Geo. Stradling Rever. in Christo Pat. Gill. Epis. Lond. a Sac. Domest.

A SERMON PREACHED before the KING AT VVHITE-HALL, October the 12th 1662.

BY RICHARD ALLESTREY, D. D. Chaplain then in Attendance.

Published by his MAJESTIES Command.

LONDON, Printed by Tho. Roycroft, for John Martin, and James Al­lestrey, at the Bell in S. Paul's Church-yard. M DC LXIII.

JOHN XV. 14.

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

THE words are a conditi­onal assertion of Christ's concerning his Apostles, and in them all Christi­ans: and they do easily divide themselves into two parts. The

First is a positive part, wherein there is a state of great and Blessed advantage, which they are declared to be in present possession of: in these words, Ye are my friends.

In which there are two things that make up that advantage, 1. a relation, 2. the person related to. Friends, and My friends. The

Second is a Conditional part, wherein there are the terms, upon which that pos­session [Page 2] is made over, and which preserve the Right and Title to them: in these words, If ye do whatsoever I command you: in which there are two things required as Conditions.

I. Obedience, If ye do what I com­mand you.

II. That Obedience Universal; If ye do whatsoever I command you.

The first thing that offers it self to our consideration, is the Relation, Friends

It is a known common-place truth, that a Friend is the most useful thing that is in whatsoever state we are: it is the Soul of life, and of content. If I be in pro­sperity: We know abundance not in­joy'd, is but like Jewells in the Cabinet, use­less while they are there: it is indeed no­thing but the opinion of prosperity. But tis not possible to enjoy abundance otherwise then by Communicating it: a man possesseth plenty onely in his friends, and hath fruition of it meerly by bestowing it. If I be in adversity; to have a person whom I may intrust a trouble to, whose bosom is as open, and as faithful to me, as tis to his [Page 3] own thoughts, to which I may commit a swelling secret; this is in a good mea­sure to unlade, and to poure out my sorrow from me; thus I divide my greivances, which would be insupportable, if I did not disburthen my self of some part of them: now there is no bosom so safe as that where friendship lodges: take Gods o­pinion in the case, Deut. xiii. 6. If thy bro­ther the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosome, or thy friend that is as thine own soul. This is the highest step in the Gradation. And there is all the reason in the world: for though Parent, and Childe, are as neer one to other as any thing can be to part of it self; Husband and Wife are but two different names of the same one, yet these may become bit­ter and unkind: a Parent may grow cross, or a Childe refractory, a Mother may be like the Ostrich in the Wilderness, throw off her bowels with her burthen; and an ungracious Son is constant pangs and tra­vail to his Mother, his whole life gives her after-throws which are most deadly: Dis­likes also may rest within the Marriage [Page 4] bed, and lay their heads upon two wed­ded Pillow's; but none of these unkind­nesses can untie the relation; that ends not where the bitterness begins, he is a Parent still though froward, and a Childe though stubborn; but a true friend can be nothing but kind: it does include a deerness in its essence, which is so inseparable from it, that they begin and end together: a man may be an Husband without loving, but cannot be a lover, that is a friend, with­out loving.

And sure to have no one friend in this life, no one that is concerned in any of my interests or me my self, none that hath any cares or so much as good wishes for me, is a state of a most uncomforta­ble prospect. The Plague that keeps friends at a distance from me while I live, out of the sphere of my infection, and af­ter gives me death, hath yet less of Malig­nity then this; that leaves me the com­passions, the Prayers, all the solitary comforts, all indeed but the outward entertainments of my friends: that, though it shut the Door against all com­pany, [Page 5] yet, puts a Lord have Mercy on the Doore: But this I now described hath none of that, hath no good wishes, no­thing else but hate, is worse then a perpetu­al Pistelence.

Yet neither is this State so comfortless, in respect of this life, as not to have a friend in the concernments of the Life to come: none that hath so much kindness for my Soul as every man hath for his E­nemies beast, which if he see faln in a Ditch he will at least give notice that it may be helpt out thence: No one, that when a Sin, like to that Falling Sickness in the Gospel (and it is such indeed with­out a Parable) is casting me into the Water, quenching my parts, my reason, and the Immortal sparke within me, or throwing me into the Fire, raising Lascivious heats within, which after will break out into Hell Fires; none yet that will stretch out his hand to catch me, or to pull me out: None that does care to see me Perish to e­ternity, or that values my Soul, which yet did cost the blood of GOD, at a words speaking: This is to be like Dives in the [Page 6] Flames, to whom they would not lend the help of the Luke xvi. 24 25. tip of a finger, or give the kindness of a drop of Water: I am as it were on the other side the Gulfe already. Here is the use of friendship, the onely noble one, that's worthy of that blessed quality: when I have one that will be an assistant Conscience to me, who, when that within me sleeps, or is benummed, will watch over my actions; will testifie them to my Face, will be as faithful to me as the Conscience should be, hold a Glass to my Soul, shew me the staines, and the proud tumours, the foule Ulcers that are there, and then will fret, and rub, or prick, lance, and corrode, to cure those tumours, and do oft those spots, such an one is a familiar Angel-Guardian, is truely of that blessed heavenly ranke, and onely lesse then the friend in the Text, the person related to, and my next part.

My Friends. There are three things from which men use to take the measures of a friend.

First, From the good things he bestows on them: He that thinks to keep friend­ship [Page 7] alive onely with air, that gives good words, but parts with nothing, that en­tertains onely with garbs, and civilities, is but the pageant of a friend: They that own having but one soul, and seem to clasp as if they would have but one body too, can­not keep such distinct and separate proprie­ties in other little things, as not to have communication one from the other. And,

Secondly, The friendship of these benefits is rated by the measures of our need of them. When Midas was ready to dy for hunger, his God was kinder to him in a little bread, then in making all that he toucht turn into gold: great things engage but little where there is but little use of them: and all these,

Thirdly, Are endeered by the Affection they are given with. Good turns done with design, what need soever I have of them, are hire, and not friendship; it is the kindness onely that obligeth, the gift without the love does but upbraid and scorn my want.

Now to measure the friend here in the Text, by these, were an impossible under­taking, [Page 8] taking, whose friendship did exceed all bounds and measures. I shall do no more towards it, but read the words before my text, which were the occasion of it, Greater love bath no man then this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, and then it follows, yee are my friends. The token therefore of his friendship, the guift he gave them was his life, rather that was the least he gave: He gave his glory first, that so he might be qualified to give his life: for [...] Phil. ii. 7. He lessened himself from the con­dition of being Lord of all, into that of a servant, [...], Heb. ii. 9. being diminished made lower, meaner then his crea­tures for the suffering of death. Now with the price of such divine essential glory to buy onely a life, rather onely a possibility of death, that after he might give that life for us, and with his death purchase us an immortal life, is such a gift as no Ro­mance of friendship ever fancied or did aim at: we may have heard of two com­panions that would dy for one another, that never quarell'd in their lives, but for this, who should suffer first to save the o­ther, [Page 9] and strave onely for Execution: But for a person of the Trinity to leave his heaven to come down to us; to dwell with agonies that he might be at one with us; and be tyed to the cross, that he might be united to us; this is a friendship fitt for Ecstasies of apprehension. Of all the things that court thy kindness here be­low, that spread snares, and lay baits for thy friendship, if any bid so fair, so tem­ptingly, if any will give such a price, in God's name let it have thy love, I shall not blame him that engageth his affecti­on there: But sure Heaven cannot give a greater gift then this; for what can God give greater then himself? Yea I may say God could not give so much, for he must be man too, to give his life, and this, saith he, he gave for his friends, even in our stead, who must have perish'd else eternal­ly, which intimates the second thing, the need we had of this.

A need great as the gift, necessity in­vincible, that could break into heaven, ri­fle the Trinity, to serve its self, throw death into those regions of immortality, [Page 10] and which would not be satisfied but with the bloud of God.

And now is not the kindness, and the condescension of friendship in his expre­ssions too, when he saith, greater love then this hath no man? which was the third en­dearement.

There never were such wounds of loves as those that tore this heart: never such meltings of affection as dissolved this lover into sweates of bloud. There was no motive to all this, but his meere love: for all this he designed to us before we were, and therefore sure before we were deserving, and O our God! thou that from all eterni­ty didst lay contrivances to give thy life for us, so to redeem, and then to glorifie us, what were we then that thou shouldst do his for us? what were we then when we were not? and yet that thou from the abyss of everlastingness, shouldst think thoughts of such kindness to us, and such blessedness for us, who then were not, and deserved nothing; and who since we were, have deserved nothing but damnation.

And as there was no other motive to all [Page 11] this design but love, so neither was there any thing but love in the fulfilling. Look on your Saviour in the garden, and upon Mount Calvary, and you shall find him there in as great agonies of affection as tor­ment, and hanging down his head upon the Cross with languishments of kindness, more then weakness. His arms stretched out and Rack't, as if on purpose to the posture of receiving you to his embraces; and his side opened not onely to shed Blood for you, but to make you a passage to his very Heart. Look on him offering up his Tears, his Prayers, and his Soul for Sin, and in the midst of all, projecting happy­ness to you, as it were praying, O my Fa­ther, here I charge my self with all the guilt of those my friends, I thy onely Son God, one with thee, am content to suffer Torments that they all may be acquitted, Here I lay down my Life that they may have eternal Life, let me be Crucified, so they be Glorified. Which was the pur­chase and the gift of this his Passion to all his friends, even to those that do what he commands; which is the first condition that [Page 12] entitles to his friendship, and my next part.

Ye are my friends if ye do what I command you.

I shall not urge, that Great men upon earth will not take any to their Friendship but upon these termes; nor will I plead the reasonableness of this in Christ, there being no cause why he should be a friend to any that will daily disoblige him and dishonour him: nor will I press the whole Oeconomy of Scripture, which says, all the advantages Christ ever gave or meant us, and all the Acts of friendship that he ever did for us were with this design. He gave his grace that brings salvation to save us into an estate of sober virtue. Tit. ii. v. 11.12. he gave himself also to Ransom us from our own evil doings, and to redeem us into his obedience. Tit. ii. v. 14. without which no dependance on him will availe. Mat. vii. 21. He will own no acquaintance with, nor services from them who have friendship with sin: though they have cast out Devils in his name, if they retain their vices; though they do miracles, if they do wickedly, he wil bid them depart, profess he never knew them, v. 22.23. [Page 13] He will not let such have a bare rela­tion to his Name, nor have the friendship of a title. 2 Tim. ii. 19. All his rewards also that he will give are promised to none other, but them that do what he com­mands, Apocal. xxii. 14. that is, do Evan­gelically, heartily and faithfully endeavour it, and do this with all diligence exprest by words, that import all strife imaginable, as running, wrestling, fighting, warring. And persevere also by patient continuance in well doing, Rom. ii. 7. and he hath nothing else but vengeance for all others. 2 Thes. 1.8. and we have neither Christ, nor Gospel, nor Religion, but with these terms.

But I shall wave all this, and bound my self within the present words. Greater love hath no man then this, that a man lay down his life for his friend. Ye are my friends if ye do what I command you. When Christ is boasting of his love, making compa­risons, and vying friendships with man­kind, nay more, contriving heights and depths of mercy, such as man hath no com­prehension, nor Fathom for; when he was preparing to do an act of compassi­on [Page 14] on almost equal to his Divinity, when he had resolutions of so much kindness as to give his life that he might shew kind­ness. Yet could he not then find in his heart to offer or declare one jot of kind­ness to the men that will not do what he com­mands, but in the midst of such agonies of compassion, he thought of nothing but infi­nite indignation and eternal vengeance to the disobedient. I have but now given my body and my blood even to the Traitour Luc. xxii 19.20.21. Judas to one who is a John vi. 70. Devil: I am going to give my life even for my Rom. v. 10 enemies, for the John iii. 16, 17. & vi. 51. & 2 Cor. v. 19. world: but I will give no love to any, have no friendship with any, but the virtuous: no, though they be my own Disciples, ye are my friends, ye my companions and Apostles are my friends, onely on this condition, if ye do what I command you.

And then is it not matter of Astonish­ment, to see men fancy they have a right in all Christ's actions and sufferings, pre­sume upon his favour and their own happy condition, though they do nothing, or but very little towards this, and the maine of their life be disobedience, as if [Page 15] all Christs commands, appointed them to do no commands, and Christianity were but a liberty from virtue. To pass by those that do nothing but evil, that which the Devil does suggest, or their flesh dictate, and to consider the demurer sort of Chri­stians, that pretend a respect to Christ, and to Religion, and see what they will doe.

Why sometimes you may find them troubled at their Vices, and themselves; and those troubles breath out in Sighs, and in warme-wishes that they could do that which Christ prescribes: to will is sometimes strongly present with them, but to performe they know not how. A­las Christ does not tell you that you are his friends if you wish well to him, and his commands, but he requires that you shall do them. These are but vapours of a trou­bled soul, which howsoever they may chance rise warm, cath a strong suddain heat, breath up in flashing thoughts. They are but meteors, little shooting flames that onely do catch fire and fall and dy; shew fair, but they warme nothing: and so [Page 16] these thoughts do never heat the heart into devotions and holy resolutions, the fire is not strong, nor does it live enough, to melt and worke away the filthynesses of the soul: No, though they grow to aversati­ons: for you may find such men, when wearied with the pursuite of their sins hating their customes, and the engage­ments to the practice of them: complay­ning thus, I know 'tis ill, and 'tis against my heart, that I obey the motions of my passions or lusts: The incitations of my appetite, the usance of the world, the obligations of civility or mistaken honour do indeed prevaile upon me, but 'tis with great reluctancy of minde that I yeild to them, but I cannot avoid it. There are not few that satisfie themselves with this condition. Now sure Christ does not say, Ye cannot be my friends except you sin against me and against your Knowledge, and your Conscience too. 'Tis strange that men should think the Heathen instance of a Witch that cryed

—Video meliora, proboque,
Deteriora sequor—

[Page 17] I know, and do approve of better things, but cannot choose but follow these that are the worser: strange, that this fury that had the Devil for familiar, should make Christ a friend; that this should be the state of Gospel Saints, and of God's favour­ites. 'Tis possible some therefore go yet further to good purposes towards Obedience, and have holy intentions, but this is not sufficient neither, if to do his commands be necessary: for to purpose and intend to do them, is not certainly to do them. Yet where are any, that do aim at doing any more; and there is none of these but does presume upon his inter­est in Christ, and satisfies himself and is secure.

Yet is it hard to find a ground of this their confidence, unless it rise from the unhappy use they make of God's preser­ving mercies, and his kindness to them in the concernments of this life. They see without their cares, and upon very weak entreaties indeed against all provocati­ons both of God and danger; yet his protections secure them all, though they [Page 18] neither minde the asking them, nor minde the walking worthy of them. The man whose sins, not p [...]ayers, prepare him for his bed, he sleeps well; per­haps, more soundly then he who at his bed-side throws himself on his face into God's arms, and there bequeaths himselfe to the securities of the Almighty: And he, whose Sleeps onely refresh him for returns to sin, does often live as long, as safely, and as merrily, as he that dayly, most religiously does begg protections from above. And others that affoord the Lord some little homages, them­selves some prayers when their pleasures or occasions permit, God hath a care of them, and their desires flow into them, all does succeed well with them. Now they take confidence hence to conclude, these are the tokens of Gods friendship, and all his mercies will come in at the like easie rates; that such a short petition as commit­ted them to the refreshments of the night, and after which they wak't into renewed strengths and pleasures, such another shall lay them down in safety, to the [Page 19] sleeps of that long night, that afterwards will break in happy resurrection: for why! God will not sure fail his own mer­cies, but be as friendly to their souls as he is to their bodies.

And thus God's preservations here, in meer defiance of our provocations, which are the arts of his long suffering his strivings of Compassion, meerly to give us opportunities of being reconciled to him, and to invite us to be so, while we make them occasions of carelesness and security, they are so far from being pledges of his friendship, that they have all the aggravations of affronted goodness, become temptations and degrees of ruin. 'Twere fine indeed if Christ's eter­nal preparations for his friends, would come in to us, without care or doing any thing, as an accession to our pleasures; if when we had lived many years in a Gar­den, our days all Flower'd with delight; we might expire into Paradise, and in soft aires of Musick breath into Hallelujah's. But alas! the smooth easy way leads down the Hill, and he must strive and pant that will get up into the Mansions and the Bosom of his [Page 20] Saviour, and whosoever will be his friend, must do what he commands.

But is there nothing less indeed will qualify? The Scripture saith, that Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of God, James ii. 23. and then, is Christ more inaccessible, and harder to be made a friend?

Why, truly God and Christ both are so much friends to all true believers, that the life of Christ was given for them; for, God so loved the world that he gave his onely begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. John iii. 16. nor are there any qualities more signally peculiar to friendship, more engaging then confidence and trust, dependance and re­lying, embosoming my self in him: now these are but the exercise of Faith; and tis most certain if we heartily endeavour to do what he commands, there is employment then for all this work of Faith, place for its applications and assurances. My Text does make this good. But when his friend­ship is made over on conditions, as tis not onely in these words, but every where in [Page 21] Scriptures; (there being not one promise absolute that does concern Gods favour, justification, and eternal life: he does not once offer remission of sins, but to those that amend their lives; nay, does express as if he could not give it otherwise, perad­venture they will repent that I may forgive them, Jeremy xxxvi. 3) The promises there­fore being conditional, Faith must be an­swerable to the promises that it does rest on and apply; and at the most, can be but an assurance, that you shall be partaker of what's promised, that is to say, partaker of the favour and the life of Christ, if ye do his commands. But then if I perform not this condition, to trust upon his friendship which I am not qualified for; to think by faith to receive a pardon, which in that case I am, was never offered me; to apply to my self promises which were never made me, for none were ever made to them that do not do; and to assure my self, Christ will transgress his everlasting Covenant for my Vices sake, meerly to give me leave to en­joy my sins; will do that which God may not do, forgive one that will not repent: If [Page 22] I believe thus against promise, and against decree, am confident whether Christ will or no, and will rely upon him in despite of him, if such a faith will make us friends, affronts do reconcile. This is indeed to lay violent hands on his favour, and to invade his friend­ship, and without metaphor, take Heaven by force.

But sure I am, that this is not the faith made Abraham be called the friend of God in that place of Saint James, but a faith that was perfected by doing, v. 22. of that Chapter, a faith that made him offer up his onely Son upon the Altar, v. 21. 'Tis true, he did in hope believe against all hope, Rom iv. 18. So that his faith was stronger then a contradiction, but yet his resolutions of obedience seem stronger then his faith; for he did that even to the cutting off the grounds of all his Faith, and hope. He trusted God would make his promise good to him, make all the Nations of the Earth be blessed in the seed of Isaac; though Isaac had no seed, nor could have, if he should be slain: And he resolved at Gods command himself to slay that Isaac, so to [Page 23] make him have no seed. His Faith in­deed did no dispute the great impossibility; but his obedience caused it. He did not question, how can God perform with me when I have offered up my son? I cannot look that a large Progeny should rise out of the Ashes on the Altar; nor will those Flames that devour all my seed at once, may my seed numerous, lasting, and glori­ous as the Stars in Heaven, which he Gen. xv. 5. pro­mised me: but much less did he questi­on, why should I obey in this? He that does his commands, can but expect what he hath promis'd: but if I should do this command and slay my Son, I make his promise void, and detroy my own expe­ctations: and if I disobey I can but suf­fer what he bids me do; my own obedi­ence will execute all that his indignation would threaten to my Disobedience. Though Abraham had Gen. xxii. 4. three daies time and journy to the Altar, that Nature might have leisure the mean while to reason with the precept thus, and his affection might struggle with his duty; yet he goes on, re­solves to tear out his own bowels, and [Page 24] cut of his hopes, will Sacrifice his onely Son, and Sacrifice God's promise to his com­mands.

And then, He that will trust to Abra­ham's example of believing, yet will not follow him at all in doing, will obey no commands; that is so far from offering up an onely Son, he will not slay an onely evil custome, nor part with one out of the herd of all his vicious habits; will not give up the satisfaction to any of his carnal, world­ly, or ambitious appetites; not Sacrifice a pas­sion, or a lust to all the Obligations, that God and Christ can urge him with, he hath, nor faith, nor friendship, no, nor fore-head. 'Tis true indeed, he that hath Abraham's faith, may well assure himself he is Christ's friend; but tis onely on this account, because he that believes as Abraham believed, he will not stick to do whatever Christ commands; which is that universality of obedience, that is the next condition that entitles to Christ's friendship, and my last part.

Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I com­mand you.

There is no quality so necessary to a [Page 25] friend, or so appropriate to friendship, as sincerity. They that have but one soul, they can have no reserves from one another: But disobedience to one precept, is incon­sistent with sincerity, that hath respect unto all the commandments; and he that will not do whatever Christ prescribes, hath re­serves of affection for some darling sin, and is false to his Saviour. He is an e­nemy indeed, so that there is no friend­ship on either side. Saint Paul says so of any of one kind; the minding of the flesh, saith he, whether it be providing for the belly, or any other of the organs of carnality, is desperate, incurable rebel­lion Rom. viii. 7.: Now such a rebel, is, we know, the worst of enemies. Saint James does say as much of any of those vicious af­fections that are set on the world: Who­soever will be a friend of the world, is an ene­my of God. James iv. 4. and he calls them adultereses and adulterers, who think to joyn great strict Religion to some little by-love of an honour, or a profit of this world? Such men are like a wife, that not contented with the partner of her [Page 26] takes in another now and then, she must not count her self her husbands friend, though she give him the greatest share in her affections, no, she is but a bosom enemy: and so any one vice allow'd is a paramour, sin is whoredome against Christ, and our pretended friendship to him in all other obediences, is but the kind­ness and the caresses of an adulteress, the meer hypocrisie and treachery of love. If it be necessary to the gaining of Christs friend­ship that thou do his commands, 'tis necessa­ry that thou do them all, that thou divorce thy self from thy beloved sin, as well as any other: because, his friendship does no more require other obedience then it does that, but is as inconsistent with thy own peculiar vice as with the rest. Indeed it is impossible that it should bear with any, they being all his murderers. If thou canst find one sin that had no hand in putting Christ to death, one vice that did not come into the garden, nor upon mount Calvary, that did not helpe to assassin thy Saviour, even take thy fill of that: but if each had a stab at him, if no one of thy [Page 27] vices could have been forgiven, had not thy Jesus died for it, canst thou expect he should have kindness for his agony, or friendship, for the man that entertaines his Crucifiers in his heart: if worldly cares which he calls Mat. xiii. 22. thorns, fill thy head with contrivances of Wealth and Greatness, of filling Coffers, and of platting Coro­nets for thee, as the Thorns did make him a Matt. xxvii. 29. Crown too, would'st thou have him receive thee and these in his bosom, to gore his Heart as they did pierce his Head? If thou delight in that intemperance, which filled his deadly Cup, which Vomited Gall into it, can he delight in thee? That Matt. xxvi. 38, 39. Cup which made him fall upon his Face to deprecate, will he partake in as the pledg of mutual Love? He that sunk under, could not bear this load of thine, when it was in his Cross upon his shoulders, will he bear it and thee on his armes, when thou fall'st under it? When thou wilt cast a shameful spewing on his glory too, if he own such a friend? Thou that art so familiar with his name, as thou wer't more his friend then any in the world, whose Oaths and [Page 28] imprecations, Moses sayes Levit. xxiiii. 16. [...] strike through that name, which they so often call upon, thou mayst as well think his heart did at­tract the Spear that pierc'd it, and the wound close upon its head with unions of Love, as that he hath kindness for thee. If Christ may make friendship with him, that does allow himself a Sin, he may have fellowship with Belial: for him to dwell in any heart that cherisheth a vice, were to descend to Hell again. But as far as those Regions of darkness are from his habitation of Glory, and the black spirits of that place from being any of his guard of holy myriads; so far is He from dwelling with, or being friend to him, that is a friend to any wickedness, to him that will not do whatever he commands.

And now if these conditions seem hard, if any do not care to be his friend upon these terms, they may betake them­selves to others. Let such make them­selves friends of the Mammon of unrighte­ousness: A friend indeed that hath not so much of the insincerities as many great ones have: for this will furnish them with all [Page 29] that heart or lust can wish for, all that ne­cessities or wantonness proposeth to it self to dress out pomp or vice: But yet when with enjoyment the affections grow, and become so unquiet, work them so, as not to let their thoughts or actions rest, make them, quicken themselves, and like the motions of all things that go down­wards tending to the Earth, increase by the continuance, grow stronger, and more violent towards the end, then when they are most passionate, it failes them: and having fill'd their life with most unsatisfied tormenting cares, it leaves them nothing but the guilt of all: when their great wealth shall shrink into a sin­gle sheet, no more of it be left, but a thin shroud, and all their vast inheritances, but six foot of earth, be gone, yet the ini­quity of all will stick close to them: and this false friend, that does it self forsake them, will neither go Psal. xlix. 17. along, nor will let its pomp follow them, raises a cry on them as high as God's tribunal: the cry of all the bloud, all the oppressed rights that bribe­ry till then had stifled, the groans of all [Page 30] those poor that greatness, covetousness, or ex­tortion had grown'd and crush't: the yel­lings of those souls that were starved for want of the bread of life, which yet they payed for, and the price of it made those heaps which will that day appear against their friends and masters, and prove their adversaries to eternal death.

Let others joy in friends that wine does get them: such as have no qualification to endear them, but this, that they will not refuse to sin and to be sick with their com­panions: men that do onely drink in their affections, as full of friendship as of liquor, and probably they do unload themselves of both at once, part with their dearness and their drink together, and alike. I know not whether it be heats of mutual kindness that inflame these draughts, and the desires of them, so as if they did drink thirst; but sure I am, that these hot draughts begin the lake of fire.

Let others please themselves in an affe­ction that carnality cements. These are warme friendships I confess, but Solomon will tell us whence they have their heat. Her [Page 31] house, saith he, does open into Prov. vii. 27. Hell, and Brimstone kindles those libidinous flames. There are straite bands, fetters in those affections indeed; for the same wise man sayes, The closets of that sinner are the cham­bers of death: that Prov. ii. 19. none that go unto her re­turn again, or take hold of the paths of life; it seems she is a friend that takes most ir­reversible dead hold, she is not onely as insa­tiate, but as inexorable as the grave, and the eternal chains of fate are in those her embraces. But God keep us from making such strict Covenants with death; from be­ing at friendship with Hell; or in a word, that I say all at once, with any that are good companions onely in sinning. Such men having no virtue in themselves, must needs hate it in others, as being a reproach to them, and therefore they are still be­sieging it, using all arts and Stratagems to undermine it: and having nothing else to recommend them into mens affe­ctions, but their managery of vice, no way to merit but by serving iniquity, they not onely comply with our own evill inclinati­ons, that so they may be grateful, and in­sinuate [Page 32] into us, but they provoke too and inflame those tendencies that they may be more useful to us, having no other means to work their ends. And then such friends by the same reason, must be false and tre­cherous, and all that we declaime at, and ab­horre in enemies, when that shall be the way to serve their ends; because they have no virtue to engage them to be other­wise: and to be such, is to be constant to their own designs, their dispositions and usances. These are the pests of all Soci­eties, they speak and live infection, and friendship with them is to couple with the Plague. These do compleat and perfect what the Devil but began in Eden: Nurse up O­riginal sin, chafe inclination into appetite and habit, suggest and raise desires, and then feed them into constitution and nature: in a word, are a brood of those serpents, one of which was enough to destroy paradise, and innocence. Tis true, a man would think these were our friends indeed, that venture to Gehenna for us: Alas they are but more familiar devils, work under Sathan to bring us to torments, and differ nothing from [Page 33] him, but that they draw us into them, and he inflicts them. And when sinful contents come home in ruine, and pleasures dy into damnation; then men will under­stand these treacherous loves, and find such friends are but projectours for the De­vil; then they will hate them as they do their own damnation, discerning these are but the kindnesses of Hell. Nay, it is possible, I may slander that place in speak­ing so ill of it. Dives will let us see there are affections of a kinder and more blessed strain in Hell Luke xvi. from the twenty­seventh verse; you find he did make truce with torments, that he might contrive and begg onely a message of repentance for his brethren; he did not mind at all his own dire Agonies, he minded so the reforma­tion of his friends. Good God! when I reflect upon these pieties of the damn'd to­gether with the practices of those who have given their names in to Religion, when I see fiends in Hell do study how to make men virtuous, and Christians upon earth with all their art debauch them into vice and ruine, I cannot choose but pray, Grant [Page 34] me such friends as are in Hell. Rather grant us all the friendship in the Text. But then, we must have none with any vice. Friend­ship with that engageth into enmity with God and Christ I shew'd you. And to passe over all those after-retributions of vengeance Christ hath studied for his ene­mies, when he, that now courts us to be our friend, and we will make our adver­sary, must be our Judge: For were there none of this, and should we look no fur­ther then this life; yet sure, we of this Nation know, what it is to have God our enemy; who for so many years, lay under such inflictions, as had much of the cha­racter of his last executions; they had the blasphemies and the confusion, the dire guilts, and the black calamities, and almost the despair and irrecoverableness of those in Hell. And though He be at peace with us at present, at least there is a truce; yet I beseech you in the presence and the fear of God, to think in earnest, whether the present provocations of this Nation do not equall those that twenty years agoe engaged him into [Page 35] Arms against us, and made him dash us so in pieces: whether those Actions of the Clergy be reformed, that made the people to abhorre their function and their service, the Offerings and Ministers of the Lord, and made God himself spew them out. 'Twere endless to go on to the pro­phaneness, to the loose impieties and the bold Atheismes of the Laity, especially of the better-sort; in short what one degree, or state or Sex is better? Sure I am, if we are not better, we are worse beyond expressi­on or recovery: who have resisted every method, and conquerd all God's arts of doing good upon us, been too hard for his judgments and his mercies both.

'Tis true, when we lay gasping under his severe revenges, we then pretended to be humbled, begg'd to be reconciled and be at peace with him, and vow'd to his con­ditions, promising obedience, and aliened our selves from our old sins, his foes. But then, when Christ came to confirme this amity, came drest with all his courtships, brought all the invitations of Love along, Our Prince and our Religion, our Church [Page 36] and State, Righteousness and Peace, and the Beauty of Holyness, every thing that might make us be an happy and a pious nation, thus he did tempt, and labour to engage that friendship which we offered him and vowed to him: And we no sooner seiz'd all this, but we break resolutions as well as duty, to get loose from him; and laden with the spoyls of our defeated Saviour's goodness, we joyne hands with his ene­mies, resume our old acquaintance-sins, enrich and serve them with his bounties, make appear that we onely drew him in, to work such miracles, but to assist our Worldlyness, Ambitions and Lusts, to be our opportunities of vice, and provocation of him. And being thus affronted and refused, his enemy preferr'd, not this God but Barabbas, any the vilest thing for friend, rather then Christ, must he not needs be more our enemy then hereto­fore? And if he be, that question will concerns us, 1 Cor. x. 22. Are we stronger then God? It should behove us not to fall out with him till we are. See how he does prepare himself for the encounter. Wisedome v. [Page 37] Taking his jealousy for armour, Verse 17 19.20. putting on Justice, severe and vindicative Justice, as a breast plate; and, his wrath sharpening as a sword; and, arming all the creatures for auxiliaries. Alass! when omnipotence does express it self as scarcely, strong enough for execution, but Almightyness will be armed also for vengeance, will assume Weapons,call in aides for fury, who shall stand it? Will our friends think you keep it off us, and secure us? did we consider how uneasy God accounts himself, till he begin the storme, while he keeps off his plagues from overrunning such a land, we would expect them every moment, and they must come. Isay i. 29 Ah, says he, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine ene­mies; and then, in what condition are we if God can have no ease but in our ruine, if he does hunger and thirst after it, go to his vengeance, as to a feast. And if you reade the xxv. Chapter of Isaiah, you will find there a rich bill of fare, which his revenge upon his enemies does make, view the sixth verse. He that enjoys his morsels, that lays out his contrivances, and [Page 38] studies on his dishes so as if he meant to cramm his Soul, let him know what de­light soe're he findes, when he hath spoil'd the elements of their inhabitants, to fur­nish his own belly, and not content with natures delicacies neither, hath given them forc'd fatnesses, changing the very flesh into a marrow, suppling the bones almost into that oyle that they were made to keep; all this delight the Lord by his expressions does seem to take in his dread executions on his enemies, a sinful people.

And if the vicious friendships of the world have so much more attractive then Christ's love and favour, and the happy consequences of it, as to counterpoise all the danger of such enmity, you may joyn hands with them: but if his be the safer and more advantageous, then hearken to his propositions and beseechings; for He does begg it of you: as he treated this reconciliation in his blood, so he does in Petitious too. For saith Saint 2 Cor. v. 20. Paul, We are Ambassadours for Christ, as if God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, Be you reconciled, and then be [Page 39] Generous towards your GOD and Saviour; and having brought him as it were upon his knees, reduc'd him to entrea­ties, be friends, and condescend to him and your own happiness. If He be for you, take no care then, who can be against you. His friendship will secure you not onely from your enemies but from Hostility it self; for, when a man's ways please the Lord he will make even his enemies to be at peace with him. Prov. xvi. 7. He will reconcile all but Vices. And afterwards see what a blessed throng of friends, we shall be all initiated into. Heb. xii. 23. To an in­numerable company of Angels, to the general assembly, and Church of the first-born that are written in Heaven, to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of Just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediatour of the new Covenant. &c. And of this blest Corona, we our selves shall be a noble and a glorious part, infla­med all with that mutual Love, that kin­dles Seraphims, and that streams out into an heavenly glory, filling that Region of im­mortal love and blessedness; and being friends, that is, made one with Father, Son, [Page 40] and Holy Ghost, that Trinity of Love, we shall enjoy, what we do now desire to a­scribe to them, All Honour, Glory, Power, Majesty, and Dominion, for evermore.




Page 5. l. 5. r. pestilence. p. 10. l. 8. r. love. p. 13. l. 19. r. friends. p. 17. l. ult. r. them, although. p. 19. l. 20. r. as in a garden. p. 26. l. 6. r. paramour-sin, p. 27. l. 21. r. in his armes. p. 29. l. 2. r. necessity. p. 30. l. 2. r. groun'd.

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