THE WAY TO THE Highest Honour. A FUNERAL SERMON, On JOHN xii. 26. Preach'd upon the Decease of the Rnd THO. JACOMB, D.D. April 3. 1687.

By William Bates, D.D.

LONDON, Printed for J. Robinson, at the Golden Lion in S. Pauls Church-Yard, MDCLXXXVII.

TO THE Right Honourable ELIZABETH Countess-Dowager OF EXCETER.


I Present a Sermon to your view, that drew forth your Tears in the Hearing, and is like to be a revival of your Sorrow in Reading; but I could not without Indecence decline the inscribing it to your Name. 'Tis design'd to the precious Memory of one, whose Piety and Prudence had render'd most worthily and affecti­onately [Page] respected by you: One who for Forty Years faithfully served you in the Affairs of your Soul, and in that long space there was a continual Circulation of Favours on your Part, and Observance on his. As his Presence and Counsel, and Example in your Family was an excellent Blessing and dearly pri­zed by you, so in proportion your afflicting Grief rises for the loss of him. But you are instructed to be content with the Divine Dis­posal: And our Gracious God by withdrawing intermediate Com­forts, calls you to more intimate and Heavenly Communion with Himself.

I might here take a just occasi­on to speak of your eminent Ver­tues, and of your serious Religi­on [Page] that crowns the rest: For then Praise-worthy Excellencies may be duely and safely represented, when he that Commends is not in danger of falling into Flattery, and the Person Commended is not in dan­ger of being swell'd with Pride: And such is your excellent and conspicuous Goodness, that it re­flects a Lustre upon your Nobility, and is above Verbal Encomiums; and your rare Humility is most re­lucent amongst your other shining Graces. But 'tis needless to illu­strate that Worth that is so visible to all.

I shall only observe, that as you have been so happy as to find Wisdom, the true Spiritual Wisdom that directs us to our Last and Blessed End, the Wisdom [Page] that excells Rubies, and by an incomparable Comparison all the ad­mired Things in the World: So the promised Reward of Wisdom has been your Portion: Length of Days are in her right Hand, and in her left Hand Wisdom and Honour. You are now come to Old Age, and are apt to com­plain (such is your zealous Piety) that, your Strength being spent, you are useless, and with Impatience desire a Dismission from hence. But as a Servant that stands and waits upon his Master's Pleasure, as truly serves him, as he that is most industrious in his Business; so by an humble patient waiting upon your Heavenly Lord, till he shall call you to the Blessed State Above, you as truly please and [Page] glorifie him, as when your active powers were fresh and lively, and you went about doing good.

Be encouraged, Good Madam, with unfainting Perseverance to expect the final Reward: For your Salvation is nearer than when you first believed. Let the Love of Christ always reign in your Heart, and the Crown of Glory be always in your Eye, that you may finish your course with joy. These are the most unfeigned De­sires of him who is,

Your very humble and faithful Servant, William Bates.


A Short Description of the Blessed Place and State of the Saints Above. In a Discourse on the Words of our Sa­viour, Joh. 14.2. Preached on occasion of the Death of Mr. David Clarkson. By W. Bates, D. D.

A Plain Representation of Transub­stantiation, as it is received in the Church of Rome, with the Sandy Foundations it is built upon, and the Arguments that clearly evert and overturn it.


PAg. 29. in the Margent, for [...] r. [...]. P. 102. l. 6. for ruines r. ruin'd. P. 104. l. 11. dele our selves.

St. JOHN xii. 26.

If any Man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my Servant be: If any Man serve me, him will my Father honour.

IF it so pleased the wise and soveraign Disposer of all Things, how much rather would I be an attentive Hearer of that blessed Servant of God who is now above, than preach his Funeral Sermon at this Time. That my sad Voice should be reserved for this mourn­ful Service, is both contrary to my Desire and Expectation. O frail and faithless Life of Man! Who would have thought that Dr. Jacomb, whose natural vigour and firm Complexion promised a [Page 2] longer continuance here, should have a period put to his Days, and that I should survive, whose Life has been preserved for many Years like the weak light of a Lamp in the open Air? But he has finish'd his Work, and was more fit for Heaven: The last Lord's Day he entred into everlasting Rest: And I with you are still upon the Earth, that we may make a better Preparation for the Divine Presence in Heaven, and that Holy Assembly that serves him who sits upon the Throne without Imperfection or Inter­mission for ever. In order to this end, I have chosen the present Sub­ject of my Discourse.

In the Verse our Saviour gives a most important Command and indispensably obligatory to all Christians; If any Man serves me, let him follow me: If he assumes the Title, and enters into the sa­cred Engagement of being my [Page 3] Servant, let his Carriage be an­swerable to his Condition, let him follow the Divine Example I have set before him. And since the way is narrow and be-set with Thorns, our Coelestial Leader who by the Cross ascended to the Throne, assures us of a blessed Retribution that shall infinitely out-weigh all the numerous and heavy Troubles to which we are expos'd in his Service; all our grievous Sufferings shall end in Eternal Joys: Where I am, there shall my Servant be: And he is at God's right Hand, where there is ful­ness of Joy, and Rivers of Pleasure for ever. And all the Clouds of Disgrace and Contempt that darken our present State, shall be dispell'd and overcome by unfa­ding Glory: If any Man serve me, him will my Father honour.

Joy and Glory are the bright Sum of Heaven: The compleat Felicity that a stedfast Faith in [Page 4] our Saviour's Promises, opposes to the greatest Evils, all the Ig­nominy and Reproaches, all the Pains and Miseries that can afflict Life, or imbitter Death: The lively hope of it inspires his Ser­vants with an invincible Courage and Patience to sustain what ever Evils for his Sake.

I shall confine my Discourse to the last part of the Verse; If any Man serve me, him will my Father honour: Having upon the like oc­casion treated of the Joy that shall recompence all the Sorrows and Labours of the Saints.

The Proposition I shall insist on is this: God will crown the Fideli­ty and Constancy of Christ's Ser­vants with the highest Honour.

In the managing of the Point, I will consider,

[Page 5] First, What the Service of Christ implies.

Secondly, Upon what accounts 'tis due to him.

Thirdly, The final Reward that shall certainly attend it.

Lastly, Bring it home to our own Bosoms by Application.

First, What the Service of Christ implies. In the general Notion, to serve Christ, implies Obedience to his Will as the Rule of our Actions, with aims at his Glory as the End of them. His Will revealed in the Scriptures is a Rule eminently and exclusively. Eminently, for it has all the Per­fections of a Rule: 'Tis clear and compleat, sufficient to make us wise to Salvation, and to direct us in the Way everlasting. 'Tis called the holy, acceptable, and perfect Will of God. 'Tis a Rule Exclusively. To speak strictly, no Creature can [Page 6] be a Rule to another; for they are all in an equal Line of Subje­ction to the Creator: One may be a Guide or Governour to ano­ther according to the Rule of God's Word. The Laws of Men cannot reach and bind the Consci­ence immediately, but by virtue of God's Command; nor unlimi­tedly, but as they are consonant with his Laws. Now a univer­sal respect to the Will of Christ, as the Rule of our Lives, is truly to serve him. And the aiming at his Glory in all our Desires and Endeavours, either actually or habitually, is an essential Ingre­dient in his Service. The actual Intention in every performance is not absolutely necessary: Many good Actions may proceed from the Influence of the habitual In­tention: An Arrow that is dire­cted by aim may hit the Mark, tho in its flight the Eye be turned off from it. But the ultimate [Page 7] scope of our Life, which ought to be often renewed in our Minds, must be to please and glorify Christ; according to the Apostle's Expression, To me to live is Christ. I will more distinctly open these Things under the following Heads;

1. The Church is a distinct Society from the World, of which Christ is the Head; and the State of Christianity is a high and holy Calling; and all who are brought into it by the outward Ministry of the Word, or in Conjunction with it, by the internal Grace of the Spirit, are obliged to the Faith and Obedience of the Gospel; the same Duties and the same Re­wards are common to all: And living according to that Spiritual State in Godliness, Righteousness, and Sobriety, is to serve Christ. Thus the Adoration, the Honour, the Homage we render to God, the making him the sole Object of [Page 8] our highest Love, an entire rely­ance on the Mediator for our Sal­vation, an earnest desire to please him in all Things, and an equal fear to displease him, the exercise of compassionate beneficent Cha­rity towards Men; briefly, a Holy and Heavenly Conversation, is the universal Duty of Christ's Ser­vants. And that our Service be accepted, it must be performed with Humility, Zeal and Con­stancy.

With Humility and Depen­dance upon the Mediator for Di­vine Grace and Acceptance. Eve­ry spiritual Act requires a Super­natural Power: Not a holy Thought or Word springs from naked Nature. Our Saviour tells his Disciples, Without me you can do nothing. As the Branches de­rive Life and active Sap from the Root that makes them flourishing and fruitful; so from his sancti­fying Spirit, (that was purchased [Page 9] by his meritorious Sufferings, and is conferr'd by him in his Glory,) we are made fruitful in every good Work: And in the beloved Son we are only accepted.

This general Service due to Christ, must be done with Zeal. We are commanded to be fervent in Spirit, serving the Lord; to work out our own Salvation, Rom. 12.11. as the Apostle with most lively Empha­sis enforces the Duty. Our most ardent Affections and active Pow­ers are to be imploy'd in this work, remembring that our Lives are short and uncertain: Time flies upon the swiftest Wings: That the Work is of infinite and everla­sting Consequence, in comparison of which our fervent Diligence in worldly Affairs, is like the throw­ing of Straws and Feathers with our utmost strength: remem­bring, that we are always under the pure Eye of our Divine Ma­ster, that will call us to an exact [Page 10] Account. To be cold and careless in his Service, disparages his Ex­cellency, and will defeat our hopes: The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by violence.

Luke 1.74, 75.With Constancy. He delive­red us from the Hands of our Ene­mies, that we might serve him with­out Fear, in Holiness and Righte­ousness before him all the Days of our Lives. The travail of Faith con­tinues till heavenly Vision be brought forth, and the Labour of Love till the Reward be obtain­ed. I will not insist on this, being to resume the consideration of it afterwards.

2. In the various Conditions of Life in this World, we are to serve Christ. The entire Man is the Object of God's tender Care and Providence, and accordingly he has wisely ordered divers Con­ditions, and special Callings of Men, wherein they are engaged, and employed for the Support and [Page 11] Comfort of themselves, and the publick Good. And as in a Cir­cle, from every Point of it, a streight Line may be drawn to the Centre: so in the vast Sphere of this World, from every lawful Calling there may be a direct prosecution of our last and blessed End, the Glory of God in con­junction with our Salvation.

There is no state of Life so low and mean, but a Christian may so manage it, as to excel in Holiness,Et si adhuc vi­liorum materi­arum obtulis­ses, fecisset quod ex illa fi­eri optimum possit. Sic sa­piens virtutem si licebit, in di­vitiis explica­bit, si minus, in exilio. Quam­cunque fortu­nam acceperit, aliquid ex illa memorabile efficiet. Senec. Ep. 78. and consequently Ho­nour Christ: As Phidias that fa­mous Sculptor expres'd his Art to Admiration, not only in Gold, and Marble, and Ivory, but in mean Materials, in Wood or ordinary Stone. The Apostle often incul­cates this Lesson upon Servants, to obey their Masters with Fide­lity and Cheerfulness, for ye serve the Lord Christ; Col. 3.24. Eph. 6.7. It was to a mortal Man, and if it might be of a perverse [Page 12] humour, their Service was im­mediately addres'd; but if from Conscience of their Duty to Christ, and a direct intention to please him, they performed it, that Respect sweetened and en­nobled the Service. 'Tis the Spi­rit and Perfection of Christianity to transform and elevate the low­est Actions: it makes the Service of a Slave to be Divine Obedience, which is the most free and noble Act of the reasonable Creature. From hence the same Apostle en­forces the Duties of Servants, that they may adorn the Gospel of God our Saviour: Tit. 2. The faithful Dis­charge of their Service redoubles the Lustre of the glorious Gospel, and recommended it to their Pa­gan Masters. And 'tis equally true, that in every lawful Condi­tion of Life, when Men are con­versant in the Duties proper to it, with a respect to the Command of Christ, when their civil Acti­ons [Page 13] are ultimately resolved into his Glory, they perform Religi­ous Obedience. This is enjoy­ned in that comprehensive Pre­cept, Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do it in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ: that is, with a re­spect to his Will, and for his Ho­nour. I shall only add that Dili­gence in our civil Callings, must always be in Subserviency to the great End of our general Cal­ling, the Salvation of our Souls; to which we are primarily and in­dispensably obliged. The Life of a Christian is a walking with God, and the way is in the per­formance of holy and civil Du­ties. And as Companions in a Journey are together all day, but have set times of refreshing them­selves; so a Christian in his coele­stial Journey, is to walk always before God uprightly, in all tem­poral Affairs to regard his Pre­sence, and every day at set times [Page 14] to draw near to him by Prayer and Thanksgiving, and to repre­sent his Greatness and Glory in so solemn a manner, that there may be a serious habitual Constituti­on of Spirit respecting him in all his Actions. If there be a neg­lect of heavenly Communion with him, and of our spiritual State, and a perpetual Consump­tion of our Thoughts, Time, and Strength for secular Advantages and Interests, Men are Slaves of the World, not Servants of Christ.

3. The Service of Christ is more eminently performed in some special Offices ordained for the Glory of God and the publick Good. And such are the civil Magistracy, and the spiritual Mi­nistry.

1. Magistrates the highest and subordinate in the Scale of Go­vernment, are by designation to their Office to serve him, They [Page 15] are called the Ministers of God, for the good of the People. Rom. 13. Princes may be considered in a double Capacity, as Christians, and as Princes, and in both they are ob­liged to serve Christ. As Chri­stians, by an inflexible necessity, without Priviledg or Dispensati­on they are bound to obey his ho­ly Laws as strictly as every pri­vate Person; as Princes, they are subject to him not only upon the account of his Deity simply consi­dered, but his Office as Media­tor. In his mortal State he did not exercise Regal Power, nor ap­peared with conspicuous marks of Royalty, for it was incon­gruous to his End: The Redemp­tion of the lost World was to be obtained by Sufferings: But his Supremacy over the World, is a Prerogative annext to his being Head of the Church, a Title that infinitely transcends all Angeli­cal, much more Human Princi­palities. [Page 16] He is stiled the Prince of the Kings of the Earth. Princes are commanded to kiss the Son, a Token of the Adoration, and Homage they owe to him. As Princes, they are to exercise their Power and Authority to repress Wickedness, and preserve the publick Tranquillity: For with­out the restraints of Fear, the most savage fierce Beasts would be less dangerous than Men to Men. They are to encourage Moral Goodness, and not only to promote the civil Prosperity, but eternal Felicity of their Subjects. Accordingly the Apostle exhorts Christians to offer up Prayers and Supplications for Kings, and all in in Authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable Life in all God­liness and Honesty. When Prin­ces are inspired with Sentiments and Resolutions, becoming their Lieutenancy to the Lord Christ, when they govern their Great­ness, [Page 17] and employ their Power in subserviency to his Interest, when they protect and encourage all that seek the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Righteousness thereof, as the clear direct way that leads to it, they shall obtain the brightest richest Crowns in the State of Glory: But those who are a Ter­ror to the Good, and encourage evil Doers, their mighty aggrava­ted Sins will sink them into the deepest Damnation.

2. Those who are consecrated to the Spiritual Function of teaching, and governing the Church, are in a peculiar manner the Servants of Christ, not as he is the Lord of the Earth, but of Heaven; considering the Quality of their work and the End of it: For 'tis wholly conversant about the Souls of Men, to open their Eyes, Acts 26.18. and turn them from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan to God, that they may receive [Page 18] forgiveness of Sins, and inheri­tance amongst them which are sancti­fied by Faith that is in Christ: And as 'tis express'd in other Words of Scripture, to translate them from the Kingdom of Darkness, Col. 1.12. into the Kingdom of his dear Son.

This Relation extends it self from the highest Apostle to the lowest in the sacred Office: St. Paul frequently stiles himself the Servant of Christ:Rom. 1. Phil. 1. and by that Title he expresses any that are by office employed for the saving of Souls: The Servant of the Lord must not strive, 2 Tim. 2.14. but be gentle to all Men, apt to teach. As Christ is called the Servant of God by way of Eminency, and was anointed to to preach the Gospel; so those who are dedicated to that Work, are his Servants in the most proper sense, and are to follow him, the most excellent Example, and highest Master in that Divine Work. This I will more parti­cularly [Page 19] insist upon, being suita­ble to the present occasion, and lay down some Rules directing how the Ministers of Christ may serve him acceptably, so as to be rewarded in the Heavenly Glo­ry.

1. They must by serious study furnish themselves with Divine Knowledg, and substantial Lear­ning, for the Discharge of all the parts of their Office: To instruct the Ignorant, to refute the Erro­neous, to reform the Unholy, and to comfort the Humble and Dis­consolate. Our Saviour compares the Ministers of the Gospel unto a Man that is an Housholder, Mat. 13.52. which brings forth out of his Treasure, things new and old; 'Tis his Du­ty to give to the Flock Meat in due season, Mat. 24.45. for which not only Fide­delity but Wisdom is requisite. 'Tis the Apostle's charge to Ti­mothy; Give attendance to Reading, 1 Tim. 4.14, 15. to Exhortation, to Doctrine; me­ditate [Page 20] on these things, give thy self wholly to them, that thy profi­ting may appear before all. If Ti­mothy who had supernatural Gifts by Inspiration, was obliged to be intent and diligent in the ap­plication of his mind to the My­steries of Godliness; how much more should those who must ac­quire Knowledg by search and Industry, and the Divine Bles­sing upon it. As Fountains by se­cret Passages derive from the Sea the Waters that flow in their Streams; so Ministers by reading and Contemplation, and Prayer in their Retirements, obtain the Knowledg of Divine Things, which they convey in their Ser­mons to the People.

With the Notional, an Ex­perimental Knowledg of Divine Truths, is absolutely necessary to a Minister to save himself, and most useful to save others.

'Tis not a perfect Systeme of [Page 21] Divinity in the Head, not an u­niversal knowledg of spiritual Things confined to the Brain, that has a saving Efficacy: 'Tis not composing a Sermon with ex­quisite Art, and the delivering of it like an Orator, that makes him accepted with God. For without a cordial Sense of Divine Truths, he only lends his Tongue in that holy Service; like a Reci­ter in a Scene, all he does is but external Appearance. God sees and requires the Heart: without it neither the Head nor the Tongue of a Minister, tho his Speculations are sublime, and his Words Drops of Gold, are of any value. And usually the Sermons of such are without profit to the Hearers. The sound of words only reaches the Ear, 'tis the Mind convinces the Mind, and the Heart perswades the Heart. He that is strongly convinc'd of the Truth of eternal Things, he will [Page 22] speak of them with assurance, as an Eye witness, and in a lively manner: He that is burning in his own Breast, will inflame o­thers; but if there be no Spark of Celestial Fire in the Minister's Brest, if he does not value the Consequence of Divine Truths, he speaks of them without a deep concernment; and a cold Preach­er makes a careless Hearer: and the Sermon is lost in the Air be­tween the Lips of the one and the Ears of the other.

2. The Matter of their Ser­mons must be the Doctrine of the Gospel revealed from Heaven to reduce Men to their Duty, and restore them to Felicity. This is the Tenor of the Commission given by our Saviour to his A­postles, Go teach all Nations, to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. The preaching unrevealed or trivial things, im­pertinent to the Salvation and [Page 23] Perfection of Souls, is directly con­trary to the end of their Office. The wisest Method of recovering lost Sinners is to unfold the two Covenants, and represent the two Worlds to them. The first Co­venant was with Man created in natural Righteousness and Holi­ness, but was of a short continu­ance: For by his rebellious Sin he made a deadly forfeiture of the Image and Favour of God, of Communion with him the Foun­tain of our Felicity. He is cut off from that blessed Life, and must remain in the state of Cor­ruption and Death for ever with­out redeeming Mercy. 'Tis a necessary preparative for the Con­version and Recovery of Sinners, to convince them of the guilt, pol­lution, and dominion of Sin, and the everlasting Hell that follows it, that they may be roused out of their Security to fly from the Wrath to come. The Terrors of [Page 24] the Lord make the first Breach into the Hearts of Men, and Grace victoriously enters, and subdues the reluctant Will. Af­ter the Conviction of Sin, 'tis seasonable to convince them of the all-sufficient Righteousness of Christ; that he is the Tree of Life, for the reviving dead Sin­ners, that he is Wisdom, Righ­teousness, Sanctification, and Re­demption, a universal Remedy for all the Evils that lie upon Man in his fallen State. And 'tis requi­site to open the Terms upon which God offers his Mercy, the Law of Faith in the Gospel, that consists of Commands and Promises, both to check Presumption that flatters so many into Hell, and to pre­vent Despair that works as dan­gerously, though not so frequent­ly, to the Ruin of Souls. That men may not from corrupt minds and carnal Affections misinter­pret the Gospel, to live at ease in [Page 25] their Sins, a faithful Minister must shew them, that the Pro­mises of Pardon and Salvation are made only to a certain order of Sinners, the repenting and reforming Sinners, that rely up­on Christ alone for their accep­tance; that he is a King as well as a Priest, and none can regularly depend upon his Sacrifice with­out Subjection to his Scepter: In short the soveraign Balm of his Blood is to be applied only to those whose Hearts are broken for their Sins, and from them. And to raise and encourage droo­ping Spirits that feel the intole­rable Burthen of Sin, and both from their Guilt and Unworthi­ness, and their Impotency to per­form the Conditions of the Gos­pel, are apt to be hopeless of ob­taining Salvation, the Gospel as­sures us that God is rich in Mer­cy, ready to receive humble con­trite Suppliants: That although [Page 26] Sins are of different degrees of Guilt, and accordingly Consci­ence should be affected, and the Springs of Godly Sorrow be ope­ned, yet God can as easily for­give ten thousand Talents as a few pence: that the Blood of Christ cleanses from all Sins, those that are of a Crimson dy, as well as from those of a lighter Tincture: That the Promise of Pardon is without limitation to all penitent Believers. And al­though in the fallen State Man is destitute of Spiritual Strength, no Man can come to Christ except the Father draw him; though Carnal Lusts have fetter'd Na­ture, and captivated the Will, that Men cannot rescue themselves from the Bondage of Sin, yet Di­vine Grace is offered in the Gos­pel, to enable us to do what is im­possible without it; and the Ho­ly Spirit is promised to all that sincerely ask it, who is stiled the [Page 27] Spirit of Love, and Power, and a sound Mind, with respect to his Heavenly Operations in the Hearts of Men. Therefore as it would be Folly in a Scholar that is invited to the School of a lear­ned Master, to discourage him­self from going, because he wants Learning: For that is to be ob­tained there, and only his Desire and Capacity of Instruction is re­quisite for his Admission: so 'tis unreasonable for those who have a humble sense of their Sins and Misery, to be discouraged from coming to our Saviour; for he is most willing to reconcile God to them by his prevailing Mediati­on, and to communicate Divine Grace that they may perform that Obedience which God will graci­ously accept. This is to imitate the Apostles, of whom 'tis said, We preach not our selves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.

[Page 28]'Tis of excellent use also for Preachers often to represent to Men the two Worlds, so vastly different in the Qualities, the Degrees and Duration of the Good and Evil Things that are enjoyed or suffered in them, that they may discover the Errors of their Ways before they come to their End, and Death opens their Eyes to see and lament what is lost and never to be recover'd. All the admired Things in the sensible World, are perishing Vanities; like an in­chanted Feast that feeds the Eye, without real Nourishment: But in the Coelestial World all is sub­stantial, satisfying, and eternal. All the Evils, the Calamities, the Injuries, and Troubles suffer'd here, are no more to the Plagues prepared by revenging Justice for impenitent Sinners, than the slight razing of the Skin is to a deadly Wound in the Heart. Now the fundamental Delusion of Men is [Page 29] in valuing the present state of Things above what is Future, and infinitely better or worse. They think and call them only Happy,Cui ideo reor veteres pagani tam speciosae appellationis titulum dede­runt, ut quia in eo non erat nu­men, vel nomen esset. Et quia non habebat a­liquam ex po­testate virtu­tem haberet saltem ex voca­bulo divinita­tem. Salv. de Provid. l. 8. [...]. Hippoc. Aphor. Lib. 6. who live in Pomp, and flow in Riches and Pleasures; but as vainly as the Heathens dignified their Idols, with the Titles of Coelestial Deities: They count them only miserable that are in Poverty, Sickness, and Afflictions here. And as 'tis observed, by the great Physician, that if a de­lirous Person proposes his incohoe­rent Fancies, seriously as the Pro­duct of Consideration, his Case is more dangerous and hardly cura­ble: So the solemn Folly of Men that think it reasonable to esteem what is present and sensible, above what is future and spiritual; and accordingly to choose the present as the real substantial Good, and neglect the future as a matter of Fancy and Conceit, is hardly cu­red. Their Minds and Affections, [Page 30] their Aims and Desires center in the Earth: their Fears, Anxieties, Sorrows terminate there. And 'tis one necessary part of the Minister's Work to devest the World of its Masquing Habit, that appears so rich and glittering in the Night by Torch-light, to strip it naked as it shall burn in the consuming Fire at the last Day: And to un­vail the Glory of Heaven, and represent it to the Eyes of Chri­stians so as to ravish their Hearts: In short, to make such a convin­cing Discovery of Things unseen, that Men may judg, that only the Saints above are truly and perfect­ly Happy, and only the Repro­bates in Hell are really and finally miserable, and accordingly regu­late their Lives.

I shall add to this, that the Language of Sermons should be suitable to the quality of the Matter, and the end of that Di­vine Ordinance. A Minister must [Page 31] speak as becoming the Oracles of God: With solemn Expressions according to the Sanctity and Im­portance of the great Mystery of Godliness. The Apostle tells us his Speech was not with the enticing Words of Man's Wisdom. A Lux­uriant flourish of Words, a vain Ostentation of Wit, debases the Majesty, enervates the Vigour, and corrupts the pure taste of the Gospel. True Eloquence is al­ways suitable to the Subject, and springs from it; as the native Beauty of the Countenance that springs from a sound Complexion of Body, and is not varnish'd with the Paint of Art. When the Truth of Eternal Things is planted in the Heart, and the vi­tal Sense of them is shed in the Will and Affections, it will fur­nish us with fit and powerful Words to express them. Besides, in the managing of a sacred Argu­ment, salus populi suprema lex esto: [Page 32] The Salvation of Souls is the Rule to which the Language of Ser­mons must be parallel. Divine Truths must be represented with those clear and solemn Expressi­ons, as may powerfully affect the Conscience, and excite the prac­tick Faculties of the Soul, with such weighty and serious Words, as may awaken Sinners to fear the powerful and terrible Judg of the World, and to hate Sin that pro­vokes his Displeasure. The curi­ous Contexture of Words of plea­sant Sound without Substance, is an elaborate Folly: 'Tis the fra­ming a Net only fit to catch Flys, the vain Applauses of the injudi­cious, not to take Souls, the Divine Work of a Minister. And the Account must be woful for those Ministers to the Redeemer of Souls, whose Study, Thoughts, and Time are wasted for so guilty and base an end.

[Page 33]3. The Motives of their Affe­ctions and Endeavours in this Holy Service must be the Love of Christ and precious Immortal Souls. Our Saviour with repeat­ed Earnestness recommends this to St. Peter, Lovest thou me, feed my Lambs, feed my Sheep. The Salvation of Souls is his dearest Glory, and satisfying Pleasure: As it was prophesied, that he shall see of the Travel of his Soul, and be satisfied: And our zealous Endeavours to save them from Death, is the natural and necessary Effect of our Love to him. A true Minister of Christ has a divi­ner Principle, a sublimer Soul, than to aim at carnal Fruitions, at temporal and terrestrial Rewards. The blessed End of his Office must be the End of all his studious Thoughts and Labours, the Ho­nour of his Master in the Con­version and Salvation of Sinners.

[Page 34]If the World be in their Eye and Heart as the Scope of their Ministry, they are guilty of the most unnatural Disorder by em­ploying the most excellent means for low and sordid Ends, they use God to enjoy the World: this corrupts and stains their Service. Such Mercenaries are empty Vines, that only bring forth Fruit unto themselves: They have their Re­ward here. But the Love of Christ and Souls reigns in the Heart of a faithful Minister: this regulates his Work in order to their spiritual and everlasting Good.

This will make him descend to the Capacity of the meanest, and plainly to instruct them in things concerning their Salvati­on. As Elisha put his Mouth up­on the Mouth, and his Eyes upon the Eyes, and his Hands upon the Hands of the dead Child, and there­by conveyed a living Heat into [Page 35] him; so a Minister should apply himself suitably to their Capacity, who are but Children in Know­ledg. 'Tis his Duty to raise the low Understandings, as well as to humble the high and swelling Passions of Men.

This Love to Souls will in­spire him with tender melting Affections: without which, un­less God renews the Miracle of Aaron's dry Rod blooming and bearing Almonds, our Discourses will be barren, without Fruit in the Hearers. A plain Sermon dictated from the Heart with a holy Heat of Affections, makes a solid Impression upon the Hear­ers: When an elaborate Dis­course, not animated with the Af­fections, is of little Efficacy. As a blunter Iron, if burning hot, pierces more easily and deeply in­to a Piece of churlish Wood, then a sharper that is cold.

[Page 36]The Love of Christ and Souls inspires with Joy and Alacrity in his Service. No Element is heavy in its own Sphere.

A mercenary Spirit performs the Work as an irksom Task; but Love sweetens all the Duties of the sacred Calling, even such as are most distastful to the Car­nal. This entitles to the blessed Reward. The Apostle saith, If I preach the Gospel willingly, I have a Reward: Otherwise his abun­dant Labours would be of no comfortable account at last.

3. The Ministers of Christ must with most faithful Diligence attend his Service. The Subject and End of their Work challen­ges this of them, The Conver­sion and Salvation of Souls. What earnest and repeated Calls are ne­cessary to awaken those who are involved in carnal Security, to perswade them to love what they hate, and to hate what they love? [Page 37] and when the Foundation is laid in serious Repentance, and the Work of Grace begun, what Diligence is requisite to raise it to Perfection? How does the ma­licious incessant Enemy of our Salvation strive by a thousand Temptations to blast our Endea­vours?

The Work of a Minister is not like the Work of an Artificer: A Statuary with long Labour cuts the Marble to form it into a no­ble Image, but he leaves his work at his Pleasure; and when he re­sumes it, the Matter being dura­ble, 'tis in the same state towards finishing as when he left it. But the Heart of Man is of a strange Nature, hard as Marble and fluid as Water; Heavenly Impressi­ons are with difficulty made in it, and easily defac'd. When by many Prayers and Tears, many tender Addresses of Ministers the Heart is softened, and the Image [Page 38] of Christ, the Lineaments of his Divine Graces and Vertues are first drawn in it, without a con­tinual Eye and Attendance upon the Work, how soon are those blessed Beginnings spoiled, and the carnal Lusts regain the Heart? How hard is it to prevail with Men to enter into the nar­row Way, and to preserve them from defiling Lapses in it, or wo­ful Excursions into the pleasant ways of Sin, and to bring them safely to Heaven? The solemn Adjuration of the Apostle to Ti­mothy should excite Ministers with the most watchful Care and useful Diligence to attend their Work: I charge thee before the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Tim. 4.1, 2. who shall judg the quick and the dead at his appea­ring and his Kingdom: Preach the Word, be instant, in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and Doctrine. What Opiate can stupify the Con­science [Page 39] of idle Ministers so as not to be awakened by these ardent Expressions? How can they ap­pear before the most High, and Everlasting Judge? What will be a sufficient Defence be­fore his inlightned Tribunal? What Apologies will skreen them from his fiery Displeasure? Will their Ignorance, or Abundance, or Slothfulness excuse the neg­lect of their Duty? They may deceive themselves with vain Al­legations to palliate their Negli­gence, but God will not be mock­ed. If in the last Judgment those who neglected to feed the Poor with material Bread to support their Bodies, shall be placed with the Reprobates at the Left Hand of Christ, how can those whose Office it is to dispense the Bread of Life to Souls, and neglect to feed them, escape Condemnation?

The useful Diligence I have been urging upon Ministers, is [Page 40] not only necessary in publick so­lemn preaching the Word, but in seasonable applying it to parti­cular Persons within their Com­pass and Care. Of this we have an excellent Pattern in St. Paul, who gives this Account of his Spiritual Work: We preach Christ, warning every Man, Col. 1.28. and teaching every Man in all Wisdom; that we may present every Man perfect in Christ Jesus. A Minister should with watchful Diligence take all Opportunities for the sa­ving of precious Souls; and some­times one short Lesson seriously applied to a Person in private, more powerfully, affects the Con­science, and moves the Affections, than a long and well studied Sermon.

4. The Servants of Christ must with Resolution and Constancy despise the Allurements and the Terrors of the World in perform­ing the Duties of their Office. [Page 41] The Apostle declares his fixed Mind,Acts 20.24. I count not my Life dear to me, so that I may finish my Course with Joy, and the Ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus: Tho amongst the pikes of a thou­sand Dangers he was never faint-hearted, much less false-hearted, in the Cause of Christ. The two principal parts of the Minister's Duty are to preserve the Truths of the Gospel inviolate, and to o­pen and enforce the Commands of it in their spiritual Purity and Extent: They are stiled the Lights of the World, and the Salt of the Earth.

All the Truths of the Gospel are of precious value, but not of equal clearness and moment: And Christian Charity should mode­rate between Dissenters in smaller Matters, who agree in the main Points of Religion. But those Truths of the Gospel that are pri­mary and radical, and those that [Page 42] by necessary Consequence are de­duc'd from them, require our most vigilant Care and Zeal to preserve them entire and untaint­ed. 'Tis a universal Duty respect­ing Christians, to search out the Truth as 'tis in Jesus, to under­stand the Reasons of the Religion they profess, and to contend ear­nestly for the Faith once delivered to the Saints. But the Ministers of Christ who by virtue of their Office are Depositaries of the Truth, are chiefly obliged to as­sert and defend it: Especially when there are many Snares spread abroad to entangle igno­rant and unstable Souls with dan­gerous Errors. Our Saviour has set us a pattern of our Duty, who declared, For this end was I born, and came into the World to bear witness to the Truth. They are false to the sacred Trust reposed in them, when, by Silence the Truth is in danger of being opprest. 'Tis [Page 43] their Duty and Glory to be vali­ant for the Truth, when false Doctrines boldly oppose it, and poyson'd Arrows are shot into the Eyes of Men by erroneous Teach­ers. 'Tis said of John the Baptist, He was not the Light, but as next in Dignity, he came to bear witness of the Light. But if they with­draw their Testimony when the Truth challenges it, they will be covered with Confusion at the last Day; according to that fear­ful Threatning, Whosoever denies me before Men, him will I deny be­fore my Father which is in Heaven. The ignorance of Saving-Truths will not excuse the People; and Silence will condemn their Guides who should illustrate and defend the Truth even in the Face of Danger.

Besides they are guilty of Un­faithfulness to Christ, who by co­lourable temperaments adulterate the Purity of the Truth, and by [Page 44] milder modifications qualify and lessen Errors; who would joyn the Word of God with the Tradi­tions of Men, which are incom­patible as Mid-night and Mid­day. None are more artificial than fearful Spirits: They have many Turns and Expedients to com­pound necessary Controversies, and to make it seem indifferent which Opinion is chosen. They transform their fearful Apprehen­sions, into Counsels of Prudence, and disguise the baseness of their Cowardise under the Reputation of being Discreet. The wisest of Men who understood the in­comparable value of Truth, ad­vises, Buy the Truth, and sell it not: And we are told by St. James, The Wisdom, that is from above, is first pure, and then peaceable: But the Worldly-wise, with Art and Indu­stry endeavour to secure their out­ward Peace with the violation of Truth. How contrary is the [Page 45] Judgment of God to the vain O­pinions of Men? He is jealous of the Simplicity of his Truth, and the Chastity of his Worship, and will at last convince such of their extream Folly who would reconcile Religions that can never flow into one another.

'Tis therefore an indispensable Obligation of the Servants of Christ to adhere to the eternal Truth in Scriptures, tho vilified by some as an insufficient Rule, or impertinent and not absolutely necessary: And to preserve the pure Doctrine and transmit it to succeeding Ages. And this divine Encouragement should sustain them with unfainting Resolution to do their Duty, that if they cannot save the Truth from being over-born at present, yet the Truth will save them, and that it will pierce through all Opposi­tion, and be victorious in the Issue. The Church of Christ is of a su­pernatural [Page 46] Original and Order, and contrary to the custom of Human Things, is enlarg'd and e­stablish'd by the means used to destroy it. When the Heathen Powers with the utmost Rage and Cruelty attempted its final Ruine it prosper'd the more: The patient Deaths of the Martyrs, as well as conspicuous Miracles, gave credit and conveyance to the Gospel.

And the Ministers of Christ must with Faithfulness and Cou­rage enforce the Commands of the Gospel upon all. Carnal Men would fain relax the strictness of the Gospel; and endeavour to make their Principles correspon­dent to their Practices: They try to bend the Rule to their disorde­red and licentious Appetites, and will not regulate their Hearts and Lives according to the Sanctity of the Rule: And those who are high in the World, very uneasily bear the Conviction and Reproof [Page 47] of their Sin: But a Minister must be faithful to Christ and their Souls, and press upon them the Commands of our Judg, to pluck out the right Eye, and cut off the right Hand, upon the heavy Pe­nalty of being made entire Vi­ctims to revenging Justice for ever.

5. They must with a prudent temperament of Zeal and Meek­ness, insinuate and open a Passage for sanctifying and saving Do­ctrine into the Hearts of Men. This is the successful Method to convince those who are seduced with Errors, and to reclaim the Disobedient to the Wisdom of the Just. The Defence of the Truth must be managed in a calm peace­able manner; as the Sun scatters and overcomes the darkness of the Night and Clouds without noise. 'Tis the Apostle's Counsel, In Meekness instructing those that op­pose themselves: Without Contu­melies [Page 48] and Revilings; for Injuries convince no Man. The Human Spirit is naturally proud and stiff, and will resist such Arms: Fierce­ness and Scorn irritate the Passions, and hinder impartial and serious Deliberation, that opens the Mind for receiving the Truth. To per­swade the Soul, the mild and placid manner of conveying the Truth is as effectual as the Irradi­ation and Evidence of it. And to reclaim the disobedient there is nothing more powerful than Gen­tleness and the constraint of Love. The most fervent Reprehensions of Sinners must be mixt with ten­derness to their Souls. Under the Law there was a severe Pro­hibition of offering Sacrifices with the common Fire: But only with that Fire that came from Heaven, and was preserved Day and Night in the Temple: The Allusion is easy and fit: The Reprehension of Sinners in the Pulpit must be [Page 49] always from Zeal for the Honour of God and the Eternal Salvation of Souls, not from natural fiery Passions. If a Minister denoun­ces the Judgments of God with Compassion to Souls, if he thun­der and lightens in his Sermons, a Shower of repenting Tears will follow in convinced Sinners.

6. A Minister of the Gospel must joyn a holy Life with found Do­ctrine, according to our Saviour's Description of him: He that shall do and teach my Commands, shall be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. He must not only be free from Pollutions, but excel in Vertues; nothing in his Conver­sation should be worthy of Re­proach, nothing but what is wor­thy of Imitation. He must lead a Life answerable to the Excel­lence and End of his Calling. He is to preach a Doctrine so holy divine and venerable, that it would become the unspotted An­gels [Page 50] to be ministring Spirits in revealing it to Men. He is there­fore strictly obliged to shew forth the Power of Godliness, and the Beauty of Holiness in all his ways. He must imitate and honour his Master, who inseparably united saying and doing in himself: He must adorn the Gospel by expres­sing the Efficacy of divine Truths in his Actions. Under the Law he that had touch'd a dead Body, was forbidden to approach the San­ctuary: and what a Violation is it of all the Rules of Decency and Reason, for one who is employ­ed in the holy Service of the Gos­pel,Miser ego sem­per aeger calo­ribus impati­entiae. Confite­or ad Domi­num Deum, sa­tis temere me, si non etiam impudenter de patientia com­ponere ausum, cui praestandae idoneus omni­no non sim. to be polluted with dead Works? Tertullian writing of the Excellency of Patience, and reflecting upon himself, how op­posite his fiery Nature was to that Vertue, was deeply affected with Grief and Shame, and drew up his own Arraignment and Pro­cess for his Impatience: How [Page 51] much juster Cause has an unholy Minister to be surprised with Hor­rour and Confusion, considering the irreconcileable opposition be­tween his Doctrine and his Life? How just and stinging is the up­braiding Speech of God to such? how peremptory the Rejection? What hast thou to do to declare my Statutes, and to take my Cove­nant into thy Mouth, since thou ha­test to be reformed, and hast cast my Words behind thee? The End of the sacred Ministry requires Ho­liness in those who perform it: That is to convert Men to the Faith and Obedience of the Gos­pel. Now the Practice of a Mi­nister gives Weight and Efficacy to his Doctrine, the exemplifying of it in his Actions is the most powerful perswasive to draw Men to their Duty. Therefore the Apostle commands Titus in all Things to shew himself a Pattern of good Works. As [Page 52] the Plants that are productive of Balm, and Myrrh, and Incense, have a Fragrancy not only in the precious Liquor that distils from them, but all their Branches, and Leaves, and Bark, are Aroma­tick. Thus a Minister of the Gospel, must be Holy not only in his Doctrine, but in all manner of Conversation. Be thou an Example of the Believers in Word, in Conversation, in Charity, in Spirit, in Faith, in Purity, is the so­lemn Charge to Timothy. He that is holy in his Profession, and un­holy in his Life, both discredits the Gospel, and hardens Men in their Sins. Though his Tongue may direct to Heaven, if his Life leads to Hell, the Authority of his Actions will be more preva­lent than of his Instructions. The Vices of a Minister are more con­spicuous and infamous than of private Persons: As a Blemish in the Eye is more conspicuous and [Page 53] disfiguring than in a concealed Part of the Body; and they have the most corrupting destructive Influence upon others. For there is nothing more natural than for Men to think that Ministers do not believe what they preach, when there is a visible Contradi­ction between their Lives and their Words: That their most zealous Sermons are rather Page­antry than serious Piety, and ac­cordingly to slight them. This is a principal Reason that the Con­version of Sinners is so rare: 'Tis not from any defect in the word, for that is not like some medici­nal Drugs, that lose their Virtue by Age, it has the same Divine Power to revive dead Souls, to transform the carnal into spiritu­al Persons, to clarify the Mind that it may see things invisible, to reconcile the Will to the San­ctity of God's Law, to calm the stormy Affections, and leave an [Page 54] Impression of its Purity in the Hearts of Men: but the admira­ble and secret Grace of the holy Spirit is not usually concomitant with the Ministry of those who grieve him, and quench him in themselves; and they render the holy Doctrine ineffectual by their discordant Conversations. It was the Character of the wicked Pharisees from the Mouth of Christ: They say, and do not: and to them, and all that are involved in the same Guilt, the Saviour of the World threatens the most hea­vy Damnation.

7. Humble, fervent, and con­tinual Prayer to the Father of Mercies, and the Father of Spi­rits, that he would bless the out­ward Ministry, is requisite to make it effectual. The Conver­sion of Man is not wrought by Man, but by the Energy of the holy Spirit. God instructs us what he does in the more secret Ope­rations [Page 55] of Grace, by what he does in the more visible Operati­ons of Nature. This is express'd by the Apostle; Paul plants, and Apollos waters, but God gives the In­crease. A Man plants a green Stick, and waters it; but the God of Na­ture forms the Tree in all its Parts, the Root, the Sap, the Trunk, the Branches, and the Fruits: The planting by the Hand of Man is necessary for the Growth of a Tree, but what is that to the Divine Blessing? Thus accor­ding to the ordinary Method of Divine Grace, God unites his marvellous Power with the weak Ministry of Men for the Salvati­on of Souls, and according to the Apostle's arguing, it is an impos­sible Event that Men should believe without hearing the Gospel, and hear without a Preacher: But the converting and saving of Souls is to be ascribed to God. And thus in the Spiritual Husbandry, the [Page 56] Occasions of Pride and Slothful­ness are equally removed. As the same Apostle saith, He that plants is nothing, and he that waters, is nothing, but God that gives the In­crease. This Consideration should be an Incentive in our Breasts, to petition the God of all Grace that he will please to give Life and Ef­ficacy to his Word. In Jacob's Vision of the mysterious Lad­der that reach'd from Heaven to Earth, the Angels were ascend­ing and descending: An Em­blem of a Minister's Duty, they must first ascend in Prayer and Contemplation, and then descend in preaching to the People. 'Tis observable that sometimes Men of excellent Accomplishments are blasted in their Ministry; and o­thers of meaner Abilities, but of more holy Affections, are very instrumental to save Souls: The Reason is plain; those who are most frequent and fervent in [Page 57] Prayer, obtain the richest Abun­dance of the Spirit, and are usually most blest with Success. When the Apostles were filled with the Holy Ghost, descending in the significant Emblem of fiery Tongues; what an admirable Influence had their Preaching up­on the obdurate Jews? The first Sermon presently convinc'd and converted three thousand, that were Murderers of our Saviour, with the Stains of his Blood fresh upon them. Tongues of Flesh are without vigor, make no last­ing Impression upon the Hear­ers: Tongues of Fire have a di­vine Force and Operation, to di­spel the Ignorance and Errors of Mens Minds, to quicken the dull Earth of their Affections, to re­fine and purify their Conversati­ons.

Lastly, To sum up all in one general Consideration; He serves Christ, that employs all his Abi­lities, [Page 58] and uses all Opportunities in the Circle of his Calling, as was before spoken of, for the Honour of our Saviour. This is represented in the Parable of the Talents, which the Master com­mitted to his Servants; different in their Number, but to be faith­fully improved for the Master's Interest. Under the Talents are comprised all that we have and are; whether in the Order of Na­ture, and with respect to our ci­vil State in the World, all our intellectual and sensitive Facul­ties, all our innate and acquired Endowments, our Time, our Health, our Dignities and Pow­er, our Estates; or Spiritual Blessings, all the Gifts and Gra­ces of the Spirit, the Light of the Gospel, all the Advantages we have of doing or receiving Good for our more excellent and immortal part, the Salvation of our Souls. Every one according [Page 59] to the Character wherewith he is invested in this World, and ac­cording to his Capacity of doing Good, must be diligent in the ser­vice of Christ. In what Relati­ons soever Men are, as Fathers, Masters, or Magistrates in a su­periour Rank, or as Friends and Associates in an equal Line, and as they stand related to all Men, they are either by Authority and Command, or by Counsel and compassionate Care and Encou­ragements to promote with Diligence, their Temporal and Eternal Welfare. The Apostle's Advice with respect to Acts of Beneficence for relieving the Poor, Let us do good unto all as we have opportunity, is by just Analogy binding to all other Expressions of Love, to direct, to perswade Men to their Duty, to comfort them in their Sorrows, to assist them in all their Wants and Exigencies. Briefly, the [Page 60] Wisdom and Goodness of Christ's Servants consists in their faith­ful improving all their Talents for his Glory, as our Saviour de­clares, Who is that wise and faith­ful Servant; and, Well done good and faithful Servant.

2. We are to shew upon what accounts our Service is due to Christ. If we seriously consider things, it will be evident that by all the Titles of Justice and Gra­titude, by all Divine and Rational Rights we are obliged to serve him intirely and for e­ver.

In the present State there are four ways whereby Men become Servants: Some are born Ser­vants; some are by ransom and purchase; some by victorious re­scue and deliverance; others are Servants by Covenant and A­greement. Now all these Ti­tles concur in obliging us to serve Christ.

[Page 61]1. We are his Servants by Na­ture, he has an original and una­lianeble Right in us as our Crea­tor. God to satisfy the Inquiry of Moses defines himself, I am: All the intimate and eternal At­tributes of the Deity are implyed in that short Title: He is the on­ly necessary Being by his Nature, and consequently has all Perfecti­ons in himself, and is the Foun­tain of all Being. His Hands made us and fashioned us, he brea­thed into us a living Soul. All our Faculties and their Efficacy are from him. He produces this evidence of his Right in us, Re­member O Jacob thou art my Ser­vant, I have formed thee: Esa. 44.12. The Psalmist declares, Know ye that the Lord he is God; 'tis he that made us, and not we our Selves; we are his People and Sheep of his Pasture: We owe to him an Obedience as ready & unconstrain'd as the mee­kest Creatures pay to those that [Page 62] feed and conduct them. His Per­fections qualify him to be our absolute Master, for his Will is always directed by infinite Wis­dom, 'tis the Rule of Goodness, and his Benefits in making and preserving us, acquire to him a supreme Right in us. Now if there be a Spark of Reason in our Minds, 'tis impossible to have the least Shadow of doubt, that a derivative Being has a depen­dent Working, and is to employ his active Powers according to the Will of his Maker, as the Rule, and his Glory as the ulti­mate End of all.

The Connexion is indissolva­ble, for of him, and through him, and to him are all things. The Psalmist ardently calls the whole World; Bless the Lord all ye his Works, Psal. 103. in all Places of his Domi­nion. The Angels who by No­bility of Nature are superiour to all his other Works, yet are not [Page 63] sui juris, at their own disposals, but his Ministers that do his Plea­sure: They employ their excel­lent Strength in humble Obedi­ence to his Commands: they fly with incredible Swiftness to per­form his Orders. And in the visible World,Dan. 9. the Heavens in their Motion, the Earth in its Seasons, with an invariable Te­nor observe the Law impress'd upon them in their Creation: As the Psalmist speaks, they continue this day according to thy Ordinance, Psal. 118.181. for all are thy Servants. And if the Creatures without Reason and Sense are perfectly subject to his Will, much more should Man who understands his Obligations to the Creator. Now the Son of God made us, and maintains our Beings by his powerful Pro­vidence; from whence it follows, we are under an eternal Obliga­tion to serve and glorify him to the utmost of our Capacities. [Page 64] His unexcited and most free Goodness decreed our Beings from everlasting, and in time brought us into the World, whereas he might have created innumerable other Persons, for Omnipotence is without Bounds, and left us in the pure Possibili­ty of Being, without the gi­ving actual Being to us. The natural Law that shines in the Minds of Men, in the Know­ledg of what is just and good, and in the Conscience of what is evil, binds them with the deep­est Humility to acknowledg the Greatness and Goodness of our Creator, and in the sense of this first and fundamental Benefit to consecrate our selves for ever to his Service.

2. We are his Servants not on­ly upon the general Title of Cre­ation, but in a more peculiar manner by Redemption. Man by his Disobedience was fallen [Page 65] into a woful Bondage, his Guilt subjected him to the threatning, that contained two Deaths in one Sentence, the temporal and pre­sent of the Body, and the eternal of the Soul. The righteous Judg of the the World, whose Law was broken, required an honou­rable Reparation of it: the most costly Sacrifices of Beasts, a Sea of Blood could never atone his Displeasure: Nay, the Obe­dience and Sufferings of Men and Angels were of no value to satisfy his injured Justice: Thus Mankind was desperately lost, our Ruines (if I may so speak) were sowed with Salt, we were concluded under his most righ­teous and fearful Wrath: If the Love and Wisdom of God had not accorded to find out that a­stonishing expedient of uniting the eternal Son of God with the human Nature in one Person, that as Man he might voluntarily [Page 66] submit to bloody Sufferings, and as God give an infinite Merit and Value to them, and thereby purchase our Redemption. This is accomplished by Jesus Christ; The Lord laid on him the Iniquity of us all; he gave his Life a ran­som for us: From hence a new Right springs of his Dominion over us; as the Apostle invinci­bly argues, Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your Bo­dies, and in your Spirit, which are God's. The naked representing of this to the serious Mind must awaken a dear Sense of our Ob­ligations to our Saviour: but if we solemnly and deliberately contemplate this amazing Bene­fit, out of what Rock is the Heart framed, that is not soften'd and melted in Love and Obedi­ence to our Blessed Redeemer. To heighten the Sense of our Ob­ligations, Consider,

[Page 67]1. A more excellent Goodness is visible in the redeeming Man than in creating the Angels, up­on the account of the distance of the Terms and the Difficulty of the way to effect it. In the Cre­ation of Angels, Goodness was rich indeed, there being no Pos­sibility of desert in pure nothing, but it was simply free; whereas in our Salvation it is merciful beyond all Imagination, for by our Rebellion we were justly fal­len under the Wrath of God: Their Creation was without the least strain of his Power; He spake, and it was done: But there was a legal Bar against our Re­stitution: To remove it, his Son endured the Curse of the Law for us, and bore our Sins in his own Bo­dy on the Tree. Divine Love in our Redemption not only ex­ceeds what was shewed in the Creation of Angels, but is admi­rably illustrated by a higher com­parison: [Page 68] For the Father seemed to love us above his only begotten Son, whom he spared not, but de­livered him up for us all; and the Son loved us above his Life, which he laid down for us.

2. By the way of our Re­demption he has infinitely ho­noured our Nature that was so vilified by the Fall. Man, whose Soul was an immortal Spirit, stamped with the lively Image of God, capable of everlasting Communion with him in Glory, was sold for nought. Be astoni­shed O ye Heavens at this, and be very desolate: That Man, who had the two great Lights of Na­tural Reason and Divine Faith, should prefer the pleasing an ir­regular Appetite before the Fa­vour of God, and for a vain Fan­cy lose the most substantial Hap­piness. Thus Man being in Ho­nour, and understood not, became like the Beasts that perish, nay vi­ler [Page 69] than the Earth. And all the Children of Adam sin according to the Similitude of his first Trans­gression. O the cheap Damnati­on of Sinners! For transient Plea­sures, and mean Profits they venture upon eternal Death. This guilty and woful Folly not only defiles, but debases Men to Hell. Now the Lord of Life and Glo­ry by suffering an ignominious Death for us, has with the clear­est evidence discovered the true Worth of Souls: That they are precious beyond comparison, since the whole World is not a valuable Compensation for them: We are not redeemed with corrupti­ble things, as Silver and Gold, Idoneus sui o­peris aestima­tor, magno pre­tio nos rede­mit. Arnob. but with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without spot and blemish: That sacred Treasure of Heaven that was laid down for us, ex­ceedingly increases our Obligati­ons to the Blessed Redeemer.

3. By giving himself for us, [Page 70] he has not only freed us from the Wrath of God, but restored us to his dearest Favour: We are translated from the fearful State of being God's Enemies into the amiable joyful State of his Chil­dren: And consequently our Re­deemer has purchased for us not only Salvation from Hell, but e­ternal Glory, a Life more divine and durable than the natural Life in Paradise. How can we seriously think of this transcen­dent Benefit without a rapture of Affection? He infinitely de­serves our Love and Service who has bought us with so dear a price, and purchased for us a glo­rious and incorruptible Inheri­tance.

3. We are his Servants by his Deliverance of us from our Spiri­tual Enemies, Satan, Sin, and Death. Since the Devil obtained a woful Victory over us in the Fall of Adam, great was the Tri­umph [Page 71] of Hell: And though he be an Usurper of God's Right, which could never be extingui­shed, yet by our Overthrow he has a kind of a Title to us, and keeps us as the Spoils of his Vi­ctory: And having revolted from God, we are justly though miserably under the Powers of Darkness. We are chained in the lowest and the vilest Bon­dage: The Soul and Body are under his tyrannous Dominion, and suffer the deepest Wounds of Infamy and Cruelty. He fet­ters our Minds with dangerous Delusions, our Wills with divers Lusts and Passions, and leads Men Captives in the ways of Sin, till they fall into Hell the Centre of Misery. Now as in redeeming a Captive, there must be the pay­ing the Ransom, and the break­ing his Chains, that he may be restored to Liberty: So, besides the Price that was payed to God [Page 72] the Supreme Judg, for our Dis­charge, our Saviour has broken our Chains; he by the sanctify­ing Spirit dispels the Darkness of our Minds, softens the Hardness of our Hearts, subdues the Re­bellion of our Wills, rectifies the Disorder of our Affections, that we may be freed from the Domi­on of Sin, as well as from the Obligation and Terrors of the Law. He has broken the Pow­ers of Darkness that conspired to keep us fast in the Intanglements of our Iniquities, he has freed us from the spiritual Pharaoh, Luke 11.21. and his cruel Task-Masters, the im­perious violent Lusts that are seated in the Heart, and restores us to the glorious Liberty of the Sons of God; By dying he destroy­ed him that had the Power of Death, and triumphed over Principalities and Powers on the Cross. We have Freedom of Pardon and of Grace, and the natural and necessary [Page 73] Consequence is, that we cheer­fully serve him that set us free. This is expressed by Zacharias in his divine Thansgiving, that be­ing delivered from the Hands of our Enemies, we might serve him withour Fear in Holiness and Righ­teousness all the Days of our Lives. In what a holy Extasy does the Psalmist break forth, O Lord, tru­ly I am thy Servant, I am thy Ser­vant, and the Son of thy Hand­maid, thou hast broken my Bonds: Yet this was but the rescuing of him from some temporal immi­nent Danger: How much dearer and stronger Ingagements bind us to serve our Redeemer, who has freed us from the Power as well as Punishment of Sin? Love should correspond with Love: As Love descends in Favours and Benefits, it should ascend in Thankfulness and Duty. St. Paul had such a lively apprehen­sion of our Saviour's Love, that [Page 74] it had an absolute Empire in his Heart and Life; he expresses it in the most significant manner: The Love of Christ constrains us, because we thus judge, that if one dyed for all, then were all dead; and that he dyed for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live to themselves, but unto him which dyed for them and rose again. The Word constraineth, signifies properly to be intirely under the Power of a­nother: As the Prophets inspired by the Spirit of God,Acts 18.5. only spake and acted according to his ex­traordinary Motions in them.

Thus the Love of Christ had such an absolute Empire in his Heart, that his whole Life was spent as a vowed Oblation to his Service and Glory. And whoe­ver does not live a spiritual Life, as the Servant of Christ, never yet felt the Misery of this Bon­dage of Sin, nor the sweetness of that Liberty which the Son of [Page 75] God has purchased for his Peo­ple.

Lastly; We are the Servants of Christ by solemn Covenant, and the most sacred Ingagement. In the Covenant of Grace God and Man are the Parties: And such was his condescending Love, that he came down from Heaven and assumed our Nature, on purpose to seal his part in his own Blood, the Promise of his pardoning Mercy, of his sanctifying Spi­rit, and his rewarding Goodness, to all that with unfeigned Con­sent and firm Resolution will seal the Counterpart of their Du­ty and Obedience to him. We are entred into his Family and the Relation of his Servants in Baptism; and vowed universal Obedience to our new Master, in defiance of all Temptations whe­ther inviting or terrifying in the World: For this reason Baptism is called the Answer of a good Consci­ence 1 Pet. 3.12. [Page 76] towards God. We wear his Co­lours, are distinguished from the Heathens by the Title of Chri­stians: We ratify in a most solemn manner our Covenant by the Seal of the Lord's Supper, wherein we sacramentally eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Savi­our. Now from hence arises a new Obligation to serve Christ: He had a Soveraign Right in us antecedently to our dedicating our selves to his Service, but from our voluntary Consent accrues another Title, whereby he claims our perpetual Service. The Law of God binds us without our Con­sent, but our Consent increases the Obligation; and if we are careless of our Duty, and desert his Service, we break double Bonds, and are guilty not only of Disobedience to the Law, but of perfidious Violation of our Cove­nant. 'Tis observable in the Pa­rable of the Talents, they were [Page 77] committed to Servants, from whence a double Obligation springs, to employ them with in­tire Fidelity for the Master's Profit. A Merchant sends Goods to his Correspondent, who is bound to make faithful returns upon the account of commutative Justice that reaches all: but a Ser­vant is under a special Ob­ligation, and if he wasts or neg­lects the improving his Master's Goods, he does not only break this Trust reposed in him, but violates the Duty of a Servant, that obliges him to manage them according to his Master's Will, and for his Profit. The Account will be particular and exact for all our Talents at the last: None so high that shall be excused, none so mean that shall escape that strict Inquiry: For he that knows all things, shall be our Judg. The Servant that had [Page 78] but one Talent was called to ac­count for it, and condemned for neglecting to improve it: He pretended that he hid it out of caution lest it should be lost, knowing his Master's Severity; but his vain excuse was retorted upon him, to aggravate his Sin and Sentence: Cast the unprofita­ble Servant into outer Darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth: A Judgment as righ­teous as terrible: For the Guilt of his Rebellion, in not using his Talent according to his Master's Order; and Unthankfulness, in despising his Gifts, and an un­righteous depriving of others of that Benefit, that was by the Master's Will due to them.

3. We are to consider the final Reward of Christ's Servants un­der two Heads.

  • 1. The Order of the Reward.
  • 2. The Excellency of it.

1. The Order, in giving it after [Page 79] the Service of Christ faithfully and constantly performed. 'Tis the revealed Will of God, that all Men should honour the Son as they honour the Father: The Son is the Heir of his Love and Glory, and in serving him the Father is honoured and obeyed. And as our Saviour reigns eternally in Heaven, after the finishing his Work injoyned him by the Father, so according to his Example, we receive the Crown of Life af­ter the course of our Obedience. This is the Tenor of the Promise: To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my Throne, Rev. 3.21. even as I also overcame and am sat down with my Father in his Throne.

The Order in dispensing the blessed Reward, does not in the least eclipse the Honour of God's Grace, or afford the least shadow of presuming upon any Merit in our best Services. The Wages of Sin is Death, 'tis the just De­sert [Page 80] of it; but the Gift of God is eternal Life in Jesus Christ our Lord. The eternal Election of Per­sons to Life, the preparing of them by sanctifying Grace for Glory, and the actual possession of it, is from the most free Favour of God. Election is the first Foun­tain of Water springing up to eter­nal Life: For what could induce God when all Mankind was e­qually involved in Guilt and Mi­sery, to choose some to be Vessels of Grace and of Glory, but his so­veraign Pleasure and pure Grace? The Elect were in the Eye and Heart of God from Eternity, ap­pointed to supernatural Happi­ness, but that free and insupera­ble Decree is accomplished accor­ding to the Law of Faith, the unchangeable Order of the Go­spel; and that is, that Heaven shall be the Reward of the faith­ful Servants of Christ; not for the true Desert of their Service, [Page 81] but the most gracious and rich Bounty of God. The Angels of Glory cannot from a Plea of Ju­stice claim any Reward from God: For the Rights of Justice suppose some Equality between those who respectively are obli­ged by them, tho not in all re­gards, yet so far as a certain com­mon Rule makes them equal: But there is such an immense distance between the Divine Majesty and the highest Creatures, that there is no Foundation for such a Plea between them.

Besides, the Duty of Obedience is absolute: For all our natural Powers and supernatural Strength are his Gifts, and were there no Reward assured to us, are to be faithfully employed in his Ser­vice. Now the Paiment of a Debt cannot deserve a Reward. Our best Services are blemished with many Imperfections, and without the Mercy of the Gospel [Page 82] that mollifies the strictness of the Law, would make us liable to Punishments; God spares us, as a Father spares his Son that serves him: Now Pardon and Merit are utterly inconsistent. And what Proportion can there be between our mean and short Services, and the eternal weight of Glory? Even Martyrdom, which is the most signal Act of Love and Obedi­ence to our Redeemer, the high­est Advancing of his Glory, the most noble Testimony of his Truth; when our Example works upon others, and engages them to Christ, and entitles us to a kind of Interest in all they do and suffer for his Name, yet even the laying down our Lives is by infinite degrees below the Glo­ry of Heaven, that is the pro­mised Reward to it. This St. Paul testifies from his deliberate Judg­ment, I reckon that the Sufferings of this present time are not worthy [Page 83] to be compared with the Glory that shall be revealed in us. From hence in Scripture the Reward is often expres'd by Mercy: The Apo­stle prays for Onesiphorus, whose valiant Love in visiting and sup­plying him in the time of his Im­prisonment, was set off illustri­ously by the Discouragements and Inconstancy of others who neg­lected him; The Lord grant to him that he may find Mercy of the Lord in that day. And we are exhor­ted to keep our selves in the Love of God, looking for the Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal Life. But although there is no Merit in our Service of the Re­ward, yet God has wisely esta­blished an Order and Conse­quence between them, as the most conducing for his Glory and our Good. For not only the superabundant Mercy, but the Righteousness and Truth of God appear with an eminency of Glo­ry [Page 84] in this way of making us hap­py. The Promise of the Reward was from excellent Goodness, but the performing it to his faithful Servants is from his Ju­stice and Fidelity. He was unli­mitedly free, but having pleased with such condescending Favour to make a Covenant with us, up-our sincere Compliance with the Terms of it, he is obliged for the Honour of his Truth and Righteousness to accomplish it: though in strictness he can owe nothing to us, yet he is a Debtor to his Promise. From hence the Apostle saith, I have fought the good Fight, I have finish'd my Course; from henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness, which God the righteous Judg shall give unto me. The Honour of his Truth is sacred and inviolable: Thus he is proclaimed in a stile expressing how glorious his Truth is, and how dear to him, [Page 85] The Lord thy God, he is God;Deut. 7.8. and the only Attribute that is annext is, the Faithful God, keeping Co­venant and Mercy. At the last day he will be glorified not only as the free and magnificent Do­nor of all the Treasures of Hea­ven, but as the God of Truth, who has fulfilled all the excee­ding great and precious Promi­ses made to his Servants.

And the Connexion between our Duty and the Reward, has a powerful influence to excite our sincere and earnest Endeavours to please God: 'Tis the stron­gest Engagement to Universal Sanctity and Obedience. For the Gospel is an everlasting Cove­nant, and Condition of it is un­alterable: Heaven is not promi­sed as an absolute irrespective Gift, but as a Reward consequent of Services. There can be no lively regular hope of future Hap­piness, but according to the Re­velation [Page 86] of God's Will, who gives it: The Accomplishment of his Promise has a dependance upon our Duty. The Crown of Life is promised to those that love God; and Love is the fulfil­ling of the Law: If any one a­spires to that Dignity, he must from Love, which is the internal Character and Disposition of a Saint, obey and serve God. To presume of obtaining our last and blessed End, without a diligent use of the means prescribed in the Gospel, is such idle preposterous Folly that Men would be asha­med of with respect to the gai­ning of temporal things. Can he that sows no Seed, expect a Harvest? or that plants no Vine­yard, expect a Vintage? Can a Merchant hope for rich Returns from a foreign Countrey, with­out trading thither? And 'tis as vain to hope for the eternal Re­ward, without following Holi­ness. [Page 87] The Presumption is heigh­tened and more fatal, when any shall think, if they are predestina­ted to Glory, they shall obtain it without their best Diligence in making their Calling and Election sure. This is to make a diame­trical Opposition between the De­crees of God, and the Record of his Will in the Gospel. Electi­on is a Chain that reaches from Heaven to Earth, to draw Men from Earth to Heaven: It has in­termediate Links that must not be left out. Between Election and Glorification the Faith and Obedience of the Gospel inter­venes: The Apostle informs us, that we are chosen to Salvation, through the Sanctification of the Spirit and the Belief of the Truth. The Decrees of God are a secret we cannot dive into. We can dis­cover what is secret only by what is revealed; our Election by our effectual Calling, which [Page 88] is the infallible and sensible Ef­fect of it. To lie down securely in the secret Decree, neglecting to work out our own Salvation, is such pernicious Sophistry, as can only be inspired from the Father of Lies. If ever such a Thought is suggested, That if I am elected, I shall be happy though careless of my Duty, chain it up, there is Folly and Frenzy in it. Heaven is bestowed as a Gift of his infinite Grace and Power, but ac­cording to the wise and immu­table Order set down in the Go­spel; which is so far from lesse­ning and obscuring the Glory of his Mercy, that it makes it more conspicuous: For Holiness, to which we are so strictly obliged as preparatory for Heaven, is our most Divine Perfection, and quali­fies us for the Enjoyment of God.

2. The Excellence of the Re­ward is to be considered: He that serves me, him will my Father ho­nour. [Page 89] Such is the Wisdom and Equity of God in his moral Go­vernment, that he has by a grace­ful Order annexed Honour as the Reward to Vertue. The gene­ral Rule is, Those that honour me, I will honour; and those that de­spise me, shall be lightly esteemed. There is such a Majestick Beauty in Holiness as commands the E­steem and Affections of Men, un­less they are prodigiously dege­nerate and corrupted by their Lusts. The Heathens were con­vinc'd that Honour is the extrin­sick Tribute always due to Ver­tue; and some were so strict and had such Divine Thoughts as to maintain that Vertue is the only true Nobility. 'Tis foretold in Scripture, The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance: They leave an honourable Evidence of their Graces and Vertues in their Works, and are of precious me­mory, when the Name of the Wic­ked [Page 90] shall rot. But the Reward our Saviour promises, is the Ho­nour that comes from God only: And as his Majesty infinitely transcends all Earthly Principa­lities; so in proportion, the Ho­nour that he confers upon his Ser­vants is above all the Titles of Honour, all the swelling Praises of Men. This Reward is given in the next World. Here the Ser­vants of Christ are sometimes darkened with many Afflictions, and buried in sad Obscurity be­fore they are dead; They are the Objects of Scorn and Contempt: St. Paul who was an incarnate Se­raphim, whose Zeal in the Ser­vice of his Divine Master excee­ded all the Apostles, yet was, as he declares, vilified as the off-scouring of the World. Now such is the excellent Goodness of God, that he will certainly in the next Life reward with the high­est Honour all who have advan­ced his Honour.

[Page 91]The Honour and Glory of the future state is concealed at present, 'tis wrapt up in a Cloud; only some glimmerings of it glance upon our Eyes: Light is sowed for the Righteous, the plenary Reve­lation is hereafter. 'Tis true the Apostle tells us, that Life and Im­mortality are brought to Light through the Gospel: But that is only to be understood of a Com­parative Revelation, to what was under the Law: 'Tis brought to the Light of Faith, which is like to Break of Day, when the Sha­dows of the Earth and the Light of Heaven are mixt. There is a Veil between us and the Glory of Heaven, partly to try our Faith, whether we will believe the Pro­mise of God without sensible Disco­veries of it; and to try the sincerity of our Love, whether we love God for Himself, without the distinct unfolding of that excellent Glory: and to comply with the weakness [Page 92] whilst we are in such temper'd Tabernacles of Flesh. If the Beams of his Glory were display'd before our Eyes, we should be struck with blindness, as Saul was at the brightness of Christ's ap­pearing to him: The Flood of Light would swallow us up in Extasy and Amazement. Our faint Faculties cannot sustain his Glorious Presence. As God told Moses, No Man can see my Face and live. St. John tells Belie­vers, Now we are the Sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: Now our Names are written in the Book of Life, in the Rolls of Eternity; now we are Adopted into the Line of Hea­ven; now we are cloathed with the Righteousness of Christ, the Royal Purple Robe dyed in his Blood; we have the Priviledges of the justified State; we have a Right to the Eternal King­dom by our Saviour's Pur­chase, [Page 93] and the firm Covenant of Grace; we have the Holy Spirit of Promise, who is the earnest of our Inheritance, and the Seal of God's Love to us: But the full par­taking of that Glory is reserved till we leave this visible World.

I will briefly glance at the se­veral Degrees of the Reward that shall be conferred upon all whom the King of Glory delights to ho­nour in the next World.

1. The Scripture reveals, that the Souls of just Men first come to the perfection of Glory. If Adam had continued in his holy State af­ter a short Immortality upon Earth, he had been translated A­live, and entire in Soul and Body, to Heaven: The everlasting Doors had been opened wide for his Reception: But since our Dis­obedience, tho our Guilt be par­doned, the Gate is so strait that the gross Spoils of our Flesh must be left behind us. Now imme­diately [Page 94] upon the dissolution of the Saints, God sends a Guard of Angels, his most noble Creatures, to convoy their Souls into the Courts of his Honour, into the Chamber of his glorious Presence. Divine Dignity! This is the pri­viledg of his chosen Friends and Favourites, of the most illustrious and blessed Creatures. In Hea­ven the Divine Majesty is seen in its Glory: And if one Ray of it, reflecting upon Suffering Stephen, adorn'd him with Angelical Glo­ry, how much more will the Face of God most radiant and resplen­dent transform the Soul into an admirable Similitude of his Per­fections? When we shall see him as he is, we shall be like him, by his everliving Spirit, the principle of the Divine Life and Beauty in the Soul, as the Soul is of the natural Life and Beauty in the Body. There will remain no shadow of Error in the Mind, no mixture of [Page 95] Evil in the Will, no Pollution in the Affections, but the full Like­ness of God in Holiness and Joy. This is the highest Honour an im­mortal Spirit is capable of. The State of Innocence wherein Man was created is call'd a State of Ho­nour: The Angels are dignified with the Title of Saints: And God is glorious in Holiness: It follows therefore, when the Spi­rits of just Men are made perfect they partake of the Heavenly and Divine Honour. If the Joy that springs from believing whilst we are in this Vale of Tears be un­speakable and full of Glory, how glorious is the Joy that springs from the clearest Sight and the most intimate Fruition of the blessed God, the Joy that is with­out defect or end? as the Psalmist expresses, In thy Presence is ful­ness of Joy, at thy right Hand are Pleasures for evermore.

[Page 96]2. At the last day their Bodies shall be raised and refined to a Spiritual Excellency, and trans­formed into the Likeness of Christ's glorious Body. The A­postle declares, That the Con­summation of the Saints Glory shall be at Christ's Appearance.Col. 3. Then their Souls shall be reinve­sted with shining Robes of Im­mortality: They shall be placed at the right Hand of the ever­lasting King, which implies the highest Honour; as God's being at our right Hand, implies Pro­tection and Defence: They shall then receive a most glorious Te­stimony of his Acceptance, Well done, good and faithful Servants, enter into your Master's Joy: Af­ter they are approved, they shall sit upon Thrones, and judg the the World, even the Prince of Darkness with all his Apostate Trains; they shall give their so­lemn Suffrages to the Judgment [Page 97] pronounced by our Saviour, say­ing, Hallelujah, Salvation, and Glo­ry, and Honour, and Power unto the Lord our God; for true and righ­teous are his Judgments. And af­ter the last Act of his Regal Of­fice, our Saviour will lead them into the Kingdom of his Glory to reign with him for ever and e­ver. Who is able to unfold this excellent Glory? all Humane Words are unworthy and too nar­row to express it; only the live­ly and ravishing Experience of that Glory can fully reveal it to us. The meanest Saint in that Kingdom shines in Glory that in­finitely exceeds all the most so­lemn and magnificent Repre­sentations of Earthly Majesty, all the Trophies and Triumphs of the most famous Conquerors. To raise our Thoughts by a di­stinct Comparison of them, con­sider,

[Page 98]The Glory of Saints is substan­tial and solid, 'tis inherent in them. The Apostle says, 'Tis a Glory that shall be revealed in us: A plenary Infusion of all glorious Endowments both in Soul and Body shall conform us to the Son of God. The Glory of this World is but an aiery Opinion, a verbal Sound without Substance, empty Titles, external Appearance, and confers no real Dignity to the Person that receives it. There is no Greatness in worldly Ho­nour: 'Tis Fancy heightens some by comparison with those that are below them. But Heaven is the Kingdom of true Glo­ry, and every Saint there is tru­ly glorious. The Psalmist de­clares God's Judgment of all the Honour and Prosperity of the World: As a Dream when one awakes, so O Lord, when thou a­wakest thou wilt destroy their Image. [Page 99] They are painted Shadows, splen­did Toyes. What difference there is between the clear and sound Judgment of a Person throughly awake, and the vain fugitive Fancies of one that dreams, there is, and much more between the swelling Images of Worldly Honour, and the real Heavenly Honour of the Saints.

The Heavenly Glory brings entire Satisfaction. As for me, saith David, I will behold thy Face in Righteousness, I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy Likeness. When the Morning of Glory a­rises, and the Soul awakes from the heavy Eye-Lids of Flesh, and sees the King of Spirits in his Beauty, and the Impression of the Divine Excellencies conspi­cuous in it self, what a joyful Sa­tisfaction, as sweet as Life, is diffu­sed through all its Powers? What a Heavenly Sabbath composes all [Page 100] its vast and restless Desires? The Glorified Saint sings with the Psalmist, Return to thy Rest, O my Soul, for the Lord has dealt bounti­fully with thee. But how unsatis­factory is all secular Greatness and Honour? Of this we have the fullest Testimony from some who ascended to the top of Worldly Glory: Solomon whose calm and flourishing State was scarce ever parallel'd, yet declares that all was Vanity: And the Roman Triumphs, wherein the World was represented in its highest Glory, was but an empty Shew: Vespasian the Emperor in his tri­umphant way often reflected upon his Folly in being induc'd to suffer such a tedious Vanity, 'Tis true the dreaming Minds of Men are deceived with vain com­placence in it for a while, and this makes them unwilling to be convinc'd of their foolish prizing [Page 101] it;Nam ut mens per diem ve­ris visionibus avocatur ne dormiat, ita falsis nocte ne excitetur. Lactant. de Opific. Dei. c. 18. yet they cannot find any solid true Satisfaction: They are charm'd with a superficial Plea­sure, that cannot reach to the Center of the Soul.

To sum up all, The Honour of the Servants of Christ is Eternal: They will shine like the Stars, that never faint in their Watch­es and Influences, with a du­rable Glory. But the Glory of this World, like a blaze in Straw, presently vanishes: Not one Ray of secular Glory shall enlighten the highest Monarchs, in the shady Valley of Death, nor in the Regions of Darkness beyond it.

The proper and main use of what has been spoken, is,

1. To direct our Ambitious Desires and Endeavours to seek Heavenly Honour. Nature has instilled the Desire of Praise and [Page 102] Glory: And this is like some Plants that in their native Soil have a poysonous Quality, but transplanted into another Soil and Climate, are not only innocent, but healthful. Pride ruines both Worlds: The Angels were expel­led from Heaven, and Adam from Paradise for their Pride. And e­ver since 'tis a seminal Sin pro­ductive of innumerable Evils and Mischiefs: Pride of Life is one of the great Corrupters in the World: 'Tis the cause of Envy and Emulation: Of Envy that would degrade those that are a­bove; of Emulation that urges those who are below by any guil­ty means to ascend higher: 'Tis one of the great Destroyers of Men here and hereafter. The Affectation of the Praise of Men makes so many ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, of owning its Truths, or subjecting themselves [Page 103] to its pure Rules. This Account is given of the Infidelity of some in our Saviour's time, they sought the Honour of Men, and not the Honour that comes from God only. But let the Desire of Glory be consecrated, let our Aspirings be transported to a new and heaven­ly Object, to the Incorruptible Crown, and 'tis a Saintly Ambi­tion becoming the Breast of a Christian. The changing of the Object will be an excellent means to rectify our inordinate De­sire of Honour, of what is pom­pous and specious in this World. There is some Resemblance in curing the Diseases of the Mind, and those of the Body. A Disease is not only cured by what is ma­nifestly contrary, but sometimes by what seems like to it, yet has a secret Contrariety. The feve­rish Heat is not only spent by cooling Julips, but by Cordials that fortifie the natural Heat that [Page 104] consumes those Humours that are the inflamable Matter which fo­ments the Fever. Thus the sen­sual Desire of worldly Honour is extinguished by a pure Aethereal Affection, the Desire of that Ho­nour that comes from the God of Glory, who is the absolute and eternal Fountain of Honour.

2. Let us be effectually exci­ted our selves to choose Christ for our Master, and devote our selves to his Service for ever. Tho his Dominion is Supreme, and his Right in us unalienable, yet he will be glorified by our free Obedience. Our Resolution and Consent to serve him, that it may be acceptable, must be deliberate, intire, and everlasting.

1. Deliberate from the Con­viction and Sense of our Duty and Interest: For the Ignorance and Deception of the Mind, the suddain Surprisal of the Will is contrary to that clear Consent [Page 105] that is requisite to establish a Co­venant.

There is a Competition be­tween the Son of God, and the God of this World, who shall reign over us: One we must serve: 'tis therefore our highest Wisdom to choose a gracious Ma­ster, and most just to serve him who by full Right may claim due Service. If with free Judgment we ponder things, if our carnal Senses and Passions have not the decisive Vote, we shall readily yield our selves to Christ, who by so many dear Titles has a Right in us: For to this end Christ dy­ed, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. He is the true Vine that left his Sweetness, the good Olive that left his Fatness to reign over us; and shall we choose the Bramble to domineer? He requires our Service not for his Profit, but that his Love and [Page 106] Bounty may take a rise to reward us: But Satan will torment them most who are most obsequious to him: And what Charm, what Impression upon the human mind can induce us to prefer a Murde­rer before our Saviour?

2. Our Consent must be in­tire, without exception against a­ny of his Laws, or his Providen­tial Will, and any Reservation of our own Lusts and Appetites. He has told us, No Man can serve two Masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. The Commands of Christ and Satan are absolutely inconsistent: Obedience to the one is direct Rebellion against the other. We may not capitu­late with him, and think by some good Works to compound for our Exorbitancies, and that strict­ness in some Duties will excuse [Page 107] our Indulgence of some Sins: He will not accept of bankrupt O­bedience, but strictly requires the payment of sincere Obedience to all his Commands.

The Apostle expresses our uni­versal Duty in active and passive Obedience to Christ; None of us liveth to himself, no Man dyeth to himself; for whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we dye, we dye unto the Lord, whe­ther therefore we live or dye, we are the Lords: That is, our Lives must be employed in his Service, and our Deaths be at his Order and Disposal. Is the external acknow­ledging of him, and a specious Homage worthy his most preci­ous Sufferings? Can his Death excuse our Disobedience? Can his Sufferings that purchas'd his Dominion to Rule us, procure a Licence for us to rebel against his Commands? Such a Thought is Blasphemy.

[Page 108]And our Consent must be en­tire; that is, we must serve him with all the freedom and force of our internal Faculties, with all the diligence of our outward Mem­bers, with all possible industry to advance his Glory. 'Tis not the empty Title of Lord, nor the performing some slight Observan­ces that will please Christ. The Commands of the Gospel fre­quently urge us to be fervent in our Heavenly Calling, First seek the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Righteousness thereof: Strive to enter in at the strait Gate: Take the Kingdom of Heaven by Vio­lence: Work out your own Salvati­on with fear and trembling: Abound in the Work of the Lord: Be rich in good Works: Add to Faith Vertue, to Vertue Knowledg, and every Grace in degrees of Eminence: Give all Diligence to make your Calling and Election sure: We must walk circumspectly and exactly be­coming [Page 109] the Dignity and Purity of our high and holy Calling. We have many Duties to perform, many Sins to subdue and mortify, many Graces to perfect, and the most intent application of Mind, the most zealous industry is re­quisite for such great Ends. By Diligence and Culture our Souls will be as fruitful Gardens a­bounding in the Fruits of Righte­ousness; but if we are remiss and careless, they will be barren as the Sands of Africa. We should with as much Zeal and Vigour serve Christ as ever we served our Lusts, those imperious Exactors of our Time, and Strength, and Affections. 'Tis the Proportion St. Paul enforces, As you have yielded your Members Servants and Weapons to Vncleanness, so yield your Members Weapons and Ser­vants of Righteousness.

But how many that have made a Trade of Sin, are as careless in [Page 110] Religion as if it were a slight Re­creation? How many please themselves with a Mediocrity in Religion, and pretend if they be but saved, they are con­tent: They do not aspire to ex­cellent degrees of Glory, nor to higher degrees in the favour of God, and are luke-warm and re­miss in his Service, presuming what they do will be sufficient to secure their Souls: But was ever any Person so deserted of Reason, that in Worldly Trade when he might gain a hundred Pounds he is contented with ten? Besides this Disposition and Language is of one that principally desires Heaven, to escape Hell: and all that he does Religiously is the ef­fect of servile Fear, which is no Saving Grace: For were it not for the terrible Punishment, such a Person would securely commit the Sin. Briefly, as the Lord Christ has sav'd us to the uttermost, we [Page 111] should serve him to the uttermost: We should with such Alacrity and Diligence, with such willing Hearts and Earnestness serve him on Earth as he is served in Hea­ven: If we had the Powers of the Angels, yet our Service would be short of our Obligations.

3. Our Service of Christ must be upon firm Principles and per­manent Reasons to our Lives end. Sometimes there are Desires and Resolutions kindled in the Breast, and the Carnal Passions blow so violently as to quench them. Like some Cursed Women, that by violent Potions destroy the liv­ing Conception in their Bowels.Quae in ipsis visceribus, me­dicaments e­potis Origi­nem futuri hominis ex­tinguunt & pa­ricidium faci­ant antequam pariant. Minus. Fel. Others in the Sunshine of Prospe­rity will adhere in Profession to Christ, but when Storms arise, they withdraw themselves. O­thers begin in the Spirit, run well for a time, but end in the Flesh. Our Saviour has spoke the doom of all such, No Man having put [Page 112] his Hand to the Plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God: He is not worthy the Honour of being Christ's Servant, and he will quickly find the fearful Conse­quences of Christ's Rejection in the next World. We read of Shi­mei, that upon Solomon's confining him to Jerusalem, with the threat­ning of Death if he went forth: And Shimei said to the King, The Saying is good: 1 King. 2.38. As my Lord the King hath said, thy Servant will do. What an easy Confinement was it to remain in the Holy City, where all the Tribes came twice a Year, and when they returned left their Hearts behind them: It seems to be a Priviledg and Fa­vour rather than a Punishment. Yet a petty Interest drew him out, and for the Violation of his Pro­mise he lost his Life. This is a representation of those who for Temporal Respects desert the Service of Christ, violate their [Page 113] Promises to him, and leave the New Jerusalem, the City of the Living God. Our Saviour will accept of none into his Service but upon his own Terms; Who­ever will be my Disciple, let him take up his Cross and follow me. Who would not be ambitious to be the Copy of such a Divine O­riginal? We should rejoyce if call'd forth to sharp Tryals for his Name, as having an occasion to give the clearest Testimony of our Superlative Love and intire Fide­lity to our Blessed Lord.

To conclude the Argument, Let us be persuaded to dedicate our selves wholly to the Service of Christ, and to live according to our Dedication. This should be the early act of the reasonable Creature; for is it equal to put him off with the Reliques of the World to whom the First-Fruits, the best of all we are and have is due? But if we have been careless [Page 114] of our Duty, let us not any lon­ger defer to make a voluntary Consecration of our Lives to his Glory: Remember that Life is but a Spans breadth, our opportu­nity of serving Christ is short, and the omission of it is irreparable. What is there to recommend a Service to us, but is to be found in the Service of Christ? 'Tis the most honourable Service, whether we consider the Divine Majesty of our Master, who is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords: The Quality of our Fellow-Servants, the An­gels of Light, and the Glorified Saints, who are the Princes of his Court, and the Heavenly Nobili­ty: And the nature of the Work that is sublime and excellent, be­coming an Intellectual Soul, that is Spiritual by Nature, and Di­vine by Grace.

'Tis the most sweet and easy Service: This will seem incredible to those who judg of the Delights [Page 115] of the Spirit by the Principles of the Flesh. In this Sense also, the Carnal Man understands not the things of the Spirit: Who can dis­cover the Pleasure of Musick to one that was born Deaf? or de­scribe the Light of the Sun to one that was ever Blind? who can see a Taste? The Truth is, the Life of Carnal Men has the appearance of Joy, but not the reality: And the Life of the Saints has a gloomy Melancholly appearance, but has an inward cordial Joy incompa­rably above all the vain flashy De­lights of the World. A Carnal Man that serves divers Lusts and Pleasures, Jussisti Domi­no sic & est, ut poena sit sibi omnis inordi­natus animus. Aug. is sometimes rack'd and vex'd betwixt contrary Passions. Every Lust has a secret Sting with its Honey. And as the corrupt Heart is its own Tempter, so the guilty Conscience is its own Tor­menter. Besides the fearful ap­prehension of what shall follow in the next World, when the re­venging [Page 116] Justice of God, and the cruel Malice of Satan shall concur to make the Sinner miserable, is sufficient to poyson the sweetest Pleasures of Sin. But the Life of a Saint is regulated by a Law that is always at Union in its Precepts. He has Divine Assistance to ena­ble him to perform it. His graci­ous Master will pardon his Infir­mities. The Content of Consci­ence, the Joy of the Holy Ghost, that rewards our Duty here, far exceeds all the Severity and Diffi­culty that the Carnal Nature complains of in obeying the Divine Law. The Yoke of Christ is truly easy, and his Burthen truly light.

His Service is the most profita­ble: He will protect, maintain, and everlastingly reward his Ser­vants. Is there any Master so rich, so liberal, so faithful as Christ? How often do the Slaves of the World complain that they have spent themselves in vain? As Ja­cob [Page 117] reproached Laban, Thou hast deceived me, and changed my Wages ten times; so may the Worldlings say, whose Hopes have been often charm'd with the specious Promi­ses of the World, and deluded in the end. Dear bought Experience at last convinces them of their wo­ful Folly, in seeking for Happiness where it was not to be found, and neglecting to seek it where it was. But the Servants of Christ have at the present their Fruit unto Ho­liness, and in the end everlasting Life. The Service of Christ here, is Freedom, Victory, Empire, and hereafter a triumphant Feli­city.

I shall now address my self to the present Occasion, which is to pay our last solemn Respects to the Memory of the Reverend Dr. Thomas Jacomb: who was so universally known, esteem'd, and beloved in this City, that his Name is a noble and lasting Elo­gy. [Page 118] I shall not give an account of the time he spent in Cambridg, where he was Fellow of Trinity Colledg, and worthily esteemed in that flourishing Society: But confine my Discourse to his Mi­nistry in London. Here the Di­vine Providence disposed him into the Family of a Right Ho­nourable Person, to whom he was deservedly very acceptable, and whose real and most noble Favours conferred upon him, were only to be equalled by his grateful and high Respects, and his constant Care to promote seri­ous Religion in her Family.

He was a Servant of Christ in the most peculiar and sacred Re­lation: And he was true to his Title, both in his Doctrine and in his Life. He was an excellent Preacher of the Gospel, and had a happy Art of conveying Saving-Truths into the Minds and Hearts of Men.

[Page 119]He did not entertain his Hear­ers with Curiosities, but with Spiritual Food: He dispens'd the Bread of Life, whose vital Sweet­ness and nourishing Vertue is both productive and preservative of the Life of Souls. He preach'd Christ Crucified, our only Wisdom and Righ­teousness, Sanctification and Redemp­tion. His great design was to con­vince Sinners of their absolute want of Christ, that with flaming Affections they might come to him, and from his Fulness receive Divine Grace. This is to water the Tree at the Root, whereby it becomes flourishing and fruitful; whereas the laying down of Moral Rules for the exercise of Vertue, and subduing vicious Affections, without directing Men to derive Spiritual Strength, by Prayer, and in the use of Divine Ordinances, from the Mediator the Fountain of all Grace, and without repre­senting his Love as the most pow­erful [Page 120] motive and Obligation to O­bedience, is but pure Philosophy, and the highest effect of it is but unregenerate Morality. In short, his Sermons were clear, and solid, and affectionate. He dipp'd his Words in his Soul, in warm Affections, and breath'd a Holy Fire into the Breasts of his Hearers: Of this many seri­ous and judicious Persons can give Testimony who so long attended upon his Ministry with delight and profit.

His constant Diligence in the Service of Christ, was becoming his Zeal for the Glory of his Ma­ster, and his Love to the Souls of Men. He preach'd thrice a Week whilst he had Opportunity and Strength. He esteemed his labour in his sacred Office both his high­est Honour and his Pleasure.

At the first appearance of an Ulcer in his Mouth, which he was told to be Cancerous, he was ob­served [Page 121] to be not much concerned about it, than as it was likely to hinder his Preaching that was his delightful Work: and when he enjoyed Ease, and after wasting Sickness, was restor'd to some de­grees of Strength, he joyfully re­turn'd to his Duty. Nay, when his Pains were tolerable, Preach­ing was his best Anodyne when others fail'd: And after his Preaching, the reflection upon the Divine Goodness that enabled him for the discharge of the Service, was a great relief of his Pains.

His Life was suitable to his Holy Profession. His Sermons were Printed in a fair and lively Character in his Conversation. He was an Example to Believers, in Word, in Conversation, in Charity, in Spirit, in Faith, in Purity.

He was of a staid Mind, and temperate Passions, and moderate in Counsels. In the managing [Page 122] of Affairs of Concernment, he was not vehement and confident, not imposing and over-bearing, but was receptive of Advice and yiel­ding to Reason.

His compassionate Charity and Beneficence was very conspicuous amongst his other Graces. His Heart was given to God, and his relieving beneficent Hand to the living Images of God, whose pres­sing wants he resented with ten­der Affections, and was very in­strumental for their Supplies.

And as his Life so his Death adorn'd the Gospel, which was so exemplary to others, and so graci­ous and comfortable to himself. The Words of Men leaving the World make usually the deepest Impressions, being spoken most feelingly, and with least Affec­tation. Death reveals the Secrets of Mens Hearts: And the Testi­mony that dying Saints give, how gracious a Master they have ser­ved, [Page 123] how sweet his Service has been to their Souls, has a mighty Influence upon those about them. Now the Deportment and Ex­pressions of this Servant of Christ in his long languishing Conditi­on, were so holy and heavenly, that though his Life has been ve­ry useful, yet he more glorified God dying than living.

When he was summoned by painful Sickness, his first Work was to yield himself with resig­ned Submission to the Will of God. When a dear Friend of his first visited him; he said, I am in the use of Means, but I think my appointed time is come, that I must dye: If my Life might be servicea­ble to convert or build up one Soul, I should be content to live, but if God hath no work for me to do, here I am, let him do with me as he plea­seth: But to be with Christ is best of all. Another time he told the same Person, That now it was vi­sible [Page 124] it was a determined case, God would not hear the Prayer, to bless the means of his Recovery, there­fore desired his Friend to be wil­ling to resign him to God, saying, It will not be long before we meet in Heaven, never to part more, and there we shall be perfectly happy, there neither your Doubts and Fears, nor my Pains and Sorrows shall fol­low us, nor our Sins, which is best of all. After a long continuance in his languishing Condition with­out any sensible Alteration, being asked how he did, he replied, I lie here, but get no ground for Heaven or Earth: Upon which one said, Yes in your Preparations for Hea­ven, O yes said he, there I sensibly get ground I bless God.

An humble Submission to the Divine Pleasure was the habitual Frame of his Soul: Like a Dye that thrown high or low, always falls upon its Square: thus whe­the hope of his Recovery were [Page 125] raised or sunk, he was content in every Dispensation of Providence.

His Patience under sharp and continuing Pains was admirable. The most difficult part of a Chri­stian's Duty, the sublimest degree of Holiness upon Earth, is to bear tormenting Pains with a meek and quiet Spirit. Then Faith is made perfect in Works: and this was eminently verified in his long Trial. His Pains were very severe, proceeding from a cancerous Hu­mour, that spread it self in his Joynts, and preyed upon the ten­derest Membranes, the most sen­sible Parts, yet his Patience was invincible. How many restless Nights did he pass through with­out the least murmuring or Relu­ctancy of Spirit.

He patiently suffered very grievous things through Christ that strengthned him; and in his most afflicted Condition was thankful.

[Page 126]But what Disease or Death could disturb the blessed Compo­sure of his Soul, which was kept by the Peace of God that passes all Vnderstanding. Such was the Di­vine Mercy, he had no Anxieties about his future State, but a com­fortable Assurance of the favour of God, and his Title to the Eternal Inheritance.

He had a substantial double Joy, in the reflection upon his Life spent in the faithful Service of Christ, and the Prospect of a bles­sed Eternity ready to receive him. This made him long to be above. He said with some Regret, Death flies from me, I make no haste to my Father's House. But the wise and gracious God, having tried his faithful Servant, gave him the Crown of Life, which he hath pro­mised to those that love him. His Body, that poor Relick of Frailty, is committed in trust to the Grave, His Soul sees the Face of God in [Page 127] Righteousness, and is satisfied with his Likeness.

The Hope of this should allay the Sorrows of his dearest Friends. When the Persons we love and have lived with, are to be absent a few Months, it is grievous, but at the last lamenting Separation, all the Springs of our tender Affe­ctions are opened, and Sorrows are ready to overwhelm us. But the stedfast Belief of the Divine World, and that our Friends are safely arrived thither, is able to support our fainting Spirits, and refresh all our Sorrows. The truth is, we have reason to lay to heart the Displeasure of God, and our own Loss, when his faith­ful Ministers are taken away. When the Holy Lights of Hea­ven are Eclips'd, it portends sad Things: When the Saints are removed from Earth to Hea­ven, their Souls freed from the interposition of their dark Bo­dies, [Page 128] they truly live, but we that remain, dye, being deprived of their Holy Lives, their Examples, that are a preservative from the Contagion of the World. A due Sense of God's afflicting Providence is becoming us: But always allay­ed with hope of our being shortly reunited with our dearest Friends for ever in the better World. O that our serious Preparations, our lively Hopes, and the Presence of the great Comforter in our Souls, may encourage us most willingly to leave this lower World, so full of Temptations and Trouble, to ascend into the World Above, where perfect Peace, full Joy, and the most excellent Glory are in Conjunction for ever.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.