A COMMENTARY: OR, SERMONS VPON THE SECOND CHAP­TER OF THE FIRST Epistle of Saint Peter: WHEREIN METHOD, Sense, Doctrine, and Vse, is, with great variety of matter, profitably handled; and sundry heads of Diuinity largely discussed.

By NICHOLAS BYFIELD, late Preacher of God's Word at Isle-worth in Middlesex.

LONDON, Printed by Humfrey Lownes for George Latham, and are to be sould at his shop in Paul's Church-yard, at the Signe of the brazen Serpent. 1623.

TO THE HONOVRABLE KNIGHT, SIR HORATIO VERE, Generall of the En­glish forces in the Low-countries; and to his most worthy Lady, the Lady MARY VERE; all happiness that a poor wi­dow may, in their behalfe, pray for at the Throne of Grace.

My much-honoured Lord and Lady:

AS that speciall duty which I my self owe to you both; so that purpose which my deare hus­band had (while hee liued) of dedicating to you this Commentary of his [Page] vpon S. Peters Epistle, bindeth mee (who am left his sole Executrix, to see his Will euery way performed) to set out this first of his workes published since his death, vnder your Honourable Names. It plea­sed you to take into your Family a childe of his body: be further pleased (I pray you) to take into your Patronage this childe of his soule; which, as an Orphane, yea, as a Posthumus, in all humility is presented vn­to you. You manifested more than ordi­nary kindnes to my husband while he li­ued; wee and ours haue oft tasted of the sweetnes of your bounty: so that I should deserue to be accounted most ingratefull, if I should bury so many fauours in obli­uion, or neglect to prouoke others to loue and good works, by proposall of your ex­ample. Accept, I beseech you, this poore acknowledgement of thanks; which is most due, first, to that primary Fountain of all goodnes, Almighty God, for kee­ping your Lordship safe in your late im­ployment in the Palatinate, and for free­ing your Ladiship from those fears wher­unto you could not but be subiect, by rea­son of his long absence; and for giuing [Page] you both, a mutuall and comfortable frui­tion one of another: And next, to your selues, for all those kindnesses, which, while my husband liued, you did to him and his, and since his death you continue to do to such as he hath left behinde him. Now, the good God continue his blessed protection ouer you both, and take all that belong vnto you, vnder the wings of his fatherly Prouidence. And so I rest, with the renewall of my sute, that you would cast your eyes vpon this Worke of him who much honoured you in his life­time; and is, after his decease, offred to you by

Your humble Oratrix, ELIZABETH BYFIELD.

To the Christian Reader.

MAny and great are the means which the Lord hath beene pleased, since this latter Spring of the Gospell (be­gunne aboue an hundred yeeres agoe) to afford vnto his Church, for opening of the mysteries of the Gospell. Neuer since the Apostles times were the Scriptures more truly interpreted, more fully expounded, more distinctly diuided, or more powerfully pressed, then in our Times. The number of those who haue taken good paine in this kinde, is not small. Wee may well put into the Catalogue of them, the Au­thour of this Commentary vpon the se­cond Chapter of the first Epistle of S. Pe­ter, Master Nicholas Byfield by name; who continued, for the space of twenty yeeres, to take more then ordinary paines in the work of the Lord. Hee had a singular gift in diuing [Page] into the depth of those points which he vnder­tooke to handle. As the many other Treatises which in his life time he published, doe verifie as much; so, in particular, this Commenta­rie here commended vnto thee. In it thou shalt find, besides the Grammatical exposition, Lo­gical resolution, and Theological obseruations, many diuine points copiously handled by way of Common-place; which hath made the booke to arise vnto that bignesse that it hath. In this manner of handling the holy Scriptures, hee hath not gone alone. Many of the main Pillars of the reformed Churches haue beaten out a path before him; as, Martin Bucer, Peter Martyr, Musculus, Zanchius, Lauater, Perkins, and sundry others. The large vo­lume of Peter Martyrs Common-places, was gathered out of his Commentaries on the holy Scriptures. The Church of God hath reaped much good by such copious and distinct handling of heads of Diuinity. Their labours therefore, who take paines therein, are not to bee concealed from the Church. If it had plea­sed the Lord to haue continued the life, liberty and ability of this his Seruant longer vnto his Church, he had (questionlesse) gon on further in this course which hee so well began: and so [Page] might wee haue had by his paines as com­pleat a Commentarie on the two Epistles of Saint Peter, as we haue vpon the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Colossians, published by this Author. In his life-time he entred vpon the third Chapter, and went thorow a good part thereof: all which is fairely copied out, and prepared for the presse. But there is so much matter in that which remaineth, as it will make a competent Treatise by it selfe. This I make knowne, not that thou shouldst let this Book alone, till the other be published: for, when it is published, it cannot bee bound vp with this in one volume, by reason of the bignes of both of them. As care hath been had to print this Commentary on the second Chapter, euery way answerable to the former on the first Chapter: so like care shall be had of printing that which remains, answerable to them both; that so you may haue all the labors of this faithfull and painfull Minister of Gods Word, on this part of Scripture, in three euen volumes: which is in a manner as good, as if they were all in one volume. They may, for their matter, be well distinguished into seueral volumes: for, though one continued Scripture be handled in them all, yet the points in euery [Page] of them are different. In this respect, there is an Alphabeticall Index in the latter end, that by the help of it, you may the more readi­ly finde out such points as you most desire to reade.

If the Author bee of force to commend a Work the more, this Work may receiue no small commendation from the Author of it: for, hee was a man of a profound iudgement, strong memory, sharp wit, quick inuention, and vnwearied industry. He was in his Mi­nistery very powerful, and that vnto all turns, as we speak. When he had to doo with tender and troubled consciences, he was a Barnabas, a sonne of comfort: but when hee had to doo with impudent and obstinate sinners, hee could make his face hard and strong, and shew him­self like to Boanerges, the sonnes of thunder. Graue, sober, and temperate he was in his car­riage; and yet, with his intire familiar friend, he could be modestly pleasant. God gaue him a great measure of patience; and hee had in his very body that which tried his patience: for, it appears, that he carried a torturing stone in his bladder fifteen yeers together, and vpward. I haue heard it credibly reported, that fifteen yeers before his death, he was by a skilfull Chi­rurgion [Page] searched; and that, vpon that search, there was a stone found to bee in his bladder: whereupon hee vsed such meanes as were pre­scribed to him for his ease, and found such help thereby, as he thought, that either the Chirur­gion which searcht him, was deceiued; or that the meanes which hee vsed, had dissolued the stone. But time, which manifesteth all things, shewed, that neither his Chirurgion was decei­ued, nor yet his stone dissolued: for, it continu­ed to growe bigger and bigger, till at length it came to bee of an incredible greatnes. After his death hee was opened, and the stone taken out; and being weighed, found to be 33 ounces and more in waight; and in measure about the edge, fifteen inches and a halfe; about the length, aboue 13 inches; about the breadth, almost thirteen inches: it was of a solid sub­stance; to look vpon, like to a flint. There are many eie-witnesses besides my self, who can iustifie the truth heerof. A wonderfull work of God it was, that he should bee able to carry such a stone in his bladder, and withall to doo the things which he did. He was a close Stu­dent, witnes the many Treatises which time after time he published in print. He was also a diligent Preacher; for, constantly hee prea­ched [Page] twice on the Lords Daies: and in Sum­mer, when many of the Gentry and City came to his Parish at Isle-worth, and dwelt there, he spent an houre on Wednesday, and another on Friday, week after week, in expounding the Scripture in his Church: very seldome was he hindred by the forementioned stone in his blad­der. This course he kept till about fiue weeks before his death; when the paine came so vio­lently vpon him, as it wasted his vitall vi­gor, yet did it no way weaken his faith: but, as the outward perished; so was the inward man renewed in him. He earnestly praid, that the extremity of the pain might not make him vtter or doo any thing vnbeseeming his vo­cation and profession: but withall, he aduised his friends to consider, that he was but as other men; and thereupon to iudge charitably of his carriage in that case. Many heauenly medita­tions issued from him in that time of his visi­tation, vnto the last period thereof. Quietly, meekly, and patiently he endured; till that su­rest Chirurgion of all, Death, had eased him of all his pain. In his soule he euer liueth: and in his name he will continue to liue so long as the Church enioyeth his Works, more lasting than Marble Monuments.

[Page]Now, O blessed Sauiour and Head of thy Church, as thou transplantest some of thy Plants out of thy Nurcery, the Church mili­tant; plant others, wee beseech thee, in their rooms, that thy Church may neuer be vnfurni­shed of able, painfull, faithfull, and powerfull Ministers.

WILLIAM GOVGE.

AN EXPOSITION of the Second Chapter of the first Epistle generall of PETER.

1. Pet. 2.1.2.3.

1. Wherfore laying aside all maliciousnes and all guile and dissimulation, and enuy, and euill speakings:

2. As new borne Babes desire the sincere milke of the word, that ye may growe thereby;

3. If so be ye haue tasted, that the Lord is bountifull.

FRom the thirteenth verse of the 1.The coherence. Chapt. to the eightth verse of the third chapter is contained matter of exhorta­tion: and the exhortation is either generall, or speciall: The generall exhortatiō con­cernes all men. Chap. 1.13. to Chap. 2 13: The speciall exhortation concernes onely some men, as [Page 2] subiects, seruants, wiues, husbands, from chap. 2.13. to chap. 3.8.

The generall exhortation stands of two parts. first the one concernes the matter of holiness: se­condly, and the other the meanes of holiness. Of the matter of holiness in the later part of the former chapter.

In these wordes and those that follow to the thirteenth verse, is contained an exhortation to the right vse of the meanes, by which wee might growe vp in all holiness, and acceptation with God.

The Analysis of th [...] first part of this chapter.In the exhortation two things must be distin­guished: first, the substance of the exhortation, se­condly the conclusion of it. The substance is contained from verse the first to the eleuenth; the conclusion in the eleuenth and twelfth verse.

For the first there are two things, in which if wee be rightly ordered, it cannot bee, but wee must grow wonderfully in grace and holiness: first, The one is the word: secondly, The other is Christ. To a right order of ourselues in respect of the word, he exhorts, verses 1.2.3. To a right order of our selues in respect of Christ, hee ex­hortes, verse 4. to 11.

The part of the exhortation, that concernes the word, hath three things. First, what wee must auoid, we must lay aside Malice, Guile, Hipocrisie, &c. secondly, what we must doe, wee must desire the word, as the child doth the brest: thirdly, Why so; where diuers reasons are imported. First, wee are babes: Secondly, we are but as new born babes: [Page 3] Thirdly, the word is sincere milke ▪ Fourthly, it will make vs growe: fiftly, haue wee not already tasted of the sweetnes of it? verse the third.

That part of the the exhortation that concerns Christ, hath likewise three things in it, which I will heer but touch: First, what we must do, verse 4. Secondly, how wee must doe it: verse 5. Thirdly, why so: viz. for two reasons. First, the one taken from the testimonie of Scripture, which is alledged verse the sixt, and expounded verse 7.8. Secondly, the other taken from the con [...]iderati-of our prerogatiues we inioy in Christ, which are set down, first, positiuely, verse 9. Secondly, and comparatiuely verse 10. And this is the breef order of the whole first part of this chapter.

The first thing then in the exhortation is about the word: and therein the first thing is about the things, which must be auoided, if we would pro­fit by the word: of which in the first verse.

THere are fiue things we should lay aside and be sure wee be free from,5. Things to be a­uoided, if we would profit by the word. when wee come into gods presence to heare his word, or to bee exercised in it: viz. Malice, Guile, Hypocrisie, Enuy, and euill speaking.

Two things distinctly must bee considered in verse first, the sinnes to be auoided: viz. those fiue before named. Secondly, the manner of auoiding them▪ imported in the metaphoricall tearme laying aside. In generall diuerse things may be noted.

First,Generall obser­uations. that it is exceeding profitable to gather [Page 4] speciall catalogues of our sins which we should auoid,The benefit of brief catalogues of sins, or duties, or graces. to single out such sinnes as we would spe­cially striue against, and doo more specially hurt vs, and hinder good things from vs: I mean not of all sinnes, so much as of special certain choice euils that yet remain in greatest force in vs. We may obserue a great wisdome of the holy Ghost in many places of Scripture, drawing such cata­logues according to the state of the people to whom they are giuen: and so it were of excel­lent vse, if we did gather catalogues of the duties which specially concern vs, or of the graces wee would striue most to excell in, to the intent to keep them daily in our mindes and memories, striuing to force in vs the special holinesse requi­red in them. It were exceeding vsefull to obserue in seueral Scriptures, how the holy Ghost singles out choice directions according to the diuerse states of the people whom they concern.

Secondly, the Minister ought to info [...]me his flock concerning the particular and special faults that hinder the work of his Ministery where hee liues, and accordingly to set himself against those sinnes. It is not enough to reproue sin, but there is a great deal of discretion and judgement to bee expressed in applying himself to the diseases of that people.

Thirdly, the Apostle doth not name heer all the sinnes that hinder the word: but he imports, that in the most places these fiue sinnes heer na­med doo much raign, and vsually doo maruel­lously let the course of the word: they are the [Page] fiue most vsuall sinnes in the auditories of Chri­stians.

Fourthly, it would be considered, how these sinnes doo hinder the word. These sinnes doo hinder the word many waies.

1. These sinnes make wicked men many times to set themselues against the word,How many waies the sinnes heer-mentioned do hinder the word. and to striue to suppresse the liberty of the word.

2. These sins hinder the word, in that they hinder many times other men from the loue of the word. The word is not glorified, yea, it is e­uill-spoken of, and why? Do not many men and women say they like not this going to Sermons, &c? for, they see, that such persons can liue in malice and deceit, and enuy one another, &c.

3. These sinnes hinder the Ministers from discerning the work of their Ministery in their hearers. Paul cannot see or judge, that the Co­rinthians are any more than carnall, or at the best but babes in Christ, because there was so much en­uy and strife, and diuision among them, 1. Cor. 3. verse 1.2.3.

4. These sinnes cause God many times to take the word from men. When the Iews grew so vntoward and enuious at the Gentiles, and to haue such ill tongues in their heads toward their Teachers, what follows? but that the LORD should turn the labor of his seruants from them, and imploy it among the Gentiles, Acts 13, &c.

5. These sinnes hinder the word, because they hinder the persons in whom they are, from a right disposition to, or vse of the word. Anie [Page 6] of these sins are like poison lying at the stomach, that infects all the food which comes there.

And therefore for these reasons, and many moe which might be alleadged, we should bring a generall resolution to make conscience of our waies; and to auoide these, and all, and each of these sinnes.

The first then of these sinnes is Malice.

Of Malice. Acceptation of the word.The originall word is diuersly accepted. For sometimes it signifies miserie, or griefe for affli­ction; and so it is vsed to signifie the euill of the day, Matth. 6. vlt. Sometimes it is rendred naughti­nesse, or wickednesse in generall, and so it impor­teth vile crimes, or notorious offences, and so it is taken, Iam. 1.21. Acts 2.22. In this sense it may be taken here: For it is certaine, that if men be guilty of wickednesse, and come in the loue of any sinne, the word is poisoned in them: espe­cially whoredome and wine take away mens hearts from the word, Hos. 4. Lastly, it is rendred in di­uers places, malice: as 1. Cor. 5.8. Colos. 3.8. and so it is here.

Malice then is the first sinne we should bee carefull to auoide: Malice, in short, is anger inue­terate; It is an inward hatred, or grudge harbo­red in the heart against others, and it may bee knowne by diuers signes: As,

  • 1. When a man beares a constant base esti­mation of another,
    Signes of malice.
    and inwardly loathes him.
  • 2. When a man hath frequent desires of the hurt of others, and longs for abilitie or o­portunitie of reuenge.
  • [Page 7]3. By inflation: when a man carries him­selfe so proudly, and arrogantly, as hee would haue it appeare, that he despiseth others.
  • 4. By the habituall back-biting, iudging, and censuring of others.
  • 5. When a man resolues not to forgiue a wrong done him: By these and the like signes may men trie themselues, whether they be guil­tie of malice, or no.

Now, there are many reasons, why this sin should be wonderfully hated,Reasons against malice. and shunned; why wee should carrie a constant malice against the sinne of Malice.

First,From the causes if we respect the causes of this euill. For ma­lice comes, first, from an ill nature; it cannot be in a good nature: secondly, It comes from the Di­uell the first deuiser of this abhominable poison: thirdly, It comes from anger, as the next vsuall immediate cause. The infirmities, or wrongs of others may be the occasions, but they cannot be the causes of malice. Now we should be ashamed to father any of the former three euills.

Secondly, if we respect the effects of malice: and that either in our selues, From the effects. 1. In vs. or in God. In our selues, ma­lice will worke, first, a conformity to the nature of the Diuell. For it was vsed to be noted, that to be angrie was humane, but to perseuere in an­ger (which is this malice), was diuelish: Se­condly, It will plead forcibly mans vnregenera­tion. Malice is noted as a marke of the vnregene­rate man: Tit. 3.3. 1. Ioh. 2.9. Thirdly, If we haue any gifts, it is certain malice is like leauen, it will [Page 8] sowre them, and spoile the praise, and acceptati­on of them: 1. Cor. 5.8. Fourthly, It hinders praier and the word. That it hinders praier, is proued, Iames, 4.1.2.3. That it hinders the word, this text proues. Fiftly, It bringes a man many times to wonderfull shame, and by a iust prouidence of God to open foiles and disgraces. Prou. 25.8. et. 26.26. And many times they fall into the pit they digged for others: Prou. 26.27. A malicious person knowes not, what shall bee come of him selfe 1. Iohn 2.11.In God. Now the effects which the malice of man after a sort produceth in God are first to make him to hate vs wonderfully: hee accounts the malicious person, as a murtherer, not respe­cting onely what hee doth, but what hee would doe: 1. Ioh. 3.11. Secondly, Hee will neuer for­giue a man his sinnes because he doth not forgiue his brother: Math. 6.14. Thirdly, The iudge­ments of God are pulled down vpon him: God may make the malicious, as the grasse on the howse-top, whereof the mower filleth not his hand, nor they, that goe by, say we blesse you in the name of the Lord: yea, let mē look to it, lest they be cast into prison and neuer come out, till they haue paied the vtmost farthing.

The vse may be,

First, For humiliation to all such, as finde this vile poison in themselues:Vses. they are in a miserable case, and extreamely and dangerously diseased; especially, if men be guiltie of the aggrauation of malice:Aggrauations of malice. Malice is euill in anie, and in any measure, and toward any: but it is extreamely e­uill, first, when men put on a resolution not [Page 9] to amend, but confirme themselues in their mali­cious courses, and will not be intreated or per­swaded to peace and loue: Secondly, when men suffer their malice to carrie them into sutes, and quarells and open contentions. Thirdly, when men malice the Godly, and such as feare God, and loue the truth. 1. Ioh. 3.15. Fourthly, when they malice their friends and familiars, the men of their peace. To hate them that loue vs is abhominable, so is that domesticall hatred betweene brethren: Prou. 18.19. and between Man and Wife, Parents and Children, Masters and Seruants. Fiftly, when men hate those that reproue their sins: Amos 5.10. as some do their Ministers. Sixtly, to hide hatred with dissem­bling lips, and to lay vp deceit in his heart: Prou. 26.24.25. and 10.28. Seuenthly, to sowe discord among brethren: this is one of the six things God hates, Prou. 6.19. Eightthly, to conceiue malice against whole states of men, to hate whole Churches and Assemblies that professe the Name of Christ, this is the diuelish malice of Hereticks and Schismaticks:Note. and the beginning of these loathings must be looked-to in such as yet haue not proceeded so far as to a separation. If to hate one man be so ill, what is this offence of base estimation, inward loathing, and distem­pered censuring of the Churches of Christ? Ninthly and lastly, it is one monstrous aggraua­tion of malice, for a man to reioice in it, boast of it, account it his honour to contend, and ouer­come in contending, to triumph in malice.

[Page 10]Secondly, for instruction: and so we should all learne all remedies and directions to auoide malice. These remedies either concerne malice in our selues,Remedies for malice. or malice in others: For both, we need rules to direct vs. Now for auoiding malice in our selues, these rules are of excellent vse.

First, Watch thine owne heart, for pride, and enuie,In our selues. and passion: For from hence flowes all contention and hatred: Prou. 13.10.

Secondly, Auoide three sorts of men, and thou maist be free from malice.

  • The first is the tale-bearer. Where no wood is, the fire goeth out: and where there is no tale-bearer, strife ceaseth. Prou. 26.20.
  • The second is the scorner: for, Cast out the scorner, and contention ceaseth. Prou. 22.10.
  • The third is the contentious man, the fro­ward person, the man of imaginations, he that is apt vpon euerie trifle to snuffe, and contest. For as coales are to burning coales, so is a contentious man to kindle strife: Prou. 26.21.

Thirdly, Doest thou mislike any thing in thy brother? goe to him, and reproue him plainly, ne­uer hate him in thy heart, Note. but tell him of it plainly. Manie times a godly reproofe, cures both the reprouer, and the reproued.

Fourthly, Will not all this helpe? then goe in secret, and humble thy selfe before God for that vilenesse, that cleaues to thy heart: Many prai­ers and confessions before God, wil make a great alteration in thy soule, it will purge out this lea­uen wonderfully.

[Page 11]Fiftly, Meditation of two things in Christ: his Passion, and his Second comming. In his Passion, consider a man infinitely iust, suffering for the vniust, and from the vniust: Neuer so much innocencie, neuer so great wrongs, neuer worse enemies; yet see, he can forgiue euen v­pon the Crosse, when they tooke his life from him. In his Second comming, consider first, that then there wil be an end of all wrongs, thou shalt neuer be molested more. Secondly, That an ex­quisite reuenge shall then be executed vpon all that do thee wrong, if they repent not. Thirdly, a retribution shall be giuen to thee in glorie for all the indignities thou hast patiently endured in this world. And thus of malice in thy selfe.

For malice in others,In others. it must bee considered two wayes: First, how thou must doe to cause it to cease, when it is conceiued against thee al­readie: Secondly, how thou maist auoide it still, if thou liue free from it.

For the first, if anie bodie hate thee, obserue these rules:

  • 1. Render not euill for euill to any man, at anie time: Rom. 12.17.
  • 2. If thou haue anie way done wrong, seek to be reconciled: Matth. 5.
  • 3. If the contention be secret, complaine to no bodie, but goe and debate the matter with thy neighbour himselfe, and discouer not thy se­cret to any other: Prou. 25.4.
  • 4. Be courteous and patient, and tender hearted, and readie to doe anie good to them, [Page 12] speaking no euill of them without a calling: Rom. 12.17. Eph. 4.3. Tit. 7.2.

To keepe thee from other mens malice ob­serue these rules.

First, Keepe thee from other mens strife: meddle not with the strife, that belongs not to thee: Prou. 26.17.

Secondly, Wrong no man, but follow that which is good, both among your selues, and toward all men: 1. Thess. 5.14.

Thirdly, S [...]riue to shew all meeknes, and softnes to all men: Titus. 3.2. Iam. 3.13.17.

Guile.]

Of Guile. The acceptation of the word.The second sin to be auoided is Guile.

The word heer rendred Guile is diuersly ac­cepted in scripture. Sometime it is taken in good sense, and so there is a iustifiable Guile: so, Paul caught the Corinthians by craft, he wonne them by his discretion and godly policy. 2. Cor. 12.6. So, Samuel, by a godly policy, giuing it out that he came to sacrifice, did safely performe his cheefe business of anointing Dauid. 1. Sam. 16. and so did Paul deale cunningly, when in the broile hee cried out he was a Pharisie. But most vsually this word is taken in ill sense, and so sometimes it is all one with hypocrisy: as Hosh. 11.12. Psal. 17.2. But so it is not taken heer by all likelihood, be­cause hypocrisies are mentioned in the next words: sometimes it signifieth frawd and fal­shood in opinions: either in the matter, when the doctrine is strange and false: and so the false Apostles were deceitfull workmen, when they put in [Page 13] that for good stuffe, which was counterfeit and diuelish, 2. Cor. 11.13. Or when good doctrine is handled corruptly and deceitefully for wicked ends, 2. Cor. 42. 1. Thes. 2.3. Sometimes it signifieth de­ceite in words, and so flattery is Guile, Psal. 12.2, 3. And lying is Guile, Mich. 6.12. Zeph. 3.13. And so is all false Testimonie. Somtimes it signifieth deceite in workes; and so false weights and balan­ces, and all fradulent dealing, and cousenage in buying and selling is Guile, Mich. 6.10.11. So there is Guile in Tything, Malach. 1. vlt. And so al lying in waite to seeke occasion against others, and all subtle dealing to oppresse others, is Guile: Psal. 105. 2. Cor. 11.12, 13. Math. 26.4. Mark. 14.1. and such Guile was in them that would make a man sinne in the word, Isaiah. 29. Briberie al­so is Guile, Iob. 15 vlt.

Now if any aske me why this sinne should bee auoided in them that desire to profit by the word;Ob.

I answere,Sol. It is to be auoided as it is a sinne that much dishonors God and the profession of god­linesse:Why Guile is to be auoided. It is a shamefull offence in any that would seeme to loue the word; but more parti­cularly the sinnes of deceite are a great impediment in hearing the word: For, first the guile of false opinions and strange doctrine is like a poison to the sincere milk of the word, and to be eschewed of all that follow the Truth. Eph. 4.14.15. He. 13.7 Secondly, a heart accustomd to deceit & subtle­ty, cannot be a plaine and honest heart: and, with­out a plaine, honest, and good heart, men can ne­uer [Page 14] receiue, with any fruitfulnesse, the seede of eternall life. Luke 8. Thirdly hee that is false to men, will neuer be true to God, he that will lie to men, will lie to God: Also hee that is not faith­full with men, will compasse God about with deceit, Hosh. 11.12. He will neuer be faithfull in the true trea­sure, that is vniust in outward things. Tuke 16. Fourthly, it is a sinne that God, in a speciall man­ner, hates, Psal. 5.7. Fiftly, the sinnes of deceit vsually attend vpon some Idoll in the hearts of men, which hath such command ouer the de­ceitfull person, that hee cannot attend to the word of God, or not haue leasure to practise it; he is so mastered by this particular corrupti­tion, Ierem. 9.

Vse 1.The vse of this may be threefold.

For Humiliation to all deceitfull persons, that vse lying, fraud, subtlety and guilefull dealing in their trades and callings, and course of dealing, and conuersation with men; they shall neuer prosper in spirituall things. The Ordinances of God are blasted to them:The miserie of deceitfull per­sons▪ Morouer, there are two cnosiderations which should wonderfully af­fright such as are accustomed to lying & deceit.

First, It is certaine they are wicked men, and haue not the feare of God before their eyes: they are the children of the Diuell, and ene­mies of Righteousnesse; as these places feareful­ly shew, Psalme 36.1, 3. & 10.7. Rom. 3.13. & 1.29. Acts 13.10.

Secondly, the curse of God is vpon them; God will weigh them in the balance, Iob. 31.5. [Page 15] They are an abhomination to the Lord, Prou. 11.1. & 20.23. The Lord will surely visit, and his soule will be auenged on such persons, Ierem. 8.26, 27, 29. They shall be destroyed, Psalme 52.4. They shall not liue out halfe their daies, Psal. 55. vlt.

And as this is terrible to all deceiuers, so espe­cially to such as are guilty of the aggrauations of the sinne.The aggraua­tions of the sin of deceit. As,

  • 1. When deceit is couered with smooth words,
    The manner of deceiuing.
    and a flattering stile, Ierem. 9.8. Prou. 26.24, &c.
  • 2. When men delight in it, and take a con­templatiue kinde of pleasure in their guilefull proiects; as the voluptuous person doth in his lust: When mens bellies prepare deceit; Iob. 15. vlt. not their heads, but their bellies, Psalme 52.2, 4.
  • 3. When men make a trade of it, giue their tongues to euill, and will frame deceit. Psal. 50.19. Bend their Tongues to lies, and teach their tongues to speake lies, and weary themselues to commit iniquitie, Ierem. 9.5.
  • 4. When men thinke all time spent about Gods seruice too long; they would haue the Sab­baths ouer, that they might practise deceit, A­mos. 8.5.
  • 5. When men Sweare deceitfully, Psal. 24.4.
  • 6. When men boast of it, Psal. 52.1, 3.

And as deceit is aggrauated by the manner,The persons vpon whom it is practised. so may it be by the persons vpon whom it is practi­sed: and so it is an aggrauation to deceiue ones neighbour and ones brother, Ier. 9▪ 5: and so it is to [Page 16] deceiue the harmlesse, and quiet of the Land, Psal. 35.20.The time. And as by the persons, so by the time: It is an aggrauation, when men imagine deceit (as the Prophet Dauid saith) all the day long, Psal. 38.12.

Now, if the former terrors belong to deceit­full persons in the generall, how much more to them that are guilty of deceit with all these or any of these aggrauations.

Ob. 1.Some one might heer say, We feel the sweet­nes of it: we growe rich by it; and we see many men in the world wexed great by the same cour­ses: and if wee should not lie and deceiue, wee might giue-ouer our trades, &c.

Sol.For answer heerunto; Let all such knowe, that though it be true,Of the misery of such as thriue by deceit. that some men are wext great and rich by such courses, yea, though they bee fat and shine, yet the Lord will visit them, and his soule will be auenged vpon them, Ier. 5.28.29: For, wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished, Pro. 13.11: and the tabernacles of bribery and deceit shall bee desolate, Mich. 6.10. to the 16. All such as conceiue with guile (by that time they haue reckoned their mo­neths aright, though they growe neuer so big) shall bring forth nothing but winde and vanity, Iob 15. vlt. What shall be giuen thee, or what shall bee done vnto thee, O thou lying and deceitfull tongue? thou shalt be smitten with some strange and strong hand of God, as with the arrows of the mighty: so as thy stroke shall be incurable and deadly, and thy destruction shall be as with the coals of Iuniper, that is,Note. both fierce in respect of thy self, and pleasing in respect of others. For, men are wonderfully [Page 17] well pleased, when they obserue, that ill-gotten goods doo not prosper. This hand of God smels like the burning of Iuniper.

Some others might say,Ob. 2. We are seruants, and we must ly, and defraud others to satisfie our ma­sters.

The Prophet Zephany reports,Sol. that the Lord wil punish all those very seruants that fill their masters houses with violence and deceit;Seruants must not vse lying & deceit to please their masters. the seruants (I say) as well as their masters.

But,Ob. 3. might some others say, My courses are so secret, that my deceit shall neuer be found out.

Let such men learn,Sol. that the Lord found out this sinne in Ephraim,Of secret cose­nage. Hosh. 11. and will punish it, though Ephraim said he was grown rich, and in all his labours they should finde none iniquity in him, that were sinne. He thought himself sure enough for being discouered: and therefore he would contest ve­hemently, and cry out vpon such dishonesty in men, as to vse false words and waights: besides, it is worthy to bee obserued, that God many times doth not onely discouer these secret frau­dulent courses, but discouers them openly; so as their wickednes is shewed before the whole congregati­on, Pro. 26.26.

But,Ob. 4. others may say, In other things I am just, and besides I am forward in religion: and there­fore this offense is not so great.

Shall I account thee pure, saith the Lord, with wic­ked balances? Sol. Mich. 6.12. as if hee would say, All the shewes of religion in the world wil not serue the turn, if sins of deceit raign in a mans dealing.

[Page 18] Vse 2.And therefore the consideration of all this should in the second place instruct vs, and that three waies:

First, to look to our owne carriage; and, as we desire to liue long, and to see good daies, to refrain our tongues from euill, and our lips that they speak no guile; in all our dealing to detest lying and deceit, Psal. 34.13; and so to liue, as we may be alwaies ready to put our selues vpon Iobs triall, Iob 31.4.5.

Secondly, to lay to heart the consideration of the horrible inundations of deceit, that hath o­uerflowed all states and callings of men: and so it should work in vs both lamentation and supplica­tion before the Lord. For lamentation, we may take vp all the ould complaints of the Prophets: Our times haue reacht to the measure of iniqui­ty then reproued;The iniquity of the time. or rather, men now ouerpasse the deeds of those wicked men: wickednes is in the mid­dest of vs: deceit and guile depart not from our streets, Psal. 55.11. Treasures of wickednes are in the house of the wicked; wicked balances, the bagge of deceitfull waights and scant measures (which are an abhominati­on to the Lord, and for which he threatneth ven­geance) euery where to be found, Mich. 6.10.11. Men lay wait, as they that set snares: they set traps to catch, not beasts or fowle, but men. As a cage is full of birds: so are mens houses full of deceit and de­ceiuers. It is now the vsuall course for men to wex great and rich withall, Ier 5.26 27▪ yea, this sinne so spreadeth, that we may truely say, From the least of them to the greatest of them they are giuen to deceit, and will deal falsly, Ier. 6.13. Euery brother will [Page 19] supplant, and euery neighbour will walk with lies and slanders. They will deceiue one another, and not speak the truth. A man can dwell no where, but his habitation is in the midst of deceit: and therefore certainly God hath a resolution to stretch out his hand still by publike iudgements. How can it be, but God must visit and be auenged for these great abominations? What should hee else doo, but melt his people in the common fornace of great iudge­ments for such common sins? Ier. 9.3. to 10. And as it should teach vs lamentation, so it should teach vs supplication too; euen to go to God: and that in two respects. First, to implore his help and mercy for the Church: that he would be pleased to spare his people, and keep them from the infe­ction of these vile sins; and, if it may stand with his good pleasure, to work a repentance in mens hearts that are guilty of these crimes: and with­all to beseech him for our selues, to keep vs, that we fall not into the hands of deceiuers (for, as it is a sin to deceiue, so is it a misery to be deceiued, Psa. 12.1.2, &c.) and to giue vs wisdome to beware of men, Ier. 9.4. Mat. 10.17. and to deliuer vs from the men of deceit, Psal. 43.1.

Thirdly, it should teach vs (seeing the world is so full of guile, and that it is so hatefull a sin) therefore to honor and esteeme such as we finde to be true hearted; Plaine men with Iacob, without tricks and subtletie, and true Israelites with Natha­niel, in whose hearts and mouths is no guile: Wee should I say loue them, delight in them, and stick to them, neuer to forsake them, but to ac­count [Page 20] them the very Ornaments of the World, and great lights in this great and generall darke­nesse, and to account our selues wonderfull rich and happy in their fellowship and friendship.

Vse 3.Thirdly, this prohibition of Guile may in­forme vs,Against equiuo­cation. and by intimation shew vs the hateful­nesse of the doctrine of the Papists, and practice in the point of aequiuocation ▪ contrary to the ex­presse Scripture; that forbids all lying and de­ceiuing of others, and commands vs to speake truth, and that euery one (Priest and people) and that to his neighbour: how much more to the Ma­gistrate? Ephes. 4.25. And Iob sheweth that wee ought not to talke deceitfully, no not for God, to speake for him what is not right, Iob. 13.7.

Vse 4.Lastly, this may be implicitly a singular and secret consolation to honest and vpright harted men, that hate this hatefull sinne of Guile; that speake the truth in their hearts, and make Con­science of their words, I meane those true Na­thanaels, of whom Christ speakes: And for the better imprinting of this vse, I will shew you two things. First, the signes and markes of a man without Guile, euen of a true Israelite. Second­ly, the encouragement and comforts that belong to such men, &c.

The signes of a man without guile.For the first, A true Nathanael hath these pray­ses and especiall markes:

  • 1. He shunnes Guile in his Spirit as well as in his words or workes: Psal. 32.2. What hee accounts vile to speake, hee accounts vile to thinke.
  • [Page 21]2. His prayse is of God, and not of men: Rom. 2.26. He more striues to doe good, then to get credit and applause; and if God accept him, he cares not though all the world deride him.
  • 3. When he confesseth his fault to God, he will not hide his sinne, but confesseth all his sins; that is, all sorts of sinnes, and his sinne without extenuation, or excuse, Psal. 32.2.5.
  • 4. If he offend, it is of ignorance, and hee will not receiue doctrine of trust; and, if he bee shewed the truth, he quietly yeelds, and giues glory to God, Ioh. 1.46, 47, 48.
  • 5. He is a plaine man, and speakes the truth in his heart: What hee saith, hee saith without fraud or dissembling, he saith it from his heart; his heart and his words agree; hee hateth lying, and all deceite: Psal. 15.2. Zeph. 3.13. though he might gaine neuer so much, yet wil he practise no vntruth.
  • 6. He is a constant man, iust of his word, he will performe his promise, though it be to his owne hindrance, Psalm. 15.4. He will not denie the truth though it be to his extreme danger.

Such men as these,Incouragements to such men. haue many encourage­ments to hold on their courses. It was a chiefe prayse of Christ, that he was without Guile, 1. Pet. 2.7. and so was it in the Martyres and Saints, Reuel. 14.15. It is one of the signes and markes of Gods houshould seruants, Psal. 15.2. Of a true Conuert, Zeph. 3.13. These men are faithfull with the Saints, and rule with God, Hosh. 11.12. Such as these will abide the Balance (to be weighed) and [Page 22] God will acknowledge their integritie, Iob. 31.5. The wealth of these men gotten by labour and iust dealing, shall increase, when riches gotten by vanitie shall diminish, Prou. 13.11. And those lips of Truth shall be established for euer, when lying tongues shall be but for a moment, Prou▪ 12.19.

And thus much of Guile.

Note, that he saies all malice and all Guile.Only before I passe further, it is worthy the noting that he saies of these two first sinnes, that all Malice, and all Guile, must be laid aside: which imports; that, howsoeuer some other infirmities be in the Godly, yet they should be found farre from all Malice and Guile; not a iot of either of them should be found in them: Malice must be in them in no kinde, nor in no measure; neither secret nor open Malice, neither grudge nor de­sire of reuenge, neither at home nor abroad, nei­ther in ciuill things, nor in matters of Religion, neither in any of the aggrauations, nor in the least drop of it: And the like may be said of Guile. It were a shamefull thing, that any kinde of Guile should be found in a Christian, in any of his dealings, at any time, with any sort of men, or in any measure. For, if but a drop of Malice, or Guile, be left in vs, It may breake out againe, and our hearts proue like a festered sore. Malice is like leauen, a little of it will sowre the whole lumpe. It is like Poyson, a drop may spoyle vs. It is like a coale of fire within, it wants nothing but the Di­uell to blow it, and [...]hen into what a flame may it kindle? And therefore wee should all looke to our hearts, to see that we be free from Malice; [Page 23] and looke to our waies, that we be guiltie of no kinde of Guile: Such as are reconciled, should note this point to see to it, that they keepe not the least drop of the poysonfull grudge in their hearts. It is not enough that they say daily, they will forgiue, or can receiue the Sacrament. For, if they cannot respect them with a free heart, without reseruation, they are still infected with the disease of Malice.

Hypocrisie.]

The third sinne to be auoided is Hypocrisie.

Concerning Hypocrisie, I propound two things to be considered. First, how many waies men commit Hypocrisie: Secondly, what rea­sons there are to disswade vs from Hypocrisie.

For the first,How many wais men commit Hypocrisie. the Scriptures discouer many waies of the practice of Hypocrisie: In the 23 of Matthew, our Sauiour notes eight wayes of being guilty of Hypocrisie.

  • 1. To say and not doe: vers. 3.
  • 2. To require much of others, and pleade for great things to be done by others, and not at all do it our selues, as we prescribe it to others, verse 4.
  • 3. To doe what we doe to be seene of men, vers. 5. This is at large opened, Math. 6.1. to the middle of the chapter.
  • 4. To affect greatnesse in the respects and entertainments of others, v. 6. to 1 [...].
  • 5. To do duties of Religion of purpose to hide some foule sin. v. 14.
  • 6. To be curious and strict in small mat­ters, [Page 24] and neglect the greater duties, verses 23, 24.
  • 7. To be carefull to auoid outward faults, and to make no Conscience of the inward foul­nesse of the heart, verses 25, 27.
  • 8. To commend and magnifie the godly absent, or of former ages; and to hate and a­buse the godly present, and of our owne times, v. 29. to 36.

    There are diuers other Hypocritical practices noted in other Scripture: as,

  • 9. To serue God outwardly, and yet our hearts to be carried away with vile distractions, Esay. 28.13. This is a chiefe Hypocrisie to be a­uoided, in such as come to the word.
  • 10. To pray only in the time of sicknes or danger, when we are forced to it, and to shew no loue of prayer or delight in God, in time of pro­sperity or deliuerance, Iob. 27.8, 9.
  • 11. To iudge others seuerely for smaller faults, and to bee guilty themselues of greater crimes, Math. 7.5.
  • 12. To bee iust ouermuch; I meane, to make sins where God makes none, Luke 13.15.
  • 13. To be conuinced in his owne Con­science, and yet not confesse it, nor yeelde, though they know the Truth, Luke 12.56, 57, &c.

Thus of the diuers waies of Hypocrisie.

Motiues against Hypocrisie. The effects of Hypocrisie, both priuatiue and po­sitiue.There are many reasons to declare the hate­fulnesse of this sinne of Hypocrisie: I will in­stance only in the reasons from the effects.

The effects of Hypocrisie are eyther, first, to [Page 25] others: Or, secondly to the Hypocrite him­selfe.

First, to others the Hypocrite is a continuall snare: He walkes in a net, that conuerseth with an Hypocrite, Iob. 34.30.

Secondly, to himselfe the effects of Hypocri­sie in the Hypocrite, are both priuatiue and posi­tiue. The priuatiue effects which the Scripture in­stanceth in, are chiefly three. The first is, that the Hypocrite loseth all his seruice of God; In vaine do Hypocrites worship God, Math. 15. Se­condly, he infecteth all his gifts and prayses: Hy­pocrisie is like leauen, Luke 12.1. It sowreth all gifts and graces; a little of it will marre all his prayses and gifts whatsoeuer for the acceptation and vse of them. Thirdly, he loseth all reward of his good workes, Math. 6.1. An Hypocrite may doe good workes, though hee neuer doth them well; and for the good he doth, may haue his re­ward with men, but this is all; for, from God he shall haue no reward.

The Positiue effects of Hypocrisie, may be re­ferred to two heads: For some effects may fall vpon him; and some effects must and will befall him.

The effects that may follow his Hypocrisie are three:What may be­fall him. For, first, he is apt to be seduced by euill Spirits, and the doctrine of Diuels: An Hypo­crite is in the greatest danger of most men to bee seduced into vile opinions, 1. Tim. 4.1.2. Second­ly, he may fall into a spirit of slumber: his consci­ence may be scared with an hot iron. Thirdly, hee [Page 26] may fall into most wofull terrors: such a fearful­nesse may surprise the hypocrite, that God may be to him as deuouring fire, and as euerlasting bur­nings, Esay 33.14. Iob 18.14.

What will befall them.The effects that will certainly fall vpon the hy­pocrite, are these which follow:

  • 1. Iudgement in his owne conscience. He goes about as a condemned man: for, hee is al­waies condemned in himself.
  • 2. The discouery of all his villany: for, there is nothing hid in his intents and dealings, but all shall be laid open, Luke 12.1.2.
  • 3. The miscarrying of his hope. The hope of the hypocrite shall perish, Iob 8.11. to 16; and that with these aggrauations: that his hope will pe­rish, first, easily; secondly, speedily; thirdly, vnre­couerably. Easily; for, God can destroy his hope as easily, as the maid can sweep down the house of the spider with her besome: Speedily; for, it will wither while it seems rooted, and is yet green before any other herb: yea, though it growe vp, yet it is like grasse on the house top: Vnrecouerably; for, his hopes being but as the house of the spider, they will be da­shed down for euer; and though he would lean to his house, and take hould of it, yet his hopes shall perish for euer: and when this day comes, his hopes shall bee as the giuing vp of the ghost.
  • 4. Strange punishments in his death and con­demnation. And therefore when our Sauiour Christ would expresse a speciall terrour in the plagues of especiall sinners, he saith, They shall haue their portion with hyp [...]crites and workers of ini­quity, [Page 27] Matthew 24. and the last verse. Iob 27.8.

And these effects wil appear the more terrible, if we consider, that the Scriptures take off all the objections of hypocrites; to shew, that they bee left naked to the fury of God: for, all this will come vpon them;

Though they be many in number,The obiection of hypocrites remo­ued. Iob 15.34.

Though they be rich, Iob 27 8.

Though they triumph in all jollity now, Iob. 20.5.

Though they be yong, or widows, or father­lesse, Esay 9.17.

Though they cry at their later end, Iob 27.9.

Though they doo many good deeds, Mat. 6.

Though their wickednes be yet hidden, Luke 12.1.2.

The vse may be,Vses. first, for information; second­ly, for instruction; and thirdly, for consolation.

First,For information. for information: and so it may shew vs,

First, what to think of the great shewes of holiness & mortification made in the Church of Rome. Their fastings, and their prohibition of marriage, vows of chastity, and wilfull pouer­ty, haue a shew of wisdome and piety, in not sparing the flesh: but, the holy Ghost tels vs, that all this is but hypocrisie, 2. Tim. 4.1.2.3.4. Col. 2. vlt▪

2. How miserable the estate of multitudes of our owne people is, by these signes wee may perceiue, that the plague is wondefully spread in Israel.Note. There are whole congregations of hypocrites, that is, of men that say and doo not, that come neer to God with their lips, and their heart is far [Page 28] from him, that seldome or neuer pray but when they be sick; that regard not the inward foul­nesse of their hearts, so their liues bee either ci­uill, or euill but in secret, Iob. 15.34. Isay. 9.17.

For instruction.Secondly, for instruction; and so it should teach vs all to beware of this leauen of Hypocrisie, Luke 12.11. and if we would be thought to haue the true Wisedome from aboue, then let vs shew it by our fruits, that they may be without Hypocrisie, Iam. 3.17. And for the better enforcing of this vse, I will put you in minde of two things: First, the sorts of Hypocrisie, you are most in danger of: Secondly, the remedies or preseruatiues a­gainst Hypocrisie.

The sorts of Hy­pocrisie we are most in danger of.The sorts are chiefly these.

  • 1. The distraction in Gods worship, which is a most wofull fault, and most common: This was it was shewed before that so angred God, Isaiah, 28.13.
  • 2. Secondly, the omission of priuate wor­ship, I meane to make a shew of Religion and the loue of God, and yet neglect reading of the Scriptures, prayers, conference and secret com­munion with God: This as was shewed will prouoke God to stop his eare at our crie, because we do not pray at all times. Iob. 27.8, 9.
  • 3. Neglect of mortification of inward sins, and secret faults; taking liberty, so it be but sin in the heart or in secret. This will vndoe thee for e­uer, if thou looke not to it in time.
  • 4. Affectation of praise and credit with men, to do our workes to be seene of men.

[Page 29]Now, there are diuers rules to be obserued, if we would not bee poysoned with the raigne of Hypocrisie.

  • 1. Keepe thy selfe in Gods presence;
    Preseruatiues against hypo­crisie.
    for­get not God; Remember alwaies that his eyes are vpon thee: Thus Dauid set the Lord alwaies be­fore him, Psalm 16.8. And this God comman­deth Abraham to doe, if he will bee vpright, Gen. 17. [...].
  • 2. Thou must pray much and often to God to create a right Spirit in thee: For, by nature, we haue all double and Hypocriticall harts, Psal. 51.10.
  • 3. Keepe thy heart with all diligence, watching daily & resisting distractions, wauering thoughts and forgetfulnesse. And to this end, mortifie the first beginnings of this sinne in thy heart, mourne for it as soone as thou discernest it, and iudge thy selfe seriously before God. Iam. 4.8. Math. 23.26.
  • 4. In all matters of well doing bee as se­cret as may bee, Matthew 6. both in Mercie, Prayer, Fasting, Reading and the like.
  • 5. Be watchfull ouer thy owne waies, and see to this point, That thou be as carefull of all duties of Godlinesse, in prosperitie as in aduer­sitie, in health as in sicknesse, Iob 27.9, 10.
  • 6. Conuerse with such as in whom thou discernest true Spirits without Guile, and shun the company of open and known Hypocrites.
  • 7. Be not rash, and easy to condemne o­ther men for Hypocrites, onely because they crosse thy opinions, or humors, or will, or pra­ctice. [Page 30] It is often obserued,
    Note.
    that rash censurers, that vsually lash others as Hypocrites, fall at length into some vile kinde of Hypocrisie them­selues.

Ob.But may we not call an Hypocrite an Hypo­crite?

Sol.Hypocrites are not all of one sort. Some are close Hypocrites:About censu­ring other men for Hypocrisie. some are open. The open Hypocrite thou maist shew thy dislike of his courses, and auoide him: But the close Hypo­crite thou canst not discerne, or not certainely; and if thou follow thine owne coniectures, thou maist somtimes condemne a dear childe of God, and approue a detestable Hypocrite.

Quest.But how may the open Hypocrite be discer­ned?

Ans.By diuers signes.

How an open Hypocrite may be discerned.First, by an ordinary and vsuall affectation of the prayse of men, in doing good duties. When a man constantly sets himselfe out to the shew, it is an apparant marke of a false heart. Marke, that I say an vsuall affectation.

Secondly, if a man make a shew of the meanes of godlinesse, or liking the meanes of godlinesse, or of the persons that are godly; and yet it bee manifest that he hates to be reformed, liues in known grosse faults; and being rebuked by the word, or seruants of God, will not reforme, but carrieth a grudge at the parties that laboured his refor­mation: This is an euident marke of an Hypo­crite. Now to judge these is no offence.

Thirdly, It is a signe of an Hypocrite, when a [Page 31] man will be godly, and [...]estrayned, and zealous in some companies, and in other company take liberty for grosse p [...]ophanenesse.

Lastly, he that will be rid of Hypocrisie, must looke to himselfe, to keepe himself free from the causes of it, and take heede that he be not bewit­ched in those things that haue bred hypocrisie in other men.

What is it can make a man an Hypocrite?Ob.

First,Sol. somtimes feare will doe it: as in time of trouble or persecution;What makes an Hypocrite. men, to auoide dangers, will play the Hypocrites, Luke 12.1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Secondly, sometimes desire to get credit, and to bee well thought on (especially when it is mixt with enuie at the respects of others) driues some men headlong into Hypocriticall courses, Math. 6.

Thirdly, sometimes men are emboldned vnto Hypocrisie, by a secret perswasion, that Christ will deferre his comming, and they shall not of a long time be brought to account, Matthew 24.48, 50.

Fourthly, men fall into Hypocrisie for gaine, to hide their wicked and deceitfull courses: So the Pharises, Math. 23.14. so 1. Tim. 4.2, 7.

Fiftly, forgetfulnesse of God is a great cause of Hypocrisie, and the raigne of it in many harts, Iob 8, 13.

Sixtly, Lust, and some vile wickednesse, driues many men and women into Hypocrisie, 2. Tim. 3.

These things we must take heede of, and pre­serue [Page 32] our selues from them, if euer we would not be wretched hypocrites before God.

Vse 3.Thirdly, heer is also consolation to all the god­ly whom God hath kept vpright, and free from this damned vice (I mean, from the raign of it: for, there is no man but hath some dregs of hy­pocrisie in him).

Quest.But how may a man knowe that hee is not an hypocrite?

Ans.By many signes.

How a man may knowe that he is not an hy­pocrite.First, when a man had rather bee good, than seem so.

Secondly, when a man makes God his secret place, striues & desires secrecie to worship God, Matthew 6.

Thirdly, when a man loues no sin, but would fain be rid of euery sin, and so hath respect to all Gods commandements.

Fourthly, when a man confesseth his hypocri­sie, and mourns for it, and striues against it.

Fiftly, when a man accuseth himself for it to others whose respects he most desires.

Sixtly, when a man keeps his heart close to the substance of godlinesse, and labours to bee built vp without distraction in the main things need­full for his saluation, and is not carried to spend his time most about vnnecessary or impertinent cares or studies, 1. Tim. 4.2.7.8.

Seuenthly, when a man is as carefull to serue God in prosperity, as well as aduersity, Iob 27.9.

Eightly, when a man delights in the Almigh­mighty, and loues all the means by which he fin­deth [Page 33] any communion with God, Iob 29.9.

Ninthly, when a man, from the hatred of hy­pocrisie, is stirred vp against hypocrites, cannot abide them, nor will conuerse with them, Iob 17. verse 8.

Lastly, Iob comforts himselfe, that hee was no hypocrite, by three arguments.

  • 1. He would trust in God, though hee did slay him.
  • 2. Hee would reprooue his waies in Gods sight.
  • 3. He sought Gods presence, and set him­self alwaies before him: none of which an hypo­crite could doo, Iob 13.15.16.

Thus much of Hypocrisie.

Enuy.]

The fourth sin to be auoided is Enuy.

Enuy is nothing else but a vexation or inward displeasure conceiued at the good of another: viz. either anothers credit, gifts, preferment, pro­fit, successe, or the like.

This sinne, though in the world it bee little thought of, yet in it self is a most fearfull vice; and should be so accounted of by christians, for many reasons.

First,The hatefulnesse of the sin of enuy. if we consider the subiect persons in whom it vsually is. It is found most in naturall men, Tit. 3.3; yea, in silly men, Iob 5.2. This was the sinne of Cain, Gen. 4; yea, of the diuell himself. The main sin of the diuell was the enuy of mans hap­pinesse. It raigned in the diuelish Gentiles, Rom. 1.29.

[Page 34]Secondly, if we con [...]ider the cause of it, it is for the most part the daughter of pride, Galat. 5.26; sometimes, of couetousnes, Pro. 28.22; and often, of some egregious vile transgression, such as in Rom. 1.29: but euer it is the filthy fruit of the flesh, Gal. 5.25.

Thirdly, if wee consider the vile effects of it, which are many: for,

  • 1. It hath done many mischiefs, for which it is infamous. It sould Ioseph into Egypt, Genes. 37: and, which should euer make it abhorred of vs, it kild the Son of God, Mat. 27.8.
  • 2. It deforms our natures: it makes a man suspicious, malitious, contentious: it makes vs to prouoke, backbite, and practise euill against our neighbours. It is ill for our sight: for, the enuious man hath alwaies an euill eye, and a cast-down countenance with Cain also many times.
  • 3. It begins euen death and hell, while a man is aliue. It kils the silly one, Iob 5.2. It destroi­eth the contentment of his life, and burns him with a kinde of fire vnquenchable. It feeds vpon the enuious man, like the moth or worm, by de­grees: and it hasteneth mischief in the enuious man, because it makes the person enuied more glorious; and, besides, it is a vice that driueth a man from among men, in respect of comfortable society: for, it was long since aduised, Eat not the bread of him that hath an euill eye, Pro. 23.6: and no man by his good will, if he can be free, wil con­uerse with such as he perceiues to be enuious.

Fourthly, this place manifestly imports, that [Page 35] it is a notable hindrance to the profit of the word, and so no doubt it is to praier and all piety, as euidently it is a let of charity; vnlesse it bee, that men in hypocrisie to disgrace others, will for enuy doo some good: as they preacht Christ for enuy in the Apostles time, Phil. 1.15.

Vses. The vse should be threefold.

First, for instruction, to teach vs to follow the aduice heer giuen, in putting away Enuy, and clensing our hearts of it: and to this end, think much of the reasons against it, and withall re­member by confession & godly sorrow to clense thy heart carefully of it. For, those things help wonderfully in the putting of it away.

Secondly, this may serue for great reproof of many that professe the fear of God, who daily shame themselues by discouering this vice in themselues. This was it the Apostle complai­ned of in the Corinthians; and shewed, that it is a vice which not onely houlds down a Christian from growing, but it makes him look like a carnall man, 1. Cor. 3.3.

Thirdly, for consolation, if we finde our selues freed from this vice.Signes of a man free [...]rom enuie. And wee may knowe, that we are not enuious,

  • 1. If we loue the good things in others, and can rejoice in their prosperity, and mourn for their miseries.
  • 2. If we be vile in our owne eies, and lowly minded.
  • 3. If wee enjoy contentation in our owne estate, and are well pleased to bee that which [Page 36] GOD will haue vs to bee.
  • 4. If in giuing honour wee can hartily go one before another.

Thus much of Enuy.

Euill speaking.]

This is the fift sinne to be auoided.

If we would profit by Gods word, wee must look to our owne words, &c.

Euill speaking, generally taken, comprehends all the faults of the tongue in speaking: and so it is true, that a man can neuer be soundly profited by the word till he makes conscience of euil words, as well as euill works. But I think it is taken more restrainedly heer.

There are many kindes of euill speaking that are to be auoided. Lying is euill speaking: and it is true, that he who is false to man, will neuer be true to God. But I think, Lying is not heer meant.

Flattering is euill speaking: for, he that prai­seth his friend with a loud voice, it shall bee counted to him as a curse. It is a curse, to be troubled with a flatterer: and it is a kinde of cursed speaking, To flatter. But I think, this is not meant heer neither.

But I think, the sinnes heer meant are, Backbi­ting, judging, slandering, and complaining one of another, and all bitternesse of speech between man and man. These hinder charity, and prouoke God, and let the growth of piety in the harts and liues of men. And therefore these kindes of euill speaking should be detested of Christians, and altogether laid aside.

These sins as they are hatefull in themselues, [Page 37] and in the least degree, or in any kinde: so Euill speaking is made more vile in the aggrauations of it.The aggrauati­on of Euill spea­king. It is euill to speake euill any way, or of any: But it is much more vile,

First, when we speak euill of the absent, that can­not defend them selues: Backbiting is a hatefull degree of euill speaking, 2. Cor. 12.10. Psal. 140.11.

Secondly, when wee speake euill of such, as God hath humbled, or afflicted: Leuit. 19.14. Obad. 12. Prou. 26.28.

Thirdly, when wee shall speake euill of such, as are in authoritie. Eccles. 10. vlt. Iud. 8. Leuit. 19.

Fourthly, when we speak euill of the godly, espe­cially before the wicked, or for things indif­ferent, or without cause: Iames 4.9. Rom. 14. Psal. 31.18. or for lesser failings: Math. 7, 1.2. but es­pecially their good conuersation: 1. Pet. 3.16.

Fiftly▪ When wee speake euill of our professed friends: Psal. 5.6.13. Lament. 1.2.

Sixtly, when wee speak euill of Gods messengers, taxing their persons: as, their cariage, especially when they labour, & take paines, watching ouer vs for our goods: Ierem. 26.8.9. & 18.18. Amos 5.10. 2. Cor. 3.6.16. 1. Tim. 4.10. Ierem. 15.10. 1. Cor. 4.3.5.

Seuenthly, when we speake euill of father & mo­ther, or such as are neerely knit vnto vs: so it is also monstrous vncomely to see the wife speak euil of the husband, or contrariwise: Prou. 20.20. Leuit. 20.9. Mich. 7.6.

Eightthly, when we speak euill of godliness, euen of the good way of God, calling sweet sowre, and [Page 38] good euil, Esay, 5, 20. scorning Gods Sabbaths, and deriding sanctification, and reformation of life, 1. Cor. 15 32.33. Acts, 19.9. especially, when wee doe it out of an inward hatred of holy duties: Let such take heed of despighting the spirit of grace: Heb. 10.29.

Ninthly, when men speake euill of God himselfe: as doth the swearer, and for-swearer, the mur­murer, and such as reason Atheistically, against the nature, counsells, or prouidence of God: Comm. 3. Psal. 73.9.

And as euill speaking may bee aggrauated by the persons against whom: so may it bee by the manner: For if it bee euill to speake euill in any fashion, then is it much more euill,

First, to raile: 1. Cor. 6.10. mouth full of cursing: Psalme, 10, 7. Rom. 3.14.

Secondly, to complaine in all places for slight occasions, or trespasses.

Thirdly, to hide hatred, with lying lips: Psalme, 62.4. Prou. 10.18. Psal. 41.6.

Fourthly, to goe about to carry tales, and slanders, Leuit. 19.

Fiftly, to speake euill of others, when wee are guilty of the same offences our selues, or greater. Rom. 2.1.2.3. Math. 7.1.3.

Sixtly, to reueale secrets, this is slander: Pro. 11▪ 13.

Neither are men free from this vice, or guilt, when they are whisperers, and doe it secretly, and as many doe with charge that they speake not of it againe, yet them selues in the very next [Page 39] company will tel it out againe: 2. Cor. 12.20. Nor when they ioine with their euill speaking the acknowledgement of their praises of whom they speak. For many times their [but] tendes to a grea­ter defamation, and by praising them they only saue them selues from blame, and intend thereby to enforce their defamation the more. Nor is it an extenuation, when they reuile their inferiors: For, Masters must not threaten their seruants, Eph. 6.9. nor parents must not prouoke their children to wrath: Eph. 6.4. nor husbands be bitter to their wiues: Col. 3.9. Nor great men may Lord it ouer their poor tenants, or people: Prou. 13, 8. Nor men, that ex­cell in gifts, bee masterly in their wordes to their inferiors in gifts: Iames, 3.1. Nor when men re­uile being reuiled: For, this is also prohibited vnto Christians. 1. Pet. 3.9.

Ther are also many reasons,Reasons to dis­wade from Euil [...] speaking. why wee should put away euill speaking.

First, from commaundement. Men are streightly charged by God to refrain their tongues from euill: Psal. 34. and not to speak euill one of ano­ther: Iames, 4.9. to speak euill of no man: Tit. 3.1. nor to render reuiling for reuiling. 1. Pet. 3.9 we must blesse, and not curse: Rom. 12.14.

Secondly, from the consideration of our own persons, and estates in Christ. We are called to bles­sing, and are the heirs of blessing: and therefore it is monstrous vncomely for vs, that are free borne, to vse such seruile and base language 1. Pet 3.9.

Thirdly, from example. Michael the Archan­gell, when hee contended with the Diuell, durst not [Page 40] bring against him any railing accusation: Iude 9. The Apostle sheweth their practice herein▪ being perse­cuted they suffer it: being reuiled, they bless 1 Cor. 4.12. When Shemei cursed Dauid, and called him a son of Beliall, and a bloody man, hee saied: Let him curse, because the Lord hath said vnto him, curse Dauid, It may bee the Lord will looke vpon my affliction, and the Lord will requite mee good for his cursing this day. Thus hee bore it, though he con­tinued cursing, and cast stones, and dust at him: 2. Sam. 16.8.10.11.12.13. But aboue all wee should learne this of our Sauiour Christ, In whome was found no guile, in his mouth, who, when hee was reui­led, reuiled not againe, when hee suffered, hee threatned not, but committed him selfe to him, that iudgeth righteously: 1. Pet. 2.23.

Fourthly, from the causes of it. Bitter speaking comes from a bitter root of a cursed disposition in our natures: Heb. 12.14.15. It proceedes some­times from enuy at the good of others, sometimes from malice and secret grudge, sometimes from guile and fraudulent purposes,Note. sometimes from Hypocrisy also: For, he that is much in iudging o­ther men, is seeldome without great store of Hypocrisy in his hart. Well therefore is this sinne put last in the Catalogue, as that, which may bee engendred of any of the former.

Fiftly, from the effects; Effects I say both of restraining it, and committing it. If wee did re­straine iudging, reuiling, backbiting, and all bit­ternes, How happy would our liues bee; How comfortable would our conuersation bee? Wee [Page 41] should liue long and see good daies: Psalme, 34.12. Besides: it is a wonderfull praise of the gifts of God, and signe of a large measure of grace, to a­uoid euill speaking: He is a perfect man, that sinneth not in these customary sinnes of the tongue, Iames, 3.2. and it is alwaies a mans Honor to cease from strife, Prou. 20.3.

The effects of committing it are many and fowle: and that both to others, & to them selues.

First, to others and so first it greeues the spirit of God▪ by which wee are sealed to the day of redemption. For, a bitter spirit is a wonderfull crosse to that meek spirit of Christ Iesus. Eph. 3.31. secondly, it is a singular iniury to men, at whom wee cast our bitter wordes. For wee trouble their peace and work much disquietnes: and besides, when men contend by euill wordes, it can hardly be auoi­ded, but many will bee defiled, yea many besides them selues as they are seuerally inclined to ei­ther party, Heb. 12.14.15. Thirdly, and it is cer­taine in Gods account, and in mens too, thou wert as good shoot arrowes at them, as bitter wordes, and runne them in with swords, or cut them with sharpe razors, as mangle their names and credits, with thy censures, or flanders, or re­proaches.

Secondly, to them selues. They bring much hurt to them selues, that accustome them selues to ill language in any of these kindes. For, they make them selues guilty of a world of wickednes. Iames, 3.9. First, they wrong the law of God. For he that iudgeth his brother, condemneth the law: Iam. [Page 42] 4.9. Secondly, they transgresse against the law­giuer, whose proper office is to iudge the waies of all men. Iames, 4.10. Thirdly, they discouer also their owne folly and weaknes. For, it is a mans honor to cease from strife, but euery foole will bee meddling: Prou. 20.3. Fourthly, they shame the profession of Religion. For, this is thank worthy, if a man suffer euill for well doing. 1. Pet. 2.19. But what a shame is it, when thou suffrest as a busy body in other mens matters: 1. Pet. 4.15. Fiftly, besides it is certaine, Euil wordes corrupt good manners: thou losest so much of thy honesty, and piety, as thou admittest of euill in thy tongue: 1. Cor. 15.33. And if you bite and deuoure one another, take heed you bee not consumed one of another: Gal. 5.15. And if thou iudge, thou shalt bee iudged. Hee that is giuen much to censuring, seldome or neuer scapes great censures him selfe: Math. 7. Sixtly, Besides, also, these courses will encrease vnto greater condemnation: God may bee prouoked to take thee in hand, and thou maiest be in dan­ger to be plagued for it for euer in Hell, Iam. 3.1. Seuenthly, and if this euill vice growe in thee, thou art fit to be cast out of the Communion of Saints: men are charged to auoid thee, and not to eat with thee, 1. Cor. 5.11. And though that censure be not executed by the Church alwaies, yet God many times makes such persons so loth­some, that euery body auoids them as much as they can. Eightthly, further, this very effect heer mentioned should perswade much with vs. It is a sinne that greatly hindereth the profit of the [Page 43] word: bitter-tongued persons neuer grow much in religion. For, it is required, that we should re­ceiue the word with meeknes, and lay aside all superflu­ity of maliciousnes; such as this euill speaking in these kindes is, Iam. 1.21. Lastly, as men loue cur­sing, so it shall come vnto them: and as they loue not blessing, so it shall be far from them, Psal. 109.17.

The vse should be both for Humiliation, and for Instruction.

First, for Humiliation. It may greatly abase many Christians that are extreamly guilty of this sinne. How hath this wickednesse preuailed in many places! The way of peace few men haue knowne: there is almost no meekenes, but lying and flattering, and censuring, and rayling, and slandering, and reproach vpon reproach, and back-biting euery where: Yea, what are the fa­milies of the most, but as so many kennels of Curres, such snarling, and biting, and prouoking one another? Husbands bitter to their Wiues; Wiues contentions, like a continuall dropping; Masters threatning their Seruants, and Seruants answering again and cursing their Masters. How are the liues of the most, destitute of content­m [...]nt, and their states of prosperitie, euen by rea­son of this sinne?

But, let all that feare God, learne from hence­forth to make more conscience of their words, and refraine their lips from euill.

Quest. But what should a man doe to keepe himself free from this vice, or that this fountaine of euill speaking may be dried vp?

[Page 44] Rules against e­uill speaking. Ans. He that would restraine himselfe from being guilty of back-biting, iudging, reuiling, or any kinde of euill speaking, must obserue such rules as these.

First, He must learne to speake well to God, and of godlinesse: if we did study that holy lan­guage of speaking to God by prayer, we would be easily fitted for the gouernment of our tongs toward men: we speak ill to men, because we pray but ill to God.

Secondly, he must lay this rule vpon himselfe, and watch to the performance of it, he must stu­die to be quiet, and meddle with his owne businesse, and not meddle with the strife that belongs not to him; resoluing, that he will neuer suffer, as a busie bodie in other mens matters. 1. Thes. 4. 1. Pet. 4.15.

Thirdly, hee must keepe a Catalogue of his owne faults continually in his minde: when we are so apt to taxe others, it is because wee forget our owne wickednesse.

Fourthly, his words must be few: for, in a mul­titude of words there cannot want sinne, and vsu­ally this sinne is neuer absent.

Fiftly, he must not allow himselfe libertie to thinke euill. A suspicious person will speake euill.

Sixtly, he must pray to God to set a watch be­fore the doors of his lippes.

Seuenthly, he must auoide vaine and prouo­king companie. It may be obserued often, that when men get into idle companie (which per­haps [Page 45] they like not) the very complement of dis­coursing extracteth euill speaking to fill vp the time; especially, he must auoide the company of censurers: for, their ill language, though at first disliked, is insensibly learned.

Eightly, he must especially striue to get meek­nesse, and to be soft, and shew his meeknesse to all men. Tit. 3.1.2.

Ninthly, if he haue this way offended, then let him follow that counsell, Let his owne words grieue him, Psal. 56.5; that is, let him humble himselfe seriously for it before God by harty repentance: this sin is seldome mended, because it is seldome repented of.

Quest. But what should I doo to auoid euill speaking in others?

Ans. What we should do to auoid euill speaking in o­thers. First, liue honestly & without offense: and then though men be neuer so crooked and peruerse, yet either they will be silent, or in the day of Gods visitation they will glorifie God, Phil. 2.15. 1. Pet. 2. verse 13.

Secondly, if men will yet reuile, learn of Da­uid and Christ, and the godly, to be patient, and not reuile again, but rather blesse them, 1. Pet. 3.5. and 2.23. 1. Cor. 4.12.

Thirdly, if men be still vnreasonable and ab­surde, betake thy self to praier: and then either God will turn their hearts, or quiet thine, Psal. 104 2.3.4.

Fourthly, thou must not giue thy heart to all that men say; but be sometimes as a deaf man that hears not, and as a dumb man in whose mouth are no words [Page 46] of reproof, Eccles. 7.23.24. Psalm 38.13.14.

Fiftly, if yet thou be pursued, then remember this comfort, The curse that is causelesse shall not com, Pro. 26.2: and though they curse, yet God will blesse, Psal. 109.28. God will turn their cursing in­to a blessing, and he will curse them that curse thee, Numb. 24.9.: and if thy reproaches bee for the cause of religion and righteousnes, blessed art thou that art accounted worthy to suffer for it: For, Great is thy reward in heauen, Mat. 5.11. Acts 5.41. Thou hast cause to rejoice in such contumelies, 2, Cor. 12.10.

Hitherto of the catalogue of sinnes to be auoi­ded. The manner heer follows to be considered of: and that may bee noted from the word laying aside, and from the manner of expressing the sins.

Out of all, there are briefly fiue things may be noted.

First, that by nature we are all inclined to and clogged with these sinnes:Generall doctrines. for, that the word lai­ed-aside imports. For, it shewes, that by nature they hang vpon vs, Tit. 3.3: which should teach vs to watch our hearts against these sinnes, seeing they are so naturall to vs; and to pursue the re­formation of them with so much the more con­stancy and diligence, by how much it is the more hard to shake off what is naturall to vs. Second­ly, it should teach vs to forbeare intemperate words and carriage toward others, in whom wee discern these sinnes so far, as they are infirmities: but rather wee should bee soft, and shewe all meeknes to all men; considering, that wee our [Page 47] selues also were infected with the same faults.

Secondly, that the naturall man is daily guilty of these sinnes, and vseth them as if they were necessary to his well-being. He cannot be with­out them: he wears them as his garments, or be­takes himself to them as to his weapons: hee thinks he is adorned by them. This is imported by the metaphor: Hee thinks, if hee did not ease himself by hypocrisie, the seruice of God would destroy his contentment. If he did not vse guile, he should neuer thriue. If he did not vse violent speeches, he should bee despised: and so of the rest.Note. This may serue to put a difference betwixt the wicked and the godly in the guiltinesse of these sinnes: for, a godly man may by frailty bee tainted with some of these; but then he doth not account them necessary, or place contentment in them, or daily fal into them; he dislikes them, and would fain be rid of them: whereas the wic­ked think their liues naked without them.

Thirdly, that true grace and respect of the word of God must put off and banish all these things. He that would haue comfort in his con­uersion, or bring sound affections to the word, must take a course to mend these faults, Eph. 4.22. Col. 3.8. This should be for great reproof of such Christians as shame their profession of godliness by not shaking off these faults; and, besides, great­ly darken the comfort of their calling, by wal­king so carnally heerin, 1. Cor. 3.1.2.3.

Fourthly, for the manner, how these sinnes are to bee auoided in speciall: Heer are diuerse [Page 48] things to be noted. The metaphor imports, that we must lay these things aside, as the Porter laies aside his heauy burden; or as the Rebell laies a­side his Arms and weapons; or as the weary Pil­grim laies aside his foule and troublesome long garments; or as the captiue Maid, when she was to be maried, laid aside the garments of her cap­tiuity, Deut. 21.13. Now we thus lay them aside chiefly two waies:

First, by confessing them, and mourning for them, Heb. 12.

Secondly, by renouncing and forsaking the practice of them: but then we must further note, that they must be so laid aside, as they bee neuer taken vp again. Wee must not lay them aside as we ordinarily doo our garments, to wear them again the next day or the next week. Besides, it is heer to bee obserued, that these sinnes are not rooted out in a moment. A Christian is long lay­ing them aside. He doth speak of the present en­deauour: It must bee an euery-daies work, To judge ourselues for them, and resist them, till the power of them be broken. Lastly, we may hence note, that we should giue-ouer the practice, but not the remembrance of our former sinnes. For he sayth, Laying aside; not burying them, or ren­ting to pieces, or the like phrase, which might import the vtter forgetting of them. To remem­ber our faultinesse in these things, will keep vs humble, and make vs more innocent and free from them, and more compassionate ouer o­thers.

[Page 49]Fiftly, note the extent in setting down the sins to bee auoided: whence obserue two things.

  • 1. First, that he saith all malice, all guile, and all euill speaking; to note, that a Christian should not beare with himselfe in the least measure of failing in any of these: For a little of this leauen will sowre the whole lumpe, and a small root of any of these will growe vp to a great deale of trouble and infection.
  • 2. Secondly, In that hee saith Hypocrisies, and Enuies in the plurall number, and so euill spea­kings: To note, that wee should search our harts so, as not to tolerate in our selues any kind of these euills. It is not enough to bee free from some kindes of Hypocrisy, but we must bee free from all: and our sincerity shewes it selfe heerein, that seeing we cannot be wholly rid of Hypocrisy, yet wee will hate it, and striue against euery part, and kinde of it.
Verse 2.
As new borne babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

HItherto of the things to be auoided: Now followes the second thing, and that is, what wee must doe, that wee may profit by the word, namely that wee must get tender and constant af­fections to the word, if wee would euer grow by it in knowledge and grace: and this is set out me­taphorically by the comparison of appetite and desire in new born babes vnto milk. The mea­ning [Page 50] is, that Christians, that would profit, must be like children in their affections to the word: they must loue it, and long for it, and delight in it, and haue their hartes set vpon it, as affectionately, as children doe naturally thirst after the brest: This is a point of singular vse, and such, as all of vs ought to take notice of, to get our harts rightly framed, and firmed heerein. The disease of the most hearers lieth in the defect of this: and the happiness of such, as doe thriue apace in godli­ness, is to bee ascribed to this affectionate loue of the word.

There be three things about these desires for matter of obseruation, must bee distinctly noted: The first concernes the necessity of this desire: The second, the vtility: And the third, the true nature of this holy desire.

For the first: It is euident from hence, that all that come to the word, It is indispensably required, that they come with appetite: men must bring affection, and desire after the word, if they would euer grow by it. If wee would euer drink freely of the water of life, we must be such as thirst after it: Reuel. 21.6. If wee would haue God to feed with milk and wine, wee must bee such, as haue a true thirst after it. Isaiah. 55.1. If wee would not haue all successe blasted in vs, we must take heed of loathing the meanes, that is, despising prophecie: 1. Thes. 5.21.

For the second: It is likewise euident from hence, that though wee haue many wants, and ignorances, and weaknesses, yet if wee [Page 51] haue affection to the word, wee shall neuer bee destitute of some happy successe in the vse of it. The former places assure gods blessing and con­firme it, that God will not bee wanting to any, that hath this appetite: It is all that God stands vpon. Euery one, that thirsteth may come, and buy and eate, and drink aboundantly: Isaiah. 55. 1.2, 3. Let vs bee carefull of the condition: to desire the word, as the child doth the milk; and God will not faile to giue the successe, wee shall growe by it.

Now for the third point. It is heer to bee carefully noted what kinde of desire of the word is that, to which this promise is annexed: The true desire after the word hath cheefly foure di­stinct thinges in it.

First, Estimation of the word aboue all other outward things. When wee can account it a great blessednes to bee chosen of God to this priuiledge to approch vnto him in the courts of his house. Psal. 65.4. Psal. 119.127.128. When wee can say with Dauid, Oh how amiable are thy tabernacles, and think it better to bee a dore keeper in Gods house, then to dwell in the tents of wickednes: Psal. 84.1.10. When wee esteem the directions, and comforts of Gods word a­boue gold and siluer: Psal. 119.127. and with Paul account all things but lost in comparison of the excellent knowledge of Christ, which may bee heer had. Philip. 3.9.

Secondly, Longing and appetite after it, as true and certaine, as the very appetite of a childe [Page 52] is to the brest: This is expressed by the simili­tudes of panting, thirsting, and watching after the word in diuers scriptures: and when this longing is more vehement, it is set out by the passion of fainting for it, and of the breaking of the soule for it: Psal. 42.1. et 84.2. et 119.20.40. et 131.

Thirdly, Satisfaction and contentment, when wee speed well in the word: As the child is quie­ted, and sleepeth in the rest and vertue of the milk it hath receiued: Dauid, saith his soule was satisfied, as with marrow: Psal. 63.1.5. and is graunted of all the godly and chosen ones, Psa. 65.4. When it is sweet like hony to our tast. Psal. 119.103.

Fourthly, Constancy & the renewing of affecti­on. A childes appetite is renewed euery day, though it seem to be full for the present, and such is the true desire of the godly. It is not a desire for a fit, but is renewed daily, as the appetite to our appointed food is: Iob, 23. Hee that hath this desire may be found daily waiting at the gates of wisdome: Prou. 8.34.

Vse 1. The vse of all may bee cheefly three­fold: For,

For triall.First it may serue for triall: wee should euery one examine our selues, whether wee haue this true desire after the word, or no. For, if wee find this, wee are sure to prosper: and if we find it not, wee are nothing but staruelings in matter of godliness.

Question. But how may wee know, whether [Page 53] wee haue this estimation, longing after, and con­stant affection to the word?

Answer. It may be knowne diuers waies; espe­cially if our affections bee grown to any good ripeness, and tenderness, in the measure of them: For it may be euidently discerned.

First,How we may discerne our de­sire and affecti­on after the word. If we seek the blessing of the word of God, as a cheefe happiness, wee would desire of him in his specially mercy to giue it vnto vs. Psa. 119.68.132.155.144. and so by the constancy of praier we may also discerne the constancy of our appetite.

Secondly, If wee can be diligent, and content to take any paines, or bee at any cost, that wee may be prouided of this food, that perisheth not. Ioh. 6.27.

Thirdly, If wee can hoord and hide vp the word in our hartes, as worldly men would doe their treasures, Psalme 119.11. Ioying in it as much, as in all riches, Psalme 119.14.162. espe­cially, if wee can batten and wex fat by the con­tentments of it; as carnall men doe, when they liue at harts ease. Psalme 119.70.

Fourthly, If it will still our crying: that is, If it will comfort vs, and quiet our harts in all distres­ses: Psal. 119.50.143.92. so as nothing shall of­fend vs. verse. 165.

Fiftly, If we make haste and come willingly at the time of assembling: Psalm. 110.3. But espe­cially, if we make haste, and not delay in practi­sing, what we learn thence: Psal. 119.60.

Sixtly, If we be thankfull to God, and abound [Page 54] in the free will offrings of our mouthes for the good we get by the word: Psal. 119.7.108.164.171.

Seauenthly, If we can bee truly greeued, and say with Dauid, Sorow takes hould on vs, because the wicked keep not gods lawe 119.159.

Eightthly, If we delight to talk of gods word, and to speak of his wondrous works discouered in his word. Psal. 119.27.172, &c.

These things and the like are in them that haue their affections tender, and striuing in them: Now whereas many of gods children may haue true desire to the word, and yet not find euident­ly some of these signes: therfore I will giue other signes of true affection to the word,Note. though ther be not alwaies such delight in it, as they desire. The lesser measure of true appetite to the word may bee discerned by some of these signes, that follow.

First, it is a signe, that we doe hartily loue the word, when wee can from our harts loue and blesse them, that doe loue the word, accounting them happy for their very loue to the word: Psal. 119.1.12.

Other signes of true desire.Secondly, Tis a signe of desire after the word, when we can stick to the word, and the constant frequenting of it, notwithstanding the scornes and shame of the world: Psal. 119, 31, 46, 141. It is a sure testimony of our loue to the gospell, when we can forsake father and mother, brother and sister, house and land for the Gospells sake: Mark. 10.29.

[Page 55]Thirdly, It is a signe of loue to the word, and of desire after it, when we can mourn for the fa­mine of the word, as a bitter crosse. Psal. 42.3.4.

Fourthly, Yea, when men haue the word, and yet finde not comfort in it, it is a signe of their true affection, when they long for those comforts with heauines of heart, and account themselues in an vncomfortable distresse, yea bitter distresse, till the Lord returne to them in his person in the pow­er of the meanes. Psal. 119.82.83.123.131.

Fiftly, It is a signe we loue the word, when such as feare god, are glad of vs: it is a signe, that the godly doe discerne appetite in vs, though we doe not, when they are tenderly affected toward vs. Psal. 119.74.

Sixtly, We may know our affection to the word, by our willingnes to be ruled by it: If wee can make the word our Counseller, it is sure we we doe delight in it, whatsoeuer we conceiue of our selues. Psal. 119.24.

Lastly, To striue against our dulnes constant­ly, and to pray to be quickned, is a good signe, that we haue some desire to the word. One may loue gods precepts, and yet need to be quickned. Psal. 119.159.

Vse 2. Secondly, this doctrine of desire, and appetite after the word may much humble the most of vs; some being altogether void of all de­sire after it, more then for fashion sake: and the better sort haue their appetites either dull, or decayed.

Quest. Whence comes it that people haue no [Page 56] more affection to the word, or that men are so clo [...]ed with the word?

Ans. The lets of appetite and affection to the word may be considered two wayes:Impediments to true desires: ex­ternall.

First, as they are without vs.

Secondly, as they are within vs.

Without vs, the cause of want of affection is sometimes in the Minister: sometimes in the Diuell: sometimes in the company men sort withall: and sometimes in God himselfe.

1. In Ministers there are two things, which maruelously hinder the admiration, and desire after the word. The first is, the manner of their teaching, when they teach vnskilfully, de­ceitfully, vaingloriously, negligently, or coldly. When there is not a maiesty, and purity, and life in the Teacher, it is no wonder if there be no af­fection in the people. 2. Cor. 4.2. 1. Thessal. 2. 2, 3, 4, 6, 8. 1. Cor. 2.4. 2. Tim. 2.15. The se­cond is their ill liues. What made the people in Elies time so loath the seruice of God, but the wicked liues of Hophni and Phineas. 1. Sam. 3. Mi­nisters must teach by example as well as by do­ctrine, if they will not be despised. 1. Tim. 4.12.

2. The Diuell, that god of this world, doth mightily labour in this point to keepe men from affecting the Gospell. If he cannot hinder men from hearing, then his next worke is by all possible indeuours to blinde their minds, and marre their tastes, that they may not perceiue nor regard the glorious things of God in Christ: 2. Cor. 4.4.

[Page 57]3. Euill company is a wonderfull impe­diment, it causeth perpetually hardnes of hart, and carelesnes: it keepes the hearts of the wicked men in a continuall habituall deadnes, and the best men seldome light into prophane company but they get some degree of dulnes, and deadnes of affections by it. Pro. 9.6. Psa. 119.115.

4. God himselfe being prouoked by mans extreame wilfulnes in sinning, giues them ouer to a spirit of slumber, and curseth their very blessings; yea, restraineth sometimes the very gifts of his seruants, that so he may execute his iudge­ments vpon a rebellious people. The Lord hideth his statutes from them; and with-holding his spi­rit, keeps back the life of the word in their harts. Esay 6.10. yea many times to scourge the vn­thankfulnes, and vnprofitablenes, of his own peo­ple, he doth for a time hide his testimonies from them. Psal. 119.19.

Thus much of the lets without vs.

The internall lets must be considered. First, In the wicked. Secondly, In the godly.

The cause of this hartlesnes and want of affecti­on in the wicked, is,

First,Inward lets in wickedmen▪ their ignorance, they know not either the word, or the worth of the word, or their own need of it.

Secondly, their prophaneness & irreligiousnes: They liue without God, or without Christ in the world, they make no conscience of their waies. They forget their later end: they minde not the good of their soules, but only earthly things: they [Page 58] neuer tasted of the bountifulnes of the Lord, but were altogether corrupt, and strangers from the life of God, only greedy in sinning.

Thirdly, Atheisme. There is in the harts of all wicked men in some degree abominable conceits concerning God and his word. They either doubt, whether the scriptures be the true word of god: or els they are strongly carried to resolue, ther is no profit in the knowledge of gods waies, or in seruing the almighty. Iob. 21.14. Malac. 3.15.

Fourthly, Cares of life: The loue of the pro­fits, or pleasures of this life, choak the word, and the power of it, as is apparant by these places. Math. 13. Luke, 14. Psal. 119, 36, 37, &c.

Fiftly, In some either whoredome or wine: for these two sinns together, or either of them take away mens harts, they are voide of all due consi­deration, and of all affection to gods word: They are senseless creatures. Hosh. 4.

Thus of the cheef letts in the wicked.

The lets of affection in the godly are diuers.

Lets of affection in the godly.First, Sometimes it is their worldliness, their too much minding and plodding about the things of this life, or their excessiue burthening of their heads about their calling. They haue too much to doe, or they haue too much care; care, I say, that is, distrustfull and carking care. Psal. 119.36.

Secondly, Sometimes it is want of comforta­ble felowshippe in the Gospell. Affection, that is alone, is seldome constant in the same degree. There is much quickning and comfort and inci­tation [Page 59] in a constant, and tender, and profitable society with such as loue the word, Psalm 119. verse 63.

Thirdly, sometimes it is some secret sinne that gets too much dominion ouer them. As affecti­on may stand with meer frailties and infirmi­ties: So, on the other side, if any sinne once get head, and men yeeld to it, and agree to obey it, their affections to the word presently dy within them, Psal. 119.133: yea, if this sinne bee but in the thoughts, and bee yeelded to and delighted in, and that constantly they seek the pleasure of contemplatiue wickednes, and do not resist it by praying against it, euen vain thoughts may dead the affections, and poison them, Psal. 119.113.

Fourthly, sometimes it is neglect of mortifica­tion. The soule will gather aboundance of hu­mors, as well the body: and therefore Christians should not go too long, especially if they feele a kinde of fulnesse to growe vpon them; but take a purge, that is, seriously and secretly set time a­part to humble themselues before God, purging out their most secretest corruptions with all har­ty confession before God.

Fiftly, sometimes it is want of practice or want of an orderly disposing of their waies in godlinesse. If they rest onely in hearing, their af­fections cannot last long sincere: and, besides, the most Christians burden their owne harts for ve­ry want of order, and that they go not distinctly about the works of godlinesse, but rake together a great heap of doctrine which they knowe not [Page 60] what to doo withall, Psal. 50. vlt.

Sixtly, sometimes again it is occasioned by in­ordinate feeding: when Christians begin to affect nouelties, and seek to themselues a heap of tea­chers, they scape not long without fulnesse, and the fits of loathing, 2. Tim. 4.3.

Seuenthly, sometimes very idleness is the hin­drance. The want of a particular calling to im­ploy themselues in the six daies, breeds a general kinde of wearinesse and satiety; which extends the heart of it, not onely to the times of priuate duties in the working daies, but to the very Sab­bath also. They cannot work at Gods work with any great delight, that had no more minde to their owne work.

Eightthly, sometimes it is neglect of prepara­tion and praier, before we come to the word.

Ninthly, sometimes it is a violent kinde of ig­norance and vnbeleef, when a Christian knowes not his right to the word, and wil not be perswa­ded of the fatherly loue and presence of God in his ordinance. If Preachers must say, I haue be­leeued, therefore I will speak: so must Hearers say, I haue beleeued, therefore I will hear. They should knowe, that they are welcome to Christ, and may eat and drink, Cant. 5.1. and that their he­ritage lieth in the word, Psal. 119.

Tenthly, sometimes it is a very disease in the body; as, melancholy, or some other: which doth so oppresse the heart, that it doth not take delight in any thing. But of this more in the next Vse.

[Page 61]Lastly, any of the sinnes mentioned in the for­mer verse, will hinder affection: Malice, Hypo­crisie, or Enuy, or any of the rest.

Vse 3. The third vse may bee for instruction, to teach vs to striue for affection to the word, and to prouide to order our selues, so as wee bee not wanting in the direction of the Apostle: and so two sorts are to be taught, that is, such as want appetite; and such as haue it, that they may keep it aright.

Quest. What must such doo as finde either want of appetite, or decay of it?

Ans. Such as would get sound affections to the word, must doo six things.

First,Means to get true desires to the word. they must refrain their feet from euery euill way. It is impossible to get sound affections, without sound reformation of life, Psalm 119.

Secondly, they must pray for it: they must beseech the Lord to quicken them, Psal. 119.37, and to inlarge their hearts, verse 32. especially to giue them vnderstanding, verse 34. and to open their eies to see the wonderfull things of his law, verse 18.

Thirdly, they must chuse an effectuall Ministe­ry to liue vnder it, such as is executed with pow­er and demonstration to the conscience, 2. Cor. 4.2.

Fourthly, they must remember the Sabbath day; and that they doo, when they empty their heads and hearts of all cares of life which might choak the word; diligently dooing their owne works on the six daies, and finishing them, that [Page 62] they may bee free for the Lords work on the se­uenth day. The cares of life choke the word, Matthew 13.

Fiftly, they must conuerse much, if it be possi­ble, with affectionate Christians. For, as iron sharpneth iron: so doth the exemplary affection of the tender-hearted whet-on the dull spirits of others.

Sixtly, they must purge often. They must bee frequent in the duties of humiliation, by solemn fasting, and praier, and sound confession; stri­uing, when they feel fulnesse to growe vpon them, to disburden their hearts, and to quicken their spirits more forcibly to the loue of Gods name and word.

Quest. But what must such doo as haue gotten some affections to the word, that they neyther lose them, nor be vnprofitable in them?

Ans. They must look to diuerse things.

Rules for the preseruing of good desires.First, they must hate vain thoughts, take heed of those secret vanities of imagination, and that delightfull contemplation of euill in the minde, Psalm 119.113.

Secondly, they must try all things, and keep that which is good. They must hear with judge­ment, and make speciall account of such parcels of doctrine as do most fit their particular needs; labouring by all means, that such truths run not out, 1. Thes. 5.21.

Thirdly, they must take heed of itching eares. For, where mens desires are still carried after new men, they are in great danger of fulnesse, or [Page 63] of declining; and, which is worse, of being car­ried about with diuerse doctrines, and at length to be a prey to deceitfull mockers.

Fourthly, they must preserue by all means the fear and trembling at Gods presence, and humi­liation of minde. For, so long as wee can dread the presence of God in his ordinances, we are in no danger of losing our loue to the word, Psalm 119.120.

Lastly, in Esay 55.1.2.3. wee may note diuerse things that GOD requires in such as haue the same thirst.

  • 1. They must come to means.
  • 2. They must buy and bargain with God by praier and vows.
  • 3. They must eat, that is, they must apply it to themselues.
  • 4. They must bee instructed against merit in themselues, and bring faith to beleeue success, though they deserue it not: they must buy with­out money.
  • 5. They must harken diligently.
  • 6. They must eat that which is good: that is, they must apply effectually that doctrine they feel to haue life in it.
  • 7. Their soules must delight in fatnes: that is, they must be specially thankfull and cheerfull, when God doth enliue his promises, and swee­ten his words to their tastes.
  • 8. They must, after all this, incline their ear, and come to God. They must make consci­ence to striue against dulnes and distractions, and [Page 64] seek God in his word still, or els their affections may decay: and then if they doe this▪ they shall liue and enioy the sure mercies of Dauid by a perpetuall couenant.

Question. But what shall such godly persons as are afflicted with melancholy do in this case of affections?

Answer. They must attend these things:

Rules for such as be afflicted with melancho­ly.First, they must be perswaded to see the disease in the body which extends the oppression of it to the very affections.

Secondly, they must remember times that are past, and iudge of their estate by what it was be­fore.

Thirdly, they may be infallibly assured, that they are in a right way, because they desire to liue vprightly, and to forsake the corruptions that are in the world.

Fourthly, they must know, that it is a greater glory in faith to beleeue now, when they feele not, then to beleeue when the hart abounded with ioy.

Fiftly, They may iudge of their affection to the word by their preparation before they com, and by their only liking of such as loue the word, and by their constant frequenting of it, and by their sorrow for their dulnes, and vnpro­fitablenes.

Hitherto of the duty, to which hee exhor­teth: The motiues follow, and they are fowre:

  • The Motiues▪
    First, ye are new borne babes:
  • Secondly, the word is sincere milk:
  • [Page 65]Thirdly, ye may thereby growe.
  • Fourthly, ye haue tasted the sweetnes of the bounty of God in his word already.

The first reason tels what they are: The se­cond, what the word is: The third, what they shall be: The fourth, what the word hath been.

As new borne babes.]

These words are taken in diuers senses. For properly they signify infants, while they are ten­der and vnweaned from the breast: Sometimes they signify vnable men, and such as haue no fit­nes for their callings: so Isai. 3.4. Sometimes they signify such as be weake in faith and in the gifts of the spirit, whether they be newly regenerated or lying in sinne 1. Cor. 3.1. Heb. 5.13. and so it is taken heer.

And so the words are a reason to induce them to an affectionate desire after the word. Inas­much as they are so weak, they can no better liue without the word, then the child in nature can liue without milk.

Diuers things may be from hence noted.

First, that grace is wrought in Christians by degrees. Christ is reuealed in vs by foure de­grees. First, as a child, or little babe new formed and borne: Secondly, as a yong man in more strength, and vigour, and comeliness, and actiue­ness: Thirdly, as a father, or old man settled with long experience: these three are in this life, and mentioned 1. Ioh. 2.14. Now the fourth is, when Christ shall appear in vs as the Antient of daies, like God himself in a maruelous glorious resem­blance [Page 66] of the holiness, and properties of God: And this shall bee in another world. The vse should bee both for thankfulnes, if Christ bee formed in vs to any degree, and to incite our industry in all the meanes appointed of God, seeing wee receiue gifts by degrees, and not all at once.

Secondly, that true grace may stand with many weaknesses. A childe doth truly liue, and yet it is very ignorant, & infirm, & weyward, & fit for lit­tle or no imploiment: such may Christians be for a time, such were the very disciples of Christ for a time: such were the Corinthians, 1. Cor. 3.1. and the Hebrewes, Heb. 5.13. The vse should bee to restraine censuring of others, because of their infirmities, to haue no grace at all: Whereas we should rather bear with them, and beleeue all things, Rom. 15.2. 1. Cor. 13.5. And besides, those that are distressed in minde should comfort them selues with this, they may bee full of weaknesses, and very vnprofitable, and yet haue the true life of Christ in them.

Thirdly, that the most Christians are but new borne babes, infants in grace, not only such as are newly conuerted, but such as haue spent a longer time in the profession of godliness: The Apostle heer takes it for granted, that all they to whom hee writes were little better, or stronger: and so it is vsuall in all times and places.

Question. How comes it to passe, that the most Christians liue still but as weak ones and babes in Christ? especially why thriue they not [Page 67] according to their time of their age in Christ?

Answer. In nature a child gets out of his child­hood, as his yeares grow vpon him, but in reli­gion and grace it is not so: It is not time brings any of necessity out of the cradle of Religion. Now the cause why the most are but babes,The causes why the most are but babes in re­ligion. and that after a long time, may bee such or some of these.

First, some as soone as they are borne, are destitute of the breast, haue no nurse, are taken away from the meanes, and depriued of the powerfull preaching of the word, which did be­get them vnto God. This comes to passe som­times by the violence of others, or by the af­flicting hand of God vpon their bodies, or som­times by their own carlesnes, that for worldly respects remoue to places where they haue not the meanes to build them vp.

Secondly, some are infected with some bitter root of passion, or enuy, or malice, which was left behind in their repentance, not fully sub­dued, and this holdes them so down, that they cannot thriue, but are stocked in godliness; that after many yeeres, they shew little bigger or better, then they were in knowledge or grace: 1. Cor. 3.1.2.3. 1. Pet. 2.1. 2. Eph. 4.15.16. 1. Pet. 3.7.

Thirdly, others at their first setting out are in­tangled with doubtfull disputations, and caried about with odde opinions, or strange doctrines, and so insnared with controuersies about words, or things of lesse value; that misplacing their zeale, and mis-led in their knowledge, they [Page 68] thriue little or nothing in the maine substance of godliness, but need bee taught the very princi­ples, Ro. 14. 1. Heb. 13.7. 2. Pet. 3.17. especially when they be apt to receiue Scandal, and admit offence: such were the beleeuing Iewes the most of them.

Fourthly, some are meerely held back by their worldliness: they relapse to such excessiue cares of life, and so deuoure vp their time about earthly things, that they cannot profit nor pros­per in better things.

Fiftly, many thriue not, or not sensibly, being hindred by the ill company, which either volun­tarily or necessarily they are plunged into, and cheefely for want of fellowship in the Gospel with such as might be patterns to them in know­ledge, and the practice of faith, and piety.

Sixtly, spirituall laziness and idleness is the cause why many grow not. They will take no paines: but after they haue repented, and be­leeued in some measure, Heb. 5.13. and be gotten a little whole of the woundes they were diseased withall in their conuersion, they fall into a kinde of security, and rest in the outward and formall vse of the meanes, and neglect many precious things, which from day to day they are moued and counselled to by the word, and spirit of God: And this disease is the worse, when it is ioyned with spirituall pride, and that vile con­ceitednes, which is seen to come daily in many.

Seuenthly, some Christians after calling are in­s [...]ared, and deceiued by the methodes of Sathan, and so liue in some secret sin against their own [Page 69] knowledge. In fauour of which they forbeare the harty regard, and vse of Gods ordinances, and so dangerously expose themselues to the raigne of hypocrisie. These are wonderfully stocked, and grow worse and not better.

These are the reasons, why Christians thriue not: and who almost is it whose case some one of these seuen is not? Let vs euery one examine our selues: for a thousand to one we are kept back by some one of these.Note. It were singular wisdome to note which it is, and to striue to amend, that we may not be such staruelings in godliness stil.

The point then is cleer, that most Christians are but as new borne babes. Now what vse should wee make of it.

First, It may serue to humble many of vs, that haue had time enough, and abundance of meanes and helpes to haue beene like teachers, and yet haue euen now neede to be taught the principles againe. To vs belongs iustly that reproof in the fift to the Hebrews, 13.

Secondly, many duties must bee vrged vpon vs, if we graunt ourselues to be but as new borne babes. For,

  • 1. We must therfore be teachable & tractable, obeying them that haue the ouersight of vs, bea­ring their words of admonition, and louing them with a singular loue.
  • 2. We must therefore be the more willing to beare the chastizements of God,
    Speciall duties of such as be but new born babes.
    that father of our spirits. For if we haue had the fathers of our flesh, which in our young yeeres haue corrected [Page 70] and that often for our profit, to subdue the faults in vs, which that age did breed, and sometimes, when they corrected for their owne pleasures, more than for our profit: How much more shold we subiect our selues to the corrections of God, that finde in vs, being but babes so much peruers­nes, so much negligence, such head-strong passi­ons, such frequent disobedience: [...]nd the rather because he neuer corrects vs for his pleasure one­ly, but for our profit, that he might make vs more holy and more fruitfull, and more meek, as the Apostle shewes. Hebrews 12.
  • 3. We must therfore stick more affectio­nately, and constantly to the word, and suffer our soules to be daily fedde with this sincere milk of the word; without which it is no more possible for vs to grow in grace, then a weake child can doe in nature without milk and food.
  • 4. Yea the consideration of our estate, that we are but children, should beget in vs a desire to expresse those praises spiritually, which that in­fant estate in nature doth resemble. For,
    • Speciall praises in children by nature to be ex­pressed by vs.
      1. Children in nature are without malice, they may fal out one with another▪ but they cary no malice, they are quickly friends againe: so should we much more. 1 Cor. 14, 20.
    • 2. Children liue without care, they are neuer troubled for what they shall eate, or what they shall put on for the time to come: so should we doe, as our sauiour Christ shewes. Math. 6.
    • 3. Children are not lifted vp with pride for the great things they are borne vnto; nor doth the [Page 71] childe of a Prince scorne the fellowship of the childe of a begger, but can play with him, and make himself equal to him: so shold it be with vs, we should be void of great thoughts of heart, and not be lifted vp in our selues, or despise others; but make our selues equall to them of the lower sort, especially seeing there is no difference in our birth. They are borne againe by the same im­mortall seed that wee are, which our Sauiour Christ is peremptory in, Math. 18.3.

      Thus much of the third point.

    • 4. A fourth thing may bee here noted, and that concerns the priuiledge of weak Christians, viz that they are esteemed of God, and not depri­ued of his fauour or care for them because they are weak.

1. Parents loue their little children,Priuiledges of weake Chri­stians. as well as their elder children: so doth God.

2. Parents prouide meanes to bring vp their little children, so doth God: They shall haue sin­cere milk to make them growe.

3. Parents prouide such as shall tend their children, and little ones: so doth God, hee hath committed them to the charge of Christ, so as the least grace in them shall be preserued, though it were but like a bruised reed, or the smoking week of a candle. Math. 11.

4. Parents beare with the naturall weaknes of their children, without lessning their fondnes to them: so doth God with infinite indulgence. Psalm. 103.

5. Parents will not endure it to let them be [Page 72] wronged, or hurt, and much more wo shall be vn­to them, that offend one of Gods little ones, Math. 18.

6. Parents prouide portions & inheritan­ces for their little children: so doth GOD ac­knowledge them for his heires, yea heires with Christ his eldest son, Rom. 8.17.

A fift point that may be noted from hence, is, that onely conuerted Christians can desire the sincere milk of the word with true affection: wicked men can no more affectionately desire the word, than a dead childe or no childe can do the breast.

Quest. But, haue wicked men no desire after the word?

How far wicked men may desire after the word. Ans. They may haue: but onely it is for the most part in two cases. First, when they desire to hear the word onely for mens wittes or elo­quence, or the like carnall ends: and so they de­sire not the sincere milk of the word. Secondly, in the case of a temporary faith; where the de­light and desire after the word is not constant, like the appetite of a childe to the breast: for, they wil fall away in the time of temptation; and all their desires proue but as the morning deaw.

Desire the sincere milk of the word.]

Hitherto of the first reason taken from the con­sideration of their present estate, and need of the word. The second reason is taken from the con­sideration of the nature of the word which they should desire. It is sincere, pure: there is no deceit, no mixture in it. And it is milk: it is wonderfull [Page 73] apt for nourishment.

Ther are two things then heer said of the word in praise of it: First, that it is milk; secondly, that it is sincere.

Milk.] This is a metaphor. Sometimes by milk is meant a man that is godly cast into afflic­tion; by which, God strains all the moats of cor­ruption from him, while his heart is poured out like milk with grief and fear. Thus Iob saith of himself, GOD had strained him out like milk, Iob 10. verse 10. Sometimes by milk is meant the rudiments of religion, the principles and grounds of Catechism: and so it differeth from strong meat: so it is taken, Heb. 5.12. 1. Cor. 3.2. Sometimes it signifieth the word of God in ge­nerall, which is giuen to the Church for nourish­ment of their soules to eternall life: and so it is taken heer; as, in Esay 55.1. the word is called both milk, and wine, and water; and, in other places, hony. It is hony, for the sweetnes of it. It is wine, for the power it hath to reuiue and re­fresh the spirit of man, and make his heart glad. It is water, for cooling and quenching of his spi­rituall thirst: and it is milk for nourishment. It doth more for nursing vp mans soule, than the milk of the breast can for the bodies of infants.

The consideration whereof should work in vs the desire to which the Apostle heer exhorteth: and withall wee should bring with vs faith to be­leeue, that Gods word shall turn to our nourish­ment. Shall wee trust nature for the goodnes of milk? and shall we not trust God for the efficacy [Page 74] of his word, when hee tels vs it will nourish like milk? And the rather should wee make our re­course with gladnes to the word, because it is so cheap a food: wee may buy this milk without money; that is, without merits: onely, if wee will hear, our soules shall liue, Esay 55.2.4; yea, let vs for euer be thankfull to God for his word, in this re­spect. Was it so great a blessing, that GOD brought the Israelites to a land that flowed with milk and hony, for their bodies? for the greatnes of which blessing, God doth so often put them in minde of it:Note. How great then is the maruel­lous goodnes of God, that hath made vs to liue in these times of the Gospell, when the Land flowes with this spirituall milk and hony! Let vs labour to bee thankfull, and bring forth fruits worthy the bounty of God; le [...]t the Lord send the men of the East to dwell in these palaces, and to eat our milk, and we be cast out, as it was said in the Letter, Ezech. 25.4.

Oh that wee could see our happinesse in these daies of saluation! This is that milk of the Gen­tiles prophecied of, which wee enjoy, and suck now from the breasts of Kings, liuing vnder chri­stian Magistrates that command the preaching of this sincere word of God, Esay 60.16.

Sincere.] The word may be said to bee sin­cere in two respects. First, in it self: secondly, in effect. In it self it is sincere, because it is without error, without sinne, and there is no deceit in it at all, Pro. 8.7.8. Psalm 19.8.9: and because it hath no composition in it, but is the very pure [Page 75] word of God, as it came from God himself at first. There is not a word in it, but it was written by men inspired immediatly by the holy Ghost, 2. Pet. 1. vlt. And as it is in it self, so it is by effect. It makes men sincere. It makes crooked things straight. It purgeth out hypocrisie and all lea­uen out of the mindes and hearts of men It both teacheth and worketh in the godly a spirit with­out guile, Psalm 19.8.9.

The Vse may be both for Instruction and Re­proof. For Instruction both to the people and to Ministers.

To the people: and so men should heer learn,

First, to loue the word, and long after it for this very reason, because it is so pure and sincere, so void of harm or danger: so did Dauid, Psalm 119.146.

Secondly, when we finde our natures crooked and corrupt, and deceitfull, and tending to hy­pocrisie, we should bring our hearts to the word to be mended. For, this you see is a property of the word, It will make men sincere, Psal. 19.8.9. and 119. Iohn 17.20: and as any men haue more betaken themselues to the word, the more sin­cere they haue alwaies growne.

Thirdly, to receiue the word with full assu­rance: wee may trust vpon it: it cannot deceiue vs: what wee finde for comfort or directions in Scripture, we may build vpon it. Neuer man was disappointed of his expectation, that trusted vp­on the word of God: but in God they haue euer praised his word, 2. Pet. 1.20. Psal. 56.10. and 10.6.

[Page 76]Fourthly, as the Ministery of Gods seruants doth more declare the sincerity of the word, so we should bee more in loue with it: wee should like praier, preaching; I mean, not witlesse and vnlearned preaching, but such preaching as ma­keth demonstration to the conscience, out of the pure word of God, in things that concerne the good of the soules of men, and the glory of God. The word doth euer profit men most, when it is most sincere, that men onely speak the words of God.

Fiftly, to stick to the word of God, without going to the right hand or the left. There can be no sinne but what is condemned in the word: nor can there be duty not commanded therein: nor can there be matter of faith not propounded therein. Oh how happy were wee if wee could stick to the ould foundation, euen the sincere word of God, and not adde nor diminish! The hatefulnesse of departing from the word on the left hand, is in most places discouered. But Oh the deceitfulnes of mens hearts; and the wret­ched pronenesse of men to sinne, by finding out many inuentions! Men runne out, and that very fast on the right hand: we haue new opinions & strange fansies coined euery day. Little doo the better sort of people (many of them) think of traditions on the right hand. Their faith is led into bondage, when they can yield no better rea­son, than It is such a mans judgement, or else hee thinketh so himself:Note. or the reasons brought are vrged without any demonstration from the [Page 77] word of God, and Scripture. Happy, aboue the most Churches vnder heauen, were this nation, if this point were vnderstood and carefully ob­serued, if wee could stick to our first grounds in parting from the Church of Rome; viz. to ad­mit no opinions, nor charge our conscience with more obligations, but out of the word of God.

Ministers also may learn from hence, what and how to preach. That is the best preaching which is eminent for two things: First, that tends to be­get sincerity, cleernes of judgement, distinct eui­dence of assurance, and strict holinesse of life in the hearers; secondly, that shines in the natiue lustre of the word, in it self without mixture, when men knowe no matter, no stile, no wisdom cōparable to that which may be had in the word.

This also may serue for reproof,

First, of such Ministers as preach not sincere­ly: and such are they that preach for corrupt ends, though they preach true doctrine, Phil. 1.17; and they that preach obscurely & carelesly, and striue not to set out the glory of the truths they propound; and they that are like le [...]d Vint­ners, which mix the word with the errors of their owne brains, or with the traditions of men, or with a manifest strife to bring in mans wisdome to Gods word; more desiring to shewe their owne wittes and learning, than the glory of the scriptures, 2. Cor. 4.2. and 1. Cor. 1.17, and 2.4.5.13.

2. Of the people, for that great want of appetite to gods pure word, and the plain preaching of it.

Thus of the second reason. The third is taken [Page 78] from the effect, and the profit, which wil follow: viz, they shall growe thereby.

That ye may growe thereby.]

This point of the growth of a Christian is of singular vse, and meet to bee fully and particu­larly opened: and therefore I will obserue fiue things concerning it more especially.

First, that we ought to growe in grace.

Secondly, in what things wee should labour to grow and abound.

Thirdly, what are the rules to bee obserued, that we might growe.

Fourthly, the signes of growth.

Fiftly, the vses of the whole.

First, for the first: Christians are bound not onely to get grace, but they must labour to encrease in the gifts they haue receiued: It is not enough to begin the work of God, but wee must labour to abound in it, and increase in well doing, we must goe on, and finish the measure of the work required of vs. These places euidently proue, that God lookes for growth at our hands. 2. Pet. 3.18. 1. Cor. 15.58. 1. Thes. 4.1. Prou. 4.18. 1. Cor. 14.12.

Diuers kindes of growth.Secondly, for the second: before I number particulars, I might tell you of diuers kindes of growth, or increase in the kingdome of Christ. Christ himselfe is said to increase, Iob. 3.20. The word is said to growe, Act. 6. and in other places: and Christians are said to growe: & so either first ioyntly in the mysticall body, Eph. 4.16. Col. 2.19. or secondly, seuerally euery one by himselfe. [Page 79] Christ was said to increase not onely in stature, and the declaration of his gifts: Luke 2.40. but also in the glory of his kingdome, and the aduan­cing of his dominion amongst men. The word grew, when the number of faithfull labourers was increased, and when the light of the truth was more glorified, and receiued by the people. Christians are said to grow cheefly in two re­spects. First, in the number of beleeuers, when there are daily added to the church: Secondly, in the power and practice of their gifts, and this last is heer intended. The word rendred Thereby, might be read either in him: or in it: or, as it is, thereby. In him, that is in Christ. In it, that is in the word: or thereby, that is by the word: This last is intended heer in all probability: Now then to the point. There are certaine things where­in a Christian should striue to grow: It is true wee should grow in euery good gift and work, but if wee mark the scriptures, these things in particular are especially to bee laboured after as being things that doe wonderfully honour God, and credit the Gospell, and bring a singular en­crease of happiness to a Christian mans life, and it is wonderful profitable to keep a Catalogue of these particulars stil before vs, that we may euery day be put in mind of what we should especially labour after.

These are the things then we should distinctly labour to grow in.In what graces Christians ought especially to growe.

First, wee should labour to grow in wisdom: Gods people should appear to bee a wise people a­boue [Page 80] all the people of the earth. Christ grew in wisdome: Luke 2.40. Now wisdome hath two things in it. First, knowledge: and secondly, discre­tion. In both these we should grow: For know­ledge, the word of God should dwell plenti­ously in vs, Col. 3.16. and wee should encrease in the knowledge of God, Col. 1.10. and for discre­tion, wee should abound in knowledge; yea and saith the Apostle in all iudgement too: Phili. 1.10.

Secondly, wee should grow in faith. That, which is lacking to our faith, must be made vp: 1. Thess. 3.10. and we should still bee praying with the Apostles, Lord increase our faith, Luke 17.5. 2. Thes. 1.11. Now there be two things distinctly, which wee should grow-in about faith: viz. First, assurance; and secondly, the exercise of it. For assurance, wee should hereunto giue all dili­gence, that wee might get the full assurance of faith and hope to the end: wee should neuer bee quiet till it bee established, and rooted, and soundly grounded in our particular assurance of Gods fauour in Iesus Christ, and our owne eternall saluation: Heb. 6.11. Col. 2.6.7. And for the exercise of faith: wee should striue to learn euery day to liue by faith in all the occasions of our life; spending the remainder of our liues in the faith of the Sonne of God, holding fast our confidence, and not withdrawing our selues Heb. 10. Gal. 2.20. Yea wee should striue to bee examples one to another in our faith in GOD, 1. Tim. 4.12.

Thirdly, wee should abound in loue one to [Page 81] another, and towards all men: This the Apostle praies earnestly for, and this we should shew by all diligence,Philip. 1.10. 1 Thes. 3.12. in preseruing peace and vnitie amongst ourselues: so as there should be but one heart & minde amongst vs.Philip. 2.1, 3. To this end bearing, and forbearing, & supporting one another, we should grow also in the tendernes and hartines of our affections one after another,Ephes. 4.3.4. longing one for ano­ther, and delighting one in another, yea our loue sholud grow euen in seeking to enlarge our ac­quaintance with such, as feare God, but especially in the labour of our loue to doe good to such as feare God should we grow, &c.

Fourthly, we should grow in mercy, and that both in the bowels of pity, and in the abun­dance of the fruits of mercy, Col. 3.12. 2. Cor. 8.2, 7. and 9.11. Iames 3.18.

Fiftly, we should grow in patience, and meek­nes, and lowlines of minde. Patience should haue his perfect work, and it wonderfully would be­come vs, if we could increase in the image of Ie­sus Christ for meeknes and lowlines. To be free from passions and pride, oh, how it would adorne vs! It is that one grace Christ so much vrgeth vpon vs, and was most eminent in himselfe, Math. 11.29. Iames 1.4.

Sixtly, We should grow in praier, and the gifts that concerne our communion with God, wee should labour to be mighty and powerfull in prayer, able to wrastle with God himselfe▪ and ouercome him, as Iacob did: and to this end wee should pray alwaies, and learne to pray all man­ner [Page 82] of praiers in all things, making our requests knowne to God with supplication, especially we should striue to abound in thanksgiuing to God, in all things giuing thanks. This is the greatest honor we can doe to God, 1. Thes. 5.18, 19. Philip. 4.7. Psal. 50.23. Col. 1.11. Ephes. 6.18. 2 Cor. 4.15.

Seuenthly, We should grow in the contempt of the world, and the lesser estimation of the things of this life, we should striue more & more to expresse a mortified conuersation, vsing the world, as if we vsed it not, setting our affections on the things that are aboue, and hauing our con­uersation in heauen, confessing our selues to bee strangers and pilgrims, and with all eagernesse embracing the praises of a better life, Hebrewes 11.13. Philip. 3.20. in nothing being carefull, Philip. 4.6. hastning to the comming of Iesus Christ, 2. Pet. 3.11.

Eightthly, We should exceedingly striue to grow in the holy, & reuerēt vse of gods ordinan­ces, striuing to come with more feare, and sence of the glorious presence of God. This is a won­derfull hard lesson, and little heeded of the most. Oh that we could get it, to serue the Lord with feare, and to reioyce, but yet with trembling! Oh blessed is the man, that can feare alwaies, and work out his saluation with feare and trembling.

Ninthly, There is another gift we should grow in, and it is maruelously necessary, and comely, and yet extremely neglected, and that is vtte­rance, of which the Apostle makes mention in his short Catalogue, 2. Cor. 8.7. vtterance (I say) to be [Page 83] able to speake one to another with profit and power in the things of the kingdom of God. This is an admirable grace: and such as attaine it and grow in it, how precious are they amongst the Saints!

Tenthly, In that, 2. Cor. 8.7. you may see two other things we should increase in. The one is, in all diligence: we should more and more euery day cast about, how we might take more paines to doe good, and be more profitable to others: and for our owne soules, we should increase our paines.

Eleuenthly, The other grace we should grow in, there mentioned, is the loue to our teachers: as God abounds towards vs in the profit of their paines, so we should grow in affection to them, till we get that singular loue of them, which the Apostle speaketh of, 1. Thes. 5.

Twelfthly, Now ther is one thing more, which being added, would make vs wonderful compleat Christians, glorious shining lights in the world, that hold forth the life and power of the word, in the midst of crooked & peruerse multitudes of men; and that is contentation: Oh the gaine of godlines, if we were settled and contented with that we haue, and could learne of the Apostle in all estates to be content! To haue the skill to want, and to abound, and yet by Christ to doe all things: This would finish the glory of the whole frame of godlines, and be like a crown to all other gifts and graces, 1. Tim. 6.6, 7. Philip. 4.11, 12, 18.

Now for the third point, namely, the rules to [Page 84] be obserued▪ That we may grow. They may be referred to these heads:Rules to helpe our growth.

First, We must be diligent and conuersant in searching the writings of the Prophets and Apo­stles, in the name of Iesus Christ, as the chief cor­nerstone, and then the promise is, that our harts shall be so sweetned, and seasoned with these di­uine knowledges, that God himselfe shall be with vs, and dwell in our hearts as a holy temple, and we grow more and more in acquaintance with God, Eph. 2.20, 21.

Secondly, We must bring so much sincerity to the grace of Christ, and the vse of the meanes, as to resolue to seek growth in all things, as well as one, setting our hearts wholy vpon the kingdom of God; we must not goe about godlines with a diuided heart, we must grow vp in all things, or else in none: we shall not prosper, if we be false­harted in any part of Gods seruice, Eph. 2.15.

Thirdly, We must in all things depend vpon God, and seeke to him by daily prayers for a bles­sing vpon our desires, and the meanes, and our en­deuours. For else Paul may plant, and Apollo may water, but it is God, that must giue the in­crease, 1 Cor. 3.6.

Fourthly, We must be carefull to imploy the gifts we haue, and to practise, as fast as we heare. For to him, that hath for vse, shall be giuen: but from him, that hath gifts, & wil not vse them, shall be taken away that which he hath, Math. 13.11.

Fiftly, We must get an humble heart, and pre­serue in vs the sence of our owne vilenesse, and a [Page 85] lowly minde, and conceit of our selues, accusing our euery-daies euill waies before the Lord. For Gods promise is to giue more grace to the hum­ble, Iames. 4.7.

Sixtly, It is a great occasion of increase, when a man doth Gods work, with as much cheereful­nes as he can. God loueth a cheerfull giuer, and will make all grace abound to them, that striue to liue to be his seruants, 2. Cor. 9.7.8.

Seuenthly, You must pray, that your masters, or if you will, ministers may haue their harts en­larged, and made fat, and that they may come vn­to you and conuert you with abundance of the blessings of the Gospel. For if there be famine, or scarcity, and barrenness in Gods House, you will not thriue well at home, Rom, 15.29.

Eightthly, We must take heed of al such things as hinder our growth, as namely:

  • 1. Hypocrisie,
    Impediments of growth.
    When men aduance a pro­fession of Religion onely for carnall ends, and seeke more the praise of men then of God. These mens hearts will be fearfully blasted.
  • 2. Errors in opinion of strange doctrines, 2. Pet. 3.17, 18. Hebrews, 13, &c.
  • 3. Spirituall pride, 2. Cor. 12.6, 7. For God giues grace to the humble, Iam. 4.7.
  • 4. Headstrong affections, as the passions of anger, or the like: these pull men back, and hin­der the growth maruelously, 1 Cor. 3.2, 3. Eph. 4.30.31.
  • 5. Liuing in places, where we haue not powerfull meanes for our soules, Eph. 4.13. For [Page 86] where vision failes, they perish, must needs faint, and be starued in the famine of the word.
  • 6. Discord with such as feare God. For if wee grow, wee must grow vp in loue, holding communion with the body of Christ, Eph. 4.15.16.
  • 7. Domesticall vnquietnes, and disorder: For that will hinder not onely prayer, 1 Pet. 3.7, but all other parts of piety.
  • 8. Worldliness. This was the sinne did vndoe Demas.
  • 9. Sinister iudgement of our own practices in godliness when we are either iust ouermuch, that is, think too highly of what we do; or wicked ouer-much, that is, thinke too vilely of the grace of God in vs, or the good wee doe: both these hinder Christians extreamely.
  • 10. The loue of any particular sinne. For if once we dally with any corruption, grace is dulled, and the spirit of grace greeued and vexed in vs.

Now for the fourth point: we may know whe­ther we grow or no, by diuerse signes.

Signes of growth.First, if we be planted neere the riuers of water, if the Lord make vs happy in liuing in such pla­ces where the means of grace aboundes, and the ordinances of God florish in their life and pow­er, Psal 1.3. Eph. 4.13: Else if a good tree be planted in a dry heath far from water or raine, no maruell if it grow not. And when the Lord doth make the meanes plentifull, hee doth vsually make his grace plentifull in so many as are ordaind to life.

[Page 87]Secondly, and especially if we be consciona­ble in the vse of the means: if wee measure to God in sincerity, in hearing, praying, reading, and receiuing the Sacraments, &c. there may be no doubt, but God wil measure to vs in the plen­ty of his blessings: if wee suck the milk of the word with desire, we shall growe. Wee need no more doubt whether our soules growe in grace if we can bring constant affections to the means, than wee would whether the bodies of our chil­dren would growe, if they haue good nurses, and doo suck the breasts well.

Thirdly, grace growes in vs, as humility doth grow: God wil giue more grace to the humble, Iam 4.8. And look how we thriue and continue in true humility, so we thriue in grace: and con­trariwise, as pride and conceitednes growes in vs, so doth true grace wither. And the like may be said of meeknes, which is a grace that orders the affections, as humility doth the minde.

Fourthly, we may try our growth by our loue to the godly, the members of the mysticall bo­dy: for, the body of Christ increaseth in the edi­fication of it self through loue. As the loue of Gods children groweth or decaies in vs: so doth grace growe or decay, Eph. 4.15.16. This loue is the bond of perfectnes, Col. 3.13.

Fiftly, we must try our confidence in God, and the assurance of our faith. For, as grace growes: so doo we growe more established and settled in God, and the hope of his kingdome. This is to abide in Christ: and thus to trust in the LORD, [Page 88] hath a promise of such a blessing, as that man shal not wither, Ier. 17.7, 8.

Sixtly, we may discern our growth by the de­cay of taste in sinne and the world. As the vio­lence of temptation, and the admiration of the pleasures and profits of this life, go out of vs: by the same degrees doth the holy Ghost get the victory, and the Spirit settles the possession of grace in vs, &c.

Seuenthly, wee may discern it by our teacha­blenesse, and honouring of prophecying, when our Teachers according to their lines may bee inlarged, and liue without suspicion or censure: when we can beleeue them, and rest in their te­stimony aboue the whole world, 2. Cor. 10.15. 2. Thes. 1.10.

Eightthly, wee may easily discern it by our constancy and frequency in good works, either of piety, or mercy, or righteousnes, either at home or abroad. For, to such as haue for vse, it is certain more is giuen, Mat. 13.11.

Ninthly, wee may knowe it by the frequency of our communion with God. If the Lord dai­ly dwell in vs, or with vs, and reueal himself to vs by the signes of his presence, there is no doubt to be made of our growing. The heart of a chri­stian is Gods Temple: and you may bee sure, all prospers well in the Temple, when the cloud sits there, or often appears there, Eph. 2.20, 21.

Vse. The vse of this whole doctrine concer­ning growth, may serue, first, for humiliation: and so in many things.

[Page 89]First, our hearts should smite vs for our igno­rance. There are many things of excellent fruit and praise, which we haue not at all laboured in; diuers of the twelue things before.

Secondly, for our deadnes of heart,Vnprofitableness of life aggraua­ted in many re­spects. and vnpro­fitablenesse of life, which is aggrauated against vs,

  • 1. When God giues vs much means.
  • 2. When wee are insensible, or at least in­corrigible; knowe all is not well, and feel our selues to be lashed, and yet mend not.
  • 3. When wee are slothfull and weary, wil not stirre vp our selues, nor receiue direction for the making vp of what is lacking to our faith, or to any other gifts; especially when wee are wey­ward, and will go about, rather than bee at the triall of direction or asking the way, Ier. 31.21.

3. Much more to such as are so farre from growing, that they fall away, and decline; lose their first loue, and what they haue wrought, be­gin in the Spirit, and end in the flesh. This much vexeth God, and is extremely dangerous to the parties, Esay 1.4. Ier. 7.24. and 15.6. 2. Pet. 2.20. But, that this may not either pearce too farre, or fall too deadly or flat vpon any that are guilty, we must knowe, there is a double declining or a­postasie: The one,Apostasie is two fould. inward; the other, outward. First, the inward is, when a mans heart is falne off from the care of godlinesse, and the means of it, and regards iniquity constantly, being posses­sed of the raign of habituall hypocrisie: and this may bee in men that outwardly frequent the [Page 90] meanes, and make a shew of godlinesse. Second­ly, the outward declining or Apostasie is, when men outwardly liue in grosse sinnes, or follow scandalous courses, and are at last relapsed to the violent courses of the world, so as the meanes of godliness is neglected. Againe, declining is, first, either totall: secondly, or in part. First, totall, when we fall off from all godliness, and all the meanes of it: and so only they fall, that sinne a­gainst the holy Ghost. Secondly, in part, is, when men fall into some sinne or error, and not lose all conscience of well-doing, and such is their Apostasie also, that fall off from the care of some of the ordinances of God as, when men vse the priuate, and neglect the publike; or vse the pub­like, and neglect the priuate, &c.

Question. But what shall a man doe to help himselfe, that findes he hath declined, &c?

Answer. He must take vnto himselfe words, and confesse his sin to God, and returne to the Lord hartily, he will heale euen his back-sli­ding: Hose. 14.3.4.5.

Vse 2. Secondly, for instruction, and so it should perswade with vs mightily to hold on, and neuer faint in the way, but striue to the per­fection of euery good gift of God, not being weary of well-doing, knowing, that it is ashame still to bee children, and that God doth require a righteousnes of vs, that should exceed the righ­teousnes of all the Papists, and Pharises, in the world, and to this end, we should preserue in vs this desire after the sincere milk of the word, [Page 91] and watch against securitie and slothfulnes, the dangerous moathes of godliness.

Vse 3. Thirdly, such may bee much encoura­ged, who haue their hearts set vpon growth, and doe prosper in Gods work, though otherwaies they haue many afflictions, or infirmities: yea such as with true hearts doe mourne for their not growing, as they think, may consider of many comforts to vphould themselues by: as,

  • 1.
    Encouragement for weake Chri­stians.
    Our Sauiour Christ had not all degrees of grace at once, but grew in grace by degrees.
  • 2. Though thy gifts bee small, and grow in thee like a graine of mustard-seed: yet it may grow to a maruelous increase, Math. 13.
  • 3. Though thou haue many infirmities, yet thou maist beare aboundance of fruit: as the vine, which is the weakest plant, yet is not therefore barren, Isaiah 27.2.
  • 4. Though thou haue little meanes to help thy selfe by, yet thou maiest by the blessing of God grow: The lilies spin not, and yet are gor­geo [...]sly clothed, Math. 6.28.
  • 5. If we sowe good seed, it is certain the Lord will giue increase, 1. Cor. 9.10.11.
  • 6. Though we sowe in teares, we shall reap in ioy, Psal. 126.5, 6. yea though we be extreame­ly oppressed and reproached: as the Israelites grew euen the more they were hated and op­pressed in Aegipt, Mark, 4.8.
  • 7. We haue great helpes: the word is more effectuall to the soule, then milk to the body: and we receiue influence from Christ our head, [Page 92] Colos. 2.19. and euery member of the mysticall body makes some supply to further the growth of [...]he whole body: Eph. 6.16.
Verse. 3.
Because ye haue tasted, that the Lord is gra­cious, or bountifull.

THese words containe the fourth reason to perswade to the desire after the word, and it is taken from the experience they haue had of the goodnes of God, comforting them in the word: If euer they tasted the sweetnes of the word, they must needes haue an appetite to it.

In these few wordes there are diuers poynts of Doctrine to bee obserued and explained: as namely,

First, That God is gracious.

Secondly, that God doth graciously sweeten the word to his people: as God doth shew his graciousnes in the word.

Thirdly, that, where there is a true taste of the sweetnes of the word, there the soule growes in grace.

Fourthly, It is but a taste of the sweetnes of God which can be had in this life.

Fiftly, many liue in the church, and yet neuer taste of the sweetnes of God and his word.

Sixtly, It is a singular shame for such as haue felt the sweetnes of the word, to faile in their de­sire after it.

For the first. Where the Lord is praised for graciousnes, by the word vsed in the originall [Page 93] heere, it is to occasion in vs the admiration of the goodnes of Gods nature. For in this one word are many distinct praises imported: As

First,Wherein Gods graciousnes is seene. That hee is free, and doth what he doth, freely, without respect of merit, or desert in men: and this is one thing, which if wee finde, should much incite vs to regard what he saith, or requi­reth of vs. By this Argument are men called vp­on, Isaiah 55.1.2, 3.

Secondly, that hee is kind to his very enemies. For so the word is applied: Luke 6.35. and ques­tionles it should bee a great thing to perswade with a man, when he comes to the word, to re­gard it with much affection, if he knowe, that God thereby will doe good to his very enemies: and that in that ordinance, God is went to shew the mirror of his mercy, in reuealing his loue, & communicating the blessings of his Gospell to such, as come into his presence with hatred of their owne waies.

Thirdly, that he is courteous, and in a speciall manner kinde to, and fond ouer his own people with incomprehensible indulgence: the word is rendred Courteous, Eph. 4.32. And all ages must wonder at this kindenes of God in Iesus Christ, Eph. 2.7. And thus hee deliuereth his seruants from their feares, Psal. 34.3. or 4.

Fourthly, that hee is bountifull and liberall, and giueth plentifully: so the word is vsed and giuen to God, Rom. 1.5.

Fif [...]ly, that hee is gentle and easie to bee in­treated, or preuailed withall. Hence, that his [Page 95] yoke is said to bee easie: Math. 11.30. where this word is translated easie: and heereof comes the word, rendred gentlenes: Gal. 5.22. and thus hee is said to bee maruelous kinde in hearing praier: Psal. 31.21, 22. and 34.4, 6, 15.

Sixtly, that he stands not vpon respect of per­sons, and thus he regards the poore: Psal. 68.10. and will not disdaine to teach sinners his way: Psal. 25.8.

Seuenthly, that he is sweet: that is, wonderfull comfortable, pleasing, and filling with delight.

Eightthly, there is one specialty of Gods good­nes, to which this word is applied, and that is, the accepting of the Gentiles to fauour, when the Iews were cut off: Rom. 11.

Vse. The vse of this point is various: For,

First, It should kindle in vs admiration: All ages should gaze and wonder at such matchless good nature, and kindnes in God: Ephes. 2.7.

Secondly, It should break our hearts with sor­row and repentance for our sins, to think of it, that wee offend a God so kinde, so good, so bountifull: Rom. 2.4. Hose. 3.5.

Thirdly, It should perswade with men, that neuer felt this, to taste and see how good God is, Psalme 34.

Question. What must we do, if wee could, or might taste of this sweetnes of Gods nature?

Answer. The Prophet Dauid telles vs of two things: Psalme 34. First, thou must pray vnto him,What wee must do to taste the goodnes of God. and make him thy refuge in all distresse: Secondly, and thou must put thy trust in [Page 95] him, and then certainely thy face shall be light­ned, and thou shalt not be ashamed, and I may adde two things more. First, Thou must loue his Word, waiting vpon him in his Sanctuary. Se­condly, and yeld thy selfe ouer to be his seruant, and thou canst not faile to finde this goodness of the Lord.

Fourthly, It should inflame affection in the godly: They should fall in loue with God. Oh loue the Lord, all yee his Saints, Psalm. 31.19, 21, 33. What can more draw affection, then sweetnes of nature?

Fiftly, It should perswade all Gods seruants to liue by faith, and not through vnbeliefe in the time of affliction, or temptation to dishonor god. Why saist thou, thy way is past ouer of God? Or why sayst thou, The Lord hath forgotten, or will not forgiue? Esay, 40.27. &. 49.15, 16. Exod. 34.6.7.

Sixtly, It should kindle in vs a vehement desire to imitate so sacred a nature, and continually to striue to be like the patterne in God for curtesie, Eph. 4.32. kindness, 2. Cor. 6.6. and all louing be­hauiour, Colos. 2.12. 1. Cor. 13.4. and easie to bee intreated, Iam. 3.17. and loue to our enemies, Luke. 6.35. We should be followers of God, Eph. 5.1. we should beare his image especially herein, Col. 3.10.

Seuenthly, How should our hearts bee satis­fied, as with Manna, when we feele this sweetnes of God to vs in particular, either in the Word, or prayer, or in his works? We should euen be sick of loue, our sleep should be pleasant to vs, and [Page 96] our hearts filled with gladnes. What greater fe­licity can there be, then that such a God should loue vs? Psal. 63.6. Ierem. 31.26. Cantic. 2.5. or 6.

Eightthly, We shold be carefull, when we haue felt this sweetnes of the Lord to preserue our selues in this communion with God, and abide in his goodnes, as the Apostle vseth the Phrase, Rom. 11.22.

Lastly, it should much affect with sorrow and shame, all impenitent sinners, and that in two res­pects. First, because they haue lost their time, and liued without the sence of this sweetnes in God, the Apostle, Tit. 3.5. vseth this Phrase, The bountifulnes of God appeared. The word shined as the sunne doth in the rising: which imports, that the world was nothing but darknes, till men found by experience the goodnes of God. Se­condly, because they haue so long offended a nature of such infinite goodnes, this will proue a grieuous aggr [...]uation of their sinne and misery. For such a goodnes so prouoked, will turn into extreme fury: such mercy abused, will be turned into vnspeakeable fiercenes of indignation, as appeares, Deut. 29.19, 20. and Rom. 2.4, 5.

Doct. 2.The second Doctrine is, that God doth graci­ously sweeten his Word to his people, or God doth shew his graciousnes especially in his word. Hence it is, that Gods seruants haue acknow­ledge the word to be sweeter then hony, and the hony-comb. Psal. 19.10. & 119.103. and the ho­ly Ghost compareth it to feasts, yea royall feasts, Esay 25.6. Prou. 9.4. Luke. 14.17. and the Apostle [Page 97] acknowledgeth a sauour of life vnto life in the Word, 2. Cor. 2.14.

The consideration whereof should teach vs di­uers duties.

First, To labour to finde the word so vnto vs, to seeke this sweetnes in the word: and to that end we must mingle it with faith, else there will be no more tast in it, then in the white of an egge: and besides, we must come to it in the tediousnes of our own vilenes.Note. For we are neuer fitter to tast of Gods grace, then when we are deiected in the true feeling of our owne vnworthines. God will giue grace to the humble: and further, we must get an appetite and affection to the word. For the full stomach loatheth an hony-combe, but to the hungry soule euery little thing is sweet, Prouerbs 27.7. and lastly, we must take heede, that wee marre not our tastes before we come, as they doe, that haue sweetned their mouthes with wickednes, and spoyled their rellish with the pleasures of beloued sinnes, Iob 20.12. Such as liue in the delight of secret corruptions, euen they that account stolne waters sweet, may bee the guests of Hell, but Gods guests they are not: onely they that ouercome, eate of the hidden Manna, Reuel. 2.

Secondly, When we haue found hony, let vs eate it, Prou. 20.13. That is, if the Lord be gra­cious vnto vs in his word; let vs with all care re­ceiue it into our harts, and with all affection make vse of it. Lose not thy precious oportunity.

Thirdly, It should teach vs in all our griefes, [Page 98] and bitternes to make our recourse to the Word to comfort and sweeten our harts against our feares and sorrowes. For at this feast God wipes away all teares from our eyes, Esaiah 25.6, 8.

Fourthly, The sweetnes of the Word, when we feele it, should satisfie vs, yea satisfie vs aboun­dantly. We should giue so much glory to Gods goodnes, as to make it the abundant satisfaction of our hearts, Psal. 36.6.

Fiftly, Yea further: we should labour to shew this sweet sauour of the word in our conuersati­ons, by mercy to the distressed, by gracious com­munication, by our contentation, and by all wel­doing, that the perfume of Gods grace in vs may allure & affect others, that the very places where we come may sauour of our goodnes euen after we are gone.

Sixtly, We should be alwaies praising of God for the good things of his Sanctuary, acknowled­ging all to come frō his free grace without our deserts, Psal. 84.4. entertaining his presence with all possible admiration, saying with the Psalmist, O Lord, how excellent is thy goodness! Psal. 36.9▪

Seuenthly, We should pray God to continue his goodness to them, that know him, and to vouchsafe vs the fauour to dwell for euer in his house, Psalm 36.11.

Eightthly, And constantly the experience hereof should set vs alonging: our soules should long for the courts of Gods house, and our hearts cry for the daily bread in Sion, and we should [Page 99] constantly walk from strength to strength, til we appear before God in Sion, Psalm 84; and the rather, because, besides the sweetnes, there is a plentifull reward in keeping Gods Word, Psalm 19.20.

Secondly, from hence we may bee informed in two especiall things.

  • 1. Concerning the happinesse of the god­ly in this life, notwithstanding all their afflictions and sorrows. Thou seest their distresses: but thou seest not their comforts. The stranger doth not meddle with their joyes. Oh how great is the goodnes of God, in giuing his people to drink out of the riuers of the pleasures in his house, when hee makes their eies to see the light in his light! Psalm 36.8, 9. Psalm 65.4.
  • 2. Concerning the office of Gods Mini­sters. They are the perfumers of the world: the Church is the perfuming-pan: and preaching is the fire that heats it: and the Scriptures are the sweet waters. Or, the Church is the mortar: preaching, the pestle: and the promises of God in Christ are the sweet spices; which, being bea­ten, yeeld a heauenly and supernaturall smell in the soules of the godly hearers, 2. Cor. 2.14, 15. But, then, Ministers must take heed they corrupt not Gods Word; and see to it, that their prea­ching bee in sincerity, and as of God, and in the sight of God in Christ, and with demonstration of the truth to mens consciences, 2. Cor. 2.17: else, any Preacher will not serue the turn. And in both these respects, Ministers haue reason to [Page 100] cry out with the Apostle, Oh! who is sufficient for these things? If euery Sermon must leaue so sweet a sauour behinde it in the hearts of the hea­rers, and in the nostrils of God too, who can bee (without the speciall assistance of God) fitte for these things?

Lastly, this may serue for singular reproof and terror to the wicked, and that in diuerse respects. First, for such as are mockers, and call sweet sowre, that is, speak euill of the good word of God: secondly, for the miserable neglect of that they should account the life of their life. Alas! whither shall wee go? or what is this miserable and wretched life, if we want the sweet comforts of the word? To dwell without the word, is, To dwell in the parched places of the wildernesse: and this Ministery is the more dangerous in such or to such as are daily inuited, and haue all things ready made, and yet wil not inwardly obey gods calling, nor profit by the means, but finde excu­ses to shift off the inuitation of God. How just­ly may that curse be inflicted vpon them, These men shall neuer taste of my supper? Luke 14.17. &c. 24.

Thus much of the second doctrine.

Doct. 3. The third doctrine out of these words may be this, that such as finde a true taste of the sweetnes of God in his Word, may conceiue hopefully, that their soules doo and shall prosper and growe. There is no doubt to be made of our growth, if once we come to feel the sweetnes of the Word. For the cleerer vnderstanding of this [Page 101] doctrine, I must answer two questions.

Quest. First, what this true taste is.

Secondly, whether this taste may not bee in wicked men.

Ans. For the first. A true taste of the sweet­nes of the Word, and Gods graciousnes in it, may bee knowne both by the cause, and by the effects.A true taste is seen by the cause and effects of it. The cause of this taste is faith: for, by faith onely doth the soule taste. Or that thing that raiseth so sweet a rellish in our hearts, is, A perswasion in particular of the graciousnes of God to vs, euen of that graciousnes which the Word doth discouer. The effects of this taste are three. For, first, it reuiues the heart, and rai­seth it from the dead, and frames it to bee a new creature; working an vnfained change in the heart of man from the world and sin, to the care of Gods glory, and saluation of their own soules: and thus it is called A sauour of life vnto life, 2. Cor. 2.15. Secondly, it settleth in the heart an e­stimation of the Word and spirituall things, and the assurance of Gods fauour of al earthly things in the world, Phil. 3.9. Psalm 84.10. Thirdly, this taste works a heauenly kind of contentment in the heart: so as the Godly, when they haue found this, are abundantly satisfied, they haue e­nough, Psalm 36.10. and 95.4.

For the second question concerning wicked men, and their rellishing of the sweetnes of the Word, I say two things. First, that the most wic­ked men are without spirituall senses, and finde no more taste in God or his Word, than in the [Page 102] White of an egge: they sauour not the things of the Spirit, Rom. 8. 1. Cor. 2.13. Of this afterwards. But yet it may not be denied, but that some wic­ked men may go so farre, as to taste of the good Word of God, and of the powers of the life to come, and of heauenly gifts, as the Apostle gran­teth, Heb. 6.5, 6.

Quest. Now there-hence ariseth a great que­stion: What should bee the difference between this taste in wicked men, and the true taste in godly men?

Answer. For answer heerunto, diuers diffe­rences may be giuen.

Wherin the taste of wicked men and the godly differ.First, in the things tasted there is a difference. For, wicked men may haue common graces, yea, and miraculous gifts too, by imposition of hands, (and these are a great taste giuen them of the glory of Gods Kingdome) but they neuer taste of sauing graces: or if a taste of sauing gra­ces were granted, yet they taste as it were of the Riuer running by them, but not of the Fountain; whereas the Godly haue the very Spring of grace flowing in them.

Secondly, in the time of tasting. This taste in wicked men is but for a season, it cannot hold long in them: and therefore is their faith & joy said to be temporary: Whereas godly men may keep their taste to their dying daies, not onely in the gifts of sauing graces, but in the very sense of the sweetnes of Christ, and the Word too, &c.

Thirdly, in the manner of tasting. For, wicked men may taste of the Gospell and Religion by [Page 103] senses, or by a dimme kinde of contemplation, or by a sudden illumination, as by a flash of light­ning; but they cannot taste with their hearts cleerely by Faith: Or thus, wicked men may, in the generall, taste; that is, know, and beleeue that the Mystery of Christ is true; but they can­not taste, or know this Mystery, with particular and sound application, as theirs.

Fourthly, in the grounds of this taste or de­light: For a wicked man perswaded by false rea­sons, settled in the common hope, or transpor­ted with an high conceit of some temporary and common gifts and Graces, may be much deligh­ted and ioyed in the Word, and the thought of going to heauen for a time; but he neuer rightly applyed the promises of Grace in Christ, nor doth he euer possesse so much as one infallible signe of a childe of God.

Fiftly, In the effects and consequents of ta­sting: for,

  • 1. A wicked man may taste, but hee neuer digests: An euill conscience casts vp the food a­gaine, or choakes and poisons it: whereas in god­ly men their taste abides in them, and they digest the food they receiue: The vertue of it con­tinues with them.
  • 2. A godly man is transformed, and made another man by this taste, so is not the wicked man: It is not a sauour of life to the wicked.
  • 3. A true taste in the godly, works, as is be­fore noted, a high estimation, and sound content­ment: so as the godly place the felicity of their [Page 104] liues in this communion with God, & his word: But that can neuer a wicked man doe.

Sixtly, and lastly, wicked men may seem to taste, and yet doe not: Many men professe reli­gion, and delight in the word, and in religion, and religious duties, who yet neuer did attaine to it, but constantly found a wearines, secret loa­thing, and many times a secret and inward ill sauor in the word, and in the duties of religion: so as the taste is more in their mouthes, when they talk with others, then in their hearts, when they are afore God.

It will not be amisse, particularly to cleer that place in the Hebrewes in all the three instances of tasting.

How far the taste of wicked men may goe.First, they are said to taste of heauenly gifts: so they doe, when they haue common graces, as sometimes some kinds of faith, Ioy, hatred of some sinnes, loue of Ministers, or some godly prayses for some ends, &c. Or when they haue miraculous gifts confirmed by imposition of hands, or otherwise, as they had in the primitiue times; and these gifts are excellent and heauenly, because they are mighty, by the Spirit of God, and came down from the Father of Spirits: But sauing Graces they cannot haue.

Secondly, wicked men may taste of the Spirit & good Word of God, by feeling some sudden flashes of ioy, eyther out of admiration of the meanes of deliuering, or from some general con­ceit of the goodnesse of Gods prayses, Iob▪ 23.12. and the happinesse of the godly, Psal. 119.23, 24, [Page 105] 50. But they can get no such taste of the Word, as to desire it as their appointed food constantly, Psal. 119.14, 72. Or to make it their greatest de­light in affliction, or to loue it aboue all riches, 1 Thess, 1.5. Or to receiue it with much assurance in the holy Ghost, or to redress their wayes by it, Psalme 119.9, 45, 59. so as the taste of the Word, should put out the taste and rellish of sinne: For, let wicked men be affected as much as they will, their taste of sinne wil remaine in them. I meane, the taste of their beloued sinnes; nor can he deny himselfe and forsake his credit, friends, pleasures, profits, and life it selfe for the Gospels sake, Marke 10, 29.

Thirdly, wicked men may taste of the powers of the life to come, by ioying at the thoughts that they shall goe to heauen, and pleasing them­selues in the contemplation of it. But it is still a false taste, for they haue no sound euidence for their hope, nor doe any ma [...]kes of a childe of God appeare in them, nor can they alleage one sentence of Scripture, rightly vnderstood, for the meanes of it.

The vse of all this may be threefold.Vse.

First, for Triall. All men should seriously try their estates, in respect of this taste, by pondering vpon what is before written concerning the na­ture and differences of it.

Secondly, it should worke exceeding thanke­fulnesse to God, if we haue found this sound and secret taste in the Word; we should euery one & for euer, say, In the Lord will I praise his Word, Psal. 56.

[Page 106]Thirdly, Here is matter of terror vnto wicked men, and that first, to such of them as neuer felt any sweetenesse in the Word. How should they be amazed to thinke of it, that God doth from Sabbath to Sabbath restraine his blessings from them, and, as contemning them, to passe by them, and take no inward notice of them? 2. But espe­cially here is vnspeakeable terror to such as haue had that taste in the sixt to the Hebrews, if they should euer fall from it, as is there mentioned. For, if this taste goe out of thine heart, take heed of the sinne against the holy Ghost: For at the losse of taste, begins that eternall ruine of these men. If thou be not warned in time, thou maist come to such a condition, as it will be impossible for thee to be renued by repentance, Heb. 6.5, 6, 7.

But lest this doctrine should bee misapplied, as it is sometimes by such as are distressed with Melancholy or vehement affliction of Spirit; I will a little more fully cleere the secret of that place, about the sinne against the holy Ghost: and therefore wish that these things bee ob­serued.

Diuers things noted for clea­ring the sin a­gainst the holy Ghost.First, that it doth not follow necessarily, that whosoeuer hath that taste there mentioned, shall not be saued: for men may haue that taste, and finding it ineffectuall, go on till they finde a true taste: That taste is dangerous, if men fall away; else there may be good vse of those tastes: For, it brings men neere the kingdome of God, and makes preparation for true Grace.

Secondly, that the sinne against the holy [Page 107] Ghost cannot be committed but by such as haue beene enlightned, and haue set themselues to at­tend vpon the Word, either by solemne profes­sion outwardly before men, or by inward atten­dance vpon it. Two sorts of men in our times are in danger of this sinne, that is, Hypocriticall professors: and those they call the wits of the World, who afterwards fell to all Epicurisme.

Thirdly, that the falling away there mentio­ned, is not to be vnderstood of any particular fal­ling into some one, or a fewe sinnes, but of an v­niuersall falling away from the care of all godli­nesse, and into such a condition, as to dislike no sinne, as it is sinne, and to beleeue from the heart no part of the Gospell, nor be afraid to wallow in the sins, which formerly he in a sort repented.

Fourthly, there is in them a personall hatred of the Sonne of God; they doe with the Iewes, as much as in them lieth, crucifie him againe, loathing him, and inwardly swelling, or fretting against the doctrine of Christ, and striuing as far as they dare in his Ordinances and people, to put him to shame by scornings and reproaches, or what way else they can, Heb. 6.6. and Chap. 10.29.

Fiftly, they abhorre from their hearts the gra­ces of the Spirit, and loath them in the godly; despighting the Spirit of grace, Hebr. 10.29. so as they persecute, to their power, the truth; being carried with incurable malice against it.

And thus of the third Doctrine.

The fourth Doctrine that may be gathered out of these words,4. Doct. is; that it is but a taste of the [Page 108] sweetenesse of God we can attaine to in this life, we cannot reach vnto the thousand part of the ioyes of Gods presence and fauour, in this world. These are part of his wayes, but how little a por­tion is heard of him! Iob. 26. vlt. Eye hath not seene, nor Eare heard, nor heart of man percei­ued the things, which God hath prepared for them that loue him, 1 Cor. 2.9.

The comforts we feele in this life, may well be likened to the taste, both because wee haue them but in small quantity, and because they are quickly growne out of sence; they are but of short continuance.

There may be three vses made of this point.

First, it may quiet them that complaine out of Scruple of Conscience, that their ioyes they haue, be not right, because they are so quickly lost; whereas they must bee informed, that the comforts the best men can get in this World, are but a little taste, giuen out of the Riuers of Gods pleasures.

Secondly, it should make vs the more out of loue with this life, and kindle in vs the loue of the appearing of Iesus Christ. Why desire wee to liue so long on Earth, where wee must drinke downe continually the bitter potions of care and sorrow; and can get but now and then the taste of the comforts of a better life? Why long wee not to enioy those pleasures for euermore? Psal. 17. vlt. Yea, we may know how good it is to bee in Heauen, by the taste wee haue sometimes on Earth. If it doe vs such vnspeakeable ease and [Page 109] ioy to feele of the sweetnes of God for a little moment? Oh how great then is that goodnes, God hath laied vp for them, that feare him! Psal. 31.19.

The smaleness of the quantity, and shortnes of the continuance of our tast of the graciousness of God on earth, should make vs to vse the meanes of communion with God, with so much the more feruency, and frequency, and humility.

Doct. 5. A fift doctrine is, that many in the Churches of Christians, neuer so much as tasted of the sweetness of Gods grace and word, and that may bee a cause, why the Apostle speakes with an If, as knowing it was a great question, whether many of them had had experience of the sweetnesse of the Word.

Question. Now if any aske, what should be the cause, that many Christians haue so little sence of the sweetnesse of the word, and Gods gracious­ness, and goodness in the Word.

Answere. I answere that it is:

First,The causes why so many haue little or no taste of the word. with many so, because they want the ordi­nances of God in their power and life of them. They want powerfull preaching: some congre­gations haue no preaching at all, and many that haue preaching, haue it not in the life and power. The spices of the word are not beaten to the smell, as they should be, 2. Cor. 2.15, 16.

Secondly, In others, because the taste of the pleasures, and profits, and lusts of the world are in their hearts, when they come to the word, and so by the cares of life, all sence of sweetnes is bea­ten [Page 110] out, Math. 13. Luke 14.24.

Thirdly, It is in the most, because they consi­der not their misery in themselues, nor remem­ber their latter end. A man neuer knowes the sweetnes of Christ crucified, till he be pricked in his heart, and afflicted for his sinnes and forlorne estate in himselfe by nature: and till men know how to number their daies, they will neuer apply their hearts to wisdome, Psal. 90.12.

Fourthly, Some men are infected with super­stition, and the loue of a strange god. They pre­pare a table for the troope, and therefore are hun­gry when Gods seruants eat, and vexed when they sing for ioy of heart. They cannot feele the sweetnes of the Gospell, their hearts are so poisoned with secret popery, Esay 65.11, 13.

Fiftly, Some men taste not of wisdoms ban­quet, because they leaue not the way of the foo­lish. All sense is extinguished by the euill compa­ny they keep, Prou. 9.6.

Sixtly, Too many Christians are poisoned with some of the sinnes mentioned in the first verse of this Chapter, & that destroyes both taste and appetite in them.

Seuenthly, Some are fearefully deliuered to a spirituall slumber, the Iustice of God scourging their impenitency and disobedience, that made no vse of his iudgements, and the remorses they felt before; And so are in the case of the Iewes, Rom. 11.

Eightthly, Because God doth for the most part reserue these tastes, as the onely portion of his [Page 111] owne people: and therefore neuer wonder, though the common multitude attain not to it, Psalm 36.8.9.

Lastly, the best Christians are often much re­strained in their taste of the sweetnes of Gods fa­uour and presence, because they are not carefull enough to attend vpon God in his ordinances: they doo not seek God, and striue to finde Gods fauour and presence in the means: they hear and pray loosely, with too much slacknes and remis­nes of zeal and attention.

The consideration heerof should serue much to humble and melt the hearts of such as feel this to be their case: they should be afraid and trem­ble at the iudgements of God vpon them heerin, and fear their owne case, and by speedy repen­tance make their recourse to God in the Name of Christ, to seek a remedy for their distresse.

And to this end,

  • 1. They should gather a Catalogue of all such sins as they knowe by themselues, for which they might most fear Gods displeasure; and then go in secret, and humble themselues in confessi­on of those sinnes, striuing till the Lord be plea­sed to giue them a soft hart and sensible sorrows. This course will both marre the relish of sin, and besides, it opens the fountain of grace and ioy in the heart of a man, Hosh. 14.3.5. Mat. 5.6.
  • 2. They should there attend with all possi­ble heed to the Word of the Lord, hearing it as the Word of God, and not of man; with this sin­cere couenant of their hearts, to do whatsoeuer [Page 112] the Lord commands: and then the Lord wil not long with-hold himself.

Secondly, the Godly that finde this sweetnes in the Word, should be so much the more thank­full for the gracious entertainment GOD giues them in his House, in that hee hath not, nor doth deal so with thousands of Christians, as he deals with them.

Doct. 6. The last doctrine is, that it is a shame for such Christians as haue felt of the sweetnesse of the Word, to lose their appetite, or any way to abate of their company in resorting, and con­stancy of desire after it, or estimation of it. This answers to the main scope, because these words are brought-in as a reason to excite appetite. The remembrance of the good we haue found in the House of God, should make vs loue it stil, though we doo not alwaies speed alike: wee should be­leeue, that God will return, though hee hide his face for a time. Such Christians then must bear their shame, that haue lost their first loue; and re­pent, lest God take away the Candle-stick from them.

Verse 4.
To whom coming, as to a liuing stone, disallowed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.

HItherto of the exhortation, as it concernes the Word of God. The exhortation, as it concerns the Sonne of God, follows, from verse 4. to verse 13: wherein it is the purpose of the A­postle, [Page 113] to shew vnto them in the second place the principall means of holinesse, euen the originall fountain it self, and that is Christ; to whom they must continually come to seek grace, if euer they will prosper and growe in godlinesse.

In the exhortation, as it concerns Christ, three things may be obserued.

First, the Proposition: wherein hee tels them what they must doo, verses 4 and 5.

Secondly, the Confirmation of it, and that two waies. First, by testimony of Scripture, shewing what Christ is; which Scripture is both cited and expounded, verse 6, 7, 8. Secondly, by the consideration of their owne excellent e­state in Christ; which is set out positiuely, verse 9. and comparatiuely, verse 10: or thus it is con­firmed by arguments taken from the praise, first, of Christ, verses 6, 7, 8. secondly, of Christians, verses 9, 10.

Thirdly, the Conclusion: where hee shewes the vse they should make, both in what they should auoid, verse 11. and in what they should doo, verse 12.

That which in generall may be obserued, is, that Christ is the main Fountain of all grace and holinesse. It is he that fils all in all things, Eph. 1. vlt. All the treasures of wisdome and grace be in him, in whom the God-head dwels bodily, Col. 2.3, 9. It is he that is made vnto vs of God, wis­dome, righteousnes, sanctification, and redemp­tion, 1. Cor. 10.30. He was long since acknowled­ged to be the Lord our righteousnes, Ier. 23.6.

[Page 114]The knowledge heerof may both inform, in­struct, and comfort vs.

First, it may inform vs concerning the grie­uousnes of our disease. The nature of man is so farre past cure, that vnlesse the Sonne of GOD sanctifie himself with vnspeakable holinesse, we can neuer be sanctified, Iohn 17.19. yea, the Word it self is not auaileable without the grace of Christ, as it appears in that seuenteenth of Iohn: where both the Word and Christ are intreated of.

Secondly, it may teach vs, first, to ascribe glo­ry to Christ, who in this respect is most worthy to be acknowledged the Head of all Principali­ties, but especially the Head of the Church; from whom commeth influence of all grace and goodnes, Eph. 21, 22.23. Secondly, it should teach vs, aboue all gettings, to labor to get Christ crucified into our hearts. It is Christ in vs, that must be our riches, and our hope of glory, Col. 1. 27. yea, this will bee vnsearchable riches to vs: we should determine to knowe nothing, saue Ie­sus Christ and him crucified, 1. Cor. 2.2. Third­ly▪ let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord Iesus, 1. Cor. 1.4, 7. And therefore God forbid I should reioice in anything, but the Crosse of Christ; whereby I am crucified to the world, and the world is crucified to me, Gal. 6.14.

Thirdly, it should bee a great comfort to the Godly, both in respect of their vnion with him, in regard their Head is so infinite in holi­nesse, as also in respect of that supply and help [Page 115] that they may continually haue from him a­gainst all their infirmities and defects; and lastly, in respect of the hope of the full confirmation of their holinesse in the day of Christ.

And thus of the generall Doctrine.

The first thing in the exhortation to bee consi­dered, is the Proposition: in which, two things are to be marked. First, what Christ is; second­ly, what the Christian must bee in respect of Christ.

There are fiue things in the description of Christ.Christ is diuersly described by the Apostle. First, he is a gracious Lord: that is im­ported in the first word. To whom, that is, which gracious Lord, mentioned in the end of the for­mer verse. Whereby the Apostle applies that to Christ, which was before spoken of God gene­rally, as hee that is God with the Father, and as that person in whom the Lord shewes his graci­ousnes to men. Secondly, hee is a liuing stone. Thirdly, hee is in respect of the world, and the base respect and vsage of him, once disallowed of men. Fourthly, he is elect of God. Fiftly, he is precious.

Now, that which Christians must be and doo, that they may receiue holinesse from Christ, is, that, first, they must come vnto him. Secondly they must bee liuely stones. Thirdly, they must be built vp in him. Fourthly, they must become a spirituall house. Fiftly, they must bee a holy priesthood, to offer vp spirituall sacrifices vnto God, such as may be acceptable in Iesus Christ. For, it is to be noted, that the word Are built vp, [Page 116] may be rendred, Be ye built vp, howsoeuer it bee read. The intent is, to perswade them thereto. Ye are built vp, that is, if you bee right, that is a thing must not be wāting: so the sense is the same.

First, then, of the description of Christ. And therein, the first point of doctrine that offereth it self to our consideration, is, that Christ is a gracious Lord. He is a Lord and Master to all true Chri­stians; and such a Lord and Master as neuer men serued, for wonderfull graciousnes. That he is a Lord to the faithfull; is euident by other Scrip­tures also, 1. Cor. 1.2. He is said to bee a Lord to all that call vpon him in euery place. Thus Da­uid cals him, My Lord, Psalme 110.1. And great Apostles confesse themselues to bee his seruants, Rom. 1.1. Iude 1. 2. Pet. 1.1. And that hee is most gracious, the Apostle shewes, when hee tels, that all Ages haue cause to wonder at the maruellous kindnes that God hath shewed to men in Christ.Eph. 1.7.

The vse may be both for information, instru­ction, and consolation.

First, we may hence be informed, that Christ is God with the Father. For, the which the Pro­phet Dauid, Psalme 34 (whence the words of the former verse are borrowed) Giue to God, the A­postle applies heer vnto Christ: and the reason of the application may in the second place in­form vs, that God is gracious to men onely by Iesus Christ. It is impossible euer to feel or taste of Gods graciousnes, but in his Son. And, third­ly, we are heer told, as it were, that Christ is God visible. God is made visible and sensible to men [Page 117] by Iesus Christ: This is that mystery of godlines: God is manifested in the flesh.

Secondly, Is Christ our Lord and Master? then these things will follow:

  • 1. That we must liue and die vnto Christ, Rom, 14.7, 8, 9. we are not our owne men; wee must liue to him that died for vs, 2. Cor. 5. vlt. The loue of Christ must constrayne vs, and all old things must be passed, and all things must be­come new vnto vs. If Christ be our Lord, where is his seruice? he must rule vs, and rule ouer vs. If we walke in the vanitie of our mindes, accor­ding to the deceiueable lusts of our old conuer­sation; we haue not yet learned Christ, nor the truth that is in Iesus, Eph. 4. And therefore let vs euery one looke to his waies, as he that must one day giue account of himselfe vnto Christ, which will bee Iudge both of quick and dead, Rom. 14.
  • 2. That euery knee must bow at the name of Christ, and euery tongue must confesse his soueraignty, to the glory of God, Philip. 2.1. Rom. 14. We must all take notice of his supreme authority, and forme in our hearts, all possible re­uerence toward him.
  • 3. We must not iudge one another. For, what haue we to doe to iudge another mans ser­uant? He stands or falls to his owne Master, Rom. 14.4, 9.

Thirdly, it ought to be the singular ioy of our harts, that wee serue so glorious a Master. Neuer seruāts serued such a Lord, as may appear by the [Page 118] enumeration of diuers particular differences, As:

Christ doeth many waies ex­cell earthly Lords towards his seruants.First, other masters are not wont to die for their vassals: Christ shed his blood for vs, one drop of whose blood, was more precious then all the bloods of all the men in the World; and this he did, onely to ransome and redeeme vs, that wee might bee a peculiar people vnto him, Titus 2.13.

Secondly, neuer Master had such power to prefer his seruants: Christ hath all power in hea­uen and in earth, Mat. 28. and all that, to enrich vs.

Thirdly, wee serue the best Master, because wee serue him, that is King of Kings, and Lord of all other Lords, Reuel. 19.

Fourthly, In the seruice of other masters, there is wonderfull difference of places, and many of the seruants serue in the lowest, and basest offices, without hope of any gaine, or re­spect: But in Christ Iesus there is no difference, bond and free, male and female, Iewe and Grecian, &c. in Christ are all one, Col. 3.11.

Fiftly, other Lords may aduance their ser­uants to great places, but they cannot giue them gifts to discharge them: but Christ doth enrich his seruants with euery needfull gift for the dis­charge of their callings, 1. Cor. 1.30. Eph. 1. vlt.

Sixtly, other seruants know, that their Lords may and doe die, and so they leaue their seruants vsually vnpreferd: But Christ liues for euer, as the Authors of eternall saluation to them that obey him.

Seuenthly, other Lords may take offence, and [Page 119] doe often put away their seruants: But whom Christ loues, hee loues to the end, so as whether they liue, or die, they are still Christs, Rom. 14.8.

Eightthly, no Lord can giue such sure pro­tection to his seruants, as Christ giues to his: No man shall plucke them out of his hands, Esay, 4.5, 6. Ioh. 10. and whatsoeuer wrong is done vn­to them, hee takes it as done to himselfe: and therefore the afflictions of his seruants, are cal­led the afflictions of Christ, 2. Cor. 1.4.

Ninthly, and lastly, neuer Lord was so bound­les in his fauour, Christ makes his seruants his fellowes, 1. Cor. 1.9. They sit with him there in heauenly places, Eph. 2.5, 6. Hee is not ashamed to owne them as his brethren, Heb. 2. His seruants he makes sonnes, and heires too: yea, heires with himselfe vnto God, Rom. 8. Neuer man was so fond of his wife, as Christ is of his seruants, Rom. 7.4. & all the book of Canticles shews it. Finally, they shal all raign with him, and be partners with him in his glory, after they haue laboured, and suffered a little: when he appeares in glory, they shall be for euer glorified with him.

Secondly, The second thing affirm'd of Christ, is, that he is said to be a liuing stone.

A liuing stone.]

A stone, and a liuing stone. The holy Ghost is vsed in Scripture to liken God and Christ vnto a stone: so Gen. 49.24. God is said to be the shep­herd and stone of Israel, and Reuel. 4.3. God is li­kened to a Iasper stone, and Psal. 118.22. Christ is said to be the stone, which the builders refused: [Page 120] and so in many other places.

Christ is three wayes called a stone.Christ is said to bee a stone, three waies. First, For he is either a rock or stone for refuge, because in Christ, men may safely rest a­gainst all the surges, and waues of affliction in the sea of this world, Psal. 18. Secondly, Or else hee is a stone of stumbling, as the Prophet Esaiah cal­led him long since, Chap. 8.14. and the Apostle Paul acknowledgeth the same. Rom. 9.33. and this Apostle in verse. 6. following, Because wicked men take occasion from this doctrine of Christ to fall into sinne, & mischief, & because if Christ may not be the meanes of their saluatiton, he will be an occasion of their falling: but in neither of these sences is it taken heer. Thirdly, But Christ is heere likened to a foundation stone, to signify, that it is he, vpon whom all the Church must be built. This is that stone, which was cut out of the mountain without hāds, Dan. 2.45. that hard stone of which the Prophet Zachery speaks. Chap. 4.7, 10.

He is said to be a liuing stone: and some think to liken him thereby to a flint stone, which being smitten, the sparkles (as if it had fire in it) giue fire and light to other things. It is true, that Christ hath life in himselfe, and doth giue the sparkles vpon the flames of life and light to other men. But I thinke, the stone heer doth not import so much by any likenes in it, because it is a corner stone in the building, which vsually neither is, nor can be of flint. But he is said to be a liuing stone, to distinguish him from materiall stones; and by that word liuing, to shew what the meta­phor [Page 121] stone cannot resemble: For though a stone might shadow out the continuance, and eternity of Christ by the lastingnes of it; yet life is giuen heer to Christ, not onely because hee liues him­selfe, and can doe no more, Rom. 6.9. but because he is by effects, life, that is, he makes life in the godly, whereby they become liuing stones also.

The maine doctrine heer intended, is, that Christ is the onely foundation of the Church.1 Cor. 7.8.

Ob. Dauid is said to be a stone, and a hard stone of the corner, Psal. 118.

Sol. Dauid was so onely by way of type, his life beeing somewhat like the state of Christ, in respect of the oppositions of men, and prefer­ment from God: and that that place doth special­ly belong to Christ appeares by the application of Christ himselfe, Math. 21.32.

Ob. But the Apostles are said to be the founda­tion of the Church, Eph. 2.20.

Sol. The place is to be vnderstood of the do­ctrine of the Apostles, which treats in one maine point of Christ.

Ob. Math. 16.18. But the Church is founded vpon Peter.

Sol. The Church is not builded vpon Peter, but vpon the rock, which was the confession of Peter, and so the doctrine of Christ: for the text doth not say super hunc Petrū, but super hanc Petrā.

Vse. The vse may be first, for confuration of the Papists, about their blasphemous doctrine, in ascribing this glory of being the foundation of the Church, vnto Peter, and so to the pope: which they doe most absurdly: for that place, Math. 16. [Page 122] 18. is not vnderstood of Peters person, but of his confession. And besides, if it had beene true of Peter, by what word of Scripture shall it be pro­ued, that it is true of the Pope, who is not once named in Scripture, except hee bee described as Antichrist? Besides, if the Church be built vpon Peter, or the Pope, then it will follow, wee must belieue in Peter and the Pope, else we cannot be founded on them: which is extremely blas­phemous: but that it may be put out of all doubt, let vs hear the testimonie of Peter himselfe, who best knew his owne right; and you see in this text, Peter saies. Christ is the liuing stone, and not he.

This likewise imports the misery of all such, as runne after other gods, their sorrowes shall bee multiplied. Psalm, 16.4. They build in the sand, quite besides the foundation; and so doe the Pa­pists, that put their trust in Saints and Angels.

But especially this should teach vs, as wee are heere exhorted, to build all our faith, and hope in Christ, and to cleaue to him in all vprightnes of hart and life, and the rather, because this stone hath seauen eies, and most perfectly viewes all and euerie part of this building, that euery stone bee set right, &c. Zachar. 3.9.

Especially wee should rest vpon this stone, when we haue any great suite to God: and haue occasion to continue to hold vp our hands in praier, and so wee shall prosper, as it was with Moses, Ex. 17.12.

Lastly, it should be the singular ioy of our harts, when wee see the corner stone cast downe, and [Page 123] God begin to build in any place the work of godlines, and religion: Wee haue more cause to reioice for that spirituall worke, then the Iewes had to shout, when the corner stone of the Tem­ple was brought out to bee laid for a foundation of the building, Zachar. 4.7, 10.

Thirdly, the third thing said of Christ, is, that hee was disallowed of men.

Disallowed of men.]

This is added of purpose, to preuent scandall, which might arise from the consideration of the meane intertainment, the Christian Religion found in the world.

The point is plaine, that Christ was disallowed of men: and this is euident in the stone: The greatest part of the world regarded him not: The Gentiles knew him not, and the Iewes receiued him not: Though three things in Christ were admirable; his doctrine; his life▪ his miracles: yet the Iewes beleeued not in him: He came vn­to his owne, and his owne receiued him not; Nay, they reuiled him, called him Samari­tane, and said, he had a Diuel. They preferred a murtherer before him, and their wise men, euen the Princes of this world, crucified the Lord of life & glory. This as it was storied by the Euan­gelists, so it was foretold by the Prophets: Isaiah 53. and 49.8. and so we see, hee is still of almost the whole world. The Pagans yet know him not: The Iewes yet renounce him: The Turk recei­ueth him but as a Prophet: The Papists receiue him but in part; and wicked men denie him by their liues.

[Page 124] Vses. The first impression this should make in our hearts, is, admiration and astonishment. This should be maruelous in our eies, that men refuse the Son of God: miserable men, their Sauiour; captiues, their Redeemer, and poore men, such vnspeakeable riches as is offred in Christ, and that almost all mankind should bee guilty of this sin; so as in comparison, he should be Elect onely of God.

Secondly, since this was foreseene & foretold, wee should bee confirmed against scandall, and like neuer a whit the worse of Christ or religion, for the scornes and neglects of the world.

Thirdly, since the world disallowes Christ, we may hence gather, what account we shold make of the world and the men of the world: we haue reason to separate from them that are separated from Christ, and not to loue them that loue not the Lord Iesus, 1. Cor. 16.22.

Fourthly, we may hence see, how little reason wee haue, to take the counsels and iudgements of carnall men, though our friends, and neuer so wise in naturall or ciuill wisdome: Their counsels were against Christ, they disallow Christ, and all Christian courses.

Fiftly, why are we troubled for the reproches of men, and why doe wee feare their reuilings? Shall we heare, that Christ was disallowed, and shall wee be so vexed, because wee are despised? Nay rather, let vs resolue to despise the shame of the world: and to follow the author of our faith, euen in this crosse also?

[Page 125]Sixtly, we may be hence informed, that indis­cretion or sinne, is not alwaies the cause of con­tempt: For Christ is disallowed, and yet was without all spot of indiscretion or guile.

Seuenthly, and chiefly, we should look euery one to our selues, that wee be not of the number of those, that disallow Christ.

For Christ is still disallowed of men, and if any ask,

Question. Who are they, that in these daies be guilty of disallowing of Christ?

Answer. I answer, Both wicked men, and god­ly men too.

Wicked men disallow him, and so doe diuers sorts of them, as,

First,What kind of men disalolw Christ. Hereticks, that deny his diuinity, or humanity, or his sufficiency, or authority, or his comming, as did those mockers mentioned, 2. Pet. 3.

Secondly, Schismaticks, that diuide him, and rend his body mysticall, 1. Cor. 1.10.

Thirdly, Pharises and merit-mongers, that by going about to establish their owne righte­ousnes, deny the righteousnes of Iesus Christ, Rom. 10.4.

Fourthly, Apostataes, that falling from the fellowship they had with Christ, would crucify him againe, Heb. 6.2. Pet. 2.

Fiftly, Epicures and prophane persons, that will sell Christ for a messe of pottage with Esau, and loue their pleasure more then Christ, Heb. 12.16. 2. Tim. 3.

[Page 126]Sixtly, Papists: who therefore hold not the head, because they bring in the worship of Saints and Angels, Col 2.19.

Seuenthly, Whoremongers and fornicators, who giue the members of Christ vnto a harlot, 1. Cor. 6.15, 16.

Eightthly, Reuilers: that speak euill of the good way of Christ, and reproach godly Chri­stians, especially such as despise the Ministers of Christ. For hee that despiseth them, despiseth Christ himselfe, Math. 10.

Ninthly, Hypocrites: that professe Christ in their words, but deny him in their workes.

Tenthly, the fearfull: that in time of trouble dare not confesse him before men, Mat. 10.

Eleuenthly, All wicked men: Because they neglect their reconciliation with God in Christ, and will not beleeue in him, nor repent of their sinnes: All that will not bee reconciled, when God sendes the word of reconciliation vnto them, Esay 52.11.

Secondly, godly men sinne against Christ, and are guilty of disallowing him.

  • 1. When they neglect the establishing of their hearts in the assurance of faith.
  • 2. When they faint and wax weary of praier, and trusting in God in the time of di­stresse, Luke 18.1, 8.
  • 3. When our harts wax cold within vs, and are no inflamed with feruent affections after Christ We neglect him, when we do not highly esteem him aboue all earthly treasures, Phil. 3.9.
  • [Page 127]The fourth thing affirmed of CHRIST, is, that hee is chosen of GOD.

Chosen of God.]

This is one thing wee must carefully knowe, and effectually beleeue concerning Christ, name­ly, that he is chosen of God. This was conscio­nably beleeued concerning him, as appears, Esay 42.1. and 43.10. and 49.2. Mat. 12.18. Now, Christ may be said to be chosen of God in diuers respects.Christ chosen of God diuersly. First, as hee was from all eternity ap­pointed and ordained of God to bee the Media­tor and Redeemer of all mankinde, 1. Pet. 1.20. Secondly, as he was called peculiarly of GOD from the womb by a speciall sanctification vnto his office, Esay 49.1. Thirdly, as hee was by so­lemn rites inaugurated vnto the immediate exe­cution of his office; as, by baptism, and the voice from heauen, &c. Mat. 3. Fourthly, as hee was approued of God, and declared mightily▪ to bee the Sonne of God▪ and the Sauiour of the world, by the glory done to him of God, notwithstan­ding the scorns and oppositions of the world, E­say 49.7.

The vse may be both for Information and In­struction.

For, hence we may bee informed concerning diuers things.

First, that Gods work shall prosper, notwith­standing all the scorns or oppositions of men: God's choice is not hindred, but Christ is sepa­rated, and sanctified, and appointed to the work of redemption, the peruersnesse of men notwith­standing. [Page 128] The vnbelief of men cannot make the faith or fidelity of God of none effect, Rom. 3.

Secondly, that God doth not choose as men do. The mean things of this world (as the world accounts mean) and the vile things of this world may be dear in God's sight. For, as it was in the calling of Christ: so is it in the calling of Chri­stians: such as the world disallows, may be dear to God, 1. Cor. 1.27, 28.

Thirdly, hence we may note the free grace of God in the sending and giuing his Sonne. He is fain to chuse for vs: wee did not choose Christ first, Iohn 15.16.

Fourthly, that to choose Christ, is, with Marie, to chuse the better part: it is to imitate God, and chuse like GOD, to forsake the world, and the wils, and lusts, and iudgements of the wicked men of this world, and to cleaue onely to Christ, as our all-sufficient portion and happinesse.

Fiftly, that all the enemies of Christ shall bee subdued either by conuersion when they come into worship Christ, or by confusion, when they are broken by the power of Christ. Euen Kings shall submit themselues, and worship him that is thus abhorred and despised of men, &c. Esay 49. verse 7.

Sixtly, that it is a singular happinesse to bee chosen of God: it was the honor of Christ heer, &c. And therefore, Blessed is the man whom God chooseth. Happy is the Christian whom God electeth, Psalm 65.4. Luke 10.20.

Secondly, it should teach vs diuers duties.

[Page 129]First, to obserue, and admire, and acknow­ledge the Lord Iesus, the Chosen of GOD, we should with special regard confesse vnto the glo­ry of God heerin, which the word Behold impor­teth, Esay 42.1. We should be Gods witnesses a­gainst the world, and all the seruants of any strange god, that this Iesus of Nazareth is that Sonne of God, and Sauiour of the world, Esay 43.10. It is one main end of the praises of Christ in this place, To raise vp our dull and dead affe­ctions to the highest estimation and admiration of Christ and his glory with the Father, &c.

Secondly, wee should learn of God, how to make our choice. On the one side is offred vnto vs the pleasures and profits of the world, and the inticements of sinne and Satan: and the other, in the Gospell of Christ is set forth and offred to vs as the means of our happinesse. Now, it is our part to take to Christ, and renounce the world, and forgo the pleasures of sinne, which are but for a season: wee should vtterly refuse the voice of sinne, neuer to be the guests of such folly, but rather to listen to the voice of wisdome, Prouerbs 7. and 8.

Thirdly, Is Christ chosen of God, that one of a thousand? Then it learns the Church to bee in loue with him, yea, to bee sick of loue, as is im­ported▪ Canticles 5.8, 9, 10. An ordinary affection should not serue the turn: our hearts should bee singularly inflamed with desire after such a match, found out and chosen of God for vs.

Fourthly, we should not rest heer: but, when [Page 130] God hath declared his choice, (as hee did by a witnes from heauen, euen his owne voice, Math. 17.5.) wee should then hear Christ, and, as the Prophet saith, wait for his law, Esay 42.4.

Fiftly, yea, we should so kisse the Son, whom God hath declared as King, by doing our spiri­tuall homage vnto him, as that we resolued, both high and lowe, the greatest estate as well as the meanest, to serue him with all fear, and reioyce before him with trembling: wee must expresse our thankfulnesse by all possible obedience of heart and life, Psalm 2.11.

Sixtly, we should follow his Colours, and take his part, and contend for the truth against all the world, and in particular against Antichrist, that man of sin, Reuel. 17.14.

Seuenthly, wee should imitate the praises and vertues of this chosen One, especially in two things: to weet, humility and constancy, as the Prophet Esay sheweth, 42.2, 3, 4.

Lastly: and specially this Chosen, or rather this knowledge of this Chosen of God, should teach vs to relie vpon Christ without wauering, with all trust and confidence, for our reconcilia­tion with God, for the obtaining of knowledge, comfort, deliuerance, preseruation, yea, and sal­uation too: for, this is he whom God hath giuen for a couenant to all people; and his soule de­lights in him. And therefore also we may runne boldly to the Throne of grace, and put vp our petitions by Christ. For, wee are heer assured, that God will deny him nothing, as these places [Page 131] euidently shew: Psalm 42.6, 7, 8, 16. Psalm 49.6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Mat. 12.17. to 22. But then wee must look to it, that wee obserue the seasons and opportunity of grace, Esay 49.8. 2. Cor. 6.2. Let vs therefore imbrace, while God is to be found, and offers vs Christ: for, we may seek when God will not bee found; as Esau sought the blessing when it was too late, Heb. 12.15.

And further: this may serue for singular ter­ror to all vnbeleeuers, that will not haue Christ to rule ouer them. He is elected already of God, and therefore will mightily pursue all the ene­mies of God and the Church, and all those that disobey him whom God hath chosen: hee will pursue them both with the terrors of his Word, his mouth being made like a sharp sword, and with the plagues of his hand, beeing made like a polished shaft, Esay 49.2. He will appear to wic­ked men in the day of wrath, as a mighty man, and as a man of warre: though to his owne he be as a Lamb, to them hee will bee as a Giant: they shall not be able to resist; and though he lift not vp his voice in the streets of his people, yet hee will set vpon them with roaring, and singular ter­rour, euen with all the signes of furious displea­sure: and though for a time hee may seem to put vp the contempt of men that disallow him, yet at the length he will not refrain, and will destroy at once, &c. Esay 42.13, 14, 15.

Besides: this doctrine of Christs chosen, or of Gods choice, should notably check that vn­belief and fearfulnesse that is too often found e­uen [Page 132] in Sion, in the dear seruants of God. When God hath published his election of Christ for the seruice of our redemption, why doth some say, The Lord hath forsaken, and his Lord hath forgotten him? Can God forget his people? or will he euer deny his Chosen? Shall not Christ bee regarded in our behalf, who is the person whom his soule loueth? Esay 49.8, &c. 13, 14, 15, 16.

Precious.]

Christ is preci­ous many waies.Christ is precious many waies. First, in respect of his nature: he is the choicest substance in hea­uen and earth; neuer such a man: all the crea­tures in heauen and in earth are inferiour to him. Secondly, in respect of his gifts: hee is qualified with all the treasures of wisdome and grace, a­boue all his fellows, Col. 2.3. Psal. 45. Thirdly, in respect of his works: neuer creature did works of such price, so vsefull, so exquisite, so transcen­dent. Fourthly, in respect of his sufferings: hee paid such a price to God in the ransome of man, as all the world besides could not raise, or any way make. Fiftly, in respect of effects: he giues the most precious things: no treasures like those may be had from him: his very promises are pre­cious, 2. Pet. 1.4.

This may serue, first, to inform vs in diuers things: as,

First, concerning that matchlesse loue of God to vs, that gaue vs his Sonne who is so precious, Rom. 8.34.

Secondly, concerning the horrible sin of Iudas [Page 133] and the high Priests, that valewed him but at thirtie pieces.

Thirdly, concerning the most miserable con­dition of all prophane people, and persons, euen whole multitudes of people, that so neglect Christ, that can with Esau sell him for trifles, pleasures, or profits, euen as meane sometimes, as a messe of pottage, &c. The more glorious Christ is, the more vile is their sinne of neglect, or contempt of Christ. Woe to them, that disal­low him then: Euen to all those sortes of men before mentioned! Christ will not be a founda­tion stone to support them, nor a precious stone to enrich them, but as the vpper and nether mil­stone to grinde them to pieces, or as a rock fal­ling vpon them.

Quest. But what should bee the reason, that Christ is in no more request amongst men?

Answer. Causes why Christ is no more precious with men. First, one cause is mans ignorance, both of their owne misery out of Christ, as also of the glory of Christ in himself, & of the priui­ledges man might attaine by him, and of the singular glory to come.

Secondly, another cause is vnbeliefe. Men haue a secret kinde of Atheisme in them, and doe not beleeue the report of the seruants of Christ out of the Word, Esay 53.1, 3.

Thirdly, another cause is, that the most men look vpon the outside of the kingdom of Christ, and of the estate of Christians; which, because they find it couered with afflictions, and seated in a low condition without outward splendor, [Page 134] they therefore contemn it: Our life is hid with Christ in God, Colos. 3.3.

Fourthly, but the maine reason is, because men doe falsely esteeme of other things, they set so high a price vpon their pleasures, profits, lusts, credits, honours, hopes, &c. that Christ is not remembred nor valued, vnlesse it bee at Iuda [...] his rate, and yet many will not valew him at so much as thirtie pence, but they will make shipwrack of a good conscience euen for a peny, I meane for extreme small gaine, in buying and selling, and such like dealing.

And thus much of the third thing wee may be informed of.

The last is, concerning the wealthy estate of all true Christians. How rich are they, that possesse this Mine of treasure, who haue his spirit, graces, righteousnes, ordinances, and glory!

And as it may thus informe vs, so it should teach vs:

Vse 2. First, to account of Christ as most pre­cious, to esteeme of him as euer precious in our eies, and shew it;

  • Pro. 8.11, 16
    1. By seeking to get Christ aboue all gettings.
  • 2. By accounting all things but as dust and dung, in comparison of the excellent know­ledge of Iesus Christ, Phil. 3.8.
  • 3. By selling all, to buy this precious stone, Math. 13. forsaking father and mother, house and land for Christs sake, and the Gospels.
  • 4. By keeping our communion with Christ with all carefulnes.
  • [Page 135]5. By auoiding all the waies, by which Christ is disallowed and dis-esteemed.
  • 6. By longing for, and louing his appea­ring, 2. Tim. 4. hasting to it, and looking for his comming, 2. Pet. 3.

Secondly, to consecrate our selues, and what­soeuer is deare, and precious to God, and the seruice of Christ, striuing to bee a precious peo­ple, and peculiar to God, zealous of good things, and workes, Tit. 2.12, 14.1. Cor. 6.20.

Thirdly, We should liue like such, as hauing attained so precious a treasure.

  • 1. Liuing by the faith of the Son of God, Gal. 2.20.
  • 2. Not being the seruants of men, 1. Cor. 7.2, 3.
  • 3. Keeping our selues from all pollution, by which the Kingdome of God may be defiled, laying vp this treasure in a pure conscience.

Lastly, Ministers, that know, that there is no other foundation but this liuing and precious stone, should study by all meanes to build gold, siluer, and precious stones, and not hay and stub­ble, striuing like skilfull master-builders, to make the whole frame some-way answerable to the foundation, 1. Cor. 3.12.

Thus of the description of Christ. Now fol­loweth what Christians must doe, that from Christ they may receiue vertue for the attaining of holinesse of life.

First, they must come vnto him.

[Page 136] To whom comming.]

Fiue points in generall.Diuers things may heere bee noted in the ge­nerall.

First, that men may come vnto Christ, euen while they are on earth.

Secondly, that naturall men, or naturally men are absent from Christ, or without Christ.

Thirdly, that without comming to Christ, we can neuer be sanctified.

Fourthly, that all that once take taste of the sweetnes of Christ in his ordinances, will come vnto him.

Fiftly, that to come to Christ, is a continuall work: Christians are still comming, their life is but a continued iourney to Christ, or a daily see­king out of Christ, &c.

But in particular I especially consider two things.

First, how many waies men come to Christ.

Secondly, In what manner men must ap­proach to Christ.

First, we must come to Christ diuers waies.

Wee come to Christ many waies.First and chiefely, by belieuing in him: wee must drawe neere to Christ by the assurance of faith, Heb. 16.22.

Secondly, by making him our daily refuge in praier, vsing him as our continuall mediator, and aduocate, Psa. 65.12. Ierem. 31.9. carrying all our petitions to him, in all our distresses making our moane to him, as the Client doth to the Coun­sellor, or as the oppressed doe to the Iudge.

Esay 9.6.Thirdly, by the frequenting his ordinances, [Page 137] viz. the Word & Sacraments, thus to come to his feasts, euen to his great Supper, Prou. 9. Luke, 14. 17, &c. Math. 22. Thus we come to worship.

Fourthly, by contemplation, remembring him, and setting our affections on him, thinking on him that sits at the right hand of God, Col. 3.1.

Fiftly, by receiuing his seruants, and visiting them in their distresses: He that receiueth them, receiueth Christ, Math. 10. and to visit them in prison, is to come vnto Christ, or to visit Christ, Mathew, 26.

But the fourefirst waies are especially meant, and the first chiefely. For the second:

Wee must come to Christ.

First, speedily: as, the men that suffer ship­wrack, quickly haste to the shore.

Secondly,In what man­ner wee must come to Christ. penitently: going and weeping we must goe, Ierem. 50.4. Hee cals to him sinners, and that to repentance, Math. 9.13. we must come weary and heauy loaden, Math. 11.28. we must re­turne and come, Esay 25.12. and not, as they Ier. 7.9, 10. Zachar. 14.1, &c. that came in their sinnes with Idols in their heart: Wee should come to Christ, as Benhadad did to Ahab, with ropes about our necks: that is, with all readines to pro­fesse against our selues our owne vile deserts.

Thirdly, confidently: and with perswasion of faith, [...]esting in his goodnes, and casting out feare and doubts, Heb. 10.22. and 11.6. as the Leper came to Christ, Math. 8.2. Heb. 4.16.

Fourthly, affectionately: wee must come to him, as the Loue comes to her Louer: so the [Page 138] Church to CHRIST, Canticles 2.10, 13.

Fiftly, importunatly, as the woman of Canaan did; so as wee will bee set down with no repulses or delaies, Mat. 15. as they with the Palsey-man, Mat. 9. Hosh. 6.1, 2. and as he teacheth vs to come to God, Luke 18.1, 2, 3, &c. and as Iob resolues, chap. 27.2, 3, 7.

Sixtly, orderly: wee should doo as Iob said: wee should order our cause before him, and fill our mouthes with arguments, Iob 23.3, 4.

Seuenthly, obediently. Wee should come to Christ, as children to their fathers, and as the people to their lawgiuer, to receiue commande­ments at his mouth; so as our harts might answer, Lo,Psal. 40.7 I come to doo thy will. If wee would haue God or Christ come to vs, we must bee such as Dauid promiseth for himself, Psalm 101.1, 2, 3, 4.

Eightthly, sincerely. And we must shew our sincerity,

  • 1. By forsaking the way of the foolish, Pro. 9.6, 23, 4.
  • 2. By comming in the truth of our hearts. For, an hypocrite cannot stand before him with­out flattering, lying, dissimulation, or wauering; not as the Israelites came to God, Psal. 78.32, 34. So as Christ may discern, that wee haue a true thirst, whatsoeuer we want, Iohn 7.37.
  • 3. Thirdly, by renouncing all other hopes, as they said of God, Ier. 3.22.
  • 4. By resoluing to cleaue to Christ in a perpetuall couenant, Ier. 50.5.
  • 5. By comming to Christ, notwithstan­ding [Page 139] dangers or difficulties: though it were with Peter to leap into the sea, Mat [...]. 14.29. or with the wise-men to come from the East, Math. 2. and though we finde Christ in a prison, Math. 25. and though it were to denie our selues, and to take vp our Crosse daily, Luke 9.24.

Vse. The vse of all this should be chiefly to perswade with euerie one of vs, to make consci­ence of this dutie to come vnto Christ, and the rather considering,

First,Many are the reasons why we should come to Christ. the necessitie of it here imported, in that without comming to Christ we cannot pos­sibly attaine vnto sound reformation of life: without Christ we can doe nothing.

Secondly, the incouragements wee haue to come to him, and these are many. For

  • 1. If we consider the inuitation of Christ, he calls vs to come vnto him, we cannot displease him by comming, but by not comming and neg­lecting him, Matth. 11.29. Canticles 2.10, 13. Math. 22.3. Ioh. 5.40.
  • 2. If we consider the persons inuited, or who may come: The simple may come, Prou. 9.3. The strangers may come, euen men from afarre, Esay 49.12. & 56.4. Any that are a­thirst, may come, Ioh. 7.37. Yea, the basest and meanest may come, which is signified by that of the Parable, that they by the hedges and high-way side are compelled to come in:
    Matth. 22.
    nor is there any exceptions at mens sinnes, but sinners may come, Math. 9.13. Yea such, as are wounded and smitten for their sinnes, may come, Hos. 6.2. &c.
  • [Page 140]Thirdly, if wee consider our entertainment when we come. He adopts all that come to him, Iohn 1.12. Hee is rauished with affection towards them: we cannot more please him, than by com­ming to him, Cant. 4.8, 9. They are sure they shall not be reiected, Iohn 6.37. Christ will ease them in all their sorrows, Mat. 11.29. He wil heal them of all their diseases, of which the bodily cures were pledges in the Gospell. He will be as Man­na from heauen to them: they shall neuer hun­ger, Iohn 6. yea, he will be life to them; the life of their present liues, and eternall life: they shall liue for euer, Iohn 5.40.

Thus of the first things required in Christians. The second is, They must be liuely stones.

Verse 5.
Ye also, as liuely stones, be made a spirituall house, an holy Priest-hood, to offer vp spi­rituall sacrifices, acceptable to God by Ie­sus Christ.

As liuely stones.]

IT is not vnusuall in Scripture, to compare men to stones: and so both wicked men and godly men.

Wicked men are likened to stones, first, for their insensiblenesse: and so the heart of Nabal was like a stone. Secondly▪ for their silent amaze­ment, when iniquity shall stop their mouth: thus they were still as a stone, Ex. 15.16. Thirdly, for their sinking down vnder Gods iudgements: so the Egyptians sunk into the sea like a stone, Exod. [Page 141] 15.6. And thus the wicked sink into hell like a stone. But chiefly in the first sense, for hardnes of heart: their hearts by nature are like a stone. And in the comparison of a building, if they be in the Church, they are like the stones of the house that had the leprosie, or like Ierusalem when it was made a heap of stones.

Godly men are like stones too: they are like the stones of Bethel that were anointed. God is the God of Bethel: and the Godly are as those anointed pillars, consecrated to God, and qualifi­ed with the gifts of the holy Ghost. They are like the Onyx stones giuen by the Princes, and set on the brest of the High-Priest, in the Ephod. The High-Priest is Christ. The Onyx stones are Christians. The Princes of the Congregation, are the Ministers that consecrate the soules of men which they haue conuerted to Christ, who wears them on his brest, and hath them alwayes in his heart and eye. They are like to the rich stones of a Crown lifted vp, Zach. 9.16. They are like the stone with the Book bound to it, Ier. 51. 63. They are neuer without the Word of God. But in this place they are likened to the stones of the Temple, which in the Letter are described, 1. Kings 6.7, 36. and 7.9, 10. and in the Allegorie, Esay 54.11, 12, 13. Sure it is, that the stones of this spirituall Temple, are the place of Saphyres, as is said in Iob in another sense, 28.6.

Now the godly are likened to stones in diuers respects.In what respcts the Godly are likened to stones. First, they are like stones to graue vpon, and so they are like those stones, which must haue [Page 142] the law graued vpon, set vp in mount Ebal, Deut. 27, 2, 3, 4. What is the mount, but the world? and what is Ebal, but vanity, or sorrow? and what are those graued stones, but the godly with the law of God written in their hearts, the light whereof shineth on the hill of the vanity of this world, and lasteth in the midst of all the sorrowes of this world? Secondly, they are like stones for strength and vnmouednes in all the stormes of life. The raine pierceth not the stones, nor doe afflictions batter the hearts of Gods seruants: strength is at­tributed to stones in that speech of Iob 6.12. Thirdly, They are like stones for continuance and durablenes, they will last for euer: so will their persons, and so ought the affections of their hearts. Lastly, they are like stones for a building, and that in two respects.

First, If you consider the manner of their calling into the Church: they are digged out of the quarry of mankinde, as stones digged out of the earth, being in themselues by nature but stones of darknesse, such as might neuer haue seene the light.

Secondly, If you consider their vnion with Christ, and Christians in one body, they are like the stone of the house compact in themselues, and vpon the foundation.

Vse. The vse may be briefly: First, for infor­mation: Heere is come to passe that saying that is written, God is able of stones to raise vp chil­dren vnto Abraham. Secondly, let all the seruants of God take pleasure in the stones of this spirituall [Page 143] Sion, Psalm. 102.15. and let vs all learne to be like stones in the former sences, for the receiuing the impression of the law, and for constancy and du­rablenes, and for care to keepe our communion with Christ, and Christians.

Lastly; woe to the multitudes of wicked men, whom God neglects with that heauy curse, so as a stone is not taken of them to make a stone for the building, Ierem. 50.26.

Thus they are stones: It is added, they must be liuely stones, to signify wherein they must not be like vnto stones: they must not be dull, and insensible, they must be liuely and cheerefull, and that for diuers reasons.

First,Reasons why we ought to be liuely stones. Because the second Adam is a quick­ning spirit, and they dishonor the workmanship of Christ, if they be not liuely, 1 Cor. 15.

Secondly, Because one end of the offering vp of Christ, was, that their consciences might bee purged from dead workes, Heb▪ 9.14.

Thirdly, They are therefore condemned, ac­cording to men in the flesh, that they might liue according to God in the Spirit, 1 Pet. 4.6.

Fourthly, Because we haue beene aliue to sin, and it is a shame to expresse lesse life in the ser­uice of God, then wee haue done in the seruice of sinne.

Fiftly, Because we haue liuely meanes, we are fed with liuing bread, Ioh. 6. and wee liue by the power of God, 2 Cor. 13 4. and we haue the spirit of Christ in vs, which is the fountaine of life, and hath springs of ioy in him, Rom. 8.9. Ioh. 6. and the [Page 144] Word of God is liuely and mightie in opera­tion, Heb 4.12. and Christ himselfe liues in vs, Gal. 2.20.

Sixtly, because wee professe our selues to bee consecrate to God as liuing sacrifices, Rom. 12.1.

Seuenthly, because we haue such excellent pri­uiledges: we partake of the diuine Nature, and God is a liuing God; and we haue precious pro­mises, 2. Pet. 1.4. and we haue plentifull adoption in Christ, and we haue a hope of a most glorious inheritance, which should alway put life into vs, 1. Pet. 1.3, 4. and we haue a secure estate in the mean time. For to liue, is Christ: and to die, is gaine, and whether we liue or die, we are Christs, Rom. 14.8. Phil. 1.21.

Vse. The vse should bee therefore for in­struction: Wee should stir vp our selues, and striue after this liuelinesse, and that for the two reasons imported in this text to omit the rest. For without a ready hart, wee shall make no riddance in matter of sanctification, and holy life, and besides, wee shall extract but a small deale of influence from Christ. For it is heere required, that wee should bee liuely, when wee come vnto him.

How we shewe our liuelinesse.Now this liuelinesse we should shew: First, by contentation in our estate: Secondly, by pati­ence and cheerefulnes in afflictions, Rom. 5.2, 3. Thirdly, in the performance of holy duties with power and life: Thus wee should bee liuely in praier, such as will bestir themselues, and take no deniall, as, Philip. 4.5, 6.

[Page 145] Quest. Now if any ask, What is good to quic­ken vs against the deadnes of our hearts?

Ans. I answer: First, faith and assurance makes a mans heart aliue,What wee must doe to quicken our harts. wee liue by faith. Secondly, wee must goe still to Christ, who is the life, and by praier still draw the water of life out of his wells of saluation. Thirdly, the word of God is liuely, Heb. 4.12. Fourthly, godly so­ciety, and a profitable fellowship in the Gospel puts life into men, there is a great deale of pro­uocation to good works in it. Fiftly, We should often meditate of the gaine of godlines, and of the priuiledges of the promises belonging to the godly.

Vse. This doctrine implies a great deale of reproofe also: First, to Hypocrites, that haue a name, that they liue, but they are dead, Reuel. 3.1. Secondly, to declining Christians, that suffer their first loue to abate in them, and can be con­tented to lose sensibly the power of affections, which formerly they had. Thirdly, to many drooping Christians, which out of melancholy, and vnbeliefe, affect a kind of wilfull sadnes, and hartlesnes, hindring therby their own assurance, and causing the easie yoak of Christ to bee ill thought of, besides many other inconueni­ences.

Thus of the second thing.

Be yee built vp.]

It may be read either in the Imparatiue mood, or in the Indicatiue. I think, the Imparatiue an­swers more to the scope heere, it being the [Page 146] drift to shew, what wee must doe when wee come to Christ.

The third thing then wee must doe, that wee might extract vertue out of Christ for holiness of life, is, We must be built vp; which imports two things. First progression in faith: and secondly, repentance. We must not begin onely, and lay the foundation, but wee must still labour to bee built vp further, wee must still bee edified in our most holy faith, Iude 20. verse.

Now, that this may be attained vnto, that wee may bee built vp, the similitude imports diuers things.

Meanes to build vp a Christian.First, preparation. A man, that will goe about the work of godliness, must think he goes about the building of a towne, and therefore must cast vp his accounts for the charge of it, and get his stuffe prepared before hand.Pro. 24.27. Luke 14.28.

Secondly, a constant relying vpon Christ. If wee build, wee must build vpon the rock, and not on the sands, Mat. 7. and 16.

Thirdly, the warrant of all our actions out of the Word of God. When Moses was to build the tabernacle, he made it iust according to the pat­terne in all things about it, &c.

Fourthly, a respect of things necessary: wee must not bee intangled with vnnecessary and doubtfull disputations. The building of a Chri­stian must be a siluer palace. He must build gold, siluer, precious stones, hee must keep his hart to choice and necessary things, Cant. 8.9. 1. Cor. 3. 1. Timoth. 1.4.

[Page 147]Fiftly, Counsell and Direction. Men must endure the hewing, and squaring, 1. Kings 5.17, 18. To this end are Ministers giuen, Eph. 4.12. The Word is able to build vs vp, Acts 20.32. and so good conference may edifie, or much edifieth, Ephesians 4.29.

Sixtly, attendance. This building must haue her distractions cast out, 1. Cor. 7.32. Dauid could build the Temple, because of his wars, and his vnrest on euery side.

Seuenthy, Order and distinction. Men must not rake together a great deal of stuffe, without order, confusedly: This is to build Babel, and not Sion.

Eightly, Vnity with the godly. The building must hould proportion with the walls, as well as with the foundation, Psal. 122.3. 1. Cor. 8.1. and 13. Rom. 15.2. Eph. 4.12, 16.

Ninthly, Sobriety in the vse of lawfull things: All things are lawfull, but all things edifie not, 1. Corinthians 10.23.

Tenthly, Praier: for except the Lord build the house, in vaine doe they labour to build it, Psalme 127.1.

Out of all this wee may informe our selues concerning the causes of not profiting in many. The reason why many Christians are not built vp, or why they increase not in godliness, is, that they are guilty of these, or some of these things implied in these directions.

First,Causes why many are so little edified. some profit not by reason of their irreso­lution about the taking vp of their crosse in fol­lowing [Page 146] [...] [Page 147] [...] [Page 148] Christ: They thrust into the profession of Religion, before they haue sitten downe to cast what this profession may cost them, and so in the euill day fall away, Luke 14.28.

Secondly, some can neuer thriue, because they place their godlines onely in the frequencie of hearing the Word, and the outward obseruance of Gods ordinances: These build in the sands, they lay no sure foundation, Math. 7.26.

Thirdly, others faile through vnbeliefe, and so either by neglecting the assurance of Gods fauor in Christ, or by misplacing their confi­dence, trusting vpon their owne works, or Saints, or Angels, or the pardons, or penances granted or enioyned them. These are not built vpon the rock, Math. 16.

Fourthly, others prosper not, because they come not to the light of the Scriptures, to see whether their works bee wrought in God,Io [...]. 13.21. or no.

Fiftly, others are distracted either with vnne­cessary disputations, Rom. 14.1. or with excessiue cares of life, Luke 21.34.

Sixtly, others are vndone with self conceited­nesse, they are stubborne, and will not be aduised, or directed, or reprooued.

Seuenthly, disorder, or confusednes in mat­ters of Religion is the cause in others: This is a wonderfull common defect: men doe not goe to work distinctly to see their works finished one after another.

Eightly others are kept back with personal dis­cords, & iangling▪ Enuie, or malice, or contentiō, [Page 149] misrule eate out the verie heart of godlines.

Ninthly, others are letted by intemperancy, in being drowned in the loue of pleasures: They build, they sowe, they eat, and drink, and follow pastimes, neglecting the care of better things.

Lastly, neglect of praier is an vsuall let and grie­uous impediment.

A spirituall house.]

This is the fourth thing required of Christi­ans. They must bee as a spirituall house vnto Christ: they must be that to Christ, that was sig­nified by the Tabernacle or the Temple. For, euery Christian is the substance of that which was signified by the Tabernacle.

Christ hath a fiue-fould Tabernacle. For, first, in the Letter,Christ hath a fiue-fold Taber­nacle. the Tabernacle or Temple at Ieru­salem was the House of God and Christ. Se­condly, the whole world is but the Tent of Christ, who hath spred out the heauens like a curtain, &c. Thirdly, the heauen of the Bles­sed is the tabernacle of Christ,Esay 40. [...]2 the place where God and Christ dwell with the Saints, Reuel. 21.3. and 13.6. Fourthly, the body of Christ is a ta­bernacle for the Godhead, Col. 2.9. and so it is, that the Word is said to become flesh, and dwelt amongst vs, viz. in his body, as in a Tabernacle, Iohn 1.14. And thus Christ calleth his owne bo­dy a Temple, Iohn 2.21. Fiftly, the heart of man is the Tabernacle of Christ: and so both the whole Catholique Church is his Tabernacle, Eph. 2.21. or the publick assembly of the Saints, Psalm 15.1. or else the heart of euery particular [Page 150] beleeuer: and so the power of Christ did rest vpon Paul, as in a Tabernacle, 2. Cor. 12.9. so are we said to be the Temple of God, 2. Cor. 6.17. I take it in the last sense heer.

Euery particular beleeuer is like the Taberna­cle in diuers respects.

A godly man, like the Taber­nacle in diuers respects.First, in respect of the efficient causes: and so there are diuers similitudes. For, as the Taber­nacle did not build it self, but was the work of cunning men; so is it with vs: our harts natural­ly are no Temples of Christ, but are made so. Se­condly, as God raised vp skilful men for the buil­ding of the Temple or Tabernacle: so doth God raise vp Ministers for the erecting of the Frame of this spirituall House to Christ. Hence they are called Builders, 1. Cor. 3. And thirdly, as there was difference of degrees, and Bezaleel and Aho­liab were specially inspired of God with skill a­boue the rest: so hath Christ giuen some to bee Apostles, Master-builders; and some, Euange­lists and Pastors, and Teachers, for the building vp of the Church, till he come again.

Secondly, in respect of the adiuncts of the Ta­bernacle: and those were two. First, moueable­nesse: secondly, furniture.

For the first. The Tabernacle, though it were Gods House, had no constant or certain resting­place, till Salomon, at the building of the Temple, took it into the most holy place; and was taken asunder, and easily dissolued; such are wee: though honoured with the presence of Christ, yet our Tabernacle must bee dissolued, and wee [Page 151] shall neuer be at rest, till we be settled in the most holy place in heauen, 2. Cor. 5.1, 7.

For the second, which is the furniture of the Tabernacle, it must bee considered two waies: either on the inside, or on the outside. First, for the inside: there were curtains of fine linnen, and blue silk, and scarlet, &c. and it was furnisht with admirable houshold-stuffe, as I may so call it. Within it was the Merci-seat, the Table of shew-bread, the Manna, the Altar of incense, and for burnt offrings, the Candlestick, and such like. Se­condly, without it was all couered with Rams skinnes died red, and Badgers skins vpon them: and what doth all this signifie in general, but that the Godly, though they be outwardly black and tanned with sinne and affliction, yet they are glo­rious within, and haue curtains like the curtains of Salomon; all richly hanged, as the chambers of Princes, with spirituall tapestry? Cant. 1.5. And in particular, for the inside of Christians, how glorious is the place of Christs Tabernacle in them! There is the Propitiate, Gods true seat of mercy: whence also he vttereth his Oracles, e­uen his diuine answers. There is the heauenly Manna that is hid, Reu. 2. There doth Christ spi­ritually feast-it: there hee dines and sups on the table of their hearts: and vpon that table stands the shew-bread, inasmuch as the heart of a Chri­stian doth preserue a standing manner of affecti­on to the Saints. There are also both sorts of al­tars accordingly; as, faith offreth vp to God ey­ther the redemption or th' intercession of Christ. [Page 152] There also is the great Lauer to wash-in, called the sea, because in the heart of euery Christian, is opened the fountain of grace; able, like the sea, to wash them from all their filthinesse. There are the golden Candlesticks, with the lamps of sa­uing knowledge continually burning in them: and vpon the Altar of Christ crucified, and now making intercession, do they daily sacrifice their owne affections; which resemble those sweet o­dors with which the Tabernacle was perfumed.

The outward couerings of the Tabernacle do assure safety and preseruation to the Godly; and the rather, because the cloud rested vpon them, as is affirmed, Esay 4.5, 6. Besides, the double co­uering of slain beasts may signifie, that God hath two waies to prouide for the Church. The red skinnes of Rammes may note Christ crucified, which is that which on the inside of the Taber­nacle was onely sewed. The couering of Badgers skinnes may note, that God will serue himself of the wicked: their skins shall protect the Church. If Israel want room, Canaan must dy for it.

Now thirdly, the Tabernacle was a type of e­uery beleeuer, if we respect the end of it. For, the Tabernacle was erected of purpose, as the place of the presence of God, God's visible House: such are the hearts of Christians: they are pre­pared of purpose for the entertainment of Iesus Christ, that by his Spirit he may liue and dwell therein, Gal. 2.20. Col. 1.27. 2. Cor. 12.9. 2. Cor. 13.5.

Vse. The vse of all may be both for instruction, and consolation.

[Page 153]For instruction; and so it should teach vs di­uers things.

First, to abhor fornication, seeing our bodies are the temples of the holy Ghost, 1. Cor. 6.21.

Secondly, to keepe our selues for being vn­equally yoked: Because there can bee no com­munion betweene light and darknes, the Temple of God, and Idols.

Thirdly, to looke to our harts in respect of in­ward sinnes, and to keepe the roome cleane for the Lord to dwell in, 2. Cor. 7.1.

Fourthly, to stir vp our selues to much praier: if our hearts be the house of God, let them bee a house of praier also.

Fiftly, let vs still lift vp our harts, as euerlasting dores for the Lord of Glorie to come in, Psalme 24.7.

For consolation. Shall wee not say as Paul doth, We will reioice in our infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in vs? How should wee hold vp our head against all tentations and afflictions? Is not the grace of Christ sufficient for vs, 2. Cor. 12.9? And shal we not be confident, that through Christ we can doe all things? Will he forsake the house, vpon which his Name is called? Will hee not perfect his owne work, and repaire his owne dwelling place? Was the tabernacle safe in the wildernes, while the cloud was vpon it? and are not our hearts safe, while Christ is in them? How are the abiect Gentiles honored Col. 1.27. whose hearts are so enriched by Christ, that dwels in them! If the outward [Page 154] Sanctuary were like high palaces, Psal. 78.69. what is the hart of man, the true tabernacle? and if he established it as the earth, how much more hath he established vs in his fauour and grace? so that it may comfort vs in respect of honor done to our harts, and against tentations and afflicti­ons; and in respect of hope of perseuerance, and also in respect of increase of power and wel-do­ing. Hee will work our works for vs. And it shewes vs also the honor cast vpon our good works: they haue a noble beginning in respect of Christ, and as they come from him. Howsoe­uer, wee ought to be abased for our owne corrup­tions, that cleaue vnto them: Yea, how should it wonderfully establish our hearts in all estates, to think, that Christ is with vs wheresoeuer we goe, not only as our witnes, but as our guide and our protector. If God be with vs, who can bee against vs. As also it is comfortable, if wee consi­der the comparisons imported in the furniture of the outward tabernacle.

And thus much of the fourth thing.

The fift thing is, Wee must bee a holy priest-hood vnto Christ: which is amplified both by the la­bour of it, To offer sacrifice, and by the honor of it, acceptable to God through Iesus Christ.

Heere are many things to be noted.

The first is, that Christians are priests before God, and Iesus Christ: This is acknowledged in other Scriptures, Reuel. 1.5. Exod. 19.6. The mea­ning is, that they are like to the Leuiticall priests, and that in many things.

[Page 155]First,Godly men are priests in many respects. in respect of separation: they are Gods portion giuen him out of all the people: so are the godly all the portion God hath in the world. They are said to bee the ransome of the children of Israel, Numbers 8.9.

Secondly, in respect of consecration. The oile of God is vpon the godly: and as it was powred out vpon Aaron and his Sonnes: The oile of grace and gladnes powred out vpon Christ, our true Aaron, hath run downe vpon his garments, so as all his members are Christians, that is, anointed with him, Psalme 133.2. Cor. 1.22.1. Ioh. 2. The holy Ghost is called the anointing in this respect.

Thirdly, in respect of the substance of the ce­remonies in their consecration: for,

First, as it was required in the Law, that the Priests should bee without blemish, Leuit. 21.17. so is it required of Christians, Col. 1.22.

Secondly, as the Priests were washed in the great lauer of water, Exod. 29.4. Leuit. 8.5.6. so must Christians be washed in the lauer of Re­generation, Eph. 5.23. Titus 3.5.

Thirdly, as the Priests had their holy garments, beautifull, and goodly ones, which they called their Ephods: so doth the Queene the Church stand at Christs right hand in a Vesture of Ophir, Psalme 45. Thus Iosuah hath change of garments mystically giuen him, Zach. 3.4. Those garments are promised to such as haue had a spirit of hea­uinesse, Isaiah 61.3. called garments of saluation, verse 10. and roiall garments, and like the newe wedding garments of the Bride, Isaiah 62.5.7. [Page 156] Those garments signified either the singular glo­ry, and ioy of Christians, Esaiah 61.3. or the righte­ousnes of Christ imputed, Reuel. 19. or the excel­lent diuine gifts and graces bestow'd vpon them.

Exodus 29.21.Fourthly, The Priest must haue blood sprinkled vpon his eare, and vpon his thombe, and vpon his toe, to signify, that our hearing, practice, and progresse must bee all sanctified to vs by Christ, and that the maine thing Christians should ex­presse and attend to, should be Christ crucified, and that Christ by his blood hath consecrated them in all these respects, so as their hearing, and practice, and progresse shall all bee blessed vnto them.

And thus of the ceremonies of their conse­cration.

Fourthly, Wee should bee like the Leuiticall Priests for knowledge: the Priests lips should preserue knowledge, and they should seeke the Law at his mouth, Malac. 2. And it is true of Chri­stians, that they are a people, in whose heart is Gods law, Esay. 57.7. Hebr. 8. Ierem. 31.

Fiftly, We should be like the Priests in respect of the work they did. For,

First, It was the Priests office to carry about the Arke of the Lord, when it was remoued, vpon their shoulders. What is the Arke to be car­ried, but the doctrine of Christ and the Church? Christians must carry about the Word of God, and hold it forth, in the light, and life of it, as lights that shine in the darke places of the wilder­nes of this world, Philip. 2.15.

[Page 157]Secondly, it was their office to blow in the sil­uer trumpets, and that vpon foure occasions, as you may see, Num. 10. First, The one was to assem­ble the congregation, or the Princes to the taber­nacle. Secondly, The other was to giue an ala­rum, when there was any remoue of the campe. Thirdly, The third was in the time of Warre, when they mustred to battaile. Fourthly, The fourth was for ioyes sake at the time of solemne feasts, and for thanksgiuing to God: and in all these we should be like the Priests: We should be as trumpets to call one vpon another to goe vp to the house of the Lord, Esay. 2.2. Secondly, We should euery where proclaime mortality, and signify that the whole hoast must remoue: we must cry, All flesh is grass, 1. Pet. 1.23. Thirdly, We should also blow the trumpet of defence, and arme our selues in the spirituall warfare, and call vpon God to saue vs from our enemies, and stir vp one another prouoking to loue, and good workes, 1. Pet. 4.1, 2. 2 Tim. 2.3, 4. 2 Cor. 10.4, 5. We should cry alowd like a trumpet, in reproouing the transgressions of men, and opposing the sinnes of the time, Esay 58.1. Ephes. 5. Lastly, we should trumpet out the praises of God for all the good­nes he hath shewed vnto vs, we should blow as in the new moon, Psal. 81.3. But then in all this we must remember, that we blow with a siluer trum­pet, that is, with all discretion and sincerity, &c.

Thirdly, a speciall work of the Priests was to blesse the people, and to put the name of God vpon them. The former whereof is prescribed, [Page 158] Nam. 6.22, 23, 24. and so should we all learne the language of Canaan, or the language of blessing: we must blesse and not curse, for we are thereun­to called. 1 Pet. 3.9.

Lastly, their principall work was, to offer sacri­fices: of which in the next words.

Vses.The Vses follow.

First, For reproofe: For there are many faults in Christians, whereby they transgresse against their spirituall Priest-hood: as,

  • 1. When men are yoaked with vnnecessarie society with the wicked: for heereby they for­get their separation to God, &c.
  • 2. When men neglect the finishing of their repentance and assurance, they looke not to their anointing.
  • 3. When men are scandalous of their in­discretions, and faults: they forget, that such as haue any blemish, must not offer the bread of their God, and forget their washing from their old sinnes, 2 Pet. 1.7.
  • 4. When men are barren of good workes, or are vncheerefull and dull: they leaue off the Priests garments of innocency and gladnes.
  • 5. When the liues and behauiours of men sauour of vanity and worldliness: they remember not the blood of sprinkling.
  • 6. When men are ignorant and idle, seeke not knowledge, or doe not teach, and instruct, and admonish; How doe the Priests lips preserue knowledge? or how doe they beare about the Arke of the Lord?
  • [Page 159]7. When Christians are fearfull, and irre­solute, and colde, and not frequent in the praises of God, how doo they blowe in the siluer trum­pet?
  • 8. When Christians are bitter-hearted, and accustomed to euill-speaking, how doo they for­get their duty of blessing!

To omit the neglect of sanctifying, till I come to handle it in the next place.

Vse 2. Secondly, for consolation to all godly, and mortified, and inoffensiue Christians: they should be wonderful thankfull to God, that hath made them partners of this holy Calling, howso­euer the world conceiues of it. God promiseth it as a great mercy to his children, that they shall be called the Priests of the Lord, Esay 61.6. and the Church is wonderful thankful for it to God, Reu. 2.6. and 5.10. And the rather should we re­ioyce in it, because God hath promised to take vs to himself, as his portion and peculiar treasure, Exod. 19.6. And it is his promise also to satiate the soules of his Priests with fatnes, Ierem. 31.14. And what a priuiledge is it to haue accesse vnto the Lord, and to stand before God daily? which the Priests not onely might, but were tied to it by their office. But then, for conclusion of this point, let vs all bee sure wee haue our part in the first resurrection, Reu. 20.6. and be carefull to be like the Priests for obedience and sanctity, Exod. 19.5, 6. and to get knowledge plentifully into our hearts, Col. 3.16. and in the cause of God to blow the trumpets of zeal and resolution, carrying our [Page 158] [...] [Page 159] [...] [Page 160] selues with all humility and readinesse to doo good, and so becomming instruments of blessing to the people. And, which I had almost forgot­ten, we must remember to be like the Priests for teaching, and confuting, and reprouing, and in­forming our Familiars and friends, as wee haue fitnes and occasion.

Thus of the Priest-hood of Christians in gene­rall. In particular, hence is further to be conside­red, first, their work; secondly, their honour. Their work is, To offer vp spirituall sacrifices: their honour is, Acceptation and high account with God through Iesus Christ.

First, then, of the work of Christian Priests, which is, To offer: secondly, what they must offer, viz. sacrifices: thirdly, the difference of those sacrifices from those in the Law of Moses: they are spirituall; which word notes both the substance of Christian sacrifices, viz. that they are such sacrifices as were not according to the Letter, but according to the mysticall significa­tions of the sacrifices of Moses Law; and withall, the manner how they must be offred vp, viz. spi­ritually, or after a spirituall manner.

The main thing heer intended, then, is, To a­uouch, that Christiās haue their sacrifices which they must offer, and that in a spirituall manner. Now, for the cleerer opening of this doctrine, two things must bee distinctly considered of. First, what sacrifices can remain to Christians, since the Law of Moses is abrogated: and second­ly, what things are requisite to the offring vp of these sacrifices.

[Page 161]For the first. There are diuers sorts of sacri­fices among Christians.Diuers sorts of sacrifices for Christians. Some are proper to som Christians onely: some are generall to all.

The sacrifices that are proper to some Chri­stians, are such as three sorts of men must offer. First, Ministers: secondly, Martyrs: thirdly, rich men.

First, Ministers haue their sacrifice, which they must with all care offer to God: and their sacri­fice is the soules of the hearers. Thus Paul was to offer vp the Gentiles to God, Rom. 15.16. And thus it was prophecied, that, in the time of the Christian Church, the Elect should be brought in as an offring to God out of all Nations, Esay 66.20. Ministers sacrifice their people either in this life, or at the day of Iudgement. In this life in generall, when they perswade them to their attendance vpon the House of God, and breed in them a care to come before the Lord in Ierusa­lem, Esay 66.20. In particular, when they work repentance and true conuersion in their hearts, and when they make them go home, and morti­fie their sinnes, and tender their vowed seruice to God.

And thus two things are implied for our infor­mation. The one concerns Ministers: the other concerns the hearers. First, Ministers may hence take notice of it, that there can neuer bee hope they should perswade with all their hearers: for, sacrifices were heer and there once taken out of the whole herd. And besides, the hearers may hence see, that they are neuer so effectually [Page 162] wrought vpon, till they can giue themselues ouer to their Teachers and to GOD, to obey in all things, though they perswade them to leaue the world, and binde them to the cords of restraint in many liberties they took to themselues be­fore; yea, though they let their hearts blood, by pearcing their soules with sorrow for their sins, euen to the death of their sinnes, 2. Cor. 8.5. and 7.15. Secondly, at the day of Iudgement also, Ministers shall offer vp their hearers to God, so many of them as are found chaste virgins vnto Christ, to whom they had espoused them before in this life, 2. Cor. 11.3. And thus Ministers, be­fore they dy, must make ready their accounts for the soules of their people, Heb. 13.7.

And thus of the sacrifices of Ministers.

Ministers haue another sacrifice too, viz. the particular texts or portions of Scripture, which they chuse out and diuide to the people, as con­secrated for their vse. For, diuers think, that that phrase of cutting the Word of God aright, is borrowed from the Priests manner of diuiding the sacrifices; and especially, from the Priests manner of cutting the little birds. The little birds, is his text chosen out of the rest, and sepa­rated for a sacrifice: which hee must so diuide, as that the wings bee not cut asunder from the body, that is, he must so diuide his text, that no part be separat from a meet respect of the whole, Leu. 1.17. and 5.8. 2. Tim. 1.15.

Secondly, the Martyrs likewise haue their sa­crifices; and that is, a drink-offring to the Lord, [Page 163] euen their owne bloud: this part is readie to bee powred out as a drink offring to the Lord for the Church, Phi. 2.17. 2 Tim. 4.6. and though we can­not bee all Martyrs, yet we should all deny our owne liues in the vowes of our hearts, to perform our couenant with God,Marke 8.34.35 if euer wee be called to die for Christs sake and the Gospel.

Thirdly, the sacrifice of rich men is almes, and wel-doing, and those sacrifices they are bound vnto, to offer them continually, Heb. 13.16. Philip. 4.18. Prou. 3.9. Almes is as it were the first fruites of all our increase. But then wee must remember that our almes bee of goods well got­ten: For else God hates robbery for burnt offe­ring, Isaiah 61.8. And in giuing, wee must denie our selues, and not seeke our owne praises, or plenary merit in it: for it is a sacrifice clean giuen away from vs, and consecrated only to God, and the vse of his spirituall house the Church.

And thus of the sacrifice proper to some Christians.

There are other sacrifices in the Gospel now, that are common to all Christians. And these are diuers.

For fi [...]st Christ is to bee offered vp daily to God, as the propitiation for our sins: God hath set him forth of purpose in the Gospel, that so many as beleeue, may daily run vnto him, and in their prayers offer him vp to God, as the re­conciliation for al their sins:1 Ioh. 2.2. Rom. 3.25. and this is the conti­nuall sacrifice of all Christians: Without this, there is the abomination of desolation in the [Page 164] temple of our hearts: This is the end of all the ceremonious sacrifices; the substance of those shadowes.

Those sacrifices serued but as rudiments to in­struct men, how to lay hold vpon Christ, and to carry him into the presence of God, and laying hands vpon his head to plead their interest in his death, who was offered vp, as a whole burnt sa­crifice for their sinnes. Wee are Christs, and Christ is giuen vnto vs as our ransome: wee must euery day then lay hold vpon him, and see him bleed to death for our sinnes, and bee con­sumed in the fire of Gods wrath for our sinnes.

Secondly, a broken and contrite heart is a sa­crifice God will not despise, yea such hearts are the sacrifices God especially cals for from men: Hee euer loued them better, then all the outward sacrifices in the Law, Psal. 51.17. It is the heart God cals for:Prou. 23.26. and yet not euery heart, but a heart wounded with the knife of mortification, that is, cut, and bleedeth in it selfe with godly sorrow for sinne, and is broken and contrite with the daily confession of sinne: This is required of all Christians, and this very thing makes a great deale of difference between Christian and Chri­stian.

Thirdly, praier and thanksgiuing to God, are Christian and holy Sacrifices, as many scriptures shew, Psal. 141.2. Heb. 13.15. Hos. 14.4. Psal. 51.21.

Fourthly, we must offer our selues, our soules and bodies as a liuing sacrifice to God, Rom. 12.2. 2. Cor. 8.5. and that,

[Page 165]First, in respect of obedience, deuoting our selues vnto God, liuing to him, and wholy re­solued to be at his appointment, Psal. 40.6. Loe, I come to doe thy will: this is in stead of all burnt offerings.

Secondly, in respect of willingnes to suffer af­fliction of what kind soeuer, as resoluing, that through many afflictions, as through so many flames, wee must ascend vp to heauen, as the smoak of the incense, or sacrifice on the Altar, Acts 14.21. Hence are trials called fiery trials, 1. Pet. 4.12.

Thus of the kindes of sacrifices, which re­maine vnto Christians:Speciall lawes to be obserued in offering vp our sacrifices. The lawes about those sacrifices follow: For there bee many things to to be obserued by Christians in their sacrifices, if they would euer haue them acceptable to God, which the shadowes in the old law did eui­dently signify, as,

First, the sacrifice must bee without blemish, Malach. 1.7. which the same Prophet expounds, Malach. 3.11. Our offrings must be pure offerings, wee must tender them in the sincerity of our hearts: Our sacrifices are without fault, when wee iudge our selues for the faultinesse of them, and desire they might haue no fault.

Secondly, it must bee presented before the Lord, and consecrated to him: which signified, that we must walk in Gods presence, and doe all in the sight of God, deuoting all to his glory, Genes. 17.1. Mic. 6.8.

Thirdly, our sacrifices must bee daily, some [Page 166] kindes of them: There were sacrifices euery day in the Temple, and it was an extreme desolation, when the sacrifices ceased: so it must bee our euery daies worke to imploy our selues in some of those spirituall sacrifices, Heb. 13.15.

Fourthly, There must bee an Altar to conse­crate the gifts, Math. 23.19. This Altar is Christ, who is the onely Altar of Christians, Heb. 13.10. Reuel. 8.3. No seruice can be acceptable to God, but as the Apostle heere saith, by Iesus Christ: We must doe all in the name of Christ, Col. 3.17.

Fiftly, there must bee fire to burne the sacri­fice: This fire is holy zeale, and the power and feruencie of the spirit in doing good duties: The fire on the Altar first came downe from heauen, to signify, that true zeale is kindled in heauen, and comes down from aboue: It is no ordinarie humor, nor a rash fury: It is no wilde fire: And it was required about this fire, that they should preserue it, and neuer let it goe out, but put fuell still to it; and so it was kept for many yeeres: so must wee doe with our zeale, wee must labour by all meanes to preserue the feruencie of our hearts, that wee neuer want fire to burne our sa­crifices: Our zeale should bee, as the loue men­tioned, Can. 7.10. that much water could not quench it: Euery sacrifice must haue fire, Marke 9.

Sixtly, The sacrifices must be salted with salt: so must our Christian sacrifices, as our Sauiour Christ shewes, Marke 9.49, 50. And thus we must haue the salt of mortification, and the salt of dis­cretion, [Page 167] and we must looke to it, that our salt lose not his saltnes, but that it haue a draining power in it, to extract corruption out of our sa­crifices: our words to God and men must bee powdred with salt, Col. 4.6. and so must all our actions.

Seuenthly, the sacrifices must be without lea­uen, Leuit. 2.11. Leauen is wickednes, or malice, or sowrenes, or deadnes of heart, or worldly griefe: euen whatsoeuer leaueneth, that is, in­fecteth or maketh the meate offring to be heauie, or sowre, 1 Cor. 5.8.

Eightthly, in the same place of Leuiticus 2.11. Honie likewise is forbidden to be mingled with their sacrifices: and by hony may be meant, our beloued sinnes, or particular corruptions: wee should especially watch against them in the time of performance of holy duties, that they mingle not themselues with our sacrifices, by infecting our cogitations.

Ninthly, the offring must bee waued, and sha­ken to and fro before the Lord, Leui. 7.3. And this signified the wauing of our lips in praier to God for his acceptation: our sacrifices should bee soundly tossed to and fro in praier before the Lord: Iob prayed before he sacrificed, Iob 42.

Tenthly, on the Sabbath the sacrifices were to bee doubled, to signifie, that in a speciall man­ner wee should consecrate our selues to piety and mercy on the Sabbath day.

Eleuenthly, our sacrifices must bee offered vp with all gladnes of heart, and spirituall delight. [Page 168] Thus Gods people were said to be a free-harted, and willing people, Psa. 47.9. and 110.3. And this was shadowed out, partly by the oile that was powred into the meat offerings, which is ex­pounded to be the oile of gladnes, and partly by the feast they made at the end of their solemne sacrifices, vnto which they inuited their friends, to ioyne with them in reioicing before the Lord: and it is likely Dauid alludes to this feast, when he saith, hee would take the cup of saluation, and praise the name of the Lord: For as yet the Lords Supper was not instituted, nor doe we read of any vse of a cup in the sacrifices, or sacraments themselues, Exod. 18.12. 1. Chr. 16.1, 2, 3, 4. Psal. 116.13.

Twelfthly, If wee be called to it, wee must not deny vnto God the fat of the kidneies, and the inwards. By the fat was meant the things which are dearest to vs, most beloued, and that most de­light vs: and if the seruice of God, and the Church and the poore require it, wee must deny our selues, and sacrifice what is most deare to vs.

Thirteenthly, the Apostle to the Hebrewes, Chap. 13.13. addes, that we must not leaue off wel­doing for reproach sake, but be contented to bee like Christ, who suffered without the gate, as scorned of men, and like the sacrifice was burnt without the campe. Though all men hate vs, and speake euill of vs, and cast vs out of their compa­nies, yet wee must persist in our intention to sa­crifice still to God.

Fourteenthly, In the Sacrifices God had a [Page 169] great respect of mercy, that cruelty were not shewed, as Leuit. 22.27. When he enioyned, that the creature must be seuen dayes vnder the damme, and that no damme with the young one was to be slaine the same day: Certainly, God abhorreth, that cruelty should bee exercised vn­der pretence of piety. Cursed be those long prai­ers, that will deuoure widowes houses, Matth. 23.

In one thing we differ from the sacrifices: For the sacrifices were dead, or consisted of things without life; but wee must be liuing sacrifices; wee must do what we will do while we are aliue, and must do it liuely, with the affections that be­long to the duties to be done.

Vse. The vse may be briefly twofold: for partly it should humble vs for our neglect of praiers and thanksgiuing, and almes and contrition: Wee omit the maine duties of our generall calling, when we omit these: It was the abomination of desolation, when the temple was without sacrifi­ces: and how can it but be exceeding vncomely with Gods spiritual house that hath not sacrifices in it? We are Christians but in name, when pietie and mercy is neglected. But especially we should be instructed from hence to mind our worke, and to striue to answere our high calling, by a conti­nuall care day and night to exercise our selues herein: the smoke of our incense should daily as­cend vnto God. The Apostle Paul beseecheth the Romans by the mercies of God, to look to their sanctifying, Rom. 12.1. Which shewes, it is of wonderfull necessity▪ and would make vs in [Page 170] some measure walke worthy of the Lord. And to the Hebrewes he bids them take heede of forget­ting these sacrifices, importing that vsually our deficiency in these seruices, are from forgetful­nes: we forget to pray, and forget to shew mer­cy, euen after we haue purposed both.

And thus much of the worke of a Christian.

Now his honour followes.

Acceptable to God by Iesus Christ.]

Wherein three things may be noted.

First, that howsoeuer piety, and mercy, and weldoing find little acceptation in the world, yet it shall neuer want honour and great esteeme with God. Pious and mercifull Christians shall neuer faile of the loue and fauour of God: Their workes are accepted. It is true, that God may change his minde concerning the Ceremoniall Sacrifices: but the acceptation of Christian Sa­crifices is a thing established with God, Heb. 10.9. These offerings shall be pleasant vnto the Lord, Malach. 3.4. They are well-pleasing in his sight, Heb. 13.16. They are a sweet sauour vnto the Lord, Phil. 4.18. God hath a booke of remem­brance, Mal. 3.17. and our fruit shall certain­ly remaine, Ioh. 15.16. And thus Cornelius his prayers and almes came vp before the Lord, Acts 10.

Secondly, that it is not enough to doo good duties, but wee must striue so to doo them, that God may accept them, Heb. 12.28. Esay 1.11, 12, 13▪ 14.

Thirdly, that now our best works are made ac­ceptable [Page 171] to God onely by Iesus Christ, Reu. 8.3, 4. It is from the presenting of Christ, that wee are found holy and without blame in Gods sight, Col. 1.22. Therefore we must doo all in the name of the Lord Iesus, Col. 3.17.

Vse. The vse of all should be to teach vs, with all care to deuote our selues vnto godlinesse, that thereby we may proue, what this good and ac­ceptable will of God is. Let vs try Gods accep­tation; and wee shall certainly finde, it shall go well with the iust, Rom. 12.1, 2. Yea, wee should from hence gather much encouragement to im­ploy our selues in piety and mercy. It is enough if God accept of vs.

Quest. But what should we doo, that we may be sure our sacrifices be accepted of God? How shall we knowe, when God doth accept our ser­uice in any holy duty?

Ans. That a mans conscience may be soundly established in this point of God's acceptation, we must look to three things.

First,What we must do, to get our works accepta­ble to God. that the person be sanctified. None but Priests must approach to offer sacrifice to God. They that are in the flesh, cannot please GOD, Rom. 8.8. The sonnes of Leui must bee purified and refined, as the siluer is refined, before their offring will bee pleasing, Mal. 3.3▪ 4. When the Lord reiected, with so much disdain, the sacrifi­ces of the Iewes, hee shewes what they should haue done to please him: they should haue wa­shed themselues by true repentance, and put a­way the euill of their works, Esay 1.11, 16. Onely [Page 172] the works of the penitent cannot bee accepted: if the person be not in fauour, the works are ha­ted. For, they are sanctified by the holy Ghost, Rom. 15.16.

Secondly, that the manner of performing our seruice bee right: there are diuers things in the manner are hatefull; and diuers things pleasing. The things specially hatefull, are, first, beloued sinnes: secondly, hypocrisie: thirdly, malice: and fourthly, luke-warmnesse. The sacrifice is lothsome, if it be blinde, or lame, or blemished: that is, if men bring to Gods seruice the loue of any foule sinne, the seruice is lothsome, Malach. 1. So, if mens hearts be carried away with continu­all distractions, that seruice is lost: this is, To come neer to God with our lips, when our harts are farre from him. Hypocrisie is leauen, as be­loued sin is hony; both forbidden. Again, when a man comes to God's work, and hath not for­giuen his brother, hee keeps the Feast with some leauen: his Passeouer is defiled; nor can his own sinnes be forgiuen, because he forgiues not, Mat. 6. 1. Cor. 5.8. Finally, luke-warmnesse is like a vomit to God, when wee are neither hot nor cold. They are lothed like the Laodiceans, Re­uel. 3.

There are other things wonderfull pleasing to God: as,

First, when a man doth whatsoeuer he doth, in the Name of Christ: this is the Altar that sancti­fieth the gift, and the sacrifices are heer accepta­ble through Iesus Christ, Heb. 13.15. Col. 3.17.

[Page 173]Secondly, when our works are soundly pow­dered, with salt, that is, when we soundly confess our owne vnworthinesse, and giue all glory to God in Iesus Christ.

Thirdly, when wee loue mercy and piety, ac­counting it our delight to doo God's will, and thinking our selues greatly honoured, to bee ad­mitted to doo this seruice, Mic. 6.8. 2. Cor. 8.5.

Fourthly, when we can bring faith, that is, a heart well perswaded of God, so as wee can be­leeue all good of him and his mercy. Without faith no man can please God, Heb. 11.6. and God takes no delight in him that withdraweth him­self through vnbelief, Heb. 10.36, 37.

Fiftly, when it is our euery-daies work. Sacri­fice will please God, if it be continuall, Hebrewes 13.15.

Thus of the second thing.

Thirdly, wee may knowe, that our sacrifice is accepted, if the Lord burn it to ashes with fire from heauen. Thus God did put a difference be­tween the sacrifice of Cain and Abel, by some visi­ble signe: and though wee may not limit God, and expect he should answer vs by visible signes, yet God hath not left vs without testimony of his fauour. For, by his word of promise, and by his Spirit bearing witnes to our spirits, hath hee manifested euen from heauen his acceptation: and in particular, when the beleeuer stands be­fore the Lord with his sacrifice duely offered; when the Lord doth [...]uddenly fill his heart with [Page 174] the cloud of his presence, or warm his soule with the ioyes of the holy Ghost; what is this but the signe of his acceptation?

Question. What if we be accepted in our ser­uice of God? what great thing is that to vs?

Answ. When God accepts thine offrings, thou maist be assured of three things.

First, that all thy sins bee forgiuen thee. God hath purged away thine iniquity: he hath recei­ued an atonement in Iesus Christ, Psal 65.2, 3.

Secondly, God is exceedingly delighted in them. Thy sacrifice is a sweet smell vnto God: he reioyceth ouer thee with ioy, Phil. 4.18.

Thirdly, it is a pledge vnto thee, that God wil supply all thy necessities out of the riches of his glory, in Iesus Christ our Sauiour, Phil. 4.19.

Verse 6.
Wherfore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I put in Sion a chief corner-stone, elect and precious: and hee that beleeueth therein, shall not be ashamed.

HItherto of the proposition of the exhorta­tion. The confirmation follows: where the Apostle giues reasons why wee should make our recourse to Christ, to seek holinesse of life from him; and the reasons are two. The first is taken from the testimony of God, verses 6, 7, 8. The other is taken from the consideration of the excellent priuiledges of Christians, vnto which they are brought by Christ, verses 9, 10. The te­stimony of God is both cited, verse 6. and ex­pounded, [Page 175] verses 7, 8. In the testimony of God, obserue first, where it is to be found, viz. In Scrip­ture: secondly, how it is there, It is contained there: thirdly, what is testified. Now, the matter testi­fied concerns either the giuing of Christ for the good of the Church; or the safety of the Chri­stian that by faith receiueth Christ.

The giuing of Christ is exprest in these words, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: the safety and happinesse of the Christian that receiueth Christ, in these words; And hee that beleeues in him, shall not be confounded.

First, of the place where this testimony is found, viz. in the Scripture.

By the Scripture,What is meant by Scripture▪ and why it is so called. is vsually meant all the Books of the old and new Testament, written after an extraordinary manner by inspiration of the holy Ghost. But heer he means it of the Books of the old Testament; but yet so, as the word doth a­gree to all the Books of both Testaments. Now, this very word giues vs occasion to consider of the nature of these Books, and of their vse, and of their excellency, and of their harmony.

These Books are called Scripture, because they contain in writing, the whole will of God, necessary to be knowne of vs: they are the Trea­sures of all truth. The doctrine, which was be­fore deliuered by tradition for 2000 yeers, was afterwards written down and explained in these Books: so as nothing needfull was left out or o­mitted.

Secondly, this word imports the excellency [Page 176] of the Bible aboue all other bookes, because it is called Scripture: as if no other writings were worthy to be mentioned in comparison of these. The Scripture exceedes all others in diuers re­spects.

Wherein the Scriptures ex­ceedes all other writings.First, because these writings were inspired all of the holy Ghost, 2. Tim. 3.17. 2. Pet. 1.21. so were no other writings.

Secondly, those writings containe a wisdome far aboue all that, that can be had by the Princes and men of this world, the platforme of the wis­dome that is in God himselfe, 1. Cor. 6.7.

Thirdly, they were penned by more excellent men then any other writings, the greatest, wisest, holiest men; Moses, Dauid, Salomon, the Pro­phets, Euangelists, Apostles, &c.

Fourthly, they haue such properties, as no o­ther writings haue: they are more perfect, pure, deep, and immutable then any mans writings: These can tame all things necessarie vnto faith, and a good life, 2. Tim. 3.17.18. These writings onely are pure, without fault, or error, or any corruption in them, and for depth and maiesty neuer any writings came neere them, and for vn­changeablenes, Heauen and earth must passe a­way, but a iot of Gods Word shall not passe a­way, Math. 5.24. 1. Pet. 1.23.

Fift, If wee consider the effects, that must bee acknowledged to the praise of the Scriptures, which can bee true of no writings besides, no writings can describe God so fully to vs: no wri­tings do so bring glory to God, no Scripture but [Page 177] this can conuert a soule to God, Heb. 4.12, 13. O­ther writings may shew vs some faults to bee auoided, but giue no power to subdue them, Psal. 19.8. These writings onely can minister solid comfort to vs in aduersity, and these onely can make vs wise to saluation, and perfect to euery good word and worke. The conside­ration whereof should work in vs a singular loue to this booke aboue all other bookes in the world, yea aboue all the treasures in the world, we should account them with Dauid more sweet then hony, and more precious then Gold, Psal. 19.11. Psal. 119.14, 15, 27.

Thirdly, the third thing may bee noted from hence, is the harmony of all these bookes, they all agree, as if they were but one writing, yea one sentence, yea one word: Though the bookes were written by diuers men, yet they a­gree so perfectly, that they all sound one thing: for they were all inspired by the same Spirit of God: which should teach vs, when wee meete with doubts, or obiections, or see [...]ing contra­dictions, to condemn our owne ignorance, and to be fully resolued, that there is a sweet harmony, though wee doe not see it. And secondly and es­pecially it should knit our harts to the Scriptures, wee should be affected as with the most delight­full musick of the world, or in the world.

Fourthly, the fourth thing concernes the vse of Scripture, and so wee may note two things. First, that we must receiue no opinions but what can bee proued by Scripture, To the law and to [Page 178] the testimony: if they speak not according to these, it is because there is no truth in them, Isaiah 8. Secondly, we may note hence, that the best men must proue what they teach, by Scrip­ture. If the Apostles did it, who were men pri­uiledged from error, then much more must o­ther men: wee must beleeue no man, aboue what is written, 1. Cor. 4.6. and he is accursed, that teacheth other things then what is written, Gal. 1.7. though he were an Angel from heauen. Which should teach vs to get proofes into our heads for all that wee beleeue, and to take heed of receiuing traditions euen from good men. For there be traditions on the right hand, as well as on the left, Ioh. 5.39. Acts 17.1. Thes. 5.21.

Secondly, Thus of the place, where this testi­monie is: The manner how it is there, is in the word Contained: It is contained in Scripture.

Contained.] [...].

There is much adoe about the word heer ren­dred, Contained, among Interpreters: The word sounds actiuely in the Originall, as if it were rendred, doth containe; or he containeth. But the Translators, and many Interpreters think, the actiue is put for the passiue: He containeth, for, It is contained.

If we read it actiuely, then the Name of God must bee supplied thus: Hee, that is, God, con­tained it in Scripture: noting, that as a singular treasure, God hath placed this Testimonie in Scripture, concerning Christ, and faith in him: and sure it is a great treasure, that wee may haue [Page 179] places in the sure Word of God, that so plainely testifie of Christ, and our happines in him: wee should take great notice of them, and bee much thankfull to God for giuing vs such sentences so briefely, and yet so plainely and fully to in­forme vs.

Some supply the name of Christ, and so they say, Christ containeth, that is, excelleth, as the word may signifie: Hee is had fully and excel­lently in Scripture, and in particular in this testi­monie of Scripture.

The word rendred (Contained) signifies some­times barely to bee had; sometimes to bee pos­sessed, as Luke 5.9. They were possessed with fear. And so we possesse a great treasure in Scripture, when wee haue such Testimonies as these.

There is a Nowne deriued of this Verbe, which is thought by the exactest Diuines, to mean a speciall Section, or portion; and when it is applied to a place in Scripture, it signifies such a Scripture as is diuided from the rest, as a prin­cipall matter either to bee meditated of, or ex­pounded. Such was that speciall portion of Scripture, which the Eunuch had to meditate of, and Philip expounded to him, Acts 8.32. where the word is vsed. And so whether the word bee vsed actiuely or passiuely, it commends vnto vs this place of Scripture, and withall shewes vs a way, how to inrich our selues, namely by singling out such choise places throughout the Scripture as may most fittingly furnish our thoughts for meditation in the maine matters of Religion.

[Page 180]Wee may heere note, what cause we haue of thankfulnes to God, for the helpes wee haue in teaching, seeing wee haue the Chapter and verse quoted to vs, which they had not in the Primi­tiue Church; and withall wee may obserue, that one may haue the profit of the scriptures, though he cannot quote Chapter and verse.

And thus of the second thing concerning this testimonie.

Thirdly, the third followes, which is the mat­ter testified, which concernes either the giuing of Christ, or the safety of the Christian in be­leeuing in him.

In the words that describe the giuing of Christ obserue: First, the wonder of it in the word (Behold): Secondly, the Author of it, God, I lay or put: Thirdly, the manner of it, Hee laid him downe, as the stone of a foundation in a building: Fourthly, the place where: In Sion: noting, that this gift of Christ belongs onely to the Church: Fiftly, what Christ was vnto the Church, viz. a chiefe corner stone, elect, and precious.

Behold.]

This word is vsed in Scripture, sometimes to note a thing that is vsually knowne, or ought to bee knowne: so Dauid saith, Behold, I was conceiued in sinne, Psalme 51. Sometimes to note, that some great wonder is spoken of, and must bee much attended. In this place it may note both: For it is certaine, that the testimonies of Scriptures concerning Christ, ought to bee familiarly knowne of vs, and this, as an especiall [Page 181] one: But I rather think, it is vsed to note the wonder of the work heere mentioned, and so the word may import diuers things vnto vs.

First, it was a maruelous work, that God should giue vs his owne Sonne to be our Sauiour, and the fountaine of life to vs. Hence it is, that wee may obserue throughout the Scripture, that God doth set this note of attention and respect, both vpon the generall, and vpon many particulars that concerne Christ, as it were by the Word to pull vs by the eares to make vs attend, or to giue vs a signe; when we should specially listen. Thus God brings out Christ to the Church, and tells, how he loues him, and hath resolued vpon it by him to saue both Iewes and Gentiles, and wils them to behold him, and wonder at him, Isaiah 42.1. So when hee promiseth the comming of Christ,Malach. 3.1 Esay 55.4 And of the ends of his comming, hee makes a proclamation all the world ouer, that he hath appointed a Sauiour vnto Sion,Esay 62.11 Thus hee would haue vs wonder at the seruice of the An­gels about the time of his birth, Math. 1.20. Luke 2.9, 10. and at the miracle of his conception, that he should bee borne of a Virgin, Mat. 1.21. and at the Wisemen led by a starre out of the East, Mat. 2.1, 9. and at the opening of the heauens, when the voice came downe to testifie, that Christ was the beloued Son of God, in whom he was well pleased, Math. 3.16, 17. and at the seruice, which the Angels did him, and at his wonderfull abase­ment for our sakes,Mat. 4.11 Math. 21.5. and especially that hee should sacrifice his owne bodie for our [Page 182] sinnes, 1. Iohn 1.29. Heb. 10.7. and that he is aliue from the dead, and liueth for euer, Reuel. 1.18. and that he hath opened the secret book of Gods counsel, and made it known to the world, Re. 5.5. and that, after such hard times vnder the raign of Antichrist, hee should recollect such troops of Gospellers, as stood with him on Mount Sion, Reu. 14.1. It were too long to number vp more particulars: Onely thus much wee should learn, that the doctrine of Christ is to be receiued with great affection, attention, and admiration.

Secondly, this word strikes vs like a dart to the heart: for, it imports, that naturally wee are ex­tremely carelesse and stupid in this great doctrine concerning Christ & faith in vs. For, when God cals for attention, it implies, that we are maruel­lous slowe of heart to vnderstand, or with affe­ction to receiue the doctrine. Let the vse of all be then, to striue with our owne hearts, and to a­wake from this heauinesse and sleepinesse, and with all our soules to praise God, with endlesse admiration of his goodnes to vs, in giuing vs his Sonne.

Thus of the wonder of it.

2. The Author of it follows.

I lay or put.]

God would haue vs to take speciall notice of it, that it is he, that was the Author of this glori­ous worke. He is the work-master, the chief ma­ster builder. It is Gods worke, and the knowledge of this may serue for diuers vses.

Vse.For first, it should direct our thankfulnes, wee [Page 183] should giue glory to God, and praise his rich grace. Hee will not lose his thanks for Christ. He holds himselfe much honoured, when wee praise him for so great a gift as Christ.

Secondly, it should much strengthen our faith, and make vs beleeue the loue of God, and his wil­lingnes to bee reconciled. He is the party offen­ded; and if he were hard to be pleased, he would neuer haue sought out such a proiect for reconci­liation: Besides, what can God deny vs, if he can giue vs his owne Son? and who is pleased also in his Word to signify so much, and commanded it by his seruants to bee told to the parties offen­ding, that he hath found out such a way of perfect peace.

Thirdly, we should hence be comforted in all the straits of godlines: when the Lord goeth a­bout to lay the foundation of grace in our hearts, and to forme Christ in vs, we should remember it is the Lords work, and it shall prosper; if the Lord will haue it go on, who can hinder it? The gates of Hell shall not preuaile against it, when God builds it vpon this Rock.

Fourthly, it should teach vs in al other distresses to trust vpon God, and neuer be afraid of the op­positions of men, or the impediments of our de­liuerance. For what shall restraine Gods mercy from vs? If the Lord can bring about such a worke as this, to found Sion, by laying Christ as the chiefe corner stone in her; then we may trust him in lesse matters. The Lord will accomplish all the Counsell of his will, and he that hath pro­mised, [Page 180] [...] [Page 181] [...] [Page 182] [...] [Page 183] [...] [Page 184] that all shall worke together for the best, will performe it. To this end hee pleades this worke of founding Christ in the womb of a Vir­gin, of purpose to giue them thereby a signe of deliuerance: then, in a temporal affliction it is ea­sy for him to saue vs and deliuer vs from all our troubles, that can giue vs a Sauiour for all our sinnes.

Lastly, Ministers that are but vnder-Masons & Carpēters, must learn to take al their directions at god, both to see to it, that they lay no other foun­dation, then what God hath laid, which is Ie­sus Christ, and in all things to be faithfull in good workes, as such as must make their accounts to God.

And thus of the Author.

Thirdly, The time followes.

I lay or put.]

Hee speakes in the present time, yet mea­neth it of a thing to bee accomplished in the time to come. For God laid Christ downe, as the corner stone, partly in his Incarnation, when he sent him into the world in the flesh to take our nature; and partly he is said to lay down this cor­ner stone, when spiritually by meanes hee formes Christ in the hearts of men in the visible Church. Now the Lord speaketh in the present time, I doo lay, for diuers reasons. First, To signi­fy, that the care of that busines was then in his head, he was plotting about it, & did continually minde it. Secondly, to signify, that howsoeuer the maine worke of the open restoring of the [Page 185] world by Christ, in the calling of the Gentiles, was long after to be done, yet God did spiritually forme Christ in the hearts of the remnant, so as at all times hee did more or lesse further his buil­ding. Thirdly, to note the certainty of the ac­complishment of it, he saith, he did then do it, to assure them, it should as certainely be done, as if it were then done: which should teach vs to be­leeue God, and neuer limit him. When we haue his promise, let vs reckon vpon it: if God pro­mise vs any thing, it is as sure as if we had it.

Thus of the time.

Fourthly, The manner followes, noted in the word Laid.

I lay.

There are many things imported vnder this si­militude, that Christ is laid, as the Mason laies the chief corner stone in the earth. For it imports,

First, The diuine nature of Christ, that he was before he was incarnate,That Christ is laid as a foun­dation-stone, im­parts many things. as the corner-stone was, before it was laid for a foundation. Christ de­scended from heauen, Eph. 4.7, 9.

Secondly, The vnchangeablenes of Gods or­dinances concerning the giuing of Christ. Hee hath laid him as a foundation, that hee would not haue taken vp againe.

Thirdly, the hiding of the glory of Christ, and of his life. He is of singular vse to the church, and the Frame of God's work appeareth in his members: but Christ himself is hid with God, Col. 3.3. He is like the stone hidden in the earth: hee is buried in the ground: and therefore wee [Page 186] should be the more patient, if our life be hid also with God.

Fourthly, it may be, by this tearm the myste­ry of the birth and conception of Christ is inti­mated. God digged the ground of our natures in the womb of Christ, that hee might lay Christ there, &c.

Fiftly, so it may likewise import the sanctifica­tion of the humane nature of Christ; who was qualified, as the stone is squared when it is laied down.

Thus of the manner. The place follows.

In Sion.]

Sion, for certain, was a Fort of the Iebusites, built on a hill close to Ierusalem; which was ta­ken by Dauid, and called the City of Dauid, 2. Sam. 5, 7; the Temple being afterwards built heer. The Church of the Iewes was cald Sion, because heer they assembled: and so afterwards it was the title giuen to the Church of God, both of Iewes and Gentiles, that agree in one faith and true Religion, Zach. 10.11. And in especiall, by Sion is meant the place of the assembly of the Saints, the Sanctuary. In the twelfth to the He­brews, verse 22. it is thought to signifie the saints in heauen, euen the Congregation of the first-born. In this place it must needs mean the Chri­stian Church; in which, GOD built the new world, laying the foundation in Christ incar­nate, which began in Ierusalem, euen at Sion in the Letter.

Now, when the Lord cals his Church by this [Page 187] name of Sion, it is to import diuers things; part­ly to tell vs what we were by nature, and partly to tell vs what we are by his grace and fauour.

By nature, what were our assemblies but Forts of Iebusites, in which multitudes of Iocusts swar­med? we were Canaanites, enemies to God and all true religion: we were the halt and the blind, mentioned, Mic. 4.6, 7; alluding to that in 2. Sam. 5.6, 7. But, being conquered by Dauid our King, euen Christ the Sonne of Dauid, we are new for­tified for his vse, and our estate is fitly resembled by Sion.

1. The Church is like Mount Sion for visibility.The Church is like Mount Sion in diuers respects Christians are like a City on a hill: they are such as all sorts of men easily take notice of; not that the men of the world are in loue with Christi­ans, but many times out of the hatred of the truth set they eies and thoughts vpon them, Matthew 5, &c.

Secondly, the godly are like Mount Sion for vnremoueablenesse: they that trust in the Lord, are like a mountain: men may as soon remooue a mountain, as remoue them from God, and hap­pinesse in God, Psal. 126.1.

Thirdly, the Church is like Sion in respect of Gods habitation there: God dwels there: hee keeps house there, and in the assemblies thereof he feeds his people. The Sanctuary is Gods fod­dering place: it is the City of God, the mountain of his holinesse, the City of the great King, the City of the Lord of Hostes: God shines there, Psalm 48.1, 2, 8. Psalm 50.2. He is known there [Page 188] familiarly, because his dwelling place is there, Psalm 76.1, 2. He hath chosen his Church out of all the world: it is the place only which he hath desired: it is his rest for euer, Psalm 132.73, 14, 15. It is the place of the Name of the Lord of hosts, Esay 18.7. As Dauid by an excellency reckoned Sion to bee his City of residence: so God doth account of the Church as all he hath, as it were in the world.

Fourthly, it may be, that the Church is resem­bled to Sion for the littlenesse of it, in compari­son of the world: euen in Sion, that is so much despised, will God lay his corner-stone.

Fiftly, but the principall thing heer intended, is, To signifie to vs, that God loues his Church aboue all the world, and that he will giue Christ to none but to the Church. Out of Sion there can be no saluation; and in Sion there is all hap­pinesse to be had.

The consideration heerof may serue vs for ma­ny vses.

Vses. First, we should hence inform our selues concerning the excellency of the Church of God aboue all other Assemblies of men in the world. Wee should learn to think of the Assem­blies of Christians, as the Sion of God: shee is the Mountain of his holinesse, the ioy of the whole earth, Psal. 48.1, 2. the perfection of beau­ty, where God shines more than in all the world besides, Psal. 50.2. The Moon may be confoun­ded, and the Sunne ashamed, when the Lord is pleased to shew himself to raign in Sion, and be­fore [Page 189] his Ancients gloriously, Isaiah 24.23. yea the Church of God is an eternall excellency, Isaiah 60.15. wheras all other glories will vanish. And besides, we should hence be informed con­cerning the necessitie of obtaining saluation in the Church. For this text shewes vs, that Christ is no where laid but in Sion, and can no where be found, but in the true Church; In Sion onely hath God placed saluation for Israel, his glorie: Onely the godly are Gods Israel: Onely in Israel doth God glorie, and onely in Sion can Gods Israel finde saluation, Isaiah 46. vlt.

Secondly, Hence wee should especially bee moued to an effectuall care to make it so, since that wee are in the true Church, and that we are true members of Sion, and withall wee should striue aboue all things to procure for our selues the ordinances of God in Sion. It is said of the godly distressed for want of meanes, that going they went, and weeping they did goe to seek the Lord in Sion with their faces thitherward, and with a resolution to bind themselues by co­uenant to the Lord, to bee any thing hee would haue them to be, onely if they might finde fauor in his eies heerein, Ierem. 50.5.

Quest. Now if you aske mee, how the true members of Sion may bee knowne?

Ans. I answer:Marks of such as are true members of Sion. first generally, that all that are in Sion are not of Sion, and further that wee must not iudge of true Christians by their num­ber. For God many times takes one of a Tribe, or one of a City, and two of a Tribe, to bring them [Page 190] to Sion, Ierem. 3.14. But yet to answer more di­rectly: Thou must be a new creature, or thou art no member of Gods true Sion. For of euerie one in Sion it must bee said, Hee was borne there, Psal. 86.5. The gates of Sion are to bee opened onely, that a righteous nation may enter in, Esay 26.1, 2. Men may deceiue themselues, but God will not be deceiued. For he hath his fire in Sion, and furnace in Ierusalem: Hee will try euery man, and make his count onely by righteousnes, Esay 31.9. Rom. 9. and therefore the sinners in Sion haue reason to be afraid, Esay 35.14. And if yet wee would haue signes more particular, wee may trie our selues by these that follow.

First, Sion is a Virgin, and all the Godly are the Daughters of Sion, and so the chiefe Daugh­ter of a chiefe mother.1 Kings 19.1, 21. Reuel. 14.5. Now this is a true vertue of a true member of the Church, that his loue is vndefiled towards Christ; Hee is not en­amored with other things: Hee will haue no o­ther God, but one: Hee accounts all things but drosse and dung in comparison of Christ: Hee harbours no beloued sinne, but denieth the in­ticements of it with detestation, and griefe, that hee should euer be so assaulted.

Secondly, God knoweth his owne in Sion by this signe, that they are they, that mourn in Sion, that are farre from making a mock of sinne: The Lord himselfe is their witnes, that their hearts are heauie by reason of their sinnes, and they knowe no griefe like to the grief for their sinnes, Esay 61.2.

[Page 191]Thirdly, thou maist knowe thy estate by thy subiection to Christ and his ordinances: For God hath set his King in Sion. Now if thy So­ueraigne bee in Heauen, and thou canst bee wil­ling to be ruled by his ordinances, this will bee a comfortable testimonie to thee: as contrari­wise, if thou dislike his gouernment, and wouldst faine cast his yoake from thee, so as this man may not rule ouer thee: thou art of the number of the people, but not of Gods people, Psal. 2.6.

Thus of the second vse.

Thirdly, wee should bee carefull to celebrate the praises of God, yea and therefore carefull for all the goodnes he shewes vnto vs in Sion: Praise should waite for him.Psal. 65.1. The Lord is great, and greatly to bee praised in Sion, the Cittie of our God, Psal. 48.1. Psal. 147.12. Esay 51.16. All that serue the Lord in Sion, and are refreshed with the comforts of his presence, should get large hearts both for admiration, and celebration of his goodnes, Psal. 134. the whole Psalme. Come, say the godly, Ierem. 31.10. let vs declare the worke of the Lord in Sion, &c.

Fourthly, since Sion is the place, where the Lord keepes house, and giues entertainment to all his followers, wee should call one vpon ano­ther to goe vp to the Lord in Sion; wee should run thither to the bountifulnes of the Lord, and in all our wants shew our selues instructed in this point, by making our recourse vnto Sion, as the place where God is pleased most readily to de­clare his shining mercies, Ierem. 31.6, 12.

[Page 192]Fiftly, we should be stirred vp to much praier for the accomplishment of the building of God in Sion; Our hearts should long to see this work prosper: Oh that the saluation of Israel were come out of Sion! Psal. 14.1. For Sions sake wee should not hould our peace, Esay 62.1. but still beseech the Lord to doe good to Sion, and build vp the walls of Ierusalem, Psal. 51.20.

Sixtly, we should especially be greeued, if we see that Sion prospers not: Of all iudgements we should most lament the desolation of Sion. The whole booke of Lamentations is spent vpon this subiect: Wee should hang our harpes vpon the willowes, if we remember, that Sion lieth waste, and there be none to build her vp, Psal. 137.

Seuenthly, the especiall vse should be for con­solation: If the Lord doe vs good in Sion, wee should account it a maruelous felicitie, if the lord admit vs to be members of the true Church in places where Gods work prospers. The Lord giues this promise in Esay to comfort them a­gainst all the miseries were outwardly to fall vp­on them: This work should make amends for all other troubles: If God build vs vp in spirituall things, hee giues vs double for all outward crosses: we should striue with our owne hearts to be exceedingly affected with the happines of our owne condition on earth, when we know our in­terest in Sion: wee should liue without feare, yea euerlasting ioy should bee vpon our heads, and sorrow & mourning should flee away, Esay 31.10. and the rather, if wee consider the prerogatiues [Page 193] of Sion aboue all the world besides, for,

First,Speciall prero­gatiues of Sion and the true members of it. the Lord dwells there: It is the Palace of his residence on earth, as hath beene shewed before.

Secondly, the fauor of God shines there: Hee delightes in his people, and ioyes in all the mem­bers of Sion: He reioiceth ouer them with ioy, Zeph. 3.15, 16, 17. Psal. 86.2.

Thirdly, in Sion we are loosed from our fet­ters and bonds. It is a place, where the Captiues goe free: The Lord turnes back the captiuitie of his people, Psal. 14.7.

Fourthly, in her Palaces God is knowne for a refuge in all distresses, Psal. 48.3. There is won­derfull safetie there: The Lord doth mightily preserue and defend his people; wee are safe, if wee be members of the true Church, and haue true grace: the greatest aduersaries labour in vaine, and seeking see, and maruell, and haste a­way, Psal. 48.11, 12. They shall certainly be con­founded, and turned back, that hate, Sion, Psal. 129.5. Vpon euery place of mount Sion shall be defence.Esay 4.5, Esay 33.20. Sion is a quiet habitation. God hath his yeere of recompence for the controuersies of Sion, and his day of Vengance, Esay 34.8.

Fiftly, the Lawe comes out of Sion, and the word of the Lord from Ierusalem: There we haue directions for our life and for eternall life, Esay 2.3. It is Gods foddering place, there hee giues vs shepheards to feed vs, Ierem. 3.14.

Sixtly, the inhabitants of Sion haue all remis­sion of sinnes, and the healing of their infirmities, [Page 194] as the Prophet shews in these words excellently. The inhabitant thereof shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall bee forgiuen their iniquitie, Esay 33.24.

Seuenthly, all the good newes is there to bee had: we are naturally Athenians, we loue to tell, and heare newes: if we were spiritually so, Oh! how would we reioice in Sion! whose spirituall glory is to bring good tidings, Esay 40.9. and 41, 27. and 52.7, &c.

Eightthly, If the Lord bee displeased with Sion, yet it is but for a moment, hee will returne in euerlasting compassion: It is a sure thing, The Lord will yet haue mercy vpon Sion, Psal. 102.14. Hee will againe comfort Sion, and make his wildernes like Eden, and his Desart like the gar­den of the Lord, Esay 51.3.

Lastly, and specially we should reioice in Sion because the Redeemer comes to Sion, and to them that turne from their transgressions in Iacob, Esay 59.20. Yea saluation only comes out of Sion, Psal. 14.7. In Sion onely hath God pla­ced saluation for Israel his glory, Esay 46. vlt.

And therefore we should labour to walk wor­thie of so great mercies of God, and liue with all contentment, whatsoeuer our outward estate be: Euery poore Christian should think themselues aboundantly happie: What shall one answer the messengers of the nations, saith the Prophet! Why thus: That the Lord hath founded Sion, and the poore of his people shall trust in it, Esay 14.32. Especially, if wee consider that of the [Page 195] Psalme, that the Lord hath there commanded the blessing, euen life for euermore, Psal. 133.3.

Thus it should serue for consolation.

Eightthly, It imports and imputes also great reproof:Vse 8. and so to two sorts of men.

First, to the godly themselues, that liue not comfortably, and are dailie distressed with vn­belief, shal any distresses now make Sion droop? The Lord takes it wonderfully vnkindly, that Sion said, God hath forsaken mee, and my God hath forgotten mee, and pleades earnestly to proue, that it was false. What, saies the Prophet Micah, Esay 49.15▪ is there no King in thee? why doest thou crie out? Mic. 4.8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. And the Pro­phet Ieremie notes it with indignation: Behold, saith he, the voice of the crie of the daughter of my people, because of them that dwell n farre countries: Is not the Lord in Sion? Is not her King in her? Ierem. 8.19.

Secondly, to carelesse and carnall Christians. Is the Lord about so great a work, as founding of Sion, and forming Christ in the harts of men? Then wo to them that are at ease in Sion, and can sit still, and securely neglect so great saluation brought vnto them, Amos 6.1.

A corner stone.]

Christ is described by these words: A corner stone, elect and precious ▪ He is likened to the foun­dation stone in the corner of the building, by which similitude diuers Doctrines are impor­ted, as,

First, that Christ is the foundation of all the [Page 196] building of grace and godlines in the Church, and the onely corner stone, Hebr. 1.3. Ioh▪ 5.39. Other foundation can no man lay, then that which is laid, which is Iesus Christ, 1. Cor. 3. which should both teach vs, and informe vs: it should teach vs, where to begin, when wee goe about the work of godlines, and eternall life: Wee must begin at Christ: All the building of true grace must begin at Christ, and our redemp­tion in him: till wee haue learned Christ, wee haue learned nothing: and it should teach vs also to stay our hearts in all estates vpon Christ; wee should rest in him, as the building doth vpon the foundation: And further it should teach vs to ascribe all the praise of the grace or hope wee haue receiued, vnto Christ, and the support wee haue from him: And it may informe vs, concer­ning the dotage of the Papists, who make Peter the rock and foundation of the Church: and yet heere wee haue the testimonie and Doctrine of Peter himselfe to the contrarie, teaching vs to acknowledge no other rock of foundation, but Christ himselfe.

Secondly, we heere are instructed concerning the Vnion of Iewes and Gentiles in one Christ: The two sides of the building meet all in the corner, and are both fastened vpon this one foundation of Christ crucified.

Thirdly, it is heere imported, that Gods building, euen in these times of the Gospell, is not finished, nor will bee in this life, till all the elect be called: He is for the most part imploied [Page 197] in laying the foundation, and fastning the Elect, as they arise in their seuerall ages, as liuely stones vpon this liuing stone. But the work will not be finished, till we be settled in that Building made without hands in heauen.

Fourthly, hence we may gather a testimony of the two natures of Christ or in Christ. Hee is God, because he must be beleeued on: and he is man, because he is part of the Building, and was laid down of God as the corner-stone.

Elect and precious.]

There are two Epithets, by which the corner stone is commended, as meet to bee the onely head of the corner. The first is, that it is an Elect one, a choise one, that one of a thousand, there was not such another to be found in all the heape of the creatures to make a corner stone of. This is hee that is separate from sinners, and acknow­ledged to be better and fitter for this worke, then the Angels in heauen. There can bee no other name, vpon which we may be founded, but one­ly the happy name of Iesus. And therefore for the vse of it, let euery knee bow at the name of Iesus, and let euery tongue confesse to the glory of God the Father, that he hath been wonderfull in his choise. Let vs adore him, whom God hath chosen, and giuen vnto vs as the foundation of all our happines, especially let vs learn of God to make our choise of him.Note. Oh Infidelity, Infideli­ty, how iust is thy wofull destruction for thy vnbeliefe! Oh man, that mightest haue been for euer happy in this choise! Oh let vs bee [Page 198] warned, and saue our selues from the common ruine of the world. Let all this be vile in respect of Christ. Let vs chuse him aboue all the world. Hee is worthy, vpon whom all our soules, and all our minde, and all our ioy should be set. God forbid wee should reioyce in any thing, but in Christ, and him crucified. Let vs bee crucified to the world, so we be loued of Christ. Shall wee wilfully make our selues like the miserable Iews? Shall we chuse rather Barabbas then Iesus; and Be­lial, rather then Christ? If the daughter of a beg­ger should bee offred in marriage, whether she would chuse of a matchlesse Prince, or a base and seruile pesant, would we not detest such folly, if she should neglect the Prince, and choose the pe­sant? And yet this is our case. God requires no more of vs, but to choose his Sonne before the world, or Satan, or the flesh; and we are assured of eternall aduancement: and yet behold, we chuse not, wee deferre the time, wee court the pesant, that will for euer vndoe vs, and neglect the conti­nual sollicitations of the Heir of all things. Lord, put to our faith, and make vs for euer resolute to cleaue to the Lord Iesus, and him alone.

Secondly, he is sayd to be precious. Of this before, but yet somewhat note for the vse: Is he precious? O then first, how should we admire the glorie of that building, when the foundation is layed with precious stones? Secondly, this should begette in vs an high estimation of Christ.

Quest. What should we do to attaine to this, [Page 199] heartily to account of Christ, as so excellent a­boue all other things?

Ans. First,How we may get an esteeme of Christ aboue all things. we must think much of our mi­sery, and our need of Christ. The true reason, why wee are not more ioyed in Christ, is, be­cause we are not soundly Catechized in the parti­culars of our miserie in our selues; we should seri­ously lay that doctrine one time after another vpon our hearts, and it will make vs run to Christ with singular affection.

Secondly, we should get Catalogues of the great things, purchased by Christ, and of the wonderfull precious promises made vnto godli­nes both for this life, and that which is to come. This would put all other proiects frō the world, or the Diuell, or the flesh, because there can bee nothing in any degree comparable vnto the vn­searchable riches is to be had by Christ. Oh the preferment of a true Christian, if he had studied the premises soundly! If we could effectually think vpon the fauour of God, the pardon of all sinnes, the inhabitation of the H. Ghost, the gifts of the Spirit, and all other sorts of spiritual bles­sings, if there were nothing else to bee had by Christ, what can be equal in value to that immor­tall inheritance reserued for vs in heauen?

Thirdly, we should much thinke of the digni­ty of the person of Christ, of whom it is true, that when God brought out his first begotten Sonne, hee said, Let all the Angels of heauen worship him; As also of his transcendent preferment to be carried vp to heauen, and there sit at the right [Page 200] hand of the Maiesty on high; a King of all Kings, euen such a King, as all the Kings of the earth must cast downe their Crownes at his feet. It is vnspeakeable stupidity, that keepes vs from be­ing fired with these things.

Fourthly, we should often contemplate of our interest in Christ, and the assurance that he is of God giuen to vs: All things are ours, because Christ is ours, as the Apostle Paul speakes.

Question. But how should we shew, that wee do account Christ as deare and precious?

Answere. I answere by diuers things.

How we mani­fest our account of Christ, as pre­cious.First, By longing for his comming againe to vs, mourning for our owne absence from him. Then wee did indeed soundly shew our loue to Christ, when we did feel our hearts affectionate­ly moued with a vehement desire after him. It is a dull loue of Christ, that can bee content with his absence.

Secondly, while we are heer in this world, we may shew the high account wee make of Christ, by ioying in him, that is, by taking comfort in the means of his presence, or in the thoughts of his loue to vs; when wee can preferre our enter­tainment in the House of Christ, aboue our grea­test ioyes on earth.

Thirdly, when in our conuersation we can be contented to shun all the baits of the world and Satan, and, in respect of Christ, contemn all those sensuall pleasures, profits or honours that intice vs to make shipwrack of faith and a good consci­ence. Then wee loue Christ indeed, when our [Page 201] credits, friends, riches, yea, life it self is not dear vnto vs for Christs sake and the Gospell.

Fourthly, when wee can renounce our owne righteousnes and praises, and seek onely to bee found clothed with his righteousnes.

Fiftly, we signifie our respect of Christ, by the very respect we shew to the members of Christ. He loues Christ with all his heart, that loues and entertains Christians as the only excellent peo­ple of the world.

Hitherto of that part of the testimony which concerns Christ: the other part, that concernes Christians, follows.

He that beleeueth on him, shall not be confounded.]

In which words the happinesse of the Christi­an which beleeueth in Christ, is expressed.

There are many points of doctrine may bee obserued out of these words; as,

First, in generall, it is faith that makes the dif­ference among men before God: men are iud­ged of before GOD by their faith or vnbelief. GOD, to finde out a worthy man, doth not ask, what money, or land, or birth, or offices he hath; but what faith he hath, Gal. 5.6. Hee is rich and happy, that beleeueth; and he is miserable, that beleeueth not, whatsoeuer his outward estate be. Which should cause vs more soundly to inform our selues, and not to bee lifted vp in our selues for any outward things, nor to be deiected if our faith prosper: and it should be a great comfort to poor Christians in all their wants, if the LORD haue made them rich in faith. He is a great rich [Page 202] man, that hath a strong faith. And therefore al­so wee should learn to iudge of men, not accor­ding to the flesh or these outward things, but e­uer acknowledge more honour to a faithfull Christian, than to any rich wicked man. And it is a great signe of our owne vprightnes of heart, when we can iudge of Christians as GOD iud­geth, and without dissimulation account them the onely excellent Ones.

Secondly, in particular we may heer obserue the necessity of faith, in respect both of the fa­uour of God, and the merits of Christ: we can­not please God, though we bee in Sion, without beleeuing, Heb. 11.6. and without faith wee see heer, we are not built vpon the foundation, and so haue no part as yet in Christ. And therefore we should euery one be throughly awakened, to examine our selues whether we haue this preci­ous faith or no, 2. Cor. 13.5. and to keep our owne soules with so much attendance heerupon, as to be sure the Tempter deceiue vs not in our faith, 1. Thes. 3.4. And heer especially take heed, that thou dash not thy soule vpon the rock either of ignorance or presumption: of ignorance, as ma­ny doo, that to this day knowe not what a true faith is; of presumption, as many doo, that en­tertain, without all ground from Gods promises, a hope to be saued, which they call a strong faith in Christ▪ and yet liue in their sinnes without re­pentance, and heer neuer taste of the sweetnes of spirituall things, nor shew the affections of god­linesse in God's seruice.

[Page 203]Thirdly, note that he saith, He that beleeueth, in­definitely; meaning any, of what nature, or con­dition, or state of life soeuer. And therefore when this Text is quoted, Rom. 10.11. and 9.33. he saith, in stead of He that, Whosoeuer beleeueth: which sheweth vs plainly, that in matter of faith God is no accepter of persons. No man can say hee is exempted. A poor man, a Gentile, a Bar­barian, an vnlearned man, a seruant, &c. may be­leeue as well as the rich, learned, free, &c. There is no exception against any calling of life, or any sex. Faith will make any one a childe of GOD, and a member of Christ. The seuerall sorts of men are all one in Christ Iesus, Gal. 3.26, 28. This is the large extent of God's loue to the world, that whosoeuer beleeueth, should be saued, Iohn 3.16. Mark 16. The proclamation is to all that are athirst, they may be possest of those treasures of gold without money, Esay 55. Which should much embolden vs to go vnto God with a true heart, in the assurance of faith, Heb. 10.22. And withall it should cause vs to cast out of our hearts all the wauerings and doubts of vnbelief, arising from our owne condition in vnworthinesse.

Fourthly, wee may hence note, that faith in Christ was euer required in all sorts of men. It was required of them in the Prophet Esay's time; and it is still heer required in the Apostles time. Thus Paul, Heb. 11. shewes, that faith was the character of the Godly in all Ages before the Floud and after the Floud, before the Law and after the Law: and he proues it by an induction [Page 204] of particulars in their seuerall ranks. Which a­gain should both serue to take down carelesnesse, seeing neuer man could please GOD without faith: and withall it should much perswade vs, to get and preserue faith, seeing wee haue such a cloud of witnesses; and that euery godly man, in euery Age of the world, did prouide himself of faith, whatsoeuer he wanted.

Fiftly, obserue heer the nature of true faith. To beleeue God in any thing, hee saith, will not saue vs, if we beleeue not in Christ. The obiect of faith is Christ: for, though we beleeue other things, yet either they are not things that direct­ly concern saluation, or else they are founded vpon Christ: nor is it enough to beleeue Christ, or to beleeue that he is sent of God, but we must beleeue in him, that is, out of sound iudgement wee must with all our hearts imbrace the happy newes of saluation by Christ, and relie vpon him and his merits onely for our owne particular sal­uation. The very comparison heer imported, shewes vs the nature of faith. Christ is like the foundation of a house: now, to beleeue in Christ, is, to fasten our selues in our confidence vpon Christ, as the stone lieth vpon the foundation. To beleeue in Christ, is, to lie vpon Christ vn­moueably, and not flee out of the Building. And it is to be noted heer, that the apostle addes these words, in him, to the Text in Esay, of purpose to explain the Prophets meaning, and to shew what kinde of beleeuing the Prophet intended. Ther­fore it is apparant, that Pagans cannot bee saued, [Page 205] because they beleeue neither God nor Christ: no Iewes and Turks, because they beleeue God, but not Christ; nor the common Protestant, be­cause he onely saith he beleeueth, but doth not beleeue indeed; nor the Papist, because hee be­leeues not in Christ, nor placeth his confidence in him alone, but in his owne works, or in Saints, or Angels, or in Popes pardons and indulgen­ces.

Sixtly, note heere the circumstance of time, by which he describeth a true faith. He doth not say, He that shall beleeue, or, He that hath belee­ued, but, He that doth beleeue: which is to shew vs both what wee should doe with our faith, and what in some measure is done by euery beleeuer: for we should not beleeue at one time onely, but at al times, we should euery day liue by our faith, Gal. 2.21. Christ liueth in vs by faith, and so long as we goe about without faith, we make Christ to be in vs,Note. as it were without life. To spend one day without faith, is, to bury Christ, as it were for so long. Now, the life of Christ must be conside­red of vs two waies: namely, as it is in it selfe, and as it is in our sence. For this latter, it is true, when we imploy not our faith, we let Christ dye in vs, in respect of sence. But for the first way, it is certaine, a Christian doth alwaies beleeue, after the life of faith is once conceiued in him. There is no time, in which it can be truly said, Now he beleeueth not. Therefore doth the Apostle heere say, He that beleeueth. It is true, that in some par­ticular points or promises, a Christian may faile [Page 206] through vnbeliefe; but not in the maine point, or promise of saluation by Christ. It is true also, that a Christian may oftentimes, and vsually, want the feeling of his faith, and goe without the ioies of the Holy Ghost, but yet he wanteth not faith: yea, a Christian may violently obiect against be­leeuing, and thinke hee hath not faith, by the temptation of Sathan, and the rebellion of that part of him that is vnregenerate; and yet God can dispell al these cloudes, and in the very dung­hill of his vnbeleefe, and sinfulnes, can finde out his owne part of faith. In plaine tearms there is no time, after conuersion, but if a Christian were throughly sifted, and put to it, he would be found resolued in that point, to rest vpon the couenant of grace, for all happines by Christ alone: I say at all times, in that part of him that is regenerate. Christ can dye in no man: and if faith could dye, then should Christ also die in vs, seeing he liueth in vs by faith.Note. A man may be without faith in the iudgement of the world, in his owne iudgement; but neuer is without faith, in the iudgement of God. A man may want this or that faith, but not faith simply, as that faith, Luke. 18. to rely vpon God without failing, and to call vpon him with continuall perseuerance, as resolued, that God will helpe vs in that particular. It is true, If the Sonne of man come to search amongst men, he shall scarcely finde that faith vpon earth; but yet a true faith in the generall, hee will finde in the breast of euery godly man and woman. Peters faith did not faile, when hee denyed his master. [Page 207] For Chist had prayed, that his faith should not faile, and was heard in that he prayed.

Shall not be confounded.]

The Prophet Isaiah hath it thus: He that belee­ueth shall not make haste, & it may be vnderstood either as a precept: Let him not make hast, or as a promise, He shal not make haste. Men make haste two waies, either in their behauiour, when they runne headlong vpon the duties they are to doe; or when, through impatience, they will not tarrie Gods leasure for their helpe and deliue­rance; but fall to vse vnlawfull meanes, and take that which comes next them, without conside­ration of the lawfulnesse of it.

Now, the beleeuer must auoide both these, and God wil, in some measure, sanctifie and guide the beleeuer thereunto.

The Apostle Paul, Rom. 9.33. & 10.11. And the Apostle Peter in this place, following the Greeke translation, read it: He that beleeueth shall not be ashamed, as in the Romans, or confounded, as heere.

They swarue not from the meaning of the Prophet. For by this tearme is auouched; That the Godly, that beleeue, shall neuer haue cause to repent themselues, or to fly from God to vse ill meanes.

The holy Ghost, then, in this place is pleased to assure the beleeuer, that he shall not be con­founded.

To be confounded, signifies sometimes to be re­proached, so Psal. 14.6. The wicked are said to [Page 208] confound the counsell of the godly, that is, they reproached it. Sometimes it signifies to be daun­ted, or dismayed.Psal. 127.5. Sometimes to bee disappoin­ted, or broken in their purposes, as Esay 19.9, 10. Sometimes to bee extremely shamed: and so it is rendred, Rom. 10.11. Sometimes to bee put to a Non plus, as Acts. 9.22. Sometimes to be driuen into amazement, or wonder, Acts 2.6. Some­times to bee brought into such a straite, as one hath neither hope, nor help, 2. Cor. 4.8, 9. Lastly, it signifieth to perish vtterly, or to bee vndon, or damned for euer, and so con [...]usion shall come to all, that hate Sion, or serue grauen Images.

It is true, that sometimes to be confounded, is taken in the good sence, and signifies either the affection of wonder, as before, Acts 2.6. or else a spirituall grace in the heart of a Christian, by which his soule mournes, and is abashed, and ashamed with him. And so there may bee three reasons, or rather causes assigned, wherein the godly ought to bee confounded.

As first, in repentance for their sins, of which these places intreat, Ezech. 36.32. Ierem. 31.19. Ezech. 16.61. and for this cause rebellious offen­ders must be noted, and their companie shunned, that they may bee confounded in themselues for their sinnes, 2. Thes. 3.14. and the Lord com­plains, that the people were not ashamed for their sinnes, Ierem. 6.15. Secondly, when God, or Re­ligion, or the godly are reproached, and disgra­ced: thus Psalm 44.15, 16. Ierem. 51.51. Thirdly, the people that profess the truth, do erre through [Page 209] indiscretion, or giue offence, or liue in any grie­uous euill, Isaiah 29.22, 23. Ezra 9.6, 7.

Now because the confusion here mentioned,Meanes by which God keepes the be­leeuer from being confoun­ded. is a miserie God will turne away from the be­leeuer: therefore I will explaine that point, and shew, how many waies God keepes the beleeuer from being confounded.

They shall not be confounded.]

This, God will make good vnto them both in this life, and in the day of Iudgement: In this life they shall not bee confounded, neither in respect of their outward estate, nor in respect of their spirituall estate.

For their outward estate: whether we respect their condition and credit, or the meanes of their preseruation: For their credit, God will doe one of these two things: For either God will make them exceeding glorious, and make them high in praises, as Esay 49.2, 3. or, at the least, though they may passe through euill reports, yet they shall not be vtterly shamed: God will giue them good report amongst the godly, and will greatly esteem them himselfe, 2. Cor. 6.8. Heb. 11.2. Faith shall obtaine a good report.

And for the meanes of their preseruation: Either first God will saue them from the temp­tations that fell on the world, so as in the euill time they shall be prouided for, and preserued from distresse, as, Psal. 37.19. or else, secondly, God will not disappoint their trust, but come to their succour, and deliuer them, as Psal. 22.6. and 25.3. and Rom. 5.3. or else, thirdly, if God doe deferre [Page 210] for a time, hee will in the meane time refresh their hearts, and lighten their faces with the com­fort of his fauor and presence, as Psal. 34.6. Or else fourthly, if the Lord let the affliction yet continue, hee will giue them strength to beare it, and patience and magnanimity, so as it shall bee no great burthen to them, as it is shewd of Christ, Isaiah 50.6, 7. so of Paul, Philip. 1.20. 2. Tim. 1.12. Or else fiftly, though they may be many waies distressed, yet they shall neuer bee forsaken, or perplexed, so as to haue cause to despaire: They shall not bee destroied, 2. Cor. 4.9. In all these sences, they shall not bee confounded in respect of their outward estate.

In what things the beleeuer shal not be confoun­ded.And for their spirituall estate they shall not be confounded, and this may bee shewed in diuers things: First, in respect of illumination, they shall not abide in darknes, Ioh. 12.46. Secondly, in re­spect of iustification, their sinnes are not imputed to them, and the Lord so surely forgiues the be­leeuer, that the conscience shall be satisfied with that propitiation is made in the bloud of Christ: for, it is not ashamed of the former euill waies, because it beleeueth, that they enioy Gods par­don, as if they had neuer been,Rom. 3.25. Zeph. 3.11. Third­ly, in respect of Adoption, because by beleeuing they are made the sonnes of God, and so need not bee ashamed at any time of their condition, Ioh. 1.12. Fourthly, in respect of accesse vnto the presence of God. For by faith he is priuiledged, he may go with boldnes and confidence into the presence of the King of Kings; and therefore [Page 211] what should confound them? Eph. 3.12. Fiftly, in respect of the promises of God. For by faith, he obtaineth many rich and precious promises, each of them like a Well of ioy, and a verie spring of contentment, 2. Pet. 1.4. Heb. 11.13, 33, 34 Sixtly, in respect of the hope of glory. For by faith we haue accesse to this grace, whence we stand and reioice in the hope of the glorie to come, Rom. 4.2.

And for the Day of Iudgement, it is cer­taine, they shall not bee confounded in two re­spects: First, they shall haue boldnes at that Day and hower, and praise before all the world: They that are not a shamed of Christ in this world, hee will not then be ashamed of them: And second­ly they shall bee deliuered from eternall confu­sion, and damnation: They shall enioy euer­lasting saluation, and shall not bee confounded world without end, Isaiah 45.17.

Quest. So that by this which hath bin sayd, we may in part know, how to answer that obiection which may be made: For some one may say, The Scripture in diuers places seemes to graunt, that Gods seruants haue bin ashamed, & confounded.

Ans. Now for answer heereunto, diuers things must be distinctly considered of.

First,How far the godly may be confounded. the godly shall not bee ashamed, or sha­med with euerlasting shame, or they shall not be asham'd at the day of Iudgement: though it were graunted, they might bee ashamed in this life, Esay 45.17. in that World, which is without end, they shall not bee ashamed.

[Page 212]Secondly, wee may answer with the Prophet Daniel, that shame and confusion belongs vnto the godly, if wee respect their deserts, but they are freed from it by the couenant of grace in Christ, Dan. 9.7.

Thirdly, if wee consider of the state of the Church in the publike condition of it, as both good and bad are mingled together: so God may powre out terrible shame and confusion vpon visible Churches for their great prouocations, as, Ierem. 9.19. and 17.13.

Fourthly, this promise shewes, what God will make good to the beleeuer, if the fault bee not in himselfe: he shall bee set in such a condition, as he shall haue no reason to bee ashamed, but in all distresses two things shall bee certaine: first, that God will come quickly to his succor, Heb. 10.35, 36. Secondly, that till his deliuerance hee shall haue a faire assurance and euidence for his hope in God, by his promises: so as if hee doe not withdraw himselfe through vnbelief, in rest and quietnes hee shall be fortified, Esay 30.19.

Fiftly, if wee restraine the sence to the cohe­rence and particular drift of this place, wee may answer three things. First, that he shall not be so confounded, as to bee driuen to run headlong vpon the vse of any vnlawfull meanes. Se­condly, that hee shall not fall downe from the foundation, which is Christ, though he should endure many a sore storme. And thirdly, he shall not bee ashamed in the point of Iustification: hee shall neuer repent, that hee relied vpon [Page 213] Christ, and his merits and righteousnesse.

Sixtly, It is true, that in some temporall cros­ses they may bee foiled in the iudgement of the world, and in their owne sence, as the Prophet confesseth, Psal. 48.9. and so farre as this promise reacheth to temporall things, it must bee vnder­stood with that common limitation, Esay 54.4. viz. so farre, as it is good for them, they shall be kept from shame, as for pouerty, or sicknesse, or the like, that is, if it bee good for them. But yet if this temporall shame doe fall vpon them for their sinnes, repentance will remoue it, as is pro­mised, Ioel 2.13.26.

Lastly, the Lord will giue his people double for all their confusion, Esay 61.7. and therefore it is not to be reckned as a crosse, for which they haue so much recompence made them.

Vses. The vse of all this remaines then to bee considered of, which concernes first, the godly; secondly, the wicked.

The Godly should heere learne,

First, to take notice of their priuiledges aboue other men in this respect, &c.

Secondly, To sue out this promise vpon all occasions. For since they haue a graunt of free­dome in this kind, they should seek vnto God for the obtaining of it, as they shall find need: when either their crosses presse them, or their hearts faile them: so did Dauid in many places of the Psalmes, as Psal. 31.1, 17. and 119.116. and in diuers other places.

Thirdly, but they must euer looke to it, that [Page 214] they bee such as may answer the conditions of this promise, expressed in this or in other Scrip­tures; as,

  • Conditions of such as will not be confounded.
    1. They must preserue a constant respect vn­to God's commandements, and in all their waies be sound in God's statutes; else, wilfull sinne and shame will be companions, Psalm 119.6, 80.
  • 2. They must not bee ashamed of GOD's truth, and the profession of it, but witnes a good profession before all men, Psalm 119.46.
  • 3. They must not be too tender in matter of reproach from the world, but learn of Christ to despise the shame and scorns of men, Heb. 12.2. Esay 51.6, 7.
  • 4. In this Text they must hould fast their faith, and liue by it: it is a promise to the Godly, as he is a beleeuer, and will relie vpon Gods mer­cy in Iesus Christ: we must be established in the faith.

The wicked may hence gather an argument of of singular terror. For, this Text imports, that such as liue in their sinnes without repentance, and haue not a liuely faith in Iesus Christ, shall certainly be confounded: and this will more par­ticularly touch such sorts of men as are distinctly designed out to shame and confusion.

Quest. Now, if any ask who are they shall be ashamed and confounded?

Ans. I answer out of seuerall Scriptures, They shall be ashamed and confounded,

What sorts of men shall suffer shame and con­fusion.First, that worship grauen Images, and trust vpon them, Psalm 97.7. Esay 42.17.

[Page 215]Secondly, that wish euill, and hate the Godly, and reioice at their misery, and seek to doo them mischief, Psalm 44.7. Psalm 129.5. Esay 26.11. and 41.11.

Thirdly, that are proud, and deal peruersly: for, pride is a fore-runner of shame, Pro.

Fourthly, that call not vpon the Name of the Lord, that vse not praier, Psalm 53.5.

Fiftly, that vse customary lying: they shall be lothsome, and come to shame, Pro. 13.5.

Sixtly, that put their trust in men, and not in the Lord, Esay 20.5.

Seuenthly, that are ashamed of Christ and the Gospell in this world, Mark 8.38.

Lastly, that go about to establish their owne righteousnes, Rom. 10.4.

Verses 7.8.
7. Vnto you therefore which beleeue, it is precious: but vnto them which be disobedient, the stone which the Builders disallowed, the same is made the Head of the corner,
8. And a stone to stumble at, and a rock of offense, euen to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedi­ent; vnto the which thing they were euen ordained.

IN these words the Apostle expounds or ap­plies the former testimony of scripture, which hee vrgeth both for the beleeuer, and against the vnbeleeuer. The beleeuers he cals vpon to take notice of their felicity; assuring them, that that Scripture doth auouch, that Christ is an incom­parable [Page 216] treasure to them. Concerning the vnbe­leeuers he speaks terrible things; whom hee de­scribes both by their sinne, and by their iudge­ment. The sin is disobedience: their iudgement is to be considered as it is denounced, first, against their Leaders, whom he cals Builders; and then, against the whole body of vnbeleeuers. The plague vpon the Builders, is, that the Kingdome of Christ shall bee aduanced in spight of their hearts: they shall perish and be confounded, but Christ shall raign and flourish. The plague vp­on the body of vnbeleeuers, is, that Christ shall bee to them a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; which is amplified by the consideration of the causes, partly in themselues, which is, their stumbling at the Word, and disobedience; and partly in God, who in his iustice hath appointed them thereunto.

Thus of the order of the words.

Now, before I come to the full opening of each particular in these two verses, I may ob­serue diuers things from the coherence and ge­nerall consideration of all these words.

First, in that the Apostle doth not rest satisfied to alleage the Text, but doth withall apply it, it shewes the necessity of application. We cannot profit by the Word, if it be not laid particularly to our hearts: as food doth not nourish, if it bee not eaten; nor a medicine cure the distaste, if it be not taken; nor a plaister heal the sore, if it bee not laid to it; nor are our wants supplied by co­ming to the market, if we doo not buy and carry [Page 217] home. Which should work in vs a sound care of application of the Word wee hear or read: and withall it should waken vs to a care of obseruing all the rules that may further vs in applying; which are these, and such like.

First,Rules for the ap­plying of the Word aright. we must be carefull to vnderstand right­ly the Scriptures we would apply: this is the ve­ry foundation of all application that is profita­ble, 2. Pet. 3. else wee may growe peruerse, and wrong both the Word and our owne selues.

Ob. But some priuate man might say, This is hard: how can we learn to knowe the cleer mea­ning of the Scripture, and the sense of the Text?

Sol. For answer heerunto: thou must knowe, that there bee diuers rules that may help thee to vnderstand, or at least, keep thee from wrong and dangerous mis-application.

First, thou must be wise to sobriety, and not presume to knowe aboue what is meet, nor to meddle with such Secrets as should lead thee in­to knowledges that belong not to thy calling, or are not euidently reuealed in Scripture.

Secondly, thou must haue respect vnto other Scriptures, to take no sense that is contrary to o­ther apparant Scriptures.

Thirdly, thou must haue respect to the Analo­gie of faith, to auoid all senses which oppose any article of faith, or thy faith, Rom. 12.3.

Fourthly, thou must auoid all doubtfull dis­putations, and vnprofitable questions, and vain ianglings, that tend not to edification, and the saluation of thy soule; and account it as a happi­nesse, [Page 218] to be able to keep thy self free from intan­glements therein. And therefore stand at the door of euery opinion, and, before thou let it in, ask this question: What shall my soule bee ad­uantaged by this opinion at the day of IESVS CHRIST? And if it cannot answer to it dire­ctly, reiect it, Psal. 119.66. Dauid praies God to teach him good iudgement and knowledge.

Fiftly, let the publique Ministery of GOD's seruants be the ordinary rule of thy interpretati­on, so long as no sense is taught there contrary to the former rules, 1. Cor. 14.36. and where thou doubtest, thou must seek the law at the Priest's mouth, and be very fearfull, in any thing to bee wiser than thy Teacher; I mean, to nourish pri­uate opinions, which are not iustified by publick doctrine.

Sixtly, pray to God to [...]each thee, and to giue thee his Spirit to lead thee into all truth: vnder­standing is God's gift, 2. Tim. 2.7. and hee will teach thee humbly his way, Psal. 25.

Thus of the first rule: wee must first soundly vnderstand the sense of the Scripture wee would apply.

Secondly, thou must bring a minde apt to bee taught, willing to be formed, and to bee all that which God would haue thee to bee: thou canst neuer profit by application, without a penitent minde; a minde that will part with any sin God shall discouer in thee, and a minde carefull to ob­serue the conditions required, aswell as the pro­mise tendred, Iames 1.21. This is indeed to glori­fie the Word.

[Page 219]Thirdly, it is an excellent help in application, to follow the guiding of the holy Ghost in thy heart: thou shalt finde in all doctrines a diffe­rence. Some things, read or heard, haue a speciall taste put vpon them by Gods spirit, or a special assurance of them wrought at the time of reading or hearing. Now, thou must be carefull to take to thee these truths which the Spirit of GOD doth cause to shine before thee. Eat that which is good, Esay 55.2. Try all things, and keep that which is good, 1. Thes. 5.20.

Fourthly, knowe, that serious and secret me­ditation vpon the matter thou hearest, is the principall nurse of fruitfull application: it is but a flash can be had without an after & deliberate meditation; and about meditation, remember these rules:

  • 1. Let it be secret.
    Rules for medi­tation.
  • 2. He must let it be full. Giue not ouer, till thou hast laid the truth vp in thy heart: take heed of that common deceit, Psalm 119.45. of resting in the praise or liking of the doctrine: bee not a Iudge against thine owne soule. For, if the do­ctrine be worthy of such praise, why darest thou let it slip and run out? Let not the diuell start it out of thy heart, Mat. 13.20. or the cares of life choke it, Luke 11.28.
  • 3. Let it be constant. Bee at the same point still from day to day, till it bee soundly formed and seated in thy heart. How rich might many Christians haue been, if they had obserued this rule! Psal. 1.2. Psalm 119.3, 5. Esay 26.9.

[Page 220]Fiftly, be wise for thy self: take heed of that errour of transposing thy applications: say not, This is a good point for such and such, till thou haue tried thine owne heart, whether it belong not to thee, Psalm 119.59. Pro. 9.7.

Sixtly, by any means bee carefull of the sea­sons of doctrine: be wise to vnderstand the sea­son. There bee many truths, which if thou let passe the opportunity of informing of thy selfe, thou maist perhappes neuer haue it so again: and therefore take heed of losing precious things, when thou hast the time and meanes to attaine them, &c.

Thus of the first point.

The second thing is the speciall duty of Mini­sters, to apply the Scriptures to the hearers, that belong to their charge: we see the Apostles doe it, and for this purpose hath God set apart the ministery of the Word, that by them it might be applied. God inspired the Scriptures, and the Ministers are to vrge them, and whet them vpon the hearts of their hearers for their Instruction, Reproofe or Consolation, 2. Tim. 3.17. They are like the Priests for cutting vp, or diuiding of the Sacrifices, 2. Tim. 2.15. And this may serue to iustifie the course of godly and painfull mini­sters, that most studie the sound application of their doctrine, and secretly staineth the pride of these men, that auoide with scorne, application, vainly affecting the praise of wit and learning.

Thirdly, we may hence note, that all men, in the visible Church, haue not a right to the com­forts [Page 221] of the Scripture; and it is the Ministers du­tie to driue wicked men off, from claiming anie part in the promises, which are the only treasure of the Saints, as here we see in these two verses, the Apostle carefully doth: Men must doe the workes of Iacob, if they would haue the comforts of Iacob, Micah 2. verse 7. A Minister must se­parate betimes the cleane and vncleane. His word must be like a Fanne, that will driue the chaffe one way, and the Wheat another; and though wicked men brooke not this, yet God re­quireth this discretion at the hands of his people. Gods Ministers must not dawbe with vntempe­red morter, or giue the childrens bread to dogs, or cast holy things to swine.

Fourthly, they may hence cleerly also see, that no other difference may be put between many, then what faith and vnbelief, obedience and dis­obedience make. Men must not be knowne af­ter the flesh.

Fiftly, tis hence also apparant, that all the god­ly haue a common right to the promises made in Christ. The godly in the Apostle Peters time had right to the former consolation, as well as the godly in the Prophet Esaies time: God is no re­specter of persons, Col. 3.11. Thus in generall.

Two things are to be obserued in particular:

The one concernes the godly, who are com­forted. The other concernes the wicked, who are terrified.

The Godly are comforted in these words:

To you therefore which beleeue, he is precious.]

[Page 222]In which words, it is the drift of the Apostle to raise a vse for consolation out of the former Text: whence consider,

First, the persons comforted, viz. you that be­leeue.

Secondly, the happinesse applied vnto them, He is precious.

For the first. It is manifest, that the Apostle directs them to look for faith in their hearts, if they would haue comfort in God's promises. It is not enough to knowe, that beleeuers shall bee saued, but we must be sure, that men in particular are beleeuers: we must examine our selues whe­ther we be in the faith or no, 2. Cor. 13.5. Which should both reproue and direct. It reprooues the great shamefull slothfulnesse of Christians, that suffer the tempter to keep them without the assu­rance of faith: some haue no faith at all; and the better sort liue in too much doubtfulnes in the point of the assurance of faith. And therefore we should bee warned and directed to try our faith, and to make it sure, that we are beleeuers.

Quest. What is it to be a true beleeuer?

What it is to be­leeue, and in how many things it is seen. Ans. It is, To imbrace with our hearts the reconciliation and saluation which by Christ is purchased for vs, and by the Gospell is offred to vs. Now, that this point, being of such singular waight, may be cleerly vnderstood, I will break it open into particulars, or into particular parts or steppes of iudgement and practice in the belee­uer.

First, he must acknowledge, that by nature he [Page 223] stands bound to obserue all the morall Law.

Secondly, he must see, that he hath broken all those holy lawes of God, and is therefore guilty before God of the curses of the Law, and so of e­ternall condemnation.

Thirdly, he must knowe, that GOD sent his owne Son in the flesh to obey the Law, and satis­fie the iustice of God, by making an expiation for mans sins.

Fourthly, he must learn, that God hath bound himself by promise, that whosoeuer imbraceth the agreements in this new couenant in Christ, shall be saued.

Fiftly, that when a man doth, in his owne par­ticular, discern this gracious offer of God in the Gospell, and goeth to God, and with his heart relieth vpon it, then he doth truely beleeue, and is iustified, and shall be saued.

Quest. But many men are perswaded, that God hath giuen Christ for them, and yet it is euident, that they do not beleeue, because there is no ap­pearance of any repentance or reformation in them: many say they haue a strong faith, and yet haue none. How shall the perswasion of the god­ly man be distinguished from this vain presump­tion in wicked men?

Ans. That perswasion of Gods grace in Christ, which is true, and of the nature of true faith, doth prooue it self to bee right, by many infallible signes.

First,Marks of a true sauing [...]aith. by the renouation of the heart. The knowledge of God's loue in Christ, doth make [Page 224] the heart of man new: it clenseth out the old drosse, and makes a man hate his secret and most secret sinnes. Faith purifieth the heart, Acts 15.

Secondly, by the ioy and comforts of the ho­ly Ghost; with which the beleeuer's hart is re­freshed from the presence of God, 1. Pet. 1.9.

Thirdly, by the victory of the world. For, the true beleeuer is so satisfied with God's goodnes in Christ, that he can deny his profits, pleasures, credit, friends, and the like, for Christ's sake and the Gospell: yea, faith marres the taste of earth­ly things, and makes a man able to forsake the loue of worldly things, 1. Iohn 5.5. It will endure the triall of troubles, of afflictions, and temptati­ons, and persecutions, for the Gospels sake, 1. Pet. 1.7. without making haste to vse ill means in the euill day.

Quest. But, how may faith bee discerned in such as say they are not perswaded that they haue faith; which sometimes proues to be the case of diuers deere children of God?

Ans. Their faith may be discerned,

First, by repentance, which cannot be separa­ted from it:Signes of a weak but yet a true faith, in weak Christians. the sight, hatred, confession, and sor­row for their sinnes, is an argument of true faith, because without faith no man can haue true re­pentance.

Secondly, by their complaining of their vnbe­lief, and desire of faith. I beleeue, Lord, help my vnbelief, was the voice of him that had true faith.

Thirdly, by their daily renouncing of their [Page 225] owne merits, begging fauour of God, onely for the merits of Christ.

Fourthly, by the loue of the Godly: for faith worketh by loue, Galat. 5.

Fiftly, by other markes and signes of Gods children, which can neuer bee had, but faith is had also: such as are, loue of God, and his Word, and of their enemies, and vprightnes of heart, and the spirit of praier, and the like.

Precious.]

Christ is precious to them that beleeue, not onely in their account, but by effect; and so, both because hee is great riches vnto them, as also because he is an honour vnto them. Hee is great riches vnto them, yea vnsearchable riches, Eph. 3.6. All ages ought to wonder at the riches of Gods kindnes to the beleeuers in Iesus Christ, Eph. 2.7. Christ in vs is our riches, Col. 1.27 and thus he inricheth vs with the fauour of God, his owne merits and righteousnes, the grace of the Spirit, and the promises of the Word, and the hope of glory.

The Vses are many.

Vses. First, woe to the rich men of this world, that are not rich in God & Christ, Luke 12.16.21. Let not the rich man glory in his riches, Ierem. 9. 24.

Secondly, let the brother of lowe degree re­ioyce, in that God hath thus exalted him, Iames 1.9. For, godly Christians are the richest men in the world: for their possessions are greatest, be­cause they possesse Iesus Christ, and his treasures [Page 226] Iames 2.5. For God is rich to al that cal vpon him. Hee cannot bee a poore man, that can pray, Rom. 10.12. Christ makes amends to the poore Christian for all his wants.

Thirdly, hence wee may gather another signe to try our faith by. If Christ bee more precious to vs, then all the world besides, it is certaine we are true beleeuers: For Christ is precious to none, but beleeuers, Phil. 3.9, 8.

Fourthly, wee should striue with all thankful­nes to admire, and praise the grace of God, that hath bestowed such riches vpon vs in Christ, Ephes. 1.7.

Fiftly, wee should hence learne to make more account of our faith, which is therefore pre­cious, because it applies Christ vnto vs: Hence poore Christians are said to bee rich, because they haue faith, and assurance of faith, and hee calleth it all riches of full assurance, Colos. 2.2. 2. Pet. 1.4. Iam. 2.5.

Sixtly, we should liue securelesse. Men would promise to liue at all hearts ease, if they were rich enough: why, Christians are exceeding rich, and possesse more treasure, then all the world be­sides, and therefore should liue henceforth by the faith of the Sonne of God, which was giuen to them, Gal. 2.20.

Seuenthly, looke to it, that thou keepe Christ, whatsoeuer thou losest: resolue to lose father, mother, wife, children, friends, house, lands, yea and life too, rather then lose Christ, who is so precious.

[Page 227]Eightly, Wee should shew it, that we account him our greatest riches: and that wee shall doe, first, by esteeming the Gospell, that brings vs daily tidings, aboue gold and siluer. Secondly, by often receiuing of the Sacraments: we should account the Word and Sacraments as Gods Exchequer, whither we alwaies come to receiue more treasure. Thirdly, by making much of them, that resemble his vertues. Fourthly, by longing for his appearing.

Thus, as Christ is our riches. Now secondly, hee is precious, in that hee is an honour vnto vs, and so some translate it. Christ then is a singular honor to euery beleeuer, and hee is so both in heauen and in earth. First, in heauen hee is an honour to vs, because he graceth vs before God, and the Angels, couering our nakednes with the rich garment of his owne imputed righte­ousnes, and making daily intercession for vs to God, and couering our imperfections, and pre­senting our workes, and praiers to God, and giuing the Angels a charge to looke carefully to vs. Secondly, And so hee is an honour to vs on earth, both amongst the godly, and amongst the wicked: First, Hee graceth vs amongst the godly, by giuing vs a roome in their hearts, causing them to loue vs, and honour vs euen for Christ onely, whom they discouer in vs by our loue to Christ, and faith in his name, and imita­tion of his vertues. Secondly, and hee graceth vs also amongst the wicked, by protecting and ac­knowledging vs in times of greatest distresse, and [Page 228] by washing out the blemishes, which our own in­discretiōs at any time brought vpon vs, & by clee­ring our innocencies from their vniust aspersions.

The vse may be, first for confutation of their folly and madnes,Vse. that account it a course of a­basement to follow Christ, and leaue the vanities of the world. Godly courses are honourable courses: No man euer lost honor by cleauing to Christ, and liuing so as might become the faith and loue of Christ. Secondly, and withall wee may hence be informed, that all the honour that is without Christ, is but obscure basenesse: no man can bee truely honourable without the faith of Iesus Christ in his heart. Thirdly, we should hence be resolued to make more account of the Godly, because Christ is to them al honour: they are the only excellent ones in the world. Fourth­ly, wee should labour also to bee an honour vnto Christ, and to the faith and profession of his name, and seruice: wee must remember, that he is our surety to God for vs, and hath vndertaken for our good behauiour, and therefore for that reason wee should be carefull of our duties: and besides wee see, that the disorders of great mens seruants leaue an imputation on their master, and so it is with vs and Christ. If wee liue righteously, and soberly, and religiously, wee honour Christ our Master: but otherwise if wee bee scandalous, wee dishonour Christ, and therefore had need to looke to our waies. And lastly, we shold account Christ sufficient honour to vs, and not regard the scornes and reproaches [Page 231] of the world, but rather with Moses esteeme the reproaches of Christ, greater riches then the treasures of Aegypt.

Thus of the consolation to the godly.

The terror to the vnbeleeuers is exprest, first, partly by charging vpon them their offence: secondly, and partly by describing their punish­ment.

Their offence is disobedience.

To them that are disobedient.]

All vnbeleeuers stand indited of disobedi­ence,Vnbeleeuers are guilty of disobe­dience in diuers respects. and that in three respects: For first, they are guilty of Adams disobedience: For by the disobedience of one man many are made sinners, Rom. 5.19. Secondly, they are guilty of disobe­dience against the morall Law, which they haue broken by innumerable offences, and in respect thereof are liable to all the curses of God, Deut. 28. Thirdly, they are guilty of disobedience a­gainst the Gospell. For there is an obedience of faith: Rom. 1.5. and the Lord complaines, that they obeyed not the Gospell, Rom. 10.16. and for this disobedience, God will render vengeance in flaming fire at the Day of iudgement, 2. Thes. 1.8. Now men disobey the Gospel not onely, when they are bewitched to receiue false opinions in religion, Gal. 3.1. But also and chiefly when they beleeue not in Iesus Christ, but liue in their sins without repentance.

Vses. The vse should bee for humiliation vnto impenitent sinners; they should take notice of their inditement, & make haste to humble them­selues [Page 232] before the Lord, lest Sentence come out against them, and there be no remedy; and the rather, because God will aggrauate against them their disobedience. Now, there are many waies by which a sinner may take notice of the aggra­uations of his disobedience; as,

Disobedience aggrauated.First, by the number of his offences, if he con­sider, that he hath made his sinnes like the haires of his head. To bee guilty of treason but in one particular, should occasion feare: but he that is guilty of many treasons, hath great reason to bee extremely confounded in himself; and this is thy case.

Secondly, thy disobedience is the more grie­uous, because thou hast receiued abundance of blessings from God, who hath by them wooed thee to repentance; and this will heap much vp­on thee, Rom. 2.4. Esay 1.3.

Thirdly, thou must consider all the meanes thou hast had of amendment; God hath planted thee in his garden the Church, he hath comman­ded his vine-dressers to bestow the paines, and ap­ply the meanes of growth to thee. If now thou be not fruitfull, this will be pleaded against thee, which art still a barren figtree, Luke 13.6.

Fourthly, it increaseth thy disobedience, that thou hast beene guilty of diuers hainous, and fowle euils, as if thou haue beene a drunkard, a filthy person, a blasphemer of the name of God, a man of blood, or the like.

Fiftly, the continuance in sinne: thou hast long abused the patience of God, and this heapes [Page 233] coals of further indignation against thee, Rom. 2. 4, 5. and the rather because thy heart hath beene to sinne euer: for there is in the heart of vnregene­rate men, a desire to sin for euer, and it is a griefe to them to thinke, that at any time they should not be able to liue in sinne still.

Sixtly, thou hast offended against thine owne vowes and couenants, and the promises thou hast made to God, both in baptisme and the commu­nion, and in other passages of thy life.

Seuenthly, it increaseth thy offence, that thou hast dealt wickedly in the land of vprightnesse, Esay. 26.11. There thou hast offended, where thou hast had the example of the godly to shew thee a better course. It is ill to sinne any where, though in Babel: but it is worse to transgresse in Sion, or Ierusalem, euen in the glorious Churches of Ie­sus Christ.

Eightly, thy incorrigiblenes addes to the heap of sinne: though the Lord hath afflicted thee, yet thou hast not learned obedience by the things thou hast suffered, but thou hast made thy heart like an adamant, so as thou wouldst not returne, Ierem. 5.2, 3.

Ninthly, it is yet more, that thou hast beene so farre from reforming thine owne life, that thou hast scorned and reproched the good conuersa­tion of the godly, thou hast spoken euill of the good way of God.

Thus and many other wayes may the sinner charge his owne heart, and thereby prepare him­selfe to returne to the Lord, while there is yet [Page 234] hope. For if thou wouldest returne with all thy heart, and take vnto thee words, and confesse thy sinnes, and pray for forgiuenesse, and mourne be­fore the Lord, and turne away from thy owne wickednesse; the Lord would shew mercy, and the obedience of Christ would heale thy disobe­dience, and God would loue thee freely, and the bloud of Christ would cleanse thee from all thy sinnes, Hosh. 14. Isaiah 55.7. 1. Ioh. 1.7. and while it is yet to day, the Lord sendeth to thee, and beseecheth thee to be reconciled, 2. Cor. 5.19, 21. Consider, that God hath been with thee all this while, hauing sent many others to hell for their sinnes, and there is hope of forgiueness: the Lord hath receiued great offenders to mer­cie, as the Israelites, that often fell away from him, Iudges 10. and Mary Magdalene, and Peter, and Dauid, and the thiefe vpon the Crosse: Consider, that God hath offered thee thy pardon in the Sacrament: Feare the Lord therefore and his goodnes, and returne with all thine heart, and iniquity shall not be thy ruine.

Hitherto of their sinne: their punishment followes; and so first vpon their rulers and lea­ders, in these words: The Stone which the builders refused, is become the Head of the corner.

Which words are taken out of Psal. 118.22. where they are vsed by the Prophet Dauid, and here quoted by the Apostle Peter.

The words haue a double sense: for, they did concern both Dauid and Christ. As they con­cern'd Dauid, this was the meaning: that Though [Page 235] the Nobles and Courtiers did despise, and reiect, and oppose Dauid; yet such was God's proui­dence, that the man whom they reiected, GOD made King of Israel, and the chief stay & support of that State.

Now, for this sense of the words, diuers things may be noted.

First, that God [...]ath raised vp great men in the Common-wealth, for this end, that they might seek the publick good, and imploy their labours for the building vp and prosperity of the State. Which should both teach great men to think of their duties, and the accounts they must make to God: as also it should teach the people to pray the more heartily for them, and to obey them in all lawfull things.

Secondly, we may hence gather the imperfe­ction of all humane things. For, in that earthly Kingdomes need building vp still, it shewes, that they attain to no perfection, but at the best are stil in progresse.

Thirdly, that many times great men wilfully oppose the right, and set themselues against the righteous, and resist the will of GOD. Which should teach vs, not to place our confidence in the great men of this world, nor to be alwaies led by their example in opinions.

Fourthly, that God will finde out the wicked­nes of great men, and bring them to confusion. God accepts not persons: hee hateth sin in great men, as well as in mean men, and will crosse and confound their godlesse and vngodly coun [...]els.

[Page 236]Fiftly, that God takes to himself the power to dispose of earthly Kingdomes, and to giue Kings and Rulers at his owne pleasure. It was the Lord's dooing, and it was maruellous, that Dauid should become the Head of the corner, Psal. 118.23. The Lord pleads it as a part of his soueraignty and prerogatiue, To set vp Kings. By me Kings raign, Pro. 8. Which should teach Princes, and Iudges, and Nobles, to doo homage to God, and acknowledge him for their Soue­raign, and therefore serue him with fear, Psalm 2. And it should teach the people to giue honour, and tribute, and custome, and obedience, for conscience sake, to their Rulers, seeing the pow­er that is, is of God, Rom. 13.

Now, as these words were vnderstood in the case of Dauid, so was Dauid heerin a type of Christ: and so the words are to be vnderstood in the case of Christ also, as our Sauiour himselfe applies them, Mat. 22. and as it is euident to bee the meaning of the Apostle heer.

And it is the drift of the Apostle, to strengthen weak Christians against the scandall that might arise from the opposition of the Kingdome of Christ. For, it might trouble them, and amaze them, to consider how Christ was opposed by the Scribes and Pharises, who were the great learned men of the time, and such as were emi­nent in the Church; and, in the account of the most men, were the chief persons that took care for Religion and the state of the Church, and did excell all other sorts, &c.

[Page 237]Now, that this scandall might be remoued, he shewes in these words,

First, that nothing did therein fall out, but what was the lot of Dauid in his time.

Secondly, that all this was foretold in the old Testament, and therfore might not seem strange.

Thirdly, that all those oppositions should bee in vain: for, GOD would reiect and confound those opposites, and would prosper and aduance the right of Iesus Christ, without the help of those men.

In the particular consideration of these words, three things must bee noted. First, the persons threatned, viz. the Builders, that is, the Scribes and Pharises▪ and those that vnder pretence of re­ligion, did oppose Christ. Secondly, the cause of their punishment, viz. the refusing of Christ the foundation stone. Thirdly, the iudgement inflicted vpon them, which is twofold: the one implied, the other expressed. There is a iudgement im­plied, viz. that, Though they were by calling, and in the account of the multitude, Builders; yet God would reiect them, and go on with his work, in conuerting both Iewes and Gentiles without them. The iudgement expressed, is, that Christ, whom they so much hated and opposed, should be, in spight of their hearts, and to their extreme vexation, made King of the Church, and exalted to supreme power ouer all things, and the only stay of the whole Church both of Iews and Gentiles. And heerin it is to be noted, both the manner how this shall be done, in the word, [Page 238] is become, or is made; and also the time, in that hee sayth, It is made.

Builders.]

Quest. A question may be moued heere for the sense; viz. how the Scribes and Pharises, and such like men can be sayd to be builders?

How far wicked men may be cald Builders. Ans. For answere whereunto, we must vnder­stand, that the Scribes and Pharises, and so wic­ked men, that possesse eminent places in the Church, may be said to be builders. First, in the account of the multitude, whatsoeuer they were indeed; yet they were commonly so accounted, as builders, and prime men in managing the af­faires of the Church. Secondly, the Scribes and Pharises may be acknowledged in some re­spects as builders indeed: they did God some worke. For howsoeuer they did not soundly teach Christ, yet they drew the people by their doctrine, to auoid on the right hand the Stoicall strictnesse of the Essenes, and on the left hand the prophane irreligiousnesse of the Sadduces. Third­ly, they were builders by calling: they haue the name not so much, from what they were, as from what men in their places had been, or ought to haue been: And these are the persons that op­pose CHRIST, and are thus seuerely iudged of God.

Diuers things may be hence noted.

First, that men may be great in their owne o­pinion, and in the account of the world, who yet are nothing set by of God: such were these Pha­rises, Luke 16.14, 15. And therefore wee should [Page 237] labour for a spirit without guile, and not be wise in our selues, or rest in outward shewes, but seek the praise of God: we are safe if God allow of vs, though all the world disallow vs.

Secondly, that God will acknowledge freely any good hee findes in his very enemies; as heer the Pharises are not denied the title of Builders, for that generall work they did in encountring the Sadduces and Essenes. And as they are called Builders: so are the diuels called Principalities and Powers, to import what is any way of praise in them, notwithstanding their horrible fall. Which should teach vs to learn of God, to doo likewise towards all our enemies: and withall it may much comfort vs. If God will do thus with his enemies, what will he do with his owne chil­dren and seruants! how will hee honour and re­ward them! and if the notorious oppositions of the Pharises cannot hinder God's acknowled­ging of that little goodnes was in them, how much lesse shall the meer frailties of the Godly (that will doo nothing against the truth, though they cannot doo for the truth what they would) hinder the glorious recompense of reward and acceptation with God!

Thirdly, we may hence note, that Christ and Religion, and the sincerity of the Gospell, may bee disallowed & opposed by great learned men, by such as are of great mark in the Church, euen by such as were Gouerners of the Church in name and title.

Quest. 1. Two questions do easily rise in mens [Page 238] mindes, vpon the hearing of this doctrine. The first is, Whence it should bee, that learned men, who haue more means to vnderstand the truth, than other men, and by their calling more espe­cially tied to the study of all truth, yet should be drawne to oppose or reiect Christ and the truth.

Ans. I answer, that this may come to passe di­uersly.

How it comes to passe, that many great and lear­ned men oppose the truth of the Gospell.First, sometimes it is because of their igno­rance; neither may this seem strange, that they should be ignorant: for, though they may be ve­ry learned in some parts of study, yet they may be very blockish in some other. Besides, the na­turall heart of man doth not take any great de­light in the study of the Scriptures: and there­fore the answer of Christ was proper, Yee erre, not knowing the Scriptures, or the power of God.

Secondly, in some it is, because of their secret Atheisme. Many learned men bee very Atheists in heart; and such were some of the Pharises: for, they neither knew the Father nor Christ, as he chargeth them.

Thirdly, some haue a spirit of slumber: they haue eies, and yet cannot see; as, in the case of some of those Pharises: they could not apply the very things themselues spoke. For, being as­ked about the King of the Iewes, Matth. 2. they could answer directly out of the Scriptures, and giue such signes of the Messias, as did eui­dently agree to Iesus Christ: and yet these men were so infatuated, that when God shewes them [Page 239] the man to whom their owne signes agree, they cannot allow of him.

Fourthly, in some it is enuy. They are so fret­ted at the credit and fame of Christ, or such as sincerely preach Christ, that for very enuy they striue to destroy the work of God, and to dispa­rage the progresse of the Kingdome of Christ: they cannot endure to see all the world (as they account it) to follow Christ.

Fiftly, in others it is ambition, and desire of preeminence, and the quiet vsurpation of the dignities of the Church, that they alone might raign, and be had in request: this, no doubt, mo­ued the Pharises, and was the cause why Diotre­phes made such a stir in the Church.

Sixtly, in others it is couetousnes and desire of gain. These are they that account gain to be god­liness, as the Apostle speaks: and such were some of the Pharises, Luke 16.14.

Seuenthly, in others it is a wilfull and maliti­ous hatred of the truth: and such was it in those Pharises, that were guilty of the sin against the holy Ghost.

Quest. 2. But how shall a simple ignorant man stay his heart, and bee settled in the truth, when the wise and learned men of the world oppose it? how can he tell, it is the truth which they re­iect, who haue more learning and wit than hee?

Ans. I answer: A simple and single-hearted Christian may some-what be helped against the testimony of those wise men of the world, if hee mark but their liues: for, vsually by their fruits [Page 240] they may bee knowne,By what means an ignorant and simple man may stay his heart, notwithstanding the oppositions of learned & wise men. Mat. 7. For, commonly, such as oppose Christ and the Gospell, or the sin­cerity of the Gospell, are men that may be appa­rantly detected of profanenesse, as our Sauiour Christ shewes by diuerse instances in the Phari­ses, Mat. 23.

But because sometimes the messengers of Sa­tan can transforme themselues into Angels of light, therefore I answer secondly, that all the Godly haue the sure Word of the Prophets and Apostles, which may bee the touch-stone to try the opinions of men by; which, in the points ab­solutely necessary to saluation, is euident, and plain, and infallible to the Law and to the Testi­monies: if they speak not according to these, it is because there is no light in them, Esay 8.20.

And that they may bee sure, let them pray to God to teach them: for, hee hath promised to teach the humble his way, if a man come to God with an humble minde, and with desire of refor­mation of his life, in that hee knowes, God hath bound himself to shew him his will, Psal. 25.9. Iohn 7.17.

Besides, euery childe of God hath the Spirit of God in his heart, who knoweth the things of God which indited the Scriptures, and is the onely supreme Iudge of all controuersies. Hee that beleeueth, hath a witnes in himself, the Spi­rit working much assurance in his heart, and an­ointing him with ey-salue, and leading him into all truth. And by this help, the entrance into the Scriptures giues light to the simple.

[Page 241] Vse. The vse of the point then, is

First, to informe vs concerning that great Iustice of God, in hiding his truth from the wise, and reuealing it to babes and children, or infants: which our Sauiour and Saint Paul take notice of.Mat. 11.15. 1. Cor. 1.28.

Secondly, to confirme vs against the sinister iudgement of worldly-wise, and learned men, and in matter of religion not to be swaied by that in­ducement, since it is thus plainly told, & foretold.

Thirdly, to confute the Papists, that plead vn­to the ignorant, that their religiō is the right, be­cause it is, & hath bin maintained by such a num­ber of Popes, & Cardinals, which haue excelled in learning, & greatnes of place: for heer we see, the builders reiect the head stone of the corner.

Fourthly, to shew vs, that whatsoeuer wicked, wise, great men pretend, yet their quarrell is against Christ, and his Kingdome.

Fiftly, to reach vs therefore to pray for our teachers, and gouernors, that God would guide them by his good Spirit, and assist them in their callings, &c.

Sixtly, to bee more thankefull to God, when the Lord giues vs builders, not in name onely, but in deed, that settle about Gods work with all their hearts, and labour with all faithfulnes to promote the Kingdome of Christ.

Hitherto of the Persons.

The cause of their punishment is their refusing of Christ.

Refused.]

They refused Christ, they disallowed him, as [Page 242] vnfit for the support of the building: They cast him away, as rubbish, they reiected him, or ac­counted him, as a reprobate.

Christ is many waies refused.Christ is refused, or disallowed many waies.

First, when the Gospel of Christ is contem­ned, or neglected, that is, when men neglect, or contemne the doctrine of saluation by Christ, and liue still in their sinne without repentance, and seek not reconciliation with God, through the blood of Christ.

Secondly, when men goe about to establish their owne righteousnesse, and neglect the righe­ousnes of Christ: and so when men fly to the in­tercession of Saints, or Angels, and vse not the in­tercession of Christ.

Thirdly, when men follow wicked company, and leaue the care of the seruice of Christ; this is to choose Barabbas to bee giuen vnto them, rather then Christ.

Fourthly, wee may be guilty of this sinne in the time of the vse of Christs ordinances, as in the Sacraments, when we discerne not the Lords body, or in hearing, or any other ordinances, when we entertaine contemplatiue wickednes, and so commit spirituall dalliance with strangers before the face of Christ.

Fiftly, when men fall away from the grace of Christ, and so ioy with the Iewes, as it were to crucifie the Sonne of God afresh, Hebr. 6. and 10. And so hee is also refused, when in time of persecution he is denied before men: Thus Peter refused him, when hee denied him.

[Page 243]Sixtly, when his seruants are reiected: and so either in general, when Christians are exposed to publik scorne, & made as it were the off-scouring of all things; or in particular, when his Ministers are despised. For hee that despiseth them, despi­seth him, &c.

Quest. But how doe the builders, that is, Church-men, refuse Christ?

Ans. I answer many waies.

First,How Church­men, viz. buil­ders may refuse Christ. when they will not preach in his name: when they preach not at all: For this is to let Christ liue, as it were in the rubbish still, and not to separate him out for the building, &c.

Secondly, whē in preaching they preach them­selues, & not Christ crucefied, leauing the word of Christ, to shew their owne wit & learning, &c.

Thirdly, when they oppose the sincerity of the Gospel, in the conuersion of the soules of men, or in the practice of godly Christians.

Fourthly, when they teach the Doctrine of merit of works, or preferre the traditions of men before the commandements of God, as did the Pharises.

Vse. The vse of this Doctrine concerning the refusing of Christ may be diuers, for

First, it may teach vs patience, when we are re­fused in the world: it is no other thing, then what did befall Christ himselfe; especially it should confirme vs against the scandall arising from the discountenancing of godly men, which are cru­cified by all sorts of people in the world: If Christ himselfe were no better vsed, why should [Page 244] we wonder at it, to see godly Christiās so neglec­ted? And if the most powerful doctrine of Christ were so securely despised; what wonder is it, if the good way of God bee now euill spoken of?

Secondly, it may much comfort vs, and that especially two manner of waies.

First, by reasoning for the contrary. For if it bee a signe of a notorious wicked man, to let Christ lie like rubbish, or refuse stuffe, then is it an excellent signe of a godly mind, to loue the Lord Iesus, and to account all things but dung, in comparison of Christ, and his merits, and righteousnes.

Secondly, by considering the effect of Christs refusall. For hee was refused as our surety, that wee might be receiued to fauour. Hee was cast off by men as a reprobate, that wee might enioy the admirable priuiledges of the Elect of God; and besides, by enduring this contempt of men, hee bare the punishment of all our neglect and contempt of God, & his holy Commandemēts.

Thus of the cause. The punishment it selfe followes.

Is made the Head of the corner.]

Two things are heere intended, as punish­ments to these builders. First, The one implied. Secondly, The other exprest.

First, that which is implied, is, that God will passe by these workmen, and reiect their seruice. This I gather from hence, that whereas these builders would not make vse of Christ in the building; it is heere repeated, that the building [Page 245] doth goe on, and Christ is laid as the Head of the corner, which importes that God had reiec­ted them. Now God reiects wicked Ministers two waies. First, one, when he curseth or blasteth their gifts, and refuseth to be glorified by them, when he causeth the night to come vpon their diuination, and puts out their right eies: Second­ly, the other is, when he roots them out by death, and makes their places spue them out: The first is heere chiefly intended,Note. and so it notes, that it is a great curse of God vpon learned men in the Ministery, when God will not imploy them, or make vse of their gifts: A learned man, that ei­ther laboureth not, or proposeth not in his la­bours Gods glory, is a publike and standing Mo­nument of Gods displeasure for men to stand and gaze at: as it is a great argument of disgrace done to a Carpenter, or Mason, to stand by while the house is builded, and they not intreated or suffred to work, and yet haue their tooles readie. Oh it is a maruelous Iustice of God to see lear­ned, but not godly men passe by, so as they haue not the honour to doe any worke in the Church for the saluation of the soules of men! & contrariwise it shold reioice the harts of god­ly Ministers, that God (as Paul saith of himselfe) will account them faithfull to put them into his seruice, and to giue their labours any successe.

Secondly, the exprest punishment is the pre­ferment of Christ, and the promoting of his Kingdome: He is made the Head of the corner: which wordes must bee considered either in re­lation [Page 246] to the builders, or in themselues, as they concerne the exaltation of Christ. First, in rela­tion to the builders, it imports, that it is a punish­ment to wicked Ministers that loue not the Lord Iesus, that Christ and his Kingdom should flourish. As it fretted the Pharises, so it doth and will fret the heart of wicked men, till the day of Christ; and it is a punishment, because of their enuie at it, and because they finde, that they haue no part in Christ, or the happines of his King­dome, their consciences accusing them, and be­sides, because they are openly crossed in their oppositions, and so shamed before men. Which obseruation may serue for triall: For it is a cer­taine note of a wicked man, who loues not the Lord Iesus, that hee is crossed, and accounts himselfe afflicted, or shamed, because the King­dome of Christ prospers.

The words in themselues concerne the exal­tation of Christ, and shew, how God raised him out of the heap of rubbish, as it were, and carried him vp to heauen, and made him their Head and King. Head, I say, ouer all things, giuing him power ouer all things, and in particular in re­spect of the Angels, head of principalities and powers; and in respect of men, Head of the Church. Nor is it barely said, he is head, but head of the corner, which is a Metaphor borrowed from the building; where the holy Ghost intends to shew, that hee is the onely foundation of the Church, as hath been shewed in the first verse of this Chapter. And he is well said to bee Head of [Page 247] the corner, because vpon Christ meet (as the two sides meete in the corner stone) both Angels and men; and amongst men, both the Saints in hea­uen, and the godly on earth; and amongst men on earth, both Iewes and Gentiles, euen all the Elect of all nations, ages, and conditions in the world.

The vses of the exaltation of Christ briefely follow.Vses.

First, It should teach vs to striue by all meanes to get into his seruice, that is so powerfull, and able to do so much for his seruants.

Secondly, It shewes vs the end of the oppositi­ons of all wicked men: Christ shall increase and prosper, and they shall bee confounded and perish.

Thirdly, It should especially enforce the neces­sity of beleeuing in Christ: we should lye vpon him with all our waight, as the building doth on the foundation.

Fourthly, It should comfort vs in all distresses, considering what end God gaue to the sufferings of Christ, and so it is vrged, Hebr. 12.2.

The consideration of the manner and the time, followes.

Is become, or is made.]

He doth not tell how, but leaues that, as gran­ted to bee effected without hands, euen by the speciall prouidence of God, which giues vs oc­casion to take notice of the truth, that in things of the Kingdom of Iesus Christ, God is pleased to make his worke, or to worke sometimes without [Page 248] vsing any of the meanes, which the world takes notice of, he neglects all those meanes, which fall within the expectation, Psal. 118.20, 21. as heere for the proclaiming of the Messias, there was not any one order, or rank of men eminent in the world, which God made vse of. But by a way al­together strange to the world, erected the Chri­stian Monarchie, which should teach vs, not to limit God to the meanes which is likeliest to vs, but to liue in all things by faith; & where meanes seeme to faile, then with Abraham aboue hope, and vnder hope, to giue glory to God, and cast our selues, and all our care vpon God.

Thus of the manner.

The time followes,

In that he said, It is become. Christ was Head of the corner according to the present time. First, if we consider the type of it, Christ was become head of the corner, in that Dauid was made King of Israel, as a type of Christs Kingdome ouer the Church. Secondly, Christ was Head, in that in the Apostles time hee had receiued power after his Ascension, ouer all things, though as yet the Gentiles were not so fully conuerted. Thirdly, that he is becom the head, may be taken prophe­tically. For the Prophets, to express the certainty of a thing to come, vtter it in the words of the present tense. It is so, because it shall as surely be so, as if it were already done.

Verse 8.
And a stone to stumble at, and a rocke of offence, euen to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient, vnto the which thing they were euen ordained.

HItherto of the punishments vpon the buil­ders. The punishment vpon the whole bo­dy of vnbeleeuers, is contained in this verse. Wherein note first, the kindes of punishment. Christ is a rock of offence, and a stone of stumbling. Se­condly, the causes both in themselues, and in God, in the words that follow.

A rocke of offence, and a stone of stumbling.

Since wicked men haue refused Christ, and will not beleeue in him; He, that may not be a stone of foundation, will proue a stone of stum­bling, and a rock for them to dash on, till they be dashed to pieces: which words import the feare­full iudgements of God, spiritually inflicted vp­on vnbeleeuers, which is two-fold. First, they shall be giuen vp to scandall; and then secondly to despaire.

Before I open the words particularly, diuers things may be noted in generall.

First,Iudgements, in­flicted on some particular offen­ders, belong to all for diuerse reasons. that the punishments that light vpon particular wicked men, are to be accounted the punishments of the whole body of vnbeleeuers, as here despaire and taking offence at Christ, it may light vpon some particular offenders only, yet they are punishments belonging to all.

  • 1. Because there is no iudgement, but all [Page 250] wicked men haue deserued it.
  • 2. Because, when God plagues some, he meanes all, he threatens all.
  • 3. Because no wicked man can be sure for the time to come, that he shall not fall into them.
  • 4. Because the afflictions of this life are ty­pical to wicked men; as, despair is a typicall hell, and so all other iudgements are but little hels. And this doctrine should much amaze impenitēt sinners, if they consider, that any fearfull iudge­ment they see fall vpon others, may fall vpon them; and that GOD is aswell displeased with their sins, as with the sins of those he so plagued, as Christ shewes, Luke 13.1, to 6.

Secondly, that from one and the same cause, may arise diuers and contrary effects: as, Christ, that is a stone of foundation to the beleeuer, is a stone of stumbling to the vnbeleeuer. Thus, in Luke 2. hee was appointed for the rising and fal­ling of many in Israel. Thus the Gospel of peace is to wicked men a fire, a sword, a fanne: It is a sauour of life to the Godly, and a sauour of death to the Wicked, 2. Cor. 2. as the Sun melteth the wax, and hardneth the clay. This comes to pass by accident, and by the corruption that is in the hearts of wicked men, and by the fearfull iudge­ments of God.

Vse. The vse should bee to teach vs therefore not to rest in the hauing of the meanes of saluati­on; as, the preaching of the Word, &c. For, through thy corruption it may be a meanes of greater damnation.

[Page 251]Thirdly, that of all iudgements in this life, spirituall iudgements are the worst; which ap­pears from hence in this, that when the LORD would declare his speciall displeasure vpon wic­ked men, he threatens these in this place as the most fearfull. Now, for explication of this point. All iudgements in this life are either spirituall or temporall. By temporall iudgements, I meane such as haue their proper effects on the outward man, such as are, pouerty, disgrace, sicknes, impri­sonment, losses in mens estates, and the like. By spirituall iudgements, I mean such as haue their proper effects vpon the soule; as for example, hardnes of heart, the spirit of slumber, disserti­on, or the absence of GOD, the taking a­way of the gifts of the minde, the with-holding of the Gospell, the deliuering of men vp to the power of Satan, or to the loue of lies, terrours of despaire, or taking of offense; of which later, in this place.

Now,Spirituall plagues are worse than temporall cros­ses, for diuers reasons. these spirituall iudgements are much worse than any of the former temporall crosses; first, because these iudgements light vpon the best part of man, which is the soule: and by how much the soule is better than the body, by so much it is worse to be distressed in soule than in body. Secondly, because they with-hould from vs the best Good, which is God or Christ: now, that which straightens vs in the best things, must needs be the worst kinde of restraint. Thirdly, because these crosses are more hardly cured: it is much easier to heal a sicknes in the body, than [Page 252] a disease in the soule. Fourthly, because these iudgements for the most part are inflicted vpon the worst offenders; I say, for the most part: for, sometimes the Godly themselues may be scour­ged for a time, and for iust reasons, with some kindes of spirituall iudgements.

Vse. The vse may be, first, for reproof of the madnesse of multitudes of people in the world, that can bee extremely vexed and grieued for worldly crosses, yet haue no sense or care of spi­rituall iudgements: they howle vpon their beds, if GOD take from them corn, or wine, or the fruits of the field; but neuer grieue, if God take the Gospell from them: they are much troubled if they lose the fauour of their greatest friends; but neuer mourn because GOD hath forsaken them: they are very impatient if their bodies be sick, and yet very quiet if their soules bee sick: they would think themselues vndon if they were carried to prison, who yet are not much moued at it, that God should deliuer them vp to Satan. And yet I would not be mistaken.Note. I do not mean to say, that wicked men should not mourn for worldly or outward crosses. It is true, godly men should not, or not with great sorrows; but for wicked men, they ought to be extremely grieued for euery outward affliction, because it comes in wrath from God, and is but the beginning of e­uils. But then two things must bee noted: First, that their sorrow should be godly, viz. for their sinnes that brought those iudgements, not for the crosse it self; secondly, that they ought to bee [Page 253] more troubled for spiritual iudgements, than for temporall.

Secondly, this should much comfort godly men and women in all their afflictions, and it should make them patient, because though God afflicts them in their bodies or states, yet hee spa­reth their soules, and doth not execute those out­ward crosses but with much compassion.

Thirdly, it should teach vs how to pray in the case of afflictions: if they bee spirituall iudge­ments, wee may pray directly for the remoueall of them; but for temporall iudgements, we must pray with condition.

And thus of the generall obseruations.

Before I enter vpon the particular breaking o­pen of the doctrine of this verse, it will not be a­misse to shew, that this, and such doctrine as this, is not vnprofitable.

Quest. For, some one might say, To what end serues this doctrine of God's dealing with vnbe­leeuers?

Ans. I answer: it is profitable both for god­ly men and wicked men. For, wicked men may hence hear and fear, and doo no more wickedly, seeing hence they may discern what they may come to, if they preuent it not by repentance. And for godly men, they may hence be the more inflamed with the admiration of Gods goodnes, when they shall heare of their owne priuiledges by grace. Such Scriptures as this, containe the arraignment and triall of the vngodly. Now, it is very profitable for vs to stand by, and hear the [Page 254] triall. Wee know multitudes of innocent men flock to the Assises to heare the araignement of malefactors, which breeds in them, first, content­ment in the obseruation of the solemnity and manner of administration of Iustice: Secondly, a feare to offend: the terror of their sentence frightes the heart for many daies after: Thirdly, a loue of innocency: it makes men loue inno­cency much the better for a long while after: Fourthly, compassion to malefactors: it softens the heart, and makes men fit to shew mercy to these poore condemned men. The like to all this is bred by the consideration of such Doc­trines as this.

In the words of this verse then two things are to bee noted: first, the kindes of punishments inflicted vpon the body of vnbeleeuers: secondly the causes of it. The kindes are two: first, God will deliuer them vp to scandall, and then to despaire: to scandall, as Christ is a stone of stumbling: to despaire, as Christ is a rocke of offence.

These words are taken out of the Prophet Esay, Chapter 8. where the Lord intends by them to denounce the reprobation of the Iewes, as some think, or rather foretels the spirituall Iudge­ments, which shall bee inflicted vpon them. The Apostle in this place applies the words to the vnbeleeuers of his time, among whome the ob­stinate Iewes were chiefe, to shew, that as the o­ther Scripture was comfortable to the Godly: so were there places, that did threaten the wic­ked: [Page 255] & that as the former place did proue Christ a stone of foundation for the godly, so this did shew, that Christ was a stone in another sense to the wicked.

Christ is a stone of triall to all men in the Church, because the Doctrine of Christ tryes men whether they be elected, or reiected: good, or bad: so Esay 28.16. Againe Christ is a precious stone to the beleeuer: and thirdly, heer a stone of stumbling to the vnbeleeuers.

Now, that we may know, what offence or scan­dal is, we may be helped by the Etimology of the originall words: For Scandall in the originall is either deriued of a word that signifies, to halt, or els it noteth any thing that lieth in a mans way a stone, or a piece of wood, against which, he that runneth, stumbleth, and so hurteth or hindreth himselfe: It most properly signifieth rest, or a certaine crooked piece with a baite vpon it in instruments, by which mice, or wolues or foxes are taken: and thence the Church translated the name of scandall; to note the snares, by which men are catched, as beastes are in grins, and baites: so the word, it seemes, is vsed.

So then,Scandall de­fined and distin­guished. a scandall is any thing, which causeth, or occasioneth offences, by which a man is made to halt, or is brought into a snare, or made to stand still, or fall in matter of Religion, or salua­tion: And so the sorcerers were a stumbling block to Pharaoh, and the false prophets to Ahab, and the lying signes of Antichrist, to such as loue not the truth.

[Page 256]Now, all scandall may be thus diuided: Scan­dall is either actiue, or Passiue, that is, giuen, or taken: Scandall giuen, is, when the authour of the action is likewise the cause of the hurt that comes by it: Thus Elies sonnes were scandalous: thus Dauid by his greeuous sinnes gaue offence, 1. Sam. 2.17.2. Sam. 18.22, &c. and thus Scandall is giuen either by euill doctrine, first, whether hereticall, secondly, or superstitious: or else by wickednes of life, or by wilfull abuse of Christi­an liberty.

Offence taken, is either from our selues, or from others: A man may bee an offence, a stumbling blocke to himselfe, by dally­ing with some speciall beloued corruption: of which our Sauiour Christ saith, If thine eye of­fend thee, pull it out, or thy hand, or thy foot, &c. Math. 5.29. Scandall taken from others, is ei­ther that they call humane, or that they call dia­bolical: Scandall taken, which they call humane, may either bee found in Godly men or wicked men: Godly Christians that are weak, may be offended, or hindred in Religion diuers waies: as either by reason of the persecution and op­pression of the godly: or by the Heresies, or dis­sensions of men in the Church, or by the flou­rishing estate and prosperity of the wicked: as also by the liberty some of the godly take in things indifferent, for the aduancing of the Go­spel in case of necessity: As when Paul, for the gaining of the Gentiles, neglected Moses Law. This was an offence to many beleeuing Iewes et contra, &c.

[Page 257]Wicked men also take offence, as heere in this text is manifest. Now, the offence which they call Diabolicall is that, when men wilfully and peruersly will prouoke themselues to sin freely, because of the examples of the vices of Godly men: as when the drunkennes of Noah, the incest of Lot, the adultery and murther of Dauid, the periury of Peter, or the like is alledged to main­taine themselues in a liberty of sinning: It is the scandall of wicked men, which is here meant.

Now wicked men make themselues misera­ble in this case of scandal both waies: By giuing offence, and by taking offence. By giuing offence, and so Christ curseth them for offending his little ones:Math. 18. Wicked men offend them either by the subtilty of false and corrupt Doctrine, or by prouo­cation and inticement: or by euill example, or by discouraging them with reproches, threats or oppositions, or the like: but this kind of offence is not meant here. It is offence takē, which is noted heer, as a greeuous curse vpon them; and amongst offences, takē, this is their misery that they gather offence, from what should haue bin the cause of their holines and happines, euen from Christ.

Quest. Might some one say, What should men bee offended at in Christ?

The Iews were offended:Ans. 1. At the vilenesse of his person,Wicked men were offended at Christ in many things Esay 53.2. Ioh. 18.36 Math. 9 10. or his mean cōditiō ▪ 2. At the pouerty and simplicity of his disciples. 3. At the obscurity of his Kingdome, being without worldly pompe and glory. 4. At his conuersation, because he kept cōpany with sinners. 5. At his doctrine: partly, be­cause [Page 258] he reproued their superstition, and hypo­crisie, and the traditions of their fathers, and part­ly because hee taught, that Iustification could not bee had by Moses Law, but must bee sought by beleeuing in him, as also by other particular directions; as, that man must eat of his flesh; that he was the Sonne of God; that hee was older then Abraham, &c. Lastly, at his miracles: for they thought, hee did it by some Diuell.

Thus in our times the Papists, they take of­fence at the newnes of our Religion, as they pre­tend; at the freeness of the people that profess it; at the doctrine of Iustification by faith alone, &c.

Thus also wicked men in the Church are of­fended at the smal number of such as are sincere; at the plainnesse of the preaching of the Gospell, or such like.

Quest. 2 Might some one say, What if wicked men be offended, is that such a great misery?

Ans. Yes: for it is many times the occasion of their ruine, for wee see many men keepe these obiections in their hearts till their death, by which they are hardned from all care of salua­tion by Christ, at the best it is a notable hin­drance for the time; it frustrates them of the Gospel, and of the communion of Saints, &c.

Vse. The vse may bee first for information: We may hence see, what an infectious sorceresse vnbeleefe is: It can make things exceeding good, to proue exceeding euill to them: it can make God, the Word, the Sacraments, & Christ himselfe (all good) to be occasions of extreme [Page 259] euill to him. Wicked men are like spiders, that can suck poison out of the sweetest flowers.

Secondly, this should serue for great humilia­tion vnto all wicked men, that find themselues stopped, or hindred, or cast out of the way by receiuing scandall into their hearts: They should heere take notice of it, that it is a singular curse of God, when God leaues a man to the li­berty of admitting poisonfull obiections, and thereby to bee hardned against the care for his owne soule in matters of Religion. Men little thinke of the fearefulnes of such mens cases, which must needes be extremely euill, either if they looke vpward to see, that God doth expose them to this offence, as a way of singular punish­ment, or if they look to the effect, whatsoeuer they can say, yet their poore soules in the meane time are left destitute of mercy, or the profit and power of it.

Might some one say,Ob. How can they help it, seeing Christ is a stone of stumbling vnto them? It seemes they cannot auoid it.

Christ is a stone of stumbling,Sol. not actiuely, but passiuely:Note. hee doth not make them stumble, but they through their ignorance (walking in darknes) or through their precipitation running headlong in things, or through the poison of some beloued sinne, which hath altogether cor­rupted their taste, doe fall at the Doctrine of Christ, or turne the precious things of Christ in­to poison, by reason of the venome lying in themselues.

[Page 260]Thirdly, such taking offence is a iudgement. Weake Christians should bee warned and tem­per themselues so, as to refraine that weaknes of being so apt to bee offended at the liberty of strong Christians; and to this end they should take heed of doubtfull disputations, or ensna­ring themselues about the vse of indifferent things. For though God pities them, yet they are much plagued by their opinions, and intan­glements heerein. For first, they sinne against their brethren by rash censure, and despising them: and secondly, they wrong their owne soules: for sometimes they are hindred in the Word, and sometimes lose the benefit of the Sa­craments by their ignorant scruples, and some­times they draw much trouble and molestation vpon them; and lastly they many times open the mouthes of wicked men to reuile them, and ex­asperate them against the good way of God. To conclude therefore this vse: Since offence is the rod of the wicked, let not godly men suffer it to rest on their lot.

Fourthly, since wicked men, by the iudgement of God, and their owne frowardnes, are so apt to receiue offence, it should teach the godly to or­der themselues so towards them, that they giue no offence vnto them, I say, giue no offence, so as the fault should bee in the godly, but rather they should striue to ouercome this frowardnes of wicked men, by all possible care, both to put them to silence, and by keeping them silent. Now, because there be some things, wherein [Page 261] regard must not be had of the offence of wicked men, I will open this point distinctly, and shew,

First, in what things the offence of wicked men is not to bee regarded.

Secondly, in what things wee must take heed, wee giue them not offence, or in what things wee may bee guilty of giuing offence to them.

Thirdly, what rules may bee obserued in our cariage, which may silence wicked men, or com­pell respect and estimation from them, or at least put them to silence, &c.

For the first,Wherein we are not to regard the offence of wicked men. if wicked men bee offended for doing good, wee are not to regard their offence: As when the Pharises were offended at Christ, he cared not, but said, Let them alone, they are blind, and leaders of the blinde, &c. Math. 15.14. And so the Apostles answered, It is better to obey God then men, Acts 5.29. It is better, that scandal arise, then that the truth should bee forsaken. Thus Michaiah cares not for the of­fence of Ahab, nor Eliah: and in this case, Leui is not to respect father, or mother, bretheren or children, Deut. 33.9. And so though wicked men bee offended, wee must preach the Gospel with all plainenesse, and not affect wisdome of words, 1. Cor. 1.23. and wee must labour for the meate, that perisheth not, and must pray vnto God, and vse religious exercises in our houses, as Daniel did: wee must renew Iustification by our owne workes, and we must suffer in a good cause, and wee must with strictnes auoid the excesses of the time.

[Page 262] In what things we may be guilty of giuing offence to wic­ked men.Now for the second: we may be guilty of gi­uing offence to the wicked: First, by scandalous and vicious life: thus Dauid gaue offence. Second­ly, by indiscretion in the manner of doing good duties, as if men pray, or fast, or giue almes to bee heard, or seene of men. Thirdly, by rash zeale, as when men proclaime to the world a great deale of strictnes in things that are not grounded vpon the Word, and yet are tainted openly with known infirmities, and sinnes: or when men are violent and rash censurers, especially in things they com­mit themselues: or when men neglect their cal­ling, and liue inordinately, and are busie-bodies vnder pretence of Religion: or when men that haue a faire dore opened to doe good by prea­ching the Gospell, will not yeeld in some indiffe­rent things, that they may winne them; as, woe had beene to Paul, if he had not beene a Iew with the Iewes, that hee might gaine the Iewes there­by: or necessity lay vpon him the preaching of the Gospell, or to preach the Gospell, though it were clogd at that time with condition of yiel­ding to the Iewish ceremonies, 1. Cor. 9.

Now for the third, there are diuers excellent rules that may much adorne the liues of Christi­ans in their courage toward the wicked; and so either preuent scandall, or leaue them without excuse,Rules for the preuenting of scandall. themselues being Iudges, as they will confesse in the day of visitation. These things then will much aduance our cause before wic­ked men, to shew in our conuersation,

  • 1. Integrity, and harmelesnes, and sound [Page 263] care of the practising of godlines, Philippians 1.15, 16.
  • 2. Submission and obedience vnto the King, and his humane ordinances, 1. Peter 2.13.14.15.
  • 3. Reuerence and feare, when we intreate of any thing,
    1 Pet. 3.16.
    that concernes God, and Religion.
  • 4. Meeknes of wisdome, expressing a minde free from conceitednes, frowardnes, or affectati­on, Iam. 3.13.
  • 5. Mercy to the poore, and a minde free from the greedy desire of earthly things, a serious declaration of the contempt of the world, Iam. 1.26. Math. 5.16, &c.
  • 6. Quietnes and peace to be shewed first in studying to be quiet, & to meddle with our owne busines: secondly, in making peace amongst o­thers, Math. 5.8.
  • 7. Loue to our enemies, being ready to pray for them, or doe them any good.

Lastly, hence may be gathered some matter of consolation for the godly. For first, if the Lord haue kept them from taking offence, hee hath freed them from a great & sore spirituall iudge­ment. Secondly, if the wicked should be so per­uerse, as to take offence, when he giues none; yet this may stay him, that Christ himselfe was an offence vnto them. Thirdly, as it is a great iudge­ment to bee offended at Christ: so it is a great mercy and supernaturall grace, when the Lord makes our hearts able to loue the Lord Iesus in all sincerity.

[Page 264]Hitherto of the first kinde of punishment: the second is, that Christ shall be to them A rock of offence, that is, they shall fall vpon Christ, as the ship doth vpon the rock, and be broken all to pie­ces: There shall bee a desperate anguish vpon their consciences, perceiuing themselues to haue no right in Christ, by the feare of which, as men that haue suffred shipwrack, they shall be out of all hope of mercy. Thus hee that falleth on this stone, shal be broken, and vpon whom it shall fall, he shall be ground to powder, Luke 20 17.

The consciences of wicked men are diuersly af­fected: some are without feeling of any grieuance in the matters of their soules; some haue feeling. The consciēce is without feeling, either through a continuall security, and sleepines, which is in all men, or through a searednes, by which some men are growne past feeling. Now those wicked men that haue any feeling in this text, are cast into two sorts; for either they are offended, or they de­spaire. Christ is to those latter, an occasion of their ruine, they suffer shipwracke vpon Christ, which is ioyned with singular offence, or paine, or grieuance of their consciences. This rocke is like that in the Iudges, chap. 6.21. out of which fire went and consumed them.

The despaire that wicked men feel, is of two sorts. For either it is a despaire, which riseth from their perswasion of their want of helpe in spiritu­all things, or from their want of help in outward things: somtimes they fall into desperate tormēts, and griefs, and fears about outward things, either [Page 265] vpon fear of danger, or vpon an apprehension that they are vtterly vndone, or shall be in matters of the world:Deut. 28.96.67. this was the despair mentioned: and this despair was in Saul, Achitophel and Belshaz­zer, Dan. 5. and in the Iews, when they said there was no hope, Ier. 2.25. and this was in the Aegyp­tians, Babylonians, Tyrians; and their case in the desolation of their estate by warre, mentioned in many chapters of the Prophet Esay. But, this despair is not meant heer: for, this is a despair of all help or saluation of the soule by Christ; con­ceiuing, that they are vtterly cast off of God, and shall perish for euer. Thus Cain and Iudas despai­red of all mercy in God.

And this despaire of saluation and all happi­nesse,How many waies wicked men may des­paire. is felt either in hell, or at the day of Iudge­ment, or in this life.

First, it is certain, that the Wicked feel an eter­nall despair in hell, which increaseth their tor­ments, because they haue no hope of ease or help: and thus also the diuels despair. This de­spair in hell, is a meer gnawing the conscience, and tormenting it, which neuer dieth.

Secondly, they also feel despair with singular horrour, when they come to appear before Iesus Christ at the last Day, when they behold the face of the Iudge, and feel within them a witnes that tels them they shall bee damned. This tor­ment will then come vpon them, like the pains of a woman in trauell; and their anguish will bee so great, that they will cry to the mountains to co­uer them from the face of the Iudge,Reu. 1.7. & 6.16. 1. Thes. 5.3.

[Page 266]Thirdly, now the first degree of this despaire, is felt by diuers wicked men in this life, as it was by Cain and Iudas: and of this hee speaketh heer. And thus wicked men despair, when they think their sins cannot be forgiuen, and that they haue no benefit by Christ, and shall certainly perish for euer.

And this is noted heer as a grieuous curse of God inflicted vpon vnbeleeuers. Despair is one of God's most fearfull iudgements in this world; which when God inflicteth, hee may bee said to rain vpon them fire and brimstone, and an horri­ble tempest, Psal. 11.6. Most fearfull is their case, when the wrathfull Arme of God takes hold of them, and hee poures out his indignation vpon them: this will make their loins to shake, Psalm 69.23, 24. They are then like the raging sea, ha­uing no peace within them, Esay 57. vlt. They are brought to the King of terrors, and their con­fidence is rooted out, Iob 18.11, 14. There they were in great fear, Psalm 14.5. They are said to blaspheme God, and gnaw their tongues, Reuel. 16.9, 10.

While God's Saints sing for ioy of heart, they howle for vexation of spirit, Esay 65.14. They could bee glad to run into the holes of the rocks, and into the caues of the earth for fear of the Lord, and the glory of his Maiesty, when hee comes thus terribly to shake the earth, Esay 2.19. Surely, such is the case of the Wicked; and this is the portion of their cup that knowe not God. And how terrible this torment is in the heart of [Page 267] a wicked man, may appear, if wee consider but what torment the very Godly suffer in their de­spair, which is far easier than that of the wicked. Dauid saith, The paines of hell compassed him, Psalm 18.5, 6. and 116.3. and that God's terrours did cut him off; and that he was ready to dy; and that, while he suffred God's terrors, hee was dis­tracted, Psal. 88.15, 16, 14. As also it may appear by those torments which the very despaire for outward things hath put wicked men to, which is farre lesse grieuous than this despair of God's mercy and eternall saluation: and yet in that case their paines are compared to the paine of a wo­man in trauell, Psalm 48.6.

See more at large of the horrible plight wic­ked men haue been in in this respect, in the de­scription of the iudgements should fall vpon the forrain nations, rendred by the Prophet Esay in many chapters.

Vses. The vse may bee, first, for great amaze­ment to wicked men, that now perhappes laugh and sing in the iollity of their hearts. O let them remember, what God may doo to them! What case will they bee in, if God bring them once to despair? And this is the por [...]ion of their Cup. Oh! if the terrour of a King be as the roaring of a Lion; what then is their case, if God shall re­ueal his wrath from heauen vpon them for their waighty sinnes! And the more should they bee affrighted, because despair is but as it were the beginning of euils. They feel it for a short time on earth, but shall feel it for euer in hell. And [Page 268] therefore, if it bee possible, they should bee per­swaded in time to repent, that they may be deli­uered from this great wrath to come. Oh how easie, in comparison, might mens repentance be, if they would be warned in time!

Secondly, this doctrine may breed in vs a wonderfull awfulnesse and fear of God: when we read of such iudgements in Scripture, or behold any poor wretches tormented with this iudge­ment, it should breed in vs not onely an infal­lible assurance that there is a God, or that there shall be a hell of wofull torments, or the like; but it should especially make vs think of God with all reuerence, and be afraid to displease him: for, dominion and fear are euer with him, Iob 25.2. This doctrine should make vs resolute to go our waies, and sinne no more: the counsell of the Wicked should bee farre from vs, seeing hee can thus put out their candle, and make them drink of the wrath of the Almighty, Iob 21.17, 20.

Thirdly, it should work in all of vs a care to vse all means, that we may be kept from despair.

Quest. What then should we doo, that we fall not into despair?

Ans. Some things are to bee auoided: some things are to be done.

If we would not fall into despair,

Preseruatiues against despair.First, wee must take heed of wilfull vnbelief, such as was in the Iewes; when men not onely neglect the assurance of saluation brought by Christ, but contemn it, and striue to put all such cares out of their heads.

[Page 269]Secondly, we must take heed of stumbling. If men feel their hearts to be insnared in respect of Christ, and that they are tossed with vile obiecti­ons, &c. let them look to themselues, and amend in time: for, if Christ be a stone of stumbling, he may be a rock of offense.

Thirdly, wee must take heed of security, and contempt of the knowledge of God's waies. De­spair will work terribly, when it lights vpon a minde that hath contemned knowledge, and li­ued in all ease and security, Iob 21.1, to 20.

Fourthly, we must take heed of apostasie from the profession of the loue of the truth: for, de­spair is many times a wofull scourge to such kind of creatures; as the stories record, and experi­ence shewes.

Fiftly, wee must in generall take heed of all grosse and presumptuous sinnes, especially the sinnes against the third, sixt, and seuenth com­mandements: for, vsually these sins go before in the desparation; such as are, swearing, and cur­sing, and periury, and murder, and incest, and whoredome, &c. The Wicked flee, when none pursues them: but the righteous are bold as a Li­on, Pro. 28.1. and 14.14.

Now, secondly, there are other things which we must doo, that we may auoid despair.

First, we must not smother our doubts in mat­ters of Religion, especially in the cases of our conscience, but take the pains to ask and seek re­solution: else, that which is but doubting at the first, may proue to bee despair in the end. Those [Page 270] lesser sores in mens hearts, may fester and rankle within vs, till they prooue to this great disease.

Secondly, wee must store our heads with the promises of the Gospell, and those comfortable places of Scripture, as may breed in vs a full per­swasion of God's singular compassion and mercy towards all penitent sinners; and withall do shew vs that plentifull redemption in Iesus Christ, and the maruellous efficacy of his blood to clense vs from all our sins.

Thirdly, wee should, aboue all things, put on the shield of faith; I mean, we should vse all dili­gence to get the assurance of GOD's fauour in Christ: for, assurance will preserue vs safe from despair. For, as vnbelief brings it: so faith pre­serues vs from it.

Fourthly, we should be carefull vpon all occa­sions to keep our assises; and if we bee endange­red by any sinne, we should make haste to iudge our selues, that wee bee not condemned of the Lord. For, the attendance vpon this point, ma­keth all safe: whereas the long neglect of our dai­ly sinnes, without any humiliation for them, may turn in the end to the pangs of some miserable despair.

Vse 4. Fourthly, hence the Godly may com­fort themselues, because Christ is to them a rock to build on, Mat. 16. a rock for refuge and safety, Psal. 18.2. a rock for shadow, Esay 32.2. And therefore let the Inhabitants of the earth sing, E­say 42.11. and withall, if they consider how God sheweth them, they should account their other [Page 271] afflictions but light, in comparison of what falls vpon wicked men.

Ob. But we read, that godly men haue been in despair; as, Dauid, Iob, and others.

Sol. It is true: but yet there was euer great difference between the despair of the Godly and the Wicked, which I will briefly note.

First,Speciall diffe­rences between the despair of the Godly and the Wicked. they differed in the causes. The honors of the Wicked proceeded from the curse of God: whereas the sorrows of the Godly pro­ceeded from his mercy.

Secondly, they differed sometimes in the ob [...]iect: for, godly men despair of themselues; wic­ked men despair of God. It is a grace vsuall in re­pentance, to despair of all happinesse from our selues: but now wicked men are out of all hope of God's mercy and help.

Thirdly, they differ in the effects. For, Cain blasphemes God in his despair, and saith, his pu­nishment is greater than he can bear, or his sinnes greater than can bee forgiuen: but the Godly giue glory to God, and account him alwaies iust and good. Again, wicked men rage and repent not: but godly men bewail their sinnes, and cry mightily to God, Reu. 16.9, 10. Ier. 18.12. Wic­ked men bee in trauell, but they bring forth no­thing but winde: they are neuer the better when they come out of their affliction, no though they poured out a praier to GOD in the time of di­stresse, Esay 26.16, 17, 18. Thirdly, the confidence of the wicked man is swept down as the house of a spider, they haue no hope at all, Iob 8.13. and [Page 272] 11. vlt. Whereas godly men, at the worst, are sup­ported with some kinde of hope, or perswasion of mercy: and therefore vsually they rather ask whether God's mercy be clean gone, than say it is so, Psalm 77. and they rather complain, that God hides himself from them, than that God ha­teth them, Psalm 88.15.

Fourthly, they differ in the measure too. For, God alwaies hath respect to the strength of his children, to lay no more vpon them than they are able to bear: whereas he respects the sinne of wicked men, and regards it not, though they cry out with Cain, they cannot bear it.

Fiftly, God giues issue out of the triall, and re­turns from his displeasure in a moment, when he deals with the Godly, Esay 54. whereas wicked men can haue no such hope.

Lastly, seeing despair is such a curse, and is so farre from leading men to Christ, that it makes them suffer shipwrack vpon Christ; Ministers & all others should take heed of driuing the people vpon any pretense, into this kinde of desperation: let men bee taught to despair of themselues, but neuer to despair of God.

Hitherto of the kindes of punishments.

The causes follow: first, in themselues; se­condly, in God.

In themselues it is their stumbling at the word, and their disobedience.

To them which stumble at the Word.]

There is a diuerse reading. The old reading was thus: To them that offend in the Word; no­ting [Page 273] either in general, that Gods word, or Christ, doth not profit these men that were guilty of euill speaking, and the grosse abuses of the toung: or in particular, it should note the sinnes of the stubborne Iewes, who offended in word, when they blasphemed Christ, and denied him.

But I rather take it as heer it is translated: and so it notes the causes, why many men fall into scan­dall, and from thence into despaire, viz. because they bring ill harts to the Word of God, they haue mindes that are rebellious, and will not be subiect to the Gospell, but intertaine it with dis­eased & cauilling mindes. Those persōs are likely not to receiue any good by Christ, that quarrell at the Word of Christ. Now, that this may not be mistaken or neglected, I will shew, first, what it is, not to stumble at the Word, lest some weak ones should be dismaied: Then secondly, how many waies wicked men stumble at the Word.

For the first.How & where­in men take offence at the Word. To bee grieued in heart for the reproofes of the Word, is not an offence, but a grace: so we are troubled not with dislike of the Word, but of our owne sinnes. Secondly, to in­quire of the truth, and that which is deliuered, and to try the doctrine, by turning to the Scrip­tures as the Bereans did: this is not condemned heere; nor is it a stumbling at the Word, to put a difference betweene the teaching of Christ, and the teaching of the Scribes and Pharises.

Secondly, but men are said to bee offended at the Word, when their harts rise against it, or they ensnare themselues through their owne corrupti­on [Page 274] by occasion of the Word. To speak distinctly, wicked men are offēded at the word with a three-fold offence. First, with the offence of anger, when they rage and fret at the Word, or the teachers thereof, because their sinnes are reprooued, or their miseries foretold. And this offence they shew, either when they enuy the successe of the Word, Acts. 4.2. or raile and reuile Gods Saints, as Ahab did Michaiah for telling him the truth: or when they mocke at the Word, as the Pharises did, Luke 16.14. Secondly, with the offence of scandall, when they take occasion from the doc­trine they heare, to fall off from hearing, or from the true Religion, or from the company of the godly. Thus they stumbled at those hard sayings of Christ, that departed from him for that cause or reason, Ioh. 6. Thirdly, with the offence diabo­licall, when men peruert the good Word of God, to inflame themselues the more greedily to sin, making it a doctrine of liberty, or taking occasion to commit sin from the Law, that rebukes sinne.

Vses.The vse may bee first for information, and so two waies. For first, we may hence see the rea­son, why many hearers profit not by the Word. It is not because the Word wants power, but because they stumble at it. They nourish ca­uils and obiections against it: they oppose reason to faith. Secondly, we may hence take notice of the difference of a regenerate and vnregenerate heart. To the one the Word is a sauour of life, to the other it is a deadly sauour, and full of offence to them. And withall, this may humble wicked [Page 275] men. For this is a sure truth, that so long as they are offended at the Word, so long they haue no part in Christ: and withall it may comfort all those that loue the Word, and receiue it with ioy constantly. For that is a meanes and signe of their interest in Christ.

Being disobedient.]

These words containe another cause why Christ was no better rellished by them, and why they found such an ill taste in the word of Christ: it [...]as the wickednes that was in them: Sinne had marred their tastes: sweet meates haue but an ill rellish with those who haue corrupt and diseased stomacks, and the cause is apparant, the ill humors in their stomacks, and nothing in the meates they eate: But of their disobedience be­fore: and therefore this shall suffice in this place: and thus of the cause in themselues.

The cause in God followes.

Whereunto they were appointed.]

There is much difference of the reading of the originall words in the translations.

Some read thus: They stumble at the Word, & beleeue not in him, in whome they are placed, or set; and expound it thus, In whom they liue, moue, and haue their being: some read, in stead of disobedient, They beleeued not: But for these words, read them as heer. But then their mea­ning is, that the Iewes beleeued not, though they were thereunto appointed, that is, though they had the promise of saluation, and were a people separate thereunto: and so it is an ag­grauation [Page 276] of their vnbeliefe.

This sence and reading is not to bee despised.

But I take it, as I finde it in the translation: and so the sence is, that these men, whether Iewes or Gentiles, that are heere spoken of, were appoin­ted to this misery by the decree of God: and so they are words that expresse the substance of that part of Gods decree, which Diuines call Re­probation.

And so it is to bee obserued from hence, that wicked men are appointed from euerlasting, to the enduring of the miserie which are inflicted vpō them in this life, or in Hell: This is a doctrine which is extremely distasted by flesh and blood, and proues many times more offensiue to the common people, and is alwaies to bee reckned as strong meat: and therefore, that I may fairely get off this point, I offer two things to your con­siderations: First, the proofes that plainely a­uouch so much, as is heere obserued. Secondly, I will set downe certaine infallible obseruations, which tend to quiet mens mindes, and perswade them against the seeming difficulty, or absurdity of this truth.

Proofes of Re­probation.For the first, the Apostle Iude saith, that the wicked men he treateth of, were of old ordained to this condemnation, Iude 4. and the Apostle Peter saith, that the vngodly were reserued vnto the day of Iudgement to be punished, 2. Pet. 2.9. and verse 12. he saith, that they are naturall brute beasts, made to bee taken, and destroied: and it is manifestly implied, 1. Thes. 5.8. that God hath or­dained [Page 275] wicked men to wrath: so Rom. 9.22.

For the second▪ though this doctrine seeme wonderfull hard,Certaine obser­uations for the quieting of our mindes in the doctrine of re­probation. yet to assure vs, there is no hard dealing at all in God, there bee many things may confirme vs, and ease our mindes, though for the present wee cannot vnderstand how this should be, and perhaps are much troubled about this point, and therefore seriously consider,

First, for thy selfe; that if thou haue truely re­pented, and doe beleeue in Iesus Christ, and hast in thee the signes of a child of God; for thy part thou art free from this danger, and out of all question art in safe estate, and therefore oughtest not to greeue, but reioyce with singular praise to God.

Secondly, seeing God hath comforted vs with many doctrines, and trusted vs with many cleere points of knowledge, can wee not bee conten­ted, that God should speak darkly to vs in one point? Especially when wee are told before­hand, that there is an Abyssus: a depth, yea many depths in this doctrine? Shall we bee wayward, because one truth will not sinke yet into our heads? Wee are told, that this is a point vn­searcheable, Rom. 11.32, 33. and the rather, be­cause weake Christians are not tied to eate strong meat: they may safely let this doctrine alone.

Thirdly, that no man can know his owne re­probation, nor ought to beleeue so of himselfe: but is called vpon to vse the meanes by which he may bee saued.

[Page 276]Fourthly, wee haue this oath of God for it. That he desires not the death of the sinner, but would haue all men to repent and bee saued.

Fiftly, that whereas Diuines make two parts of the decree of reprobation: Praeterition and Praedamnation; All Diuines are agreed for the latter, that God did neuer determine to damne any man for his owne pleasure, but the cause of his perdition was his owne sinne. And heere is reason for it: For God may, to shew his soue­raignty annihilate his creature; but to appoint a reasonable creature to an estate of endles paine, without respect of his desert, cannot agree to the vnspotted Iustice of God. And for the other part of passing ouer, and forsaking a great part of men for the glory of his Iustice, the exactest Diuines doe not attribute that to the meer will of God, but hold, that God did first look vpon those men as sinners, at least in the generall corrup­tion brought in by the Fall. For all men haue sinned in Adam, and are guilty of high treason against God.

Sixtly, that sinne is no effect of reprobation, but onely a consequent: Gods decree doth not force any man to sinne, &c.

Seuenthly, that what soeuer God hath de­creed, yet all grant, that God is no way any Au­thor of sin: he doth not cause sin in any, but onely permits it, and endureth it: and whereas the most that can bee obiected, is, that God hardneth whom hee will, Rom. 9. it is agreed vpon in the answer of all sound Diuines, that God doth not [Page 277] infuse any wickednes from without, in mens hearts: but whereas their hearts are in themselues by custome in sinne hardned, as a iust Iudge hee giues them ouer to Satan and his power, who is as it were the Iayler, but doth neuer restraine them from good, and the meanes of it.

Eightthly, now may men say, that [...]nne came vpon men by reason of the rigour of Gods Law: For it was impossible to bee kept. For this there is a cleere answer: When God gaue his Law at first, man was able to keep it; and it came by his owne default, that hee was not able to keepe it afterwards. A man that sends his seruant to the market, and giues him charge to doe such and such busines for him; if that seruant make himselfe drunken, and so bee vnfit to doe his masters busines, hee is worthy to bee punished, because hee was fit to doe it, when hee was first sent about it.

Ninthly, it is plain in this verse, that those men of whom he heer speaks, are indited of grieuous sin against Christ and the Gospell.

Tenthly, that things may be iust, though the reasons of them doo not appear vnto vs: if it bee true of some cases of iustice among men, much more in this case of God's iustice.

Lastly, it should much satisfie vs, that in the day of Iesus Christ, those mysteries of Religion shall be broken open, and all then shall bee made cleer vnto vs, as cleer as the shining of the Sun at noon-day.

Thus of the punishment of vnbeleeuers, and [Page 278] so also of the first argument, taken from testimo­ny of Scripture.

Verses 9, and 10.
But yee are a chosen generation, a royall Priest hood, an holy Nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the vertues of h [...] that hath called you out of darknes into his maruellous light;
Which in times past were not a people, yet are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now haue obtained mercy.

THese words contain the second argument to perswade Christians to make their constant recourse vnto Christ, and from him to procure vertue to enable them for holinesse of conuersa­tion: and it is taken from the consideration of the excellency of that estate, vnto which they were brought by Christ. For the description whereof, the Apostle singles out two places of Scripture, with which hee makes vp a compleat narration of their great prerogatiues aboue all o­ther people, and aboue that they themselues were in former times. The places of Scripture he makes vse of, are Exod. 9. and Hosh. 1.

And before I open the words, two things may be heer noted. First, the Apostle's care to prooue what he saith from the scripture, whether it be a­gainst wicked men, or for godly men: wch shews, that we should much more take heed to GOD's Word, being lesse than Apostles, especially such an Apostle. Secondly, we may hence note, that [Page 279] the promises or praises giuen to the Godly in the old Testament, are not enuied to Christians in the new Testament. God is no respecter of per­sons: but wee haue free liberty to search the books of God, and to chuse out of all the exam­ples of the sutes of godly men, or the prefer­ments, what we wil: and if we make a sute of it to god, he wil not deny it, but shew vs their mercy.

Now, for the particular opening of these words, we must obserue, that it is the purpose of the Apostle to shew briefly the priuiledges of the godly aboue all others, or what themselues were before their conuersion.

And the priuiledge of their estate may be con­sidered either positiuely in it self, or compara­tiuely. It is described positiuely, verse 9. and comparatiuely, verse 10.

In the ninth verse, there he reckons vp a num­ber of prerogatiues belonging to the Godly, and withall shews the vse they should make of them, or the end why they were conferred vpon them.

The Godly excel in diuers respects, if we con­sider,

First, their election: they are chosen of God.

Secondly, their alliance or kinred: they are a chosen kinred.

Thirdly, their dignity aboue other men: they are royall Kings.

Fourthly, their function or priuate imploi­ment before God: Priests.

Fiftly, their behauiour, or outward conuersa­tion: they are holy.

[Page 280]Sixtly, their number: they are a Nation.

Seuenthly, their acceptation with God: they are a peculiar people.

First, for Election.

The Apostle, looking vpon the words in Exo­dus 19.5, 6. and seeing that they described the happinesse of Christians in this life, doth in the Fore-front put-to this priuiledge of their electi­on, as the foundation of all the rest, and would haue Christians much affected with the conside­ration of this prerogatiue.

It is one of the chief and prime comforts of a Christian, to consider, that he is elect of GOD, Psalm 106.4, 5. 2. Pet. 1.9. elect, I say, both before time, and in time. Before time, in God's decree: and in time, when the Godly are singled and cal­led out of the world, and picked out, one of a ci­ty, and two of a tribe, in all the ages of the world, and distinguished from other men, by beleeuing in Iesus Christ. As the Israelites were chosen out of all the nations of the world; so now the Elect out of all the Ages of the world.

Quest. But, what is there in the election of a Christian, that should so much affect him, as to account himself so wonderfull happy in that re­spect?

Ans. There are many things in our election, which should much rauish vs: as, to consider,

The specialties of Election.First, when wee were chosen, viz. before the foundation of the world from all eternity. Oh what a fauour is it to think, that God had such thought of vs before euer we had any beeing! E­phes. 1.4.

[Page 281]Secondly, by whom we were chosen, viz. by God. Men are wont to be affected, if any of any degree almost doo point out them aboue others, vnto any condition of praise or preferment. To be beloued and in request with any, is a content­ment: but especially, if Kings or great persons should chuse vs out to set their loue vpon vs, how would we be moued with that! Oh! what com­parison can there be between the greatest men on earth, and the great God in heauen?

Thirdly, to what wee were chosen, viz. to a Kingdom and great glory. For meaner persons to be chosen to any preferment, it would proue a great contentment; but especially, to be aduan­ced to the highest honors: why, God hath cho­sen and called vs to no lesse an happinesse than a Kingdome and glory, yea, his Kingdome and glory in heauen, Mat. 25.34. 2. Thes. 2.13, 14.

Fourthly, for how long this choise must last, viz. for euer. To be chosen to a great office, though it were but for a yeere, is a great honour in the ac­count of some men, but especially to enioy a kingdome, if it may be for diuers yeers, as 20, 30, 40, or the like, how would men reioyce, that could attain to such an election? But behold, our happines is greater. For wee haue by our Electi­on an entrance into the euerlasting Kingdom of Iesus Christ.

Fiftly, vpon what reasons we were chosen. viz. vpon God's free and meer grace and goodnes: he chooseth whom he will. It was his good plea­sure to chuse vs to such a Kingdome: wee had it [Page 282] not by descent, or desert, Rom. 9.18, 21. Ephes. 1.11.

Sixtly, in what manner he chose vs, viz. vn­changeably, to bee chosen to so great an estate, though it had beene but during pleasure, and that pleasure to, such as might change, had beene a great aduancement. But Gods purpose remaines according to his choise,Rom. 9. and whom he elected, he calles; and whom hee calles, hee iustifies; and whom he iustifies, hee glorifies, Rom. 8.30. The foundation of God remaineth sure, 2 Tim. 2.19.

Lastly, to consider whom he chose, which hath a double incitation in it. For first, the Scripture tels vs, Many are called, but few are chosen. Now this increaseth our honour, that but a few onely can be admitted to the participation of it. If ma­ny had enioyed it, the commonnesse of it might haue had in it some occasion of lessening the va­lew of it, Deut. 7.6, 7. Math. 20.16. Secondly, God chose vs, that were most vile creatures pol­luted in bloud, couered with filthines, falne from him by vile Apostasie and our rebellion in our first parents, and beeing guilty of many treasons in our owne actions. And this shold much moue vs, that God should set his heart vpon such vile wretches, as wee euery day are prooued to bee.

Vses.The vse of this may be diuers. But I will onely stand vpon two vses. First, the consideration here­of should inforce vpon vs a care to make our Election sure, 2. Pet. 1.9.

Question. Now if any ask, by what signes I may know, that I am elected of God?

[Page 285] Answer. I answer, There be diuers infallible signes of Election: as for example,

First,Signes of Electi­on. Separation from the world: when God singles vs out from the world, it doth manifest, that he hath chosen vs from al eternity. Now, that this separation may bee prooued sure and infalli­ble, we must know,

  • 1. That it is wrought in vs by the Gospell, 2. Thes. 2.14.
  • 2. That it containes in it a contempt of earthly things, so as our hearts do vnfainedly dis­laime all happines in the things of this world, as out of true iudgement resoluing, that all is vanity and vexation of spirit. The loue of God, and the loue of the world cannot stand together, 1 Iohn. 2.14.
  • 3. That it with-drawes vs from needeles society, or delight in the men of this world, who follow the lusts of life, and minde onely earthly things. Psal. 26.
  • 4. An estimation of spirituall things aboue all the world.

Secondly, a relying vpon Iesus Christ, and the couenants of grace in him, so as wee trust wholy vpon him for righteousnes, and happines▪ Hence it is, that faith is called the faith of Gods Elect, Titus 1.1.

Thirdly, the Sanctification of the spirit, 3. Thes. 2.13. which hath in it both the reformations of those euils, which were wont to preuaile ouer vs, and were most beloued of vs, as also the qua­lifying the heart with such graces as are superna­turall, [Page 284] such as those mentioned in the Catalogue 2. Pet. 1.5, 6, 7, 8, 9. and such are those graces heer­tofore mentioned in the sight of saluation.

Fourthly, the testimony of the spirit of Adop­tion. For euery godly man hath a witnes in him­selfe, 1. Ioh. 5.10. Rom. 8.15. Gods Spirit doth as­sure Gods Elect, that they are elect, and that it doth principally, by sealing vp vnto them the promises of Gods Word, Ephes. 1.13, 14.

Fiftly, by the conformity of Christians vnto Christ in affliction: for the Elect are predestinate to bee made like vnto Christ in sufferings. Now, because this signe must bee warily explicated, wee must vnderstand, that barely to bee afflicted, is not a signe of Election. For so may, and are wicked men, as well as godly men: but to become like Christ in the suffering, is the signe; which that it may be more infallible and cleer, wee must obserue in these sufferings.

  • Markes of such as truely suffer with Christ.
    1. The kindes, as for example, to be hated & scorned of the world, and reuiled & persecu­ted, is a token, that wee are not of the world, be­cause the world would loue his owne.
    Ioh. 15.18, 19.
  • 2. The causes, as if wee bee hated for goodnes, and doe not suffer as euill doers, Ioh. 1 [...] ▪ 8.21. Psal. 38.20. when our afflictions are the af­flictions of the Gospel, 2. Tim. 1.8, 9. Mat. 5.12.
  • 3. The effects, that wee loue obedience by our sufferings, Heb. 5.8. and bee made more holy and fruitfull, and quiet, and meek, and humble by them, Heb. 15.11. So as we can say, It was good for mee, that I was afflicted, Psal. 119.
  • [Page 285]4. By the manner, that wee be like Christ in silence, Esay 13.7. patience, and despising the shame of the crosse, Heb. 12.1, 2. 1. Pet. 2.21, 22, 23. praiers to God, and submission to Gods will, with strong cries and feruency, Heb. 5.7.
  • 5. By the issue, when God giueth a like end to the triall of his seruants, as hee did vnto the Passion of Christ, making all worke toge­ther for the best, Rom. 8.28.
  • 6. The intertainement, which God giues vnto his seruants in the meanes of communion with God: For when we meet with God fami­liarly, and continue in his ordinances, that is an infallible signe and note of Election: as when a man findes constantly the pleasures of Gods house, Psal. 65.4. power and much assurance in hearing the Word, 1. Thes. 1.4, 5. an inward sea­ling vp of the comforts of the couenant, in recei­uing of the Sacraments, testified by the secret and sweet refreshing of the heart in the time of receiuing, the conscience being comforted in the forgiuenes of sinnes past, Math. 26.28. an an­swer and assurance, that God hath heard our prayers, and beene with vs in his seruice, Iob. 15.15, 16. and the like.

Vse 2. The second vse should bee to work in vs a care to liue so, as may become the know­ledge, remembrance, and assurance of our Elec­tion: and so we shall doe,

First,Rules to liue so as becoms the assurance of Election. If wee stir vp our hearts to a continuall praising of God for his rich and freegrace heere­in, Ephes. 1.3, 6.

[Page 288]Secondly, if wee striue to ioy, and glory in it continually, Psal. 106.5, 6.

Thirdly, if wee loue one another, Ioh. 15.17. and choose as God chuseth, Eph. 1.4. not de­spising the poorest Christian, Iam. 2.5.

Fourthly, if we set vp the Lord to be our God to loue him with all our heart, and to serue him, and in all things to shew our selues desirous to please him, and to be resolued to please him, and his truth, and to his glory, &c. Deut. 26. Esay 44.1.5.

Fiftly, if we confirme our selues in a resolution to haue no fellowship with the vnfruitfull workes of darknes, nor to suffer our selues to be vnequally yoaked: but since God hath chosen vs out of the world, to keepe our seluesse from needlesse society with wicked men.

Sixtly, if we continue in the Word, and bee patient in afflictions, and shew contentations in all estates, as knowing, that it is our Fathers plea­sure to giue vs a Kingdome, Luke 12.32. and that all shall worke together for the best, Rom. 8.28. and that the very haires of our heads are num­bred, Math. 10. & that nothing can be laid to our charge to condemne vs, Rom. 8.33. and that God will neuer cast away his people, whom before he knew, Rom. 11.2. because his foundation re­maineth sure, and hee knoweth, who are his, 2. Tim. 2.19.

Seuenthly, if we striue to liue without blame and offence, that God may no way suffer disho­nour for our sakes, Eph. 1.4.

[Page 289]Thus of the election.

The next thing by which they are commen­ded, is their kinred and generation.

This word generation signifies sometimes an age, or succession of men, or so many men as liue in the world, in the age of one man: so one gene­ration passeth, and another cometh, &c. Eccles. 1. Sometimes it signifies a progeny or off-spring, that is, so many as doo descend out of the loins of such a one: as, the generation from Abraham to Dauid, Mat. 1. Sometimes it signifies a kinred or stock; and so, not onely carnall, but spirituall: and thus, wicked men are said to be an adulterous and vntoward generation, Mat. 12.39. faithlesse and peruerse, Mat. 17.17. and so it is no priuiledge to be one of that generation: but wee are called vpon to saue our selues from this vntoward gene­ration, Matth. 12.40. so that it is a priuiledge to be one of this sort or kinred. They are the gene­ration of vipers, Mat. 3. Now, there is another kinde of spirituall alliance, and that is it whereby all Christians are a-kin one to another through the bloud of Christ, as they all descend of the se­cond Adam: and of this it is, that the Prophet speaketh, Esay 53.8. when admiredly he saith of Christ, Who can tell his generation? And thus the Godly are begotten of the best bloud in the world, because they are begotten of the bloud of Christ, Iohn 1.13.

The doctrine then is, that Godly men are the happiest men in the world, in respect of their kin­red and alliance. None come of so good a kinred [Page 290] as godly Christians, which may appear by di­uers reasons.

Godly Christians come of the best kinred, which appears by ma­ny reasons.First, because they descend of the best bloud, being the generation of Christ the second Adam; and so are better born than they that can tell of their great Nobility and Bloud, both by the fa­ther's and mother's side, Iohn 1.13.

Secondly, because they are a chosen picked children or kinred, all the kinred culled out of all mankinde; and so is no kinred in the world. For, in all other kinreds are all sorts of persons to bee found, good and bad, vertuous and vicious: but of this kinred are none but good.

Thirdly, because the whole kinred is royall; they enioy all great preferments: whereas there bee few kinreds in the world, but there are some poor in it; but this generation hath not one poor man in it: all the kinred are Kings.

Fourthly, because all are fit for imploiment: all the kinred are Priests, and can sacrifice, which was not true of the very Tribe of Leui. There is not one Christian, but he can perform the work of the Priesthood, and doth in his order.

Fiftly, because there are so many of the kin­red. The meanest Christian is a-kinne to all the Saints in heauen, and to all the Godly in earth or on earth: and there is no kinred in the flesh, that can attain to the like number of kinsfolks in any degree of comparison worth the speaking of.

Sixtly, because they are all accepted into high fauour with the King of kings. Though a King [Page 291] on earth, out of his loue to see one person, would doo much for many of his kinred, yet it is neuer seen, that all the kinred vniuersally are preferred and entertained into speciall fauour with the King: yet so it is with all the Godly: it is true of all, and of euery one, that they are his peculiar treasure.

Seuenthly, because all our kinred will doo for vs: there is none of them but are able to pleasure vs: whereas in carnal kinred, one may be a-kinne to so great persons, that they will doo nothing for them.

Eightly, because other kinred may and wil dy, and leaue vs: but all this generation liues for euer.

Vses. The consideration whereof may serue for diuers reasons.

First, hence godly Christians may gather comfort against the best of their kinred in the flesh, whether they bee lost by displeasure, or by death: for, God heer makes a supply of better kinred. It should not therefore bee grieuous to the Godly to forsake their fathers house, Psal. 45.

Secondly, hence wee should learn how to e­steem of godly Ministers: for, heerby is implied, that they are the Fathers & Princes of the Tribes in this holy Nation.

Thirdly, it should teach vs many duties con­cerning the Godly, to whom we are allied.

  • 1. To study our genealogie, and gette the knowledge of as many of our kinred as wee can.
  • 2. To glory in our kinred, to ioy in our hap­pinesse heerin.
  • [Page 292]3. To doo all good we can to our kinred, e­uen to the houshold of faith, for this very reason, because they are our kinsmen in the Spirit; and, in particular, we should be ready to doo all that for them, which the law of kinred bindeth vs vn­to, viz.
    • 1. Wee should acknowledge them, and not hide our selues from any that is godly.
    • 2. We should receiue one another hear­tily and willingly, without grudging or murmu­ring.
    • 3. Wee should defend one another, and bee ready in all oppositions to stand for the godly.
    • 4. We should shew all bowels of mercy, and tender kindnes, and pity, and sympathize in their necessities and miseries.

Fourthly, we should hence learn to be proui­dent to preserue our owne reputation, that we be no way a dishonour and shame to our kinred, but learn of the wise steward, by lawfull meanes to preserue our credits, and prouide for our selues, though he did it by vnlawfull: for, our Sauiour noted this defect, when he said, The children of this world are wiser in their generation, than the children of the light, Luke 16.8.

Thus much of their kinred or generation.

A royall Priest-hood.]

These words contain the two next preroga­tiues; which haue so much connexion one with another, that they are ioyned together as insepa­rable.

[Page 293]The Apostle makes a comely and effectuall in­uersion of the words recorded in Exodus 19: for, there they are said to be a Kingdome of Priests, which the Apostle more plainly expresses in the words, A royall Priest-hood.

They are both Kings and Priests, but both with difference from other men of either of those callings. They are Kings, not prophane or ciuill onely, but sacred Kings: they are Priests, not common or typicall Priests, but royall.

The one word tels their dignity to which they are ordained; the other, their office in respect of God.

These words, with those that follow, are in Exodus expounded, or rather propounded indefi­nitely to the Israelites, but in this place limited to the Elect onely; which shewes, that promises and priuiledges of right belong onely to the E­lect and Chosen of God, &c.

Royall.]

Christians may be said to bee Royall in foure respects.

First,Godly men are Royall many waeies. comparatiuely with wicked men: for, whatsoeuer their condition be, yet if their estate be compared with the miserable condition of all impenitent sinners; it is a Royall estate, they are like Kings in respect of them.

Secondly, as they are vnited to his body, who is the greatest King, as members of Iesus Christ, who is King of kings, Reuel. 19.

Thirdly, because they looke for a King­dome. It is their Fathers pleasure to giue them [Page 294] a Kingdome; They shall one day raigne, and therefore are Royall.

Fourthly, because for the very present, in this life they haue the state of Kings: They haue the state of Kings in this life, I say. For, first they appeare clad in purple. The Romans knew who was King, when they saw the man clad in purple Robes: Christians haue royall Garments, Gar­ments of Saluation; the righteousnesse of Christ doth couer them, which so soone as they put on, they are saluted for Kings in Heauen. Secondly, they haue the attendance of Kings, a great traine and guard about them; no King like any of them, that is not one of them; for they haue the An­gels for their guard, and as ministring Spirits to them, Psalm 34. and 91. Hebr. 1.14. Thirdly, they haue the dominion of kings, and soueraign­ty and power of Kings: and so, first, the whole world is their kingdome, in which they raigne: they are heirs of the world, Rom. 4. and so our Sa­uiour saith, They inherit the earth, Matthew 5. Fourthly, their owne hearts are as a large King­dom, in which they sit and raign, gouerning and ruling ouer the innumerable thoughts of their mindes and affections, and passions of their harts: among which they doo iustice, by daily subdu­ing their vnruly passions, and wicked thoughts, which, like so many Rebels, exalt themselues a­gainst the obedience should be yielded to Christ the supreme Lord and Emperor; as also by pro­moting the weal of all those sauing graces which are placed in their hearts, nourishing and lifting [Page 295] vp all good thoughts, and cherishing all holy de­sires and good affections; conscience beeing, by commission, the chief Iudge for their affairs of this whole Kingdome. Fiftly, it is something royal; and, which proues them to be Kings, they haue a regall supremacy. A King is he that iud­geth all, and is iudged of none: such a one also is euery spirituall man said to be, 1. Cor. 2. vlt. Sixt­ly, they prooue themselues Kings by the many conquests they make ouer the world and Satan, sometimes in lesser skirmishes, somtimes in some main and whole battels.

Ob. Might some one say, Is this all the King­dome of a Christian? This is infinitely belowe the magnificence and honour of an earthly king­dome, &c.

Sol. GOD hath done more for the naturall man, or for the nature of men, for prouiding means for this spirituall Kingdome, than in ope­ning a way for earthly Kingdomes; which may appear by diuers differences. For,

First,Differences be­tween spirituall and earthly Kings. none but great men, and of great means, can attain to the Kingdome of this world: but heer the poor may haue a Kingdome, as well as the rich. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for, theirs is the Kingdome of heauen.

Secondly, while the father liues, the little childe cannot raign: whereas, in this Kingdom, little-ones attain to the Kingdome, and safely hold it, Mat. 18.

Thirdly, this kingdome is of heauen, whereas the others are onely of the earth.

[Page 296]Fourthly, these Kings are all iust, there is none vnrighteous can possesse these thrones: They are all washed, iustified and sanctified. There is not a drunkard, a railer, a buggerer, an adulterer, a murtherer, or any the like amongst them, which is no priuiledge belonging to the kingdome of this world, Rom. 14.17. 1 Cor. 6.9, 10, 11. Gal. 5.21. The godly are Kings, such as Melchisedech was, somewhat obscure in the world, but they raign in righteousnes, in peace, none like them, Heb. 7.

Fiftly, the godly haue receiued a kingdome, that cannot be shaken. Their kingdom is an euer­lasting kingdome, Heb. 12.28. But all the king­domes of the world may be, and haue beene sha­ken, and will be ruined and end; whereas the god­ly that set out in soueraignty ouer lesser domini­ons, and with lesse pompe, yet increase so fast, till at length they attain the most glorious Kingdom in the new heauens, and new earth.

Vses.The vse of all this may be diuers.

First, for singular comfort to the godly: what account soeuer the world makes of them, yet heere they see, what God hath ordained them vnto: It matters not for the worlds neglect of them; for Gods Kingdom comes not by obser­uation: and in particular it should comfort them in two causes. First, in matter of seruice, when they come to stand before the Lord, they must know, that they are honourable in Gods sight He respects them as so many Kings in his presence. Secondly, in the mortification of vices, they haue receiued power & authority as Kings, [Page 297] and therefore no rebellious conuersation can so exalt it selfe, but it may be subdued. The oyle of God is vpon them: and what can the greatest Rebels doe against the power of the King?

But secondly, withall heere is terror to wic­ked men. For this is the priuiledge onely of the godly; and it is certaine, that wicked men are in Gods account as base, as the godly are honoura­ble, they are thrust besides these thrones: And so both sorts of wicked men: For not onely openly profane men are to be smitten with this terror, but also hypocrites. It is true indeed, that hypo­crites act the parts of Kings: but they are onely such Kings as Players are vpon a stage, they speake of the words, or the words of Kings: but are not indeed. For they are by the wiser and bet­ter sort accounted as Rogues, and the scum of the people: euen so are wicked men in Gods account, neither will their outward shewes helpe them. For the Kingdom of God is tried not by words, but by the power of it, 1. Cor. 4.20. And withall vnruly Christians may be hence checked, such as will not be ruled by their teachers: such were the Corinthians, they raigned without Paul, and their godly teachers. But the Apostle wisheth they were indeed Kings, or did indeed raigne. Why bearest thou the name of a King, and canst not rule thy passions?

Thirdly, diuers vses for instructions may bee hence gathered: for,

First, we should hence learne to honour poore Christians: They are spirituall Kings, as well [Page 298] as the Kings of the earth: and wee knowe, what a stirre wee would make to entertaine the Kings of this world, Iam. 2.5.

Secondly, wee should hence bee stirred vp in desire after this Kingdome, to pray for it, that it may come, and that God would count vs wor­thy of such a Kingdom, Math. 6. 2. Thes. 1.5. and to this end wee should looke to two things.

First, that we seeke this kingdome, first, aboue all other things, Mat. 6.

Secondly, that we should refuse no paines nor handship for the entertainment of true godlines: This Kingdom of heauen should suffer violence, and the violent only will take it by force.Mat. 11.12. It is an easy thing for Iohn to be a partner in the patience of the bretheren, when he is a partner with them in the Kingdom: of Iesus Christ, Reuel. 1.9. It is no great thing men can suffer, if wee consider, it is for a Kingdome: and the want of outward things should the lesse trouble vs, if God make vs so rich in spirituall things.

Thirdly, wee should hence especially learne to liue in this world like Kings: and this Chri­stians should shew,

First, by declaring their conquest ouer the passions and desires of their owne hearts: It is a royall quality in a Christian, to bee able to shew all meeknes of minde, and temper, and sobriety, in being able to deny vnto himselfe what may not bee had without sinne, or offence. Hee that winnes the conquest ouer his owne heart, is greater then hee that winnes a City.

[Page 299]Secondly, putting on the Lord Iesus: The righteousnes of Christ is the robe of a Christian: and since all the life of a Christian is a high feast, hee should alwaies put on his robe, to distinguish him from all other men: and this righteousnes is both the imputed righteousnes of Christ, as also the inherent vertues of Christ.

Thirdly, by seruing the publick. Kings are the common treasure of the subiects: they are appointed for the good of many Christians, and should shew, that they remember, that they are Kings, by deuoting themselues to all possible profitablenes of conuersation.

Fourthly, by their contentation. What should they fear? or what should discontent them? Hath not GOD giuen them a Kingdome, and great glory?

Fiftly, by subduing carnall and seruile feares of men: Why should Christians fear the faces of great men on earth? are they not spirituall Kings themselues? and is not the breath in the nostrils of the greatest men on earth? why art thou then afraid to come before them? &c.

Priest-hood.]

The fourth thing, for which Christians are commended, is their Priest-hood, which notes the honour of their imploiment in things that concerne God and his seruice, Esay 61.6. Reuel. 1.6, &c.

Now, the Priest-hood of Christians is a singu­lar priuiledge, if wee, first, either consider the kindes of Priest-hood: or secondly, the special­ties [Page 300] of their calling and imploiment. First, for the kinde: The Priest-hood of Christians is bet­ter then the Priest-hood of the Leuites the sonnes of Aaron, because it is a royall Priest-hood: They are Priests after the order of Mel­chisedech, as Christ himselfe was, in which order euery Priest was a King: so were none of the sonnes, or house of Aaron: Secondly, and for the specialties of fauour imported in the Priest-hood of Christians, diuers prerogatiues are included in it: For first, the Priest-hood of a Christian imports separation, and consecration to God: The godly of all the people in the world are the onely people that are deuoted to God, and chosen out of all the world as his por­tion, as the Leuites were out of all Israel. Second­ly, it imports neernesse and constancy of com­munion with God: The Priests liued in Gods House, and stood alwaies before the Lord, dwelt in his presence, and did approach neerer to him, then all the people else: so doe the godly spiri­tually: They onely dwell in his sight, and enioy his speciall presence, and see the glory of his pre­sence, and haue their soules satiated with fatnes, arising from the comfort of Gods fauorable pre­sence, Ierem. 31.14.

Vses. Now the consideration of this excellent Priest-hood of Christians should serue, first, for consolation: secondly, for instruction: and third­ly, for great reproofe.

First, it should much comfort godly and care­full Christians to consider, how neere God hath [Page 301] placed thē to himself euen in his chamber of pre­sence, as it were: & how meanly soeuer the world doth account of their seruice, yet they hence knowe, that their Priest-hood is a Royall Priest-hood, and the godly imploiments of Religious men are more honourable, then the greatest im­ployments of the greatest Monarchs of the earth, & withal it may specially comfort feareful Chri­stians against one scruple: They sometimes are a­fraid to goe into Gods presence, or they doubt their accesse, they are so vnworthy to come be­fore the Lord. Why? this word Priest-hood satisfie them: For it imports, that they are priui-should ledged by their calling to come before God. The Priests might enter into the House of the Lord, yea they must doe it, it was required of them: It was a sinne, if they did it not, and they did not sinne by doing it.

Secondly, the Priest-hood of Christians should put them in minde of diuers duties, as

First, it should work in them a care of know­ledge: the Priests should preserue knowledge, and they should seeke the Law at his mouth. A godly Christian should bee able to direct others, and hold forth the light of the Word for the profit of others: and as dumb Ministers are to be disliked, so are dumbe Christians too.

Secondly, it should teach Christians to striue to bee of an harmelesse, and inoffensiue disposi­tion. The Priests in the Law of God were men without blemish: and so should Christians in the Gospel, Phil. 2, 15.

[Page 302]Thirdly, wee should hence learne to set the Lord alwaies before vs, and to walke before him, seeing it is our office to keepe in the Tem­ple, and to bee neere the Lord.

Fourthly, it should compell vpon vs a care of our sacrifice: The maine worke of the Priests was, to offer sacrifices: Now our sacrifices are principally praiers and good works, as more at large is shewed on the notes of verse 5. and in these wee must be daily imployed: But then we must in all our seruices looke to the rules of Sa­crificing, which as I said, I haue handled at large verse 5. onely for the present remember these few things:

  • 1. That their sacrifices are worth nothing, without an Altar to sacrifice them on: and this Altar is Iesus Christ, Heb. 13.10.
  • 2. That thou must haue fire to burne the sacrifice on the Altar; and this fire is holy affecti­ons, Marke 9.
  • 3. That in all thy sacrifices thou must keep out leauen: now the spirituall leauen, that marres thy sacrifices, are: first, malice: secondly, any notable wickednes: thirdly, euill opinions, fourthly, worldly griefe and passions, which like leauen sowreth the sacrifice.

Thus of the second principall vse.

Vse 3. This may serue for reproofe-of diuers sorts of men, as,

First, of the Papist: They haue fire, but no Altar, and therefore cannot sacrifice: They haue zeale, but not knowledge, as was said in the case [Page 303] of the lewes, who knew not the righteousnes of Christ.

Secondly, of the carnall Protestants. They haue an Altar, in that they professe iustification by Christ: but either they haue no sacrifice, or no fire. The rich among them bring not their sa­crifice of almes, and all sorts neglect praier and good works; or if they doo any seruice to God, there is no fire to burn the sacrifice: they serue God without zeal and holy affections.

Thirdly, hypocrites are heer rebuked. They bring, for matter, the right sacrifices sometimes, and they haue fire too: but it is strange fire many times: they haue zeal, but it is rash and vnwar­ranted: they doo good duties in an ill manner, or spend their zeal on traditions, either on the left hand, or on the right.

Fourthly, fearfull Christians are heer repro­ued, because when they haue sacrifices, and an Altar, and fire too, yet they beleeue not the at­onement may come by it, or the acceptation of them from God.

Thus of the fourth point.

An holy Nation.]

The holinesse of a Christian is his fift preroga­tiue, wherein he excels all other people: and the Godly are holy many waies. Some are lesse prin­cipall: some are more principall.

First,Christians are holy many waies. they are holy in respect of GOD's ap­pointment and calling: God hath decreed them to holinesse, Eph. 1.4. and created them to good works, Eph. 2.10. and called them to bee Saints, 1. Cor. 1.16.

[Page 304]Secondly, they are holy in their sect or kin­red. They are of a holy kinred: for, their Head Christ Iesus is infinitely holy, and their brethren are holy brethren, Heb. 4.1.

Thirdly, they are holy in their Lawes. No people haue so holy, just, and exact Lawes: there is no defect or error in them. The Word of God is perfect, Psal. 19. Pro. 8.5, 6.

Fourthly, they are holy in their signes: they wear the badges of righteousnes. The vncircum­cised were accounted vnholy; and the Iewes, a holy nation, because being circumcised, they had the signe of righteousnes: so are Christians holy by Baptism sacramentally.

Fiftly, they are holy, in regard of separation from the wicked and the World. A thing was said to be holy, in the Law, which was separated from common vses, to the vse of the Tabernacle: so are the Godly holy, because separated from the vnholy.

But, chiefly, the Godly excell for holinesse, if we respect the holinesse,

First, of justification: they are holy by the im­putation of the perfect holinesse of Christ, and so are they as holy as euer was Adam in Paradise, or the Angels in heauen.

Secondly, of sanctification: they haue holi­nesse in their natures, and they practise holinesse too: and thus they are holy in heart, and by in­choation. They haue grace in all parts, though not in all degrees, & they are not destitute of any sauing or heauenly gift, 1. Cor. 9.11. And this kind [Page 305] of holinesse must not bee slighted or meanly ac­counted of: for, first, it is a holinesse wrought by the holy Ghost. Secondly, it is presented to God by the intercession of Christ; whereby all im­perfections are couered. And thirdly, it is ac­knowledged in the couenant of grace, which ad­mits of vprightnes and sincerity in stead of per­fection, which in the other couenants were re­quired.

Thirdly, they are holy in hope, because they look for perfect holinesse in nature and action, in another world. There is a righteousnes which they wait for, that exceeds all the righteousnes that euer was in any man in this world, Christ Ie­sus excepted.

But I conceit, it is the holinesse of sanctificati­on which is heer meant. Now, this holiness con­sists either of mortification or viuification. Mor­tification is imploied about the subduing of cor­ruptions; and viuification, about qualifying the heart and life of the beleeuer with holinesse. Vi­uification also is exercised either about new grace in the heart, or new obedience in the con­uersation. I take it, the later is heer meant: and so the Apostle intends to say, that no people are like the belieuing Christians, for the holinesse of their conuersation.

Vses. The vse of this point may bee, first, for great encouragement to the true Christian, not­withstanding all his infirmities with which he is burdened: and therefore hee should take heed, that he be not wicked ouer-much, Eccles. 7. that [Page 306] is, hee should not think to vilely of himselfe: For though hee be guilty of many sinnes, yet hee is truely holy, and that many waies, as was shewed before. God hath done great things for him, that hath giuen him a holy head, and a holy calling, and especially that he hath already made him perfectly holy by Iustification, and will make him perfectly holy in Sanctification in another world, yea hee ought to take reason of comfort for his holines of Sanctification; as for the reasons before, so the verie holines of his conuersation is much more exact, then is the conuersation of the wicked, or then was his owne before his calling.

And withall this should much stirre vp godly men to the care of sound holines in their conuer­sation, and the rather, because, first, they were redeemed from a vain conuersation by the bloud of Christ, 1. Pet. 1.18. Secondly, they should much thereby aduance the profession of true Re­ligion, Phil. 1.27. Thirdly, because a holy conuer­sation is a good conuersation, God requires no­thing of vs to doe, but it is all faire work, and good for vs, whereas when wee haue done, the Diuel, the world, and the flesh work that, which was extremely ill for vs. Fourthly, wee hold our profession before many witnesses, many eies are vpon vs, and the most men are crooked, and peruerse, 1. Tim. 6.12. Phil. 2.15. and the best way to silence foolish men, is by vnrebukeablenes of conuersation, 1. Pet. 2.15. Fiftly, our heauenly Fa­ther is heereby glorified, Math. 5. and 6. Sixtly, it [Page 307] will bee a great comfort to vs in aduersity, 2. Cor. 1.12. Lastly, great is our reward in heauen. For heereby will bee ministred aboundantly an en­trance into the glorious Kingdome of Iesus Christ, 2. Pet. 1.11.

But then wee must looke to diuers rules about our conuersation, that it may bee right: for,

First,Speciall rules for the right or­dering of vs in an holy conuer­sation. it must be a good conuersation in Christ, 1. Pet. 3.16.

Secondly, it must bee a conuersation dischar­ged from those vsuall vices, which are hatefull in such as professe the sincerity of the Gospell, and yet common in the world, such as are lying, wrath, bitternes, rotten comunication, or cursed speaking, or the like, Eph. 4.25. Col. 3.8. 1. Pet. 1.14.

Thirdly, it must bee all manner of conuersa­tion, 1. Pet. 1.15. we must shew respect to all Gods commandements, at home, and abroad, in re­ligion, mercy, righteousnesse, or honesty.

Fourthly, wee must shew all meeknes of wisdome, when wee heare outward praise, or doe good, or are to expresse our selues in dis­course, or otherwise, Iam. 3.13. 2. Cor. 1.12.

And that wee may attaine to this holines of conuersation,

First,Meanes for ob­tayning an holy conuersation. wee must walk according to the rule of Gods Word, and let that bee a light to our feet, and a lanthorne vnto our pathes, Gal. 6.16. Ioh. 3.21.

Secondly, wee must set before vs the pattern of such Christians, as haue most excelled that [Page 308] way, Phil. 3.17. and walke with the wife.

Thirdly, especially as obedient children, wee should learne of our heauenly Father, to fashion our selues according to his nature, and in all conuersation striue to be holy, as hee is holy: and as it followes in this verse, wee should study and striue to shewe foorth the vertues, that were eminent in Iesus Christ, 1. Pet. 1.15, 16. and 12.10.

Thirdly, in so much as holines is the preroga­tiue of a Christian, it should teach all sortes of men to try themselues, whether they haue attai­ned true holines, or no: so as they bee sure their holines exceed the holines of the Scribes and Pharises. For else they cannot enter into the Kingdome of heauen: For a Christian must haue that holines of conuersation, which no wicked man can attaine vnto. Now that this triall may bee done effectually, I will shew wherein the holines of a true Christian exceedes the holines,

First, of a meere ciuill honest man.

Secondly, of the most glorious Hypocrite.

Differences be­tweene the holi­nes of conuersa­tion in ciuill ho­nest men and Gods elect.First, for the meere ciuill honest man: the true Christian exceedes his righteousnes, both in the righteousnes of faith, and in the internall holines of the heart, and the power of holy affections: but because it is holines of conuersation, which is especially heere meant, I will touch the diffe­rences in conuersation, and so,

First, they differ in one maine cause of orderly life. For the holines of the godly Christian pro­ceedes from a regenerate heart: whereas the meere ciuil man is so naturally, or onely by re­straining [Page 309] grace: Hee hath not beene in the fur­nace of mortification for sin.

Secondly, the meere ciuil honest man glories in this, that hee paies euery man his owne, and is no adulterer, or drunkard, or the like notorious offender: But for the most part hee is altogether defectiue in the religious duties of the first table, especially in the duties of the Sabbath, and the religious duties hee should performe in his fa­mily.

Thirdly, the meere ciuill honest man makes conscience of great offences, but cares not to be stained with lesser sinnes, whereas the true Chri­stian liues circumspectly, and makes conscience of the least commandement.

Secondly, nowe for the Hypocrite: though the difference be hidden, yet it may bee assigned in diuers things, as,

First,Differences be­tweene the Hy­pocrite and Gods elect in the holi­nes of conuersa­tion. the holines of the godly Christian slowes from a pure conscience, and faith vnfai­ned: whereas there is no such repentance, or faith in the Hypocrite.

Secondly, the true Christian hath his praise of God, but the Hypocrite of men, Rom. 2.26.

Thirdly, the true Christian obeyes in all things: The Hypocrite but in some, as heere for the most part, they may be found tainted with some euill vice.

Fourthly, the true Christian is carefull of his conuersation in all places, and companies: The Hypocrite onely, or chiefly, when he is, where hee thinkes, hee shall bee obserued, and marked.

[Page 310]Fiftly, the true Christian will not cease bea­ring fruit, what weather soeuer come, Ierem. 17.7, 8. But the Hypocrite giues ouer, when hard times come Hee is not like the good ground, that brings forth fruite with patience: The Hypo­crite will not hold our till the end, though the times bee peaceable till his death. For the most part, hee then beares the burthen of his Hypo­crisy, hee cannot die in peace.

Vse.Lastly, this is a terrible doctrine for open and notorious offenders. For heereby it is apparant they are strangers from the Common-wealth of Israel, and are not of this nation, their language and their works betray them: Drunkards, Adulterers, Swearers, Liers, Vsurers, and such like cannot inherit, or haue any lot in this heauenly Canaan. For all this nation is holy, and such are not they, their owne consciences being Iudges.

Nor is it a pleasing Doctrine to scandalous professors: For such as giue scandall, are either Hypocrites, or godly: If they bee Hypocrites, their scandals betray them, and testifie to their faces, they haue no lot amongst the Saintes: and if they bee godly Christians, that haue falne through weaknes, yet they haue cause to bee much humbled: For by them the name of God is blasphemed; and besides many other in­conueniences, that will pursue their fall, this is not the least, that heereby they haue weakned their euidence, and wonderfully darkned the marks of their happines: For if the Godly be a [Page 311] holy nation, how discomfortably haue they pro­uided for themselues, and their owne soules, that haue so stained their profession of holinesse!

An holy nation.]

The sixt prerogatiue of Christians is imported in this word Nation, The sixt prero­gatiue is their number. which shewes the number. For though all the wicked are more in number then the godly: yet such is the glory and greatnes of the number of all the godly of all ages, that if we could behold them on earth, as wee shall see them in heauen, and at the last Iudgement, wee would wonderfully admire the beautie, and mul­titude of the Christian Armie. All the godly to­gether make a goodly nation, & though in large­nes of number, they doe not go beyond the wic­ked, yet in the priuiledges of their number, they goe far beyond them. They are all one, and a whole nation of them, which imports diuers pri­uiledges.

First, they are all originally of one bloud, born of the bloud of Iesus Christ.

Secondly, they are all gouerned by one Ru­ler: their Noble Ruler is of themselues: there is one heart in them to serue the Lord.

Thirdly, they are all gouerned by one book of Lawes.

Fourthly, they all enioy the same priuiledges in the communion of Saints, euen those before conteined in this verse.

Fiftly, they all enioy the loue of God: they are his portion. As Israel was his out of all the world: so the godly are his, and make all but one nation.

[Page 212]In that all the godly are one nation, diuers things may from thence bee obserued by way of vse.

Vse.First, it should be very comfortable to all that are truly godly, and so it should comfort them diuers waies. First, against the fewnesse of them that liue in one place, and so against the reproach of the world for that reason. For heere they may know, that if all the godly were together, there would be no cause to despise them for their num­ber. Neuer such a nation of men, as they. Second­ly, in the case of aduersaries, the gates of hell shall not preuaile against them. They are a whole nation of them, they may be oppressed, but they can neuer vtterly be rooted out. Thirdly, in re­spect of their consanguinity with all the godly, though they differ much in estate or condition, yet wheresoeuer, or howsoeuer they liue, they are all countrie-men, they are all of one nation; the partition wall is broken downe. All godly Christians, whether Iewes or Gentiles, are but one nation. Fourthly, in respect of the gouern­ment and protection of Christ ouer them. Why criest thou then, O Christian; Is there no King in Sion?

Secondly, hence some vse for instruction may bee made. For first, we may heere learne to know no man after the flesh. All other relations are swallowed vp in this relation: when thou art once conuerted, thou needst not reckon of what country thou art, or how descended, for thou art now onely of the Christian nation. All godly [Page 313] men should acknowledge no respects more then those are wrought in them by Christ. Secondly, since Christians are all countrie-men, and seeing they are like the Iewes dispersed vp and down the world, they should therefore be glad one of another, and make much one of another, and de­fend one another, and relieue one another by all means of help and comfort.

Thirdly, they should therefore obserue the fashions of the Godly, and be more strict to fol­low the manners of their nation, wheresoeuer they come.

A peculiar people.]

The Latines render the words of the originall,The acceptation of the words. Populus acquisitionis. In the Greek it is, [...]. The word, rendred peculiar, signifies sometimes conseruation or sauing, as Heb. 10.39. to the sauing or conseruation of the soule: some­times, purchase, as, the Church was purchased by his bloud, Acts 20.28; s [...]metimes, possession or obtaining, as, He ordained vs to the obtaining of saluation, 1. Thes. 5.9 and the glory of Christ, 2. Thes. 2.14. Neither doo Interpreters agree a­bout the attributing of what felicity the word imports. For, one would haue the sense thus: Populus acquisitionis, that is, the people hee could gaine by; intending thereby, that the Apostle should say, that the Godly were the onely people that God could get any thing by. Others would haue it thus: A people for obtaining, that is, of heauen: and so the sense is, 1. Thes. 5.9. that they are a people God hath set apart to obtain heauen, [Page 314] or to gain more than any people. Others, thus: A people of purchase, that is, such as were pur­chased, viz. by the bloud of Christ. And so the people of God were purchased out of the world by the bloud of Christ; and the Israelites were typically redeemed out of Egypt by the bloud of the Lamb. The Godly are a people bought at a great price; none euer so dearly ransomed. But I take it as it is heer rendred, A peculiar people: and so the word may intima [...]e a double reason. For,Doct. first, they are a peculiar people, because God hath euery way fashioned them for himself. Se­condly, they are a peculiar people, because they are his treasure, yea, all his treasure. The Godly comprehend all his gettings: they are as it were all hee hath. And so Exodus 19. verse 6. may ex­plain it.

Vse. The vse may be partly for consolation, and partly for instruction.

First, it should exceedingly comfort the God­ly, to knowe their acceptation with God: they are in high fauour with him: they are his very Fauourites. And this should distinctly comfort them diuers waies: as first, that God doth make so much account of them to loue them, as any couetous man can loue his treasure. Hence God is said to delight in them, to rejoyce ouer them with ioy, and his mercy to them pleaseth him. Secondly, it should comfort them in respect of the sutes they may obtain from God. He is rich to all that call vpon him. No King can doo so much for his Fauourites, as God can and will do [Page 315] for his. God's Fauourites may ask whatsoeuer they will, and be sure to haue it: and therefore it were a shame for them to be poor. Thirdly, the Fauourites of earthly Princes may lose all, and fall into the King's displeasure, and so be vndone for euer, and go out with singular disgrace and ruine: but God's Fauorites haue this priuiledge, they shall neuer lose the fauour of God. He will loue them to the end, Iohn 13.1. Nothing shall se­parate them from the loue of God in Christ, Ro. 8. vlt. God hath not appointed any of them to wrath, but to the obtaining of saluation, 1. Thes. 5.9, 10. And all this should be the more comfor­table, because God respects no persons. Euery Subject cannot be the King's Fauourite; nor is euery seruant, in Ordinary; nor is euery one that serues, in the Chamber of Presence, or Priuy-Chamber: but, in God's Court, all seruants are Fauourites; and hee hath treasure enough to en­rich them all, and affection enough to loue them all.

Secondly, diuers instructions may be heer ga­thered: for, if we be God's Fauourites, and his treasure, it should teach vs,

  • 1. To liue comfortably, euen to liue by faith, to trust vpon God's fauour for life and sal­uation; nor need we doubt our pardon, nor que­stion our preferment.
  • 2. To liue humbly, to bee euer ready to ac­knowledge, that it was God's free grace that hath rai [...]ed them vp from the very dung hill, as it were, to such high preferment: wee must con­fesse, [Page 316] that we hold all from him: wee must hum­ble our selues, seeing we haue this honor to walk with our God. Pride is one of the first things de­stroies the Fauourites of the world.
  • 3. To liue holily, denying vngodlinesse and worldly lusts, and liuing religiously, and sober­ly, and righteously in this present world: since he hath redeemed vs to bee a people peculiar to himself, wee should bee zealous of good works. An exactness of liuing is required of such as must liue in Princes presence: and since GOD hath bought vs at so dear a rate, wee must not liue to our selues, but to him that died for vs, 2. Cor. 5.15. Tit. 2.12, 14.
  • 4. To submit our selues to God's disposing: wee are his treasure: it is reason hee should doo with his owne what hee will; and the rather, be­cause he will neuer imploy his treasure, but for aduantage. He that blamed the euill seruant for not gaining by his talent, will certainly himself gain by all the waies hee imploies his owne trea­sure.

This doctrine should serue also for a double warning to wicked men. First, to take heed how they wrong God's people: if they touch his An­ointed, they touch the apple of his eie. Hee will be sensible, and requite it. They are not in a safe condition, that wrong the Fauourites of Kings; their backs are as good as broken; and euery man is afraid of them: and it is no lesse danger, to bee injurious to that people which is so dear to God. And withall, this doctrine should teach vs and [Page 317] them, that if they haue any desire to get the King of heauens pardon, or to obtaine fauour with him: if they haue any minde to repent, they should doe well to get some of those Fauorites to commend their suit to the King; God will not deny them: The praiers of the righteous auaile much, especially if they be earnest with him.

Hitherto of the enumeration of the particu­lars of the prerogatiues of the godly: The end of them followes, viz. That they may shew the vertues of Christ that called them.

Vertues.]

The originall word heere translated vertues, is but sparingly vsed in Scripture: the Apostle Paul onely vseth it once, viz. Phil. 4.8. and the Apostle Peter heere: and twice in the next Epistle: nei­ther doe Interpreters agree about the translation of it.The sence, as the word is taken for praises For many following the Syriach, render it praises, and not vertues: And so the meaning is, our priuiledges are bestowed vpon vs to this end, that wee should, shew foorth the praises of Christ, and that diuers waies.

First, by embracing these prerogatiues them­selues, For these doe set out much the praises of Christ: as his loue to man, his wisdome, and power, that could redeeme a people out of such miserie to happines, and his singular acceptati­on with his Father, from whom hee obtained such large prerogatiues for his seruants.

Secondly, by thanksgiuing, when wee praise God for Christ, and giue praise to Christ for all his goodnes, and loue to vs.

[Page 318]Thirdly, by commending the riches of the loue of Christ to vs, setting forth his praise from day to day, as wee haue occasion by discourse to others.

Fourthly, by liuing so, as that God in Iesus Christ may be glorified in the world, especially in the Church.

Now other writers follow the natiue signifi­cation of the word, and translate it vertues, but with different interpretation. For some by the vertues of Christ vnderstand the benefits exhibi­ted to vs by Christ, and so we are enriched with the former priuiledges, that so wee might make it appeare, how much wee haue gained by Iesus Christ: And these benefits of Christ, wee shew forth by thanksgiuing to God, daily praising him for them, as also by the word of exhortati­on, when we call vpon others to seek after them: and lastly, by carrying our selues so, as may be­come so great treasure, keeping them with all care, esteeming them aboue all gettings, and liuing as contentedly, as if God had giuen vs a kingdome on earth, and ordring our conuersa­tion so, as men might see our care of good works, becomming such high preferment.

But I rather follow those Interpreters, that take the word, as it properly signifieth for the gifts of the mind in Christians bestowed vpon them by Christ, and so it is originally a philoso­phicall word, expressing those indowments of the minde, which Philosophers in their Ethicks prescribed, and it is the more sparingly vsed by [Page 319] the Apostle, because it is too low a word to ex­presse the worth of the rich mercies and graces of Christ: and the Apostle Paul, Phil. 4.8. when hee saith, If there bee any vertue, &c. meaneth, that if there were any vertue, in which Philoso­phers did excell, they should striue not to come behinde those natural men, euen in those vertues, such as were chastity, liberality, temperance, so­briety, magnanimity, truth, iustice, and such like.

Now as the Scripture taketh notice of vertue, it belongs to the duties of the second table, as god­lines doth to the first; and though vertue consi­dered morally, hath nothing supernaturall in it: yet considered, as it is propounded heere, it is of singular worthines to be regarded: For though those vertues which were in the Philosophers, were but naturall: yet there were certaine ver­tues in Christ, belonging to the second table, which as the patterne is giuen vs in him, could neuer bee found in meere naturall men; so that the Apostle doth of purpose separate the consi­deration of vertues, and in especiall call vpon vs to get framed in vs those vertues, which did most shine in the nature, and conuersation of the Lord Iesus Christ.

Now in all the words foure things must bee distinctly handled.The diuision.

First, that euery Christian is bound to imi­tate the speciall vertues of Iesus Christ.

Secondly, that it is not enough to haue those vertues, but they must shew them foorth accor­dingly.

[Page 320]Thirdly, how those vertues thus shewed forth, are still called the vertues of Christ.

Fourthly, the Periphrasis, by which Christ is described, is to be attended when he saith, It is he that called vs. The first part. For the first of these, It is apparant, that the Apostle takes all the godly bound to the imitation of the vertues of Christ.

Note by the way, that it is the vertues of Christ that are to be imitated. For euery thing in Christ is not to be imitated, As

Fiue things we are not to imi­tate in Christ.First, not his infirmities: for though they were vnblameable, and without sin: yet they imported weaknes: and so, though they be in vs, yet wee are not to striue after the attainment of them.

Secondly, not his works of Diuinity; as his miracles, curing of men with a word, walking on the water, fasting forty daies, and such like.

Thirdly, not his workes of Office, such works as he did in that singular obedience to that singu­lar commandement of his Father, in dying to redeeme the Church: and so all the works of his Mediator-ship, as he was the Mediator between God and man.

Fourthly, not his works of obedience, as the son of Abraham to the Moisaicall Lawes, those that were Ceremoniall: for Christ must be con­sidered, as the sonne of Adam, and not as the sonne of Abraham. As the sonne of Adam, hee was bound to the Morall law, whether as it was first written in mens harts: or as after it was taught by tradition: and at length by the Writings of Moses.

Fiftly, we are not bound to follow euerie acti­on [Page 321] of Christ in indifferent things, no not in such, as had some circumstantiall relation to religi­ous duties: such as were to sit and preach, or to preach on mountaines, or by high way sides, and in a ship: or to pray all night, or to weare a garment without a seame, or to sit at the Paschall Supper, and a multitude of such like instances; such as was the commandemēt to his Disciples to take nothing for their iourney, neither staues, nor scrip, nor money, nor two coates, and so he prea­ched the Gospell freely himselfe, and such was his lifting vp of his eies to heauen in praier.

They are the vertues of Christ onely, which we are bound to follow: and among these, such as he did chiefly win reputation in, are in this place specially commended.

It is the duty then of euery Christian to study the life of his Sauiour, and to seeke to imitate those things were most eminent in him. Now that this point may more distinctly be obserued, wee must consider what those vertues are, and were, which in Christ did so much excell, and in Scripture wee are charged specially to imitate, and would so much adorne the liues of Chri­stians.

There are nine vertues,9. Vertues in Christ, which we must shew forth in our liues. which did exceeding­ly excell in Christ, and would maruilously a­dorne the liues of Christians, if they would walk as Christ hath left them example, which I may recken in this order:

The first was wisdome,Wisdome: and discretion. The people wondred at his gracious words, and the [Page 322] wisdome, that was in in him, Luke 4.22. and hee requireth of his Disciples, that they should bee wise as serpents, and innocent as doues, and they should grow in vnderstanding, and wisdome, Col. 2.2, 3. and 3.10.

Now, this wisdome of Christ wee should shew,

How we should shew it, viz. fiue waies.First, by restraining rash zeale and furious sen­tences vpon wicked men, as Christ did, Luke. 9.55.

Secondly, by auoiding with discretion the snares, which are laid for vs by our aduersaries, being aduised, how wee let fall any thing might bring dishonor to our profession, & needles dan­ger to our estates: This discretion our Sauiour Christ shewed, when he was tempted with hard and dangerous questions, as that about Caesar, and the questions of the Lawyers, and Sadduces.

Thirdly, by auoiding in indifferent things, what by experience we see is misliked in others, as when the austerity of Iohn was censured, Christ tooke his liberty in the vse of the creatures, and conuenient company-keeping. Luke 7.33, 34.

Fourthly, by giuing place oftentimes to the sudden, and violent furies of wicked men, when they will runne on wilfully, till there may bee conuenient time to deale with them: so did Christ often auoide the commotions of his ad­uersaries.

Fiftly, By gracious words, and fruitfull com­munication, when wee so speake as becomes the Oracles of God, with all reuerence and power, [Page 323] 1. Pet. 4.11. Luke 4.22. It was, in particular, a sin­gular discretion in Christ, that, when he was as­ked vain questions, or such as were not so fitly propounded, he answereth so as may most profit, declining the answer that should onely feed cu­riosity, or the like ill humours.

But yet it manifestly appears by the practice of Christ,What it must not haue in it. that this wisdome must not haue in it either forbearing of iust reproofs, or dissimulati­on, or the omission of necessary duties, or the practice of vnlawfull things, for fear of men, or a subtilty onely to compasse great things for ones self, or a deniall of the truth, or such like.

The second thing in Christ,Meeknes▪ was meeknes: and this we are charged to learn of Christ, Mat. 11.29. And thus Paul beseecheth them by the meeknes of Christ, 2. Cor. 10.1.

Now,shewed in foure things. wee should shew this meeknes, first, by restraining the passions of our hearts, such as are, anger, malice, wrath, bitternesse, and the like: this way our Lord Iesus did wonderfully excell. Secondly, by auoiding strife and contention. Doo nothing through strife, saith the Apostle, Phil. 2.4. but let the same minde bee in you, that was in Christ. Thus is it a singular praise to bee gentle, Iam. 3.17. Thirdly, by an easie subiection to God's will to bear the yoke of God, is to imi­tate Christ heerin, to bee easily perswaded or in­treated to doo those things which belong to our duty and Christian obedience, Mat. 11.29. Fourth­ly, by gentle dealing with such as haue fallen through infirmity: this is required of vs, Gal. 6. [Page 324] 1. And thus did Christ toward Peter after his fall: he neuer shewed his displeasure, when he saw he was displeased with himself.

Humility:The third vertue is humility or lowlinesse of minde. This is also required of vs, Mat. 11. as a vertue we should imitate in Christ. Now, Christ shewed his humility,

which is shewed 3▪ waies.First, by making himself of no reputation, Phil. 2.8. Hee abased himself, to take our nature vpon him. Hee hid, for a time, the glory hee had with the Father; and besides, hee shewed it by auoi­ding many times applause and fame of the peo­ple. He sought not the honour of men. Hee sup­pressed often his owne praises, Iohn 5.34, 44. And thus we shall doo likewise, if our praise be not of men, but of GOD, and that wee doo nothing through vain-glory, Phil. 2.4, 6. And as hee did not seek the applause of others, so hee did not giue witnes of himself, Iohn 5.31. He praised not himself: and wee should shew our humility by a lowe opinion of our selues, thinking better of o­thers, than of our selues, Phil. 2.4.

Secondly, by making himself equal with them of the lower sort, which is required of vs, Rom. 12.16. and was performed by him, when he sor­ted with Publicanes and sinners, and the meanest of the people, magnifying the poore of this world.

Ob. Might some one say, Yea, this shewes the pride of Professers now: for, they will not sort nor conuerse with their neighbours, especially if they be, as they account them, but guilty of any [Page 325] crime, such as drunkennesse, whoredome, swea­ring, &c.

Sol. The example of Christ is peruersly alled­ged, to condemn the Godly heerin: for, they do onely professe a resolution to shun all needlesse society with open wicked men. Two things may be said about Christ's practice heerin. First, that he conuersed with them, not as a companion, but as a Physician. He came to them, as the Physici­an doth to his Patient, to heal them: and thus it is not denied, but the company of the worst men may be resorted vnto, viz. when wee haue a cal­ling and fitnes to reclaim them. Secondly, con­sider well what these persons were, with whom Christ sometimes kept company. The Publi­canes were such as gathered toll or tribute-mo­ney for Caesar, and for that reason were extreme­ly hatefull among the Iewes, who liked not to be subiect to forrain gouernment: but it is not ma­nifest, that they were men of notorious euil con­uersation. It was the stomach of the Iewes, not the wickednes of the men, made Publican [...]s to be so hatefull. And whereas it is added, that hee kept company with sinners; it may be answered, that they were penitent sinners, as our Sauiour said of them, Mark 2. It is true, some of them had been notoriously wicked, as Mary Magdalen, who once had been a most wanton woman, but was now receiued to mercy, and had repented with many tears; which though the Iewes ac­knowledged not, because she was one of Christ's Conuerts, yet to vs it ought to be euident. Third­ly, [Page 326] Christ shewed his humility by bearing the in­firmities of the weak, vnto which we are exhor­ted, Rom. 15.1, 2. and Eph. 4.2. and Christ practi­sed it daily, by bearing with the strange weaknes­se [...] of his disciples.

Now, these duties of humility we are the more bound vnto, more (I say) than Christ, first, be­cause we are sinfull creatures, and ought euer to bear vpon vs some part of the shame of our of­fenses. Secondly, because we are infinitely infe­riour to him, in respect of his greatnes. If hee, that was so great by relation to God, equall to God, and by birth and office, &c. if hee (I say) carry himself so humbly, how little reason haue we to stand vpon birth, riches, calling, gifts, or the like? &c.

Contempt of the world▪The fourth vertue that was eminent in Christ, was contempt of the world; an admirable thing, that he, who was Heir of all things, could shew so little regard of worldly things: and this hee shewed,

shewed in foure things.First, by liuing in such want of all things, as he affirms, Luke 9.57, 58.

Secondly, by refusing the preferments were offred him vpon sinfull [...]earms; whether by the diuell, who offred him all the glory of the King­doms of the world; or by men, who would haue made him King.

Thirdly, by knowing no man after the flesh, by his neglect of earthly kinred: his hearers were his father and mother, brothers and sisters: hee esteemed of men according to their spirituall e­state [Page 327] in Gods Kingdome, and not according to their outward estate in the world.

Fourthly, by seeking the things of others, more then his owne: his life was wholy deuoted to the profiting of others.

Thus should wee shew our contempt of the world also, by vsing the world, as though wee vsed it not, 1. Cor. 7.31. by not caring for the things of this life with distrustfull cares, Mat. 6. by not seeking great things for our selues, and by looking on the things of others, as well as our owne things, Phil▪ 2.4. and by acknowledging of spirituall relations with our best affections.

The fift vertue eminent in CHRIST, was Mercy:Mercie. which hee shewed not onely by coun­sell, perswading his hearers to all sorts of mercy vpon all occasions, but by his practise also, by healing both the soules and bodies of all sorts of diseases in all sorts of men, going about and doing good in all places, where he came: This is a vertue in many Scriptures much vrged vpon Christians, Col. 2.12. Rom. 12. 1. Tim. 6. Iam. 3.17. and our mercy should haue the same praises, his had: First, it should be all sorts of mercy to soule and body:sh [...]wed foure waies. Secondly, wee should bee full of mercy: Thirdly, wee should be ready to com­municate, and distribute: Fourthly, it should bee with pitty and bowels of mercy. All this was in Christ, and is required of vs.

The sixt vertue in Christ,Patience was patience: This vertue wee are charged withall, and vrged to it by the example of Christ, Heb. 12.1, 2. And thus [Page 328] wee are to learne of him to bee a patient people, both for the matter, that wee endure the crosse, Luke 9.23. 1. Pet. 4.1. and 2.24. and for the man­ner,to be shewed foure waies. wee must suffer, as he did: First, with silence: hee was as a lambe dumbe before his shearer: Secondly, with subiection to Gods will: Father, thy will bee done: so Dauid, I should haue beene patient, because thou didst it, Psal. 39. Thirdly, with long suffering: Christ bare his crosse daily, and so shold we. Fourthly, with wil­lingnes: wee must take vp our crosse, Luke 9. Christ despised the shame, Heb. 12. And the ra­ther should wee bee formed vnto patience in all tribulations,Motiues. because wee are, first, sinfull crea­tures, and haue deserued our crosses: so did not Christ in his owne person: secondly, wee suffer not such extreme things, as Christ did: thirdly, wee haue reason to be silent in the euill day, be­cause wee haue not such wisdome to speake, as Christ had.

Compas [...]ion to enemies.The seuenth vertue eminent in Christ, was his compassion to his enemies, which hee shewed diuers waies, as

First, by praying for them on the crosse, when hee suffered the extremest things from them: Father, forgiue them, they know not what they doe.

Secondly, by restraining reuiling, & reuenge: hee rendred not euill for euill, hee reuiled not againe, 1. Pet. 2.24. Rom. 15.3. He would not send fire from heauen vpon them, Luke 9.55.

Thirdly, by doing them all the good hee [Page 329] might: Hee instructed them with patience: He was the good Samaritane, that healed their wound, and was at cost with them.

Fourthly, by receiuing them with gladnes, when they repented as hee did, the thiefe on the crosse.

Fiftly, by mourning for the hardnes of their hearts and impenitency: thus hee weepes ouer Ierusalem.

All this is required of vs, wee should pray for them that curse vs, Math. 5. We must not render reuiling for reuiling, 1. Pet. 3.9. and 2.24. wee should mourne for them in their miseries: so did Dauid, Psal. 35.13, 14. and wee should ouercome their euill with goodnes, as Rom. 12.19, 20.

The eightth vertue in Christ,Inoffensiuenes was harmelesnes and inoffensiuenes, and we are exhorted to vn­rebukeablenes: and to liue without offence, be­cause wee are the sonnes of God, Phil. 2.15. and Christ requires in vs the innocency of doues, and for the same reason cōpares the godly to sheep▪ Where I say, we should liue without offence, I meane, without giuing offence: For Christ him­selfe, that most innocent Lambe of God, was re­buked, and reproched, and reuiled, and so may the most godly Christians. It is a blessed thing to bee reuiled for following goodnes, and for the Gospels sake.

The last vertue, which I recken in Christ, was, his loue to the godly:Loue to the godly. which wee are required to imitate, Ephes. 5.7, 8. 1. Ioh. 3. Now there are diuers things wee should learne of Christ, in our loue to the godly.

[Page 330]First, to loue them with a preuenting loue: For Christ loued vs first.

Secondly, to loue them, though they bee our inferiors: so did Christ loue vs.

Thirdly, to loue them not withstanding their infirmities: Christ loued the Church, though shee bee black, Cantic. 1. and full of spots, and wrinkles, Eph. 5.

Fourthly, to loue them feruently: Nothing should be too dear to part with for them: Christ shed his blood for our sakes, Eph. 5.2. 1. Ioh. 3. And withall wee should shew the feruency of our loue by defending them, as Christ did his Disci­ples, and by Sympathy in all distresses, and temp­tations, as Christ hath a feeling of our infirmi­ties, Heb. 4.15. so wee should bee like affectioned one to another, Rom. 12.15.

And thus much of the first point.

The second thing hence to be noted, is, that it is not enough to haue the vertues of Christ, but wee must shew forth the vertues of Christ: Now wee shewe foorth the vertues of Christ di­uers waies.

How many wayes we shew foorth the ver­tues of Christ.First, By obseruing certaine publike solemni­ties, as by the vse of the Sacraments. For there­in we not onely remember the praises of Christ, till hee come againe, but also wee enter into bond with God for the imitation of the holines, which was in Christ.

Secondly, by Martyrdome, when wee can re­solue to suffer the extremest things, rather then forsake our innocency. This makes men acknow­ledge [Page 331] the vertue of Christ in vs.

Thirdly, by the power of practice in our con­uersation, and so to shew them foorth, is,

  • 1. To practise them to the life: To make a cleer impression of them in our works: The word heere rendred to shew foorth, signifieth to preach, and so it may note, that we should prac­tise those vertues so cleerely, that our liues might bee as so many Sermons vpon the life of Christ.
  • 2. To practise them so, as others may ob­serue them: and so it importes, that vpon all oc­casions in our conuersations, which are before other men, wee should be sure, not to bee wan­ting in those vertues, when wee are prouoked to the contrary vices.

Quest. But may wee doe things for the show? Is not that Hypocrisy, and vainglory forbidden vnto Christians?

Ans. There are some vertues, wee can neuer offend that waies by shewing them: as wee can neuer shew too much wisdome: we may be vain­glorious in too much shew of our knowledge: We may offend in bringing our zeale too much to the shew, but we can neuer shew to much true patience,Phil. 4.5. or meeknesse, or moderation of mind, wee may offend, in making shew of diuers duties of piety in the first table, as almes, praier, fasting, Math. 6. But those vertues heere mentioned, may on all occasions bee lawfully held out to the best shew: But that I may expresse my selfe more distinctly, outward shews are then condemned, as sinfull, viz.

[Page 332] Wayes where­in wee may of­fend by out­ward shewes.First, when sinfull things are shewed, as car­nall passions, and railing, in stead, of true zeale.

Secondly, when secret duties are done open­ly, and for shew, as when priuate prayer and fa­sting is so performed, as that others may mani­festly obserue them, Mat. 6.

Thirdly, when outward shewes are purpose­ly affected: affection and hunting after ap­plause is condemned.

Fourthly, when care in lesser things is shewed, and the care of greater things is manifestly neg­lected, this hath grieuous irritation in it, and is Pharisaicall, Math. 23.

Fiftly, when the things shewed, are done de­ceitfully: such was the practice of Ananias, and Saphirah, Acts 5.

Sixtly, when men multiply the vse of the meanes of holines, but neglect the practice of it, Esay 1. Mic. 6.

Seuenthly, when wee shew our gifts, of pur­pose to the contempt and disgrace of others, Rom. 12.16. Iam. 3.10. 1. Cor. 8.3.

The vse briefly may be

Vse.First, for humiliation, and so first vnto vn­godly men in the Church that professe the ser­uice of Christ, and claime the priuiledges of Christians, and yet in stead of shewing foorth the vertue of Christ, shew foorth the wickednes of the Diuel, by their lewd conuersation causing the name of God to bee blasphemed by Papists, and Atheists, and all sorts of Hereticks, and Sec­taries, by their whoredomes, swearing, malice, [Page 333] drunkennesse, and the lusts of their father the di­uell; and those of all sorts. These are they that carry Christ about in scorn, to be derided of the enemies of the truth: for, when with their words they professe Christ, by their works they deny him themselues, and cause him to bee denied by others. Were there not a remnant that bear the Image of Christ in sincerity, who would euer imbrace a religion that were professed by men of such wicked conuersation? Secondly, it should exceedingly humble scandalous Professers, that would haue the world think better of them than of the former sort, and yet become grieuous to men by their vile offenses. Thirdly, vnfruitfull Christians, which lie in a continuall barrenness, whose ground is alwaies fallow, haue but little consolation from hence: for, though they are better than the former, in that they are not open­ly wicked, yet they fall short of their duty heer, because they do not more effectually shew forth the graces of Christ. And that there may bee a healing of this error, they must mend, first, their ignorance, and pray to GOD to teach them to profit: secondly, their slothfulnesse, rowzing vp themselues to more zeale of good works, and care to answer the opportunities of well-doing.

Vse 2. Secondly, for instruction. All that loue the Lord Iesus, should hence be perswaded to in­crease in all care of well-dooing, and study how to shew forth the light of their workes before men; and the rather, because,

  • 1. They haue receiued such singular mercy from the Lord.
    Motiues to the shew of vertue.
  • [Page 334]2. They shall heerby glorifie their heauen­ly Father, and make Religion to be well-spoken of, Phil. 2.15, 16. 2. Thes. 3.21. and put to silence the ignorance of the foolish: we should be as tender of the honour of our profession, as of our owne honour.
  • 3. They shall heerby wonderfully establish their owne harts in the assurance of their calling and election, 1. Iohn 1.5, 6. 2. Pet. 1.5. to 10. and much increase their owne contentment, and joy in the Lord, 1. Cor. 15.58.
  • 4. They shall haue a full and plentifull re­ward in the day of the Lord, Rom. 2.7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
  • 5. The hearts of their Teachers shall bee heerby filled with ioy, when they see they haue not laboured in vain, Phil. 2.16. 2. Cor. 3.1, 2, 3.

Of him that, &c.]

In the third place, it may bee heer considered of, why those vertues, shewed forth by Christi­ans, are yet called the vertues of Christ. For an­swer whereunto, we may be informed, that they are the vertues of Christ in diuers respects.

Why the vertues in vs, are called the vertues of Christ.First, because they are such vertues as are had onely by such as bee in Christ by effectuall cal­ling: for, all the Wicked are strangers from the life of God.

Secondly, because they are receiued from the Spirit of Christ: of his fulness we haue all recei­ued these graces, Iohn 1.14. Eph. 1.21.

Thirdly, because they are shewed forth for his glory. All our gifts and seruices are deuoted to the glory of Christ: as they are in him, so they are for him.

[Page 335]Lastly, I think they may be called the vertues of Christ, because they resemble his vertues: as the picture of a man is called by the name of the man himself.

And the consideration heerof should the more incite vs to the care of these vertues, seeing wee are heer to follow no worse a patterne than the example of the Lord Iesus himself: and withall, we should be the more humble, when wee haue had and done all we can, seeing we haue nothing but what we haue receiued. And since all should be for his glory, we haue reason to say at the best, Wee are vnprofitable seruants. And withall, it should comfort vs against the sense of our infir­mities, to consider, how weak soeuer wee haue been; yet our gifts are acknowledged for the ver­tues of Christ himself; and, by the benefit of Christ's intercession, are accepted of God, as if they had bin found in the person of Christ him­self.

Thus of the third point.

He that hath called you.]

The fourth thing to be noted, is this Periphra­sis heer giuen of Christ. In stead of saying, the vertues of Christ, hee saith, the vertues of him that called you; which he doth of purpose to ex­alt the praise of the gifts of God in our calling; and partly to shew, that we enter vpon the posses­sion of the former prerogatiues, the most of them, when we are called by the grace of Iesus Christ, and partly thereby guiding vs to the knowledge of that work of God, which may as­sure [Page 336] vs of our interest in the former preroga­tiues. All which shewes, that we haue great rea­son seriously to study the doctrine of our calling by Iesus Christ.

Sorts of callingsCalling is either personall, or naturall, or spi­rituall, or supernaturall. The personall calling is to some office; the naturall, to the exercise of some morall vertue: the spirituall or supernatu­rall, is to Christ, calling vs to seek happinesse and blessednes in him. This is heer meant.

And so the calling of a Christian is to bee rec­koned among the gifts or endowments God be­stowes vpon his people: which that wee may di­stinctly vnderstand according to the order of them, there are seuen gifts of God.

Gifts of God.First, vocation; by which he calls men out of the world, into the Church.

Secondly, iustification; by which he forgiues the Called their sins, and clothes them with the rich Robe of Christ's righteousnes.

Thirdly, sanctification; by which he qualifies their nature with all heauenly gifts necessary for their saluation.

Fourthly, adoption; by which hee acknow­ledgeth and receiueth them for his sonnes and heirs.

Fiftly, Christian liberty; by which hee frees them from all things that might hold them in bondage, or in a seruile condition; as, from the rigour and curse of the Law, from the dominion of sinne, from the burden of Moses ceremonies, and humane traditions, and from those seruile [Page 337] fears in God's seruice, bred by the spirit of bon­dage.

Sixtly, consolation; by which he keeps them in this happy condition: which hee performeth three waies.

  • 1. By defending them against all aduersa­ries.
  • 2. By deliuering them out of their many troubles in their militant estate.
  • 3. By bestowing vpon them the gifts of per­seuerance to the end, and for euer.

Seuenthly, temporall blessings; by which hee furnisheth them for this present life.

The six first of these, are gifts principall: the last is but accessary. The three first are the chief gifts: and the three next are such as arise out of the first.

Now,Distinction of calling. this work of calling men into the church, is either externall or internall. By the externall, men are called into the visible Church: by the internall, men are cald into the inuisible Church. And that we may conceiue of this distinctly; in respect of calling, all men may be cast into foure companies.

First, some are not called at all any way by the Gospell; as, many of the Pagans, &c.

Secondly, some are called onely externally; as, those in Mat. 20. Many called, but fewe cho­sen.

Thirdly, some are called internally onely; as, the thief on the Crosse.

Fourthly, some are called both internally and [Page 338] externally: so the Elect of God for the most part and ordinarily.

It is the last sort of men, that are vnderstood heere.

Now that this work of God calling vs, may in the order of working bee more cleerely vnder­stood, we may conceiue it thus:

things in the order of working our calling.The first cause, is Gods loue of men, his kind­nes and loue to men, as the Apostle calles it, Tit. 3.4. First, that God conceiues in himself a compas­sionate loue of man, lying in his extreme naturall distresse.

Secondly, Christ then as Mediator laies the ground of this calling, and so he doth two waies. First, by remoouing what might hinder the work, as the displeasure of God, and the curse of the Law, which he did, by being made sin for vs, 2. Cor. 5.22. Secondly, by purchasing, and bring­ing to light immortality, and also the people that should possesse it, which purchase he made with his owne bloud, Acts. 20.28. 2 Tim. 1.9, 10.

Thirdly, then God sends the Word of recon­ciliation, furnishing men with gifts to preach the Gospell, and so vseth their ministery of recon­ciliation, as the onely ordinary meanes of calling men, 2. Cor. 5.18, 19. Rom. 10.14, 17.

Fourthly, the Spirit of Christ doth inwardly perswade the harts of men to receiue the Word, and so to be reconciled to God.

Vse.The vse of this doctrine of our Christian cal­ling may serue both for instruction, and for ter­ror: for instruction, and so it may teach,

[Page 339]First, vnregenerate men in the Church, as e­uer they would bee saued, to awake to the care of of their calling, Eph. 5.14. and to bee entreated while they haue the ministry of reconciliation, 2. Cor. 5.20. and to open, when Christ knocks. Reu. 3.21. taking heede, they be not as the horse or Mule, Psal. 32.9. and that they may prosper in this work of their calling, they must looke to two things.

  • 1. That they be not hardned through the deceitfulnes of sin, Heb. 3.13.
  • 2. That they despise not professing, but ac­count the feet of them that bring the glad tidings, to be beautifull, Esay 52.9.

There are foure reasons assigned by the Apo­stle, Heb. 3, &c. Fourthly, why men should be ru­led, when Christ graunts them the meanes.

First, because it is to day, they know not, how long they shall haue the meanes, Heb. 3.7, &c.

Secondly, because of all deceits, it is most mi­serable to bee deceiued of the things offred vs in the Gospel, verse 13.

Thirdly, because God is extremely grieued, and prouoked by our neglects herein, verse 16.

Fourthly, because else we shall faile of the pro­mise of entring into his rest, Heb. 4.1, 2.

Secondly, godly men should hence learne di­uers things.

First, to be diligent aboue all things to make their calling sure: now there be diuers signes of a true effectuall calling, such as these: As

  • [Page 340]
    Eight signes of an effectuall calling.
    1. The opening of the heart to receiue the Word of God, and to attend the things which are spoken, Acts 16.14. whereby they are inabled to heare, as the learned, Esaiah 51.6.
  • 2. The wearines of heart vnder the bur­then of sin, Math. 11.29. & 9.13.
  • 3. The answere of the heart to the voice of Christ, consenting to obey, and to enter into couenant with God, Esaiah 1.18, 19.
  • 4. The taking away of the detestable things, & their abominations from them, Ezech. 11.17, 21. Col. 2.11.
  • Ezech. 11.18.
    5. The knitting of the heart to the godly.
  • 6. The remoouing of the stony heart, and the planting of the heart of flesh, Ezech. 11.19.
  • 7. The vertues of Christ, as in the co­herence in this text.
  • 8. In generall, the truth of our calling ap­pears by the demonstration of the spirit & pow­er. The holy Ghost quickning the heart to new obedience,
    2. Cor. 2.4, 5. Ephes. 2.5.
    called the manifestation of the spirit. Secondly, it should teach them to striue to walk worthy their calling: for the manifestation of the spirit was giuen to profit withal: & we are ther­fore called, that we might be to the praise of his rich grace. Now that we may walk in some mea­sure, as becomes this great gift of God;

Rules that shew vs how to walk worthy of our calling.First, wee should be humble, and not wise in our own conceit, though hardnes lye yet vpon the hearts of some, Rom. 11.25, 30, 31. For the winde blowes where it listeth, and the Spirit of Christ workes where and when it pleaseth him, [Page 341] Iohn 3. and wee haue nothing, but what wee haue receiued.

Secondly, wee should bee exceeding thank­full to God for his rich grace in our calling: And the rather,

  • 1. Because this is no common fauour, but in speciall grace communicated to vs: For no man commeth, but whom the Father draweth.
  • 2. Because it was done without respect of our owne works, without al desert on our part. 2. Tim. 1.9. For God called vs, that were world­ly, carnall, naturall, & sinfull men, strangers from the life of God, dead in sins, seruing the lusts, and diuers pleasures, yea such as neuer sought God, wee were miserable sinners, Ephes. 2.1, 12. Mat. 13.
  • 3. Because of the meanes and manner of our calling: God the Father worketh his part, & I work, saith our Sauiour: An excellent work, when such workmen are needfull to it, and in this work the ministration of the spirit exceedes in glory, 2. Cor. 3.7, 8. and it is a holy calling, wherewith hee hath called vs, 2. Tim. 1.9.
  • 4. Because they are so great happinesses, to which hee hath called vs: As to the fellow­ship of his Sonne: To be sonnes, and heires with him, 1. Cor. 1.7. and to a Kingdome, and so great glory, 1. Thes. 2.12. 2. Thes. 2.14.
  • 5. Because Gods gifts and calling are without repentance: Hee will neuer repent, that hee hath so called vs, Rom. 11.29. Esay 54.7, 8, 9, 10. Iam. 1.17.

And thus of the second way, by which wee [Page 342] should shew our selues desirous to walk worthy of our calling.

3. Wee should shew this by well doing, we must bee carefull to maintaine good works, Tit. 3.8. For wee were called, that we might serue him in holinesse and righteousnesse all the daies of our life, Luke 1.74, 75.

4. Wee should therefore liue contentedly, when wee are assured of the work of Christ in calling vs with such a calling. Iacob should not now bee ashamed, nor his face wax pale, Esay 29.23, 24.

5. Wee should in our particular bee care­full to rest where wee are, in the doctrine wee haue learned, and beene taught, and not bee carried about with euery wind of Doctrine, Eph. 4.11, 12, 14.

Thus, as the vses are common to the Godly in generall.

Thirdly, Ministers in particular from the con­sideration of this doctrine of our calling by Iesus Christ, should learne to preach Christ, and him crucified, and to deny the excellency of wis­dome, or words, that mens faith may bee in the power of Christ: It is Christ must giue them in­crease▪ they should learne of Paul, 1. Cor. 2.2, 4, 5.

One thing by the way I might note concer­ning the time of our calling: we should not bee curious about that, to knowe the day or hower, when it was, but wee must rest satisfied to know, that wee are the Called of Iesus Christ.

And thus of the vses for instruction.

[Page 343] Vse 3. Hence also may bee concluded much terror to wicked men, that are not called, in that this work of calling is the dore of all grace com­municated to vs: Now wicked men not called, are of two sortes: first, some outwardly refuse their calling: secondly, some seem to obey it, but it is not effectually: both are in miserable case, but not both alike: For the later are neere the Kingdome of God many times.

The first sort resist the holy Ghost,The miserie of such as refuse their calling, shewed in eight things. put the Word of Christ from them, refuse to answer, or obey, reiect the counsell of God, harden their hearts, and are therefore extremely miserable: for,

First, they iudge themselues vnworthy of euerlasting life, Acts 13.46.

Secondly, they are in danger to bee left, and forsaken of God, and haue the meanes taken from them, Iohn 12.39.

Thirdly, God will prouoke them many times to ielousie, by calling a people to himselfe, whom they account foolish, Rom. 10.19. especi­ally when they haue rebelled against the means, Ezech. 3.6, 7.

Fourthly, God will laugh at the calamity of such men, Prou. 1.26.

Fiftly, and they may bee taken away with sudden destruction, Prou. 1.17.

Sixtly, if they call to God, it may be, hee will not answer heereafter, Prou. 1.28, 29, 30.

Seuenthly, if they liue in prosperity, that shall destroy them, Prou. 1.31.

[Page 344]Eightly, the dust of the feet of Gods seruants shall witnesse against them in the day of Christ, and then they shall bee fearefully punished.Math. 10. Of the estate of such as haue temporary grace

Now there are another sort of wicked men, that are called externally, and in some respect in­ternally too, and yet are not right: such as haue temporary grace, doe obey their calling after a sort, and for a time; for they assent vnto a part of the Word of God, which they receiue with ioy: and this is called a taste of the good word of God: they may also bee perswaded to leaue diuers sinnes, as Herod was, and may bee indued with diuers graces of the spirit, which they had not before, Heb. 6.4, 5. Now this calling yet is not that effectuall inward calling, which is in Gods Elect. For they receiue not the promise of grace in Christ to them in particular, to rely vp­on it, nor are they perswaded to for sake all sinne, nor haue they any one sauing grace, which is in the godly: Now these men are miserable, be­cause they are not truly called; and the more, first, because they were neere the Kingdome of God, and yet want it: secondly, because they will bee the hardlier drawne to see their mise­ries: Harlots and Publicanes may enter into the Kingdome of heauen before them.

Hitherto of our calling, and so of the positiue descriptiō of the happines of a Christian: the cō ­paratiue followes in the last words of this verse, & the whole 10. v. where the Apostle intends to shew thē their happines now in Christ in cōpari­son of that miserable estate they liued in before: [Page 345] so that hee compares the estate of a Christian in grace with the estate of a Christian in nature: and this he doth, first, in metaphoricall termes, in the end of this verse: and then in plaine words, verse 10. In this verse hee compares their misery to darknes, and their happines to maruellous light.

Out of darknes.]

From the generall consideration of all the words, two things may bee obserued.

First, that it is profitable euen for godly men to bee put in minde of the misery they were in by nature. For the consideration heereof may

  • 1. Keepe them humble,
    The remem­brance of our miserie past, is pofitable in [...]x respects.
    to remember how vile they haue beene.
  • 2. Quicken them, to the reformation of the sinne that yet hangs vpon them, Col. 3.5, 6, 7, 8.
  • 3. Work compassion in them towards o­thers, that lye yet in their sins, and teach them to deale meekely with them, Tit. 3.2, 3.
  • 4. Make them more watchfull, to look on a nature which hath beene so vile.
  • 5. Quicken them to redeem the time they haue spent in the seruice of sinne, 1. Pet. 4.3.
  • 6. It should set the greater price vpon our happines in Christ, and so is the consideration vsed heere.

Secondly, that a mind, that is truly cured of sinne, can easily beare the remembrance of it, as it is past: A man that hath beene wounded in his arme, will endure you to gripe him, when hee is well healed: A signe he is not well healed, when hee cannot bee touched: so is it with sinners.

[Page 346]Thus in Generall.

The first thing then to be considered of, is the misery of men by nature expressed in the word darknes.

Darknesse.]

The darknes that is in the world, is not all of a sort:The acceptations of the word darknes. For there is, first, darknes vpon the earth, which is nothing but the absence of the light of the Sunne. Secondly, there is darknes vpon the outward estates of men in the world, and that is the darknes of affliction: Now afflictions are called darknes in diuers respects: As, first in re­spect of the cause: when they fall vpon men by the anger of God: The want of the light of Gods countenance, is miserable darknes: the absence of the Sunne cannot make a worse darknes. Se­condly, in respect of the effects, because afflicti­ons darken the outward glory of mans estate, and withall breed sorrow and anguish, and the clouds and storms of discomfort and grief; and, for the time, depriue the heart of lightsomnesse and ioy. Of both these respects, may the words of the Prophet Esay be vnderstood, Esay 5.30. and 8.22. And so God creates darknes as a punishment, vp­on all occasions, for sinne, Esay 45.7. Afflictions may bee compared to darknes in respect of ano­ther effect, and that is the amazement bred in the heart; by which, the afflicted is vnable to see a way out of distresse, and vnresolued either how to take it, or what means to vse for deliuerance. Thus it is a curse vpon wicked men, that their waies are made dark, Psal. 35.6. Thirdly, afflicti­ons [Page 347] are called darknes when they are secret and hidden, and fal vpon men at vnawares, when they are not dreamed of, Iob 20.26.

And thus of darknes vpon mens estates

Thirdly, there is a darknes falls vpon the bo­dies: and so it is either blindnes, wanting the light of the Sun, or else it is death and the graue. Death and the graue is called darknes, Iob 17.13. and 10.21, 22. Psal. 88.13.

Fourthly, there is a darknes vpon the soules of men: and that is spirituall blindnes, when the soule liues without the knowledge of God, and Iesus Christ especially. As it respecteth the will of God in generall, it is the darknes of ignorance and errour: and as it respecteth the promise of grace in Iesus Christ, it is the darknes of vnbe­lief, Eph. 4.

Lastly, there is a darknes shall light vpon both soules and bodies of wicked men in hell: and that is called vtter darknes, Mat. 8.12. and 22.15.

So that darknes, as it comprehends in it the misery of wicked men, is either temporall dark­nes vpon the estates or bodies of men, or spiritual darknes vpon the soules of men, or else eternall darknes in hell.

This darknes also may be considered in the de­grees of it.Degrees of darknes. For, besides the ordinary darknesse, there is, first, obscure darknes, called also the power of darknes: and such was the darknesse of Gentilisme: and such is that darknes threatned to such as curse father and mother, Pro. 21.20. so was the darknes, Ier. 2.1, 2. and that our Sauiour [Page 348] Christ speaketh of, Luke 22.53. Such also was that night brought vpon the Diuiners, Mic. 3.6, 7. Se­condly, there is vtter darknes, or eternall darknes in hell, which is the highest degree of the misery of wicked men.

I take it, it is especially the darknes of igno­rance is heer meant, though the other cannot be excluded.

That which is euident to bee obserued from hence, is, that all men that are not effectually cal­led, liue in darknes, and walk-on in darknes, Eph. 4.17. 1. Iohn 2.9. Psal. 82.5. It is a continual night with them: they are like the Aegyptians, that could haue no Sunne to light them, but were co­uered with palpable darknes. Neither are they helped, that they enioy the light of the Sunne: for, of all darknesses, that which comes from the absence of the Sunne, is the least, or hath least di­stresse in it. If a man liued where hee should ne­uer see day, or were born blinde, yet his distress were nothing, in comparison of the darknes, es­pecially spirituall, that lieth vpon the poor soule of an vnregenerate man, which lieth shut vp in miserable darknes: which, these men may feele in themselues, by their liuing without GOD in the world, and by the absence of the ioies of God, and by their singular vncapablenesse in the things of the Kingdome of GOD, and by their strange and absurd errours in conceiuing of mat­ters of Religion, & by their monstrous thoughts and obiections they feel at some times, and disa­bility to conceiue of the worth of eternal things, [Page 349] though the least of them bee better than the whole world; and, lastly, by their want of disco­uering what to do, almost in all the occasions of life.

Vse. The vse may bee for singular terrour to wicked men, if they had hearts to consider of it, to knowe, that they liue in such a condition as no prisoner can suffer in the worst dungeon of the world; and the rather, if they consider the aggra­uation of their distresse, in respect of the darknes they liue in, or are likely to liue in: as,

First, that they haue the Diuels, as the Rulers of the darknes they liue in;Nine aggrauati­ons of the dark­nes is in wicked men. who, like cruell Iay­lers, will see to it, that they bee kept still in their dungeon, with all increase of heauinesse and mi­sery, Eph. 6.12.

Secondly, that their darknes is also the shadow of death, a most deadly poisonfull darknes, that daily increaseth in the infection and annoyance of it, Esay 9.2.

Thirdly, that they suffer so many kindes of darknes in the vexations and discomforts of each of them.

Fourthly, that it is such grosse darknes, so thick and palpable, without any mixture of true light or comfort: if they had but star-light or moon-light, it were some ease.

Fiftly, that they are neither safe, walking nor lying still. If they walk, they go in singular dan­ger: for, they knowe not whither they go, 1. Iohn 2.11. Iob 18.5, 6, 7. If they lie still and sleep it out, they are in danger to be swallowed vp eternally.

[Page 350]Sixtly, that this darknes will not hide from God. All they doo, is manifest before him, Esay 29.15.

Seuenthly, that it is a continuall darknes: it will neuer be day with them, so long as they liue in that estate without repentance, Iob 15.30. All his daies he eats in darknes, Eccles. 5.17.

Eightthly, that they are in danger euery hour to bee cast into vtter darknes, where will bee no ease nor end. He knoweth not, that the day of this darknes is ready at hand; into which if hee fall, he shall neuer depart out.

Ninthly, that this is the case of euery vnrege­nerate man: the whole world of them lieth in darknes, and not one escapeth it: their whole earth is without form, and void; and their hea­uens haue no light in them, Ier. 4.24.

Ob. But wee see, wicked men haue ioy and comfort many times.

Sol. They haue certaine sparkes of light, like the light smitten out of the flint: first, they cannot warme themselues by it, nor see how to direct their waies: secondly, it will quickly goe out: thirdly howsoeuer it bee for a time heere, yet at length they must lie downe in sorrow, Esay 50.10.

And the consideration heereof should in the second place much reproue the peruersenes of wicked men, and that in diuers respects, and considerations.

First, that they can bee silent in darknes, as the phrase is, 1. Sam. 2.9. that they can liue so [Page 351] securely, & neuer make mone, or humble them­selues in their distresse.

Secondly, that they dare, which is worse, many times call darknes, light, and light darknes, and defend it, that they are in as great liberty and safety as the best of them all. Oh woe vnto them, because they call darknes light, Esay [...].20.

Thirdly, that they will not come into the light, when the dore is opened, and while there is spirituall means of light. What a thing is this, that light is come into the world, and the dark­nes comprehendeth it not? Ioh. 1.5.

Fourthly, this is their condemnation, that they loue darknes more then light, and preferre their vile condition before the condition of the children of the light, Ioh. 3.21.

Thirdly, let these poore wretches bee instruc­ted, if it bee possible,

  • 1. To embrace the meanes of light.
  • 2. To pray to God to be intreated of them to lighten their darknes: doth not hee iustly pe­rish, that may enioy the light for asking for it, yet and will not?

Ob. If any ask, how may they knowe? that they are in darknes?

Ans. I answer,

First,Signes of spiri­tuall darknesse. By the vncapablenes and insensiblenes of the soule in the things of the Kingdome of God, Eph. 4.17. 1. Cor. 2.14.

Secondly, By the workes of darknes, by the continuall practice of sinne without sound repen­tance, Rom. 13. 1. Iohn 1.6, 7.

[Page 352]Thirdly, in particular, by the habituall hatred of the godly, because they follow goodnes, 1. Ioh. 2.9, 11.

Fourthly, by the absence of God in the vse of his ordinances, who is as the Sunne to the Godly, Psal. 84.12.

And thus of the vse that concerns the wicked.

Vse 2. Godly men should from hence gather encrease of consolation in their harts, from the consideration of Gods mercy, in translating them from the Kingdome of darknes, into the King­dome of his deare Loue, Col. 1.12, 13. they are the men, vpon whome God hath accomplished the prophecy and promise of his grace: They are the deafe men that are made to heare the words of the book: and the blind men, that see out of ob­scurity and darknes, Esay 29.18, 19. The Lord hath made darknes light before them, and brought them, being but blind men, by a way they knew not, Esay 42.16. The people that sate in darknes, haue seene great light, Esay 9.1. These men are the prisoners, that once were in dark­nes, and God sent his owne Sonne to the prison dore to bid them come foorth, and shew them­selues, Esay 49.9.

And their deliuerance from darknes should be the more comfortable, if they consider,

First, what a world of people are yet couered with darknes, Esay 61.1.

Secondly, that darknes shall neuer returne: They enioy a day that neuer shall haue night fol­lowing.

[Page 353] Ob. But is there not darknes still in godly men, as well as in other men?

Sol. I answer, In some respects there is, and in some respects there is not. It is true, that in re­spect of the ignorance yet vpon godly men in this life, they may say, as it is in Iob 19.8. God hath set darknes in our paths, and fenced vp our waies, or Iob 37.19. Teach vs what wee shall say vnto him: for we cannot order ourselues because of darknes: & sometimes in their afflictions they may say, as aforesaid: But yet not withstanding there is great difference betweene the state of the godly, and the state of the wicked: for

First,Differences betweene the darknesse is in godly men, and that which is in wicked men. the godly are deliuered from vtter dark­nes altogether.

Secondly, for their darknes in this life, it is true, they may bee subiect to such darknes as cloudes may make, or an Eclipse, but the night is cleane passed with them, Rom. 13.12.

Thirdly, though they haue darknes, yet they are not vnder the power of darknes, Col. 1.13. He that beleeueth, cannot abide in darknes, but is getting out,Ioh. 12.46. as one made free, and set at liberty.

Fourthly, their darknes is not a grosse and palpable darknes, they can see their way, and are all taught of God: It is no darknes can hin­der their saluation.

Fiftly, though their afflictions may increase vpon them, yet God will not forsake them, but wil shew them great lights:Esay 50.10. Mich. 7 8. Psal. 1 [...]2. [...]. the Lord wil be light vnto them for comfort for the present, and will send them the light of deliuerance in due time.

[Page 354]Sixtly, they haue their Patent drawn, & sealed, and deliuered them, wherby they are appointed to enioy vnspeakeable light, and an absolute free­dome from all darknes: They are children of light, and are borne to singular priuiledges in that respect: the time will come, when there shall be no ignorance, no affliction, no discom­fort any more.

Thus of their misery, and so of the estate, from which they are called.

Now followeth to bee considered their hap­pines, to which they are called, exprest by the metaphoricall tearme of light, and commended by the Epitheton of maruelous.

Light.]

Acceptations of the word Light.Light is either vncreated, or created: The vn­created light, is the shining essence of God, in­finitely aboue the shining light of the Sunne: Thus God is light and dwels in that vnapprocha­ble light, 1. Iohn 1.6. 1. Tim. 6.16. The created light is that, which is made and begotten by God; whence he is called The Father of lights, Iam. 1.17. and this created light is either naturall, or spirituall: Naturall is the light of the Sunne in the firmament: The spirituall light, since the fall, was all collected, and seated in Christ. As God gathered the light of the two first daies, and placed it in the body of the Sunne, as the originall vessell of light: so did the Lord collect, and gather the light together after man had falne, and placed it in Christ, that hee, as the Sun of righteousnes, might bee the fountaine of light [Page 355] vnto the spirituall world. And thus Christ is said to be light, Iohn 8.12. the light of the world, that lighteneth euery man that commeth into the world, Ioh. 1.9. The beams of this light in Christ, are diffused all abroad vpon men: and so the light communicated from Christ, is either temporall or eternall. Temporall light is either the blessing of God in Christ, making the outward estates of God's seruants glorious and prosperous, Iob 29.3. Hest. 8.16. Or else it is that light that shines vp­on the soules of men; which must bee distingui­shed according to the instruments of conuaying or receiuing it. The instrument of conuaying it, is, outwardly the Law and the Gospell; and, in­wardly, the Spirit of Christ. The instrument of receiuing it, in respect of the general will of God, is the vnderstanding; or, in respect of the pro­mise of grace, it is faith. The Law is a light, Pro. 6.23. of the light of the Gospell, 2. Tim. 1.10. 2. Cor. 4.6. Knowledge is light, Acts 26.18. and of the light of faith, Iohn 8.12.

Eternall light is the light of heauen, where the inheritance of the Saints lieth, Col. 1.12. Reuelat. 18.19.

It is the spiritual light vpon the soules of men, the light of knowledge and faith is heer special­ly meant, which is conuayed and increased by the Gospell.

Doct. The point then hence is cleer, that God's seruants, in comparison of their former condition, are brought into great light. The spi­rituall light shineth vpon euery one that is to bee [Page 356] conuerted, Acts 26.18. God hath promised light to euery penitent sinner, Iob 33.28, 30. Esay 42.16. And Christ was giuen to bee the light both of Iewes and Gentiles, Esay 42.7. and 49.6. Hence it is, that Christians are said to be the children of light, Luke 16.18. Iohn 12.36. yea, light it selfe, Eph. 5.6. the lights of the world▪ Phil. 2.15. And thus they are so, by reason of the light of Iesus Christ, shining in their harts through the know­ledge and belief of the Gospell. All the world is like vnto Aegypt, smitten with darknes: and the Godly are like the children of Israel in Go­shen.

Vse. The vse may bee, first, for instruction to the Godly: since they are called to such light by Christ, they should

  • 1. Beleeue in the light: since they see now what they do, they should establish their hearts, in the first place, in the assurance of God's loue, since his shining fauour sheweth it selfe in the Gospell.
  • 2. They should doo the works that belong to the light: they may now see what to doo, and therefore ought not to be idle, but to work while they haue the light, 1. Iohn 2.8. And to that end, they should daily come to the light, that it may bee manifest, that their works are wrought in God, Iohn 3.21. And they should now abound in all goodnes, and iustice, or righteousnes & truth, Eph. 5.8, 9. prouing, what that acceptable will of God is, verse 10.
  • 3. They should▪ therefore cast away the [Page 357] works of darknes, and haue no fellowship with the children of the night, but rather reprooue them, Eph. 5 7. to 14. For, what fellowshippe be­tween light and darknes? 2. Cor. 6.17.
  • 4. They should, in all difficulties and igno­rances, pray to God to shew forth his light and truth, seeing they are called to light, Psalm 43.3.

Vse 2. Secondly, godly men should hence be comforted, and that in diuers respects. First, though they may haue many distresses in their e­states, yet light is risen to their soules: though they may for a season suffer some eclipse of their comfort, yet light is sowne for the righteous, and ioy for the vpright in heart, Psal. 97.11. And the more they should bee glad of their portion in light, when they behold the daily ruines of vn­godly men. The light of the righteous reioiceth, when the lamp of the wicked is put out, Pro. 13.9. In 2. Cor. 4.4, 6. there are three reasons of con­solations assigned. First, the light we haue should comfort vs if we consider how many men haue their mindes blinded by the god of this world; and of those, many of them great, wise, and lear­ned men. Secondly, if we consider what darknes we haue liued in: God hath done as great a work vpon our hearts, as he did when he commanded the light to shine out of darknes, in the beginning of the world. Thirdly, if we consider what glo­rious things are reuealed vnto vs: for, by the gos­pell, hee hath caused to shine in our hearts the knowledge of the glory of God, &c. Finally, it is the more comfortable, in that the Apostle cals [Page 358] this light, maruellous light; which is now in the next place to be opened.

Maruellous light.]

The spirituall light, which shines in the harts of the godly by the Gospel, is a maruellous light, either because it is such as the Godly do maruell at, or because it is such as they ought to maruell and wonder at.

In how many respects the light of the godly is maruellous.When men first enter into the truth, that is, when they are first conuerted, Christians beeing (for the most part) full of affections, as they that haue scaped lately singular danger, and as they that neuer before saw the Kings Court, they are frequently stirred vp with admiration at the glo­ry of the Gospell: they wonder at and are vehe­mently affected with the new discouery of the riches of Christ, shewed them in the preaching of the Gospell: and thus it is a maruellous light in this sense, Esay 30.26.

But I rather consider of it in the other sense; It is a maruellous light, though wee should not haue the heart to bee so affected toward it: it is maruellous, I say,

First, because it is a light that needed the Me­diator to procure it: none but Christ can giue vs this light. Other light is free, wee pay nothing for it: but this is carried in the hand of the Me­diator to vs, and for vs, Esay 42. and 49.

Secondly, because it commeth after so long a night of ignorance and sin: they must needs ac­count the light precious, that haue not seen it a long time;Esay 9.2. Mat 4.16. as blind men when they receiue sight.

[Page 359]Thirdly, and more, because it is a light com­manded to shine out of darknes, 2. Cor. 4.6. That God should call light out of such darknes as was in our hearts, is maruellous.

Fourthly, in comparison with the times of the Law, and the shadows of the old Testament.

Fiftly, because it is a light comes not from any creature, but from God the Creator. God is our light, Esay 6.19. And in this respect, this light is like the light that shone about Paul, Acts 22.6.

Sixtly, because it is a light that shines at the time of the euening of this world. That the Sun should shine in the day time, is no wonder: but, that it should shine in the night, or at euening, were a dreadfull wonder: euen so it is in this last age of the world, Zach. 14.7.

Seuenthly, because it is a knowledge aboue the reach of reason: it is the light of faith.

Eightthly, because it shines onely to the god­ly. It is light in Goshen, when there is no light in Aegypt; that was maruellous: and so is it when we see the light shining all abroad, and ma­ny men sit in darknes, euen in the same place, in the same congregation, city or family. When the Godly see cleerly, the Wicked discerne no­thing: light is with-held from the Wicked.

Ninthly, because it hath more force than any other light: for, it is the light of life: it quickens the soule, and enlyues it, Iohn 8.12.

Lastly, because it is an euerlasting light: it is such a day, as no night followeth it.

The consideration of all this should work di­uers [Page 360] things in vs. For, if in all these senses it bee a maruelous light, then

First, we should be maruelously affected with it, and striue to be exceeding thankful for it. How haue we deserued to be cast againe into darknes for our extreme vnthankfulnes! How haue wee giuen God cause to take away the Candlestick from vs! Let vs therefore striue after thankful­nes and admiration: and if the Lord doe work it in vs, let vs take heed we lose not our first loue.

Secondly, wee should arme our selues for the defence of the light: we should preserue it as a singular treasure: both in our hearts and in our Churches; we should with the more resolution resist the works of darknes, standing alwaies vpon our guard, Rom. 13.12.

Thirdly, we should striue after all the degrees of the assurance of faith.

Fourthly, we should striue to make our light shine the more excellently, both for the measure of good works, Malac. 5.16. and for the strict & precise respect of the exact doing of good duties. Now we haue the light so cleerely shining, wee may doe euery thing the more exactly, then if it were dark, Ephes. 5.15. Our gifts must not bee hid. The light must not be put vnder a bushell, Math. 5.15. Phil. 2.15. We should now auoid not onely greater faul [...]s and falles, but lesser stumblings, 1 Ioh. 2.10.11. We should doe all things to the life and power of them, and shew discretion aswell as knowledge.

This doctrine also doth imply the grieuous [Page 361] misery of wicked men: for if it bee maruelous light, into which the godly are called, there is a maruelous darknes, in which wicked men liue. The whole creation of God had been but a con­fused heape, if God had not set in it the light of the Sun: such a confused Chaos is the world of men, if the Gospell shine not into their hearts.

Finally, this should much comfort the godly, they are called into maruelous light in all the sen­ces before named: which should much inflame their hearts, and they should rebuke their owne hearts for not valuing so rich treasure. Wee may from hence take occasion to note, how little wee should trust to the iudgement of flesh and bloud, in valuing spirituall things, when the very godly themselues doe not so much esteeme of them as they should. Whatsoeuer we think, yet in Gods account, the light of the Gospel, the light of faith and knowledge, the light of Gods countenance, &c. is maruelous light. But if the light of the godly bee maruelous in this world, what shall it be in the world to com, when God & the Lamb shall be their immediate light? Heere God lights vs by the meanes: there God himself will be our euerlasting light. Heere our light may be darkned with clouds of affliction and temptation: there shall bee an eternall light without all darknes. Heere we haue no light, but what is infused into vs: there we shall our selues shine as the Sunne i [...] the firmament.

Hitherto of the description in Tropicall tearms.

Now it followeth in plaine words.

Verse 10.
Which in times past were not a people, yet are now the people of God: which in times past were not vnder mercy, but now haue obtained mercy.

THe Apostle takes the words of this verse out of the Prophet Hosea, chapter 1.11. where the Lord promiseth that the number of the chil­dren of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, and in the place where it was said vnto them, Ye are not my people, it shall bee said vnto them▪ Ye are my people. Now the Apostle applies that sentence to the people to whom he wrote, shew­ing, that it was accomplished in them.

Quest. The question is, of whom the Prophet and Apostle spake.

Ans. Some say, Of the Israelites in the letter, both because the same chapter shewes, that they were cast off, and called Loammi, not Gods peo­ple: as also because the Apostle is thought to write onely to the Iewes. But the Apostle Paul, Rom. 9.24, 25, 26. apparantly. expounds it of the Gentiles chiefely, and therefore wee must rest in his sence, which by the way shewes, that this Epistle was written to the Elect amongst the Gentiles, as they were strangers and pilgrims in the world, and not to the prouinciall Iewes onely.

The Apostle then, to the singular comfort of Christians in those times, shewes, that now were the Prophesies accomplished concerning the [Page 363] calling of the Gentiles; which was before a great mystery, hidden from ages and generations, Col. 1.26. admired by Angels, Eph. 3.10. 1. Pet. 1.12.

Before I open the words of this verse in parti­cular, some vse would be made of this great work of calling the Gentiles; and so, from the consi­deration of their estate, both before and after calling.

And first,Of the calling of the Gentiles in generall. for the meditation of the estate of all the world, or the nations of the world, before Christ preached vnto them: note,

First, the horrible infectiousnes of sin: whole worlds of people are poisoned with it.

Secondly, the dreadfull horror of God's Iu­stice against sin: which as wee may see plainly in the sufferings of Christ; so also very liuely in the desertion and forsaking of the Gentiles, so many millions of men perishing without pardon or pi­ty: and therefore it was neuer safe to follow a multitude in euill, nor to plead the practice of fa­thers or forefathers, with the like.

And for the meditation of their calling againe in Christ by the Gospell, we may gather matter,

First,Vse. of information; and so, first, that God is not tied to any place. If Israel after the flesh will not serue him, he will raise vp children vnto A­braham from among the Gentiles, Mat. 21.43. Secondly, that the Church of Christ is now Ca­tholick, of all nations; and therefore Christs Kingdome the largest kingdom in the world, and the glory of it must not be restrained to Rome, or any one place.

[Page 364]Secondly, of consolation: for, heer wee may obserue,

  • 1. The infallibility of Gods promises: these promises concerne the calling of the Gentiles as being dead, and were most vnlikely, and yet wee see them fulfilled: which should teach vs to trust vpon God.
  • 2. The wisdome and power of God, work­ing light out of darknes. The rebellion of the Iewes is so far from laying Sion waste, or dissol­uing Religion, that it is an occasion of a greater work of God among the Gentiles: yea, when prophanenesse seems to ouer-growe all, and the whole world seems to liue in wickednes, yet wee knowe not what times may come for the glory of Religion among Iewes and Gentiles.
  • 3. God's wonderfull loue to his Elect: hee will gather them from all the foure windes of heauen: though they be few in number, in com­parison, and liue dispersed in euery Country, yet God, the great Husbandman, wil not want means to fetch them home into his garner. A husband­man, that had all his field growne ouer with weeds, saue heer and there one grain of corn on a land, would neuer be at the pains of gathering & separating: yet God will.
  • 4. The great incouragement that poor sin­ners and mean persons haue to come to Christ, and seek God. For heer we see, hee hath shewed mercy to the very abiect Gentiles, against whom hee had infinite cause of exception: and the ra­ther should wee bee incouraged, because where­soeuer [Page 365] wee liue either in East or West, we may sit downe with Abraham, Isaak, and Iacob in the Kingdome of God, Math. 8.11.

And withall, heere is matter of instruction, for,

  • 1. Wee must looke to our faith: For God iustified the heathen onely by faith, Galat. 3.8.
  • 2. Wee must not be secure, but must learne to obserue all things, that are commanded vs, Math. 28.20. The name of God must bee great amongst vs, and wee must offer incense, and a pure offering, Mala. 1.11. Wee must bee fruitfull, especially we that liue in these latter ages of the world, lest God hasten the calling of his nation of the Iewes, and cast vs off for vnbeliefe and vn­fruitfulnes, Rom. 11.

And thus in generall of the calling of the Gentiles. In particular in this verse heere is a twofold comparison: first, the one respects, what they were to God: secondly, the other re­spects what God was to them. They were to God by nature no people, by grace they are his people: and God withheld from them his sauing mercy by nature, and now by grace they are vn­der mercy: First, of their being a people to God: And then of Gods mercy to them.

Which in times past were not a people.]

The word people is diuersly taken:Many sorts of people in Scrip­ture. For some­times it signifieth any multitude, or great num­ber of any sort, and so Ants are said to bee a people, Pro. 30.25. and Caterpillers, Ioel 2.2, 5. Sometimes it signifies the lower sort of men, as [Page 366] they are distinguished from the Nobility in any State: and so they are vsed and stiled the com­mon people. But, properly and originally, the word populus was thought to signifie a multitude of citizens in one city, enioying the right and communion in society and imploiments, vnder one Head and Gouerner.

Now, the holy Ghost in this place affirmes, that men that liue in their sinnes, without faith and repentance, are not a people, though they bee neuer so many in number, or other preroga­tiues: and the nations of men liuing without God, may be said, not to be a people,

Why wicked men are said, not to bee a peo­ple.Either because they are a people of no note, in no request in respect of true greatnes: as the Iews did vilely esteem of all the vncircumcised:

Or because they were not a peculiar people, or (as the Antithesis shewes it) were not the peo­ple of God. Now, till men subject themselues to God's gouernment by Iesus Christ, they are not a people. The Empire of the whole world belongs to God and his Sonne Christ, Psal. 2.10. Now, all nations that come not in to kisse the Sonne, are no members of the Empire of the Common-wealth of Israel: let them haue what Heads or rulers they wil, they are but as so many Rebels, or (at the least) as so many strangers from God's Kingdom; therefore called strangers and enemies, Col. 1.22. They are neither born of the bloud of Israel, nor haue they any right of inhe­ritance from God, nor liue they vnder the lawes of the Empire, nor made free denisons: yea, this [Page 367] p [...]se seems to import, that all men that are not gathered into the number of God's people, are but a confused heap, and disordred multitude, neuer happy in respect of any gouernment: they are brought into no order; and, as the Prophet also further saith, they are good for nothing▪ Ier. 13.10. God regards them not, nor looketh after them as it were: and though they haue Lawes, and a kinde of gouernment, yet their Lawes and Customs are vain, Esay 10.3. altogether insuffici­ent to make them liue happily.

Vse. The vse may be,

First, for information: and so it may inform vs in two things. First, the vanity and insuffici­ency of worldly things, riches, power, honour, conquests, carnall parentage, and the like, auaile men nothing vnto a blessed life: the Gentils had all these in their greatest glory, and yet not wor­thy to be called a people. Secondly, wee may hence gather the reason of these strange deuou­ring iudgements, which fall vpon the world by warres, famine, pestilence, &c. For, inasmuch as worlds of men liue without the compasse of the obedience to God's gouernment, and stand out as so many Rebels; the Lord therefore, see­ing they will not bee his people, fights against them from heauen, and makes wonderful hauock among them; as a great King, that reuengeth himself by the strength of Armies, vpon Rebels.

Secondly, for instruction: and so wee, that were sinners of the Gentiles, should hence learn to acknowledge & praise the free grace of God, [Page 368] who without our deserts hath reckned vs in the Court of his people; wee that were by nature, viz. none of God's people.

Thirdly, and especially it should set out the misery of all men liuing in their sins without re­pentance: and the rather should we bee mooued with this terror,

  • 1. Because no place can priuiledge impeni­tent sinners: for, not onely professed Gentiles, but euen wicked Israelites are in Scripture rec­koned as no people. The wicked are accounted as no people, though they liue in the Church, and dwell among God's people. For, what is the chaffe to the wheat, though both lie together? Yea, though men bear the name of God's peo­ple, yet God hates them neuer a whit the lesse for that: and therefore to distinguish them, and shew how little he regards them, hee calls them the euill people, Ier. 13.10. the disobedient and gain-saying people, Rom. 10.21. the people of Gomorrah, Esay 1.10. the people of my curse, E­say 34.5.
  • 2. Because God will shew by his fierce wrath, that hee doth not reckon of them at all, but will cast them off as a girdle that is good for nothing, Ier. 13.10. Many places of Scripture shew this. All the sinners of the people shall die, Amos 9.10. God will take away his power from them, e­uen his louing kindnes and mercies, and would not haue them much pitied, Ier. 16.5. Behould, saith the same Prophet in another place, the whirl-winde of the Lord goeth forth with fury: [Page 369] a continual whirl-wind; it shall fall with pain on the head of the wicked, Ier. 30.23. so Ezech. 11.21. Esay 34.5.

Ob. But, when men liue in the Church, and are baptized, &c. how may it bee knowne, that they are not Gods people? what signes are there of men that are not Gods people?

Sol. They are described in diuers Scriptures, where we may finde out what people it is God excepts against.

First, such as can liue without God in the world,Who are not Gods people. are not Gods people, Ephes. 2.12. Such as can goe whole daies, weekes, moneths, yeeres, without any harty care of God, or his glory, or fauour. These are euidently not a people.

Secondly, such as are of a stifneck: such as will not let Gods yoke come vpon them, such as wil not obey his voice, but walk in the imaginations and counsels of their owne euill hearts, Ierem. 7.23, 24, &c. 13.10. especially such as refuse to heare his voice, and are withall gainsaiers, and such as are talkers, whose lips carry about them the infa­my of Gods true people, and the blasphemy of Gods name, Rom. 10.21. Ierem. 10.13. Ezech. 36.3, &c.

Thirdly, it may be discerned by their manner of seruing of God: for such as God reiects from being of his people: may draw neere to him with their lips, but their hearts are from him; and they doe him no seruice, but as mens lawes feare them to it. A constant habituall alienation of the heart from the care of Gods presence in Gods ordi­nances, [Page 370] is a sure signe of persons God regards not.

Ob. But there are faults in the best men in the world, and therefore why should such as liue in the Church, and professe the true Religion, be cast off only for liuing in sin, seeing all are sinners?

Sol. I answer with the words of the holy Ghost, Deut. 32.5, 6. Their spot is not the spot of Gods people; that spot that is in the wicked, is a spot of leprosie, and therefore they ought to bee put without the Campe till they be cleansed: The sins of the Godly, are sins of infirmity; and the sinnes of the wicked, are sinnes of presumption: The wicked neuer obey from the heart, which all the godly doe; sinne doth not raigne in them as it doth in the wicked.

Thus of their estate by Nature: as they were not a people: their estate by Grace is described in those words; Are now the people of God.

Are now the people of God:]

The difference of reading here, from that of the prophet is to be noted▪ for, wheras in the prophet it is thus. In the place where it was said, ye are not my people; it shall be said vnto them, Ye are the sonnes of the liuing God: which words are somewhat doubtfull: for some might gather, that therefore all which were not a people, should in time be the people of God. The Apo­stle therefore applies it so, as that it may appeare, that the comfort only belongs to godly Christi­ans; and in stead of the words, Ye shall be called the Sonnes of the liuing God, he saith, Ye are now the people [Page 371] of God, which in sence differs not: and the Apo­stle leapeth to the direct Antithesis, and takes it for granted, that all God's People are God's Sonnes also, vnlesse we conceiue, that hee bor­rowed these words out of Hosh. 2. vlt. which I ra­ther incline vnto, though Interpreters most take to the words, and the first Chap.

Ye are now the people of God.]

For the sence of the words, we must vnder­stand, that men are in Scripture said to be God's people three wayes.

First, in respect of eternall Praedestination, see Rom. 11.2.Men are Gods people three waies. He will not cast off the people hee knew before.

Secondly, in respect of the couenant in the Law, and so the sonnes of Abraham were God's people, and none other, as many Scriptures shew.

Thirdly, in respect of the couenant in the Gospell; and so it is to be taken here: and all vn­regenerate men were not a people, and all that beleeue, are God's people by the benefit of the couenant of Grace in the Gospell.

Now for the coherence I might note,

That they that are not the people of God, may be the people of God, and so acknowled­ged of God himselfe; which should teach vs with meekenesse and patience, to waite when God will turne those that lie in their sinnes, and despaire of no man, and restraine fierce and per­uerse censures, concerning the finall estate of o­ther men: But the maine point is, that God's [Page 372] people are the only people in the World; None worthy to be called a people, in comparison of them! No subiect, in any gouernement, so hap­py as Gods people, vnder his gouernement in Christ! and therefore to bee made the people of God here, is reckoned as a condition beyond all comparison: Now that Gods people excell all other Subiects in the World, may appeare many waies:

First, in respect of the loue of God that hee beares to his people, which hath foure match­lesse prayses, that no King on earth can afford to his Subiects:Ier. 31.3. For, first it is an euerlasting Loue, when all the fauor of the Princes on earth is both mutable, and mortall. Secondly, it is a particular loue to each Subiect; All the people are loued, and by name, Deut. 33.3. The Lord counteth, when he reckons his people, he was become their God, Psal. 87.5, 6. Thirdly, it is a free loue; There was no desert in vs: whereas Princes looke at somewhat that may pleasure themselues, euen where desert is lesse. Fourth­ly,How Gods people excell all o­ther people. it is a tender Loue; and therefore Gods peo­ple are said to be married to their King and God, Hosh. 2.19. and therefore God is said to account his People to be his Portion, Deut. 32.9.

Secondly, they are an elect People; which hath a twofold consideration in it: For, first, they are elect from all eternity, and so euery one of the People hath a particular act of Parliament to as­sure his right, Rom. 11.2. And secondly, they are elect in time, that is, they are separated and [Page 373] culled out of all the people of the World.Exod. 33.6.

Thirdly, all Gods People haue a generall par­don giuen them for all offences, Ierem. 31.34. He saues his People from their sinnes; and this par­don is grounded vpon a sufficient atonement made by a most faithfull high Priest for them, Heb. 2.17. Who also sanctified all this People with his own blood, Heb. 13.12. Christ is giuen for couenant: he is their surety for them, & their wit­nes, Esay 42.6. & 55.5. Who also redeemed them with his blood: All, a People of Purchase.

Fourthly, all Gods People are qualified with new gifts, aboue all the people in the World; their natures be amended, they are all washed and clensed from their filthinesse: there is not one vile person amongst them, Ezech. 36.25. & 37.23. &c. He hath formed them for himselfe, and his owne seruice, Esay 43.22.

Fiftly, all Gods Subiects are adopted to bee Gods sonnes: and so can no Prince on Earth say of his: they are, as it were, the fruit of his womb, Psal. 110.3.

Sixtly, the Lawes by which they are gouer­ned, are the perfectest in the whole world: For the Law of God is perfect, Psal. 119.8.

Seuenthly, all Gods people liue in his pre­sence, and see his glory, Exod. 33.16. Leuit. 26.11, 12. Zach. 1.10, 11. Psal. 95.7. Other Kings haue many subiects they neuer saw, and few that haue that preferment, to liue in the Kings pre­sence, or neere about him.

Eightthly, God feasts all his subiects, and that [Page 374] often, and in his owne presence, and with the best prouision of the world, Esay 25.8. Esay 65.13, 14. Ierem. 31.14. Kings would soone consume their treasure, if they should doe it often, or almost once, &c.

Ninthly, no people so graced of their King in hearing requests, and receiuing petitions. For all Gods people may cry, and bee heard, and at all times, and in all suites, which no King on earth can grant to all his subiects, and seldome or neuer so much as to any one, Esay 30.19. Iohn 14. Whatsoeuer they aske in the name of Christ shall bee granted vnto them.

Tenthly, they are the longest liued of any peo­ple: As the daies of a tree are the daies of my people, saith the Lord: They may endure many a storm, but they are fast rooted still. Mine Elect shall long enioy the works of their hands, Esay 65.22. For, first, they onely haue the promise of a long life in this world, and it is limited onely with that condition, If it bee good for them. And secondly, if that God take away some of his people, and that quickly, out of this world: yet that shortens not their life, or dependance vpon God: For when they dye a bodily death, they are said to bee gathered to his people, or their people, and there receiue eternall life in­stead of it: Death doth not put them out of ser­uice, or depriue them of the Kings presence, but remoueth them onely out of one roome into another: whereas they stood below staires be­fore, they serue now aboue staires, and are all of [Page 375] the Presence, and Priuie-Chamber to God.

Eleuenthly, they are the wealthiest people in the world, none better prouided for: For, first for Spiritual gifts, and rich fauours from the King of kings, they are not destitute of any hea­uenly gifts, 1. Cor. 1.5. Eph. 1.3. And for outward prouision, God hath taken all the chief creatures, and bound them to serue them with prouision in whatsoeuer they want: The heauen, the earth, the corne, &c. all are bound for the supply of their wants, Hos. 2.21, 22, 23.

Twelfthly, they excell for protection: Whe­ther we respect their preseruation, or the reuenge is done vpon their enemies: For their preser­uation, though the earth and the heauens should bee shaken, yet God will be the hope of his peo­ple, Ioel 3.16. and as the mountaines are about Ierusalem, so is the Lord about them that feare him, and therefore they cannot bee moued, Psal. 125.1, 2. and if the rod of the wicked doe enter vpon them, yet it shall not rest vpon their lot, v. 3. of the same Psalme. And for vengeance: It is certaine, the Lord will auenge their quarrell vpon all their enemies, though they be vnable to right their own wrongs; and because God would haue it done throughly, hee reserues the work of vengeance to himselfe, to make the recom­pence, Heb. 10.30. Rom. 12.20.

Vses. The vse may bee both for Consolation, and Instruction: For it should exceedingly com­fort Gods children, considering what singular happines they enioy by the gouernment of Iesus [Page 376] Christ. Oh! blessed are the people, whose God is the Lord, Psal. 33.12. and 144.15. Moses ad­mires, a little before his death, the wonderfull fe­licity of the godly, considered as they are God's people. Israel is happy; none like to God's peo­ple, or this people: nor is there any like vnto the God of Ierusalem. For, God rides vpon the hea­uen, in their help: the eternall God is their re­fuge; and vnderneath are the euerlasting Armies. He wil thrust out their enemies before them, and say, Destroy them. Israel alone shal dwel in safety. The Fountain of Iacob shal be vpon a land of corn and wine: and his heauens shal drop down deaw. They are a people saued by the Lord, who is the shield of their help, and the sword of their excel­lency. Their enemies shal be found liers to them, Deut. 33.26. to the end.

And this excellent estate is the more comfor­table to be thought vpon,

  • 1. Because people of any nation may be ad­mitted to this estate, and the Lord, without re­spect of persons, will blesse them with the bles­sing of his people, as the Prophet excellently shewes, Esay 2.19. and 19.24, 25. The Gentiles haue come to reioice amongst his people, Rom. 15.9, 10, 11. They were hard times, when the Lord's dominion was in a manner confin'd in the Kingdome of Iudah and Israel.
  • 2. Because it is so great and glorious a work on God's part, to make vs his people: for, hee doth as it were plant the heauens, and lay the foundation of the earth, that hee may say vnto [Page 377] Sion, Thou art my people, Esay 51. verse 16.
  • 3. Because in the hardest times that can be­fall the godly, the Lord will haue them plead this priuiledge: and they may go to God, and he will acknowledge them in all their distresses, and sanctifie their afflictions, and deliuer them at the voice of their cry, Esay 64 9. Zach. 13.19.
  • 4. Because they shall yet enioy a farre more excellent estate in another world, than now they haue, Reu. 21. They are now but as the children of Israel in Goshen, or in the wildernesse.

Vse 2. Secondly, diuers things may bee hence obserued for instruction; as,

  • 1. Such as liue in the Church, and yet haue not the marks of God's people on them, should awake, and look about them, and labour to get into the number of God's people. These fooles among the people, as the Prophet Dauid calleth them, should vnderstand; and these euill neigh­bours vnto Israel, should bee perswaded to learn the waies of God's people, and so they may bee built vp in the midst of Israel, Ier. 12.16. And it should bee their daily praier vnto God, to grant them this one request, namely, to blesse them with the fauour of his people, Psal. 106.3, 4.
  • 2. The penitent sinner, that feels his heart called by the voice of Christ, should hence bee moued to enter into the couenant of God, and speedily to take the oath of subiection & alleage­ance, binding himself with all his heart to God, and his diuine seruice, deu. 29.10, 11, 12, 13. Ier. 50.5.
  • 3. Such as haue taken the oath, and are ac­knowledged [Page 378] for true Subiects, should for the rest of their time study how to carry themselues as becomes the people of God: and so,

In generall, they should remember two things.

  • 1. To giue eare to God's Law, and hear­ken what the Lord will say vnto them from time to time, Psal. 78.1. Esay 51.4.
  • 2. To lead a holy life and conuersation: for, therefore hath God seuered them from all nations, that they might bee holy to him, Leuit. 20.26. All God's people are righteous, Esay 59.21. and 62.12. And Christ hath redeemed them from all iniquity, and purified them, that they might be a peculiar people vnto him, zealous of good works, Tit. 2.14. They must therefore bee no more polluted with their transgressions, nor bee fashioned to the lusts of their former igno­rance, Ezech. 14.11. and 36.25, &c.

In particular they should

  • 1. Giue God thanks for euer, for blessing them with the blessing of his people, Psal. 79. vlt.
  • 2. They should humble themselues, to walk with their God,
    Rules for Gods people, how to carry them­selues to God.
    Mic. 6.8. being humbled at his feet, to receiue his Law, Deut. 33.3. bowing down with all reuerence to worship him, Psa. 95.7. For, God is a great God aboue all gods, and a great King aboue all kings.
  • 3. They must auoid needlesse society with the wicked, 2. Cor. 6.16. and take heed, that they learn not the manners of other nations, Le­uit. 20.24.
  • 4. The Law of GOD must bee in their [Page 379] hearts. For, they should be a wise and vnderstan­ding people aboue all men: and this is the signe of God's people, Esay 51.7. Deut. 4.6. And it is God's couenant, to write his Laws in their harts, Ier. 31.33.
  • 5. They must auoid Idols, and keep Gods Sabbath: this, God requires perpetually, Leuit. 26.1, 2, 3, 11, 12. and graciously accepts, when hee findes this care, Esay 56. with protestation against those that will not keep his Sabbaths, Ier. 17, &c.
  • 6. They must walk confidently in the trust vpon God's goodnes and couenant with them, as the godly resolued, Mic. 4.5. All people walk in the name of their god: and therefore we will walk in the Name of the Lord our God for euer and euer, resoluing to cleaue to God in a per­petuall couenant, Ier. 50.4, 5.
  • 7. They should approoue themselues to bee God's people, by their language: their lan­guage should bee a pure language, not speaking lies: a deceitfull tongue should not bee found in their mouthes; and their words should be graci­ous, such as might minister grace to the hearers, Zeph. 3.9, 13. Eph. 4. Col. 4.
  • 8. They should be patient in all aduersi­ties, as being of Moses minde, that it is better to suffer affliction with God's people, than to enioy the treasures of Egypt, Heb. 11 25.
  • 9. They should obey according to all that God commands them, shewing a respect to all God's Commandements; seeing they serue God, and not men, and that all dissimulation will [Page 380] bee open before his eies, Ieremie 11. verse 4.

And thus of the second way of comparison.

In the last words of the verse, their estate is considered in relation from God to them. And so, in the state of nature they were not vnder mer­cy: but, in the state of grace, they are now vnder mercy.

Not vnder mercy.]

Doct. All the time that men liue without re­pentance for their sins, and faith in Iesus Christ, they liue without the mercy of God: they are not vnder mercy: God loues them not, nor re­gards them: they are children of wrath, Eph. 2.3. and the wrath of God abideth on them, Ioh. 3.36. Yea, though the Lord be exceeding mercifull in himself, and to the faithfull, yet by no meanes will he cleer the guilty, Exod. 34.6. Num. 14.18. Now, this not beeing vnder mercy, imports di­uerse things.

First, that their sinnes are not forgiuen or par­doned.

Secondly, that their soules are not healed of their originall diseases, but they liue still in their blood.

Thirdly, that they are liable vnto all sorts of iudgements: and those which are vpon them, came from the wrath of GOD, which hateth them, &c.

Fourthly, that they are in danger of eternall condemnation; in generall, that they liue and lie vnder the forfeiture of the couenant of works, and haue no part in Christ, or the couenant of grace.

[Page 381] Vse. The vse should be therefore to teach wic­ked men, to take heed how they presume of Gods mercy: they may deceiue themselues; but God will not be mocked, Gal. 6.7. For such things as they are guilty of, the wrath of God comes vpon the children of disobedience, Eph. 5.5. They that liue after the flesh, shall die, Rom. 8.13. For the more distinct vnderstanding of this point, foure things would be considered of.

First, that wicked men are exceeding apt to plead Gods mercy, thogh it belong not to them; and doo not beleeue, that God will deale so with them as they are threatned.

Secondly, that God directly declared himself, that hee will not shew mercy or pity towards di­uers sorts of offenders.

Thirdly, that the things men vsually obiect, will not be auailable to deliuer them from Gods wrath.

Fourthly, what sorts of men, in particular, God will not be mercifull vnto.

For the first: that men are apt to plead God's mercy when it belongs not to them, is apparant through the whole course of Scriptures, to haue euer been in the disposition of most wicked men: they blesse themselues in their hearts, when their iniquity is found worthy to be hated, Psal. 36.2. They liue at ease, and put far away the euill day from them, Amos 6.1, 3. They cry Peace, peace, when sudden destruction is made to come vpon them, 1. Thes. 5.3.

For the second: that God will not bee merci­full [Page 382] to many a man that liues in the visible Church, is manifested by many Scriptures; as, Deut. 29.19. Ier. 16.5. Ezech. 5.11. and 7.4, 9. and 8.18. Hosh. 1.6. and 2.4. and in many other places.

For the third: their excuses and pretenses are all vain: for,

  • 1. If they stand vpon their greatnes in the world,
    Excuses of wic­ked men refuted.
    it is certain, that riches will not auaile in the day of wrath, Iob 36.18, 19, &c.
  • 2. Nor will it help them, to be born of god­ly Ancestors: for, rather than God will bee tied to the wicked seed of Abraham, hee will raise vp children of the stones, to Abraham, Mat. 3.
  • 3. Nor can multitude priuiledge them. For, though hand ioin in hand, yet sin shall not go vn­punished: and God turns nations of men into hell, Psalm 9.17.
  • 4. Nor will their outward seruing of God serue their turn. It is bootlesse to cry, The Tem­ple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, if men redresse not their waies, Ier. 7.4, 8, 9, 10.
  • 5. Nor wil it help them, that some Ministers speak comfortably to them, and by their prea­ching they may expect mercy: for, GOD will iudge those Prophets that strengthen the hands of the wicked. The stubborn people were neuer a whit the safer, when the Prophet told them they should haue peace, and no euil should come vnto them: but the Lord protesteth, that the whirl-wind of his fury should fall grieuously vp­on the head of the wicked for all that, Ier. 23.15, 19, 20. that at length they should consider it per­fectly: [Page 383] and the Lord threatneth that he will rent the wall of security which the Prophets haue built with vntempered morter, that he will rent it euen with the fierce winde of his furie, and there shall be an ouerflowing showre in his anger to consume it, Ezech. 13.10. to 15.
  • 6. Neither may the patience of God proue, that he meanes to shew expected mercy: for, though a sinner prolong his daies an hundred times, yet it shall not be well with the wicked, nor ought he to settle his heart the more freely on his sinne; because sometimes it is not speedily executed: for God will finde a time to set his sinnes in order before him, and then he may teare him in peeces, and none can deliuer him, Eccles. 8.11, 12, 13. Psal. 50.19.
  • 7. Neither will it ease them, that there are so many promises of mercy in Scripture. For they are limited; and besides in diuers pla­ces where mercy is promised, the Lord explains himselfe, by shewing that he will not cheere the wicked, Ex. 34.7. as was alleaged before, so Na­hum 1.3. and v. 7. compared with the 6.
  • 8. Neither will their Baptisme helpe them: for neither Circumcision nor vn-circum­cision auaileth any thing, but a new Creature, Gal. 6.

Ob. If any say, But though they be not now vnder mercy, yet hereafter they may bee vpon Repentance.

Ans. I answere, that in this they say truely, but yet not safely: For, many men that haue [Page 384] promised themselues the late Repentance and mercy, haue died in their sins before they could euer repent. And thy times are in Gods hands, thou knowest not when, nor how thou shalt die: and therefore the surest way is, Now to turne to God with all thy heart, as they were counselled more at large, Ioel 2.12, 13.

Now for the fourth, it may awake some sort of offenders the more effectually, that besides the generall threatnings against wicked men, they in particular are assured that they are not vnder mercy:

As first, such as shew no mercy to men, Iam. 2.13. and such as transgresse of malicious wicked­nesse, Psal. 59.6. and such as are people of no vn­derstanding, Esay 7.11. and such as walk after the imaginations of their owne wicked hearts, and will not harken vnto God, Ierem. 16.5, 10, 12. and such as blesse themselues in their heart, when they heare the curses of the Lawes, Deut. 29.19. and such as steale, murther, commit adul­tery, and sweare falsely, Ier. 7.9. and many o­ther particulars. Catalogues might be instanced in all the seuerall Scriptures: the Prophet Malachy puts in such, as deale corruptly in ty­thing, and offring, Malach. 1.8, 9.

To conclude; the counsell of the Prophet Ieremy is excellent in this case, who most effectu­ally speakes thus: Heare yee, giue eare, bee not proud: for the Lord hath spoken, Giue glory to the Lord your God, before hee cause darknes, and before your feet stumble vpon the dark [Page 385] mountaines, and while yee look for light, hee turne it into the shadow of death, and make it grosse darknes: But if you will not heare, my soule shal weep in secret for your pride, and mine eye runne downe with teares, Ierem. 13.15, 16.

Vse 2. Secondly, the consideration of this doctrine may iustify the practice of godly Mini­sters, that denounce the iudgements of God vpon their hearers, that liue in sinne without repentance: It is their duty to shewe them, that they are not vnder mercy; they are required to cry aloud, and to shew Gods people their sinnes, Esay 58.1. And the Prophets, that cried peace, peace, are extremely threatened of God, so as for not warning the people, the blood of their soules is required of the Prophets, Ezech. 33. verse 2. to 10.

Vse 3. The third vse may bee therefore for the singular humiliation of wicked men, that liue in the assemblies of Christians: Though they haue obtained a place in Gods Church, yet they haue not obtained mercy, but liue vnder the fearefull displeasure of God: and this is the more terrible, if they consider three things.

First, that this is the case of multitudes of men in the Church: but a remnant are vnder mercy: which will appeare more distinctly, if you draw out of our assemblies, such as in Scripture are expresly said not to bee vnder mercy, as,

  • 1. Take all such as yet liue in their naturall Atheisme,
    What wicked men in particu­lar are not vn­der mercy.
    that mind not God, nor Religion, that onely care for earthly things, and shew it by a [Page 386] constant either neglect, or contempt of the pub­like assemblies of Christians amongst vs: These cannot obtaine mercie, because they refuse to heare Gods voyce, and to seeke to the ordinary meanes of mercie, Isaiah 50.1, 2. Heb. 3.7.
  • 2. Draw out then secret offenders, such as sinne in the dark, and say, Who seeth vs? There are many amongst vs, that for ough [...] [...]ee know, liue honestly, who yet in secret are polluted with desperate abominations, as, fearefull deceit in their callings, prodigious filthines of body, or the like.
  • 3. Remooue from vs likewise open and notorious offenders, such as are drunkards, out­ragious swearers, knowne adulterers, or fornica­tors, murtherers, railers and extortioners: For to such belongeth not Gods mercy, or King­dome, 1. Cor. 6.9.
  • 4. Then separate from vs such as are onely ciuilly honest, & not religious: There are many, that are farre from grosse offences, either open, or secret, who are not yet vnder mercy, which is dis­couered diuers waies; as by their ignorance: For God will not haue mercy vpon people that haue no vnderstanding, Esay 27.11. And by their impe­nitency, they neuer soundly and in secret confes­sed their sinnes to God: They neuer mourned for their many corruptions: There is a world of inward wickednes, which they were neuer humbled for: And also by their vnbeliefe; they know no way, how to bee saued by Christ by ef­fectuall beleeuing on his mercy, but think to bee [Page 387] saued by their owne good deeds, or else they liue in a generall security, not looking after saluation, but thinking it enough, that they are wel accoun­ted of amongst men.
  • 5. Lastly cast out Hypocrites, that onely make a shew of godlinesse, and haue not the power of it: that draw neer to God with their mouthes, but haue their hearts farre from him. These in vaine worship God. These are Iewes outward, but haue not the circumcision of the heart, and therefore their praise is not of God.

You may easily conceiue, how small a number will remaine, if all these bee deducted out of the societies of Christians.

Secondly, if they withall consider, that if mercie bee not obtained, all else is in vaine. It doth not profit him to obtaine credit, riches, friends in this world, long life, or ought else, if hee obtaine not mercy: what shall it aduantage thee to obtaine the whole world, if for want of mercy thou lose thine owne soule.

Thirdly, it increaseth their misery, that they may dye in the case they are in. For either God may take away the meanes of mercy from them, or may leaue them to so much insensiblenesse, as they may remoue themselues from the meanes of mercy; or God being prouoked by their long obstinacy, may deliuer them vp to a reprobate sence; or God may suddenly take them away by death, and then woe vnto them: it had beene better for them, they had neuer beene borne.

Quest. But some one may aske, What should [Page 388] bee the cause, that so many obtaine not mercy of God, seeing God is in his owne nature so gra­cious, and they are in so great need of mercy?

Ans. I answer, that the cause why some ob­taine not mercie, is,

Why many ob­taine not mercy.First, because they seek it not: they bee at a great deale of care and paines many times to seek other things, but they altogether neglect their owne mercy, and seeke not for it. Now God stands vpon that, That hee will bee sought vnto: The house of Israel must know, that though God bee many waies gracious, as is shewed at large, Ezec. 36.25. &c. yet for all this, hee will bee sought vnto; or else euen Israel may want mercy, verse 32.

Secondly, others are so farre from seeking mercy, that they refuse mercy, when God in the Gospel daily calles vpon them, and be­seecheth them to be reconciled: yet they are so busily imployed in following foolish vanities, that they forsake their owne mercy, Ionas 2.8. They will not answer, when God calls, but reiect his Word, and grieue his good Spirit, and abuse his patience and bountifulnes, and so heape vp wrath against the day of wrath.

Thirdly, others seek mercy, but they seeke it not aright; they faile in the manner, as either they seeke it coldly, and carelesly, praying but for fashion sake, or with their lips without power of affections. They speak for mercy, but they doe not care for mercy: They neither ob­serue, nor regard, whether their petitions bee [Page 389] granted, or denied: and this is the condition of the ordinary sort of men: or else they seek mercy corruptly without sincerity of the heart. As when men pray God to forgiue them the sinnes, which yet they mind not to leaue. Now this is a shamefull kind of seeking mercy: For God stands vpon it, that wee must forsake our wicked­nes, or else hee will not forgiue, Esay 55.6. 2. Tim. 2.19. Or else lastly, men seeke it too late, as Esau sought the blessing, when it was gone, Heb. 12.15. They may call, when God will not answer, Pro. 1. Zachar. 7. And this is the case of some, that put off their repentance, vntill the latter end.

But haue now obtained mercy.]

Doct. The godly are exceeding happie in the obtaining of Gods mercy: All that are called in Christ Iesus, euen all that haue truely repented themselues of their sinnes, are certainly vnder mercy, and in that respect, in a maruelous safe and happy condition.

Three things are distinctly imported in the obseruation. First, the one is: that God is merci­full: Mercy may bee obtained, Ionah 4.2. Psal. 116.5. and 86. Secondly, that penitent sinners doe obtaine mercy, Ioel 2.13. Esay 55.7. Thirdly, that such as haue obtained Gods mercy, are in a mar­uelous happy case, in comparison of what they were before in. It is inough, if we obtaine mercy, whatsoeuer wee obtaine not: Hence the Phrase, Thou hast couered him with thy mercie.

And our happines in respect of the interest wee haue in Gods mercie is the greater, if wee [Page 390] consider either the properties, or the effects of God's mercy.

There are foure admirable properties in the mercy of God, which he shewes to his people.

Properties of Gods mercy.First, his mercy is tender mercy, Psalm 51.1. which he shewes in diuers things: as,

  • It is tender many waies.
    1. That he is full of compassion, in pitying the distresses of his people: no father can so pity his childe, Psalme 103.13. Hence, his bowels are said to be troubled for them, or to sound in him. Where is the sounding of thy bowels, saith the Prophet? Esay 63.15. Ier. 31.20. The word Mi­sericordiam imports as much: for, it sounds mise­ry laid to the heart. God then is mercifull, in that he laies our miseries to his heart.
  • 2. That he waits to shew mercy, Esay 30.18. watching for all oportunities, as it were, to pre­uent vs with his blessings.
  • 3. That he is slowe to anger; not easily stir­red to displeasure, when he hath shewd his fauor, Psal. 103.1. He is a God of iudgement, that con­siders the weaknesses and infirmities of his ser­uants, as knowing whereof they are made, Esay 30.18. Psalm 103.
  • 4. That if he do see some more preuailing euils in his people, yet hee will spare; as a father spares his onely sonne, Mal. 3.17. And if hee doo chide, yet hee rebukes his people still with great affection, Ier. 31.19. and he wil quickly giue-ouer, and not chide alwaies, Psalm 103. He is ready to forgiue, as soon as they call vnto him, Esay 65.23. and 55.7. Psalm 103.
  • [Page 391]5. That if he doo bring affliction vpon his people to humble them, yet he will not consume them, but will repent him of the euill, Ioel 2.13. Deut. 32.36. Amos 7.36.
  • 6. That in shewing his loue, hee is of great kindnes, called the maruellous louing kindnesse, Psalm 17.7. hence, resembled to marriage-kind­nes, Hosh. 2.19. No husband can be so fond of his wife, as God is of his people: nor can any man deuise such waies to expresse kindnes, as GOD doth to his people.
  • 7. That his mercy is without all grieuance to him. Mercy pleaseth him, Mic. 7.18. It breeds as it were an vnspeakable contentment in GOD himself, when hee hath dealt mercifully with his seruants.

Secondly,It is immense. his mercy is immense, vnmeasura­ble: and this is exprest by diuers forms of speech in the Scripture. Thus, God is said to be plenti­ous in mercy, Psalm 86.5. aboundant in mercy, 1. Pet. 1.3. rich in mercy, Eph. 2.4. His mercy is great aboue the heauens, Psal. 108.5. Gods Word heerin hath magnified his name aboue all things, Psalm 138.2. Hee hath a multitude of mercies, Psalm 51.1. manifold mercies, Nehemie 9.19. They are vnsearchable, high as the heauen is from the earth, Psalm 103.11. His kindnes is said to be mar­uellous louing kindnes, Psalm 17.7. Which must needs appear to be so, because hee is a Father of mercies: all mercies in the world flowe from him, 2. Cor. 1.3. and all his paths are mercie and truth. Whatsoeuer hee doth to his people, is in [Page 392] mercy, Psalm 25.6. And therefore the Prophet, that could finde similitudes to expresse the faith­fulnesse and iudgements of God by, yet is fain to giue-ouer when he comes to his speciall mercy to his Chosen, and vents himself by exclamation, Oh how excellent is thy mercy! Psalm 36.7.8.

It is free mercy, and that diuers waies.Thirdly, this mercy is the more admirable, in that it is free: which appears diuers waies. First, in that it is shewed without deserts on our parts: which the tearm gracious, euery where giuen to God in Scripture, doth import. Secondly, in that God is tied to no man, nor to any posterity of men: he hath mercy on whom he wil haue mer­cy, Rom. 9. Thirdly, because it is extended to all sorts of people. If the rich mercy of God could haue been obtained onely by Kings, or Apostles, or the like, it had been the lesse comfortable vnto vs: but bond, as well as the free; the Barbarian, as well as the Grecian; the Gentile, as well as the Iew; the poor, as well as the rich, may be posses­sed heerof. Hee doth not spend all his mercy on Abraham or Dauid, but hee reserueth mercy for thousands, Exod. 34.6. and will bestowe the true mercies of Dauid vpon meaner men, Esay 55.4. His mercy is ouer all his works, especially ouer all his spirituall works in Iesus Christ, Psalm 145.9. Fourthly, it appears to be free, because it can be alone: God can loue vs, though no body else doo: though Abraham knowe vs not, yet GOD will bee a Father vnto vs, and neuer leaue vs nor forsake vs, Esay 63.15, 16.

Ob. But, might some one say, In the second [Page 393] Commandement it is plain, that GOD shewes mercy [...]o them that keep his Commandements. It seemes then, his mercy is not free, but he hath respect to deserts in vs.

Sol. First, our keeping of the Commande­ments is not alleaged as the cause of mercy, but as the signe of mercy: The words shew to whom God will shew mercie; not for what cause.

Secondly, when he saith he will shew mercy, it euidently excludes merit: For, it is mercy, that God will bestow such great things vpon men for their works; for there is no proportion betweene our works, and the goodnesse wee re­ceiue from God: When we haue done all, we should account our selues vnprofitable seruants.

Ob. But it seemes, God's mercy is caused by merit; for God shews vs mercy for the merits of Christ: If Christ deserue it, then it seemes it is not free?

Sol. First, mercy excludes merit in vs, though not in Christ. Secondly, it was mercy that God gaue vs Christ to merit for vs. And thus of the third property of God's mercy.

Fourthly,Gods mercy is eternall. God's mercy is the more admirable yet, in that it is eternall: God will not change his word: He keepeth his couenant and mercy with his seruants, 1. King 8.23. God's mercies haue beene from all eternitie, Psalme 25.6. and hee will not take away his mercy from his ser­uants, Psalme 89.34. but his mercy and louing kindnesse shall follow them all the dayes of their [Page 394] life, Psalme 23. vlt. His mercies are new euery morning, he hath neuer done shewing of mercy, Lament. 3.23. Esay 33.3. He is still building vp his mercies, and will neuer leaue, till he haue finished them in an euerlasting frame of vnspeakeable glory, Psalme 89.2. His mercy is euerlasting and endureth for euer, Psalme 103.3. & 136. from e­uerlasting, to euerlasting, Psalme 103.17. God may forsake his people for a moment, to their thinking, and in a little wrath he may hide his face, but with euerlasting mercies hee will re­ceiue them: As he hath sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more couer the Earth: so hath hee sworn he wil no more be wroth with his people. The hills may be remoued, and the mountaines may depart, but God's couenant of peace shall not be remoued, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee, Isaiah 54.7. to 11. If God's couenant be not with day and night, and if hee haue not ap­pointed the ordinances of heauen and earth; then may hee cast away his seruants and their seed, Ierem. 33.25, 26. But we see the course of nature is firme, and therefore ought to bee more assured of the firmnesse of the couenant of God's mercy to his people.

The effects of mercy follow.

To obtaine mercy, is, to obtaine those benefits which God hath promised to his people, as the fruits of his mercy. Where God shews mercy,

First, he will heare their prayers graciously: this is promised,Effects of Gods mercy. Isaiah, 30.18, 19. and pleaded by Dauid, Psalme 4.1.

[Page 395]Secondly, hee sanctifies all afflictions, so as whatsoeuer befalls the godly, proceedes from mercy, and not iustice in God; and shall worke for the best, Rom. 8.28. It is God's loue that ma­keth him correct, Heb. 12.6, 7.

Thirdly, he heales their natures from the dis­eases of their mindes: for, to shew mercy, is like­wise to cure vs, and sanctifie vs; and God promi­seth it, Hosh. 14.3.

Fourthly, he multiplies pardon, Isaiah 55.7. It is not grieuous to forgiue sinne daily, when they seeke to him for forgiuenesse.

Fiftly, he deliuers the soule, absolutely, from the pit: they are free from condemnation, Iob 33.27. Psal. 86.13, &c.

Sixtly, In all dangers and weakenesses his mer­cy holds them vp, euen when the godly say their foot slippeth, Psal. 94.18.

Seuenthly, he guides them in all their waies: He that hath mercy on them (saith the Prophet) shall leade them, euen by the springs of water shall he guide them, Isaiah 49.10. The World is like a wildernesse, the wicked are like wilde beasts in a desart; God's children are so proui­ded for, that God preserues them, yea and him­selfe finds them out means of singular refreshing all their dayes.

Eightthly, He crownes them with blessings, Psal. 103.4.

Ninthly, hee giues them assurance of an im­mortall inheritance, 1. Pet. 1.3, 4.

The consideration of this maruellous mercy, [Page 396] which the godly haue obtained, may teach vs diuers things.

Vse. 1.First, with all thankefulnesse to acknowledge the mercy of God: wee should alwaies mention the louing kindnesse of God, in all the experien­ces we haue of the truth of his mercies toward vs, Esay 63 7. We should frame our selues to an easy discourse of the glory of God's Kingdome, and talke of his power, Psalme 145.8, 9, 10. Wee should be so perswaded of this truth, as freely to say, that we know that the Lord is gracious and very mercifull, Psalme 116.5. It is a great sinne, Not to remember the multitudes of God's mer­cies, Psal. 106.7. Oh! that men would therefore indeede prayse the Lord for his goodnesse, &c. Psalme 107. foure times repeated in that Psalme: Christians should glory in it; not in their riches, strength, wisedome, &c. but in this, that they know God that exerciseth mercy, Ier. 9.24.

Secondly, in all our waies heartily to disclaim merits of works, or opinion of our worthinesse or deserts: say still, with the Prophet in the Psalme, Not vnto vs, not vnto vs Lord, but to thy Name giue the glory, for thy mercy and truths sake, Psal. 115.1. The whole frame of our saluation depends vpon God's Grace, not on works, Ephes. 2. Tit. 3.5.

Thirdly, let vs with Dauid resolue to dwell in the house of the Lord for euer, since our happi­nesse lieth in mercy, and since we haue the ti­dings of mercy in God's house: there the foun­tain of this grace is daily opened vnto vs, and we [Page 397] may draw water still with ioy out of this well of saluation in the Gospell, Psal. 5.7. & 23. vlt.

Fourthly, we should learne of God to be mer­cifull: Let vs striue to comfort others with shewing them mercy, as we haue receiued mer­cy from the Lord. Oh let vs bee mercifull, as our heauenly Father is mercifull, Luke 6.

Fiftly, we should hence be incouraged, and resolued, since we know our priuiledges, to goe boldly vnto the throne of Grace vpon all occa­sions, to seeke mercy to helpe in the time of neede: We haue obtained mercy of the Lord, and therefore may, and ought to make vse of our pri­uiledge, Heb. 4.16.

Secondly, this doctrine of God's mercy, may serue for singular comfort to the godly,Vse. 2. and that both in the case of sinne, and in the case of af­flictions.

  • 1. Against the disquietnesse of the heart for sinne, it should much refresh them, to re­member that they haue obtained mercy, yea though innumerable euils haue compassed them about, Psal. 40.11, 12. and though our of­fences are exceeding grieuous, Psal. 51.1. Exod. 34.6, 7.
  • 2. Secondly, in the case of afflictions, ma­ny things should hence comfort vs.
    • 1. That howsoeuer it goe with our bo­dies, yet God hath mercy on our soules.
    • 2. That it is mercy, that our afflictions are not worse, that wee are not consumed, La­mentations 7.22.
    • [Page 398]3. That in the worst afflictions God doth many waies shew mercy, his mercies are new euery morning, Lament. 3.23.
    • 4. That though God cause griefe, yet hee will haue compassion to regard vs according to our strength, hee will deale with vs in measure, Lament. 3.32. Esay 27.7.
    • 5. That hee doth not afflict willingly, La­ment. 3.33.
    • 6. That all shall worke together for the best, Rom. 8.28. Deut. 8.16.
    • 7. God will giue a good end, Iam. 5.11. Hee will lift vp from the gates of death, Psal. 9.13. God will giue thee rest from thy sorrowes and feares, and hard vsage, Esay 14.1, 3. Psal. 57.3. He will send from heauen to saue thee.
    • 8. Hee will afflict but for a moment, Esay 54.7.

But in both these cases wee must remember,

First, to seeke mercy of God, Ezech. 36.32.

Secondly, if wee bee not presently answered, our eies must looke vp to God, and wee must waite for his mercies, Psal. 123.3, 4.

Thirdly, wee must check our selues for the doubtfulnes of our hearts, as Dauid doth, Psal. 4.7, 8. and 77.10.

Fourthly, because we liue too much by sence, we must beseech God not onely to be mercifull, but to let his mercy be shewed, and come to vs, Psal. 85.8. and 116.77.

Fiftly, wee should also beseech God not onely to let vs feele his mercies, but to satisfie vs also [Page 399] earely with his mercies, Psalme 90. verse 14.

Sixtly, wee must looke to it, that wee walk in our integritie, Psalme 26.11. and liue by rule, Gal. 6.16.

Lastly, howsoeuer: wee must trust in God, and looke to it, that wee rest vpon the Lord, Psal. 32.10. and 33.18, 22. For God takes pleasure in those which hope in his mercy, Psal. 147.11.

Quest. But how may a man, that is not yet comforted with Gods mercy, take a sound course to obtaine mercie?

Ans. That men may obtaine mercie;

First,Helpes to ob­tain mercy. they must take vnto themselues words, and confess their sins to God, and hartily bewaile their offences, Ioel 2.13. Hosh. 14.3.

Secondly, they must turne from, and forsake their euill waies, and their vnrighteousnes in­ward and outward, Esay. 55.7.

Thirdly, they must bee carefull to seeke the Lord, while hee may bee found, Esay 55.6.

Fourthly, they must bee mercifull, and loue mercie: For then they shall obtaine mercie, Math. 5.6.

Fiftly, they must learne the way of Gods peo­ple, and learne them diligently, Ierem. 12.15, 16. They must haue pure hands, and a cleane heart, and not lift vp their soules to vanity, Psal. 4.5.

Sixtly, they must hate the euill, and loue the good, Amos 5.5.

Seuenthly, they must cry vnto God daily, Psal. 86.3.

Eightthly, there must nought of the cursed [Page 400] thing cleane vnto their hands, Deuteronomie 13. verse 17.

Ninthly, when the Lord saith, Seeke yee my face: their hearts must say, Thy face (O Lord) will wee seek, Psal. 27.7, 8.

Verses 11.12.
Dearly beloued, I beseech you, as stran­gers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which fight against the soule:
And haue your conuersation honest among the Gentiles; that they which speak euill of you, as of euill do­ers, may by your good works which they shall see, glorifie God in the day of their visitation.

THese words contain the epilogue or conclu­sion of the whole exhortation, as it concerns Christians in generall, from verse 13 of the for­mer chapter, hitherto: and it hath in it matter both of dehortation and of exhortation, as an­swering in the substance to all that hee hath hi­therto intreated of by way of vse. The dehortati­on is in verse 11; the exhortation, in verse 12: in the one, shewing what they should auoid; in the other, what they should doo. They should auoid fleshly lusts: and that they should doo, is, to liue honestly.

In generall, we may note, that it is the proper effect of all sorts of doctrine in scripture, to make an impression of care in our hearts, about the re­formation of our liues; that it is in vaine heard, which doth not some way breed in vs a hatred of vice, and a loue of honesty: this is the vse of all [Page 401] Scripture, 1. Tim. 3.16, 17. Which may serue for triall of such as come to the Word: they may knowe whether they be good or euill hearers, by the impression made vpon their hearts by the Word. And it may serue for information, to shew vs the excellency of the Word aboue all other Writings, because there is no line in Scripture, but some way it tends to the redresse of our na­tures from sin, and to plant holinesse in vs: which can be true of no human Writings. And withall, it shewes the happy estate of the godly, who, though they haue many diseases in their natures, yet they haue wonderfull store and variety of medicines in God's Word, to heal their natures. If, for the diseases of our bodies, there bee but one herb in the whole field that is good for cure, we haue reason to think, that God hath prouided well in nature for vs: but how is his mercy glori­ous, who, in the spiritual Field of his Word, hath made to growe as many herbs for cure of all our diseases, as there be sentences in Scripture! And, lastly, it should teach vs to vse the Scriptures to this end, to redresse our waies by them. And thus in generall.

The first part of the epilogue hath in it matter of dehortation: where obserne,

First, the parties dehorted; who are described by an epithet importing their priuiledge aboue other men, viz. Dearly beloued.

Secondly, the manner of propounding the de­hortation, viz. by way of beseeching: I beseech you.

[Page 402]Thirdly, the matter from which hee dehorts, viz. fleshly lusts.

Fourthly, the manner how they are to bee a­uoided, viz. abstain from them.

Fiftly, the motiues: First, Yee are strangers and pilgrims: secondly, these lusts are fleshly: thirdly, they fight against the soule.

Dearly beloued.]

This tearme is not vsed complementally or carelesly, but with great affection in the Apostle, and with speciall choice and fitnes for the matter intreated of; which we may obserue in the most places, where this louely epithet is giuen to the godly in other Scriptures. GOD is exceeding choice of his words: hee neuer mentioneth the tea [...]ms of loue, but hee brings to his children the affections of loue, as I may so say. Men, through custome, vse faire complement of words, when their hearts be not moued: but let our loue bee without dissimulation. But let that go. The point heer to bee plainly obserued, is, that Christians are beloued: of all other people they are most loued.How many waies Gods peo­ple are the onely beloued ones. I will but briefly explicate this. First, GOD loues them, and that with infinite and e­uerlasting loue, and hath manifested it by sen­ding his owne Son, to be a propitiation for their sinnes, 1. Iohn 4.9, 10. Secondly, Christ loueth them, which hee shewed by giuing his life for them. Thirdly, the Angels of heauen loue them; which they shew by ioying in their conuersion, and by their carefull attendance about them. Fourthly, the Godly, in generall, loue them. [Page 403] There is no godly man, that knowes them, but loues them: for, euery one that loues God that begot them, loues euery one that is begotten of God; euery one, I say, that he knowes, 1. Iohn 5.1. Lastly, the godly Teachers loue them; which they shew, in that they are not onely willing to impart to them the Gospell, but euen their owne soules, because their people are dear vnto them, 1. Thes. 2.8.

Now,Vse. this loue of God, of Christ, of the An­gels, of the godly men & Ministers, should serue to support vs against the contempt and hatred of the world: wee haue a loue that is much better than the loue of worldly men can be to vs. First, because it is of better persons: and secondly, be­cause it is of a better kinde; for, it is more fer­uent, and it is more pure, and more constant. Worldly men can shew no loue that hath com­parison to the loue of God, or Christ, or any of those, for the feruency of it. And if worldly men loue vs, it is to draw vs vnto one euill or other; and besides, it will not last: for, wicked men will agree with themselues no longer than so many Curres will agree: they are alwaies contending, hatefull, and hating one another. Secondly, this point should much check the vnbeliefe of Chri­stians, and their vnthankfulnesse: for, many times they are affected, as if they were not beloued of any: whereby they much dishonour the loue of God, and of Christ, and of Christians towards them also; and thereby they flatly contradict the Text, which saith, They are beloued. Thirdly, [Page 402] [...] [Page 403] [...] [Page 404] impenitent sinners should bee moued heerby to become true Christians, because till then, they are monstrous hatefull creatures: GOD loaths them and their works, Iohn 3.36. Esay 1.11, &c. And such vile persons are vile and odious in the e [...]es of the godly, Psalm 24.4. Psalm 15.

How Christians may preserue this loue.Fourthly, Christians should labour to preserue this loue vnto themselues, with increase of the comfort of it: and so diuers things would much aduantage them in this loue; as,

  • 1. Faith. To liue by faith, commends them wonderfully to God's loue, as being the condi­tion mentioned, when he sent his Sonne into the world, Iohn 3.16. For, without it, it is impossible to please God.
  • 2. Humility would much commend them to the loue of the Angels; who reioyce more in one sinner that is penitent, than in 99 iust men that need no repentance.
  • 3 The fruits of wisdome, mentioned, Iam. 3.17. haue a maruellous force to win loue among men. To be pure, in respect of sincere Religion; to be gentle and peaceable, free from passion and contention; to be easie to be intreated; to be al­so full of mercy & good works, and all this with­out iudging or hypocrisie; to bee no censurers, nor counterfets: oh! this is exceeding amiable, if these things were carefully expressed.
  • 4. And for their Ministers, two things would much increase their loue to them. First, obedience to their doctrine: for, this will pre­uail more than all the bounty in the world, 1. Thes. [Page 405] 2.13. Heb. 13.18. Secondly, to conuerse without back-biting, or vncharitable iudging of them. By these two, the Philippians and Thessalonians were highly aduanced in the affection of the A­postle: and through the want of these, the Co­rinthians lost much in the loue of the Apostle.

Thus of the persons dehorted.

The manner of the dehortation followes.

I beseech ye]

In that the Apostle, in the name of God doth beseech them, diuers things are imported, as

First, the maruellous gentlenesse and loue of God to men: hee that may command, threaten, punish, yea, cast off; yet is pleased to beseech men.

Secondly, the dignitie and excellency of a cleane heart, and honest life; It is a thing which God (by his seruants) doth vehemently begge at our hands.

Thirdly, the honor of a Christian; he is spo­ken to as to a great Prince, as the two former rea­sons shew him to be.

Fourthly, a rule of direction, how to carry our selues towards others in the case of refor­mation; wee must learne of the Apostle to ex­presse a Spirit of meekenesse, and loue, and humi­litie: Passion and pride worke vnspeakeable preiudice and hurt in the care of other mens faults.

Fiftly, with what reuerentnesse, and earnest­nesse should we speake to God, when he speakes thus to vs?

[Page 406]Thus of the manner of propounding the de­hortation.

The matter to be auoided, is lusts.

Abstaine from fleshly lusts.]

By lusts are sometimes meant grosse sins, and disorders, which are the fruits of lust, and so the sinnes mentioned chapter 4.4. of this Epistle, are called lusts of the Gentiles.

By lust, is sometimes meant corruption of na­ture: But I thinke, it is taken neither of these waies heer.

By lust, is sometimes meant the filthy desire of the heart after bodily vncleannesse, and so cal­led the lusts of vncleannesse, Col. 3.5. Rom. 1.24.

But by lusts heere (I take it) is meant all sorts of euill desires in the heart of man, and so called worldly lusts, Titus 2.12. And in speciall these sorts of lusts are named in Scripture, which Christians should especially auoid.

Iusts to be espe­cially auoydedFirst, the lusts of vncleannesse: filthy desires.

Secondly, the lusts of couetousnesse, and worldly cares.

Thirdly, the lusts of vainglory, whether of enuie, conceitednes, or desire of applause.

Fourthly, the lusts of Epicurisme: Those de­sires after delicious or excessiue fare, or vaine apparell.

Fiftly, the lusts of malice, and reuenge.

These and such like, are the lusts which Chri­stians must forsake.

The vse is diuers.

Vses. First, for information: and so it may shew vs,

  • [Page 407]1. That outward honesty will not serue the turne: It is not inough to be free from grosse sinnes: what case then are ciuill honest men in?
  • 2. That in reformation it is not inough to forsake the euils wee haue no desire after, but wee must leaue our owne lusts.

Secondly, for consolation. Heere is imported an excellent comfort to the godly in the case of inward and hatefull temptations. When vile things come into the mind of the godly, if they dislike them, and doe not lust after them, nor in­tertaine them with spirituall dalliance, they may be assured, that those euils shall not bee charged vpon them: For before a temptation can bee a sinne, it must haue somewhat of coueting in it. Christ was tempted as wee are, and yet he sinned not, because hee liked them not, but reiected them.

Abstaine from them.]

The manner how they are to bee auoided, is contained in this word, abstaine: which doth im­port diuers things.

First, that without departing from iniquitie, wee cannot haue comfort of our repentance. To come into the company of the godly: to make shew of Religion: to come to Church: or vse pri­uate meanes: or barely to confesse sin, or to feele terrors for sinne, is not inough, vnlesse wee leaue sinne. Iudas, Demas, Cain, and the wicked Israelites could doe the former; yet neuer re­pented.

Secondly, that the occasions of lusts will bee [Page 408] daily offered to vs from the world, or the Diuel, or our owne corrupted nature: Now it is not an argument of our misery to haue them, but to entertaine them.

Vses. The vse may bee,

  • 1. For Information: The true abstinence is to abstaine from sinne: The other abstinence from meat, or the like, is but circumstantiall, and not in it selfe acceptable to God, Esay 58.
  • 2. For triall: Those are sound Christians indeed, that abstaine from fleshly lusts.

Quest. But are there not lusts in godly men, as well as in wicked men?

Ans. There may bee, but with great diffe­rence, for

  • Differences of lusts in Godly men and wic­ked men.
    1. The godly man may bee intangled with euill desires, but the wicked man is more: For he burnes in lust, yeelds himself ouer to his harts lusts: Hee is giuen vp to his lusts, hee takes care for the lusts of the flesh to fulfill them: He serues his lusts, &c. Rom. 13.13. and 1.24. Tit. 3.3. Eph. 2.3.
  • 2. The godly man, if hee bee ouercome of his lusts for a time, yet hee humbleth himselfe, and iudgeth himselfe for them, and grieues for them, whereas the wicked boasteth himselfe of of his hearts lusts, and placeth his contentment in them, Psal. 10.3.
  • 3. The godly man, if hee bee yet ouer­come, hee will break off his iniquity by repen­tance, whereas the wicked in his lusts is like the Diuel. Hee is incorrigible, no ill successe, or Iudgement, or reproof can breake off his desire [Page 409] of transgression: yea, his lusts are called, The lusts of his father the Diuel, Ioh. 8.44.

Thirdly, all godly Christians should learne from hence to bee seriously bent to preserue themselues in the purity of Christian Religion, and to keepe their hearts from these foule an­noiances.

Quest. But what should wee doe to bee pre­serued from lusts?

Ans. First, thou must auoid the occasions of lusts: such as are,

  • 1. Euill company,
    Helps to auoyd lusts.
    and therein euill example and euill counsell, Psal. 1.1.
  • 2. Idlenes and solitarines.
  • 3. Excessiue desire after, and delight in ri­ches, 1. Tim. 6.9.
  • 4. Ignorance, 1. Pet. 1.14.
  • 5. Intemperance, drunkennes, and fulnes of bread, and deliciousnes of fare, and apparel.
  • 6. Hardnes of heart, Ephes. 4.17, 18.

Secondly, wee must walk in the Spirit, cheri­shing all good motions, and pure imaginations, yeelding our hearts ouer to the gouernment of Gods Spirit, doing all duties with the powers of our soule, Gal. 1.16.

Thirdly, wee must crucifie them, if they arise among our selues, with the same mind was in Christ, and resolue to suffer in the flesh by the sound practice of mortification.

Fourthly, wee must striue after contentation, 1. Tim. 6.

Fiftly, wee must get knowledge: For as igno­rance [Page 401] brings them in: so knowledge fils the hart, and dares them out.

Thus of the manner of auoiding them. The motiues follow: and the first of them is,

Ye are strangers and pilgrims.]

A stranger is he that liues in a place that is not his owne Countrey, or Kingdome, or Nation, whither by right hee belongs: so Abraham was a stranger, Gen. 21.23. and the Israelites in Aegypt, Exod. 2.12. Now, a pilgrim is he that resteth not in a place, but trauelleth onward from place to place.

Godly men are said to bee strangers, and not strangers, in diuers respects. It is said, they are not strangers in respect of freedome to the City of God, and the Common-wealth of Israel, Eph. 2.29. They are strangers in respect of their ab­sence from the heauenly Canaan, which is their owne home, to which they were born by rege­neration.

In this world, then, all the godly are but stran­gers and pilgrims; which may serue,

Vse.First, for reproof, euen of diuers godly men, and that in diuers respects.

  • 1. For their too much minding of earthly things. Why doo our hearts carry vs away after the world, considering, it is but an Inne to bee in for a little time?
  • 2. For their meddling with other folks bu­sinesse. A stranger onely thinks of his owne af­fairs, and doth not interpose himself in the affairs of others: so should wee study to bee quiet, and [Page 411] meddle with our owne businesses.
  • 3. For discouragement of heart vnder the sense of our owne weaknesses and wearinesse in spirituall things: we must expect in such trauell, much weaknes and wearinesse.
  • 4. For impatience, either vnder the crosses of life, cast on vs by GOD (whereas strangers arm themselues to bear all weathers) or vnder the scorns and contempt of the world: whereas wee should look for it, that the world should gaze at vs, and deride vs, as vsually men doo at strangers. Nor should Christians be at leasure to stay their iourney, by seeking reuenge for their wrongs, or be troubled if they cannot get preferment in the world.

Secondly, for instruction. It should wholly impose vpon vs the care of carrying our selues like strangers and pilgrims.

  • 1. By hauing our conuersation without co­uetousnes.
  • 2. By our language, speaking alwaies as may become the people of God, and heirs of heauen; that the men of this world may perceiue by our speech, that we are not of this world.
  • 3. By our circumspection, and desire to liue without offense: as a stranger is very heedfull of his waies in all places where he comes.
  • 4. By our daily enquiring after the particu­lar way to heauen.
  • 5. By our thankfulnesse for the fauours wee find while we are in the world, seeing it is a place we are not to look for much in.
  • [Page 412]6. By our apparell. If strangers be knowne by their garments, then is it a great fault for chri­stians, to be found in the fashions of this world.
  • 7. By our delight in good company: wee should bee glad of any that would go with vs to heauen.
  • 8. By our affection homeward: our mindes should still be in heauen.

Nor should godly men bee ouermuch trou­bled, that they are strangers heer in this world, and pilgrims, in the condition of trauellers: for,

First, they are not strangers in the Common­wealth of Israel, and in the Kingdome of Christ: at the same time they are strangers, in respect of their condition in this world.

Secondly, they are well prouided-for at their Innes: God prouides their resting-places, and no good thing will he with-hold from them. That God, which commands men to regard strangers, and shew them mercy, will himself much more be carefull for his strangers.

Thirdly, their pilgrimage will not be long.

Fourthly, they haue good company: all the godly trauell their way.

Fiftly, God hath appointed them guides: yea, Christ himself will be their way.

Sixtly, by praiers they may send home conti­nually.

Seuenthly, it should much comfort them, to think what a glorious condition they shall bee in, when they come home, in the new Ierusalem.

Thus of the first reason.

[Page 413]Secondly, the lusts must bee auoided, because they are fleshly.

Fleshly.]

These lusts are fleshly in diuers respects.

First,Lusts are fleshly in diuers re­spects. because they please after the flesh, which is, the corrupt nature of man: they hould no de­light, or shew of profit, but to the flesh: they are exceeding noisome, and grieuous, and foolish to the Spirit.

Secondly, because they raign onely in fleshly persons: they bee the lusts of Gentiles, and such as are strangers from the life of God. Godly men complain of them as an extreme misery, Rom. 7. 1. Pet. 4.3.

Thirdly, because they arise most from the bo­dy, which is but a seruant to the soule: and it is an extreme vnmanlinesse, for the soule to bee at the command of her seruant the body; which concludes against the lusts of vncleannesse, rio­tousnes, drunkennesse, vanity of apparell, &c.

Fourthly, because they proceed from the ould man, or corruption of nature, or the flesh, consi­dered as the enemy to God, and man's saluation: and so it is an argument taken from the hatefulnes of the flesh, and her working in vs. The lusts and desires of the flesh ought to be hatefull, and wee should suspect and abstain from the proiects of the flesh, if we consider,

  • 1. That the flesh sauoureth not the things of God,
    Euill proper­ties & effects of the flesh.
    Rom. 8.
  • 2. That she opposeth all good waies, partly by obiecting against them, and partly by making [Page 414] euill present, when we should perform them, Ro.
  • 3. That her wisdome is against God: her fairest reasons are pleaded for things that are hatefull to God: such also are her excuses, and extenuations, and promises.
  • 4. That, if she be followed, she will lead vs by degrees into all abominations; as, whore­doms, murders, debates, heresies, &c. these are her fruits, Gal. 5.
  • 5. She will betray vs to Satan, that he may by himself set vp strong fortifications in our foules: and her treason is the more dangerous, because shee is a domesticall enemy; and, by his working in secret, our hearts may become a very cage or stie of vnclean spirits.
  • 6. Shee hath already spoiled the Image of God in vs, and made vs look most deformedly.
  • 7. If she once get power, she is most tyran­nicall: no respect of credit, profit, no nor saluati­on it self, can stir: she will be serued, whatsoeuer come of it.
  • 8. We should abhorre her, for the very mis­chief she doth to our posterity: wee cannot look vpon our children, but wee may see what wofull hurt she hath done by the infection they receiu'd in their propagation.

Vses. The vse may be,

First, for reproof of such as lay the blame of their faults vpon their euil luck, or euill counsell, or the diuell: whereas they ought to lay the fault vpon their owne flesh, euen their owne ill nature. The diuell nor the world could neuer hurt vs, if [Page 415] the flesh did not betray vs by defect, or consent, or euill action.

Secondly, for information. We may see what we should mortifie, and abstain from. Religion doth not binde men to mortifie the substance of the flesh, but the lusts of the flesh: wee are not to destroy any faculty of the soule, or in the soule, or part of the body; but the inordinate appetite and desires of either: we are not to abstain from the necessary means of life, as, house, lands, diet, apparell, company, &c. but the euill concupis­cence about these.

Thirdly, for instruction. It should teach vs therefore to restrain the flesh as much as we can; and therefore we shall, with the same labour, re­strain the lusts of the flesh: and to this end,

  • 1. Wee must, with all feare and iealousie, watch our owne natures, as mistrusting.
  • 2. We must silence the flesh, and not suffer it to plead for sin.
  • 3. Wee must, by a daily course of mortifica­tion, iudge the flesh; that so we may be as it were condemned in the flesh.
  • 4. We must keep from it what may pamper it; as, idlenesse, excesse of diet, apparell, recrea­tion, &c.

Which war against the soule]

These words may be considered either in their coherence, or in themselues: in their coherence, and so they are the third reason taken from the e­uill effect of those lusts. In themselues, there are two things to bee opened; both what the soule [Page 416] is, and what this warre in the soule is.

The point is cleer, that fleshly lusts doo much hurt the soules of men; and so, both the soules of wicked men, and of godly men.

First, of wicked men. These lusts hurt the soules,

  • How these lusts hurt the soules of wicked men,
    1. Because they prouoke the wrath of God vpon them. The Israelites were not estranged from their lusts, and therefore the wrath of God came vpon them, Psalm 78.29, 30, 31.
  • 2. Because they make vs resemble the diuell, Iohn 8.44.
  • 3. Because they hinder the power of the Word from them: they will neuer come to the knowledge of the truth, 2. Tim. 3.6.
  • 4. Because it brings the soule in bondage: so as all the conuersation of the soule is in a man­ner about those lusts of the flesh, Eph. 2.2.
  • 5. Because they make all their praiers abo­minable, Iam. 4.
  • 6. Because sometimes they are scourged with a reprobate minde, being giuen vp to their lusts, Rom. 1.
  • 7. Because they may drown the soule in per­dition, 1. Tim. 6.9.

If godly men entertain these inward euils in their thoghts & affections, many euils wil follow.

  • as also the souls of godly men.
    1. They hinder the Word.
  • 2. They grieue the good Spirit, by which they are sealed to the day of redemption.
  • 3. They harden the heart, and blinde the vn­derstanding.
  • [Page 417]4. They hinder good duties, Gal. 5.17.
  • 5. They wound the soule.
  • 6. They make the mind foule and loath­some: they defile.
  • 7. They may bring outward iudgements vpon thee, or inward terrours of conscience.

Vse. The vse may bee partly to declare the misery of such Christians, as are falne away from the acknowledgement of the truth, by in­tertaining these loathsome lusts, of whose fear­full estate at large, 2. Pet. 2.18. to the end.

Partly it should work in all the godly obe­dience to the Counsell of the Apostle heer, in abstaining from these lusts, as greeuous hurts to the soule, or their soules: They should put on the Lord Iesus in sincerity, and neuer more take care to fulfill these lusts of the flesh, Rom. 13.13.

Thus of these words in the coherence: The sence will bee more full, if wee consider more at large two things in the words.

First, what the soule is.

Secondly, what this warre in the soule is.

Two things haue made the inquiry about the soule exceding difficult. The first is the nature of the soule. For it is a spirituall essence, and there­fore wonderfull hard to bee conceited of. There bee three things cannot fully bee conceiued of, or defined by man: first, God: secondly, an Angel: and thirdly, the soule of man. Now be­sides this transcendency, as I may call it, of the soule, the fall of man, and custome in sinne, and the remainders of corruption in the best, haue [Page 418] made this doctrine so hard, that wicked men scarce discerne, that they haue a soule; and godly men are very ignorant, and impotent in concei­uing the condition of the soule.

This word soule is diuersely accepted in Scripture: for it signifies sometimes,

The life of man, as Math. 6.25. Bee not care­full for your soules,Soule taken in diuers senses. what yee shall eat, &c.

Christ: because looke what the soule is to the body, that is Christ to the whole man: so Psalme 16.10. Thou wilt not leaue my soule in Hell, that is, Christ, Acts 2.25, 29. &c. and 13.35, 36.

The dead bodies, Leuit. 19.28.

The whole man, so Gene. 46.26. by a Synech­doche.

But heere it signifies that part of man, which is called his spirit.

By the soule then wee vnderstand that part of man which is inuisible, & inuisibly placed with­in the body of man. Now the things which are fit for vs to inquire into and know, concerning the nature and excellency of the soule, may be com­prised briefly in this description of the soule.

The soule of man is a substance incorporeall, inuisible,A discription of the Soule. and immortall, created of God, and vni­ted to the body, and indued with the admirable faculties of vegetation, sence, and reason, to this end principally, that God might be of man truely acknowledged, and duly worshipped.

Euery branch of this description containes an excellent commendation of the soule, and should much affect vs with admiration of Gods [Page 419] workmanship, and his loue to vs in making vs such excellent creatures; and withall it should breede in vs the care which the Apostle heere calles for, of auoyding all things that might defile our precious soules.

The soule is the abridgement of the inuisible world, as the body is the abridgement of the visi­ble world: Man is rightly said to be a litle world: God made man last, and in man made an Epi­tome of all the former works: For all things meet in man, who consists of a substance partly corpo­reall, and partly spirituall. For all things, which God created besides man, are either such crea­tures, as are discerned by sence being bodily, or such creatures, as are remoued from sence, being spirituall, as the Angels. Now I say, man may re­semble both sorts of creatures; the visible in his body, and the inuisible in his soule.

Now the former description of the soule of man doth commend the soule for seuen things.

First, that it is a substance.

Secondly,things very considerable in mans Soule. that it is incorporeall.

Thirdly, that it is immortall, and cannot die.

Fourthly, that it is created of God immedi­ately.

Fiftly, That it is ioyned to the body after a wonderfull manner.

Sixtly, that it hath these excellent faculties.

Seuenthly, that heereby man hath honour to know God and his works, which all other crea­tures in this visible world want.

The first thing then to bee inquired after, is, [Page 420] what the soule is in respect of the being of it: and this I must answer: first, by remoouing from the consideration of it, what it is not.

First, the soule is not the harmony, or right temper of the harmonies of the body, as Galen, that great Physician, is said to affirme, which ap­peares euidently by these reasons.

  • 1. That then euery body, in which the har­monies, or foure elements are tempered, should haue a soule in it, and so stones should haue soules yea such as mā hath, indued with reason, &c. And therefore simply the soule cannot be the [...], or temperature of the elements, or humours.
  • 2. It is apparant, that the soule gouerns the excesses, which arise from the humours of the body, as a man, that by temper is apt to bee angry or heated, yet hath somthing within him, which bridles this anger, notwithstanding the heat of his body.
  • 3. If the soule were nothing else, but the temperament of the humours, then it were but a meer accident, in that it can bee present or ab­sent as the corruption of the body: but wee see that cannot bee: For remoue the soule from the body, and it ceaseth to bee a liuing body.
  • 4. By Scripture it is euident, that when the body was formed, the soule as a thing distinct from it, was infused into it by God himselfe, Ge­nesis 2.7.

Secōdly, the soul is not a power, force, or facul­ty infused into the body, by wch is is able to liue, or moue, or work: For then remoouing the body [Page 421] from it, it cannot subsist; whereas we shall proue afterwards, that the soule will subsist without the body, and therefore cannot bee an accident in the body, or a power onely of the body. Be­sides, the soule is the subiect of vertues and vices, of sciences and arts: Now, no accident can be so.

Thirdly, the soule is not the life of man: That is apparant in scripture, when a difference is put betwene the soule and life,Psal. 49.18. as, what soule shall be blessed in life? So 2 Sam. 11.11. By thy life, and the life of thy soule.

The soule then is a substance of it self, put with­in vs by God, distinct from the body: this may bee euidently proued.

First,The soule is a substance. God, after hee had made the body, is said to breath into it the breath of liues, to note, that his soule was a substance distinct of it selfe.

Secondly, because it can subsist without the body, as is apparant in the soule of Abraham, Lazarus, and Diues, Luke 16. And of the soule of the thiefe on the crosse it is said, This day thou shalt bee with mee in Paradise.

Thirdly, God is said to haue formed the Spirit in the midst of man, so it is a substance of it selfe: Note, hee saith, in him, not of him.

Fourthly, those words of Dauid & Christ proue it: Into thy hands I commit my spirit: the body being committed to the earth, there remained a substance deliuered to God.

Fiftly, that place of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 12. is most plaine; The body returnes to dust, and the Spirit to God that gaue it: Therefore there is in [Page 422] man a Spirit, which returnes to GOD.

Sixtly, Paul desires to be dissolued, and to bee with Christ: so there was a substance which should enioy the presence of Christ, Phil. 1.23.

The second thing to bee proued is, that the soule is incorporeal. It is ioyned to the body, but it is no body; it informeth the matter of man which is his body: but it is without matter it self: It is immateriall: It is wholy a spiritual substance: It is not a bodily substance, no, not a most subtil, or pure body: but altogether incorporeall: This is a high doctrine, and shewes the soule to bee an admirable kind of substance. Now that the soule is void of matter, and is no bodily substance, may bee plainely proued, though not easily ex­plicated.

First,The soule is not a bodily sub­stance. it is expresly said to be a Spirit: now Spi­rits are not flesh and bones, or any like bodily substance, Psa. 31.6. Eccle. 12.7. and Zach. 12.1. It is reckned one of the wonders of Gods creation, that hee made in man a spirit.

Secondly, the soule is after the Image of God, and hath imprinted vpon it the similitude of the goodnes, wisdome, and holines of God: Now it were not like God, if it were a body, nor were it capeable of such habits, which can bee stamped vpon meere naturall, or bodily things.

Thirdly, the soule performeth those actions, which depend not vpon the body, and are done without bodily instruments: for it vnderstan­deth and willeth.

Fourthly, if the soule were a body, then it must [Page 423] be corpus animatum or inanimatum: but, to say it is without life, is sense-lesse, because it enlyues and animates the body; and to say it is animatum, enlyued it self, it must then bee so by some other body. All which the same questions will bee as­ked, and so run into an infinite.

The third thing is, that the soule is inuisible: this shewes the transcendencie of the nature of it; and experience in all men proues this: for, who euer saw a soule?

Ob. The soule of Diues in hell saw the soule of Abraham and Lazarus: and Iohn saw the soules of those that suffred for the testimony of Iesus, Reu. 20.4.

Sol. These soules were seen by the eies of vn­derstanding, not by the bodily eies.

The fourth thing to bee prooued,The soule is im­mortall. is, that the soule is immortall, it cannot die: when it is once kindled, it will neuer go out, or be extinct; as the Sadduces wickedly imagined, and some Atheists still think the contrary. This is a point necessary to bee knowne; as for the truth it self, so for the vse of it in our liues: for, to doubt of immortali­ty, makes vs miserable; and to beleeue, the soules are mortall, makes men Epicures: Let vs eat and drink; for, to morrow wee shall die. But, to bee fully assured of an estate after life, makes a man carefull to auoid sinne, lest his soule liue for euer miserably; and to serue God, that hee may liue for euer happily.

Now, things may be said to be immortall two waies: either absolutely, and in their owne na­ture, [Page 424] and so God onely is immortall: or else they are so by the wil and pleasure of God, and not by their owne nature; and so the soules of men, and so the Angels are immortall.

There haue been two sorts of men that haue denied the immortality of the soule. The one were the Sadduces among the Iewes; who held, that in death the soule of man is vtterly extinct, as the soule of a beast. The other were certain Arabians,Eus. Eccl. Hist. l 2. c. 26. Aug. tom. 6. de haeres. c. 8.3. of whom Eusebius and S. Augustine make mention; who said, that the soule died with the body, and so remained dead till the day of Iudgement: and then they reuiued with the re­surrection of the body.

Now, against the first fort may bee produced many reasons, as also euident Scriptures.

The reasons are such as these.

  • 1. The prouidence and iustice of God proo­ueth the immortality of the soule. For, heer in this life good men haue not all their happinesse; and euill men liue in prosperity: so there must be another life, where iustice must be done.
  • 2. Religion confirms this: for, to what end were Religion and seruing of God, if the soule died, like the soule of the beast, seeing in this life the most godly are outwardly in great misery many times? For, if Paul say, If the dead rise not, then of all men are wee most miserable; it will hold much more strange, if the soule liue not at all after death.
  • 3. The wisdome of God proues it: for, else man were not in better case than the beast, yea, in [Page 425] some cases worse. For, man, from his infancy to his death, is liable to many diseases, subiect to cares and griefs, which the beast is free from▪ yea, this addes to man's miserie, that hee knowes hee must die; which the beast doth not. Now, shall man, that was counted like God, bee thought to haue no better end than the beast, that did exalt himself so much in the glory of his beginning?
  • 4. The conscience of malefactors prooues this, who fear a iudgement after this life, and an estate of misery.
  • 5. The nature of the soule proues it: for, it is simple, and void of all contrariety, and accidents, and causes of corruption or putrefaction, and is, besides, the Image of GOD. Now, no mortall thing can bee the image of that which is immor­tall.

These reasons make it exceeding probable. But I am of their mindes, that think it may be be­leeued by faith, but not be proued by reason.

The Scripture therefore only makes this point cleer, such as these:

First, our Sauiour proues it out of the Word of God; saying, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob, &c.

Secondly, it is most plain, Mat. 10.28.

Thirdly, eternall life is euery where promised to them that beleeue.

Fourthly, such places as intreat of the resur­rection, last Iudgement, and the glory of heauen, proue it.

Now for the other sort, that confesse the life [Page 426] of the Soule after the last Iudgement, but deny that the Soule liues after death till then, there are diuers Scriptures against their opinion, As

First, the former Scriptures. The Soule can­not be killed at all, Math. 10. And God was pre­sently the God of Abraham, as then liuing: and for eternal life, it is not said, He shal haue; but, He hath eternall life, that beleeueth.

Secondly, Christ said to the theefe: This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise; not at the last day.

Thirdly, Rom. 8.38. Death cannot separate vs from God in Christ, as it would, if the Soule were dead, or a-sleepe, and did not enioy God.

Fourthly, the dead that die in the Lord, are forthwith blessed, Reuel. 14.14.

Fiftly, the soules of Abraham and Lazarus were in ioy and aliue after death; so was the soule of Diues in hell.

Sixtly, Iohn saw, vnder the Altar, the soules of them that were slaine for the testimony of Ie­sus, and they cried with a loud voice: O Lord, how long? &c. Reuel. 6.

Seuenthly, the soules of the wicked die not, but are kept in prison, and are now in prison too, 1. Pet. 3.19.

Before I leaue this point of the immortalitie of the soule; it is profitable, briefly, to answere certaine obiections which may bee brought out of some words in the Scriptures, as

Ob. 1. The Soule that sinneth, shall die, Ezeth. [Page 427] 18. Therfore it seems the soule is mortall, or at least for sin it must die; and the rather, because it was threatned in Paradise: That day that thou ea­test therof, thou shalt die the death.

Sol. The Scriptures euidently shewe, that since the fall, and sinne, yet the Soule doth not die, as the places before alleaged proue: But the answere is, that this death threatned, or inflicted, is not the destruction of the being of the Soule; but the depriuing of it of the grace, and fauour, and presence of God.

Ob. 2. Eccles. 3. It is said that there is one end of the man and of the beast; As dieth the one, so dieth the other.

Sol. These are not the words of Salomon, but of the Epicure, who is here, as in other places of that booke, brought in, declaring his minde of things: For, Salomon himselfe concludeth eui­dently, that the Soule returneth vnto God that gaue it, as in the last Chapter.

The other obiections are the obiections of the dreamers, that is, of such as imagine that the Soule lieth a-sleepe till the day of Iudgement, and perceiues nothing, and is without operation, which is to say, it is dead; seeing life is nothing else but the continuall motion and action of the Soule.

Ob. 1. It is said that man, when he dies, that he sleepeth; as Christ said, that Lazarus, He sleepeth: and Stephen slept in the Lord, Iohn 11. Act▪ [...]7.

Sol. Other Scriptures adde another word, viz. in the graue, or in the dust, Iob 7.21. and Psalme [Page 428] 78. sleeping in their graues; but it is euident, that the Soule cannot sleepe in the graue, but the bo­dy onely: And Stephen deliuered his Spirit to Christ.

Ob. 2. Paul saith, that if the body rise not, we are of all men most miserable; That it seemes canno [...] be true▪ if the Soule enioy blessednesse without the body.

Sol. The immortalitie of the Soule, and the resurrection of the body, are conioyned: For the Soule without the body, can be for euer, be­cause it is the forme of the body; though God for the time do, by his power and grace, prouide for the Soule in glory, yet it is not at full happi­nesse, till it be ioyned to the body againe: For, without the body it hath no vse of vegetation, or sences, but onely of reason. But for the Argu­ment of the Apostle, it holds good of that part of man which is in question, which is the body of man: For the bodies of Godly men are more miserable then other men; kept vnder and expo­sed to many restraints and paines, eyther by mor­tification, or persecution, which the bodies of wicked men are not exposed vnto.

Ob. 3. It is said of the spirit of Princes, that it returneth to his Earth, and in the day of death his thoughts perish: So the Soule thinkes of nothing after death, till the day of iudgement.

Sol. The place is corruptly alleaged two waies: One in the Words, the other in the Sence: for the text doth not say, That his Spirit returneth to his earth; but thus, his Spirit returneth, viz. [Page 429] out of his body to God, and he not it, returneth to the earth, viz. in respect of his body: for the o­ther, these words, his thoughts perish, must not be vnderstood of his vnderstanding after death, but of his proiects, while hee liued. For men are ex­horted not to trust in Princes: For they may die, and then all their promises and proiects▪ will bee of no vse, and come to nothing.

Obiect. 4. It is said, that the dead cannot praise God, Psal. 88. and 1▪13. and 30.

Sol. That the soules of the godly in heauen doe praise God, is manifest, Reuel 5.11, 13.14. and 19.1. Now the Scriptures cannot bee contrary one to another: and therefore the places in the Psalmes must not bee taken simply, but onely in some respect. The dead doe praise God, but not as the li [...]ing did in their liues: their praises can­not prouoke other men to beleeue in God, or serue him, as in this life they might.

Thus of the immortality of the soule.

The next thing to bee inquired after,The originall of the Soule. is, about the originall of the soule: and about this point in seueral ages diuers men haue breathed diuers and strange conceits, erring because they knew not, or regarded not the Scriptures.

First, some conceiued so highly of the soule, as to think, it was no creature, but vncreated, and eternall, without beginning, but this must needes bee false.

  • 1. Because then the soule should bee God, and infinite too, For God onely is vncreated.
  • 2. Because then the soule had vnderstan­ding, [Page 430] and thoughts, and willed from eternity, whereas till it was in our bodies, it did not work: and to imagine, it should bee as a dead lump all that while, is monstrously absurd.

Secondly, others haue conceiued, that when men die, their soules goe into the bodies of other men, that be borne; and so our soules heereto­fore were the soules of some men that bee dead: This was the opinion of diuers of the Philoso­phers: and it is apparant, that diuers of the Iewes were infected with it: for about Christ they said, some, that hee was Elias, some, that he was Iere­mias; and some, one of the Prophets, and some, Iohn Baptist. Now they saw that his body was not theirs, and therefore they thought, that his soule was the soule of some of them. Now this opinion cannot bee true.

  • 1. Because no Scripture giues any notice of it: For in that place the conceit of the Iewes is told with dislike.
  • 2. Because the soules that were deliuered out of the miseries of this life, should be brought from their blessednes into misery againe, which in most absurd.

Thirdly, Others haue imagined, that the Angels should beget our soules, as our parents beget our bodies: But this is extremely absurd.

  • 1. Because then our soules should bee in the Image of Angels, whereas they were made in the Image of God.
  • 2. Because this was an heresy long since condemned, and with hatred cast out of the Church.

[Page 431]Fourthly, many Diuines, both of antient and modern Writers, haue declared themselues to be of the minde, that the soule comes from the pa­rents by generation,Anima non est ex traduce. per traducem, and that the pa­rents doo beget the whole man, which consists of soule as well as body. Now, though it bee true, that this opinion hath had, and still hath great patrones, and that it may not be denied, but that it is defended with maruellous great appea­rance of reason and truth; yet it is reiected, and hath been by the greater part of sound Diuines, and by reasons vnanswerable: for, if the soule come from the parents, then it must come either from the body of the parents, or from their soules. Now, it is apparant, it cannot come from their bodies,

  • 1. Because a bodily substance cannot beget a spirituall substance, because it cannot deriue from it self that which it hath not.
  • 2. Because the soule must consist of the foure elements, of which the body is compounded: but, it is apparant, there are no bodily humours in the soule; for, it is not hot, nor cold, nor moist, nor dry.
  • 3. Because nothing that is mortall, can beget a thing that is immortall, such as the soule hath been proued to be.

Nor can the soule come from the soule of the parents,

First, because if it did, either the whole soule was deriued of the parents, or but a part of it. If the whole soule was deriued, then the parents [Page 432] should die: nor can a part of the soule bee deri­ueed, because the soule is indiuisible: there can be no partition in an essence which is simple and vncompounded.

Secondly, wee knowe, that the Angels pro­duce not Angels: nor can the soules of men pro­duce soules, because they are spirits, as the An­gels are.

Nor can the soule come from the whole man:

First, because it is euident by experience, that after the parents haue done the work of generati­on, the first matter lies diuers daies in the womb; in which, the parts of the body are secretly for­med, before it haue life, or a liuing and quickning soule: which is an euident demonstration, that from the parents comes nothing but the bodily substance, which is fashioned by degrees, to be a meet Tabernacle for the soule afterwards to bee infused into.

Secondly, because if the parents did propa­gate the soule, they must propagate such a soule as at that time they had; which cannot bee: for, then godly parents should deriue a soule to their children, which at the least in part was regene­rate. But this is euidently against all Scripture; all confessing, that the childe is born infected with originall sin.

Thirdly, because it is contrary to the Scrip­tures; which acknowledge, that the soule was formed by God himself: which was true both of our first parent Adam, Gen. 2.7. and of the soules of all his posterity, which are expresly said to bee [Page 433] made by GOD, Esay 57. verse 16.

Lastly, it remains then, that the soules come from God. Now, if the soules come from God, then it must needs bee, as GOD is the materiall cause, or as he is the efficient cause.

It is true, that some haue imagined, that the soule of man was made of the substance of God, because it is said, GOD breathed into man the breath of life, Gen. 2.7. as if hee infused into him somewhat from himself, as a part of his diuine substance. And the Apostle Paul saith, Acts 17.18. We are the Progeny of God: and Saint Peter saith, We partake of the diuine Nature, 2. Pet. 1.4.

Now, this opinion cannot bee true, and was worthily condemned by the Fathers, as hereti­call: for,

Then man should bee God. For, whatsoeuer God begets from himself, is God: and therefore we say, Christ is God.

Then some part of God's nature should bee in­fected with sinne and ignorance, and be damned in hell too; which is wonderfull blasphemous to beleeue.

Now, for the places alleaged, That in Genes. 2. must be vnderstood figuratiuely: for, God hath not properly breath; but he meaneth, that God after a wonderfull manner did infuse the soule into the body. And for the place in the Acts, we are said to be the progeny of God, not in regard of substance, but in respect of resemblance in gifts, with which man's nature is adorned. And for the place in Peter, we are said to partake of the [Page 434] diuine nature in the same sense, namely, as we are qualified with gifts; as, wisdome, goodnes, ho­linesse, in some kinde of likenes of God.

It remains then, that we are of God effectually, because God hath created our soules,God creates the soule. and for­med them in vs. This then is the truth, that God doth create the particular soule of euery man, and inhere it to the body, when it is formed and distinguished in the parts thereof. This may bee proued diuersly.

First, it is cleer, it was so done with the soule of Adam: for, his body was already framed, and then his soule breathed into him. Now, if the soule of Eue, and of all others, had another man­ner of beginning than the creation of GOD, it would haue been mentioned in the Scriptures: but that is no where mentioned.

Secondly, Moses cals God the God of the spi­rits of all flesh, Numb. 16.22. and 27.16.

Thirdly, Dauid saith, The Lord fashioneth the hearts of all men alike, Psalm. 33.15. It is GOD's work then to create the heart.

Fourthly, Salomon saith, Eccles. 12.7. The body returns to the dust, and the soule to GOD that gaue it: in the dissolution of all things, they re­turn to the first causes and matter. As the body may be proued originally to bee of the earth, be­cause it returns to dust: so must the soule bee of God, because it returns to God which is said to haue giuen it.

Fiftly, the Prophet Esay vseth this phrase con­cerning God, and in his name: The soules which [Page 435] I haue made, Esay 57.16. Doo you ask how the soule comes into the body? The Lord answers, I made it.

Sixtly, the Prophet Ezechiel, shewing how man becoms a liuing creature, speaks thus: Thus saith the Lord to these bones: I will cause a spirit to enter into them, and they shall liue, Ezech. 37.5.

Seuenthly, the words of the Prophet Zacharie are yet more cleer. Thus saith the Lord: The Lord which spreads out the heauens, and foun­deth the earth, and formed the spirit of man in him. Out of these words it may be proued, that God created the soule of euery man, and that it is his onely work. For, first, he saith expresly, God formed the spirit in man. Secondly, this work of God is compared to two other works, viz. the spreading out of the heauens, and the laying of the foundation of the earth. Now, it is euident, that those two things hee did of himself, of no­thing, without any means.

Lastly, that place in Hebr. 12.9. is most cleer. The words are these: Wee haue had the fathers of our flesh, which chastised vs, and we reueren­ced them: how much more should wee bee sub­iect to the Father of our spirits, and liue? Where is a manifest antithesis between the flesh and the Spirit; and the fathers of our flesh, and God the Father of our spirit: wee had our flesh from our parents, and our spirit from God. I might adde the reason, taken from the manner of giuing of the soule of Christ: for, he was made in all things like to vs, sin onely excepted. Now, it is euident, [Page 436] that Christ's soule was not begot by carnall pro­pagation; and therefore it was created of God.

Obiect. Now, against this is strongly obiected, that, if the soule be created immediately of God, then it is created either pure, or sinfull; if pure, then how is it, that the soule is guilty of originall sinne? if impure, then how can it be auoided, but that God must be the Author of sin?

Answer. This reason draue diuerse of the Fa­thers in the time of Hierome, especially the We­stern Fathers, to beleeue, that the soule was pro­pagated from the parents: and Saint Augustine is doubtfull which opinion to take to, the in­conueniences of each opinion seemed so great.

But, other Diuines answer this obiection in this manner:

First, that the soule is created of God, pure, but ioined to a body conceiued in sinne: which is no iniustice in God, because hee deliuers the soule but into such an estate as man had cast himself in­to by his owne wilfull sinne, bringing this cor­ruption not onely vpon himself, but vpon all his posterity, who fell in him. Hee, by agreement with GOD, being as the common sort of man­kinde, was with him to stand or fall, in that ge­nerall respect. Nor may it be doubted, but that the body may work vpon the soule: as we see by experience, when the body is full of cholerick humours, it inclines the soule to anger; and so when the body is burdened with melancholy hu­mours, it euidently makes sadnes euen in the ve­ry minde, &c.

[Page 437]Another answer may be this: God creates the soule pure; but yet that soule is guilty of owing, though not of dooing; debendi, though not agen­di: it is charged with the debt of Adam, as chil­dren may be charged with their fathers debts. Now, this is one part of originall sinne. As for the other of corrupt inclination, it is to answer modestly, if we say we vnderstand not, being as­sured of two things: The one, that God is the Father of spirits; and the other, that all men are infected with sinne from the womb. Both are to bee beleeued, though in this life we cannot ex­plicate it: and what hurt is it if wee bee ignorant how sinne entred into our natures, seeing it con­cerns vs to knowe it is there, and to learn how to get our natures recouered?

Obiection 2. Other liuing creatures beget the like to themselues, both in body, and in soule too: and therefore by this doctrine, men should bee more vnable and vnperfect than any liuing crea­ture. For, if hee doo begette but onely the body, he doth not beget one in specie like to him­self.

Answer. Though GOD create the soule, yet it followes not, but that it may bee truely said, that man begets a man, and that hee is not more vnperfect in generation than any other creature: for,

First, the Virgin Mary did bear Christ man in her womb: and Christ man is said to bee of the seed of the Virgin, and yet his soule was created of God, as hath been shewed before.

[Page 438]Secondly, though there bee some dissimili­tude in the generation of man, and of a beast, yet it doth not follow, that man is more vnperfect. As for instance: The beast begettes his young, and brings him forth strong, couered with a hide, able to feed himselfe presently, full of leaping, and other actions: But man brings foorth an Infant, weak, crying, naked, vnable to feede it selfe. What, is man therefore more vnperfect? No. For, the perfection of generation doth not consist of these things, or in these things. For heere man excels all other liuing creatures in the world in generation, because hee is Gods instru­ment for the begetting of a body fit to be vnited to such a soule. God also doth heereby commend the generation of man, and dignify it, that hee is pleased so to work in mans generation, as he doth not in any other creature, vouchsafing to giue vnto mans generation such an admirable soule to his body. For, therefore was the creation of the first man more excellent then the creation of other creatures, because God, hauing framed his body of the dust of the earth, did infuse such a soule into him.

Obiect. It is a peeuish obiection that some make thus: If God create the soule in all men, then when any is born of Adulterie, God should cooperate with the adulterer, and so be either the Author, or the approuer of the sin, that will giue the soule to such a wicked generation.

Solut. Some answer thus: that God is not the author or approuer, because out of euill he onely [Page 439] workes good for his owne glory.

Others answer, That God onely cooperates with the action, not with the sinne of the action, or the euill of the action, or the euill which is in the will of the agents.

But the best answer is theirs, that answer by a similitude thus: The earth hath receiued her nature and vigour from God, to nourish and bring foorth the seed that is cast into it, without difference, whether the seed bee lawfully taken out of the barne, or stolne by fraud. The stolne graine doth not cease to growe in the earth, nor is it to bee expected, that nature should cast out such seed, and yet the earth doth not iustifie the action of him that stole the grain: so is it with God that works according to the grounds of nature, and his owne decree and prouidence. He is not to be blamed for the euill of the action, when he works according to the rules of nature, and will glorifie himselfe by raising a frame of good out of that which by men was ill done.

Obiect 4. Wee see, that children resemble the vertues or vices of their parents; and therefore as from the bodies of their parents they receiue a likenes to them in body: so is it, that from their soules they receiue this similitude of their vertues or vices.

Solut. Experience shewes, that this is not al­waies true. For many children haue no resem­blance in them of their parents qualities. Se­condly, where this is true, it is not because their soules are deriued from the soules of their pa­rents, [Page 440] but they haue it from the bodies of their parents: For the soule after suffers from the sym­pathy with the body, as by reason of certaine humours in the bodies of parents, that incite wrath or griefe, or lust, or the like, may come in­fection to the childe, but not from their soules. Thirdly, rather the Argument may be retorted vpon them, that in asmuch as the soules of all children are not like in qualities to the soules of their parents, that therefore they receiue not their soules from their parents.

Obiect. 5. Genesis 9. Leuit. 17. The soule is said to bee in the blood: Now it is euident, that the blood is from the parents.

Solut. The soule is in the blood, but how? By the effect of it, which is life: otherwise the soule is neither deuoured in the bloud, nor de­pends vpon it in it selfe.

Obiect. 6. It is said, Genes. 2. That God rested from all his works. Now if hee did daily create newe soules, then hee rested not from all his works, but continues creation still.

Solut. The meaning of Moses cannot bee, that God rested simply from all creation. For then it must needes follow too, that the soule of Christ was not created▪ but propagated: which cannot bee true. But his meaning is, that he re­sted from creation of things in specie; hee made no more newe sorts of things. That hinders not creation in indiuiduo, which is a work of God, preseruing those sorts hee had made at the first, by creating successiuely a new supply, as in this [Page 441] case of the soules of men. That God did not rest absolutely, is plaine by the words of our Sauiour Christ: My Father worketh hitherto, and I work, Iohn 5.

Fiftly, hitherto of the Originall of the Soule: The vnion of the soule with the body followes, which is a consideration of no lesse difficulty, then the former, no lesse needfull to be knowne, no lesse certaine. That it is vnited to the body, so as to make it one man, is apparanti by the words of God in the creation: Hee breathed in­to him the breath of liues, and so Adam be­came a liuing soule: Hee became then a man, or a liuing creature, distinct from other creatures, vpon his coniunction of the soule with the body. And by this vnion with the body, doth the Spirit of man differ from the Angels, who are Spirits separate, and such as exist without relati­on to a body: wheras the soul of man, in the crea­tion of it, and the disposition of it also, tends vnto this coniunction with the body, and doth not fully exercise it selfe liuing without the body; and that is the reason, why man is not absolutely perfect after death in his soule, till the day of Iudgement: For though the soule doe enioy an estate free fron sinne, or paine, or misery: yet two of the faculties of the soul are without exer­cise, till it bee vnited againe to the body, viz. the faculties of vegetation, and sense, which cannot bee exercised but in the body.

The manner how the soule is vnited to the body,Vnion of the Soul [...] with the body, how. is full of difficulty to expresse: The questi­on [Page 442] is, whether the soule work vpon the body from without, and so is by that means ioyned to it, or whether it be placed in the body, and work there, and from thence. This later is the truth: for, the soul doth not work from without, which I shew by a comparison. The light & the eye are ioyned together in seeing; but how? The light, from without, extends it self to the eye, and so is ioyned to it: so is not the soule ioyned to the bo­dy, but is seated within the body; which appears so, partly by experience: for, wee may all per­ceiue, that our thoughts, reason, will, affections, &c. doo discouer themselues within vs; and it is manifest, that God infused the soule, not vpon the body, but into the body, seating it within vs.

The soule, then, is within the body, and so ioy­ned to it; but how? Diuines haue sought out di­uerse similitudes to expresse their mindes. And first to shew how it is not ioyned:

First, not as water, and the vessell that holds it, are ioyned by contact, or touching one another: for, the soule is not a bodily substance, and there­fore cannot be ioyned by touching; nor doo the water and vessel make one thing, as the soule and body doo one man; nor do they work together, as the soule and body doo: for, the water doth all the work therof in watering or clensing, with­out the vessell.

Secondly, not by mixture; as water and wine are mingled together: for, things mingled cease to be what they were: for, there is no longer wa­ter nor wine, now they are mingled; nor is the [Page 443] soule materiall, to suffer such a mingling.

Thirdly, not as the heat of the fire is vnited to the water, when the water is heated: for, though the heat bee ioyned to the water as the former, yet it is but an accidentall form; and they are one by accident, not per se.

Thirdly, not as the voice is in the aire: for, though the voice be dispersed abroad the air, and doo likewise carry something to the vnderstan­ding, besides the sound, yet doth not this reach to express the vnion of the soule with the body. For, the voice is not the form of the air, nor is it conceiued in the air, without the breaking of the air; and besides, it presently vanisheth: whereas the soule is a substance, and doth not easily de­part out of the body.

Fiftly, nor as the Mariner is in the shippe with the Gouerner, for the dispatch of his iourney: for, though the body be as a tabernacle wherein the soule dwels, yet that similitude doth not ex­press this vnion, because the soule & body make one thing; whereas the ship and the Mariner do not make one thing, but are two distinct sorts of things: yea, the soule and body are so one, that by sympathy what one suffers, the other feeles; whereas the wounding of the Mariner is not the tearing of the ship, or contrariwise.

There are two similitudes doo more neerly reach this Secret.

The first is of Christ. For, as God & man make one Christ: so the soule & body make one man. But I will not meddle with the breaking open of that dreadfull mystery.

[Page 444]The other is of the light of the Sun in the air: for, there are many things in this comparison, do fitly resemble this diuine light which is, our soules, as they are ioyned to our bodies.

  • 1. This light doth fitly resemble the soule, because it is a thing that cannot bee corrupted or diuided.
  • 2. This light doth so pearce into, and pene­trate the air, that they are both made one, and are not separated: so doth the soule the body.
  • 3. The light and the air, though ioyned to­gether, are not confounded or mingled together: for, the light remaineth light, and the air the air: so is it in this vnion between the soule and the body.
  • 4. The light is so in the air, that the air bee­ing smitten, yet the light is not touched, nor diui­ded, nor carried about, as the air is: so doth the soule remain vnpearced, though the body bee wounded, and fall, yea, and die too.
  • 5. As the light is onely from the Sun: so is the soule onely from God.
  • 6. As the air, without the light, is as it were dead, because it is dark, and colde, and will pu­trefie: so is the body, without the soule.
  • 7. As no man can shew, by what bands the light is fastned to the air: so is it extremely diffi­cult to shew how the soule is fastned to the body.

This similitude, wee see, doth in many things fit this case, but yet not fully. For, the light is not the essential form of the air: onely this compari­son doth in many things satisfie the question, in [Page 445] that it shewes, that the soule is in the body by Pe­netration, or Immeation, as they call it: It pear­ceth thorow the whole body, onely wee must take heed of two things.

First, that wee imagine not the soule to bee in the body, as in a place, or as contained of it: For the soule cannot bee circumscribed by the measure of a place: wee may not imagine, that the soule is iust as big as the body, and no bigger: For though it bee true, that the soule is in the body, and the whole soule too, yet it is not con­tained there, as bodies bee contained in their places: For rather the soule sustaineth the body.

Secondly, God is said to bee in vs: and so is the soule, but not alike. For God is in vs by his vertue, and grace, and operation, but not as our former: whereas the soule is the forme of the body, and both make one man.

Quest. But some one will say, Can it not bee shewed by what band the soule is tied to the body?

Ans. Some diuines and Philosophers vn­dertake to determine that, and say, that God hath created in the body of man a certaine humour, which is fitted for this vnion; and so they say, the soule is vnited to the body by the vitall spirits, which are of nature mixt, partly Corporeall, and partly Spirituall: For as those vitall spirits doe consist for the matter of them, of the radicall heat and moisture in man, so they are corporeall; and as they haue an vnexpressable nimblenes in working, or sparkling in the body: so they draw [Page 446] neer to the nature of the soule; and by these vitall spirits thus inliued, are the soule and body ioy­ned together.

Quest. There yet remaineth another question, and that is, Where the soule resides in the body, in what place is it centred?

Ans. The most say, that the whole soule is in the whole body, and the whole soule in euery part of the body.

Others say: It is a vaine question, seeing the soule is not in the body as in a place. For it can­not bee measured by length, breadth, or depth, but it is in the body as the essentiall forme is in the matter, which cannot bee locally.

Others say, that the soule is seated in one prin­cipall place of the body, as the chiefe palace and seat of residence, and is in all other parts by dif­fusion of vertues, through the instruments there­unto fitted, and placed of purpose by God in the framing of the body: and thus the soule reasons in the head, wills and affects in the heart, sees in the eyes, &c. The chiefest mansion of the soule seemes to bee in the heart, because it is the last that dies in vs.

Sixtly, hitherto of the vnion of the soule with the body: The faculties of the soule follow.

There are three faculties, or powers of the soul, by which it works: or there are three things which the soule effects, viz.

  • The faculties of the soule.
    1. Vegetation:
  • 2. Sense:
  • 3. Reason.

[Page 447]And thus the soule may be considered, either as it workes vpon, or by the body onely, or as it works in and by it self chiefly. Vpon the body, & by certaine instruments in the body, it works vegetation, and sense; and by it selfe, without the necessity of vsing the body, it works reason.

The first power then is vegetation,Vegetation. by which the soule works foure things distinctly vpon the body.

  • 1. Life:
  • 2. Nourishment:
  • 3. Growth:
  • 4. Procreation.

The first thing then by the vegetatiue power of the soule, wrought vpon the body, is life, which is in respect of the body nothing else, but the kindling the radicall and vitall heat in the body, through the coniunction of the soule with the body, and the continuation of that heat, vntill the time appointed of God for the dissolution of it; so that life is two waies to bee considered: first, either in the breeding of it: se­condly, or in the continuance of it: The breeding of it is in the very first moment▪ of the vnion of the forme with the matter, and by that instrument of the vitall, or radicall heat: The continuance of it, is nothing else but the pre­seruation of the motion and duration of the working of these vitall spirits.

The second thing wrought vpon the body by the vegetatiue power of the soul, is nourishment: and this power of nourishing, is a faculty, by [Page 448] which food taken into the body by the force of naturall heat, is turned into the substance of the body, for the repairing of that which is consu­med in the body: And this is a work rather to be admired: For the soule, by the vse of naturall heat, is faine to subdue the nature of the food re­ceiued, and hauing melted it, as it were in a fur­nace, it casts out what is contrary to the body, and extracts for the vse of the body, so much as is now made like vnto it.

The third thing, which the soule works vpon the body by the vegetatiue power, is growth, and this it doth, by imploying that part of the food, which is now made like to the body, vnto the extension of the body, vnto the Dimensions thereof, euen to the increase of bignes, and force, which increase for the conuenient actions of the body: and this worke is done vpon the body, but vnto a certaine time of mans age, or till a­bout 30. yeares; and then, because nature tends not into Infinitenes, shee giues ouer this work.

Lastly, Procreation is the fourth worke of the vegetatiue facultie of the soule, by which it raiseth vp seed in the body, and formeth in it a meere substance like vnto the body, from whence it comes vnto the perpetuall preseruati­on of the sort of the creature: And this is an ad­mirable power. For heereby liuing creatures doe approach vnto eternity, and are made as it were immortall. For though the body dye, yet by pro­creation it is as it were kept aliue, and so the kind of creature is perpetuated: for the other two [Page 449] works of nourishment and growth, onely serue for that body in indiuiduo; but this power of pro­creating reserues the sort or species from ceasing to be.

Thus of Vegetation: Sense followes.

The second thing the Soule workes either vp­on or by the body,Sense. is Sense; and by this faculty, a man, in his body, is enabled to discerne things without himselfe, and accordingly to desire and moue to them, which the former faculties did not reach vnto. Now as the Soule workes sense vpon, or by the body, it must be considered two waies: First, as it works either apprehension: Se­condly, or motion.

The apprehending senses wrought vpon the body by the Soule, are of two sorts: First, eyther outward; Secondly, or inward.

Outwardly the Soule workes vpon the body fiue senses,Outward. or fiue waies of apprehending things by sense.

The body of a man is enabled by the Soule, to discerne of things without it selfe, by outward helps fiue waies: viz. By

  • Seeing 1.
  • Hearing 2.
  • Smelling 3.
  • Tasting 4.
  • Feeling 5.

And these wayes of discerning, are not to bee contemned: For, admirably ought it to be [Page 450] conceiued of Gods wisedome in and towards man, euen in these.

For, first by the sight, through the benefit of light, which God hath caused to shine vpon his whole creation, man may see what God hath wrought; whereas else, if the light be taken out of the ayre, or sight from man, the works of God are buried, as it were, in the darke; yea, the body of a man is, as it were, but a Dungeon without sight; and what the Sunne and Moone are in hea­uen, that are the eyes in man, shining in his head, as these Starres in the firmament. The sight is a chiefe helpe for all the great imployments of life in all callings: The eyes are as watchmen set on high in their watch-Tower, to discouer the comming of enemies. The eyes are also as the true windowes of the Soule, by which the Species or formes of things are taken into the Soule: For, God hath caused all substance in the World, to cast out beames, as it were, which haue the pictures of the things themselues carri­ed about; and these comming to the sight, are by it (aboue all other senses) taken in, and deliue­red to the Soules within, the eyes being a loo­king glasse that resemble the things seene: and this noble sense may put vs in minde of God's knowledge, if wee marke the degrees of seeing. The eye of man discernes, at once, a great share or quantity of things together: The minde of man will take in a farre greater quantity and number, and yet is finite, for it cannot reach to all things that God hath made at once. Now [Page 451] God's vnderstanding is infinite, and beholds all at once.

For the second, the sense of hearing is worthy to be thought on, if we consider eyther the be­nefits come by it, or the manner how it is perfor­med; for by hearing is let into the Soule and Bo­dy, not onely sounds of delight or wonder, but also sounds of necessity, both for naturall life, by letting in speech and discourse, and for eternall life, by letting in the Word of GOD. First, the manner of hearing is admirable: Sound is the breaking of the aire, stirred vp by the dashing or collision of sollid bodies, and is spred in the aire, as a stone cast into the water, makes and drawes from it circles: Thus the sound is brought to the eare, the hollow turnings in the eare gather and hold the sounds, as it were canes: The sound at length rusheth vpon a little bone, or gristle like a hammer, which moued, smites vpon another bone like an Anuel, by which stroak the spirits in the hearing moue, and are stirred vp: and so they take in the sound, & carry it to the braine, the seat of inward senses.

These two are the most noble outward senses, yet there is great vse of the other three:

Thirdly, for by tasting, we discerne of meates profitable or hurtfull for the body.

Fourthly, by smelling, we receiue in those de­lightfull sauours God hath caused to arise from diuers of his creatures, and to auoide things by sauor [...]oysome to the body.

Fiftly, and touching, though it bee the most [Page 452] stupid sence, yet is of great vse for the safety of the body. All these senses are as a guard for the body, and as Intelligencers for the Soule.

Inward sense.Thus of the outward senses. The Soule wor­keth likewise inward senses vpon and by the bo­dy; and the generall vse of these inward senses, is to receiue, and lay vp, what is brought vnto them by the outward senses; for the outward senses are like seruants, that trade abroad, and get together the images of diuers things, which they carry with them home to the inward senses: Now there are three inward senses.

  • 1. The common Sense.
  • 2. The Phantasie.
  • 3. The Memory.

And these are lodged in three seuerall roomes or little cels in the braine.

First, the common sense lieth in the former part of the head, and containes all that store, by which all the outward senses are furnished: For spirits fetch the vigour of each sense from this the com­mon sense. As the lines that goe to the Circum­ference, meet all in the Center: so doe all the outward senses meet in the common sense: and hither likewise are all the formes of things taken by the outward senses, brought, and distin­guished.

Secōdly, the phantasie is lodged in the middle part of the braine, where, as in a shop it takes in the images of things brought to the common sense, and there formes them more exactly, and [Page 453] oftentimes makes new after an admirable man­ner, by thinking, and then, after it hath se­parated what it likes not, it deliuers the rest ouer to the memory, which is lodged in the 3 hinder part of the braine, which is as it were the treasurie to keepe, what the phantasie as a Iudge hath sentenced to her keeping, the common sense being but as the doore-keeper vnto the phantasie. And these three senses differ in the a­bilitie to receiue, and keepe the impression of the images of things brought to them: For the common sense is seated in the more soft part of the braine, and so not able to keepe them long: as waxe ouer-soft, doth not long keep the impressi­on of the seale. The phantasy is placed in a har­der part of the braine, and therefore keepes the impression longer: But the memorie is placed in the hardest part of all, and behind in the head, further off from the concourse and trouble of the outward senses, and by reason of the stifnes of the braine, it keepes the impression longest. Now that naturall heat with the animall spirits, is like a fire to keepe the braine soft in the degrees ther­of, that it may receiue the impression, as hot water the wax fit to be marked.

Thus of the senses. But before I passe from them, it is profitable to note certaine things, which befall the senses for the good of the body and soule, and that is the binding and loosing of the senses. For God hath so tempered the state of the senses in man, that they should neither al­waies rest, nor alwaies work: Hence, from their [Page 454] resting comes sleepe, and from their work­ing comes waking, or watching: we wake, when the senses are loose; and sleepe, when the soule binds them vp: both are thus wrought, when the vegetatiue power wants help for concoction of the meat, the naturall heat is sent from the senses to dispatch that work, and then we sleep; and when that is done, the heat returnes to the senses, and tickles them, and so they awake.

But it is to be obserued, that though in sleepe the common sense, and so the outward senses are all bound, yet the phantasie and memory doe not cease, but being now freed from the atten­dance vpon the intelligences of them, or the out­ward senses, as if they were at more liberty, they are exercised more freely, and often fall to new forming, and compounding of the Images brought in before by the common sense, and so erect a newe frame of things, which are vented & expressed by dreaming: In which, a se­cret and admirable working of God by the soule may appeare, if wee consider the strange things are fashioned in our imagination in our sleepe: yea the reasonable soule in sleep comes into this shop of the phantasie, and there doth strange works, which, as I said, are vented in our dreams; in which wee finde as effectuall vse of reason, as as wee had waking.

Thus of the soule, as it worketh apprehension. Now followeth it to consider, how the soule works motion vpon the body.

It is out of all doubt, that motion in the body [Page 455] is from the soule. For of it selfe, it is but a dead lumpe, as it shewes it selfe to be, when the soule is gone out of it.

Now the soule giues vnto the body a three­fold motion.

First, the vitall motion.

Secondly, the motion of appetite.

Thirdly, the motion from place to place.

The vitall motion giuen to the body by the soule, is wrought two waies, both by the pulse, and by breathing; both of absolute necessity to preserue life in the body.

The motion of pulse is begunne at the heart, which is made continually to beat by the soule, which beating of the heart begets those sparkles, which wee call vitall Spirits, arising out of the finest of the bloud, which spirits are carried by the pulse thorow the arteries, and they shine in the whole body, according as their passages are more or lesse open.

Breathing is another strange motion of the soule in the body, by which both aire is fetcht in continually for the cooling of naturall heat in the heart, and other members, and the spirits re­freshed, and also the grosse and more smoaky spirits are exhaled out of the brest.

Thus of the vitall motion.

The motion of appetite is a contrary com­manding motion in the creature, by which hee is inclined to take to him such things from with­out, as he conceiues good and needfull for him, and so likewise to auoid things hurtfull, and so [Page 456] the soule begets diuers appetites and desires: as, the desire after food, which wee call hunger and thirst; and the desire after procreation, and the appetites, wee call affections or passions, so farre forth as they are seated vpon the body, and exer­cised by instruments in the body; such as, in ge­nerall, breed sorrow, or pleasure, or passiueness in vs; such as are, ioy, grief, anger, and the rest, &c.

It were too difficult and too tedious for popu­lar teaching, to shew in particular, and distinctly, how the soule admirably worketh about each of these.

The motion from place to place, is the last: and this is a strong work of the soule, driuing on the body to the motion of the whole, or of some part of the body. The body cannot remooue it self, but it is of the soule, that it is stirred vp and down: for, when the soule is gone, it can mooue no longer. And in vain were appetites or desires giuen to the creatures, if this motion from place to place were not giuen, because without it, it could neuer compasse things desired.

Hitherto of the working of the soule vpon the body, and those strange things it doth in the bo­dy, by the faculties of vegetation and sense. It is true, that those things are done by the soules of brute creatures: but, as their soules differ excee­dingly from the glory and excellency of the soules of men, so are the effects vpon their bodies but certain glimpses of those things which are done exactly by the soules of men; I mean, in re­spect of the inward senses of phantasie and me­mory, [Page 457] there is in beasts but onely a dark shadow of them, in comparison of what is in men.

But for the third faculty of the soule,Of the faculty of reason in the soule, and wher­in it excels. which is reason: therein men excell all creatures in this visible world: and it is profitable for vs to know what God hath done for vs in our soules, gene­rally considered aboue all other creatures; and so man excells in respect of his reasonable soule,

  • 1. In that hee can conceiue of things by the light of vnderstanding, as well as by sense. This light is admirable, whether we conceiue of it as proceeding from GOD, who shines vpon the soule, as the Sunne doth vpon the body: or whe­ther wee beleeue it to be a light conferred vpon the vnderstanding; by which, from within, it dis­cerns things.
  • 2. In that it can conceiue of things that ne­uer were in the senses; as, things absent, that ne­uer were seen, yea, things, altogether immateri­all; as, Angels, and vertues, and vices.
  • 3. In that it can conceiue of the nature of God, and discern God from his works.
  • 4. In that it can conceiue of things by a dis­cerning reflexion; as, it can conceiue of it selfe, and vnderstand, that it doth vnderstand.
  • 5. In that it can distinguish between good and euill, truth and falshood; I say, of the morall goodnes of things: whereas the phantasie can iudge onely of so much of the naturall goodnes of things, as they shew to the outward senses.
  • 6. In the largenes of the extent of our vnder­standing. For, the vnderstanding can, in a small [Page 458] moment of time, go almost ouer the world, and view it all, as it were, at once: whereas the senses are forced in within a narrow compasse.
  • 7. In that it can inuent things that neuer were in beeing: and thus wee see daily, what strange things, for number and skill, are inuented for the vse of the life of man, by art and skill of mans vnderstanding, in euery calling of men.
  • 8. In that the reasonable soule gouerns and appoints, and crosseth, and fetters, and alters, and rectifies the other faculties of vegetation and sense; and, in respect thereof, can turn, and tame, and rule, and order all sorts of other creatures.
  • 9. In that, by begetting with strange varie­ty, it can make knowne what images are within, whether begotten by the senses, or by the minde it self.
  • 10. In that it is the faculty by which onely true blessednes is apprehended and attained.
  • 11. In that mans vnderstanding is made, af­ter a sort, all things. For, the vnderstanding be­comes the things vnderstood, in that it doth con­ceiue a true and euident image of the thing to be vnderstood: so that, as man is the Image of God, so hath he in him the images of all things, printed as it were, in his vnderstanding. This is a most dreadfull dignity in the soules of men; yea, heer­in he resembles God in the creation of the world: for, man's reasonable soule doth, as it were, form worlds of things in it self. If any obiect, that the sensitiue soule hath the images of things in it: I answer two things. First, that the sense can re­ceiue [Page 459] onely the images of a few things, that is, on­ly of such things as haue colour, sound, tast, smell, or touchable qualities: but the minde can beget the images of all things. Secondly, that those images in the senses, are dull, and dark, and con­fused, in comparison of the likenes of things in the minde.
  • 12. In that he hath a will, in choosing or re­fusing things good or euill, that cannot bee com­pelled. The liberty of the will is inseparable to it, in what it chooseth or refuseth: for, it implies a contradiction, that the will should be cōstraind.
  • 13. In that it hath in it that diuine thing which we call conscience, which is giuen to the soule as a guardian, as it were, to attend it, from God; the effects whereof are admirable in vs: for, it testifies to our actions: it accuseth, or ex­cuseth: it comforts, when wee haue well done, aboue all outward comforts; and it terrifieth and scourgeth the soule with vnexpressible afflictions many times for sin: it is a Iudge, witnes, and exe­cutioner many times in vs.

Now, if the soule bee thus admirable in any e­state (for, all these things are true of the reasona­ble soule, euen in the estate of corruption) then how excellent was the estate of man, in respect of his soule, before the Fall! and how doth it excell in the godly, who haue their soules enlightned with the light of faith, and garnished with sauing graces! but, especially, how shall it exceed in glo­ry, when it shall bee presented before God in the Kingdome of heauen!

[Page 460]So that, as the whole man, made in God's I­mage, is (as it were) the visible God in this great world: so the soule is as it were a little God in the lesser world, which is the body of man.

And thus much of the faculties of the soule.

The end why the soule was made.Now the end of al this follows: The Lord made the soul, & endowed it with so excellēt a being, & so admirable faculties, that so the Lord might in this visible world haue a creature, that would know him and serue him rightly. The creatures without sense are Gods workman-ship, but dis­cerne nothing of God, or themselues, or other things. The creatures with sense discern other things by sense, but know nothing of God: Now God made man, as the abridgement of all hee had made, and gaue him this soule, of purpose that hee might discerne God aright, and serue, and worship and praise him.

Vse 1. The consideration of the excellency of the soule, and of the end why it was created, should stirre vs vp to make conscience of the ser­uice, and knowledge of God: It is as if wee had neuer beene, if wee answer not this end: Wee should bee fired to the obseruation and praise of God, and of his loue to man.

And withall it should make vs wonderfull carefull of our soules, since wee see they are such excellent creatures: Our soule is more worth, then all this visible world besides.

Especially it should fire vs to a care of things, that concerne the blessed Immortality of our soules: wee should bee forced to all possible care [Page 461] of all such things, as might bee prouision for the eternall well-being of our soules.

And in particular the excellency of the soule should disswade vs from fleshly lusts, and all in­ward impurity, by which the soule is defiled or wounded.

Hitherto of the description of the soule: The war against the soule is now to be considered of: Concerning which I propound these things to bee handled.

First, who are the combatants.

Secondly, by what waies and means the soule is assaulted and opposed.

Thirdly, why God would suffer the soule to bee thus assaulted.

Fourthly, what reason Christians haue to bee carefull of themselues and prouide against this warre.

Fiftly, by what meanes wee must resist and de­fend the soule.

Sixtly, what hope there is of victory.

Seuenthly, how many waies wee may ob­taine victory.

Eightthly, by what signes we may knowe that wee are not ouercome.

And then the vse of the whole.

For the first,Kinds of war against the soul. there are foure kinds of warre waged against the soule, as it is encountered by foure sorts of aduersaries. For, both God, and the world, and he diuell, and the flesh, warre a­gainst the soule of man: briefely of the three first.

God warres against the soule, either in earnest [Page 462] and in deed, or in show and appearance, and not as an aduersary in deed. In earnest God fights a­gainst the soule, by the threatnings and rebukes of his Word, when hee smites and beates men downe by the word of his mouth, Esay 11. and also by torments of conscience powred out vpon the wicked men; and so hee fought against Cain and Iudas. Sometimes, God is but a putatiue ad­uersarie, and doth but seeme to fight against them; and so hee warreth against his owne ser­uants: either by outward crosses, or by disertion, or by feare and terrour; and thus hee fought a­gainst Iob: And in this case, God is like a Cap­taine trayning his souldiers, or like a Fencer tea­ching his scholler to fight.

The world wars against the soule, two waies, by the inticements of profits, pleasures, ho­nours, euill counsell, or example: and by perse­cution either of the tongue or hand.

The diuell warres against the soule, by euill doctrine, or temptations or illusions. But none of these three are principally intended heere: it is the flesh, that maketh warre against the soule, that is heere meant.

By the flesh, is meant the corruption that is in the nature of man, called the old man and the Lawe of the members. By the soule is heere meant the spirit, or regenerate man, the new man, the grace of Christ in the soule. Thus of the first point, who are the combatants: the flesh is the assaylant; the Spirit, the defendant.

For the second point: the flesh incounters and [Page 463] warres against the soule diuerse waies, and by strange kindes of fights; as,

  • 1. By mists of ignorance: it casts mists be­fore the eies of the soule,
    The flesh wars against the soule fiue waies.
    that it might bee blin­ded; for, there is a manifest combate between the naturall vnderstanding, and the regenerate minde: carnall reason and sauing knowledge of­ten fight it out within a man.
  • 2. By doubtings and distractions: and so the flesh casts out such questions as these, as so many darts into the soule; Whether there bee a God, or the Scripture be the Word of GOD? Whether Christ be the Sonne of God, and our Mediator? Whether it be the true Church wee are in; or whether our sinnes be forgiuen, or wee bee in the state of grace? whether there shall bee any resurrection, or heauen, or hell, or immortall Being of the soule? Against all these, the soule is driuen to make often defenses, and driues them out with hard conflicts.
  • 3. By rebellious deniall of obedience to the law of the minde; exalting it self against the obe­dience enjoyned by Christ to the soule, Rom. 7. 2. Cor. 10. and casting out resolutions of deniall, & thoughts that say they ought not, or wil not obey.
  • 4. By hindring the work of the soule, that ouercomes the former resolutions, and wil obey: and that it doth by making euil present, when she should do good; or by hindring and dulling of the affections of the heart, or by casting in of o­ther proiects, of purpose to breed distractions in the time of dooing good duties, Rom 7.
  • [Page 464]5. By lusting, that is, by bringing-in of con­trary desires, euill concupiscences, longings after forbidden things: and in these lusts vsually the flesh combines with the outward aduersaries of the soule, the world and the diuell; and kindles the fire of those inordinate desires, by dalliance with the world, or the diuel's temptations. And thus of the second point.

The third thing is a question; Why GOD should suffer the soule to be thus annoyed by the flesh; saying, He could haue made man again in Christ, as he made Adam in Paradise, and so haue vtterly abolished the flesh?Why God doth suffer this war. For answer heerunto, three things may be said. First, that we are bound with all thankfulness to praise God for that grace he hath giuen vs in Christ, though it bee not full perfect; and so ought not to reason with GOD, why he gaue vs not more grace; and the rather, because wee look for a time, when wee shall bee more happy in that respect, than euer Adam was: and besides, though grace giuen vs, bee imper­fect, in respect of degree, and so, lesse than Adam's was; yet it is perfect, in respect of continuance: and so it is better than Adam's. Thirdly, there may be diuers reasons assigned, why GOD did suffer the flesh to remain in vs after calling, for a time, that is, while wee warre in this world: for,

  • 1. It shewes the greatnes of God's power, that can keep vs, notwithstanding such continual danger we are in.
  • 2. By this conflict, diuers graces of the Spi­rit are raised vp and exercised, which else were of [Page 465] little vse; as, godly sorrow, pouerty of spirit, de­sire of death, and faith also hath much imploy­ment about this combate.
  • 3. By this combate, all the graces of God's Spirit are proued to be right, and not counterfet in the true Christians: for, no man can constant­ly beare armes against the flesh, but hee is a new creature. This combate, then, serues for the triall of the gifts and graces of Christians.
  • 4. By this combate, wee are cured of the horrible disease of self-loue & pride in our selues, and made more to loue God, and trust in him; as knowing, that we deserue no fauour at his hand, nor can be strong in our owne might.
  • 5. It is equall we should war, before we tri­umph; that wee should fight in the battels on earth, before we raign in heauen.

Lastly, it makes heauen and grace more pre­cious in our sight, and breeds in vs a desire to bee dissolued, and so warns from the loue of this pre­sent euill world.

In the fourth place we must consider, by what means the soule may preserue it self against the treacheries and assaults of the flesh: and so the means is to be vsed either before the conflict, or in the conflict, or after the conflict.

Before the conflict, if wee would take a sound course to bee preserued against the danger of the flesh, we must look to these things:

  • 1. We must stand vpon our guard, and keep a daily watch ouer our hearts and waies, and not be retchlesse to despise our owne waies, or neuer [Page 466] take notice of our hearts: hee liues dangerously, that liues securely: we must take a diligent view of our owne naturall dispositions, to bee able to discerne distinctly, what it is the flesh vsually is prone to, or imployed in.
  • 2. We must bee sure to commit our selues to God, and by faith lay hold vpon Iesus Christ, and settle our selues in our assurance: for that cuts off many of the maine aduantages of the flesh, e­specially it quencheth all those hellish darts that arise from doubtings and despaire: which is to discerne the flesh.
  • 3. Wee must quicken in vs our hope of a better life: for that will shew vs so much glory to bee had in the seruice of Christ, as all the moti­ons of the flesh will seeme vaine in comparison: wee are neuer allured by the lusts of the flesh, but when wee haue forgotten heauen, or are desti­tute of the liuely hope of it.
  • 4. We must bee sober, in the vse of outward things, 1. Pet. 1.13. and remoue from the flesh, those things wee obserue the flesh to bee apt to dally withall: if the flesh could be diuorced from the world, there were little or no danger.
  • 5. Wee must with all readines, vpon all oc­casions, entertaine all good motions any way cast into vs by Gods Spirit: for as those are set vp and nourished, the flesh is subdued and kept vn­der.
  • 6. Wee must daily commit our selues and our soules to God by prayer, and beseech him to keepe vs, and accordingly to begge strength to [Page 467] auoid those euils, which by nature wee find our selues most prone to, 2. Tim. 1.12.

Now if the flesh, notwithstanding, doe on the sudden (either prouoked by the world, or entised by the deuill) make assault and lust after euill things: then in the conflict, our armour must be,

  • 1. Contrary lustings, Gal. 1.17. The Spirit must lust against the flesh, by raising vp holy de­sires, and loathing of those base affections of the flesh.
  • 2. Prayer: we must crucifie them, drag them before the Crosse of Christ, and there accuse them, shame them, iudge them, condemne them, and begge vertue from the death of Christ to kill them.
  • 3. The Word of God. For as Christ beat away the deuill, by alleaging what was written: so should wee get store of places of Scripture, which wee might alleage to our owne hearts, when wee are entised to any sinne: and so the promises of the Gospell would bee as shooes to our feete; that neither thorny care prick, nor vaine pleasures defile vs: and so those promises are, because they both shew vs greater things then fleshly pleasures can bee, and withall shew vs such treasure in Christ, as may free vs from li­uing in care.

Two rules are of excellent vse for this purpose.

  • 1. To silence the flesh: When it assaults, not to suffer it to plead much, but presently resist it.
  • 2. To looke to the beginnings of any cor­ruption: not to dallie with it, and giue it way vp­on [Page 468] pretence of safety: for it may strangely pro­uoke, and beyond expectation, if it bee not looked to at first.

After the conflict, wee must remember two things.

  • 1. To giue thanks to God for the help of his presence, as accounting it a singular fauour to be protected against so vile an enemy.
  • 2. To take heed of security; so to consider of our present deliuerance, as to looke for more conflicts.

In the fift place it is profitable, considering what reasons Christians haue to bee carefull of themselues, and attend their soules in respect of the flesh: for,

  • 1. This combate is a dayly combate: the warre is neuer at an end: it is an aduersary, that neuer takes so much as a day of truce.
  • 2. There is no safety or help, by running a­way: for thy aduersary is seated within thee, and thou canst not runne from thy selfe.
  • 3. The flesh hath might and continuall aid from the diuell and the world; which, almost with infinite variety of occasions, ministers ob­stinacy to the flesh.
  • 4. For want of care, many worthy Cham­pions haue beene for the time foiled shamefully; as were Noah, Lot, Dauid, Peter, and others.
  • 5. No Christian can auoyd it, but hath this combate within him, Gal. 5.17.

And as these or the like reasons may breed care and watchfulnes: so hath the true Christian [Page 469] no cause of despaire, but rather many arguments of hope of good successe, and daily victories and triumphs ouer the flesh, if he be watchfull: for,

  • 1. God hath prouided him of armour a­gainst those kindes of assaults: and it is mighty to preserue and subdue, 2. Cor. 10.3, 4.
  • 2. Christ in his power doth rest in vs, for this end, to assist vs in the combate, as we cry for help, 2. Cor. 12.10.
  • 3. We fight against an aduersary hath beene often foiled by all sorts of Godly Christians, and by our selues in diuers particular combates; yea, against an aduersary, that hath receiued a deadly wound that cannot bee cured: for, so the flesh the first day of our conuersion was mortified. All that are Christs, haue mortified the flesh with the lusts thereof.
  • 4. Wee haue assurance of victory, if wee resist, Rom. 8.38.
  • 5. An incorruptible Crowne is laid vp for all that ouercome, 2. Tim. 4.7, 8. Reu. 2.

Now, for the seuenth point: wee obtaine victory against the flesh diuers waies, as,

  • 1. In our iustification,
    How many waies wee get victory ouer our lusts.
    when wee by faith obtaine the pardon of our sinnes committed, and a righteousnes able to couer vs, notwithstanding all the spite the flesh doth vs. This is our victory in Christ, Rom. 7.
  • 2. In our sanctification: and so wee get vic­tory.
    • 1. When we conquer some sins wholly, so that we neuer commit them againe.
    • [Page 470]2. When we turn, and subdue the power of the sin that remains; so as they cannot raigne, though they rebell.
    • 3. We shall haue our finall and full vic­tory in our glorification in the day of CHRIST, when the flesh shall be vtterly abolished for euer.

Now for the eightth point: wee may knowe, that wee are not at any time ouercomne, by these signes, if we finde them in vs.

  • Signes to knowe whether we be ouercomne of our lusts.
    1. If wee iudge our selues for all knowne sinnes; so as there be no sin arising from the flesh, but wee condemn it, and keep our selues as men condemned in the flesh, being grieued at the re­bellion of the flesh in vs, Rom. 7.1. Pet. 4.7.
  • 2. If we hold fast our assurance of faith, we are safe, so long as we keep the faith, 2. Tim. 4.7.
  • 3. If wee goe on in our Christian way or course, and doo not giue-ouer the practice of knowne duties, against the light of our conscien­ces: if we finish our course, 2. Tim. 4.7.

Vse 1. The vse of all should be,

First, for information; and so two waies: for,

  • 1. It shewes the miseries of such persons as neuer feel this combate, that haue all quiet in them: it is a signe, the flesh and the diuell rule all, and there is no sanctified Spirit to resist.
  • 2. It shewes the folly of some godly per­sons, that are troubled, as if their states were not right, because they finde such a combat in them­selues: whereas they should rather conclude the contrary, that therefore there is some workman­ship of Christ in them, which is so opposed by [Page 471] the flesh and the diuell; and that it is the case of all the godly, to bee assaulted with rebellious thoughts and desires, and other practices of the flesh, reckoned vp before.

Secondly, for instruction: and so it should teach Christians, and warn them to take heed of three things, viz. of security, despair, and fain­ting: for, all these are mischieuous. We may not be secure, sith we haue such an enimy within vs: nor must we be too much out of hope, or despair of successe, for the reasons before alleaged: nor yet must wee giue way, so much as to fainting of spirit; but pluck vp our owne hearts, and, with trust in God's grace, resist still the risings of cor­ruption, till we get a finall victory.

Verse 12.
And haue your conuersation honest amongst the Gentiles; that they which speak euill of you, as euill doers, may by your good works which they shall see, glorifie God in the day of their visitation.

HItherto of the dehortation. The words of this verse are an exhortation: wherein con­sider both what hee exhorts to, and by what rea­sons. The matter hee exhorts to, concernes their outward conuersation, which he would haue to be honest and amiable. The reasons are,

First, because the Christians liued among Gen­tiles, that imbraced not the true Religion.

Secondly, because diuers of these Gentils were so spiteful against the Christians, that they would [Page 473] take all occasions to speake euill of them.

Thirdly, because some of them that now did speake euill of them, might hereafter be conuer­ted to the true Religion.

Fourthly, because if they now obserue their good works, when they shall be visited of God, they will much magnifie them to the great glory of God.

That which he then exhorts them to, is the care of their conuersation, which he amplifies, by shewing what kinde of conuersation hee would haue it to be, viz. A fayre or honest con­uersation.

And haue your conuersation honest.]

Diuers things may be hence obserued.

First, that a sound Christian must shew him­selfe to bee so by his conuersation; a Christian must shew the power of his Religion by his works, and by sound practice; and that too, a­mongst men abroad, he must be knowne by his fruits, Col. 1.9, 10. Tit. 2.12. and therefore the A­postle beseecheth them to proue before the Gen­tiles, that they were true Christians, by their works and conuersation. This reproues their dis­contentment that are vexed, because they are not reputed for sound Christians, and yet shew no care of a conscionable behauiour in their dea­lings and carriage among men; and withall, this may warne all sorts of Christians to looke to themselues, that they be not deceiued with vaine shadowes in pretences; for 'tis not talking and discoursing of Religion will serue turne, nor the [Page 474] frequenting of the exercises of Religion; nor is it enough to doe secret duties: but they are bound to the good behauiour generally in their carriage amongst men. This is the first point.

Secondly, from the coherence wee may note also, that a man must first reforme his heart, and then his life; hee must first get a cleane heart, freed from lusts, and then looke to his conuersation: Holinesse must bee both within and without; hee is an hypocrite, that hath a fayre conuersation, and a foule heart: nei­ther may hee pleade the goodnesse of his heart, that leades a foule conuersation; both must bee ioyned together.

Thirdly, we may hence note, that euery Chri­stian must be carefull, and looke to it in particu­lar, that his conuersation be honest: honesty of life, is with speciall care to be intended; now this must be explicated.

The word translated Honest, signifies pro­perly, Fayre; and the Translatours respecting the matter of our conuersation, render it well, Honest; so as withall for the manner wee adde, that it bee a faire conuersation: so that two things must bee obserued in our conuersation, the Matter and the Manner. For the Matter: We must bee sure that we bee honest: It is a vaine thing to thinke of being religious, if wee fayle in honesty; wee must not onely studie the duties of the first Table, but wee must be care­full to proue the power of our Religion in [Page 474] the sound practice of the duties of the second Table: we must liue righteously as well as re­ligiously, Tit. 2.12. wee must adde vertue to our faith, 2. Pet. 1.5. and withall, we should labor to excell in honesty, to carry our selues so in all our dealings, that our carriage might allure, through the fairenesse of our behauiour; we must in the things of honesty, striue for an alluring carriage. There be diuers things in our outward conuersa­tion, which set a great glosse vpon many actions, and certaine particular duties which shew excee­ding comely in a Christian mans behauiour; those the Apostle would haue vs to studie and bee carefull of, euen all things that are honest, and might win credit to the profession of Religion, Phil. 4.8.

This then is the question: What are those things which would so adorne the outward con­uersation of Christians and make it faire and amiable?Six things to be looked to, to ex­presse a fayre conuersation. For answer heereunto there are things distinctly which are of singular praise, and much adorne a Christians conuersation, and make it faire.

The first is harmelesnes, to bee free from all courses of iniury, and cruelty, and oppression and the like. A hurtfull and iniurious conuersa­tion is a foule and vnseemely conuersation.

The second is discretion: when men carry themselues with all due respect of their words, and the consideration of the time, place, and per­sons with whom they conuerse: a discreete con­uersation, is a wonderfull faire conuersation: [Page 475] when as a foolish, vaine, rash, conceited, talka­tiue behauiour, is extremely irkesome and loth­some, Col. 4.5. Iam. 3.13.

The third is quietnes and gentlenes, which ex­cels, as it shewes it selfe. First, by humblenes of mind, thinking meanely of himselfe, & esteeming others better then himselfe, Esay 4.2. in giuing honour, going before others, Rom. 12.13. Second­ly, by peaceablenes, when men study to be quiet, Eph. 4.11, 12. and meddle with their own busines, and auoid contention by all meanes, rather suf­fering wrong then proue quarelsome, Heb. 12.14. Thirdly, easines to be entreated in case of offence taken, and willingnes to be guided in things pro­fitable and good, Iam. 3.17.

The fourth is sobriety. When a man liues so, as hee is not blemished, either with filthines, or drunkennes, or couetousnes: a man that is vn­spotted of the world for any foule crimes, and withall can shew a mind not transported with the greedy desires after earthly things, is much honoured, and iustly amongst men: the worst man cannot but acknowledge the praise of such: So as men shew this in their dealings euidently, Rom. 13.13. Iam. 1.26.

The fift is fidelity and plainnes: when men are iust and true in all their dealings, and will keepe their words and promises, and abhor the sinnes of deceit, and auoid subtilty and worldly wisedome, and shew themselues to bee plaine men, as it was said of Iacob, that hee was a plaine man, not like subtill Esau. This ought much to [Page 476] bee sought after by Christians, that men may see their hearts by their words, 2. Cor. 1.12.

The sixt is profitablenes: rendred in the end of this verse, good works. They lead a faire con­uersation, that doe good, and are helpfull to o­thers, and ready to shew any kindnes or mercy to any that liue neere them, or haue occasion to vse them. This is an admirable prayse.

Vse.The vse should be, therefore, to teach vs to stu­dy how to adorne our conuersation with such integrity and vertuous behauiour, as may winne prayse and reputation to our profession; especi­ally we should at least shunne all those hatefull e­uils, which by experience we finde to bee grie­uous and lothsome, and are to be accounted as blemishes in our conuersings, being things as are in a speciall manner lothsome, and prouoke ill o­pinion in others, as being against honesty and that faire conuersation should bee found in vs: as,

First, the sins of vncleannesse, and whoredome, and fornication, and lasciuiousnes, and filthy spea­king, Rom. 13.13. Eph. 5.3, 4.

Secondly, the sins of drunkennes and riotous­nes, Rom. 13.13. 1. Pet. 4.3.

Thirdly, the sinnes of passion, malice, wrath, bitternes, crying and euill speaking, Eph. 4.31.

Fourthly, sinnes of deceit, lying, dissimulation, and hypocrisie.

Fiftly, Pride, statelines, desire of vaine glory, Gal. 5.26.

Sixtly, backbiting, complaining, censuringe, iudging, Mat. 7.1. Iam. 4. Gal. 5.13.

[Page 477]Seuenthly, idlenesse and slothfulnesse, 1. Thes. 4.11, 12.

Eightthly, to bee a busie-body in other mens matters, prying, and inquiring, and meddling with things that belong not to them, 1. Thes. 4.11, 12. 1. Pet. 4. To which, adde prattling and talka­tiuenesse, 1. Tim. 5.13.

Ninthly, such courses as haue appearance of euill in them: such are, the vse of vain apparell, and wilfull resorting to persons and places that are of euill report.

Thus of the matter to which he exhorts. The reasons follow, why they should bee carefull of an honest and faire behauiour; and first, because they liue among the Gentiles.

Among the Gentiles.]

Those Gentiles were such as liued in their na­turall idolatry, the nations that had not receiued the Christian faith.

Those that think this Epistle was written onely to the prouinciall Iews, alleage the words of this verse to proue it: for, they say, it was written to such as liued among the Gentiles, and were no Gentiles: and they onely were the Iewes.

But this reason is of no force: for, those Gen­tiles, that were conuerted to the Christian faith, became Christians, and so were no more Gen­tiles or Pagans: and so these words may bee vn­derstood of all sorts of Christians that liued a­mong the vnconuerted Gentiles, whether they were in their naturall estate, either Iewes or Pa­gans.

[Page 478]In that the Christians liued among the Gen­tiles, and must, by their faire conuersation, bee rightly ordered towards those Gentiles, diuers things may be obserued.

First, we may hence note, how hard a thing it is to recouer men from a false religion, though their religion bee grossely absurd. In this place, whither the Gospell came, we see multitudes of men remained Gentiles still, and would not re­ceiue the Christian faith. And this is the more to be noted, if we either consider the reasons the Gentiles had to remain in their religion, or the manifest causes they had to mooue them to im­brace the Christian Religion: for, for their owne religion, they might easily obserue these things amongst many other: First, their palpable and sot­tish idolatry, in worshipping so many gods, and those so accounted to bee gods, being many of them apparantly but senselesse creatures; as, the Sunne, Moon, and Starres, others of them but dead men; and others of them such, as of whom there was not the least colour or appearance of Diuinity. Secondly, the most notorious wicked­nes of life, which did euery where abound in all the nations that were Pagans, Rom. 1. Thirdly, that they followed a religion that gaue them no hope of a better life after death, nor could de­scribe any estate worth the desiring. Fourthly, there was no agreement among them, what should be the chief Good, while they liued: but men were carried according to the sensuall de­sires of their owne hearts.

[Page 479]On the other side, for the Christian Religion, they saw that the doctrine of it was euery where prooued by miracles; and that their owne Ora­cles, in euery place where the Gospel came, were put to silence. Besides, they might obserue, that the Christian Religion did teach the most abso­lute way for holinesse of life, and that the Chri­stians did liue the most vnrebukeably of all o­thers, yea, did with gladnes dye in the defence of their Religion: and further, the Christian Reli­gion did shew them the glory of heauen, and dis­couered that certain estate of most blessed Im­mortality.

Quest. But, may some one say, What might be the motiues to the Gentiles, to make them conti­nue so obstinate?

Ans. There were, chiefly, fiue things which caused this obstinacy in the Gentiles. The first was the tradition of their fathers & forefathers: they would not forsake that religion, which for so many hundred yeers their Ancestors had pro­fessed, 1. Pet. 1.18. Secondly, the god of this world did mightily labour to blinde their eyes, that they might not vnderstand the Gospell, 2. Cor. 4.4. Thirdly, they saw, that the Christian Religion was persecuted in all places, both by reproaches and martyrdome. Fourthly, they would not receiue the Christian Religion, be­cause there were but few that professed it, and that their wise men and great men of the world, for the most part, did reiect it, 1. Cor. 1. The last and chief reason was the loue of their sins, which [Page 480] they saw they must forgoe, if they embraced the Christian Religion. It was true also, that the wickednesse of some hypocrites that crept in a­mong Christians, did make the way of God e­uill spoken of, and many Gentiles to blaspheme, Rom. 2. I might adde, that the doctrine of Christs Passion, was a scandall vnto many Gentiles, who accounted it as a foolish thing, to beleeue him as a Sauiour, that could not saue himselfe from so ignominious a death; being willingly ignorant of the necessity of that oblation of Christ, as the Surety and Sacrifice for our sinnes.

It is profitable to consider of the obstinacy of these Gentiles, together with their motiues: for, first we may see that they stood vpon the same grounds in effect, vpon which the Papists do rest at this day; for the Papists maine allega­tions are, the traditions of Fathers and Fore-fa­thers, together with the multitudes of people that follow their Religion; but especially the consideration of the wofull estate of forlorne men, should teach vs with the more thankfulnesse to celebrate the prayse of Gods mercy to vs, that did subdue our natures, and draw vs out of blindnesse and wickednesse, into the true Reli­gion, and into the kingdome of Iesus Christ: And Ministers should hence learne with pati­ence to doe their worke, and not to be discoura­ged, though multitudes of people bee not brought to the obedience of Christ; they must not looke to speed better then the Apostles, who in all places left thousands of people that would [Page 481] not regard them nor their Ministeries, 2. Tim. 2.25, 26.

Lastly, we should learne euen of wicked men, how wee should entertaine the truth; for if it bee so hard a matter to get men to change their minds when they hold grosse errors and falshoood; how ought we to stick to the truth when wee haue receiued it, and not receiue any other doctrine, though an Angell from heauen should teach vs otherwise then is written in the Word of God? Gal. 1.7.

Doct. 2. Wee may hence also note, that God is pleased to suffer his children in this life to liue a­mongst wicked men. A godly man can liue no where, but there are some wicked liuing there; the tares will growe vp with the Wheate. There may be diuers reasons assigned of this, why God doth not gather his people altogether from the places where wicked men dwell, as: First, God doth hereby try his people, whether they will forsake the inticements of the wicked, and cleaue to him and his truth; the more by-waies there are, the more prayse to him that keepes the right way. Se­condly, God doth by the wicked many times re­fine and purifie his seruants; by reason of the wic­ked, he both keeps them cleane, and if they gather any filth, by them he washeth them: wicked men are many times God's Laundresses to godly men: for, if God appoint them to chasten his seruants; they will doe it throughly, both by reproches, and other waies. Thirdly, the Kingdome of Christ must bee set vp among wicked men, because a­mongst [Page 482] them are many of God's Elect, which are in due time to bee conuerted from their wicked­nesse. Fourthly, hereby the power of Christ is magnified, that can set vp and maintaine his Scep­ter in the middest of his enemies. Fiftly, by this course God's patience is prolonged; for God is pleased, for the godlie's sakes, to forbeare those de­stroying Iudgements which else would fall vpon the wicked.

The vse should be, to teach vs to beare with pa­tience the inconueniences which befall vs in our places and callings, by reason of the neighbour­hood of wicked men, as knowing that it is the con­dition of all the Godly, and hath alwaies beene so, and is so in all places; and therefore to resolue with our selues, rather to learne how to carry our selues fairely and honestly among them, then through impatience without calling, to shift our places, or without charity, to make any schisme or rent in the Church. Secondly, since on Earth it will be no better with vs in respect of our habita­tion; we should therefore learne the more to desire to be in heauen, where all the people shall be righ­teous: since there is so much vnrighteousnesse in this World, we should long for these new heauens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousnesse. We should be the more thankful, if God ease vs, in any degree, of the molestations of wicked men, either ridding out manifest Idolaters, Pagans, or Papists, or restrayning those that are with vs, from vnquietnesse, and tumult, and daily sl [...]nder; or comforting vs with a large fellowship of the God­ly. [Page 483] Fourthly, It should teach vs circumspection, seeing the dayes are euill, both to hold forth our owne light in the midst of their darkenes, & to take heed that we trust not euery man, nor beleeue eue­ry thing: a holy reseruednesse will become this Doctrine. Fiftly, the zeale of Gods House should the more ouercome vs to striue to winne men to God, and prouoke them, as wee haue occasion and ability, to the loue of God, and the true Reli­gion. Sixtly, we should cleaue the faster to the so­ciety of the Godly, and striue together, and con­tend for the faith, seeing that we are alwaies in the midst of our enemies. Lastly, it may bee a great comfort to such as can quiet themselues well to­wards wicked men, that can keepe their way, and be still vpright and vndefiled, that can also keepe peace, and winne loue from their very enemies, that can doe valiantly in the winning men to the li­king of Religion for their sakes. To bee good among the good, is not singular; but to bee euill among the good, is abominable; and so is it an ad­mirable prayse to be good among the euill.

Doct. 3. That in some cases the conuersation of a Christian may extend it selfe euen to wicked men. Some one will say, We are forbidden con­uersation with them, how then can wee conuerse with them? Ans. First, our conuersation may reach vnto them by fame or report; so the Christians conuersed among the Gentiles, in that what they did,In what ca­ses it is law­full to con­uerse with wicked men. was discoursed of among the Gentiles: But this is not all; for in some cases we may goe among them lawfully, euen into their presence and com­pany; [Page 484] as, First, in case of negotiation in things of necessitie, as trade, publike seruice, or the like. Se­condly, in case of naturall or ciuill obligation to them; as children, wiues, seruants, subiects, may not withdraw their attendance or seruice from them, but may and must conuerse with them. Thirdly, in case of Religion, men that intend to admonish, confute, perswade or winne them to the loue of Religion, may for that end conuerse with them; but then two cautions must be obser­ued: First, that the party that would so conuerse with them, must be able to admonish or confute, &c. Secondly, such an end must not bee made a pretence, onely to couer needelesse society with them. Lastly, a difference must be put betweene the open enemies of God, and such as giue some hope of inclination to Religion, though yet they be not manifestly Religious. There are some per­sons that are inoffensiue, so as they are not guilty of any grosse and open crime, and seeme to fauor Religion and the exercises thereof, and doe desire the society of the godly, and take no pleasure in e­uill company; now we must beware that we iudge not rashly of these, to account them as Gentiles, and such as are without; and with these wee may hold more sure society.

Doct. 4. It may be lastly hence obserued, that to conuince or winne the Gentiles, honesty of con­uersation is chiefly to be respected; honesty, I say, not Religion. To shew the practice of religious duties before them, is a way to irritate them: they must bee beaten with their owne weapons, and [Page 485] ouercome in the things they professe to bee good. The way to amaze them that are without, is to shew, that religion formes in vs such things as they confesse to be good, yet cannot come to, or not in such a manner or degree: such as are faithfulnes, chastity, meekenes, wisedome, taciturnity, mer­cy, or the like. The vse should bee therefore to teach godly christiās, in the places where they liue, to looke to this poynt: not onely to liue without offence, but to striue to excell in the vertues that concerne outward honesty of life. And to this end it were excellent, if Christians would marke, in in what things the men of the world where, they liue, doe striue to excell; and not rest satisfied, till they can make all sorts of men discerne, that Reli­gion hath made them euen in those things to goe beyond them: And thus they should not suffer themselues to bee put downe by Papists or any carnall persons, in workes of mercy, or truth in their words and promises, or quietnes of dispo­sition, or magnanimity, or the like; and the rather, because their praise is of God: whereas carnall men haue onely the praise of men. And besides, the true Christian shall haue a recompence of re­ward in heauen, Ephes. 6.8. whereas the Pharise hath his reward onely in this life. And further we should bee more carefull to winne praise to our God & the true Religion, then they are to get ap­plause to themselues, or a strange god. And wee are in the light, they are in darknes: it were a shame they should do their work better in the darke then wee in the light, Rom. 13. Thus of the first reason. [Page 486] The second reason why they should bee carefull of their conuersation, is, because the Gentiles are apt to speake euill of the Christians, as euill doers.

That whereas they speake euill of you, as of euill doers.]

From hence three things may bee obserued.

First, that it hath beene the lot of godly men to bee euill spoken of and traduced: As wee see the Christians Churches in the primitiue times were exposed to the infamous reports of the Gentiles. Two things would be heer explained: First, that it hath alwaies beene so: And then the causes of it. For the first, that it hath alwaies beene so, is cleare by instances of all times; before the Law, vnder the Law, and in the time of the Gospell.

  • 1. Before the Law:

    Ismael scoffes at Isaac: and Iosephs brethren scorne and reuile him. Iob was accused as an Hypocrite by his owne friends, and scorned by the basest of the people, Iob 30.1. So was it with Moses and the Is­raelites, Heb. 11.26.

  • 2. Vnder the Law.

    Dauid was slandered by many, Psal. 31.12. The abiects teare his name, and ceased not, Psal. 35.15. The drunkards sang of him, Psa. 69.13. he was a re­proach of men, a by word, a prouerb, &c. So in the Prophet Esays time, Esay 8.18. and 59.16. and 51.8.

    Ieremy complains, that they consulted how to de­uise deuices against him, and to smite him with the tongue.

  • 3. Vnder the Gospell.

    • 1. Looke to the Author and finisher of our faith, Christ Iesus: he was charged with gluttonie, [Page 487] Mat. 11.18. blasphemy, Mat. 26.65. madnes, Ioh. 10.20. to bee a deceiuer, Ioh. 7.22. and to haue a diuel, and work by the prince of diuels.
    • 2. The Apostles were made a spectacle to men and Angels, and accounted as the off-scow­ring of all things, 1. Cor. 4.9, 10, 13.
    • 3. Yea it is foretold to be the case of all Chri­stians, Math. 5.12. Gal. 4.29.

The causes of those reproaches follow.

First, in wicked men: it is their naturall hatred of the truth and goodnes, 1. Ioh. 2. and 3.

Secondly, in the diuell: it is his policy, heere by.

  • 1. To keepe men from embracing a religion that is so traduced,
    Causes why godly men are euill spo­ken of.
    Acts 28.
  • 2. To discourage and hinder the weake Chri­stian, and to make him fearefull in the way of God.
  • 3. To pull back certaine men which were going towards the Kingdome of God.

Thirdly, in Gods will: heereby to trie the constancy of his seruants, and to make them liue more watchfully.

Fourthly, in Christians themselues, it is

Sometimes long of hypocrites that breake out into scandalous courses, and so make the way of God euill spoken of.

Sometimes it is the indiscretion and weaknesses of some Christians, which first set wicked men aworke.

But chiefly it is their goodnes, because they will not run with the wicked into the same excesse of riot, 1. Pet. 4.5. Psal. 38. 1 Ioh. 3.

Thus of the first doctrine.

[Page 488] Doct. 2. The second thing may be noted from hence, is, that to speake euill of the godly, is a pro­perty of wicked men, of men not yet visited of God. Such as dishonour godly Christians, did ne­uer indeuour to glorifie God himselfe, 1. Cor. 6.9, 10. Psalme 15. Romans 1.29, 30. and therefore their tongues that are giuen to reuiling of the godly, are said to bee set on fire from hell, Iam. 3.

Doct. 3. The third thing is, that to speake euill of the good, is a vice that all wicked men are guilty of, as heere hee supposeth it to bee the sinne of all the Gentiles, so of all men by nature, Rom. 3.12, 13.

It followeth that I should shew the vses may bee made of the three doctrines together; but first a question may be asked; and that is,

Quest. Whether may not euill bee spoken of godly men at all, and in no case? I answer, Euill may not at all be spoken of them in these cases fol­lowing.

In what cases it is not hurtfull to speake euill of godly men.First, in things that are hidden, thou maist not iudge them; as, thou mayst not meddle with thē for the thoughts and intents of their hearts, 1. Cor. 4.5.

Secondly, in things doubtfull, of which there is no proofe for in such cases all men must speake and iudge the best.

Thirdly, in things indifferent they may not bee censured, either for their iudgement, or practice, Rom. 14.

Fourthly, things secret, though euill, yet may not bee carried about or discouered: for hee that reueales a Secret, goeth about as a slanderer, Prouerbs.

[Page 489]Fiftly, they must not bee euill spoken of for meere frailties and infirmities: for, loue must co­uer a multitude of those euils: and their nakednes heerein must bee couered.

Sixtly, they must not be euill spoken of behind their backes for any euils, vnlesse it bee when they are incorrigible, or may infect others; or otherwise, that their sinnes bee spoken of for some manifest glory of God: Backbiting is directly condemned.

Seuenthly, not for any faults for which they haue truely repented.

Eightly, not in any case so, as to iudge them with a finall sentence: to pronounce absolutely of their estates, that they are hypocrites, or shall bee dam­ned.

Lastly, euill must neuer bee spoken of them for weldoing: no man may dare to call good, euill.

Otherwise in things that are apparantly euill, they may bee reproued by Magistrates, or Mini­sters, or Parents, or Masters: yea and by any that is able to admonish, so as their sinnes bee not spoken of with hatred or meere desire to disgrace them.

The vses of all this are for instruction, and so both to wicked men and godly men. And so it is needefull to bee attended, because all of vs either doe reproach, or are reproached.

Wicked men should be warned, if it be possible, to repent of this sinne and forbeare it, and that for many reasons.

First,Reasons a­gainst euill speaking. if they consider Gods commandement, which forbiddeth all excesses of this kind, Psalme 33.13. Tit. 3.1.

[Page 490]Secondly, if they consider the causes of their euil speaking; which as was shewed before, is the malice of their owne hearts against the truth, and the e­special working of the diuel, who is the fire of hell, that settes their tongues aworke, Iam. 3.

Thirdly, if they consider that this is the diuels speciall sinne, to bee an accuser of the brethren, & from thence hath his name in other languages: And wilt thou make a deuill of thy selfe; or disco­uer such a diuellish property in this nature?

Fourthly, if they consider the effect of this sin of reproaching and slandering the godly, either to the godly, or to themselues.

First, to the godly: what mischiefe do they? Euill words are compared to swords and razours.

It is a kind of murther: it is as hatefull as if they did cut or pierce their bodies: and be­sides, to what grieuous contempts and indignities many times doest thou bring them by thy lies and slanders?

Secondly, to thy self: consider what thou bringst by speaking euill of the godly.

  • 1. Though thou doe it neuer so secretly be­hind their backes, yet it is ouerheard and will come out: how wouldest thou be ashamed, if hee, of whome thou speakest, stood behind thee, when thou didst slander him? O man, consider, though the godly man neuer hear thee, yet God doth hear it, and all thou sayest, thou must beare thy shame for it.
  • 2. Obserue what interpretation God makes of it: hee cals this sinne, blasphemy: for so the [Page 491] word is in the originall, Col. 3.8. to note thereby, that hee is vexed at this sinne of vilifying his peo­ple, as if it were the reproaching of himselfe.
  • 3. Consider what a shame it will be to thee: when God shall cleare the innocency of his ser­uants, how wilt thou bee confounded when they are iustified?
  • 4. Consider what hurt it doth thy self and o­thers: it is a great means to set you further off from the Kingdome of God, and to harden your hearts against the cares of your owne reformation and saluation: Euill words corrupt good manners. Thou losest so much euen of naturall honesty, as thou admittest of euill in thy tongue.
  • 5. Consider the punishment from the Lord. This is a sinne that God hath grieuously threatned, as these places shew: Psalm 50.20. and 109.29. E­say 51.18. Psalm 31.18. Esay 41.11, 12. 1. Pet. 4.4, 5.

And as it is euill, to speak euill of those that are godly, as it appears by these reasons: so it is mon­strous, to be guilty of speaking euill in any of the cases following: as,

  • 1. To speak euill of the absent, that cannot defend themselues.
    In what ca­ses, in parti­cular, it is o­dious to speak euill.
  • 2. To speak euill of such as God hath hum­bled and afflicted, and doo iudge themselues for their sinnes.
  • 3. To speak euill of such as haue been friend­ly to vs, and shewed their louing respect of vs, and done vs good.
  • 4. To speak euill of our superiours; as, godly Magistrates, and good Ministers.
  • [Page 492]5. To speak euill of such as are neerly linked vnto vs; as, of our parents: and so it is monstrous vncomly, when wiues speak euil of their husbands; and contrariwise.
  • 6. To speak euill of any, simply for godliness sake.
  • 7. To speak euill of others, and yet be guilty of the same offences themselues.
  • 8. And so it is monstrous, when men speak e­uill of such behinde their backs, to whom they speak fair before their faces: this hooding of ha­tred and cursing with lying lips, is abominable.

So then, this doctrine against euill-speaking, doth in a speciall manner light vpon such persons, as are guilty of any of those waies of euil-speaking. And thus of the vses that concern wicked men.

Secondly, godly men bee also instructed from hence. For, since this doctrine telles them, that it hath been the lot of godly men in all ages, to bee euill-spoken of in all places where they liue, they should thereby bee made carefull to order them­selues aright, in bearing reproaches in a right man­ner; as resolued to prepare for the triall of this af­fliction, if they be not scourged with it: for, as the diuell, when he gaue-ouer to tempt Christ, is said to cease but for a season; so, if wicked men hold their tongues, we must not think they will be qui­et alwaies: for, till God turn their hearts, they are apt to speak euill.

Now, that a godly man may be rightly ordered in respect of reproaches, hee must look to three things.

[Page 493]First,Helps a­gainst re­proaches, to bear them. he must be sure he bee free from this euill himself, that hee help not the wicked against the righteous, and by his owne intemperance, raise e­uill fames; by reason of which, Religion is euill-spoken of: for, railing, cursing, slandering, censu­ring, and the like, will make the very godly look like wicked ones, yea, like the diuell himself. Shall it bee accounted a Paganish offense? and shall a godly Christian bee guilty of it? Especially such Christians should be extremely abased for their e­uill natures, that raise euill reports of other Chri­stians, in cases where wicked men themselues are silent.

Secondly, that hee carry himself in a holy man­ner when he is reproached: and so he must remem­ber two things.

  • 1. That hee render not reuiling for reuiling; but, if he finde himself stirred, with Dauid to go to God, and betake himself to praier, Psalm 109.4. 1. Pet. 3.9.
  • 2. That he striue to confute them by reall a­pologies: and so he doth, if hee endeauour to put them to silence by his good works, and a carefull course of conuersation.

Thirdly, because the godliest men may haue their passions, and may bee stirred vp with such in­dignations (as appears, Ier. 8.18, 21.) hee must la­bour to fense his owne heart with store of argu­ments, that may make him patient and comforta­ble vnder this crosse: and thus it should comfort him to consider,

  • 1. That no reproaches can make him vile in [Page 494] God's sight: how vile soeuer he seem to bee vnto men, yet in God's eies he is honourable, Esay 43.4.
  • 2. That thou art but as an euill doer, not an euill doer. It is not miserable, To be as an euill do­er: but it is miserable, To be an euill doer, 2. Cor. 6.8, 9.
  • 3. This is not to resist vnto bloud, Heb. 12.3. This is a farre lesse crosse than hath been laid vpon many of the best seruants of God: they haue lost their liues in the defense of pure Religion.
  • 4. That howsoeuer it go with thee in this life, yet in the Day of Iesus Christ thy innocencie shall bee cleared, and thy faith and sincerity shall bee found vnto praise, and honour, and glorie: thou shalt haue aboundant praise in that Day, 1. Pet. 1.7.

Thus of the vse that concernes either wicked men, or godly men. There is yet a vse that con­cerns all men: and that is, To take heed of recei­uing euill reports against the godly: for, seeing it is so vsuall for ill-minded men to deuise & divulge euill reports of them, all men should be wary, and take heed of receiuing the euill speeches that are bruited or spoken of any in the businesse of godli­nesse. The receiuing of false reports is forbidden in Scripture, as well as the deuising or divulging of them, Exod. 23.1. And it is made a signe of a wic­ked disposition, To giue heed to false lippes: and that man is himself a lyar, that harkneth to a naugh­ty tongue, Pro. 17.4. And therefore GOD will plague in hell, not onely lyars, but such as loue lies, Reu. 22.8. And a good man is said to haue this pro­perty, [Page 495] that he will not receiue an ill report against his neighbour, Psal. 15. And by receiuing euill re­ports, a man becomes accessary to the slander, and guilty of it: for, as it is true, that the receiuer of e­uill-gotten goods is accessary to the theft; so is it in the case of slander, and somewhat worse: for, there may be theeues, though there bee no recei­uers; but there can be no slanderers, without some to receiue the slander. Neither is there any great difference between the tale-bearer and the tale-hearer: for, the tale-bearer hath the diuell in his tongue; and the tale-hearer hath the diuell in his eare.

Quest. But what should wee doo to auoid tale-bearers, or if we do hear reproaches or slanders of other men?

Ans. As the North-winde driues away the rain; so must thy angry countenance doo the slan­dering tongue: thou must not any way shew any liking of his discourse, but the contrary: yea, and further, thou must▪ as farre as thou art able, make apology to the godly man that is euill-spoken of. And the tongue of a godly wise-man should be in this sense healthfull, because it should be ready to heal that wound which the tale-bearer hath made in the name of his neighbour, Pro. 12.18. & 25.23.

Thus of the second reason.

The third and fourth reasons are contayned in these last words, viz. That they may by your good works which they shall behold▪ glorifie God in the day of visitati­on. The reasons are, because God may visit them: and if he doo, they will glorifie God vpon the re­membrance [Page 496] of your good works.

But heer I purpose to handle the words as they lie in the order of reading them: and so I haue foure things to consider of. First, of good works; secondly, of the beholding of good works; third­ly, of the glorifying of God; fourthly, of the day of visitation.

Good works.]

Diuerse obseruations are implied heer:

First, that Religion sets men to work: there is labour in godlinesse. He must work, that will bee truely godly or religious. God entertains no ser­uants, but he sets them to work: they are called to labour all the daies of their life. Wee must work out our saluation: without working we cannot be saued, though our works be not the cause of salua­tion. This point proues, that the Gospell is not a doctrine of liberty: religion doth call men to wor­king, not to liue as they list, but as he lists that died for them, and requires their seruice.

And secondly, this doctrine shewes who is a true Christian. For, as the Scripture is wont to de­scribe a profane man, by saying, that hee is a wor­ker of iniquity: so doth it auouch, that he is a god­ly man, that worketh truth and righteousnes, Psal. 5. Pro. 14.23. Iohn 3.21. Psal. 106.2. To be a wor­ker of iniquity, imports three things: First, grosse knowne sin; secondly, a daily custome in the prac­tice of it; and thirdly, an estimation of sinne, as the means of our happy life. The wicked man liues by sin, as the labourer doth by his trade. So heer, that man that will labour, and that constantly, a­bout [Page 497] the works of a holy life, making it his euery­daies care to doo God's will, and accounts it the happinesse of his life to doo good duties, that man is a godly man. It is not talking of Religion will serue the turn, nor the shewes of it, but hee must work, and endure the labour of godlinesse, Iames 1.25. Acts 10.36. And further, this should teach Christians, often to remember their holy calling, and examine themselues what works they haue done, as such seruants as desire to giue a good ac­count to their Master; and the rather, because no seruants can haue fairer work: it is all good work: and seruants were so ingaged to their masters, nor did owe more seruice; and because neuer was ther a master that gaue better wages, than God doth to his seruants. And therefore let euery Christian be daily carefull to look to his work, that, when his Master cometh, he may finde him so doing. Thus of the first point.

Doct. 2. Secondly, that works do especially com­mend vs to the good opinions of men: it is our works must iustifie vs before men: by good works wee must winne testimony to our sincere Religion from men. Faith iustifies vs before God, and pro­ueth vs to be true Christians; as works doo before men proue vs to be so. And therefore wee should striue, by well-dooing, to winne as much credit as wee can, to our Religion, among men, Iam. 3.13.

Doct. 3. Thirdly, that the soundest way of con­futing our Aduersaries, is by our works: we must make reall apologies: we must put them to silence by well-dooing. Now, in that he calls the good [Page 498] works done by them, their good works, I might note diuerse things.

  • 1. The necessity of good works: they must haue works of their owne: the good works done by others, auail not them, nor iustifie them.
  • 2. The goodnes of God, that vouchsafeth to call those works their works, when yet they were wrought by him, as hauing had their beginning from his grace and Spirit, Esay 26.12.
  • 3. It is true, that they onely can doo good works; good works are onely theirs: a wicked man cannot doo good works, because his person is hatefull to God, and his nature altogether impo­tent; and though he may doo some actions, which for the matter of them are good, yet hee pollutes them with his sinnes, of which hee hath not repen­ted; and cannot bring them forth compleat for matter, manner, and end, Tit. 1. vlt. Mat. 6.

But, it is the goodnes of works which I especi­ally intend to intreat of in this place.

Good works.]

The goodnes of mens works may bee diuersly considered; either according to the differences of works good, from such as are not so, or according to the forms of good works, or according to the time of dooing works, or according to the vses works are put to.

For the first. Some mens works are neither good, nor seem to bee so; as, are the apparant sinnes of men. Some mens works seem good, but are not; as, the almes, and praier, and fasting of the Phari­ses. Some mens works are good,Wherein works are good. but seem not so, [Page 499] at least in the eies of some men: and so the religi­ous duties of godly Christians seemed to bee vain practices of Sectaries and Innouators, Acts 28. and so Paul's zeal and knowledge seemed madnes to Festus, Acts 26. Some works seem good, and are so: such are the open good works of the godly, in the iudgement of godly men guided by charity.

For the second. If works be tried by their form, then those works are good works which are done with correspondency to the reuealed will of God in his Word: they must bee commended in the Word, and done according to the directions of the Word; so that all works, done besides or aboue the Law of God, are sinfull and naught: and the dooing of the works of supererogation, or those works they call Counsels, fall to the ground. And yet wee confesse, there were some works good, which were not commanded in Scripture; as, Phi­neas his work in slaying the fornicators; and Ma­ries work, in anointing Christ vnto the buriall (for so it is called, a good work, Mat. 26.10.); and A­braham's work in sacrificing his sonne, and the like: these were good works, and had not warrant from Scripture, but were warranted by extraordinary calling thereto: and so they differ from the works of superstitious persons, done without warrant or­dinary or extraordinary.

For the third. The time of dooing some works, addes much to the consideration of their goodnes; as for instance. The charitable & religious works, done by men before their conuersion, are not to be reckoned good works, because the person that [Page 500] doth them, is not reconciled to God, and liues pol­luted in his sinnes. Likewise, the works of our cal­ling, done in the week-daies, are good works; but, done on the Sabbath-day, are euill workes. So, works done too late, are not good; as, their pray­ers that would not answer when God called them, Prouerbs 1.

For the fourth. If the vses of works be respec­ted, the outward works of wicked men, that for the matter of them are required in the Word, may be said to bee good works, because they are good for men vnto whom they are done: as, the almes of a Pharisee is a good work, in that it is good for the relief of the poor, though it bee not good in the sight of God; as failing of the right end, which is, God's glory. Thus of the acceptation of the tearms. The good works heer mentioned, are such as are good in God's sight, as beeing done in obedience to God's will, and by persons that are godly.

Now, concerning those good works, I propound diuerse things profitable to be considered of.

First, the rules of good works; which doo tell vs what must bee had, before a work can bee a good work.

Secondly, the kindes of good works, or what workes wee may account in the nature of good works; how many sorts of good works there are.

Thirdly, I would answer a question or two, needfull to bee considered of about good workes; and, in the last place, the vses of all.

For the first of those. There are many rules to [Page 501] bee obserued, before wee can doe works that God will account good. And those rules are absolutely necessary, and they are these:

First,Rules to bee obserued in doing good works. the person must bee reconciled vnto God in Iesus Christ, or else all hee doth, will bee abo­minable in Gods sight. Hee must bee turned in Iesus Christ, Eph. 2.10. Hee must bee pure, or else his work is not right, but polluted, Tit. 1. vlt. Pro. 21.8. The people that doe good works, must be puri­fied vnto God, being redeemed by Iesus Christ, and so made a peculiar people, Tit. 2.14. Hee must be purged, and sanctified, and so prepared to good workes, 2. Tim. 2.21.

Secondly, his workes must bee warranted and required and prescribed in the Word of God: he must walke by rule: his patterne must be found in the Scripture, Gal. 6.14. he must come to the light of the Word, that his works may bee manifest that they are wrought in God, Iohn 3.21. The Scriptures giuen by inspiration of God to this end that the man of God might bee perfectly directed vnto euery work that is good, 1. Tim. 3.16 17.

Thirdly, hee must propound a right end in do­ing his works: or else though the matter be good, yet the worke is polluted: as was shewed before in the instance of the almes of the Pharises: and this right end, is not the praise of men onely, or to merit thereby, but the glory of God chiefely, in the discharge of our obedience to God, and the edification of our neighbour.

Fourthly, The works wust bee done in the name of Iesus Christ. Wee must relie vpon the merits [Page 502] and intercession of Christ Iesus, as that which can cause our works to bee pleasing to God, Col. 3.17. Whatsoeuer it is wee do in word or in deed, all must bee done in the name of Christ, or it is done in vaine. Without faith it is impossible to please God, Heb. 11.6. Now our works are done in faith, first, when we beleeue and know they are warran­ted by the Word, Iohn 3.21. Secondly, when we beleeue GOD's promises concerning the re­ward of weldoing, Heb. 11.6. Thirdly, when wee fly to Iesus Christ to couer the imperfection of our workes from the sight of God, and so in that place, Col. 3.17. and fourthly, when our beliefe of Gods goodnes to vs, makes vs carefull to doe all the good wee can.

Fiftly, his works must be done with repentance for his sinnes, and the iudging of himselfe for the euill of his best works: by repentance, I meane not the first work of a sincere turning to God; for that is comprehended in the first rule: but the preser­uation of himselfe in his vprightnes, and the daily iudging of himselfe for his frailties: for if a godly man after his calling fall into presumptuous sins, his workes done all the time hee liueth in beloued sinnes, without the renewing of his repentance, are polluted, Esay 1.

Sixtly, his works must bee done willingly, not grudgingly, or of constraint, or onely to auoid shame or punishment: God loues a cheerefull giuer. That almes that is giuen with an ill will, or forced from men by the lawes or otherwise, is not accounted a work of mercy in Gods sight: to do [Page 503] mercy, is not enough to make it a good work plea­sing to God, but to loue mercy, Mich. 6.8. and to come into Gods presence to do his seruice, is not pleasing, vnlesse we humble our selues to walk with our God.

Seuenthly, his works must bee finished: to in­tend it, or promise it, or begin it, will not serue turne: as in the case of mercy, to promise to contribute, or to begin for a day or a weeke, is not sufficient, vnlesse wee performe it, 2. Cor. 8. and 9. So it is in repentance: it is then a good work, when it is finished, not when a man hath had some re­morse, or vttred a word or two of confession, or praied for a day or two: but when a man hauing re­pented, repents still, till he haue soundly humbled himself for his sins,Ier. 31.19, 20. and reformed his waies▪ So it is in generall in any work God settes vs to do, Iohn 4.3, 4.

Eightly, his works must bee his owne fruit, such as belong to him in his place and calling. As in the calling of the Ministry, his good work is, to preach the Gospell with all frequency, and diligence and power, &c. So in the Magistrate, to do the works of iustice: so in other callings, euery man must look to the duties of his owne place: and so it is in our generall callings; as Christians, we must doe those which are meet for repentance, which not onely concerne a penitent life, but such as haue a due respect vnto the performing things wee are called to in our repentance, Luke 4.44. Acts 26.20. Euery tree must not onely beare fruit, but his own fruit, proper to his kind: as the proper fruit of rich [Page 504] men, is mercy, and if they had neuer so many prai­ses otherwise, that they were courteous, wise, iust, chaste, &c. yet if they be not mercifull, their works are not good works.

Ninthly, his works must be full before God. It was an obiection against the Church of Sardis, that her works were not perfect or full before God; and therefore she is threatned, if she repent not, to feele the heauy hand of God, Reuel. 3.1.2. Now, as I conceiue, a mans works are not full, when he is not carefull of euery good work, which he knowes concernes him; as for instance: If a man pray, and yet bee not carefull of hearing the Word, his prayers are abomination to God, be­cause his works are not full: there bee some duties which he makes no conscience to obey in, though hee know they bee required: hee turneth away his eares from hearing the law, his praiers are abomi­nable, Pro. 28.9. If a man would be neuer so careful about Gods seruice, and yet make not conscience of the works of mercy required of him, his sacri­fice is not accepted, Hosea. 6.6, 7, &c. Thus the long prayers of the Pharises will not be regarded, if they deuoure widdowes houses, Mathew. 23. and so on the other side, if a man were neuer so merci­full a man, if hee were not also a religious man in the things of Gods seruice, his works would not abide triall before God: they were not good, be­cause they were not full. And for this reason the works of ciuil-honest men are not good: such were Paul's works, Phil. 3.6. which he accounts but dross and dung in comparison,Heb. 9.14. and 12.14. verse. 8. of such as these.

[Page 505]Thus of the rules of good works: the kindes follow:

The vulgar commonly when they hear of good works, think of nothing but almes and hospitality, or other, courses of shewing mercy. Now, though it be true, that works of mercy are good works, yet they are but one sort of good works, whereas the Christian is bound to bee ready to euery good work, 1 Tim. 3.17. and therefore it will bee profita­ble to informe our selues of the many waies by which we may doe good works: for, thereby such Christians as are not able to giue almes, may see a way how to inrich themselues in wel-doing other waies. These then are the sorts of good works:

First,Kinds of good works. to beleeue, is a good work, yea it is instead of many good works, yea in some sence it is to vs instead of the works of the whole Law; as it is a meanes to lay hold on all the good works that euer Christ Iesus did. To put on the Lord Iesus, is a good work in a high degree: and so euery act of faith in all the passages of a mans life, is a good work: for this is the work of God, to belieue, as our Sauiour shewes, when he giues that for answer for such as asked what they must do, to do the workes of God? Ioh. 6.28. Rom. 13, 12, 13.14. This is cleare­ly acknowledged in these other Scriptures, 1. Thes. 1.3. 2. Thes. 1.11.

Secondly, all works of piety are good works; all works of worship, that is, such works by which a man doth seruice to God, are all in the number of good works: and so, to pray, to fast, to hear the [Page 506] Word, to receiue the Sacraments, &c. are good works; for, Godlinesse hath the promises of this life, and of the life to come: and therfore it is pro­fitable to all things, 1. Tim. 4.8. And these workes must needs be accounted good works, for they are dear works: the bloud of Christ was poured out, that wee might bee clensed from dead works, to serue the liuing God, Heb. 9.14.

Thirdly, all works of repentance: all that a Christian doth about his humiliation or reforma­tion, are euangelically good works; as, if he con­fesse his sinnes, and doo execution vpon his sinnes; if hee make satisfaction for his trespasses to men; if he reform himself, or his houshold, or his charge: these and the like are all good works, 2. Chron. 19.3.

Fourthly, to suffer for a good cause, is reckoned in the number of good works; as, to forsake father or mother, house or land, wife or children, liberty or life, for Christ's sake and the Gospell, it is in the number of those good things shall haue good re­ward, Mat. 19.29. Ier. 31.16. Ruth 2.11, 12.

Fiftly, works of mens particular callings, whe­ther in the Common-wealth, or Church, or fami­ly, or any vocation or trade of life: so, workes of Iustice, are good workes; and to obey Magi­strates, is called well-doing, verse 14 of this chap­ter: so, to preach the Gospell, is a good work, 1. Tim. 3.1. So, in the family, for parents to bring-vp their Children well, is a good work, 1. Tim. 5.10. yea the labours of seruants in the family, are such workes as shall haue reward of God, as well as workes of piety, Esay 6. Col. 3.

[Page 507]Sixtly, works of mercy are good works, whe­ther it be spirituall mercy to instruct, admonish or reproue or comfort, Psalme 140. or whether it bee outward mercy, in giuing, lending, visiting, de­fending the poore, or the like. All confesse these to be good works, Act. 9.16. But that almes may be a good work, these three rules must bee obserued: First, that it be giuen of goods well gotten, else no good workes.Esay 1 [...].8. Secondly, that hee that giues it, haue a good eie, to distribute where there is need: for to keepe a good house, and to entertain ruf­fians, and drunkards, and gamesters, is not a good work nor hospitality, because heere is not a good eie. Thirdly, almes must bee giuen for a good end, not for the praise of men, or to merit thereby, Mat. 6. Thus of the kindes of good works.

The questions follow.

Quest. 1. How can any workes done by any man in this life, bee accounted good, seeing there is none that liueth, and sinneth not? yea al our works, euen the workes of the most righteous, are as a menstruous cloth, Esay 64.6.

For answer heereunto, I say, It is true, that if God looke vpon the best works of the most godly in this life, and examine them by the rigour of his couenant, which he called, His couenant of works, then no flesh liuing can haue cōfort of his works, but all will appeare lothsom as a menstruous gar­ment. But the works of the beleeuing Christiās are otherwaies to be considered of: For,

First, they are tryed by the couenant of grace, by the benefit of which couenant hee is deliue­red [Page 508] from the rigorous perfection of the Law, and his vprightnes is accepted in stead of perfection:How a godly man may comfort him­self in his works. he is now no more vnder the Law but, by God's grace & acceptation, his works are taken as if they had been perfect.

Secondly, he hath the benefit of Christ's inter­cession, who presenteth his works before God, co­uering the euill of them, and tendering them to God, who accepts them for the loue hee beares to his Sonne: and thus we read in Scripture, that Christ presents the praiers of the Saints.

Besides, that the Christian may not think too vilely of his works, but be comforted in the Lord concerning them, let him further consider these things:

First, that his good works haue the Spirit of Ie­sus Christ, which is in him for the Fountaine of them, 1. Cor. 12.11. Esay 26.12.

Secondly, that the bloud of Iesus Christ was shed, not onely for his iustification, but also for his sanctification, Heb. 9.14.

Thirdly, that though his works are not good ef­fectu, yet they are good affectu, they are good in desire: his desire was to haue them as good as God himself did require. And this, God is pleased to accept, as if the work were perfectly done.

Quest. 2. What are works good for, in that they are called good works?

Answ. I answer, first, affirmatiuely: they are good,

  • What works are good for.
    1. To testifie our thankfulnes to God for all his benefits, in respect of which, wee are debters vnto God, Rom. 8.12.
  • [Page 509]2. To assure the truth of our faith, as the fruits of faith, Mat. 7.17. 1. Tim. 1.19. Iames 2.
  • 3. To witnes our election, and to make our calling sure, 2. Pet. 1.10.
  • 4. To discharge our duty of obedience, vnto which we are bound euen in the couenāt of grace.
  • 5. To further the edification of our brethren, whom we help both by example, and by well-do­ing to them.
  • 6. To winne wicked men to a better estimati­on of our Religion, and to stop their mouthes, as heer, so verse 15.
  • 7. To glorifie God, as is in this place menti­oned.
  • 8. They are good to make vs capable of re­wards from God in heauen, Heb. 10.36. Rom. 2.7, 8. yea, and in this life too, 2. Tim. 4.8.

Secondly, I say, they are not good,

  • 1. To iustifie vs before God, as it is at large prooued by the Apostle in the Epistle to the Ro­mans and Galatians, onely they are good to iusti­fie vs before men, Iames 2.
  • 2. Not to merit or deserue heauen by them: mens euill works doo merit punishment; for, the wages of sinne is death: but our good works can­not merit, both because the Scripture denies it ex­presly, Eph. 2.8. as also (to omit other reasons) be­cause the nature of merit casteth away our works: for, there must be three things in a work that must merit. First, it must bee a free work, that was not due by any debt: whereas our works are a part of our duty; and we owe more to God, than we can [Page 508] [...] [Page 509] [...] [Page 510] doe, Luke 17.9. Rom. 11.35. Secondly, the worke that should merit, must bee profitable to him of whom we would merit; but no goodnesse of ours can reach to God to profit him, Psal. 16.3. Iob 22.2. Thirdly, the worke that must merit, must be of e­quall value with the thing that is giuen for it; but neither our sufferings, nor our deedes in this life can be worthy of the glory that is to bee reuealed, Rom. 8.18. and therefore is eternall life called, The gift of God, Rom. 6.23.

The vses follow, and are especially for In­struction: for this doctrine of good works should teach vs,

First, to take notice of this doctrine, and as we are carefull to beleeue, so to be carefull to maintain good works; and hereby to confute the malicious Papists, that falsly charge vs to deny and disgrace good works, Tit. 3.8, 14.

Secondly, euery man should bee ready to doe good works, yea to euery good worke: since they are required of God, and are so many waies good, and serue vs for such excellent vses: Yea, wee should be zealous of good workes, wonderfull ea­ger and desirous to inrich our selues that way, Tit. 3.1. & 2.14. yea, we should hereby shew that we are indeede wise Christians, and well skilled in the vse of our Religion, Iam. 3.13. and not men onely, but women also should be forward in good works, 1. Tim. 2.10. It is their best apparel: whc should be a speciall motiue to them that are so carefull of their attyre: & indeed good works are to be desired and laboured for, as the best apparell of any Christian; [Page 511] yea, they are his armour too, Rom. 13.13. Yea, they are a principall way for his inriching and prefer­ment, 1. Tim. 2.20. so as it is a great curse vpon a Christian, to haue no minde to do good workes, to be reprobate to euery good worke, Tit. 1. vlt.

Thirdly, since there are so many things necessa­ry to the constitution of a good worke; Christians should (in stead of prying into the liues of others) euery one trie his owne workes, and turne often to the light, that it may be, indeede, manifest, that his works are wrought in God, Gal. 6.4. for, one day, euery mans works shall be tried in the fire, when times of tryall, by great afflictions, either vpon mens Consciences, or otherwise, come; that man's works, that neuer seeme glorious and praise-wor­thy, will bee reiected, and cast away euen by our selues, as vile and vnprofitable. Besides, at the best, in our prosperity, if the most of our workes be try­ed by the fire of these rules of God's Word, it is much to be doubted that our workes will burne, though, vpon our repentance for the euill that cleaues to our best workes, our selues may bee sa­ued in the day of the Lord. Let Christians there­fore be careful, that they lose not the things which they haue wrought.

Now a Christian may lose his workes diuers wayes.

First,How a man may lose his workes. if he be but a Christian in shew, hee may, nay hee shall lose all hee doth. The Pharises lost all their workes, because they were done in hy­pocrisie.

Secondly, the Christian that hath some kindes [Page 512] of heauenly gifts, and temporary grace, by falling away in the time of temptation, loseth all that hee had wrought before. God requires patient conti­nuance in well-doing, Rom. 2.8.

Thirdly, the true Christian may lose what hee wrought, if he doe his works without respect of these Rules: If it be not manifest that his workes are wrought in God, they are lost to him; so many of his works as are so wrought: Besides, he loseth the comfort of all that hee hath wrought, and the sense of it, if he fall into grosse sinne after calling, for so long time as he continueth in sinne without Repentance.

Thus of good works.

Which they shall behold.]

It is manifest from hence, that good works may, and ought to be so done, as that men may see them: It is not true that all good works must be hid from the view and beholding of other men: this may seeme strange, because the Pharises were blamed for doing their works to be seene of men; but yet it may be easily and plentifully proued. I will first proue it, and then explane it: for proofe, our Sa­uiour Christ requires, that the light of mens good works should shine, that men may see their good works, Mat. 5.16. Christians, in respect of their practice, should be as shining lights in the midst of a froward and crooked generation, Phil. 2.15, 16. They must maintaine good workes, Tit. 3.8. They must shew their Faith by their Workes, and so they are iustified before men, by the workes which they behold, Iam. 2. They are the expresse words of S. [Page 513] Iames also, in the third chapter, verse 13. Let him shew, by good conuersation, his works. And the Apostle Paul saith, If there be any praise, think on those things that may get praise, Phil. 4.8. Yea, some Christians are charged to be paterns of good works, Tit. 2.7.

Now, for explication of this point, I would consider, first, what works may bee shewed; and then, secondly, what works may not be shewed.

For the first: I will onely now instance in the A­postle's catalogue in the second of Titus.

Ould men may safely shew sobriety,What works may be shewed▪ grauity, temperance, soundnes of their faith, loue, and pa­tience.

Ould women may safely carry themselues in a holy behauiour, and bee teachers of good things, especially to the younger women.

Young women must shew their sobriety, loue, and obedience to their husbands; discretion, cha­stity, care of their children and houshold affairs.

Young men may shew, that they bee sober-minded.

Ministers offend not, by teaching vncorrupt do­ctrine with grauity and sincerity, nor when in con­ference they speak soundly, and things that cannot be iustly taxed.

Seruants offend not, by shewing obedience to their masters, and all good faithfulnes, and desire to please them well in all things.

For the second: the shew is condemned in di­uers sorts of works;What works ought not to shewed. as,

  • 1. Secret duties, of what kinde soeuer, must [Page 514] not bee done to the beholding of others: thus, to pray or fast, that others may see or hear, is not law­full, Mat. 6.
  • 2. Such works as are done deceitfully, are iustly taxed for the shew of them: as, when Anani­as and Saphirah will make a shew of bounty, which was not performed as they pretended, Acts 5.
  • 3. All works that are done with affectation, when the praise of men is simply and only sought, are Pharisaicall, and ill done.
  • 4. All the works that are done about the vse of the means of godlinesse, if practice bee not ioy­ned with them, are reiected of God, and the shew of them is condemned. Thus, to make a shewe of hearing Sermons, reading the Scriptures, frequent and long praiers, strict obseruing of the rest of the Sabbath, and the like, when there is not a sound care of a holy life, are not good works, nor is the shew of them commended, Esay 1. Mic. 6.
  • 5. To shew care of lesser duties, and liue in the carelesse and manifest neglect of greater and more necessary duties, is likewise Pharisaicall, and condemned, Mat. 23.

Thus of the beholding of good works.

They may glorifie God.]

To glorifie GOD, is, in the etymology of the word, to make God glorious. Now, the glory of God is the excellency of God aboue all things, as is by way of exposition added, Esay 35.2.

The question then is, How can God bee made glorious or excellent, seeing his excellency is as in­finite as his nature is; and to that which is infinite, nothing can be added?

[Page 515]For the resoluing of this question, wee must vn­derstand, that if Gods nature be cōsidered in it self, it is so excellent, as nothing can bee conceiued or done, that should bring glorie to it. But when the Scripture speakes of glorifying of God, it meanes it of such an excellency, as (to our capacity) by reflexion, and resemblance, some way expresseth the similitude of Gods excellency, which wee call his glorie.

And so God is glorifyed by himselfe or by vs.

God hath made diuers impressions of his owne excellency,How God is glorified by himselfe. and set it out by way of image or simi­litude: as,

First, in the diuine nature of Christ. For Christ as the Sonne of God, is said to bee the splendor and brightnes of his Fathers glorie, Heb. 1.2.

Secondly, in the humane nature of Christ. For in his humane nature did the God-head dwell and shine as the candle in the Lanthorne: and so the glorie of God appeares amongst men: for when Christ was incarnate, and came to dwell amongst men, they saw his glorie as the glorie of the onely begotten Sonne of God, Ioh. 1.14.

Thirdly, in his works: for the inuisible things of God (as his power and wisedome in the excel­lency of them) are made visible vnto our obserua­tion, in the creation and gouernment of the world: in the great booke of the creatures is the glorie of God written in great letters, Rom. 1. Thus the hea­uens declare the glorie of God, Psalme 19.1. And in this great book the glory of the Lord is said to endure for euer, and the Lord will alwaies reioice [Page 516] in this impression of his glorie in his workes, Psal. 104.31. and as all the workes of God are his glorie, in that they do some way set out his excellency; so especially, miracles are in a high degree resem­blances of God's glorie, and therefore are these workes of wonder called the glorie of God. Thus the power of God in raising Christ, is called his Glory, Romanes 6.4. And so the maruailous workes mentioned, Psalme 97.4, 5.6. so Christ in working the miracle in Canaan of Galile, is said to shewe his glorie, Iohn 2.11. And as workes of mi­racle are called the glorie of GOD, because GOD hath in them stamped some liuely resem­blance of his Excellencie: so also workes of speciall Iustice done vpon Gods enemies, are called his glorie also, as these places shewe, Exod. 14.14. Num. 14.21. Esay 13.3. So also Gods mightie working in deliuering his seruants, is called his glorie also, Psal. 105.5, 6. and 57.6. and 85.9.

Fourthly, in man God hath imprinted his glory, and so in all sorts of mankind: they are called the glorie of God in respect of their resemblance of Gods soueraignty: man is as it were a visible God in this visible world, and in respect of his superioritie ouer the creatures, resembles God. And as God hath imprinted his glory vpon all men in generall,1. Cor. 11.17. so in a speciall manner vpon some men, as,

  • 1. Vpon such men as shine in the outward dignity and preeminence of their places in this world aboue other men; their glorie is said to bee Gods glorie, 1. Chron. 29.11, 12.
  • 2. Vpon such men as are indued with the [Page 517] grace of God, and the vertues of Iesus Christ: these beare Gods Image, and are therefore called his glorie, Esay 46.13. 2. Cor. 3.18. Psal. 90.17.
  • 3. In a more principall manner, vpon such as be receiued vp to glorie in heauen. Thus God will be glorified in his Saints at the day of Iudgement, 2. Thes. 1.10. This is that glorie of God, which the godly doe hope for with so much ioy, Rom. 5.2.

Fiftly, in certaine visible signes & testimonies of his presence. Thus the consuming fire on mount Sinah, is called the glorie of God, Exod. 24.6, 16, 17. So also the cloud that filled the Temple, Exod. 40.34. And the cloud that rose vpon the Taber­nacle in the wildernes. And so the signes of Gods presence in heauen, are in a speciall respect called his glorie. Thus Stephen saw the glorie of God, and Iesus standing at his right hand, Acts 7.55. Thus we are said to appeare before the presence of his glorie, Iude 24.

Sixtly, In his Word: and so the Word of God is the glorie of God, either in generall, as it de­scribes the excellency of Gods nature in all, in his properties or attributes, Psal. 26.8. Or in speciall, the Gospell is called the Glorie, as it sets out the goodnes of God, after a matchlesse manner, relie­uing forlorne mankind, Esay 6.1. And thus that part of the Word of God that doth describe Gods mercy, is called his glorie, Exod. 33.18, 19, 22. Eph. 3.16. Thus also that way of shewing mercy, by bringing in the infinite righteousnes of his owne Sonne, is called the glorie of the Lord, Esay 40.5.

Thus God glorifieth himselfe.

[Page 518]Secondly, God is said to bee glorified by vs: Man may make God glorious but: that he cannot doe by adding any glory to God's Nature: and therefore we must search out to finde by the Scripture, what waies man may glorifie God; and so we may be said to glorifie God, or to make God glorious three waies.

How God is glorified of vs in gene­rall.First, by knowledge, when we conceiue of God after a glorious manner; thus we make him glori­ous in our owne hearts, and this is a chiefe way of making God glorious: And this is one way by which the Gentiles glorifie God: and this God stands vpon, so as he accounts not himselfe to bee knowne aright, till we conceiue of him, at least, as more excellent then all things. Seeing we can adde no glory to God's nature, we should striue to make him glorious in our owne mindes and hearts. And we may by the way see, what cause we haue to bee smitten with shame and horror to thinke of it, how we haue dishonoured God by meane thoughts of him: And hereby we may also see how farre man can be said to haue the true knowledge of God in him; yea, there is some comfort in it too to a Chri­stian, that humbleth himselfe to walke with his God: for, though, at the best, he come farre short of conceiuing of God as he is, yet God accounts himselfe to be made glorious by vs, when we get so farre as to conceiue of him aboue all creatures; and that is, when he comes into our hearts as a king of glory, farre aboue all that glory can be found in earthly Princes, Psalme 14.7, 9. And thus we make him glorious, not when we barely iudge him to be [Page 519] more excellent then all things, but when our hearts are carried after the apprehension of him, so as we loue him aboue all, and feare him aboue all, &c. And thus we make God glorious in our hearts, by knowing him.

Secondly, by acknowledgment: When in words or workes, we doe ascribe excellency vnto God; and to glorifie him, is to acknowledge his glory; or as the phrase in Scripture is, To giue him glory; and so there be diuers speciall waies, by which we are said in Scripture to glorifie God, as:

First, when in words wee magnifie God, and speak of his prayses,How God is glorified of vs in parti­cular. and confesse that he is worthy to receiue honour, and glory, and might, and maie­sty: so Reuel. 4.11. Psal. 29. & 86.9.

Secondly, when men confesse that all the glory they haue aboue other men in gifts or dignitie, was giuen them by God: So Dauid glorifies God, 1. Chron. 29.11, 12. And thus we make God the Fa­ther of glory, as he is called, Ephes. 1.17.

Thirdly, when men that are guilty of sinnes that cannot be proued against them, yet feeling them­selues to be pursued by God, doe confesse to Gods glory and their owne shame, their secret offences: Thus Achan gaue glory to God, Iosh. 7.19. And thus the penitent sinner glorifies God, when hee cares not to abase himself in the acknowledgement of his owne vilenesse, that God may be magnified in any of his attributes or ordinances by it, Ier. 13. 16. Mal. 2.2.

Fourthly, When the prayse of God, or the aduancement of his Kingdome, is made the end [Page 520] of all our actions: This is to doe all to his glorie, 1. Cor. 10.31.

Fiftly, when wee beleeue God's promises, and wait for the performance of them, though we see no meanes likely for their accomplishment: Thus Abraham gaue glory to God, Rom. 4.

Sixtly, when wee publikely acknowledge true Religion, or any speciall truth of God, when it is generally opposed by the most men: Thus the Centurion gaue glory to God, Luke 23.47.

Seuenthly, when men suffer in the quarrell of Gods truth, and true Religion. So 1. Pet. 4.16.

Eightthly, when, on the Sabbath, men deuote themselues only to Gods worke, doing it with more ioy and care, then they should doe their own worke on the weeke dayes, refusing to prophane the Sabbath of the Lord, by speaking their owne words, or doing their own willes: Thus Esay 58.13.

Ninthly, when men do in particular giue thanks to God for benefits or deliuerances, acknowled­ging God's speciall hand therein: Thus the Leper gaue glory to God, Luke 17.18. so Psal. 113.4.

Tenthly, by louing, praysing, admiring, and esteeming of Iesus Christ aboue all men: For, when we glorifie the Sonne, we glorifie the Father, Iohn 1.14. & 11.4.

Eleuenthly, when wee account of and honour godly men, aboue all other sorts of men in the World; and so these Gentiles doe glorifie God, in that they prayse the Christians aboue all men, whom before they reuiled: This is one way by which the Gentiles glorified God.

[Page 521]Thus of the second way of glorifying God, which is, by acknowledging his glory.

The third way of glorifying God, is by effect, when men make others to glorifie God, concei­uing more gloriously of him, or in praysing God and his wayes: Thus the professed subiection of Christians to the Gospel, makes other men glorifie God, 2. Cor. 9.13. So the fruits of Righteousnesse are to the glory of God, Phil. 1.10. So here the good works of Christians do make new Conuerts glorifie God: so euery Christian that is God's planting, is a tree of righteousnesse that God may be glorified, Esay 61.3. so are all Christians to the prayses of the glory of God's grace, as they are eyther qualified or priuiledged by Iesus Christ, Ephes. 1.7.

Vse. The vses of all should be especially for in­struction and humiliation: it should humble vs, if we mark the former doctrine, in that it discouereth many deficiencies in vs: for, besides that it shew­eth, that the whole world of vnregenerate men li­eth in wickednes, and that as they haue all sinned, so they are all depriued of the glory of God, and altogether delinquent in each part of making God glorious; I say, that besides the discouery of the generall and extreme corruption of wicked men, it doth touch to the quick vpon diuerse persons, e­uen the godly themselues; to giue instance:

In the first way of making God glorious: How meanly and dully doo wee, for the most part, con­ceiue of God! How farre short are our hearts of those descriptions of GOD made in his Word! [Page 522] Wha [...] strange thoughts come into our mindes at some times! Oh! how haue we dishonoured the most High in our vnworthy conceptions of his Iu­stice, Power, Eternity, Wisdome, and Mercy!

For the second way of glorifying God: What heart could stand before his holy presence, if hee should examine vs in iustice!

  • 1. For our language: What man is hee that hath not cause to mourn for his▪ want of language daily, in expressing of the praises of God! When did we make his praise glorious? haue our mouths been filled with his praise all the day long?
  • 2. For our extreme vnthankfulnesse, when we meet with GOD himself: we haue been healed with the nine Lepers: but which of vs haue retur­ned to giue glory to God, in the sound acknow­ledgement of his goodnes to vs? It is required, we should in all things giue thanks: and yet wee haue scarce vsed one word of praise for a 1000 benefits.
  • 3. Our slight acknowledgements of sinne, our backwardnes to search our waies, our carelesnesse when wee knowe diuerse grieuous faults by our selues, either auoiding God's presence, and ma­king confession for fashions sake, neither out of true grief for our sinnes: and in a speciall manner doo we fail in those cases of trespasse or sinne, that come to the knowledge of others. Do we know­ledge our sinnes one to another? Oh how hard it is to bring vs to bee easie to giue glory to GOD heerin!
  • 4. What man is hee that liueth, and hath not failed of the glory of GOD about the Sabbath? [Page 523] Doo we delight in God's work? Haue wee conse­crated that Day as glorious to the Lord? Haue not our mindes runne vpon our owne waies? After what an vnspeakable maner haue we slighted God in his Ordinances?

Lastly, what shall we answer to the Lord for our neglects of Iesus Christ? Haue wee glorified the Son? or rather, haue wee not shamefull wants still in our faith? Which of vs can say, that he liues by the faith of the Sonne of God? and are not our affections to the Lord Iesus, extremely dull and a­uerse? Where is the longing desire after him, and the [...]eruent loue of his appearing?

And for the last way of glorifying God by ef­fect: How vnprofitably and vnfruitfully doo the most of vs liue? Who hath praised God in our be­half? Whom haue we wonne to the loue of God and the truth? Where are our witnesses that might testifie, that our good works haue caused them to glorifie God?

But especially, wo be to scandalous Christians, that haue either caused wicked men to blaspheme, or God's little ones to take offense, and conceiue ill of the good way of God: if they repent not, it had been better for them they had neuer been born.

And as for wicked men that are openly so (to giue a touch of them and their estate) they haue reason to repent in sackcloth and ashes, if their eies were but open to see, what terrour is implied in this doctrine, and how God will auenge himselfe vpon them, both for their not glorifying of him, [Page 524] and for changing his glory, and for the opposing of his glory.

  • 1. In not glorifying God. They haue spent their daies without GOD: they haue either not conceiued of him at all, or in a most mean and vile manner: they haue not honoured him in his ordi­nances, or in his Sabbaths: they neuer loued the Lord Iesus in their hearts, &c.
  • 2. In changing the glory of God, they haue done shamefully. Some of them haue turned Gods glory into the similitude of an Oxe or a Calf that eateth hay. Some of them haue giuen his praise to Images, and the works of their hands. Some of them haue fixed the glory of their affections vpon riches, pleasures, and fauour of men. Some of them haue made their belly their god: and some haue giuen their bodies to harlots.

Thirdly, in opposing Gods glory, they haue likewise offended grieuously; they haue spoken e­uill of the good way of God; they haue abused his seruants, and so despised him; they haue set them­selues against his Sabbaths, &c. To omit, that they haue opposed Gods glory in their hearts, by set­ting vp Idols there, and by allowing and striuing to maintaine Atheisticall conceits against God.

The second vse should be therefore, to beget in vs a care to vse all meanes to dispose of, and fit our selues, that we might make God glorious, and so a­mend and redresse our wayes herein; and that we may, the more effectually, be wrought vpon here­in, I will consider of two things. First, I will brief­ly shew the reasons should stirre vs to all possible [Page 525] care and diligence heerin. Secondly, I would shew how we may distinctly attain to the glorifying of God in all the three waies before mentioned.

For the first. Diuerse considerations should moue vs to the care of magnifying or glorifying of God by all the waies we can.

First,Motiues to the care of glorifying God. it is a great honour that God doth vnto vs, to account himself to receiue glory any way from our endeauours. Shall the creature bee admitted, in any sense, to that glory, to make his Creator, to make him (I say) in his excellency or glory? God doth account himself to receiue a new Being, as it were, by those inward conceptions of his glory, and by those outward honours done vnto him. Shall the King of glory vouchsafe to dwell in our hearts? and shall we not be exceedingly desirous to entertain him?

Secondly, Not to glorifie God, is to sinne grie­uously: it is not arbitrarie, but most dangerous to allow our selues, either in inward neglects of God, or in outward vnfruitfulnesse. Shall wee attribute so much euery day to the creatures we deal with? and shall we knowe or acknowledge so little of the Creator? It cannot be safe, to slight God.

Thirdly, it is one of the first things that breaks out in the new Conuerts: so soone as any of the Gentils are visited of God, in the same day they glorifie him, by conceiuing gloriously of him, and by magnifying God in himselfe; and his ser­uants and seruice, &c. And therefore without sin­gular danger of losing our euidence of our cal­ling, wee must attend to this Doctrine, how hard soeuer it seeme.

[Page 526]Fourthly, wee are bought with a price, and are God's, and therefore now both in soule and body wee should be wholy deuoted to his glorie, 1. Cor. 6. vlt. As God hath glorified vs in our creation, and the many treasures hee hath giuen vs in Iesus Christ, and wee hope the accomplishment of matchlesse glorie in heauen: and shall we not bee zealous for the glorie of the Lord? Many glo­rious things bee spoken of vs through his grace: and shall wee thinke or speake meanely of God?

Fiftly, the Lord our God exceedes all things in glorie, and therefore we should extoll his praise aboue the heauens, and the whole earth should shewe it selfe to be full of his glorie.

Sixtly, he is our heauenly Father, and can wee thinke too well of him, or doe too much to winne him praise? Mat. 5.16.

Lastly, thinke with our selues▪ What make wee in Gods Vineyard or Orchard? If wee be trees of his planting, ought wee not to bee filled with the fruits of righteousnes, that the Lord may bee glorified? Esay 61.3.

Thus of some motiues. The maine care should bee to learne what to doo, that GOD might bee made glorious by vs: and so wee should distinctly consider, how to make him glorious in our selues or in others.

In our selues wee should learne how to make him glorious: first, in our hearts, by a glorious con­ception of him in our minds: secondly, in our words and works, by acknowledgement.

The first question then is, What should we doe [Page 527] that we might conceiue more gloriously of God? For answer hereunto, we must looke to our hearts in diuers particulars: for, that wee may conceiue of God according to his excellency, we must pro­ceed by these degrees.

  • 1. Wee must striue to bring God into our minds:
    Helps to glo­rifie God.
    for naturally wee liue without God: and wee may obserue, that at the best we are wonder­full prone to forget God: and therefore wee must learne how to bring our hearts to the meditation of God. For not to think of God, or forget him, is a grieuous offence, aswell as to think of him after a base manner.
  • 2. It is not enough to bring God into our thoughts, but we must then bee wonderfull care­full, that wee bring not in an Idole of our owne forming in stead of God: wee must learne how to think of God as hee is described to vs in his Word: for fearefull Idolatrie may bee committed in the heart of a man, as well as in his outward ado­ration; and therefore wee must learne soundly to conceiue aright of the nature of God.
  • 3. When we haue God there in his owne like­nes, we must inlarge his roome in our hearts: For the true knowledge of God comes in but by spar­kles; and God will bee magnified. Wee must make him great, and inlarge the thoughts of God when wee conceiue of him. This is that, that is so often required in Scripture, vnder the terme of magni­fying God.
  • 4. When wee haue attained to this, to thinke of God, with an abilitie to make him great in our [Page 528] hearts, then wee must yet proceed to the establish­ment of this conception of GOD: for else the thoughts of God, will passe thorow our heads like lightning, and be gone: and therefore we must be carefull to establish the thoughts of God in vs.
  • 5. We must then labour to cloath the thoughts of God with glorie and maiesty: this is that which is heere intended; wee must not onely make him in our hearts, and nourish the sparkles of his know­ledge, but wee must make him glorious also.
  • 6. Yea, yet farther, when God is conceiued of according to his excellencie, we must loue the Lord thus conceiued of, our hearts must cleaue vnto him, & esteeme him aboue all things. So that heer are six distinct things to be heeded of such as will conceiue of God aright. Now how these things may bee attained to by vs, followeth to bee considered of.

Now for the first, to bring God into our minds, two things are of excellent vse,

By what meanes God may bee brought into our mindes.First, the inforcing of our selues to consider of Gods works, and so to striue still to read in that great booke of the Creatures.

Secondly, the exercising our selues daily in the Word of God: Without these two helps care­fully vsed, experience shewes, that GOD neuer comes into mens thoughts. And by the way, heere may be framed an answer to that sorrowfull com­plaint of many Christians, that they cannot medi­tate. Now if they would bee taught to meditate, or would at any time haue their thoght set a work, let them lay before them, either of these bookes of [Page 529] God, either the great Book of the creatures, or lit­tle booke of the Scriptures; and so, praying God to direct them, take those things that easily offer them selues from thence. The other way of meditating without booke, as I knowe not whether it bee ab­solutely required, so can it not bee so fruitfully performed, nor so comfortably. But to returne: the viewing of GODs workman-ship in his creatures, and of his wisedome & rule in his Word, will help vs in the first point, which is, to bring God into our minds.

For the second: that wee may not mistake, but conceiue of God aright, wee must looke to diuers things carefully.

First,Helpes to conceiue a­right of God. wee must resist and subdue, and no way harbour or fauour, any atheisticall conceits a­gainst the doctrine of Gods nature or prouidence. If wee find our minds intangled with any such, wee must labour to get them cured: for till our hearts bee whole of such diseases, wee are disabled from any true conception of God.

Secondly, wee must in thinking of God, then cast out all likenesses: wee must not conceiue of him in the likenes of any man or other creature, but get aboue all similitudes, and there rest in the ado­ration of him that is not like any of those things: wee must haue no Images of God, neither in our Churches,Deut. 4. nor in our heads, Command. 2. Esay 40.

Thirdly, we must learn distinctly the attributes of God's praises in the Scripture, and conceiue of him as he is there commended to vs: I mean, wee should, as wee are able, when wee think of God, [Page 530] thinke of him, as he is omnipotent, most wise, most iust, most mercifull, &c. It is an excellent prayse of the diligence of a Christian, to accustome him­selfe to conceiue of God, according to descripti­ons made of him in his attributes in his Word.

Fourthly, it may much helpe vs, if we conceiue of God, as dwelling in the humane nature of Christ; for thereby it may somewhat arise in our mindes, if we be prone to conceiue of likenesses: Marke it carefully, wee may not set before our mindes Christ-man, and so worship without any more adoe: but if we conceiue of the man-Christ, and then worship that God-head that dwells in him, we do right; and besides, attaine vnto a point farther, which is, to conceiue of God in Christ.

Thus of the right conceiuing of God's nature.

The third thing which we must labour for, is, to magnifie God in our hearts, to make him great, to conceiue largely, with full thoughts of God: and to this I adde also, to conceiue gloriously of him, to clothe our thoughts of God, with a shining excellency aboue any thing else wee thinke of. Now, that God may bee magnified, and thought on after a glorious manner, these things must bee done.

How God is to be magni­fied in our hearts, and by what means.Wee must, with all attendance and reuerence, waite vpon the presence of God in his house; for that is the place where his glory dwelleth, Psalme 27.8. And God hath magnified his Word aboue all his name, Psalme 138.2. And the vse of the Gospell, is said to be the Gospel of the glory of the blessed God, because it doth, with the liuelyest im­pressions, [Page 531] make a mans heart to discerne Gods ex­cellency, Mic. 5.4. 1. Tim. 1.11.

Secondly, the meditation of the wonderfull works of God, recorded in Scripture, or obser­ued by experience, is good to breed great and glorious thoughts of God; for as the sight of the miracles of Christ, wrought this in the hearts of the people, Math. 15.31. Luke 7.16. so the contem­plation of such great works may work the same ef­fect in vs: and the same effect also, may the thought of the workes of God's speciall Iustice or Mercy haue, Ezek. 38.23. Esay. 13.13. especially the consideration of those works of fauour or deli­uerance, by which God hath declared his speciall goodnesse vnto vs, Gen. 19.19. 1. Chron. 17.24. Da­uid also clotheth the thoughts of God with glory and greatnesse in his heart, by thinking of the mo­numents of God's wonderfull Power and Wise­dome in the heauens and earth, seas, &c. Psalme 104.1, &c. yea, by thinking of his owne forming and making in the wombe, Psalme 139.15.

Thirdly, we must pray earnestly to God (with Moses) and begge this of God, that he would shew vs his glory. Thus also of the third thing.

The next thing is, to learne how to establish the thoughts of God's glory in vs: and that is done e­specially two wayes.The thoghts of Gods glo­ry is 2 waies established. First, by striuing to set God alwayes before vs, as Dauid did, Psalme 16.8. Secondly, by remembring God in all our wayes, doing all our workes vnto the glorie of GOD, 1. Cor. 10.31.

Lastly, to make vs in loue with God, thus con­ceiued [Page 532] of according to his glory, the thorow me­ditation of his mercies to vs, are of singular vse, to thinke eyther of the variety of them, or of the spe­ciall respect God hath had of vs, aboue many o­thers, and the frequencie of his mercies, that hee sheweth vs mercie daily; but aboue all, to consider that his mercies are free; to think how vile we are, vpon whom God looks with such grace and good­nes. Thus the blessed Virgin taught her selfe to magnifie God, and to loue his name, Luke 1.46, 48.

Thus of making God glorious in our hearts by knowledge.

Now for the second, which is, to make him glo­rious by acknowledgement: the particular wayes how that may be done, haue been reckoned before in the explication of the doctrine; onely wee must labor by praier to fashion our selues to that work, that God in any of those particulars doth require of vs: and that is the most speciall help which I knowe thereunto. But, by the way, let mee warn thee to look to two things:Note. First, that in any course of glorifying GOD, which is to be done by thy words,A double ca­ueat in glori­fying God. thou bee carefull to auoid hypocrisie; and be sure, that thy heart be lifted vp, and affected ac­cording to the glory of God: for, the Lord ab­horres to be glorified with thy lip, if thy heart bee farre from him, Esay 29.13. And the next is, that thou presume not, in any case, to make the pretense of God's glory a couering for any wickednes: as the Pharises, that would hide their deuouring of widows houses, vnder the praise of long prayer: or those in the Prophet Esay's time, that would per­secute [Page 533] godly men, and molest them with Church-censures, and say, Let the Lord bee glorified, Esay 66.5. Thus of making God glorious in our selues.

Lastly, that wee may make God glorious in the hearts of other men, and cause them to speak of his praises, we must carefully look to foure things.

  • 1.
    Things must be done by vs, to make others glorifie God.
    That when wee speak of God or his truth, we doo it with all possible reuerence and fear; that wee bee carefull, in all our discourses of Religion, instructions, admonitions, reproofs, confutations, or the like, to treat of these things with all meeknes and reuerence: God hath giuen vs a Commande­ment of purpose, to restrain the taking-vp of his Name in vain.
  • 2. That wee striue, by all means, to liue vn­spotted and in offensiue in life, that if any peruerse men did seek occasion against vs, yet they might finde none; and to this end, striuing to auoid those things distinctly, which we perceiue, by the mise­rable example of others, do vex and prouoke men to speak or think euill; such as are, idlenesse, fro­wardnes, deceit, conceitednes, and the like, Phi­lippians 2.15.
  • 3. That we shew forth the vertues of Christ: it is a singular means to stirre vp others to glorifie God, if they might perceiue in vs the sound habit of such Christian vertues, as are not to bee found in other sorts of men; such as are, humility, lowe­linesse, contempt of the world, subiection to Gods will, loue of the godly, and the like. The most of vs haue but the bare names of these: there is not a reall demonstration of them. Christian vertues, [Page 534] set forth to the life, are amiable, and will compell men to conceiue and speak gloriously of God and his truth.
  • 4. That we be helpfull vpon all occasions to others, ready to euery good work, and harty in all works of mercy: it is our good works must make men speak well of vs, and our God, and Religion.

Hitherto of the doctrine of glorifying God.

In the day of Visitation.]

This word Visitation is in Scripture attributed both to men and to God.Men are said to visit diuersly. To men, in such cases as these: as first, to shepheards; who, when they did specially suruay their flock, with intent to redresse what was amisse, were said to visit them, Ier. 23.2. As also to such men as had the gathering of tri­bute: when they came to exact their tribute, to the great vexation of the people, they were said to vi­sit them. So the word, rendred exactors, Esay 60.17. in the Original is Visitors or Visitations. Third­ly, to visit, was a tearm giuen to the Bishops and A­postles in the Primitiue Church, that went about through the Churches, to take notice of the estate of the Churches, and to reform what was amisse, Acts 15.36. And so the originall word heer vsed, is translated a Bishoprick, Acts 1.20. agreeable to the Hebrew word vsed, Psalm 109.8. Finally, to visit, is reckoned among the works of curtesie or mercy, Iames 1.27. The Hebrew word in the old Testament, signifies oftentimes to muster or num­ber vp the people, as 1. Chro. 21.6. But in this place, visitation is not referred to men, but to God.

God doth also visit ma­ny waies.Now, God is said to visit, not onely men, but o­ther [Page 535] creatures: so he visited the earth, grauen ima­ges, the vessels of the Temple,The crea­tures. and Leuiathan. He visits the earth, when hee makes it in an especiall manner fruitfull, Psalme 65.9. Hee visited Images, when hee brake them to pieces, and confounded them. Hee visited the vessels of the Temple, by causing them to bee brought back again into the Temple, Ier. 27.22. Hee visited Leuiathan the di­uell, by restraining his power, and disappointing his malice, Esay 27.1. But, most vsually, God's vi­sitation is spoken of in Scripture, as it concerneth men:But especial­ly men, and so and so God holdeth two sorts of visitations. The one is the visitation of all men; the other, of some men onely.

The visitation,either as he visits all men in generall: called the visitation of all men, concernes either life or death. In respect of life, God is said to visit all men, in that hee doth, by his daily prouidence, both giue and preserue life till the appointed time: so, Iob 10.12. And, in respect of death, God keeps his visitation, when he causeth men to die an ordinary death at the time thereun­to appointed: so, Numb. 16.29. But it is not the common visitation is heer meant.

God's speciall visitation of some men,or some men in speciall. is, when in a speciall prouidence he takes notice of certaine men, and comes among them to work the redresse of sinne: and that is heer meant. And this visitati­on must bee considered, either according to the kindes of it, or according to the time of it, heer called The day of visitation.

For the kindes:God visits men two waies especi­ally. God doth visit men either with the visitation of iustice, or with the visitation of [Page 536] mercy; in wrath, or in grace: and the former words of this Text are true of either of these kinds. For, if God visit wicked men by his speciall iudge­ments, they will then giue glory to God, and com­mend godly Christians; whom before, against their consciences, they spake euill of: which they will also doo much more, if God visit them with his grace, and conuert them.

In iustice.First, then, of the visitation of iustice: and so the point to bee heer obserued, is, that Though God may spare wicked men long, and seem to wink at their faults, yet he will finde a day to visit them for their sinnes: hee will hold a visitation for their sakes: he wil discouer their wickednes, and auenge himself on them, Psal. 50.20. Eccles. 8. Psal. 37.13. Iob 18.20. As they haue had their daies of sinning: so will he haue his day of visiting; and that not on­ly at that Day of the vniuersall visitation in the end of the world, but euen in this life also.

Vse. And this doctrine should especially hum­ble wicked men, and awake them out of their secu­rity; and the rather, if they consider seriously of diuerse things about this day of their visitation.

First, that it shall certainely come vpon them, Rom. 2.5.

Secondly, that, when it doth come, it will be a maruellous fearfull time with them: for,

  • 1. God will then discouer their sinnes, and make their wickednes manifest in the hatefulnesse of it, Lam. 4.22.
  • 2. GOD will inflict sore punishments vpon them: hee will bee auenged on them. The day of [Page 537] their visitation will bee the day of their calamitie, Ier. 46.21.
  • 3. The punishments determined, cannot bee resisted: there will be no help, Esay 10.3. and 29.6. Coh. and 26.14.
  • 4. God will not then respect their strength, but their sinne. Hee will recompence them accor­ding to all that they haue done, Ier. 50.29, 31.
  • 5. If they escape one Iudgement, another will light vpon them, Ier. 48.44.
  • 6. God will giue them repulse in all they do: euen in his seruice hee will not accept them, Ieremie 14.10.
  • 7. It will bee a time of great perplexitie, and counsell will perish from the prudent, Mic. 7.3, 4. Ieremie 49.7, 8.
  • 8. God will declare himselfe to bee in a spe­ciall manner against them, Ier. 50.29, 31. Hosea 9.7.

Quest. But what sort of men are in danger of such a fearefull visitation?

Ans. All men that liue in any grosse sinne a­gainst their knowledge: such as are the sinnes of bloud, whoredom, deceit, swearing, prophanation of the Sabbath, reproaching of Gods people, and the like, Ier. 5.9.29. and 9.9. especially where all or any of these things bee found in men.

First,What kind of men in particular are in danger of this kind of visitation. extreme securitie in sinning: God will surely visit such as are settled in their lees Zeph. 1.12.

Secondly, such as place their felicitie in offen­ding: such as loue to wander, Ier. 14.10. such as do euill with both hands earnestly, as the Prophets phrase is, Mic. 7.3, 4.

[Page 538]Thirdly, such as continue and persist in wicked courses: such as cast out wickednes, as a fountaine casts out water, as the Prophet speaketh, Ier. 6.6.

Fourthly, especially when men are shamelesse and impudent in offending, Ier. 6.15. and 8.12.

Vse 2. And therefore men should be instructed, and take notice of their condition and danger, and foresee this day, and vse all meanes to preuent it: for if men would turne vnto God speedily, and re­pent with sound sorrowes for their sins, the Lord would perhaps bee intreated, and forgiue the punishment of their sinnes, Ier. 6.6.

Thus of the visitation of iustice. The visitation of mercie followes.

God visits in mercie & so either in temporall things, a [...] in the case of blessings: or in case of affli­ctions.The visitation of mercie is, when God comes amongst men, to shew some speciall mercie: and so hee visits either about temporall or about spiri­tuall things. In temporall things hee visits either in the case of blessings or afflictions: In respect of temporall blessings, hee visited Sarah, Gen. 21.1. when he gaue her a sonne. In respect of afflictions, God visites, first, when hee sends such crosses as doe trie the innocencie and sinceritie of his ser­uants: so, Psal. 17.3. Secondly, when hee lets his people knowe that he takes speciall notice of their distresses & sorrowes: so, Exod. 4.3. Thirdly, when hee sends his seruants speciall deliuerances: and so to visit, is to deliuer.

Thus of the visitation in temporall things, which is not heere meant.

God visits in spirituall things di­uersly.The visitation in spirituall things, is the gracious prouidence of God, reuealing his marueilous and [Page 539] euerlasting mercies vnto his Elect: and so hee visits man either by Christ, or by the Gospell: Hee vi­sited his people, when hee sent his Son to redeem them, Luke 1.68.78. and 7.16. And so hee doth, when hee sends his Gospell by his seruants to this end, to reconcile the world to himselfe in Christ: and thus God visited the world, when hee sent his Apostles vnto all Nations, preaching the Gospell. And thus hee doth visit a Nation, when hee sends the Gospel thither; or a congregation, when by the preaching of the Gospel, he gathereth a people to himselfe. There is also a personall and particu­lar visitation, when God singles out this or that man from the rest, and conuerts him. And so in this place to visit the Gentiles, is to gather out of the Gentiles a people to his name, as in the case of this Apostle is said, Acts 15.14. Which place may well expound this: So that the day of visitation, if wee respect whole congregations, is the time when God sends them the powerfull preaching of the Gospel, and doth thereby muster and presse a peo­ple to himselfe. And if we respect particular per­sons, it is the day when God effectually calls them, and conuerts them.

Six things may bee obserued here, concerning this visitation of grace.

First,Doct. 1. that till God doe visit wicked men with his grace from heauen, there will bee no sound re­formation in them. Their naturall conscience, the shame and punishment of men, with the Lawes of Princes or Churches, may restraine somewhat of the excesse of sin, but it is God's visitation onely, [Page 540] that can work a sound and thorow reformation. There is little hope, these Gentiles, which speake euill of Christians, will euer cease till the day of this visitation: and the reason is plaine, because the lawes and punishments of men cannot giue a new nature to the offenders, which God in his vi­sitation doth.

The vse is therfore to confirm the patience of the Saints.Vse. They haue endured, and must endure the euill words of wicked men: and if any bee wearie of their iniuries, they must pray earnestly for their conuersion. The Wolfe doth not alwaies deuour, nor the Fox alwaies deceiue, nor the Dog alwaies bark: but yet so long as they keepe their natures, they will occasionally discouer themselues. And therefore also Christians should learne discretion, not to trust worldly men ouer-farre, vpon newe pretenses.

Doct. 2. Secondly, hence we may note, that God hath his time wherein hee will certainely visit his people: Hee hath his day of visitation. All that God hath giuen vnto Iesus Christ, shall bee gathe­red in Gods due time. That which was beleeued concerning the gathering of the Israelites out of Egypt into Canaan, that God would surely visit them, & bring thē out, Gen. 50.24, 25. is much more certainely to bee beleeued of the spirituall gathe­ring of the elect out of this world, into the Canaan of God. And the reason is, because their con­uersion depends vpon Gods eternall decree: and the foundation of God remaineth sure, and hee knoweth who are his, 2. Tim. 2.19. And not one [Page 541] of them shall bee lacking in the season of their cal­ling, Ier. 23.3, 4. The vse may bee for the confir­mation of our faith, concerning the calling of such Iewes, Gentiles or Christians, as yet sit in darknes and want the meanes of their Calling. God hath his day, and he wil prouide for the calling of all his Elect, how vnlikely soeuer the worke seeme to vs.

Doct. 3. Wee may hence note, that when God hath visited a man with his grace, hee is suddenly become another man, hee is wonderfully altered, from that which hee was before.

The vse should be for tryall:Vse. No Christian can haue comfort that they are visited with the grace of God, if old things be not past with them, and all things become newe: for euery man that is visited with true grace,

First,Signes of such as are truly visited in mercy with true grace. hath a newe Master: Hee will no longer serue any strange Lord; For hee hath couenanted firmly with God to work righteousnes. Rō. 6.16, 18

Secondly, hath newe acquaintance: He that was wont to walk onely in the way of the wicked,Hee hath a new Lord. is now a companion onely with them that feare God:New ac­quaintance. all his delight is in them, Psal. 16. and 26.

Thirdly, hath a new Language: he speakes not as he was wont to do:A new language. For first, his Mother-toūg he hath vtterly forgotten: Hee cannot curse, and lye, and sweare, and raile, and speak bawdily as he was wont to doe, which the coherence shewes here. Secondly, in diuers things he is furnished on a sud­den with Language he could neuer speake before, as in the gift of prayer, hee can now speak to God, and discourse with him, that before was dumbe, [Page 542] and opened not his mouth, Zephany 3.9.

A newe heart.Fourthly, hee hath a newe heart, Zach. 36.27. Which appeares in what hee hath not, which was wont to bee in his heart; and in what hee hath, which was neuer there before. And for the first branch, there is not in him any of these things fol­lowing: By the way vnderstand, that these things are not in him as they were wont to bee (that is) they raigne not, or they lie adying: and so,

  • Speciall signes of a newe heart.
    1. There is not guile there; his spirit is with­out guile, Psal. 32.2. Which hee shewes, in that he auoydes lesser sinnes aswell as greater,
    It hath no guile.
    is as good in secret as well as in companie, and serues God in his spirit aswell as his body, and is more desirous to bee good then to seeme so.
  • It is void of malice.
    2. There is not malice and passion there, Esay 11. His outrageous and boisterous passions are sub­dued: of a Lyon, he is become a Lamb.
  • It is void of couetous­nes.
    3. There is not couetousnes or the loue of world there, 1. Ioh. 2.14. Iam. 4.3. he vseth the world, but hee admires it not. His taste in earthly things is lost. Hee sauours them not as hee was wont to do, Romanes 8.5.

And as in these things hee is new, so in the fur­niture of his heart hee is in many things new: for,

First, hee hath a new minde, hee is renewed in the spirit of his minde:A newe mind. which appeares, first, by his capablenes in spirituall things: Hee that lately could not perceiue the things of God, 1. Cor. 2.14. now heares as the learned: hee sees in a mirour: hee lookes and wonders. The vaile is taken away, that before couered him, 2. Cor. 3. Secondly, by the [Page 543] transcendencie of the things hee knowes: he can now looke vpon the verie Sun: hee knowes God, and Iesus Christ, and the glory to come, and the excellent things giuen of God, which the heart of the natural man neuer perceiued, Iohn 17.3. 1. Cor. 2.9, 10. Thirdly, by the instrument by which hee vnderstands, hee sees by faith and not by Reason in many things: he is fully assured in diuers Myste­ries, where sense and reason can giue-in no euidence.

Secondly, hee hath newe affections: I will in­stance but in two of them;New affecti­ons. sorrow and loue. He is another man in his sorrowes: which appeares both in the causes, and in the remedies of his sorrowes. For the causes, hee was wont neuer to be sorry for any thing but his crosses: now hee is seldome sorry for any thing but his sinne. And for the re­medies, he was wont to driue away his sorrowes with time, sleepe, and merry company: but now nothing but good words from God will ease him: his loue may be tryed by the obiects: and so whom hee can loue truely, or whome hee doth loue ve­hemently. Hee can loue his very enemies, which hee could neuer doe before. And hee doth loue Iesus Christ, though he neuer sawe him, 1. Pet. 1.9. and so feruently, as hee accounts all things in the world, which hee was wont so much to dote vp­on, but as losse and dung, in comparison of Iesus Christ, Phil. 3.8, 9.

Fiftly,A new be­hauiour dis­couered di­uers waies. hee hath a new behauiour with him: hee is wonderfully altered in his carriages, which appeares in diuers things. First, in respect of the [Page 544] rule of his life: hee walks by rule, Gal. 6.16. Hee commeth daily to the light, to see whether his works be wrought in God, Ioh. 3.21. This is a signe, giuen by our Sauiour Christ in that place. Hee is carefull to order his behauiour by the warrant of the word, Phil. 2.15, 16. Secondly, in respect of the meanes hee vseth for the ordering of his conuersa­tion. And so hee taketh presently hold on Gods Sabbath: hee is carefull to keepe the Sabbath, ho­nouring that day aboue all others, and esteeming, and desiring it for the imployment thereof. Thus the Lord of the Sabbath saith, that it is a signe by which hee knowes the people, whether they bee truly sanctified or not, Exod. 31.13. Esay 56.2.6. Thirdly, in respect of the things hee imploies himselfe in, hee chooseth the things that please God, Esay 56.4. his desire is now in all his waies, to do such things as might bee acceptable to God: Whereas before, hee was most carefull to please men, or to satisfie his owne lusts. Fourthly, in re­spect of the manner of his conuersation. In which foure things especially shine: first, humility: hee shewes that the great opinion of himselfe is taken downe in him: hee is lowely and meek, which hee hath learned of Christ, Math. 11.29. Secondly, af­fectionatenes: Hee loues the name of the Lord, and to bee the Lords seruant, Esay 56.6. Hee doth good duties with good affections. Thirdly, contempt of the world: hee can deny his profit, pleasure, ease, credit, or the like. Hee is no more worldly or eaten vp with the cares of life: He doth not esteeme of earthly things as hee was wont to [Page 545] doo, and shewes it in his carriage. Fourthly, sin­cerity: for, now hee hath respect to all the Com­mandements of God: hee desires to bee sanctified throughout: he is not mended in many things, as Herod was, but is, in some degree, mended in all things: and, besides, hee is carefull of his waies in all places and companies: hee will obey absent, as well as present, Phil. 2.12. and there is no occasion of offense in him, 1. Iohn 2.8. He is wonderfull wa­ry and carefull to prouide, that he may not bee an offense to any body: and withall, hee is not found to striue more for credit, than for goodnes; or more ready to iudge others, than to condemn him­self, Iames 3.17.

If this description be throughly waighed, it will bee found to contain the most liuely and essentiall things that distinguish tru