in so high esteeme and account with Angels, that those excellent creatures with much ioy & alacrity become their Guardians, and seruiceable vnto them with extraordinarie care and tendernes. All the creatures groane, and desire to bee deli­uered into their glorious libertie; and in the meane time, with a secret and insensible reuerence, they adore the sacred character of diuinitie that is stampt vpon them. All the Saints acknowledge them to bee more ex­cellent [Page] then their neighbours, of the house­hold of God and heires of heauen. Nay, the wicked themselues, many times, are con­founded and stand amazed at the height of spirit and resolution that possesseth their hearts, and at the sober & vndanted maiestie that shines in their faces. This, and a thou­sand times more then this, is the blisfull state of Gods children euen in this life. Howsoe­uer they be neglected and trampled vpon by the world and wicked men; yet in the iudgement of God himselfe, the blessed spi­rits, and all men of true worth indeed, they are the only Angels vpon earth, and the royall citizens of this kingdome of Grace. The prosecution of this point would bee comfortable, but so I should be more tedi­ous. No more but this therfore at this time: Certaine it is, if a man were crowned with the royall state and imperiall command of all the kingdomes vpon earth; if his heart were enlarged to the vtmost of all created capacitie, & filled with all the exquisite and vnmixed pleasures that the reach of mor­talitie and most ambitious curiositie could [Page] possibly deuise, and might without inter­ruption and distast enioy them the length of the worlds duration; they were all no­thing to the enioyment of the pretious and peereles comforts of the state of Grace, but euen for an houre. I speake the truth, I vse no Hyperbole, the Spirit of all comfort, and consciences of all true Christians bearing me witnesse. Good Sir, let me humbly en­treate you with a proportionable zeale and feruencie, to encline and enlarge your affe­ctions to the pursuit and practise of so ex­cellent and glorious an happinesse. Which that you may doe, I will continuallie prostrate and powre out my soule in prayer, before the throne of Grace and mercie: And rest,

Your Worships to be commanded euer in the Lord Iesus, Robert Bolton.


CHristian. This Discourse which now stands so close together, was deliue­red in fiue seuerall sermons, but all to a most iudicious and intelligent au­ditorie; therfore there is a continu­ance of matter, coherence, and stile. I must entreat thee, out of thine [...]nge­nuous discretion, to distinguish the places where they were preacht, as thou shalt find the direction of my speech, and some particular applications more naturally and necessarilie with indiuiduall reference appropriated thereunto. The reasons why I spent the most of my meditations, and sticke so long in descrying and desci­phering the state of formall hypocrisie (for therein I haue trod a something vncouth and vnusuall path) are these:

First, I considered that in this full light of the Gospell, a great 1 number of men appl [...]d and content themselues with a superfici­all glistering of a formall profession, outward conformitie to the Ministrie of the word, and some false flashes of an vnsound per­suasion that they are in the ready and right way to heauen; when as indeed it hath not inwardly illightned their vnderstandings with sauing knowledge, heated their affections with true zeale, subdued their sinfull thoughts, and noisome lusts with the power of grace, nor softned and sanctifi [...]d their hearts to yeeld a cheer­full, sincere, and vniuersall obedience thereunto: And so after a few miserable daies spent in a prosperous securitie, they fall into the iawes of hell before they mistrust any such matter; and the pit of destruction shuts her mouth vpon them, before they [Page] know and acknowledge, their broken and bankrout state in spiri­tuall things; I therefore desire and endeauour to awake them out of their golden dreame of imaginarie future happines; that with open eyes they may see their present spirituall pouerty, and so be­times preuent the anger to come. I hope in the Lord, and wish hartily, that by a dispassionate and thorow perusall of this Trea­tise, they may take some scantling of their owne estate with God; and entring a serious and impartiall search and examination of their consciences, discouer and reueale themselues vnto them­selues; and so if they belong vnto the euerlasting couenant of grace, s [...]ep forward into the state of grace, the paradise of true Christianitie, and practise of holinesse; that their deare and pre­tious soules may be saued in the day of the Lord Ies [...]s.

2 Secondly, I did conceiue that there is a threefold cord, three maine and capitall causes, that violently hale downe vpon vs from heauen many both corporall and spirituall plagues, and bind them fast to the bowels, and principall parts of this king­dome, and doe daily more and more ripen the iust wrath of God, for the powring out of his last vengeance vpon this sinfull nati­on. They are those: 1. The ouerflowing torrent and vnbri­dledrage of many crying sinnes, fearefull abominations, and des­perate prophanenes. 2. A sensible declination from their first loue, and decay of zeale, euen in Christians. 3. A luke-warme­nes and want of thorownes and sinceritie in formall professors.

As for the first: By our horrible sins and hatefull ingratitude for mercies without measure, and miraculous deliuerances, wee grow so heauie vpon the Lord, that we presse him, and the bowels of his tenderest compassions. as a ca [...]t is pressed that is full of sheaues; so that it is impossible, but that shortly, without great humiliation and generall rep [...]ntance, wee should wrest out of his hands the vials of his last wrath, and force him to come against vs with the beesome of vtter desolation. It is to bee feared (so grieuous and endlesse is the impietie and imp [...]nitencie of this land) that his forbearance in the meane time, is not for any hope he hath of vs (for what good hath a durable and extraor­dinarie plague done vpon vs?) but onely by reason of the cruell and implacable insolencie of our enemies; because [...]ee is loth to [Page] make vs a prey to the Wolues of Rome, and matter of triumph to such a mercilesse and murderous generation. Who knowes but that the Match had reached vnto the Powder, had not the Lord out of the bottomlesse depth of his vnlimited mercies laid hold vpon his owne argument, Deut. 32.26.27. I haue said, I would scatter them abrode, I would make their remembrance to cease from amongst men, saue that I feared the furie of the enemy, lest their aduersaries should waxe proud. Left his and our aduersaries, those breathing diuels the Gunpowder Papists, should too proudly and barbarously haue insulted in the ruines of his people, and the banishment of his glorious Gospell. The Lord giue vs vnderstanding hearts to consider these things in time, lest he come vpon vs with his wrath, neuer more to bee ap­peased, and teare vs in pe [...]ces when there is none to h [...]lpe. May any man driue away an hungry Lion in the wood? or quench the fire in stubble, when it hath once begun to burne? may one turne againe the arrow that is shot of a strong archer? If the Lord once whet his glittering sword, and his hand take hold on iudgement, with purpose to roote out a sinfull and rebel­lious nation; there is no power or policie, no multitude of men, or magnificence of State, no armour of the mightie, or arme of flesh, shall euer bee able to giue any succour, reliefe, or deliue­rance.

Concerning the second: Certaine it is, that our blessings of peace, and strength of State, breed by accident much abatement of forwardnesse, and zeale in godlines, secret indeuotion, and cold­nes euen in many true Professours, carelesnes in obseruing their waies, wearinesse and vncheerefulnesse in doing good, and perfor­ming holy duties, vnpreparednesse in comming to diuine seruices, religious exercises, and the Lords Table, sleightnesse and vnpro­fitablenesse in prayer, meditation, Christian conference, and dailie examination of their consciences, neglect of opportunitie in win­ning their brethren vnto the feare of God, and of working vpon, and preuailing with their kindred, acquaintance, familiars and families. Thus wickedly and vnthankefully turne we the mer­cies of God into occasions of sinne, and suffer our temporall happi­nesse to wast and consume our spirituall blessings. And the more [Page] we are secured in our outward state, the more heartlesse we are in the seruice of God, and the affaires of the life to come. But let vs looke vnto it: for as the louder and crying sinnes of this land are the great and strong cartropes; so vndoubtedly, these as lesser cords haue their part and some power in drawing vpon vs heauie iudgements, and in preparing further vengeance, except wee a­mend, and returne to our first loue. Would to God that we would keepe fresh in our minds but this one consideration: That the same God, which against the expectation both of heauen and earth, of Rome and hell, of diuels and Papists, turned our feares and amazements at the death of that glorious Saint, the late Queene, into safetie, and a sure foundation, by the most happie suc­cession of our gracious Soueraigne, and his roiall seed; can out of his iust iudgements for our vnthankefulnesse and securitie, in the very turning of an hand and closing of an eie, dash all our hopes, and shut vp the whole Body of this flourishing kingdom in the pit of irrecouerable destruction. It had bin done, had Fauks fired the powder: and who knowes what those busie and bloody heads are euen now hammering in the same kind? Besides these two now mentioned, there is another capitall cause of Gods heauie displea­sure; which though i [...] make no great noise, nor be much taken no­tice of vpon earth, yet [...]t is much lothed of God almighty, and cries loud in heauen for vengeance vpon vs: It is a Lukewarmenesse, and vnzealousnesse, a cold and carelesse mediocritie in spirituall matters, and as it were, a neutralitie betwixt notorious sinfulnes and sauing sinceritie. When men perhaps with diligence, willing­nesse and forwardnesse submit themselues to the hearing of the word; but subordinate the power and practise thereof to their [...]ase, honours and worldly contentments: When they wil needs hold an outward correspondence with the world, and yet inwardly main­taine and nourish hope of saluation in themselues: When they straine their wits, and striue to partake both of the comfortable fauour of God, and corrupt fashions of the times; both of the plea­sures of their sweet sinne, and the sweetnesse of the true peace of conscience, which are as inconcurrent as two parallel lines, and as incompatible as light and darkenesse. These men, though in the worlds opinion, they be of ciuill honest cariage, of moderate spirits, [Page] and of a stated temper in religion; and in their owne conceits, rich and enriched, and want nothing, yet indeed they are meere staruelings, and starke beggers in respect of the true riches, and lasting treasures of sauing grace, and in the very case of those (except in the meane time they buy of him gold, garments and oile) which shall neuer see Christ Iesus in his Kingdome to their comfort: for Amen, the faithfull and true witnesse hath vowed it, that he will spue such out of his mouth; and wishes much rather that they were key-cold, then such formall Christians: His speech imports thus much: I had rather you were Pagans and Infidels, then professors without zeale. Now my chiefe and speciall aime is, with all humble submission to be [...]ter iudgements, and the cen­sure of the Prophets, to lay open the state of th [...]se men, because be­sides their fearefull deceiuing their owne soules, and particular certaine damnation if they so continue, they mightily ince [...]se the Lords wrath against this la [...]d, with an insensible and vn­acknowledgde prouocation, and mainly hazard the continu­ance of his glorious Gospell amongst vs. It is commonly con­ceiued indeed, both of themselues, and of the world; that if they bee morally honest, and outwardly conformable to the mi­nistery of the word; so that they bee hurtlesse, and innocent in respect of humane iustice; that they are also, I know not how, harmelesse and guiltlesse before the Tribunall of God. But the Euangelist telles vs,Luke 16.15. That that which is highlie estee­med among men, is abomination in the sight of God: And God himselfe by Isaiah, Isai. 55.8. That his thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his waies our waies. For certainely the state of Lukewarmnesse, and formaliti [...] in religion, howsoeuer it may be full of worldly applause and happinesse, and beare away the bell vpon earth; yet it is as burdensome and hatefull vnto God, as luke-warme water, or the most lothsome potion to the nicest stomacke: And doth with a more naturall importunitie then o­ther sinnes, knock at the gates of diuine iustice, for the remooueall of our candlesticke, and the glory of his Gospell from amongst vs. All kinds of sinnes according to their nature, measure and ripe­nesse haue proportionally a part and hand in drawing downe all manner of plagues vpon the sonnes of men: but this hath a pecu­liar [Page] and predominant power, in hastening that particular and greatest of all iudgements, the famine of the word. For God can­not endure without speciall indignation, that his word, which is his power vnto saluation▪ should rec [...]iue such limitation and pre­scription from mens wisdome; that it should worke no further vp­on them, nor beget more change and holinesse, then may consist with the enioyment of their worldly contentments, reputation, and the pleasures of their beloued sinne. He cannot abide, that men discontented with the stra [...]tnesse of the gate of grace, and im­patient of a strict course of godlinesse, should labor to find out, and follow another way to heauen, then that which is sanctified by his word, and which hath and must be troden by all those that will e­uer see the Lord. Knowledge and profession of Gods truth, with­out sanctification and zeale, are but meanes in the meane time, to put out the glory of Israel, and will hereafter but encrease the number of stripes, and adde waight vnto endlesse torment. In the name of God therefore let all luke-warme and formall Christians be contented to take notice of their state; and before the Sun goe down [...] ouer the Prophets, suffer their hearts to be thorowly hea­ted with true zeale; and besides their outward reformation, and generall lightnings of the Spirit, to entertaine that speciall sauing and sanctifying grace, which onely can saue their soules, and pre­pare them for the glory that is to be reuealed: Lest now at length (for he hath borne with vs miraculously) our iust God cause our Sunne to goe downe at noone, and darkenesse to surprize vs in the cleare day: L [...]st he roote vs out of this good land, as a fruitlesse and faithles nation, turne vs out of our houses of peace, as the vnworthiest, and vnthankefullest people vnder heauen; and let out his vineyard to other husbandmen, which will deli­uer him the fruites in their seasons. And the more secure and fearelesse wee bee (as wee were neuer more) the more sudden and ineuitable is like to bee our surprizall and destruction. For as Gods mercies are then most magnified, when they re­lieue the extremest miserie, and shine into the depth of discomfort and darkenesse, when all other helpe is vtterly despaired of: so his iudgements are most glorious, when they strike at the height and top of pride and impenitencie, while they thinke themselues most [Page] sure, and with greatest confidence repose vpon the arme of flesh, and policie of man.

The third reason and motiue why I insist so long in the point of 3 formal hypocrisie, was taken from the condition of mine auditors; who being of deepest vnderstanding, are naturally aptest and strōgliest tempted, to mistake & vnderualue the mystery of god­lines, and to deceiue their owne soules in the high point of saluati­on. For men of greatest noblenes and pregnancie of spirit, of most rich and vniuersall endowments of mind, without the power of grace and a sanctified humilitie (the fairest branch springing thence, and the true crowne of Christianity) are readiest to make an idoll of their great sufficiencie, with a disdainefull preiudice to passe by the simplicitie of the Saints, & out of a flattering con­ceit of their owne hearts, to thinke their spirituall state as good as the best, and most blessed from God, when as yet they haue no part in the first resurrection. For when they find themselues far aboue others in all other excellencies, and whatsoeuer remarke­able worth the world takes speciall notice of; they conceiue also that in a proportionable congruitie, (as indeed it should be) they are inferiour to none, in those sacred apprehensions of heauen, and taste of eternall life. Vpon this consideration, I was bold▪ out of a Christian iealousie, to treate on this argument, being persua­ded of their great wisedome and gratious humility to listen to any heauenly message, which might either discouer or preuent spirituall danger.

Thine in Christ Iesus, Robert Bolton.



1 Blessed is the m [...]n that doth not walke in the counsell of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornefull.

2 But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in his Law doth he meditate day and night.

THere is no greater encouragement, or stronger motiue, to stirre a man to an eager, and earnest pursuite of the meanes then to purpose vnto him an end, wherein at length his heart may repose, as in a concur­rence of all comforts and content­ments. To which, there is no pos­sibilitie of attainment, but by pure­nesse of heart, holinesse of life, constancie in a course of san­ctification; which only 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 sufficiencie of any creature; no, not with a world of creatures; for they are all [Page 2] nothing to the worth of a mans soule; Christ himselfe hauing preferred it in valuation:Matth. 16.25. What shall it profit a man, though he should win the whole world, if he lose his owne soule? And ther­fore 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 excellencie of nature, as duration of time. Blessed then was the wisdome of the disposer of these heauenly Songs of Dauid; whether it was himselfe, or Ezra, or whomsoeuer, in that he prefixed this excellent Psalme, as a preface to all the rest; wherein is proposed, and comprised a matchlesse happines; whereby the godly man, may euen in this life flouris [...] like a Palme tree, P [...]alm. 92.12. and grow like a Cedar in Lebanon; refreshed continually with riuers of ioies, and com­forts, shed into his heart by the spirit of God: and may stand like mount Zion vnas [...]onished and vnremou [...]d,Psalm. 125.1. at that great, and fearefull day, when the wicked shall call for the moun­taines to couer them, and wish they had neuer bin. What in­genuous mind would not be inflamed with zeale, to the pro­sequution of those meanes, which leade vnto an end as full of happines, as the Sunne is full of light, and the Sea of wa­ters? What heart not possessed with an iron s [...]ew, would not thirst, and long after found, and vndissembled sinceritie, euen as the Hart brayeth after the riuers of water, and as the drie ground gapeth for drops of raine? sith by it alone wee pur­chase, and put on an vnconquerable resolution, issuing from an assurance of being in Christ, and from the clearenesse of a good conscience:Prou. 13.1. whereby we may walke euen. as bold as Li­ons thorow this valley of teares, amid the mercilesle vexati­ons of prophane men;Psalm. 91.13. nay, we may walke vpon the Lion and Aspe, the young Lion and the Dragon we may tread vnder feet; and hereafter be sure to be satisfied with the fulnesse of ioy in the presence of God, and with pleasures at his right hand for euermore.

This happie man is here described vnto vs by many argu­ments.

1 First, are laid downe his markes, and properties; negatiue, and affirmatiue, in the two first verses.

[Page 3]Secondly, his happinesse is liuelily set out by a similitude,2 in the third verse.

Illustrated by an opposition of the miserie, and vnhappie 3 condition of the wicked, in the fourth and fifth verses.

Concluded with the causes of them both, to wit, of the 4 happinesse of the godly, and vengeance vpon the wicked, in the last verse.

The negatiue properties in the first verse are three: Hee doth not walke in the Counsell of the wicked; He doth not stand in the way of sinners; He doth not sit in the seat of the scornofull; amplified with a threefold gradation in the persons, actions, and obiects of the actions. The gradation in the persons, the wicked, sinners, and scornefull, implies all forts of vngodlie men. The gradation in the actions, walke, stand, and sit, all manner of commerce, and correspondence with them. The gradation in the obiects, the counsell, way, and feare, all kind of iniquitie; inward corruptions, or outward impieties. The whole verse laboureth with an emphaticall exaggeration, to set downe hi [...] blessed forbearance of sinne, and communica­ting with sinfull men.

The second verse containing his imploiment in pietie, see­meth to answer in opposition, the three negatiues, with three affirmatiues. His delighting in the Law of the Lord, is opposed to the counsell of the wicked. His mediation, and exercise in that Law to the way of sinners. Day and night: there is his constan­cie, and habit, oppos'de to the seate of the scornefull.

Why then, let the prophane, and flattering world say what it will: let sensuall, and vnsanctified men iudge as they lift. That man, and that man alone is truly, and euerlasting hap­pie: That walketh not in the counsell of the wicked; that is, that doth not delight in their vaine imaginations, sinfull affecti­ons, lustfull desires, speculatiue wantonnesse. In their proud and swelling thoughts; which conceiue mischiefe, and bring forth a lie; chaffe, & bring forth stubble; the wind and bring foorth the whirlewind. That doth not partake with their impotent passions, vnhallowed policies; their exorbitant, and indirect proiects, for their pleasures, honours, and profits. [Page 4] Whose soules desire not to come into the secret of their cru­ell consultations, and malicious designments. In a word, whose heart hateth, and abominateth all venome of inward pollution, that hath either fountaine or seate in any power of the soule.

That standeth not in the way of sinners. That is, that brea­keth not into open prophanenesse; that imitateth not their actions, and conuersation. Whose mouth is not full of bitter­nesse and lying; whose lippes a [...]e not infected with the poi­son of Aspes▪ whose hands are not ful of bribes, and falshood; whose f [...]et are not swift, to run after mischiefe, vanitie, and leaud companions.

That [...]itteth not in the seate of the scornefull. That is, that confineth not himselfe to the chaire of iniquitie; that con­firmeth not himselfe in his malice and hardnesse of heart; that doth not make a mooke of sinne, and iest with the sacred word of God; that doth not direct the poisonous ar­row of a spi [...]full tongue, euen at the apple of Gods own cie, his dearest Saints and seruants. That, with the scorner, doth not dare the highest maiestie of the Almightie, to whet his glittering sword, and take hold on iudgement; to put on his habergeon of righteousnesse, and the garments of vengeance for clothing: saying, as it is Isai. 5.19. Let him make speed: let him hasten his worke, that we may see it: and let the counsell of the holy one of Israel draw neere, & come, that we may know it.

Thus farre his forbearance of sinfull actions. Now fol­lowes his practise in actions of pietie.

But his delight is in the Law of the Lord. 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 hony, & the hony combe. It is more pretious vnto him thē gold, yea, then much fine gold. It is more worth vnto him, then heauen, and earth. And when the heart is once enkindled with loue, there the imagination embraceth 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 attain­ment. The whole mind must needs be possest with medita­tion▪ [Page 5] If he delight in the Law of the Lord, hee must needs meditate therein. And this feruencie of the heart, cannot possible be enclosed within the compasse of the breast: it will spread it selfe in speech and actions. As is plaine, Psalm. 37.30. The mouth of the righteous will speake of wisedome, and his tongue will talke of iudgement. The reason followes. For the Law of his God is in his heart. And Psalm 119, 167. My soule hath kept thy testimonies: for I loue them exceedingly. And this loue, delight, meditation, and exercise in the Law of God, of this happie man, is not as a morning cloud, and as the morning dew, before the Sunne: but like the light of the Sunne, that shineth more and more, vnto the perfect day. It is not for a start, for feare, for restraint, for reputation, for aduantage▪ or to couer the terrors of conscience, for a while, with a few flashes of deceiueable comforts, out of some mis­applied promises in the word of God: but it is out of a free resolution, and with vndaunted constancie day and night.

But giue me leaue, I beseech you, before I proceed to the explication of the rest; or deduction of Doctrines from these particulars; to propose vnto you this generall Doctrine, which hath his strength from the body of the Psalme, and the maine scope of the spirit of God.

There is in the booke of God, proposed▪ and offored vnto vs, an happinesse, standing in opposition, to all the vaine fe­licities, which anciēt Philosophers deuisde out of their deep speculations; or prophane men frame out of their corrupt affections: not consisting in pleasures, riches, honours, great­nes; in ciuill honesty, formall hypocrisie; or the whole pos­sibility of nature: but in supernaturall grace, and the blessed consequents.

The whole book of Ecclesiastes, Salomons sacred retractati­ons, is a large, and sound demonstration of this Doctrine. Salomon was sonne vnto the worthiest king, that euer sway­ed scepter vpon earth; and he was predecessor in the royall line vnto the Sonne of God; and so matchlesse for nobility, if true happinesse had consisted therein. He was king of Ie­rusalem, the lady of the world, the perfection of beauty, and [Page 6] the ioy of the whole earth. Hee gaue siluer, as stones, and gaue cedars as the wild figtrees, that grow abundantly in the plaine. He built him houses, and planted Vineyards. He prouided him men fingers, and women fingers; and the de­lights of the sonnes of men. Whatsoeuer his eyes desired, he with held it not from them: and withdrew not his heart from any ioy. For wisedome, and vnderstanding, hee had a large heart, euen as the sand, that is on the sea shore. It spe­culatiue knowledge, hee excelled the wisedome of all the children of the East; and all the wisedome of Egypt. Hee was able to discourse from the cedar tree, that is in Leba­non, euen vnto the Hyssope, that springeth out of the wall. In wisedome of politie, and gouernment, there was none like vnto him before him, neither after him shall arise the like vnto him. So that Salomon was the most fit, and ab­solute man, that euer liued, both for ability in vnderstan­ding, abundance in possession, and desire in searching, to take an exact measure, and the [...]tmost extent, of the worth and sufficiencie of all creatures; and to raise from them the best contentments they could possiblie afford Yet when he had wearied himselfe in the variety of passages of this life; and in the book of E [...]clesiastes becomes a publick penitenti­ary to the whole Church, and to all posterity; see his iudge­ment: he vtterly disauowes and disclaimes them all, as mi­serable comforters, as meere shadowes, and dreames; wher­in there is no more matter of sound comfort, then there is light in the greatest darknesse, or taste in the white of an egge. He saies of laughter, Eccles. 2.2. thou art mad, and of ioy, ha [...] is this that thou doest? And whereas wisedome and know­ledge, are the most incomparable treasures this transitorie world hath;Eccles. 1.18. he saith, that in the multitude of wisedome is much griefe: and hee that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow. And of these, and all other things vnder the sunne; yea, and if to the glory of all created natures, were an addition of ten thousand excellencies, that neuer man saw, or enioyed; hee hath pronounced of them all, in respect of true happi­nesse, and diuided from the grace and feare of God, and a [Page 7] sanctified heart; that they are all vanity. And if he had staied there, it had beene well; that argues but a passiue imperfe­ction, and a weakenesse of being in the things themselues; but they are vexation of spirit. Nothing in themselues, yet full of power, and actiuity to inflict vengeance, and vexa [...]i­on vpon the spirit of a man. The spirit of a man being sound in sincerity, and seconded with a good conscience, is able to beare out his infirmities, and all the miseries incident to his nature: It is able to passe by, with a resolute, and contented patience, the lying imputations of the prophanest malice: It is able by the grace of God, to encounter with the terrors of death, and the fearefulnesse of the graue; yea, to endure with a gratious humility euen the pr [...]sence of God, and An­gels at that great day. But a wounded, and an afflicted spi­rit who can beare? If the eye bee darke, how great is that darken [...]sse? If the spirit of a man, which should refresh all the faculties of the soule with comfortable cheerefulnesse, and fill the whole body with a liuely vigour, bee it selfe wounded with vexation and ter [...]or; how comfortlesse is that man? I [...] his strength were the strength of stones, and his flesh of brasse; yet would the torment of a bitter affli­cted soule grinde him to powder; and melt as the dew be­fore the sunne, whatsoeuer hee accounteth strongest, and most powerfull to relieue his heauinesse; it would turne all his choisest, and dearest pleasures into worme wood and bit­ternesse. And this v [...]xation, with which riches, honours, or what other vanitie desirable in this life doth afflict the vnre­generate heart, is twofold: In the verie pursuit of them, is much anguish, many greeuances, feares, i [...]alousies, disgra­ces, interruptions, discontentments. But after the vnsancti­fied enioying of them, followes the sting of conscience, that will euerlastingly v [...]xe the soule; which is the very earnest of the fire of hell; by which, a man doth expect with vncon­ceiueable horrour, the consummation of the wrath of God; which burneth farre hotter, and more vnquenchably, then any fire, though augmented with infinite riuers of brim­stone, to be powred vpon his body and soule for euermore, [Page 8] in the world to come. How then possibly can there be any happinesse in these vexations? Wherefore Salomon hauing proued the negatiue part of my doctrine, concludes the po­sitiue in the last chapter: That to feare God, with reuerent regard to keepe his commandements, is the onely way to be possest of true happinesse, to find peace of conscience, and assurance of the fauor of God. For let a man, while he will, in this world of vanity, either sport himselfe in the soft, and greene way of fading pleasures; or please himselfe in the glorious miseries, of honours and high places; or tire him­selfe in the toyles of vnsatiable greedinesse; or braue it in his othes, blasphemies, and strength of powring in strong drinke; or tread the fearefull and desperate path of con­tempt of the power of religion, the truth of God, and since­rity of his saints: all the while, when he is at the best, hee is but as the raging sea, that cannot rest. For so Isaiah com­pares the wicked, Chap. 57.20. The sea, you know, is not onely many times tossed, and tumbled vp and downe, with windes and tempests; but euer inwardly disquieted, euen with her owne motions, casting vp continually mire and dirt vpon the shore, and breaking into some her proudest waues against the rockes: Euen so the heart of that man, which hath reposed his affections vpon the glory of this life, is not onely many times disquieted, and cast downe with outward crosses and occurrents; as with losse of friends, dis­countenance of great ones, disappointment of his hopes, and preferments; with wrongfull railings, and disgraces; with looking vpon the day of his death, and vengeance vp­on the wicked; with all disturbers of his security in his plea­sures, and dignities: but is also besides the restlesse torture of his conscience, euer from within, foaming out his owne shame, the dishonour of God, and the vexation of his bre­thren. But it is not so with him, that holds the feare of God, for his surest sanctuarie, that hath resolued to resigne vp him­selfe in holy obedience to the will of God. His heart is like the vpper part of the world; which is euer full of serenitie, constancie, and brightnesse; be the aire below, neuer so trou­bled [Page 9] with stormes and thunders; or the earth with commo­tions and tumults. For let there be about him, the deuou­ring sword of the Tyrant, the consuming flames of persecu­tion, the keene razours of lying tongues, the mouthes of Lions, the cruell combinations of his enemies; nay, let the earth be moued, and let the mountaines fall into the middest of the sea: yet his heart is ioyfull, patient, resolute, and con­tented.

But to descend more specially to the particulars of the ne­gatiue part of my Doctrine: let me adde to the many and strong reasons of the ancient Philosophers, and late School­men, against pleasures, riches, and honours, these three; which will for euer vtterly disable them for claiming any shew of interest in mans happinesse.

First, they cannot possibly fill the vnlimited desire of the 1 soule. For although the treasures, the greatnes, the delights of all men liuing, were in the present possession of one: yet somewhat besides, and aboue all this, there would still bee sought, and earnestly thirsted for. Nay, it is certaine, if one man were not onely crowned with the soueraignty of all the kingdomes of the earth, but besides, were made com­mander of the motions of the sunne, and the glory of the starres; yet the restlesse eye of his vnsatisfied vnderstanding, would peepe and prie beyond the heauens, for some hidden excellencie and supposed felicity, which the whole com­passe of this created world cannot yeeld. So vnquenchable is the thirst of mans soule, vntill it bathe it selfe in the riuer of life, and in the immeasurable Ocean of goodnesse and wisedome. So impossible is it, that this materiall world, with all her perfections, should be a proportionable obiect to so pretious a nature; or that so diuine a sparkle should cease rising and aspiring, vntill it ioyne it selfe to that infinite flame of glory and maiesty, from whence it first issued.

Secondly, they cannot secure the conscience distressed 2 with the apprehension of the wrath of God, or preuent his iudgements. Memorable is that horrible amazement, that [Page 10] surprised the heart of Belshazzar [...] his greatest iollities. Melting hee was in pleasures, and deliciousnesse; solacing himselfe amongst his wiues, and concubines; carousing in the golden, and siluer vessels of the Temple. But when there appeared fingers of a mans hand, which wrote ouer against the Candlesticke vpon the plaister of the wall: a remem­brancer vnto his conscience, how contemptuously, and sa­crilegiously he had dishonoured the highest Maiestie; and that the vials of Gods heauie vengeance were ready to bee powred vpon his head, all the ioyes of his royall pompe va­nished as the smoke. For then the Kings countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the ioynts of his Ioynes were loosed, and his knees smote one against the other. And now, one pang of his wounded conscience did much more torment him, then the kingdome, maiestie, glory, and ho­nour, which he receiued from his father Nabuchadnezzar could euer comfort him. So, I doubt not, but many times, the hearts of many glorious Ones in this life, that are not in trouble like other men; but spread themselues as greene bay-trees; when they heare the certaine iudgements of God, denounced out of his booke by his Ministers, against those sinnes, to which by long custome, and vowed resolu­tion, they haue fastned their affections, because thereon de­pend their pleasures, honours, states, reputations, contented passing the time, or the like: I say, that many times (except their consciences be feared vp with an hote iron, against the day of vengeance, and then their case is vnspeakably wofull) their hearts tremble, euen as the trees of the forrest, that are shaken with the wind. Amid their laughing, their hearts are sorrowfull. Or if their mirth be entire; it is but like the noise of the thornes vnder the pot. Thornes vnder a pot, you know, make a great crackling, and noise for a little time; they blaze faire, and bright; but are suddenly extinct, and brought to nothing. Neither are these cold comforters able to quench Gods fierie ielousie, when it breakes forth in plagues, and iudgements against a sinfull people. Witnesse the Prophets: Zepha. Chap. 1.17.18. Their blood shall bee [Page 11] powred out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their sil­uer, nor their gold shall bee able to deliuer them in the day of the Lords wrath, but the whole land shall be deuoured, by the fire of his iealousie. Ezech. 7.19. Their siluer, and their gold cannot deliuer them in the day of the wrath of the Lord: they shall not satisfie their soules, neither fill their bowels, for this ruin [...] is for their iniquitie. Obad. 4. Though thou exalt thy selfe as the Ea­gle, and make thy nest among the starres, thence will I bring thee downe, saith the Lord. It is not then any wedge of gold, or height of place, can priuiledge, or protect vs; when our sins are ripe, and readie to take the flame of Gods fierce wrath and indignation.

Thirdly, they cannot stretch themselues vnto eternity. For 3 there are no contentments of this life; whether they lie in honours, riches, pleasures, friends, or the like; let them be ne­uer so many in number, so potent in the world, or in our own perswasions, so exempt from mixture of discomfort; that can possibly bring vs farther, then our death bed. It may be for a few and wretched daies of our life they haue detained vs in a fooles paradise, yet full of Vipers, and Scorpions; It may be, they haue left some obscure prints of vnfound ioies in our passages: but then, at their farwell, they are vtterly despoi­led of their weake, and imaginarie sweetnes; and are whol­ly turned into wounds, and wormewood, into gall and vexa­tion. They leaue a sting indeed in the conscience, that ne­uer dies; but themselues die all at our deaths, and lie downe with vs in our graues. Why then, when the immortal soule, being dislodged from this tabernacle of clay, shall now be­gin to enter the confines of eternitie; what shall comfort it, thorow that endlesse duration? For if it looke backe to this inch of time, which it consumed in vanitie, it may aske: Why haue I bin troubled about many things? Why haue I dis­quieted my selfe in vaine? Why haue I insolently insulted o­uer innocencie, and accounted sinceritie madnes? What hath pride profited me? or what profit hath the pompe of riches brought me? And it may be answered: All those things are passed away like a shadow, and as a poste that passeth by: as a ship, [Page 12] that passeth ouer the waues of the water which when it is gone by, the trace thereof cannot bee found, neither the path of it in the flouds: or as a bird, that flieth thorow in the aire, and no man can see any token of her passage, but onely heare the noise of her wings, beating the light wind, parting the aire through the vehemencie of her going, and flieth on shaking her wings, whereas afterward no token of her way can be found. If then the expiration of all worldly comforts be most certain and ineuitable, at the fur­thest at our departure from this life; it is impossible, there should be any absolute ioy found in them: for there is wan­ting the very life and accomplishment of true happinesse, as­surance of perpetuitie. Imagine therefore, a man to be abun­dantly encompassed euen with all the desires of his heart; let him wash his paths with butter; and let the rocke powre him out riuers of oile; let him heape vp siluer as the dust, and gold as the mire of the streetes; let him decke himselfe with maiestie and excellencie, and aray himselfe with beautie and glorie; let him drinke vp the pleasures of this world in as great abundance as Behemoth the riuer Iordan; yet all is no­thing, himselfe being couered with corruption, and mortali­tie; and the fruition of them with vanitie and change. One generation passeth away, and another generation commeth. He must at length necessarilie make resignation of al into the hands of a new succession. And he shall take nothing away when he dies; neither shall his pompe or pleasures descend after him. Yet, if a man besides an entire and vninterrupted possession of his worldly contentments; which is neuer to be looked for in this life:chap. 14.22. for, as Iob speakes, While his flesh is vpon him, he shall be sorrowfull; and while his soule is in him, it shall mourne; yet I say, if besides he were able to extend his life to many millions of yeeres, the matter were a little more tole­rable. But alas, the life of a man at the most is but a hand breath, or a span long; & that which makes it much more mi­serable, he knowes not in what part of that short span, how suddenly, or how soone he shall be cut off from the land of the liuing; and goe, and shall not returne, euen vnto the land of darkenesse,Iob 20. and shadow of death. For the reioycing of [Page 13] the wicked is short, and the ioy of hypocrites is but a moment. Though his excellency mount vp to the heauen, & his head reach vnto the cloudes; yet shall he perish for euer like his dung, and they which haue seene him, shall say, where is he? He shall flee away as a dreame, and they shal not find him, and shal passe away as a vi­sion of the night. So that the eie which had seene him, shall doe so no more, and his place shall see him no more. And in this respect, mans condition is farre inferiour to other creatures. One generation passeth, and another generation succeedeth: but the earth remaineth for euer. The Sun seemes euery night to lie downe in a bed of darknesse; but he rises in the morning, clothed with the same glorie and brightnesse; and reioyceth as a Giant to run his course:Chap. 14.10, 11.12. But man (saith Iob) is sicke, and dieth, and man perisheth, and where is he? As the waters passe from the sea, and as the flood decaieth, and drieth vp; so man slee­peth, and riseth not: for he shall not wake againe, nor be raised from his sleepe, till the heauen be no more.

To let therefore these wretched vanities passe; as vnwor­thie to be insisted on thus long. For howsoeuer, the world­ly minded man, wanting vtterly the eie of faith, and hauing his eie of reason dimmed with mists, that rise from his tu­multuous and fierie passions, grosse ignorance, and wilfull malice, so that he onely lookes vpon the honours, riches and pleasures of this life with a carnall and sensual eie, may seeme to see in them, some glimmerings of happinesse, and thereaf­ter conforme and proportion his desires, endeuours and proiects; because he hath his portion onely in this life: yet certainely, the truly generous mind may clearely out of the very apprehension of nature and light of reason, discerne them al, to be no better then a broken staffe of reede, where­upon if a man leane, it will goe into his hand, and pearce it, yea, and strike his heart too thorow with many sorrowes; and that in the time of trouble, they will all prooue but as a broken tooth, and sliding foot. To let them therefore passe, and die and perish, I come to two other branches of the ne­gatiue part: ciuill honestie, and formall hypocrisie.

These indeed, are the two great engines, by which in this [Page 14] full light and glorious noonetide of the Gospell; the prince of this world draweth many multitudes into his snares in this life, and into chaines of darknesse in the life to come.

2 Sweetnesse of nature, louelines of disposition, fairenes of conditions, a pleasing affability in cariage, and conuersation; an vnswaied vprightnes in ciuill actions, and negotiations with men, make a goodly shew. But if there be an accession of profession of the Gospell, of outward performance of re­ligious exercises, of some correspondence with the seruants of God; why then the matter is strike dead. There is the perfection. Whatsoeuer is aboue is proud hypocrisie, vaine­glorious singularitie, phantasticke precisenesse; when God knowes, there may be all this, and yet no power of religion, no life of grace, no true happinesse, no hope of eternitie. To the demonstration of which point before I proceed, let mee preuent two obiections.

First, I denie not, but that morall vertuousnesse is good, and excellent in it self; the outward performance of religious duties, and the exercise of the meanes of our conuersion, are necessarie. But if morall vertuousnesse were able to put on the greatest magnificence, and applause, that euer it ancient­ly enioyed amongst the precisest Romans; whereby it might worthily draw into admiration and iust challenge euen these times of Christianity: yet in respect of acceptance with God, and conformitie to his will; and being not guided, and [...]anctified by supernaturall grace, it is but at the best, the very filthinesse of a menstruous clout. And outward actions of religion, be they performed with as glorious a shew, and vndiscernable conueiance, as euer they were by the most formal Pharisie: yet seuered from a sound, and sanctified hart, the fountaine which giues [...], s [...]eetnesse and acceptation to all outward seruices, they are but all, as the cutting off of a dogs necke; and the offering of swines blood.

Secondly, I doe not here by any meanes purpose the dis­comfort of that man, whose soule is yet wrastling with the grieuous afflictions, and terrors of conscience in the fore tra­uell of his new-birth: I wish vnto him, the sweetest comforts, [Page 15] that either he in his deepest agonies can desire; or the bowels of Gods tenderest compassions are wont to powre into bro­ken, and bleeding hearts, and that the ioyfull light of his Sauiours countenance may break forth vpon his cloudy, and drouping conscience, with farre greater brightnesse then e­uer the clearest Sun vpon the face of the earth. Neither doe I purpose the discouragement of him, who hath happily pas­sed the fearfull, but necessarie pangs of remorse for sins; and hath already by the grace of God, laid hold vpon the merits, and mercies of Christ, by a true, though a weake faith. I wish that his soule, as a new-borne babe in Christ, may bee tou­ched with the smoothest hand of the most wise, & charitable discretion; and that it may be nourished with the sweetest milke of the most gratious, and comfortable promises. I e­uer esteemed it most bloody cruelty to quench the smoking flaxe, or breake the bruised reed, or to adde sorrow to him whom the Lord hath wounded; and therefore rather infi­nitely desire, to turne the smoking flaxe into a burning fire of zeale; to refresh the weake, and wounded heart, with softest oyle of Gods dearest mercies; to make the bruised reed a piller of brasse, that it may stand strong, and sure, at the day of triall. Whereupon, I pronounce out of most cer­taine grounds of Gods eternall truth vnto the weakest faith, if true and sound; that the gates of hell, with all the furie, and malice, of the prince and powers of darke­nesse, shall neuer preuaile against it. That neither An­gels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come; nor depthes below, nor heights aboue, nor the creatures of tenne thousand worlds, shall euer bee able, to worke a separation of it, from that infinite loue of God which first planted it in the heart, or a disunion of it from Christ, which inspires it continually with life, spirit, and mo­tion. It is not difference of degrees, and measure, that takes away the nature and being of it. A small drop of water is as well, and truely water, as the whole Ocean: a little sparke is as truely fire, both in essence and quality, as the mightiest flame: the hand of a little child, may receiue a pearle, as well [Page 16] as the hand of the greatest Giant, though not hold it so strongly: a weake faith, may be a true faith, and so a sauing faith, as well as the full perswasion and height of assurance. This onely I must aduise in this point; that if this graine of mustard seed watered with the dew of grace, grow not to­wards a great tree: if this sparke, enkindled by the spirit of God, spread not into a big flame: if this small measure of faith be not edged with a longing feruencie after fulnesse of perswasion, and seconded with an assiduous and serious endeauor after more perfection; it was no sound and sa­uing faith, but onely a counterfeit shew and a deceiuing shadow. But yet for all this I cannot without a woe speake good of euill, and euill of good: I must not put darkenesse for light, and light for darkenes: Wise Salomon hath taught vs,Pro. 17.15. that hee that iusti [...]ieth the wicked, and hee that condemneth the iust, euen they both are an abomination to the Lord. And therefore I must tell you, that a man may be great in the eye of the world, and in the iudgement of the greater part for his ciuill honesty, and solemne performances of outward duties of religion; (to which many thousands neuer at­taine) and yet himselfe be not onely a stranger from the life of God, and right happinesse, and holden fast vnder the po­wer and tyrannie of the first death: but also by accident, being pust vp with a conceit of an imaginarie perfection, become a violent opposite to the power of religion and true godlinesse. The reason whereof may bee this: Our cor­rupt nature, as in matters of vnderstanding and opinion, worketh in euery man a too too much loue of his owne in­uentions, and conclusions; all opposition inflames the affe­ction, and sets on foot the wit to find out arguments for their proofe, lest hee seeme to haue beene too weake of iudgement in framing them, or too inconstant in not de­fending them: euen so also in matters of life and conuersa­tion: and the more plausible a mans course is, and the more gloriously it is entertained of the world, the stronger is his resolution to continue in it, and the more impatient hee is of all controlement and contradiction. So that morall ho­nesty, [Page 17] and outward religiousnesse, being in themselues good and necessarie, and a good step to Christianity: yet by ac­cident are many times a strong barre to keepe men from the power of godlinesse and vnfained sincerity. Because, when they consider their present course is in good accep­tance with the world, and that it may well consist with the free enioyment of their honours and pleasures, at least arising from their beloued and secret sinnes, they willingly and peremptorily rest and repose vpon it; contented with a probable error of being in the state of grace, and with a plausible passage vnto eternal death. And the rather, because they know full well, if they should step forward vnto for­wardnesse in religion and that inward holinesse, without which they shall neuer see the face of God; they should not onely raise vp against themselues many thundring tem­pests, of the worlds insolent, false, and spitefull censures; but also euen from the bottome of hell many disturbances and fearefull tentations. For I am perswaded, while a man lies secure in the course of vnregeneration, if the diuell can procure it, he shall enioy his hearts desire, he shall bring his enterprises to passe, and not fall into trouble like other men. He onely then begins to bestirre himselfe, when a man be­gins to stirre towards grace; or that by his traines, he hath brought him to some point of aduantage, to some dead lift, to his death-bed; that he may haue a full stroke at his de­struction, that he may suddenly and certainely swallow him vp, body and soule; and then he paies him home with a wit­nesse: for either through senselesnesse, or despaire, hee sinkes him downe irrecouerably into the bottome of hell.

These two obiections thus preuented: I come to the proofe of the point in hand. And first, these reasons following may demonstrate, that he which reaches but to ciuill honesty, comes farre short of being in Christ, and consequently of true happinesse.

First, some of the heathens, out of those weake notions and inclinations to vertuousnesse, which corrupted nature confusedly imprinted in their minds, attained a great mea­sure [Page 18] of morall perfection. This Elogie the Cato, homo vir [...]ti simili­mus, qui nunquā rectè fecit, vt facere vider [...] ­t [...]r, sed quia all [...]r facere non potera [...]; cuique idsolum visum est rationem hae­b [...]re, quòd habe­ret iustitiā; om­nibus humani [...] vitij [...] immunis, semper fortunam in sua potestate habuit. Paterculus lib. 2. Historian giues of the Romane Cato. Cato was a man, which did animate the faire speculatiue image of vertue with liuely executions and practise. Goodnesse was so habitually incorporated into his honest mind, that he did good, not for respects and reseruedly, but be­cause he could possibly doe no otherwise. Impartiall indifferency was the rule of his actions; and being free from the corruptions of the time, he was the same man, and had a free command ouer his passions, both in time of acceptation and disgrace. It is fur­ther reported of Fabricius, that a man might sooner turne the sun from his course, then to sway Fabricius by respects from honest and ingenuous dealing. And yet all these ex­cellencies of morality are iustly and truely censured by Di­uinity, to be but Splendida pecca [...]a. glorious sinnes. Austin, that great disputer, and worthie father, confirmes it vnanswerable; especially frō that ground in the Epistle to the Cap. 11.6. Hebrues: Without faith it is impossible to please God. Let a mans workes bee in shew neuer so good, so magnificent, so charitable; except the heart be purged from dead workes by a liuely faith, and pure from an euill conscience, hee is but a painted sepulchre, or whited wall. But yet take this by the way; if these Hea­thens, in the twilight of reason, became such admirable lights of vprightnesse and honesty; and yet Christians in these daies, when all the beames of Christs blessed Gospell are shining and shed round about them, continue still in darkenesse, cold and frozen in prophannesse, and security; certainely, as it shall be easier for Tyrus and Sidon at the day of iudgement, then for Chorazin and Bethsaida: so it shall be easier for many Heathens, though to them impossi­ble, then for those Christians, that passe not them in vertue and integrity. Cato and Fabricius at that day shall rise vp against many luke warme professors of our times, to their e­ternall shame, confusion, and condemnation.

The second reason is grounded vpon the words of saint Paul, 1. Cor, 2.14. The naturall man perceiueth not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishnesse vnto him▪ neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [Page 19] In this place, by (natural man) is not ment only, the carnal and sensuall man, swinishly wallowing in vanities and pleasures: but, as the best and soundest interpreters conceiue it, euen a man considered with the whole compasse of the reasonable soules possibility. And mās reasonable soule, by that strength it yet retains, since it was by God iustly disinherited of alspi­rituall patrimonie for Adams rebellion, may purchase some kind of perfections. First, in it selfe it may be excellent, if en­dowed with a sharp wit, a quick apprehension, a strong mind, a piercing iudgement, a faithful memory, a more moderate wil, and milder affections. But if by industry and art it furnish and fil euery seueral faculty with those ornaments and quali­ties, of which they are naturally capable, the perfection is much more admirable. And yet besides these excellencies in it self, it may shine gloriously to others; it may go further, and inable it self by action, experience & obseruation, with such an vniuersal wisdom, that it may not only be fit and qualified for notable offices of society and entercourse in politick Bo­dies: but also reach vnto y depth of foresight, and large com­prehension of circumstances, that it may be worthie imploi­ment in affaires of State, and in the direction and guidance of whole kingdomes. All these perfections may concurre vp­on the soule, and yet it remaine starke blind in the mysteries of saluation. Imagine them all iointly in one man, and in the highest degree of perfection of which vnsanctified mor­talitie is capable, and let them bee neuer so much admired, and flattered of the world; yet without the salt of grace to season them, and the life of faith to animate them, they are but as gay and rich attire vpon a leprous bodie, as iewels, chaines, and bracelets, vpon a dead and rotten carcasse. Let no man then deceiue his owne heart: he may be enriched with singular pregnancie of all the faculties of the soule, hee may be stored with varietie of the choisest and profoundest learning, he may expresse in action and ciuill honestie the absolute portraiture of Aristotles moral vertues; he may be as politike as Ahitophel: Whose counsell, which he counselled in those daies, was like as one [...]ad asked counsell at the Oracle of [Page 20] God: and yet without supernaturall illumination, and the diuine graces, of faith, loue, zeale, sinceritie, spirituall wise­dome, a sanctified contention of spirit, in making towards God in all kind of duties, which onely put a man into pos­session of true happinesse, and sit him for a blessed association with God, Angels, and holy men; I say without these super­naturall graces he cannot onely, not perceiue the things of the spirit of God, but (which is a horrible and feareful curse) euen esteeme them foolishnes.

3 The third reason shall be taken from the example of Ni­codemus, Iohn 3. Nicodemus, I am perswaded, was an honest and an ingenuous man; I am sure he was a great man, and a teacher of Israel; yet when he comes out of his ciuill hone­stie and naturall wisdome to reason and confer with Christ about the saluation of his soule and eternall happinesse; hee is strangely childish and a meere infant. For when Christ tels him; Except a man be borne againe, he cannot see the kingdome of God; he replies: How can a man be borne which is old? can he enter into his mothers wombe againe and be borne? A replie, which may breed an astonishment in all that shall euer reade this story vnderstandingly vnto the worlds end; nay, it seemes to seeme strange to Christ himselfe, by his interro­gatiue admiration afterward; Art thou a teacher of Israel, and knowest not these things? And no maruell; for who would think, that one of the best of the Pharises, a ruler of the Iews, a profest Doctor in the Law and the Prophets, and one care­full to saue his soule, should be so grossely and palpably ig­norant, in a most materiall and necessarie point of saluation; especially, hauing many times, no doubt, read it in Moses and the Prophts? Amongst many places, he might see, Ezech. 36.26.27. most cleerely laid downe the great and glorious worke of our new birth: A new heart also will I giue you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take the stony hart out of your body, and I will giue you a heart of flesh. &c. But when he comes from teaching, and reading of this and the like places, to be examined in the practise and experimentall feeling of these graces of regeneration vpon his owne soule; why, hee [Page 21] talkes of a man that is old, entring againe into his mothers wombe: from whence he should certainely returne with a doubled pollution and corruption of nature; and once more the child of Satan, then he was before. But so it is, where the hart is not seasoned with sauing grace; let the vnderstanding be neuer so great with swelling knowledge, the practicall powers of the soule neuer so pregnant with wisdome and policie, and perfected with morall vertues; yet there is no­thing to be expected from that man, in matters and myste­ries of saluation, but darkenes and blindnesse, childishnesse and stupiditie.

Fourthly, the young man in the Gospell may be a fit in­stance 4 for our present purpose.Matth. 19. He was vnreprooueable in the externall iustice and outward obseruances of the second ta­ble, wherein ciuill honesty doth principally consist: but how farre hee was from inward sanctification, the state of grace, and happinesse of Gods children, appeares in the story. For when the sacred and powerfull words of our blessed Sauior, had insinuated into the secrets of his soule, and strucke at his sweet sinne of couetousnesse; the young man is presently cast into a fit of melancholie, Christ is too precise a preacher for him, he cannot digest such a strict and seuere course; he will not abandon his pleasures of worldlinesse, his palaces, his possessions, to follow Christ the Lord of heauen and earth in this life, though he assure him of the rich treasures of eter­nall blessednes in the life to come: When the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowfull: for he had great possessions. Whereby we may see, that a man may be ciuilly honest and vncensurable in outward workes of iustice, and yet harbour and nourish some close corruptions, and sweet sinne in his heart: from which, rather then he will part, he will lose his part in Christ, the bottomlesse fountaine of endlesse ioies and comforts, and his portion of vnualuable glory in the new Ie­rusalem.

This point being thus manifest, for conclusion I will lay downe certaine differences, betwixt the righteousnesse of faith and sanctification, and the righteousnesse of ciuil hone­stie, [Page 22] that a man may haue some directions to examine his soule and conscience in this respect.

1 First, the fountaine and originall of righteousnesse of faith, is the sanctifying Spirit of God. I call it the sanctifying spirit, because the spirit of God may by a generall influence concur to the illumination of the vnderstanding with know­ledge, and a ciuill reformation of the wil euen in the vnrege­nerate: but the sanctifying spirit, by the miraculous opera­tiue of sauing grace, doth purge and mortifie the inmost affe­ctions, plant iustifying faith in the heart, renew al the powers of the soule, and reinuest them in some good measure with the blessed image of holinesse and integritie which they lost in Adam. But the cause and fountaine of righteousnesse of ciuill honesty, may bee goodnesse of constitution and inge­nuousnesse, whereby a man may not be so apt and inclinable to notorious sinnes, or want of trials and prouocations, or feare of lawes and temporall punishments, or desire of repu­tation and rising, or a vaine hope to stay Gods iudgements for inward corruptions by ciuill outwardnesse, or at best, the restraining Spirit of God; by which hee doth onely represse the furies and outrages of the wicked, and reduce them to some moderation and honestie, for the quiet of his Elect and conseruation of Kingdomes. For if God did not put his hooke into the nostrils of prophane men, and his bridle into their lippes, euery one of them, (sith euery man hath in his corrupt nature the seedes of all sinnes that euer haue, are, or may be committed) I say, euery one of them might become a cruell Senacherib, a railing Shemei, a traiterous Iudas, a bloodie Bonner, an hellish Fawkes, fierce Woolues and Li­ons against the sillie and innocent Lambes of Christs fold.

2 Secondly, righteousnesse of ciuill honestie in outward actions may make a colourable pretence of pietie and vp­rightnes; but indeed hath many secret relations to pleasures, to friends, to profit, to preferments, to reuengement, to passi­ons, partialities and euents, and such like by-respects, not ea­silie discernable, but by him whose eies are tenne thousand times brighter then the Sunne. But righteousnesse of faith [Page 23] hath in all actions, for the maine scope and principall end, the glory and honour of God: and if infirmitie doe some­times distaine them with some mixture and adherence of re­spects, (for who can say my heart is cleane? euen the purest actions are mixt with some spice of corruptions) it workes in the faithfull soule much griefe, sorrow, striuing against, repentance and humiliation.

Thirdly, righteousnesse of faith doth labour watchfully,3 religiously and conscionably in that particular calling, wherein Gods prouidence hath placed a man, and in all the parts and speciall duties of godlinesse and obedience. But ciuill honesty wanders in the generalities of religion; and many times in impertinent, vnsetled and vnlimited courses.

Fourthly, righteousnesse of faith doth striue with grea­test 4 earnestnesse and contention of spirit for spirituall com­fort and a good conscience before God. But ciuill honestie is fully and finally satisfied with credit and plausiblenesse a­mongst men.

Fifthly, ciuill honestie makes no great conscience of smaller sinnes; as lying, lesser oathes, gaming, prophane ie­sting,5 idlenesse and pastime on the Sabbath day, and the like. But righteousnesse of faith, hauing a sensible feeling of the heauie weight of sinne, from those anguishes which the conscience felt before the infusion of faith, and being still stung with a checke and smart for all kind of transgressions, doth seasonably and proportionablie hate and make resi­stance to all knowne sinnes.

Sixthly, ciuill honestie doth not vse to make opposition 6 against the sinnes of the time, but is euen willing to be ca­ried with the streame; onely vpon more faire and probable tearmes, then notorious sinfulnesse; and therefore will goe on, and encourage a man in godly courses, and good causes, vntill he meet with, either a wound to his state, a disgrace to his person, a disturbance to his pleasures, an imputation to his forwardnesse, a stop to his preferments, losse of friends, imminencie of danger, or any such crosse and discou­ragement; and then it teacheth him to step backe, as a man [Page 24] ready to tread vpon a serpent, and to start aside like a broken [...]ow. But righteousnesse of faith doth stand out for the ho­nour of God, and ordinarily goes thorow stitch, in good causes; come what come can; crosses or calumniations, good report or euill report, men or diuels. For it is com­pleatly armed with confidence of future happinesse, and hath sixt the eye vpon the crowne of immortality; which if heauen and earth conspired, they were not able to pull it out of his hand, that reserues it in the heauens, for all those that sight a good fight, that keepe the faith, and run with constancie the race of sanctification.

The next point of the negatiue part of my doctrine is for­mall hypocrisie. Which that you may more cleerely vnder­stand, consider with me three kinds of hypocrisie: priuy hy­pocrisie, grosse hypocrisie, formal hypocrisie.

1 Priuie hypocrisie is that, by which a man makes profession of more then is in his hart. And this somtimes doth mixe it self euen with the fairest and most sanctified actions of Gods dearest children; and doth soonest insinuate into a hart stored with the rich treasures of true godlines. For Satan, if he can­not detain a mans soule in notorious sinfulnes, in meere ciuil honestie, or formality, but that by the sacred inspirations of Gods good spirit it is pulled out of the mouth of hell, from the slauery of sin, and courses of darkenes, into the glorious light, & liberty of Christs kingdom; he is inraged with fierce and implacable furie, & doth euer certainly with eager pur­suit persecute that soule, both by his owne immediate ma­lice, and by the cruell agencie of prophane men. And if so be he cannot procure a scandalous relapse into gr [...]sse sins; yet that he may in some measure worke the dishonour of God, and the discomfort of his noblest creature, the two maine ends of all the policies of hell; hee doth labour to distaine the pure streames of diuine grace in the soule pud­dle of our corrupted nature; and at least to fasten the spots of priuie hypocrisie vpon the best actions, and the very face of innocency. This hypocrisie, as I take it, ariseth from spi­rituall pride. For when a godly man, by the great worke of [Page 25] regeneration is become more excellent, Prou. 12.26 then his neighbour; as indeed he incomparablie is, howsoeuer the worlds esti­mation be otherwise: Because the one is, as yet, a limme of Satan, receiuing from him the cursed influence of scule pol­lutions, of vncleannes, and lying, of malice and reuenge of pride and prophanenes, &c: The other is already a blessed member of Christs mysticall body, continually inspired with holy motions and the life of grace. The one lies polluted in his owne blood, encompassed with the menstruous clouts of loathsome corruptions; of all natures, except onely the diuell and his angels, the most wretched and woefull; of the familie of hell, heire of horrour and desolation: The o­ther by the immortall seed of the pure and powerfull word of God,2. Pet. 1.4. is made partaker of the diuine nature; clothed with the rich and vnualuable robe of Christs iustice, guarded with an inuincible troope of heauenly Angels; iustly inti­tuled to a kingdome of vnconceiueable glory and pleasures, moe then the starres of the firmament in number. The one is a wrongfull vsurper of the riches, honours and prefer­ments of this life, for which hereafter hee must be condem­ned to chaines of eternall darkenes, and a dungeon of end­lesse miserie and confusion: the other while he continues in this world, is a rightfull owner and possessor of the earth, and all the creatures and blessings of God; and when hee departs hence, he shall bee made a glorious inhabitant of those sacred mansions, where constant peace, vnmixed ioyes, and blessed immortality euen for euer and euer doe dwell. Which great difference when the godly man per­ceiues, and his owne prerogatiues, he is filled with a strange and ioyfull amazement and admiration at his owne happi­nesse: which Satan seeing, who is perfectly experienced in all aduantages and opportunities for spirituall assaults, and working vpon the reliques of mans proud nature, doth cun­ningly draw him to aduance aboue that which is meet with­in himselfe, in his owne opinion, the worth of his owne graces and vertues. Which that he may conuey and repr [...] ­sent to the view of the world, with an excellencie propor­tionable [Page 26] to his owne ouerweening conceite; he is forced to admit the secret and insensible poyson of priuie hypocrisie, which he doth more easily at the first entertaine, because the pestilencie and bitternesse thereof is not discernable by reason of the predominancie and sweetnesse of the fresh present graces of Gods spirit in his soule. But when by af­flictions or disgraces, by some extraordinary temptation or particular checkes from the Ministery of the word, the vg­linesse of it is discouered to his conscience; hee for euer ab­horres it, as a consuming canker, that would fret out the ve­ry heart of grace, and extinguish the life of sincerity; and therefore with much humiliation and feruencie doth pray against it, striue against it, and by the mercies of God pre­uaile against it.

This kind of Hypocrisie belongs not to my present pur­pose; onely by the way let mee giue aduertisement to the child of God, for to him onely I speake in this point: to the end he may keepe his heart vnblameable in holinesse, and preserue the true relish and sound ioy of good actions entire, and vndistempered: that he would strongly fence his heart, with a gracious and vnfained humility, against priuie pride the mother of this hypocrisie; as against a close, vn­dermining, and a most dangerous enemie; and the more se­riously and watchfully for these reasons: partly drawne from the nature of the sinne; and partly from the state of his soule. From the nature of the sinne:

1 First, other sinnes grow from poysonous and pestilent roots; as Adulterie, from idlenesse; Faction, from discontent; Murder, from malice; Iesting out of the word of God, from a a prophane heart; the Killing of soules, from nonresidency; Enuie and flatterie, from a base and vnmanly weakenes of minde; Violent ambition, from a distrustfull independency vpon God; Scorning of godlinesse, from a reprobate sense: but this sinne springet [...] from a faire and vnsuspected foun­taine, euen from zeale, godly duties, and good actions.

2 Secondly, other grosse sinnes spread themselues vniuer­sally ouer the whole corrupt masse of all the sons of men; [Page 27] but this doth single out the chosen of God, and takes vp his seate in the sanctified soule.

Thirdly, this sinne doth vnauoidably wind it selfe into the 3 heart of a man, with a slie and peculiar kind of insinuation. For when a godly man for a good action or inward grace doth seeme to disclaime pride in his conscience, hee may be proud that he is not proud, euen of his humilitie, and that he is able to descrie his pride and corruptions more then others can doe. So endlesse are the mazes of Satans circular temp­tations.

Fourthlie, there is no depth of knowledge, no measure of 4 grace, no eminencie of zeale can bee exempted from hazard of surprisal, by this last and most cunning encounter of Satan by priuie pride. Paul, that great instrument of Gods greatest glorie, in whom there was a matchlesse concurrence of di­uine graces, and varietie of all manner of afflictions, notable meanes to keepe the heart of man in humilitie; yet lest hee should be exalted out of measure through the abundance of reuelations, there was giuen vnto him a pricke in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him.

Reasons taken from the state of the regenerate soule, are these.

First, let the best and most mortified man turne the eie of 1 his conscience from the fruitlesse and dangerous speculati­ons of his owne worthinesse, and fasten it a while vpon his corruptions and infirmities, vpon his many deficiences in re­ligious duties and executions of his calling, wants and weak­nesses in prayer and inward deuotion, his dulnesse and vn­cheerefulnes in religious exercises, his omissions of seruices and occasions for the enlarging of the Kingdome of Christ, his cold and sometimes cowardly prosecution of good cau­ses, his now and then slinking from a bold profession of sin­ceritie, for feare of the vaine and wretched imputations of worldlings, &c. and out of this consideration, he will be so farre from selfe-conceitednesse, and a partiall ouerualu­ing of his owne gifts and vertues, that hee will find much matter and iust cause to renew his repentance, to stand vpon [Page 28] his guard against spirituall pride, to continue and encrease his humiliation, to double his zeale and resolution for the glorifying of God, and subduing his owne secret corrup­tions.

Secondly, let him consider, how before his calling hee marched furiously and desperately vnder Satans colours, in the pursuite of pleasures, vanities and worldly honours; with how resolute hatred and contempt he opposed against since­ritie and sauing grace, as against needlesse precisenesse and folly, how fearelesly and how farre he ran in the paths of ini­quitie, and the sinful passages of the kingdome of darkenes; where no reward was to be expected but shame and miserie. But after it pleased the Lord to place his Angell in the way to stop the torrent of his impieties and to set his sacred word before his eies, as a glorious light to direct him in the waies of righteousnesse; let him remember how often hee hath started aside for false and imaginarie feares, how often hee hath stumbled euen in the euen path through his own heed­lesnesse, how often hee hath stood still in his way, either ga­zing on the painted and lying glory of the world, or liste­ning to the allurements and deceitfull charmes of his owne flesh. Nay, how sometimes he hath bin inforced to retire by some cunning traine and malicious stratageme of Satan. So that since his conuersion hee hath but run faintly and slow­ly, and won little ground in the race of godlinesse, although there be set before him the price of [...] high calling, the high­est aduancement of the soule, fulnesse of ioy, and the pretious treasures of immortalitie. And if he demurre a while sound­ly vpon this point, he may for euer feare lest a selfe-liking of his owne excellencie, be iustly plagued with a scandalous fall into some grosse sinne, which besides it owne particular sting, will vnto his great discomfort awake the old sinnes of his vnregeneration, like so many sleeping Lions, with open mouthes to charge afresh vpon the conscience with new terrors and fearefull vexations.

3 Thirdly, let the godly Christian looke vp at the liberall and mercifull hand of God, which out of the bottomlesse [Page 29] depth of his owne bountie hath reached vnto him, whatsoe­uer gifts he hath; whether of bodie, or mind, of honours or outward possessions, of nature or grace: and he shall find far greater reason to be continually grieued and humbled, that the bright and vnspotted beames of Gods sanctifying Spirit are soulely darkened and lessened in his body of death, then to be exalted in his owne conceit, in that it hath pleased God of his meere and free mercie to illighten the darkenes of his heart; without which supernaturall illumination he should haue liued in blindnesse and miserably vntil death, and after this life bin cast out into vtter darkenesse and remedilesse de­solation.

Fourthly, let him take heed how he harbors and nourishes 4 this viper of spirituall pride in the bosome of his soule; lest it taking vnseasonable heate and warmth from his zeale, en­danger the whole frame of his new man. Either by perswa­ding him to embrace some groundlesse singularitie of vn­warrantable opinions, which by reason of his vertues will spread more plausibly, and by consequent more dangerously. For a perswasion of integritie is not onely a motiue to roote an opinion deepely in a mans owne apprehension, but also a meanes to make it more currant and passable with the admi­rers of his graces. Or else this spirituall pride, may by Gods iust iudgement draw vpon him a deadnesse of heart, a dul­nes of zeale, an intermission of operations of grace, which the child of God doth infinitly more feare then any afflicti­on or crosse that can possibly befall him from prophane men, either vpon his body, or state, or good name.

These reasons may iustly mooue euery faithfull Christian, with much earnestnesse and prayer to labour after, and settle surely in his heart a true and vndissembled humilitie, as the onely soueraigne meanes to preserue the life and vigour of his graces in his owne soule, their fruit and benefit to others, their blessing and acceptation with God; and with the watchfullest eie of his spirituall wisdome, to hold in perpe­tuall iealousie the cunning sleights and windings of this in­sinuatiue sinne of priuie pride, that both so pestilent a canker [Page 30] may be kept out of the soule, and the passage may be stopt to priuie hypocrisie; with which, I told you before, Satan doth endeauor with might and maine to discomfort and disgrace the actions and exercises, euen of the child of God.

The second kind of hypocrisie is grosse hypocrisie; by which a man professeth that which is not in his heart at all, and so deceiues others, but not his owne heart. And this is most properly hypocrisie: For the Greeke word [...], sig­nifieth a stage-plaier; who sometimes putteth on the roabes and maiestie of a Prince, himselfe being of a base and neg­lected state: Or the grauitie and wisdome of a Counseller, himself being of roguish & dissolute conditions: Sometimes he representeth a chast and modest louer, his owne life being a practise of vncleannesse: Sometimes he assumeth a good and honest vocation, his own being accursed and vnwarran­table. Euen such is the grosse hypocrite vpon the stage of this world; a very painted sepulchre and whited wall, glori­ous indeed in outward fashions and solennities, in shewes and representations to the eie of the world; but if it were possible for a man to make an exact inquirie into the close and hidden passage of his heart, he should find many black and bloodie proiects, for compassing reuenge euen vpon sur­mised opposites, many ambitious steps built vpon flatterie and dissembling basenesse and briberie for his rising and preferments; many stinging swarmes of fierie lusts and im­pure thoughts, which are either spent in speculatiue wan­tonnesse and the adulteries of the heart, or else for feare of the worlds notice, breake out onely into a strange and secret filthinesse. In a word vnder the vaile of his outward religi­ousnesse, hee should see a perfect anatome of the infinite and deceitfull corruptions of the heart of man, and many plausible and politicke conu [...]iances to bleare the eies of the world, howsoeuer wretched man vpon his owne fillie and forlorne soule he certainely drawes an exceeding waight of vengeance. This kind of hypocrite is more miserable and of lesse hope then the open sinner.

1 First, because he sinneth against the light of his conscience, [Page 31] which manner of sinning makes him incapable of sauing graces. For how can that heart which to naturall hardnesse addeth a voluntary obfirmation in sinne and resistance to godly motions, receiue the softening and sanctifying spirit of God? How should those vnrulie affections be tamed by the power of religion, who please themselues, and hold it their greatest glory to seeme most moderate outwardly, when inwardly they boile most intemperately in lust, pride, malice, contempt of zealous simplicity, and in other soulest pollutions? How should the brightnesse of wisedome shine, where the windowes of the soule are shut close, wilfully and vpon set purpose?

Secondly, by reason of the shining lampe of an outward 2 profession, howsoeuer he want the oyle of grace in his heart, he so dazles the eyes of men, that he barres himselfe of those reproofes and wholesome admonitions, whereby the open sinner is many times confounded and amazed in his consci­ence, humbled and cast downe in himselfe, and happily re­claimed and conuerted.

Thirdly, all publicke reprehensions and aduertisements 3 from the Ministery of the word, although they be as so ma­ny loud cries sounding in his cares, to awake him out of the dead slumber of hypocrisie; he either interprets to proceed from some particular malice, or indiscreet heate; and so pas­ses them ouer with a bitter and peremptor [...]e censure: or else out of the pride of his heart hee posteth them ouer from himselfe, as not infamous or notorious in the worlds opini­on, and transfers them vpon the open sinners, being as­sured that in the iudgement of others whom hee blinds and deludes by his Art of Seeming, they belong not to him.

Fourthly, he is iustly obnoxious to an extraordinarie mea­sure 4 of Gods hatred and indignation. For euery ingenuous man out of the grounds of morality, holdeth in greatest de­testation a doubling and dissembling companion; as a fel­low of extreme basenesse and seruility, most vnworthie to be entertained either into his inward affections and appro­bation [Page 32] or outward seruices and imployments; how much more the God of heauen and earth, who seeth cleerely in­to the inmost closet of the heart? For hell and destruction are before the Lord, how much more the hearts of the sons of men? I say, how much more must he needs double his in­finite hatred of sin against the double iniquity of hypocrisie? how must his soule abhorre that wretched creature, which beares the world in hand, and makes a shew vnto men, that he stands for God and his honour and seruice; but indeed is a close factor for Satan, his owne pleasures and the po­wers of darkenes? And as the hypocrite is subiect to Gods extraordinarie hatred; so is hee liable to an extraordinarie weight of vengeance: For when the wrath of the Lord is once enkindled against him, it is powred out like fire, and burnes euen to the bottome of hell. His feare commeth like an horrible desolation, and his destruction like a whirle­wind. Terrors shall take him as waters, and a tempest shall carrie him away by night: And so certaine are these plagues, that as though the hypocrite were already turned into a di­uell, or into the very fierie lake, it is said in the Gospell, of other sinners, that they shall haue their portion with the hy­pocrite, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Good Lord, it is strange and fearefull, that so noble and excellent a creature as man, endewed with reason and vn­derstanding like an Angell of God; hauing besides the pre­tiousnes of the holy booke of God, those great and vniuer­sall motiues, the immortality of the soule, the resurrection of the dead, the ioyes of the kingdome of heauen, the endlesse paines of the wicked, which except he be a damned Atheist, he doth certainely beleeue; and whereas hee might liue on earth with vnconquerable comfort, and shine hereafter as the brightnes of the firmament, bee a companion of Saints and Angels, and stand in the glorious presence of the high­est Maiestie for euer and euer: yet for all this will euen wil­fully against the light of his conscience, and with the cer­taine knowledge of his heart, by his grosse hypocrisie, se­cret abominations and vncleannes, priuie practises for some [Page 33] wretched pleasures and preferments, make himselfe in the eyes of God, howsoeuer he deceiue men, a very incarnate diuell vpon earth; and after this life, iustly heape vpon his body and soule all the horrours and despaires, tortures and plagues which a created nature is capable of.

Oh that the hypocrite would consider these things in time, lest the wrath and fierie ielousie of the Lord breake forth vpon him suddenly and ineuitably like sorrowes vpon a woman in trauell, and teare him in pieces when there bee none that can deliuer him. Well may he carrie the matter smoothly for a time, and by his iugling dissimulation cast a mist about him, and inwrap himselfe in darkenesse from the eye of the world; yet let him know that in the meane time his sinnes are writing by the hand of Gods iustice, with the point of a Diamond in the register of his conscience, and when their number and measure is accomplished, the Lord will come against him euen with whole armies of plagues and vengeance, as against the most hatefull obiect of his re­uenging iustice, the most base and vnnaturall Opposite to so pure a Maiesty, and the most notorious and transcendent in­strument of Satans deepest malice.

This kind of hypocrite belongs not to my present purpose; and therefore I leaue him, without sound and timely repen­tance, to some strange and markeable iudgement euen in this life: Or if he passe these few daies honourably and pros­perouslie, as it is many times the lot of the wicked, lot him expect vpon his deaths-bed the fierie darts of Satan empoy­soned with hellish malice and cruelty, to be fastned deepely in his soule, and such pangs and anguish of conscience, that will possesse him of hell before hand. Or if he depart out of this world without sense of his sinne, or else at the best with some formall and perfunctorie shew of penitencie; yet let his heart tremble for the feares that it shall feare at the great and terrible day of the Lord, when the vizard of his hypocrisie shall certainely be pulde off his face, and he asha­med and confounded in the presence of the blessed Trinity, of Angels, and all the men that euer were, and irrecouerably [Page 34] abandoned from the face of God and from the fruition of his ioyes, to the most consuming flame of the fire of hell, and the lothsomest dungeon of the bottomlesse pit.

3 The third kind of hypocrisie is Formall hypocrisie, by which a man doth not onely deceiue others with a shew of piety and outward forme of religion; but also his owne heart with a false conceit and persuasion that he is in a hap­pie state, when as in truth his soule was neuer yet seasoned with sauing grace and the power of religion. And I beseech you marke me in this point: it is of greatest consequence to euery one for a sound triall and examination of the state of his conscience, whether he yet liue the life of God, and stand in the state of grace, or lie enthralled in the setters and slauerie of sinne and Satan. For herein I must tell you how farre a man may proceed in outward profession of the truth, in supernaturall decrease of sinfulnesse, in some kinds and measure of inward graces, and yet come vtterly short of true happinesse; and without an addition of the truth of regeneration and a sound conuersion, shall bee cut off for e­uer from all hope of immortality, and shall neuer bee able to stand firme and sure in the day of the Lord Iesus.

For a more perspicuous explication of this point, conceiue with me those perfections which may befall a man as yet vnregenerate and in state of damnation.

We may suppose in him: first, all those gifts which the possibility of nature can conferre vpon him, all ornaments of Arts and knowledge, of wisedome and policie, not one­ly that which is purchased by experience, obseruation, and imployment in points of State; but also the spirit of gouern­ment, as Saul had. To these wee may adde, gentlenesse and fairenesse of conditions, an exactnesse of ciuill honesty and morall iustice, immunity from grosse and infamous sinnes. And thus far the heathens may goe: And thus far we pro­ceeded in our last Discourse. But in these times of Christia­nity a reprobate may goe farre further then euer the most innocent Heathen that euer liued could possibly; though some of them were admirable for their mild and mercifull [Page 35] disposition, some for their vertuous seueritie, some for inte­gritie of life, some for constancie and resolution in goodnes some for preferring the vnspottednesse of their life before most exquisit tortures. For to all these he may adde a glori­ous profession of the Gospell, a performance of all outward duties and exercises of religion, many workes of charity and monuments of his rich magnificence. Nay, besides all this he may be made partaker of some measure of inward illumi­nation, of a shadow of true regeneration, there being no grace effectually wrought in the faithfull, whereof a resem­blance may not be sound in the vnregenerate. This last point will more clearely appeare vnto you out of the 8. of Luke, and the 6. to the Hebrewes.

In the 8. of Luke, the hearer resembled vnto the stonie ground, is the formall hypocrite; who is there said, to be­leeue for a time, and therefore by the inward, though more generall and inferior working of the spirit, may haue a tem­porarie faith begot in him. In which faith we may consider these degrees.

First, he may be endewed with vnderstanding and know­ledge 1 in the word of God.

He may be perswaded that it is diuinely inspired, and that 2 it is most true.

He may see clearely by the Law of God the grieuous in­tollerablenesse 3 of his sinnes, and the heauie iudgements due vnto them.

He may bee amazed and terrified with fearefull horror,4 and remorse of conscience for his sinnes.

He may giue assent vnto the couenant of grace in Christ,5 as most certaine and sure; and may conceiue, that Christs merits are of an inualuable price, and a most pretious resto­ratiue to a languishing soule.

He may be perswaded in a generalitie and confused man­ner,6 that the Lord will make good his couenant of grace vn­to the members of his Church; and that he will plentifully performe all the promises of happinesse vpon his children.

He may be troubled in mind with grudgings and distra­ctions,7 [Page 36] with reluctation and scruples before the commission of sinne, out of the strength of naturall conscience, seconded with a seruile apprehension of diuine vengeance, but especi­ally illightned with some glimmerings of this temporarie faith. Much adoe was there euen with Pilate, inward trouble and tergiuersation, before he would bee brought to giue iudgement on Christ. Herod was sorie before he beheaded Iohn Baptist. And these men I hope, were farre short of the perfections attaineable by the formall hypocrite.

8 After a sinne committed besides the outward formes of humiliation, by the power of this temporarie faith, he may bee inwardly touched and affected with some kind and de­gree of repentance and sorrow; I meane not onely that which is a preparatiue to despaire and hellish horror, but which may sometimes preuent temporall iudgements, as in Achab, and with a slumbering and superficiall quiet, secure the conscience for a time. And from this faith may spring fruits: Some kind and measure of hope, loue, patience and other graces. It is said in the Euangelists, that that hearer which we call the formall hypocrite, receiues the word with ioy. Whence may be gathered:

1 First, that with willingnesse and cheerefulnesse, hee may submit himselfe to the ministerie of the word.

2 With forwardnesse and ioyfulnesse, hee may follow and frequent Sermons.

3 With a discourse of the sufferings of Christ, he may be mo­ued euen vnto teares for compassionate indignation, that so glorious and infinite innocencie should be vext with al man­ner of indignities and torments for the grosse and willfull impieties of sinfull men.

4 He may loue and reuerence, giue countenance and patro­nage to the Ministers, whom he heares with gladnesse. For it is the nature of man, to be kindly and louingly affected vn­to him that brings him a message of ioy and comfort.

5 He may esteeme the negligent, or no hearers of the word of God, as prophane and of feared consciences: which do not onely abandon the necessary meanes of saluation, but [Page 37] that they may with more securitie and absolutenesse reape in this life what sensuall profit or pleasure soeuer the world yeeldeth, endeuour to banish and extinguish all thought and notice of heauen or holinesse.

The word of God by this temporary faith and other gra­ces 6 may worke such a change in him, as is called the vncleane spirits going out of a man: Matth. 12.43. A flying from the pollutions of the world: 2. Pet. 2.20. A washing: 2. Pet. 2.32. And may haue such power vpon him, that he may doe many things therafter. Herod is said to haue reuerenced Iohn, to haue heard him gladly, and to haue done many things: Marke 6.20.

To these for illustration, and because we are hereafter to consider their differences from a true, entire and vniuersall sanctification; we may adde those fiue degrees incident to the reprobate: Heb. 6.

First, hee may bee illightened in his vnderstanding, with 1 some glimpses of heauenly light.

Secondly, he may haue some taste in his heart of the hea­uenly 2 gift.

Thirdly, he may be made partaker of the holy Ghost, the 3 authour and fountaine of all graces.

He may in some measure enioy the good word of God,4 the glorious instrument of the conuersion of soules.

He may haue some taste and feeling euen of the powers of 5 the world to come.

Nay, and besides all these, that which nailes him fast vnto formalitie, and makes him with contentment to walke in a plodding course of outward profession; is a perswasion that he is already in the way of life, when as yet hee neuer entred no not the very first step vnto it. For indeed he may be per­swaded, though from false and mistaken grounds, that he is rich in heauenly things and hath need of nothing, and that he is already possessed of the kingdome of grace & intituled to the kingdome of glory; and yet bee most wretched and miserable, and poore, and blind, and naked. His state in this case being not vnlike the dreame of a poore or hungry man, which in his sleepe filleth himselfe with varietie of dainties, [Page 38] or tumbles himselfe amid his rich treasures and heapes of gold: but when he awaketh, behold he is faint, his soule lon­geth, and he embraceth nothing but emptines and aire; yea, and besides, the very imaginary fruition of his supposed hap­pinesse, when he is awaked, encreaseth his languishing, and doubles the sense of his necessities. Euen so the formall hy­pocrite in this life dreames of much comfort to come, makes sure of heauen, [...]. Tim. 3.5. thinkes himselfe the onely man, his [...], as the Apostles calles it, his forme of godlinesse in his conceit, is the onely true state of saluation; whatsoeuer is short of him, is prophanenesse; whatsoeuer is aboue him is precisenesse. But when vpon his deaths bed hee awa­keth, and hath his conscience illightned, and his particu­lar sinnes reuealed vnto him, in stead of catching a crowne of glorie, which he hath vainely possest in his hopefull secu­ritie, he graspeth nothing but feare and amazement, anguish and sorrow. Yea, and now his former false perswasion of his happie state enlargeth the gulfe of his despaire, and makes him more sensible of his present and vnexpected miseries.

Giue me leaue I beseech you to enlarge this point, and to acquaint you with some reasons of this perswasion. For a false perswasion of alreadie being in the state of grace, is a barre that keeps thousands from the state of grace indeed.

The good spirit of God you know doth perswade euerie regenerate man by a sweet and silent inspiration, out of a consideration of an vniuersall change and sanctification, and present sinceritie in all the powers and parts of his soule and body, & calling, that he is most certainly in the state of grace and heire of heauen. Whence spring perpetually whole ri­uers of vnspeakeable comfort, that most then refresh his soule when hee is neerest to bee ouerwhelmed of the maine Ocean of the worlds bitternesse and pressures.

In a lying resemblance to this sacred worke of the holie Ghost in the hearts of Gods children, Satan lest he be wan­ting to his, puts on the glory of an angell of light; and insi­nuateth into the imagination of the formall hypocrite some flashes of comfort and conceites that he is in state of grace, [Page 39] and shall be saued. Whence issues a cursed security, a wret­ched opposition to more sinceritie then he finds in himselfe, a slumber and benummednes of conscience, an impatiencie of hauing his formalitie censured by the ministerie of the word; a neglect of a more sound search into the state of his soule. For Satan in his Angelicall forme tels him that more strictnesse and purity is but onely a proud hypocrisie and pretence of such as affect a transcendencie aboue the ordi­narie degrees of holines, and bids him take heed of being too busie and pragmaticall in taking notice of euery small corruption and infirmitie; for tendernes of conscience, and a too nice apprehensiuenes of euery little sinne, will vncom­fortablie enchaine him to Melancholy, Vnsociablenes, and some degrees of despaire. And howsoeuer, saith Satan, some Preachers of preciser humour out of their vnhallowed zeale and censorious austerity breath out nothing against thee but fire and brimstone, indignation and wrath, damnation and horrour; yet take not these things to heart, but let such per­emptorie comminations passe as malicious thunderbolts, discharged from too fierie spirits, begot by indiscreet heate, and directed to priuate ends. Thus this wilie serpent cries peace, peace vnto his soule, when God knowes there is no peace towards, but noise and tumbling of garments in blood, and burning and deuouring of fire. The conscience indeed may bee asleepe for a while, like a fierce wild beast gathering vigour and puissance, that being awaked by the hand of God at the approch of sicknesse or death, may more implacably rent, deuoure and torment for euer.

But I come to the grounds of this persuasion. I told yee before that the spirit of God assures his children that they are in state of grace, out of a consideration of an vniuersall sincerity in all their waies. But Satan for his children hath other reasons, which I conceiue to be such as these:

First, the formall hypocrite is notablie confirmed that his I state is good, when he compares himselfe with those which are more sinfull: as Murderers, Adulterers, Drunkards, Prophaners of the Sabbath, Vsurers, Swearers, Liers, Ie­sters [Page 40] out of the word of God, and fellowes of such notori­ous ranke. But if besides the disclaiming of these, his con­science bee able to informe him of his ciuill honesty, ex­ternall iustice, some workes of charity, &c. why then the matter is put out of all controuersie, and he presently cano­nized a saint in his owne conceite. You may see his picture in the 18. of Luke: O God I thanke thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, vniust, adulterers, or as this Publican. There is his exemption from common prophanenes. I fast twice in the weeke, I giue tithe of all that I possesse. There is his outward iustice and religious solennities. But you must not conceiue that the formall hypocrite doth proclaime this in publicke with such grosse and palpable ostentation: Nay, perhaps when it arises hee lets it not rest long in his owne thoughts, left by this vanity his vertues lose their grace and he his comfort. But certaine it is, a consciousnes of his being free from infamous impieties, of his morall ho­nestie, performance of outward duties of religion, and some inward, in some measure, though not vniuersally, nor to the degree of the children of God, is one of the best grounds he hath for his assurance of being in state of saluation. Pa­rallel to this of Luke is that, Prou. 30. vers. 12. There is a generation that are pure in their owne conceit, and yet are not washed from their filthinesse. That is, they imagine their tem­per of religion, their pitch of holinesse, their formall Chri­stianity to bee the very right path to heauen, when indeed they were neuer truely humbled with a sense and sight of their sinnes out of the law and iudgements of God. They were neuer acquainted with the pangs of conscience in a new birth or the mysteries of saluation. But within are full of hollowheartednesse, lukewarmenesse and much bitternes against true godlinesse and the power thereof.

II The second reason whereby the formall hypocrite is mo­ued to thinke his state to be good, and the way of his life to be right, is a preiudice which he conceiues from the impu­tations which the world layeth vpon the children of God: such as are Pride, Hypocrisie, Singularity, Melancholie, [Page 41] Simplicitie and the like. But before I descend to these par­ticulars, giue me leaue to propose vnto you the fountaine and ground of them, which I take to bee, that great and eternall▪ opposition which is naturally betwixt light and darkenesse, the life of grace, and a death in sinne, sincerity and prophanenesse, the children of God and the wicked. Gods children, you know, in this world liue as sheepe a­mongst wolues. In the stormie times of the Church their persecutors are indeed euen wolues in the euening, for their insatiable crueltie and vnquenchable thirst in drinking vp the blood of the Saints: And in the Halcyon daies and fai­rest times of the Church, yet they haue those which will bee pricks in their eyes, and thornes in their sides. If they can­not vexe them in a higher degree, yet they will bee sure to lay on loade with base indignities, disgraces, slanders and lying imputations. And their hatred is of that strange na­ture and quality, that it is discharged euen against the goodnesse of the godly, their zeale, their forwardnesse in religion, their faithfulnesse in their calling and the like, as a­gainst it proper obiect.Chap. 15.10. This is plaine in Ieremie: Ieremie neither borrowed on vsurie, nor lent on vsurie, hee was free from all colour of giuing offence or doing wrong: Nay, his gratious heart was so wholly melted in compassion, that he wished that his head were full of water, and his eyes a foun­taine of teares, that he might weepe day and night for the destructions of his people. And yet of that people euery one contended against him, there was not a man but hee cursed him. The onely reason was, because whatsoeuer the Lord said, that he faithfully spoke, and kept nothing backe, but shewed them all the counsell of God. It is yet more plaine in Dauid, Psal. 38.20. They also that reward euill for Good, are mine aduersaries, because I follow goodnesse. The word there in the originall insinuateth such an extreme and dead­ly hatred, [...] that from thence comes the diuels name, Satan. So that howsoeuer this enmitie betwixt the world and the children of light be many times bridled by the restraining spirit of God, sometimes by the ingenuousnesse of the wic­ked, [Page 42] or their morall vertue or policie or some by-respect, or by accident bee turned into loue; because by the presence and praiers of the godly they many times escape iudge­ments, and receiue blessings. Yet I say, howsoeuer it be thus bridled, in it selfe it is more then ordinary or natu­rall, and hath in it some degree and mixture of hellish viru­lencie. Ordinarie hatred expires in the downe-fall of his ad­uersarie: Nay, any one of generous mind out of the interest he challengeth in the common state of humanitie, will com­miserate the distresse and affliction euen of his greatest and basest enemie; but much more of one of noble spirit and eminent worth, and more then that, of one that hath follo­wed him with all offices of kindnes and loue: yet the flame of this hatred is so fi [...]rce & so set on fire by hell, that it is not extinguished euen with the blood of his supposed Opposite, but barbarously sports in his miseries, & with insolēcy tram­ples vpon his desolations. This appeareth clearely in the ex­ample of Dauid, Psal. 35.15. But in mine aduersity they re­ioyced, and gathered themselues together: the abiects assembled themselues against me, and I knew not; they tare mee and ceased not. Who without indignation can thinke vpon these leaud companions and base drunkards, that with the false scof­fers at bankets gnashed their teeth and cruelly insulted o­uer the miserie and disgrace of that man, that was a man af­ter Gods owne heart, of incomparable excellency, and so kindly affected towards them, that when they were sicke, he clothed himselfe with a sacke, he humbled his soule with fasting, and mourned as one that mourneth for his mother? You see then the fountaine both of the greater stoods of bloodie persecutions, and the lesser streames of inferiour vexations; as slanders, railings and false imputations. To some particulars whereof I now come.

First for Pride. It is most certaine that Pride truely so cal­led, is the most pes [...]lent and incompatible Opposite that Grace hath: and therefore hee that is most sanctified, most fights against it. For besides that this fiery dart is deepely impoysoned in our corrupted nature, Satan knowes out of [Page 43] his owne experience how to manage it with notable cun­ning; and he followes this weapon with such eagernesse and confidence, that after it is broken vpon the shield of faith, yet he labours with might and maine to fasten some splinter or other, euen in the soule humbled for sinne and vowed vnto the seruice of God, as I told you in the first part of priuie hy­pocrisie. But I appeale vnto the consciences of the children of God, whether many times the world doth not interpret that to be pride in their actions and cariage, which is nothing else but a gracious freedome of spirit, arising from a consci­ousnesse of their innocencie and independancy, whereby they are inabled to stand with courage against corruptions and the sinnes of the time, to follow good causes with bold­nesse, and with resolution to defend a knowne and warran­table truth, and indeed to prefer the saluation of their soules before the gaining of the whole world. Innocencie makes them as bold as Lions:Prou. 28.1. The wicked flee when none pursueth; but the righteous are bold as a Lion. And their warrant is out of Isai. 51. vers. 7.8. Hearken vnto me ye that know righteousnesse, the people in whose heart is my Law. Feare ye not the reproch of men, neither be ye afraid of their rebukes. For the moath shall eate them vp like a garment, and the worme shall eate them like wooll: but my righteousnesse shall be for euer, and my saluation from ge­neration to generation. Independancie holds their hearts vp­right in all their actions, that they are neither swaid awrie by partialities, or secret relations to wrong ends. I meane not independancie in respect of lawes, gouernment, authori­tie, charitie, vnitie with the Church or the like, I meane no such independancie: but in respect of basenesse, flatterie, cor­ruption, temporizing, indirect prosecution of their honours and preferments, &c. which are setters of Satan, by which he confines many to a wretched slauery euen in this life, and without repentance to endlesse miserie hereafter.

Secondly, hypocrisie is many times by the world vniustlie 2 laid vnto the charge of the children of God. Dauid had his ful portion in this imputation, as appeareth in many Psalmes. The causes for this time I conceiue to be two.

[Page 44] 1 The first may bee suspiciousnesse, an argument euer of worthlesnesse and impotencie. For insufficiencie is most ap­prehensiue and suspicious. I know there is a godly iealousie, and a iealousie of state; but I meane that suspition which is opposed as an extreame to that imperfect vertue the Mora­lists cal immuniti [...] from suspicion, by which a man doth cast the worth, actions and affections of another in his owne mould, and thinks euery man obnoxious to al the infirmities he finds in himselfe. Hence it is, that he which indeed is truly an hypocrite, and neuer passed the perfection of the Pharisee, doth most confidently brand the child of God with that name, hoping therby to giue some poore satisfaction to his own thoughts, that would gladly rest in a formality, and no­tice to the world, that howsoeuer there may be pretences, yet indeed there is none better then himselfe.

2 The second cause is a disabilitie, and blindnesse in the na­turall man of discerning and acknowledging the operations of grace. For let a man be otherwise neuer so eminently or vniuersally qualified; yet without the experience of the pow­er of godlinesse vpon his owne soule, he cannot see, hee will not bee perswaded of the actions of grace in another man, and therefore interprets them to be nothing but hypocrisie, and onely pretended, vainegloriouslie to gainean opinion of more then ordinarie pietie. What the conceit of an vnrege­nerate man is of the state of grace, is plaine out of the confe­rence of our blessed Sauiour and Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a great Rabbi in Israel, a famous Doctor in the Law and the Prophets, in which no doubt hee had many times read the doctrine of regeneration: yet when he comes to be examined of the power and practise of it, he holds the new birth, (with­out which no man can euer see God) to be as impossible as for an old man to returne into his mothers wombe and be borne againe. Euen such is the iudgement of others in his state, of the fruits, effects and course of sanctification. And therefore I maruel that any child of God wil afflict his soule, hang downe the head, or remit one iot of his zeale in good­nesse for vniust censures in this kind: sith hee knowes that [Page 45] naturall men though neuer so wise, so learned, or glorious in the world, want spirituall taste, and therefore cannot rellish the fruits of the spirit, are blind and cannot see or iudge of the light of grace, are in darkenesse and cannot comprehend it.

Thirdly, the formall hypocrite doth settle himselfe with 3 more resoluednesse in his opinion of being in state of grace, when he sees the world account the children of God but a company of fellowes, who, out of a proud singularitie, di­uide themselues from the common fashions and customes of the world; not considering that if euer he meane to saue his soule, he must be singular too in holinesse and sanctifica­tion (for I meane not in vnwarrantable opinion, or separati­on from the Church.) Except his righteousnesse exceede the righteousnesse of the Scribes and Pharisees, what singu­gular thing doth he? that is, except to his ciuill honesty and outward performance of religious duties, there bee added a singularitie of sauing grace, and except besides all other or­naments of mind, if it were possible, possest in full perfection, there be yet moreouer inspired that blessed and pretious vi­gor that quickens him to eternall life, he cannot enter into the kingdome of heauen.

This note of singularitie hath in all ages bin imputed to those, that with a good conscience haue laboured to keepe themselues blamelesse and pure in the midst of a naughtie and crooked generation. Behold, saith Isaiah, chap. 8. vers. 18. I and the children whom the Lord hath giuen me, are as signes and wonders in Israel, by the Lord of Hosts, which dwelleth in mount Sion. It had bin no wonder had they bin onely as signes and wonders amongst the enemies of God, and na­tions of vncircumcision; but that they should be signes and wonders in Israel! God had chosen him but one little vine­yard amongst all the spatious forests of the earth; out of the glory of all the Kingdomes of the world he had chosen him but one handfull of people; and yet in that vineyard, his faithfull Ones are but as the berries after the shaking of an Oliue tree, two or three in the top of the v [...]most boughs, and [Page 46] foure or fiue in the high branches. In that little people, his children are but as the first fruits: so that euen in Israel they are become as monsters and spectacles of amazement. Then so it is indeed, that a man drawne out of the darknesse of this world and illightned with grace, is like a starre new created in the skie, that drawes all the world to gaze vpon it. Nay, and he drawes not onely the eies of men vpon him, but is an eie-sore vnto thē. For thus speaketh the wicked of the righ­teous man: Wisd. 2.15.16. It grieueth vs also to looke vpon him, for his life is not like other mo [...]s: his waies are of another fashion. He counteth vs as bastards, and he withdraweth him­selfe from our w [...]ies as from filthinesse; he commendeth greatlie the latter end of the iust, and boasteth that God is his father.

4 Fourthly, the formall hypocrite is well pleased with his present state, and very vnwilling to embrace more forward­nesse; because it is commonly thought, that the state of a true Christian indeed, is a life full of vncomfortablenesse, melancholy, austeritie and sadnesse. The heart of man is na­turally greedie of ioy and contentment, and is either weake­ly or strongly refreshed according to the vanity or soundnes of the comfort in which it reposeth, but it must either enioy it in some kind and measure, or it will waste and consume it selfe. Hence it is, that those who want inward and spirituall ioy arising from the testimonie of a good conscience, from an assurance of remission of their sinnes and the fauour of God, hunt after worldly contentments and carnall ioies. At home in their owne hearts they find little comfort, rather much terrour if their consciences awake, and therefore they seeke to refresh themselues amid their treasures, honors and sports; at Plaies, in Tauernes with merrie companie, and many other such miserable comforters; nay they had rather be necessarily imploied then solitarie, not so much to auoid idlenesse as bitings of conscience. Yea, some had rather cease to be men, then that their consciences should awake vpon them, and therefore they labour to keepe it asleepe and to drowne sorrow for sinne, with powring in of strong drinke. But let them looke vnto it, though it goe downe pleasantly; yet [Page 47] secretly and insensiblie it strengthens the rage, and sharpens the sting of the worme that neuer dies, against the day of their visitation; for in the end, saith Prou. 23.32. Salomon, it will bite like a serpent, and hurt like a cock [...]trice.

This outward and worldly ioy, because the children of God doe not pursue, because they will not relie vpon those broken staues of reed, they are est [...]emed the onely melancholike and discontented men. But I maruell when or with what eyes the worldlings looke vpon the faithfull Christian.

It may be, while hee is yet in the sore trauell of his new­birth, and humbled vnder the mightie hand of God with affliction of conscience for his sinne. If so, then they should know that men must mourne for their sins as one that mour­neth for his onely son: and be sorie for them, as one is sorie for the death of his first borne. There must be in them a great mourning as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon: as it is Zac. 12.11. And this sorrow is a blessed sorrow, for it brings forth immortality. And either them­selues must haue a part in it, or they shall neuer be made par­takers of the fulnesse of ioy at Gods right hand. What though the child of God lie for a night in the darkenesse of sorrow and weeping for his sins? marke a while, and the day will dawne, and a day-starre will arise in his hart that will neuer set, vntill it hath conducted him vnto the light that no man can attaine vnto: The sunne of righteousnesse will presently appeare and will drie away his teares, and with e­uerlasting light will shine vpon him for euermore.

But it may bee the worldlings take notice euen of the whole course and best state of the child of God, and yet can see nothing therein but vncomfortable strictnesse, and sad austerity. But then I must tell them, they looke onely vpon him with carnall eyes and deceiue themselues: for so indeed he doth not appeare a boisterous Nimrode, or dissolute Ruf­fler amid the vanities and delicacies of the world; that is for Satans reuellers, who haue smiling countenances, but blee­ding consciences; glorious outsides, but within nothing but [Page 48] rottennesse and prophanenes, much laughing when the heart is sorrowfull. But if they were able with illightened eyes to pierce into the inward parts of Gods child, they should see within, hope alreadie feasting vpon the ioyes of eternity: they should see faith holding fast the writings by which the kingdome of heauen is conueied vnto his soule, sealed with the precious blood of the sonne of God; that nor man nor diuell is able to wrest out of it hand: They should see the white stone mentioned in the Reuelation, wherein there is a new name written, which no man know­eth sauing hee that receiueth it. Whence springeth such a strong comfort and high resolution in the affaires of hea­uen, that no sword of the Tyrant, no flame of cruelty, not the combination of heauen and earth shall euer be able to amaze, abate or extinguish.

5 Fifthly, the formall hypocrite doth more confidently continue in a selfe liking of his owne state, though the state of vnregeneration; because he seeth those that besides his outward forme of religion are indewed with an inward and vnfained sinceritie in all their waies, to be reputed but as the ofscouring of all things, the simple fellowes and precise fooles of the world. They haue indeed beene so accounted in all ages. For the hearts of wicked men being stuft with prophanenes and earthly pleasures, being swelled with am­bition and worldly wisedome, easilie bring forth pride and contempt: And therefore they looke a farre off at the chil­dren of God, as at fellowes of base and neglected condition, of low spirits, of humble resolutions, of weake minds, vnable to manage affaires and occurrents for their preferments, of no dexterity to plant themselues in the face and glorie of the world; when God knowes if they could be perswaded that there were no heauen but vpon earth; and that the po­wer and exercise of godlines were nothing but an vnneces­sarie precisenes; if they would enlarge their consciences proportionablie to the vast gulfe of the times corruptions; if they durst make a couenant with death and an agreement with hell, and put the euill day farre from them; sure they [Page 49] might outstep many of these great Ones in their Proiects of policie and the precedencies of the world: but sith they cannot, they da [...]e not, they will neuer by the grace of God be so perswaded; they are well content with their continu­all feast, a good conscience, while the others are fatted with their wine and their corne and their oyle against the day of slaughter. And then at that day they will change their minds. For goe, I beseech you, into the sanctuarie of the Lord and vnderstand their end; they are now vpon the stage of this world in their full glory; but were they as mighty as Leuiathan, as cruell as Dragons; could they reare their ho­nours to the height of the clouds, nay, aduance their thrones aboue beside the starres of God, yet they must downe, they haue but one part to play, they must make their beds in the dust; and then when they are once disroabde of their great­nes and glory, and stript naked of their honours and prefer­ments, and without all mitigation by worldly comforts left vnto the ful rage of a stinging conscience; then they change their note and alter their iudgements, and sigh for griefe of mind, and say within themselues: These are they whom we sometime had in derision and in a parable of reproch: we fooles thought their life madnes, and their end without honour. How are they counted among the children of God, and their portion is among the Saints! Therefore wee haue erred from the way of truth, and the light of righte­ousnes hath not shined vnto vs, and the sunne of vnderstan­ding rose not vpon vs: wee haue wearied our selues in the way of wickednesse and destruction, and wee haue gone thorow dangerous waies: but we haue not knowne the way of the Lord. But here by the way I must giue this caue­at lest I bee mistaken in this last point, or that which fol­lowes: I doe not diuide by necessary and ineuitable diuorce greatnesse and godlinesse, holines and high places; God forbid: I make betwixt them no other opposition then Da­uid doth in the 73. Psal. himselfe being most holy and most honourable. I rather infinitely desire to inflame the noble and worthie spirits of all those whom the Lord hath aduan­ced [Page 50] i [...] gifts, in greatnesse, in honours, in gouernment or any kind of precedencie aboue their brethren, to a proportiona­ble excellencie of zeale and sanctification. For certainely as power, policie, authority being abused and not sanctified to the owners, become in the meane time strong pillars for the supporting of the kingdome of darkenesse, pestilent in­struments of much mischiefe, and hereafter shall be soundly payed with an answerable degree of extraordinarie ven­geance, horrour and torment: so great wisedome, great knowledge, great honours, being imployed impartially, resolutely and vnreseruedly, in soliciting and furthering the causes of God, in strengthening the cold and languishing state of his religion, in refreshing the hearts of his Saints which ordinarily are opprest and disgraced by the cruelties of prophane men, procure in the meane time great honour to his great name, great good vnto his Church, great ioy vnto his Angels, great comfort vnto the soules of the ow­ners, and fairer and brighter crownes of glory to their heads in the world to come. And so I come to the

III Third reason, whereby the formall hypocrite doth fals­ly perswade himselfe to be in the state of true happines and saluation: And that is an outward happinesse and successe in worldly matters, much plenty and prosperity in his outward state. For thus he reasons in his owne thoughts, and plaies the cunning sophister to deceiue his owne soule. The Lord, thinks he with himselfe, hath maruellously encreased me in riches and honours, he hath strangely continued vnto me my health and harts desires: The secret influence of his bles­sing hath still followed and prospered me in all my busines­ses and affaires; therefore doth he conclude, vndoubtedly I am protected from aboue, my state is the state of grace, these many louing fauours must needs argue, that I am in high sauour with God, and these outward blessings are signes that my seruices are sanctified and accepted of him. But in the Schooles we should tell him that this is a fallacy à non-causa. For all outward happinesses are for speciall rea­sons, and by particular indulgence more often, and very [Page 51] plentifully in this world vouchsafed to the wicked and pro­phane. This appeares Ierem. 12. vers. 1.2. Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? Why are all they in wealth that rebel­liously transgresse? Thou hast planted them, and they haue taken roote: they grow and bring forth fruit. Mal. 3. vers. 15. Euen they that worke wickednesse are set vp, and they that tempt God, y [...]a, they are deliuered. Iob 21. vers. 7. &c. Wherefore doe the wicked liue and wax old, and grow in wealth? Their seed is estab­lished in their sight with them, and their generation before their eies. Their houses are peaceable, and the rod of God is not vpon them. They send foorth their children like sheepe, and their sonnes dance. They take the Tabret and Harpe, and reioyce in the sound of the Organs. Let him therefore that thus concludes the happines of his soule from his worldly prosperitie, know and consider, that as the end and reward of the godly and wick­ed is different in place and nature; the one being the high­est heauens, and the highest aduancement of the soule to the fulnesse of glorie and blisse; the other the lowest hell, and the very extremitie of the greatest miseries and vexations, which a created nature can possibly endure. So experience of all times teacheth vs, and heauenly iustice requires a con­trarie manner of passage and proceeding to these ends.

The wicked in this world doe easily run vp without rub or interruption, many times with acclamation and applause, all the golden steps of honours and preferments; but vpon the highest staire they find the most slipperie standing, and the top of their earthly felicitie is the most immediate and certaine descent vnto their greatest downefall. They are roi­ally mounted here vpon earth, and gallop swiftly ouer the faire and greene plaines of plentie and pleasures; but at the end of their race they are ouerturned horse and man, and tumbled headlong into the pit of destruction. They fairelie glide ouer the sea of this world with full saile, with much calmenesse and sereniti [...], and richly laden, but in the brigh­test Sunshine, and when they least suspect it, they suddenlie and without recouerie, sincke into the gulfe of darknes and desolation.

[Page 52]But it is iust otherwise with the children of God, for they many times in this their pilgrimage sticke fast in the mirie clay of pouertie and contempt, sometimes they are inclosed euen in a horrible pit, as Dauid speakes, of feare and terrour of conscience for their sinnes. They are by the way compa­nions to Dragons and Ostriches, they walke among rebels, thornes and Scorpions, that rent and teare, a [...]d sting them with many oppressions and cruell slanders. Neither is the danger in the way all; they haue persequuters which are swifter then the Eagles of the heauen, who pursue and hunt them vpon the mountaines euen like Partridges, and lurk for them in the wildernesse, as those that lie in wait for blood. Nay, yet besides all these vexations from the world, the im­mediate malice of hell raiseth many tempests of temptation against them, and sometimes euen all the waues and flouds of God himselfe goe ouer their heads. This the way, the race, and the euening of Gods children in this world; but ioy comes in the morning, their end is peace, their reward is a bright morning starre, their hauen is endlesse happines and life eternall.

The reasons of this contrarie state and condition of the wicked and godly in this life may bee these. First for the flourishing of the wicked.

1 One reason may be, the notable cunning and policie of Sa­tan, in plotting and contriuing the prosperity of those whom he perceiues & hopes it wil insnare, and in whose harts it be­gets hardnes, pride, insolency and forgetting of God. For we must vnderstand, that the diuel euer proportiones his traines and temptations most exactly, euen at a haires breadth▪ to the tempers, humours and dispositions of men. If he meete with an ambitious and working spirit, he is well enough content to lighten him the way to hell with some ray or beame of al that great glory of the world which hee offered Christ, if hee will fall downe and worship him. Little cares hee, so that he may keepe a man fast in his hold vntill the day of ex­ecution, whether in the meane time he lie in a lower dunge­on of discontented retirednesse, or in the golden fetters, or [Page 53] some more honourable seruitude and glorious miserie. If he meete with a base and earthly minded fellow, that pre­ferres a little transitorie trash before the pretiousnesse of his owne soule, and the lasting treasures of immortalitie; why he can easily prouide a golden wedge, and cast in his way to en­rich him; he can compasse for him, though by bloudy meanes and mercilesse enclosure, a Naboths vineyard to enlarge his possessions. For all is one to him so he keepe him his owne, whether by want and pouertie he driue a man to impatien­cie, murmuring, and independencie vpon the prouidence of God, or by heaping vpon him abundance of wealth, and fil­ling him a full cup of temporall happinesse, he cast him into a deepe sleepe of carnall securitie, and a senselesnesse in al mat­ters of sanctification and saluation.

But whereas Satan hath found by much experience, that such as are fenced with riches and honours, doe many times falsely assume vnto themselues a conceit of greatnesse and goodnesse of protection, and immunitie from dangers, so that they are more fearelesse of the iudgements of God, be­cause they are not plagued like other men, more carelesse of storing themselues with spirituall comfort against the day of visitation, because they are in the meane time plentifully en­compassed with worldly contentments, more regardles and neglectiue of the ministery of the word, because they would not willingly be tormented before their time; therefore, I say, hee followes with more hope and better successe this temptation by prosperitie. And the rather, because crosses, afflictions and heauie accidents, are many times liuely instru­ctions and compulsions to bring a man to the knowledge of God and himselfe; to abandon all confidence in earthlie things, and to embrace the most comfortable and heauenlie state of true Christians. Wherefore if any man be content to stand for Satans kingdom, either by open and profest impie­tie, or by close conueiances and secret practises and conni­uencie; he will be sure to prepare, incline and dispose all oc­casions, meanes and circumstances for his aduancement into reputation with the world. And how potent he is in these [Page 54] cases, y [...]u may conceiue, sith he swaies the corruptions of the time, sith he rules and raignes in the hearts and affections of the most men; and is euer the arch-plotter in all Simonia­call, indirect, corrupt and vnconscionable consultations and compacts.

2 The second reason of the flourishing of the wicked in this life, is their large and vnlimited consciences: For if a man once haue so hardned his heart by often grieuing the good spirit of God, and repelling his holy motions; if he haue once so darkned the eie of his conscience, by offering violence to the tendernesse, and neglecting the checks thereof, that hee can now entertaine and digest without scruple or reluctati­on, any meanes though neuer so indirect, any condition, though neuer so base, any aduantage, though neuer so vn­conscionable or dishonourable; it will be easie enough for him to thriue in the world and raise himselfe.

For what, I pray you, were not the Papists now able to do, who haue enlarged their consciences like hell, nay; they haue stretched them beyond the whole compasse of all hel­lish darkenesse, euen into a vault of their owne; what, I say were not they able to do, except they were countermanded by that irrefragable, eternall, and particular decree of God, that Babylon must now downe as irrecouerably, as the great milstone in the Reuelation cast with violence into the sea? Why certainly they were able by their policies & principles, not onely to reestablish their former Antichristian tyranny, but to cast the whole Christian world, nay this and the other world, and the whole frame of nature into combustion, dark­nesse and confusion. And no maruell: for these fellowes con­sciences can without [...]emorse digest euen the sacred bloud of Kings, and swallow downe with delight the ruines and de­solations of whole kingdomes. Their bloudie superstition hath so quite and fearefully extinguisht all sense of common honesty, and put out the light of natural equity, and the com­mon notions of right and wrong; that they broch with bold faces the cursed poison of equiuocation, the diuels old imposture in Oracles, a very straight passage to damned [Page 55] Atheisme, and the dissolution of all humaine society: that to them the breach of the lawes of God, of nature and na­tions, is meritorious and worthie canonization, if it serue any way to the aduancement of their execrable idolatrie; to the repairing of their decaying Babylon, and to reare their Italian Idoll, the Priest of Rome yet a little higher aboue all that is called God.

In this respect then, that the wicked dare enlarge their consciences to the vtmost bounds of any pleasure, gaine or preferment, they haue great aduantage for the ingrossing of all worldly happinesse, and may easily purchase a Monopoly of earthly prosperity. Out of this widenes of conscience pro­ceed much mincing and excusing, many interpretations, fa­uourable constructions, and distinctions of sinnes: As for example, that Vsurie is of two sorts, biting, and toothlesse; when all kind of Vsurie is pestilent, and most certaine­ly damned in the booke of God. That Symonie is either buying the gifts of the holy Ghost, or buying Church-li­uings; as though this latter were not so soule and enormous when it is able in short time to bring a curse and confusion vpon the most glorious and best setled Church in the world. That of lies, some are pernicious, some are officious, and for a greater good; whenas euen the learneder sohoolemen, who are far enough from precisenes, hold euery kind of lie to be a sin indispensable; whenas A [...]stin [...] that worthy father & great disputer, admits not a lie for the saluation of a mans soule, which is farre more worth then the whole world: Nay when a man is not to tell a lie for the glory of God, as it appeareth, Iob 13. then which there can be no greater good. Of Oaths, that some are greater and more bloody; some are lesser, or­dinary and more tolerable; as though custome and com­monnesse made these latter excusable and vnpunishable, when as the plague of God hangs continually ouer the head of what swearer soeuer, ready euery houre to seaze vpon him, and sinke him downe into the bottome of hell. The flying booke of Gods curse and vengeance shall enter into the house of the swearer, and shall not onely cut him off, but [Page 56] shall consume the very timber thereof, and the stones there­of. Neither doth this plague rest within priuate walles, but it wastes the glory and prosperitie of whole kingdomes. Be­cause of Oathes, Chap. 23.10. saith Ieremie, the land mou [...]neth▪ and the plea­sant places of the wildernes are dried vp: nay if it were possi­ble that the breath of the swearer should reach vnto the heauens, it would euen staine the glory of the starres, and rot those faire and immortall bodies, it is infected with such a canker and pestilencie; and so immediat [...]ly strikes at the face of Almightie God. Many other such leaud distinctions of sinnes there are, framed and followed by the sensuall, greedy and ambitious affections of prophane men that they may more pleasingly to themselues, and more plausiblie to the world, compasse their ends and desires. No maruell then though they haue the wicked world at will.

3 The third reason of the flourishing of the wicked, is, be­cause they are men of this world; and therefore they haue onely their portion and full felicitie here. Their heauen is vpon earth: their pleasures in their life time with the rich man in the Gospell. For as the euerlasting couenant of in­ward peace, grace and glory, is peculiarly confirmed to the children of the spirit: so many times in great measure the temporall promises of outward happinesses are performed vpon the children of the flesh. When God had established vpon Isaak the euerlasting promises of loue, mercy and bles­sednesse: yet he was content to make Ismael a great man vpon earth. Concerning Ismael, saith he to Abraham, I haue heard thee: loe I haue blessed him, and will make him fruitfull, and will multiplie him exceedingly. Twelue Princes shall hee be­get, and I will make a great nation of him.

4 Fourthly and lastly, the prosperitie of the wicked makes them more inexcusable, and their damnation more iust be­fore the Tribunall of God. For it is iust with him to bring a greater measure of tribulation and anguish vpon them, in whom his many fauors a [...]d louing kindnesses haue brought forth vnthankfulnes & rebellion: & that wrath is most iustly returned vpon their heads, which by despising the riches of [Page 57] his bountifulnesse, and patience and long sufferance, leading them to repentance; they haue heapt vp as a treasure vnto themselues against the day of wrath, and of the declaration of the iust iudgement of God.

You haue heard the reasons of the happinesse of the wic­ked in this life: but it is not so with Gods children. For they must mourn in this vale of teares while the world reioyceth. And as the wicked are fild and fatted with worldly happi­nesse and plentie against the day of wrath: so Gods chil­dren must bee prepared and fitted with afflictions, for the glory which shall be reuealed. They are shortly to become inhabitants of that great and glorious city, whose foundati­ons are pretious stones, whose gates are Margarites, whose streets are pure gold, as the shining glasse; they must bee companions of the blessed Angels, and stand in the presence of that great and sacred Maiesty; and therefore in this life they must be cast into the Lords furnace, that in the fire of affliction they may be more and more purified from earthli­nes and corruption; and so with holinesse and humilitie prepared for that high perfection of heauenly beautie, glory and blisse. Let euery godly man then with comfort and be­nefit vndergoe those crosses which the Lord layeth vpon him: for they are vnto him as looking glasses, wherein God sees his faith and dependance vpon his prouidence; the world his pati [...]nce and constancie; himselfe the spots of his soule, his decayes of grace, the breaches of his conscience, his neglect of the duties of his calling, his coldnes in religi­gious seruices, his fall from his first loue: So that by them, God is pleased and glorified, others edified and instructed, himselfe humbled, recouered by repentance, and more san­ctified.

I haue staied long vpon the third reason of the formall hypocrites false persuasion of being in state of grace. The reason is; because ciuill honesty, performance of outward duties of religion, and worldly prosperitie meeting toge­ther in an vnregenerate man, many times breed a very strong conceit of his being the child of God, and an obstinate im­patiencie [Page 58] of hearkning & stepping forward to grace, or any further perfection. I come now to the fourth reason, wherby the formall hypocrite doth falsly persuade himselfe to be in the state of true happinesse and saluation, and that is:

IIII A misconceit of Gods iustice, and a straining and racking of his mercy beyond his truth and promise: so making the way to heauen broder then the Scripture hath made it, and himselfe more blessed then he is indeed. Mans heart is naturally empoysoned with pride and hypocrisie, and there­fore is hardly drawne hartily to acknowledge the horrible vglinesse of his sin; or that Gods proceeding against it with such waight of vengeance is equall. Hence comes much indulgence, and partiall censuring of our owne sinnes, trans­ferring them vpon allurements, occasions, circumstances, ne­cessitie and the like: much lessening and impairing Gods iustice, but amplifying his mercies, euen to the securing of vnwarrantable courses. Adam immediately after his fall shifteth off his sin vpon his wife; nay, he is so blind in spiri­tuall iudgement of diuine purity, that rather then hee will crie guiltie, he will fasten the fault by consequent vpon God himselfe. The woman, saith hee, which thou gauest to bee with mee, shee gaue mee of the tree, and I did eate. So glad­ly would sensuall men persuade themselues, that either their sinnes deserue not so strict account and great iudgements; or that God doth exercise too much rigour in inflicting them. For out of their worldly wisedome they measure and esteeme the vnspotted and infinite Ocean of the iustice of God, by the finite, muddie and imperfect streame of humane iustice. Lawes and constitutions of states and kingdomes are bridles to curbe and moderate our corruption, that we become sociable and peaceable; but they cut off only from the Body politique by finall execution, those that are of notorious and desperate condition, such as are Theeues, Murtherers, Traitors and the like. A verie proportionable conceit, I am persuaded, of diuine iustice and comminati­ons in the law of God, lurkes in the hearts of many; they thinke that those sinnes that arise ineuitably out of our [Page 59] corrupt nature, or that are committed by strong tempta­tion, or that are lesse pernicious, are, I know not how, naturally pardonable; and that if they bee of the ciuiller sort, if they bee outwardly conformable in their liues, and harbour good meanings and intentions in matters of re­ligion, though they neuer trouble themselues with more strictnesse, and a course of sanctification, yet they thinke that God will bee mercifull in the end, and that it will goe well enough with them; and that onely fellowes of in­famous note, such as are swearers, liers, vsurers, adulterers and the like, shall be excluded finally out of heauen. But I would haue these men know, that though the sea of Gods mercie be bottomlesse, though the promises of grace be ma­ny and pretious, yet not one drop of all that great sea, not one iot of all those gracious promises, belongs to any, saue onely vnto him that groanes and sighs vnder the heauie waight and burthen of his sins, that is of a broken and con­trite hart, that trembles at his word, that vndissembledly sor­rowes and repents for al his sins, forsakes them, and resignes vp himselfe in holy obedience to all his commandements. I would haue them know, that he is as infinitely iust, as hee is infinitely mercifull, and will as certainelie powre all the plagues and curses in his booke vpon the impenitent sinner, as he will performe all his promises of grace to the faithfull Christian.

The fifth reason whereby the formal hypocrite doth falsly V perswade himselfe to bee truly happie, and so by consequent that keeps him short of the state of grace, may be this: When by some good motion of Gods spirit stirred vp in him by the preaching of the word, he begins to set and addresse himselfe to a sanctified vse and exercise of religion, and to a faithfull and constant course of true holinesse indeed; hee presentlie meets with a sore and strong opposition by his owne inward corruptions, by temp [...]ations of Satan, and vexation from the world; which he perceiuing, and being very sensible of such sudden disturbance from his former securitie, perswades himselfe, that the passage to grace is not so rough and boi­sterous, [Page 60] and therefore retires and reposeth himselfe vpon his formall Christianitie, as the best state he sees any possibility of attaining vnto. But if hee will saue his soule, he must ac­knowledge and feele by his owne experience the truth of that saying of Isai. 59.15, He that refraineth from euill, ma­keth himselfe a pray. For what child of God is there truly conuerted, who at the very first step out of the world, and the vanities thereof, met not with many crosses and discou­ragements? He knowes, and may remember full well who­soeuer he bee, how his owne flesh fretted when it felt it selfe snaffled and guided by the Law of the spirit; how by making conscience of sinne he laid himself more open to the aduan­tages, wrongs and insultations of his enemies; how the companions of his former leaudnesse and iniquitie railed and raged against him, as against an Apostata from goodfel­lowship and high resolution. And Satan, that he may giue edge and vigour to all these vexations, hee busilie bestirres himselfe, and casts about to hinder our conuersion. While a prisoner lies in a dungeon fast in fetters, the Iaylor is quiet and secure; but if hee once knocke off his bolts, breake the prison and escape, there is presently a tumultuous clamour in the house, the Countrie is raised, and he is followed with Hue and Cry: Euen so while we lie quietly in the captiuitie of sinne, vnder the chaines of eternall death, he neither dis­quiets himselfe nor vs: But if by the mercies of God we bee once enlarged, and set foot into the libertie and light of grace; why then all the powers of hell are presently in armes and vprore, and with much malice and furie the instruments of darkenes are set on foot to regaine vs into his kingdome. This point appeares in the fifth of the Canticles: Our bles­sed Sauiour is there said to stand at the doore and knocke, being full of the pretious dew and drops of diuine grace, and waiting patiently in the cold and darknesse of the night; but yet we see, what ado and stirre there is with the Christi­an soule, before she can get vp out of the bed of pleasures and vanitie; the sweetnesse of sinne and sensualitie had so deepely possest and bewitched her, that by her excuses and [Page 61] delaies she hazards so great saluation and happines, tende­red vnto her by her spo [...]se. Yea, and at length after she is re­solued to renounce her pleasures, and in some good measure hath conquered her inward corruptions, so that shee opens the doore & followes Christ; besides other troubles and en­cumbrances she finds abroad, the very watchmen that should haue told her the way, and directed her after her spouse, euen they set vpon her, and smite her, and wound her, and take a­way her vaile. Euery man then that will come vnder the banner of Christ, and haue part in the conquest, must toge­ther with the new man put on a Christian courage, both to tame and represse the rebellions of his owne flesh, and to withstand and repell assaults and persecutions from abroad.

The sixth reason, whereby the formal hypocrite doth false­ly VI perswade himselfe to bee in state of true happines, may be, an obseruation of the death and ends of other men, whose liues, he perswades himselfe, come short of those per­fections and degrees of goodnesse he findes in himselfe. As if he take notice of a notorious sinner, who vpon his deaths-bed by a perfunctorie shew of penitencie, and some formall eiaculations for mercy and pardon, makes the world beleeue he dies a Saint. Or if he obserue the end of an honest ciuill man, yet neuer acquainted with the power of grace, to bee quiet, peaceable, and confident, without impatiency, feare or despaire; he presently out of a comparatiue examination of his owne state, (which he finds, not onely free from notori­ous sinnes, but besides morall honestie, graced with outward religiousnesse) I say he presently conceiues his owne workes in respect of theirs, to be works of supererogation, his owne life certainely to be without all exception, and so himselfe without all danger of damnation. And this conceit is nota­bly confirmed, if there follow some glorious and flattering Panegyricke of funerall commendation. For then he holds the assurance of his happinesse to be sealed vnto him by the mouth of the minister, and so with resolution and obstinacie sticks fast in his present state and will no further.

Mistake me not in this last point, beloued in Christ Iesus. [Page 62] For first, I do not go about to confine the boundles and vnli­mited mercies of God, nor absolutely to exclude repentance from the deaths bed. I know that pretious truth, registred in Ezechiel: But let no man beare himselfe pre­sumptuously vpon this com­fortable pro­mise, but con­sider well the condition: for it is thus in the Text: But if the wicked will re­turne from all his sinnes, that he hath done, and keep [...] all my sta­tutes, and do th [...] which is law full and right, he shall surely liue, and shall not die. Ezech 18.21. At what time soeuer a sinner, &c. like a Pearle in a ring, and a Starre in his Orbe, shines, amongst many o­ther gracious promises in the booke of God, with speciall comfort, vnspeakable and glorious, vpon the darkened and drouping soule of euerie true penitent, at what time soeuer. But yet this I say in this point; That any man that knowes, and is acquainted rightly and truly with the narrownesse of the way to heauen, the nature of Gods iustice, the cunning sleights of Satan, the difficultie of true repentance, how fearefully mans heart is hardned by custome and continu­ance in sin; he would not deferre his repentance to his old age, or deaths-bed for ten thousand worlds. I adde this: That

As a sudden death in respect of time, or a death, where­in appeares much impatiencie, fiercenesse and vncomfor­table behauiour, by reason of the qualitie of the disease, or some extraordinarie temptation for the time, or that God will be so glorified, by iustly hardning the wicked, may bee the way to euerlasting happinesse: so a lingring, patient, and lamblike death, may be a passage to endlesse woe and mise­rie. For that great iudgement is to passe vpon our soules, not according to the strange effects & symptoms of our sick­nesse, not according to the short moment and violent passi­ons of our death, but according to the actions of our health, the former affections of our hearts, and the generall course of our life.

Secondly, I would by no meanes be too busie, or vnchari­table in my iudgement vpon those, which haue alreadie stood, or fal [...]e to their owne master. But as I esteeme that crueltie and malice most sauage and vile that is discharged vpon the body, or good name of the dead; so I would haue also a charitable conceit follow the soule of the departed, so farre as spirituall, wisdome a good conscience, diuine truth, the glory of God, the safetie of the soules of the liuing, will giue leaue: But no further.

[Page 63]Thirdly, neither doe I mislike or condemne Funerall Ser­mons. I could rather wish; that as the death of his Saints is precious in the sight of God, so that it might be glorious in the eyes of men. I could rather desire, that the iust pray­ses, and true sincerity of the child of God were published euen by some Seraphicall tongue; that both the glory of his graces might passe along and shine bright to all posterity; and that such a fire of zeale for imitation, might be enkind­led in the hearts of all the hearers, (especially the present occasion making their minds more capable of persuasion;) that they passing thorow the same course of holinesse, might at length be made partakers of the same happinesse with the Saints of God.

Only in these cases I would haue that spirituall discretion, truth, and conscience vsed, that neither the godly be iustly grieued and offended, the wicked heartned and hardened in their courses, & false conceit of happines; nor the faithfulnes and sincerity of the ministery disgraced and scandalized.

Thus farre I haue laid open vnto you the state of for­mall hypocrisie: in which may concurre immunity from notorious sinnes, all naturall and morall perfections, ad­mirable variety of learning, policy, and all other acqui­red ornaments of the mind: an outward performance of all duties of religion, some measure of inward illumination, a resemblance and shadow of the whole body of true regene­ration, and a persuasion (as you haue now last heard) of be­ing in state of grace. Euen thus farre a man may goe in the profession of Christian religion, and yet be a stranger from the power of faith, and from the life of godlinesse. I now come by reasons and arguments to disable it in those points which haue not beene touched, for challenging any interest in the true happinesse of a man. And first to proue, that a per­formance of outward duties of religion, without the po­wer of grace vpon the soule, and an vniuersall sanctification in all the faculties thereof, cannot produce any sound com­fort in the heart, or acceptation with God.

My first reason is that Principle generally receiued with [Page 64] all schoole Diuines; and very sound and Orthodox in true Diuinity. The iniquitie, defect, or exorbitancie of any par­ticular, of one circumstance, maketh an action euill: but an absolute integritie of all concurrents is required to make a good worke acceptable to God, comfortable and profitable to a Christian: The end must be good, the glory of God; the action it selfe in it owne nature must be iust & warrantable; the circumstances honest and seasonable; the meanes direct and lawfull; the fountaine, the hart, sincere and sanctified. If this last be wanting especially, though otherwise it be neuer so gloriously conucied, neuer so wisely managed, of neuer so goodly a shew to the eyes of the world, yet it is not only mard and defaced, and no action of grace, but odious and a­bominable in the sight of God. The Moralists by the light of nature saw a truth proportionable to this, euen in the acti­ons of vertue: The truth and worth wherof they did censure and esteeme, not by the bare outward action, but by the inward, free and independent vprightnesse of the mind: And therefore to an action truely vertuous they required a resolued knowledge, an irrespectiue and aduised freedome of spirit, a constant and easie habit of the mind, an entire loue to the fairenesse of vertue. So that whatsoeuer honest actions sprung from passion, humour, scare, respect, ambiti­on or the like, they accounted vertuous and good, onely by accident and occasion, not inwardly and essentially: whereupon they hold, that many great and honourable atchieuements of ancient Worthies amongst the Heathens, howsoeuer they were admirable in the eyes of men, and be­neficiall to the publicke State (for sometimes out of some sudden eleuation of spirit, or pang of vaine-glorie, they were euen prodigall of their liues and blood, for the good and deliuerance of their countrie:) yet to the authours and actors themselues they were not the true workes of ver­tue, but of ambition, and a desire of immortall fame. It is euen so in the higher actions of grace and religion: Besides the outward performance, God requires sinceritie of heart and truth in the inward parts, to make them gratious and [Page 65] acceptable. And howsoeuer otherwise they may purchase them a name amongst men, prosperity in the world, some lesse torment in hell, and procure good vnto others, yet ex­cept they proceed from a faith vnfained, and a pure consci­ence, to the Christians themselues, in respect of all heauenly happinesse, they are fruitles and vnprofitable.

My second proofe is out of the 5. of Matth. Except your 2 righteousnesse exceed the righteousnesse of the Scribes and Pha­risies, ye shall not enter into the kingdome of heauen. The out­ward righteousnesse of the Scribes and Pharisies was fa­mous in those times, and much admired: So that if God did not principally respect the heart; if that were not true in the 16. of Luke; That which is highly esteemed amongst men, is abomination in the sight of God; they might not onely haue carried away the garland for piety on earth; but haue iustly seemed to haue beene the onely heires to a crowne of im­mortality in the heauens. For besides their forbearance and protestation against grosser sinnes, Murther, Theft, Adulte­rie, Idolatrie and the like, they were frequent and solemne in prayers, fastings, almes-deeds, and that with farre grea­ter strictnesse and deuotion, then the religious actions of formall hypocrisie are performed in these times of the Gos­pell. Besides, I doubt not but many of them were persuaded, that their way was the way of life, and that they were in the state of true happinesse: And yet for all this, except wee ex­ceede their righteousnesse, the speech is peremptorie, we shall not enter into the kingdome of heauen. For we see in the 23. of Mat. what a chaine of curses, out of the mouth of our blessed Sauiour, did iustly draw them into the bot­tome of hell.

Thirdly, this truth is manifest out of the Doctrine of the 3 Prophets: Esai. 1, Mich. 6. Hag. 2. Psal. 50. and many o­ther places. Whence ariseth this conclusion: That the prin­cipall and holiest exercises, the most solemne and sacred actions of religion, without sinceritie and sanctification of heart, are but as the cutting off a Dogs necke, and the offe­ring of swines blood. Their sacrifices, oblations, and incense▪ [Page 66] Their n [...]w Moon [...]s, their Sabbaths and solemne feasts were things commanded by Gods own [...] mouth; ye [...] where they were performed with impure and prop [...]ane hearts, he tel [...] them, that his soule hated them, that they were a burthen vnto him, and that he was wearie of them. For if the Lords contentment had finally rested in the worke wrought, and not chieflie respected the inward affection of the worker, had he required onely the ceremoniall action of sacrificing, and not the spirituall conformitie of the heart to his will; why he had not need to desire sacrifices of them, nor expe­cted supplie from their hands; as appeareth in that sacred anti royall contestation of God with his people, about the question of his worship, Psal. 50. I will not reproue thee for thy sacrifices, (s [...]ith God) or thy burnt offerings, that haue not beene continually before me. I will take no Bullocke out of thine house, or Goates out of thy folds. For all the beasts of the forrest are mine, and the beasts on a thousand [...]ils. I know all the sowl [...]s on the Mountai [...]es, and the w [...]ld b [...]asts of the fi [...]ld are mine. If I be hungrie▪ I will not tell the [...]: for the world is mine, and all that therein i [...]. Will I [...]ate the flesh of B [...]ls? or drinke the blood of Goat [...]s? Nay, if we consider God in his absolute soueraign­ty, and essentiall glory, euen that is true of the most sanctifi­ed works of Gods child, which is in Iob. 35.7. If thou b [...] righteous, wh [...]t [...]? or what receiue [...]h he [...] at thine hand? and that of Dauid, Psal. 16.2. My we [...]doing extendeth not vnto th [...]. For what can that little sparke of holinesse in vs, which doth first too proceed from him, and is onely darkened in ou [...] corruptions; adde vnto that infi­nite G [...]ory, and [...], and [...], that no man can attain [...] vnto; with which he hath incomprehensiblie li [...]n [...]ncom­passed frō al [...]terni [...]y? Only i [...]ple [...]seth him of his infinit good­nesse, and out of a gratious desire of our saluation, to accept our sincerity though mix [...] with imperfections, and to crown his owne gra [...] in vs▪ [...] then shall appeare the bare outwardnes of hollowhearted Christians? If the heart bee wanting, what magnificence or glory of outward seruices shall be able to dazle his sight, whose eyes are ten thousand [Page 67] times brighter then the Sunne, and sees clea [...]ely our inmost thoughts? Wherewith shall we come b [...]fo [...] th [...] [...] or what shall we offer vnto him? Will the Lord be pleased with ten thou­sands of rams, or with ten thousand riuers of Oil [...]? Shall we giue our first borne for our transgression, euen the fruite of our bodie, for the [...]inne of our soule? No; though we [...] gaue all that wee had to the poore, and our owne bodie [...] to bee burnt: nay, if it were possible, that by our meanes we could vindi­cate the soules of all men now liuing from the iawes of eter­nall death; yet all would profit vs nothing, except our harts be first purged by faith, pure from an euill conscience, and possest of a sound and constant loue to God, his word, his honour, his truth, and seruants.

Let this then be the conclusion to this point: Though a man were a moral Saint, an Angell amongst the Phrisees, ab­solute in all other perfections, yet without the inward power of grace to giue them life, he is but a spectacle of commis [...] ­ration to Angels, & to mē; euen as that body is, which ador­ned with sundry other exquisite beauties, wanteth eye-sight, the chiefest grace that nature hath in that kind to bestow. Or as a cunning Organist, skilful in the outward touch of his in­strument, yet without wind inspired, cannot possibly strike the care, or please the heart with any m [...]lodious noise: so though his actions be flourished ouer with a faire tincture of outward religiousnesse, and he exact in morall honesty, yet without the breath and life of grace infused, there can be no true spiritual harmony in his affections, wo [...]ds or conuersati­on, th [...]t either will beget sound ioy and spirituall delight in the soule, or be pleasing in the [...]ares of almightie God.

You see then beloued in Christ Iesus, that the performan­ces of outward duties of religion, euen the best, s [...]h as are Prayers▪ hearing the word of God, rec [...]iuing the Sacraments, almes-deeds and the like, though they bee good in them­selues, commanded of God, necessarie to be done of euerie Christian; yet if they be diuided from inward sanctificati­on and sinceritie of heart, are so far [...]e from putting vs into [Page 68] possession of true happines, that they are odious and abomi­nable in the sight of God.

I told you in the beginning, if you remember, that besides outward righteousnesse, the formall hypocrite may beleeue for a time, and therefore by the inward, though more gene­rall and infe [...]iour working of the Spirit, may haue a tempora­rie faith begot in him: and this faith may bring forth some fruits, and some kinds of inward graces. But that all this comes short of saluation, appeares in the parable: For there the hearer compared to the stonie ground, which I call the formall hypocrite, is one of the reprobate hearers, vpon whom the word is not the power of God to saluation. As for those fiue degrees added out of the sixth to the Hebrues, of which I told you the formall hypocrite may be partaker; it is manifest out of the same Chapter, that they come short of the state of grace. For a man but so furnished, may not onely fall b [...]cke to a worse, and more ordinarie state of a r [...] ­probate, but euen to the depth of all impietie and apostasie. He may not onely haue his measure of inward illumination, all his lighter ioy and comfort in Gods word quite extin­guisht; but become a wilfull and malicious scorner of true godlinesse. He may not onely grieue, and quench the spirit; but hee may tread vnder foot the Sonne of God, count the bloud of the Testament, as an vnholy thing, and despite the very Spirit of grace, so that it may be impossible, that hee should be renewed againe by repentance.

In the last place I told you, that besides all these, the for­mall hypo [...]rite might entertaine a perswasion of his being in the state of true happinesse; and so with contentment and securitie walke in the path that leads to eternall death: but how weak and false the reasons and motiues to this perswa­sion were, I haue before largely deliuered. It remaines ther­fore, that I should now lay downe certaine markes and pro­perties of difference, betwixt the state of formall hypocrisie and sauing grace: but I must referre a large prosecution and distinct treatise of them to some other place and time. Yet at [Page 69] this time, by the grace of God, I shall deliuer so much, that any man that will deale faithfully with his owne conscience, and follow me with attention to the end, may in some good measure be informed, whether hee lie yet in the shadow of death, or liue in the light of grace. Some difference then, first, may arise, out of the distinction of the degrees and wor­kings of faith. Which that you may better conceiue, you must remember three sorts of faith: Historicall, Temporarie, Sauing or Iustifying faith.

Historicall faith, is not only a knowledge of the word of God, but also an assent of the heart to the truth of it. And this is of two sorts: either Infused, which is wrought in vs by the illightning spirit of God, and staying it selfe vpon his autho­ritie: Or Acquired, which is produced by the light of reason, discourse, and created testimony.

The latter is to bee found in the diuels; for they beleeue and tremble. And in the Papists; for their faith is no better, according to their grounds and principles. My reason is this briefly; for I will deliuer my selfe of this point in a word. The Iesuites by their iugling haue cast themselues into a cir­cle about the faith of the truth, and diuinitie of Scriptures; and that is this: Ask any Papist in this land; how he beleeues Scripture to be the word of God, and diuinely inspired; he will answere, Because th [...] Church deliuereth it so to be. And why beleeueth he the testimonie of the Church? Because it it is infallibly guided by the spirit. And how doth that ap­peare? Because it is so contained in Scripture, as in Iohn 16. The Spirit will leade you into all truth. And how shall wee know this scripture of Iohn, to bee the word of God and di­uinely inspired? Because the Church deliuereth it so to bee; and so they must needs run round in this circulation.

Now I would propose to the Papists, the choice of these three; one of which they must of necessitie accept: First, whe­ther they wil run round in this circle, & wax giddy, and fall, and sink into that pit, where Poperie was first hatcht; or they wil break the circle at the authoritie of the Scriptures, and so [Page 70] by consequent, they must fall to our side, and the truth; or they will breake it at the testimonie of the Church, and so all their faith, as I told you, must needs be onely acquired, be­cause it depends on a finite and created testimonie, and con­sequently comes farre short of saluation. I doubt not, but the Papists will acknowledge and approoue that difference be­twixt infused and acquired faith consented vpon by the Schoolemen: That infused faith, relieth immediately vpon an increated authoritie; but acquired, vpon a finite and crea­ted testimonie. I know the Iesuites, a kind of men inspired with a transcendencie of Antichristian imposture, labour bu­silie to passe plausibly and handsomly out of this circle: but if their shifts be thorowly sisted, & they followed with force of argument; it is certaine, they will either be driuen into the circle againe, or enforced to start out, at the one of those breaches I told you of. Beca [...]us, one of them, after hee had long tired himselfe in this circle, and at last by the helpe of Gregorius de Val. and former Iesuites got out, but with shamefull absurditie and inconuenience; in a poore reuenge to relieue himselfe, he threatens vs with another circle; and so writes a Treatise de Circulo Caluinistico; but very weake­ly and falsly, as might be demonstrated euen out of the soun­der Schoolemen, in their question of the last resolution of faith. But I intended no discourse of controuersie, but of sanctification; and therefore I proceed, and take the formall hypocrite along further towards the state of grace. For be­sides knowing, and assenting to the truth of Gods word by an historicall faith, hee may by the vertue of a temporarie faith, adde three degrees moe. That is: He may moreouer professe it in outward seruices of religion: He may inwardlie reioice in it: He may bring forth some kind of fruit. But these things are onely found in him, so long as they do not maine­ly cr [...]sse, but are compatible with his worldly peace, wealth, libertie, and other delightfull contentments. Here therefore I must leaue him; and acquaint you with those workings and degrees of sauing faith; which qualified, as I shall pro­pose [Page 71] them, are peculiar to Gods child; and so distinguish and diuide the regenerate man, from the state of formall hy­pocrisie. They are these▪

A feeling and speciall approbation of the word of life and promises of saluation: a most feruent expetition and thirsting for the enioyment of them: an effectuall appre­hension; a particular application; a full perswasion; a de­light and ioy thence rising, sound, and vnconquerable.

That you may vnderstand these, you must conceiue, that the soule of Gods child, comming fresh out of the pangs and terrors of his new-birth (a mysterie to the formall hypo­crite) humbled vnder the mightie hand of God, by a sight and sense of his sinnes, lookes vpon the whole body of diuine truth, as vpon a precious iewel, wherin Christ & his gratious promises shine vnto him especially, as a stone of inestima­ble worth and valuation; whereupon with a peculiar deare­nes he sets such a liking, that with it hee holds himselfe an heire of heauen; without it a child of endlesse perdition. Hence followes an expetition and desire of it, enforced with groanes vnutterable, and a gasping for it, as the dry and thirstie ground for drops of raine. Thirdly, hee apprehends it with a fast and euerlasting hold. Fourthly, hee applies it closely and particularly to his owne soule. Fifthly, he is true­ly and fully perswaded by Gods good spirit, out of a con­sideration of his vniuersall change, that it is his owne for euer. Last [...]y▪ he lies downe in peace that passeth all vnder­standing: He is filled with ioy, that no man can take from him: He delights in the grace apprehended, as in a treasure farre more deare vnto him then the glory of infinite worlds, or life it selfe. From the power and workings of this inward grace, spring outward actions; both in his generall calling of Christianity, and his particular vocation, which by the mercies of God are faithfull, constant, vniforme, impartiall, resolute, vniuersall, comfortable. Whereas those which are produced by the more weake and inferiour degrees of tem­porarie faith, incident to the formall hypocrite, are weake, wauering, many times interrupted, variable; guided much [Page 72] by occasions; & the time, forced by hope or feare; swayed by secret respects to priuate ends, and worldly contentments.

But these more inward markes of difference, howsoeuer by a sweete and gratious experience they be felt, and ac­knowledged of the child of God; yet generally, and to the vnregenerate, they are hidden mysteries, and vndiscernable to the brightest eye of the naturall man. Therefore I will come to those markes of difference betwixt the state of for­mall hypocrisie, and sauing grace, which are more outward, familiar, and more generally, and casilie discernable. Of which one may be this:

1 The power of grace doth beget in a regenerate man, a watchfulnesse, care and conscience of smaller offences, of se­cret sins, of sinfull thoughts, of appearances of euill, of all occasions of sinne, of prophane companie, of giuing iust of­fence in indifferent actions and the like: whereas the for­mall hypocrite taketh not such things as these much to heart, but either makes no conscience of them at all, hol­ding it a point of precisenes to be too conscionable; or else proportions it to serue his owne turne, or to giue satisfaction to others. And in forbearance of sinnes, he hath an especiall eye onely at those that may notoriously disgrace him in the world, entangle him in danger of law, or vexe his conscience with some extraordinarie terror.

Let those then examine themselues at this marke; who, howsoeuer shame keepe them from vncleane practises, and grosser acts of filthines; yet inwardly boyle in speculatiue wantonnesse and adulteries of the heart. Those, who howso­euer their indirect meanes speed not for mounting them­selues to high estate, yet spend their best thoughts all their life long, in proiecting and contriuing, as though they were borne to aduance themselues, and not to honour God in their [...]allings. Those, who though they doe not enclose, op­presse and grind the faces of the poore; yet haue their hearts exercised in couetousnes. Those, who though they haue for­sakē some sins, yet maintain in themselues one known sweet sinne. Those, who though lawes, and feare of danger [Page 73] restraine from railing with open mouthes against our State, yet harbour secret repinings, murmurings, vnthankful­nesse, and discontentments. Euen a contemptuous thought of a king, or lawfull authority, is a sinne of high nature: and me thinkes, for the miraculousnesse of the discouerie; is paralleld in Ecclesiastes, to the bloodinesse of actuall mur­ther. That which hath wings (saith the Preacher) shall declare the matter. Chap. 10.20.

Lastly, let those examine themselues at this marke, who offer themselues to those sinfull occasions, breeders of many strange and fearefull mischiefes, I meane prophane and ob­scene Playes. Pardon me beloued, I cannot passe by those a­bominable spectacles, without particular indignation. For I did euer esteeme them, since I had any vnderstanding in the waies of God, the Grand empoysoners of grace, inge­nuousnes, and all manly resolution: Greater plagues and infections to your soules, then the contagious pestilence to your bodies: The inexpiable staine and dishonour to this famous City: The noisome wormes that canker and blast the generous and noble buds of this land; and doe by a slie and bewitching insinuation so empoyson all seeds of vertue, and so weaken and emasculate all the operations of the soule, with a prophane, if not vnnaturall dissolutenes; that whereas they are planted in these worthie houses of Law, to be fitted and enabled for great and honourable actions, for the publicke good, and the continuance of the glory and happinesse of this kingdome, they licentiously dissolue into wicked vanities and pleasures, and all hope of their e­uer doing good, either vnto God, the Church, their Coun­trie or owne soules, melteth as the winter ice, and floweth away as vnprofitable waters. These infamous spectacles are condemned by all kind of sound learning, both diuine and humane. Distinctions deuised for their vpholding and de­fence, may giue some shallow and weake contentment to partiall and sensuall affections, possest with preiudice: but how shall they be able to satisfie and secure a conscience sensible of all appearance of euill? How can they preserue the [Page 74] inclinablenesse of our corrupt nature from infection, at those Schooles of leaudnes and S [...]nkes of all sins, as (to omit Diuines Councels, Fathers, Moralists, because the point is not direct­ly incident) euen a Theatra desi­nire possumus, surpitudinis, vi [...]iorumque omnium senti­nam▪ ac scholam. [...]odin. [...]e repub. lib. 6. cap. 1. Polititian calleth them. Alas, are not our wretched corruptions raging and fierie enough, being left to themselues dispersed at their naturall liberty; but they must be vnited at these accursed Theaters, as in a hollow glasse to set on flame the whole body of our natural vitious­nesse at once, and to enrage it further with lust, fiercenesse, and effeminatenes, beyond the compasse of nature? Doth any man thinke it possible that the power of sauing grace, or the pure spirit of God can reside in his hart, that willing­ly & with ful consent seeds his inward concupiscence, with such variety of sinfulll vanities and leaud occasions, which the Lord himselfe hath pronounced to be an abomination vnto him?D [...]ut. 22.5. How can any man that euer felt in his hart, either true loue or feare of so dreadfull a Maiestie, as the Lord of heauen and earth, endure to be present, especially with de­light and contentment, at Oathes, Blasphemies, Obsceni­ties, and the abusing sometimes of the most pretious things in the booke of God, whereat wee should tremble, to most base and scurrill iests? Certainely euery child of God is of a right noble and heroicall spirit; and therfore is most impati­ent in hearing any wrong, indignitie or dishonour offered to the word, name, or glory of his Almightie Father.

2 A second marke of difference may be this: The power of sauing grace doth subdue and sanctifie our affections with a conscionable and holy moderation; so that they become seruiceable to the glory of God, and for a more resolute ca­riage of good causes, and zealous discharge of all Christian duties. But the bridling of passions in the formall hypo­crite, is not so much of conscience, as artificiall, politique, for aduantage, and by the guidance of morall discretion: so that if they be tempted by strong occasions, and violent ob­iects, they many times breake out, to the dishonour of God, the disgrace of a Christian profession, and the discouery of their hypocrisie.

[Page]Let euery man then examine himselfe at this marke, and with a single eye and vpright heart take a view of his affe­ctions; whether his ioy be inward and spirituall, that is, in the assurance of Gods fauour, in his word, in his children, in prayer, and a continuall practise of godlinesse; or outward and ca [...]uall, that is, in the attainement of greatnesse and wo [...]dly pleasures, in the increase of his corne and wine, and oile. Whether he loue the peace of conscience farre more de [...]rely 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 he be more affraid of secret sinnes, then open shame; of offending God, then outward afflicti­ons: Whether he be more angry in the cause of religion, and concerning Gods glory, or for his owne priuat wrongs. And so thorow out the rest of his affections.

Let the fierce and desperate gallants consider this point; which vpon euery light occasion, and termes of disgrace, are ready, out of a graceles & vngrounded opinion of declining cowardize, to sheath their swords in the bodie of their bro­ther. And let them assure themselues, that the meeke and mercifull spirit of God, will neuer consist with such bloodie and vntamed affections; his holy motions will not come in­to their secret, neither will his sauing grace be ioyned with their assembly. For in their wrath they will kill a man, and in their selfe-will they will destroy the image of God. Cur­sed bee their wrath, for it is fierce; and their rage, for it is cruell.

Oh that they would but marke and foresee, into what an ineuitable, and endlesse maze of certaine misery and venge­ance they enter, when they enter into the field, vpon either offer, or acceptance of challenge. If they be slaine, they are accessaries to their owne vntimely murder: They violentlie and wilfully pull themselues from the land of the liuing, to the abhorred regions of death: They cruelly, and irrecoue­rably rent their owne poore soules from time of grace and repentance: They extinguish all hope of posteritie; and per­haps their house and family determines in that bloudie act. [Page 76] But that which is the accomplishment of all miseries and terrour, they iustly fall into the hands of the liuing God, who will certainely iudge them after the manner of them that shead their owne bloud; and will giue them the bloud of wrath, and of iealousie. And whereas they looked to leaue a name behind them, it shall rot away with as vile detestation, as their carcases in the graue:Prou. 10.7. The memoriall of the iust, faith Salomon, shall be blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot. If it doe liue, it shall liue to their shame and infamy. For I dare say this boldly; There was neuer any man rightly informed, either in the principles of nature, or in the gracious way to heauen, in the sober passages of moraliti [...], or in the iustice of state and policie, or acquainted with the fairenesse of true honour, that euer gaue any allowance, or euer will to the re­putation of manhood, falsely so called, purchased in priuat quarrell in the field. This is then all they get: for the losse of soule and bodie, of heauen and earth, of name and poste­ritie, they onely gaine the damned applause of diuels, swag­gerers and wicked men.

But if it fall out otherwise, that they be not kild, but kill; marke what befals them [...] they depart the field drunken with blood, as with new wine, and therefore they shall be sure at length to be fild with drunkennes, and with sorrow, euen with the cup of destruction and trembling; they shall drinke of it deepe and large, and wring it out to the very dregs. For presently after the murder committed, they haue Caines fearefull marke stampt vpon them: The furies of conscience; and cries of blood, shal for euer persecute them with restlesse horrour: As they clothed themselues with rage like a rai­ment, so shall it now come into their bowels like water, and sinke like oile into their bones. In the meane time they shall liue in the hell of conscience vpon earth, and expect euerie houre to be tumbled into the h [...]ll of wicked diuels for euer­more in the world to come.

Let me then in the name and feare of God aduise them; if they would win an opinion of true valor indeed, if they look for any portion in the mercies of God, or honour amongst [Page 77] his Saints, to settle and compose such wild affection [...] by the word of truth; to turne the greatnesse of their courage and gallantnesse of Spirit, to the subduing and conquering of their owne corruptions, and to the wrastling against princi­palities and powers, against the worldly gouernours, the princes of the darknesse of this world, against spiritual wick­ednesses, which are in the high places. This fight is Christian, and couragious indeed, the victory is glorious, the reward is immortalitie.

A third note of difference may be this: Euery child of 3 God by the power of sauing grace, doth hunger and thirst after all those meanes God hath ordained, or offers for his furtherance in the way to heauen, and for his comforting and confirming in a Christian course; and doth make a ho­ly vse of whatsoeuer is either publickly or priuately laid vpon him for his amendment: and therefore he continually profits and proceeds in sanctification by his word, his iudge­ments and his mercies: by the exercise, obseruation and sense of which, hee growes sensiblie in heauenly know­ledge, faith, humiliation, repentance, thankfulnesse, and all other spirituall graces. But the formall hypocrite doth so farre take notice and regard of them, as they further his tem­poral happinesse, and as his neglect of them, by consequent threatneth danger and ouerthrow to his outward worldlie state. For the present perhaps, hee is mooued with the hea­ring of the word of God, with the terror of his iudgements, while they lie with some extraordinarie waight vpon him­selfe, or the whole land; and with the sweetnesse of his mer­cies, because they secure him in his prosperitie. But these things sinke not into his soule with the power of mortifica­tion, to the destroying of his sinfull affections, and the sha­king off of euery knowne sinne.

Beloued in our Lord and Sauiour Christ Iesus, let vs eue­ry one of vs, I beseech you, trie himself faithfully by this note of difference: And the rather because our gracious God hath most plentifully and incomparablie vouchsafed vs in this land all meanes to bring vs vnto heauen. He hath vis [...] ­ted [Page 78] vs with his word, his iudgements and mercies, to the a­stonishment of the whole world. Now let vs consider, whe­ther as they haue bred admiration in men and Angels, so they haue brought saluation to our owne soules.

1 First, for his word. For these fiftie yeeres, you know, hee hath spread out his hands all the day long; he hath sent all his seruants, the preachers of his word, rising vp earely, and sending them, saying: Returne now euery man from his e­uill way, and am [...]nd your workes. Let vs then examine our selues in this point. Hath this glorious Gospell, which hath so long shined bright in our eies, and sounded loud in our cares, hath it, I say, bin mightie in operation vpon our soules, in planting in them the power of true godlinesse? Doe wee daily grow more sound by it in the knowledge of the truth; and see more particularly into the way and whole course of Christianitie? Doth it continually build vs vp more strong­ly in faith, repentance, and an holy obedience to all his com­mandements? Why then blessed is our [...]ase: for this power­ful experience in our soules of daily growth in godlinesse by the word, is a notable mark vnto vs that we are in the state of grace; and so al the blessings in the book of God belong vn­to vs, and pleasures moe, then the starres of the firmament in number. But if otherwise (which is rather to be feared) if we haue either bin no hearers, or but now and then, as our worldly commodities would giue vs leaue, or hearers onelie of forme and fa [...]on, not of zeale and conscience to profit by it, and yeeld obedience vnto it, or onely hearers and no doers, why then we may assure our selues, we are yet short of the state of grace; and marke what will be the end, both of vs and the whole land; it must needs be the same with that of Iuda and Ierusalem (for they were as wel beloued of God as euer England can be) Goe, Chap. 35. saith God vnto Ieremie, Goe and tell the men of Iuda, and the inhabitants of Ierusalem: I haue sent you all my seruants the Prophets, rising vp earely, and sen­ding them; but you would not encline your care, you would not obay me; therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Is­rael: Behold, I will bring vpon Iuda, and vpon all the inhabitants [Page 79] of Ierusalem, all the euill that I haue pronounced against them. I will doe vnto this house, whereupon my name is called, wherein also ye trust, as I haue done vnto Shilo. I will cast them out of my sight: And will make [...]his City a curse vnto all the nations of the earth. And the Lord was so vnremoueable and setledly re­solued vpon this point (sith hee had so long preached vnto them by his Prophets, as he hath done vnto this land, and it would doe no good) that he bids the Prophet meddle no more, for he would neuer heare him againe: Therefore (saith he) thou shalt not pray for this people, neither lift vp crie or prayer for them, neither intreat mee, for I will not heare thee.

The iudgements vpon this land haue beene many and 2 fearefull. I doubt not, but we haue seene with our eyes, e­uen those which are very neere fore-runners of that great and terrible day of the Lord. Wee haue seene strange and prodigious apparitions in the aire: we haue had vnheard of plots and practises against our State. Our land hath long and extraordinarily groaned vnder a sore and durable plague, which hath stucke close to the bowels of this City. The sea hath broke out of her bounds, and swept away ma­ny as righteous as our selues: we haue felt such extremity of heate and cold, of which I thinke these parts of the world are not naturally capable; so certaine is it that the finger of God hath beene in them. The poore of the land euen now grieuously sigh, and pine with a present famine. Let vs then examine our selues in this point. Haue wee laid all these iudgements vnto our hearts? haue we beene truely humbled by them? haue we by a diligent search taken notice of our sinnes and grieued for them, and abandoned them? haue we mourned and cried for all the abominations that are done a­mongst vs? Why then blessed is our case, our state is the state of grace; we shall be sure to be marked and sealed in the foreheads, by the Angell of God, for his seruants, before the vials of final desolation be powred vpon this kingdome. But if otherwise (which is rather to be feared) if hee hath smitten vs, and we haue not sorrowed; if he hath corrected [Page 80] vs for amendment, and we are not bettered, but rather worse and worse; we may assure ourselues we yet want a gracious marke, and effect of the power of true godlines; and marke what will be the end both of vs and our whole land; it can be no other then that of his owne people. And thus he dealt with them by his iudgements, euen as a Physition with his patient. A Physition while there is any hope of recouerie in his patient; he vseth the benefit of all the rules of art, all va­riety of meanes, prescribing diet, letting blood, ministring pils and potions; but when he once perceiues the naturall heate to b [...] so decayed, and strength of nature spent, that his physicke will worke no more good vpon him, but rather hasten his ruine then his recouerie, hee then leaues him to the pangs of death and dissolution of soule and body. Euen so deales God with his people, while there is any hope of repentance, he visits them by all kind of castigations, all maner of punishments: But when all sense of religion, all heate of zeale, and life of grace haue so vtterly forsaken the hearts of men; that they are rather broken then bowed, ra­ther hardened then humbled by his iudgements; hee giues them ouer to their owne iust confusion. He leaues them fi­nally, neuer more to bee intreated, to lamentations, mour­nings and woe; to the feare, to the pit, and to the snare: to the Lion, the Wolfe, and the Leopard. Thou hast stricken them (saith Ieremie) but they haue not sorrowed, Chap. 5.3. thou hast con­sumed them, but they haue refused to rec [...]iue correction: they haue made their faces harder then a stone, and haue refused to returne. Vers. 6. Wherefore a Lion out of the forrest shall stay them, and a Wolfe of the wilderness shall destroy them: a Leopard shall watch ouer their Cities, euery one that goeth out then [...], shall be torne in peeces, because their trespasses are many, and their rebellions are encreased. This course of Gods proceeding in his iudge­ments, we may see most cleerely in the 4. of Amos. He first gaue them cleann [...]sse of teeth in all their Cities, and scarce­nes of bread in all their places; and yet they returned not vnto him: He withheld the raine from them, when there were yet three moneths to the haruest; so that two or three [Page 81] Cities wandred vnto one Citie to drinke water, but they were not satisfied: and yet they returned not vnto him. He smote them with blasting & mildew; their gardens and their vineyards, their figtrees, and their oliue trees did the Pal­mer worme deuoure: and yet they returned not vnto him. Pestilence he sent amongst them after the maner of Egypt: and yet they returned not vnto him. Therfore, saith the Lord, thus will I doe vnto thee O Israel. He speakes after the man­ner of a man, in whom iust indignation stops passage vnto speech, and who wants words to expresse the horriblenesse of the punishments hee purposes to inflict: Therefore thus and thus will I doe vnto thee O Israel, euen so as he threat­ned in the beginning of the Chapter: The daies shall come vp­on you, that you shall be taken away with thornes, and your po­sterity with fish-hookes. As if he should haue said, I will make no more triall by iudgements; I will now doe a thing in Is­rael, whereof whosoeuer shall heare, his two eares shall tingle; yea, and all his heartstrings shall tremble. I will now sweepe you all away with the beesome of vtter destruction. This is certainely now iust our case (For to crie peace, peace, where there is no peace towards, is wicked and to no pur­pose▪ to bring conceits and smoothings to this place, will neuer serue the turne; either for the discharge of our con­sciences, or the sauing of your soules) I say this is iust our case: we are euen already come to this last point and peri­od: By our many impieties and impenitency, wee haue brought our gracious God to that question in the 1, of Isa. VVherefore should ye be smitten any more? for ye fall away more and more. Or rather to this conclusion in the 4. of Amos; therefore thus will I do vnto thee, O nation not worthie to be loued. He hath made triall by so many iudgements, and so many times, and all in vaine; that the very next iudgement we may iustly feare and expect, without true and timely re­pentance, will euen be the beesome-of-vtter desolation.

As the iudgements vpon this land haue beene great 3 and fearefull; so many and wonderfull haue beene his mer­cies vpon vs, and such I am persuaded, as greater the sun ne­uer [Page 82] saw, [...] of men enioyed. I will onely name two, wh [...]ch cannot [...] [...]ee fresh in [...]uery mans memorie: The contr [...]uing of our peace, at the death of our late Soueraign of euer glorious memorie: And our deliuerance from the Gu [...]powder Treason. Of which two when first euery man heard, me thinks hee should haue beene afraid, lest hee had beene in a dreame: as it is said of the Israelites, Psalm. 1 [...]6. VVhen the Lord brought againe the captiuitie of S [...]on, we were like them that dreame. Both that, and these our blessings were things so incredible, and beyond all expectation.

You know a little before the Queenes death, the wisest were at their wits ends, and euery one stood amazed and a­stonished for the feares his heart did feare. The Iesuites from beyond seas insolently insulted ouer vs, and told vs in their bookes, that this kingdome would shortly become a prey to the greedie ambition of all the neighbour nations; that huge clouds of blood hung ouer our heads, and would melt and dissolue at the Queenes death. But it was neither so, nor so. They are the false prophets of the Beast in the Reuelation, no maruell though they lied: For he that dwels in the heauen laughed them to scorne, our gratious God had them in derision. And when diuels and Papists looked and wished, that this land should haue beene clothed, euen with blood and fire, as with a garment; out of the infinite depth of his vnsearchable mercies he couered it with peace, ioy and happinesse, euen as the seas are couered with wa­ter.

In the Gunpowder Treason, the necke of our whole State, both of Church and Common-wealth, the glory of this fa­mous and flourishing kingdome, the hope of posterity was laid as it were vpon the blocke: The instrument of death was lifted vp by the damned instrument of the Popes malice and cruelty, he was euen ready to giue the mortall stroke; and had not the Angell of the Lord stepped in, in the verie nicke; had not our mercifull God, by his most miraculous and immediate prouidence put to his helping hand, when our case was desperate and all hope past, he had cut off from [Page 83] vs the roote and the branch, the name and the remnant, the son and the nephew. Our land that before was as the garden of Eden, had bin by this time a desolate wildernesse: Our Church, which was before a harbour of Saints, had been by this time a poole of snakes; I meane an habitation of Papists. The faire body of this citie, that before was enliued with matchlesse glory and worth, should by this time haue bin a rent and dismembred carcase; and that which is worst of al, the neglected and forlorne lims, inspired with the doctrine of diuels.

Let vs then examine our selues in this point. Haue these incomparable blessings melted our hearts into teares of re­pentance & thankfulnes? Haue these cords of loue drawn vs neerer vnto our God in all knowledge, loue and obedience? Why then we may assure our selues of a good testimony, that our soules are seasoned with grace. But if it be quite other­wise: If these great and vndeserued mercies haue bred in vs a more frozen coldnesse in the seruice of God, a more pre­sumptuous securitie and a sounder and sweeter sleepe in sin▪ If since our miraculous deliuerance, vnparalleld by all Nati­ons, times and stories; there hath bin amongst vs no lesse prophaning of Gods Name and Sabbaths then before, no lesse pride and drunkenesse, no lesse oppression and vsurie, no lesse vncleannesse and vnconscionablenes in our callings, no lesse ignorance in the word of God, and backwardnesse in the waies of holinesse, no lesse contempt of godlinesse and godly men: Nay, if all these gather head and heart, more ripenesse and readinesse to receiue the flame of Gods fierce and last wrath: If there bee rather a sensible decay of the feare of God, of zeale, and true sinceritie amongst vs: If Pro­phanenesse, Atheisme, Poperie, and a luke-warmenesse in re­ligion, like a mightie Torrent, rush in violently vpon vs dai­ly more and more, and fearefully preuaile and domineere in most places: Why then, (you are a people of vnderstanding) I leaue it to your owne consciences, to consider what must needs shortly befall vs, except we gather our selues before the decree come foorth; vnlesse by speedy humiliation and vnfai­ned [Page 84] repentance, wee preuent so great and fearefull iudge­ments. And the rather, because wee may assure our selues, while the Diuell is in hell, and the Pope at Rome, the Priests and Iesuits, those notorious and transcendent instruments of blood and death, will be working in the Vaults of darknes for the confusion of the children of light, the subuersion of the Kingdome of Christ, and by consequent the ruine of our Church and Common wealth. Little know we, what feare­full and hellish plot may be euen now in hatching and ham­mering, or how neere it is to the birth, while we are most se­cure. And for vs in the meane time, without repentance, and rooting out Idolatrie, to depend still vpon immediate and miraculous discoueries and deliuerances, is at the least an vn­hallowed and desperate presumption.

I cannot follow distinctly at this time, any more differen­ces betwixt the state of sauing grace and formall hypocrisie. For conclusion therefore onely, I will acquaint you more ful­lie with the effects of sauing grace, and follow in few words the trace and steps of the Spirit of God in the great worke of regeneration; that thereby euery man may examine his con­science, iudge himselfe, and trie what his state is.

The working and propertie of this sauing grace, and true godlinesse vouchsafed peculiarly and onely to Gods chil­dren, which doth translate them from darkenesse to light, from the corruption of nature, to a state of supernaturall bles­sednesse, you may thus conceiue and vnderstand. It is like leauen (for so the power of Gods word is compared in the Gospell) it is of a spreading nature: First, it seates it selfe in the heart; after it is dispersed ouer all the powers and parts both of soule and body; ouer all the actions and duties of a man whatsoeuer: It softneth and changeth the heart: It pur­geth the inmost thoughts: It awakes the conscience, and makes it tender and sensible of the least sinne: It sanctifies the affections: It conformes the will vnto the will of God: It illightnes the vnderstanding with sauing knowledge: It stores the memory with many good lessons, for comforts, in­structions and directions in a godly life: It seasons the speech [Page 85] with grace: It so rectifies, and guides all a mans actions, that they proceed from faith, they are warrantable out of Gods word, they are accomplisht by good meanes, and wholly di­rected to the glory of God. Nay, yet it spreads further, and kindles a desire and zeale for the saluation of the soules of o­thers, especially of all those that any way depend vpon vs: So that the child of God doth euer embrace all meanes and op­portunities for the communicating of his graces and com­forts, and the bringing of others to the same state of happi­nesse with himselfe.

Let then, I beseech you, euery mans conscience goe a lit­tle along with me; and secretly, but faithfully answere to these few interrogatories which I shall propose very briefly and plainely, that euery man may easily-vnderstand. Hast thou felt by thine owne experience this great worke of re­generation and change wrought vpon thy soule? Hath the powerfull word of God, by the inward, speciall and effectu­all working of his spirit, broken and bruised thy hard and stonie heart? Hath it pierced and purged the very closest and most vnsearchable corners thereof? Hath it humbled it with the sight of thy sinnes, and sense of Gods iudgements? Hath it filled it with fearefull terrours, compunction, 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, and broke the heart of thy sweet sinne? Hath it planted a holy moderation in all thy affections; that whereas hereto­fore they haue been enraged with lust, with immoderate an­ger, with ambition▪ with insatiable desire for the enlargement of thy wealth, possessions and greatnesse, and with hatred of Gods dearest seruants and their holinesse; are they now in­flamed with zeale for Gods honour, truth and 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 and good causes, to contemne the lying slanders and prophane scoffes of worthlesse men? Hath it begot in [...]hy will an hunger and thirst after the spirituall food of thy [Page 86] soule, the Word and Sacraments; so that thou haddest ra­ther part with any worldly good, then not enioy the incom­parable benefit of a conscionable and constant ministery? Are thy thoughts, of which heretofore thou hast made no great conscience, but letten them wander vp and downe at rondom wickedly, idely and wantonly; are they now, I say, bounded within a sacred compasse, and spent vpon holie things, and the necessary affaires of thy honest and lawfull calling? Is thy vnderstanding informed, and acquainted with the mysterie of saluation, which the world, and the wise men thereof, account nothing but madnesse and follie? Is thy memorie, which hath heretofore been stuffed with trash and toies, vanities and follies, now capable and greedy of diuine knowledge? Are thy words, which heretofore haue been full of prophanenesse and worldlinesse, now directed to glorifie God, and to giue grace vnto the hearers? Nay yet further besides this inward renouation of the faculties of thy soule; hath the power of grace sanctified all thy outward actions? Dost thou now order in euery particular, al the bu­sinesse of thy vocation religiously, conscionably, and by di­rection out of the word of God? Art thou inwardly affected, and faithfull in the performance of religious duties? as in hearing the word of God, in sanctifying the Sabbath, in prayer and the rest. Dost thou now heare the word of God, not onely of course and custome, but of zeale and conscience to reforme thy selfe by it, and to liue after it? Doe not the weeke daies duties, and worldly cares drowne thy mind on the Sabbath; but that thou dost the whole day entirely, free­ly and cheerefully attend the worship of God? Dost thou exercise daily with fruit and feeling, prayer, that precious comfort of the faithfull Christian? Thou being conuerted, dost thou labour the conuersion of others, especially of those which are committed any way to thy charge, and for whom thou must giue a more strict account; as if thou be a master of a family, dost thou pray with them, and instruct them in the doctrine of saluation, and waies of godlinesse? Dost thou now not onely sticke at, and forbeare great and grosse sinnes, [Page 87] but dost thou euen hate the garment spotted of the flesh, and al appearance of euill? Doth the tendernes of thy conscience checke thee for the least sinnes, and make thee fearefull to offend, though it bee but in a wandring cogitation? After euery fall into infirmities, art thou carefull to renew thy repentance, and learne wisedome and watchfulnesse to auoid them afterwards? Doest thou feele thy selfe profit; grow and encrease in these fruits and effects of grace? And hast thou such a gratious tast of the glory of God, and of e­ternall life, that thou art euen willing and desirous to meet thy Sauiour in the clouds; not so much for to be rid out of the miseries of this life, as to be freed from the heauie bur­then of sinne which hangs on so fast, and to enioy his pre­sence in the heauens for euer? In a word, as thy soule giues life, spirit, and motion to thy whole body, and 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 hast past the perfections of the formal hypocrite, and art possest of the state of true blessednesse; thou art then hap­pie that euer thou wast borne; thy way is certainely the way of life: And I can assure thee, and I dare boldly pronounce it, that thou art already vtterly 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, and at league with thee: Thou hast filled the Angels with joy at thy conuersion, they will for euer guard thee: Thou shalt neuer more be afraid for any euill tidings. Though the earth be moued, and though the mountaines fall into the midst of the sea, thy heart shall abide strong, vnshaken and com­fortable. When thou fallest downe vpon thy bed of sicknes, thou shalt find no mortall poyson in thy flesh; no sting in death; no darkenes in the graue; no amazement at that great and fearefull 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; all the ioyes of heauen are thine: euen all things are thine, and thou art Christs, and Christ is Gods. Onely stand fast in the [Page 88] faith; quit thy selfe like a man, and be strong; gird thy sword vpon thy thigh; buckle fast vnto thee the whole armour of God; ride on because of the word of truth; and the Lord thy God be with thee. Breake thorow for a while with vn­daunted courage the bitternesse of the worlds malice; the keene razours of empoysoned tongues; th [...] teares and tedi­ousnesse of a few & wretched daies; for thou art nearer the price of the high calling, then when thou first beleeuedst: Shine more and more in faith, in patience, in loue, in know­ledge, 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.

I now proceed more distinctly to other markes of diffe­rence betwixt the state of grace, and formall hypocrisie. Some notes of distinction for my purpose may be raised out of those places of Scripture, which I proposed, for to acquaint you with the kinds of perfection, and degrees of goodnesse; whereof a man as yet vnregenerate is capable, and may bee partaker.

In the 8. of Luke, the hearer resembled vnto the stonie ground, is the formall hypocrite. Hee receiues the word of God with ioy, as doth the faithfull Christian, though [...]ot in the same measure: But here is the speciall point and marke that differenceth the one from the other: The word and faith in the formall hypocrite haue no roots: They are not deepely and soundly rooted and planted in his vnderstan­ding, conscience, thoughts, affections, and actions.

1 First, they are not rooted and fastened in his vnderstan­ding, by those two sacred and gratious habits, which are called by the Apostle, Col. 1.9. [...] and [...]: Hea­uenly knowledge, or speculatiue wisedome in the mysteries of saluation: And spirituall prudence, or a sanctified vnder­standing in the practicall affaires of the soule. These two, as I conceiue, for diuine reuelations, and matters of heauen, an­swe [...]e in a proportion to those two intellectuall habits, Sa­pientia and Prudentia mentioned by Aristotle Eth. 6. for naturall truth, and ciuill actions. Sapientia, you know out of [Page 89] the Schooles, is a worthie habit compounded of Intelligen­tia; which is a naturall light and ability of apprehending and acknowledging speculatiue principles, the foundations and fountaines of all humane knowledge: and of Scientia; which is an habituall and exact knowledge of all necessarie conclusions and deductions by the force of reason, and la­bour of discourse thence issuing, and grounded thereupon. But Prudentia, though it be seated in the vnderstanding; yet it is practicall, in respect of the Obiect and the end; and is the soueraigne and guide of all other vertues. It doth euer amid the many varieties, vncertainties, and passages of hu­mane actions, wisely, and honestly consult and aduise, iudge, and resolue; manage, and execute. Euen iust so, these two heauenly habits, [...], and [...], heauenly wise­dome, and spirituall prudence, shed into euery sanctified vnderstanding by the fountaine of grace, are busied and exercised about supernaturall truths, and matters of eternall life. By the first, the child of God hauing the eyes of his mind opened and illightened, doth see the great mysterie of sal­uation, the secrets of the kingdome, the whole counsell, and the wonders of the law of God: Hee doth know what the hope is of his calling, and what the riches of his glorious in­heritance is in the Saints: hee comprehends what is the breadth, and the length, and the depth, and the heighth. By the second he is enabled with a iudicious sincerity to deli­berate, and determine in cases of conscience; in the perplex­ities of tentations; in all straites, ambiguities, and difficul­ties incident to the consideration and cariage of a Christian; and with spirituall discretion to guide and conduct all the actions of grace, and euery particular, both in his generall and speciall calling. This explication premised, I come to tell you, that the word of God doth not take sure and la­sting root, doth not dwell plentifully in the vnderstanding of the Formall hypocrite, by these two diuine habits.

First, there is a right noble branch of diuine knowledge 1 and heauenly wisedome, springing out of the mysterie of regeneration; in which, as I take it, the formall hypocrite is [Page 90] for the most part vtterly ignorant. He knowes not that dark and fearefull passage, which leades from the vanities and corruptions of nature, and out of the dominions of darke­nesse and death, thorow strange terrors and torments of soule, into the rich and glorious happines of the state of grace, and kingdome of Christ. He knowes not the variety and power of tentations; the causes, degrees, the wofull con­sequents and recoueries of spirituall desertions, relapses, and decaies of grace. He hath no skill in the nature, symptomes, and remedies of afflicted consciences: in the secret work­ings and right vses of afflictions, infirmities, scandals, and disgraces. He is not acquainted with Satans transfor­mations into the glory of an Angell;2. Cor. 2.11. with his [...], & [...], as the Apostle calleth them: that is, his depths, his profound plots and contriuances, moulded by malice and suttlety in his owne large vnderstanding; furnished with the experi­ence of our corruptions, and the successe of his many tenta­tions for some thousands of yeeres; managed with all the crafts and policies of the most darke and hidden corners of hell. He is not acquainted with his [...], as they are called Ephes. 6. 11: his exquisite method, in the wilie conueiance of his stratagems and insidiations; in ordering his assaults, and discharging his fierie darts. How sometimes he keepes as it were a method of nature, in striking at the root, and la­bouring to stop or poyson the fountaine of spirituall life, which is Faith: that so the fruits of godlinesse may wither, and the streames of diuine grace may drie vp. Satan knowes full well that the liuely or languishing exercise of other in­ward graces, the cold, or zealous performance of all out­ward duties, depend vpon the weakenes or strength of our faith: And therefore if he perceiue, that by a free and vitall operation of a strong faith, our zeale, our hope, our patience, our faithfulnes in our calling, and other graces bee maintai­ned in their heate, vigour and excellency, he labours might and maine to weaken, shake, and beate downe our Faith, and that by such meanes as these:

1 First, by suggesting to the child of God, a consideration [Page 91] of the flourishing of the wicked; how imperiouslie and pro­sperously they domineere and reuell it in the world; how they spread themselues like a greene Bay tree, and bring their enterprises to passe: while himselfe lies trampled vpon by their insolencies, oppressions and prophane censures; while perhaps hee lingers and pines vnder some heauie crosse and long visitation; and for al his prayers, his groanes, his patience, yet finds small comfort, no deliuerance, for ends best knowne vnto his heauenly father; so that hee may outwardly euen perish in his troubles. This is a shroud temptation,Psalm. 7 [...]. and in some measure preuailed against Dauid; it made so tall, and well rooted a Cedar to stagger: nay, this tempest had neere ouerturned him; this blow had wounded his faith to death, had he not in good time stept into the San­ctuarie of the Lord, and vnderstood the end of these men; How suddenly they are destroyed, perished, and horribly consu­med: and considered howsoeuer the godly bee vext with men or diuels for the daies of their vanitie in this miserable world; yet it euer goes well with them at the last.

A second meanes, by which Satan endeuours the weak­ning 2 of our faith is this: He curiouslie obserues all seasons and aduantages; and therefore if he spie our minds to bee ouercast with some cloud of melancholy, the seate many times of vnnecessarie distrusts and feares; or to be cast downe with some sad and heauy accident, and worldly discomfort; he presently afresh represents vnto the view of our consci­ence, the many and great sinnes of our vnregeneration in their foulest shape; that so by this renewed horror, he terri­fying and affrighting vs, may raise new doubtings and a­mazements, and in some measure loosen the hand and hold of faith.

A third weapon, by which he striketh at our faith, I take 3 to be one of his own immediate suggestions, and that is this: While the heart of a godly man is refreshing it selfe sweetly and plenteouslie with an assurance of his future happinesse and eternall enioyment of endlesse iores in heauen; Satan, that out of his cruell malice hee may mixe some hellish poi­son [Page 92] son with these riuers of comfort, labours to cast into his mind, euen some thoughts of impossibilitie of the perfor­mance of the promises of saluation, and of the attainement of that excellent waight of glorie: and would gladly make him thinke it incredible, that hee should euer bee crowned with immortalitie; or be so gloriouslie partaker thorow all eternitie of vnspeakeable comforts aboue. This temptation, as I take it, doth not much disquiet the formall hypocrite, or any vnregenerate man. For because his perswasion of happinesse to come, is false and misgrounded, and that hee hath no sound assurance of heauen; Satan is too wilie to suggest vnto him doubts and distractions of this nature. But wheresoeuer it lights, it is of feareful consequence; and ther­fore not to bee debated vpon by the thoughts, or disputed with Satan; that is not the way to conquer this temptation; but suddenly, and resolutely to bee repeld by the power of prayer, and out of an holy contempt of so base and lying ma­lice, to be cast as dung vpon the face of the tempter: So that the faithfull Christian for al this, may maintaine and possesse his hart in patience, and vnconquerable comfort out of these two considerations:

1 First, if hee bee a diuell and prince of hell, as Gods child feeles sensibly and certainely by this present immediate suggestion; why then vndoubtedly there is the glory of in­finite Maiestie in heauen, Angels, Saints, boundlesse and end­lesse blessednesse of euerlasting time.

2 Secondly, he is to consider, that in the daies of his securi­tie and worldlinesse, no such scruples arose in his thoughts: And therefore it is onely a malicious tricke of the enemie of all true comfort, to defeate vs of our heauen vpon earth, our assurance of heauen in the world to come.

4 A fourth way of weakening our faith is this: If Satan, by taking in the nicke, the tide of our fraile and impotent affe­ctions, by casting vs vnawares vpon occasions and allure­ments; or by the suddennesse, subtiltie or violence of some temptation, be able to hale vs againe into some grosse and scandalous sinne, to which, by reason of our naturall disposi­tion [Page 93] and custome, wee were often, and most principally ob­noxious before our calling: why then, from th [...]nce he drawes and enforceth vpon vs discomfortable, and faith-killing conclusions. He presently infers vpon such relapses; that we haue deceiued our owne soules, that our holinesse indeed is but hypocrisie, that our faith is but temporary, and our conuersion counterfeit: Otherwise the grace of God would be sufficient for vs, and the power of his sanctifying spirit, would at the least so farre restraine vs, bridle and mortifie our corruptions, that we should not breake out againe, and backslide into a sinne so much loathed and repented of: O­therwise, as our sweet, and master-sinne in the time of our vn­regeneration, made the deepest gash, the widest gap into our consciences; so if we were indeed in the state of grace, wee should most carefully and tenderly close vp that wound, and bee most vigilan [...] and solicitous in fencing and fortifying that breach before any other. By this meanes Satan many times giues a sore blow to our faith, and breeds much heaui­nesse and discomfort in the soule.

Thus Satan in his temptations, sometimes proceedes by a method, a it were of nature, in striking at faith, the roote and heart of our spirituall life. But if h [...] be not able to fasten his fierie darts vpon the shield of fai [...]h; why then he takes a con­trary course and method, as it may best fit his aduantage, and more easie insinuation. For he attempts the dulling and di­minishing of our zeale, and forwardnesse in religion, and o­ther fruits of faith, and inferiour parts of sanctification. And that by such meanes as these.

One weapon, by which he labours to wound our feruen­cie,1 and faithfulnesse in duties of holinesse, and to hinder the entire exercise of the graces of sanctification, is prosperiti [...] and freedome from discomforts and miserie. For if he once espie vs to be encompassed with worldly peace, reputation amongst men, honours and offices, plenty of wealth and pre­serments; he is euer then in good hope (by the helpe of the natural aptnes of worldly happines to ensnare and intangle) to beget in our hearts, worldlinesse and securitie, the two [Page 94] great and dangerous consumptions of spirituall life. For if worldlinesse once take possession of our hearts, it wasts by little and little, our ioy in heauenly things, our comfort in the communion of Saints, our longings for the incompre­hensible and euerlasting happinesse: it banisheth all thought of the worth of our soules, of the spirituall state of our con­science, of the vanitie and change of this present life, of the glorious rising againe of our bodies, and the immortalitie of the second life: and in stead thereof filleth vs with earthlie cares, with feares, iealousies, griefe, hopes, wishes, indepen­dance vpon the prouidence of God, and a thousand plat­formes for the encreasement and securing of our outward fe­licitie. And securitie, it makes vs insensible of Gods iudge­ments, of our falling from our first loue, of the danger where­in we stand: It makes vs put farre from vs the euill day; and to thinke our mountaine so strong, that wee shall neuer bee mooued, but continue in our happie state, and die in the nest.

2 Secondly, he seekes to weaken our practise of godlinesse, by fastening vpon vs vncheerefulnesse, and vnprofitablenesse in the meanes of the preseruation of grace. For if he can once make vs cold and negligent, or onely formall, and cursorie in the daily examination of our consciences, in hearing the word of God, in the godly exercises with our schollers or fa­milies, in publike prayer, or our more priuate striuing with God by groanes and sighes, for the supplie of some grace, or remooueall of some corruption; then there euer followes a languishing and decay of the life of grace. If we but perfun­ctorily receiue the heauenly food into our vnderstandings; and being hindered by distractions, carelesnesse or worldlie cares, not digest it by meditation and conference, and by spi­rituall exercise of seruent prayer conuey it into the seuerall parts of our soules; our new man wil quickly fall into a con­sumption.

3 Thirdly, hee doth notably dull and darken our holinesse and sinceritie, by casting vs vpon vngodlie and prophane company: which hath I know not what secret and bewitch­ing [Page 95] power to transforme others into their owne fashions and conditions; and to make them sometimes to condemne their former forwardnes and zeale in the seruice of God. For as the feed cast into the earth drawes vnto it self by little and little the property of that soyle whereunto it is trans­ported, vntil at length it becomes like yt which doth there naturally grow: so the spirits and manners of men com­monly conforme themselues to those with whom they ordi­narily conuerse. Lamentable then is their case, base their resolution, and miserable their comfort, who for aduantage, faction, foresight and hope of future gratifications, or any other by-respect, plunge themselues into such companies, where perhaps they may enioy many pleasant passages of wit, set, and artificiall disports, and passing the time, dire­ction in their worldly affaires, combination against the power of religion, and the true professors thereof: but where they shall find no furtherance in the way to heauen, no comfort in heauenly things, no encouragement to pie­ty, no counsell in tentations, no consolation vpon their deaths-bed. O how much better were it, for these few and wretched daies, to sort and solac [...] themselues amongst the Saints of God, with whom they might shine as glorious lights together in the earth, and hereafter in the heauens aboue the brightnesse of the sun for euermore; rather then prophanely to sport themselues in Meshech, and for a sea­son proudly to ruffle it in the tents of Kedar, where there is no light of grace, no ioynt expectation of eternity, but darkenesse of sinne, and shadow of death! Mistake me not in this point: I would not haue men goe out of the world, or become Separists. I would rather haue them, if they will vnderstand Paul aright, be made all things to all men, that they might by all meanes saue some: That is, I would haue the children of God not be wanting in any offices of kind­nesse or pietie, but to yeeld and communicate themselues so far as dutie, charity, humanitie, necessitie of their gene­rall or particular calling vpon good warrant, and iust occa­sion m [...]y challenge and exact at their hands. But as for a free [Page 96] and full communication of the secrets of their soule, of their dearest affections of their spirituall estate, of their ioyfullest and best expence of time; I would haue that onely vouchsafed and conueied into the faithfull bosome of a true Christian, and confined to grace, as it peculiar and principall Object. Let their goodnesse, and good deeds spread without limit; but their delight and inti­matenes, is to bee restrained and appropriated to the Saints that are on the earth, and to the truely excellent, which are onely the godly. Hence it is that Gods children are ma­ny times censured for morositie, vnsociablenes, disdaineful­nesse of spirit, and opposition to good fellowship; when God knowes they can find no taste in the white of an egge, no strength in a broken staffe of reed, no comfort in the men of the world, who haue their portion in this life; and therefore they would not part with their Paradise of com­munion of Saints, or comfortable communication with God in their solitarines, for the companie of kings, and a world of carnall contentments.

4 Fourthly, Satan doth sometime worke a soule decay of grace, and exercise of godlinesse, by putting into our heads some inordinate plot and forecast, for preferment and great­nes. For if he can once set our thoughts busily on foot for proiecting and contriuing, with excessiue desire, ambition and greedinesse; some honour, office, or high place; why then, farwell zeale; farwell taking part with Gods children; farwell an vnshaken resolution, in standing for the honour, truth, and seruice of God; and a Christian courage in repro­uing sins. For then we must liue reseruedly; we must be con­tent to part with our libertie, and be depriued of our selues: We must labour to satis [...]ie and accommodate our selues to the humours, pleasures, and passions of men. In a word, our whole cariage must hold a necessarie and exact correspon­dence with the men and meanes that are able to promote vs; for so v [...]certaine and irregular are the reuolutions of mens fauours, that many times if a man but misse, or mistime one ceremony or circumstantiall obseruance, it is enough to cast [Page 97] him off, and vtterly cashire him from his hopes & ends. Most miserable and seruile is their life, that thus forsake the strong tower of their saluation, and claspe their hand of faith about the arme of flesh. For they do not onely bereaue themselues of that worthie freedome of spirit, which an honest Heathen would not exchange for his life: but also as they grow into a habit of seruitude and base engagements vnto men; so they grow into a flauerie vnto sinne, and bondage vnto the corruptions of the time: And the higher they rise into fauor with prophane greatnes and policie, the deeper they sinke into the miseries of basenes and flatterie, and the high dis­pleasure of almightie God: And at length, if they attaine their ends, (for sometimes they die in the tedious prosecu­tion of some vndeserued dignitie) they double their discom­forts, and encrease their account. For commonly where the pursuit and purchase of any honour and preferment hath beene base and indirect; there the discharge and execution is formall, vaineglorious, and vnconscionable.

Thus you see a second method of Satan, whereby he goes about to kill the fruits of faith; and to cause, if not an vtter cessation, yet much weakenes and interruptions in the ope­rations of grace.

Many moe such depths, and proceedings hee hath in his tentations. As for example:

If he meet with notoriously wicked men; as Drunkards, Swearers, vncleane persons and the like; he tempts them to Atheisme, a reprobate sense, contempt of Gods worship and seruice, and to the great offence. To defend their leaud and gracelesse courses; to glorie in their sinnes, and in their dexterity of making others drunke with the same iniquitie. He stickles & strikes the bargaine betwixt them, and death and hell; and enters as it were bond for the performance of the couenant. Hee tempts them to scorning; and by their scoffings and railings, in some fort, to the despiting of the spirit of grace in the children of light; which is a soule signe of a feared conscience, and a fearefull preparatiue to sinne against the holy Ghost. These are Satans standard-bearers▪ [Page 98] and the [...]fore he inspires them with extraordinarie boldnes, and desperatenesse in sinning; and teacheth them to march furiouslie in variety of rebellions against the Maiestie of heauen.

If he meete with honest ciuill men, heelabours to per­swade them, that iust and vpright dealing with their neigh­bours, good meanings and intentions in matters of religion, are the verie life of the seruice of God, and a sufficient way to heauen: And to conceiue sinne, and sinceritie, to be no­thing else but morall vertues and vices; the power of sancti­fication, to be nothing but good education; the practise of godlinesse, to be nothing but sober and honest behauiour; and the whole mysterie of Christianity, to be onely a graue and stayed ciuilitie: And the much adoe about faithfull and conscionable preaching, to bee onely the humor of some odde fellowes, that would be accounted singular and sera­phicall.

If he meete with formall hypocrites, who besides immu­nitie from grosse sinnes, and their ciuill honestie, are carefull and fashionable in the outward duties of religion, yet short of a sound conuersion; hee labours might and maine to set­tle in them an opinion, that the state of regeneration is no­thing but precisenesse and puritanisme; that sauing sincerity and a true practise of holines, is onely a transcendent Idea, consisting in pure abstraction, conceiued in the irregular and stirring heads of some busie and pragmaticall fellowes, shadowed onely with a number of faire shewes and preten­ces, but really existent and acted no where. And that they may more securely and obstinately rest vpon this persuasion, he furnisheth them with a notable art of misconceiuing and misinterpreting the actions of grace, and of making, by o­dious exaggerations, a little hole in the coate of a sound Christian, as wide as hell. Hence it is that Dauid is many times made sport with, and merrilie iested vpon by them, with the false scoffers at their feasts and bankets, and hath things laid to his charge, with much confidence, but with­out al conscience, which, God thou knowest, he neuer knew. [Page 99] Hence it is, that many times those actions, in which, for the truth and vprightnesse of his heart, and the iustnesse and in­nocency of his cause, he dare appeale to the tribunal of God, the impartiall searcher of the inmost thoughts, and seuere re­uenger of all falshood; yet are racked by vile and base mis­constructions, and interpr [...]ted to be the workes of darknes and deceit. And if they take a godly man but tripping in some lesser error in his cariage, and that perhaps but forged in their owne wilfull misconceit; they thence raise matter, not only of triumph and insultation, but which is much more feareful, of chearing, applauding, and confirming themselues in their present wretched state.

But if Satan meete with a man, that by the grace of God is already entred into the panges of his trauell in the new birth, and with sorrow for his sinnes is smitten downe into the place of dragons, and couered with the shadow of death; then he eagerly striues to stiffle the new man in the wombe; and by presenting to his view the vgly visage of his many and outragious transgressions, the curse of the Law, and the wrath of God; which he yet makes more grizlie and fierce by his owne hellish malice; to plunge him into the bottom­lesse gulfe of irrecouerable horror and desperation. But if by the mercies of God hee sinke not, but betime lay hold vpon the iustice of Christ, and that boundlesse compassion, which neuer knew how to breake the bruised reed, or quench the smoaking flaxe; but holds a broken and contrite heart farre more pretious, then a sacrifice of the beasts on a thousand mountaines, and then ten thousand riuers of oile: why then he stands like a great red Dragon in his way, at the very first entrance into the Kingdome of light, and profession of since­ritie, and casts out of his mouth flouds of persecutions, vexa­tions and oppositions; that so he may ouerwhelme and crush him before he come to any growth or strength in Christ, and a full comprehension of the mysterie of grace. And to this end hee sets on foot, and fire too, and whets with keene ra­zors many a leaud and prophane tongue, to scoffe, disgrace and discourage him in his narrow, but blessed passage to im­morta­litie, [Page 100] by reproches, slanders, exprobration of his for­mer life; by odious names of Hypocrite, Singularist, Puri­tane, a fellow of irregular conscience and stirring humour, of a factious and contradictious spirit, and such like. But if hee also passe these pikes, and these sharpe swords, (for so Dauid calles spitefull tongues,2. Ti [...]o. 3.12.) out of a consideration of that truth in Paul: Euery one that will liue godly in Christ Iesus shall suffer persecution; and that in the calmest time of the Church: a­mongst many other, he shall be sure at the least to bee conti­nually scourged and vext with strife of tongues: for euerie faithfull Christian knowes by good experience, that euer now and then, as he shall stirre in a good cause, stand against the corruptions of the place where he liues, with conscience and faithfulnesse discharge his calling; hee shall presentlie haue the spirit of prophanenesse to slie in his face, with bru­tish and implacable malice and insolencie: But yet, I say, if he be able with his Lord and Sauiour to endure this spea­king against of sinners; and to esteeme it, as it is indeed, his crowne and comfort: why then Satan casts about ano­ther way; and hee labours sometimes to fasten vpon him some vnwarrantable opinions, thereby scandalously and vn­necessarliy to disquiet him, to defraud him of an entire fruition of the comforts of holinesse, and to hinder and in­terrupt him in the prosecution of his glorious seruice of God. Sometimes to puffe him vp with a selfe-conceit of his owne excellencie, seeing himselfe aduanced as farre aboue the common condition of men, and the richest and happiest worldling, as heauen aboue earth, light aboue darkenesse, endlesse happinesse aboue eternall miserie: that so, as the Apothecaries ointment by a dead flie, his good actions and spirituall graces, may receiue staine and infection by priuie pride: of the nature and remedies whereof I haue before discoursed. These and many others be the temptations of a babe in Christ, and fitted to the infancie of regeneration.

But if Satan meet with a strong man in Christ, he tempts him by those two methods I told you of before, somtimes by wasting his zeale, sometimes by weakening his faith, and a [Page 101] thousand moe. Amid which infinite varietie, he is for the most part constant in one point of policy, and that is this: He cōceales his greatest fury, his most desperate assault vnto the last: He reserues his fieriest dart, his deadliest poison, his sharpest sting, his Gunpouder-plot vntill he meete vs on our deaths bed. Wherefore, beloued in Christ Iesus, we had need euery man to be strongly and soundly prepared and armed against that great and last encounter with Satan; vpon which depends our euerlasting estate, either in the ioies of heauen, or paines of hell. Oh at that day, (and we little know how neere it is) it is not our deepe reaches and vnfathomd poli­cies and proiects, the countenance and patronage of great personages, our merrie and plesant companions, or the plura­litie of liuings and preferments, that can yeeld vs any com­fort or assistance in that terrible and fearefull combat. Nay, though we now little thinke vpon it, all the worldly content­ments, that we haue either indirectly purchased, or vncon­scionably imploid, he will then turne vnto vs into Scorpi­ons, stings and wormes of conscience. Onely at that day a good conscience will hold out as armour of proofe; which, as it hath bin on earth a continuall feast, so their it will bee vnto vs a great and euerlasting Iubilee for euermore.

By this▪ time you easily perceiue, and I am very sensible of the digression I haue made: but I haue done it, onely to giue you a taste of that part of diuine knowledge about the depths of Satan, and spirituall state of sanctified soules and afflicted consciences; which I take to be Gods childs pecu­liar, and in which the formall hypocrite hath little skil or ex­ercise. For the deepe and diuine ponderations of this nature, vpon these points, doe not much take vp or trouble his mind and meditations. It is a pretious knowledge, abstracted by an holy experience from the practise and actions of true and sound regeneration; and therefore it is transcendent to his most happie naturall capacitie, to the depth of his worldly wisedome, and to the greatest height of his speculations, though otherwise neuer so vniuersall and profound.

Now as concerning other parts of diuine knowledge, and [Page 102] other points of religion; hee may be furnished with store of rare and excellent learning, in Fathers, Schoolemen, Com­mentaries, Cōtrouersies; he may be endewed with suttletie in disputing and defending the truth of God: yea, and in resol­uing cases of cōscience too, so far as a formal obseruatiō, and Popish Doctors can leade him. For their resolutions in that kind, are only busied about cases incident to their Antichri­stian Hierarchy, about perplexities arising out of their wil­worship and bloudy superstition, and determination of some particulars in the Commandements, which may fall within the capacitie of an vnregenerate man: but their profession, I meane the Papacie, cannot possibly reach vnto the heart of godlines, the mysterie of regeneration, and the sauing pow­er of the life to come. Nay yet besides this, the formall hy­pocrite may be made partaker of some degrees of the spirit of illumination, in vnderstanding, and interpreting the book of God, for the good of his Church and children. For I doubt not, but many haue much light of iudgement, that haue little integritie of conscience; and are inspired with the spirit of illumination for the good of others, that haue no part in the spirit of sanctification and sound conuersion for their owne happinesse. But yet me thinks there may be conceiued some differences betwixt the child of God, and the formall hypo­crite, in the very speculation and knowledge of Gods truth, and in apprehension of things diuine in the vnderstanding: Which I take to be such as these:

1 First, the light of diuine knowledge in the formall hypo­crite, doth onely discharge his beames and brightnes vpon others, but neuer returnes and reflect [...] on his owne soule to an exact discouerie of the darkenesse of his owne vnderstan­ding, the disorder of his affections, the slumber of his consci­ence, the deadnesse of his heart: but euery child of God is euer in some measure, both a burning and shining Lampe; he is both illightned and inflamed inwardly in his owne vn­derstanding, heart and affections, and also the brightnesse of his Christian vertues, are euer dispersed and working vpon others. Wheresoeuer hee liues, he shines as a light, amid a [Page 103] naughtie and crooked generation, in the sight and censure of God, the blessed Angels, and good men; though to the iudgement of the world, and eye of prophanenesse, his glo­rious graces euer did and euer will appeare to bee nothing but darkenesse and dissembling. You may conceiue this dif­ference thus: The sun beames, you know, are not onely cast and shed into the inferior Orbs and aire; but are first rooted in the sunne, and doe inwardly and vniuersally fill with light that faire and glorious body. It is otherwise in the moone: for howsoeuer she receiue light, for the cheering and comforting other bodies, yet she remaines darke with­in, and in respect of her selfe, it serues onely to make her spots more conspicuous. It is iust so in the point wee haue in hand: The light of diuine knowledge in the child of God, doth not onely shine vpon the soules of others for their in­struction and refreshing; but doth first fully illuminate his owne, though not to an excellencie of degree; for that is reserued for heauen; yet to a perfection of parts, of which only our mortalitie is capable. But in the formall hypocrite, howsoeuer it may sometimes dispell ignorance and errors from the minds of others; yet within he is darkenesse in the Abstract in respect of sauing light, as is euery vnregenerate man, Ephes. 5.8. And his light of knowledge in respect of himselfe, serues onely to make his sinnes more soule and sinfull, his damnation more iust, and himselfe more inexcu­sable. For he that knowes his masters will, and doth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.

Secondly, the knowledge of diuine mysteries in Gods 2 child, is entertained and enioyed with a peculiar kind of sweetnes; with an impression of incomparable ioy and plea­sure: It is far sweeter vnto him then hony, and the hony combe: Hee hath more delight in it, then in all manner of riches: It is more precious vnto him then gold, yea then much fine gold: It begets and stirres in him flagrant de­sires and affections correspondent to it pretiousnesse and ex­cellencie. But it is not so with the formall hypocrite; for his earthly-mindednesse, by which his affections are as it were [Page 104] glued vnto the fashions of the world; if he were sensible of it, would tell him that it is many times not so sweete vnto him as his pleasures: His close couetousnes or other vncon­scionablenes in his calling, if his conscience were illightned would informe him, that many times it is not so deare vnto him as gold.

3 Thirdly, the child of God hath an humble and gratious resolution, a sweet and willing submission euer mixt with his diuine knowledge, of being mastered, guided and go­uerned by it; though against the violent bent of his owne inclination, and the current of the time: but the formall hy­pocrite if he deale faithfully with his owne heart, may feele in himselfe a secret subordination and subiection of his vn­derstanding therein, to his wealth, honours, and worldly preferments.

4 Fourthly, in apprehension of diuine truth in the formall hypocrite, the power of naturall discourse, and light of rea­son beares the chiefest sway; and therefore hee stickes, as it were in the bone and barke, in generalities, and vncertain­ties: but in the child of God, the sacred illustration of Gods spirit doth plentifully concurre; and therefore hee is able to prie into and pierce the marrow and pith of Gods holy truth, the particular veines, and the sauing sense thereof.

I come now to the other habit, which the Apostle calleth [...], spirituall prudence, by which the word and faith take no root in the vnderstanding of the formall hypocrite.

This habit, I told you, is a spirituall prudence, or a sancti­fied vnderstanding in the practicall affaires of the soule; by which a regenerate man is inabled, with a iudicious since­ritie to deliberate and determine in cases of conscience, in the perplexities of tentations, in all straites, ambiguities and difficulties incident to the consideration and cariage of a Christian; and with spirituall discretion to guide and con­duct all the actions of grace, and euery particular, both in his generall and speciall calling.

This wisedome, as I take it, is an attendant vpon iustify­ing [Page 105] faith, and onely and inseparablie annexed vnto sauing grace; and therefore the formall hypocrite, though I place him in the highest perfection, that is attaineable in the state of vnregeneration, is vtterly vncapable of it, and a meere stranger vnto it, as he is vnto the life of God.

By this holy wisedome, Dauid, Psalm. 119. vers. 99. is said to be wiser then his aduersaries; that is, then Saul, and all his politicke States-men, then his teachers, then the an­cient. If wisedome were lost, me thinks it should bee found amongst Polititians, the Oracles of imperiall depthes and secrets of State; the pillars of common-wealths and king­domes: amongst profound Doctors and Rabbins; the fathers of knowledge and learning: amongst the ancient, whose age is many times crowned with ripenesse of iudgement, with variety of experience and obseruation. And yet by this [...], [...]. spirituall prudence (for the same word is vsed there by the Septuagints, which the Apostle hath Col. 1.9.) Dauid farre surmounted them all; in respect of which, the flower and quintessence of all their wisedome and poli­cies, was nothing but glorious follie and profound simpli­citie. Hence it is that many a poore soule illiterate and neg­lected, proudly passed by, and many times trampled vpon with disgrace and vexation, by worldly wisemen; yet li­uing vnder a constant and conscionable Ministrie, is infi­nitely more wise then the greatest clerkes, and learnedest doctours, both in giuing counsell and aduise in spirituall affaires, and in conducting their owne soules, in these strangely prophane and desperate daies, thorow the strait way to heauen.

Hence then you may see a cleere difference. The formall hypocrite, so farre as naturall wit, goodnes of education, ci­uill honesty, morall discretion, politicke wisedome can il­lighten and leade him, may manage his actions and affaires with exactnesse and reputation, gloriously and without ex­ception in the sight and iudgement of the world. Nay, be­sides, sometimes by an addition of some inferiour, and more generall graces of Gods spirit, hee may set vpon them such [Page 106] an outward glistering, that they may dazle the eyes of the best discerning spirit, and deceiue his owne heart with a false persuasion, that they are the true actions of piety, and pleasing vnto God. But ouer and aboue all these, (which is neuer to be found in the vnregenerate) there is in the vn­derstanding of the child of God, a more excellent and su­perior vigor, that inspires his actions with a high and more heauenly nature, that breathes into them the life of grace, that guides them with truth and singlenes of heart, and sin­ceritie in all circumstances, to the glorie and acceptation of God, the comfort of his owne conscience, and good of his brethren. There is a farre clearer and brighter eye shining in the soule of euery regenerate man, in respect whereof the fairest lights of all other knowledge and wisedome are E­gyptian darkenesse, which doth euer faithfully descry and discouer vnto him the straite, though vnbeaten path to im­mortality, thorow all the passages and particulars of his life: It reueales vnto him the wisest and most conscionable resolution in all spirituall debatements; the best and fittest seasons of reprouing sinnes and winning soules vnto God; many obliquities of actions, iniquitie of many circumstan­ces; the right vses of his owne afflictions, disgraces and in­firmities, which the formall hypocrite cannot possibly dis­cerne, because he is starke blind on this eye.

Amongst infinite, I will giue one instance of the gratious workings, and power of this diuine habit:

Let vs imagine an euill report or false slander to bee vn­iustly raised, and without ground vpon the formall hypo­crite, though it seldome befall such; for commonly pro­phane men are more countenanced, better conceiued and spoken of by the greater part, and by great men, then they deserue. Yet if it so fall out; this or the like is his behaui­our: He perhaps proclaimes and protests his cleerenesse in the case too ambitiously and impotently; not with that hu­militie and spirituall discretion: He pleaseth and applau­deth himselfe in his innocency, for this particular, boiste­rously and with clamour, which perhaps secretly breeds a [Page 107] more generall Pharisaicall selfe-conceit of the rest of his waies: He angerly contests with the iniquitie, and ingrati­tude of the world, for casting such base indignities and asper­sions vpon goodnesse and vertue: He would gladly beare it out brauely, and make others think that he passeth it without wound or passion; but indeed he inwardly chases and frets, and is much grieued and gauled with worldly sorrow for it: the reason is, his reputation with men is dearer vnto him, then the glory of God; his chiefest good and comfort in this world, is the worlds good opinion of him. But in all this, he is so farre from working any spirituall good out of it, that he rather entertaines a secret encouragement to be that indeed, which the world censures him to be, then for a bare conceald conscience of his innocency, to debarre himselfe of a full fruition of the present times.

But let vs now on the other side, conceiue a child of God to be wickedly and wrongfully slandered: for it is properly his lot and portion in this life, to be loaden with leaud and lying censures, with vniust and odious imputations; some­times to haue many grieuous things, and fearefull abomina­tions fathered vpon him, without al sense, honestie or proba­bilitie, which he neuer did, he neuer knew. And if once ill reports raised falslie vpon the godly be on wing, they flie as swift as the Eagles of the heauens. Diuels are speedie Dro­medaries to carrie such newes: They presently passe thorow Tauernes and Ale-houses, Citie and Countrie, Gath and As­calon; they run farre and wide, as currant and authenticall, vnder the Broad-seale of good fellowship, neuer more to be controlled and reuerst, vntill the matter be brought before that high and euerlasting Iudge. But marke, I pray you, the carriage of Gods child in these cases: he doth indeed sweet­ly and comfortably enioy the consciousnesse of his owne vp­rightnesse; though his aduersaries bee neuer so potent, or cunning to threape him down, yet vntil he die, as Iob speaks, he will not take away his innocencie from himselfe. When the sharpe and empoisoned arrowes of bitter malice and ca­lumniations come thickest vpon him, euen with haile shot, [Page 108] his truly noble, and diuinely resolued soule, is infinitly satis­fied with that in Iob: Chap. 16.19. Behold now, my witnesse is in the heauen, and my record is on high. Yet he doth labor to cleare himselfe so farre, as the honour of God, the satisfaction of the godly, and danger of iust scandall require.

But the gracious considerations and holy practise, which in these afflictions of his good name, spirituall prudence principallie ministers and suggests vnto him, are such as these:

1 First, he considers, that howsoeuer he be innocent from the slander, yet the finger of God is in it, as it was in direct­ing the dogged malice of cursed Shemei, vpō the roial person of Dauid; & therfore he gathers, that the Lord would there­by giue him notice, that some other things in him are amisse: That some secret corruption, by which his blessed Spirit is grieued, is to be subdued and mortified; yt some grace is to be repaired; some of his waies to be amended: perhaps his lan­guishing zeale is to be reuiued and inflamed; his heart much duld with the contagious prophanenesse, and formalitie of the times is to be quickned, and more enlarged for Gods ser­uice; repentance and humiliation for some former sinne, not thorowly repented of, or in part resumed, is to be renewed. Perhaps the Lord hath thereby an holy purpose to reueale vnto him, the omission of some duties in his calling, or some smaller faults, yet scandalous, whereof before he was not sensible. Or it may be, to preuent some sinne to come, either that with which he is falsly charged, or some other, to which his fraile nature is more inclining. Or lastly, by this experi­ence to prepare him with courage, and furnish him with wisdome, to comfort others in the like case, or to glorifie his name by patience in some more publicke and notorious dis­grace and vexation to bee indured in this kind. Hereupon the child of God doth presently make a priuie search into his soule, doth narrowly fift the state of his conscience, and after due and impartiall examination, feelingly and faithfully ad­dresse himself to prayer, practise of these considerations, and reformation of what he finds amisse.

Secondly, this outward crosse vpon his good name by 2 false surmises and suspicions, makes him retire into himselfe, and more fruitfully and cheerefully to enjoy all his inward comforts, his hope and delight in heauenly things, the assu­rance that his name is written in the booke of life; which no malice of men, or policie of hell is euer able to blot out. It makes him with more feruent and greedy attention to li­sten for the trumpet of that last and fearefull day, more long­ingly and with fixed eies, to wait for the Lord Iesus in the cloudes; who, as he will punish all prophane Opposites to holinesse with euerlasting perdition from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power: so vndoubtedly, with the brightnesse of his comming, hee will then at the furthest, before men and Angels bring forth his righteous­nesse as the light, and his iudgement as the nooneday.

Thirdly, by the mercies of God, for any such wretched 3 and lying slander, he is not so cast downe with worldly sor­row; he doth not so farre gratifie Satan and malicious men, as to ioyne hands with them for the afflicting of his owne soule, with needlesse discomforts, or discouraging himselfe in his calling: but rather he raiseth matter of comfort, encou­ragement, and reioycing. For thereby he is made more like, and conformable to his head Christ Iesus; who endured the crosse, and such speaking against of sinners, and despised the shame for the ioy that was set before him. Hee hath thereby more waight and degrees added to his blessednesse, more massines, and brightnesse to his crowne of immortalitie: Blessed are ye, faith Christ when men reuile you, and say all manner of euill a­gainst you for my sake falslie; reioyce and be glad, for great is your reward in heauen. And therfore in despite of malice and fal­shood, he runnes on ioyfully in his race; and hauing the at­testation of a cleare conscience, the acclamations of Saints and Angels, hee little cares for the barking of dogs by the way, bu [...] followes hard towards the marke for the price of the high calling of God in Christ Iesus.

Such as these are the thoughts and behauiour, spirituall wisdome acquaints the child of God with; when his good [Page 110] name is wronged, & wounded with slanders & false reports.

I conclude the whole point: The knowledge and practi­call wisdome about heauenly matters in the formall hypo­crite, are dull, cold, plodding, formall, seruiceable, and subor­dinate to his worldly happinesse. His knowledge is [...], a forme of knowledge: Rom. 2.20. His practise is [...], a forme of godlinesse: 2. Tim. 3.5. All is forme and outwardnesse: they are not deeply and soundly rooted in them by sanctifying grace; nor inwardly inspired with su­pernaturall and spirituall life. But diuine knowledge in the child of God, is called, the Spirit of reuelation, Ephes. 1.17. his practicall wisdome is spirituall, Colos. 1.9. that is, quick, actiue, feruent, zealous, stirring; not into irregularities and exorbitancies, as worldly wisdom many times misconstrues, but against the corruptions of the times, and working out of all actions, occasions and occurrents, euen out of miseries, slanders and infirmities, some glory vnto God, some good vnto his children, some comfort vnto his owne soule.

II I now proceed to tell you, that the word of God is not rooted in the conscience of the formall hypocrite, which is the hearer resembled vnto the stony ground.

The whole and entire worke of conscience, as you well know, out of the Schooles, consisteth in a practicall syllo­gisine: The proposition ariseth out of the [...], an habit of practicall principles, and generall fountaines of our acti­ons. The assumption is properlie [...], conscientia, an actu­all application of our knowledge to this, or that particular act or obiect. Whence followes the immediate, and necessa­rie issue and office of conscience: to testifie, in respect of things simplie done, or not done: In respect of things to bee done, either to excite and encourage, or to restraine and bridle: In respect of things done well, o [...] wickedly, to excuse and comfort, or accuse and terrific. For example: The [...], which is as it were a treasurie of rules and lessons for direction in our actions, proposeth the iniquitie of a lie euen out of nature. Aristotle condemnes it, Eth. 4.7. [...]: A lie is starke naught [Page 111] and discommendable. The sounder Schoolemen demon­strate euery lie, though it be officious, & for a greater good, to be against nature, and indispensable. Natures purpose is frustrated, and her law transgrest when speech and words, which she intends to be euer the true messengers of the con­ceits and apprehensions of the mind, are abused to falshood and equiuocation. But this practicall principle of not lying, howsoeuer it be cleere in nature, yet it receiues further illu­stration from the booke of God. Therefore the proposition may be thus framed:

Euery liar shall be banished from the holy mountaine of the Lord: Psalm. 15. and shall be barred out of the new Ie­rusalem for euermore: Reuel. 22.15.

The conscience of the liar doth assume and tell him; But I haue thus and thus lied for aduantage, and greater good: Then it followes:

Therefore I must be banished from the holy mountaine of the Lord, and barred out of the new Ierusalem for euer­more. A conclusion of condemnation and terror.

Such is the arguing of conscience for things past: But thus it worketh about things to be done:

Let vs imagine a man to deliberate with himselfe whe­ther he should be Non-resident or no. His habit of practicall principles, if he will deale faithfully with his owne soule, es­pecially by the helpe of the honester Casists, may yeeld him matter enough out of nature against Non-residencie, as might easilie appeare, if the point were incident. But sith the case is cleere, Ezech. 33. he may thus frame his practicall syllogisme:

The Non-resident must answere for the blood of those soules, which by his vnconscionable and vnwarrantable ab­sence, & negligence in his charge haue perished in their sins.

But sith I know not how soone I shall come to iudge­ment, my poore soule shall not appeare before my blessed Sauiour, red with the blood of those soules, for which his precious blood was shed.

Therefore I will not be Non-resident. You see here a re­straint [Page 112] from Non-residencie, that bloodie gangrene, that with remorselesse greedines eates and deuoures the pretious soules of men.

This short explication of the nature of conscience thus premised, you may easily conceiue with mee thus much; that

Accordingly as the practicall vnderstanding of a man is furnished with principles and rules for guiding his actions, according to the nature of them, and soueraignty they hold in the conscience, such and thereafter commonly is his life and actions.

I except the grosse hypocrite; for hee sinneth against the knowledge of his heart, and light of his conscience: There­fore the sound of feare is already in his eares; and in his prosperitie the destroyer shall come vpon him. Hee belee­ueth not to returne out of darkenesse, for he seeth the sword before him. Affliction and anguish shall make him afraid: They shall preuaile against him as a king ready to the battel. God shall run vpon him, euen vpon his necke; and against the most thicke part of his shield: because hee hath couered his face with falshood, and inwrapped himselfe in a cloud of hypocrisie.

The point then must bee exemplified in other sorts of men.

1 First, the notorious sinner, by reason of his delightfull conuersing with the wicked, and custome in the workes of darkenesse; doth obscure, smother, and in some measure ex­tinguish in his conscience, not onely the light of superna­turall truth, but of nature too: Therefore hee runnes head­long without restraint or bridle, into desperate villanies and outragious rebellions. He drawes in sinne with cartropes, and worketh all maner of vncleanenesse with greedinesse: He is bound with his sinnes, and couered with iniquities, as a field is hedged in with bushes, and the path therof couered with thorns, whereby no man may trauell. It is shut vp, and is appointed to be deliuered by fire.

2 Secondly, The Papist he entertaines and treasures vp for [Page 113] his practicall principles, the bloodie Dictates of the Pope of Rome, that man of sinne, and vicegerent of Satan; which are so farre from receiuing strength or warrant, either from nature, or diuine truth, that they hold strong contradiction and eternall opposition to both: and therefore his consci­ence is enlarged like Tophet. For it can without scruple, or remorse, nay, with hope of heauen, and a brighter crowne of glory, digest euen the sacred blood of kings, and swal­low downe with ease the ruines and desolations of whole kingdomes. He can meritoriously butcher his brother in the streets with prodigious cruelty, as in that horrible massacre at Par [...]s. He can bee dispensed with, and discharged from oaths, and truth of speech, the necessarie and soueraigne instruments of all iustice and society amongst men. He may expect canonization for blowing vp of Parliaments, and tearing in peeces the royall limbes of the Lords Anoynted, and the strong sinewes of the worthiest State vnder heauen: and after saile towards the Popish Paradise, which is in­deed the pit of hell, thorow a sea of innocent blood, with­out any checke or counterblast of conscience.

Thirdly, the ciuill honest man hath his For I may take consci­ence for the habit of practi­call principles, as doth Origen, Basil, Damascen, Ierom. Origen calleth consci­entia, paedagogus animae sociatus: Basil, naturale iudicatorium: Damascen, lux intellectus nostrit Ierom▪ [...]. conscience in­formed 3 with rules of naturall honesty, and generall notions of right and wrong, and therewith contents himselfe. And therefore he frames himselfe with sober cariage, faire con­ditions, iust and vpright dealing towards men, so that he is well spoken of, and reputed by the world a good neighbour, a sober wise man, of harmelesse behauiour, no medler, a peaceable man: and these are excellent, if not seuered, but seruiceable to true pietie, and sauing knowledge. Peace is a pretious thing, if it may bee purchased and possest without impeach and preiudice to holinesse and a good consc [...]nce. Follow peace with all m [...]n, and holinesse, without which no man shall see the Lord. Peace and holinesse must goe together: If otherwise, it is an holy peace to bee at warre with the cor­ruptions of the time: and to be at peace with sinne, is to war against God and his owne soule. But the meerely ciuill ho­nest man, by his practicall principles, is led no further, but [Page 114] to the executions of morall honestie; as for instruction in heauenly mysteries and diuine knowledge, hee doth not much meddle with, care for, or seeke after; but onely for companie and fashion.

4 Fourthly, the formall hypocrite, besides the direction of naturall light in his conscience, doth interesse and acquaint himselfe with practicall principles out of supernaturall truths and the word of God, for the performance of religi­ous duties and seruices; but hee puts them in practise with reseruation, with his owne exceptions and limitations: Hee is onely so farre guided by them in his life and conuersati­on, as they are compatible with his worldly happines: And therefore in the time of persecution, as it is in the parable, hee falleth away. But by persecution you must vnderstand, not onely the fierie triall and striuing vnto blood; but also inferiour and not so smarting afflictions and tentations; as it is cleere if we compare the three Euangelists in their narra­tion of the parable. It is many times, disgraces, and contu­melies for his profession, displeasure and discountenance of great Ones, the hazarding of some profit and preferment, the losse of friends, and fauour of the world or the like, that makes him slinke and yeeld, and desperately to cast himselfe into the current of the times, there to swimme with others for a while, with full saile of outward prosperitie, vn­till he drowne himselfe in perdition, and sincks suddenly in­to the gulfe of endlesse woe and miserie. Hence it is that Mat. 13.21. he is called [...], a Temporizer: Hee is not thorow, sound, resolute, and true-hearted for godlines, good causes, and to good men. For many times, when the honour of God is put as it were in the one scale of the balance, and his owne contentment in the other; he suffers some world­ly profit or pleasure, the gratification or satisfaction of some great man; the purchase of some Fellowship, Benefice, or spirituall dignitie, (for sometimes it proues perhaps as deere as a purchase) the greedie desire, and pursuit of some vn­deserued office or honour; the enioyment of prophane company, or coherence with worldly wise men; the plea­sure [Page 115] of some secret and sweet sinne, or such like; I say, he suf­fers these to weigh downe the exceeding waight of heauen­ly blisse, the vnualuable treasure of a good conscience, and the infinit glory of God. Which is strangely miserable; sith all the worth, wisdome, power, excellencie, and whatsoeuer other happinesse of man, al the highest, and greatest treasures and glory vnder the Sunne, without the feare and fauour of God, if they were put in the waights with vanitie, vanitie would waigh them all downe. So thought Dauid, Psal. 62. The children of men are vanitie, [...] The on­ly men; those that are men indeed. the chiefemen are lies: to lay them vpon a balance, they are altogether lighter then vanitie it selfe.

Lastly, the child of God, besides the better and more spe­ciall 5 apprehensions of nature, stores his conscience, his trea­surie of practicall principles, with many sacred and sauing lessons and rules out of heauenlie truth and Gods holie word; but so, that in his practise of them, he stands not vpon termes of pleasure, profit or preferments; but doth whollie and entirely resigne vp himselfe in obedience, and humilitie to be guided and gouerned by them, without restriction or cuasion, in his thoughts, affections and actions, thorow the whole course of his life. Therefore, Luke 8.15. the hearer compared vnto the good ground, (which is the child of God, to whom in al my Discourse I oppose the stony ground, which I call the formall hypocrite) is said to be of an honest and good heart: that is, downe-right for godlinesse and good men, without hollownesse, faintheartednesse, or slinking. Hee makes Christianitie as it were his trade, he sweates and toiles in it, as the end for which he was created, and placed in this world: And as he receiues the word of God into his honest and good heart; so there he treasures it vp, and keeps it faith­fully. The word in the original, is [...]. He keeps it though it be with much difficultie, strugling and colluctation with his owne corruptions, the temptations of Satan, and vanities of the world; who cunninglie conspire and labour ioyntlie to plucke it vp, and wrest it from him: and he brings foorth fruite with patience. He yeelds no ground, though he meete a [Page 116] a Lion in the way, or a Tyrant in the face. In the day of trial and encountring with dangers and vngodly oppositions, he shrinkes not but stands fast, and suffers himselfe rather to be ouerflowne, then to be carried downe the streame of the sin­full fashions and wicked waies of the world. He knowes full well, howsoeuer he goes now on his way weeping, yet he caries precious seed; and therefore the time will come shortly, that he shall doubtlesse come againe with ioy, and bring his sheaues with him. Crosses, disgraces and tribula­tions may beget in the formall hypocrite, fainting and defe­ction:Rom. 5.3.4 5. but in Gods child they bring foorth patience, expe­rience, hope and resolution. Euer when he enters consulta­tion with himselfe, whether God must be obaied and glori­fied, or man pleased and satisfied; he is quickly resolued out of that in Isai. 51.12. I, euen I, am he, that comfort you. Who art thou, that thou shouldest feare a mortall man, and the sonne of man, which shall bee made as grasse? And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath spread out the heauens, and laid the founda­tions of the earth? He considers the heauie iudgement de­termined, and reserued for all fearefull men, al spirituall cow­ards, and saint-hearted in the Christian warfare; who more feare men then God, and for their fauour and countenance, part with the protection of the Almightie, and the comforts of a good conscience: They shall be punished with vnbelee­uers, with the abominable, with murtherers, and whoremongers, with idolaters, and hers, in the Lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death: Reuel. 21.8.

You may now cleerely conceiue the point I haue in hand; how the word of God, is not rooted in the conscience of the formall hypocrite. The ordinarie intelligencers to his con­science are examples, custome, opinion, worldly wisdome, common preiudice against a strict course of sanctification; precedencie and practise of greater men, for true goodnesse, many times ouerprized, and misualued by the worlds flatte­ring censure; the common naturall notions of right and wrong. But if vpon some extraordinarie good motion, by guidance of diuine rules, he sometimes crosse the current of [Page 117] the times, enter a profession of sinceritie, and some corre­spondence with Gods children, it is but for a spirt, an essay, like a morning cloud, and as the morning dew. For as soone as his feruour in religious affaires, and furtherance of good things doth once by the fury of hell, crueltie of prophane men, malice of the world, enkindle and stirre vp against him, I say not onely a fierie triall, but euen some smarting heate of lesser persecution, some railing and slanderous tongue, which schorches like coales of Iuniper, a disconccit and dereliction in his friends and old acquaintance, disgrace with the world, discountenance of Greatnesse, vnlikelihood of rising and preferment; if it once raise against him stormes of iealousies, enuies and molestations; why, then he is gone, he slinks and starts aside like a broken bow. All his former good motions, purposes and endeauours melt as the winter ice; and goe a­way like the morning dew. For the formall hypocrite euer when he seeles disturbance in his present securitie, interrup­tion of his former contentments, hazard of his temporall fe­licitie, he begins strongly to suspect himselfe of too much forwardnesse, of vnseasonable and preposterous zeale, of di­stemper, and indiscretion in matters of religion; and therfore giues backe, and falles away into his former plodding course of formalitie; and that perhaps without any check of conscience: but if any scruples, and reluctation arise in his heart, out of his worldly wisdome, he Interprets this yeel­ding to the times to be but an ordinarie and pardonable in­firmitie; and therfore notwithstanding slatters and deceiues himselfe with hope of heauen, which is a strong barre to keepe him out of the state of grace, and vnacquainted with the glorious comforts of sound and sauing sinceritie.

But the sacred light of Gods holy truth, is habituated and incorporated into the conscience of Gods child, and is the onely and constant rule and square, by which, with all humi­litie, vprightnesse of heart, a free, entire submission and obe­dience vnto it, he frames al his thoughts, affections and acti­ons. And in this light, he walkes with a settled constancie and grounded resolution, thorow pouertie and oppression, [Page 118] contumelies and contempt, slanders and indignities, good report or ill report. For he hath his eie still fastned vpon e­ternitie, he hath the crowne of glory alreadie in sight, the in­estimable pretiousnesse and euerlasting beautie whereof, ra­uisheth and possesseth his truly free and great heart with such a longing and feruencie, that hee is at a point with all that is vnder the Sunne; that he doth not only contemne, pa­tiently endure, and vanquish al asperities and difficulties; but euen with reioycing entertaine and embrace (if the tyranny of the times so require) the vtmost, that malice and crueltie can inflict vpon him. There is no other consideration or crea­ture, either in heauen or earth, can separate him from the loue of God in Christ Iesus, or from his glorious seruice in al good conscience.

And as the word of God is planted and rooted in the con­science of Gods child, for his direction and constancie in the waies of godlinesse: so is it also there fastned for his forbea­rance of sinnes; by these three properties, which are not to be found in the formall hypocrite:

1 Remorse for sinnes past, by which he is saued from relap­ses and backslidings.

2 A present sensiblenesse of al manner of sinnes, whereby his present integritie and vnblameablenes, is happily preserued.

3 An habituall tendernesse, by which he is armed and sen­ced against the corruptions of the time, vnconscionable courses, and commission of sinnes to come.

1 In remorse for sins past, I comprise a more ful knowledge, an vniuersall reuelation of his sinnes, by the light of Gods word, and power of his spirit: and that both in extension and intension, both in number and grieuousnesse: a sense and fee­ling of them in their true waight, as they are able to sinke him downe into the bottom of hell. Much sorrow and an­guish, for the staine and guiltinesse they haue left behind them, and for that they prouoke to iust wrath, so louing and gratious a God. And lastly, a loathing of them, so that hee neuer casts his eies backe vpon them, but with an addition, of a new and particular detestation. He neuer enters medi­tation [Page 119] of the soule & hainous passages of his former life, but with shame and horror. Euery solemne reuiew of his time of darknes and vnregeneration, makes the wound of his re­morse to bleed afresh.

By sensiblenes I vnderstand a quicke and present appre­hension 2 and feeling of euery sin, whether it bee publicke or priuate, open or secret, in our selues or others, as well in our thoughts and affections, as in our words and actions, in our generall or particular calling, more grosse and infamous, or slips and stumblings, scandals, and appearances of euill.

Habituall tendernes is a gracious temper & disposition of 3 the conscience, wherby it is apt to be gauled & smart, at the first enteruiew with the iniquities of the time; and at euery occurrence of corruptions and all vnconscionable attempts.

These properties of tendernesse, aptnesse to smart, easines to bleed at the apprehension and approch of sinne, are pecu­liar to a conscience illightened, sanctified, and purged by the blood of Christ; neuer incident to the best naturall con­science, or furnished with the choysest notions and perfecti­ons of ciuill honesty and formalitie: for these are neuer so straite laced, but can let downe at the least without distaste or checke, common sinnes, lesser euils, the gainefull and ho­nourable errors and obliquities of the time.

Hence it is that all prophane and vnregenerate men, wan­ting the curbe of a sober and sanctified conscience, haue e­uer infinite aduantage, for getting the start and preceden­cie, in compassing the comforts, glory, and preferments of the world. For they, when the atchieuement of any honour, happinesse or high place is on foot, aduise presently with th [...] ordinarie informers, and counsellers of their conscience, cu­stome, example, multitude, worldly wisedome, the sway of the times and such like: but with the word of God and godly Christians, onely so farre as they doe not crosse their ends, and contradict those plots and contriuances which they haue laid for their aduancement vnto high roomes. And thus they may passe with reasonable quietnes, without grudging or grieuing of a conscience so guided, thorow a [Page 120] a thousand corruptions and indirections, basenesse, flat­teries, sinfull engagements, vnwarrantable courses. Any of which, if it should meete with a conscience once soundly frighted with horrour of former sinnes, softned and sancti­fied by the blood of the Lambe, would not onely rubbe off the skin and gaule it, but make it bleed to death. But world­ly men are at a point, they must and will enioy the world; for here they haue their portion and heauen. They esteeme it their greatest happines to bee admired and adored aboue others; and therefore venture vpon whatsoeuer vnlawfull and indirect procurements, which may bring them to high places: rather then they will be defeated and disappointed in the pursuit of worldly happinesse, they will thorow, whe­ther it be thicke or thinne, right or wrong, force or fraud, staine of reputation, or wound of conscience; Simonie or flatterie, friend or foe all is one: though in the meane time they strike their owne poore soules thorow with many sor­rowes; though when they are most glorious in their owne conceit, & in the [...]ie of the world; in the iust censure of God, Angels, and sound Christians they be most vile & contemp­tible: and indeed in this seeming sun-shine of worldly pros­peritie, they treasure vp vnto themselues strange feares and astonishments, snares, fire and brimstone, and stormie tem­pests against their latter end.

It is otherwise with Gods child in such affaires: He still takes counsell and direction at the oracle of God; with Cor­nelius resolution, to heare or forbeare whatsoeuer is there commanded or forbidden; and so followes the comforts of this world onely so farre as it will giue him leaue, warrant and assistance. But if he be to enter any corrupt course, or to passe thorow any vniustifiable meanes, for the attainement of his purpose and preferment; there presently comes into his mind such considerations as these: Hee conceiues with himselfe, that the passage into any place of office, or honour by corruption, is euer attended with the curse of God; and so no true comfort to be expected in the enioyment and exe­cution: That the restlesse humor, and proud spirit of ambi­tion [Page 121] euer haunts and possesses men of least worth, and worst conscience: That he which truely feares God neuer desires height of place for the glory or gaine; but onely with a so­bor indifferencie, thither enclines and caries his affections and hopes, and that with trembling at the waightinesse of the charge, where it pleaseth diuine prouidence by honest and lawfull meanes to plant or transplant him, for the im­ployment of his talent; and where hee may most glorifie God, benefit the Church, and keepe a good conscience. He thinkes vpon the vanitie and miserie of all things we enioy in this world; of that strict and great account hee must very shortly make vnto the Lord, and Iudge of all the world; of the length of that eternity, thorow all which is vnauoidably to be endured an euerlasting estate, either in the ioyes of heauen, or paines of hell. Out of such thoughts as these springs his truely noble & Christian resolution; that he had rather want preferment while the world stands, and end his daies in a retired and innocent obscuritie, then by casting himselfe into the common fashions and corruptions of the world, forfeit the fruit and comfort of his former integrity, wound his conscience, and serue the time: That he is farre more willing to endure any affliction or disgrace with Gods children, then to enioy the pleasures of sin, and glory of the world for a season.

I now come in the third place, to tell you that the word III of God is not rooted in the thoughts of the formall hypo­crite; which is the hearer resembled vnto the stonie ground; and thence riseth a very notable and most speciall difference betwixt him and the child of God, truely possest of the glo­rious state of Grace.

And I beseech you marke mee in this point. For the thoughts of a man doe farre more cleerely, and impartially distinguish the power of sanctification from the state of formality, then words, actions, and all outwardnesse of ca­riage. For in these many times is much cunning and en­forcement, artificiall and fained behauiours; counterfeit and formall conueiances, disguisements, and hypocrisies. They [Page 122] are liable to the lawes of men, open and obuious to the eye and iudgement of all; and therefore feare of punishment, reproch, and base reputation, shame, & speech of the world, hope of reward and rising; desire of maintaining a good opinion for honesty and religion; of holding some gainfull coherence with Gods children; are of great power to re­straine them, and to keepe them within good compasse and moderation. So that a mans words and actions, may be faire, ingenuous, and honourable; whose thoughts are base, pro­phane and abominable. But thoughts are the free, immedi­ [...] and inuisible productions of the heart, neuer taken with­in the walke of humane iustice, by their naturall secrecie ex­empted from mans most priuie search, and all executions of State. Their aberrations are onely censurable by the search­er of all hearts; no eye pries into these secrets; but that which is ten thousand times brighter then the Sunne: And therefore millions of thoughts, many thousand formes of imagination spring continually out of the harts of men, which without feare or maske, without restraint or reser­uation doe vndissemblingly resemble and represent the true state and disposition of the heart: So that from them we may be euer sure to take infallible notice, whether the heart as yet onely worke naturally, in framing them, in it owne sinfull mould, and feeding them with consent and delight; or else be taught and guided by a supernaturall power, to compose them according to the light of Gods word, and holy motions of his sanctifying spirit.

Let vs then consider what deepe roote the word of God doth take, and what speciall soueraignty it doth exercise in the thoughts of a sanctified man; whereby hee is cleerely differenced from all states of vnregeneration; euen that of formall hypocrisie, which I place in a degree aboue ciuill honesty, and in the highest perfection attainable by an vn­regenerate man. We will then for our present purpose con­ceiue these differences betwixt the child of God, and the formall hypocrite in this point of thoughts.

1 First, in respect of their nature, forms, & maner of working.

[Page 123]Streames doe resemble and expresse the nature and pro­pertie of those fountaines whence they spring: so ordina­rily, thoughts and imaginations follow the temper and constitution of the heart, wherein they are moulded. I say, ordinarily; for as wee doe not passe our iudgements of the depth of a riuer, or quality of the water, when by suddennesse of inundation, or incursion of neighbor brooks, it is growne into a torrent, and becomne muddie for a while: so neither are we to censure, or take measure of our thoughts by some vncouth motions, and extraordinarie stirrings, we somtimes feele in them, but according to the ordinarie current, and ge­nerall sway, they commonly hold and exercise in our hearts. For sometimes, euen the vnregenerate may haue good pur­poses and inclinations towards sinceritie, earnest longings for the happinesse of the Saints, and the heauenlinesse of their latter end; some flashes of comfort and perswasion, though from false grounds, that the spirituall state of their soule is safe and sound: but such thoughts as these in such men, spend their life in their birth; as they rise, so they glide and passe a­way without all fruit, true comfort, or profit to their owne soules. On the otherside, the calmnesse and serenitie of san­ctified thoughts in a good Christian, may sometimes be fou­ly disquieted and interrupted, either by some sudden erupti­on of the relikes of our owne sinfull nature, by violent inua­sion of some enticing obiect from abroad, or by the malici­ous, and immediate iniections of Satan. But because such thoughts as these oppose against the general and settled pur­pose of Gods child; hee well knowes, out of his spirituall wisdom and holy experience, how to repell and bridle them, how to repent of them, and pray against them, how to bee humbled, and bettered by them, in setting a stronger guard, and more narrow watch ouer his heart for afterward, left he be vnawares surprized the second time.

Sith therefore the heart of a notorious sinner is hardnesse 1 it selfe; for besides naturall obduration, it is yet further, and more fearefully hardned by a desperate extinguishment of those lesser sparkes of a generall inclination to ciuil [...] honesty, [Page 124] by a long custome in a dissolute course, by the contagious company of leaud and gracelesse companions, by the curse of God vpon his wilfull continuance in sinne; therefore I say, his thoughts are all continually, and resoluedly sinne, and that in a high and horrible degree: Wickednesse hath so en­woouen it selfe into his heart, that within he is very corrup­tion. And whereas amongst all other comforts of life, sleepe doth most sweetly feed and refresh nature; yet the humour of sinning is farre more naturall vnto him, and more domi­nant in his affections,Prou. 4.16. then desire of sleep. For he cannot sleepe, except hee hath done euill; and his sleepe departeth, except hee cause some to fall. He imagineth mischiefe vpon his bed: Psal. 36.4. When he is encompassed with the feares and darknes of the night, an image and representation of his graue, and of the horror of that great day; when his mind is retired from worldly affaires, the noise and tumult of men; when it is most actiue, powerfull, and fitted for diuine contemplation; euen then are his thoughts as blacke as hell, and deepest in the works of darkenesse; then is he plotting and contriuing mischiefe: How to compasse his pleasures, and accomplish the lusts of his heart, where to crowne himselfe with fresh Rose-buds; by what meanes to set forward the trade of drun­kennesse, and to enlarge the number of Satans reuellers, that with more contentment and companie he may leaue some tokens of his pleasures and swaggering in euery place: how to supplant his brother, oppresse his neighbour, grieue and disgrace Gods seruants; indeed how to become an absolut [...] villaine vpon earth, and the foulest fiend in hell.

You see what are the thoughts of the notorious sinners obdurate heart, which is as full of hardnesse, as the Moone of light; and therefore inforced, as it were, to emptie and dis­charge it selfe of some stonines,Isal. 48.4. by transfusing an iron sinew into the necke, and a brasen brow into the face. Neither iudgement nor mercie will bend and encline him to grace: no admonition or ministery of the word, wil make him blush at his open and profest impietie: So that his heart doth not onely greedily entertaine, what leaudnesse doth ordinarilie [Page 125] spring from corruption of nature, and is suggested by others; but being past all sense, both of shame and sinne, becomes one of the diuels new inuentours, and sets the thoughts bu­sily on work for the deuice of strange villanies and mischiefs, and for addition of new formes, fashions, and circumstances of sinning.

No better are the thoughts of the grosse hypocrite, ano­ther 2 kind of sinner, but fully as soule and abominable. For if we could look into his heart, though his outward life be or­dered smoothly and ciuilly; yet we should see within a bloo­dy slaughter-house of malice, crueltie and reuenge, an hateful stewes of impure imaginations and adulteries of the heart, a forge of much mischiefe, of furious and fierie rage against the power of grace, an insatiable gulfe of greedie desires for wealth and riches, for vndeserued respect and reuerence in the world; indeed a cage of all vncleane and rauenous birds. Here is only the differēce; the notorious sinner dares act and execute the abominations of his hart in the sight of the Sun: but the grosse hypocrite would gladly sinne vnseene, and go to hell with as little noise and notice of the world as may be; and therefore he drawes a curtaine of cosenage and hypo­crisie betwixt the sight of the world and foulenesse of his sinne.1. Kings. 21. In the hearts of Ahab and Iezebel was nothing but blood and murder, couetousnesse, oppression, and mercilesse enclosure; onely vpon the vgly visages of these soule fiends, they put a vizard of a fast, formall witnesses, and legall pro­ceeding. The ordinarie thoughts then of the grosse hypo­crite are the same, as vile and hellish, as those of the notori­ous sinner. Nay he doubles his iniquitie, and addes waight [...]o the vengeance preparing for him; in that he straines the vtmost veine of his wit, and founds the depth of his damned policie, to clothe them with faire pretences, and colourable shifts, as they passe and present themselues vnto the world in words and actions, and in that he labours to seeme a Saint, while he is in truth an incarnat diuell.

But the thoughts of the formall hypocrite; for with him I 3 am specially to deale, (I haue onely added in this point, the [Page 126] notorious sinner, and grosse hypocrite, for further distincti­on and illustration) I say his thoughts, as they come certain­ly short of true sanctification, so they are farre better then these now mentioned. For we suppose his heart to be seaso­ned with goodnesse of nature and ciuill honesty, to haue ta­sted of the generall graces of Gods spirit, and in some sort of the powers of the world to come; and therefore his thoughts are more faire, ingenuous, sober and moderate, then those soule and hateful ones of the notorious sinner, and grosse hy­pocrite. His heart will rise, and be affrighted with suggesti­ons of infamous consequence and markeable horror; as those of Atheisme, Crueltie, Drunkennesse, Adulterie, Her [...]sie and such like: but notwithstanding, because it is not softned and sanctified by speciall grace, without much scruple or consci­ence, it will let the imaginations loose to much idlenesse and vanitie, to many fruitlesse conceits, impertinencies and pro­phane wandrings; but especially into the endlesse maze of worldly cares & earthlymindednes. For he doth in some sort in his practise approue and iustifie that wicked and pestilent prouerb: Thoughts are free. They are free indeed, in respect of obnoxiousnes to humane iustice, in respect of discouerie and danger from any creature; but the eie and vengeance of hea­uen takes first and speciall notice of them, and holds them punishable, as the principals, and chiefe plotters of al trans­gressions. Words and actions are as it were sinnes at second hand, the very first life and freshest vigour of all ill is imme­diately receiued, and inspired into the thoughts. Hence it is, that Peter aduiseth Simon Magus, to pray God, if it were pos­sible, that the thought of his heart might be forgiuen him: as though there lay the greatest guilt, and deepest staine before God. By the way before I passe to the thoughts of Gods child, obserue one speciall marke of difference in this point, betwixt the true Christian, and formall hypocrite. The for­mall hypocrite doth euer harbour and maintaine in himselfe▪ one sweet pleasing bosome sinne or other, as voluptuousnes, worldlinesse, a greedy pursuit of temporall felicitie, an ex­cessiue desire of greatnesse, and note in the world, an opposi­tion [Page 127] to sinceritie, a delight in good fellowship, or some such like carnall contentment or secret sinne: on which his mind most runs; whereupon the best and the flower, the feruency and dearenes of his thoughts are spent. Gods word, honor, and seruice, checkes of conscience, motions of the spirit, ministrie of the word, admonition of friends, saluation of soule, by an vnreasonable and inconsequent discourse of his sensuall reason, are all made subordinate and seruiceable to this Idoll: To which with much delight he daily sacrificeth the noblest and immediate workes and issues of his soule. As for the state of his conscience, spirituall affaires, care of heauen, that One necessarie thing; these things take vp his thoughts but at reuersion, by starts, by accident; and when they come into the heart, their entertainement is very cold and strange, their abode short; and while they stay, they are apprehended and enioyed with much wearinesse and weak­nesse. I conceiue this to be the reason: Hee hath a full taste and present feeling of the pleasures of his sweet sinne; hee hath sensible and certaine possession of worldly content­ments, but no reall and sound assurance by sauing faith, and his forsaking all sinne, of the ioyes and comforts aboue; and therefore doth greedily follow and feed vpon the pre­sent, with consent of his erring iudgement, delight of heart, the best of his affections, and most of his thoughts. And as for hereafter, sith he is conscious to himselfe, of an honest ciuill life, of a sober formall cariage in the affaires of religi­on, and that he is not infamous with any notoriousnesse in the world, but as good as the best, a few precise fellowes of purer straine onely excepted, whose pretence and professi­on of extraordinary sanctity, is nothing (in his conceit) but humour and hypocrisie; he therefore, I say, for hereafter, re­ferres himselfe at all aduentures vnto the mercy of God, and to the lot and condition of many thousands which are in the same case and state with himselfe. But it is otherwise with Gods child: For by the power of sanctifying grace, as hee hath also mortified all other: so specially he hath broke the very heart of the sweete sinne of his vnregeneration. And as [Page 128] in a besieged citie, where the greatest and most dangerous breach is made, there the inhabitants concurre with chiefest care, and highest resolution, to fortifie and make resistance: euen so sith he knowes and feeles, that before his calling his delightfull and darling sinne most fearefully wasted his soule, and wounded his conscience, hee makes sure to im­ploy his thoughts with speciall edge and indignation, to countermine, preuent, resist, abominate and abandon all thought of that sinne: And now by the grace of God, sit [...] the heart, the fountaine, is purged and sanctified, the streame and heate of their intention and delight is caried another way. For he hath found that rich and inestimable Treasure in the Gospell; and therfore he sels all that he hath; he parts with euery pleasure; he casts out of his conceit whatsoeuer hath beene formerly deare and pretious vnto him, and lets all his thoughts, with loose raines, greatest ioyfulnesse and oftenest meditation run after it, and sweetly refresh them­selues with the glory and comfort of it. If a man vpon the way should find some pretious orient pearle, hardly could he keepe his eyes from gazing vpon it; his excesse of ioy would eas [...]ly command and confine the sight to so rare and hopefull an object, vntill hee meet with some skilfull Lapidarie, or come where hee might thorowly bee acquainted with the worth, and fully enioy the wealth of it. Euen so, after a man by the illightened eye of his soule, and the hand of sauing faith, once seaze and lay sure hold vpon the pearle of great price, the graces of Gods spirit and eternall life, the heart is presently so filled with loue and admiration, that for euer after it spends the most, the dearest, and the noblest thoughts vpon it: and they once set on foot, are so cheered and raui­shed with the heauenly beautie thereof, that they follow with continuall increase of feruencie and longing, vntill they come vnto the cleere vision and full possession of it, at the right hand of God, in the endlesse ioyes of the world a­boue.

4 The thoughts then of a true Christian are of a farre more heauenly temper, diuine nature, and higher straine, then the [Page 129] largest heart of the best vnregenerate man, can or doth pos­siblie comprehend. The formall hypocrit may haue his mind worthily busied in points of deepest learning, in the myste­ries of State, & affaires of kingdomes, in the best and high­est considerations which nature, art, moralitie, or policy can afford, nay, he may sometimes entertaine into his thoughts with ioy, the promises of grace, the happinesse of the Saints, the ioyes of heauen and the like; though these haue neuer any root or long residence in him. But that the word of grace should so emplant it selfe into the inner man, that the thoughts should neuer be so well or welcome to the heart, as when they are wading in the great mysterie of godlines, and with an holy wisedome plotting for the inlargement of Christs glorious kingdome in himselfe and others: That it should make all other discourses of the mind subordinate and contributarie to such heauenly meditations; and to this end set bounds and limits to the millions of imaginations that daily arise, and erect an holy regiment amongst them; I say, this is the speciall prerogatiue of a sanctified man. For he alone, because of his truth, sincerity and vprightnesse in the inner parts, makes conscience of idle, vaine, and wan­dring thoughts, (of which the formall hypocrite, either takes no notice at all, or not much to heart.) Hee is as much cast downe, vext and grieued with their disorder and exor­bitancie, as with the errors and infirmities of his words and actions; and therefore establisheth as it were a gratious gouernment amongst them, to keepe out confusion, idlenes, and rebellion. He confines them to a reuerent and feeling meditation vpon Gods word and workes, to a care of con­scionable managing the affaires of his calling; onely some­times, but sparingly with many cautions, exceptions, and seasonablenes, letting them out to honest recreations. What­soeuer thought is wandring without this compasse or with­in it vnsincere, is sinful: so that if he take any stragling, with­out these limits, any enticers to vanities and impertinencies, any obtruders and disturbers of so happie inward peace; he presently apprehends them, by the watchfull eye of his [Page 130] spirituall wisedome; examines them by the law of God, ar­raignes them in the consistorie of an illightened conscience, and so cuts them off in time by the power of grace, and sword of the spirit; that is, by opposing against them at the first rising in the heart, by present repentance, prayer, and after-watchfulnesse; he blessedly rids himselfe of the mise­ries, and distraction of prophane and troublesome thoughts. That this is no Idea, I now propose vnto you▪ howsoeuer it so be to euery vnregenerate man, and so when hee heares it he conceiues of it; for little knowes hee what adoe euery child of God hath with his thoughts; I say that this is no Idea, or idle abstraction, appeares pregnantly and plenti­fully in Dauids practise; who for all the strong enticements, ordinarilie incident to the pleasures of a Court, and natu­rall libertie of Princes, although the cares and waight of a kingdome lay vpon him, and that his Royall innocencie was still haunted and assailed with such indignities and vex­ations, which might almost haue swayed the blessed and quiet thoughts of a glorious Angell to distraction and dis­contentment; yet for all this the law of God did still prin­cipally take vp his heart, and that day and night. Gods word and workes, his statutes and iudgements, were meate and drinke vnto his mind, and his meditation continually, as is more then plaine in many places of the 119. Psalm. Oh, saith he in the 13. portion, how loue I thy law! it is my meditation continually. So vnexpresseable here was his pang of holy loue vnto Gods law, that hee prefixeth a particle of zeale, and extraordinarie passion; Oh, saith hee: And where the heart hath once truely and sixedly set it loue, there all the thoughts feast themselues with dearest apprehensions, and with greatest impatiencie of all other imployment. This is the verie case then of all Gods seruants, they meditate on the word of God most contentedly and continually, because they loue it farre before and aboue all earthly things; and so dearely doe they loue it; because in it with speciall secu­rity are conueied vnto them all the rich treasures of mercy, remission of sinnes, spirituall comfort, and eternall life, and [Page 131] particularly sealed vnto them by [...] Spirit of the same word. Salomon confirmes this worthie [...] of his Father, by his testimony, Prou. 12.5. The thoughts of the iust are right, iudge­ment, or iustice; for so the word signifies in the Originall; but the suttle deuices of the wicked are deceit. The thoughts of all vnregenerate men are commonly, either rooting in the earth, or drowned in pleasures, or running after preferment, or ranging vp and downe idly and prophanely, or fruitleslie melancholike; or if sometimes they glance, or settle them­selues vpon good things, they are still as a menstruous clout, and abomination to the Lord: because their consciences are not renewed, their hearts purged, their persons sanctified and accepted. But the thoughts of euery child of God are ordinarily working, for the maintenance and furthering of Gods glory and good causes, for procuring true good to their brethren, especially in spirituall things, for increasing grace in themselues, and their store of comfort against the day of triall. And if so be (which sometimes befals the best) they be crost by sinful motions in themselues, or suggestions of Satan, yet by their surprizing, and suppressing them at the very first rising and assault, and by present repentance, they are vndoubtedly euer pardoned vnto them in Christ Iesus.

Giue me leaue, I pray you, to illustrate this varietie and difference of thoughts, which I haue now largely laid downe vnto you; in our selues, for the neerer pressing of our consci­ences, and that in the matter of Elections.

Let vs imagine a notorious sinner to haue a voice and hand in such businesse. His very first thoughts would bee to haue no thought at all of Oath or Statute, of consci­ence or honestie, of honour of his Colledge, or good of the Church: but would resolue out of the prophane prin­ciples of his vast conscience, and by the benefit of a large acception of charitie, to bee indifferent for all commers. Only in his cho [...]ce, h [...]e would haue an eie to the maine, that the state of good-fellowship should take no disparage­ment or diminution; and therefore he would most careful­ly cast about with himselfe by all meanes, to defeate and pre­uent the purposes, and to stoppe the passage especially of all [Page 132] Puritanes. You must know by the way, that these are a very dangerous kind of men, able to blow vp whole Houses, by their too fierie zeale against idlenesse, drunkennesse, other shamefull corruptions, close and politike cariages of many rotten and vnconscionable causes and the like. For by The world is come to that wretched passe, and height of pro­phanenesse, that euen ho­nestie and sanctification, is many times odiouslie bran­ded by the nick-name of Puritanisme. Puri­tanes in this place, I only vnderstand them, (for euen such are so branded) who make conscience of studie, and religious e­ducation of Schollers, who are readie euer, and resolute to vphold goodnesse in a House, though they be crusht, disgra­ced and disoffic'd; who out of a gracious and ingenuous free­dom of Spirit, wil be their owne men in Elections, and other Collegiate seruices; and not suffer their consciences to be led hood-winkt to serue other mens humours and priuate ends; who chuse rather in a neglected state, sweetly to enioy the continuall feast and perpetuall paradise of a sincere heart, true and inward comfort, the societie of Gods seruants, then for many times full dearely bought fauours and offices, to en­thrall and violence both their iudgements and affections, to liue reseruedly, vnder a maske, and at a haires breadth for all occasions and obseruances, so wearing out a little miserable time in a glorious and countenanced slauery: In a word, who of the two would rather saue their soules, then prosper in the world. Now such fellowes as these, thinks he with himselfe, which seeme, as it were, by an hypocriticall Monopoly, to haue engrost all sinceritie, honestie and good conscience, must be kept out; or if by some dysaster, they creep in amōgst vs, be curbd and kept vnder, else shal not we sway and domi­neere. Hereupon all the labour of his wit, and toile of his thoughts would bee, to plant a thorne, where a vine should grow, and to burden these sacred and honourable Man­sions, designed onely for gracious and golden wits, with leaden drones, and swarmes of worthlesse and witlesse creatures.

2 Secondly, the thoughts of the grosse hypocrite in this waightie businesse of Elections, would bee as vtterly void of all conscionable, and ingenuous considerations, as the noto­rious sinners. First, he would commune with his own coue­tous heart, (for commonly worldlinesse is the master sinne in [Page 133] the grosse hypocrite, therefore I follow the thoughts rising thence) he would within himselfe cast a greedy and raue­nous eie vpon the condition of all the competitours for the place, and at length conclude, and be sure to seaze vpon that party, let his learning or honestie be what it would, where in all likelihood he might make the richest pray, and sucke out the greatest aduantage: Either purchase a great friend, strengthen his faction, gratifie his fauourites, receiue a pre­sent bribe, or else, which is a secret, but a sinfull policie, by weighing circumstances, marking insinuations, and former cariages, expect the largest after gratification, close and in­direct considerations, and the most liberal New-yeeres gifts, (for in them certainely sometimes lurkes corruption.) These things thus thought vpon, there followes now in him, an ad­dition to the iniquitie of the notorious sinner. He is not content to be thus starke naught, but he must double his sin by seeming good; it is not enough for him to be thus cur­sedly pestilent to the place where he liues, but hee must en­large the mischiefe, by putting on a vizard of piety: He ther­fore in a second place would beate his braines, how he might varnish ouer this villany, with most probable and fairest pre­tences. The bribe must come in vpon other termes, with o­ther circumstances, then the grossenesse of that vile sinne is wont to be conuaied; hee thinkes how he may deale openly, and in the eie of the world with men, without all suspition, while the matter is carried vnderhand by suttle, mediate, and most exercisde Agents in the goodly affaires of abomi­nable corruption. Lastly, he is much troubled in mind, how for all this he may continue a good opinion with good men, and giue satisfaction to those, whom he deceiues by his see­ming: but by much practise he makes this reasonable easie; for politicke hypocrisie hath so many faces, turnings and e­uasions, that it can too easily insinuate with, and satisfie vn­suspicious, innocent and charitable sinceritie. Hee can tell them of some depths in the mysterie of gouernment, which euery precise vnderling cannot comprehend; that some li­bertie and dispensation must be giuen to statute-discretion, [Page 134] against the bare letter, and strict meaning of the statute; that wee liue not in Platoes common-wealth, or Mores Eutopia, but in corrupt times, in the very confluence of all the sins of former ages; and therfore it is vtterly impossible to keepe a mans selfe so passingly pure from all spice of contagion; that something must needs be yeelded to the times, else there is no liuing, at least no prospering in the world. Thus the grosse hypocrite is euer as thoughtfull for outward plaistering, as secret plotting.

Thirdly, let vs conceiue what would bee the inward dis­course and workings of the heart in the formall hypocrite, about disposing his voice in Elections. His thoughts in these cases perhaps, would not be extremely base, nor grosly wick­ed: it may be he would be able to cleare euen his conscience and inmost conceit; much more to wash his hands from the hatefull and crying sinne of downe-right briberie. This hor­riblenes is onely for notorious sinners, and grosse hypocrites. Nay, out of some sudden pang of highest resolution, that in­genuousnesse of nature, or morall honestie can produce, he might take heart to answer and withstand the suites and im­portunitie of Greatnesse and great meanes: only with this reseruation, so that his present happines be not therby main­ly hazarded, nor hope of his future preferment certainely cut off. For we must still hold this principle concerning the for­mall hypocrite; if hee bee brought to a iumpe, hee will euer make euen Gods holy word, conscience, religion, desires and intreaties of godly men, and all to yeeld and stoope to the worldly comforts hee presently enioies, but vpon as faire termes, and with as plausible conueiance as may be. It may be, he will be good in many things, and outwardly in all; but say the Prophets what they will, he must into the house of Rimmon, God must be mercifull vnto him in one thing or o­ther: he is short of the state of grace, and by consequent, hath no sound and reall assurance of heauen aboue; and therefore he will haue some sweetnesse in the meane time, he wil inioy some shadow at least of one heauen or other vpon earth. So that if we suppose such an one, to take a view in his thoughts [Page 135] of al that stand for a place, he would resolue for goodnes and honesty, so far as the security & safety of his maine content­ments would giue him leaue, so far as the light of reason, and glimmerings of generall graces were able to leade him: but because he is still too respectiue of his own particular, wants the eie of spiritual discretion, & suffers his conscience to be cooled, and countermanded by worldly wisedome; he may I grant by constraint occasionally or by accident, consent and concur vpon the worthiest; but ordinarily, for meere loue of religiousnesse, hee doth not make within his owne heart, a free, vnpassionate, impartiall, sincere and conscionable choice. For let him otherwise bee neuer so wise or honest, yet he is a meere stranger to the mysterie of godlines, vtter­ly vnapprehensiue of the singular and supernaturall opera­tions of the life of grace; and therefore cannot discerne be­twixt resolute sincerity, and true turbulencie: whereupon it may often come to passe, that by a promiscuous confusion of these two most different spirits, he may so much as in him lies, repell farre the best, to the vnsatisfiable wrong of the partie, and the vnualuable losse of the House which should enioy him. There is one point further in deliberations of this nature, in which hee would iumpe with the notorious sinner: In aduising with himselfe for a fit man, if by the way his thoughts should be crossed, with a man of knowne, pro­fessed, and practised forwardnesse in religion; hee would passe him ouer with contempt and indignation; for thus would he thinke with himselfe: If such a fellow come in a­mongst vs, we shall haue all moulded anew after the strict modell of his irregular conscience; wee should be troubled with new tricks and erections, for the encreasement of study and reformation of manners; he would bee stil standing and striuing for an Ideall and abstractiue purity in Elections, and other affaires of the Colledge, so that our former quietnesse and peace would be much dissweetned with his tartnesse, and too much precisenesse. Thus would he bee as hote and heady against the power of grace, as the notorious sinner. For though there bee many different degrees of ilnesse, of [Page 136] vnregenerate men; some are farre more sober, tolerable, and moderate then others, yet all commonly agree in this, that they are bitter and implacable Opposites to the profes­sion and practise of sound and sauing sinceritie. Gods faith­full Ones euer were, and euer will bee Signes and Wonders euen in Israel: Isa. 8.18. Monsters vnto the [...] licet in­ [...]erpretari, vel [...], vel mag­nos. [Magnis] [...]eddidis Cal­umus. great men of the world, as Dauid was, Psalm. 71.7. A scorne, reproch, and derision to them that are round about them: Psalm. 79.4. They shall euer be accounted men of an odde fashion, and singu­lar cariage from other men, Wisd. 2.15. precise, humorous, hypocriticall and the like. Mistake me not; I apologize not for any vnwarrantable opinion tending to Separation; it is onely sanctification, true and vndissembled holinesse, with­out which none shall euer see the face of God, or glory of heauen, which I stand for, and intend in all my Discourse. But by the way let mee tell you this, in this generall and ioynt-conspiracie of all kinds of naturall men, against the spirituall state of true Christians, and the soueraignty of Gods sanctifying spirit in them; the meere ciuill honest man, and formall hypocrite, as I take it, are transported with more fiercenesse and rage against them, then the grosse hy­pocrite, and notorious sinner. This I take to be the reason; The grosse hypocrite hee sins against the light of his owne conscience, and with the certaine knowledge of his heart; and therefore doth not much enuie and grudge the righte­ous man his excellencie aboue his neighbour, and saluation of his soule: The notorious sinner in his more sober mood, and cold blood will confesse himselfe to be out of the way, promise and protest amendment, or at least reserues in his heart a resolution to repent when he is old: but the meere ciuill honest man and the formall hypocrite thinke their owne state to bee as good as the best; and whatsoeuer is more, and besides that which they find in themselues, to be but needlesse precisenes, and affected singularity; and therefore are many times gauld and grieued, that the truely gratious and conscionable cariage of Gods seruants, doth censure and condemne their outwardnes and formalitie in [Page 137] religion, and make it plainely appeare, that their case with­out sound conuersion and imbracement of sinceritie, is the very state of wretchednes and of death.

But now fourthly and lastly, in Elections the thoughts 4 of Gods child, in whose heart alone the word of God doth chiefly rule, and is deepely rooted, would bee these or the like. In the first place there comes into his mind a reuerent feare of that God, who hath mercifully aduanced him to his place, wherein hee expecteth conscience and faithfulnesse; He considers that solemne and sacred oath which hee takes in the sight of him who seeth all hearts and cogitations; for a resolute and vnswayed vprightnesse in the disposing of his voice; that vpon the integritie or vnconscionablenesse in Election, depends the miserie and confusion, or happinesse and flourishing of an House. Hee further calleth to mind out of his experience, that commonly those fellowes who thrust into societies, offices, and high roomes, by shufling and violence, by faction and preposterous fauour; by cun­ning, or corruption, become pernicious and dishonorable to the places where they liue; they are still thornes in the sides, and pricks in the eyes of all that loue grace and good­nesse: they either turne idle, truly factious, or notoriously scandalous, by misspending the vnualuable pretiousnesse of their golden houres, in Tauerns, Ale-houses, or some other course of good-fellowship, to the inexpiable and eternall dishonour of those Houses, of which they should bee orna­ments: and when they haue done much hurt and mischiefe here, they are the onely men to bargaine for, buy, or com­passe by indirect and sinister dealing, Benefices, and spiri­tuall promotions abroad: of which being possest, they either by vnconscionable and cruell negligence, and Non-resi­dence in their charge, betray the soules of their people to wildnesse and barbarisme, to ignorance, prophanenesse, or poperie; or else by a prophane and vnhallowed handling of Gods word, by daubing with vntempered morter, as the Prophet speakes, so strengthen the hands of the wicked, that they cannot returne from their wicked waies and kill [Page 138] the heart of the righteous,Ezech. 13.22. and make them sad whom the Lord hath not made sad, that the bruised reed is quite bro­ken, and the smoaking flaxe vtterly put out. Now thinkes the child of God with himselfe out of his spirituall wise­dome, if such an one as these should bee chosen by my de­fault and faintheartednesse; I should in some sort and mea­sure be iustly guiltie, and answerable before that high and euerlasting Iudge, of the many miseries and mischiefes, which ordinarily ensue vpon so vnhappie a choice. Hereup­on after a mature and impartiall suruay of all circumstances considerable in the partie, the statute and whole businesse; he singles out him with sinceritie and singlenesse of heart, whom in conscience he thinks most sufficient; and there hee stickes with a truely Christian and vnshaken resolution, pitcht by the verie power and strength of heauen: and come what come will, tempests, or faire weather; prefer­ment, or pouertie; threatnings or flatterie; policie, or per­suasion; priuate importunities, or frownings of Greatnesse; he is at a point, infinitely rather to keepe a good conscience, and saue his soule, then to enioy the present, and gaine the whole world. For hee well knowes that the day is at hand, euen that great and fearefull Day, when the consciousnesse of one gratious action, performed with vprightnesse of heart, will breed more comfort, then the glory, riches, and soueraignty of the whole earth.

To conclude this point: As vnregenerate and sanctified thoughts differ much in their workings euen about the same Obiects: so there are some, which are Gods childs peculiar, with which the state of vnregeneration is vtterly vnacquainted. They are such as these:

1 First, thoughts full of scare and astonishment, all hell and horrour, which rise out of the heart, when it is first stricken with sense of Gods wrath at the sight of his sinnes. These are scorched, in verie manie, euen with the flames of hell in their conuersion: They burne sometimes the verie marrow out of their bones, and turne the best moysture in them into the drought of Summer. No [Page 139] I doe not hereby exempt the state of vn­regene a [...]ion from all trem­blings and ter­rors of consci­ence for sin [...]e; but only make it a priuiledge of Gods ch [...]l­dren, to passe quite thorow them into the spirituall plea­sures, and para­dise of the Kingdom [...] of grace, and to be able with an holy a­mazement and thankful­nesse, to looke back vpon the ska [...]es and prints of those former wounds, of a truly hum­bled and bro­ken heart, al­readie healed, and [...]weethe closed vp with the blood of Christ▪ where­as in others, they common­ly either work but a half con­ [...]sion, are ex­pell [...]d with ou [...]war [...] mirth, or end in despa [...]re. print or skarre of these wofull and wounded thoughts, ap­peare in the heart of the formall hypocrite. This hell vpon earth, is onely passed thorow by the heires of heauen, while the children of hell haue commonlie their heauen vpon earth.

2 Secondly, thoughts I meane those blessed stirrings of the har [...], vnspeakable and glorious, vvhen the seale of remission of sinnes, is first set vnto the soule by t [...]e Spirit of ad [...]ption. composed al of pure comfort, ioy, heauen, immortalitie, the sweet and louely issues of the spirit of adoption. These flow onely from the fountaine of grace, and spring vp in that soule alone, which hauing newly pas­sed the strange agonies, and sore pangs of the new-birth, is presently bathed in the blood of Christ, lulled in the bosome of Gods dearest mercies, and secured with the seale, and se­cret impression of his eternall loue, and sacred spirit, not on­ly from the rage of hell; but also of an euerlasting and roi­all inheritance aboue. O [...] the heart of the vnregenerate man is farre too narrow, base and earthy to comprehend the vn­mixed pleasure [...], the glorious Sunshine of those blessed and ioyfull thoughts, which immediatelie follow vpon the stormes of feares and terrour, ordinarily incident to a sound conuersion.

3 Thirdly, thoughts of spirituall rauishment, and vnutte­rable rapture, slashes of eternall light, raised sometimes in the hearts of the Saints, and occasionally inspired by the Spirit of all & endlesse comfort; which with vnconceiueable amaze­ment and admiration feed vpon, and fill themselues with the ioies of the second life, in such an vncouth extasie and ex­cesse, as is farre aboue, and without the compasse and conc [...]it of all worldly comforts, the tongue of Angels, or heart of man. In this point, I appeale to the conscience of the true Christian, (for I know full well, that all my Discourse is a pa­rable, and paradoxe to the prophane) whether hee hath not sometimes, as it were, a sea of comfort rained vpon his heart, in a sweet shower from heauen, and such a sensible taste of the euerlasting pleasures, by the glorious presence of inward ioy and peace, as if he had the one foot in heauen alreadie, [Page 140] and with the one hand had laid hold vpon the crown of life: especially after a zealous heate, & feeling feruencie in praier, after an entire, gracious, and profitable sanctifictation of the Sabbath, at the time of some great and extraordinarie humiliation entertaind, and exercised with fruit and sinceri­tie, when he hath freshly with deepest groanes and sighes, and new struglings of spirit, renewed his repentance vpon occasion of relapse into some old, or fall into some new sin, when the empoisoned arrowes of cruell and fierie tongues, pointed with malice, policy and prophanenesse come thick­est vpon him; and yet retyring into his owne innocent heart, he finds no cause of such mercilesse vexation, but defence of Gods truth, and profession of holinesse. Nay, sometimes vp­on on the deaths-bed, to a soule conscious of an vpright and vnspotted life, the ioies of heauen present themselues be­fore the time; so longing a sympathy is there betwixt the life of grace and endles glory. Such like ioyfull springings, and heauenly eleuations of hart as these which I haue now men­tioned, are the true Christians peculiar; no stranger can med­dle with them, no heart can conceiue them, but that which is the Temple of Gods pure and blessed Spirit.

2 Thus farre of the difference of their thoughts, in respect of their nature and manner of working: Now in a second place, Gods child is notably differenced from the formall hypocrite by the seasonablenesse of his thoughts, and their holy seruing the time.

In a body of best and exactest constitution, the senses are quicke and nimble, and sharpliest discerne, with greatest life and vigour apprehend their obiects, and are most sensibly af­fected, or displeased with their conuenience, or antipathy: Euen so in a hart of a true spiritual temper, seasoned and soft­ned with the dew of grace; the thoughts are actiue, readie, and addrest with zeale & contentment, to encline and apply themselues to the condition of the times, and varietie of oc­casions offered for some holy vse, to the bettering of the soule, and the enlarging of Gods glory. In the time of fasts & sack­cloth; if Gods iudgements be threatned out of the Pulpit, or [Page 141] executed from heauen; when the Church weares her mour­ning weed, sincerity droupes, and the godly hang down their heades; in such blacke and dismall daies, they are impatient of all temporall comfort, they willingly put on sadnesse, to entertaine penitencie, humiliation and sorrow: but they are clothed with ioy and lightsomnesse, when mercie and salua­tion are wisely, and seasonably proclaimed out of the booke of life; when religion spreads and prospers, and diuine truth hath free passage, when whole States haue escaped the bloo­die Papists Gunpowder, and the roiall breasts of Kings their empoisoned kniues, and in such like ioyful and happy times. Thus the thoughts, and inmost affections of Gods child haue their changes, their seueral seasons and successions, as it plea­seth the Lord to offer, or execute mercie or iudgement out of his word, or in the world abroad. But the thoughts of the formall hypocrite, though they suffer indeed many alterati­ons, and distractions about earthly obiects; they ebbe and flow with discontent or comfort, as his outward state is fa­uoured or frowned vpon by the world: yet spirituall occur­rents, obseruable with deuotion and reuerence for the good of the soule, haue no great power to worke vpon them; sa­cred times, or daies of affliction, are not wont to make any such impression, or to breed extraordinary stirrings, and mo­tions in them. Let iudgements blast, or mercies blesse a king­dome; let Gods word find smooth and euen way, or rubs and opposition; let prophanenesse be countenanced, or sinceritie cherished, he takes no thought: so he may sleepe in a whole skinne, and keepe entire his worldly comforts; his thoughts continue heauie, dull and formall. Hee may conforme and consort with the times in his outward gestures, words and actions; but ordinarily his thoughts admit no change, saue onely, so farre as his priuate temporall felicitie is endange­red by publicke iudgements, or enlarged by showers of mer­cies and blessings from heauen. I cannot enlarge this point at this time: only I will giue one instance in their difference of thoughts vpon the Sabbath day.

The Sabbath day is, as it were, the faire day of the soule, [Page 142] wherein it should not onely repaire and furnish it selfe with new spiritual strēgth, with greater store of knowledge, grace and comfort: but also feast with it heauenly friends, the bles­sed Saints and Angels, vpon those glorious ioies and happie rest, which neuer shall haue end. Euery child of God there­fore, which hath alreadie a reall interest in that eternall rest, makes not only conscience of doing his owne waies, seeking his owne will, Esay 58.3. speaking a vaine word on that day: but also in some good measure makes it the very delight of his heart, the loue and comfort of his inward thoughts, so that he may conse­crate it as glorious to the Lord. He doth not onely giue quiet and cessation to his body from worldly businesse▪ and works of his calling; but also empties his head, and disburdens his thoughts of al earthly cares, that so they may wholly and en­tirely intend the holy motions of Gods Spirit, and spend themselues in godly and extraordinarie meditations, fitting the feast day of the soule, and the Lords holy day. This is the desire, longing and endeuour of his heart, thus to sancti­fie the Sabbath; and if at any time he be turned awrie from this vprightnesse by companie, or his owne corruptions, he is after much grieued and vext with it, repents and praies for more zeale, conscience and care for the time to come. But the formall hypocrite, howsoeuer he may on that day for­beare and abstaine from his ordinarie sinnes, labours, sports and idlenes; howsoeuer he may outwardly exercise and exe­cute all duties and seruices of religion; though indeed more of custome and for fashion, then with heartie and true deuo­tion: nay, he may haue other thoughts on that day, but one­ly so farre, as the bare solemnitie of the time and the greater Presence can alter them: yet I dare boldly say it, no formall hypocrite, no kind of vnregenerate man can possibly make the Sabbath his delight, as is required, Isai. 58.13. And which is presupposed to make vs capable of the blessings following in the same place: Then shalt thou delite in the Lord, and I will make thee to moun [...] vpon the high places of the earth, & feed thee with the heritage of Iacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. He cannot for his life sequester his thoughts [Page 143] at all, not euen on that day, from worldlinesse and earthly pleasures, to diuine and sacred meditations. Doe what hee can, he cannot beate and keepe them off from worldly Ob­iects; they will not leaue their former hants, or be restrained from plotting, or pleasing themselues with weeke-day bu­sinesses.

Lord, it is strange that the soule of a man, so noblely furni­shed with powers of highest contemplation; being so strongly and sensiblie possest with consciousnesse, and con­ceit of it owne immortality, and hauing the restlesse and vn­satisfied desires of it wide capacity, neuer fild but with the Maiestie of God himselfe, and the glory of an immortall crowne, should be such a stranger to heauen, the place of it birth and euerlasting abode; that vpon that day, whereon, as vpon the golden spot and pearle of the weeke, the Lord hath stamped his owne sacred Seale of institution, and so­lemne consecration for his owne particular seruice, and spe­ciall honour; yet, I say, vpon that day it cannot settle and continue it owne thoughts and motions vpon those vnmix­ed and blessed ioyes, and the way vnto them; without which it shall bee euerlastingly miserable, and burne hereafter in that fierie lake, whose flames are fed with infinite riuers of Brimstone, and the endlesse wrath of God, for euer and euer.

Now I pray you tell mee, when wee shall haue raigned hereafter many millions of yeeres in heauen, what thoughts will remaine of this little inch of time vpon earth? When we haue passed thorow a peece of eternitie, where will ap­peare the minute of this miserable life? and yet our thoughts and affections are so glued vnto the world, as though eter­nitie were vpon earth, and time only in heauen. You are men capable of worthiest and highest eleuations of spirit; I be­seech you, resume this meditation at your leisure; methinks it should be able to breed thoughts of a far more noble and heauenly temper, then ordinarilie arise and are nourished in the hearts of men.

But to follow my yurpose. Certaine it is, not the best vn­ [...]egenerate [Page 144] men can endure an entire and exact sanctifica­tion of the Sabbath; it is not a Iubilie to their hearts, and the ioy of their thoughts: for they cannot abide to haue their minds stay long in a feeling meditation vpon spirituall affaires, vpon the examination of their former life, the state of the other world, the sleights and tentations of Satan, the day of death, the tribunall of heauen and such like. For though the best of them may haue a persuasion of their be­ing in the state of grace, as I haue largely proued hereto­fore: yet sith it is wrongly and falsely grounded, it cannot abide the search and touchstone: Hence it is, that of all things they loue not to bee alone. They may please them­selues well enough in solitarinesse, vpon some priuate busi­nesse; for the more profound plotting and contriuing worldly matters; for a more free, but filthie exercise of the adulteries of the heart, and contemplatiue fornication; to feed vpon dull and fruitles melancholie; to let their thoughts wildly range and runne riot into a world of imaginations, to diue into the mysteries of nature, or depths of State: but to be alone onely for this purpose, that the mind may more fully and immediately worke vpon the spirituall state of the soule, and impartially inquire into the conscience; they can­not, they will not endure it; and therefore commonly cast themselues into one knot of goodfellowship or other, that they may merrily passe away that time; for an houre of which (the time of grace being once expired) they would giue ten thousand worlds, yet shall neuer bee able to pur­chase it againe. But Gods children when they are alone haue inward comfort and heauenly matter enough to worke vpon: a pleasing contentment and satisfaction, ari­sing from an humble and sober remembrance of a well spent life, doth infinitely more refresh them, then all the reuel­lings and pleasant deuices of merrie companions: nay, ma­nie times in their seasonable solitarinesse, diuine graces are more operatiue, and stirring, and raise inflamed motions of delight and ioy.

3 Now in a third place, we are to consider that the child of [Page 145] God is yet further very much differenced from the formall hypocrite, by his skill and dexteritie in ruling; by his holy wisedome, and godly iealousie in watching ouer his thoughts.

The heart in which Gods spirit is not resident, with speci­all grace and sanctifying power; howsoeuer the words may be watched ouer, and the outward actions reformed, lies commonly still naked and open without speciall guard or settled gouernment. For the best naturall man is too impa­tient of restraint and seuerity ouer the power of imagina­tion and freedome of his thoughts; they being naturally exempted and priuiledged from all humane and created so­ueraignty, and the vnc [...]ssantnesse of their workings and perpetuall presence in the mind would make the abridge­ment of their libertie more sensible and distastfull. It may be out of the natural grounds of ciuill honesty, & some generall apprehension of the power of the world to come; he may be so farre solicitous about his thoughts, tha [...] if any start vp of more soule and monstrous shape, enticing him to some grosse and infamous sinne, which would disgrace him in the world, or breed extraordinarie horrour in his conscience: he presently sets against it, disclaimes, abandons and ex­pels it. He may bee of experience and skill to conquer and suppresse thoughts of heauinesse, and melancholie; although in this point he many times fearefully deceiues himselfe; taking the holy motions of Gods spirit enclining him to godly sorrow for his sinnes; to be melancholicke thoughts tending towards too much strictnes and vnnecessarie dis­comfort: So grieuing the good spirit, and stopping against himselfe the verie first and necessarie passage to saluation. Thus the formall hypocrite may haue sometimes and in part, a sleight misguided and generall care and ouersight of his thoughts: But because the depth of his deceitfull heart, and the many corruptions that are daily and hourely hatch­ed in it, were neuer ript vp and reuealed vnto him by the power and light of sauing grace, he cannot hold that hand ouer his heart as he ought; hee doth not keepe a solemne [Page 146] particular, and continual watch and ward ouer his thoughts, which is little enough to keepe a Christian in sound com­fort and inward peace; he hath no heart with such anxiety, and care to looke vnto his heart; he doth not so often and seriously thinke vpon his thoughts, holding it the last and least of a thousand cares. But euery child of God, certain­ly makes it his chiefest care, and one of his greatest Christi­an toiles, to guard his heart, and guide his thoughts. Hee followes in some good measure by his practise that holy counsell of Salomon, Prou. 4.23. Aboue all watch and ward keepe thine heart. The word in the Originall is borrowed from the affaires of warre. Let vs imagine a citie not onely begirt with a strait and dangerous siege of cruel and blood-thirstie enemies, but also within infested with lurking Com­motioners, and traitors to the State; how much doe you thinke would it stand that citie vpon, with all vigilant poli­cie, to stand vpon it guard for preuention of danger? It is iust so with the heart; not onely Satan is euer waiting opportunitie, to throw in his fierie darts, and sensuall Ob­iects from abroad, like false Simons to insinuate themselues; but also, it feeles, to it much vexation, many rebellious stir­rings within it owne bowels. The tender conscience of a true Christian is verie sensible of all this danger, and by his owne experimentall and practicall knowledge hee is ac­quainted with the many breaches, and desolations made in the soule, both by these open enemies, and secret rebels; and therefore furnisheth himselfe daily, with much holy wise­dome and watchfulnesse; with experience and dexteritie in this great spiritual affaire of guarding and guiding his hart. We may take a view of this his sanctified and Christian wisedome in gouerning his thoughts, in these foure points.

1 In a timely discouerie and wise defeatment of Satans stratagems and policies; whether hee deale by suggestions raised from the occasions, and aduantages of his temper and naturall constitution; of his temporall state, either happinesse, or contempt; of his infancie, or growth; weaknes, or strength in Christianity; of the condition of his calling, companie, [Page 147] place where hee liues, or the like: Or whether he come ad­drest with his owne more fearefull immediat Iniections; which he sometimes presents in his owne likenesse: As when he casts into the Christians mind distrusts, and doubts a­bout the truth of heauen, and of diuine and heauenly truth, concerning the certaintie, and being of all that maiestie and glory aboue; for such thoughts as these, are somtimes offered to the most sanctified soule;Lib. de Consci­entia. Bernard cals thē terribilia de side, horribilia de diuinitate. But marke here the cariage of Gods child, hee doth not wrastle with these hel-bred thoughts, he sets not his naturall reason vpon them; for thence perhaps would follow inclinations to Atheisme, desperateness [...] in sinning, and other fearefull consequents: but at the very first approch, abandons and abominates them to the very pit of hell whence they came; he praies, repents, and is humbled by them, and thence clearely sees they are none of his; and so in despite of such diuellish malice, walkes on comfortably in his way to heauen. If Satan speed not in this blacke shape; he at othertimes puts on the glorie of an Angell: and per­haps may bring into his remembrance euen good things, but out of their due time, that he may hinder him of some grea­ter good. As at the preaching of the word, he may cast into his mind vnseasonably godly meditations, that so he may di­stract and depriue him of the blessings of a profitable hearer: At the time of prayer, he may fil his head with holy instructi­ons, that so hee may coole his seruencie, and bereaue him of the benefit of so blessed an exercise. With these, and a thou­sand moe such like vexations in his thoughts, the child of God is sore troubled and much exercised.

Secondly, another branch of spiritual wisdome in watch­ing 2 ouer his thoughts, is busied about those sinfull pleasures, which vpon the remembrance of his former old iniquities may reinfect the soule. For a man may commit the same sin, a thousand times, by renewing the pleasures of it in his thoughts. Though the act be past, yet as often as the mind runnes ouer the passages and circumstances of the same sin, with the same delight, so often the soule is polluted with a [Page] new staine, and laden with more guiltinesse. Whereas ther­fore the sensuall sweetnes of a mans beloued sinnes, hath be­fore his calling, got such strong hold and hant in his affecti­ons, that it will be stil afterward with baites and allurements, soliciting euen the renewed heart, if not to the iteration of the grosse act, yet at least to enioy it in thought: it doth ve­ry much behooue the child of God, to be warie and watchful in this point. If he remit but a little of his heate of zeale a­gainst sinne, and seruencie of his first loue, or grow regardles of his thoughts, it will presently gather power and opportu­nitie for reentrie. Here then is the toile and triall of Christi­an wisdome and watchfulnesse ouer the thoughts. If when the soule pleasures of former sinnes be represented vnto the mind, hee hath either learned to smother them at their first stealing into the heart, by opposing against them, a consi­deration of the many wounds, and much waste they haue formerly made in his soule: Or else by his growth & strength in grace, be able to looke backe vpon them without delight, to retaine them onely for renewing repentance, and to dis­misse them with loathing and detestation. Full sweet is the comfort, and great the happinesse of that Christian, who hath his corruptions so farre mortified, and the remission of his sinnes so surely sealed vnto him; that the thoughts of his former pleasing sinnes can neither tickle him with delight and new desire, nor affright him with I meane hor­ror of iudge­ment, not de­testation. horrour. For the one, Oh, saith blessed Austin in his Confessions, what shal I returne vnto my gracious God, that I can now looke my sinnes in the face, and not be afraid? But here the wisest Christian may be easily plunged ouer head and eares into one of Satans most deceit­full depths, except he be very warie: For in the solitarie mu­sings vpon his former sinnes, to this good end, that he may vtterly grow out of loue with them, and further loath them; Satan is euer readie (for both his craft and malice are end­lesse) secretly to adde tinder to the fire of his affection, so to inflame him with fresh loue and liking of that sinne, which at that time he most labours, and hath euer greatest reason to abhorre. And the tide of affections being once on foot [Page 149] towards an old pleasing sinne; it is a great measure of grace must stop the torrent of them. In watching therefore ouer the thoughts, the brightest eie of Spirituall wisdome, hath need to intend this point to descrie this depth.

Thirdly, another speciall care the child of God hath in 3 guarding the heart, is to banish and keepe out idlenesse, va­nitie of mind, melancholie, worldly sorrow, inward fretting, euill desires, wandring lusts, wishes without deliberation and such like. He holds a waking, and iealous eie ouer those many baites and lures, which spring & sprout eftsoones from the fountaine and rootes of originall corruption; which the state of mortalitie neuer suffers to be vtterly plucked vp, and dried away in this life: He knowes full well, if these young Cockatrices be not crushed while they are in hatching; that is, if wandring and wicked thoughts bee not stifled when they begin to stirre first in the mind, they wil first enuenome the vnderstanding, the vnderstanding the will, the will the affections, the affections once enraged, & hauing the raines like wild horses, will carrie a man headlong into a world of wickednesse. Aboue all, hee makes sure euer to haue in rea­dinesse and at hand, preseruatiues and counter-poisons a­gainst the baites of those three grand empoisoners, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eies, and the pride of life. There are these maine obiects, about which especially, actuall concupiscence is sinfully exercised, riches, pleasures, honours: if he once let his thoughts claspe about any of these with immoderate de­sire and delight, he is gone. For so riches will bring foorth couetousnesse, and couetousnesse begets vsurie, oppression, enclosure, buying and selling offices and dignities, grinding the faces of the poore, and a thousand moe mischiefes: It de­uours all naturall and honest affections, and turnes them in­to earth, it makes kindred, friends, acquaintance, content­ments seruiceable to it greedy humor: Nay it makes a man to contemne himselfe body and soule for this transitorie trash. Pleasures inflame lust, and lust so emasculates all the powers of the soule, that its noblest operations become bru­tish: it begets a wanton eie, a lasciuious eare, obscene talke, [Page] filthie iests, delight in plaies, and hateful pictures, besides ma­ny other secret and fearefull abominations not to be concei­ued without horrour, much lesse to bee named. Honours breed ambition, and ambition bids the soule speake vnto a man, in the language of Neroes mother; Occidar modo impe­res: Bee some body in the world while thou staiest heere, though I lie in the flames of hell euerlastingly hereafter. Deepely then doth it concerne euery true Christian with iea­lousie and trembling, narrowly to watch and obserue the first and secret motions of the heart, lest he should vnawares be wofully caught, and ensnared in that blacke and accursed chaine: the first lincke of which, growes out of naturall cor­ruption, and the last reacheth the height of sinne, and depth of hell. Wee may see foure links of it: Iam. 1.14.15. about the breeding of sinne; and other foure, Heb. 3. about it growth and perfection. First, an idle sinfull thought begins to draw, as it were, the heart aside from the presence and con­sideration of God almightie, to a sight and suruay of the pleasures of sinne. Secondly, it hauing, as it were, the heart by it selfe, puts on a baite, allures and entices, holding a con­ference and parley with the will, about the sweetnesse of pleasures, riches, honours, glory and such like. Thirdly, the will accepts of the motion, consents, plots and forecasts for the accomplishment, the affections adde heate and strength, the heart trauels with iniquitie; and so at length by the help of opportunitie, sinne is brought forth. If you looke vpon the Originall in S. Iames, you will easily gather these foure degrees. Now further by often iteration of the act of sinning with delight and custome, the heart is hardned; so that no terrour of iudgement, nor promise of mercie will enter. Se­condly, it becomes an euill heart, and is wholly turned into sinne, it drinkes vp iniquitie like water, and feedes vpon it, as the horsleech on corrupt blood. Thirdly, it growes an vn­faithfull heart, and then a man begins to say within himselfe, there is no God, at least in respect of prouidence, and care o­uer the world, and executions of iudgement vpon sinners: he bids him depart from him, and saies to him; I desire not the [Page] knowledge of thy waies; who is the Almighty, that I should serue him? Or what profit should I haue if I should pray vnto him? Fourthly followes an vtter falling away from God, grace, and all goodnesse, without all sense, checke, or re­morse of sinne, shame, and his most accursed state; and so immediately from this height of sinne, into the fiercest flamea and lowest pit of hell. For if the first degree deserue eternall death, what confusion must befall this Babell? You see in what danger he is that giues way vnto his first sinfull motions.

Lastly, a principall imployment of holy wisedome in 4 guarding the thoughts, is spent in giuing a wise and humble entertainement vnto the good motions of Gods blessed spi­rit: and in furnishing and supplying the mind with store of profitable and godly meditations. For as vnregenerate men giue commonly easie passage to pleasing worldly thoughts; but suppresse gratious stirrings, & inclinations to godly sor­row, repentance & sincerity; as though they were tentations to precisenes: so contrarily Gods child labours by all meanes to stoppe the way to the first sinfull sensuall thoughts; but alwaies desires with speciall humilitie, and reuerence to im­brace all the motions of Gods spirit, warranted and groun­ded in his word: Hee deerely and highly esteemes them, cherisheth and feeds them with spirituall ioy, and thank­fulnesse of heart, with prayer, meditation and practise. For if a man begin once to be neglectiue of godly motions, by little and little he grieues the spirit; at length he quencheth it, at last he is in danger of despighting it; if not by professi­on and directly, yet in his practise, and by an indirect oppo­sition, in slandering and persecuting spirituall graces in Gods children. Besides this worthie care of entertaining and nourishing good motions, hee is prouident to gather and treasure vp store of good matter and heauenly businesses for the continuall exercise of his mind: left that noble po­wer of his soule should be taken vp with trisles and vani­tie, feede vpon earth, or weare and wast it selfe with barren and lumpish melancholie. Hee is much grieued and vexed [Page] if he find at any time his heart caried away with transitorie delights, carnall and vnprofitable thoughts; or his mind musing impertinently, and gazing vpon the painted and va­nishing glory of the world: Especially sith there is such plentifull and pretious choice of best meditations, obuious to euery Christian, able to fill with endlesse contentment all the vnderstandings of men and Angels for euer. As the in­comprehensible gloriousnesse of God, in the infinite beauty of his owne immediate Maiesty, and sacred attributes in his word and workes; in his iudgements and mercies; in his Church and Sacraments. The miraculousnesse of our re­demption, and all the comfortable and glorious passages thereof. The great mysterie of godlinesse, the power of grace, trade of Christianity and course of sanctification; matter of sweetest contemplation. Concerning our selues there is to be thought vpon all the affaires of our calling, the particulars, perplexities, and cases of conscience incident vnto them. Our present vilenesse, and fearefull infirmities; the miseries and frailtie of this life; the traines of Satan, the terrors of hell; that great iudgement, euen at hand. In our spirituall state, how to preserue our first loue, escape relapses, grow in grace, keepe a good conscience, come to heauen. And when the [...]ie of our vnderstanding is dazled with those higher considerations, or wearied with these inferiour; it might refresh it selfe with the speculatiue fruition of many inuisible comforts, with variety of heauenly things, concer­ning the immortality of our soules, the large promises of euerlasting blessednesse, the glorious rising againe of our bodies, the ioyes and rest of Gods saints aboue, and that which is the crowne and conclusion of all, our owne most certaine blissefull state of happinesse and eternity in the se­cond world. If men had grace and comfort to enlarge their harts to such meditations as these; what roome would there be for earthli-mindednes, vanities and impertinencies, much lesse for proud, ambitious, couetous, lustfull, enuious and reuengefull thoughts.

Thus far of the care and conscience of the true Christian, in [Page 153] watching ouer and guiding his thoughts; which is a speci­all marke of difference from all states of vnregeneration: for the regenerate onely keepe the last commandement; which rectifies the inward motions of the heart.

Now lastly in a fourth place, and in a word; Gods child 4 is distinguished from the formall hypocrite, in respect of the issue of his thoughts.

The most comfortable and sanctified soule, is neuer in such perpetuall serenitie, but that it is sometimes as it were ouerclouded with dumps of heauinesse; and inwardly dis­quieted with it owne motions, or the suggestions of Satan. While this flesh is vpon it, it shall be sorrowfull; and while it is in this vale of teares, it must mourne. There is not an heart so sweetely and resoluedly composed for heauen; but is sometimes dissetled with thoughts of indignation: And that especially, as appeareth by Dauid, Psalm. 37. and 73. When follie is set in great excellencie; when men neither of worth, conscience, or ingenuitie, are aduanced to high roomes, domineere in the world, and imperiously insult ouer sincerity; when the wicked prosper, and spread themselues in fresh pleasures and honours like greene Bay-trees; when those haue their eyes standing out for fatnes, and more then heart can wish; to whom pride and insolencie are as a chaine, and who are couered with prophanenesse and cru­eltie, as with a garment. But here marke the diff [...]ence. Discontentfull discourses in the mind of the formall hypo­crite either breake out into desperate conclusions, and feare­full horrour, although this be but seldome; (for common­ly this kind of vnregenerate man liues flourishingly, and dies fairely in the eye of the world: exemplarie, and irreco­uerable despaire in this life, doth oftnest befall either the notorious sinner, the meere ciuill honest man, or especially the grosse hypocri [...]e;) therefore I would rather say that in him such discontentfull debatements, are either appeased by some opposite conceit of stronger worldly comfort; a­bandoned by entertainment of outward mirth; diuerted by companie, pleasures, and ioyfull accidents, composed [Page 154] by worldly wisedome or the like. But heauie-hearted thoughts in Gods child, though for a while not vtterly without some aspersion of distrust, fretting, and discontent; yet commonly at length being mingled with faith, and ma­naged with spirituall wisedom; by the grace of God, breake out into fairer lightening of comfort, greater heate of zeale, more liuely exercise of faith, gratious speeches, and many blessed resolutions. I will but onely giue one instance, and that in Dauid, a man of singular experience in spirituall af­faires.

Looke the beginnings of the 62. and 73. Psalmes. And you shall find Dauid to haue beene in a heauie dumpe, and sore conflict in his owne heart with strong tentations vnto impatiencie. He recounts the issue, of the dispute with him­selfe, in the beginnings of these Psalmes. Yet saith he in the 73. for all this God is good vnto Israel: euen to the pure in heart. In the 62. Yet let diuels and men rage and combine, yet my soule keepeth silence vnto God, of him commeth my sal­uation, &c. His many wrongs, vexations and indignities together with the implacable malice, and impotent insulta­tions of his aduersaries, had no doubt a little before much run in his mind. Let vs conceiue such as these to haue beene his thoughts; and that thus or in the like maner; hee com­muned and confered with his royall selfe.

Lord, thinks he with himselfe; I haue with lowest hu­militie, and vprightnesse of heart resigned mine owne soule; nay, I haue vowed and resolued that my crowne and scep­ter, my court and whole kingdome, shall for euer bee ser­uiceable to my gratious God, and that great maiesty aboue. My mind is neuer truely pleased and ioyfull; but when it is gazing and meditating vpon the excellent beautie of his glorious Being; vpon his bottomlesse goodnes, and immea­surable greatnesse. His word and sacred lawes are better and dearer vnto me, then thousands of gold and siluer. His Saints vpon earth are onely my solace, and their sincerity the delight of mine heart. For mine innocency, from those imputations which are charged vpon mee, I dare appeale vnto the strictest Tribunall of heauen. Why then how comes [Page 155] it to passe, that I am become a spectacle of disgrace and con­tempt, to heauen and earth, to men and Angels, to Gods peo­ple, and that which grieues me more, to Gath and Askelon? Saul, for all the seruice I haue done to hi [...] ▪ and to the State, hunts me vp and downe like a Partridge in the mountaines. Dogged Doeg, he hath informed against Ahimelech for re­leeuing me; and so caused the sacred blood of 85. Priests to be spilt as water vpon the ground. Malice and furie driue me into the wildernesse, (for Lions and Tigers are more mercif [...], then madded and enraged prophanenes:) but there the barbarous Ziphims haue betraied me to the King. I am railed vpon, not onely by base and worthlesse companions, by fellowes of prostituted conscience and conuersation, that were tolerable: but euen Princes, and those that sit in the gate speake against me. Not only drunkards make songs and iest vpon me: but euen great men, with authoritie and imperiousnesse carrie in triumph my distressed, and forsaken innocencie. Nay, & that which is the complement of miserie and discomfort; mine owne familiars, with whom I haue ma­ny times sweetly and secretly consulted, they haue also decei­ued me, as a brook; and as the rising of the riuers, they are passed a­way. But marke now the issue of this conflict, and inward dis­pute with himself. Had a notorious sinner bin in these straits, perhaps hee would haue burst out into desperate conclusions and furious attempts, Had a Papist bin here, he would pre­sently haue had recourse vnto the Iesuits fellowes, which are by definition, refined and sublimated Friers, composed all of fire, bloud and gunpowder, inspired by the powers of dark­nesse, with a transcendent rage against Gods truth, sworne solemnely in the blackest consistory of hell, to the death of Kings, desolation of States, combustion of the whole Chri­stian world, and destruction of infinite soules. These men would presently haue addrest some bloody and prodigious villaine with a kniffe, poyson or gunpowder to haue killed the King, and to haue blowne vp Saul, and all his court. Had a formall hypocrite bin in this case, seeing these crosses and miseries befall him; he perhaps would haue presently recoi­led [Page 156] from these courses of opposition, though in a good cause, closed with some great man in the court, and cast himself in­to the current of the times. But marke Dauids cariage in this point: his noble [...] like a glorious Sunne, breaks thorow these clouds, and stormes of inward troubles, these strong temptations to impatiencie and discontent; he puts on more strength of faith and patience, and shines brighter in all spi­rituall graces, me thinkes hee reacheth the very meridian of all Christian comfort and high resolution. For as you may see in the forecited 62. Psalme: He doth not onely fortifie his owne hart with vnconquerable confidence in God [...] pro­tection; but also with an holy triumph, insults ouer the in­solencies of his aduersaries, and already washeth his princely feete in the blood of the wicked. Hee tels them, they shall bee slaine euery mothers sonne of them, and that in feareful and horrible manner: As if a man should come vpon the backe of a rotten and tottering wall, and with great strength and furie push it downe: euen so, when they were most swelled with pride and prophanenes, the wrath and vengeance of God, should like a fierce tempest and whirle­wind, seaze suddenlie vpon them, and hurle them out of their place.


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