About Preaching and Hearing of the WORD.

OPENED In a Sermon, being the first fruits of a publike Exercise, begun in the Parish Church of Lownd, for the benefit of the Island of Louingland in Suffolke.

By IOHN BRINSLEY Minister of the Word in great YARMOVTH.

LONDON, Printed for ROBERT BIRD, and are to be sold by Thomas Carre in Norwich. 1631.

TO THE RIGHT VVORSHIPFVLL, SIR IOHN VVENTVVORTH of Somerley-ton in the County of Suffolke, Knight: sauing health and eternall happinesse.

Right Worshipfull,

I Here send you the first fruits of your owne; your owne by coun­tenance, your owne by mainte­nance. What you heard with attention, I questi [...]n not but you will willingly reuiew, and in what concernes you, readily practise. The Charge which is here opened is directly ours, but by conse­quence yours, and whose not. The Preaching of the Gospell being a publike worke, though it requires not euery mans mouth, to preach it; yet his eare, and his hand it doth, to receiue it, to vphold it. This Arke of the new Couenant (more is the pity it should be so frequently laid vpon the Cart) is properly for our shoulders to beare, but yet none are debarred [Page] from touching of it. It is not onely the liberty, but the duty of euery priuate Christian to further the cause of the Gospell in what hee may, much more of them whom the Common-wealth calleth forth for publike imployments; I blesse God that I haue no need to presse this charge vpon your particular, or if I doe, my arguments must bee commendations. The bellies of the poore of these parts blesse you al­ready in these times of scarcity, I hope some of their soules shall blesse you for the Bread that perisheth not. This religious exercise which God hath made you the instrument to erect, and I hope to contiue, shall honour you in the eyes of God and his Saints. The Lord make it as prosperous as it is needfull, and giue you the true comfort of it here, and hereafter; So prayeth

Your Worships euer in the Lord IOHN BRINSLEY.

A Table for the Prophets chamber.

Parts [...]
  • The Ministers Charge.
    • A Duty in­ioyned.
      • Preach: where is explained
        • The thing: what Preaching is.
        • The significati­on of the word, implying
          • The Preachers office, viz A Cryer, a Herald.
          • Manner of discharg­ing it, viz.
            • To whom he is to speake: to all.
            • In whose name: his Masters.
            • How
              • Boldly.
              • Faithfully.
              • Plainly
      • The Word.
        • Christ.
        • The Gospell of Christ.
        • Consisting in foure particular actions.
    • Manner of perfor­mance.
      • Generall: Be instant.
        • Earnest with
          • Themselues.
          • Others.
        • Diligent.
      • Particular.
        • In Season.
          • At the set ordinary time: the Lords day.
          • Speciall seasons and opportunities.
        • Out of season: when the word seemeth to be so in respect of the
          • Speaker.
          • Hearer.
          • Both: viz. on the weeke day.
  • The Peoples dutie, by way of appli­cation, in fiue particulars.
    • 1. Heare.
    • 2. The Word: not being offended at the simplicity of it.
    • 3. Be instant.
      • Earnest with
        • Themselues, in exciting
          • To the dutie.
          • In the dutie.
        • Others
          • God: that he would giue to his Ministers
            • Ability.
            • Liberty.
            • Efficacy
          • Man
            • Ministers themselues, exciting them to their dutie, by
              • Christian exhortation, which must be done with
                • Loue.
                • Wisedome.
                • Respect to their paces.
              • Incourage­ments.
                • Verball.
                • Reall.
                  • Competency of main­tenance.
                  • Honor and respect due to their callings.
                  • Entertaining the word with glad­nesse, in
                    • Recei­uing.
                    • Practi­sing.
            • Priuate persons, stirring them vp to attend vpon Gods ordinances.
      • Diligent.
    • 4. In Season.
      • At the set time: the Lords day.
      • When God disposeth the heart after a speciall manner.
    • 5. Out of Season.
      • On the weeke day, as occasion shall be offered.
      • When outward occasions may withdraw or hinder.
      • When inward indisposition may discourage.


2 TIM. 4. 2.

Preach the Word, be instant in season, out of season.

IN all solemne Assemblies, and pub­like meetings vpon ciuill affayres, the first act, vsually, is to open and reade the Commission which may warrant the businesse to bee vndertaken. This course I haue thought good to obserue and fol­low, in making entrance vpon this holy and religious Exercise: First, to open vnto you the Commission, which may warrant and beare out the duty wee are now to goe about; and that, not onely in the substance, but also in the circum­stance.

In this Exercise there are but two things subiect to [Page 2] question: the Exercise it selfe, and the season for the per­formance of it.

The Exercise it selfe, The Preaching of the Word. Car­nall minded men, who sauour not the things of God, will happly conceiue of it, at the least, as not so necessary: The season for the performance of this Exercise (being on the weeke day,) others perhaps will censure it as not ex­pedient. To both these the Spirit of God, in the words I haue now read, giueth vs an expresse warrant; and that not by way of allowance onely, but by way of iniunction; as of things that not onely may bee done, but must bee done. To the Exercise it selfe, [Preach the Word,] not onely a toleration, but a peremptory command. To the circumstance of time, the season for the performance of it, [Be instant in season, out of season:] No season vnseaso­nable for this so necessary a duty: Euen that which may seeme to carnall reason, to flesh and blood to bee out of season, is yet seasonable. Though it may seeme vnseaso­nable to the hearers, yet it is seasonable in the speaker. This is Saint Pauls charge to Timothy in particular, and in him to all the Ministers of the Gospell, [Preach the Word, be instant in season, out of season.

In this Apostolicall charge,Diuis. there are two things pre­sent themselues to our consideration, The duty inioyned; and, The manner of discharging it: The Duty that is inioy­ned, is, Preaching of the Word, Preach the Word: The Manner how this duty must be discharged, is, With ear­nestnesse and diligence, with vndaunted resolution, with indefatigable industry; Bee instant in season, out of season.

To begin with the Duty it selfe: Preach the Word. This is a Duty imposed by God vpon all the Ministers of the Gospell:

They must Preach the Word.

This is the charge,Doct. we see, which S. Paul here impo­seth vpon his sonne Timothy, and he doth it with as much seriousnesse and earnestnesse as possibly can be conceiued: [Page 3] I charge thee before God, and the Lord Iesus Christ, who shall iudge the quicke and the dead at his appearing, Verse 1. and his kingdome, Preach the Word. Did you euer heare a charge set on with more pressing arguments, with more compulsiue and commanding perswasions? I, but in imposing this charge vpon Timothy, doth not Saint Paul deale, as our Sauiour saith of the Scribes and Pharises,Mat. 23. 4. who binde heauy bur­thens vpon other mens shoulders, but they themselues will not moue them with one of their fingers? Nothing lesse: What he imposeth vpon Timothy, he conceiueth and acknowledgeth to be as deepely charged vpon him­selfe: Necessity is laid vpon me, 1 Cor. 9. 161▪ yea, Wee is vnto mee of I Preach not the Gospell. So deeply did this great Doctor of the Gentiles account himselfe to stand charged with this Duty. There was a Necessity lay vpon him for the per­formance of it; that Necessity backt with a Woe if hee should neglect it. The like Necessity, the like Woe lyeth vpon all the Ministers of the Gospell in their seuerall pla­ces and stations: They must Preach the Word: Woe is vnto them if they doe it not: I must not dwell vpon confirmation. This was the first and the last charge which our blessed Sauiour gaue to his Apostles, when he was to send them forth into the world after hee had told them whither they should goe; the first charge he giueth them, is,Mar. 10. 7. As ye goe, Preach, When hee himselfe was to leaue the world, and to take his last farewell of them, the last charge he giueth them,Mark. 16. 15. is, Goe ye into all the world, and preach the Gospell to euery creature. Preaching of the Gospell was the Alpha,1 Cor. 1. 17. and the Omega in their Aposto­licall Ministration; and it is one of the maine businesses which the Ministers of the Gospell must attend vnto; They must Preach the Word.

By way of explication, and illustration, I will here vn­fold vnto you two things: What is meant by Preaching; what by the Word.

For the first: To Preach in a generall and large accepti­on of the Word,What Prea­ching is. is to declare, or any wayes make [Page 4] knowne the will of God vnto man: In this sense euery declaration of the will of God, be it by any of his Mer­cies, Chastisements, Iudgements, Creatures, may im­properly be called Preaching: The heauens declare the glo­ry of God, Psal. 19. 1. and the Firmament sheweth his handy work. Neuer a Creature in heauen and earth but readeth a Lecture, prea­cheth to the eye of the beholder, the mercie, wisedome, power and goodnesse of God: And so in this generall sense, Reading may also be called Preaching. But more specially and properly, in the ordinary phrase of the Scripture, Preaching importeth a Ministeriall action, wherein the will of God is made knowne to the Church, after a speciall manner, by the Ministers of the Gospell. To speake distinctly. The Ministers of the Word, being A­gents betwixt God and his people,Wherein the office of the Ministers of the Word consists. their office consisteth in two things: 1. In dealing with God for the people. 2. In dealing with the people for and from God. First, they are to deale with God, for and on the behalfe of the people; to be, as it were, their Mouthes vnto God, in put­ting vp their suits, and supplications, and thanksgiuings vnto God, in expressing their desires vnto God, to pray for them: God forbid that I should sinne against the Lord, in­ceasing to pray for you, 1 Sam. 12. 23. saith Samuel vnto the people. And secondly, as they are to be the peoples mouth to God, in praying for them, so they are to bee Gods Mouth to the people, in instructing them, in declaring his will to them. If thou take away the precious from the vile, Ier. 15. 19. thou shalt be, as it were, my mouth, saith the Lord to the Prophet Ieremy. The Prophets of God, the Ministers of the Word, are Gods mouth, whereby he speakes, and makes knowne his will to his people. The will of God is made knowne to the Church, by the Ministers of the Gospell, two wayes: By Visible signes, by Audible voyce.

By Visible signes: The Sacraments, which, being pre­sented to the Church by hands of the Ministers, are as vi­sible words to make knowne and ascertaine to euery be­leeuer, the eternall gracious purpose, the euerlasting good [Page 5] will of God towards him in his Sonne.

But secondly, and principally, by Audible voyce: By Au­dible voyce the will of God is declared to the Church by the Ministers of the Word in two Ministeriall actions; In Reading; in Preaching: In Reading the Text, the letter of the Scriptures; in Preaching, interpreting, ex­pounding, applying them to the edification of the Church: Both these Ministeriall actions you haue ioyned together in the practice of Ezra and the Leuites in Nehe. 8. 8. They read in the booke, Neh. 8. 8. in the Law of God distinctly, and gaue the sense, and caused the people to vnderstand the reading. That which we haue here to deale withall, is the last of these Ministeriall actions, Preaching, properly so called, which, to speake shortly and fully, is an action of the Minister of the Word,Preaching defined. soundly interpreting and opening the sense of the Scriptures by the Scriptures, with Ap­plication of them to the vse of the Church by Doctrine, Instruction, Exhortation, Reproofe, Conuiction, Com­fort.

This is properly Preaching: You now see the thing: Looke we backe a little vpon the word, that will afford vs something worthy our obseruation, Preach; the word in the originall is [...],The significa­tion of the word [...], Preach. a word borrowed from pub­like Cryers or Heralds sent from Kings, Princes, States, to proclaime and make knowne their mindes, edicts, deter­minations vnto others. The Metaphor is no lesse elegant than fruitfull: it readeth vs, the Ministers of the Gospel, a double lesson: First, what our office is: Secondly, how we are to behaue our selues in the discharge and executi­on of that office: It first putteth vs in minde what our of­fice 1 is: We are Cryers, Heralds, Ministers are Criers, He­ralds. sent from the Lord of Hoastes, the King of heauen, from God himselfe, to declare and proclaime his will to the Church. This was the office of Iohn the Baptist, he was a Cryer: The voyce of a Cryar in the wildernesse: Mat. 3 3. A Cryer sent to proclayme to the world the comming of the Messias, to worke the redemption of his people. This was the of­fice [Page 6] of the Apostle Saint Paul: he was ordayned to bee a Preacher and an Apostle, as himselfe telleth vs: 1 Tim. 2. 7. 2 Tim. 1. 11. a Preacher: the word in both places is [...],1 Tim. 2. 7. a Cryer,2 Tim. 1. 11. a Herald; one sent from God to pro­claime and make knowne to the Gentiles the glad tidings 2 of saluation by Christ. This is our office: and secondly, it putteth vs in minde, How wee are to behaue our selues in the discharge and execution of this office, in declaring the will of God to the Church; and that in three particulars: To whom we are to speake; In whose name we are to speake; and, How we are to speake:

1 1. To whom we are to speake; generally to All: Cri­ers,They must de­liuer the will of God to All. Heralds, they make publike Proclamations, that All the people may heare and vnderstand: It is the speech of Babshakeh to Eliakim, (we may make vse of the actions of wicked men, as our Sauiour doth of the vnrighteous Iudge in the parable,) when hee was sent by his Master, the King of Ashur, as an Herald to giue a summons vn­to Hierusalem: Hath my Master sent mee to thy Master, 2 King. 18. 27. and to thee, to speake these words; hath hee not sent me to the men which sit vpon the wall. Heralds make Proclamations, they speake to all the people. Thus must the Ministers of the Gospell declare the will of God, publish the glad ti­dings of saluation, offer Christ to all, so runs our Com­mission giuen to the Apostles by Christ himselfe: Goe Preach the Gospell to euery Creature: that is,Marke 16. 15. to Iewes and Gentiles, to bond and free, of what state, of what degree, of what condition soeuer. Thus the Prophet Esay ma­keth his Proclamation,Esay 55 [...] 1. Esay 55. 1. Hoe, euery one that thir­steth, come ye to the waters. There are none excepted, none excluded out of our Commission: wee must tender Christ vnto all: So must wee Preach to the Churches, as S. Iohn writeth to them in his Reuelation: Reu. 1. c. 2 [...] c. He that hath an eare, let him heare what the Spirit saith to the Churches: Preach the Gospell to all.

2 2. In whose name we must preach: Heralds speake not in their owne names,In the name of God. but in the names of them that [Page] send them: Thus saith the great King, the King of Ashur, saith Rabshakeh to the Inhabitants of Hierusalem: So must we speake to the Inhabitants of Iudah and Hierusa­lem, in the phrase of Heralds; not in our name, but in the name of him whose messengers we are, in the name of God: Thus saith the King, the great King of heauen and earth. Thus spake the Prophets of old, The Word of the Lord; the burthen of the Lord:Mat. 21. 9. Thus did our Saui­our himselfe (as he was man) come vnto his people: Bles­sed is he that commeth in the name of the Lord: Thus were the Apostles to preach vnto the people: it is our Sauiours owne charge to them a little before his ascension; That Repentance and remission of sinnes should bee preached in his name. And those outcasts in the Gospell,Luk. [...]. 17. when they would plead, as they thought, effectually for themselues, they doe it in this phrase,Mat. 7. 23. Lord, Lord, haue we not prophesied in thy name. Ministers must speake to the Lords people, not as Lords ouer them, but as messengers, as Heralds, in the name, in the authority of him that sendeth them: in the name of God.

3 How wee are to speake and deliuer the will of God to the people, namely, as Heralds should doe: How is that? Why, 1. Boldly: 2. Faithfully: 3. Plainely. Bold­ly, as hauing authority, as representing the person of the Prince that sends them: Faithfully, neither adding to, nor detracting from what they haue receiued in instruction from their Masters: Plainly, that all they to whom they are sent, may heare and vnderstand their message: Thus should the Ministers of the Word behaue themselues in the dispensation of the Gospel, in preaching of the Word: Deliuer it,

1. Boldly, Boldly. as standing in the place, representing the person of God himselfe: not fearing the faces of them to whom they are sent: Behold, Ezek. 3. 8, 9. I haue made thy face strong against their faces, and thy fore-head strong against their fore-heads, As an Adamant, harder than Flint, haue I made thy fore-head, saith the Lord to the Prophet Ezekiel. Such an [Page 8] vandaunted boldnesse, such an inuincible resolution should there be in the Ministers of the Word, in deliuering the will of God to the people; in instructing, exhorting, conuincing, reprouing; they must doe it with boldnesse. They that preach Christ,Mat. 7. 29. must so preach him, as Christ himselfe preached, when hee was vpon the earth, as ha­uing authority: It is Saint Pauls charge, in expresse words, to Titus: These things speake and exhort, Tit. 2. 15. and rebuke with all authority: [...]: that is, with a Ministeriall authority. In this, Christs preaching, and our preaching of Christ, differ; He preached, [...], as hauing authority in himselfe, from himselfe: Wee must preach with authority too, but not as hauing authority in our selues, but with a deriued, a Ministeriall authority, deri­ued from him whose Ambassadours we are, whose per­son we represent: Preach with authority: Boldly.

2. Faithfully:Faithfully. Deliuer the will of God, his whole will, nothing but his will, neither adding to it, nor de­tracting from it: Thus did the Apostle Saint Paul preach and deliuer the will of God to the Churches: What hee deliuered to others,1 Cor. 11. 23. he first receiued himselfe; I haue re­ceiued of the Lord that which also I deliuered vnto you. And as he receiued what he deliuered, so hee deliuered what he receiued; he kept nothing backe: I haue not shunned to declare vnto you all the Counsell of God: Acts 20. 17. They are his owne words to the Elders of Ephesus at Miletum. Thus must we deliuer the Counsell of God, his reuealed Will (for that is meant by Counsell in that place, not his secret De­crees and Purposes, but his reuealed Will, specially his Counsell and Purpose touching the way and meanes of saluation, by Christ, and Christ alone) we must deliuer it faithfully; not adding to it, nor baulking any thing ne­cessary to be knowne. Exemplary to vs is that resolution of the Prophet Michaia, when hee was sent for to pro­phesie before King▪ Ahab: At the Lord liueth (saith he) whatsoeuer the Lord saith vnto me, 1 King. 22. 14. that will I speake. Deliuer the will of God faithfully.

[Page 9] And thirdly, deliuer it plainely: Heralds speake di­stinctly with an audible voyce,Plainly. in a knowne language, to the vnderstanding of those to whom they are sent: Rab­saketh, 2 King. 18. 26, 27. when he was sent as an Herald to the people of the Iewes, he would not speake to them in the Aramites lan­guage, as Eliakim would haue had him, but in the Iewes language, that the people might vnderstand his arrand. Thus must Gods Heralds, the Ministers of the Word, in deliuering his Embassage, in preaching of the Word, they must speake plainely, distinctly, in a knowne lan­guage, to the capacity of the hearers: Thus did Ezra and the Leuites,Neh. 8. 8. in that forenamed place; They read in the booke, in the Law of the Lord distinctly, and gaue the sense, and caused the people to vnderstand. And it is noted of the Apo­stles, at the day of Pentecost, as an exemplary president to the Ministers of the Gospell for euer: That Euery man heard them speake in his own language: That is,Act. 2. v. 6. they spake to euery man in his own language; not that the hearers heard that in diuers languages which they spake but in one, as some haue (not without some colour in the words) con­iectured; for then (as Mr. Caluin vpon the place well obserues) the miracle had beene in the hearers,Calu. in loc. v. not in the speakers, whereas the clouen tongues rested vpon the Apostles, not vpon the people. Their tongues were clouen, they spake to the people in their owne languages, that they might vnderstand as well as heare: For a Herald to deliuer a message of importance in a strange language, which none vnderstand but himselfe, he had as good bee silent. They that take vpon them the preaching of Christ, must speake in the language of Christ, and the language of the people; they must speake plainely. This it is pro­perly to Preach, viz. To deliuer the will of God, as He­ralds doe the commands of their Masters: to speake vn­to all: to speake in the name of God, with boldnesse, faith­fulnesse, plainenesse. You now see the first question resol­ued and cleared: What is meant by Preaching: But what must we Preach? The voyce saith to vs, Esa. 40. 6. Cry; but what shall [Page 10] wee cry? That is the second thing to be vnfolded: The text telleth vs, The Word: [...], We must Preach the Word.

This word [...] (the Word)The Word ta­ken two waies. it admits of many and di­uers significations in the Scriptures: In this place it may be taken two wayes:1. For Christ himselfe. First, for Christ himselfe, who is sometimes in the phrase of the Scripture called (the Word,) In the beginning was the Word: Are in text. That is, the eternall sonne of God, the vncreated,Ioh. 1. 1. essentiall Word of the Father. Christ is called The Word (to omit other more witty than solid coniectures) principally for two reasons: First, be­cause he is the summe and substance of that Word, that first and great Word, that Word of words, the Word of promise made by God himselfe to his Church at the be­ginning; and afterwards, in effect, from time to time re­newed and ratified vnto the Patriarchs:Gen. 3. 15. The seed of the woman shall breake the Serpents head: The substance of this promise is Christ himselfe, the seed of the Virgin, in him this promise is verified and made good, and there­fore called the Word: Secondly, he is (the Word,) because by him the will and purpose of God is made knowne to the Church, as our mindes are expressed to other men by our words;Ioh. 1. 18. No man hath seene God at any time, but the onely begotten sonne of the Father, he hath declared him: De­clared him: [...], saith the Originall; the word sig­nifieth to conduct, and direct, and leade a man, as it were, by the hand to the finding out of something that was hid before. The will of God was a thing that was locked vp in the breast of his secret counsell, a thing hidden from our eies, as the purpose of a mans heart is from the know­ledge of another. Now Christ hath led vs to the know­ledge of this will by declaring of it, as a mans words lead another to the knowledge of the intents and purpo­ses of his heart, and therefore called The Word.

Secondly,2. The Gospel▪ by the Word, here wee may vnderstand the reuealed will of God made knowne in his Word in the Scriptures: specially his will concerning his sonne, and [Page 11] the saluation of his people by him: The Word of the Go­spell: The Gospell is called (the Word) the word [...]: the whole Bible, euery part and parcell of it is the word of God; but the Gospell is the pith, the marrow, the quintessence, the summe and substance of this word, and therefore called, by way of eminency,Acts 15. 7. The Word of the Gospell: That the Gentiles might heare the Word of the Go­spell: [...]: the word by way of eminency: This is the Word which the Spirit of God is pleased to honour with so many honourable additions and compellations in the Scriptures; sometimes calling it the Word of life, the Word of eternall life: Master, Ioh. 6 68. thou hast the words of eternall life, saith Peter to our Sauiour. The Law is a Word of death, a killing letter: the Gospell is a Word of life, a quickening Word, giuing life, leading vnto life: Some­times againe,Ephes. 1. 13. the word of Truth: In whom yee also belee­ued after that ye heard of the Word of Truth. Euery word of God is a true word, the Gospell is the word of Truth: Sometimes the word of the Kingdome:Mat. 13. 19. Whensoeuer a man heareth the Word of the Kingdome. The Word of the King­dome, because by this Word, as by his Scepter, Christ ruleth like a King in the hearts of his people: and by this Word he maketh them Kings, bringing them by it, to the Kingdome of grace here, and of glory hereafter: Sometimes againe,Act. 13. 26. the Word of saluation: To you is the Word of this saluation sent, saith Paul to the men of Anti­och. The Word of saluation, because it is the power of God to saluation. There is a singular excellency and emi­nency in this word of the Gospell, and therefore here in the text, called The Word.

Now to which of these two interpretations we should incline, it matters not; there is no materiall difference betwixt them; Whether Christ, or the Gospell of Christ, all commeth to one: Christ is the subiect of the Gospell, and the Gospell is the doctrine of Christ;The subiect of Preaching, is Christ and the Gospell. the sense is still one and the same: That which Timothy and the Ministers of the Gospell must preach, is nothing but the Word, [Page 12] Christ, the Gospell of Christ: They must preach Christ: Him did Philip preach vnto the Samaritans; He preached Christ vnto them. Acts 8. 5. Him did Paul preach immediately af­ter his conuersion;Acts 9. 20. Straightway he preached Christ in the Sy­nagogues: To this subiect did he euer confine his prea­ching: We preach Christ crucified: 1 Cor. 1. 23. Hee preached Christ, nothing but Christ:1 Cor. 3. 2. I determined not to know any thing a­mong you saue Iesus Christ. Thus must wee preach Christ, and the Gospell of Christ: They are the expresse words of our Commission,Mark 1 [...]. 15. Goe Preach the Gospell: Here is then the subiect of our Preaching, nothing but Christ, the Gospell of Christ. True indeed, we must preach Moses, we must preach the Law; but how? Wee must Preach Moses as a harbinger to Christ; wee must Preach the Law, but in reference to the Gospell, that we may there­by, with Iohn the Baptist,Mat. 3. Prepare the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight: that we may by this meanes leuell and smooth the way for Christ, that the offer of saluati­on by him may finde the better entertainment: That which we must principally eye and looke at in our Prea­ching, is, this Word, Christ, and the Gospell of Christ.

To preach Christ and the Gospell of Christ, is a great worke: if you would know what it is, it consisteth prin­cipally in foure Ministeriall actions: I will but name them:

1. In reuealing of Christ; To preach Christ, and the Gospel of Christ, consi­steth in foure parts. in laying open the truth of doctrine concerning Christ; his owne person; his two natures, Godhead and Manhood; his three offices, King­ly, Priestly, Propheticall; with the seuerall workes of either; the seuerall passages of his incarnation, birth, life, death, resurrection,Luk. 24. 27. ascension, intercession, comming a­gaine at the last day.Act. 2. 22. to 37

2. In reuealing the will of God concerning Christ: viz. 2 Cor. 5. 19. 20 that it is his will to saue sinners by him, and him alone; that he hath set him forth as a meanes of reconciliation; that he hath giuen him as an all-sufficient sacrifice for the [Page 13] sinnes of the world: so making a generall offer and ten­der of Christ to all that will receiue him as a Sauiour, and a Lord.

3. In reuealing the way to come vnto Christ, Rom. 10. 8. and to God by him: viz. By faith, and faith alone, which is the onely hand and instrument ordayned of God to apprehend and take hold of Christ, to apply the merit of his actiue and passiue obedience vnto eternall life.

4. And lastly,1 Ioh. 3. c. ver. 23. in giuing and applying Christ particu­larly to euery poore penitent sinner that is heauy laden vnder the burthen of sinne: Commanding him in the name of God to beleeue in Christ,Act. 16. 31. to receiue him as a Sauiour, to take hold of him, and to rest vpon him: assu­ring him withall, in the name of God, that Christ dyed for him in particular, and that the merit of his death and passion belongeth to him, and shall be imputed vnto him; so by this particular application, forming Christ in the soule,Cal. 4. 19. from whence will follow a through change, and conuersion both in heart and life. This it is to Preach Christ, and the Gospell of Christ. And this is the duty which S. Paul here imposeth vpon Timothy, and which all the Ministers of the Gospell should principally be imployed about.

I might here now giue you some reasons of the necessi­ty of this duty of preaching the Word after this manner: To omit all other:

The reason of reasons is,Reas. because it is the ordinance of God; Rom. 1. 16. his power vnto saluation: that is, his powerfull in­strument which he hath in his wisedome appointed and set apart for the working of the saluation of his people;1 Cor. 1. 18. for the begetting, beginning of grace, increasing of grace, perfecting of grace in the hearts of his chosen, and so consequently to bring them through grace to glory.

The time preuents mee, giue mee leaue now to passe from the duty it selfe, to the manner of performance: I shall make the application of both together. The manner how this important duty should bee discharged, is set [Page 14] downe, first, generally, then illustrated and explayned more particularly: generally, [Be instant] particularly, [In season, out of season.] I will be briefe in all.

Be instant, [...], saith the originall: the word signifi­eth to stand to, or ouer a businesse: Our English word ex­presseth it fully, Be instant: To bee instant in a businesse, imports two things; Earnestnesse, and Diligence. Thus must the Ministers of the Gospell be instant in preaching of the Word;Ministers must be instant two wayes: they must stand to, and stand ouer the worke 1. with earnestnesse: 2. with diligence.

1 First,Earnest, and that they must be instant and earnest about this worke of Preaching the Word: Earnest, 1. VVith themselues; 2. with others.

1 1. They must bee earnest with themselues, With them­selues. and that in stirring and exciting vp themselues to the worke, in put­ting themselues forward vpon this seruice: great need of earnestnesse this way.

There are many auocations which will be ready to di­uert and turne vs aside,Reas. 1. to call vs away, to plucke vs back from the worke: profits, pleasures, preferments, ease, quietnesse and the like: Flesh and bloud will alwayes be whispering in our eares, as Peter in his Masters, Master, fauour thy selfe.

2 Besides these auocations, wee must make account to meet with many discouragements, many dangers, much hardship, Beares and Lyons in the way, stormes and tempests enow to make vs not onely to looke backe, but euen to leaue the plough of God in the open field.

3 Besides these discouragements, much resistance, much opposition: Euery Paul must make account to meet with an Elimas; euery Moses with a Iannes and Iambres: Al­wayes in one kinde or other, wee must make account to finde Satan standing at our right hands, when we are to goe about this worke, as hee stood at the right hand of Iehoshuah, Zach 3. 1. to resist him, when he was to stand before the Lord to execute his office. Great need of earnestnesse to put our selues forward in a seruice where we shall meet [Page 15] with so many auocations, so many discouragements, so much opposition: All our earnestnesse will bee little e­nough to make vs beare vp head against this tide. Strange it is how farre these haue preuailed many times against the faithfull messengers of God, to the disheartning, al­most to the silencing of them: It was the Prophet Iere­mies owne case: such was the entertainment that he met withall, in the discharge of his office, that hee had euen resolued with himselfe not to make mention of God, Ier. 20. 9. not to speake any more in his name. It made him almost to silence himselfe from Preaching any more: and had not the Word beene in his heart, as a burning fire shut vp in his bones (as he there speakes) hee had beene for euer silent: Such defamations, such minting and coyning of slande­rous reports,Vers. 10. such catching at his words, such watching for his haltings, such lying in wayt to intrap him, (as him­selfe telleth vs in the next verse) that he had euen resol­ued to turne his backe vpon his office. If any of the Messengers of God meet with better measure in the dis­charge of their duties, it is more than God hath promi­sed them, or they can promise to themselues. Great need therefore to stand vp to the worke, that wee may ouerlooke and ouerleape all these blockes that lye in the way: Great need to be earnest, euen to offer a kinde of holy violence to our selues to stirre vp our selues to the worke. Euen as the Cocke, the true Embleme of a Mini­ster of the Word, first awakens himselfe by the clapping of his wings, that hee may awaken others by his crow­ing; so must wee offer a kinde of holy violence to our selues to awaken and stirre vp our selues to the worke of our Ministry, that being stirred vp our selues first, wee may

2. Awaken and stirre vp others: Ministers must bee 2 instant and earnest with others as well as with them­selues,Others. offer violence to others, in Preaching the Word, as well as to themselues. The Kingdome of heauen should suffer violence as well in the speaker, as in the hearer: in [Page 16] the mouth of the one, as in the heart of the other: It is the charge which the Master of the Feast giueth vnto his seruant, when hee sendeth him forth into the high wayes to fetch in guests to the Supper;Luk. 14. 33. Compell them to come in. Thus should wee Preach the Gospell, inuite men to the participation of Christ with commanding arguments, with compulsiue perswasions, so as to take no deniall. So should we deale with the soules of men, as the Angels did with the bodies of Lot and his family, plucke them as fire-brands out of the flames, and that with a holy violence.Iude 23. It is the charge which the Lord giueth to the Prophet Esay, Esa. 55. Cry aloud, spare not: Great reason the Ministers of the Word should Cry a­loud,Esa. 55. 1. they often speake vnto dead men, such as are dead in trespasses and sinnes: Doe we see men sleeping and snor­ting securely in their natural states and conditions, with­out sense, without remorse, Cry aloud: Maledictum si­lentium quod hic conniuet; Cursed silence that now spares to speake: Doe wee see men walking on securely in the paths of hell and of death, liuing in any sinfull course, posting on to hell and destruction, Cry aloud, spare not: Crudelis misericordia; Cruell is that mercy that suffers a man rather to bee drowned than to pull him out of the water by the hayre of his head. Thus must wee [...], be instant about this worke of our Ministry, bee earnest both with our selues and others:

2 Secondly, we must be instant againe,Ministers must be dili­gent. that is, Diligent: [...], Sta cum diligentiâ, so the Syriacke renders the word in this place, Stand to the worke with diligence. Ministers must be diligent, as well as earnest. This is the commendation of that eloqueut Apollos, he was not only seruent in the spirit, Acts 18 25. but also, hee spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord. Ministers, in the dispensation of the Gospell, are Gods seeds-men to sowe the seed of eternall life in the hearts of his chosen. Now it is the seeds-mans charge, giuen by the Preacher; In the morning sowe thy seed, Eccles. 11. 6. and in the euening let not thine hand rest. The Prea­ching [Page 17] of the Word must be a Ministers worke,1 Cor. 3. [...]. his daily worke, not his recreation; a continuall worke: We are Gods Husbandmen, his people are his tillage, as Saint Paul maketh the comparison: Now it is the Husband­mans portion, redit labor actus in orbem; his worke goeth round in a circle, it is neuer at an end; Spring, Summer, Autume, Winter, no vacation in any: They that put their hands to Gods Plough, must put on an indefatiga­ble resolution to follow the worke with diligence: It is the reason which the Apostles giue, why they would haue Deacons chosen to take care of their poore; be­cause (say they) We will giue our selues continually to prayer, Acts 6. 4. and to Preaching of the Word: [...], Insta [...]imus, saith the vulgar Latine, wee will be instant in it, attend vnto it. Thus must wee, whom God hath honoured so farre as to make vs dispensers of his sacred mysteries; we must [...], attend vpon the worke, stand to it, be instant in it, first, with Earnestnesse; secondly, with Di­ligence.

This in generall: more particularly,In season, ta [...] he [...]. 2. wayes. Be instant in sea­son, out of season: [...]: I will bee briefe in both.

In season; the word may be vnderstood two wayes:1

1. It may be taken for the ordinary set time appoynted and set apart for this exercise:For the set time, the Lords day. The ordinary time set a­part by God himselfe for this duty, is the Sabbath day, the Lords day: Exod. 31. 13. And then to Preach the Word, is to Preach it in season. Ezek. 20. 12. The Sabbath was, and the Lords day is a signe of sanctification vnto the people of God; neuer are the meanes of sanctification so properly in season as then. This season did our Sauiour and his Apostles vsually ob­serue.Mark. 6. 2. Before his resurrection they went into the Syna­gogues and taught vpon the Sabbath dayes: Luk. 4. 16, &c. After his resur­rection,Act. 13. 14. they met together euery first day of the weeke, Act. 2. vpon the Lords day, Act. 20. 7. as at the day of Pentecost, and at o­ther times. And this season the Ministers of the Gospell are to obserue after a speciall manner. In this there is a [Page 18] difference betwixt the word of God and that Mannah which came downe from heauen in the wildernesse; that fell vpon euery day of the weeke except the Sabbath, this spirituall Mannah neuer falleth so seasonably as then.

2 2. In season: that is, at such times and seasons when the Word may be most acceptable,Other special oportunities. most profitable vnto the hearers. There are certaine seasons when the Word is likely to finde better acceptance and entertainment, to take place rather than at other times: as, viz. when men are humbled vnder the hand of God, when the heart is broken vnder some great affliction or other, whether pre­sent or feared, that is a season when the Word is like to finde easier passage, and to make a deeper impression: So againe, when the heart is warmed and melted with the fresh apprehension of some new mercy, that is a season when the Word is likely to finde a wide and effectuall doore opened to it to let it into the soule: So againe, there are certaine seasons when some particular doctrin is more seasonable, than others; As to minister comfort and con­solation to an afflicted deiected soule: when the heart is pricked, wounded, when the spirit is broken vnder the apprehension of sinne and Gods wrath due to it, then to preach, comfort is like the powring in balsome into a bleeding wound, or like a showre of raine falling vpon the new mowne grasse, it is a word in season. Now Mini­sters should obserue, and watch, and apply themselues to these seasons. We know what commendation the Wise­man giueth of words thus spoken in season,Prou. 15. 23. How good is a word in due season? Prou 25. 11. And againe, A word spoken fit­ly, (Super rotissuis saith the originall, [...]. spoken vpon his wheeles; that is, with a due concurrance and obseruation of all circumstances, of time, place, person, and the like, which are as the wheeles vpon which our words and speeches should runne) is like apples of gold with pictures of siluer, both delectable & profitable. Herin should the wis­dome of the Ministers of the Word be exercised in taking [Page 19] hold of these opportunities to improue them for the best aduantage, that they may minister a word in due season.

They must be instant in season;Out of season and a. Out of season.

What, is the Word euer out of season: that which sea­soneth all other things, is that euer vnseasonable?

Ans. In it selfe, in truth it is not; but in the opinion of men, in the eye of carnall reason, in the iudgement of flesh and blood it seemeth sometimes to be out of season. Out of season three wayes, in three respects: 1. In respect of the speaker:So the Word seemeth to be three wayes. 2. In respect of the hearer: 3. In respect of both.

First, in respect of the Speaker, the Minister himselfe,1 the Preaching of the Word seemeth to bee out of season, In respect of the Minister. when his ease, his pleasures, his profits, his worldly im­ployments, some vnnecessary auocations or other, draw him another way. When there is no constraint, no ne­cessity of Preaching, the Law of the Land requires it not, neither is there any benefit, but perhaps danger likely to accrew to himselfe by Preaching (as in times of perse­cution) then it may seeme to him to bee out of season.

In respect of the Hearers, when their Farmes, their 2 Oxen, their particular calling, domesticall imployments,Hearer. perhaps sports, pastimes, recreations draw them another way: When they cannot repayre to the hearing of the Word without some paines, without some hardship in respect of the season, the weather, (A snowy morning. as it falleth out this morning,) or otherwise, then the Preaching and hearing of the Word, seemeth to them to be out of season.

Thirdly, to both Speaker and Hearers it may seeme out 3 of season. When it is preached not onely at the set ordi­nary times,To both. vpon the Sabbath, the Lords day, but also at other times, vpon other occasions, vpon the weeke day; then flesh and blood will be ready to think it as a showre of raine in the midst of Haruest, out of season. Now at these times, which to carnall reason may seeme vnseaso­nable, must the Ministers of the Gospell stand vp to the [Page 20] worke of their ministery, take all occasions, all oportu­nities, and aduantages of Preaching publikely, of instru­cting priuately.

Thus did our Sauiour and his Apostles, they went about, Preaching: Luk. 8. 1. vlt. as they went into the Synagogues on the Sab­bath dayes,Mark. 20. so they tooke all other occasions on the Luk. 19. 47. weeke day to instruct the people publikely, beside their teaching from house to house:Act. 2. 46. And here is our warrant for this religious exercise,Act. 12. 42. [...]: v▪ d. Bezam in an. not. in margin­transl. Engl. into which, I haue this day made an entrance. It may seeme, perhaps, to some to bee out of season, being in the weeke day, when men should attend vpon their particular callings, and other imploy­ments: If it doe, yet we dare not neglect it: the Spirit of God here giueth vs a warrant for it, nay, layeth a charge vpon vs to embrace the occasion, to take hold and make vse of this aduantage which God and authority haue put into our hands: here is our Commission, Preach the Word, &c.

I haue dwelt long vpon the doctrinall part of the Text, perhaps you may thinke too long. All this time you may say, what is this to vs? To make you amends in that which remaines, giue me leaue to turne my speech now wholly vnto you. The doctrine hath beene ours (I wish we may make it ours by practise) the application shall be yours.

You see what charge it is which the Spirit of God here imposeth vpon vs: Preach the VVord, bee instant in season, out of season: The peoples duty in fiue parts. Doe but turne the tables, the Charge is yours▪ Heare the VVord, be instant in season, and out of sea­son: This charge hath many parts; to set it on the better, I will breake it in pieces.

First,Vse 1. Heare. Heare the VVord: Preaching and Hearing are Relatiues: If there lye a necessity vpon vs to Preach, by the same rule there lyeth a necessity vpon you to Heare: Hee that ordained vs to Preach the Gospell, hath al­so ordained you to heare the Gospell: And therefore let me exhort you, in the name and feare of God, to attend [Page 21] vpon this ordinance of God: I call it his ordinance: and so it is as well in the hearer, as in the speaker: Faith com­meth by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Hearing, by the word of God; Rom 10. 17. that is, by his ordinance, by his com­mandment, as Mr Beza most naturally interprets the word.Bezannot, in­l [...]cum. Attend vpon it therefore, and that because it is his ordinance. There is a great deale of force and strength in this argument, to perswade men to attend vpon the hearing of the Word preached, because it is Gods owne ordinance. A man may alwayes expect to finde God when he seeketh him in his owne way. Then may a man comfortably assure himselfe of a blessing, when hee see­keth it in the ordinance of God, in that way which God himselfe hath chalked out, and appointed for that end and purpose. It is the ordinance of God that maketh e­uery thing to bee vsefull vnto vs, that maketh euery comfort to bee comfortable, that maketh euery meanes of our good to be helpefull and seruiceable to vs: Why doth bread nourish vs more than the grasse of the field? It is Gods ordinance, There is a word of command that go­eth along with the one,Matth. 4. 4. and not with the other, which hath ordained, appointed, and set it apart for that parti­cular vse, and hath giuen it a speciall efficacy for that end and purpose. Now such a word there is in this ordinance of God, the Preaching and the hearing of the Word: God hath, in his counsell and purpose, set it apart, as the one­ly ordinary meanes for the beginning, increasing, perfe­cting the worke of grace in the hearts of his chosen, and so to be his power vnto saluation; and hath giuen it a spe­ciall efficacie for this end and purpose. Surely, if men did but seriously consider, and certainely beleeue this, they would wait and depend vpon it with more confidence, with more assurance of successe.

What is the maine reason why men make so little ac­count of it, and reape so little benefit by it.

Amongst others, this I take to be the principall, they doe not esteeme it, nor attend vpon it as Gods ordinance, [Page 22] but as mans ordinance. If they come to the hearing of the Word, they looke vpon it with a squint eye, they come to it out of some base, by, sinister respect, and not in obedience to God, to wait vpon him in the vse of his ordinance: And this it is that hinders the fruit, the effi­cacy of it,Esa 53. 1. that they doe not finde the arme of the Lord re­uealed to them in this ordinance. This day you haue heard it, that Preaching, and so by necessary consequence, Hearing, is the ordinance of God himselfe; and therefore bee ex­horted to submit and to subiect your selues vnto it, to come to it, to wait, attend, depend vpon it as his ordi­nance.

And secondly,Vse 2. bee not offended with the simplicity of this ordinance of God:The Word; without of­fence at the simplicity of it. You see that our Preaching is confined to one subiect, from which it may not swarue or stray; viz. The VVord: Christ, and the Gospell of Christ; we must know nothing else amongst you: Doe not you desire to know or heare any thing else from vs: This is the property of Saint Peters new borne Babe, one borne againe of water and the spirit,1 Pet. 2. 2. to desire the sincere milke of the Word: [...]: Milke that is pure as it commeth from the breast, without the mixture of any thing else with it. If wee feed you with this sincere milke be not you nauseated with it, take heed of loathing of it: A sincere heart will desire after sincere milke: So much longing after mixture in the Preaching of the Word, as a man shall finde in his heart, so much insincerity is in it. If we preach the bare Word to you, if we present Christ vnto you, and naked Christ, without the cloathing of hu­mane wisedome, the wisedome of words, as Saint Paul cal­leth it; bee not you offended at it. Wee must Preach Christ as Saint Paul preached him,1 Cor. 1. 23. Christ crucified: Now he was crucified naked; euen so must we preach him vn­to you. This is the excellency of preaching, not to set forth Christ vnder a veyle, as it was in the time of the Law, but to lay him naked, that euery one may see him with open face: So to present Christ vnto the eares and [Page 23] hearts of the hearers,Gal. 3. 1. as Saint Paul himselfe presented him vnto his Galathians, to draw him out to the life, to cru­cifie him before them: so to present him, as he was presen­ted to the eyes of the Iewes, when they saw him hang­ing vpon the Crosse. Be not offended therefore with the simplicity of Christ, and the doctrine of Christ, we must Preach nothing but this Word.

Be instant; Vse 3. wee must, [...], stand vp to the worke, so must you in your place and station.Be instant two wayes, Be instant, and that as we must be instant: 1. With Earnestnesse: 2. With Diligence.

1. Be earnest about this worke: It is good to bee earnest 1 (or zealously affected) alwayes in a good thing: Earnest. Gal. 4. 18 Sure I am, you cannot be earnest, or zealous in a better cause than this; It is Gods cause, it is the Churches cause, nay, it is your owne cause, a cause that concerneth you neerely, your soules cause, your welfare, your happinesse, your life and liuelihood, your saluation depends vpon it: If e­uer you will be earnest in any cause, be zealous in this. Be earnest, 1. With your selues; 2. With others.

1. With your selues, and that both to stirre vp your selues 1 to the duty, With them­selues, exci­ting them. seues, and in the duty.

First, bee earnest to stirre vp your selues to the duty: great need of earnestnesse in exciting and stirring vp your selues this way.

For 1. there is a naturall auersnesse in euery man, that 1 sets him off from the duty:To the duty. Reas. Why, Flesh and blood finde no taste, no relish in this ordinance of God, the Word pure­ly preached: This is one of those things of God, of which Saint Paul speaketh,1 Cor. 2. 14. That the naturall man receiueth not, discerneth not, vnderstandeth not: Great need therefore to vse all holy meanes to quicken and to excite spirituall appetite.

And 2. Besides this naturall auersnesse, you shall finde many pull-backes, many auocations, many lets and impe­diments to draw you aside, to hinder you. Those in the Gospell (which I named before) are too common; Farms, [Page 24] Oxen, domesticall affayres, ciuill imployments. The worlds businesse will steale away the time from Gods bu­sinesse: Our bodies will seeke to starue our soules; our particular callings will ingrosse all the time, that there shall be little left for the generall.

3. Besides these auocations, you must make account to meet with many discouragements: It may be taunts and reproaches from prophane and wicked men; it may bee an ouerly countenance from friends and alliance: some dust or other Satan will bee ready to stirre vp to blinde your eyes withall, that you should not see to finde the way to the house of God, to attend vpon this his ordi­nance. Great need of earnestnesse to excite and stirre vp your selues, that you may ouerlook all these seeming lets, impediments, discouragements.

2 Secondly, be earnest to stirre vp your selues in the duty:In the duty. as there is a naturall auersnesse in vs to the duty, to keepe vs from it, so there is a naturall slothfulnesse, deadnesse, dulnesse, wearinesse, which will be ready to seyze vpon vs in the duty, to make vs performe it carelesly, formal­ly, negligently: The best of Gods people haue often ex­perience of this malady in themselues. Sometimes our bo­dies will be disposed to drowsinesse and sleepinesse (as it was with Eutichus at Saint Pauls Sermon) and that per­haps rather now than at any other time;Act. [...]0. 9. but oftner our hearts,Cant. 5. 2. our soules: I sleepe, but my heart waketh, saith the Spouse. In hearing of the Word, wee may often inuert the sentence, I wake, but my heart sleepeth: Our bodies are present, but our soules, our hearts, are absent. Great need to awaken our selues, that we may heare, and heare with attention; that we may watch vnto hearing, as the A­postle exhorts the Colossians concerning prayer, That ye should continue in prayer and watch in the same: Col. 4. 2. So, continue in hearing, and watch in the same: Watch lest we should bee ouertaken with this spirituall deadnesse and drowsi­nesse, which is so ready to creepe vpon the soule, to come ouer the heart, to bind vp the senses, the affections of it. [Page 25] Our Sauiour reproueth his Disciples that they could not watch with him one houre, Ma [...] when as he himselfe was yet ab­sent from them. The reproofe will lye as iustly against vs if we cannot stirre vp our selues to watch with Christ one houre,Ma [...] especially when as Christ himselfe is present with vs, and that after a speciall manner, as he hath promised to be in the midst of this his ordinance. And therefore when we draw neere vnto God in this part of his wor­ship and seruice, let vs in his feare, as in his presence, a­waken our hearts, intend our spirits, that we may attend vnto what the Lord shall say vnto vs. It is Lydiaes commendation, after that God had opened her heart and wrought effectually vpon her,Act. 16. 14. she attended to the words that Paul spake. Thus should Christians attend vpon the Word; euen hang vpon the lips of the speaker, as the Babe doth vpon the brest: watch euery word to take it before it fall to the ground. Thus should Christians bee earnest with themselues, in stirring vp themselues to the duty, in the duty. They that will take the kingdome of heauen, dispensed by the Ministers of the Word, they must take it (as they did in the dayes of Iohn the Bap­tist) with violence. Mat. 11. 12.

2. As you must be earnest with your selues about this 2 worke, so also with others, and that both with God,Be earnest with othe [...] and that and with man.

First, Be earnest 1. with God: It is he that holdeth the 1 bottles of heauen, the clouds in his hand,With God Amos 4. 7. that causeth it to rayne vpon one place and not vpon another: It is hee that watereth his owne inheritance, his garden, his Church, where, and when, and how it pleaseth him. And therefore forget not to be instant and earnest with him: 1. That he would send forth faithfull labourers into his haruest,For three things. such as may be indued with ministeriall abilities for the discharge of this worke:Mat. 9. 38. 2. That hee would giue liberty vnto them,Col. 4. 3. that hee would set open for them a dore,2 Thes. 3. [...]. a wide dore of vtterances: 3. That he would giue ef­ficacy to their labours: that he would not onely set open a wide, but also an effectuall dore; that the Gospell may [Page 26] haue free passage in their mouths, and in the hearts of the elect people of God: Ability, liberty, efficacie in the dispensation of the Gospell, depends all vpon God him­selfe: And therefore be you instant with him, that hee would bee pleased to water your inheritances with this dew of heauen: It is Achsaes request (I remember) to her father Caleb, Iosh. 15. 19. that seeing he had giuen her the South-Country, hee would giue her the springs of water also. God hath allotted vnto you in this Island, a seat pleasant e­nough, euery wayes accommodated with all other requi­site conueniences: you want nothing but the springs of water, springs of those waters, those liuing waters, flowing out from the Sanctuary. Be instant with your God, your heauenly Father, that hee would strike the rocke for you, that he would giue vnto you these Springs from aboue, that hee would more abundantly refresh and make glad your dwelling places with these liuing waters: be instant with God.

2 2. Bee instant also with Men about this worke, and that both with the Ministers themselues,Be instant with men: and that and others; with the one to Preach, the other to heare the Word, both to attend vpon this ordinance of God.

1 1. Be earnest first with vs the Ministers of the Word, to put vs forward vpon this seruice:Ministers themselues, to stirre them vp to their duty. It is not only your liberty, but a part of your duty to put vs in mind of our duty, whom God hath set ouer you: Say to Archippus, it is Saint Pauls charge to the Colossians,Col. 4. 17. it is a principall part of our duty to preach the Word,Reu. 2. 4. if wee neglect it, grow slacke and remisse in it, as it was the case of that Angell of the Church of Ephesus: Bee you instant with vs, put vs in minde of it, stirre vs vp to it: Wee are but men, and therefore subiect to forget you and our selues, to forget our duty, though we haue neuer so much cause to remember it:Ion. 1. Ionas falleth asleepe in the hold of the ship, in the midst of that stresse, when hee should haue been praying for himselfe and those that were with him. Thus it fareth, many times, with the Ministers of the Word, wee are subiect to a supine forgetfulnesse, to bee [Page 27] rockt asleepe with the profits and preferments of the world, whilst, in the meane time, our flockes, our char­ges, nay, our selues too are in eminent danger. Let vs craue that fauour from you, that in this case you would play the Marriners part, that you would awaken and stirre vs vp to the discharge of our duty, which concerns you and our selues so neerely, Stirre vs vp: but how? Why, 1. by Christian exhortations, friendly aduice and 1 counsell. Awaken vs by word of mouth:By Christian exhortations, wherin three cautions. Herein onely obserue three Cautions; that this be done, 1. with loue, 2. with wisedome, 3. with a due respect to our places and callings. With loue, that it may be without bitternesse, without any tincture of priuate spleene against our per­sons: dip your reproofes and exhortations in oyle, they will driue the better; with wisedome, with a due poyzing and weighing of all circumstances, as time, and place, and the like, as also a due consideration of our strength and ability, for the discharge of this duty: with respect vnto our callings and functions: It is Saint Pauls charge to Timothy; Rebuke not an Elder, but exhort him as a Father: 1 Tim. 5. 1. Tart and masterlike reproofs out of your mouths, though we deserue them, yet doe not become you. Exhort vs as Fathers: Thus stirre vs vp by exhortations: And,

2. Stirre vs by incouragements: By incourage­ments, chiefly reall in three things. what incouragements?2 Why, not onely verball, but reall incouragements; viz. 1. Competency of meanes and maintenance, sutable to our paines and charge: Take heed of being accessary to the staruing of this ordinance of God and your owne soules, by muzling the mouth of the Oxe: Let them that wait vpon and serue at the Altar, liue, and liue comforta­bly by the Altar: 2. by giuing due honour and respect to our places and callings. Though our persons, perhaps, de­serue little, yet our callings are honourable. Paul him­selfe was of a mean presence (His bodily presence was weak, 2 Cor. 10 10.) of a low stature, of a meane personage, but his function challenged respect: 3. By accepting our labours, lending vs your presence, your eares, your hearts, your liues, gi­uing entertainment to the worke of our minister: No in­couragement [Page 28] to the Ministers of the Word like vnto this▪ When the people are 1. ready to receiue the Word at their mouthes; the one as ready to heare, as the other to speake: When they hang vpon the Priests lips for know­ledge. This is e [...]en like sucking of the breast, which ma­keth the nurse to giue downe the milk more freely, more plentifully, euen whether she will or no: It is the want of this sucking of this sincere milk that hath made so ma­ny dry breasts in the Church of God: that hath disheart­ned and discouraged so many forward and hopefull in­struments in the Church, if not to the stopping of their mouthes, yet at the least to the damping of their spirits, to the quelling of the life and power of their Ministery. And 2. when they profit by the Word, grow and thriue in grace by it. No such incouragement to an Husband­man as when he seeth his tillage to prosper, no such in­couragement vnto a nurse, as when shee seeth her childe battle and thriue; it maketh them thinke no paines too much: Whereas on the contrary, a barren soile, and a starueling nursery kill the hearts of both. No incourage­ment vnto the Ministers of the Gospell like vnto this, when they finde the worke to thriue and prosper in their hands; when they see that the seed which they sow is not cast away, when they see that their labor which is not vain in the Lord, is not in vaine neither in the hearts and liues of the hearers. This will make vs stand vp to the worke, watch when we should sleepe; labour when we could be content to be at ease and quiet; thinke no paines too much. Thus stirre vp the Ministers of the Word, be instant and ear­nest with them.

2 And 2. be instant with others, priuate persons, neigh­bours, friends,Be earnest with others Psal. 122. 1. acquaintance; stirre them vp to wait and to attend vpon this ordinance of God,Ioh. 11. with more dili­gence, with more care,Ioh. 4. with more conscience: Come, let vs goe vp to the house of the Lord: Philip calleth Nathaniel: The woman of Samaria fetcheth her neighbours to come vnto Christ: Thus should priuate Christians excite and stirre vp one another, labour by friendly exhortations, [Page 29] perswasions, incouragements to bring their friends and neighbours to meet with Christ in this his ordinance: This will be our comfort another day, that we haue euery one of vs, in the seuerall places and stations wherein God hath set vs, bin instant & earnest in the cause of God, zealous and forward for the furtherance & propagation of the Gospel.

Be earnest: And 2. be Diligent in this worke; The dili­gent 2 hand maketh rich, Diligent. P [...]ou. 10. 4. saith the Wise-man. It is no lesse true in spirituall than in temporall riches. Doe you desire to be rich in grace and holinesse, the best riches; attend, wayt vpon this ordinance of God with diligence, with cōstancy. If God be not weary of speaking, be not you weary of hea­ring. Frequent the house of God vpon all occasions. What euer the world thinks and speakes of it, it is no disgrace to be accounted a frequenter of Sermons, so that other necessary duties be not neglected: Christians must be like the Bee that goeth from flower to flower, to gather a little honey from euery one to carry to the hiue, to make vp the store. We shall haue need of a stocke, a store of grace, and there­fore let vs goe from flower to flower, (I speake the more liberally and freely, because in these parts there is not the like feare of surfetting of the Word Preached, of erring on the right hand by an vnwarrantable running from Sermon to Sermon, to the neglect of mens particular callings, as may seeme to be in some other parts of the kingdome) im­brace euery occasion which the Lord offereth in the pub­like Ministry of his Word, for the gathering of honey, the gathering of grace to carry home to the hiue, to lay vp in the heart, to make vp a stocke, a store against the win­ter, against hard times, euill dayes, the dayes of triall, sick­nesse, death: We shall then finde all to be little enough, and therefore whilest our Summer of health, and liberty, and peace lasteth, vp and be doing; euery day be increasing of the store; get something from euery Sermon, from this which you haue this day heard; if you carry away nothing else, yet carry away this resolution, that by the grace of God inabling you, you will endeuour to make better vse of all the publike means of grace which God shal hereafter in [Page 30] this or in any other place afford vnto you. One flowre will not load a Bee, neither will one Sermon, though neuer so excellent, load the head and heart of a Christian to make him rich in grace: And therefore be Instant, as Earnest, so Diligent.

This is the third Vse:Vse 4. In season; 2. wayes. to draw towards an end in the fourth place: Be instant in season: And that 1. at the set ordi­nary times, set apart for this Exercise; the Sabbath day, the 1 Lords day, then goe forth to gather this heauenly Man­nah, 1 Cor. 16. 2. to make your prouision for the weeke ensuing. Then may you expect a speciall blessing from God in attending vpon this holy exercise, because as the exercise it selfe is Gods owne ordinance, so the day also is set apart by the 2 like ordinance, for that exercise: 2. Be instant in season; viz. At those speciall times and seasons when the Lord is pleased to fit and to dispose you vnto the duty, after a speciall man­ner. There are certaine seasons, certaine gales of grace (as we may call them) which the experience of euery Christi­an can informe vs of, when the Lord is pleased to breath more kindly, more sweetly, more effectually vpon the heart and soule, to the quickening and inlarging of it, than at o­ther times: Sometimes when it is kindely humbled and broken vnder some affliction, either outward or inward; sometimes when it is warmed, and suppled, and melted with the fresh apprehension of some new mercy, especial­ly with a clearer glimpse of the light of Gods countenance, a more full and rauishing apprehension of the vnspeakeable loue and fauour of God in Iesus Christ: Sometimes againe, it is after a secret and vnexpressable manner moued, and in­clined, and moulded to a more chearefull, a more accepta­ble performance of all dutie. Now these are seasons which should be very pretious in the eyes of Christians, which they should not let slip without a speciall improuement: take hold of them, make vse of them, as for other duties, so for this: When the wind blowes, whilst the Spirit of God breatheth vpon the soule with a fresher gale in sweet mo­tions, inclinations, affections, resolutions, hoyse vp the sayle, make vse of that aduantage, in hearing and apply­ing [Page 31] of the Word; to heare it with more frequency, with more power, with more life, with more intention of Spi­rit: Thus in season.

5. And lastly, Be instant out of season: And that

1. At other times,Vse 5. beside the set, the ordinary time, set apart by God himselfe;Out of season three waies. vpon the weeke day, as well as vp­on the Sabbath day, when God shall offer a fit occasion.1 The word in it selfe is not, cannot bee out of season at any time. The Word is the bread of life, shadowed out (a­mongst other mysteries) by the Shew-bread vnder the Law, which signified not onely Christ himselfe, but all o­ther spirituall repast which the Church hath with, and be­fore God, and the meanes of their repast. Now bread, we know, is neuer out of season: All other meats, almost, haue their times and seasons when they are in season, out of season, but bread is alwayes in season. The like we may say of this ordinance of God, the Word preached, it is ne­uer out of season: Some other ordinances of God there are, as holy and religious fasting and feasting, humiliation and thanksgiuing, they haue their times when they are in season and out of season. But this exercise of Preaching of the Word, it is alwayes in season, on the Sabbath day, on the weeke day; as the Shew-bread stood vpon the Table in the presence of God, vpon the weeke day as well as vpon the Sabbath: No time vnseasonable to appeare before the Lord in this ordinance of his.

2. Out of season; when it may seeme to flesh and blood 2 to be something vnseasonable, and that in respect of other occasions which may draw vs aside from it: If those occa­sions be not important, if they be such as may either bee neglected altogether without any great preiudice to our selues or others, or such as may be dispatched sooner, or deferred longer; in this case let the lesser giue place to the greater. If it be with some small detriment to thy selfe in outward respects,2 Sam. 24. 24. yet remember what Dauid saith to A­raunah; he will not offer a sacrifice vnto God of that which cost him nothing: Borrow a little from thy body, thy estate, thy worldly imployments, to bestow it vpon thy soule: [Page 32] Make bold a little with other occasions, to purchase some time for God and his worship and seruice.

3 3. And lastly, Be instant out of season, euen then when thou findest thy selfe vnfit & indisposed vnto the duty: yet euen then when thou findest a present indisposition hang­ing about thee, attend vpon this ordinance of God: It is a Word of life, a quickening Word, as well to put life into the soule, and to stirre it vp when it is dead, as to preserue and increase it: It is an Anabaptisticall frenzie that Christians should neuer attend vpon this or any other duty, but when the spirit moueth them: Wee often see ships riding a long time in a road stead, when they might bee in the hauen; wherefore is it? that they may bee in the winds way (as we say) to take the first oportunity that shall bee offered: Euen thus should Christians anchor, as it were, in the house of God, euen then when they seeme to be becalmed, that they cannot stirre and moue themselues about holy duties as they were wont to doe, yet euen then ride it out, wait vpon God in the vse of this ordinance: though vn­fit for the present, bemoane and bewayle thy vnfitnesse, looke vp vnto God for life, and seeke it from him in thy attendance vpon this ordinance. This is Gods owne com­mand (as for vs to Preach) so for you to Heare the Word, to be instant in season, out of season.


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