[Page] THE CHRISTIAN ARTE OF THRIVING: WHEREBY A MAN MAY become rich to God.

Or,

A Sermon vpon MATTH. 6. 33. Preached, and dedicated to the Right Worshipfull Company of Haberdashers in London, by G. D.

First seeke the Kingdome of God, and his righteous­nesse, and all these things shall be added vnto you.

AT LONDON Imprinted by FELIX KYNGSTON. 1620.

THE CHRISTI­AN ARTE OF THRIVING.

MATH. 6. 33.‘But seeke yee first the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnesse; and all these things shall bee added vn­to you.’

THe very foundation of a Christian conuersation, is a right perswasion concerning our happinesse. This there­fore being a matter of so great consequence, our Sa­uiour Christ endeuoureth in the latter part of this Chapter, to rectifie our iudgements therein: shewing both wherein wee are not to repose our felicity, and also wherein we are to place our happinesse. Lay not vp (saith he) treasures to your selues on earth; that is, place not Vers. 19, 20. your treasure, your chiefest good, your happinesse in any earthly things, which are transitory and momentany; but lay vp your treasure, that is, place [Page 2] your happinesse and felicity in heauen, where per­fect and eternall happinesse is onely to be found. For where your treasure is, there will your heart bee al­so: Vers. 21. that is, Whatsoeuer you esteeme your happi­nesse or chiefest good, on that your heart will bee set; vnto that, your desires, your studies and ende­uours will bee referred. If therefore your iudge­ment, which is the eye of your mind, bee sincere, Vers. 22. and iudge aright of your chiefest good; the whole body (as it were) and course of your life and con­uersation will be sutable thereunto. But if your eye Vers. 23. be euill, if you iudge peruersly of your happinesse, placing your chiefest good in earthly and worldly things: then will your conuersation bee worldly and wicked. As for example: If a man set his hart on pleasure, as his chiefest good, the whole frame of his life will bee voluptuous: if on riches, the whole course of his life will be couetous: if on ho­nour and promotion, his whole carriage and de­portment will bee ambitious. But if a man shall esteeme the eternall saluation of his soule, as his chiefest good: his life will be spirituall and religi­ous, as hauing his conuersation in heauen. Now if Phil. 3. 20. any man shall thinke (as it is to be feared, too ma­ny doe) that he can take a wiser course, then that which our Sauiour prescribeth; for he will place his treasure and happinesse both in heauen and in earth too: our Sauiour telleth him, that this can­not be: for this were to serue two masters that are Vers. 24. at variance. You cannot serue God and Mammon: you cannot be worldlings, and true Christians. You cannot prefix vnto your selues two supreme ends, [Page 3] which be repugnant one to the other. If therfore your heart be chiefly on the earth, then is not your happinesse in heauen.

Our Sauiour hauing laid this foundation con­cerning the supreme ends; in the next place, hee giueth direction concerning the meanes defti­nated and referred thereunto; shewing, that as our treasure is not to be placed on earth, so our chiefest care should not be set on earthly things. Therefore I say vnto you, Take no thought for your Vers. 25. to 33. life, &c. And on the other side, as our happinesse is to be reposed in heauen: so we should first and principally seeke the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnesse. And if any shall demand, Alas, how then shall we liue, what course shall we take to thriue in this world? Our Sauiour answereth, that if wee first seeke the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnesse, all these things shall be added vnto vs.

These words therefore containe two things: a
  • Precept.
  • Promise.

The precept is two-fold; the one, Negatiue, which is but implied; the other, Affirmatiue, which is expressed. The Negatiue, (That we are not first to seeke the things on earth) is implied partly in the aduersatiue coniunction But, which Luk. 12. 31. [...]. presupposeth a Negation going before; and part­ly, in the word First: for if wee are first to seeke the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnesse, then are we not first to seeke earthly things.

But heere it may be demanded, Whether our Sauiour Christ do forbid al care for the things of [Page 4] this life: for fo he may seeme, vers. 25. Wherefore I say vnto you, take no thought for your life, what you shall eate or drinke, or wherewith ye shall bee clothed: for if wee may not take thought for necessaries, then much lesse for superfluities. And Ioh. 6. 27. Labour not for the meate that perisheth, but labour for that which endureth vnto euerlasting life. I an­swere by a twofold distinction: First, that he for­biddeth [...], (for so he speaketh, vers. 25. & 31.) [...]. so Phil. 4. 6. the immoderate, the carking, the distrustfull care, whereby the heart is diuided, (as the word im­porteth) and remoued from God: not the mode­rate and prouident care, which elsewhere is com­mended in the Scriptures. Secondly, that he for­biddeth inordinate and preposterous care, where­by earthly desires are more cared for, than the glory of God in our saluation: not the orderly care of earthly things, which is fubordinated to the glory of God, and our owne saluation, which seemeth to be implied both in this place, and in the 12. of Luke. For, sirst, seemeth to haue relation to a second: and therefore when hee biddeth vs, Primum relati­uè dicitur adse­cundum. Nic. Lyr. Seeke first the Kingdome of God, hee doth not forbid, nay, he seemeth to imply, that in the se­cond place, and in a secondary respect, we should seeke the things of this life: the former (as Au­gustine saith) vt bonum nostrum, the latter, vt ne­cessarium De Serm. Dom. in monse. lib. 2. nostrum, necessarium autem propter illud bonum: the former, as our chiefe good; the lat­ter, as necessary helpes and supplies whilest we are in this life, as in the way towards happinesse. In the 12. of Luke hauing in like sort disswaded from [Page 5] worldly cares, in the 32. verse he saith: But rather seeke the kingdome of God: and so is the exhortati­on, Iohn 6. 27. to bee vnderstood comparatiuely, Labour not so much, or labour not chiefly for the meate that perisheth. For our Sauiour himselfe in this chapter hauing directed vs, first, after Gods glory, to seeke his kingdome and his righteous­nes; his kingdome in the second petition of the Lords Prayer, his righteousnes in the third: in the fourth petition he teacheth vs to aske, and by as­king, to seeke the things of this life. And what we are to aske in prayer, we are to seeke and to labour for in our practice, and to endeuour in our liues, lest we may seeme to tempt God.

From the immoderate and preposterous care for the things of this life, our Sauiour disswadeth by two arguments; the one, because all such care is vaine and superfluous; the other, because it is hea­thenish and not beseeming Christians. That it is vaine, he proueth by foure reasons: first, à maiori, from the more, or greater. The life is more then the Vers. 25. meate, and the body then rayment: therefore he that gaue the life, will prouide food to sustaine it; and he that prouided the body, will giue rayment to clothe it, namely, to them that moderately and orderly seeke it.

The second and fourth, à minori, from the Vers. 26. lesse. God feedeth the Fowles without their care­fulnesse; Vers. 28, 29, 30. and doth not onely clothe, but also a­dorne the Lillyes of the field, which are of no value in comparison of men. Which as they were made for mans vse, so are they supplied with necessaries [Page 6] for mans sake. If therefore God prouide for them, how much more will he prouide for vs, if we shall depend vpon his prouidence in the moderate vse Vers. 27. of lawfull meanes? The third is from the like. For God hath set to all men a stiat, as of their sta­ture, so of their estate: as therefore it were a vaine and idle thing for a man to carke and care for the increase of his stature; so likewise for the aduance­ment of his state aboue that pitch, which God hath limited.

The other argument is, because such care is no way beseeming Christians: first, because it is Hea­thenish. The Gentiles, that doe not know God, nor Vers. 32. acknowledge his prouidence, seeke immoderately and preposterously after these things. But you must not be like vnto them, as before hee had said. Se­condly, it becommeth Christians, who haue a hea­uenly Vers. 8. Father, which knoweth what is needfull and expedient for vs better then our selues, to cast their care vpon him, and to depend vpon his Fa­therly prouidence. Children that haue wise, lo­uing and able parents, doe not vse to take thought for their foode and rayment, or other necessaries, but depend vpon the prouident care of their na­turall Parents. How much more ought we, who are the children of God, to depend vpon the pro­uidence of our heauenly Father? For if earthly Pa­rents doe know to giue good things to their children; Math. 7 11. how much more will our heauenly Father giue good things to them that aske him? who in loue, wisdome and power doth infinitely more excell earthly Pa­rents, then the heauens exceede the earth.

[Page 7] But this argument, that God is our Father, may yet further be enforced. Is God our Father in Christ? then hath he giuen his owne Sonne forvs, that by him we might be made the sonnes of God. If therefore (as the Apostle argueth) God hath so loued vs, that he spared not his onely begotten Rom. 8. 32. sonne, but gaue him ouer vnto death for vs; how shall not he with him giue vs all things that are needfull and expedient for vs? Againe, is God our Father? then are we his sonnes: and if sonnes, then also heires, Rom. 8. 17. heires of God, and coheires with Christ; and there­fore to vs also belongeth that comfortable exhor­tation of our Sauiour Christ, Luke 12. 32. Feare not, little flocke, be not distracted with distrustfull Luk. 12. 32. care, or feare of want, it is your Fathers pleasure to giue you a Kingdome. For if God wil giue vs an hea­uenly and euerlasting Kingdom; can we imagine that he will denie vnto vs the pettie commodities of this life? So much of the negatiue precept or dehortation.

In the affirmatiue precept or exhortation, we are to note three things. The obiect, or thing to be sought, the dutie of seeking, the order and de­gree, first, The obiect is twofold, the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnes.

As touching the former: there are two king­domes in the world; the one of darkenes, the other of light. The former is the kingdome of Satan, who is called the Prince, yea, the god of this world, Ioh 12. 31. 2. Cor. 4. 4. Ephes. 2. 2. 2. Tim. 2. 26. who ruleth effectually in the children of disobe­dience, carrying them captiue to the obedience of his will: vnto this kingdom all men naturally, [Page 8] since the Fall of Adam, are subiect, and in that subiection doe remaine, vntill they bee translated into the Kingdome of God. The consideration whereof ought to moue all, that are not in the state of grace, earnestly and speedily to seeke the Kingdome of God. For vntill they belong to Gods Kingdome, they are subiects of the king­dome of Satan.

The Kingdome of God is twofold,
  • Vniuersall.
  • Speciall.

His vniuersall Kingdome is called the King­dome of his power and prouidence. Of which it is said, Psalm. 103. 19. The Lord hath prepared his Throne in the Heauens, and his Kingdome ruleth ouer all: vnto this Kingdome all creatures what­soeuer, be they neuer so rebellious, are subiect. For although in respect of their intent, they set them­selues against the will of God; yet in respect of the euent, they become (though vnwittingly) the instruments of God, to bring to passe his good purposes. Of this kingdome our Sauiour speak­eth not in this place. Neither shall wee need to seeke it, but voluntarily to submit our selues vnto it, whereunto all creatures of necessity are sub­iect.

His speciall kingdome is that whereby hee ru­leth ouer his Elect, who are not onely his king­dome, but his Family also, whereof one part is in heauen, which is the Church triumphant; the o­ther Ephes. 2. 19. Gal. 6. 10. on earth, which is the Church militant. In regard whereof the speciall kingdome of God [Page 9] hath two parts; the kingdome of Glory, and the kingdome of Grace. The kingdome of Glory, to the Elect, is a state of Glory, and eternall happi­nesse in heauen; where they hauing vnion with Christ, and by him communion and fellowship with the whole Trinity, enioy the chiefest good, which is God himselfe, in whose presence there is Psal. 16. 11. fulnesse of ioy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for euermore.

The kingdome of Grace, vnto the Elect, is a state of Grace, and by it, of happinesse begun in this life, standing in the meanes and degrees of saluation, wherein we hauing by the Spirit, vnion with Christ as our Head, who is our life, and with whom our life is hid in God, Colos. chap. 3. vers. 3, 4. and hauing also communion with him in his merits, to our iustification, and in his grace and efficacy of his Spirit, to our sanctification, doe passe the time of our pilgrimage, as in his feare, so also in expectation of euerlasting hap­pinesse. 1. Pet. 1. 17. Tit. 2. 13. The former kingdome is to bee sought as our supreme end, and absolute felicitie; the latter, as the meanes destinated thereunto. Yet both as our happinesse: that, vt beatitudo patriae; this, vt beatitudo viae; that, as the happinesse com­prehensorum, who are in actuall possession; this, as the happinesse viatorum, who liue in expectation: and therfore both also are to be first sought: that, in intention, as the end; this, in execution, as the meanes to the end. For whosoeuer desireth to be an inheritour of the Kingdome of Glory, where God vnto his Saints is all in all, must first bee a [Page 10] faithfull subiect in the Kingdome of Grace, wher­in God ruleth in his Saints by his Word and Spi­rit.

But our Sauiour requireth vs to seeke, not on­ly the Kingdome of God, but also his righteous­nesse. Where perhaps it may seeme strange, that this addition is heere made, seeing righteousnes is included in the kingdome. For as the Apostle saith, the Kingdome of God standeth not in meate or drinke, or in other things appertaining to this life, Rom. 14 17. but in righteousnesse and peace, and ioy in the holy Ghost. Nothing therefore being idle and super­fluous in the Word of God: we are to conceiue, that this addition, for more distinct explication, was needfull in respect of our corruption; who would all of vs be thought to seeke Gods King­dome; whereas but few (in comparison) doe care for his righteousnesse, which notwithstanding is in execution and practice, first to be sought as the chiefe thing in the Kingdome of grace, (the other two, viz. peace, and ioy, being the fruits and con­sequents Rom. 5. 1, 2. therof) and as the high way to the King­dome of glory. Now the righteousnesse which we are to seeke, is not our owne, but his righte­ousnesse: as the Glosse hath obserued, Iustitiam di­cit eius, vt per eum, non per vos iusti sitis: That wee may be righteous, not in and by our selues, but in and by him. For Christ, who knew no sinne, was 2. Cor. 5. 21. made sinne, that is, a sinner for vs, by imputation of our sinne vnto him, that we, who are sinners in our selues, might be made the righteousnesse of God in him, that is, righteous before God in him, by [Page 11] imputation of his righteousnesse vnto vs. The righteousnesse therefore, which we are to seeke, is not the righteousnesse, which is of the law, for that is called our righteousnesse: the which, if we shall seeke with the lewes, to be iustified thereby; we Rom. 10. 3. shal with them misse of the righteousnes, which is of God. But it is the Euangelicall righteousnes, or that which is reuealed in the Gospell, which wee are commanded to seeke, which is called the righ­teousnes of God. The which, as it is the chiefe subiect of the Gospell, as the Apostle sheweth; I am not (saith he) ashamed of the Gospell of Christ, for therein Rom. 1. 17. is the righteousnes of God reuealed: and againe, that we are not iustified by the righteousnes of the law, but by that righteousnes which without the law is Rom. 3. 21, 22. reuealed in the Gospell, euen the righteousnes of God, which is by faith in Iesus Christ: so is it first and principally to be sought: and in comparison there­of, we are with the Apostle to esteeme our owne righteousnes, and whatsoeuer priuiledges we may seeme to haue by the law, as dung, as losse: that we may win Christ, and be found in him, not hauing our Phil. 3. 8, 9, 10. owne righteousnes, which is of the law; but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousnes which is of God by faith; that we may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship or communion of his sufferings, being made cōformable to his death. And this righteousnes is twofold, being either im­puted through faith, or infused by the Spirit: the former, is the righteousnesse of iustification; the latter, of sanctification. The former is called, the righteousnesse of God, not onely because it is from [Page 12] God, and accepted of him, as the latter; but also because it is the righteousnesse of Christ, who is God: in which sence the blood of Christ is called the blood of God; for Christ is called Iehouah our Act. 20. 28. Ier. 23. 6. righteousnesse: and he was giuen vnto vs of God, to be our righteousnesse. Not that we are iustified by 1. Cor. 1 30. the essentiall, or vncreated righteousnesse of the Deitie (which was the error of Osiander,) but be­cause Christ, by whose righteousnesse we are iu­stified, is God. For to speake properly, we are iu­stified by that righteousnesse, which Christ per­formed in his humanitie, in the daies of his flesh, both passiue and actiue: whereupon the Apostle faith, that we are iustified by his blood, that is his passiue righteousnesse, and by his obedience, that is Rom. 5. 9. his actiue righteousnesse. For as by the disobedience Rom. 5. 19. of one, (the first Adam) many are made sinners; so by the obedience of One, (the second Adam) many are made righteous. The righteousnesse therefore, by which wee are iustified, is the righteousnesse of Christ, who is God, without vs, in him. The righ­teousnesse of sanctisication is in vs, from him: for of his fulnes we haue receiued grace for grace. For by the merit of Christ his obedience, death, and Ioh. 1. 16. resurrection apprehended by faith, and imputed vnto vs, we are iustified: and by the vertue, power and efficacy of the same obedience, death, and re­surrection applied vnto vs by the holy Ghost, we are sanctified. The former is perfect, but not inhe­rent: the latter is inherent, but not perfect. There­fore of iustification there are no degrees; but of sanctification there are, according to the measure [Page 13] of grace receiued. By the former, we are intituled vnto Gods kingdome; by the latter, we are fitted and prepared thereunto: for no vncleane thing can enter into the Kingdome of God. The former is the title whereby we claime our inheritance, the latter is the cognizance of those which are heires: therefore it is said, that by faith we receiue Act. 26. 18. and 20. 32. remission of sinnes, and inheritance among those that are sanctified. And therefore also it is called the in­heritance Colos. 1. 12. of the Saints.

These two sorts of righteousnes, though diffe­rent in themselues, must concurre in the same sub­iect: and therefore we are to seeke the one, as well as the other; and not like carnall gospellers, to be all for iustification, and nothing for sanctification. For Christ was giuen vnto vs of God, as well to bee our sanctification as our iustification: and out 1. Cor. 1. 30. of his side there issued, as well the water of ablu­tion, 1. Iohn 5. 7. as the blood of redemption. Yea, he hath re­deemed vs, as well from the dominion of sinne, as from the guilt of it. And therefore no man can be assured of his iustification, who is not in some measure sanctified. For God hath sworne, that whom he redeemeth, to them he will giue grace to worship him in holines and righteousnes. Whosoeuer Luk. 1. 73, 74, 75 2. Cor. 5. 17. Gal. 5. 24. Rom. 8. 1. is in Christ, is a new creature. Whosoeuer are Christs, they crucifie the flesh with the. lusts thereof, walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. And as the righteousnesse of sanctification is an vnseparable companion of iustification, in so much as no man is to be counted righteous, but he that doth righte­ousnesse: 1. Iohn 3. 7. so is it a necessary forerunner of glorifica­tion. [Page 14] Without holines no man shall see God: and, Vn­lesse Heb. 12. 14. a man be borne againe, he cannot see the kingdome Ioh. 3. 3. of God. Knowye not that the vnrighteous shall not in­herit the kingdome of God? So much of the obiect. 1. Cor. 6. 9. Gal. 5. 21.

The dutie is to seeke: which word presupposeth a losse of those things, which we are commanded to seeke. For by sinne all of vs naturally are ex­iles from the Kingdome of glory, falne from a state of grace and happinesse, into a state of diso­bedience and misery, depriued of the glorious I­mage of God, wherein wee were created in true righteousnesse and holinesse, and haue got vnto our selues the ougly shape of Satan. In so much that our naturall and carnall wisedome is diuel­lish: the very [...] of our corrupt nature, the na­turall Iam. 3. 15. inclination and disposition of our minds is not onely an enemy, but enmity against God. In Rom. 8. 7. which respect our Sauiour doubted not to say vn­to Peter, Auant, Satan, for thou doest [...], mind, sa­uour, Math. 16. 23. affect not the things which be of God, but those that be of men. This our losse and misery is seri­ously to bee acknowledged, and bewailed of vs; that by the acknowledgement and sense thereof, we may be stirred vp studiously to seeke the King­dome of God, and the righteousnesse which wee haue lost. For Christ our Sauiour came to saue those which were lost, to redeeme captiues, to iu­stifie those, who by sinne were guilty of damnati­on, to sanctifie those which were defiled & pollu­ted with sinne. Wherefore if we be not lost in our selues, we need not a Sauiour; nor a Redeemer, if we be not captiues; nor a Iustifier, if wee bee not [Page 15] guilty; nor a Sanctifier, if we be not polluted; nei­ther shall wee seriously seeke the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnesse, if wee doe not truly acknowledge that we haue lost them.

Now this word Seeke, importeth a studious de­sire, care, and endeuour to find and to recouer that which we haue lost. The studious desire must bee expressed in hearty, earnest, and faithfull prayer vnto God. For what wee aske in prayer, wee doe seeke at the hands of God. Our care must shew it Math. 7. 7. selfe in a studious meditation, and serious pur­pose to vse all good meanes, and to auoid the im­pediments. Our endeuour must appeare in the care­full and diligent vsing of the means, and auoiding the impediments, and in doing whatsoeuer lieth in our power, and not to be wanting to our selues in any thing which we are able to performe. For wee are not so to cast the care of our saluation vp­on God, that we should neglect it our selues. He Augustine. that made vs without vs, will not saue vs (I speake of such as come to yeeres of discretion) without our owne endeuours. For though in respect of some mens extraordinary calling, as also in re­gard of the first granting of the meanes of salua­tion, to those which before sate in darknesse, it be true, that God is found of them who sought him not; yet, where the ordinary meanes of saluation are affoorded, men are bound to seeke God in his or­dinances, and carefully to vse those meanes which God hath graciously vouchsafed. Neither haue any a promise that they shal find, vnlesse first they seeke.

[Page 16] Thus then wee are to seeke, the Kingdome of glory, and the eternall saluation of our soules. First, by begging this mercy at the hands of God, which he hath promised to them that call vpon him. Secondly, by seeking the Kingdome of Rom. 10. 13. Luk. 23. 42, 43. grace, and his righteousnesse, as the meanes thercto; that is, by an earnest desire, a seri­ous care and a true endeuour, to attaine to the meanes and degrees of saluation in this life, viz. our Vocation, whereby wee are brought into his Kingdome; our Iustification and Sanctification, whereby we are made partakers of his righteous­nesse. Thirdly, by endeuoring and giuing all di­ligence to make our Election, Vocation, and Iu­stification sure vnto vs by the workes of Sanctifi­cation, that is, of piety and righteousnesse. For if we doe these things, an entrance shall abundantly bee ministred vnto vs, into the euerlasting Kingdome of 2. Pct. 1. 10, 11. our Lord and Sauiour Iesus Christ. And to encou­rage vs carefully and diligently to seeke the King­dome of God and his righteousnesse; let vs re­member, that hee which hath commanded vs to seeke, hath also promised that we shall finde. Math. 7. 7, 8.

But the chiefe thing which we are to insist vp­on, is the order and degree of seeking, required in the word first. For where we are enioyned to seek first the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnes, two things are implied. First, in order, before all other things, that is, in the first place: and first, in degree, aboue all other things, that is, chiefly and principally. As touching the former; It may bee obiected, that in the Lords Prayer we are taught, [Page 17] to seeke first, not the Kingdome of God, or his righteousnesse, but the glory of God in the first Petition, his Kingdome in the second, and his righteousnes in the third. It is true indeed, that among all things whatsoeuer, the glory of God is first to be sought, as the supreme vniuersall end, whereunto our saluation it selfe is subordinated. But heere our Sauiour teacheth vs, what to seeke first, in bonis nostris, in those good things which appertaine vnto vs: and so our eternall saluation & happines is first to be sought, as our own chiefe good, and as the Philosophers call it, [...].

Now that we are first, and without any further delay, to seeke the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnesse, it appeareth, first by the comman­dement of God, not onely in this place, but else­where also in the Scriptures. Esa. 21. 12. If you Esa. 21. 12. will seeke, seeke, returne, come: for this [...], as we call it, importeth haste. As if hee had said, If yee will seeke the Lord indeed, seeke him without delay, returne by repentance, come by faith. Esa. 55. 6. Seeke the Lord whilest he may be found, and call vpon him whilest he is neere. Psalm. 95. To day if yee Psal. 95. 7. will heare his voyce, harden not your hearts, (as they do, which delay to yeeld obedience to his Word) but whilest it is called to day, euen to day, before Heb 3. and 4. to morrow, turne vnto him. And agreeable to the Canonicall Scriptures is that exhortation of the son of Syrach: Delay not (saith he) to turne vnto the Lord, and put not off fro day to day: for suddenly shall Ecclus. 5. 7. the wrath of the Lord come forth, and in thy security thou shalt be destroied, & perish in the day of vegeance.

[Page 18] 2 By the practice of the faithfull, and namely, Psal. 63. 1. of Dauid, who professeth, Psal. 63. 1. that early hee would seeke the Lord. And Psal. 27. 8. when the Lord said, Seeke yee my face, his heart made an­swere to God with this Eccho of a ready minde, Thy facc, Lord, will I seeke.

3 By other pregnant reasons, whereby is ma­nifested the absurd folly of those, who put off their conuersion, and care of their saluation vntill their old age, or last sicknesse; as if they meant to doe that last (if euer they doe it) which Christ requi­reth to be done in the first place. For that which is commonly said, is most of all verified in this particular: Mora trahit periculum, Delay breeds danger. And that because of the vncertainty both of a longer life, and of repentance to bee attained after delay. For we haue no charter or lease of our liues, but are tenants at will: who must giue vp our soules into the hands of God, whensoeuer it shall please him to call them, hauing no assurance that we shall liue vntill to morrow. And therefore it were extreme folly to deferre our conuersion vnto God, or seeking of his Kingdome (where­upon our saluation dependeth,) though it were but vntill to morrow. But suppose we should liue so long as wee vainly promise to our selues; what assurance haue we, that we shall then repent? For first, it is not a thing in our power to repent when we list, but it is the free gift of God, which ordi­narily he offereth in the meanes of our saluation. But if we harden our hearts against those meanes, as those doe, which voluntarily delay their tur­ning [Page 19] vnto God: what hope will there bee of our future conuersion, when the meanes ordained by God for our saluation, by our delay become a meanes of our obduration; when the Word of God, which to the faithfull is the sauour of life vnto 2. Cor. 2. 16. life, through our default becommeth vnto vs the sauour of death vnto death?

2 Againe, if we will not accept the grace of God, when it is offered, as daily he intreateth vs by his Ministers and Embassadours, that we would 2. Cor. 5. 20. be reconciled vnto him; what assurance haue we, that hereafter wee shall haue so much grace as truely to desire it. Or if we seeme to desire, and to begge it at the hands of God, how can we pro­mise to our selues, that if we will not heare God when hee speaketh vnto vs, hee should heare vs when we speake to him? Doth not the wisdom of God protest against impenitent sinners, (as those Prou. 1. 24, 28. are which delay their repentance) that for as much as he called, and they would not heare; therefore, when in their distresse they should call vpon him, he will not answere, neither will be found of them when they should seeke him. And to the same purpose the Prophet Zachary concludeth: Therefore it is come Zach. 7. 13. to passe, that as he cried, and they would not heare; so they cried, and I would not heare, saith the Lord of Hosts.

3 Moreouer, God seemeth to deale with vs, as Popilius Lenas, the Romane Embassadour, dealt with King Antiochus, who giuing a dilatory an­swere Hieron. in Dan. 11. to his message, with his staffe he drew a cir­cle about the King, and required him in the name [Page 20] of the Senate and people of Rome, to giue him a direct answere, before he came out of that circle. So the Lord hath inclosed vs in a small circle of time, which is called the day of our visitation, and the acceptable time, which at the most is the short Luke 19. [...]1. period of this transitory life, which vanisheth like 2. Cor. 6. 2. a vapour: requiring vs, when with Antiochus wee Iam. 4. 14. seeke delaies, before we come out of that circle, to giue him our answere. For if when the Lord gi­ueth vs a time to repent, as he did to that Iezabel, spoken of Apoc. 2. 10. and we doe not repent, we Apoc. 2. 10. are to feare the like iudgements, that are there threatned against her; or the like curse which Christ gaue to the figge tree, hauing, like an hy­pocrite, leaues, but no fruite as yet; Let no fruite Mauh 21. 17. growe on thee from hence-forward for euer.

4 Againe, repentance by delay groweth more difficult. For when repentance is delaied, sinne is nourished, and being nourished, getteth strength within vs, growing in strength, as wee growe in yeeres. Therefore as crooked plants, whilest they be young, may easily be bowed or broken at your pleasure, the which if you suffer so to continue vn­till they be growne trees, you shall not be able to stirre: so whilest our sinnes are but young (as by originall sinne, if it be not increased by practice and continuance, they are but euill inclinations and dispositions) they are more easily subdued; which if by continuance they grow to bee confir­med habits, they will subdue vs. For custome be­commeth as it were another nature, so that a man will as easily forgoe a member of his body, as for­sake [Page 21] a sinne whereunto he hath been accustomed. Can the Aethiopian change his skinne, or the Leopard Ierem. 13. 23. his spots? then may you also doe good, that are accusto­med to doe euill, as the Lord saith by his Prophet Iereney.

5 But suppose, that thou maist seeme to re­pent at the last, which many (alas) do not so much as seeme to doe, dying either desperate as Iudas, or sencelesse as Nabal: yet what assurance hast thou, that thy repentance which is wrung from thee by extremitie of affliction, will bee sound? Doth not the Psalmist testifie, that the Israelites, Psal. 78. 34, 36. howsoeuer in outward semblance and profession, when the Lord did slay them, they sought him, and enquired early after God; notwithstanding they did but flatter him with their mouth, and lyed vnto him with their tongues: for their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his couenant? Doth not wofull experience shew, that many, whilest they are in any extremity by sicknes or otherwise, will seeme very penitent, and promise great mat­ters, if God would be pleased to restore them to their former estate; who when they are restored, returne to their former courses, and perhaps be­come worse then euer they were before. Euen as water that hath been heated, when it cooleth a­gaine, is colder then before? For as when a man draweth a bowe, it followeth his hand: but when he letteth his hand goe, it returneth to his former estate: so, many, whilest the hand of God is vpon them, whereby he seeketh to draw them vnto him­selfe, doe seeme to follow his hand; who when the [Page 22] Lord taketh away his hand, returne to their for­mer condition, and perhaps turne aside like a deceitfull bow: which is a fearefull signe, that when Psalm. 78. 57. Hos. 7. 16. they howled vnto the Lord vpon their beds, they cried not from their heart, as the Prophet Hosea speaketh, and that when they seemed to turne vn­to Hos. 7. 14. the Lord, and to seeke him early, their heart was not vpright, as Dauid testifieth of the Iewes. The Psalm. 78. 37. which I speake, not to censure those which bee gone, but to admonish vs, that we doe not pre­sume. For howsoeuer we are in charitie to iudge the best of them, who before their departure haue seemed to repent; yet we are to be iealous of our selues, and to feare, if we neuer haue repentance vntill by strong hand it be extorted from vs; lest perhaps it will not be sound. And this was the third reason manifesting the folly of them, who deferre this duty of seeking Gods Kingdom from day to day.

4 If we first seeke the Kingdome of God and his righteousnes, we shall not onely finde them; but also all the things of this life, which are expe­dient for vs, shall be added ouer and aboue them by way of aduantage, as our Sauiour here promi­seth. But on the other side, if wee first seeke the things of this life, and put off the care of our sal­uation to our latter daies; as we shall be in great danger, for earthly things which are vaine and momentany, to lose an eternall kingdome in Hea­uen: so haue we no assurance, that we shall ob­taine our worldly desires. For it is the blessing of God that maketh rich. But if we belong vnto him, [Page 23] we are to make account, that he will crosse our preposterous desires, and by crosses and afflicti­ons, as it were by weeping crosse, bring vs to him­selfe, and weane vs from worldly desires, that we may mind and affect the things which are aboue.

5 But suppose we attaine to our vvorldly de­sires, hauing not yet sought the Kingdome of God, nor cared for the saluation of our soules: then will not these worldly goods be good vnto vs: for as the wise man saith, All these things are Ecclas. 39. 27. for good to the godly, so to the sinners they are turned vnto euill. For to a worldly man that see­keth not the Kingdome of God, and his righte­ousnes, what is pleasure, but the lust of the flesh; what riches, but the Mammon of iniquitie; what honour, but the pride of life; what learning and wisdome, but armata nequities, whereby men are enabled to doe the more hurt; what long life it selfe, but a longer continuance in sinne? But on the other side, if we first seek the kingdome of God and his righteousnes; all these outward things shall be added vnto vs, as blessings and fauours of God, and pledges of his loue: or if we may seeme to want any temporall blessings, the seeming want thereof shall not hinder our happinesse. Blessed are you, saith Luke 6. 20. 21. our Sauiour to the faithfull, though you be poore; blessed though you mourne, &c. for though they seeme poore, yet are they truly rich; yea, rich to God, Luke 12. 21. not onely because they haue a treasure laid vp in Heauen, but also because godlines with contentednes is great riches, nei­ther 1. Tim. 6. 6. is any man so rich as hee that is contented: [Page 24] though they be abridged of worldly pleasures, yet they onely haue the true delight: to them a good conscience is a continuall feast, and hauing peace Rom. 5. 1, 2. and 14. 17. of conscience, they haue also the ioy in the holy Ghost, which, as S. Peter saith, is vnspeakeable and 1. Pct. 1. 8. glorious. Though they may seeme base in the eyes of the world, yet who are so truly honourable as they, who are the sonnes and heires of God, and coheires of Christ? Though they are simple, yet Rom. 8. 17. who so wise as those that feare God? who so lear­ned as those who know God to bee their Father, Psalm. 111. 10. Christ to be their Sauiour, and the holy Ghost to be their sanctifier? Though their life sometimes be short, yet is it recompenced with immortality; and who may be thought so long-liued, as those in whom our Sauiour hath begun a spirituall life, which neuer shall haue end?

6 Vntill we seeke the Kingdome of God and his righteousnes, we remaine in the kingdome of Satan, and in the state of damnation, out of which we haue need to haste.

7 Lastly, vntill wee seeke the Kingdome of God and his righteousnesse, we doe nothing but sinne, this duty being the first which we can doe without sinne. And therefore by delaying this duty, which ought first to bee done, we doe no­thing but adde sinne to sinne, and hoord vp wrath against the day of wrath.

You see what our duty is; let vs now consider our practice. Do not very many that would seeme Christians, deferre their seeking of Gods King­dome, and care of their saluation, vntill their old [Page 25] age or time of sicknesse; making choice of that time, which is most vnfit to beginne their repen­tance? and yet when age or sicknesse commeth, they still defer their turning vnto God and seek­ing of his Kingdome, so long as there is hope of life. For what is the course that these men take, when God by sicknes summoneth them as it were to appeare before him? first, they send to the Phy­sician. That they send to the Physician, I mislike not, so it be done in due order. But first we should labour to make our peace with God, humbling our selues vnder his hand, confessing and bewai­ling our sinnes, whereby we haue prouoked him to anger, turning to him that smiteth vs, and fly­ing vnto him by hearty, earnest and faithfull praier for the pardon of our sinnes, that the cause of our affliction being remooued, the affliction it selfe may either be remooued or sanctified vnto vs. Then are we to vse Physicke and other lawfull helpes, depending on the blessing of God in the vse of them. But these men first send to the Phy­sician, and whilest they haue any hope of life, they neuer seeke to God, nor take care what shall be­come of their soules. But when the Physician gi­ueth them ouer as past recouerie; then, and neuer till then, they send for the Minister; then, and ne­uer till then, they seeke God and his Kingdome. As though their meaning were, whē they leaue to liue, then onely to begin to liue to God, and ha­uing all their time led the life of the Reprobate, to dye neuerthelesse the death of the iust. But be not deceiued, qualis vita, finis ita; such as hath bin [Page 26] the life, such commonly is the end: and ordinarily the Greeke saying is true, [...], Of an euill life, there is an ill end. I take not vpon mee to reftraine Gods mercy from those, who at the last turne truely vnto him: but I speake of that which is ordinary. It is to be feared, that not one of an hundred, who haue al their life time deferred their repentance, doth repent at the last houre: and therefore it is an hundred to one, that thou shalt not then repent, if thou deferrest till then.

But the Kingdome of God is also to be sought first, aboue all things, that is, chiefly and princi­pally, and that for these reasons. 1. Because the saluation of our soules in the Kingdome of Glo­ry, and the degrees of saluation in the Kingdome of Grace, is our true happinesse. The former, as beatitudo patrie: the other, as beatitudo viae: and Regnum ergo & iuslilia Dei bo­num nostrum est, & boc appe­tendum est, & ibi finis constitu­e [...]dus, propter quod facimus, quaecunque faci­mus. August de serm. Domini in Mont. hb. 2. being our happinesse, and consequently our chiefest good, are in our iudgements to bee estee­med, in our affections to be desired, in our ende­uours to be laboured for aboue all other things; nothing else being to bee desired or sought for otherwise, than as it may bee a furtherance, or at least no hinderance thereunto. As for the things of this life, they are so farre from being the chiefe good, as that to them that set their hearts vpon them, and seeke them chiefly, they are not good at all. All these things (saith the Wise man) are Ecclef. 39. 27. for good to the godly, but to the sinners they are turned into euill. For to those that seeke them chiefly, they are not onely vaine and vnprofitable, as Salomon testifieth, but through their owne de­fault, Ecclef. 1. 2. & 2. 11. [Page 27] hurtfull also and pernicious vnto them; as being not onely thornes to choke the seed of grace in them; but also the baits of sinne, and snares of the diuell. For which cause Salomon saith, The Pro. 1. 32. prosperity of fooles destroyeth them. Againe, The saluation of our soule is an eternall good. These To happinesse two things re­quired, fulnesse & perpetuity. Psal. 16. 11. things, if they be good, are but momentany. For as the whole earth, compared to the heauens, is but as a poynt of no sensible quantity; so our whole time vpon the earth, is but as a moment or poynt of time, in comparison of eternity. Who therefore would preferre the momentany vfe of earthly vanities in this world, before the euerlast­ing fruition of the superexcellent eternall waight of glory in heauen?

Thirdly, consider the wickednesse and profane folly of those who chiefly seeke worldly things. For first, their eye being euill, their whole life is answerable, as was said before. 2. They, which Ver. 23. professe religion, and chiefly seeke earthly things, as all worldlings doe, are notorious hypocrites; giuing their face and outward profession to God, but their heart, with all their chiefe desires, stu­dies and endeuours to Mammon. 3. Those that 1. Ioh. 2. 15, 16. chiefly loue the world, and the things of this world, the loue of God is not in them. Yea, being Iam. 4. 4. louers of the world, they are found to be haters of God; for the amity of this world is enmity a­gainst God. 4. Those who remouing their harts from God, doe set them on the world, are Idola­ters, or as Saint Iames calleth them, Adulterers, who haue no inheritance in the Kingdome of [Page 28] God. 5. Those who chiefly affect the world, doe subordinate the profession of Religion, and the care of keeping a good conscience to worldly de­sires; and therefore in time of triall they fall a­way. Whereas contrariwise, they whose treasure is in heauen, and haue their Anchor of hope fixed there, will not suffer themselues either to be allu­red to that which is euill, by the desires of the world: which they esteeme as vanities, in compa­rison of heauenly happinesse; or to bee terrified from that which is good, by the afflictions and ca­lamities of this life, which are not worthy of the glory that shall bee reuealed. 6. That which is Eccles. 10. 9. said of couetous persons, is true of all worldlings, that they haue set their soules to sale, taking for them (as the price thereof) the vanities of the world: And therefore are more foolish and pro­fane than Esau, who sold his birth-right for a Gen. 25. 33, 34. Heb. 12. 16. messe of pottage. For these men (for matters of like value, and lesse necessity) make away an euer­lasting inheritance in the Kingdome of heauen.

Finally, those, which professing themselues Christians, doe chiefly seeke earthly things, doe cast away their soules; not onely losing their in­heritance in heauen, but also plunging them­selues into hell. For they which walke, that is, make profession of religion, and yet chiefly minde earthly things; the Apostle saith, that their end is Phil. 3. 19. damnation. And they which sowe to the flesh, Gal. 6. 8. must looke of the flesh to reape corruption.

Fourthly consider, the doctrine of the Gospell teaching vs to deny all worldly lusts, Tit. 2. 12. [Page 29] the vow of Baptisme, to renounce them: the duty of all true Christians, and the practice of Gods children. For so many of vs as are true Christians, are also to be perswaded, that we are elected, cal­led, redeemed, regenerated vnto life eternall in the kingdome of God. And consequently, that we are heires, yea, Citizens of heauen, and pilgrims Phil. 3. 20. Heb. 11. 13. and strangers vpon earth, who ought to vse bac vita, vt via, this life, as a way to a better life; and the things of this life, as helpes onely, and not as hindrances in our way; not to set our hearts vp­on Heb. 12. 1. them, but to vse the world, as not abusing it, 1. Cor. 7. 31. Psal. 131. 2. Col. 3. 1, 2. being weaned from worldly desires, and minding the things which are aboue. For it were a foule shame for vs, who are appointed to heauen, and called to Gods Kingdome, to be wholly or chief­ly addicted to the earth, like earth-wormes, or Serpents that crawle vpon the earth; like vn­cleane fishes, which wanting finnes, doe lie in the mud; like blind beetles, which hauing wings, notwithstanding are, for the most part, poring in the dung of the earth.

And lastly, consider the practice of the Godly; of Moses, who when he was forty yeeres old, refu­sed Heb. [...]1. 24, 25, 26. to be called the sonne of Pharaohs daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, then to enioy the pleasures of sinne for a season: esteeming the reproach of Christ (so hee calleth the afflictions of the members of Christ) greater riches then the treasures of Egypt. And the reason of all this was, because hee had respect to the recompence of reward; that is, preferred [Page 30] the saluation of his soule to all worldly respects: for he that hath an eye to the reward both of the godly and wicked, will not onely chuse to be a bond-seruant among the people of God, rather then to be a Gallant in Pharaohs Court; but hee will also chuse to be as poore a Lazar, as Laza­rus himselfe, rather then to be another Diues. Luk. 16.

Of Dauid in the fourth Psalme: There be ma­ny that say, Who will shew vs any good? seeking Psal. 4. 6, 7. chiefely after worldly profit. But, Lord, saith he, lift thou vp the light of thy countenance vpon vs, shew thy selfe fauourable and gracious vnto vs in Christ our Sauiour. This he would more reioyce in, then the worldlings themselues in all their prosperity. For, though he were a great and glo­rious King, yet he reposed not his happinesse nei­ther in profit, nor in pleasure, nor in promotion: Psal. 32. 1, 2. and Psal. 119. 1 but in the saluation of his soule, and the degrees thereof, as iustification and sanctification. And in Psal. 27. 4. This is that one thing which he desi­red Psal. 27. 4. of the Lord, and which hee saith hee would seeke after; being indeede that one thing, where­of by the testimony of our Sauiour there is ne­cessity. Luk. 10. 42.

Of the Apostles, who forsooke all they had in this world, to follow our Sauiour Christ. But chiefely of the Apostle Paul, who though hee had Phil. 3. 8, 9. many things to glory in: yet hee esteemed all as dung, yea as losse, in comparison of his iustifica­tion and saluation by Christ.

The vse hereof is two-fold; reproofe of world­lings, instruction to our selues, And first, we are to [Page 31] reprooue the folly of worldlings, who through­out the whole booke of the Prouerbs are Salomons fooles: who are not, as wee say, penny-wise and pound-foolish, but body-wise and soule-foolish. For what greater folly can there bee, then for momentany fruitiō of earthly vanities, to lose an euerlasting kingdome in heauen; for the pleasure of a moment (as this whole life is no more, nor yet so much, compared to eternity) to incurre euerlasting misery; for the trifles and vanities of this world, to make away our soule, which is of more worth vnto vs, then all the world besides?

And secondly, the profanenesse and wicked­nesse of worldly-minded men; who either prefer the obtaining and enioying of their worldly de­sires, before not onely the meanes of their saluati­on, Math. 22. 5. Luk. 14. 18, 19, 20. as those in the Gospell; but also before the glo­ry of God, and their owne saluation: or else sub­ordinate their profession of Religion to their worldly respects: who when they ought to affect the things of this life, so farre onely as they con­curre with their spirituall good: contrariwise af­fect and professe Religion onely so far, as it may stand with the obtaining or enioying of their worldly desires. And therefore euen in their pro­fession To these men, not Godlinesse is gaine, but gaine [...] godlinesse, 1. Tim. 6. of Religion, wherein they would seeme to seeke the Kingdome of God, they chiefly seeke (like hypocrites) their worldly ends.

The instruction which wee are to learne from hence, is also twofold. For first, if we are chiefly to seeke the Kingdome of God, and his righteous­nesse, then must wee hunger and thirst after the [Page 32] grace of God, and his spirituall blessings in hea­uenly things, aboue all the things in this world. Then our chiefe care also must be, to keep a good conscience, and to vse all good meanes whereby our saluation may be furthered: to enter into a re­ligious course of life, wherein wee may walke be­fore God in sincerity and truth: to make choyce of our calling, of our company, of our marriage, as may best stand with our spirituall good. But chiefly and aboue all, to auoid those things which doe hinder the saluation of our soules. Now the soule is lost by sinne; for the soule that sinneth, shall die. Seeing therefore the soule, which is of more worth vnto vs than all the world besides, is lost by sinne; we ought euery one to haue this vn­fained purpose and settled resolution, not to sinne wittingly and willingly, though wee might gaine the whole world thereby; and much lesse the particular and pettie desires thereof. Should we not sinne to gaine the whole world; and shall euery trifle in the world moue vs to sinne? For what is that which by sinne wee gaine, in comparison of the world; and what is the whole world to a mans soule? For what will it profit a man, if hee shall Mark. 8. 36. gaine the whole world, and lose his owne soule? Or what shall a man giue in exchange for his soule?

Secondly, wee are to learne (as wee haue been taught) to place our happinesse and felicity in the saluation of our soules. For then the eye of our mind shall bee single and sincere, and the whole course of our life and conuersation will bee spiri­tuall [Page 33] and religious. Then will all our desires, cares, studies and indeuours tend chiefly to this end. Then shall we alwaies, with Moses, haue an eye to the recompence of reward; and with our Sauiour Christ, for the ioy that is set before vs, despise all earthly things, Heb. 12. Then shall wee passe the time of this our pilgrimage, in a longing expecta­tion of euerlasting happines. And therefore thrice happie are they, who haue laid vp their treasure in Heauen, and reposed their felicitie in the saluati­on of their soules.

Now followeth the promise which Christ hath annexed to his commandement: And all these things shall be added vnto you. Where, before wee come to the words, we may, out of the promise in generall, not vnprofitably obserue two things: viz. the gracious dealing of God with vs, and our vngracious indisposition in respect of spirituall things. For whereas God, in respect of his abso­lute dominion ouer vs, might enioyne vs those things which appertaine to his glory onely, with­out respect of our good, as men vse to deale with their seruants; yet he commandeth vs such things as doe tend to our owne good. And that he might allure vs to seeke our owne good, he addeth graci­ous promises thereunto.

The thing which our Sauiour here enioyneth, is, That we should seeke our owne happines. And that we may be allured thereunto, he hath promi­sed, that seeking, weshall find. And not only that, but because we are sensuall, and too much addi­cted to the things of this life, he promiseth, that if [Page 34] we shall first seeke our true and euerlasting happi­nes, we shall not only obtaine it; but in the meane time he will giue vnto vs a supplie of all these out­ward things, which naturally we doe so much de­sire. Wherein the Lord dealeth with vs, as louing Parents deale with their children: who vse to al­lure them to learne or practise some thing which may be for their singular good, by promising vn­to them some pretty or pleasing reward, where­withall as children they are more affected. The which gracious goodnes of God should allure and encourage vs, to seeke first his kingdome and his righteousnes. Secondly, we may obserue our owne vntoward disposition to that which is spiri­tually good. For whereas all men naturally and necessarily desire happines: yet when we are infor­med, that our happines consisteth in spiritual bles­sings in heauenly places, we haue no mind there­unto. Neither can we, to the seeking thereof, bee moued either by the commandements of God, though wholy intending our good, or yet by the promise of spirituall blessings, vvhich are vvorth many vvorlds; but the Lord must be faine to al­lure vs to seeke our eternall happines, by promi­sing vnto vs temporall revvards; vvhich are but trifles to please children vvithall, in comparison of the other. And yet such is the vvayvvardnes of a great number, that neither by the commande­ments of God, nor by his threatnings, neither by the promises of a better life, nor by the promises of this life, they can bee moued to affect or seeke spirituall things. The which vntoward indisposi­tion [Page 35] is so much the more absurd, because it is con­trary to the profession of Christians. For Christi­an religion teacheth vs to deny worldly lusts. And Tit. 2. 12. in the vowe of our Baptisme we haue promised to renounce thē. And professing our selues Christi­ans, we professe our selues pilgrims in this world, and citizens of Heauen: and therefore ought to be weaned from earthly desires, and affect and mind the things which are aboue. But to come to the promise it selfe.

In handling whereof, I will first explaine the words as they lye in order, and then confirme the truth of this promise; that it may serue as a for­cible argument to moue vs, to seeke first the king­dome of God and his righteousnes.

The coniunction And, is here vsed as a note of consequence; as ifhe had said, Seeke first the king­dome of God and his righteousnes, and then all these things shall be added vnto you. Which tea­cheth vs, that these temporall benefits, by the pro­mise and blessing of God, are consectaries of spi­rituall grace; that is, doe follow vpon our study and care in seeking first the Kingdome of God and his righteousnes: idest, saith Augustine, Conse­quentur, si ista quaeretis. But if any man shall here­upon infer, that then (belike) the things of this life are promised to them that shall neglect them al­together: I answere, They are promised, not to those that tempt God, or liue inordinately: but to them that seeke them in a secondary respect, and subordinate their desire and care in seeking of them, to their spirituall good. God would haue [Page 36] euery man ordinarily to liue in a lawfull calling, and to bee industrious therein: to get his liuely­hoode in the sweate of his browes, and walking ordinately, to eate his own bread, 2. Thes. 3. 11, 12. Act. 20. 35. Ephes. 4. 28. The slothfull persons are sent to the Pismire to schoole, of her to learne in­dustry and prouidence, Prou. 6. 6. The House­holder is bound in conscience to prouide for his Family, and the Father for his children, 1. Tim. 5. 8. 1. Cor. 12. 14. and the good housewife is high­ly commended, Prou. 31. Our Sauiour Christ commandeth vs, by prayer to seeke our daily bread; and what we desire in our prayer, we are to seeke in our practice. This promise therefore see­meth to be the same in effect with that, Psalm. 128. 1, 2. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, and walketh in his waies; for thou shalt eate the labour of thine hands. That is, If wee first seeke his King­dome, and his righteousnes, he will blesse our la­bours and indeuours for these outward things. They shall follow vpon our pietie and chiefe stu­dy for heauenly things, without our carking and immoderate care; but not ordinarily, without our prouident care and honest endeuours. Wee are therefore first to seeke the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnes; and then to seeke, in a secondary respect, the things of this life, as helpes in this our way to a better life. For as I faid before, the word first, seemeth to haue relation to a second; and when we are commanded to seeke heauenly bles­sings first, it is implied, that in a second place wee are to seeke the blessings of this life. This if wee [Page 37] doe, we are in the vse of honest meanes, to depend on the blessing of God according to his promise, casting our care vpon him, and referring the suc­cesse vnto God, not troubling our selues, or ta­king thought That is, [...], sorbid den, Luk. 12. 29. Tu praesens cura, Domine commit­te futura. what shall be the euent, the know­ledge whereofbelongeth onely to God.

These things] Which be needfull and expedi­ent for this life. For God hath not therefore com­manded vs first to seeke his kingdome, and the life to come, that we should want the necessary helps of this life: but that hauing sought that first, wee might more fully enioy these, with the fauour and blessing of God. As if hee should say (saith Chrysostome) I forbid you to seeke these things; not that you may not receiue them, but that you may receiue them more abundantly. For so hee saith,

All these things] God therefore dealeth liberal­ly with vs, giuing vs richly all things to enioy. If 1. Tim. 6. 17. Psal. 23. 1. he be our shepheard, we shall lacke nothing, Psal. 23. If wee feare him, there shall bee no want vnto vs, Psalm. 34. If we walke vprightly before him, he Psal. 34. 10. will deny nothing vnto vs that is good, Psalm. 84. Psal. 84. 11. Come to our Sauiour therfore, you who say, Who will shew vs any good? and hee will shew you the Christian [...], or Arte of Thriuing. First Psal. 4. 6. (saith he) seeke the Kingdome of God, and his righte­ousnesse, and all these things shall be added vnto you. For indeed, Godlinesse (with contentednesse) is 1. Tim 6. 6. [...], 1. Tim. 4. 8. great Thrift, hauing the promises not onely of the life to come, but of this life also. This then is the most compendious way for a man to bee [Page 38] rich vnto God, and to attaine to all things that are needfull and expedient, & to enioy them with Luk. 12. 21. the fauour of God, whose blessing maketh rich. Prou. 10. 22.

But the principall word to be obserued heere, is, added. All these things shall be added vnto you. For first, by this word is presupposed, that those who seeke first the Kingdome of God and his righte­ousnesse, shall obtaine those things which they principally seeke; and ouer and besides them, all these outward things shall be added vnto them. As to Salomon, when he asked wisedome of God, the Lord did not onely giue him wisedome, but 1. King. 3. 13. thereunto added riches and honour. This there­fore must stirre vs vp, seriously and cheerfully to seeke, knowing that our labour shall not bee in vaine in the Lord. I said not to the seed of Iacob, 1. Cor. 15. 58. Esa. 45. 19. Seeke ye me in vaine, saith the Lord. For as hee hath commanded vs to seeke; so hee hath promi­sed, that seeking, we shall finde, Math. 7. And in Math. 7. 7, 8. this place, that we shall not onely finde his king­dome, and his righteousnesse, which chiefly wee seeke; but that thereunto shall bee added all the things of this life which are expedient for vs.

Secondly, wheras he saith not, All these things shall be giuen, but that they shall bee added, hee teacheth vs, that temporall blessings are not promised as the principall reward of our seek­ing: but as accessaries and additions giuen ouer and aboue the principall, by way of aduantage. As [...], au [...]arij, v [...]l Mantisz [...]. Tradesmen, when they will deale bountifully with their buyers, doe vse by way of aduantage, to adde somthing to the number, waight, or mea­sure [Page 39] of that commodity which they vtter. So that spirituall blessings in heauenly places, are the re­wards which principally are giuen; temporall blessings are but pettie rewards, and additions, which are added by way of aduantage. This ther­fore teacheth vs againe, that the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnesse, are principally to be sought, as the principall blessings; and that they deale preposterously and absurdly, who chiefly seeke the temporall, or for their sakes seeke the spirituall: seeing the temporal are but smal addi­tions, and accessories, and auctaries, appendices and consequents of the former.

To you] namely, that seeke first the kingdome of God, and his righteousnesse. For neither the kingdome of God and his righteousnesse are pro­mised as the principall; nor temporall blessings, as additions and auctaries: but onely to those who performe the duty, which is the condition of the promise. But against the truth of this promise, two things may be obiected. The former, that to many, who doe not first seeke the kingdome of God and his righteousnesse, all these things are giuen. The latter, that to many, who doe seeke first the kingdome of God and his righteousnesse, all these things are not giuen.

To the first I answere, that when worldlings, who doe not first seeke the kingdome of God and his righteousnesse, abound with worldly benefits: it may first be doubted, whether they be giuen vn­to them of God. For if they bee gotten by vnlaw­full meanes, they are not receiued from God as [Page 40] his gifts, but rather from the diuell, as the prices for which they sell their soules vnto him. Or se­condly, if they be giuen of God to a man that set­teth his heart vpon the world, immoderately and preposterously seeking the same, it is to be doub­ted, that they are granted of God in iudgement and anger; as to one whom he hath giuen ouer to his owne lusts. And therefore that they are but (as they say of the gifts of enemies) [...], bles­sings Prou. 1. 32. Psal. 73. 17, 18. Ier. 12. 3. Numb. 11. 33. which are turned into curses. Thus the Lord granted Quailes to the Israelites, importu­nately desiring and longing for them, when they had been better to haue bin without them. Those that chiefly set their hearts vpon the world, and doe enioy their hearts desire, are to feare lest they be like the cattel, which going in yt best pastures, are fatted for the slaughter. But suppose, that the Ier. 12. 3. Lord doth giue thē as temporal rewards of moral vertues, or wages for some outward & tēporalser­uice: yet this promise is not verified of thē. For to them, these things, though they be giuen, yet they are not added, because they are giuen alone. For alas, these men haue their portion in this life, Psal. Psal. 17. 14. 17. and all their good things they receiue whiles they liue heere, Luk. 16: and in this life, as our Luk. 16. 25. Math. 6. 2, 5. Sauiour speaketh of other hypocrites, they re­ceiue all their reward. But these are not the por­tion or reward of Gods children, whose inheri­tance is in heauen: but small additions vnto their principall rewards. Greater blessings are promi­sed and giuen to them, to which these are added.

To the second I answere, that promises of tem­porall [Page 41] benefits, which are not absolutely good, are not to be vnderstood absolutely: & that to the godly, who first seeke the kingdome of God, & his righteousnes, all these things are added, so far, as they are expedient for Gods glory, & their owne spirituall good: so far, as they are blessings, and not curses; so far, as they do, or ought to seek or desire them. For with these limitations, all promises of temporal blessings are to be vnderstood. For these outward things, if they be not subordinat to Gods glory, and our own spirituall & euerlasting good, they are not to be esteemed good things, nor bles­sings. And therfore, as they are not within yt verge of Gods promise; for promises are of blessings, not of curses: so they are not, or ought not to be within the compasse of our desire. For they that first seek the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnesse; in so doing, subordinate all their worldly desires to Gods glory, & their owne spiritual good: desiring nothing in this world, but so farre as it may stand with Gods glory, and their owne saluation.

Now it is manifest, that it is good many times for the children of God, to be vnder the crosse: and to be afflicted with want of some outward things. But this want, these crosses, doe not hin­der their happinesse, but further their good. For they are happy, notwithstanding them, Luk. 6. 20, 21. And therfore to the promise of temporal bles­sings, Mark. 10. 30. made to those which first seeke Gods King­dome with purpose to renounce all for Christs sake; God hath annexed the promise of the crosse. God in loue doth chastise his children for their Heb. 12. 10. [Page 42] profit: and they cannot denie, but that it is good Pss. 119. 71, 75. Lam. 3. 27. for them that they are afflicted. Yea, Dauid pro­nounceth them happy, whom the Lord doth Psul. 94. 12. chastise, and teach them out of his Law. Those that first seeke the Kingdome of God, and his righteousnesse, haue this priuiledge; and as Esay calleth it, this heritage, that as nothing shall Esa. 54. 17 Rom. 8. 28. hurt them; so all things whatsoeuer, as well ad­uersity as prosperity, shall, by the mercifull dis­pensation of Gods Fatherly prouidence, worke together for their good. This therefore is the disposition of all those, who first seeke the King­dome of God, and his righteousnes. Not to affect, either with couetous worldlings, aboundance, or with superstitious phantasticks, voluntary pouer­ty. Nor to seeke to be their owne caruers, and much lesse to resolue, that they will attaine to great matters in this world (for they that will be 1. Tim. 6. 9. rich, whether God giue them lawfull meanes or not, doe fall into the snare of the Deuill, and are ready to swallow his baites) but to submit them­selues to the good, and most wise prouidence of God, seeking and expecting from him such a mea­sure of temporall blessings, as hee in his Fatherly wisedome doth know to be most expedient for them. This was the prayer of the wise man, Pro. Pro. 30. 8. 30. And this is the prayer, which by the direction of our Sauiour Christ, we are daily to make: Giue me not aboundance, nor giue me not penury, but, Feed me cibo dimensi mei, which our Sauiour cal­leth [...], that is, that portion of tem­porall Math. 6. 11. benefits, which God knoweth to be most [Page 43] fitting and expedient for vs. Therefore notwith­standing these obiections, this promise made to those, which first seeke Gods Kingdome and his righteousnesse, is most true; and as it properly be­longeth to them, and not to worldlings: so is it euer performed towards them. Psal 9. 10.

And that wee may not onely giue vndoubted credit to this gracious promise, but also, in sure affiance and faith therein, be moued to seeke first the Kingdome of God and his righteousnesse; let vs not onely consider his trueth in his promise, Math. 7. 7, 8. Psal. 34. 10. Heb. 13. 5. Pro. 10. 3. Psal. 9 10. but also his fidelity in performance, Psal. 37. 25. His all-sufficiencie, in being a plentifull reward to those that seeke him, Gen. 15. 1. and 17. 1. His bountie, giuing all things aboundantly to enioy, 1. Tim. 6. 17. His prouidence, both generall, who giueth all things to all; all things that are need­full and expedient, (Act. 17. 25.) to all creatures, euen to those which were made for mans vse. Math. 6. 25, 26, &c. the which prouidence of God, the brute creatures seeme to acknowledge, Psal. 104. 27. and 145. 15. That those men may know themselues to bee more brutish then the brute Psa 145. 15, 16. beasts, who doe not acknowledge Gods proui­dence, and in some measure depend thereon. And also speciall, towards the faithfull, Psal. 106. 4, 5. and 34. 16. For they are of his family, and therfore no doubt hee will prouide for them, 1. Tim. 4. 10. He is their Pastor, and therefore they shall lacke nothing, Psal. 23. 1. Hee is their heauenly Father, and therefore will supply their wants, Math. 6. 32. and 7. 11. They are his children in Christ, and in [Page 44] him haue right to all things, 1. Cor. 3. 22. and therefore, in his iustice, will not denie them any thing that is good for them, Psal. 84. 11. To them he hath giuen his only Sonne; and therefore, with him, will in his loue giue all things profitable, Ro. 8. 32. To them, according to his good pleasure, he hath appointed a Kingdome. And therefore they neede not feare, but that they seeking it first, both that Kingdome shall be giuen vnto them: and that all these things also shall be added ouer & aboue, by way of aduanthge, Luk. 12. 31, 32.

The Lord for his mercies sake giue vs all grace, first to seeke his Kingdome, and his righteousnes: that we may obtaine his righteousnes in the King­dome of grace, whereupon will follow peace of conscience, and ioy in the holy Ghoft, with a sup­ply of all needfull blessings in this life: and may in the end attaine to euerlasting happinesse in the Kingdome of Glory, where we shall haue the fruition of God himselfe, who is the chiefeft. Good, through Iesus Christ our Lord and only Sauiour. To whom with the Father, and the holy Spirit, be all praise and glory for euermore.

Amen.

FINIS.

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