DIRECTIONS AND PERSWASIONS TO A Sound CONVERSION: For Prevention of that Deceit and Dam­nation of Souls, and of those Scandals, Heresies, and desperate Apostasies, that are the Consequents of a Counterfeit, or Su­perficial Change.

By Richard Baxter.

LONDON, Printed by A. M. for Nevil Simmons Book-seller in Kederminster, and are to be sold by him there, and by N. Ekins, at the Gun in Pauls Church-yard, 1658.

The Preface.

IT is weight so unconceivable, that dependeth on the soundness of our Conver­sion and Sanctification, that our care and diligence cannot be too great to make it sure. As the professed Atheist, Heathens, and Infidels with­out; so the self-deceiving Hypocrites within the Church, do wilfully cast away themselves for ever, by neglecting such a business of everlasting consequence; when they have time, and warnings, and assistance to dispatch it. Multitudes live like bruits or Atheists, forgetting that they are born in sinne and misery, and setled in it by wilfull custom, and must be Converted or Condemned. These know not (many of them) what need they have of a Conversion, nor what [Page] Conversion or Sanctification is. And some that have been Preachers of the Gospel, have been so lamentably igno­rant in so great a matter, that they have perswaded the poor deluded people, that it is only the gross and haynous sinners, that need Conversion; branding them with the name of Puritans, that will not take a dead Profession joyned with Civi­lity, for true Sanctification; and promise Salvation to those, that Christ hath with many asseverations professed, shall not en­ter into the Kingdom of God. Others that confess that a through Sanctification is a necessary thing, do delude their souls with something that is like it. Hence is the misery and dishonour of the Church. Holiness it self is disgraced, by the sins of them that are unholy, because they pretend to that which they have not. Hence it is, that we have thousands, that call themselves Christians, that live a worldly, fleshly life, and some of them hating the way of Godliness, and yet think they are Converted, because they [Page] are sorry when they have sinned, and wish when it is past that they had not done it, and cry God mercy for it, and confess that they are sinners; and this they take for true Repentance: When sinne was never mortified in their souls, nor their hearts ever brought to hate it, and forsake it: But when they have had the profit and pleasure of sinne, they are sorry for the danger, but never regene­rate and made New Creatures, by the Spirit of Christ. Hence also it is, that we have such abundance of meer Opinion­ists, that take themselves for Religious people. Because they have changed their Opinions, and their parties, and can prate contentiously against those that are not of their mind, and joyn themselves with those that seem to be the strictest, they take themselves to be truly Sanctified! And this makes such gadding from one opinion to another, and such censuring, reviling, and divisions upon that account, because their Religion is most in their Opinions, and hath not mortified their [Page] carnal, selfish inclinations and Passions, nor brought them to a holy, heavenly mind. Hence also it is that we have so many sensual, scandalous Professours, that seem to be Religious, but bridle not their tongues, their appetites, or their lusts, but are railers, or backbiters, or tipplers, or gluttons, or filthy and lascivi­ous, or some way scandalous to their ho­ly Profession; because they are strangers to a through-Conversion, but take up with the counterfeit of a superficial change. Hence also we have so many worldlings, that think themselves Reli­gious men; that make Christ but a ser­vant to their worldly interest, and seek Heaven but for a reserve, when Earth forsakes them, and have something in this world that is so dear to them, that they cannot forsake it for the hopes of Glory; but give up themselves to Christ, with secret exceptions and reserves, for their prosperity in the world: And all, because they never knew a sound Con­version, which should have rooted out of [Page] their Hearts this worldly interest, and delivered them up entirely, and absolute­ly to Christ. Hence also it is that we have so few Professours, that can lay by their Pride, and bear disesteem or injury, and love their enemies, and bless them that curse them, yea, or love their godly friends that cross them, or dishonour them. And so few that can deny them­selves, in their honour, or any conside­rable thing, for the sake of Christ, and in obedience, and conformity to his will. And all because they never had that sa­ving change, that takes down Self, and sets up Christ, as Soveraigne in the soul. And hence also it is that we have in this age so many dreadful instances of Apo­stasie: So many reproaching the Scrip­ture, that once they thought had Con­verted them, and the way of Holiness, that once they did profess; and denying the Lord himself that bought them; and all because they formerly took up, with a superficial counterfeit Conversion. O how commonly, and how lamentably [Page] doth this misery appear among Profes­sours in their unsavoury discourse, their strife and envy, on Religious pretenses, their dead formality, their passionate di­visions, or their selfish, Proud, and earth­ly minds! A through Conversion would have cured all this, at least as to the do­minion of it.

Having therefore in my call to the un­converted, endeavoured to awaken careless souls, and perswade the obstinate to Turn and Live, I have here spoken to them that seem to be about the work, and given them some Directions and Per­swasions, to prevent their perishing in the birth, and so to prevent that Hypo­crisie, which else they are like to be for­med into, and the deceit of their hearts, the Errour of their Lives, and the Mise­ry at their Death, which is like to fol­low. That they live not as those that flatter God with their mouth, and lie unto him with their tongues, because their heart is not right with him, neither are they stedfast in his Covenant, Psal. 78. 36, 37 [Page] Lest denying deep entertainment, and root­ing to the seed of Life, or choaking it by the radicated predominant Love, and cares of the world, they wither when the heat of persecution shall break forth, Matth. 13. 20, 21, 22. And lest building on the sands, they fall when the winds and storms arise, and their fall be great, Matth. 7. 26, 27. And so they go out from us, that they may be made manifest that they were not of us: For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us, 1 Joh. 2. 19. Look therefore to this great important business, and give all diligence to make your calling and election sure, 2 Pet. 1. 10. And trust not your hearts too easily, or too confidently. But turn to the Lord with all your hearts, (Joel 2. 12.) Cleave to him Resolvedly, or with Purpose of heart, (Acts 11. 23.) And see that you sell all, and buy the Pearl, (Matth. 13. 46.) And stick not at the price, but absolutely resign your selves to Christ, and turn to him, as Zacheus and other primitive Converts did, surrendering all that you have unto his [Page] Will (Luke 19. 8, 9.) Leave not any root of bitterness behind; Make no excep­tions, or reserves: but Deny yonr selves; Forsake all; and follow him that hath led you this self-denying way; aud trust to his Blood, and Merits, and Promise, for a Treasure in Heaven, and then you are his Disciples, and true Christians indeed, Luke 14. 33. Luke 18. 24, 25. Reader, if thou heartily make this Covenant and keep it, thou shalt find that Christ will not deceive thee, when the world de­ceiveth them that chose it, in their great­est extremity. But if thou draw back, and think these terms too hard, remem­ber that Everlasting Life was offered thee, and remember why and for what thou didst reject it. And if in this life­time, thou wilt have thy good things, ex­pect to be tormented, when the believing, self-denying Souls are comforted, Luke 16. 25.

R. B.


  • COnsiderations to provoke men to take heed of sticking in a half-Conversion. pag. 1
  • Direct. 1. Labour for a right understanding of the true Nature of Christianity, and meaning of the Gospel that must convert. 32
  • Direct. 2. When you understand that which you are called to, search the Scripture, and see whether it be so. 41
  • Direct. 3. Be much in the serious Considera­tion of the Truths which you understand and believe. 51
  • Seven things to be considered. 56
  • The manner of this Consideration. 79
  • Twelve Motives to Consideration. 86
  • Direct. 4. See that the work of Humiliation be throughly done, and break not away from the Spirit of Contrition before he have done with you: And yet see that you mistake not the Nature and Ends of the work, and that you drive it not on further then God requi­reth. 119
  • Preparatory Humiliation what. ibid.
  • [Page]Sound Humiliation how known 120. &c. The Ends and Vse of Humiliation. 130
  • Mistakes about Humiliation to be avoi­ded. 154
  • Whether it be possible to be too much hum­bled. 160
  • How to know when sorrow should be re­strained. 163
  • And when sorrow must be encreased. 167
  • Motives for submission to a through-Hu­miliation. 182
  • Direct. 5. Close with the Lord Jesus un­derstandingly, heartily and entirely, as he is revealed and offered in the Gospel. 191
  • What must be understood of the person of Christ. 192
  • The Ends of Redemption, to be understood. 195
  • The Demonstrations of the glory of God in Christ, and to whom. 221
  • What are the works of Redemption that Christ hath done. 232
  • The Benefits by Christ procured. The general Benefits. 241
  • The Benefits proper to Believers. 247
  • The several termes on which the several Benefits are conveyed. 263
  • The certainty of all this. 270
  • How Christ must be received heartily [Page] and with the will. 272
  • Christ must be entirely received, and how. 283
  • Direct. 6. See that the flesh be throughly mortified, and your hearts taken off the plea­sures, profits and honours of the world, and think not of reconciling God and the world, as if you might secure your interest in both. 299
  • Direct. 7. Be sure that you make an absolute Resignation of your selves and all that you have to God. 306
  • Direct. 8. See that you mistake not a meer change of your opinions, and profession and behaviour, for a saving change. 324
  • The Markes by which a sound Conversion may be known from a meer opinionative change. 330
  • Directions to get beyond an opinionative Conversion. 347
  • Direct. 9. Acquaint your souls by faith with the glory of the everlasting Kingdome, and see that you take it for your portion, and your end, and from thence let the rest of your acti­ons be animated. 353
  • Wherein this Blessedness doth consist. 359
  • Direct. 10. Rest not, and count not your selvs converted, till God and holiness have your very Love, Desire and Delight: and take [Page] it not for a saving change, when you had ra­ther live a worldly and ungodly life, if it were not for the fears of punishment. 363
  • Direct. 11. If you would not have the work miscarry, Turn then this present day and hour without any more delay: where fifty Considerations are given to shame men out of their delayes. 381
  • Direct. 12. Stop not in weak and wavering purposes, and faint attempts: but see that you be groundedly, unreservedly, and fi mly, (or habitually) Resolved. 441
  • What Resolution is, and by what Delibera­tions it is caused. The Preparatory c [...]m­mon Acts, and the speciall Acts: Illumi­nation, and the wills Determination how wrought. 442 &c.
  • The unresolved are unconverted. 450
  • What Resolution it is that is necessary. 455
  • Twenty Motives to Resolution 461
  • Hinderances of Resolution. 505
  • Two Directions for prosecuting Resolu­tion, that it may hold. 513
  • The Conclusion. 521


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Directions to Sinners that are purposed to Turn, and are under the Work of Conversion; that it miscarry not.

THe first and greatest matter in the seeking after the salvation of our souls, is to be sure that we lay the foundation well, and that the work of Conversion be throughly wrought. To this end I have already used many perswasions with you unconverted to return, as think­ing all further Directions vain, till we have perswaded men to a consent and [Page 2] willingness to practice them. And in the end of that Discourse, I added a few Directions for the use of such as are willing to be converted. But because I know that this is a matter of exceeding consequence, I dare not thus leave it, before I have added some further Di­rections, to prevent the miscarrying of this work where it is begun. And least I should lose my labour, through the un­preparedness of the Reader; I shall first give you some preparing Considerations, which may awaken you to the practice of the Directions which I shall give you.

Consider first, That half-Conversions are the undoing of many thousand souls. If you are but like Agrippa, Act. 26. 28. almost perswaded to be Christians, you will be but almost saved. Many a thousand that are now past help, have had the Word come near them, and cast them into a fear, and make some stirre and trouble in their souls, awakening their consciences, and forcing them to some good purposes and promises; `yea, and bringing them to the performance of a [Page 3] half-reformation; But this is not it that will serve your turn. Many have been so much changed, as not to be farre from the Kingdom of God, that yet came short of it, Mark. 12. 34. There is no pro­mise in Scripture that you shall be par­doned if you almost repent and believe; or be saved, if you be almost sanctified and obedient: But on the contrary the Lord hath plainly resolved, that you must turn or die, though you almost turn: and repent, or perish though you almost repent: and that you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, without conversion and a new birth, though you come never so near it. God hath resolved upon the termes of your salvati­on: and it is in vain to hope for salvation upon any other termes. God will not change nor come down to your termes; It is you that must change and come quite over to his termes, or you are lost for ever. If you come never so near them, you are but lost men if you come not up to them. The Lord well knew what he did, when he made his Covenant and Law, and he imposed nothing on the sonnes of men, but what his infinite wisdom told him, it was fit for him to im­pose: [Page 4] and he will not now compound with sinners, and take less then he requireth; that is, less then the preheminency in their hearts; nor will he ever come down to any lower termes with you, then those which he propoundeth to you in his Gospel. And therefore poor sinners as you love your souls, do not stand dodging and halving with God; but give up your selves entirely to him: and do not stop at the beginnings of a con­version, but go through with it, till you are become new creatures indeed, or you are undone when you have done all. A half unsound Convert will as cer­tainly perish as a Drunkard or a Whore­monger; though his torment may not be so great.

2. Consider also, That if you do not go through with the work when you are upon it, you may perhaps make it more difficult then it was before ever you medled with it, and make it a very doubtfull case whether ever it will be done. As it is with a wound or other sore; if you tamper with it with salves that are not agreeable to it, or are disorderly applied; [Page 5] or if you skin it over before it be searched to the bottom, it must be opened again, and will cost you double pain before it be cured. Or as I have seen it with some that have had a bone broken, or out of joynt, and it hath been set amiss at first; O what torments were the poor crea­tures fain to undergo, in having it broken or stretcht and set again! which might have been spared, if it had been throughly done at first. So, if you will be shrinking, and drawing back, and fa­vouring your flesh, and will not go to the quick, you will make your Con­version much more difficult; you must be brought to it again, and fetch your groanes yet deeper then before; and weep over all your former teares: your doubts will be multiplied: your fears and sorrows will be encreased: and all will go sorer with you then at first. O what a case will you be in, when your sores must be lanced a second time, and your bones as it were broken again! Then you will wish you had gone through with it at the first.

Yea, perhaps you may put God to it to fetch you in by some sharpe afflicti­on, and send out so boisterous and chur­lish [Page 6] a Messenger to call you home, as may make you wish you had hearkened to a more gentle call: When the Sheep will straggle, the Dog must be sent to affright them home. Many a foolish sinner makes light of the gentle invitati­ons of grace, and they stand hovering between their sins and Christ, and some­times they have a mind to turn, and the next temptation they are off again, and then they come on again coldly and with half a heart; and thus they stand trifling with the God of Heaven, till he is fain to take another course with them, and resolves to use some sharper means: And when he layeth them under his rod, and they can neither fly from him, nor re­sist him, but see that their lives and souls are at his mercy, then they begin to look about them, and see their folly and change their minds. You can tarry, and delay, and dally with the dreadfull God, in the time of your prosperity, and we may ask you over and over whether you will turn, before we can have a hearty answer: But what will you do when God shall begin to frown, and when he takes you in hand by his unresistible power, and lets loose upon you the terrours of [Page 7] his wrath? Will you then make as light of his mercy as you do now? Have you not read Dan. 5. 6. how small an appari­tion of his anger, did make a carou­zing King look pale, and his joynts to tremble, in the midst of his jovialty? A Manasseth will bethink himself and come in when he is laid in irons, though he could set light by God before, 2 Chron. 33. 13. If Jonah will runne away from God, he can send a boisterous Messen­ger to arrest him, and cast him as it were into the belly of Hell, and make him cry for mercy to him that he disobeyed. So, if you will stand trifling with God, and will not by fair meanes be perswaded to yeeld and come away, you may short­ly look to hear from him in another man­ner: for he hath a voice that will make the proudest face look pale, and the stub­bornest heart that is to tremble. If an idle stubborn Child will not learn nor be ruled, the Master or Parent will teach him with the rod, and give him a lash, and ask him, Will you yet learn? and a­nother lash and ask him, What say you now, will you yet obey? So will God do by you, if he love you, and mean to save you: When he hath taken away [Page 8] your wealth, your friends, your chil­dren, will you then hearken to him, or will you not? When you lie groaning on your couch, and all your parts are overwhelmed with paines, and death be­gins to lay hands upon you, and bids you now come and answer for your rebelli­ons and delayes before the living God, What will you do then? Will you turn or not? O the lamentable folly of sinners, that put themselves to so much sorrow, and create calamity for themselves! When sickness comes, and death draws near, you beg, and cry, and groan, and pro­mise: When you feele the rod, what Christians will you then be? And why not without so much adoe? You then think God deales somewhat hardly with you: And why will you not turn then by gentler means? You might spare your selves much of this misery if you would; and you will not. Is it a seemly thing for a man to be driven to Heaven by scourges? Is God so bad a Master, and Heaven so bad a place, that you will not turn to them, and mind them, and seek them, till there be no remedy, and you are as it were driven to it against your wills? Is the world such an Inheritance, [Page 9] and sinne so good a thing, and the flesh or devil so good a Master, that you will not leave them till you are whipt away? What a shamefull unreasonable course is this?

Well sirs, the case is plain before you. Turn you must at one time or other, or be the firebrands of Hell. And see­ing it is a thing that must be done, were it not best for you to take the easiest and the surest way to do it? Why this is the easiest and the surest way; even to strike while the iron is hot, before it coole again; and to go through with it when God doth move you and perswade you; If you love your flesh it self, do not put him to take up the rod, and fetch you home by stripes and terrours.

But that's not the worst: For it will sorely hazard the work it self, and con­sequently your salvation, if you do not go through with it, at the first attempt. I know there is many a one that hath been converted and saved, after many purposes and promises and half-conver­sions. But yet I must tell you, that this is a very dangerous course. For you do not know when you grieve the Spirit of grace, and set so light by mercy when [Page 10] it is offered you, whether that Spirit may not utterly forsake you, and leave you to your own ungodly wills, and let you take your lusts and pleasures, and say, [Let this wretch be filthy still: let him keep his drunkenness, his companions, his worldliness, and the curse of God with them, till he have tried what it is that they will do for him: Let him follow his own conceits, and the pride and obstinacy of his own heart, till he find whether they will bring him: Let him serve the flesh and the world, till he understand whether God or they be the better master. Seeing he will not be wise on earth, let him learn in hell, and let torments teach him, seeing mercy might not teach him.] O poor soul! what a case art thou in, if this should once be the resolution of God?

Moreover, you may easily know that the longer you stay, the more leasure you give the devil to assault you, and to try one way when he cannot prevail by another, and to strengthen his temptati­ons: Like a foolish Souldier, that will stand still to be shot at, rather then assault the enemy.

And the longer you delay, the more your sin gets strength and rooting. If [Page 11] you cannot bend a twig, how wil you be able to bend it when it is a Tree? If you cannot pluck up a tender plant, are you likely to pluck up a sturdy Oak. Custom gives strength and root to vices. A Blackmoor may as well change his skin, or a Leopard his spots, as those that are accustomed to do evil, can learn to do well, Jer. 13. 23.

If you stick at Conversion as a difficult matter to day, it will be more difficult to morrow, or the next moneth, and the next year, then it is now.

Yea, the very resistance of the Spirit doth harden the heart, and the delayes and triflings of the soul, do bring it to an insensibility, and boldness in sinne, and drive away the fear of God from the heart. Now it may be you are somewhat awakened, and begin to see that you must turn or die: but if you trifle and delay, this light may be gone, and leave you in greater darkness then before: and the voice that now awakeneth you may be silent, and leave you to fall asleep a­gain.

Moreover, you know that you are un­certain of the continuance of the Gospel. You know not whether you shall have [Page 12] such lively serious Preachers, as you have now: Nor you know not whether you shall have such godly neighbours, and company to encourage you, and help you in the work. God will remove them one after another to himself, and then you will have fewer Prayers for you, and fewer warnings, and good ex­amples, and perhaps be left wholly to the company of deceived ungodly fools, that will do nothing but hinder and discourage you from Conversion. And you are not sure that Religion will con­tinue in that reputation, as now it is in. The Times may turn, before you turn: and godliness may become a scorn a­gain, and it may be a matter of suffer­ing, and may cost you your lives to live as the servants of Christ must do. And therefore if you stop at it now as a diffi­cult thing, when you have all the helps and encouragements that you can ex­pect, and the way to Heaven is made so fair; and when Magistrates, and Mini­sters, and Neighbours, are ready to en­courage and help you; what will you do in times of persecutions and discourage­ment? If you cannot turn when you have all these helps and means, what will [Page 13] you do when they are taken from you? If you cannot row with the stream, how will you row against it? If you dare not set to Sea, when you have wind, and tide, and sunshine; what will you do in stormes and tempests, when all is against you! O what would some of your fore­fathers have given to have seen the daies that you see! How glad would many a thousand in other Countries of the world be, to have but the helps to Hea­ven that you have? Never look to have the way fairer and easier while you live. If you think Heaven is offered you at too deer a rate now, you may even let it go, and try whether Hell be better: for the next offer is like to be upon harder termes rather then easier. If you cannot now find in your hearts to turn and live a holy life; What would you have done in the daies of the A­postles, or antient Christians? and, What would you have done in Spain or Italy, where it would cost you your lives? He that will not be Converted now, but thinks the termes of grace too hard, is so impious a despiser of Christ and Heaven, that it is no won­der if God resolve that he shall never [Page 41] taste of the salvation that was offered him, Luk 14. 24.

Moreover, you know upon what un­certainties you hold your lives, you have no assurance of them for an hour: but you are sure that they are passing away while you delay. And will you trifle then in a work that must be done? What a case are you in, if death find you unconverted? The heart of man is not able now to conceive the misery of your case. How dare you venture to live another day in an unconverted state, least death should find you so? Are you not afraid when you lie down at night, and afraid when you go out of your doors in the morning, least death surprize you before you are converted? If you be not, it's long of your dead­ness and presumption.

And I would fain hear what it is that should thus stop you. What are you afraid of? Is God an Enemy, that you are loath to come to him? Is the devil a Friend that you are so loath to leave him? Is sinne a Paradise? Is Holiness a Misery? Is it pleasanter life to love your money, or your lands, or your meat and drink, and lusts, then to [Page 15] love the most blessed God, the Crea­tour of the World, the life of our Souls, and our Eternal Felicity? Is it better to pamper a carcass that must shortly stink as the dung, then to provide for a living immortall soul? Whether do you think that Earth or Heaven will be the more glorious and durable felicity?

What is it sirs that you stick at, that you make so many delayes before you'l turn? Is there any difficulty in the point? Do you think it a hard question whether you should turn or not? Why how can you be so blind? Do you stand pausing upon the business, as it were a doubt, whether God or the world were better, and whether sinne or holi­ness, Christ or death, Heaven or Hell, were to be preferred? I pray you Con­sider; Can you reasonably think that Conversion will do you any harm? Can it bring you into a worse condition then you are in? Sure you cannot fear such a thing: You are in your blood; you are dead in sinne; you are children of wrath, while you are unconverted: you are under the curse of the Law of God; you are the slaves of the devil, you are the heirs of [Page 16] hell, and under the guilt of all your sinnes; your life is a continued rebellion against God; you are employed every day in the destroying of your selves, in kindling the flames that must ever­lastingly torment you, and laying in fewell for the perpetuating of your mi­sery; and fighting against your friends that would deliver you, and unthankfully abusing Christ and grace, and Mini­sters, and Friends that would save your souls. This is the condition that every one of you is in till you are converted. And can you fear least Conversion would bring you into a worse con­dition then this? Sirs, these Truths are sure and plain: and if yet you stick at it, your errour is so palpably gross, that unless you are mad men, I may be bold to say, it is a wilfull errour. And if you love to be deceived, and wilfully choose a lie, you must take that you get by it.

3. Consider further, That half-Con­versions do often prove an occasion of delu­ding mens souls, and making them quiet in a miserable state, and so of keeping [Page 17] them from being converted to the last. If you had never done any thing in it, you would more easily be perswaded that your case is bad, and that there is still a necessity of your change. But when you have had some convictions, and troubles of mind, and fears and sorrows, and so have fallen into an outside partiall refor­mation, and now are perswaded that you are truly converted, when it is no such matter; What a dangerous impediment to your Conversion may this prove? And all because you slubber over the work, and cut it off before it reach­eth to sincerity, and strive against the workings of the Spirit, and break away from your Physic [...]in before he hath done the cure, and would not follow it on to the end. I know that a half-Conversion, if it be known to be no more, is much better then none; and doth often prepare men for a saving work. But when this half-Conversion is taken to be a true and saving change, as [...]oo commonly it is, it proves one of the greatest impediments of salvation. When ever Christ shall afterwards knock at your door, you will not know him, as thinking that he dwells with you al­ready. [Page 18] If you read any Books that call on you to be converted, or hear any Preachers that call on you to turn, you have this at hand to cousen your selves with, aud frustrate all: You'l think, This is not spoken to me: For I am Con­verted already. O how quietly do such poor deluded sinners, daily read and hear their own doom and misery; and never once dream that they are the men that are meant, and therefore are never dis­mayed at the matter. This formeth you into a state of hypocrisie, and makes the course of your duties and your lives to be hypocriticall. If another man that knows himself to be still uncon­verted, do but read the threatnings of the Word against such, or hear of the terrours of the Lord from a Minister, he may be brought to confess that this is his own case, and so to perceive the mi­sery of his condition. But when such as you do read and hear these things, they never trouble you, for you think that they do not touch you: You are Scripture-proof, and Sermon-proof; and all by the delusion of your half-Con­version. O how zealously will such a man cry out against the sinnes of others! [Page 19] and tell them of their misery, and per­swade them to turn, and shew them the danger that is near them if they do not; and in the mean time little thinks that this is his own case, and that he speaks all this against his own soul. How will such men applaud a Sermon that drives at the Conversion of a sinner, and that tels them their misery while they are uncon­verted? O thinks he, this touched such and such: I am glad that such a man and such a man heard it: And he little thinks that it as nearly touched himself. How smoo [...]hly will he go on in any dis­course aga [...]nst wicked unregenerate men, as David heard the Parable of Nathan, and it never once entreth into their thoughts that they speak all this against themselves; till the Judge shall tell them when it is too late, Thou art the man. It will turn not only the stream of your thoughts into hypocrisie and self-deceit, but also the stream of your speeches to others; yea, and the current of your prayers, and all the rest of your religious performances. When in con­fession, you should acknowledge and la­ [...]ent an unregenerate carnall state, you will only confess that you have the infir­mities [Page 20] of the Saints, and that you have this or that sinne, which yet you think is mortified. When you should impor­tunately beg for Renewing grace, you will beg only for strengthning grace, or assurance: When you should be la­bouring to break your hearts, you will be studying to heal them: and will be hearkning after present comforts, when you have more need of godly sorrow. It will fill your mouthes in prayer with Pharisaicall thanksgivings for the mercies of Regeneration, Justifica­tion, Adoption, Sanctification, which you never received. Little doth many a soul know what sanctification, and the feverall graces of the Spirit are, that use to give God thanks for them: There's many and many a one that must for ever be in hell, that were used in their prayers to give God thanks for their hopes of glory. And the common cause of all this deceit and misery is, that men do run from under the hands of their Physician before he ever went to the bottom of their sore, and go a­way with a half-conversion, and so spend all the rest of their lives in a meer de­lusion, as verily thinking they are con­verted, [Page 21] when they are not. How con­fidently will such receive the Lords Sup­per, and thrust themselves into the com­munion of the Saints, as if they had as good right as any to be there? till the Lord of the Feast shall take them to task, and say, Friend, how comest thou in hither, not having on a wedding gar­ment? and then they will be speechless, Mat. 22. 12. How many false deceiving comforts, and perhaps even seeming rap­tures and assurance, may these have in themselves; as verily thinking their case is good, when alas, they never yet laid the foundation? Yea, and it is to be ob­served, that Satan is a friend to the com­forts of this kind of men, and therefore will do all that he can to promote them. For he would willingly keep his Gar­rison in peace, Luk. 11. 21. And there­fore he may possibly be a comforting spirit to them himself, and imitate the Holy Ghost the Comforter of the Saints: And it may be give them such raptures as seem higher then those which the Spi­rit of holiness doth give. He envieth the Saints their peace and comfort, be­cause he foresees how durable they will prove: But he can be content that [Page 22] deluded hypocrites may have joy, be­cause their comforts do not weaken but strengthen his Kingdom within them, and he knows they are like to endure but for a while.

And thus you may perceive, how hard it is to convert one of these half-con­verted men, that have strangled the New Creature as it were in the birth, and that are fortified against all the means of grace, by a false conceit that they are sanctified already. See therefore that you make sure work, and take not up in the middle, and with halves, but take your present time, and give up your souls to a totall change.

4. Consider; If you take up short of a through Conversion, you lose all your labour, and sufferings, and hopes, as to the matter of your salvation.

And what pitty is it that so much should be lost? Alas, to see many of our hearers toucht at a Sermon, and come to a Minister and bewail their sinne, and seem to be humbled, and promise to be new men, and yet all this to be lost; How sad a case is this to think of? [Page 23] To see them leave their company and former course of life, and come among the professors of holiness, and all men take them for reall Converts; and yet all this to be lost, and their souls lost after all: How sad a case is this? If you grow up to the greatest parts for outward duty, and be able to discourse, or pray, or preach, even to the admira­tion of the hea [...]ers; yet if you do not ground this on a through Conversion, all is but lost, as to your own salvation. If you keep up the highest strain of pro­fession, and get the highest esteem in the Church, so that others depend upon you as Oracles; yea, if the Pope with all his infallibility should cannonize you for Saints; it were all but loss. If you should keep up the most confident per­swasions of your salvation, and hope to go to Heaven to the last hour of your lives; it were all but lost if you build not all on a through Conversion. Yea, if you should be taken by persecutors for one of the party to which you joyn, and should suffer for the cause of Reli­gion among them; all were but lost, without a sound Conversion, 1 Cor. 13▪ 1, 2, 3.

[Page 24] It is a pittifull case to see some poor unsanctified souls, how they wander and change from one opinion to another, and from party to party, to find out that which they want within. They turn to this party first, and that party next, and then to another, and then think they are sure in the way to Heaven: when they never throughly turned to God by Jesus Christ; and therefore are certainly out of the way, whatever party it be that they joyn with. Some go to the giddy Sects that make the highest pretences to strictness: And some go to Rome, because they think that there they shall have more company, and hear the deluding sound of Vnity, Vniversality, Antiquity, Succession, Mi­racles and such like: And then they think they have hit the way. Alas poor souls! If God were but nearest and dearest to your hearts, and Christ and his Righte­ousnes exalted within you, and your soules unfeignedly turned from your sinnes, you would be in the certain way to Heaven, in what Countrey or company, or Church soever you were; supposing that you believe and do no­thing there, which is inconsistent with [Page 25] this life of Grace. (Though yet every Christian should choose that particular Society, if he can, where he may not only be saved, but most certainly saved, and find the greatest helpes and least hinderances, or else where he may do God the greatest service.) But choose what company you will in all the world, the strictest, the most reformed, the most splendid in outward pompe and glory, or of whatever excellency else you can imagine, you will never be saved in it your selves, as long as your hearts are unconverted. I know the Papists have found out many devices, by Sacraments, and Ceremonies, and the Merits of the Saints, to patch up the defect of a through Conversion; but all are meer delusions that pretend to such a thing.

O then think of this poor sinner: Hast thou gone so farre, and done so much, and shall all be lost, because thou wilt not follow it to the end? Hast thou groaned, and wept, and confessed and bemoaned thine own condition? Hast thou prayed, and read, and heard, and fasted, and changed thy company, and much of thy course of life? and shall all this be lost, [Page 26] for want of going to the bottom, and making a through work of it? What a loss will this be?

5. Consider also, What an admirable help and advantage it will be to you through the whole course of your lives, if the work of Conversion be once throughly wrought. I will shew you this in some Particulars.

First, It will be an excellent help to your understandings, against the grosser Errors of the world, and will stablish you in the truth much more then meer Arguments can do: For you will be able to speak for the truth from feelling and experience: He that hath the Law writ­ten both in his Bible and in his heart, is likely to hold it faster then he that hath it in his Bible alore. But of this I have spoken already in my Treatise against In­fidelity, Part 2.

Secondly, If you be but throughly Converted, you will have that within you which will be a a continuall help a­gainst temptations: You have not only experience of the mischief of sinning, and the folly of those Reasons that are [Page 27] brought for its defence; but you have also a new nature, which is against the temptation, as life is against poison; and as it is a great disadvantage to the Law of Christ, that it speaks against the nature of the ungodly; so is it a disad­vantage to the temptations of the Devil, that they would draw a Christian against his new nature. You have that within you that will plead more effectually a­gainst sensuality, uncharitableness, pride, or worldliness, or any the like sinne, then reason or learning alone can do. (As in the forecited Book I have further manifested.)

Thirdly, If Conversion be throughly wrought, you will have within you a continuall helper of your graces, and a Remembrancer to put you in mind of duty, and a spurre to put you on to the performance, and a furtherer of your souls in the performance it self: It is out of this spark and principle within you that the Holy Ghost doth raise the acts of grace. This is it that the Word, and Prayer, and Conference, and Sacra­ments, and all the Means of Grace must work upon. If we see you do amiss, we have hopes that you will hear us: If we [Page 28] plainly reprove you, we may look you should take it in good part: For you have that within you that saith as we say, and is at deadly enmity with the sinne which we reprove. If we provoke you to Love and to good Works, we dare al­most promise our selves that you will o­bey: For you have that within you that disposeth you to the duty, and preach­eth our Sermons to you over again. O what an advantage it is to our teaching, when you are all taught of God within, as well as by his Messengers without! But when we speak to the unconverted, we have little to work upon: We give Physick to the dead; We speak all against the bent of their souls; and every re­proof, and exhortation to holiness, goes against their very natures: And therefore what wonder if we have the smaller hopes to prevail.

Fourthly, If the work be throughly done at first, it will help to resolve many doubts that may be afterwards cast into your minds. You need not be still at a loss, and looking behind you, and question­ing your foundation, but may go cheer­fully and boldly on. O what an excellent encouragement is this! to know that you [Page 29] have hitherto made good your ground, and left all safe and sure behind you, and have nothing to do, but to look before you, and press on towards the mark, till you lay hold upon the prize: Where­as, if you be in any great doubt of your Conversion, it will be stopping you and discouraging you in all your work: you will be still looking behind you, and say­ing, What if I should yet be unconverted? When you should cheerfully address your selves to Prayer or Sacraments, how sadly will you go, as being utterly un­certain whether you have a saving right to them, or whether God will accept a Sacrifice at your hand? When you should grow and go forward, you will have little heart to it, because you know not whether you are yet in the way; and this will damp your life and comfort in every duty, when you must say [I know not whether yet I be throughly Convert­ed] O therefore stop not the work at first.

Fifthly and lastly, if the work be throughly done at first, you will perse­vere, when others fall away. You will have rooting in your selves, entertaining the seed as into depth of earth; and you [Page 30] will have the Holy Ghost within you, and (more then so) engaged for your pre­servation, and the perfecting of your salvation. When they that received the Word as seed upon a rock, and never give it deep entertainment, will wither and fall away in the time of triall; and from them that have not saving grace, shall be taken away even that which they seemed to have, Mat. 13. 12. & 25. 19.

6. And Lastly Consider, If you fall short of a true Conversion at the first, the Devil will take occasion by it, to tempt you at last to utter despair. When you have made many essaies and trials, and been about the work again and again, he will perswade you that there is no possi­bility of accomplishing it. If we convince an open prophane person that is uncon­verted, he may easier see that yet there is hopes of it: But if a man have been half-converted, and lived long in a for­mall self-deceiving profession of Religi­on, and been taken by himself and o­thers for a godly man, as it is very hard to convince this man that he is unconver­ted, so when he is convinced of it, he will [Page 31] easily fall into desperation. For Satan will tell him [If thou be yet unconverted after so many Confessions, and Prayers, and after so long a course of Religion, what hope canst thou have that yet it should be done. Thou wilt never have better opportunities then thou hast had? If such Sermons as thou hast heard could not do it, what hope is there of it? If such Books, and such Company, and such Mercies, and such Afflictions have not done it, what hope canst thou have? Canst thou hear any livelyer Teaching then thou hast heard? or speak any holyer words then thou hast spoken? If yet the work be quite undone, it is not forsaking another sinne, nor going a step further, that will do it: and therefore never think of it; for there is no hope: Dost thou not know how oft thou hast tryed in vain? and, What canst thou do more?] And thus you give advantage to the Tempter by your first delayes, and taking up in meer Preparatories, And therefore I beseech you, as you love your souls, take heed of resisting the Spirit of grace, and breaking off the work before it is throughly done, but go the bottom, and follow it on, til [Page 32] it be accomplished in sincerity. And now hoping that upon these Considera­tions you are resolved to do your best, I shall come to the thing which I prin­cipally intended; which is, to give you certain Directions, which if you will obey, you may be Converts and Saints indeed.

DIRECTION I. Lest the Work of Conversion should miscarry where it seemeth to be begun, or in a hopefull way, I first advise you, to [Labour after a right Vnderstanding of the True Nature of Christianity, and the Meaning of the Gospel which is sent for to Convert you.] You are naturally slaves to the Prince of darkness; and live in a state of darkness, and do the works of dark­ness, and are hasting apase to utter dark­ness. And it is the light of saving know­ledge that must recover you, or there is no recovery. God is the Father of Light, and dwelleth in Light; Christ is the Light of the world; His Ministers are also the Lights of the world, as under him; and are sent to turn men from Darkness to light, by the Gospel which is the light to our [Page 33] feet: and this is to make us Children of Light, that we may no more do the works of darknses, but may be partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light, 2 Cor. 4 3, 4. 1 Joh 1. 5 1 Joh. 1. 5, 9. Jam. 1. 17 Mat. 5. 14 Act. 26. 18. Joh. 8. 12. 2 Pet. 1. 19. Eph 5 8, 13. Col 1 12. Be­lieve it Darknes is not the way to the Celestial Glory. Ignorance is your Disease and Knowledge must be your Cure. I know the ignorant have many excuses, and are apt to think that the case is not so bad with them as we make it to be; and that there is no such need of Knowledge, but a man may be saved without it. But this is because they want that Knowledge that should shew them the misery of their Igno­rance, and the worth of Knowledge. Hath not the Scripture plainly told you, that If the Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, whose mindes the God of this world hath blinded, lest the Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the Image of God, should shine unto them, 2 Cor. 3. 4. I know that many that have much knowledge are ungodly. But what of that? Can any man therefore be godly or be saved, without Know­ledge. [Page 34] You may have a bad servant that yet is skilfull enough in his work; but yet you will not mend the matter, by ta­king one that hath no skill at all. You may send a man on your errand that knows the way and yet will not go it, but loiter and deceive you: But what of that? Will you therefore think to mend the matter, by sending one that knoweth not a step of the way, nor will not learn it? Though a man of knowledge may be the servant of the devil, yet no man without know­ledge (that hath the use of his Reason) can be the servant of God. A man may go to Hell with knowledge: but he cer­tainly shall go to Hell without it. I do not say that you must all be men of learn­ing, and skil'd in the Arts, and Sciencies, and Languages: But you must have the Knowledge of a Christian, though not of a Scholar. Can you love or serve a God that you Know not? Can you let go friends, and goods, and life, for a Glory which you have no Knowledge of? Can you make it the principall bu­siness of your lives to seek for a Hea­ven whose Excellencies you know not of? Can you lament your sinne and misery, when you are unacquainted with [Page 35] it? Or will you strive against sinne as the greatest evil, when you know not the evil of it? Will you believe in a Christ whom you do not know, and trust your souls and all upon him? Will you rest upon a Promise, or fear a Threatning, or be ruled by a Law, which you do not understand? It is not possible to be Christians without knowing the substance of Christianity: Nor is it possible for you to be saved without knowing the way of salvation.

Labour therefore to be well acquainted with the Grounds and Reasons, and Na­ture of your Religion. The clearer your Light is, the warmer and livelier your hearts will be. Illumination is the first part of Sanctification. The head is the passage to the heart. O if you did but throughly know what sinne is, and what a life it is to serve the flesh, and what the end of this will prove, with what detestation would you cast it away? If you did throughly know what a life of holiness is, how speedily would you choose it? If you did truly know what God is, how infinitely powerfull, and wise, and good; how holy, and just, and true, and what title he hath to you, [Page 36] and authority over you, and what and E­ternal Portion he would be to you, how is it possible that you could preferre the dirt of the world before him, or delay any longer to return unto him? If you did but truly know, what Christ is, and what he hath done and suffered for you, and what that pardon, and grace, and glory are which he hath purchased for you, and offereth to you, and how sure his Promise is by which it is offered; it is not possible that you should refuse to en­tertain him, or delay to give up your souls unto him. Do you think a man that truly knows what Heaven is, and what Hell is, can still be in doubt whe­ther he should turn or not? Alas sirs, if God would but open your eyes, to to see where you are, and what you are doing, you would runne as for your lives; and quickly change your minds and waies. You would no more stay in your carnall state, then you would stay in a house that were falling down on your heads, or in a ship that you per­ceived sinking under you; or on the sands when you see the tide coming towards you. If you did but see your Chamber full of Devils this night; you would [Page 37] not stand to ask whether you should be gone: And sure then if you knew how the Devils are about you, how they de­ceive you, and rule you, and wait to drag you away to Hell, you would never stay a night longer willingly in such a state. While men understand not what the Gospel means, nor what a Minister saith to them, no wonder if they regard them not, but continue in their sinne. If you see a Bear or a mad Dog making towards a man, and tell him of it, and call to him to be gone, if he be a man of another language and do not understand you, he will make never the more hast: but if he understand and believe you, he will away. If people think that Ministers are in jest with them, or that they are uncertain of what they say, no marvell if they hear us in jest, or as men that believe not what they hear: But if you knew that your lives lay on it, yea your everlasting life, would you not regard it and look about you? Now you stand deliberating and questioning the business whether you should turn, and let go sinne, or no: But if you knew that you must certainly have Hell with it if you keep it, methinks your doubt [Page 38] should quickly be resolved, and you should be loath to give another nights lodging to so chargeable and dangerous a guest. Now when we perswade you to holiness of life, you will demurre on it, as if there were some doubtfullness in the matter: But if you knew the nature and end of holiness, you would soon be out of doubt; and if you knew but how much happier you might be with God, you would never stick at the parting with your most delightfull sinnes. As the Jews rejected Christ, and preferred a murderer before him, and cryed out, Crucifie him, and all because they did not know him, 1 Cor. 2. 8. Joh. 8. 9. & 1. 10. Act. 13. 27. So you let Christ knock, and call, and offer you salvation, and you stand questi­oning whether you should obey his call, and whether you should not preferre your lusts before him; and all because you know him not, nor the Grace and Glory which he tendereth to you. When men understand not the Reasons of God, that should prevail with them, no wonder if they part not with that which is as dear to them as their lives. But when once they know the Reasons of Christi­anity, those moving, weighty, undeny­able [Page 39] Reasons, that are▪ fetcht from God, and Heaven, and Hell, they'l then stand questioning the matter no longer; but they will resign up all even life it self. All this I speak of a spiritual, power­full, and a practical Knowledge; and not of every swimming opinion and conceit.

Study therefore what God is, and what he is to you, and what he would be to you. Study what sinne is, and what the damnation is which it deserveth. Study what Christ is, and hath done and suffered for you, and what he is willing to do if you neglect him not. Study what the world is, and what is the ut­most that sinne will do for you. Study what the everlasting Glory is, which you may have with God, if you lose it not by your folly. And study what Faith is, and what Repentance is, and what Love, and Joy, and a holy and hea­venly life, and how little reason you have to be afraid of them. If this understand­ing have but deeply possessed you, it will byas your hearts, and make you resolved setled Converts.

Whereas if you seem to turn, and scarce know why, and seem to take up a [Page 40] Christian life, before you are throughly possessed with the Nature, Grounds, and Reasons of it, no marvell if you are quickly l [...]st again in the dark, and if every Caviller that you meet with can non-plus you, and make you stagger, and call in question all that you have done, and ravell all your work: Or if you do but runne from one party to another, and follow every one that tels you a fair tale, and never know what to fix upon, nor when you are in the way, and when you are out.

The Apprehensions of the mind do move the whole man: Wisdom is the guide and stay of the Soul. Sinning is doing foolishly, 2 Sam. 24. 10. And sinners are fools, Prov. 1. 22. Psal. 75. 4. Their mirth is but the mirth of fools, and their song the song of fools, Eccl▪ 7. 4. 5. Yea, the best of their services, while they re­fuse to hear and obey, is but the Sacrifice of fools, Eccl. 5. 1. And such are not fit for the House of God: For God hath no pleasure in fools, Eccl. 5. 4. He hath need to have his wits about him and know what he doth, that will be the servant of the God of Heaven, and will escape the de­ceits of a subtile Devil, and get to [Page 41] Heaven through so many d [...]fficulties, as are before him. Above all getting there­fore get Wisdom.

DIRECT. II. If you would not have the work of your Conversion mis­carry, when you understand what is offered you, then Search the Scripture daily to see whether those things be so or not.

So did the Bereans, Act. 17. 11. and the Text saith, that therefore they believed. We come not to cheat and deceive you; and therefore we desire not that you should take any thing from us, but what we can prove to you from the Word of God, to be certainly true. We desire not to lead you in the dark, but by the light to lead you out of darkness: and therefore we refuse not to submit all our Doctrine to an equall tryal. Though we would not have you wrong your souls by an unjust distrust of us; yet would we not desire you to take these great and weighty things, meerly upon our words: For then your Faith will be in man; and then no marvell if it be weak, and un­effectual, and quickly shaken: If you [Page 42] trust a man to day, you may distrust him to morrow; and if one man be of greatest credit with you this year, perhaps ano­ther of a contrary mind may be of more credit with you the next year. And therefore we desire no further to be be­lieved by you, then is necessary to lead you up to God, and to help you to un­derstand that Word which you must be­lieve: Our desire therefore is that you search the Scripture, and try whether the things that we tell you be the truth. The Word will never work on you to pur­pose, till you see and hear God in it, and perceive that it's he and not man only that speaks to you. When you hear none speaking to you but the Minister, no marvell if you dare despise him: for he is a frail and silly man like your selves: When you think that the Doctrine which we preach to you, is meerly of our own devising, and the conjecture of our own brain, no marvell if you set light by it, and will not let go all that you have, at the perswasion of a Preacher. But when you have searcht the Scrip­ture, and find that it is the Word of the God of Heaven, dare you despise it then? When you there find that [Page 43] we said no more then we were command­ed, and God that hath spoken this Word will stand to it; then sure it will go nearer you, and you will consider of it, and make light of it no more. If we offered you bad wares, we should desire a dark shop; and if our gold were light or bad, we would not call for the Ballance and the Touchstone. But when we are sure the things that we speak are true, we desire nothing more then try­al. Beauty and comliness have no ad­vantage of loathsome deformity, when they are both together in the dark: but the light will shew the difference, Error may be a loser by the light, and therefore shunnes it, Joh. 3. 19, 20, 21. But truth is a gainer by it, and there­fore seeks it. Let Papists hide the Scrip­ture from the people, and forbid the reading of them in a tongue which they understand, and teach them to speak to God they know not what; we dare not do so, nor do we desire it: Our Do­ctrine will not go off well in the dark; and therefore we call you, to the Law and to the Testimony, and desire you to take our words into the light, and see whether they be according to the [Page 44] Word of the Lord. Nothing troubleth us more then that we cannot perswade our hearers to this tryal. Some of them are so hardened in their sinne and misery, that they will not be at so much labour as to open their Bibles, and try whether we say true or not. Some of them will not trouble their minds with the thoughts of it; Psal. 10 4. God is not in all their thoughts. And some are already too wise to learn; they will not so long abate their confi­dence of their former opinions; though, poor soules, their ignorance doth threaten their damnation. And some are so en­gaged in a sinfull party, that their com­panions will not give them leave, to make so much question of the way that they are in: And some will scarce take the Scripture for the Rule by which they must try and be tryed; but look more to custom, and the will of those in power over them. And most are un­willing to try, because they are unwilling to know the truth, and cannot endure to find themselves miserable, nor see the sinne which they would not leave, nor see the duty which they love not to practice. And thus we cannot [Page 45] get them to try whether the things that we teach them be so.

For want of this it is that men deceive themselves, and think their case to be safe when it is miserable, because they will not try it by the Word. This makes them rage and be confident in their fol­ly, Prov. 14. 16. and laugh, and sing, at the brink of Hell, and swimme as merrily down the stream to the devour­ing gulf, as if no evil were near them. This makes them in the depth of misery to have no pitty on themselves, and to do so little to escape it: Though they have time, and means and helps at hand, yet there are not hearts in them to make use of them; yea, they runne themselves daily further on the score: and all be­cause we cannot get them to search the Scripture, and try whether sinne be so small a matter, and whether this will not be bitterness in the end. Hence it is that they are so easily drawn by a temptation; and that they dislike a holy life, and have base thoughts of them that are most diligent for salvation, and are most precious in the eyes of God, and that they can even deride the way that they should walk in, Prov. 1▪ 22. Psal. 1. 2. [Page 46] because they will not search the Scripture to see what it saith to these matters. The Word is a Light, and would do much to open their eyes, and winne them over to God, if they would but come to it with a desire to know the truth. You think that the ungodly that are rich and great, are in a better condition then a godly man that is poor and despised. And why is this? but because you will not go into the Sanctuary, and see in what a slippery place they stand, and what will be the end of these men, Psal. 73. 16, 17, 22. In a word, this is the undoing of millions of souls. They are all their life time out of the way to Heaven, and yet will not be perswaded to ask the way; but they runne on and wink, and put it to the venture. Many a thousand are gone out of the world, before they ever spent the quantity of one day in trying by the Scripture whether their state were good, and their way were right. Nay, let their Teachers tell them that they must be sanctified and take another course, they will differ from their Teachers, though they be never so wise or Learned; and they will contradict them, and not believe or regard them. [Page 47] And yet we cannot get them to come to us, and put the case to the tryal, and let the Scripture be the jndge. Would they but do this, they could never sure have such hard thoughts of their Teachers, and be offended at their plainest closest dealing. You would then say [I see now the Minister saies not this of himself; he speaks but that which God commandeth him: And if he would not deliver the Message of the Lord, he were unworthy and unfit to be his Em­bassadour: He were cruel to me if he would not pull me out of the fire, by the plainest closest meanes, Jud. 23. He hated me, if he would not rebuke me, but suffer sinne upon me, Lev. 19. 17. If he would please men, he should not be the servant of Christ, Gal. 1. 10. I know it is no pleasure to him to trouble me, or to provoke me: but it would be his own destruction if he tell me not of my danger, Ezek. 3. 18. And I have no reason to wish him to damn his own soul, and suffer me to do the like by mine, and all for fear of displeasing me in my sinne.] These would be your thoughts if you would but try our words by the Scripture, and see whether [Page 48] we speak not the mind of God.

And sure it would go somewhat deeper in your hearts, and it would stick by you, and be more before your eyes, when you once understood that it is the Word of God.

This then is my request to you, sirs, that the work of your Conversion may not miscarry, that you would carry all that you hear to the Scripture, and search there, and see whether it be so or not: that so you may be put out of doubt, and may be at a certainty, and not stand wavering; and that your Faith may be resolved into the Authority of God; and so the work may be Divine, and consequently powerfull and prevailing, when the Ground and Motive is Divine. If you be not satisfied in the Doctrine which the Minister delivereth to you, first search the Scripture your selves, and if that will not do, go to him, and desire him, to shew you his grounds for it in the Word of God, and joyn with you in Prayer for a right understanding of it. Do you question whether there be so severe a judgment, and a Heaven and a Hell, as Ministers tell you: Search the Scripture, in Mat. 25. & 2 Thes. 1. [Page 49] 8, 9, 10. Joh. 5. 29 Matth. 13. Do you question whether a man may not be sa­ved, without conversion, regeneration, and holyness? Open your Bibles, and see what God saith, John 3. 3, 6. Mal. 18. 3. 2 Cor. 5. 17. Rom. 8. 9. Heb. 12. 14. Do you think a man may be saved without Knowledge. Let Scripture judge, 2 Cor. 4, 3, 4. Joh. 17. 3. Hos. 4. 6. Do you think a man may be saved that doth as the most do? and goeth in the common way of the world. Search the Scripture and see, Mat. 7. 13. and 20. 16. and 22. 14. Luke 12. 32. Do you think an un­humbled Soul may be saved? that never was contrite, and broken hearted for sin? Try by Isa. 57. 15. and 66. 2. Psal. 51. 17. Luke 4. 18. Mat. 11. 28. Do you think a man can be the Servant of God, that liveth a fleshly life, & will keep his sin? Try by Rom. 8. 13. Joh. 3. 19. Ephes. 5. 5, 6. 1 Joh. 3. 9, 10. Do you doubt whe­ther it be necessary to make so much adoe to be saved, and to be so strict, and make Religion our cheifest business? Try by Psal. 1. 1, 2, 3. 1 Pet. 4. 18. Heb. 12. 14. Luke 10. 42. Luke 13. 24. Ephes. 5. 15, 16. Do you think a man can be saved that is a worldling? whose heart is more [Page 50] on Earth then heaven. Try by 1 Joh. 2, 15. Phil. 3. 19. Col. 3. 1. Luke. 14. 26, 33. Do you doubt whether you should serve God with your families? and in­struct them, and pray with them. Try by Jos. 24. 15. Deut. 6. 6, 7. Dan. 6. 10. 11. Exod. 20. 10.

Thus if you will in all these weighty matters, but goe to the Scriptures, and see whether it say as your Teachers say, you might soone be resolved, and that by the surest authority in the world. If you think that your Ministers may be de­ceived, I hope you will confess that God cannot be deceived, If you think that your Ministers are passionate, or felf-con­ceited, or speak out of ill will to you, I hope you dare not say so by the Lord: he owes you no ill will, nor speaks a word but what is most sure. If you think us partiall, sure God is impartiall, what bet­ter judge can you have now, then he that is infallible, and must judge you all at the last? If any Papist put it into your head to ask [who shall be judge of the sence of Scripture] I answer, who shall be judge of the judge of all the world? The Law is made to judge you, and not to be judged by you. None can be the proper [Page 51] judges of the sence of a Law, but the ma­ker of it: Though others must judge their cases by the Law. Your work is to di­scern it, and understand and obey it, and your work is to help you to understand it, but it's neither our work nor yours to be the proper, or absolute judges of it. At least where it speaks plaine, it needs no judge.

Come then to the word in meekness and humility, with a teachable frame of Spirit, and a willingness to know the truth, and a resolution to stand to it, and yield to what shall be revealed to you, and beg of God to shew you his will, and lead you into the truth, and you will find that he will be found of them that seeke him.

DIRECT. III. If you would not have the work of your Conversion miscarry, my next advice is this;

See that you be much in the serious Con­sideration, of the Truths which you under­stand, betwixt God and you in secret.

I have often spoken of this heretofore; But because I apprehend it to be a point of exceeding great concernment, I shall [Page 52] be longer on it againe, then on the rest.

The greatest matters in the world will not work much upon him that will not think of them. Consideration opens the eare that was stopt, and the heart that was shut up: It sets the powers of the Soul awork, and wakeneth it from the sleep of incogitancy and security. The Thoughts are the first actings of the Soul, that set a work the rest. Thinking on the matters that must make us wise, & do the work of God on the heart, is that which lieth on us to do in order to our Conver­sion. By Consideration a sinner makes use of the Truth, which before lay by, and therefore could do nothing. By Con­sideration he taketh in the Medicine to his Soul; which before stood by, and could not work. By Consideration a man makes use of his Reason, which before was laid asleep, and therefore could not do it's work. When the Master's from home the Schollars will be at play. When the Coach-man is asleep, the Horses may miss the way, and possibly break his neck and their owne. If the plowman go his way, the Oxen will stand still, or make but bad unhandsome work. So when Reason is laid asleep, and out of the way, what [Page 53] may not the Appetite do? and what may not the Passions do? and what may not Temptations do with the Soul? A wise man when he is asleep, hath as little use of his wisdome as a foole. A Learned man when he is asleep, can hardly dispute with an unlearnd man that is awake. A strong man that's never so skillfull at his wea­pons, is scarce able in his sleep to deale with the weakest child that is awake. Why all the powers of your Soul are, as it were asleep, till Consideration awake them, and set them on work. And what the better are you for being men and having Reason, if you have not the Vse of your Reason, when you need it? As men are Inconside­rate because they are wicked, so they are the more wicked because they are inconsi­derate. The keenest sword, the greatest Cannon will do no execution against an enemie, while they lie by and are not used. There is a mighty power in the Word of God, and the example of Christ, to pull down strong holds, and conquer the strongest lusts and corruptions. But they will not do this while they are for­gotten and neglected. Will Heaven in­tice the man that thinks not of it? Will Hell deterre the man that thinks not of [Page 54] it? Why is it that all the reasoning in the world, will do no more good on a man that is deaf, then if you said nothing? But because the passage to his Thoughts and understanding is stopt up. And if you have eyes and see not, and eares and heare not, and willfully cast it out of your thoughts, what good can any thing do to you that is spoken. It is not holding your meat in your mouth that will nourish you if you will not let it down: nor taking it into your stomack, if you will not keep it but presently cast it up again: But it must be kept till it be disgested and distri­buted. So it is not the most excellent Truths in the world that will change your hearts, if you let them not down to your hearts, and keep them not there by Me­ditation till they are digested and turned into sprituall life. The plaister must be laid upon the sore if you would be cu­red. The wound and sickness is at your Heart: and if you will not take in the word to your heart, where the sickness is, I know not how you should expect a cure. The Soul will not be charmed into Holiness, by the bare hearing or saying over a few good words; as wizzards use to cure diseases, or seeme to cure them. [Page 55] It must be Truth at the Heart that must change the Heart. And if you will not Think on it, and think on it againe, how can you expect it should come at your Hearts.

You say you would gladly have Christ and grace, and are ready to lay the blame on God, because he doth not give it you, and say, We cannot convert our selves. But would you have the Spirit come in, while you hold the dore against him? He knocks and desireth you to open and let him in, and you wish him to come in, but you bolt the dore, and no intreaty will procure you to open it. It is Consi­deration of the saving doctrine of the Go­spell, that openeth the heart and giveth it entertainment. Set you selves therefore on purpose to this work, & open the doores of your heart which are now shut, and let the King of Glory come in. Who will believe that you love the Light, when you shut the windows, and draw the cur­tains? If you will set your selves to con­sider of the Truth, the windows of your Soul will be set open, and then the light will certainly come in. Now you read o­ver whole Chapters, and hear Sermon after Sermon, and either they never stir [Page 56] you, or at least, it's but a little for a fit, like a man that hath a little warmd him at the fire in the winter, and when he goes from it is colder then before: But if you would but set your selves to consi­der of what you hear or read, one line of a Chapter, or one sentence of a Sermon would say you in tears, or make you groane, or at least do more then now is done. Satan hath garrisond the heart of every carnall man: And consideration is the principall means to cast him out. If by considering of the terrible threatnings of the word, you would discharge these Canons of God against them, what a battery would it make in the corruptions of your Souls. Our God is a consuming fire, and the fire of hell is threatned in his Law, as the wages of sin: By serious Consideration you may as it were, fetch fire from God and from his word, and set to the very gates of Satans garrison, and fire him out of many of his holds.

But because this is so needfull a point, I shall be so large upon it as 1o to tell you some of those things that you should con­sider of, 2o. to tell you in what manner you should do it, and 3o. to give you some Motives to put you on.

[Page 57] I. The first thing that I would have you oft to think on, is, The Nature of that God with whom you have to do. Con­sider that if he be the most wise, it is all the reason in the world that he should rule you. If he be Good, and infinitely Good, there is all the reason in the world that you should Love him: and there is no shew of reason, that you should love the world or sin before him. If he be faithfull and true, his threatnings must be feared, and his promises must not be di­strusted; and there is no reason that you should make any question of his Word. If he be Holy, then Holiness must needs be most excellent, and those that are the Holiest must needs be the best; because they are most like to God: And then he must be an enemy to sin, and to all that are unholy, because they are contrary to his nature. Consider that he is Almighty, and there is no resisting him, or standing out against him: In the twink of an eye can he snatch thy guilty Soul from thy body, and cast it where sin is better known. A word of his Mouth can set all the world against thee; and set thine own conscience against thee too: A frown of his face can turn thee into Hell. And if he [Page 58] be thine enemy, it is no matter who is thy friend: For all the world cannot save thee, if he do but condemne thee. They are blessed whom he blesseth, and they are cursed indeed whom he curseth. He was from Eternity, and thou art but as it were, of yesterday: Thy being is from him: thy life is alwaies in his hands, Thou canst not live an hour without him: thou canst not fetch a breath without him: nor think a thought, nor speak a word, nor stir a foot or hand without him: Thou mayst better live without bread, or drink, or fire, or aire, or earth, or water, then without him. All the world is before him but as the drop of a bucket, or a little sand of dust that should be laid in ballance with all the earth: Hadst thou but com­passed about this lower world, and seen all the Nations of it, and its wonderfull furniture, and seen the great deeps of of the mighty Ocean, and the abundance of Creatures that be in all? O what thoughts then wouldst thou have of God! But if thou hadst been above the Starres, and seen the Sun in all its glory, and seen the frame and course of those higher Orbes, and seen the blessed glorious An­gels, and all the inhabitants of the higher [Page 59] world, O then what thoughts of God wouldst thou entertaine? O but if it were possible that thou hadst seen his Glory, or seen but his back-parts as Mo­ses did, or seen him in Christ the now glo­fied Redeemer, what apprehensions wouldst thou have of him then. Then how wouldst thou abhor the name of sin: and how weary wouldst thou be of the pleasantest life that sensuality could afford thee? Then thou wouldst quickly know, that no Love can be great enough, and no praises can be high enough, and no ser­vice can be holy and good enough, for such a God: Then you wouldst soon know, that this is not a God to be neglected, or dallyed with: nor a God to be resisted, nor provoked by the wilfull breaking of his Laws. It is Eternal Life to know this God, Joh. 17. 3. and for want of know­ing him, it is that sin aboundeth in the world. This maketh Holyness so scarce and leane: Men worship they care not how, because they worship they know not whom. O therefore dwell on the Medi­tations of the Almighty. So far as he doth possess thy mind, there will be no place for sin and vanity. One would think, if I should set you no further task, and [Page 60] tell you of no other matter for your Me­ditation, this one, should be enough: For this one is in a manner all. What will not the due knowledge of God do upon the Soul. That's the best Christian, and the most happy man that knoweth most of him: And that's the most vile and mi­serable wretch, that is furthest from him, and strangest to him: It is the Character of the foole of fooles, to have a heart whose disposition and practice saith, There is no God, Psal, 14. 1. That is, To be so affected and employed in their hearts, as if there were no God: and when God is not in all his thoughts, Psal. 10. 4. It was better with man when he had less knowledge for himself, and fewer thoughts for himself, and more of God. And there is no way to restore us to sound understanding, and to perfect our knowledge, but to turn our eye up­on God again: For in knowing him, we know all, that's worth the knowing. Take hold then of the blessed God in thy Meditations, and fill thy thougts with him, and dwell upon those thoughts. Remember he is alwaies with thee: and where ever thou art, or what ever thou art doing, most certainly he seeth thee▪ As [Page 61] sure as thou are there, the Lord is there. He knowes thy thoughts: he heares thy words, he sees all thy waies. And is such a God as this to be provoked or des­pised! Were it not better provok and despise all the world? Is his favour to be sleighted.? Were it not better to lose the favour of all the world? Consider of this.

2o Another thing that I would have you oft Think of, is, what end you were made for, and what business it is, that you came for into the world. You may well think that God made you not in vaine: and that he made you for no lower end, then for himself: And that he would ne­ver have made you, nor so long preser­ved you, if he had not cared what you do. He would never have endued you with a Reasonable and immortal Soul, but for some high, and noble, and immortal end. Surely it was that you might be happy in Knowing him, that he made you capable of Knowing him: for he made nothing in vaine. It is usefull to a horse to know his pasture, and provender, and work, and perhaps his master; but he needs not know whether there be a God: And ac­cordingly he is qualified. But it is sure [Page 62] mans chief concernment to know that there is a God, and what he is, and how to serve him, and what he is and will be to us: Or else we should never have been capable of such things. And he would never have made you capable of loving him, but that you should be exercised and made happy in that Love. The frame and faculties, and capacity of your Souls; and the scope of Scripture, do all declare, that you were sent into this world, to seek after God, and to Love him, and obey him, and rejoice in him in your measure; and to prepare for a life of nearer Communion, where you may Enjoy him and please him in the highest perfection. Consider with your selves, whether a life of sin be that which you were made for? Or whether God sent you hither to break his Laws, and follow your own lusts. And whether the satis­fying of your flesh, and the gathering of a little worldly wealth, and the feathe­ring of a nest which you must so quickly leave, be like to be the business that you were sent about into the world.

3o. The next thing that I would have you consider of is, How you have answe­red the Ends of your Creation, and how you [Page 63] have done the business that you came into the world to do. Look back upon the drift of your hearts and lives: read over the most ancient records of your con­sciences: and see, what you have been, & what you have been doing in the world till now. Have you spent you daies in see­king after God? and your estates and strength in faithfull serving him. Have you lived all this time in the admirations of his excellencies, and the servent Love of him, and delightfull remembrance of him, and the zealous worship of him? If you had done this, you had not need of a Conversion. But consider; have you not forgotten what business you had in the world, and little minded the world that you should have prepared for, and lived as if you knew not him that made you, or why he made you? was sport and merryment the end that you were created for? was ease and idleness, or eating, or drinking, or vaine discourses, or recreation, the business that you came into the world about? was living to the flesh, and scraping up riches, or gape­ing after the esteeme of men, the work that God sent you hither to do. Was this it that he preserved you for, and [Page 64] daily gave you in provision for? what was it to forget him and sleight him, and turne him out of your hearts, and rob him of his service and honour; and to set up your flesh in his stead, and give that to it that was due to him? Bethink you what you have done, and whether you have done the work that you were sent to do, or not?

4o The next thing you should use to Consider of is, How grievously you have sinned, and what a case it is that your sin hath brought you into. If you take but an impartiall view of your lives, you may see how far you have mist your marks, & how far you have been from what you should have been; and how little you have done of that which was your business: And O what abundance of aggravations have your sins, which I shall pass over now, because I must mention them under ano­ther head. It is not only some actuall out-breakings against the bent of your heart and life; but your very heart was false, and gone from God, and set in you to do evill.

O the time that you have lost; the means and helps that you have neglected; the motions that you have resisted; the [Page 65] swarms of evil thoughts that have filled your imaginations; the streams of vaine and evill words that have flowed from your mouth! the works of darkness, in publik and in secret that God hath seen you in! And all this while, how empty were you of inwad holiness, and how bar­ren of good works, to God or men. What have you done with all your ta­lents? and how little or nothing hath God had of all?

And now consider what a case you are in, while you remain unconverted? you have made your selves the sinks of sinne, the slaves of Satan, and the flesh; and are skilfull in nothing but doing evill: If you be called to prayer or holy meditation, your hearts are against it, and you are not used to it, and therefore you know not how to do it, to any purpose: But to think the thoughts of lust or cove­teousness, or hatred, or malice, or re­venge; this you can do without any toile: To speak of the world, or of your sports and pleasures, or against those that you bare ill will to, this you can do without any study. You are such as are spoken of, Jer. 4. 22. My people is foolish: they have not known me: they are sottish chil­dren, [Page 66] and they have no understanding: they are wise to do evill, but to do good they have no knowledge.] You are grown strangers to the God that made you, in whose love and service you should live and find your chief delights. Your hearts are hardned, and you are dead in your sins: The guilt of the sins of your lives are still upon you: You can neither look into your hearts or lives, no not on one day of your lives, or the best hour that you have spent, but you must see the ugly face of sin, which deserveth condemnation. You have made God your Enemy that should have been your only felicity: And yet you are alwaies at his mercy and in his hands. Little do you know how long his patience will yet endure you; or what hour he will call away your Souls; And if death come, alas, what a case will it find you in! how lamentably unready are you to meet him! how unready to ap­pear before the dreadfull God whom you have offended; and what a terrible ap­pearance do you think that will be to you? most certainly if you die before you are converted, you will not be from among the Devils and damned souls an hour. The Law hath cursed you already: [Page 67] and the execution will be answerable, if you die in your sins. And thus you may see the gain of sin, and what it is that you have been doing all this while, for your own Souls; and what a case it is that you have brought you selvs into; and what need you have speedily to look about you.

5. The next step of your Consideration should be this. Bethink your selves what a blessed Condition you might be in, if by Conversion you were but recovered from this misery, and brought home to God. This moved the heart of the Prodigall son to return, Luke 15. 16, 17. [When he came to himself he said, How many hi­red servants of my fathers have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger.] He that had not husks to feed on with the swine, considered the plenty that he had for saken at home. The poor­est member of the houshold of Christ, is in a better condition then the greatest King on earth, that is unconverted. You might have lived another kinde of life, then you have done, for safety, and be­nefit, and true content, if you would have turned your minds and life to God. Were you but Converted, you would be [Page 68] the living members of Christ, and his precious benefits would be yours: His blood would clense you from all your sins; and they would be all freely forgi­ven you: God would be Reconciled to to you, and become your friend, yea your Father and your God; and will take you for his houshold servants, and adopted children: The Holy Ghost would dwell in you, and guide your un­derstandings, and shew you that which flesh and blood connot reveal, and bring you into acquaintance with the mysteries of God: He will be a Spirit of Light and Life within you, and work your hearts yet more to God, and give you yet stronger inclinations and affections to the things above. He will help you when you are weak, and quicken you where you are dull, and be your remembran­cer when you are forgetfull of necessary things. He will help you in prayer, both for matter and for manner, and help you in Meditation, and conference and other duties: He will warn you of your dan­ger, and strengthen you against tempta­tions, and cause you to overcome; and if you fall, he will cause you to rise a­gain: he will be an in-dwelling comforter [Page 69] to you, and so effectually speak peace to you in the midst of your disquietness, that by speaking it, he will create it in you: And in the multitude of your thoughts within you, his comforts will delight your Souls. O what a life might you live, if Christ by his Spirit did once live in you! you may easily conjecture how tender Christ would be of his own members, how dearly he would love them, how constantly he would watch over them, how plentifully he would provide for them, and how safely he would preserve them. And if you should come into a rougher way, he would lead you out: Afflictions should never be laid on you but for your good; and continue no lon­ger then your need continueth them; and be taken off at last to your satisfaction and contentment. Indeed your life would be a life of mercies: and that which is but a common Mercy to common men, would be a speciall Mercy to you, as coming from your Fathers love, and furthering you salvation, and hinting out to you, your everlasting Mercies. You could not open your eyes, but you would see that which may encourage and comfort you: all the works of God which [Page 70] you behold, would shew you his Maje­sty, his love and power, and lead you to himself. You could not open your Bible, but you would find in it the bles­sed lines of Love: O what good it would do you, to read there the blessed Attri­butes of your God! to look upon his Name; to peruse the description of his most perfect nature! what good would it do you to read of the nature, and incar­nation, and life, and death, and resurre­ction, and assension, and intercession, and return of your blessed Redeemer? what good would it do you to find those holy Rules which your new nature is a­greeable to, and to read over the Law, that is written in your hearts, and read the curse from which you are delivered? what life and joy would your Souls re­ceive from the many, and full, and free promises of grace! were you once but truly sanctified and made new, your con­dition would be often comfortable, but alwaies safe: and when you were in the greatest fears and perplexities, you would still be fast in the armes of Christ: And what a life would that be, to have daily access to God in prayer: to have leave in all your wants and dangers, to [Page 71] seek to him with a promise of hearing and success; that you may be sure of much more from him, then a child can from the tenderest father, or a wife from the most loving husband upon earth. What a life would it be, when you may alwaies think on God as your felicity, and fetch your higehest delights from him, from whom the ungodly have their greatest terrours? And it is no contemptible part of your benefits, that you may live among his people, and in their speciall love, and have a speciall Communion with them, and interest in their prayers, & may possess among them the priviled­ges of the Saints, and the Ordinances of God: That in stead of idle talk, and the unprofitable fellowship of the children and works of darkness, you may joyne with the Church of God in his Praises, and feed with them at his table on the bo­dy and blood of Christ, and then have conveyances of renewed grace, and a re­newed pardon sealed to your Souls: But how long should I stay. if I should tell you but one half the blessings of a Sancti­fied and spirituall state? In a word, God would be yours, Christ would be yours, the Holy Ghost would be yours, all [Page 72] things would be yours; the whole world would have some relation to your well­fare: Devils would be subdued to you, and cast out of your Soules; sinne would be both pardoned and overcome; An­gels would be ministring spirits unto you for your good: The promises of Scri­pture would be yours; and everlasting Glory would at last be yours; and while you staid on earth, you might comfort your selves as oft as you would, with the believing foresight of that unconceive­able, unspeakable, endless felicity.

O sirs, what a treasure have I here ex­pressed in a few words! what hearts would you have, if they were but possessed & lively & sensible of all that is contained in this leafe or two! you would not en­vy the greatest Prince on earth his glory, nor change states with any man that were a stranger to these things. Did you but use to consider of the state of the Saints, how could you keep off, and stay with sinne, and make so many de­laies in turning unto God! Sure this con­sideration might turne the scales.

6o. The next part of your Meditation should be, Of the gracious and wonderfull work of our Redemption, and the means [Page 73] and remedies which are provided for your Souls, and the terms on which Salvation may be obtained.

For all the sins that you have commit­ted, you are not given over to despaire: the Lord hath not left you without a re­remedie. Your Conversion and Sal­vation is not a thing impossible. Nay so much is done by Christ already, that it is brought upon reasonable terms even to your hands. A new and living way is consecrated for us by Christ through the veile of his flesh, and by his blood we may have boldness to enter into the Ho­liest, Heb. 10. 19, 20. He hath borne your burden; and offere [...]h you in stead of it his burden which is light, Matth. 11. 28. He hath removed the Impossibility, and nailed to his Cross the hand writing that was against you, Col 2. 14, 15. And in stead of it offereth you his easie yoak. He hath spoiled the Principalities and Powers that had captivated you, and openly triumphed over them on the Cross. You are not left under the care of making satisfaction to God for your own sinnes, but only of accepting the Redeemer that hath satisfied. This much I dare confi­dently say to you all, without extending [Page 74] his benefits too farre. It will be for want of faith in you, and not for want of satis­faction by the Redeemer, if any of you perish. And how free are his offers? How full are his promises? you are con­ditionally all pardoned and justified alrea­dy, as is legible under the hand of God. And the Condition which is imposed on you, is not some meritorious or mercena­ry work, but the Accepting of the benefit freely given, according to its nature, use and ends. This is the Faith by which you must be justified. These are the terms on which you may be saved. And which is more, the Lord hath provided means, even excellent, and plentifull, and pow­erfull means, for the furthering of your Souls in the performance of this Conditi­on, and helping you to Believe, and Repent that you may live: And if the Spi­rit make not these Means effectuall, & ad­joyn not his speciall grace, & after this you remaine unconverted, it will not be long of him, but of your selvs. So that you may perceive how hopefull acase you are yet in, by the blood of your Redeemer, if you destroy not your own hopes, and make not your case desperate by wilfull Impenitency, and refusall of free grace. [Page 75] How faire are you yet for Heaven? and what happy advantages have you for Salvation? It's brought even to your doors; It's thrust as it were into your hands: The Redeemer hath done so much for you all, as to bring your Sal­vation to the choice of you own wills; and if you be his chosen ones, he will al­so make you willing. You have precepts to Believe, you are threatned if you will not Believe, you have promise upon promise, and Christ himself offered you pardon, and life, and Salvation with him, if you are but truly and hear­tily willing. You have God himself, condescending to beseech you to accept them: and Embassadours intreating you in his name and stead: 2 Cor. 5. 19, 20. You have Ordinances fitted to your ne­cessities: both Reading, and Preaching, and Sacraments, and Prayer. You have store of plaine and powerfull Books: you have the Godly about you, most desirous to assist you, that would be glad to see or heare of your Conversion: You have the sight of the wicked, that are wallow­ing in their own dung, and the dirt of the world, to make you hate such beast­ly waies. You have Reason and Con­science [Page 76] within you to consider of these matters, and set them home, and apply them to your selves: You have time and strength to do all this, if you will not abuse it, and provoak God to take it from you for your negligence. You have Mercies of many sorts, outward and inward, to win upon you, and en­courage you in the work! And sometime Afflictions to remember you, and awa­ken you, and spur you on; The Devil and all your Enemies are so far disabled, that they cannot destroy you against your wills, nor keep you from Christ, but by your own Consents. The Angels of Hea­ven are ready to helpe you, and would even rejoice at your Conversion. This is your case, and these are your helps, and encouragements: You are not shut up under desperation. God never told you, It is in vaine to think of Con­version; It is too late; If any have told you so, it was the Devil, and not God: And one would think that such Conside­rations as these should drive the nayle to the head, and be effectuall to move you to Resolve, and Turne.

7o. The last thing that I would set be­fore you to be Considered, is, What's [Page 77] like to be the end of it, if after all this you should die unconverted?

O sirs, your hearts are not able now to conceive of it, nor the tongue of any mortal man to utter it. But so much of it we can certainly utter, as one would think should make your hearts to trem­ble. You have seen it may be, a dying man, in what pangs and agonies he par­teth with his Soul: and you have seen it's like, the corps that was left there be­hind; and seen it laid in the common Earth. But you see not what became of the Soul, nor what an appearance it made in another world, nor what compani [...] did attend it, nor what a place or state it past into. O sirs, when the hour is at hand that this must be your own case, it will awaken you to other kind of affecti­ons then you have or can have at the rea­ding of these words. It's wonderfull that a little distance should make us so insen­sible of that change which we are all cer­taine will come to pass: And yet through the folly and deadness of our hearts, it is so: But they are other kind of thoughts of these weighty matters, which we shall have the next hour after death, then the liveliest affections beforehand can afford us.

[Page 78] The misery was great that the Redee­mer did find you in, and which you de­served by your sinne against the Law of the Creator. But if you be found uncon­verted at last, your punishment will be much sorer, and your case far worss then it was before. The Redeemers Law or Gospel, hath it's peculiar Threatning, which differeth from the Law of the meere Creator in severall respects: Even 1o. in the nature of the punishment, which will be torments of Conscience for the neglect of a Redeemer, and recovering Grace, which you should never have felt if you had never been Redéemed: 2o. And in the Degree of the punishment, which will be far sorer, Heb. 10. 29. And 3o. in the Remedilesness of it, the Sentence being irreversible and peremtory: The first Law indeed provided no Remedy, but it did not Exclude Remedy, nor make it impossible: But the Law of Christ doth po­sitively and expresly exclude all Remedy, and leave the Soul that goeth unconver­ted out of the body, to utter Despera­tion, and Misery without Help or Hope of End. But I shall not stand now to de­scribe to you the terrors of Judgment or of Hell, because I have done it already [Page 79] in other Books, which I desire you to fetch the rest of this Meditation from; that is, My Treatise of Judgment, and the beginning of my third Part of my Book of Rest.

II. Having tould you what should be the Matter of your Consideration, I shall next tell you (but briefly) in what Manner you should performe it. And here I shall not stand to prescribe you any long or exact Method for Meditation, both because it agreeth not with my pre­sent resolved brevity, and because the Persons that now I deale with are not ca­pable of observing such Rules; and if any desire such Helps they may trans­ferre the Directions which are given on another Subject in my Book of Rest, to the Subject now in hand.

1. Do not stay till such thoughts will come of them selvs into your minds, but set your selves purposely to Consider of these matters. Take some time to call your Souls to an account concerning their pre­sent state, and their preparations for Eternity. If a Heathen Seneca, could call himself every night to an account for [Page 80] the evill committed, and the good omit­ted in the day past, as he professeth that he ordinarily did, why may not even an Unconverted man, that hath the helps which are now among us, bethink him­self of the state of his Soul? But I know that a Carnal heart is exceeding backward to serious Consideration, and is loath to be troubled with such thoughts as these; and the Devil will do what he can to hinder it, by himself, and others: but yet if men would but do what they may do, it might be better with them then it is. Will you but now and then purposely withdraw you selvs from company into some secret place, and there set the Lord before your eyes, and call your Souls to a strict account about the matters that I have mentioned even now, and make it your business to exer­cise your Reason upon them; and as you Purposely go to Church to heare, so Pur­posely set your selvs to this duty of Con­sideration, as a necessary thing

2. When you are upon it, labour to waken your Souls, and to be very Seri­ous in all your Thoughts; and do not think of the Matters of Salvation, as you would do of an ordinary triviall business, [Page 81] which you do not much regard, or care how it goes. But remember that your Life lyeth on it, even your everlasting Life: And therefore call up the most earnest of your thoughts, and rouse up all the powers of your Souls, and suffer them not to draw back, but command them to the work: And then set the seven Points that I mentioned even now before you: And as you think of them, lobour to be Affected with them, in some measure according to their exceeding weight. As Moses said to Israel, Deut. 32. 46. Set your Hearts to all the words which I testifie among you this day; which ye shall command your children to do, &c. For it is not a vaine thing for you; because it is your life. And as Christ said. Luke 9. 44. Let these sayings sink into your ears. So I say to you, Let the Matters which you think of, go to your hearts, and sink down to the quick of your affecti­ons.

And if your hearts would slip away from the work, and other thoughts would creep into your mind, and you are aweary of these Considerations be­fore they have done their wor, see that you give not way to this laziness, or un­willingness, [Page 82] but remember it is a work that Must be done, and therefore hold your Thoughts upon it, till your hearts are stirred, and warmed within you.

And if after all, you cannot awake them to Seriousness and Sensibility, put two or three such wakening Questions as these to your selves.

1. Quest. What if it were but the case of my body, or state, or name, should I not earnestly consider of it? If one do but wrong me, how easily can I think of it, and how tenderly do I feel it; and can scarce forget it: If my good name be blemished, and I be but disgra­ced, I can think of it night and day: If I lose but a beast, or have any Cross in the world, or decay in my Estate, I can think of it with sensibility: If I lose a child or a friend, I can feel it as well as think on it. If my health be decayed, and my Life in danger, I am in good ear­nest in thinking of this. And should I not be as serious, in the Matters of Ever­lasting Life? Should I not think of it, and soberly, and earnestly think on it, when body and Soul do lie at the stake, and when it concerneth my everlasting Joy or Torment?

[Page 83] 2. Quest. What if I had but heard the Sonne of God himself calling on me to Repent, and be Converted, and secon­ding his Commands with those earnest expression, (He that hath an eare to hear let him hear) would it not have brought me to som serious Thoughts of my state? Why this he hath done in his Word, and doth it by his Embassadors, and why then should I not consider it?

3. Quest. If I did but know that death were at my back, and ready to arrest me, and that I should be in another world before this day sevennight, I should then begin to bethink me in good sadness: And why do I not so now, when I have no hold of my life an hour, and when I am sure that shortly that time will come?

4. Quest. If my eyes were but open to see that which I pretend to believe, and which is certainly true; even to see a glimpse of the Majesty of the Lord? to see the Saints in Joy and Glory, to see the damned Souls in Misery; and if I heard their lamentations; would not this even force my heart to Consideration? O then how earnestly should I think of these things? And why should I not do [Page 84] so now, when they are as sure as if I saw them, and when I must see them ere it be long?

Many more such awakening Questions are at hand, but I give you but these brief touches on the things that are most common and obvious, that the most ig­norant may be able to make some use of them. With such thoughts as these, you must bring on your backward hearts, and shake them out of their insensibility, and awaken them to the work.

III When you have brought your hearts to be serious, be sure that you drive on your Considerations to a Resolution. Break not off in the middle, or before you bring the matter to an issue; But let all be done in order to Practice. When you have been Thinking of the excel­lencies of God, and the world to come, and comparing them with all the delights on earth; put the question then to your hearts, and say, What saist thou now, O my Soul? which of these is the better for thee? which is the more desireable? and which of them shouldest thou preferre? Re­solve then, and make thy choice accor­ding [Page 85] to the light, and convictions which thou hast received. When you are thin­king of the Reasons that should move you to be Converted, ask your selves? Whether these Reasons be not cleare, and what you have to say against them? and whether any thing that can be said to the contrary, can prove it better for you to be as you are, and to remaine unconverted? Ask your selves, Is my Judgment Resol­ved, or is it not? And if it be (as sure it must be, if you be not besides your selves) then write it down under your hands, or at least in your hearts. I do here confess be­fore the Lord, that his Commands are just, his motions are Reasonable, his of­fers are exceeding Mercifull: I am sa­tisfied that it's best for me to Turn to him speedily, and with all my heart? I confess before him that I have no Reason to the con­trarie that deserves to be owned, and cal­led Reason; This is my own Judgment; of this I am Convinced: If I Turn not after this, the Light that is in me, and the Judgment that I now possess, must needs be a witness against my Soul. If you would but thus drive on the case to a Re­solution of your Judgments, you would have a great advantage for the resolving [Page 86] of your wills, which is the next thing that you must proceed to. And there­fore next ask your selves, Why should I not now Resolve and fixedly Resolve, to Turn without any more delay? Is not the case plain before me? What Reason have I to stand questioning the matter any lon­ger, and to be unwilling to be happy? shall I provoke God by dallying with him, and hazzard my Soul by lingering out my time, in such a miserable state? No; by the Grace of God I will Return; Even this hour, without any more delay. Thus drive on all your Consideration to Resolution (But of this, I have more to say anon.)

By this time you may see of what ne­cessity this duty of Consideration is, and how it must be performed, that it may further your Conversion: But because it is a matter of so great Necessity, I am loath to leave it thus, till I have done what I can to perswade you to the practice of it. To which end I intreate you to think of these following Mo­tives.

1. Consideration is a duty that you may performe if you will. You cannot [Page 87] say that it is wholly out of your power; So that you are left unexcusable, if you will not be perswaded to it. You say, you cannot Convert your selves: But cannot you set your selves to Consider of your waies, and bethink you of those Truths that must be the Instruments of your Conversion? Your Thoughts are partly at the command of your will: You can turn them up and down from one thing to another. Even an unsanctified Minister that hath no saving relish of Spirituall things, can think of them, and spend most of his time in thinking of them, that he may preach them to o­thers: And why cannot you then turn your thoughts to them for your selves? You can think of House, and Land, and Friends, and Trading, and of any thing that ayleth you, or any thing that you want, or any thing that you love, or think would do you good; And why cannot you think, of your sinne, and danger, of God, and of his Word and Works, of the state of your Souls, and of Everlasting Life? Are you not able to go somtimes by your selves, and Con­sider of these matters? Are you not able when you are alone in your beds, or [Page 88] as you travail in the way, or at your labour, to bethink you how things stand with your Soules? Why are you not able? what is it that could hinder you, if you were but willing.

2. Yea further Consideration is so cheape a Remedy, that if you will not use this, you despise your Souls: yea and you despise the Lord himself, and the Everlasting things which you are called to Consider of. A man that is in danger of losing his estate, or health, or life, and will not so much as bethink him of a Remedy, doth sure set light by them, and lose them by his contempt. A man that had but his house on fire, and would not so much as Think how to quench it, doth deserve that it should be burnt. If your Parents, or Children, or Friends were in distress, if you would not so much as Think of them, it were a signe you did not set much by them. Why Sirs, are not your Souls worth the Thin­king on? Is not God, is not your Re­deemer worth the Thinking on? And yet you will hypocritically pretend that you love God above all, when you will not so much as seriously Think of him? How can you shew greater contempt of [Page 89] any thing, then to cast it out of your minds, as unworthy to be thought on? And how can you more plainly shew that you despise God, and Heaven, then by such a course as this? If it be not worth the Thinking on, it's worth no­thing.

3. Consider that God doth not set so light by your Salvation. He thought it worth a great deale more: Must Christ think it worth his bloody sufferings and worth such a life of labour and sorrow, and will not you judg it worth your se­rious Consideration? If he had not Thought on it, and Thought againe, how miserable shoud we have remained? Mi­nisters also must Think on it, and Study how to save your Souls. And should you not Study how to save your own? Must another man make it the business of his life, to Think how to do you good, that you may be saved? and are you n [...]t as much bound to do good to your selves? Yea, all that fear God about you are bound to Study to do you good? and should you not bethink you then, of the things that concern your own good?

4. Moreover, what have you your Reason for, but to Consider. And where­in [Page 90] do you differ from the beasts, so much as in your Reason? If you have Rea­son, and will not use it, you bruitifie your selves? You live like mad men: for what is Madness, but a loss of the use of Reason? And do you think it a small thing, to deface so noble a Creature as man, and to turne your selves into beasts, and mad-men? Do you think that God will not call you to account for your Rea­son, how you have used it? Doubtless he gave it you for a higher employment, then to enable you to plow, and sow, and follow your trades, and provide for your flesh. If this were all that a man did exceed a beast in, what a silly wretch­ed wight were man? Yea so much more miserable then beasts, as his knowledg begets more care, and sorrow, and fear, then theirs. What matter is it for having Reason at all, if it be not that we may use it for the matters of God, and Eter­nall life?

5. Moreover, your Soul is an Active Principle, which will be working one way or other: Your Thoughts will be going on one thing or other; And there­fore the bare Consideration is no great labour to you. And if you must lay out [Page 91] your thoughts on some thing, is it not better lay them out on these things, then on any other? Have you any Better matters to think on then these? Have you any Greater matters? or matters of greater Necessity to think of; You can­not sure imagine it; At least you will not say so for shame. This makes your in­considerateness an unexcusable sinne. If Thinking were a toile to you, it were another matter. But when you must Think of something, why not of God, and your Eternall state, and the way to Heaven, as well as of other matters. Will you rather throw away your Thoughts then God shall have them? If a man command his servant that is lame, to go on his business, the refuser hath a good excuse: I cannot go, or not without great pain, and danger: But if he have a sonne or a servant, that is so wanton that he cannot stand on his legs, but spends his time in running up and down and dancing, and leaping, this person hath no excuse, if he will refuse to go on his Masters or his Fathers Errand; but will gadd about on his pleasure all day, and will not go a few steps when he is bidden; especially if it were for his [Page 92] own life, or welfare. So when you have Thoughts that will not be kept idle, but will be gadding abroad through the world, and yet you will not think of God, and the matters of your peace, what wilfullness is this. If you should ask one that hath it not, for meat, or drink, or money, they might well deny you. But if you ask these of one that hath a­bundance, and knows not what to do with them, but would throw them down the channell, rather then you should have them, what would you think of such a one? Especially, if it were your ser­vant, or your child that owed you much more? Thus do you by God, and your own Souls. You have Thoughts enough and to spare, you know not what to do with them; and yet rather then you will spend one hour in a day or a week in se­rious Thoughts of the state of your Souls, and the life to come, you will cast them away upon news, and tales, and other folks business that do not concerne you; yea, you will cast them downe the sink of Covetousness, and Malice, and Lust, and Wantonness, and make them ser­vants to the Devil and the flesh. If you have a brooke running by your Land, you [Page 93] will endeavor to turn it over your ground, that seeing it must run, it may as well run that way where it may do good, as run in vaine. So when your thoughts must run, is it not better that you turne them to your own hearts, and states, to prepare for the world that you are ready to step into, then to let them run in vaine. If you see a man go into a wine-seller, (though it be his own) and pull out all the spigots, and let all the wine run about the seller, and suffer no body to catch it, or be the bet­ter for it, what would you conceive of the wisdom or charity of that man? Your Thoughts are a thing more precious then wine, and such a thing as should not be spilt. And yet is not this your everie-daies practice? You are before him that knows your Thoughts: Denie it if you can. What hours of the day, can a man come to you, and find your Thoughts altogether idle? What mi­nute of an hour can a man come and ask you, What are you now Thinking on? and you can truly say, Nothing! I know as long as you are awake you are alway thinking of somewhat, (and perhaps when you are asleep) And what is it on? [Page 94] This body shall have a Thought: and that body a Thought: every word you hear, and every wrong that's done you, and almost every thing you look upon, shall have a Thought: and God & your own Salvation shall have none: that is; you will lose them, and let them run in wast; but you will do no good with them, nor take in any profit by them, to your selves.

6. Have you any Thing that better deserves your Consideration, then God, and your Salvation? Certainly God hath more right to your Thoughts then any thing else that you can place them on. Your flesh, your Friends, your world­ly business are neither so honourable, so necessarie, or so profitable Subjects, as God, and Heaven are. As there is more profit to be got by the tillage of fruitful Land, then barren Heath; or by digging in a Mine of Gold, then in a Clay-pit. So is there more pleasure and profit to be gotten, in one hours serious Thoughts of your Salvation, then in thinking all your life time of the world.

7. At least methinks you should Con­sider, how disproportionably and une­qually [Page 95] you lay out your Thoughts. Can­not you spare God the Tenths; no nor the hundreth-part of them? Look back upon your lives, and trace your Thoughts from day to day, and tell me how many hours in a weeke, in a month, in a year, you have spent, in serious Thoughts of the state of your Souls, and of the life to come? Is it one hour of a hundred, of a thousand, of ten thousand, with some of you, that is thus spent? Nay I have very great cause to fear, that there are some, yea that there are many, yea that ther's far the greatest number, that ne­ver spent one hour since they were born, in withdrawing themselves purposely from all other business, and soberly, and in good sadness bethinking themselves what case they are in, what Evidence they have of their Title to Salvation, or how they must be justified at the Barre of God; no nor what business they have in the world, and to what end they were made, and how they have done the work, that they were made for. Ah Sirs, doth Conscience justifie you in this? Or ra­ther will it not torment you one day to remember it? What? did thy Land, and Livings, worldly matters deserve all [Page 96] thy Thoughts, and did not the saving of the Soul deserve some of them? Did thy lusts, and sports, and wantoness deserve all; and did not God deserve some of them? Was it not worth now and then an hours time, no nor one hours study in all thy life, to bethink thee in good sadness how to make sure of a life of end­less Joy and Glory, and how to scape the flames of Hell? This is not an equall distribution of thy Thoughts, As thou wilt confess at last in the horror of thy Soul.

8. It is the end of your present Time and warnings, that you may Consider, and prepare for your Everlasting state. What have you to do on Earth but to Consider how to get well to Heaven? O that you did but know what a Mercy it is, before you enter upon an Endless Life, to have but Time to bethink you of it, and to make your Election sure! If you were to be called away suddenly this night, and the Angel of the Lord should say to any of you, Prepare; for within this hour thou must die, and appear before the living God. Then would you not cry­out, O not so suddenly Lord! Let me have a little more time to Consider of my [Page 97] Condition: Let me have one month longer, to bethink me of the case of my Soul, and to make sure that I am Justified from the guilt of my sins: Let me have one day more at least to prepare for my Everlasting state: for alas, I am yet unready. Would not these be your cries, if God should call you presently away? And yet now you have time you will not Consider of these matters and prepare.

9. Moreover, is it not time for you to Consider your waies, when God doth Con­sider them: If he would forget them or did not regard them, you might regard them the less your selves: But be sure of it, he doth observe them whether you do or not, and he Remembreth them though you forget them. Dost thou not know that all the sins of thy life are still on record before the Lord; saith Job 14. 16, 17. Thou numbrest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sinne? My trans­gression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sow­est up mine iniquity. Do you think that God forgets your sins, as you forget them? saith the Lord by the Prophet Hosea, 7. 2. They Consider not in their hearts, that I remember all their wicked­ness; Now their doings have beset them [Page 98] about, they are before my face: But, you'l say, what if God do Consider our waies? why surely then it is not for no­thing, but evil is near if nor prevented, As the Lord saith in Deut. 32. 34, 35. Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my Treasures? To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence: their foot shall slide in due time: For the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make hast. If God be registring up thy sins, thou hast cause to tremble to think what that pretends: For in this hardness and impe­nitency of thy heart, thou art treasuring up wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous Judgments of God, Rom. 2. 5. As Grace is the seed of Glory, so sinne is the seed of shame, and trouble, and everlasting Torment: and though it may seeme long before the Harvest, you will tast the bitter fruit at last; and whatsoever you have sowed, that shall you reap.

10. Moreover; if any thing ail'd you, you look that God should present­ly Consider you: Or if you want any thing, you think he should Consider your wants: And yet will you not Con­sider [Page 99] of him, and of your own wants? When you are in trouble you'l cry to God, Have Mercy upon me O Lord, Consider my Trouble, Psal. 9 33. Con­sider and heare me O God, Psal. 13. 3. When you lie in pain and sickness, you'l then cry to God; Consider mine afflicti­on, and deliver me, Psal. 119. 153. If you be oppressed or abused, you'l groan as the Israelites under their Task-masters, and perhaps cry to God, as the captived people, Lam. 1. 11. See O Lord, and Consider; for I am become vile: Remem­ber O Lord, what is come upon us; Con­sider and behold our reproach: ch. 5. 1. & 2. 20. And must God Consider of you, that will not Consider of him, or your own Souls? Or may you not rather expect that dreadfull answer, which he gives to such regardless sinners. Prov. 1. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. And heare your cries, as you heare his Counsell, and think of you, as you thought of him.

Nay more then so; even while you forget him, the Lord doth daily Consi­der you, and supply your wants, and save you from dangers; and should you then cast him out of your Thought? If [Page 100] he did not think on you, you would quick­ly feel it to your cost and sorrow.

11. Moreover the Nature of the Mat­ter is such, as one would think, should for [...]e a Reasonable creature to consider of it, and often and earnestly to consi­der. When all these things concurre in the matter, he must be a block or a mad man, that will not Consider. 1. When they are the most excellent, or the grea­test things in all the world: 2. When they are our own matters; or neerly con­cerne us. 3. When they are the most necessary, and profitable, and de­lightfull things. And 4. When there is much difficulty in getting them, and danger of losing them, And all these go together in the matter of your Salva­tion.

1. If you will not think of God, and your Souls, of Heaven, and Hell, what then will you think of? All other things in the world are but toyes, and jesting matters to these. Crowns, and Kingdoms, Lands, and Lordships are but chaff, and bawbles, dirt and dung, to these Everlasting things. The acts of renowned Kings and Conquerors, are but as Popet-plaies, in Comparison of [Page 101] the working out of your Salvation. And yet will you not be drawn to the Conside­ration of such astonishing things as these? One would think that the exceeding Greatness of the matter, should force you to Consider it whether you will or no: when smaller Objects affect not the Sences, yet Greater will even force their way. He that hath so hard a skin that he cannot feel a feather, methinks should feel the weight of a mil-stone: And if he feel not the prick of a pin, methinks he should feel a dagger. He that cannot hear one whisper, methinks should hear a Cannon, or a clap of Thunder, if he have any such thing as hearing left him. He hath bad eyes that cannot see the Sun. One would think that so Glorious an Ob­ject as God, should so entice the eyes of men, that they should not look off him. One would think that such matters as Heaven and Hell should follow thy thoughts which way ever thou goest, so that thou shouldest not be able to look besides them, or to think almost of any thing else, unless with great neglect, and disesteem. O what a thing is a stony heart, that can forget not only the God that he liveth by, but also the place [Page 102] where he must live for ever? Yea that will not be perswaded to the Sober Consi­deration of it for one hour.

2. And as these are the Greatest mat­ters, so they are your Own matters, and therefore one would think you should not need so much ado to bring you to Consider them. If it were only other mens matters, I should not wonder at it. But self-love should make you regard your Own. In outward matters, all seek their Own things, Phil. 2. 21. And have they not more Reason to seek their Own Sal­vation? It is your Own Souls, your Own danger, your Own sin, your Own duty, that I perswade you to Consider of. It is that God, that Christ, that would be your Own: it is that Heaven, that blessedness that may be your Own, if you lose it not by neglect: It is that Hell, and torment, that will certainly be your Own if you prevent it not. And shou [...]d not these be thought on? You will think of your Own goods, or lands, or riches; of your Own families, your Own business, your Own lives, and why not also of your Own Salvation?

3. Especially, when it is not only your Own, but it is the One thing needfull, [Page 103] Luke 10. 42. It is that which your life, or death, your Everlasting Joy or Tor­ment lieth on: and therefore must be Considered of, or you are utterly un­done for ever. Necessity lyeth upon you; and wo be to you, if you Consi­der not of these things. It is not so ne­cessary that you eat, or drink, or sleep, or live, as it is Necessary that you make sure your Everlasting life. And the Pro­fit also doth answer the necessity. Buy but this one Pearle, and you will be infinite gainers, though you sell all that you have in the world to buy it. Matth. 13. 44, 45, 46. Get God, and get all: make sure of Heaven, and then fear no loss, nor want, nor sorrow. If you count not all the world as dung, for the winning of Christ, that you may be found in him, possessed of his righteous­ness, it is because you know neither the world, nor Christ, Phil. 3. 7, 8, 9. Yea the Delight also will answer the Commo­dity: For in the presence of God is ful­ness of Joy, and at his right hand are plea­sures for evermore, Psal 16. 11. And the fore-thoughts of them may well make glad our hearts, and cause our Glory to rejoyce, Psal. 16. 8, 9. For Goodness and [Page 104] Mercy shall follow us all the daies of our lives, and we shall dwell in the House of the Lord for ever: Psal. 23. 6. He shall guide us with his Counsell, and afterward receive us into Glory: Psal. 73. 24. And lest yet you should suspect any lack of Comfort, he tells you, you shall enter into the Joy of your Lord, Matth. 25. 23. And that you shall be with him where he is, to behold his Glory, Joh. 17. 24.

4. And yet if all this might be had with a wet finger, If Heaven were the porti­on of worldlings, and sluggards, that trouble not their Thoughts much about it, then you might have some excuse for your Inconsiderateness. But it is not so: there are difficulties, in your way; and they are many and great: what a dark understanding have you to informe, what a dull and backward nature to spurre on? What an unreasonable appetite? What rageing passions? What violent re­bellious senses to contend with, to Ma­ster and to rule? Abundance of adver­saries on every hand: A subtil Devil, and as malicious as subtil: and as furious and able to do you a mischief, if God restrain him not. A world of wicked men about you: each one more stiff in Errour, [Page 105] then you in the Truth; and more fast to the Devil then you are to God, (if his grace do not hold you faster, then you will hold your selves:) and therefore they are abler to deceive you, then you are to un­deceive them: Many of them are crafty, and can puzzle such ignorant beginners as you; and can put a face of reverence and truth upon damnable Errors, and pernicious waies: And those that have not wit, have foolish violence, and scorn and passion; and can drive you towards Hell, if they cannot draw you. All these Enemies you must Conquer, or you are lost. And is it not time for a man in so much danger to Consider of them, that he may know how to escape? And for one that is compassed about with such difficulties, to Consider how he may well get through them. What abun­dance of things have you to Consider of? of all your life past; of the Relations you have born; and how you have perfor­med the duties of those relations? Of the time you have had; and how you have spent it? Of the means you have had; and what you have received by them: Of the present state of your Souls, your sins, your miseries, your hopes, and [Page 106] the duties that are incumbent on you, in order to your recovery. Of the tem­ptations to be encountred with; and the graces that are daily to be exercised and confirmed: should not a man bethink himself with all possible care, and Consi­der, and an hundred times Consider, that hath all this to do, or be undone for ever? You have much to Know that will not easily be known, and yet must be known: and much to do, receive, and suffer, that hath difficulty joyned with Necessity: Were it Necessary and not hard, the facility might draw you to make light of it. And were it hard, and not Necessary, the difficulty might more discourage you then the matter would ex­cite you: But when it Must be done, or you must be shut out of Heaven, and lie in Hell for it world without end; and yet there are so many difficulties in the way, I think it's time to look about you, and seriously Consider.

12. To conclude; Consideration would prevent a world of misery, which else will make you Consider when it is too late. It must be a principall means of your Salvation if ever you be saved. If God have so much Mercy for you, he [Page 107] will make you Consider; and set your sins in order before you, Psal. 50. 21. And set Hell fire before your face, and hold your Thoughts on it, that you cannot look off. He will set before you a Cruci­fied Christ, and tell you, that this your sins have done, and make you think of the Reason of his sufferings; & what there is in sinne that could require it; and what it is to rebell against the Lord, and runne your selves into the Consuming fire. Now your Thoughts are gadding abroad the world, and stragling after every tri­fle, and going away from God: But if ever God will save you, he will over­take your hearts, and fetch them home, and shew them that they have somewhat else to think on. If Commands will not serve, he will send out his threatnings, and terrours shall come upon you, and pursue your Soul as the wind, Job 30. 15. He'l fetch you out of the Ale-house, and the Gaming-house, and take you off the merry pin; and lay that upon your heart, that you shall not easily shake off. If you are taken up with the Cares of the world, he'l shew you that you have somewhat else to care for, and drown those Cares in greater Cares. If [Page 108] you have such giddy, unsetled, va­grant minds, that you cannot call in your Thoughts to God, nor hold them with him; he will lay those clogs and bolts upon them at first, that shall re­straine them from their idle vagaries: and then he will set upon them such a byass, as shall better order them, and fix them for the time to come. Men do not use to go to Heaven, and never think of it. And to scape Hell fire, and the plague of sinne, and the curse of the Law, and the Wrath of God, and the rage of Sa­tan, and never think on it: Nor do they use to mind other matters, and find them­selves in Heaven, before they ever dreamd of it, or before their hearts were set upon it. No Sirs, if ever God will save you, he will make you Consider, and again Consider, and perhaps with many a sigh and groan; and bring these things so neere your hearts, that you shall not only Think on them, but feel them: According to that Command, Deut. 6. 6, 7. & 11. 18, 19, 20. They shall be as written before your eies: You shall think of them when you lie down, and when your rise up, as if they were written upon the testure of your beds: [Page 109] you shall think of them when you sit at home, when you go abroad, as carry­ing them still with you, which way so­ever you go. As before God was not in all your Thoughts, so now he will be the sum and end of them all.

And if by your Resistance you scape these Considerations, believe it, God will bring you to Consideration, by a severer and more dreadfull way. If he do but give your Conscience a Commission, it will follow you, and bring you to such a Consideration, as Judas was brought to. If he lay you under his Judgments, and speak to you by his Rod, and give you a lash with every word, and ask you whether yet you will Consider of it? It may bring such things to your Thoughts, as you were little troubled with before. If he say but the word, how soon will your Soul be required of you; and when you lie in Hell and feel the smart you will then Consider of it. Now we cannot beg of you to bestow one hour in sober Con­sideration; but then you shall do it with­out intreaty: Then you will be as a man that hath the Stone, or Gout, or Tooth­ake, that cannot forget it, if he would never so faine. Forget your folly, your [Page 110] obstinacy, and unthankfullness, then if you can, Forget Gods wrath, and the torment which you feel, then if you can. Now you were so busie that you could not have while to think of the matters of the world to come; but then God will give you leasure; you shall have little else to do; You shall have time enough: When you have thought of these things ten thousand years, you shall still have time enough before you, to think of them againe. You will not Consider now, but, when God hath performed the intents of his heart, in the latter daies you shall perfectly Consider it, Jer, 23. 20. & 30. 24. O that you were wise, that you un­derstood this; that you would Consider your latter end, Deut. 32. 29.

What brings so many thousand Souls to Hell, but because they would not Con­sider in time? If you could speak with any of those hopeless Souls, and ask them, How came you to this place of torment? they would tell you, because we did not Consider of our case in time: we little thought of this day, though we were told of it: We had a load of sinne upon us, and did not Consider how we might be re­lieved: We had Christ, and Mercy set [Page 111] before us, but we did not Consider the worth of them, nor how to be made par­takers of them: We had time, but we Con­sidered not how to make the best of it. We had the work of our Salvation lay upon our hands; but we did not Consider how we might accomplish it: O had we but Consi­dered what now we feel, we might have escaped all this, and have liv'd with God! These would be the answers of those mise­rable Souls, if you could but ask them the cause of their misery, Ther's scarce a Thief or Murderer hang'd at the Gal­lows, but will cry out, O if I had but had the wit, and grace to have Considered this in time, I need not to have come to this. Ther's scarce an unthrift that falls into beggery; no nor a man, that comes to any mischance, but will say, If I had Considered it before hand, I might have prevented it. Most of the Calamities of the world might have been prevented, by timely and sober Consideration. God himself doth place mens wickedness much in their Inconsiderateness, and laies the cause of their destruction upon it. Whence is it that Israel was rebellious to astonishment, Isa. 1. 3. Why, Israel doth not know, my people doth not Consider. [Page 112] Job 34 25, 26, 27. He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead: therefore he know­eth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed, He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others: because they turned back from him, and would not Consider any of his waies. Why do men live so wilfully in sinne, but because They Consider not that they do evill, Ecel. 5. 1. How ma­ny such hath the world that God pro­nounceth a Wo to? Isa 5. 11, 12. that drink, and play, and give themselves to their merriments, but they regard not the work of the Lord; neither Consider the Operation of his hands. They Consider not in their heart, the folly of their waies, Isa. 44. 18, 19, 20. When they see Gods Judgments, they Consider not the mea­ning of them, and therefore lay them not to heart, Isa. 57. 1. 2.

And when God calleth men to Con­version, or Reformation, he useth to call them to Consideration as the way to it. Hag. 1. 5. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Consider your waies. The Sonne that shall escape the misery of his Fathers, is he that Considereth, and turneth away [Page 113] from his transgressions, and Considereth, and doth not his Forefathers works; Ezek. 18. 14, 20. And when he sendeth the Prophet to them, Ezek. 12. 3. It is but with this encouragement; Though they are a rebellious house, it may be they will Consider. And David professeth, that Consideration was the beginning of his Conversion, Psal. 119. 59. I thought on my waies, and turned my feet unto thy Testimonies. I made hast and delayed not to keep thy Statutes.

I know that it is the Lord, that must renew and revive a sinfull Soul: But yet under God, Consideration must do much. O could we but perswade our people to Consider, it is not sure possible that they could be as they are, or do as they do. Would so many thousands live in ease, and quietness under the guilt of so many sinnes, and the wrath of God, if they did, but well Consider of it? Durst they live so peaceably in a state of death, and in the slavery of the Devill, if they did but well Consider of it? Would they do no more to prepare for their speedy ap­pearing before God, and for the scaping of Hell fire, if they did but Consider of it? Would th [...] swallow down their [Page 114] cups so greedily, and give up themselves to the world so eagerly, if they did but well Consider what they do? Methinks they should not. The cause of sinne, and the Devil is so naught, that I should hope to shame it with most of the un­godly, if I could but bring them to a seri­ous Consideration of it. O how the King­dom of Satan would down, if we could but tell how to make men Considerate: How fast the Devil would lose his ser­vants? What abundance Christ would gaine? And how many would be saved, if we could but tell how to make men Consider [...]te? And one would think that this should be easily done, seeing man is a self-loving, and reasonable creature: But yet to our grief, and great admira­tion, we cannot bring them to it. I should not doubt, but one Sermon, or one Sentence of a Sermon, might do more good then a hundred do now, If I were but able to perswade the hearers, when they come home, to follow it by serious Consideration. But we cannot bring them to it: If our lives lay on it, we could not bring them to it: Though we knew that their own lives and Salva­tion lieth on it, yet can we nor bring [Page 115] them to it. They think, and talk of o­ther matters, almost as soon as the Ser­mon's done: and they turn loose their Thoughts; or if they do read, or hear, or repeat a little; yet cannot we get them to one half hours secret, and sober Con­sideration of their case. This is the Rea­son, why it is so rare a thing to see men throughly turn to God. This is much of the use of all Gods teachings, and affli­ctions too, but to bring men to sober Con­sideration. God knows that sinne hath unmanned us, and lost us the use of our Reason, where we have most use for it: and therefore the means, and Works of God, are to recover us to our Rea­son, and to make us men againe. The very graces of his Spirit, are to make us to be more Reasonable.

And now before I dismiss this Directi­on, I have a Question, and a Request, to make to thee, whoever thou art, that Readest these lines. My Question is this; Hast thou ever s [...]berly Considered of thy waies, and laid th [...]se greatest mat­ters to heart, or hast thou not? Dost thou ever use to retire into thy self, and spend any time in this need [...]ull work? If thou dost not, my Request to thee is, that [Page 116] now at last thou wouldest do it without delay. Shall I beg this of thee; shall the Lord that made thee, that bought thee, that preserveth thee, Request this of thee; that thou wouldest sometimes be­take thy self into some secret place, and set thy self purposely to this work of Con­sideration, and follow it earnestly, and close with thy heart, till thou hast made something of it, and brought it to a Re­solution. Wilt thou then spend a little time, in reasoning the case with thy self, and calling thy heart to a strict account, and ask thy self, What is it that I was made for? And what business was I sent into the world about? And how have I dispatcht it? How have I spent my time, my thoughts, my words; and how shall I answer for them? Am I ready to die, if it were this hour? Am I sure of my Sal­vation? Is my Soul Converted, and tru­ly Sanctified by the Holy Ghost? If not, what Reason have I to delay? Why do I not set about it, and speedily resolve? Shall I linger till death come, and find me unconverted? O then what a sad appea­rance shall I make, before the Lord. And thus follow on the discourse with your hearts? What say you, Sirs? Will you [Page 117] here promise me to bestow but some few hours, if it be but on the Lords Day, or when you are private on the way, or in your beds, or in your shops, in these Considerations? I beseech you, as ever you will do any thing at my Request, de­ny me not this Request. It is nothing that is unreasonable. If I desired one of you to spend an hour in talking with me, you would grant it; yea, or if it were to ride, or go for me: And will you not be intreated to spend now and then a little time in Thinking of the matters of your own Salvation? Deny not this much to your selves, deny it not to God, if you will deny it me. Should you not bethink you a few hours, of the place, and state that you must live in for ever? Men will build strong where they think to live long: But a tent, or a hut will serve a Souldiour for a few nights. O, Sirs, Everlasting is a long day. In the Name of God let not Conscience have such a charge as this against you hereaf­ter; Thou art come to thy long home [...], to thy Endless state, before eve [...] thou spen­test the space of an hour, in deep and sad, and serious Considerations of it, or in trying thy title to it. O what a Confoun­ding [Page 118] charge would this? I am confi­dent I have the witness of your Conscien­ses going along with me, and telling you it is but reasonable, yea, and needfull which I say. If yet you will not do it, and I cannot beg one hours sober dis­course in secret, between you and your hearts, about these things, then what remedie, but even to leave you to your misery. But I shall tell you in the Con­clusion, that I have no hope of that Soul, that will not be perswaded to this duty of Consideration: But if I could per­swade you to this reasonable, this cheap, this necessary work, and to follow it close, I should have exceeding great hopes of the Salvation of you all. I have told you the truth: Consider what I say, and the Lord give you understanding: 2 Tim. 2. 7. Or if you put me to con­clude in harsher terms, they shall be still the Oracles of God; Now Consider this yee that forget God, lest I teare you in pie­ces, and there be none to deliver you, Psal. 50. 22.

And so much for the third Direction, about Consideration; on which I have staid somewhat long, because I appre­hend it of exceeding necessity.

DIRECT. IV. The fourth Direction which I shall give you, that the work of your Conversion may not miscary is this: See that the work of Humiliation be throughly done, and break not away from the Spirit of Contrition before he have done with you: and yet see that you mistake not the Nature, and the Ends of the work, and that you drive it not on further then God requireth you.

Here I shall first shew you the true Nature of Humiliation: and 2o. the use and ends of it, and 3o. the mistakes about it, that you must avoid, and 4o. I shall press on the Substance of the Direction, and shew you the necessity of it.

I. There is a Preparatory Humiliation that goes before a saving change, which yet is not to be despised, because it is a drawing somewhat neerer unto God, though it be not a faithfull closure with him. This Preparatory Humiliation, which many have that perish, doth chief­ly consist in these things following. 1o It lieth most in the Fear of being damned: As it is most in the Passions, so most in this of Feare. 2o. It consisteth also in some apprehension of the greatness of our sinnes, and the wrath of God, that [Page 120] hangs over our heads, and the danger that we are in of being damned for ever. 3o. It consisteth also in some apprehensi­ons of the folly, that we are guilty of in sinning, and of some Repentings that ever we did it, and some remorse of Conscience for it. 4o. Hereto may be joyned some Passions of Sorrow, and this expressed by groans and tears. 5o. And all this may be accompanyed with Con­fessions of sinne to God and man, and Lamentations for our misery, and in some it preceedeth to desperation it self. 6o. And lastly it may proceed to an in­dignation against our selves, and to the taking of a severe revenge on our selves, yea, more then God would have men take; as Judas did by self-destroying. This desparation, and self-execution are no parts of the Preparatory Humiliation; but the excess, and error of it, and the entrance upon Hell.

2. But there is also a Humiliation that is proper to the Converted, and which accompanieth Salvation; and this con­ [...]eineth in it, all that is in the former, and much more: Even as the Rational Soul conteineth the sensitive, and vege­tative, and much more. And this Saving [Page 121] Humilation consisteth in these following particulars.

1. It beginneth in the Understanding; 2o It is rooted in the Will; 3o It worketh in the Affections; and 4o. When there is opportunity it sheweth it self in out­ward expressions, and actions.

1. Humiliation in the Understanding, consisteth in a low esteem of our selves, and in a self-abasing, self-condemning Judgment on our selves. And that in these Particulars.

1o. It consisteth in a deep, and solid apprehension, of the odiousness of our own sinnes habitual; and actual, and of our selves for our sinnes: and that be­cause they are contrary to the blessed Na­ture and Law of God, and so contrary to our own perfection, and chief Good. 2o. It consisteth also in a solid, and fixed apprehension, of our own ill-deserving, because of these sinnes: So that our Judgments do subscribe to the equity of the condemning sentence of the Law; and we Judge our selves unworthy of the smalest mercy [...] and worthy of Hell fire. 3o. It consisteth in an apprehension of our undone, and miserable Condition in our selves: not only as we are the [Page 122] Heirs of Torment, but as we are void of the Image and Spirit of God, and have lost his favour, and are under his displea­sure, and enmity by our sinne, and have forfeited our part in Everlasting Glory, and how unable we are to help our selves.

And 1o. This is in such a measure, that we truly judge our sinne, and our selves for sinne, to be more odious then any thing else could have made us, and our misery by sinne in the foresaid parti­culars, to be greater then any outward Calamity in the flesh, and then any worldly loss could have procured us. And this we apprehend by a Practical Judgment, and not only by a bare un­effectual speculation. 2o. And the spring of this is some Knowledge of God him­self, whose Majesty is so Glorious, and whose Wisdom is so Infinite; who is so Good in himself, and unto us, and whose Holy Nature is contrary to sinne; and who hath an absolute Propriety in us, and Soveraignty over us. 3o. And also it proceedeth from a Knowledge of the true state of mans felicity, which by sin he hath cast away, that it consisteth in the Pleasing and Glorifying, and Enjoy­ing of God, in Loving, and Delighting [Page 123] in him, and Praising him for ever, and having a Nature Perfectedly Holy, and sitted hereunto. To see that sinne is con­trary to this felicity, and hath deprived us of it, is one of the springs of true Hu­miliation. And 4o It proceedeth also from a believing Knowledg of Christ Crucified, whom our sinnes did put to death, who hath declared in the most lively manner to the world by his Cross, and sufferings, what sinne is, and what it had done, and what a case we had brought our selves into. Thus much of saving Humiliation consisteth in the Un­derstanding.

2o. The Principal seat of this Humilia­tion is in the Will, and there it consisteth in these following Acts. 1o. As we think basely of our selves, so the Will hath a fixed Displacency against our selves for our sinnes, and a kind of Loathing of our selves, for all our abominations: as you may read, Ezek. 36. 31. & 20. 43. & 6. 9. A humble sinner is allen out with himself, and as he is Evill, his heart is against himself.

2o. There is also in the will a deepe Re­penting that ever we sinned, and wronged God, and abused Grace [...], and have [Page 124] brought our selves to this as we have done; so that the humbled Soul could wish that he had spent his daies in prison, in beggery, or in bodily misery, so that he had not spent them in sinne; and if it were to do againe, he would rather choose such a life of shame and calamity in the world, then a life of sinne, and would be glad of the exchange.

3o. A humbled Soul is truly willing, to grieve for the sinnes which he hath com­mitted, and to be as deeply sensible of them, and afflicted for them, as God would have him. Even when he cannot shed a tear, yet his will is to shed them. When he cannot feel any deep afflicting of his Soul for sinne, his hearty Desire is, that he might feel it. He doth an hundred times weep in Desire, when he doth it not in Act.

4o. A humbled Soul is truly willing to Humble the flesh it self, by the use of those appointed means by which God would have him bring it in subjection: As by fasting, or abstinence, or mean at­tire, hard labour, and denying it unne­cessary delights. It's a Doubt worth the Considering, whether any such Hum­bling act must be used, purposely in Re­venge [Page 125] on our selves for sinne, To which I answer, that we may do nothing in such Revenge that God doth not allow, or that makes our body less fit for his ser­vice: for that were to be Revenged of God, and our Souls: But those Hum­bling means which are needfull to Tame the body, may well be used with this dou­ble intention: First and Chiefly, as a Means for our safety, and duty for the time to come; that the flesh may not prevail, and then Collaterally we should be the more content that the flesh is put to so much suffering, because it hath been, and still is so great an Enemy to God, and us, and the cause of all our sinne, and misery: And this is the Revenge that is warrantable in the Penitent, and some think is meant 2 Cor. 7. 11.

5o. As the Humbled Soul hath base thoughts of himself, so he is willing that others should esteem, and think of him accordingly, even as a vile, unworthy sinner; so far as his disgrace may be no wrong to the Gospel, or to others, or dishonour to God. His Pride is so far taken down, that he can endure to be vilified, with some Consent: not appro­ving of the sinne of any man that doth it [Page 126] maliciously, but consenting to the Judg­ment, and Rebukes of those that do it truly, and to the Judgment of God, even by them that do it maliciously. The Humbled Soul doth not stand defending, and unjustly extenuating his sinne, and excusing himself, and swelling against the Reprover: Whatever he may do in a temptation, if this temper were predo­minant, his Pride, and not Humility, must be predominant. But he judgeth himself, as much as others can justly judg him, and humbly confesseth, to be Base in mens eyes, till God shall think it meet to raise him, and recover his esteem.

And the Root of all this in the will is, 1o. A Love to God, whom we have of­fended, 2o. A hatred of sinne, that hath offended him, and that hath made us vile, and 3o. A believing sense of the Love, and Sufferings of Christ, that in his flesh hath condemned sinne, (Rom. 8. 2, 3.) And thus you see what Humilia­tion is in the Will, which is the very Life and Soul of true Humiliation.

3o. Humiliation also consisteth in the Affections: In an unfeigned sorrow for the sinne which we have committed, and the corruption that is in us; and a shame [Page 127] for these sinnes; and a holy feare of God whom we have offended, and of his Judgments which we have deserved; and a hatred of our sinnes, by which we have deserved them. But (as I must further shew you anon) it is not the Measure, but the sincerity of these Passions, by which you must make a Judgment of your state: And that will be hardly discerned by the Passions themselves, but only by so much of the Will, as is in them: and therefore the Will is the safest to Judg by.

4o. Humiliation also consisteth expres­sively in the outward actions, when op­portunity is offered: And it is not true in the Heart, if it refuse to appeare without, when God requireth it, in your ordinary course. The outward acts of Humiliation are these: 1o. A volunta­ry Confession of sinne to God, and to men, when God requireth it, and that is, when it is necessary to his Honour, to the healing of them that we have en­dangered, and satisfying the offended: At least in the hearing of men, in such cases as these to Confess them openly to God; An unhumbled Soul will refuse this for the shame: but the Humble will [Page 128] freely take shame to themselves, and warne their brethren, and justifie God, and give him the Glory. 1. Joh. 1. 9. If we confess our sinnes, he is faithfull and just to forgive us: Read, Mark 3. 6. Levit. 5. 5. & 16. 21, & 26. 40. Num. 5. 6, 7. Jam 5. 16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that yee may be healed. Prov. 28. 13. He that hideth his sinnes, shall not prosper: but who so confesseth, and forsaketh them, shall have mercy▪ Not that any man is to con­fess his secret sinnes to others, except in case that he cannot otherwise find relief: Nor that a man is to publish those offen­ces of his owne, by which he may fur­ther dishonour God, and hinder the Gospel: But when the sinne is open alrea­dy, and specially when the offence of others, the hardening of the wicked, the satisfaction of the Church concerning our Repentance, do require our Con­fession, and open Lamentation, the Humble Soul both must, and will submit to it: But the rotten hearted, unhum­bled Hypocrite will Confess but in these cases: 1o. When the secrecy of the Con­fession, or the smalness of the fault, or the Customariness of such Confessing, [Page 129] doth make it to be a matter of no great disgrace: 2o. Or when it is so open, that it is in vain to attempt to hide it, and his Confession will do nothing to increase the disgrace. 3o. Or when Conscience is a­wakened, or they see they must die, or are forced by some terrible Judgment of God; In all these cases the wicked may Confess. And so Judas will Confess, I have sinned in b [...]traying the innocent blood: And Pharaoh will Confess, I and my peo­ple have sinned. And a Thief on the Gal­lows will Confess: and the vilest wretches on their death bed will Confess: But we have more death-bed Confessions, then voluntary Confessions before the Church. Nay so far hath Pride and Hypocrisie pre­vailed, and the ancient discipline of the Church been neglected, that I think in most Countries in England, there are many more that make Confessions on the Gallows, then personally in the Con­gregation.

2o. Humiliation must be also expres­sed, by all those external means, and signes which God by Scripture, or Na­ture calleth us to. As by tears, and groans, so far as we can seasonably procure them. And by Fasting, and [Page 130] laying by our worldly pomp and brave­ry, and using meane, (though decent) attire: and by condescending to men of the lower sort, and stooping to the mean­est: By humble Language, and Carriage: and by forgiving others, on this account, that we are sensible of the greatness of our Debts to God. And thus I have briefly shewed you the true Nature of Humiliation, that you may know what it is that I am perswading you to, and which you must submit your hearts unto.

II. When I have told you the Use and Ends of Humiliation, you will see more of the Reason of it's Necessity to your selves. And first, it is one Use of Hu­miliation, to help on the Mortification of the flesh, or Carnal self, and to anni­hilate it as it is the Idol of the Soul. The nature of mans sinfull, and miserable estate is, that he is fallen from God, to Himself; and liveth now to Himself, studying, and loving, and pleasing Him­self, his Natural self, above God. And a sinner will let go many outward sinnes, and be driven from the out-works, be­fore [Page 131] he will let go Carnal self, and be driven from the Castle and strength of sinne. There is no part of Mortification so Necessary, and so Hard as Self-denial: Indeed this doth virtually comprehend all the rest, and if this be done, all's done. If it were but his Friend, his Su­perfluities, his House, his Lands, per­haps a Carnal heart might part with it: But to part with his life, his All, his Self, this is a hard saying to him, and enough to make him go away sorrowfull, as Luke 18. 22, 23, 24. And therefore here appeareth the Necessity of Humilia­tion: This layeth all the Load on Self, and breaketh the heart of the old man, and maketh a man loath himself, that formerly doted on himself. It layeth this Tower of Babel in the dust, and maketh us abhorre our selves in dust and ashes: It setteth the house on fire about our eares, which we both Trusted and Delighted in. And makes us not only see, but feel, that it's time for us to be gone. Pride is the Master Vice in the unsanctified: and it's the part of Humiliation to cast it down. Self-seeking is the busines of their Lives; till Humiliation help to turn the streame: And then if you did but see their [Page 132] thoughts, you should see them think most vilely of themselves: And if you do but over-heare their Prayers, or Com­plaints, you shall hear them still cry out upon themselves, and beg help against themselves, as their greatest Enemies.

2. The next Use of Humiliation (and implyed in this) is, to Mortifie those sinnes, which Carnal self doth live up­on, and is maintained by; and to stop all the avenues, or passages of it's provi­sion. Sinne is sweet and dear, to all that are unsanctified: But Humiliation makes it bitter and base. As the Indians cured the Spanish Captaine of his Thirst after Gold, by pouring melted God down his throat; or as Children are perswaded from playing with a Bee-hive, when they are once or twice stung by them; or from playing with snappish dogs, when they are bitten by them. So God will teach his Children to know what it is to play with sinne, when they have smarted by it. They will know a nettle from a harm­less herbe, when they feel the sting: we are so apt to live by sense, that God seeth it needfull, that our Faith have something of sense to helpe it. When the Consci­ence doth accuse, and the heart is smar­ting, [Page 133] and groaning in pain, and we feel that no shifting, or striving will de­liver us, then we begin to be wiser then before, and to know what sinne is, and what it will do for us. When that which was our delight, is become our burden, and a burden too heavy for us to bear, it cureth our delighting in it. When Da­vid was watering his couch with his tears, and made them his drink, his sinne was not the same thing to him, as it was in the committing. Humiliation washeth away the painting of this harlot, and sheweth her in her deformity. It unmas­keth sinne, which had got the vizard of Virtue, or of a small matter, or harm­less thing. It unmasketh Satan, who was transformed into a Friend, or an Angel of light, and sheweth him, as we say, with his cloven feet and horns. How hard is it to cure a worldling of the love of money? But when God hath laid such a load of it on his Conscience, that makes him groan, and cry for help, he hath then enough of it: When he feels those words in Jam. 5. 1, 2, 3, 4. And he begins to weep, and howl for the Mi­series that are comming on him, and he feels the stink of his corrupted Riches, [Page 134] and the Canker of his Gold and Silver do begin to eat his flesh as fire, and his Idol is but a witness against him, then he is better able to judge of it, then he was before. The wanton thinks he hath a happy life, when the harlots lips do drop as the honey-combe: But when he per­ceiveth her end is bitter as wormwood, and sharp as a two-edged sword, and that her feet go down to death, and her steps take hold on Hell, and he lyeth in sorrow complaining of his folly, Prov 5. 3, 4, 5, 11, 12. he is then of a more rectified judgment then he was. Ma­nasseh humbled in irons, is not the same as he was upon the Throne: Though Grace did more to it then his fetters, yet were they some way serviceable to that end, Humiliation openeth the doore of the heart, and telleth you what sinne is to the quick; and letteth in the words of life, which passed no further then the care or braine. It is a tireing work to talk to dead men, that have lost their feeling; especially when it is an affective▪ and practicall doctrine, which we must deliver to them, which is lost if it be not felt and practised: Till Humiliation comes, we speak to dead men, or at least [Page 135] to men that are fast asleep. How many Sermons have I heard that one would think, should have turned mens hearts within them, and made them cry out against their sinnes, with sorrow and shame in the face of the Congregation, and never meddle with them more: When yet the hearers have scarce been moved by them, but gone away as they came, as if they knew not what the Preacher said; because their hearts were all the while asleep within them. But a Humbled Soul, is an awakened Soul: It will regard what is said to it: especially when they perceive that it cometh from the Lord, and concerneth their Salvation. It is a great encouragment to us, to speak to a man that hath eares, and life, and feeling; that will meet the word with an appetite, and take it with some relish, and let down the food that is put into their mouths. The will is the chiefest fort of sinne. If we can there get in upon it, we may do something: But if it keep the heart, and we can get no neerer it then the eare or braine, there will no good be done. Now Humiliation openeth us a passage to the heart, that we may as­sault s [...]nne in it's strength. When I tell [Page 136] you of the abominable nature of sinne, that caused the death of Christ, and cau­seth Hell, and tell you that it is better to runne into the fire, then to commit the least sinne wilfully; though it be such as the world makes nothing of, another man may hear all this, and superficially believe it, and say it is true: but it is the humbled Soul that feeleth what I say. What a stir have we with a drunkard, or worldling, or any other sensuall sinner, in perswading him to cast away his sinnes with detestation: and all to little pur­pose: sometime he will, and sometime he must needs be tasting them again; and thus he stands dallying▪ because the word hath not mastered his heart. But when God comes in upon the Soul as with a [...]empest, and throweth open the doores, and as it were thundereth, and lighten­eth in the Conscience, and layeth hold upon the sinner, and shaketh him all in pieces by his terrours, and asketh him, Is sinning good for thee? Is a fleshly care­less life so good? Thou wretched worm. Thou foolish piece of clay. Darest thou thus abuse me to my face? Dost thou not know that I look on? Is this the work that I made thee for, and that I feed and pre­serve [Page 137] thee, and continue thee alive for? Away with thy sinne, without any more adoe, or I'le have thy Soul away, and de­liver thee to the tormentors. This wake­neth him out of his dalliance, and delaies; and makes him see, that God is in good earnest with him, and therefore he must be so with God. If a Physician have a patient that is addicted to his appetite, who hath the Gout, or S [...]one, or other disease, and he forbid him wine, or strong drink, or such meats as he desir­eth; as long as he feeles himself at ease, he will be venturing on them, and will not be curbed by the words of the Physi­on: But when the fit is on him, and he feels the torment, then he will be ruled: Pain will teach him more effectually then words could do. When he feeleth what is hurtfull to him; and feeleth that it alway makes him sick, it will restraine him more then hearing of it could do. So when Humiliation doth break your hearts and make you feel that you are sick of sinne, and filleth your Soul with smart, and sorrow, then you will be the more willing that God should destroy it in you. When it lyeth so heavy on you, that you are unable to look up, and [Page 138] makes you go to God with groanes and teares, and cry, O Lord be mercifull to me a sinner: When you are faine to go to Ministers for ease to your Consciences, and fill their eares with accusations of your selves, and open even your odious shamefull sinnes, then you will be con­tent to let them go. Now there is no talking to you of Mortification, and the resolute rejecting of your sinnes: The Precepts of the Gospel are too strict for you to submit to. But a broken heart would change your mindes. The health­full Plow-man saith, Give me that which I love: these Physicians would bring us all to their Rules, that they may get money by us: I never mean to follow their directi­ons? But when sickness is upon him, and he hath tryed all his own skil in vaine, and paine giveth him no rest, then send for the Physician: and then he will do any thing, and take any thing whatever he will give him; so that he may but he eased, and recovered. So when your hearts are whole, and unhumbled, these Preachers, and Scriptures are too strict for you: You must have that which you love: self-conceited precise Ministers must have leave to talk; but you will ne­ver [Page 139] believe that God is of their mind, or will damn men for taking that which they have a mind of. O but when these sinnes are as swords in your hearts, and you begin to feele what Ministers told you of, then you will be of another mind: Away then with this sinne: There's nothing so odious, so hurtfull, so intollerable. O that you could be rid of it, what ever it cost you! Then he will be your best Friend, that can tell you how to kill it, and be free from it; and he that would draw you to it, would be as Satan him­self to you; Matth. 16. 22, 23. Gal. 1. 8, 9. Humiliation diggeth so deep, that it undermineth sinne, and the fortress of the Devil; and when the foundation is rooted up, it will soone be over throwne. When the Murderers of Christ were pric­ked to the heart, they'l then cry out for counsell to the Apostles. Acts 2. 37. When a murderer of the Saints is stricken blindfold to the earth, and the Spirit withall doth humble his Soul, he will then cry out, Lord what would'st thou have me to do? Acts 9. 6. When a cruel Jay­lour that scourged the Servants of Christ, is by an Earth-quake brought to a heart-quake, he will then cry out, What [Page 140] shall I do to be saved? Acts 16. 30.

And here comes in the usefulness of Afflictions; even because they are so great advantages to Humiliation. Men will be brought to some Reason by extrea­mities. When they lie a dying, a man may talk to them, and they will not so proudly fly in his face, nor make a scorne of the word of the Lord, as in their prospe­rity they did. God will be more regarded when he pleadeth with them, with the rod in his hand: stripes are the best Lo­gick, and Rhetorick for a fool. When sinne hath captivated their Reason to their flesh, the Arguments to convince them must be such, as the flesh is capa­ble of perceiving. We may long tell a beast of dangers, and discommodities, before we can perswade him from that which he loves. Sensuality doth brutifie men in too great a measure: And so far as they are brutish, it is not the clearest Reasons that will prevaile: And if God did not maintaine in corrupted man, some remnants of free Reason, we migh preach to beasts as hopefully as to men. But Af­flictions tend to weaken the Enemy that doth captivate them; as prosperity by accident tends to strengthen him. The [Page 141] flesh understandeth the language of the rod, better then the language of Reason, or of the Word of God.

And as the sensible part of our Humi­liation promoteth Mortification, so the rational and voluntary Humiliation, which is proper to the Sanctified, is a principal part of Mortification it self. And thus you may see that it's necessary that we be throughly humbled, that sin may be throughly killed in us.

3. Another use of Humiliation is, to fit the Soul for a meet entertainment of further Grace, and that both for the ho­nour of Christ and Grace, and for our own welfare.

1. In respect of Christ, it is equal, that he should dwell in such Souls only as are fit to entertaine him. Neither his per­son, nor his business, are such as can suit with the unhumbled heart. Till Hu­miliation make a sinner feel, his sinne, and misery, it is not possible that Christ, as Christ, should be heartily welcome to him, or received in that sort as his ho­nour doth expect. Who cares for the Physician that feels no sickness, and feares not death? He may pass by the doores of such a man, and he will not call him in: [Page 142] But when paine and feares of death are on him, [...]e will send, and seek, and bid him welcome. Will any man fly to Christ for succour, that feeleth not his wants, and danger: Will they lay hold on him, as the only refuge of their Souls, and cleave to him as their only hope, that feele no great need of him? Will they lie at his feet, and beg for mercy, that feel themselves well enough without him? When men do but hear of sinne, and misery, and superficially believe it, they may coldly look after Christ, and Grace; and feel the worth of the later, in such a manner as they feel the weight of the former. But never is Christ valu­ed and sought after as Christ, till sorrow have taught us how to value him: Nor is he entertained in the necessary honour of a Redeemer, till Humiliation throw open all the doores: No man can seek him with his whole heart, that seeks him not with a broken heart.

And it's certain that Christ will come on no lower terms into the Soul. Though he come to do us good, yet he will have the honour of doing it: Though he come to he [...]l us, and not for any need he hath of us, yet he will have the welcome that's [Page 143] due to a Physician. He comes to save us, but he will be honoured in our Salvation. He inviteth all to the Marriage supper, and even compelleth them to come in: but he expecteth that they bring a wed­ding garment, and come not in a garbe that shall dishonour his house. Though his Grace be free, yet he will not expose it to contempt, but will have the fullness and freeness of it glorified. Though he came not to Redeem himself but us, yet he came to be glorified in the work of our Redemption. He hath no Grace so free, as to save them that will not esteem it, and give him thanks for it. And there­fore though Faith is enough to accept the gift, yet must it be a thankfull faith, that will magnifie the giver, and a humble faith that will feele the work of it, and an obediential faith that will answer the ends of it. And therefore that faith which is the Condition of our Justification, is fit­ted as well to the honour of the Giver, as the commodity of the receiver. And as Reason telleth us that it should be so, so Christian ingenuity consenteth that it be so. The Soul that is truly united to Christ, and partaketh of his nature, doth think it's own Receiving greatest, where [Page 144] the honour of Christ is greatest: And it cannot take pleasure in the thoughts of such a kind of Grace, as should disho­nour the Lord of Grace himself. As Christ is solicitous for the saving of the Soul, so that he makes the Soul solicitous of the right entertainment of him that saveth it. And therefore though his Blood, and not his Teaching or his Go­vernment was the Ranson of our Souls, yet he is resolved to Justifie none by his Blood, but on the Condition of that Faith, which is a hearty Consent to his Teaching and Dominion. It is not in the Application, or bestowing of Christ's be­nefits, as it was in the purchasing of them. When he came to Ransom us, he consented to be a sufferer, and gave his cheeks to the smiter, and submitted to reproach; he endured the Cross, de­spising the shame, and being reviled, he reviled not, but prayed for his persecu­tors: But when he comes by his saving Grace into the Soul, he will not there be entertained with contempt: For in the flesh he came on purpose to be hum­bled: but in the Spirit he comes to be exalted: In the flesh he came to condemn the sinne that reigned in our▪ flesh, [Page 145] (Rom. 8. 3.) and so was made sinne for us (that is, a Sacrifice for sinne) (2 Cor. 5. 21.) But in the Spirit he comes to conquer our flesh, and by the Law of his quickning Spirit, to free us from the Law of sinne and death: both that the Righteousness of the Law might be full­filled in us, and also that there might be no Condemnation to us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom. 8. 1, 2, 4. The Kingdom of Christ was not worldly; for if it had been worldly, he would have sought to esta­blish it by strength of armes, and fight­ing, which are worldly means, Joh. 18. 36. But his Kingdom is within us: It is a Spiritual Kingdom: and therefore though in the world he was used with contempt, as a fool, and as a Sinner, and a man of sorrows; yet within us he will be used with honour, and reverence, as a King and absolute Lord. It was the houre of the executioner, and the pow­er of darkness, when he was in his suffe­ring: but it is the houre of his triumph, and marriage, and the prevailing Power of the Heavenly Light, when he cometh by Saving Grace into the Soul. On the Cross he was as a sinner, and stood in [Page 146] our place, and bore what was our due, and not his owne. But in the Soul he is the Conquerour of sinne, and cometh to take possession of his own, and doth the work that belongeth to him in his dig­nity; and therefore he will there be ac­knowledged, and honoured. On the Cross he was pulling down the Kingdom of Satan, and setting up his own, but in the preparatory purchase: But in the Soul he doth both by immediate executi­on. On the Cross sinne and Satan had their full blow at him: But when he en­tred the Soul, he hath his blow at them, and ceaseth not till he have destroyed them. In purchasing he expended his own: But in Converting he takes posses­sion of that which he purchased. In a word; he came into the world in flesh for his undertaken Humiliation: but he comes into the Soul, by his Spirit, for his deserved exaltation: And therefore though he endured to be spit upon in the fl [...]sh, he will not endure to be sleighted in the Soul: And as in the world he was scorned with the Title of a King, and crowned with thorns, and clothed in such Kingly robes, as might make him the fit­ter object for their reproach: So when [Page 147] his Spirit entereth into the Soul, he will be there inthroned in our most reverent, subjective, and deepest esteeme, and crowned with our highest Love, and Thankfullnes, and bowed to with the tenders of Obedience, and our praise. The Cross shall there be the portion of his enemies, and the Crown and Scepter shall be his: and as all were preferred be­fore him on Earth, even Barrabas him­self; so all things shall be put under him in the Sanctified Soul, and he shall be preferred before all.

This is the end of Humiliation, to make ready the heart for a fuller entertainment of the Lord that bought it: and to pre­pare the way before him, and fit the Soul to be the Temple of his Spirit. A humbled Soul would never have put him off with excuses from Oxen, and Farms, and Wives; As Luke 14. and Matth. 22. But the unhumbled will make light of him.

And 2. As Christ himself will be ho­nourably recieved, or not at all, so must the Mercies, and Graces which he offe­reth: He will not apply his blood, and righteousness to them that care not for it: He will not pardon such a masse of [Page 148] iniquity, and remove such mountaines as lie upon the Soul; for them that feel not the Necessity of such a Mercy. He will not take men from the power of the Devil, and the drudgery of sinne, and the suburbs of Hell, and make them his Members, and the Sonnes of God, and the Heirs of Heaven, that have not learn't the value of these benefits, but set more by their very sinne, and mise­ry, and the trifles of the world. Christ doth not despise his Blood, his Spirit, his Covenant, his Pardon, nor his Hea­venly Inheritance: and therefore he will give them to none that do despise them, till he teacheth them better to know their worth. Do you think it would stand with the Wisdom of Christ, to give such unspeakable blessings as these, to men that have not hearts to value them? Why, it is more to give a man Justifica­tion, and Adoption, then to give him all this visible world; the Sunne, the Moone, the Firmament, and the Earth. And should these be given to one that cares not for them. Why by this meanes God should miss of his ends: He should not have the Love, the Honour, or the thanks, that he intended by his gift. [Page 149] It is necessary therefore that the Soul be throughly humbled, that pardon may be received as pardon, and Grace as Grace, and not set light by.

And 2. as this is necessary for the ho­nour both of Christ and Grace, so also it is necessary for our own benefit and consolation. The Mercy cannot indeed be ours, if Humiliation do no make us capable of it. These Cordials must be ta­ken into an empty Stomack, and not be drownd in [...]legm, and filth. A man on the Gallows will be glad of a pardon: but a stander by that thinks he is innocent, would not regard it, but take it for an accusation. There is no great sweetness in the name of a Redeemer, to an un­humbled Soul. It sets not by the Spi­rit: the Gospel is no Gospel to it, the tidings of Salvation are not so glad, to such a one, as the tidings of riches, or worldly delights would be. As it is the preparation of the Stomack that maketh our meat sweet to us; and the coursest fare is pleasanter to the sound, then sweet­meats to the sick: so if we were not em­ptied of our selves, and vile, and lost in our own apprehensions, and if Con­trition did not quicken our appetites, the [Page 150] Lord himself, and all the miracles of his Saving Grace, would be but as a thing of nought in our eyes; and we should be but weary to heare or think of them, But O what an inestimable Treasure is Christ to the Humbled Soul. What life is in his promises? What sweetness in every passage of his grace; and what a feast in his unmeasurable Love?

4. Another Use of Humiliation, im­plyed in the former, is, that it is neces­sary to bring men to yield to the terms of the Covenant of Grace: Nature holds fast it's fleshly pleasures, and lives by feeling & upon present things, and knows not how to live upon invisibles, by a life of Faith. And this is the life that all must live, that will live in Christ: And therefore he calleth them to the forsaking of all, the crucifying the world and flesh, the denying of themselves, if they will be his Disciples. But O how loath is na­ture to part with all, and make a full re­signation unto Christ: but fain it would make sure of present things, for fear le [...]t the promises of Heaven should but deceive them; and then they would have Heaven at last as a reserve. And on these terms it is that Hypocrites are Religions, and [Page 151] thus it is that they deceive their Souls. But when the heart is truly broken, it will then stand no longer on such terms with Christ, but yield up all. It will then no longer Condition with him, but stand to his Conditions, and thankfully accept them. Any thing will then serve, with Christ, and Grace, and the hopes of Glory.

5. Another Use of Humiliation is, to fit us for the Retaining and Improving of Grace, when we have received it. The Proverb is, Lightly come, lightly go. If God should give the pardon of sinne, to the unhumbled, how soon would it be cast away? And how easily would such be hearkning to temptation, and return­ing to their vomit. The burn't Child, we say dreads the fire. When sinne hath kill'd you once, and broken your hearts, you will think the worse of it while you live. And when a temptation comes, you will think of your former smart: Is not this it that cost me so many groans, and laid me in the dust, and had almost damned me? and shall I go to it again? Was I so hardly recovered, by a Miracle of Mer­cy? And shall I runne again into the misery that I was saved from? Had I [Page 152] not sorrow, and fear, and care enough, but I must go back again for more, and re­new my trouble? Thus the remembrance of your sorrows, will be a continuall preservative to you. And a contrite spi­rit that is emptied of it self, and is taught the worth of Christ and mercy, will not only hold them fast, but will know how to use them, in thankfullness to God, and benefit to himself.

6. Another Use of Humiliation is, to fit the Soul for it's approach to God him­self, from whom it had revolted. As it beseems not any creature, to approach the God of Heaven, but in Reverentiall humility: so it beseems not any sinner to approach him, but in Contrite Humili­ty: Who can come out of such wicked­ness and misery, and not bring along the sense of it on his heart? It be­seemeth not a Prodigal to meet his Father as confidently and boldly, as if he had never departed from him: but to say, Father I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy sonne, Luke 15. 18. It is not ingenious for a guilty Soul, or one that is snatcht as a brand out of the fire, to look towards God with a brazen face, [Page 153] but with shame and sorrow, to hang down the head, and smite upon the brest, and say, O Lord be mercifull to me a sin­ner. For God resisteth the proud, but gi­veth Grace to the humble: 1 Pet. 5. 5. Jam. 4. 6. Though the Lord be high, yet he hath regard unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off. Psal. 138. 6. For thus saith the High and Holy one, that inhabiteth Eternity, whose Name is Holy; and I dwell in the High and Holy Place, with him also that is of a contrite, and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isa. 57. 15. To this man will I look, even to him that is poore, and of a contrite spirit, and that trembles at my Word. Isa 66. 2. The Lord is nigh to them that are of a broken h [...]art, and sa­veth such as be of a contrite spirit. Psal. 34. 18. The Sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not dispise. Psal. 51. 17. There is no turning to God, unless we loath our selves for all our abominations, Ezek. 16. 63.

The nearer we approach him, the more we must abhor our selves in dust, and ashes, Job 42. 6. He will not em­brace [Page 154] a sinner in his dung; but will first wash and clense him, Isa. 1. 16. Conver­sion must make us humble, and as little Children, that are teachable, and look not after great matters in the world, or else there is no entering the Kingdom of God, Matth. 18. 3, 4. And thus you see the Uses, and Necessity of Humilia­tion.

III. By what hath been already said, you may perceive what Mistakes are care­fully to be avoided, about your Humili­ation, and with what caution it must be sought.

1. One Error that you must take heed of, is, That you take not Humiliation for an indifferent thing, or for such an ap­purtenance of Faith, as may be spared: Think not an unhumbled Soul while such can be Sanctified. Some carnal hearts conceive, that it is only more haynous sinners, that must be contrite and bro­ken hearted; and that this is not necessa­ry to them that have been brought up civilly, or religiously from their youth. But it is as possible to be saved without Faith, as without Repentance, and that [Page 155] special Humiliation, which I described to you before. It's part of your Sancti­fication.

2. Another mistake to be carefully a­voided, is, The placeing of your Humili­ation, either only, or principally, in the Passionate part, or in the outward expres­sion of those Passions. I mean, either in pinching grief, and sorrow of heart, or else in tears. But you must remember that the Life of it is, as was said before, in the Judgment and the Will. It is not the measure of Passionate sorrow and an­guish, that will best shew the measure of your sincere Humiliation: much less is it your teares, or outward expressions. But it is your low esteem of your selves, and contentedness to be vile in the eyes of others: And your displacency with your selves, and willingness to mourn, and weep for sinne as much as God would have you: with the rest of the acts of the Judgment and Will before described.

Two great dangers are here before you to be avoided. First, some there be that have terrible pangs of sorrow, and are ready to teare their own haire, yea or make away themselves as Judas, in the horror of their Consciences: and these [Page 156] may seem to have true Humiliation, and yet have none. And some can weep a­bundantly at a Sermon, or in Prayer, or in mentioning their sinne to others: and therefore think that they are truly hum­bled: and yet it may be nothing so. For if at the same time their hearts are in love with sinne, or had rather keep it then let it go, or have not an habitual hatred to it, and a predominant superlative Love to God, their Humiliation is no saving work. That which is in the Passi­ons, and teares may be even forced against your wills: And it signifieth scarce so much as a common Grace, where you are not willing of it. Many a one can weep through a passionate, womanish, tender nature; and yet not only remain unhumbled, but be Proud in a very high degree. How many such do we ordinari­ly see; especially women, that can weep more at a duty or conference, then some that are truly broken hearted could do in all their lives: and yet be so far from be­ing vile in their own eyes, and willing to be so in the eyes of others, that they will hate, and reproach, and raile at tho [...]e that charge them with the faults, which they seemed to lament; or at least, that [Page 157] charge them with disgracefull sinnes: and they will excuse and mince their sinnes, and make a small matter of them, and love none so well, as those that have the highest thoughts of them. So that Pride doth ordinarily reign in their hearts, and break out in their words, and lives, and make them hate the faithfullest reproach­ers, and live in contention with any that dishonour them for all the tears that come from their eyes. Judge not there­fore by passions, or tears alone, but by the Judgment, and the Will, as is afore­said.

2. Another sort there are, much bet­ter and happier than the former, that yet to their great trouble are mistaken in this point: And that is, they that think they have no true Humiliation, because they find not such pangs of sorrow, and free­dom of tears, as others have: when as, their hearts are contrite, even when they cannot weep a tear. Tell me but this: Are you vile in your own eyes, because you are guilty of sinne, and that against the Lord, whom you chiefly love? Do you loath your sinnes, because of your abominations, and could you heartily wish, that you had been suffering when [Page 158] you were sinning; and if it were to do again, would you chuse to suffer rather then to sinne? Have you a desire to grieve, when you cannot passionately grieve, and a desire to weep when you cannot weep? Can you quietly beare it, when you are vilified by others, because you know your selves to be so vile? And are you thankfull to a plain Reprover, though he tell you of the most disgracefull sinne? Do you think meanly of your own sayings and doings, and think better of others, where there is any ground, then of your selves? Do you justifie Gods afflictions, and mens true rebukes, and think your selves unworthy of the Communion of the Saints, or to see their faces; and unworthy to live on the face of the Earth? Yea would you ju­stifie God, if he should condemn you? This is the state of a humbled Soul. Find but this, and you need not doubt of Gods acceptance, though you were unable to shed a tear. There's more Humiliation in a base esteem of our selves, then in a thousand tears: And more in a will, or desire to weep for sinne, then in tears, that come through force of terror, or moisture of the brain, or passionate ten­derness [Page 159] of Nature. If the Will be right, you need not fear. It is he that most ha­teth sinne, and is hardliest drawn to it, that is trulyest humbled for it. He that will lament it to day, and commit it to mor­row, is far less humbled and penitent, then he that would not be drawn to it with the hopes of all the pleasures of the world, nor commit it, if it were to save his life.

3. To avoid this, some runne into the contrary mistake, and think that sorrow and teares are unnecessary, and that they may Repent as well without them, as with them; and they lay all in some dull uneffectual wishes; and so they think, the Heart is changed. But certainly God made not the Affections in vain. It can­not be that any man can have a Sanctified Will, but his Affections will hold some correspondence with it, and be com­manded by it. Though we cannot mourn in that Measure as we desire, yet some sorrow there will be wherever the Heart is truly changed. And appretiativè this sorrow will be the greatest. No man can heartily believe, that sinne is the greatest evil to his Soul, and not be grie­ved for it. And indeed our Liveliest Af­fections [Page 160] should be exercised about these weightiest things. It's a shame to see a man mourn for a friend, and whine un­der a Cross that toucheth but the flesh, and yet be so insensible of the plague of sinne, and the anger of the Lord, and to laugh and [...]est with such mountains on his Soul. Though grief, and tears be not the heart, or principal part of our Humiliation, yet are they to be lookt after as our duty; yea sorrow in some measure, is of absolute necessity: and the want of tears is no good signe in them that have tears, for other things. In­deed the sense of our folly and unkindness should be so great, that it should even turn our hearts into sorrow, and melt them in our brests, and draw forth streams of tears from our eyes: and if we cannot bring our selves to this; we must yet lament the hardness of our hearts, and not excuse it.

4. In the next place, you are hence informed, how to answer that Question, Whether it be possible for a man to be hum­bled, and repent too much. That part of Humiliation, which consisteth in the acts of the Uuderstanding and the Will, can­not be too much as to the Intention of the [Page 161] Act; And if it be too much as to the Ob­jective extent, then as it is misguided, so it changeth its Nature, and ceaseth to be the thing that it was before. A man may think worse of himself then he is, by thinking falsly of himself, as that he is guilty of the sinne which he is not guilty of: But this is not the same thing with true Humiliation. But to have too clear an apprehension of the evil of his sinne, and his own vileness; this he need not feare. And in the will it is more cleare: No man can be too willing to be rid of sinne, in Gods time and way; nor be too much averse from it, as it is against the Lord. But then the other part of Humiliation, which consisteth in the depth of sorrow, or in tears, may pos­sibly be too much. Though I know ve­ry few that are guilty of it, or need to feare it; because the common case of the world, is to be stupid, and hard-hearted; and most of the Godly are lamentably insensible. But yet some few there are, that have need of this advise, that they strive not for too great a measure of grief. Let your hearts be against sinne as much as is possible: But yet let there be some limits in your grief and tears. And this [Page 162] counsel is necessary to these sorts of peo­ple. 1. To Melancholly people, that are in danger of being distracted, and made unreasonable, and useless by over­much sorrow. Their thoughts will be fixing, and musing, and sad, and dark, and full of fears, and either make things worse then they are, or else be deeply­er affected with them then their heads can beare. 2. And this is the Case of some weak spirited women, that are not Melancholly; but yet by natural weakness of their brains, and strength of their passions, are unable to endure those serious deep affecting apprehensi­ons, which others may desire; but the depth of their sensibilitie, and greatness of their passion, doth presently endan­ger the crazing of their brains, and quickly cast them into Melancholly, or worse.

And this is a very heavy affliction where it comes, both to the persons themselves, and those about them. To be deprived of the Use of Reason, is one of the greatest corporall calamities in this life. And it is matter of offence, and dishonour to the Gospel, in the eyes of the ungodly, that understand not the [Page 163] Case. When they see any languish in unmeasurable sorrow, or fall into distra­ction, it is a grievous temptation to them, to fly from Religion, and avoid godly sorrow, and all serious thoughts of heavenly things: And it occasioneth the foolish scorners to say, that Religion makes men ma [...]; and that this Hu­miliation, and Conversion which we call them to, is the way to bring them out, of their wits. So that by reason of the grief of the godly, and the hardening of the ungodly, the Case is so sad, that it requireth our greatest care to avoid it.

Quest. But if it be so dangerous to sor­row, either too little, or too much, what shall a poor sinner do in such a streight? And how shall he know when to restrain his sor­rows?

Answ. It is but very few in the world, that have cause to feare excess of this kind of sorrow. The common Case of men, is to be blockish, and worldly sorrow doth cast more into Melancholly, and di­stractions then godly sorrow: But for those few that are in danger of excess. I shall first tell you how to discern it, and then how to remedie it,

1. When your sorrow is greater then [Page 164] your brains can bear, without apparent danger of destraction, or a Melancholly disturbance and deminution of your Un­derstanding, then it is certainly too much, and to be restrained. For if you over­throw your Reason, you will be a re­proach to Religion, and you will be fit for nothing that's truly good, either to your own Edification, or the Service of God.

2. If you be in any grievous disease, which sorrow would increase, to the hazzard of your life, you have reason to restrain it: Though you may not forbear Repenting, or Carefullness of your Sal­vation, yet the Passion of grief you must moderate and abate.

3. When sorrow is so great as to dis­compose your mind, or enfeeble your body, so as to un-fit you for the ser­vice of God, and make you more una­ble to do good, or receive good, you have reason then to moderate and re­strain it.

4. When the greatness of your sor­row, doth overmatch the necessary mea­sure of your Love, or Joy, or Thanks, and keep out these, and takes up more of your spirit then its part, having no [Page 165] room for greater duties, then it is exces­sive and is to be restrained. There are some that will strive and struggle with their hearts, to wring out a few tears, and increase their sorrow, that yet make little Conscience of other affections, and will not strive half so much to increase their Faith, and Love, and Joy.

5. When your sorrow by the great­ness of it, doth draw you into tempta­tion, either to despair, or think hard­ly of God and his Service, or to under­value his Grace, and the Satisfaction of Christ, as if it were too scant, and in­sufficient for you; you have then cause to moderate and restrain it.

6. When your sorrow is unseasonable, and will needs thrust in at those times, when you are called to Thankfullness, and Joy, you have then cause to mode­rate, and restrain it at that season. Not that we should wholly lay by sorrow in any day of Joy and Thanksgiving: un­less we could lay by all our sinne in the duties of that day: Nor should we whol­ly lay by Spiritual comfort and delight, in daies of greatest Humiliation. For as our state is here mixt, of Grace and sinne, so must all our duties be mixt of [Page 166] Joy and Sorrow: It is only in Heaven where we must have unmixed Joyes, and only in Hell that there are unmixed sor­rows; or at least, not in any state of Grace. But yet for all that, there are seasons now, when one of these must be more eminently exercised, and the other in a lower measure. As in times of Ca­lamity, and after a fall, we are ca [...]led out so much to Humiliation, that Com­fort should but moderate our sorrows, and the exercise of it be [...]veiled for that time; so in times of Special Mercies from the Lord, we may be called out to exercise our Thanks, and Praise, and Joy so eminently, that sorrow should but keep us humble, and be, as it were, serviceable to our Joies. When Grace and Mercy is most eminent, then Joy and Praise should be predominant (which is through the most of a Christians life, that walketh uprightly and carefully with God:) And when sinne and Judgments are most eminent, sorrow must be th [...]n predominant, as being a necessary means to solid Joy. And therefore ordinarily a sinner that is but in the, work of Con­version, and newly coming to God from a rebellious state, must entertain more [Page 167] sorrow, and let out himself more to groanes and tears then afterward, when he is brought to Reconciliation with God, and walketh in integrity.

Quest. But when is it that my sorrow is too short, and I should labour to in­crease it?

Answ. 1. When there is no apparent danger of the last-mentioned evils, that is, Of destroying your bodies, distra­cting your brains, discomomposing your minds, and drowning other Graces and duties, and the rest; then you have little cause to be afraid of an excess.

2. When you have not smart enough to cause you to value the Love of Christ, and highly prise his blood, and the ef­fects of it, and hunger and thirst after him and his righteousness, and earnestly beg for the pardon of your sinne; you have cause to desire the more sorrow: If you feel no great need of Christ, but pass by him as lightly as the full stomack by his food, as if you could do well enough without him; you may be sure then you have need to be broken more. If you set not so much by the Love of God, that you would part with any thing in the world to enjoy it, and would think no [Page 168] terms too dear for Heaven: You have need to lie under the sence of your sinne and misery a little longer, and to beseech the Lord to save you from that heart of stone. When you can hear of the Love and sufferings of your Redeemer, with­out any warmth of Love to him again; and can read or hear the promises of Grace, and offers of Christ, and Eter­nall life, without any considerable Joy, or Thankfullness, it's time for you then to beg of God a tender heart.

3. When you make many pawses in the work of your Conversion, and are sometime in a good mind, and then again at a stand, as if you were yet unresolved whether to turn or no; When you stick at Christ terms of denying your selves, and crucifying the flesh, and forsaking all, for the hopes of Glory; and think these sayings somewhat hard, and are considering of the matter whether you should yield to them or not; or are se­cretly Reserving somewhat to your selves; this certainly shews, that you are not yet sufficiently humbled, or else you would never stand trifling thus with God. He must yet set your sinnes in or­der before you, and hold you a while [Page 169] over the fire of Hell, and ring your Con­sciences such a peal, as shall make you yield, and resolve your doubts, and [...]each you not to dally with your maker. If Pharaoh himself be off and on with God, and sometime he will let Israel goe, and then again he will not; God will follow him with plague after plague, till he make him yield, and glad to drive, or hasten them away. And even where he deals in waies of Grace, he maketh so much use of sorrows, as to make men yield the sooner to his terms, and glad to have Mercy on such terms, if they were harder.

4. When you are heartless and dull under the Ordinances of God, and Scri­pture hath little life or sweetness to you, and you are almost indifferent whether you call upon God in secret, or no; and whether you go to the Congre­gation, and heare the Word, and joyn in Gods Praises, and the Communion of the Saints, and you have no great relish in holy Conference, or any Ordinance, but do them almost meerly for custom, or to please your Consciences, and not for any great need you feel of them, or good you find by them; this shews for [Page 170] certain you want some more of the rod, and spurre; your hearts be not wakened and broken sufficiently, but God must take you in hand again.

5. When you can be mindless of God, and of the life to come, and forget both your sinne, and Saviours Blood, and let out your thoughts almost continually upon worldly vanities, or common things, as if you were over-grown the need of Christ; this shews that the stone is yet in your hearts, and that God must keep you to a harder dyet to mend your appetites, and make you feel you sinne, and misery, till it call off your thoughts from things that less concern you, and teach you to mind your Everlasting state. If you begin to forget your selves and him, [...]t's time for you to have a remem­brancer.

6. When you begin to tast more sweetness in the creature, and be more tickled with applause and honour, and pleased more with a full estate, and more impatient with poverty, or wants, or wrongs from men, and crosses in the world; and when you are set upon a thriving course, and are eager to grow rich, and fall in love with money; when [Page 171] you drown your selves in worldly cares, and busines, and are combred about ma­ny things, through your own choice; this shews indeed that you are dangerous­ly unhumbled; and if God have Mercy for you, he will bring you low, and make your riches gall and wormwood to you, and abate your appetite, and teach you to know that one thing is needfull; and so be more eager after the food that perisheth not, and hereafter to choose the better part, Luke 10. 41, 42. Joh. 6. 27.

7. When you can return to play with the occasions of sinne, or look upon it with a reconcileable mind, as if you had yet some mind on it, and could almost find in your heart to be doing with it again; when you begin to have a mind of your old company and courses, or be­gin to draw as neare it as you dare, and are gazing upon the bair, and tast­ing of the forbidden thing, and can scarce tell how to deny your fancies, your ap­petites, your senses their desires; this shews that you want some▪ wakening work: God must yet read you another lecture in the black book, and set you to spell those lines of blood which it [Page 172] seems you have forgotten; and kindle a little of that fire in your Consciences, which else you would runne into; till you feel and understand,, whether it be good playing with sinne, and the Wrath of God, and the Everlasting fire.

8. When you begin to be indifferent as to your Communion with God, and think not much whether he accept you, and manifest his love to you or not, but can huddle up your prayers, and look no more after them, or what becomes of them, and use Ordinances and seldom enquire of the success: When you can spare the Spiritual Consolations of the Saints; and fetch little of your comfort from Christ, or Heaven; but from your friends, and health, and prosperity, and accomodations; and perhaps can be as merry in carnal company, when you say and do as they, as if you were consider­ing of the Love of Christ: this shews that the threatnings went not deep enough. Sorrow hath yet another part to play: You must be taught better to know your home, and to take more pleasure in your father, and your husband, and your brethren, and your Inheritance, then in strangers, or enemies to God and you.

[Page 173] 9. When you begin to grow wanton with Ordinances, or other Mercies, and in stead of thankfull receiving them, and feeding on them, you pick quarrells with them, and nothing will please you: either the Minister is too weak; or he is too cu­rious, or too formall; you must have it this way or that way; either you must have more of a form, or no form; in this gesture, or that order, and some­thing or other is still amiss: this shews that you want humbling, and that you are fitter for the rod, then for meat. If God do but open you a doore into your hearts, and shew you the monsters and emptyness that is there, you will then see, that the fault lay somewhere else then in the Minister, or the Ordinances: If it were in them, it was more in you. The cause of your loathing, and quar­relling with the Word, was the fullness of your own stomack; and God must give you a vomit, or purge, that shall make your hearts ake before it hath done wor­king, and then your appetits will be men­ded, and your wantonness will cease; and that will be sweet to you which before you sleighted.

10. When you begin to be leavened [Page 174] with Pride, and think highly of your selves, and have good conceits of your own parts and performances, and would be noted, and taken for some-body among the godly, and you cannot en­dure to be overlookt, or past by: when you think mea [...]ly of other mens parts, and dutys, in comparison of yours, and think your selves as wise as your Teach­ers, and begin to hear them as Judas magisterial spirit, and think you could do as well as this your selves; when you are finding fault with that which should nourish you, and in every Sermon you are most noting the defects, and think that this you could have mended; when you itch to be Teachers your selves, and think your selves fitter to preach then to learn, to rule then to be ruled, to answer then to ask for resolution; when you think so well of your selves, that the Church is not pure or good enough for your company, though Christ dis­owneth it not, and they force you not to sinne; when you grow censorious; and aggravate the faulte of others, and extenuate their graces, and can see a mote in another's eye, but will discern none of their Graces, if they be not as [Page 175] high as mountains, and none can pass for Godly with you, but those of the most eminent magnitude; when you are itch­ing after novelties in Religion, and set­ting your wisdom against the present, or ancient Church; and affecting singulari­ty because you will be of no common way; when you cannot heare this Mi­nister, nor that Minister, though the Mi­nisters of Christ; and you are harping upon that, Come out from among them, and be yee separate; as if Christ had called you to come out of the Church, when he called you to come out of the compa­ny of Infidels: All this cries aloud for further Humiliation: You have a tym­panie that must be prickt, to let out the wind that puffs you up: If you be not for perdition, and to be forsaken, and given over to your selves, you must be fecht over again and humbled with a witness. When God hath turned your inside out­ward, and shewed you that you are poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked, and that you are empty Nothings, who thought so well of your selves; he will then make you stoop to those that you despised, and think your selves un­worthy of the Communion of those that [Page 176] before you thought unworthy of your selves. He will make you think your selves unworthy to hear those Ministers that you turned your back upon; and he will take down your Teaching, talking vaine, and make you glad again to be learners: In a word, he will by Conver­sion make you as little Children, or you shall never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

And this spiritual Pride is a most lamen­table disease, and the issue usually is ex­ceeding sad. For with many, 'tis the fore-runner of damnable Apostacy, and God gives them once to their own con­ceits, and the wisdom which they so esteem, till it have led them to perdition. And those that are cured, are many of them cured by the saddest way of any men in the world. For it is usual with God to let them alone, till they have runne themselves into some abominable errour, or fallen into some shamefull scandalous sinne, till they are made a hissing and by-word among men; that shame and confusion may bring them to their wits, and they may learn to know what it was that they were Proud of, and see that they were but silly worms.

[Page 177] And thus I have shewed you, when you must seek after deeper Humiliation, and may conclude that you are not hum­bled enough: Yea and when a greater measure, is of some Necessity to your Souls.

Quest. Well, but yet you have not told [...]is what course a poor Sinner should take in such a strait, when he knows not whether his Humiliation, as to the Affectionare part, be too little or too much?

Answ. 1. You may partly discern your selves by what is said, whether you have need of more or less Humiliation, if you can but try your hearts by these signes. 2. But yet I would advise, and earnestly perswade you, in Cases of dif­ficulty, to betake your selves to some able faithfull Minister for resolution. If you feel sorrow seize so deep upon your spirits, that it distempereth you, or threatneth your understanding, or your health, especially if your are either pas­sionate women, or Melancholly persons; stay not then any longer, left delay do that which cannot easily be undon, but go and open your case, and crave advice. This is a principal Use of Pastors, that you should have them at hand, to advise [Page 178] with in the diseases and dangers of your Souls, as you do with Physicians, in the diseases and dangers of the body. Lay by all sinfull bashfullness, and trust not your selves any longer with your own skill, but go to them that God hath set in Office over you for such uses as these, and tell them your Case: This is Gods way; and he will bless his own Ordi­nance: Melancholly, and Passionate di­stempered persons, are not fit judges of their own condition. In this Case you must distrust your own understanding, and be not selfconceited, and stick not obstinately to every fancy that comes in­to your heads, but in the sense of your weakness rely upon the guidance of your faithfull Overseers; till your distempers are overcome, and you are made more capable of discerning for your selves.

5. You are further here to be infor­med, that it is not for it selfe that sorrow and tears are so desireable; but as they are expressions of a gracious temper of the will, and as they help on to the Ends that Humiliation is appointed to. And therefore you may hence learn in what [Page 179] sort you must seek after it. 1. You must not place the chief part of your Re­ligion in it, as if it were a life of meer sorrow, that we are called to by the Gospel. But you must make it a servant to your Faith, and Love, and Joy in the Holy Ghost, and other Graces. As the use of the needle is but to make way for the thred, and then it is the thred and not the needle that makes the seam: So much of our sorrow is but to prepare for Faith and Love, and these are they that close the Soul with Christ. It is therefore a sore mistake of some, that are very apprehensive of their want of sorrow, but little of their want of Faith, or Love: and that pray and strive to break their hearts, or weep for sinne, but not much for those higher Graces, which it tendeth to. One must be done, and not the other left undone.

2. As tears are the Expressions of the heart, so those are the most kindly and sincere, which voluntarlly flow from the inward feeling of the evill that we la­ment. If you could weep never so much, meerly because you think that tears are in themselves necessary, and had not within, the hatred of sinne, and sense [Page 180] of its vile and killing nature; this were not true Humiliation at all. And if the Heart be humbled before the Lord, it is not the want of tears that will cause him to despise it. Some are so backward to weep by Nature, that they cannot weep for any outward thing, no not for the loss of the dearest friend, when yet they would have done ten times more to re­deem his life, then some that have tears at will. Groans are as sure Expressions of sorrow as tears, with such as these. And the hearty rejecting and detestation of sinne, is yet a better Evidence then either. But where men have natural­ly a weeping disposition, which they can manifest about Crosses in the world, and yet cannot shed a tear for sinne, there the Case is the most suspicious.

3. The principal Cause why you must strive for deeper sorrow, is, that you may obtaine the Ends of that sorrow; that sinne may be more odious to you, and more effectually mortified: that self may be taken down, and Christ may be va­lued, and desired, and exalted, and that you may be fitted for a Holy Communi­on with God for the time to come, and sa­ved from Pride, and kept in watchfullness.

[Page 181] 6. From this that was last said you have a Rule by which you may certainly discern, what measure of Humiliation it is that must be had. It mst go so deep as to undermine our Pride, and so far the heart must needs be broken, as is necessa­ry to break the heart of sinne, and car­nal self. If this be not done ther's no­thing done, though you weep out your eyes. You must be brought so low, that the blood of Christ, and the favour of God, may be more precious in your eyes then all the world, and in your very hearts prefered before it: And then you may be sure that your Humiliation is sin­cere, whether you have teares or none.

7. From hence also you may see, that you must take heed of ascribing to your own Humiliation, any part of the office and honour of Christ: Think not that you can satisfie the Justice of the Law, or merit any thing of God by the worth of your sorrows, though you should weep even tears of blood. It is not true Humiliation if it consist not in the sense and acknowledgment of your unworthy­ness, [Page 182] and desert of condemnation, and if it do not lead you to look out for par­don and life from Christ, as being lost and wholly insufficient for your selves. And therefore it would be a plain contra­diction, if true Humiliation should be taken as Satisfaction, or Merit, or tru­sted on instead of Christ.

IV. Having thus far opened the Na­ture and Reasons of true Humiliation, I conclude with that advice which I princi­pally here intended: Refuse not to be throughly and deeply humbled. Be not weary of the humbling workings of the Spirit. Grief is an unwelcome guest to Nature: but Grace can see Reason to bid it welcome. Grace is ingenious, and cannot look back on so great unkindness, with unwillingness to mourne over it, Zech. 12. 10. There is somewhat of God in godly sorrow, and therefore the Soul consenteth to it, and seeketh for it, and calls it in: Yea and is grieved that it can grieve no more. Not that sorrow as sorrow is desireable; but as a necessary Consequent of our grievous sinning, and a necessary Antecedent of our further [Page 183] recovery: As we may submit to Death it self, with a cheerful willingness, because it is sanctified to be the passage into Glo­ry, how dreadfull soever it be to Nature in it self: so much more may we submit to Humiliation and brokenness of heart, with a holy willingness, because it is san­ctified to be the entrance into the state of Grace. Consider for your satisfaction of these following things.

1. The main brunt of your sorrows will be but in the beginning: and when once you are setled in a holy course, you will finde more Peace and comfort, then ever you could have had in any other way. I know if you will be medling with sinne again, it will in its measure breed sorrow again: But a godly life, is a life of Uprightness; & Conversion is a departing from sinne, and consequently a departing from the Cause of sorrows. And can you not bear such a sorrow for a little while?

2. Consider but whence you are com­ing? Is it not out of a state of wrath? And where you have been all this while? Was it not in the power of Satan? And and what you have been doing all your lives? Hath it not been the drudgery of sinne, and the offending of your Lord, [Page 184] and the destroying of your selves? And is it meet, is it reasonable, is it ingeni­ous, for you to come out of such a Case, without lamentation that you staid in it so long?

3. Consider also, that it is Necessary to your own recovery and Salvation. Do you think to take so dangerous a surfeit, and then to be cured without a Vomit? You will endure for the health of your bodies, the bitterest pills, and loath­somest potions, the shortest dyet, and the letting out of your blood: for you know that your life lieth on it, and there is no remedy. And should you not en­dure for the saving of your Souls, the bit­terest sorrows, the keenest rebuks, the freest Confessions, and the most plentifull tears? Sinne will not down at easier rates: Self will not be conquered else: The heart of it will not be broken, till your hearts be broken. We know your sorrows Merit nothing, and make not God amends for your sinnes; nor is it for want of suffici­ency in the blood of Christ that we re­quire them. But it is part of the fruit of his Blood upon your Souls. If his Blood do not melt and break your hearts, you have no part in him. It becomes you to [Page 185] mourn over him whom you have pierced, Zech. 12. 10. And this fruit of his Blood is a preparative to more. You may as well think of being saved without Faith, as without Repentance, and Humilia­tion.

4. Consider so much as is bitter in it, is of your own preparation: You may thank your selves for it. Who was it that brought you to this Necessity of sorrow? Have you been all your life time surfeit­ing of the creature, and causing your own disease, and now will you grudg at the trouble of a cure? Whom have you to blame, and find fault with but your selves: was it not you that sinned? was it not you that laid in the fuel of sorrows, and sowed the feeds of this bitter fruit, and cherished the Cause of trouble in your selves? God did not do this: It was you your selves. He doth but undo that which you have been doing. Grudg not therefore at your Physician, if you must be purged, and let blood, and dieted strictly, but thank your selves for it that have made it so necessary.

5. Consider also that you have a wise and tender Physician, that hath known what sorrow and grief is himself; for he [Page 186] was made for you a man of sorrows, Isa. 53. 3. And therefore can pitty those that be in sorrow. He delighteth not in your trouble, and grief; but in your Cure and after-consolations. And therefore you may be sure that he will deal gently and moderately with you: and lay no more on you then is necessary for your good: Nor give you any bitterer a cup, then your disease doth require. When he sheweth his greatest liking of the contrite; it is that he may Revive their hearts; and he professeth withall, that he will not contend for ever, nor be alwaies wrath, lest the Spirit should fail before him, and the Souls which he hath made, Isa. 57. 15. 16. He calls to him the weary and heavy laden, that he may give them ease, Matth. 11. 28. He was sent to heale the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the Captives, and recoveing of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised, Luke 4. 18. When he hath broken your hearts he will as tenderly bind them up, and as safely heal them as you can reaso­nably desire. Even his Ministers that labour to break your hearts, and bring you low, even to the dust, have no [Page 187] worse meaning in it then to bring you to Christ, and life, and comfort: And though they are glad to see the weep­ing eyes of their hearers, and to heare their free Confessions and Lamen­tations, yet this is not because they take pleasure in your trouble, but because they foresee the saving fruits of it, and know it to be necessary to your Everla­sting Peace. You may read what their thoughts are in the words of Paul, 2 Cor. 7. 9, 10, 11. Now I rejoyce, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sor­rowed to Repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive dammage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh Repentance to Salva­tion, not to be Repented of; but the sor­row of the world worketh death. For be­hold this self-same thing that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefullness it wrought in you; yea what clearing of your selves; yea what indignation; yea what fears; yea what vehement desire; yea what zeal; yea what revenge; &c. In­deed neither Christ, nor his Ministers have that fond and foolish love to you, and pitty of you, as you have to your selves: They be not so tender of you, as [Page 188] to save you from the sorrow which is needfull to the saving of you from Hell. But they would not put you to any more then needs: nor have you tast a drop of the vinegar and gall, or shed one teare, but what shall tend to your comfort and Salvation.

6. Consider what sorrows they be that these sorrows do prevent, and what those suffer in Hell, that avoid this god­ly sorrow on earth. O Sirs, your Re­pentance-sorrows are joyes to those: Yours have Hope; but theirs are quick­ned with desperation: Yours are small, and but a drop to their Ocean: Yours are Curing; but theirs are Tormenting: Yours are a Fathers Rod: but theirs are the Rack and Gallows: Yours are mixt with love; but theirs are unmixed, over-whelming them with confusion: Yours are short; but theirs are endless. And had you rather sorrow as they do, then as the godly do? Had you rather howl with Devils and rebels, then weep with Saints and Children? Had you rather be broken in Hell by Torments, then on earth by Grace? Is it not an unreaso­nable thing of you, to make such a stir at the sorrow that must save you, when [Page 189] you remember what it would save you from, and what all must suffer that are not Humbled here by Grace. O it is an­other kind of sorrow that others are now enduring. Grudg not at the pricking of a vein, when so many thousands are everlastingly bleeding at the heart.

7. Consider, The more you are right­ly Humbled, the sweeter will Christ and all his Mercies be to you ever after while you live. One tast of the healing Love of Christ, will make you bless those sorrows that prepared for it. The same Christ is not equally esteemed even by all that he will save: And had you not rather be emptied yet more of your selves, that you may be fuller of Christ hereafter? When you do but feel his arms embracing you, and perceive him in that posture as the prodigal's Father was, Luke 15. 20. You will thank that sorrow that fitted you for his armes.

8. If you be throughly humbled, you will walk the more safely all your daies, if other things correspond. It will make you hate the sinne you smarted by, and fly the occasions of that which cost you once so dear.

9. The sinne of Pride, is one of the [Page 190] most mortal damning sins, in the world; and that which thousands of professors do miscarry by. And Humiliation is most directly contrary to this: and therefore must needs be an amiable and necessary thing. It's worth all the sorrow that a hundred men endure here, to be saved from this dangerous sinne of Pride.

10. A through Humiliation is usual­ly a signe of the greater Exaltation, to come after. For those that humble them­selves shall be exalted; and those that exalt themselves shall be brought low, Luke 14. 11. Humble your selves therefore under the mighty hand of God, and he shall lift you up, 1 Pet. 5. 5. The higher you mean to build, the deeper you will dig to lay the foundation. Your Consola­tions are like to be greater, as your sor­rows have been greater. You may be free from those doubts that follow others all their daies, lest they were never truly humbled. You need not be still que­stioning, or pulling up your foundations, as if you were to begin again. It is a sign that you are intended to greater employ­ments (if other things concurre.) Paul must be laid exceeding low in his Con­version, that he might be the fitter as a [Page 191] chosen Vessel, to bear Christs Name among the Gentiles.

Lay all this now together Sirs, and con­sider what cause you have to cherish the Humbling works of Grace, and not to quench them. When your hearts begin to be afflicted for sinne, go not among foolish and merry Companions, to drink or laugh it away: drive it not out of your minds, as unkindly, as if it came to do you hurt: But get alone, and con­sider of the matter, and on your knees in secret, beseech the Lord to follow it home, and break your hearts, and make you meet for his healing consolations, and not to leave you in this red sea, but to bring you through, and put the Songs of praise into your mouths.

DIRECT. V. Having thus directed you about your Humiliation, the next Di­rection which I would offer you, that you may not miscarry in the worke of Conversion, is this: See that you close with the Lord Jesus Christ, understan­dingly, heartily, and entirly as he is re­vealed, and offered to you in the Gospel. In this your Christianity doth consist: Upon [Page 192] this your Justification, and Salvation lie. This is the summe of your Coversion; and the very heart of the New creature. The rest is all but the preparatives to this, or the fruits of this. Christ is the end and the fulfiling of the Law; the sub­stance of the Gospel; the way to the Fa­ther: the life, the help, the hope of the Believer. If you know not him, you know nothing: If you possess not him, you have nothing: And if you are out of him, you can do nothing; that hath a promise of Salvation. And therefore I shall distinctly (though briefly) tell you what it is to close with Christ, Vnder­standingly, heartily, and entirely, as he is offered in the Gospel.

And I. That you may close with Christ Vnderstandingly, you must look to these things: 1. That you understand who Christ is, as in his Person and his Offices: 2. That you understand the Reason of his undertaking: 3. That you understand, what it is that he hath done and suffered for us. 4 That you under­stand the Nature and worth of his bene­fits, and what he will do for you. 5. That you understand the terms on which he conveyeth these benefits to men; and [Page 193] what is the nature, extent, and condition of his promises. And 6. that you under­stand the Certain Truth, of all this.

For the first, you must understand, that Jesus Christ hath two Natures in one Person: that he is both God and Man: As he is God, he is of the same substance with his Father, and one in essence with him; the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity; the Word of God; the only begotten Sonne of the Father; Eternal, Incomprehensible, and Infinite: As Man, he hath a true Humane Soul and body as men have: so that his Godhead, his Humane Soul, and his Body, are re­ally distinct. This Humane Nature was conceived by the Holy Ghost in the Vir­gin Mary, without man, and born of of her, and is so truly united to the Di­vine Nature, as that they are one Per­son: Not that the Godhead is turned in­to the manhood, nor the manhood in­to the Godhead; but the Godhead hath taken the manhood into Personal Unity with it self. This was not from Eterni­ty, but when man had sinned, and had lost himself, and needed a Redeemer. By reason of his Miraculous Conception, he was free from all Original sinne, [Page 194] being holy, harmless, and undefiled. His Person, and Natures, were fit for his Office; which was to be the Mediator between God and man, to make Recon­ciliation and recover us to God. Had he not been God, but meer man, his dignity would not have been sufficient for such an interposition, nor his obedience or sufferings, of any such value, as to be the price of our Redemption: Nor could he have born our burden, or con­quered death, and risen again, and o­vercome the Prince of death, the De­vil; nor have ruled his Church, and preserved, and sanctified them, and prospered his Cause, and subdued his ene­mies, nor effectually interceded with the Father, nor judged the world, or raised the dead, and done the work of a perfect Saviour. Nor was the Angeli­cal Nature sufficient for this Office. Had he not been man, he had not been neer enough to us, to have suffered in our stead, and taught us by his Doctrin, and given us his Example, nor could he have suffered, or dyed for us: For God can­not die or suffer. As he is God he is One in Nature with the Father; and as he is man, he is One in Nature with us: and [Page 195] therefore is fit to Mediate for us; and in him we are brought thus nigh to God. To this Office of the Mediator there are many acts belonging, from whence it hath several denominations, of which more anon. So much of Christ's Per­son.

2. The next thing that you must un­derstand, is, the Reason and Ends of his Undertaking; which though we are not able fully to comprehend (nor the Rea­son of any of the works of God,) yet must we observe so much as is revealed. And these following Ends or Reasons of this work, do shew themselves clearly in the Scripture, and in the event.

1. One is, The Demonstration of Gods Justice, as he is Governor of the world, according to the Law of Nature. He made man rational and a voluntary Agent, ca­pable of Good or Evil, with Desires and Hopes of the Good, and fears of the Evil; and so to be ruled according to his Nature. He made for him a Law that Revealed Good and Evil, with Promi­ses to move him by Desire, and Hope, and with Threatnings to drive him by ne­cessary [Page 196] Fear. By these engins God re­solved to govern mankind. This Law was the Rule of mans Duty, and of his Receivings, or of Gods Judgment: Ac­cording to this Law, the world was to be Governed by God. His Governing Justice consisteth in giving all their Due, according to his Law: At least so far as that the End of the Law may be attained, that is, the honour of the Law-giver pre­served, transgression made odious by the terror of penalty, and obedience made honourable by its fruits of impunity and reward: Otherwise the Law would not have deterred effectually from Evil, nor encouraged to Good, especially to so much as Creatures must go through for the Crown of Life: And so the Law would have been no fit Instrument for the Government of the world: that is, the Law would have been no Law. But this the Wise and Righteous God would not be guilty of, of making a Law that was no Law; and was unmeet for the ends, to which he made it; which was essential to it as a Law. There was no way to avoid this intollerable consequent, when man had sinned, but strict execu­tion of the Law, or by sufficient Satis­faction [Page 197] in stead of such an Execution. The Execution would have destroyed the Commonwealth, even the whole inferior world, at least, the reasonable Creature who was the Subject. The Wisdom, and Love, and Mercy of God would not give way to this, that the world should be destroyed so soon after it was made, and man left remediless in everlasting Mi­sery: Satisfaction therefore must be the Remedy: This must be such as might be as fit to procure the Ends of the Law, as if the Law it self had been executed, that is; as if the offendors had all dyed the death that it did threaten. It must there­fore be a publik Demonstration of Justice, and of the odiousness of Sinne, to the terrour, and warning of sinners for the future: And this was done by Jesus Christ, when none else in Heaven, or Earth could do it: For it did as fully de­monstrate this Justice of God, and pre­served his honour, and the usefullness of his Law and government, that a Person so high and Glorious, and so dear to him, should suffer so much for sinne, as if all the world had suffered for them­selves. And thus God made him to be sinne for us, who knew no sinne. 2 Cor. 5. [Page 198] 21. And thus Christ hath Redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us, Gal. 3. 13.

2. Hereby also God Demonstrated the Holiness of his Nature: How much he hateth sinne; and how unreconcilable he is to it; as light to darkness: As the Law and Judgments of God do proceed from his Perfect Nature and Will, so do they bear the Image of that perfection, and demonstrate it to the world. This therefore is the nobler End, and work of Christ in our redemption, to declare the Holiness and Perfection of God in his Nature and Will; though the former (the declaring of his Governing Justice) be the neerer End. If the death of Aarons two sonnes were such a Declarati­tion, that God will be sanctified in all that draw neer him. Lev. 10. 2, 3, If his Laws and present Judgments do declare him to be a Holy and Jealous God, that will not forgive sinne (without a valu­able consideration, or satisfaction) Jos. 24. 19. how much more evidently is this decla­red in the death of Christ? If the Beth­shemites cry out, who is able to stand be­fore this Holy Lord God? 1 Sam. 6. 20. Upon the death of 50070 men; how [Page 199] much more may the guilty Soul say so, when he thinks on the Crucified Sonne of God? As it is the End of Gods exe­cution on transgressors, that the Lord may be exalted in Judgment, and God that is Holy may be Sanctified in Righteousness; Isa. 5. 16. So was it his End in the Sa­crifice of his Sonne.

3. Another End of our Redemption by Christ, is the Demonstration of the In­finite Wisdom of God. His Wisdom in the preventing the ruin of the late-created world; that it might not be said that sin and Satan had frustrated him of the Glory of his Creation, and destroyed it almost as soon as he had made it: Yea in getting an advantage by the malice of his enemies, for the more admirable attainment of the Ends of his Law, and the Glorifying of all his Governing Attributes: He would not have made man a free Agent, and left him in the hand of his own will, and suf­fered him to sinne, if his Wisdom had not known how to secure his own Intrest and Honour to the full. And so also in the oeconomy and admirable frame of his Gracious Sapiential Government by Christ, the manifold Wisdom of God doth shine forth, Ephes. 3. 9, 10. As [Page 200] the wonderfull structure of Heaven, and Earth, and every part of this Natural frame, doth gloriously reveale the Wis­dom of the Creator; so the wonderfull Contrivance of our Redemption by Christ, and the Reparation of the world by him, and the Moral frame of this Evangelical dispensation, doth wonder­fully demonstrate the Wisdom of the Re­deemer. And as the observation of our Natures, may give us Cause to say with David, Psal. 139. 14. I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. So the observation of our new Natures and condition, may well cause us to say, I will praise thee; for I am graciously and wonderfully Redeemed, marvelous are thy Works, and that my Soul knoweth right well. As Nature may teach us to admire the frame of Nature; so Grace will teach us to admire the frame of Grace; and to see the beauty of its several parts; and much more of the whole where all the parts are orderly composed.

4. Yea the very Power of God is demon­strated in Christ. And therefore he is called, 1 Cor. 1. 24. The Power of God, and the Wisdom of God: not only formally, be­cause Christ himself is the Wise and [Page 201] Powerfull God; nor only Efficiently, be­cause God doth exercise his Power and Wisdom, by his Sonne in Creation, Re­demption, and Government; but also Effectually and Objectively, as Christ is the great and most admirable Demonstra­tion, of the Power and Wisdom of God, in the world.

What work transcendeth the incom­prehensible Miracle of the Incarnation? That God should assume the Nature of man into personal Union? The Crea­tion of the Sunne; is no greater a work of Power, then the Incarnation, and sending of the Sonne of God, the Intel­lectual Sunne, the Light of the world, That living Light, that lightneth every one that cometh into the world: though yet the darkness comprehendeth not his light. Joh. 1. 4, 6, 9. What was he but the living visable Power of God, when he healed all diseases, cast out Devils, raised the dead, and rose from the dead himself, and ascended into Glory, and sent down the Holy Spirit on his Church, enduing them with Power from on high. Acts 1. 8. Luke 24. 49. when he was on Earth, he was Anointed with the Ho­ly Ghost, and with Power, and went [Page 202] about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil, Acts 10. 38. Be­ing dead he was declared to be the Sonne of God with Power, by the Resurrection from the dead, Rom. 1. 4. When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, Eph. 4. 8. Yea, he filled his servants with power, Act. 6. 8. Even such as was ad­mired and desired by the ungodly, Act. 8. 19. He being the brightness of Gods Glo­ry, and the express Image of his Person, and upholding all things by the Word of his Power, when he had by himself purged our sinnes, he sate down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, being made so much better then the Angels, as he hath by In­heritance obtained a more excellent Name then they, Heb. 1. 3, 4. As Christ there­fore in his glorified Humanity united to the Godhead, is far more excellent then the Angels of God, and more glorious then the Sunne, so is the Power of God more abundantly demonstrated in him, than in the Sunne, or the Angels, or any other Creature. The Illuminated do know this, and what is the exceeding greatness of his Power, to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty Power, which he wrought in [Page 203] Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the Celestials, farre above all Principality and Power and Might and Dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and given him to be Head over all things to the Church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all, Ephes. 1. 19. 20, 21, 22, 23.

Besides this, even in the Works of Christ for his Church, his Calling, and Sancti­fying, and Ruling, and Preserving them, his subduing their Enemies, and raising them from the dead, and Glorifying them with himself, how glorious is the very Power of God by his Sonne, 2 Thes. 1. 11. Phil. 3. 10. Ephes. 3. 7, 20. 2 Pet. 1. 3, 16. 1 Cor. 4. 20. Ephes. 6. 10. 1 Cor. 15. 43. 1 Pet. 1. 5. And there­fore his Gospel may well be called, The Power of God to Salvation, Rom. 1. 16. Which hath been the Instrument of his Power in doing such wonderful works in the world. 1 Cor. 1. 18. & 2. 5. 2 Cor. 6. 7. 2. Cor. 13. 3, 4.

5. But the most sweet, and conspicu­ous End of our Redemption, was the [Page 204] Demonstration of Gods Love and Mercy to man-kind, and that he might make known the Riches of his Glory on the ves­sels of Mercy, prepared unto Glory, Rom. 9. 23. Of all Gods Attributes there is none shineth more illustrously in the work of our Redemption than Love and Mercy. Hereby perceive we the Love of God, because he laid down his life for us, 1 Joh. 3. 16. By the Creation, and Su­stentation of us we perceive the Love of God, but more abundantly by our Re­demption. In this was manifested the Love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Sonne into the world, that we might live through him, 1 Joh. 4. 9. O wonderfull Love which condescen­deth to such Rebels, and embraceth such unworthy and polluted sinners, and pit­tyeth them even in their blood! Even after we had sold our selves to Satan, and cast away the Mercies of our Creation, and had all come short of the Glory of God, and were sentenced to death, and ready for the Execution; then did this wonder­ful Love step in, and rescue and recover us. Not staying till we Repented and cry­ed for Mercy, and cast our selves at his feet; but seeking us in the Wilderness, [Page 205] and finding us before we felt that we were lost, and being found of us before we sought him, and beging to us in the depth of our Misery. Herein is Love, not that we Loved God, but that he Loved us, and sent his Sonne to be the propitia­tion for our sinnes, 1 Joh. 4. 10. Though God Love us not in our sinne and misery, before our Conversion, so far as in that state to Justifie us, and Adopt us, and take pleasure in us, or have Communion with us in the spirit, yet doth he so far Love us in that state, as to Redeem us by the Blood of Christ, and tender us his Salva­tion, and to bring in his chosen effectu­ally to entertain his offer. And thus the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given to us; For when we were yet without strength in due time Christ dyed for the ungodly: And God commended his Love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ dyed for us, Rom. 5. 6, 8. Greater Love hath no man then this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, Joh. 15. 13. What was the Sonne of God, but Love Incar­nate? Love borne of a Virgin? Love coming down from Heaven to Earth, and walking in flesh among the miserable, [Page 206] seeking and saving that which was lost: Was it not Love that spoke those words of life, those comfortable promises, those necessary precepts, those gracious en­couragements, which the Gospel doth abound with? Was it not Love it self, that went preaching Salvation to the Sonnes of death, and deliverance to the Captives, and offered to bind up the bro­ken hearts, Luke 4. 18? Was it not Love that invited the weary and heavy laden, Matth. 11. 28? And that sent even to the high-waies, and the hedges to compel men to come in that his house might be filled, Matth. 22. 9, 10. Luke 14. 23. Was it not Love it self that went up and down healing and doing good; that suffered them, for whom he suffe­red to scorn him, and spit upon him, and buffet him, and condemn him? that be­ing reviled, reviled not again: that gave his life, an offering for sinne, and dyed, and prayed for them that murdered him? No wonder if the Gospel be it that teach­eth us, to call God by the name of Love it self, 1 Joh. 4. 8 For it is the Gospel that hath most fully revealed him to be so. No wonder if the Gospel do so fre­quently, and importunatly require us to [Page 207] Love one another, and even to lay down your lives for Christ, and for one ano­ther, when it hath given us such a ground and motive, and president for our Love. He that seeth the true face of Redempti­on, and understandeth, and savoureth the Gospel and the Grace of Christ, must needs see most cogent Reasons for such dutyes, 1 Joh. 4. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Be­loved, let us Love one another, for Love is of God: and every one that Loveth is born of God, and knoweth God: he that Loveth not knoweth not God; for God is Love. If God so Loved us, we ought also to Love one another.—If we Love one another, God dwelleth in us,— So 1 Joh. 3. 10, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18. No wonder if by this Love we know that we are translated from death to life, and if by it the Children of God be known from the Children of the Devil, 1 Joh. 3. 10, 11, 14. For Love is the very Nature and Image of our Fa­ther. No wonder if this be the New Com­mandment, which had newly such a powerfull motive, and president: And no wonder if it be the great distinguish­ing Caracter, by which all men shall know that we are the Disciples of Christ, Joh. 13. 35. When he had set us such a [Page 208] Copie, and taught us this lesson by such effectual means; writing it out for us in lines of blood, even of his own most pretious Blood, and shedding it abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost.

But if we should come down, to the particular benefits of Christ's death, and see what Love is manifested in them, even in our Calling, our Justification our Adoption, or Sanctification, our Pre­servation, and our everlasting Glorifi­cation, we should find our selves in an Ocean that hath neither banks nor bot­tom; and when we have fathomed as far as we can, we must be contented to stand and admire it, and to say with the Belo­ved Apostle, Behold what manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God! 1 Joh. 3. 1.

And this is the blessed imployment of the Saints, which they are called to by the Gospel, to live in the participation, and consideration and admiration of this wonderous Love, that Christ may dwell in their hearts by Faith, and so being root­ed and grounded in Love, they may be able to comprehend with all Saints▪ what is the bredth, and length, and depth, and [Page 209] height, and to know the Love of Christ, which passeth knowledg, and be filled with all the fullness of God, Ephes. 3. 17, 18, 19. And withall, to be followers of God as dear Children, and walk in Love as Christ hath Loved us, and given himself for us, an Offering, and a Sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savour, Ephes. 5. 1, 2. And to love without dissimulati­on, Rom. 12. 9, 10. Even from a pure heart fervently, 1 Pet. 1. 22. That we love as brethren, being compassionate, pittifull, and courteous; not rendring evill forevill, but contrariwise blessing; knowing that we are thereunto called, that that we should inherit a blessing, 1 Pet. 3. 8, 9 And that we keep our selves in the Love of God, Jud. 21. that nothing may be able to seperate us from it, Rom. 8. 35, 36, 37. And if we thus imitate our Hea­venly pattern, the God of Love and Peace will be with us, 2 Cor. 13. 11. And thus I have shewed you the principall Ends of the undertaking of Christ in the work of our Redemption, especially as they are attained directly by his Cross, and Resurrection.

6. Another End also is apparent in the Scripture; which is the Glorifying [Page 210] of Gods Rewarding Justice, together with his Mercy in the Salvation of his Elect. This End he hath partly attaineth here (for God hath his Ends continually:) In this life his Servants have much of his Mercy; and the beginnings of their Re­ward in the beginning of their Salvation; But the fullness is hereafter in their Glo­rification. All his promises he perform­eth in their seasons. Even in the present pardon of our sinnes he honoureth his Faithfullness and Justice, 1 Joh. 1. 9. His Faithfullness in making good his pro­mise, and his Justice in Rewarding the performers of the condition, and giving what his promise had made their due: that so men may even here in part discern between the Righteous and the Wic­ked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not; while they see God esteem of his people as his jewels, and spa [...]e them as a man spareth his sonne that serveth him Mal. 3. 17, 18. The King of Zion is just, having Salvation, Zach. 9. 9. The Righ [...]ousness of God is manifested in our Justification, Rom. 3. 21, 22. Even the Righteousness of God, which is by Faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no diffe­rence: [Page 211] For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God; being Justified freely by his grace, through the Redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through Faith in his Blood, to declare his Righteousness: for the remission of sinnes that are past, through the forbearance of God: to declare, I say, at this time his Righteousness; that he might be Just, and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus, Rom. 3. 25, 26.

But it is most eminently at Judgment, and in the world to come, that this Re­munerative Justice with Mercy will be Glorified: When Christ shall come (pur­posely) to be glorified in his Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (not only in himself, but in them:) and that because they were believers, 2 Thes. 1. 10. When we have fought the good fight, and finished our Course, and kept the Faith, we shall find that there is laid up for us a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord the Righteous Judg shall give us, and all that love his appearing at that day [...] 2 Tim. 4. 8. He will justifie and applaud them before all the world, yea and ad­judge them to everlasting Life, with a [Page 212] Well done, Good and Faithfull sevant: en­ter thou into the joy of thy Lord; I will make thee Ruler over many things; even Because they had been faithfull in a little, Luke 19▪ 17. Matth. 25. 21, 23. Be­cause they shewed their love to him in his members, he will say to them, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the King­dom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, Matth. 25. 34, 35, 36. He that now commandeth us to say to the Righteous, It shall be well with him, Isa. 3. 10. Will in Righteousness Cause it then to be well with him. Then shall the Righ­teous shine forth as the Sunne in the King­dom of their Father, Matth. 13. 43 And the Righteousness and Mercy of their Father shall as conspicuously and glori­ously shine in them. For it is a day ap­pointed for the Revelation of the Righte­ous Judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds, Rom. 2. 5, 6. The present Faith and Patience of the Saints in all the Persecutions and Tri­bulations which they endure, is a manifest token of the Righte [...]us Judgment of God, that they may be accounted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which they suffer: It being a Righteous thing with God to Re­compence [Page 213] Tribulation to them that trouble us, and to us that are troubled, Rest with the Saints, 2 Thes. 1. 5, 6, 7. For the Righteous Lord loveth Righteousness, Psal. 11. 7. and in Righteousness will he Judge the world, Acts 17. 31. Rev. 19. 11. And therefore in the keeping of his Word there is great Reward, Psal. 19 11. Yea a cup of water given in Love to him, shall not be unrewarded, Matth. 10. 41, 42. To him that soweth Righteousness shall be a sure Reward, Prov. 11. 18. If in this life men are forst to say, Verily there is a Reward for the Righteous: Verily there is a God that Judgeth in the Earth, Psal. 58. 11. Much more when we receive the Reward of the Inheritance, Col. 3. 24. This causeth the Saints to forsake the pleasures of sinne, because they have respect to the Recompence of Reward, Heb. 11. 26. This is it that maketh them Rejoyce and be exceeding glad in their Per­secutions, because that great is their Re­ward in Heaven: and therefore it is that they Cast not away their confidence, be­cause it hath great Recompence of Reward, Heb. 10. 25. If we let no man beguil us of our Reward, Col. 2. 18. And if we Look to our selves that we lose not those [Page 214] things that we have wrought, we shall receive a full Reward, 2 Joh. 8. For the Lord hath said Behold I come quickly, and my Reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be, Rev. 22. 12.

7. Another End of Christ's under­taking in this blessed work, is, The Com­placency and Glory of God in the Love, and Praise, and Service of his Redeemed ones; in some measure here; but in perfection when they are perfected. Sinne had made us unserviceable to God: And Christ bringeth us back into a fitness for his service: He disposeth us Godward by Faith and Love; and he hath Redeemed us from our iniquity, and purifieth to himself a Peculiar People zealous of good works, Tit. 2. 14. To which he createth us, that we should walk in them, Ephes. 2. 10. And with such Sacrifice God is well-pleased, Heb. 13. 16. Phil. 4. 18. The blood of the Covenant was therefore shed, to make us perfect in every good work to do his will, who worketh in us that which is wel-pleasing in his sight, Heb. 13. 20, 21. And this must be our care, to walk worthy of the Lord in all well-pleasing, be­ing fruitfull in every good work, Col. 1. 10. [Page 215] And then whatsoever we ask, we shall re­ceive of him, because we keep his Com­mandement, and do those things that are Pleasing in his sight, 1 Joh. 3. 22. see 1 Thes. 4. 1. Heb. 11. 6. Rom. 8. 8. 2 Tim. 2. 4. 1 Cor. 7. 32. Heb. 11. 5.

But principally when we are Glorifi­ed, and fitted by our perfection for the Perfect Love, and Promises of God, then will God perfectly take Pleasure in us, and in our Love and Praise. The Glory of the new Jerusalem and the Har­mony of everlasting Praise and Thanks­giving will be his delight. He will Rejoyce over us with Joy, he will Rest in his Love; he will joy over us with singing, Zeph. 3. 17.

8. Another End of Christ's under­taking this blessed work, is the Everla­sting Glory of God which shall shine forth in the Glorified Manhood of the Redeemer, and the everlasting complacency that God will have in him, for his own perfecti­on, and the work that he hath wrought.

Though Christ had no need to suffer for any sinne or want of his own; yet was it his personal dignity, dominion, and Everlasting Glory, as well as our Salvation, that was intended by him, and [Page 216] by the Father in this work, and which he was to receive as the Reward of his performances, Rom. 14. 7. Phil. 2. 8, 9, 10. Matth. 28. 18, 19 Heb. 1. 3, 4, 6. Ephes. 12. 22. Nay if we may make comparisons, this seemeth the highest part of Gods End, in the sending of his Sonne. As there is no part of all the Works of God, to be compared to the Person of the Redeemer, so conse­quently there is none in which the Glory of God will shine forth so admirably, and illustriously as in Christ. If on Earth the Heavenly voice bare witness that it was in him that the Father was well-pleas­ed, Matth. 3. 17. & 17. 5. & 12. 18. Which was uttered both at his Baptism, and his Transfiguration, when his Di­sciples saw a glympse of his glory, and he was the chosen Servant of God in whom his Soul delighted, Isa. 42. 1. Much more is it apparent, that in his Heaveny Glory he will be the Fathers Everlasting Plea­sure and delight: and in him, and by him, and for the work that he hath wrought, the Redeemed in glory will honour him for ever, Rev. 5. 9. He is the Head of the body, the Church: the beginning, the first-born from the dead, [Page 217] that in all things he might have the prehe­minence: For it Pleased the Father, that in him should all fullness dwell, Col. 1. 17, 18, 19. And therefore in him the Glory of God will shine in fullness, and he shall have the preheminence in the Fa­thers Everlasting Love. When Christ prayed, Joh. 12. 28. Father Glorifie thy Name: He was answered by a Voice from Heaven, I have Glorified it, and will Glorifie it again. Even in the Sonne that thus desired it. He hath done it on Earth, and he will do it again more per­fectly in Heaven. He hath glorified the Sonne, that the Sonne also may glorifie him, Joh. 17. 1. As he glorified his Fa­ther on Earth, and finished the work which he gave him to do, so the Father hath now glorified him with himself, that in his Glory he may be yet more glorified, Joh. 17. 4, 5, 6. In his Transfiguration his Face did shine as the Sunne. Joh. 17. 2. And in his appearance to Paul, his shin­ing light did cast him blindfold and tremb­ling on the Earth, Acts 9. 4, 6. It was Stephen's encouragment to the suffering of his Martyrdom, to see the Glory of God and Jesus standing on Gods right-hand, Acts 7. 55, 56. When John saw him on [Page 218] the Lords Day in the spirit, he beheld his eyes as a flame of fire, and his feet like burning brass, in the furnace, and his voice was as the sound of many waters, and in his right-hand were the starres, and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was as the Sunne that shineth in his strength, Rev. 1. 14, 15, 16. His voice also did proclaim his Glory, I am the first and the last. I am he that li­veth and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys of Hell and of death, vers. 17, 18. It was the Lord of Glory that was crucified, 1 Cor. 2. 8. God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into Glory, 1 Tim. 3. 16. Where he is Glorified with the Father in the praises of the Saints, Rev. 5. 12, 13. The Glory in the Holy Mount was great at the giving of the Law: But it was no Glory to that of the Gospel administra­tion, 2 Cor. 3. 7, 10 Much more, to that purpose of the Glorified Redeemer who hath overcome, and is set down with the Father in his throne, Rev. 3. 21. Yea the Glory that will be given to God for ever will be through Jesus Christ, Rom. 16. 17.

[Page 219] And indeed, it is a very great Que­stion whether: we shall immediately see the Essence of God in Heaven, or only see him in the glorified Redeemer, and whether Christ will not then be the Me­diator of our Fruition, as he was here the Mediator of Acquisition. But certain we are, that God will be everlastingly pleased and glorified in the Person of the Redeemer, as well as in the Church, which is his body.

9. And reductively it may be said to be Gods End in this blessed work, that he may more fully demonstrate his Vindictive Justice, according to the Gospel, or Law of the Redeemer, upon them that finally reject his grace, then it would have been manifested on the terms of the Law of Creation, on Adam and his off-spring. Though Christ came not into the world, (primarily) to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved, yet was it his purpose, that unbelievers that love darkness rather then light, s [...]ould fall under the special condemnation, Joh. 3. 18, 19. And that they should not see life, but the Wrath of God should abide upon them, vers. 36. God would not so much as permit them to reject his [Page 220] Salvation, but that he knows how he may be no loser by them: He suffereth with much patience the vessels of wrath, to make his Wrath and Power known, Rom. 9. 22. The mouths of the condemned will be utterly stopped, and they will be left speechles, when they are judged on terms of Grace, much more then they would have been if they had been judged only by the first Law: When they see Christ and Heaven, that was offered them, and remember their wilfull and obstinate con­tempt of them, their own Consciences and tongues shall justifie God, and con­fess that he is Righteous in the dreadfulest of his Judgments. If the word spoken by Angels was stedfast, and every trans­gression and disobedience received a just re­compence of reward, How shall they escape that neglect of great Salvation, which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, and then was confirmed by them that heard him, God also bearing them witness with signs and wonders, and with divers Miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost, Heb. 2. 3, 4. And if they escaped not, that refused him that spake on Earth, much more shall not they escape that turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven? For our [Page 221] God is a consuming fire, Heb. 12. 25, 29. So much of the Ends of Christ's under­taking in our Redemption.

In which you may see that there are divers things which Demonstrate the Glory of the forementioned Attributes of God, in this Gospel Dispensation. 1. It shineth forth in the Person of the Redeemer as he was on Earth, in his Na­ture and wonderfull conception, and his perfections. 2. And it also shineth forth in the Actions of his life, overcoming the world, and the Devil, and perfe­fectly fullfilling the Law of God: So that the Image of his Father, did shine forth in his Conversation. 3. And also in his Death and Sufferings was the Fa­ther glorified, as I shewed before. 4. And also in the most Wise and Holy frame of those Laws, by which the grace of the Mediator is conveyed, and the Church governed. 5. And by the Image of God, by the impress of those Laws on the Souls of his Saints, and by the holi­ness of their lives, the Glory of God is also demonstrated. 6. As also by the Justifying sentence of the Judge, and the glorious Reward bestowed on the Faith­full. 7. And by the Condemning sen­tence [Page 222] and execution on the ungodly, in whom Vindictive Justice will be honour­ed. 8. And in the perfection of the In­dividual Saints, and their perfect Love and Praise. 9. And in the Saints as im­bodyed in the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Glory of which will be the Glory of God. 10. And pricipally in the Blessed Person and Work of the Redeemer. In all these will Gods Glory shine forth for ever.

Quest. But to whom is it that God doth thus Demosntrate his Glory?

Answ.) 1. To the Saints in this life, in that degree as is suited to a state of Grace, and the condition of a travailer that lives by Faith. We are apt to look upward, and long after fuller revelations of the Heavenly Kingdom and mystery, and marvail that God will not shew himself more fully to his Saints on Earth. Fain we would know more of God, and Christ, and the life to come, and it is oft matter of some temptation to us, that God doth not satifie these desires, but leaveth them in so much darkness, that are wil­ling of his light. But this is, because we do not consider how much of Glory consisteth in the light: and that Grace is [Page 223] more in the Disires of it then in the pos­session: and if we should have as much of it as we desire, it were but to bring down Heaven to Earth. Means must be suited to their ends. God will discover to us so much of his Glory, as may quic­ken our desires, and keep alive our hope, and patience, and endeavours; but not so much as shall satisfie us, and answer our expectations. For Heaven is not here. We must not carry our Home about with us, but travail towards it, that we may reach it at the last.

2. God doth even now Demonstrate the Glory of his forementioned Attri­butes, in the work of Redemption, not only to his Saints, but to the Angels of Heaven. The consideration of this hath often satisfied me, when I have been tempted to wonder at the work of Re­demption, that God should so far con­descend as to be incarnate, and make such glorious discoveries of himself, and yet that so few in the world should take notice of it, and be should have from men so little of the honour, that he seem­eth by his preparations to expect. But the most part of the world did never once see the Glory that shineth to them in the [Page 224] Redeemer. But God hath another world besides this, and other Creatures besides man, in all likelyhood incomparably more numerous (perhaps thousands for one) and certainly more excellent. And though Christ did assume the Nature of Angels, and came not to Redeem them that needed no Redeemer, yet may the lustre of this work of Redemption appear to the Angels more clearly then to man; and God may have a thousand-fold more Glory from them that are but the specta­tors and admirers, then from us in our present darkness, that are yet possessors. As we that are here on Earth, do look upon and admire the Glory of the Sunne, which is as it were in another world, and out of our reach; so the Angels much more may gaze upon the Glory of the Sonne of God, and admire the Lord in the work of our Redemption, though they were not the Redeemed ones. So that unto them doth God shine forth by it in his excellencies.

Perhaps you'l say, that cannot be: be­cause this is but seeing him in a glass; when the Angels see him face to face, and immediately behold his blessed Essence: or else how can the Saints expect that beati­ficall [Page 225] Vision. To which I answer First, that I am uncertain whether seeing face to face bean immediate intuition of the Essence of God, or only such a sight of his Glory in those emanations, that are as appropri­ated to the place or state of Bliss. Gods Essence is every where; but that Glory is not every where: And so I know not whether our present knowledg be not called Enigmaticall, and as in a glass, comparatively to that Glory prepared for the Saints: But secondly, I answer, that certain I am that God is Demon­strated to his Angels in the Redeemer, yea in the Church it self, which is the Subject of his Grace, and that they are both Affected, and Imployed about us accordingly. He that spoiled Principali­ties, and Powers, and openly triumphed over them, and by death, overcame him that had the power of death, Col. 2. 15. Heb. 2. 14. And had so much to do a­gainst the evill Angels as Enemies, no doubt is joyfully observed by the good Angels. And he that is set so far above Principalities, and Powers, and Might, and Dominion, and every name that is na­med in this world, or that which is to come, Ephes. 1. 21. And is gone in to [Page 226] Heaven, and is on the right hand of God, Angels, and Authorities, and Powers, being made subject to him, (1 Pet. 3. 22.) no doubt is honoured and admired by Angels. And indeed it is expresly said, Let all the Angels of God worship him, Heb. 1. 6. And what are they all but Mi­nistring spirits, sent forth to Minister for them, who shall be heirs of Salvation, Heb. 1. 14. And therefore sent forth by Jesus Christ, the Lord of Saints. Which makes some think that the title of Angels, was never given to any of these Spirits, till the Mediators undertaking, and that it was only as they were his deputed mes­sengers, or servants for the Ends of that undertaking. Sure we are, they atten­ded his birth with their acclamations, and his life and sufferings (as far as was meet) with their service; and that they are deputed to bear his servants in their hands, that they dash not their foot a­gainst a stone; that they are ascending, and descending, and are present with the Churches in their Holy Worship; and that they rejoyce at the Conversion of one sinner; and that the least of Christ's ser­vants, have their Angels beholding the face of God: and that the Law was given [Page 227] by their disposition or ordination; and they attend the departing Souls of Belie­vers; and that they contend against evill spirits for our good, and are encamped about us, and that they shall attend the Lord at his coming to Judgment, and be his glorious retinue, and Instruments in the work; and that they are numbred with us, as members of the same Hea­venly Jerusalem, and that we shall be like or equall to them, Luke 2. 14, 15. Marke 4. 11. Luke 22. 43. Acts 10. 6, 7, 22. Psal. 34. 7. & 91. 11. Matth. 13. 39, 41. & 16. 27. & 24. 31. & 25. 31. & 26. 53. Luke 16. 22. Matth. 18. 10. 2 Thes. 1. 7. Luke 20. 36. Marke 12. 25. Acts 7. 65. Gal. 3. 19. Heb. 12. 22. 2 Pet. 2. 11. Luke 15. 10. Joh. 1. 51. Yea men must be either confessed or denied, owned or disowned, before the Angels, Luke 12. 8, 9. See Rev. 19. 18. Rev. 3. 5. But if all this seem not sufficient to perswade you that the Angels are so far interessed in the af­faires of God about the Redeemed, as to behold and admire him in this blessed work, take notice of the express affirma­tions of the Scriptures, 1 Pet. 1. 12. Which things the Angels desire to look into. [Page 228] And why but to see and admire the Wis­dom, and Power, and Goodness, and Mercy, and Justice of God, shining forth in the Redeemer? If this be not plain enough, mark well those words, Ephes. 3. 10. To the intent that now unto the Principalities, and Powers in Hea­venly places, might be known by the Church, the manifold Wisdom of God. You see here that the Church of the Re­deemed, is that admirable looking glass, which God hath set up to this very intent, that his Angels may in it, or by it, be­hold the manifold Wisdom of God: Yea and that upon the full revelation of Christ by the Gospel, they saw that which did more fully inform, and illuminate them. No doubt but the very work of Creati­on, yea of this inferior world, that are made for the habitation, and use of man, are far better known to Angels then to man: for we know but little of what we daily see and use: And consequently it is by Angels more then by men, that God is beheld, admired, and glorified in them. And if it be so in these works of Creation, we may well say, it is so in the works of Redemption.

3. But when we are perfected in [Page 229] Glory, then we our selves shall clearly see the Glory of this Mystery, and of God therein. As it is not till we come to Hea­ven, that we shall have the fullest bene­fits of Redemption, so it is not till then, that we shall have the fullest understanding of it, and God have his fullest praises for it. As we are here but sowing the seed of our own Glory, which we must reap in the everlasting fruition of God; so God is here but sowing those seeds of his Praise, and Glory, which he will eternally reap by this blessed work. Do not therefore judg of the ends, and fruits of Christ's undertakings, by what you see him attain on Earth, but by what he shall attain in Heaven, when he hath fully seen the travail of his Soul, to his satisfaction, and hath presented the whole Church without spot unto God, and when the glorious manage of the Lamb, with the Heavenly Jerusalem is solemnized, and the Kingdom delivered up to the Father, Isa. 53. 11. Ephes. 5. 27. Rev. 19. 7. 1 Cor. 15. 24. It will be another manner of conceiving which we shall have in Heaven of this blessed work, when we see the face of our Glo­rified Lord, and fully possess the fruits of [Page 230] his Redemption, then this is that we have now by our weak believing. We shall then have another manner of sight of the Wisdom, and Power, and Love, and Justice that appear to man, in the face of Christ, then now we have.

4. Yea the tormenting discoveries of the Glory of Redemption to the con­demned rejecters of it, shall also contri­bute to the Glory of God.

You see then that this work hath most Glorious Ends; which I have mentioned the more largely, both to remove their temptations that are apt to think, that it was an unnecessary thing, and therefore the less regardable, and to teach men the true value of it, by shewing them the true Ends.

For the former, I say, There was no necessity that God should make the world, and reveale his Power, and Wis­dom, and Goodness, in this excellent frame, but what did suppose the free Will of God, the Original Cause. Will you therefore say, that the Creation is vaine; and undervalue Gods admirable works in which he thus revealeth himself to the intellectuall Creatures? So here; we confess that there could be no neces­sity [Page 231] of Redemption, but what was Ori­ginally derived from the Will of God, (though a necessity ad finem there was, from the constitution of things, upon supposition of what went before the un­dertaking.) But yet shall we undervalue so glorious a work, in which the Divine perfections do so fully reveale themselves to the world?

And I say the more of this, because I do observe that its the not apprehending the high and excellent Ends of Redemp­tion, that makes it so much slighted, and consequently tempteth many to in­fidelity. For the Ends and Uses do set the value on the means. That is of little worth, that is to little purpose, and doth but little good. If men understood more the Ends of Redemption, and how much of God doth shine forth in the world, in the Person, and Life, and Laws, and Works of the Sonne of God, they would then live in the admiration of it, and be alwaies searching, and prying into it, and desire to know nothing but God in Christ Crucified, and account all things else but as loss and dung for this excellent knowledg: But alas, the most do s [...]arce discern any higher Ends of [Page 232] Christ, or other use of him, then to save themselves from Hell, and for want of Faith, and through Humiliation, they have but little sense of that: And there­fore no wonder if the Redeemer be neg­lected, and God denied the honour of the work.

So much of this second point, the Rea­sons, and Ends of Christ's undertaking. I shall purposely be shorter on the rest.

3. The third point to be understood concerning our Redeemer, is, What he hath done and suffered for mankind, and wherein his Redeeming work consisted both as to the General and the special part. Should I stand on these at large, I must needs be voluminous; and therefore I shall but briefly reciet them for your remem­brance.

I. The first thing that Christ did for the saving of the world, was his Inter­posing between offending man, and the wrath of God; and so preserving the world from the destruction, which the execution of the violated Law would have procured: Undertaking then to become the Seed of the woman, and so to break [Page 233] the Serpents head: and revealing this Grace by slow degrees, till the time of his coming.

And then when the fullness of time was come, he was made man, being conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary, and so the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among men, who beheld his Glory, as the Glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of Grace, and Truth, Joh. 1. 14. Thus God was manifested to men in the flesh. 1 Tim. 3. 16.

3. And as he was perfectly Holy in his Nature without any stain or guilt of Original sinne; so was he perfectly Ho­ly in his Life, and never broke the least Command of God in thought, word, or deed. Never could any convince him of sinne, Joh. 8. 46. He fulfilled the Law of Nature, which all the world was un­der, and the Mosaical Law which the Jews were under, and the special Law that was given to himself as Mediator, and was common to no other Creature in the world.

And thus he performed these excellent works. I. By the fullfilling of all Righ­teousness he pleased the Father, alwaies [Page 234] accomplishing his Will; and so did much of the work of a Saviour in Meriting for for us. Matth. 3. 15. & 5. 17. Joh. 8. 29. Matth. 12. 18. & 17. 5. Rom. 5. 19. For such an High-priest became us, who is Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, Heb. 7. 26.

2. He hath conquered the Tempter, that conquered us. And therefore did he purposely yield himself to such sore temptations, Matth. 4. That his Victo­ry might be glorious, and the Second Adam might overcome him that had overcome the first. And thus he hath done much to the rescue of the Capti­vated.

3. Hereby also he hath overcome the world, which overcame the first Adam, and his posterity: He trampled upon its seeming glory; he neglected and de­spised its baits and allurements; he went through all its cruel persecutions, and oppositions: So that the world now as well as the Devil, are conquered things. By which he hath made way for the Vi­ctory of his followers, and given them ground of great encouragment, Joh. 16. 33. Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world. Yea I may say in a sort he hath [Page 235] overcome the flesh also. For though Christ had no corrupt flesh as we have to contend with, yet had he a natural and sensitive appetite, which the Command of God did forbid him to fulfill. And therefore when innocent Nature di [...]red that the Cup might pass from him, and abhor death by a simple Aversness; yet perfect Holiness permitted not this to proceed to a Refusal by the comparing Intellect, and Choosing, or Refusing Will; but saith, Not my will, but thine be done. And when Christ was hungry and weary, the desire of food and rest, by the sensitive appetite, was no sinne: But when the Work of God forbad the full­filling of such desires, he still denyed them.

4. Hereby also he hath set us a perfect copy and patern of obedience, and is be­come our Example whom we must endea­vour to imitate. For he knew that it is the most effectual teaching, to do it by words and deeds together. It is a great help to us, when we do not only heare his voice, but see also which way he hath gone before us. When he saith, Learn of me, he directs us, not only to his words, but to himself, who was [Page 236] meeke and lowly, Matth. 11. 28.

5. Moreover Christ received of the Father fullness of the Spirit, and Pow­er, for the benefit of the Redeemed: that he might be meet to be the Head, and the Treasury of the Church, and to shower down the streams of Grace upon his Members; and when all Power was given him in Heaven, and Earth, he might be fitted to the following applica­tion of his benefits, and to rule, and sup­port, and defend his people.

6. Moreover he was pleased himself to become a Preacher of the Gospel of Salvation; not to all the world, but principally as a Minister of the Circum­cision, that is, the Jews, Rom. 15. 8. He that purchased Salvation, condescen­ded also to proclaime it. The preaching of the Gospel, is a work that Christ thought not himself too good for, Some­times to many, sometimes to one or two as he had opportunity; often with tears; and alwaies with earnestness and compas­sion, did he go about doing good, and seeking the lost, and healing the diseased, and calling men to Faith, and Repen­tance, and offering them the Grace, and Life which he purchased.

[Page 237] 7. And he was pleased also to seale up his Doctrine by his Works, casting out Devils, healing all diseases, raising the the dead, and working divers other Mi­racles, to assure them that he came from God, and did his Work, and revealed his Will, that so the world might have no excuse for their unbelife; but that they that would not believe upon any other account, might yet believe him for the sake of his works, Joh. 3. 2. Acts 2. 22. Heb. 2. 4. Joh. 5. 36. & 10. 25 38. & 14. 11, 12. & 15. 24.

8. Besides all this, he gave up him­self, to a life of suffering, being despi­sed by his Creatures whom he came to Redeeme, and destitute voluntarily of fleshly pleasures, and of that riches, and worldly provision, that might procure it: He was a man of sorrows, afflicted from his youth; persecuted from the Cradle; he gave his Cheeks to the smi­ters, and his Person to be made the scorn of fools: He was crowned with thornes, spit upon, and buffited, and having sweat water, and blood, in his Agonie in the garden, he was hanged on a Cross, where thieves were both his companions, and revilers, where they gave him gall, [Page 238] and vineger to drink, pierced his blessed Body with a spear and put him to a sham­full cursed death. But he endured the Cross, despising the shame, and gave up himself thus a Sacrifice for sinne, and bore our transgressions, that we might be healed by his stripes; and having ran­somed us by his Blood, he was buried as an offender, continuing for a time in the Power of the grave, Isa. 53. through­out, Matth. 26▪ & 27. Heb. 12. 2. All this he consented to undergo (though he consented not to the sinne of them that did inflict it) For he laid down his Life, it was not taken from him against his Will, Joh. 10. 17, 18.

9. Having thus paid the price of our Reconciliation to God, the third day he Rose again from the dead: Though Soldiours watcht his grave, because he had foretold them that he would rise the third day, yet were they soon daunted by the glory of an Angel, that came and roled away the stone. And so Christ made known his Divine Power, and Vi­ctory, and the finishing of his work: And as by death he overcame him that had the power of death, that is, the De­vil, Heb. 3, 14. So by his Resurrection [Page 239] he triumphed over death it self. For how should the grave detain the innocent, and death overcome the Lord of Life? This was the glorious day of triumph: In re­membrance of this, he appointed the Lords Day to be observed by the Church. The Resurrection of Christ, was the con­fusion of all the powers of darkness; the great Argument to confirm the truth of his Doctrine, and prove his Godhead to the unbelieving world.

10. Being risen, he more fully revea­led his Gospel, and sent forth his Apo­stles and Disciples, to proclaim the offers of Life to the world, and settle the Churches in a Holy order, when they had gathered them, and to ordaine such Ministers to succeed them, as might car­ry on his work to the end of the world, Matth. 28. 19, 20. And thus he is the faithfull Law-giver to the Church.

11. When he had abode thus forty daies on Earth, he ascended up into Heaven while his Disciples stood by, and gazed after him, Acts 1. 9, 10. And there hath taken possession in our Nature, ad­vancing it to the Fathers right hand in Glory, which was by sinne deprest so low in misery. And so he is gone to pre­pare [Page 240] a place for us, leaving us a certain word of promise that he will come again, and take us to himself, that where he is there we may be also, Joh. 14. 2, 3. And as our life now is hid there with Christ in God, so when he shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory, Col. 3. 3, 4.

12. Being ascended, he manifested his Power and his Truth in sending down the Holy Ghost upon his Disciples, ena­bling them to do such works as he had done, and such as were necessary to con­vince the unbelieving world, and to con­quer the opposing wisdom and power of the flesh: Enabling them to speak in va­riety of Languages, which they had ne­ver before learnt; as also to understand, and powerfully preach the mysteries of the Gospel, to confirm their Doctrine by Miracles, healing the lame, the blind, the sick, casting out Devils, raising the dead, and conquering the resistance of Principalities, and Powers, in seeming weakness, and in a contemptible garbe. Not to speak now of the Sanctifying Work of the same Spirit, on them, and on the rest of the Church.

13. Lastly in this Glory Christ Inter­cedeth for us, and is our High-priest in [Page 241] the Heavens with God, living for ever, procuring and conveying to us the Mer­cies which we need upon the account of his Sacrifice: Ruling his Church, and pre­serving them; succeeding his Cause, and Servants; restraining and subduing his Enemies and ours; and will perfect his work at the day of his Coming to Judg­ment. So much of the works of Christ.

4. The fourth point to be understood concerning our Redemption, is, The Nature and worth of the Benefits that are procured for us. Which though you may gather much from what is said, and the full handling of them, would be a larger work, then is suitable to my present Ends, yet such a brief recital I shall here give you, as my Ends require.

In General, we have All from Jesus the Mediator that is worth the having; even all the blessings of this present life, and of the life to come. As we lost our Right to all by sinne, so we have our restored Right by Christ alone, who came to destroy sinne, and its effects. Had not he interposed, we might have had materially life, and natural faculties, [Page 242] and other things which now are Mercies; but not as Mercies, but as the requi­sites to our deserved punishment: Even as the Devils have their Being, and natu­ral perfections to sustain them in their sufferings. Nature it self, so far as Good, and all Natural blessings, are now of Grace: And that not only of such Grace as they were to Adam, which was Mer­cy without proper Merit: but of Gospel Grace procured by Christ; which is Mer­cy contray to Merit. It is no sounder Do­ctrine to say, that God doth without the Merit of his Sonne bestow our com­mon forfeited Mercies, either on the Elect, or others, then that he giveth us his Saving grace without it. As all things are delivered into the hands of Christ, Joh. 13. 3. So none can receive any good but from his hands. To give Mercies to men that forfeit them, and descern mi­sery, is so far to pardon their sinne; for to remit the sinne, is to remit the pu­nishment: But the Scripture is not ac­quainted with any pardon of sinne, but what is on the account of the Merits of Christ. They that deny this Mercy of God, in giving even to the ungodly such a measure of forgiveness, do speak [Page 243] against the daily, and hourly experience of all the world; and therefore need no other confutation.

More particularly. 1. Christ having taken the Humane Nature into Union with the Divine, our nature is thereby unconceivably advanced, and brought nigh to God.

2. Having fulfilled the Law, and of­fered himself a Sacrifice for sinne, Gods Justice, and Wisdom, and Holiness, and Goodness, is admirably Demonstra­ted: And this Sacrifice is both Satisfa­ctory, and meritorious, on our behalf, Heb. 1. 3. 2 Cor. 5. 19. Heb. 9. 26. and 10 12.

3. The world, and the Devil, and Death, and the Grave, are conquered by him; in preparation to our con­quest.

4. The Lord Jesus himself being risen, and Justified, hath received all Power in Heaven and Earth, Mat. 28. 19. and is en­abled to do all things that are necessary for his further ends. As the Redeemer he is become Lord of our selves, and of all we have; and he is made the Soveraigne Ruler of all, having full Power to relax the Law that cursed us, and to deal [Page 244] with the world on terms of Grace.

5. Accordingly he hath kept off the stroke of the rigorus Justice of God, and hindered the strict execution of the Law of works, and giveth still abundance of forfeited Mercies to the sinfull world, keeping them from deserved torments, while he is treating with them on terms of life.

6. He hath made an Universal deed of gift, of Christ, and Life to all the world, on Condition that they will but Accept the offer, 1 Joh. 5. 10, 11, 12. Joh. 1. 11, 12. & 3. 16, 17, 18, 19. In this Testament or Promise or Act of Oblivi­on, the sinnes of all the world are con­ditionally pardoned, and they are con­ditionally Justified, and Reconciled to God.

7. He hath given Apostles, Evange­lists, Pastors, and Teachers, to pro­claim this Act of Grace to the world, commanding them to go into All the world, and preach this Gospel to every Creature, and promise Salvation to all that by Faith will become his true Disci­ples, Marke 16. 16. Matth. 28. 20, 22. So that their commission also for the promulgation is universal.

[Page 245] 8. Though his servants have most la­mentably neglected their duty, and have not gone abroad the world, to divulge the Gospel according to his Will; ima­gining that this work had been proper to Apostles; and though the Nations have sinfully neglected a due enquirie after this blessed Light, yet hath he not left him­self among them without witness, but hath given them some dawnings of the day, or some moon-light in the reflecti­ons of Evangelical Truth, who have not seen the Sunne it self: Much Mercy they have had, notwithstanding their trans­gressions; and while they served De­vils, they have been provided for by God, in whom they live, and move, and be: doing them good, and giving them raine from Heaven, and fruitfull seasons, filling their hearts with fo [...]d and gladness; and this to teach them, that they should seek the Lord, if happily they might feel after him, and find him; though he be not farre from every one of them, Acts 14. 17. & 17. 27, 28. And that which may be known, of God, is manifest among them, for God hath shewed it to them; for the in­visible things of him from the Creation of the world are clearly seen, being under­stood [Page 246] by the things that are made, even his eternal Power, and Godhead; so that they are without excuse, Rom. 1. 19, 20. By experience they may find, that God deal­eth not now in rigor of Justice, but on terms of Grace, and that sinne is not [...]ow unpardonable: and they should know that the Goodness of God leadeth them to repentance, Rom. 2. 4.

9. As the Gospel conditionally par­doneth all their sinnes, and offereth them Everlasting life, so it conteineth the clearest Reasons, and most effectual mo­tives, to perswade them to Accept the offer. It affordeth them most excellent precepts, and instructions, and exhorta­tions, and other helps to bring them to a willingness, that Salvation may be theirs.

10. To which also is added abundance of outward providential helpes, to fur­ther the working of the Gospel; as sea­sonable afflictions, and Mercies of divers sorts.

11. And with these is usually concur­rent some inward motions, and assistance of the Holy Ghost; as knocking at the doore, where he is not yet let in, and entertained.

[Page 247] 12. And by their presence in the visi­ble Church, even the ungodly have ma­ny benefits in the Ordinances, and in­structions, and examples of the Saints. All these (besides a Resurrection) are common effects of General Redemption, and not appropriated to the Elect.

Besides which there are others that the Elect only do receive. As 1. God is plea­sed by effectual Grace, to draw them to his Sonne, and make the Gospel succes­full to their Conversion, insuperably teaching, and charging them by his Spi­rit, and causing them to Repent, and believe in Christ, and to perform the Conditions of his forementioned Promi­ses. That Love that brought the Lord on Earth, that cloatheth him with flesh, that lifted him up upon the Cross, doth stream forth in his season into the hearts of his Elect, and toucheth them with a changing Power, and winneth them to his Father, and himself, and droppeth into them those Heavenly Principles, which will grow up in them to Everla­sting Life.

2. Hereupon the Soul believing in Christ is United to him, as a Member of his Body, even of his true Catholik [Page 248] Church; and Christ is become the Head, the Husband, the Lord, the Saviour of that Soul in a special sort. Christ himself is first given to us in these Relations; and from him as our Head, his following be­nefits are conveyed. He that hath the Sonne hath life, and he that hath not the Sonne hath not life; for this Life is in the Sonne, 1 Joh. 5. 11, 12. He is the Vine, and we are the Branches, and out of him we can do nothing, Joh. 15. 1, 2, 5. As it was not we that purchased our own Salvation, so it is not we, but Christ that must have the keeping, and dispen­sing of the purchased benefits. For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell, and that he should be the Head over all things to his Church, that it might by communication become his fulness, Col. 1. 19. Eph's. 1. 22, 23. He is our Treasury, and from him we must have our continual supplies: For with him the Father will give us all things, Rom. 8. 32. And thus Christ will dwell in our hearts by Faith, Ephes. 3. 17. And set up the Kingdom of God within us.

3. Hereupon we have the pardon of all our sinnes; not only as to the tem­poral [Page 249] punishment, nor only as to the be­stowing of temporal Mercies, or common helps of Creatures, and Providences; for this is but a winking at the daies of our ignorance (Acts 17. 30.) in compari­son of the pardon, which afterward we receive Nor is it only a Conditonal, or Offered pardon; But it is an Actual Re­mission of the Eternal, and of all the de­structive Punishment. And thus we are Justified from all that might be charged on us from the Law, and accepted, and used as just by God. There is a kind of for­giveness that was promised to the Sacrifi­cers, Lev. 4. 20, 26, 31, 35▪ & 5, 10, 13, 16, 18, & 6. 7. Numb. 15. 28. But as that was upon Christs account, so it extended not to the pardon of the Eternal Punishment to any but true Believers. He that was once Crucified, is exalted by Gods right­hand, a Prince, and a Saviour, to give Repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sinnes, Acts 5. 31. Through this man is preached the forgiveness of sinnes; and by him all that believe, are justified from all things, from which they could not be justi­fied by the Law of Moses, Acts 13. 38, 39. When our eyes are open, and we are turned from dakness to light, and from [Page 250] the power of Satan unto God, we then re­ceive Remissio [...] of our sinnes, Acts 26. 18. When we are delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the King­dom of Christ: in him we have then Re­demption through his Blood, even the for­giveness of sinnes, Col. 1. 13, 14. And blessed are they whose iniquities are forgi­ven, and whose sinnes are covered, to whom the Lord imputeth not sinne, Rom. 4. 7. And now who shall condemn us? It is God that justifieth us: For there is no Condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, that walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, Rom. 8. 1, 33, 34.

4. With this benefit doth concurre, our Reconciliation to God, and our Adop­tion; by which we are made his Sonnes, and God is pleased to own us as our Fa­ther. For being one with Christ the Sonne of God, we are Sonnes by him. For to as many as receive him, to them gave he Power to become the Sonnes of God, even to them that believe in his Name, Joh. 1. 12. This is the wonderfull Love that the Father hath bestowed on those that were his Enemies; that they should not only be reconciled to him, by the death of his Sonne, but also be called the [Page 251] Sonnes of God, Rom 5. 10. 1 Joh. 3. 1. For he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be Holy, and without blame before him in love; having predestiuated us to the Adop­tion of Children, by Jesus Christ to him­self, according to the good pleasure of his Will, to the praise of the Glory of his Grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved, Ephes. 1. 4, 5. 6. O what an unspeakable Mercy is it, to have the bles­sed God, whom we had so oft offended, to become our Reconciled Father in Christ. For it is not an empty title that he assumeth; but he hath more abundant love to us, and tenderness of our wel­fare, then any title can make us under­stand.

5. And hereupon it doth immediatly follow, that we have a right to the bles­sed Inheritance of his Sonnes, and are certain Heirs of his Heavenly Kingdom, Col. 1. 12. For if Sonnes, then Heirs, Heirs of God, and Joint Heirs with Christ, Rom. 8. 17. Being saved by the washing of Regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and justified by Grace through Christ, we are made Heirs, ac­cording to the hope of Eternal Life, [Page 252] Tit. 3. 5, 6, 7. Being begotten againe to a lively hope, by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an Inheritance in­corruptible, and undefiled, and that fa­deth not away, reserved in Heaven for us, 1 Pet. 1. 3, 4.

6. With all the Holy Ghost is given to us, not only to close us at first with Christ, but to take up his abode in us as his temples, and to be the Agent, and Life of Christ within us, and to do his work, and maintain his Interest, and clense us of all filthiness of flesh and Spi­rit, and Sanctifie us throughout, and to strive against, and conquer the flesh, and to keep us by Divine Power through Faith unto Salvation, 1 Cor. 6. 19. Gal. 5. 17, 22. 2 Cor. 6. 1. 1 Pet. 1. 5. For because we are Sonnes, God seudeth forth the Spirit of his Sonne into our hearts, whereby we cry Abba, Father, Gal. 4. 6. This Spirit of Adopton which we receive, doth bear witness with our spirits, that we are the Sonnes of God, Rom. 8. 15, 16. For if any man have not the spirit of Christ, the same is none of his, Rom. 8. 9. By this Spirit is the spirit of the world cast out of us; the spirit of pride, and of blindness, and of delusion, and hard-heartedness, [Page 253] and of sensuality, and malice, and hy­pocrisie, are cast out. By this is Gods Image imprinted on our Souls; we are conformed to his blessed Will; we are made partakers of the Divine Nature, be­ing Holy, as God is Holy, Col. 3. 10. 2 Pet. 1. 4. 1 Pet. 1. 16. Hereby we are delivered from the thraldom of sinne, and the slavery of the Devil; and the se­duction of the world, and our treache­rous Flesh. Hereby also we are fitted for the Service of God, to which before we were undisposed and unfit. O what an ease is it to the Soul, to be free from so much of the burden of sinne? What an honour is it to have the Spirit of God within us, and to have a Nature so truly Heavenly and Divine? How can it go ill with him that hath God dwelling in him, and that dwells in God? 1 Joh. 4. 15.

7. Another of our precious benefits by Christ is, that we shall be actually im­ployed in the special, and neerest Service of God, that on Earth is to be performed. Let diseased Souls desire idlenes; and swinish sinners take pleasure in the mire, and feed like ravenous beasts on carrion, or as dogs on dung: but the Saints will ever rejoice in God, and take it for the [Page 254] most blessed life on Earth, when they can but do him the greatest Service. Let his Enemies that hate his Service, be wea­ry of it, as if it were a toile or drudge­ry; but his Children will desire no swee­ter work: They never think themselves so well as when they are most serviceable to their blessed Lord, though at the greatest cost and labour to the flesh. So sweet is Gods Service, that the more of it we can do, the more is our pleasure, and honour, and content. Other work spendeth strength, but this increaseth it: Other work must have r [...]creation inter­mixt, but this is it self the most delight­full recreation: Other service is under­taken for the love of the wages; but this is undertaken for the Love of the Master, and the work, and is wages it self, to them that go through with it. For other service is but a means, and that to some inferior end; but this is a means to the Everlasting perfection, and blessedness of the Soul; and such a means as con­taineth, or Presently procureth some­what of the end. All the Saints are even here a chosen Generation, a royal Priest­hood, an holy Nation, a peculiar People, that they should shew forth the praises of [Page 255] him that hath called them, out of darkness, into his marvelous light: They are an holy Priesthood, to offer up a Spiritual Sacrifice, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 2. 5, 9. Their very bodies are a living Sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, in their reasonable service. What a sweet work is it to live in the daily Love of God? in his Praises; in the hopes, and sweet fore-thoughts of Everlasting Joyes: The world affordeth not such a Master, nor such a work.

8. Another of the precious benefits by Christ is, The liberty of accesse in all our wants to God by Prayer, with a pro­mise to be heard. The flaming sword did keep the way to the tree of life, till Christ had taken it down, and consecrated for us a new and living way, through the Vaile, which is his flesh: and now we have boldness to enter into the Holiest, by the blood of Jesus: and therefore may draw neer with a true heart in full assurance of Faith, Heb. 10. 19, 20, 22. When worldlings may cry to their Baal in vaine, the Righteous cry, and the Lord heareth them, and de­livereth them out of all their (hurtfull) troubles. O what a Mercy is it in our falls, in our distresses, in our dangers, [Page 256] in our wants, to have a God, a faith­full mercifull Father, to go to, and make our moane to for relief? What a Mercy is it, when our flesh, and our hearts do faile us, when friends, and worldly things all fail us, to have God for the Rock of our hearts, and our Portion? Psal. 73. 26. When sickness begins to break these bodies, and earthly delights do all forsake us, and death calls us to come to our endless state, then to have a Reconciled Father to go to, and crave his ayd, upon the encouragment of a promise, and recommend our Souls into his hand as to a faithfull Creator, and our surest deerest friend; this is a Mercy that no man can well value, till they come to use it. To know every day, that as oft as ever we come to God, we are alwaies welcome; and that our persons, and prayers are pleasing to him through his Sonne; what a Mercy is it? One would think we should live joyfully, if we had but one such promise as this for Faith to live upon: Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorifie me, Psal. 50. 15. Whatso­ever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the [Page 257] Sonne, Joh. 14. 13, 14. No wonder if they be rich, that have so free access to such a treasure; and if they be safe that have access to so sure a help. For God is a very present help in trouble, Psal. 46. 1.

9 Another precious benefit is, that we have Peace of Conscience, or ground for it at the least, in our Peace with God: and so may come to assurance of Salvation, and may partake of the Joy in the Holy Ghost: For in this Peace and Joy the Kingdom of God doth much consist. When the chief cause of all our fear, and sorrow is done away, what then is left to break our Peace. When we have no cause to fear the flames of Hell, nor the sting of death, or the appearance of our Judge, any further then to move us to make ready; what then should greatly trouble the Soul. If God and Heaven be not matter of comfort, I know not what is? If we saw a man, that had got many Kingdoms, to be still sad, and dumpish because he had no more; we would say, he were very ambitious, or covetuous: And yet he might have rea­son for it: But if you have the Love of God, and a title by promise to the Hea­venly [Page 258] Inheritance, and yet you are dis­contented, and God, and Glory is not enough for you; this is most unreaso­nable.

10. Another of our precious benefits by Christ is, Our Spiritual Communion with his Church, and holy members. We do not only joyne with them in outward Communion, but we unite our desires, and there is an harmony of affections. We are in the maine of one Mind, and Will, and Way: and we joyntly con­stitute the Body of our Lord: We are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the Ci­ty of the Living God, the Heavenly Jeru­salem, and to an innumerable company of Angels, to the general Assembly, and Church of the first born, which are writ­ten in Heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new C [...]venant, Heb. 12. 22, 23, 24. We are joyned to that Body, and have Communion with it; which consisteth both of militant, and triumphant Saints, and of the Angels also. We are no more strangers and forreiners, but fellow Citi­zens with the Saints, and of the houshold of God, and are built on the foundation of [Page 259] the Apostles, and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the cheif corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto an Holy Temple in the Lord; in whom we also are builded together, for an habitation of God, through the Spirit, Ephes. 2. 19, 20, 21, 22. And as in holy concord we serve the Lord, having one God, one Christ, one Spirit, one Faith, one Baptism, one Rule, the Word of God, one mind, one heart, one work of Holines, and Righteousness in the main; one hope, one Heaven, the place of our expectations; so have we the fruit of the Prayers of each other, and of all the Church, and have the honour, the safe­ty, and other benefits of being members of so blessed a Society.

Yea we have in this Communion, the whole Church obliged, and disposed ac­cording to their capacity to endeavour the good of every member. So that Ministers, and Magistrates, yea though they were Apostles, and Prophets, Paul, or Apollos, all are ours, 1 Cor. 3. 22. Kings have their Power for us: Ministers have their Gifts for us: and for us they must use them. If we suffer, every mem­ber must be as forward to assist us, and [Page 260] if we want, to relieve us according to their power, as if they suffered with us, 1 Cor. 12. 25, 26.

Yea the Angels are our Brethren (Rev. 22. 9.) and fellow servants, yea ministring spirits, sent forth to mini­ster for them that shall be Heirs of Salva­tion, Heb. 1. 14. To encamp about them, and to bear them in their arms, rejoycing to behold their graces, and prosperity, as was shewed before.

11. Another of our precious benefits by Christ is, that All things shall work to­gether for our good, Rom. 8. 28. When we are Sanctified to God, all things are Sanctified to us, to serve us for God, and help us to him. Every Creature that we have to do with, is as it were another thing to the Saints, then to other men. They are all wheels in that universal En­gine of Grace, to carry us to Salvation. The same things that are common Mer­cies to others, are special to us, as pro­ceeding from a special Love, and being designed to a special use. As flesh-plea­sing is the ultimate end of the ungodly, and all things are thereby debased, to be but means to that ignoble end: So the Pleasing and fruition of God, is the End of [Page 261] all the Saints, and thereby all things that they have to do with, are advanced to the honour of being Sanctified means to this most high, and noble End: And as they are engaged to use them to this End, and consequently to their own greatest advantage; so God hath engaged him­self to bless them in that holy use, and to cause them all by his gracious provi­dence to cooperate to their good. The greatest afflictions, the cruellest perse­cutions from the most violent enemies, our wants, our weaknesses, and death it self, all must concurre to carry on this work. What then should a Christian fear, but sinne? How honourable, and how safe, and how happy a life may he live, that hath all these assured for his service. And what causeless fears are they that use to afflict the Servants of God, concerning their outward troubles, and necessities? What do we fear, and groan under, and complaine of, but our Fathers physick, and the means of our Salvation? If this one Truth were but believed, and received, and used ac­cording to its worth, O what a life would Christians live.

12. The last, and greatest of our be­nefits [Page 262] by Christ is, Our Resurrection, and our Justification at the barre of God, and our reception into Glory. This is the end of all, and therefore containeth all. For this Christ died; for this we are Christi­ans; for this we believe, hope, and la­bour; for this we suffer, and deny our selves, and renounce this world. Our bodies shall then be spiritual and glori­ous, no more troubled with infirmities, diseases, or necessities. Our Souls shall be both naturally, and graciously perfe­cted; both in their faculties and quali­ties. We shall be brought nigh to God: We shall be numbered with the Inhabi­tants of the Heavenly Jerusalem, and be members of that blessed Society, and be companions, and equal with the Angels of God: we shall for ever behold our Glorified Redeemer, and see our own Nature, united to the Godhead; and we shall have the greatest, and neerest intuition and fruition of God, thefullest Love to him, and the swetest Rest, con­tent, and delight in him, that our crea­ted Natures are capable of: We shall everlastingly be imployed in this Love, and delight, and in his Praises with all the Heavenly Host: And the Glory of [Page 263] God will shine forth in our Glory, and the abundance of his Goodness will be communicated to us; and he will be well pleased with us, with our praises, with all that blessed Society, and with our Head: And this will endure to all Eter­nity.

Christians I have now named in a few words, those Benefits by Christ, which the heart of man is not able to value, in any proportion to their unexpressible worth: I have named that in an hour, which you must enjoy for ever. So much of our Benefits by Christ.

5. The fifth point to be understood, in the right Knowledg of Christ, is, The terms on which he conveyeth his Benefits to men, and how we must be made partakers of them.

And these Mercies are of two sorts, 1. Common: 2. Proper to them that are Heirs of Salvation. The Common are, 1. Those discoveries of Grace, that are made even to Heathens in the Creatures, and the mercifull Providences of God. These are Absolutely, and freely be­stowed, [Page 264] stowed, in some measure on all, but in a greater measure upon some as please the Giver. 2. The Supernatural, or Insti­tuted means, of Revealing Christ, and Life to the world, and drawing them to a saving consent of Faith. These are, the Gospel written and preached, with o­ther concomitant helps. The Commissi­on Christ hath given to his Embassadors, is to preach this Gospel to all the world, even to every (reasonable) Creature, without exception, or restriction. And it is Absolutely, and freely, given where it is given. But as to the providential disposal of the event, God causeth it not to be sent to all, but to whom he seeth meet.

2. The Proper or Special Mercies are of two sorts. 1. Some are Physical in­herent qualities, or performed acts: 2. And some are adherent Rights, or Relations.

Of the former inherent sort, there are these three Degees: 1. There is the first special work of Vocation, Conversion, or Regeneration, causing the sinner to Repent, and Believe, and giving him the Principle of Spiritual Life. 2. There is the bestowing of the In-dwelling [Page 265] Spirit of God, and progressive Santifi­cation of heart, and life, and perseve­rance with Victory. 3. There is the perfecting of all this, in our Glorious Perfection in the life to come.

For the first of these, God hath not promised it Conditionally, or Absolutely to any individual person that hath it not. He hath bound all to Repent, and Be­lieve, but hath not promised to make them do it: (only he hath revealed, that there are certain persons, so given to Christ, as that they shall be infallibly drawn to believe.) But he hath appointed certain means for the ungodly, which they are bound to use, in order to their Conversion; and if they will not use them, they are without excuse. If they will, they have very much encourage­ment from God: Both 1. In the Nature of the means, which are fitted to their ends, and are mighty to bring down, all oppositions; and 2. In the Commands, and Institution of God; whose Wisdom and Goodness may easily resolve us, that he will not appoint us means in vaine, nor set his Creatures on fruitless labours: And 3. Also from the Issue: for no man can stand forth and say, such a one did [Page 266] his best in the Use of means, and yet could not attain the End, but fell short of the Grace, and Glory of God.

The diseases of mens Souls, are wil­fullness, and blindness: The means of Cure, are the Perswasions, with the Revelations of the Gospel. Men have the Natural Powers of Understanding, and Willing: but they want that right disposition, which we call the Habit, or Moral Power, which is no more then to say, They are Habitually Blind and Wilfull. It is so far from being unreaso­nable to teach, and perswade men that are under such an Impotency as this, that there is nothing in the world, that doth more bespeak our teaching, and per­swasions: For this is the Natural, and Instituted way to cure them, and give them Power. What means of overcom­ing Ignorance like Teaching; and what means of overcoming Habituated Wil­fullness, like Perswasion, added to in­forming truths? We do not use to rea­son men out of a Natural Impotency, nor to perswade them to do that, for which they have no Faculties, or Object; but it is the very means of overcoming a Mo­ral Impotency, and making men willing [Page 267] of the Good which they rejected. And with this means doth God set in, and in­fallibly cause it to be effectual with his chosen. Thus no man cometh to the Sonne, except the Father draw him; And then for the two following De­grees, of Holiness in our Sanctification, and Glorious Perfection, God hath pro­mised them to those that have this first Degree. For the Spirit of Holiness is promised to all that truly Repent and Be­lieve, and Salvation to all that are San­ctified, and persevere. So that the Right to these Inherent Mercies, being a Relae­tion, is conveyed as other Rights, and Relations, of which we are next to speak.

2. As the Spirit by the Operation of the Word upon the heart, conveyeth the foresaid Inherent benefits, or qualities and acts, so the Promise of Grace, indi­ted by Christ, and the Spirit, doth as a Deed of Gift, or Testament, or Act of Oblivion, bestow on us our Rights, and Spiritual Relations; and from these they do result, as the immediate instrumen­tal Cause. Thus doth he give Power, or Right to as many as receive him, to be­come the Sonnes of God, Joh. 1. 12. [Page 268] Thus doth he give us Pardon, Justifica­tion, Adoption, and our Right to fur­ther Grace, and Glory. And these Promises are Conditional; and our Re­penting, and Believing in Christ is the Condition. And therefore till Conver­sion do bring us to Repent and Believe, we have no Right to any of these bene­fits of the Promise. And therefore though our Repentance and Faith, be none of the Proper Cause of our Justifica­tion, or Right; yet the main work, in order to our procurement of these bene­fits, that's now to be done, is to per­swade the sinner to Repent and Believe; to turn that he may live: For Gods Act of Grace is past already, and the Con­ditional Pardon is granted long ago, and will effectually Pardon us, as soon as we perform the Condition, and not before. Till then we hinder the Efficacy of the Deed of Gift: For Unbelief and Impe­nitency, are true Causes of mens Con­demnation, though Faith, and Repen­tance be not Proper Causes of their Sal­vation.

These Promises being Conditional, we cannot be assured of our part in the bene­fits, but by being assured that we per­form [Page 269] the Condition. By this you may see the Nature of presumption: When men say, they believe that which never was promised; or believe that they have right to the Blessings that are promised to others, and not to them; or believe that they shall have the benefits promi­sed, when they perform not the Condi­tions; all this is presuming, and not true believing. If men believe that God is re­conciled to them, and will Pardon them, and Justifie them, and save them, when they are unconverted, impenitent, un­regenerate men; this is not indeed a be­lieving of God, that hath never made them any such promise, nor ever told them any such matter, but the contrary: But it is a believing the false delusions of the Devil, and their own hearts. He that will claim any title to Christ, and Pardon, and Salvation, must have some­thing to shew for it; yea and something more then the most of the world have to shew: For the most shall be shut out. Every man therefore that regardeth his Salvation, must seriously ask his Soul this question, What have I to shew for my title to Salvation, more then the most of the world can shew? It is not saying, I [Page 270] hope to be saved, that will serve the turn' except I can give a Reason of my hopes' Thousands that lay claim to Salvation shall miss of it, because they have no title to it. And that which you must have to shew is this: A Promise, or Deed of Gift on Gods part, and the fullfilling of the Con­dition on your part. God saith to all men, who ever Repenteth, Believeth, or is converted, shall be saved. When you have found that you Repent of all your sinnes, and truly believe, and are con­verted to God, then, and not till then, you may conclude that you shall be saved.

6. The sixth Point to be understood, or believed, concerning these Benefits of Christ, is, the infallible Certainty of them. While men look on the promised Glory to come, as on an uncertain thing, they will hardly be drawn to ven­ture, and let go the porfits, and plea­sures of the world to attaine it; much less to part with life it self. The life of all our Christian motion, is the unfeigned belief of the Truth of Gods Word, and specially of the unseen things of the [Page 271] world to come. Such as mens belief of Heaven, and Hell is, such will be the bent of their hearts, and the course of their lives, and such they will be in yiel­ding to sinne, or in resisting it, and in all the service they do for God. As all men would take another course, if they did but see Heaven, and Hell with their eyes; so all men would presently throw away their worldly fleshly pleasures, and turn to God, and a holy life, if they did but as throughly believe the Joyes, and torments to come; as if they saw them. Flesh and blood can hardly judg of things, without the help of sense; and fleshly men take all things to be fantasmes or nothings, that are not within the judgment of their senses. They must see it, or feel it, or tast it, or hear it; and Believing is a way that hardly satisfies them; though it be God himself, that they are to believe. Believing is, tru­sting the Credit of an other: and we are naturally loth to trust to any, but our eyes, or other senses. We are so false our selves, that we are ready to measure God by our selves, and to think that he is a deceiver, because that we are such. And hence it is that the world is so un­godly, [Page 272] that they venture on sinne, and will not be at the cost, and labour of a Heavenly life; because they take the mat­ters of the life to come, to be but uncer­tainties, and have not so true a belief of them, as might possess them with a deep apprehension of their reallity. How should the Word profit them, that mixe it not with Faith, Heb. 4. 2. Unless by beget­ting Faith it self. O what a change would a sound belief of the Scriptures, make in the world. But having spoken so oft of this, in other writings, I shall say no more of it now. So much of the Know­ledg of Christ.

II. I have shewed you the first part of this Direction, How Christ must be Received understandingly. I now come to the second, which is, that He must be Received heartily. As God must be loved, so Christ must be believed in, with all the heart, and Soul, and strength: If not with All in a Perfect degree, (for that will not be till we come to Heaven) yet with All in a predominant prevalent degree. There are many convictions, and good meanings, and wishes, and [Page 273] purposes, which may proceed from common Grace, and be found in those that never shall be saved: These may be called (analogically) Faith, and Love, and Desire, as those are that are found in the truly Regenerate: and yet the per­sons in whom they are found, may not fitly be called Believers, or Lovers of God; because a man is to be denomina­ted, from that in him which is predomi­nant, and hath the chief power on his heart. The Soul of man is not so sim­ple as to move but one way: Its state in this life is to stand between two differing Competitours, God and the world, Spirit and flesh; and there is no man, that is Totally given up to either of them. No man is so good, and spiritual, that hath not something in him that is bad and carnal: And no man is so fully ad­dicted to God, but the Creature hath too much interest in his heart. Nor is there any man so given up to the Crea­ture, in whom God hath no manner of interest at all, in his Estimation, and Af­fections; if he indeed believe that there is a God. At least it is not so with all that are unconverted. Otherwise, 1. What: is it that common Grace [Page 274] doth, if it no whit dispose them towards God? Certainly it would not else be Grace. 2. And if this were not so, then we must say, that no unregenerate man hath any Good in him, that is truly Mo­ral: For if there be no interest of God in his mind or will, there can be no Good in him. But this is contrary to Scripture, and experience. It was undoubtedly some Moral Good, which Christ loved the man for, in Marke 10. 21. Who was not far from the Kingdom of God. 3. Otherwise all men must be equally de­parted from God, which is contrary to experience: 4. Yea all men must be as bad on Earth (privatively) as in Hell: which certainly is false. I may well say, that on Earth there is some Good in the worst; much more in those, that are almost perswaded to be converted Christi­ans. Many a thought of the Goodness of God and the necessity of a Saviour, and of the Love of Christ, and of the Joyes of Heaven, may be stirring, and working in the minds of the unsanctified; but if they take not up the Heart for Christ, the person is not a true Believer. As the Gospel must be Believed to be True, so Christ that is offered us in the Gospel as [Page 275] Good; must be Heartily, and Thankfully accepted accordingly: And the Glory, the Justification, Reconciliation with God, and other benefits procured by him, and offered with him, must be va­lued, and desired above all earthly fleshly things. If you are convinced that sinne is evill, as contrary to God, and hurtfull to you, and hereupon have some mind to let it go, and some wishes that Christ would save you from it, and yet still have a Love to it that is greater then your dislike, and the bent of your heart is more for it, then against it, and your habituate desires, are rather to keep, then to leave it; this is not San­ctification, nor a saving consent to be saved by Christ. If you have some con­victions that Holiness is good, as being the Image of God, and pleasing to him, and necessary to your Salvation, and so should have some mind of Holyness on these grounds; yet if you have on the other side a greater aversness to it, be­cause it would deprive you of the plea­sures of your sinne, and the Habitual in­clination of your will, is more against it then for it; certainly this will not stand with true Sanctification, of Faith in [Page 276] Christ, to save you from the power of sinne by his Spirit. Thousands deceive themselves, by misunderstanding some common passages, that are spoken to comfort afflicted Consciences; viz. That the least true desires after Grace, do prove the Soul to be Gracious. This is true, if you speak of the least Desires, which are Predominant in the Soul, when our De­sire is more habitually then our unwilling­ness, and we thus preferre Christ before all the world, the least of this is an Evi­dence of Saving Grace. But such De­sires as are subdued by the contrary De­sires; and such a will as is accompanyed with a greater unwillingness, habitually, and such a Faith, as is drowned in grea­ter unbelief, these are not Evidences▪ of a saving change; nor can you justly ga­ther any special comfort from them. He that hath more unbelief then Belief, is not to be called a Believer, but an unbe­liever: And he that hath more hatred, or dislike of God, and Holiness, then Love to them, is not to be called Godly, but ungodly, nor a Lover of God, but a hater of him. I am easily perswaded, that many of you that are ungodly, could be contented that God be Glorified, if [Page 277] his Glory do not cross your carnal inte­rest, and so you desire Gods Glory even for it self, as that which is absolutely Good in it self: But if your fleshly inte­rest be so dear to you, that you will sa­crifice Gods Glory to it, and had rather God were dishonoured, then your flesh­ly interest contradicted, it is your flesh then that is made your God, and your chief End. It is not every wish, or mind of Christ, no not to save you from sinne as sinne, that will prove you true Belie­lievers: Nor is it every minding of God, or love to him, no not as one apprehen­ded by you, to be the chiefest Good, and desirable for himself, as your End, that will prove indeed that you savingly love him; as long as the contrary mind and will, is Habitually predominant in you. Such as the very habit and bent of a mans heart is, such indeed is the man. Its possible for a man, even a good man, to have two contrary ends, and intenti­ons; yea ultimate ends; as that which is desired for it self, and referred to no­thing else, is called Vltima [...]e: but it is not possible for him, to have two prin­cipall predominant Ends. So far as we are carnal still, we make the pleasing of [Page 278] our flesh our ultimate End: For doubtless we do not sinne only, by pleasing the flesh, as a means to Gods Glory; nor on­ly in the mischoosing of other means: But yet this is none of our Principal End, so far as men are truly Sanctified. And because that is called a mans mind, or will, which is the chiefest, and highest in his mind, and will; therefore we use to denominate men, from that only which beareth rule in them: And thus we may say with Paul, It is not I, but sinne that dwelleth in me. For a disowned act, that proceedeth from us, against the bent, and habit of our wills, and the course of our lives, from the remnants of a carnal misguided will, is not it that must denominate the person, nor is so fully ours as the contrary act. And therefore though indeed we sinfully par­ticipate of it, yet when the question is, whether Believing, or unbeliefe, sin­ning or obeying, be my work; it is not Comparatively to be called mine, which I am much more against then for. So on the other side, if the unsanctified have some transient, superficial, uneffectual acts of Desire, or Faith, or Love to God, which are contrary to the bent, [Page 279] and habit of their hearts, this is not theirs, nor imputable to them, so far as hence, to give them their. Denomination. It is not they that do it, but the common workings of the Spirit upon them.

If ever then you would be assured that your are Christians, look to the Habi­tual bent of your hearts, and see that you do not only talk of Scripture, and sl [...]ghtly believe it, and speak well of Christ, with some good wishes, and meanings, and purposes; but, as you love your Souls, see that Christ be Received as your dearest Saviour, with Thankfull­ness, and greatest Love; and as your Soveraign Lord, with true subjection; and that he have your Superlative estima­tion and Affections, and all things in the world be put under him in your Souls. This must be so, if you will have the portion of Believers. No Faith that is short of this, will prove you Christ's Disciples indeed, or Heirs of the Promi­ses made to Believers. The voice of Christ that calls to you in the Gospel, is, My sonne give me thy heart, Prov. 23. 26. Do, what thou wilt in waies of du­ty, and think as highly as thou wilt of thy self, thou art no true Believer in [Page 280] Christ's account, till thou hast given him thy heart. If he have thy tongue, if he have thy good opinion; nay if thy body were burnt in his Cause, if he had not thy Love, thy Heart, it were as no­thing, 1 Cor. 13. 3. For thy works, and sufferings, are so far acceptable (through Christ) as they are testimonies of this, that Christ hath thy heart. If he have not thy heart, he takes it as if he had nothing: And if he have this, he takes it as if he had all. For this is not only preferred by him before all; but also he knows that this commandeth all. If Christ have thy Heart, the Devil will not have thy tongue, and life; the Ale-house, or a Harlot will not have thy bo­dy; nor the world will not have the principal part of thy life. If Christ have thy Heart, it will be heard much in thy conference; it will be seen in thy la­bours: For that which hath a mans Heart will hardly be hid, unless he purposely hide it, which a Christian neither can, nor ought to do. It would make a man wonder to hear some wretches, that will runne from God as fast as they can, and yet face you down, that God hath their hearts: that have no mind, so much as [Page 281] to meditate, or talk of Christ, or his precious Blood, or mysterious Redempti­on, or the glorious Kingdom purchased by him; that will be at neither, cost nor labour in his Service, and yet profess that Christ hath their hearts: that will refuse a Holy Heavenly life, and perhaps make a scorn of it, and maliciously prate against the Sanctified, and yet will stand to it that the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier of the Elect, hath their hearts. No wonder if those hearts are ill mana­ged, and in a miserable deceived state, that are so unacquainted with them­selves.

Faith entreth at the Understanding, but it hath not all its essential parts, and is not the Gospel Faith indeed, till it have possessed the will. The heart of Faith is wanting, till Faith hath taken possessi­on of the heart. For by Faith Christ dwelleth in the Heart, Ephes. 3. 17. And if he dwell not in the heart, he dwells not in the Man, in a saving sort. He had some interest in Judas, Simon Ma­gus, Ananias, and Saphira, as to the head, and perhaps somewhat more in a superficial sort. But Satan entred into the heart of one, and filled the heart of [Page 282] another of them with a lie, and the heart of the third was not right in the sight of God, and therefore he had no part, or lot in Christ, but was still in the gall of bitter­ness, and bond of iniquity: and all be­cause Christ was not heartily entertained, Acts 5. 3 & 8. 22, 23. It is in the heart that the word must have its rooting, or else it will wither in time of tryal. It is seeking with the whole heart that is the evidence of the blessed, Psal. 119 2. And it is a feigned turning, when men turn not to God with the whole heart, Jer. 3. 10. This is Gods promise con­cerning his Elect; I will give them a heart, to know me, that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart, Jer. 24. 7. See then that the heart be unfeignedly delivered up to Christ: For if Christ have it not, the flesh, the world, and the Devil will have it. Your Hearts must be a dwelling for one of these Masters; choose you whether.

It is the damnation of most professed Christians, that they have nothing for Christ but a good opinion, or a few good words, or outside services, or some [Page 283] sleight Religiousness on the by; when the flesh, and the world go away with their hearts; and yet they will not know it, nor confess it. Christ will not be an un­derling, or servant to your flesh. Your Hearts he hath bought, and your Hearts he will have; or you are none of his. If he shall have nothing from you but a name, you shall have nothing but the name of his purchased Salvation.

III. The last part of the Direction yet remains, viz. that you must cl [...]se with Christ entirely, as well as Vnder­standingly and Heartily. It is whole Christ, that must be received with the whole heart.

For the understanding of this, it must be known, both How and Why Christ is offered to us.

As he came into the world to destroy the works of the Devil, 1 Joh. 3. 8 and to seek and save that which was lost, Luke 19. 19 And by his Mediation to reconcile us to God, and bring us up to Glory; so two things were to be done, for the accomplishment of this: First he was himself to Merit our Salvation, and [Page 284] pay the price of our Redemption on the Cross, and in his own Person to con­quer the world, the Devil, and death, and the grave: And then he was by his Intercession in the Heavens, to make ap­plication of this, and bestow the benefits thus purchased by him. And because it was he, and not we that made the pur­chase, it therefore pleased the Father, that the purchased treasure should be put into his hands, and not immediately put into ours. He is become our Treasury, and authorized to be our Head: All Power is given him in Heaven, and Earth. We have so fouly miscarryed already, that he will no more trust his honour in our hands, as at first he did. We shall have nothing, of Pardon, or Grace, or Glory, but what we have in and from the Sonne. God hath given us Eternal Life, and this Life is in his Sonne: He that hath the Sonne hath Life, and he that hath not the Sonne, hath not Life, 1 Joh. 11. 12. It is not only the Nature, and Person of Christ, that is to be be­lieved in, but it is the Person, as im­powred to certain ends, and clothed with his Office, yet we must now entertain. Now the Office of Christ being for our [Page 285] Salvation, and the Glory of God, is sui­ted to these happy ends.

And our Necessities are principally in these three points. 1. We have the Guilt of sinne upon us to be pardoned, and the Wrath of God, and Curse of the Law, and the punishment of sinne to be remo­ved. 2. We have the Corruption of our Nature to be healed; the power of sinne to be destroyed; the Image of God repaired on us; and our hearts, and lives to be acted, and ordered according to the Will of God; and to these ends, Temptations to be conquered; and our Souls, directed, strengthned, and pre­served to the end. 3. We must be rai­sed from the Grave at the last day; we must be Justified in Judgment, and pos­sessed of that Glory which is the End of our Faith. To this Justification, Sancti­fication, and Glorification may the rest be reduced.

Now the Office of Christ is suited to these Necessities of ours: and as we can­not possibly be saved, unless all these Ne­cessities be supplied, and these works done for us: so we cannot possibly have these things done, but by Accepting of Christ, as Authorized, and impow­red [Page 286] by his Office, and Perfections, to do them.

The Glory that God will have by this work, I have before expressed to you at large. He will have his Justice, & Wisdom, and Power, and Holiness, and Mercy to be demonstrated, and honoured by Christ. And therefore Christ hath resolved to give out none of his benefits, but in such manner, and waies, as may best attain these highest Ends.

These several points therefore I must intreate you here to note distinctly. 1. That you must be brought into a spe­cial Relation to the Person of Christ, as cloathed with his Office, before you can lay claim to his Saving Benefits. He is the Head, and you must become his Members: He is the Husband of the Church, and you must become his Spouse, and so of the rest. This is called our Vni [...]ng to Christ, which must go before your further Communion with him. It is the Will of God, that you shall never receive his Benefits, with­out, or before you receive his Sonne: (Except only those Benefits, which go before your Union with Christ himselfe, in order to the accomplishing it; as [Page 287] the Gospel, the gift of Faith to the Elect, &c.) You shall never have actual Pardon, Justification, Adoption, San­ctification, or Glory, till you have first saving interest in Christ himself. He is the Vine, and we are the Branches: we must be planted into him, and live in him, or else we can have nothing further from God, nor do nothing acceptable to God. And therefore the first, and great work of Faith is to Receive, and close with the Person of Christ, as cloathed with his Office.

2. Understand and note, that as you shall not have his great Benefits before, or without his Person, so God hath re­solved, that you shall not have his Spe­cial Benefits, unless you will take them all together. (I speak of men at age, that are capable of all.) You shall not have Pardon, and Justification, or Glory, without Sanctification; nor the Com­forts of Christ, without the guidance, and government of Christ. You must have all, or none.

3. From hence it follows, that there­fore you must Receive, and close with Christ Entirely, in his whole Office, as he is to accomplish all these works, or [Page 288] else you cannot be United to him. He will not be divided: You shall not have Christ as a Justifier of yon, if you will not have him as a Guid, and Ruler, and Sanctifier of you. He will not be a par­tial Saviour: If you will not consent that he shall save you from your sinnes, he will not consent to save you from Hell.

4. Understand, and note that Christ will look to his Fathers Interest, and Ho­nour, and his own, as well as to your Salvation; yea and before it. And there­fore you must not hope for any Mercy from him, in any way that is dishonour­able to him, or that is inconsistent with his own blessed Ends, and Interest. And therefore do not look for any such Grace from him, as shall discharge you from your duty, or give you liberty to disho­nour, or disobey him: Nor do not think that you shall have him Related to you only for your own ends, but on terms of highest honour to God, and you Re­deemer. And do not think that your Grace is ever the less free, because Gods Honour is thus preferred: For if you are Christians indeed, you will take Gods Interest, as your own highest Interest, and will confess, that you could not have [Page 289] your own Ends, and welfare any other way.

5. Understand and Note also, that as all your Mercies are in the hand of Christ, so Christ hath appointed in his Gospel, a certain way and course of means, in which he will bestow it: And you cannot expect it from him, in any other way, but his own. As God hath made Christ the way, and no man com­eth to the Father but by him, so Christ hath ordained a standing course of means, which are his way for the making over of his Benefits: and here you must have them, or go without them.

6. Understand and Note, that there are some of Christ's Ends, and Benefits, that the very Natural man desires, and some that Corrupted Natu [...]e is against. Now it is therefore the established way of Christ, to Promise us those which we can desire, on Condition that we will al­so accept of, and submit to those that we are against. Not but that his Grace doth dispose men to the performance of such Conditions: But his Grace worketh by means: and a Conditionall Promise is his stablished means, to draw mans heart to the Performance of the Condition: (which [Page 290] well considered, is a sufficient answer to the Arguments that are commonly urged against the Conditionality of the Pro­mise.) As the Spirit doth Powerfully work within; so he useth that Word from without, as his Instrument, which work­eth Sapientially, and Powerfully to the same work. If a Physician have two me­dicines to give his patient, as necessary for his cure, the one very sweet, and the other bitter; the one which he loves, and the other which he loaths, he will Promise him the Sweeter, if he will take the Bitter one; that by the love of one, he may prevail against the loathing of the other, and may [...]ice it down. He will not promise the bitter one which is loath­ed, and make the Taking of the sweet one the Condition: He will not say, I will give thee this Aloes, on Condition thou wilt take this Sugar: but contrary; I will give thee the sweeter, if thou wilt take the bitter.

In Christs Ends, and Works, 1. We Naturally are more willing of that which makes for our selves directly, then of that which makes directly for the Honour of God, and the Redeemer. We preferre our own Ends before Gods Glory: And [Page 291] therefore Christ hath so ordered the Con­dition of his Promises, that unless we will take him, in his Relations of Digni­ty as King and Lord, and will make the Glory, and Pleasing of God our princi­pal End, we shall have none of him, or his Saving Benefits. For he came not to fulfill our selfish desires, but to fetch us off from our selves, and recover us to God, that he might have his own. And if we will not have our All in God, we shall have Nothing. 2. And Naturally we are willing, as to our own Benefits, to be pardoned, and freed from the Curse of the Law, and the flames of Hell, and Natural death, and punishment: And therefore we are thus farre Natu­rally willing of free Justification. But we are unwilling to let go the seeming profit, and credit, and pleasure of sinne, and to deny the flesh, and forsake the world, and we are averse to the Spiritual felicity of the Saints, and to the Holiness of heart, and life, that is the way to it. And therefore Christ hath most wisely so ordered it, in the tenor of his Promises, that our Repentance and Faith, shall be the Condition of our Justification, and deliverance from death and Hell: And [Page 292] this Faith is the believing in him, and Ac­cepting him Entirely in his whole Office, to Sanctifie us, and Rule us, as well as to Justifie us: And thus we must take him wholly, or we shall have none of him. And the Accepting him as our Teacher; and Sanctifier, and King, is as much; (at least, the Condition of our Justification, and Pardon, and delive­rance from Hell,) as the Accepting him as a Justifier of us, is. He that had the Power in his own hands, and that made the free Promise, or Deed of Gift, hath put in such Conditions, as his own Wisdom saw best; and they are such as suit most congruously to all his Ends; even the Glory of God, in all his Attri­butes, and the Redeemers Glory, and our own, and most full and free Salvati­tion: And on his Conditions must we have his Benefits, or we shall never have them.

7. Lastly Understand and Note, that the Means which Christ hath resolved on for Teaching, and Ruling us, ordinari­ly, are his Word, his Ministers, and his Spirit: all must be submitted to together, where they may be had, and none of them laid by, by separation. His Word, [Page 293] is the Grammar, or Book, as it were, that we must learn: His Ministers must teach us this Book: And his Spirit (who in the Apostles, and Prophets indited, and sealed it) must inwardly teach us, by powerfull Illumination. The Word is Gods Laws: the Ministers are his Em­bassadours, or Heraulds to proclaime them, and command obedience in his Name: and his Spirit must open mens hearts to entertain them. The Word is Gods Seed: the Ministers are the Hus­bandmen, or Servants that sow it: and the Spirit must give the increase; with­out which, our planting, and watering will do nothing. He therefore that takes Christ for his Master, and King, must resolve to be taught, and ruled by his established means, even by his Word, and Ministers, and Spirit conjunct: For he that refuseth and despiseth these, doth refuse, and despise Christ; and conse­quently the Father that sent him, Luke 10. 16. 1 Thes. 4. 8. For it was never the meaning of Christ, when he became the Teacher, and King of the Church, to stay on Earth, and personally, and vi­siby to teach them himself: but these three are his means, which all must sub­mit [Page 294] to, that will be his Subjects, and Disciples. And he that despiseth the Word, shall be destroyed, Prov. 13. 13. He that will not have the Word, Mini­stry, and Spirit teach him, will not have Christ teach him: and he that refuseth to be ruled by these three, shall be destroy­ed as a Rebel against Christ himself, Luke 19. 27. Still it is supposed that Ministers must Teach, and Rule accor­ding to this Word.

And the Society in which Christ will Teach and govern us, is his Church: As members therefore of the Vniversal Church, and in Communion with his Par­ticular Church, where we live and have opportunity, we must wait on Christ for his Teaching and Benefits. For this is his Schoole, where his Disciples must diligently attend and learn.

Lay all this together, and this is the summe: The Object of Justifying, Sa­ving Faith, is One only undivided Christ, one in Person, but of two Natures, God, and Man; in Office the Mediator between God and man, who hath alrea­dy done the work of Sanctification, and Merit, and is authorized further to be­stow the Benefits: By the Gospel Grant [Page 295] he hath given himself as Head, and Hus­band, Teacher, King, and Saviour, to all that will entirely, and heartily accept him; and with himself he giveth Justifi­cation by the Promise, Sanctification by the Word, Ministry, and Spirit, and final Absolution, and Everlasting Life. If ever then you will have Christ, and Life, you must accept him in all these Essentials of his Person, and Office, and that to the Ends, which his Redemption was intended for; you must be willing to be Sanctified by him, as well as to be Justified: You must at once unfeignedly become his Disciples, his Subjects, his Members, if you would become his sa­ved ones. You wust consent, that as your Teacher, and your Lord, he shall Teach and Rule your heart, and life, by his Word, Ministers, and Spirit, in Communion with his Church. No barre or exception must be put in, nor reserva­tion made against any one of these parts of his Office. If you yield not to those parts of his Saving work, that tend but to the compleative growth, you sinne, and deprive your selves of the Benefit; but if you yield not to those that must make you truly Sanctified, and Justified [Page 296] men, you cannot be saved. The Essen­tials of Christ's Person, and Office, do costitute him the Christ, and if he be not received in all those Essentials, he is not received as Christ.

And thus I have given you the summe of the Gospel, and the description of Faith, and true Christianity in this Dire­ction for a right closing with the Lord Jesus Christ. And experience of most that I discourse with, perswades me to think this Direction of great necessity, and to intreat you throughly to peruse, and consider it: I find abundance of igno­rant people, that talk much of Christ, but know very little of him: that can scarce tell us whether he be God or man, or which Person in the Trinity he is, nor to what End he was incarnate, and died, no [...] what Relation he stands in to us, or what use he is of, or what he now is, or what he is engaged to do for us. But if we ask them about their hopes of Salvation, they almost overlook the Redemption by Christ, and tell us of nothing but Gods Mercies, and their own good meanings, and endeavours. And I am afraid too many Professors of Piety, (do look) al­most all, at the Natural part of Religion, [Page 297] and the mending of their own hearts, and lives, (and I would this were better done) while they forget the supernatu­tural part, and little are affected with the infinite Love of God in Christ. I de­sire such to consider these things: 1. You overlook the summe of your Religion, which is Christ Crucified, besides whom Paul desired to know nothing. 2. You overlook the fountain of your own life, and the author of your supplies; and you strive in vaine for Sanctification, or Ju­stification, if you seek them not from a Crucified Christ. 3. You leave undon the principal part of your work, and live like moral Heathens, while you have the name of Christians. Your daily work is to study God in the face of his Sonne; and to labour with all Saints to comprehend the height, and bredth, and length, and depth, and to know the Love of Christ, which passeth knowledg, Eph. 3. 18. 19. All your Graces should be daily quickned, and set awork by the life of Faith, in the contemplation of the Redeemer, and his blessed work. This is the weight that must set all the wheels agoing. You do God no Service, that he can accept, if you serve him not in [Page 298] this Gospel-work, of loving, trusting, and admiring, and praysing him in the Redeemer, and for his Redemption. 4. And so you rob God of the principal part of his Glory, which you are to give him; which is for this most glorious work of our Redemption. I pray you read over again the Ends of this work, which I laid down in the beginning of this Direction. 5. Moreover you rob your selves of your principal comfort, which must all come in, by living upon Christ. 6. And you harden the Anti [...]o­mians, and Libertines, and tempt men to their extreams, that runne from us as Legalists, and as men that Savour not the Doctrine of free Grace, and are not of a Gospel-Spirit, and conversation. I would our great neglect of Christ had not been a snare to these mistaken Soul [...], and a stumbling block in their way.

O Sirs, if a thought of your hearts, if a word of your mouths, have not some relation to Christ, to suspect it, yea reject it. Call it not a Sermon or a Prayer, nor a duty, that hath nothing of Christ in it. Though the pure God-head be your principal End, yet there is no way to this End, but by Christ: [Page 299] and though Love, which is exercised on that End, must animate all your graces, and duties, as they are Means to that End; yet Faith hath Love in it, or else it is not the Christian Faith; and Christ is the Object of your Faith and Love: and your perfect Everlasting Love will be animated by Christ: For your Love and Praise, will be to him that was slain, and Redeemed us to God by his Blood, out of every Kindred, Tongue, and Na­tion, and made us Kings, and Priests to God. So much for the fifth Dire­ction.

DIRECT. VI. The next Direction which I would give you for a through Conversion is this; See that the flesh be throughly mortified, and your hearts be throughly taken off the world, and all its pleasures, and profits, and honours, and that the Roote of your fleshly Interest pre­vaile not at the heart, and that you think not of reconciling God, and the world, as if you might secure your Interest in both.

This is a very common cause of the deceit, and destruction, of such as ve­rily think they are converted. It is the [Page 300] very Nature, and business of true Con­version, to turn mens hearts from the flesh, and from the world to God, and from an earthly and seeming happiness, to a Heavenly Real Everlasting Happi­ness▪ And when men are affrighted into som kind of Religiousness, and yet ne­ver learnt to deny themselves, and never mortified their fleshly mind, but the love of this world, is still the chiefest principle at their hearts; and so go on in Profession of godliness, with a secret re­serve, that they will look as well as they can to their outward prosperity, what­ever become of their Religion, and they will have no more to do with the matters of another world, then may stand with their bodily safety in this world; these are the miserable deluded Hypocrites, whose hopes will prove, as the giving up of the ghost; whom Christ will disown in their greatest extremities, after all their seeming Religiousness. O Sirs, look to this as ever you would be happy. Its an easie, its a common, its a most dan­gerous thing, to set upon a course of out­ward Piety, and yet keep the world next your hearts, and take it still as a great part of your felicity, and secretly▪ to [Page 301] love your former lusts, while you seem to be converted. The heart is so deceit­full, that you have great cause to watch it narrowly in this point: It will closely cherish the love of the world, and your fleshly pleasures, when it seems to re­nounce them, and when your tongue can speak contemptuously of them. It was not for nothing that Christ would have the first fruits of his Gospel-Church (who were to be the Example of their successours) to sell all, and lay it down at the feet of his Apostles: And it is his standing Rule, that Whoever he be, that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be his Disciple, Luke 14. 33. In estima­tion, affection, and resolution, it must be forsaken by all that will be saved; and also in practice, when ever God calls us to it. You can have but one Happiness: If you will needs have it in this world, in the contenting of your flesh, there is no hope of having it also in another world, in the fruition of God. If you think not God and Heaven enough for you, and cannot let go the Prosperity of the flesh for them, you must let go all your hopes of them. God will not halve it with the world in your hearts, nor [Page 302] part stakes with the flesh; much less will he be below them, and take their lea­vings: Heaven will not be theirs, that set not by it more then Earth. God will not call that Love to him Sincere, which is not a Superlative Love, and able to make you even hate all those things, that would draw away your affections, and obedience from him; Luke 14. 26, 27. There's no talk of serving God, and Mam­mon▪ and compounding you a Happi­ness of Earth. and Heaven. Do there­fore as Christ bids you, Luke 14. 28, 29, 30.

Sit down, and count what it must cost you, if you will be saved; and on what rates it is, that you must follow Christ. Can you voluntarily, for the love of him, and the hope of Glory, take up your Cross, and follow him in poverty, in losses, in reproaches; though scornes, and scourgings, and prisons and death? Do you value his loving kindness better then life, Psal. 63. 3? Can you deny your eyes, and your appetites their de­sires? Can you consent to be vile in the eyes of men, and to tame your own flesh, and keep it in subjection, and live a flesh-displeasing life, that h [...]ving suffered [Page 303] with Christ, you may also be glorified with him, Rom. 8. 17. If you cannot consent to these terms, you cannot be Christians, nor you cannot be Saved. If you must needs be rich, or must be ho­nourable, yea, if you must needs save your estates, or liberties, or lives, it's past all question, you must needs let go Christ, and Glory: If you must needs have the world, you must needs lose your Souls. If you must have your good things here, you must not have them hereafter too, but be tormented, when Christ's sufferers are comforted, Luke 16. 25. These hopes of purveying for the flesh, as long as they can; and then of being saved, when they can stay here no longer, is it that hath deceived many a thousand, to their undoing. It's a strang thing to see how the world doth blind ve­ry knowing men, and how unacquain­ted these Hypocrites are with their own hearts. What a confident profession of down-right godliness many of them will make, yea of some extraordinary height in Religion, when nothing is so dear to to them, as their present prosperity, and God hath not neer so much interest in them as the flesh? What contrivances [Page 304] some of them make for riches, or rising in the world? And how tender others are of their honour with men; and how tenacious they are of their Mammon of unrighteousness; and how much money, and great men can do with them: And most of them pamper their flesh, and serve it in a cleanlier way of Religious­ness, even as much, though not so dis­gracefully, and grossly, as drunkards, and whoremongers do, in a more di­scernable sensuality. If the times do but change, and countenance any errour, how smal an Argument will make their judg­ments bend with the times: If truth or duty must cost them deer: O how they will shift, and stretch, and wriggle, to prove Truth to be no Truth, and duty to be no duty; and no Argument is strong enough to satisfie them, when the flesh doth but say, Its bitter, its dan­gerous! it may be my undoing.

Its none of my meaning, that any should needlesly runne into suffering, or cross their governours, and themselves, through a spirit of pride, singularity, and contradiction: But that men should think themselves truly Religious, that keep such reserves for their fleshly in­terest, [Page 305] and shew by the very drift of their lives, that they are worldlings, and ne­ver felt what it was to be crucified to the world, and deny themselves, but are Religious on this supposition only, that it may stand with their worldly ends, or at least not undo them in the world; this is a lamentable hypocritical self-deceit. When God hath so plainly said, Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world: If any man love the world, the Love of the Father is not in him, 1 Joh. 2. 15. Nay that the neighbourhood, and all the Country that know them, should ring of the worldlyness of some, that think them­selves good Christians; and yet they will not see it themselves. What a cheating, blinding thing is the world?

Well Sirs; if you will be Christians, count what it must cost you? And if you will be Heirs of Heaven, away with the world: Cast it out of your hearts: and if your hands must yet trade in it, yet trade not for it: Use it for God, but enjoy it not for it self. Take your selves as strangers here; and look on the world as a desolate wilderness; through which, in the Communion of the militant Saints, you may safely travail on to Heaven; but [Page 306] do not make it your home, nor take it for the smallest part of your felicity. To be Sanctified without Mortification, is a palpable contradiction. Be at a point with all things below, if you will groun­dedly hope for the Heavenly Inheritance. But I shall purposely forbear to enlarge this any further, because I have preach­ed, and written a Treatise on this Sub­ject, which I desire you to peruse.

DIRECT. VII My next Direction is this: If you would be truly Converted, be sure that you make an absolute resigna­tion of your selves, and all that you have to God.

This is the very form, and life of San­ctification. To be Sanctified, is to be separated, in heart, life, and professi­on, from all other Masters, and Ends, to God. When the heart that was set upon the world, and flesh, is separated from them, and inclined to God by the power of Love, and devoted to him, to serve and please him; this is indeed a Sanctified Heart: And when the life that before was spent in the service of Satan, the world, and the flesh, is now taken [Page 307] off them, and spent, as to the drift, and course of it, in the Service of God, for the Pleasing, and Glorifying of him, from the impulse of Love; this is indeed a Holy life. And herein consisteth the very nature of our Sanctity. And when a man doth but profess to renounce the Devill, the world, and the flesh, and to give up his heart, and life to God, this is a Profession of Holiness. God is both on the title of Creation, Preserva­tion, and Redemption, or absolute Lord or Owner, and we are not our own but his! And therefore we must give to God the things that are Gods, and Glorifie him in our Souls, and bodies, which are his, 1 Cor. 6 19, 20. As we are his Own, so he will have his Own, and be served by his Own: Do not imagine that you have any title to your selves, or propriety in your selves; but without any more adoe, make a full, un­reserved, absolute resignation of your selves, of your understandings, and of your wills, of your bodies, and of your names, and of every penny-worth of your estates, to God, from whom, and for whom you have them. Think not that you have power to dispose of your [Page 308] selves, or of any thing that you have. Ask not flesh and blood, what life you shall lead, or what mind or will you shall be of: But ask God, to whom you do belong. Ask not your carnal selves, what you shall do with any of your estates, but ask God, and then ask Conscience, which is the way that God would have me use it in, that is, which way may I use it to be most service­able to God? And that resolve upon. No service that you do to God, will prove you Sanctified, unless you have heartily, and absolutely given up, and devoted your selves to him; and he that gives up himself, must needs give up all that he hath with himself. For he can­not keep it for himself (ultimately) when even himself is given up to God. Though you be not bound to give all that you have to the poore, nor all to the Church, nor to deny your own bodies, or fami­lies their due supplies, yet must it all be given up to God, even that which you make use of for your selves, and fami­lies: For as you are given up to God your selves, so you must feed your selves as his, and cloath your selves, and your families as his, to fit your selves, [Page 309] and them for his Service, and not as your own, for the satisfying of your flesh. Thus it is that all comes to be pure to the pure, Sanctified to them that are them­selves first Sanctified: because when you feed your selfe, you do but feed a Ser­vant of God, that is Consecrated to him, and separated from things common, and unclean. And even as the Tythes, and Offerings, that were given for the food, and maintenance of the Priests, and Le­vites, were called the Lords Portion, and Holy to the Lord, because they were their portion that were separated to his Altar; Even so that which is necessary to fit you for Gods Service, while you use it to that very end, is Sanctified in your Sanctifica­tion, and is Holy to God; for all his Saints are a Holy Nation, a Royal Priest­hood, to offer up acceptable sacrifice to him. And thus, whether you eat, or drink, or what ever you do, you must do all to the Glory of God, 1 Cor. 10. 31. For Of him, and Through him, and To him are all things, and therefore to him must be the Glory for ever, Rom. 11. 36. God who is the End of your hearts, and lives, must be the End of every action of them, unless you will step out of the [Page 310] way of Order, and Safety, and Holi­ness. For every action that is not from God, and by God, and for God, is contrary to the nature of true Sanctifica­tion. If then you would be Christians indeed, be heartily willing that God should have his own. Understand what an excellent honour, and priveledge, and happiness it is to you to be his. If his Right to you will not move you, let your own necessity, and benefit at least move you, to give up your selves, and all you have to God. Bring you hearts to the barre, and plead the Cause of God with them, and convince them of Gods title to them, and how sinfully they have robbed him of his own all this while: Have your daies and hours, your wealth and interest, been used purposely for God as his own! O what abundance be there, that in word, and confident profession, do give up themselves, and all to God, and yet in the Use of them­selves, and all, do plainly shew that it's no such matter; but they dissembled with God, and yet never knew so much by themselves. How little do they use for God, when they have with seeming de­votion resigned all to him? If a Lord, or [Page 311] Knight, or Gentleman, of 4000l, or 3000l a year, or 400l, or 300l a year, were to shew the accomts of all his expen­ces, how much of all this should you find expended for God, when they have ac­knowledged that all is his? One would think by their lives, that they look to be saved by robbing God, and confessing the robbery; by saying that all is Gods, while they allow him next to nothing.

The devoted, resigned, Sanctified Soul, hath the true principle of all obe­dience, and that which will do much to repel all temptations, and carry him through the greatest straits and tryals. If I am not my own, I need not be over solicitous for my self, but may expect that he that oweth me should care for me: Nor do I need to use any sinfull shifts for my own preservation. If I have no­thing of my own, what need I to sinne, for the saving of any thing? What need I to venture upon unwarrantable means, to preserve either credit, or goods, or life? It is Self, and Own, that are the root of all sinne, the heart of the old man, and the seed of Hell: Nothing else is pleaded against God, and our Salvati­on. If the flesh would have you abuse [Page 312] Gods Creatures, you must remember they are not your own. If the Devil would entice you to sinne against God, either for the Geting, or Keeping of any Creature, it would easily repel the temptations, were you but rightly sen­sible, that nothing is your own: For God hath no need that you should sinne, to get Riches, or Honours, for him. If you are called to let go your houses, or lands, or friends, or lives, or to deli­ver up you bodies, to the flames, did you but rightly take them as none of your own, how easy would it be. You can be content that another man give his goods, or life it self to God, when ever God re­quireth it: but your own you cannot be content to part with; and that because it is your own, But if you had rightly resigned all to God, and took not your selves, or any thing for your own, but lookt upon your selves, and all as Gods, the grea­test works of obedience, or suffering, would be much more easy to you; and you would have little difficulty, or hin­drance in your way. Self denial is but Sanctification it self; denominated from the wrong End, and Principle, which we forsake. And where self is denied, [Page 313] and dead, what is there left to draw us from God, or stand up against him, in any part of our lives. So much interest as self hath in you, so much the world, and the Devil hath in you. And nothing is more proper to a miserable Hypocrite, then deep Reserves of life, or worldly things to themselves, while they seem to give up all to God.

O happy Soul, that is wrought to this sincerity, by the Spirit of Grace! to say unfeinedly, O Lord I devote, and resign my self wholly unto thee! I am not my own, nor desire any further to be, then to be thine: I have nothing that is my own, nor desire to have any thing that shall not be thine. Happy and truly wise is that man, that keeps as constant, and faithful a rec­koning, how he layes out himself, and all that he hath for God, as a faithfull Steward doth, of his receivings, and layings out for his Masters use. Every penny that is reserved from God, is the fuell of sinne, and a Sacrifice to the De­vil, and the flesh; and if it be pardoned to the truly penitent, by the Sacrifice of Christ, that's no thanks to us, that would else have made it the fuel of Hell. God is not so careless of us, or his Mer­cies, [Page 314] but that he keeps an exact account of all that we have from him, and will require an account of our improvement of all: Not only requiring his Own againe, but his own with advantage, Matth. 25 27. Why else did he give us such leisure, and ability to improve it? I can never forget what a sinfull thought was once in my mind, which I will ven­ture to confess, because it may possibly be the case of others, that so they may beware. I hearing of some that used to lay by the tenth part of their yearly comings in for charitable uses, I purposed to do so too, and thought it a fair proporti­on; But since I have perceived what a vile and wicked thought that was, to of­fer to cut out a scantling for God, or give him a limited share of his own, or say that so much he shall have, and no more. Though we cannot say that God must have all in any one kind of service on­ly; either only for the Church, or only for the poore, or only for publike uses; yet must we resolve, that in one way or other he must have all; and the particular pro­portions to the poore, or Church, or other uses, must be assigned by truly Sanctified prudence, considering which [Page 315] way it may be most serviceable to God. I must relieve my owne family, or kin­dred, if they want: but not because they are my own, but because God hath com­manded me, and so hath made it a part of my obedience: But if I see where I may do more service to God, by relie­ving a stranger, and that God doth more require it, I must yet preferre them be­fore all the kindred that I have in the world. When the Christian pattern was set us by the Primitive Church, Acts 2. and 4. They sold all, and laid down the whole price at the Apostles feet, which was not distributed to their natural kindred only, but to all the poor Chri­stians, that had no other relation to them, even as every one had need. And as it is the loving of our Spiritual Brethren in Christ, that is made the sign of our translation from death to life, so is it the relieving of Christ in these his Members, that is, the relieving them, because they are his Members, that is made the very matter of our Cause in the last Judgment, and the ground of the sentence of life, or death, Matth. 25. I must provide for my own body, and you must provide for your children, but that is (as I said [Page 316] before) not as I am my own, nor as your children are your own; but as I am a Servant of Christ, that must be suppor­ted in his Service, or as your selves, and yours, are put under your care, and duty by God. So that I may give it to my self, or others, when I can truly say, I do but use it principally for God, and think that the principal Service I can do him by it: but I may neither take to my self, nor give to any that are nearest to me, any more then God comman­deth, or his Service doth require. When you and yours have your daily bread, (which also must be used for him) you must not go to flesh and blood, but to God, to ask which way you shall dispose of the remainder. This is a strange Do­ctrine to the unsanctified world; but that is because they are unsanctified. And it is a Doctrine that a worldly Hypo­crite is loath to believe, and understand; but that is because of Carnality, and Hypocrisie, that alwaies deals with God, like Ananias and Saphira, lying to the Holy Ghost, and giving God but halfe, (and few so much as half) when they dai­ly confess that all is from him, and should be his, and pretend to be wholly devo­ted [Page 317] to him. There are few men so bad, but will spare God something, rather then go to Hell: But indeed this is not to devote it to God, but to use it for themselves, thinking by their Sacrifices, to stop the mouth of Justice, and to please God by a part, when they have displea­sed him in the rest. I much fear (and not without apparent cause) that abundance among us, that think themselves Christi­ans, do worship, and serve God, but as some Indians are said to offer sacrifice to the Devil, not for any love they have to him, or his service, but for fear he should hurt them. And there are few Hy­porcites but will pretend it is from very love.

O Sirs, it's a greater matter to resign, and give up your selves, and all you have to God, and heartily to quit all claim to your selves, and all things, then many a thousand self-deluding professours do imagine. Many look at this, but as some high extraordinary strein of Piety, and the Papists almost appropriate it to a few that live in Monastical orders, when indeed the sincerity of this Resignation, and Dedication, is the very sincerity of Sanctification it self.

[Page 318] And let me tell you, that the Unfeign­ed Convert that attains to this, hath not only pluckt up the Root of sinne, (though all of us have too many strings of it left) nor only stopt up the spring of temptation, and got the surest evi­dence of his uprightness, but also is got himself into the safest, and most com­fortable state. For when he hath abso­ [...]ulutely resigned himself, and all to God, how confidently may he expect that God should accept him, and use him as his own; and how comfortably may he com­mit himself, and his cause, and all good af­fairs to God, as knowing that God can­not be negligent, and careless of his own. It's an Argument that may make us con­fident of success, when we can say as Da­vid, Psal. 119. 94. I am thine, save me. Isa. 63. 19. Even Christ himself doth in­gratiate his Elect with the Father on this account, I [...]h. 17. 6, 9, 10. Thine they were, and thou gavest them me: I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine: and all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. And indeed by resigning all to God, it is the more our own; that is, we [Page 319] have unspeakably more of the benefit of it, and so there is no way to make it our own, but by quitting it absolutely up to God: This is the mistery that the world will not learn, but God will teach it all that shall be saved by the Spirit, and by Faith, Matth. 16. 24, 25, 26. Then Jesus said to his Disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross, and follow me: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Me thinks a man that hath time, and strength, and money, should long to be disbursing all for God, that he might put it in the surest hands, and it may be out of danger; yea that it may be set to the most honest, and profitable usery. For when God hath it, from the dedi­cation of an upright heart, it is sure: but till God have it, is in hazzard; and all that he hath not is lost, and worse then lost. When it is in our hands, thieves may steal it, bad Servants, or unadvised Children may consume it, and our own thievish flesh may steale it worst of all, and consume it on our lusts; or if our Children consume it not, their Children may: Or if they save it, they [Page 320] may lose it most of all, by feeding their pride, and fleshly minds by it: But if once it be in Gods hands, it is safe. You can make no comfortable account of one penny, nor of one hours time, unless you can tell God that he had it himself; that you used it for him: Or that you live to him in the maine, and that the rest is pardoned. O that those Parents understood this Doctrine, that had ra­ther strenghten the fetters, and tempta­tions of their Children with it, and help them into that state which few are saved in, then to devote and use their estates for God. Though Christ hath told them how hardly the Rich are saved, and how few such come to Heaven, yet what care is taken to leave their Children rich; and how little to further the Work of God, or their own accounts, that they may hear the Well done, good and faithfull ser­vant: thou hast been faithfull over a few things: I will make thee Ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. Matth. 25. 21, 23.

O Sirs, if you would be good hus­bands, and provident indeed for your Souls, see that your hearts prove not false to you in this, and make no secret [Page 321] reserves for your selves, but that God have your selves first, and all things with your selves; as Christ first gives himself to you, and all things with him­selfe, Rom. 8. 32. Never think your hearts right, but when they can readily say, We are not our own, 1 Cor. 6. 19. Think not that you come aright to God in any duty, if you do not heartily de­vote your selves to him, and intreat him to accept you, as wholly his, who nei­ther are, nor desire to be your own: and intreat him accordingly to use you for himself. Say not that any thing is your Own that you possess, Acts 4. 32. In respect to God, and a Communion of Charity, though it be your owne (as a Talent that God doth intrust you with) in respect of men, by a Legal Pro­priety.

And then trust God boldly, for you are his Owne: Serve him cheerfully, and draw neere him believingly; for you are his Own. In poverty, sickness, temp­tations, and the approach of death, re­joice in him confidently, for you are his Own. Into his hands commend your de­parting Spirits; for they are his Own. What reason of distrustfull feares can you [Page 322] now have? Do you fear lest God will yet hate you? why remember that no man ever yet hated his own flesh, Ephes. 5. 29. Nay, for shame, think not the bles­sed God to be worse then the wicked world: and Christ faith of the world, Joh, 15. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own. And will not God then Love his Own do you think? And if you are willing to be his Own, Christ is certainly willing that you should be his Own; and will Own all that Own not themselves, but him. He calleth his Own sheep by name, and leadeth them out; and when he putteth forth his Own sheep he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice, Joh. 10. 3. 4. And Joh. 13. 1. Having loved his Own which are in the world, to the End he lo­ved them.

If you are but truly willing to be his Own People, he is certainly willing to be your Own Saviour and your Own God, Not that you can have such a propriety in him, as he hath in you. But in these Relations he will be your Own; and Glo­ry, and Help, and Salvation shall be yours. And you may well conclude that God, even our Own God, shall bless [Page 323] us, Psal. 6. 7, 6. There is much com­fort may be fetcht from that in Luke 15. 31. Though Parables must not be strecht too far: Sonne thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

And upon this ground it is, that we have the greater encouragement, to be­lieve that God accepteth of our very In­fants themselves; because it is his Will that they should be Devoted, engaged, and dedicated to him: And that which he would have us dedicate and offer to him, he will surely accept in that Relation to which he would have it offered.

I beseech you therefore Remember what it is to be truly Converted: It is to be called from things common, and un­clean, and separated to God: It is to be brought nigh to him, as the Children of his Houshould, that are themselves, and all that they have in his hands: It is to be taken off your Selves, and your Own, and to lose your selves, and all you have in God, by the most gainfull loss, lest indeed you lose your selves, and all, while you perswade your selves you save, or gain. It is a taking God in Christ for your All, and so being con­tent to have Nothing but him, and for [Page 324] him. It is a changing of your old Ma­ster self, for God a better Master: and your old work, which was self-seeking, and self-pleasing, to self-denial, and to the seeking, and pleasing of God. See now that this be done, and that your treacherous hearts hide nothing for them­selves, as Rachel under pretence of ne­cessity, hid her Idols, but say, Here I am, to be thine, O Lord, and to do thy Will.

More I would have said on this point, but that I have written of it already, in a Sermon on 1 Cor 6. 19, 20. Of the Ab­solute Dominion of Christ, and our self-resignation; which I desire you here to peruse, to set this further home.

DIRECT. VIII. My next Advice that the Work of Conversion may not miscarry, is this: Take heed, lest you mi­stake a meer change of your Opinions, and outward profession, and behaviour, for a true Saving change.

Wicked Opinions must be changed, and so must evil professions, and out­ward practices: But if no more be chan­ged, you are wicked still. I have great [Page 325] cause to feare that this is the most com­mon damning decit, that useth to befall professors of Godliness, and that it's the case of most Hypocrites, in the Church. A man may be brought to hold any Truth in Scripture as an Opinion; and so far be sound, and Orthodox; and yet never be indeed a sound Believer, nor have his Heart possessed with the life and power of those Sacred Truths. It's one thing to have a mans Opinion changed, and another thing to have his Heart re­newed, by the change of his Practical Estimation, Resolutions, and Dispo­sitions. It's one thing to turn from loose prophane Opinions, to strict Opinions; and to think the Godly are indeed in the right, and that their case and way is sa­fest, and best: and it's another thing to be made One of them in Newness, and Spirituality of heart, and life. A lively Faith differs much from Opinion; and that which is in unsanctified men, which we call Faith, and is a kind of Faith in­deed, it is but a meer Opinionative Faith: I call it an Opinionative Faith, because it differs from Saving Faith, much like as Opinion doth from Knowledg. Meerly speculative it is not: for some intention [Page 326] of practice there is: But the Practical Intention of such persons, differs from the Predominant Intentions of the San­ctified, even as their Opiniative Faith differs from the Saving Faith.

And it is no wonder if there be abun­dance of these Opiniative believers in the world: For the Truths of God have ve­ry great Evidence, especially some of them; and men are yet men, and con­sequently reasonable Creatures; and therefore have some aptitude to discern the Evidence of Truth: Some Truths will compel Assent even from the unwil­ling: Many a thousand ungodly men, be­lieve that to be True, which they would not have to be True, if they could helpe it; because they do not heartily take it to be Good in respect to themselves. Truth as Truth, is the Natural Object of the Understanding; though the same Truth as seeming Evill to them; may be hated by them that are forced to Assent to it. I know that sinne hath much blinded mens Understandings, and that the natural man, Receiveth not the things of the Spirit, because they are foolish­ness to him, and must be spiritually di­scerned, 1 Cor. 2. 14. But though he [Page 327] cannot Savingly receive them without the Special illumination of the Spirit, nor Opinionatively receive them without a common illumination of the Spirit, yet he may have this Opinionative conviction, and an answerable reformation, by the common Grace of the Spirit, without the Special Grace. An unsanctified man may have something more then Nature in him: And every unregenerate man, is not meerly, or only Natural. Many are farre convinced, that are farre from be­ing Savingly Converted. I can make you know that you shall die, that you must part with all your wealth, and fleshly pleasures, and divers such Truths, whe­ther you will or not. And one of these Truths doth let in many more, that de­pend upon them. So that as dark as the minds of natural men are, they yet lie open to many wholsom Truths.

And as the Understanding is thus farre open to Conviction, so the Will it self, which is the Heart of the old man, will farre sooner yield to the changing of your Opinions then to the saving chang of Heart, and life. It is not the bare Opi­nion, that your fleshly interest doth fight against, but the Power, and Practice of [Page 328] Godliness is it; and Opinions as they lead to these. It's one thing to be of Opinion, that Conversion is necessary, that sinne must be forsaken, and God preferred before all the world: And its another thing to be indeed Converted, and to for­sake sinne, and to prefer God before the world. It's a farre easier matter to con­vince a worldling that he shold not love the world, then to cure him of his world­ly love: aud to convince a drunkard that he should leave his drunkenness, and the whoremonger, that he should abhorre his lusts, then to bring them to do these things, which they are convinced of. It will cost them deer (as the flesh ac­counts it) to deny themselves, and cast away the sinne: but it costeth not so deer to take up the Opinion that these things should be done. It will cost them deer to be downright for God, and practically Religious: but they can take up an Opi­nion that Godliness is the best, and ne­cessary course, at a cheaper rate. Strict Practices pinch the flesh, but strict Opi­nions may stand with its liberty. O what abundance of our poore neighbours would go to Heaven, that are now in the way to Hell, if an Opinion that God­liness [Page 329] is the wisest course, would serve the turn. If instead of Conversion God would take up with an Opinion that they ought to turn; and if instead of a Holy, Heavenly life, God would accept of an Opinion that such are the happiest men, that live such a life; and if instead of tem­perance, and meekness, and self-denial, and forgiving wrongs, God would ac­cept of an Opinion, and Confession, that they should be temperate, and meeke, and self-denying, and should forbear others, and forgive them; then O what abundance would be saved, that are now in little hope of Salvation! If instead of a diligent life of Holiness, and good works, it would serve turn to lie still, and be of a good Opinion, that men should strive, and labour for Salvation, and lay out all they have for God, how hap­py then were our Towns, and Countries, in comparison of what they are.

I am afraid this deceit will be the undo­ing of many, that they take a change of their Opinions for a true Conversion. Have not some of you been formerly of the mind, that the best way is to eate, and drink, and be merry, and venture your Souls, and follow your worldly [Page 330] business, and never trouble your selves with any deep, and searching thoughts about your Spiritual state, or your Sal­vation? Have you not thought that this di­ligent godliness, is but a needless strictness, and precisness: and have you not since been Convinced of your errour, and percei­ved, that this is the wisest course, which you before thought to be needless, and thereupon have betaken you to the com­pany of the goldy, and set upon a course of outward duties; and now you think that you are made New Creatures, and that this is Regeneration, and the work is done? I fear lest this be all the Con­version that many forward professours are acquainted with! But wo to them that have no more.

And because the face of our present times, doth plainly shew the commonness, and prevalency of this disease, and be­cause it is a matter of so great concern­ment to you, I shall here give you (but as briefly as I well can) some signes by which a true Conversion may be known from this meer Opinionative Change.

1. The true Convert is brought to an unfeigned Hatred of the whole Body of sinne; and especially of those secret, or [Page 331] beloved sinnes, that did most power­fully captivate him before, 1 Cor. 6. 11. Tit. 3. 3, 5. Col. 3. 3, 5, 7, 8. But the Opinionative Convert is still Carnall, and unmortified, and inwardly at the heart, the interest of the flesh is habitually pre­dominant. He is not brought to an un­reconcileable hatred to the great master sinnes that ruled him, and lay deepest; but only hath eased the top of his sto­mack, and cropt off some of the bran­ches, of the tree of death. The thornes of worldly desires, and cares, are still rooted in his heart; and therefore no wonder if they choak the seed of whol­some Truth, and there be a greater Har­vest for the Devil then for God, Gal. 5. 24. chap. 16. 19. & 6. 4, 8. Rom. 8. 5. Matth. 13. 22.

2. Another sign that follows upon this, is, that the sound Convert doth carry on the course of his Obedience, in a way of self-denial, as living in a conti­nual conflict with his own flesh, and ex­pecting his comfort, and Salvation to come in upon the conquest: And there­fore he can suffer for Christ, as well as be found in cheaper obedience, and he dare not ordinarily refuse the most costly [Page 332] service. For the spoiles of his fleshly desires are his pray, and Crown of glo­rying in the Lord, Luke 14. 27, 33. Gal. 5. 17, 24. 1 Cor. 9. 27. Luke 9. 23, 24. 2 Cor. 12. 9. Gal. 6. 14.

But the Opinionative Convert still li­veth to his carnal-self: and therefore se­cretly, at least, seeks himself, and lay­eth hold on present things, as the true Convert layeth hold on Eternal Life. The Truths of God being received but into his Opinion, do not go deep enough to conquer self, and to take down his great Idol, nor make him go through fire, and water, and to serve God with the best, and honour him with his substance, much less with his sufferings, and death: He hath something that he cannot spare for God, Matth. 13. 21. Luke 18. 22, 23, 24.

3. The Sound Convert hath taken God for his Portion, and Heaven for that sure and full felicity, which he is re­solved to venture upon: That's it that he hath set his heart, and hopes upon, and thither tends the drift of his life, Col. 3. 1, 2, 3, 4. Matth. 6. 20, 21.

But he that is changed only in his Opi­nions, had never such sure apprehen­sions [Page 333] of the life to come: nor so full a confidence in the Promises of God, as to set his heart unfeignedly upon God, and make him truly Heavenly-minded. He may have a Heavenly tongue, but he hath an Earthly heart. A bare Opinion, be it never so true, will not raise mens hearts so high, as to make their Affecti­ons, and the very design, and business of their lives to be Heavenly, Phil. 3. 18, 19, 20. Rom. 16, 17, 18. Rom. 8. 5.

4. The Sound Convert hath seen the vileness of himself, in the sinfullness of his heart, and life, and the misery there­by deserved; and so is a sincerly humbled, self-accusing man.

But the Opinionist is commonly un­humbled, and well conceited of himself, and a self-justifying Pharisee; unless it be that self-accusing will cost him no dis­grace, and he take it up as a custom, or that which may bring him into the repute of being humbled, and sincere. For his Opinion will not search, and pierce his heart, nor batter down his self-exalting thoughts, nor root up the master sinne of Pride. These are too great works for an Opinion to perform. And therefore [Page 334] you shall hear him more in the excusing of his sinne, the magnifying of himself, or the stiff maintaining of his own con­ceits, then in unfeigned self-abasing, Rom. 12. 16. 1 Cor. 1. 19, 20. & 3. 18. 2 Cor, 10. 12. Luke 16. 15.

5. The Sound Convert is so acquain­ted with the defects, and sinnes, and necessities of his own Soul, that he is much taken up at home, in his studies, and cares, and censures, and his daily worke: The acting, and strengthening of Grace, the subduing of corruption, and his daily walk with God, are much of his employment: Above all keeping, he keeps his Heart, as knowing that thence are the issues of life. He cannot have while to spy out the faults of others, and meddle with their affaires, where duty binds him not, as others can do; because he hath so much to do at home, Gal. 6. 3, 4. Prov 4. 23.

But the Opinionist is most employed abroad, and about meer notions, and Opinions, but he is little employed in such heart-searching, or heart-obser­ving work. His light doth not pierce so deep as to shew him his heart, and the work that is there to be necessarily done. [Page 335] As the change is little upon his Heart, so his employment is little there. He is little in bewailing his secret defects, and cor­ruptions; and little in keeping his Souls accounts; and little in secret striving with his heart, to work it into commu­nion with God, and into a Spiritual lively fruitfull frame. He is forward to aggra­vate the sinnes of others, and oft-times severe enough in censuring them: But he is a very gentle censurer of himself, and a patient man with his own corruptions, and puts the best construction upon all that is his own. He hath much labour perhaps in shaping his Opinions; but little for the humbling, and Sanctifying his heart, by the power of the Truth.

6. And as the difference lyeth thus constantly in the Heart, so it is usually manifested by the tongue, Matth. 12. 34. The Sound Convert is most desi­rous to discourse of those great, and sa­ving truths, which his very heart hath taken in, and which he hath found to be the seed of God, for his Regeneration, and the Instruments of that Holy, and happy change, that is made upon him: He feeleth most savour, and life in these great, and most Necessary points, which [Page 336] formed the Image of God upon him: and upon these he daily feeds and lives. Read Joh. 17. 3. 1 Cor. 15. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 1 Cor. 2. 2. Phil. 3. 8, 9, 10, 11. 1 Tim. 3. 16. Acts 26. 22, 23. In these Scrip­tures, you may find what points they were that the greatest Saints did study, and live upon.

But the Opinionist is most forward to discourse of meer Opinions; and to feed upon the aire of notions, and controver­sies of lesser moment. For one hours Holy, Heavenly, experimental, heart-searching discourse, that you shall have from him, you shall have many, and many hours discourse of his Opinions. I mean it indifferently of all his Opinions, whether true or false. For though fals­hoods cannot be fit food for the Soul, yet Truths themselves, also may be made of little service to them. A man may be a meer Opinionist, that hath true Opi­nions, as well as he that hath false. Al­most all the free and zealous discourse of these men, on matters of Religion, is about their several sides, and parties, and Opinions: If they be set upon a point, especially wherein they seem to themselves, to be wiser then others, they [Page 337] have a fire of zeale for it in their brests, that makes them desirous to be propa­gating it to others. About the Orders, and Ceremonies of the Church; about the formes of Prayer, and the accidents of worship; about Infant Baptism, or other such controversies in Religion, is the freest of their discourse.

Yea, you may perceive much of the difference even in the very manner of their conference. A Serious Christian, even when he is necessitated to speak of lower controverted points, yet doth it in a Spiritual manner, as one that more savoureth higher Truths, and makes a Holy, and Heavenly life his end, even in these lower matters; and deals about such controversies in a practical man­ner, and in order to the growth of Holi­ness.

But the Opinionists, even when they speak of the most weighty Truths, do speak of them but as Opinions; and when they discourse of God, of Christ, of Grace, of Heaven, it is but as they dis­course of a point in Philosophy, or little better. They go not through the shell to the kernel: they look after the Truth, but they have but little relish of the Goodness.

[Page 338] The like may be said of their reading, and hearing of Sermons. The sound Convert feeleth life, spirits in that which is little savory to the Opinionist. It is one thing in a Sermon, or Text that is pleasant to a true Christian, and another thing usually that is most pleasant to the Opinionist. The true Christian de­lighteth in, and feedeth on the inward life of Spiritual Doctrine, and the Good which they offer him; that is, indeed, it is upon God, and Christ himself, that he is feasting his Soul in reading, and hearing: For this is the Soul of all, with­out which, letters, and words are but a carcass. But the superficial Opinionist is much more taken up, either with the History, or the Elegancy of Speech, or with the rational light of the discourse, still sticking in the bark, and savouring not Christ, and the Father in all. As a man that reads the deeds, or lease of his own Lands, delights in one thing; and a cleark that reads the same, or the like in a book of Presidents, for his learning, delights in another thing. So is it in this case.

7. And hence is follows, that they are several sorts of duties, and exercises, usually that these several sorts of persons [Page 339] are most addicted to. The sound Con­vert is most addicted to those Spiritual means, that tend most to the strength­ning of his Faith, and warming his heart with the Love of God, and promoting Holiness, and destroying sinne. But the Opinionist delighteth most in those means that tend to [...]rnish him with spe­culative Knowledg, and discourse, and to satisfie his fansie, or curious mind. The sound Convert is much addicted to Prayer, even in secret, and to Heaven­ly Meditations, and gracious disourse. But the Opinionist is much more addicted to reading Histories, or Controversies, or dogmatical Divinity, or Civil, and Political matters. The sound Convert savoureth best those Preachers, and Books, that speak the most weighty, Spi­ritual Truths, in the most weighty, Spiritual manner, in Power, and De­monstration of the Spirit: But the Opi­nionist relisheth those Preachers, and Books most, that either speak curiously to please the eare, or exactly, and lear­nedly to please the natural intellect, or that speak for the Opinions, or partly that he is addicted to: But others, he hath less mind of.

[Page 340] 8. Moreover the sound Christian lay­eth out most of his Zeal, Affections, and Endeavours, about the great Essentials of Religion, and that as I said in a pra­ctical manner. But the Opinionist layeth out his Zeale upon Opinions; Right or wrong, it is but as Opinions: Of these he makes his Religio [...]: For these he con­tendeth: He loveth those best, that are of his own Opinion, though there be no­thing of the special Image of God upon his Soul, Or if he love a true Christian, it is not so much for his Holiness, and Spirituality, as because he is of his mind in those matters of Opinion. Hence it is that he is usually a bitter censurer of those that are not of his Opinion, how upright soever they may be: His very esteeme of men, and love to them is partial, and factious, to those that are of his Mind, and Sect: A Papist will esteem, and love men of the Popish Sect, and an Anabap­tist will esteem, and love men of that Sect most, yea a Protestant, if he be an Opinionist; doth esteem of men, and love them as a Sect: Whereas the true Chri­stian, as he is truly Catholick, and of the Catholick Church, which is not confined to Papists, no nor Protestants, so he [Page 341] hath truly Catholik affections, and lo­veth a Christian, as a Christian, a God­ly man, as Godly; yea if he saw more serious Godliness in one that is not of his Opinion in lesser things, yet would he love him more then one that is in such matters of his Opinion, that is ungodly, or of more doubtfull Piety. For as it is God in Christ that he principally lo­veth, so it is Christ that he admireth in his Members; and so much of Christ as he sees in any, so much are his special af­fections towards them.

9. Ordinarily the meer Opinionist will Sacrifice the very Ends of the Gospel, and the honour, and success of the great fun­damental Truths of God, to the interest of those Opinions, which he hath in a singular manner to his Own. He will rather hinder the propagation of the common Truths, and the Conversion of the ignorant, then he will silence his Opi­nions, or suffer them to lose any advan­tages with the world. Hence it is that we cannot prevaile with the Papists, to silence a while the differences between us, and them, till we have taught their igno­rant (in Ireland, and other barbarous parts) the knowledg of those Truths [Page 342] that all are agreed in. Nor can we get many Anabaptists, or any such Sect, that is engaged in a division, to forbear their Opinions, till we have endeavoured [...]o lay the necessary grounds, on which all must build, that will be saved. But though it be apparent to the world, that their disputes, and contentions do excee­dingly harden the ignorant, and ungodly against all Religion, and hinder their Conversion, and Salvation, yet will they go on in the unseasonable, intemperate, bruting of their conceits, and will not be perswaded to agree on those terms, for the managing of differences, as most tend to secure the interest of Christ, and his Gospel in the maine. If an Opinionist be for the Truth, he is usually without much zeale for it, because that Nature doth not befriend the great Spirituall Truths of the Gospel, so much as it doth errours, and private conceits. But if he be of Erro­neous Opinions, he is usually very zea­lous for them: For Corrupted Nature, and Self, and Satan, (and the world oft-times) do more befriend these, and furnish him with a Zeale for them, and blow the coale. The counterfeit Angel of Light, is very ordinarily also a spirit [Page 343] of heat, and great activity: not a revi­ving fire, nor a refining fire, but a con­suming fire, devouring Christian Love, and meekness, and patience, and there­with the Church, and Truth of God, so far as it: can prevail. For lesser matters, that minister Questions, such men can say by that which tends to Godly Edify­ing in Faith, 1 Tim. 1. 4. Yea that Charity, which is the very End of the Commandement, out of a pnre Heart, a good Conscience, and Faith unfeigned, vers. 5. From these they swerve, and turn aside to vain jangling: oft times de­siring to be Teachers of such thigs, in which they understand not what they say, nor whereof they speak, vers. 6, 7. Con­senting not to the wholsome Words of Christ, and the Doctrine which is according to God­liness, they teach otherwise, being proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questi­ons, and strife of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evill surmisings, perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the Truth, 1 Tim. 6. 3, 4, 5. Yea they sometime take their Opi­nions, or their worldly gain that they often ayme at, to be instead of Godli­ness: And think, that to be Godly, is to [Page 344] he of their mind, and way. They use to strive about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers, and their vain bablings increase to more ungodliness, 2 Tim. 2. 14, 16.

But the True Convert looks principal­ly to the main: He loves every known Truth of God; but in their Order, and accordingly to their worth and weight: He will not for his own Opinions, wil­fully do that which shall hazard the main, or hinder the Gospel, and the saving of mens Souls. Though he will not be false to any Truth, yet he will avoid foolish, and unlearned questions, knowing that they do gender strife; and the Servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men, and meekly instruct opposers; following Righteousness, Faith, Charity, Peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart, Tim. 2. 22, 23, 24, 25.

10. Lastly, True Converts are sted­fast, but Opinionists are usually mutable, and unconstant. The sound Convert re­ceiveth the greatest Truths, and receives the Goodness as well as the Truth; and takes it not only into the Head, but into the Heart, and giveth it deep rooting: He closeth with God as his only felicity, [Page 345] and with Christ as his only Refuge, and Redeemer, and with Heaven as the sure everlasting Glory, to which the world is but a mole-hill, or a dungeon. No wonder then if this man be stedfast, and unmovable, alwaies abounding in the Work of the Lord, that knows his Labour is not in vain in the Lord, 1 Cor. 15. 58.

But the Opinionist, either fasteneth on smaller matters, or else holdeth these great matters but as bare Opinions, and therefore they have no such interest in his heart, as to stablish him against shaking tryals, and temptations: For two sort [...] there are of these Opinionists: the on [...] sort have no Zeal for their own Opini­ons; because they are but Opinions: And these are time-servers; and will change as the King, or their Land-lords change; and fit their Opinions to their worldly Ends. The other sort have a burning Zeale for their Opinions; and these use to wander from one Opinion to another, not able to resist the, subtilty of seducers; but are taken with fair, and plausible reasonings; not able to see into the heart of the cause. These are as Children t [...]s­sed to and fro, and carried about with [Page 346] every wind of Doctrine, by the slight, and cunning craftiness of men, whereby they lie in weight to deceive Eph. 4. 14. When with great confidence they have held one sort of Opinions a while, and railed against those that were not of their mind, ere long they will themselves for­sake them, and take up another way, and be as consident in that, and take no warning by the experience of their for­mer deceit. And thus they go oft from one Opinion to another, till at last fin­ding themselves deceived so oft, some of them cast off all Religion, and think there is no certainty to be found in any: Suspecting Religion, when they should have suspected their false hearts: And all this comes to pass because they never received the Truth in the love of it, that they might be Sanctified, and Saved by it, 2 Thes. 2. 10, 11, 12. Nor ever gave it deep entertainment in their hearts, that it might throughly Convert them; but took it as a bare Opinion into the brain to polish their tongues, and out­sides, and deceive themselves as much as others.

And thus I have shewed you the diffe­rence between a sound Convert, and [Page 347] an Opinionist, or one that hath but a overly superficial Change, that you may see which of these is your own condition.

To return now to my Advice, and Exhortation, I intreat every person, that readeth, or heareth these words, to see that they stick not in an Opinionative Conversion. To which End I further desire you 1. To consider that it is a higher matter, that Christ came into the world for, then to change mens bare Opinions; and it is a higher matter that the Gospel is intended for, and that Mi­nisters are sent to you for: For it is more then a corruption of mens Opinions, that siane hath brought upon you; and there­fore it is a deeper disease that must be cu­red. The Work of Christ by his Gospel, is no less, then to fetch you off all that which flesh and blood accounts your Happiness, and to unite you to himself, and make you Holy, as God is Holy, and to give you a new Nature, and make you as the dwellers, or Citizens of Hea­ven, while you walk on Earth, Phil. 3. 20, 21. And these are greater matters then the changing of a Party, or Opinion. [Page 348] The Holy Ghost himself must dwell in you, and work in you, and imploy your Soul, and life for God, that you may study him, and love him, and live to him here, and live with him for ever. Do but think well of the Ends, and mea­ning of the Gospel, and how much grea­ter matters it drives at, and then you will see that there's no taking up with an Opinionative Religiousness.

2. Keep company, if it be possible with the most Sober, Spiritual, and Hea­venly professours, that will be drawing you to the observation of your own heart, and life, and opening to you the riches of the Love of Christ, and win­ning up your affections to God, and Hea­ven: And be not the companions of un­experienced wranglers, that have no other Religion, but a Zeal for their Opi­nions, and will endeavour rather to make you like Satan, then like God, by possessing your minds with malice, and bitter thoughts of your brethren, and employing your tongues in reproaches, and vaine strivings, and making you fire-brands in the places where you live: Neither be companions of them that hold the Truth no deeper then Opinion: For [Page 349] though some such may be usefull to you in their places, yet if you have not more edifying familiars, your danger will be very great, lest you should let go the life of Religion, and take up with meer notions, and formalities as they.

3. When you have considered, that every Truth of God is a Message to your Hearts, as well as to your Heads, and hath a work of God to do upon them, look after that work; and when you have heard, or read a Truth, go down into your Hearts, and see what it hath done there: And if you find not in your Will, and Resolutions, and Affections, the Image, and fruits of the Truth you have heard, fetch it up again, and ruminate upon it, and do not think you have received it, or done with it, till this be done; yea take it but as lost, and sin­fully rejected, if it have not done you some good at the very Heart.

4. Also be sure that you Practise all practical Truths, upon the first oppor­tunity, as soon as you have heard them. Imprison them not in unrighteousness. Cast them not out in forgetfulness; use not a Lecture of Divinity as if it were a lesson of Musick, or a meer Philosophi­cal, [Page 350] or Historical discourse. Read not the Doctrine of Salvation, and the Pro­mises of Heaven, and the forewarnings of everlasting misery, as you read a com­mon story, or a groundless conjecture in an Almanack: But as a Message from God, which tells you where you must dwell for ever, and as a Direction sent from Heaven to teach you the way thi­ther. Fall to work then, and practise what you know, if you would be Christi­ans indeed. Be yee doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For the Opinionative hearer, seeth but a slight appearance of the Truth, as a man that lookes on his face in a glass, which he quickly forgets: But he that is a Sound Believer, and practiser, and not only an Opinionative forgetful hearer, is the man that shall be blessed in his deed, Jam. 1. 22, 23, 24, 25. Opinion with­out Practise, is building on the Sand; but hearing, and sound Believing, and do­ing, is building upon the Rock, where the building will stand after all assaults. Matth. 7. 26, 27, 28. An Opinionist doth but seem to be Religious, while he keeps his reigning sinnes, and therefore his Religion is in vain: but the Practical [Page 351] Religion, is the pure, and undefiled Re­ligion, Jam. 1. 26, 27. Hearty obedi­ence will not only shew that your Religi­on is deeper then meer Opinion, but it will also advance it to a greater purity, and root it more deeply then it was be­fore: A man that hath studied the Art of Navigation in his closet, may talk of it, almost as well as he that hath been at sea; but when he comes to practise it, he will find that he is far to seek: But let this man go to sea, and joyn practise, and experience to his Theory, and then he may have a knowledg of the right kind. So if a man that hath only read over Military Books, would be a true Soldier, or a man that hath only stu­died Physick, would be a true Physician, what better way is there, then to fall to Practise. And so must you, if you would have a Religion that shall save your Souls; and not only a Religion that will furnish you with good Opinions, and expressions.

5. Moreover, if you would get above Opinion, be still searching more, and more after the Evidences, of the anci­ent fundamental Truths, that you have received; and lay open your hearts to [Page 352] the power of them. Think it not enough that you take the Christian Religion for true; but labour after a clearer sight ot its truth. For you may possibly upon some conjecture take it for a Truth, by bare Opinion, whenas the sight of fuller Evi­dences, and a full sight of those Eviden­ces, might raise you from Opinion to a working, saving Faith.

6. Lastly, take heed lest any thing be suffered to keep possession of your Hearts, and so to confine the truth to your braine. When the world is kept up in life, and power, and is nearest the heart, there is no room for the Word there, but it must float upon the top, and swim in your Opinion; because it can go no dee­per, your lusts, and profits having pos­session before it. The Word can never go to the heart with unmortified men, but by casting your Idols out of your hearts; nor will it take rooting in you, but by rooting out the world.

O Sirs, if you knew the misery of a meer Opinionist, you would sure be per­swaded now to practise these Directions, that may raise you higher. An Opinio­nist is a deceiver of himself, and oft of others; a troubler of the Church▪ [...] he [Page 353] have any Zeal for Opinions, and hit (as usually he doth) on the wrong: And when his Religion is right, he is wrong himself, being out of the way, even when he is in the right way, because he is not right in that right way: For he doth but sit down in it, when he should tra­vaile it. A runner shall not win the prize by being in the right way only, unless he make hast. The knowledg of the Opi­nionist doth but serve to aggravate his sinne, and cause him to be beaten with many stripes; but is not of force to San­ctifie his heart and life, and to save him: Jam. 2. fully shews. Stick not therefore in an Opinionative Religiousness.

DIRECT. IX My next Direction that your Conversion may prove sound, is this, Acquaint your Souls by Faith with the Glory of the Everlasting King­dom, and see that you make it your Portion, and your End, and from thence let the rest of your endeavours be animated.

No man can be a sound Christian, that knoweth not the Ends, and Portion of a Christian. There is a great deal of diffe­rence between the desires of Heaven in a [Page 354] Sanctified man and an unsanctified. The Believer prizeth it above earth, and had rather be with God then here (Though death that stands in the way, may possi­bly have harder thoughts from him) But to the ungodly there is nothing seemeth more desirable then this world: and therefore he only chooseth Heaven before Hell, but not before earth; and therefore shall not have it upon such a choice. We heare of Gold and Silver mines in the Indies: If you offer a Gol­den mountaine there, to an English man that hath an estate and family here, that are deare to him; perhaps hee'l say, I am uncertain whether their Golden mountains be not meer fictions to deceive men; and if it be true that there are such things, yet it is a great way thither, and the seas are perilous; and I am well enough already where I am, and therefore let who will go thither for me, I will stay at home as long as I can. But if this man must needs be banished out of England, and had his choise whether he would go to the Golden Ilands, or to dig in a cole­pit, or live in a wilderness, he would rather choose the better then the worse. So is it with an ungodly mans desires, in [Page 355] respect to this world, and that to come. If he could stay here, in fleshly pleasure, for ever, he would; because he looks at Heaven as uncertain, and a great way off, and the passage seemeth to him more troublesom, and dangerous then it is; and he is where he would be alrea­dy: But when he sees that there is no staying here for ever, but death will have him away, he had rather go to Hea­ven, then to Hell; and therefore will be Religious, as far as the flesh, and the world will give him leave, left he should be cast into Hell, when he is taken from the Earth.

But take an English man that is in po­verty, and reproach, and hath neither house, nor land, nor friend to comfort him, and let him have the offer of a Gol­den Iland, and a person of unquestiona­ble skilfullness, and fidelity, that will promise in short time to bring him safe thither, if he believe this person, and can put his trust in him, doubtless he will be gone and follow him over sea and land, and though the passage may some­what daunt him, yet the promised pos­session will carry him through all. So is it with the true Christian; He is dead to [Page 356] this world, and sees nothing here in which he can be happy; he is burdened and wearied with sinne and suffering; he is firmly perswaded of the truth of the Gospel, and seeth by Faith the world, that is to flesh invisible, and believeth in Jesus Christ who hath promised to con­vey him safely thither; and therefore he would away; and though he love not death, the stormy passage, yet he will submit to it, having so sure a Pi­lot, because he loves the life which through death he must pass into, and had rather be there then here.

Such as a mans principall End is, such is the man, and such is the course of his life. He that takes this world for his Portion, and makes the felicity of it his end, is a carnall, worldy, unsancti­fied man, whatever good and godly acti­ons may come in upon the by. It is he, and only he, that is a sanctified Believer, who looks on Heaven as his only Por­tion, and is sailing through the trouble­some Seas of this world, of purpose to come to that desired harbour; not loving these seas better then the Land of Rest, which he is sailing to; but pa­tiently and painfully passing through [Page 357] them, because there is no other way to Glory. As it is the desire of the Land to which he is sailing, that moveth the Marriner or Passenger to do all that he doth in his Voyage; and the desire of his home or journeys End, that moveth the travailer all the way; and the desire of seeing a perfect Building, that moveth the Builder in every stroke of his Work; so it must be the love of God, and the desire after Everlasting blessedness, that must be the very En­gine to move the rest of the affecti­ons and endeavours of the Saints, and must make men resolve on the necessary labour and patience of Believers. Take off this weight, and all the motions of Christianity will cease. No man will be at labour and sufferings for nothing, if he can avoid them. It is a life of Labour, though sweet to the Spirit, yet tedious to the flesh, which Chri­stianity doth engage us in; and there is much suffering to be undergone; and this to the very last, and to the denyall of our selves; and, if God re­quire it, to the loss of all the comforts of the world: For no less then forsa­king all that we have, will serve to [Page 358] make us Christs Disciples. And will any man do this for he knows not what? Will any man forsake all that he hath, unless it be for something better, which may be as sure to him as that he had, and may make him more happy? Look to it therefore that you have right and beliving thoughts of Heaven, and that unfeignedly you take it for your Home and Happiness, and look not for any other Portion. Till you see so much of the certainty and excellency of Everlasting Glory, as shall prevail with you to lay out your faithfull labour for it, and to be at a point with all this world, as having laid up your Treasure and Hopes in the world to come, you have no ground to conclude that you are true Christian Converts.

Seeing therefore that it's Heaven that is the very Reason, the End, the Life of all your Religion, it follows that you must necessarily understand some­what of its excellency, and believe its certainty, and accordingly set your hearts upon it, and make the attainment of it your daily work, and business in the world: This is to be a Convert in­deed.

[Page 359] Remember therefore first what I told you before wherein the nature of this Blessedness doth consist. I will only name the Essentials of it, that your apprehensions may be right, and for­bear to say much, as being done al­ready.

1. The first thing considerable in our Everlasting Blessedness, will be our personal Perfection of the whole man; This is in or­der to the Perfection of our Everlasting Operations and Enjoyments. Our bodies shall be no more flesh and blood, nor corruptible, or mortall, or subject to hunger or pain, or weariness, nor to passions that rebell against the reason­able soul: but they shall be spiritul bodies, and Immortall, and Incorrupti­ble and Undefiled. Our Souls will be perfected in their Natural Perfections, and in their Moral. They shall be of more advanced Understanding, and comprehensive Wisdom then now: Our wills shall attain to perfect rectitude in a perfect conformity to the Will of God, and every affection shall be brought to its perfect order and eleva­tion: All sinne shall be done away, whether it were in the understanding, [Page 360] will, affections, or the actions. The executive power will be answerable to the rest of the Perfections, and to the blessed work which it hath to do: And thus we shall be like the Angels of God.

2. The next thing considerable in our Blessedness is, our approximation or ap­proach to God: We shall be admitted into the holiest, and brought as neer him as our natures are capable of, and we are fit for.

3. Moreover, we shall be Members of the new Jerusalem, and receive our Glory in Communion with that blessed Society, and so as Members contribute to her Glory.

4. And we shall behold the glorified Person of our Redeemer, and he will be glorified on us as the fruits of his Vi­ctory.

5. And we shall behold the face of the blessed God, and see his wisdom, and power and glory, and know as we are known. Though we cannot now fully know the manner, yet in that sense as our Angels are said to behold the face of God, Mat. 18. 10. we also shall be­hold it.

[Page 361] 6. We shall also enjoy him in the neerest relation, and by the most raised vigorous affections of our souls: We shall be filled with his Love as full as we can hold, and we shall abound with perfect Love to him again: And the Joy that is in his presence, which this Intuition and Everlasting Love will afford us, is such as no heart is here able to conceive.

7. Being thus furnished, we shall be employed in his perfect Praises, in singing and rejoycing to him with the heavenly Host, and Magnifying his great and holy Name.

8. And in all this will the Glory of God shine forth, and he will be admired in his Saints, 2 Thes. 1. 10. 11. In us it shall ap­pear how abundant he is in power, and wisdom, and goodness, in holiness, faith­fulness and righteousness.

9. And God himself will be well plea­sed with us, and with the new Jerusa­lem and his glorified Sonne, and will take complacen [...]y in this manifestation and communication of his Glory and of Him­self unto his creatures. And this is his Ultimate End, and should be the highest point of ours. The Revolution hath now brought all to that Center, which [Page 362] is both the Alpha and Omega, the begin­ing and the end. His Will is the Foun­tain or Efficient of all; and it is the Ultimate End and Perfection of all.

There is no more to add, as to the matter, but that as to the Duration, first we may take it as that which leaves no room for any addition, that all this will be Everlasting, leaving not any doubts, or fears of a cessation. Abundance of glorious adjuncts of this felicity might be mentioned; but I pass them all by, and do but name these few which are the Essentiall Constitutive parts of our Happiness, because I have touched them before, and fullyer spoken of them in the Saints Rest. Thus much I thought meet to mention here, that you may have somewhat of that in your eye that I am perswading you to intend and seek; and the rather, because I perceive that many of the godly have not such di­stinct Apprehensions of the constitutive parts of this Felicity, as they should have; but much wrong their souls, and God Himself, and the Glory of their Profession, by looking but at some of the Parts.

[Page 363] Believe God sirs that this is the life that you shall live, if you will take it for your Portion, and set your hearts upon it, and follow the Conduct of Christ for the obtaining it. Can you be content with Heaven alone? Is it enough for you, though you be despised and persecuted in the world? Do you account this for Certainty and Excellency to be worth all? Yea, that all is dross and dung to this. Thus must you do if you will be true Converts. For all such are heavenly in their minds, and hearts, and in the drift of all their lives and Conversations.

DIRECT. X. My next Advice that you may prove sound Converts, is this: [Rest not, and count not your selves truly Converted, till God and his holy Waies have your very Love, and Desire, and Delight: and take not that for a sa­ving Change, when you had rather live a worldly ungodly life, if it were not for the fear of punishment.]

I shall speak but little of this, because I toucht upon it before, when I told you that Christ must have your hearts, [Page 364] and because it is but a consectary of the last, or contained in it. But yet I think it best to present it here distinctly to your Consideration, because a slavish kind of religiousness, doth deceive so many; and because the life of Grace is here exprest. I deny not but holy Fear is e [...]ceeding usefull to us; even a Fear of the Threatnings and Judgments of God. But yet I must tell you, that in Fear there is much more that is common to the unsanctified, then there is in Love, Desire and Delight. Though the Fear of God be the beginning of wisdom, it is Love that is the Perfection: and that Fear is not filial, and of the right strain, if Love be not its Companion. Fear of punishment shews that you love your natural selves: but it shews not that you love God, and are true-hearted to him. The Devils fear and tremble, but they do not Love. It is Love and and not Fear that is the Byas, the In­clination, and, as I may say, the Nature of the will of man By his Love it is that you must know what the man is. The Philosopher saith, [Such as a man is, such is his end] which is all one as to say, [Such as a man is, such is his Love.] [Page 365] You may Fear a thing at the same time when you hate it: and it's too common to have some hatred mixt with Fear. You may be as much against God and his holy waies, when Fear only drives you to some kind of religiousness, as others are that scarce meddle with Religion at all. The first thing that God looks at is, what you would do; and the next is, what you do. If you do it, but had ra­ther leave it undone, you lose your re­ward, and God will take it as if you had not done it: For it was not you that did it, if you did it not from Love; but it was Fear that dwelleth in you. God takes mens hearty Desires and Will, in­stead of the Deed, where they have not power to fulfill it: But he never took the bare Deed instead of the Will. A blockish kind of worship, consisting in outward actions, without the heart, is fit to be given to a wooden god, a sens­less Idol: but the true and living God abhorres it. He is a Spirit, and will be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth: such worshipers he seeketh, and such he will accept, Joh. 4. 23, 24. A begger will be glad of your Almes, though you leave it with an ill will; because he needeth it: [Page 366] but God hath no need of you, nor of your service, and therefore think not that he will accept you on such termes. That people worshipeth God in vain, that draw near him with their mouth, and honour him with their lips, when their heart is farre from him, Mat. 15. 8, 9. A mans heart is where his Love is, rather then where his Fear is. If you should lie still upon your knees, or in the holy Assembly; If you should be the strictest Observer of the Ordinances on the Lords daies; and yet had such hearts in you, as had rather let all these alone, if it were not for fear of punishment; it will all be disregarded, and reckoned to you according to your wills, as if it had never been done by you at all. It's Love that must win Love, or make you fit for Love to entertain. If you give your goods to the poor, or your bodies to be burned in a cause that in it self is good, and yet have not Love, it a­vaileth nothing, 1 Cor. 13. 1, 2, 3, 5. You will not think your Wife hath conju­gall affections that loveth another man better then you, and had rather be gone from you, if she could live without you. It's an unnatural Son that loves not his [Page 367] Father, but had rather be from him, then with him. If God called you to a bestiall drugery or slavery, he would then look but for your work, and not care much whether you be willing or unwilling. If your Ox draw your plow, and your Horse carry his bur­den, you care not much whether it be willingly or unwillingly. Or if it be an enemy that you have to deal with, you will look for no more then a forced sub­mission, or that he be disabled from do­ing you hurt. But this is not your case: It is a state of friendship that the Gospel calls you to: you must be nigh to God; his Children; and the Members of his Sonne; espoused to him in the dear­est strongest bonds: And do you think it is possible that this should be done without your wills and affections? If you can be content with the Portion of a slave and an enemy, then do your task, and deny God your affections: But if you look for the entertainment and Por­tion of a Friend, a Child, a Spouse; you must bring the heart of a Friend, and of a Child, and of a Spouse. Fear may do good by driving you to the use of means; and taking out of your hands the [Page 368] things by which you would do your selves a mischief: It may prepare you for saving Grace; and when you are sanctified, it will prove a necessary ser­vant of Love; to keep you in awe, and save you from temptations. But Love is the ruling affection in the sanctified; and fear is therefore necessary because of the present imperfection of Love, and because of the variety of temptati­ons that here beset us: Think not there­fore that you are savingly renewed, till God have your very hearts. When you do but believe and tremble, it is bet­ter then to be unbelieving, and stupid, and secure: but you are not true Christians till you believe and Love. We use to fly from that which we fear, and therefore do apprehend it to be evil to us. We a­void the presence and company of those that we are afraid of, but we draw nigh them that we love, and delight in their company. We Fear an Enemy: We Love a Friend: We Fear the Devil naturally; but we do not Love him: It is Love that is that Affection of the soul that entertaineth God as God, even as Good: though that Love must be accompanied with a filial fear, even a [Page 369] dread and reverence of his Majesty and greatness, and a fear of displeasing him. If you should toile out your selves in Religious duties, with a heart that had rather forbear them, if you durst, you have not the hearts of Gods Children in your breasts. The Magistrate can frighten men to the Congregation and outward worship: You may lock a man in the Church, that had rather be away: And will any man think that this makes him acceptable to God? You may keep a Theif from stealing by prison and irons; but this makes him not accepted with God as a true man: You may cure a man of cursing, and swearing, and rail­ing, and idle and ribbald talking, even in a minute of an hour, by cutting of his tongue: but will God accept him ever the more as long as he hath a heart that would do it if he could? There's abun­dance of people at this day that are kept from abusing the Lords day, and from swearing, and stealing, yea and from laying hands on all about them that are godly, and this by the Law of man, and the fear of present punishment: And do you think that these are there­fore innocent or acceptable with God? [Page 370] By this account you may make the Devil a Saint, when he is chained up from do­ing mischief: You may as well say, that a Lyon is become a Lamb, when he is shut up in his Den: Or that a mastiff Dog is become harmelss and gentle, when he is muzled. Believe it sirs, you are never Christians, till you see that in God that winnes your hearts to him, so that you would not change your Master for any in the world; and till you see that in the Hopes of Ever­lasting Glory, that you would not change it for any thing else that can be imagi­ned by the heart of man; And till you see that goodness in a heavenly life, that you had rather live it, then any life in the world: You are not converted to God indeed, till you had rather live in Holiness then in Sinne, if you had your freest choice; and till you would gladly be the strictest holiest persons that you know in the world; and long after more and more of it, and fain would reach Perfection it self: For though we cannot be perfect here, yet no man is upright that desireth not to be perfect. For he that loveth Holi­ness as Holiness, must needs love the [Page 371] greatest measure of Holiness, with the greatest Love. This is it that maketh sound Converts to be so faithfull and constant with God: A man is forward and ready to a work that he loves, when he draws back from it, as if it were a mischief, that hath no mind to do it. A man is hardly kept from the persons, and places, and employments that he loves: but a little will with­draw him from that which he loveth not. Why is it that we have so much adoe to take off a Drunkard from his Companions and his lusts, but because he loves them better then temperance and gracious company? And why can we so hardly draw the lustfull wretch from his filthy lusts, or the glutton, or the idle sensuall person from his needless or ezcessive recreations, but because they love them? And why is it that you cannot draw the worldling from his covetousness, but he parteth with his money almost as hardly as with his blood, but because he loveth it? And therefore what wonder if tempta­tions be resisted, and the fairest baits of the world despised, by him that is truly in Love with God: No wonder if no­thing [Page 372] can turn back that man from the way to Heaven, that is in Love both with Heaven and with the Way. No won­der if that man stick close to Christ and never forsake a holy life, that tafteth the sweetness of it, and feels its to do him good, and had rather go that way then any in the world. There is no true Christian but can say with David, that a day in Gods Courts is better then a thou­sand, and he had rather be a door-keeper in the house of God, then to dwell in the tents, [yea, or the Pallaces] of wickedness. Do but mark those Professors that prove Apostates, and sorfake the way of godli­ness which they seemed to embrace, and see whether they be not such as either took up some bare Opinions and out­ward Duties, upon a flash of superficial illumination, or else such as were fright­ned into a course of Religion, and so went on from duty to duty for fear of being damned, when all the while their hearts were more another way, and they had rather have been excused. These hypo­crites are they that are disputing so oft the Obligations to their Duty, and ask­ing, How do you prove that it is a Duty to pray in my Family, or a Duty to ob­serve [Page 373] the Lords Day, or to come con­stantly to the Congregation, or to use the Communion of the godly in private meetings, or to repeat Sermons, or sing Psalms, and the like? Intimating that they are as Birds in a Cage, or Hens in a Pen, that are boaring to get out, and had had rather be at liberty: If it were not for the fear of the Law of God that is upon them, they had rather let all these Duties alone, or take them up but now and then at an idle time, when Satan and the flesh will give them leave. If a Feast be prepared and spread before them, a good stomack will not stand to ask; How can you prove it my duty to eat? but perhaps the sick that loath it, may do so. If the Cup be before the Drunkard, he doth not stand on those termes [How do you prove it my duty now to drink this Cup, and the other Cup] No, if he might have but leave, he would drink on, without any questi­oning whether it be a duty: If the Gamester, or the Whoremonger, might but be sure that he should scape the punishment, he would never stick at the want of a Precept, and ask, Is it my duty? If there were but a gift of twenty [Page 374] pound a man, to be given to all the poor of the Town, yea and to all the people in generall, I do not think I should meet with many people in the Town that would draw back and say, What Word of God commandeth me to take it? Or how can you prove that it is my duty? And why is all this? but because they have an inward Love to the thing; and Love will carry a man to that which seemeth good for him, without any command, or threat­ning. If these ungodly wretches had one sparke of spiritual life within them, and any taste and feeling of the matters that concern their own salvation, in­stead of asking, How can you prove that I must pray with my Family, or that I must keep the Lords day, or that I must converse with the godly, and live a holy life? they would be readier to say, How can you prove that I may not pray with my Family? and that I may not sanctifie the Lords Day? and that I may not have Communion with the Saints in Holiness? Seeing so great a mercy is offered to the world, why may not I partake of it as well as o­thers? I can perceive in many that I [Page 375] converse with, the great difference be­tween a heart that loves God and Holi­ness, and a heart that seemes religious and honest without such a Love. The true Convert perceiveth so much sweet­ness in holy Duties, and so much spiri­tual advantage by them to his [...]oul, that he is loath to be kept back; he cannot spare these Ordinances and Mer­cies, no more then he can spare the bread from his mouth, or the cloathes from his back; yea, or the skin from his flesh, no nor so much. He loveth them; he cannot live without them; at the worst that ever he is at, he had rather be holy then unholy, and live a godly then a fleshly worldly life. And therefore if he had but a b [...]re leave from God, without a Command, to san­ctifie the Lords Day, and to live in the holy Communion of the Saints, he would joyfully take it, with many thanks: For he need not be driven to his rest when he is weary, nor to his spiritual food when he is hungry, nor to Christ the re [...]uge of his soul, when the curse and accuser are pursuing him. But the unsanctified hypocrite, that never loved God or Godliness in his heart, he stands [Page 376] questioning and enquiring for some proof of a necessity of these courses. And if he can but bring himself to hope that God will save him without so much adoe (which by the help of the Devil he may easily be brought to hope,) away then goes the duty: If you could not shew him that there is a Necessity of Family Prayer, and a Necessity of sancti­fying the Lords Day, and a Necessity of forsaking his tipling and voluptuousness, and a Necessity of living a heavenly life, he would quickly resolve of ano­ther course: For he had rather do o­therwise, if he durst. He never was Religious from a true Predominant Love to God and a holy life, but for fear of Hell, and for other inferiour respects.

Remember this when you have preci­ous opportunities before you, of do­ing or receiving good, and when you see that you have leave to take these op­portunities, and yet you draw back, and are questioning, How we can prove it to be your duty; or that you cannot be saved without it? Do not these Questi­ons plainly shew that you Love not the work, and Delight not in a holy life; [Page 377] and that you had rather let it alone? Are you not blind if you see not this is in your selves? Yea, it's plain that you have such an aversness or hatred to God and a holy course of life, that if you did but know what shift to make to scape damnation, you would fly away from God and Holiness, and have as little to do with them as you can. Your Questions and Cavils do plainly declare this wicked emnity and backwardness of your hearts: and con­sequently shew how farre you are from true Conversion.

Not that I am of their mind that think there is any Good which the Law of Christ Obligeth us not to accept, and which we can refuse without sinne and danger to our selves: For God doth both draw us, and drive us at once. But when the Threatning and Punish­ment only can prevail with men, and men Love not God and Godliness for them­selves, but had rather have liberty to live as the ungodly, I shall never take one of these for a sanctified man, nor have any hope of the saving of such a soul, how farre soever his fears may carry him from his outward sinnes, [Page 378] or to outward duties: Till God shall give him a better Conversion then this, I say, I have not the smallest hope of this mans salvation. Then you are Gods, Children, when the Honour, the Work, the Family, the Name of your Father are lovely and delightfull to you: And when you grieve that there is any remnants of sin in your souls; and when your sinnes are to you as lameness to the lame, that pain them every step they go; and as sickness to the sick, that makes them groan and groan again, and long to be rid of it: And when you think those the happiest men on earth that are the most holy, and wish from your hearts that you were such as they, though you had not a house to put your head in: When you look towards God with longing thoughts, and are grieved that your understandings can reach no nearer him, and know no more of him, and that your hearts can­not embrace him with a more burning Love: When you admire the beauty of a meek, a patient, a mortified, spiritu­all, heavenly mind, and long to have more of this your self, yea to be per­fect in all Holiness and Obed [...]ence: When [Page 379] your hearts are thus brought over to God, that you had rather have him then any other, and rather live in his Family then any where, and rather walk in his waies then in any, then are you indeed Converted, and never till then, whatever other dispositions you may have.

And now if that were my business, what abundance of reason might I shew you, to make you willing to come over unto God, with Love, and with Delight. Whom else can you Love, if he that is Love it self seem not lovely to you. All loveliness is in him and from him: The creature hath none of it self, nor for it self: To Love a life of sinne, is to Love the Image and Service of the Devil, and to Love that which feeds the flames of Hell: What is it then to Love this sinne so well, as for the Love of it to fly from God and God­liness? Methinks men at the worst should Love that which will do them good, and not preferre that before it which will hurt them. Do sinners in­deed believe that God and Holiness will do them hurt, and that sinne will do them greater good? Is there ever a [Page 380] man so mad that he dare speak this and stand to it? If indeed you think it best to live in sinne, and therefore had rather keep it then leave it, your un­derstandings are befooled, I had almost used Paul's Phrase, and said, bewitched, Gal. 3. 1. Will it do you any hurt to leave your beastly sensual lives, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ? This is the Doctrine of Saving Grace, Tit. 2. 11, 12, 13. Would it do you any harm to be assured of Salvation, and ready to die, and to know that the Angels shall Conduct your departing souls to Christ, and that you shall live in Joy with him for ever? Or to be employ­ed in those holy works that must pre­pare you for this day, and help you to this assurance. If God be naught for you, if Holiness, and Righteousness, and Temperance be naught for you, then you may as well say, Heaven is naught for you; and therefore you must resolve for sinne and Hell, and see whether that be good for you. I [Page 381] shall say no more of this Point, because I have written of it already, in the Conclusion of the Saints Rest, which I desire you to peruse.

DIRECT. XI. The next part of my Advice is, If you would not have this Saving Work misearry, Turn then this present day and hour, without any more Delay.

Somewhat I have spoke of this already, and therefore shall say the less. But yet I shall back this Direction with such Reasons as will certainly convince you, if you be not unreasonable, of the folly of Delay, and shew you that it concerneth you presently to Return. And though my Reasons will be nume­rous, it is not the Number but the Strength of them that I shall urge you principally to Consider; and because of the Number, I will go over them with the greater brevity.

1. Consider to whom it is that you are commanded to Turn: and then tell me whether there can be any Reason for delay. It is not to an empty deceitfull creature, but to the faithfull All-sufficient [Page 382] God: To him that is the cause of all things; the Strength of the Creation; the Joy of Angels; the Felicity of the Saints; the Sun and Shield of all the Righteous; and Refuge of the Distres­sed; and the Glory of the whole World. Of such Power, that his Word can take down the Sun from the Firmament, and turn the Earth and all things into no­thing; for he doth more in giving them their being and continuance. Of such Wisdom, that was never guilty of mi­stake, and therefore will not mislead you, nor draw you to any thing that is not for the best. Of such Goodness, as that evil cannot stand in his sight; and nothing but your evil could make him displeased with you; and it is from nothing but evil that he calleth you to Turn. It is not to a malitious Ene­my, that would do you a mischief, but it is to a gracious God, that is Love it self: Not to an implacable Justice, but to a reconciled Father; not to re­venging Indignation, but to the em­bracement of those Arms, and the Mer­cy of that compassionate Lord, that is enough to melt the hardest heart, when you find your self as the poor re­turning [Page 383] Prodigall, Luk. 25. 20. in his bo­some, when you deserved to have been under his feet. And will the great and blessed God invite thee to his favour, and wilt thou delay and demurre upon the Return? The greatest of the Angels of Heaven are glad of his favour, and value no Happiness but the light of his countenance: Heaven and Earth are supdorted by him, and nothing can stand without him: How glad would those very Devils be of his favour, that tempt thee to neglect his favour: And wilt thou delay to turn to such a God? Why man, thou art every minute at his mercy: If thou turn not, he can throw thee into Hell when he will, more easily then I can throw this Book to the ground; And yet dost thou delay? There are all things imaginable in him to draw thee: There is nothing that is good for thee but it is perfectly in him; where thou maist have it certain and perpetuated. There is nothing in him to give the least dis­couragement: Let all the Devils in Hell, and all the Enemies of God on Earth, say the worst they can against his Majesty; and they are not able to find the smallest blemish in his absolute Holiness, and [Page 384] Wisdom, and Goodness: And yet wilt thou delay to Turn?

2. Consider also, as to Whom, so to what it is that thou must Turn. Not to uncleanness, but unto Holiness: not, to the sensual life of a Beast, but to the Noble rationall life of a man, and the more Noble Heavenly life of a Believer: Not to an unprofitable worldly toyl, but to the gainfullest Employment that ever the Sonnes of men were acquainted with: Not to the deceitfull drudgery of sinne, but to that Godliness which is pro­fitable to all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come, 1 Tim. 4. 8. Sirs. Do you know what a life of Holiness is? You do not know it, if you turn away from it: I am sure if you knew it, you would never fly from it, no nor endure to live with­out it. Why, a life of Holiness, is no­thing but a living unto God: to be con­versant with him as the wicked are with the world; and to be devoted to his Ser­vice, as sensualists are to the flesh. It is to live in the Love of God and our Re­deemer, and in the foretasts of his E­verlasting Glory, and of his Love: and in the sweet fore-thoughts of that blessed life [Page 385] that shall never end: and in the honest self-denying course that leadeth to that blessedness. A godly life, is nothing else but a sowing the Seed of Heaven on Earth; and a learning in the School of Christ, the Songs of praise which we must use before the Throne of God; and by suffering, a learning how to Triumph and reign with Christ. And is there any thing in this life which you have cause to be afraid of? The sinnes and weaknesses of the godly are contrary to Godliness; and therefore Godliness is no more dis­honoured by them, then health and life is dishonoured by your sicknesses. As health is never the worse to be liked but the better, because of the painfull grievousness of sickness; so Godliness is to be liked the better, because the very failings of the Saints are so grievous. If a true Believer do but step out of the way of God, he is wounded, he is out of [...]oynt, he is as undone till he come in again; though it was but in one particu­lar. And can you endure to continue strangers to it altogether so long. I know you may find faults in the godly, till they are perfect: but let the most malicious Enemy of Christ on Earth find [Page 386] any fault in Godliness if he can.

Can you delay to come into your Fa­thers Family; into the Vineyard of the Lord; into the Kingdom of God on Earth; to be fellow Citi­zens of the Saints, and of the Houshould of God; to have the Par­don of all your sinnes, and the sealed Promise of Everlasting Glory? Why Sirs, when you are called on to Turn, you are called to the Porch of Heaven; into the beginning of Salvation: And will you delay to accept Everlasting life?

3. Consider also from what you are cal­led to Turn: and then judg whether there be any reason of delay. It is from the Devil your Enemy: from the love of a deceitfull world; from the seducement of corrupted bruitish flesh: It is from sinne the greatest evil: What is there in sinne that you should delay to part with it? Is there any good in it? Or what hath it ever done for you, that you should love it? Did it ever do you good? Or did it ever do any man good? It is the deadly enemy of Christ and you, that caused his death, and will cause yours, and is working for your damnation, if [Page 387] converting and pardoning Grace prevent it not: And are you loath to leave it? It is the cause of all the miseries of the world, of all the sorrow that ever did befall you, and the cause of the damnati­on of them that perish: And do you de­lay to part with it.

4. Your Delaying shews that you Love not God, and that you preferre your sinne before him, and that you would never part with it if you might have your will. For if you loved God, you would long to be restored to his favour, and to be near him, and employed in his service and his Family. Love is quick and di­ligent, and will not draw back. And it is a sign also that you are in love with sinne: For else why should you be so loath to leave it? He that would not leave his sinne and turn to God, till the next week, or the next Moneth or year, would never turn if he might have his desire. For that which makes you desirous to stay a day or week longer, doth indeed make you loath to turn at all. And therefore it is but hypocrisie to take on you, that you are willing to turn hereafter, if you be not willing to do it now, without delay.

[Page 388] 5. Consider but what a Case you are in while you thus delay. Do you think you stand on drie ground, or in a safe con­dition? If you knew where you are, you would sit as upon thornes, as long as you are unconverted: you would be as a man that stood up to the knees in the Sea, and saw the tide coming towards him; who certainly would think that there's no standing still in such a place. Read what I have said of the state of the unconverted, in my first Treatise of Conversion. In a word, you are the drudges of sinne, the slaves of the Devil, the enemies of God, the abusers of his Grace and Spirit, the despisers of Christ, the heirs of Hell. And is this a state to stay in an hour? You have all your sin unpardoned; you are under the Curse of the Law; the Wrath of God is upon you; and the fulness of it hangs over your heads; Judgment is coming to pass upon you the dreadfull doom; the Lord is at hand; death is at the door, and waits but for the Word from the mouth of God, that it may arrest you, and bring you to Everlasting misery: And is this a state for a man to stay in?

[Page 389] 6. Moreover, Your Delaying giveth great advantage to the Tempter. If you would presently turn and forsake your sinnes, and enter a faithfull Covenant with God, the Devil would be almost out of hope, and the very heart of his temptations would be broken: He would see that now it is too late: there's no getting you out of the arms of Christ. But as long as you delay, you keep him still in heart and hope: He hath time to strengthen his prison and fetters; and to renew his snares; and if one temptati­on serve not, he hath time to try an­other, and another: As if you would stand as a mark for Satan to shoot at, as long as he please. What likelihood is there that ever so foolish a sinner should be recovered and saved from his sinne?

7. Moreover, Your Delaying is a vile abuse of Christ, and the holy Ghost, and may so farre provoke him as to leave you to your self; and then you are past help. If you delight so to trample on your cru­cified Lord, and will so long put him to it by your refusing his Grace, and grie­ving his Spirit; What can you expect but that he should turn away in wrath, and [Page 390] utterly forsake you, and say, [Let him keep his sinne, seeing he had rather have it then my Grace: Let him continue ungod­ly, seeing he is so loath to be sanctified: let him take his own course, and die in his sinne, and repent in Hell, seeing he would not repent on Earth?] You provoke Christ thus to give you up.

8. Consider also I beseech you, if you ever mean to turn, what it i [...] that you stay for. Do you think to bring down Christ and Heaven to lower rates, and to be saved hereafter with less adoe? Sure you cannot be so foolish: For God will be still the same; and Christ the same; and his Promise hath still the same Condition, which he will never Change; and Godliness will be the same, and as much against your carnall interest hereafter as it is now? When you have lookt about you never so long, you'l ne­ver find a fairer or nearer way; but this same way you must go or perish. If you cannot leave sinne now, how should you leave it then: It will be still as sweet to your flesh as now: Or if one sinne grow stale by the decay of nature, another that's worse will spring up in its stead, and though the acts abate, they [Page 391] will all live still at the root; for sinne was never mortified by age. So that if ever you will turn, you may best turn now.

9. Yea more then that; The longer you stay, the harder it will be. If it be hard to day, it is like to be harder to mor­row. For as the Spirit of Christ is like to forsake you for your wilfull delayes, so custom will strengthen sinne: and cu­stom in sinning will harden your hearts, and make you as past feeling, to work all uncleanness with greediness, Eph. 4. 19. Cannot you crush this Serpent when it is but in the Spawne; and can you en­counter it in its Serpentine strength? Cannot you pluck up a tender Plant, and can you pluck up an Oak or Cedar? O sinners, what do you do, to make your recovery so difficult by delay? You are never like to be fairer for Heaven, and to find Conversion an easier work, then now you may do▪ Will you stay till the work be ten times harder, and yet do you think it so hard already?

10. Consider also, That fin gets daily Victories by your delay▪ We lay our batter [...]es against it, and preach, and exhort, and pray against it, and it gets a kind of victory [Page 392] over all, as long as we prevail not with you to turn. It conquereth our perswa­sions and advice: It conquereth all the stirrings of your Consciences: It con­quereth all your heartless purposes, and deceitfull Promises. And these frequent Conquests do strengthen your sinne, and weaken your resistance, and leave the mat­ter almost hopeless. Before a Physician hath used remedies, he hath more hope of a cure, then when he hath tried all means, and finds that the best Medicines do no good, but the man is still as bad or worse. So when all meanes have been tried with you, and yet you are uncon­verted, the case draws towards despa­ration it self: The very means are disabled more then before; that is, your hearts are unapter to be wrought upon by them; When you have long been under Sermons, and Reading, and among good examples, and yet you are unconverted, these Ordinances lose much of their force with you: Custom will make you slight them, and be dead-hearted under them. And it is these very same Means and Truths that you have frustrated that must do the work, or it will never be done: The same Plaister must heal you, that [Page 393] you have thrown off so oft; And what a sad case is this, that there is no hope left, but in the very same Medicine which you have taken so oft in vain.

11. Moreover, Age it self hath many inconveniences, and youth hath many great advantages; and therefore it is folly to de­lay. In age the understanding and me­mory grows dull; and people grow uncapable and almost unchangeable. We see by our every daies experience, that men think they should not change when they are old; that opinion or practice that they have been brought up in, they think that they should not then forsake▪ To learn when they are old, and to turn when they are old, you see how much they are against it. Besides, how unfit is age to be at that paines, that youth can undergo? How unfit to be­gin the holy Warfare against the flesh, the world, and Devil? Gods way is to list his Souldiers as soon as may be; Even in their infancy; which they must own as soon as ever they come to age: And the Devil would not have it done at all; and therefore he would have it put off as long as may be: In infancy he will tell the Parents with the Anabaptists▪ It is [Page 394] too soon to be dedicated to God, and entred into his Covenant: when they come to their childhood, and youthfull state, he will then perswade them that it is yet too soon; and when he can no longer perswade them that it is yet too soon, he will then perswade them that it is too late. O what a happy thing it is to come unto God betimes, and with the first. What advantage hath youth? They have the vigour of wit and of body: They be not rooted and hard­ned in sinne, nor filled with prejudice and obstinacy against Godliness, as o­thers be. Besides, the capacity of ser­ving God, of which anon.

12. You have such times of advantage and encouragement as few ages of the world have ever seen, and few Nations on Earth do enjoy at this day. What plain and plentifull teaching have you? What a­bundance of good examples; and the society of the godly; private and pub­lique helpes are common. Godliness is under as little suffering as ever you can expect to see it: yea, it is grown into repu [...]ation among us; so that it is an ho­nour to serve God, and a dishonour to neglect it (as well it may) Our Rulers [Page 395] countenance the Practises of Godliness: they proclaim themselves the forward Professors and Patrons of it, and take this as their Glory. And this is not or­dinary in the world. Seldome hath the Church seen such daies on Earth. And yet is not the way to Heaven fair enough for you? Yet are you not ready to turn to God? When should men make Hay but when the Sun shines? Will you de­lay till this Harvest time be over, and the Winter of persecution come again? Can you better turn to God, when a godly life is the common scorn of the Countrey, as it was a while agoe? and when every one will be deriding and rail­ing at you? Or when it may possibly cost you your lives? Have you Sun, and winde, and tide to serve you, and will you stay to set out in stormes and dark­ness.

13 Moreover, Your del [...]y doth cast your Conversion and Salvation upon hazard; yea upon many and grievous haz­zards. And is your Everlasting happi­ness a matter to be wil [...]ully hazarded, by causeless and unreasonable delays? 1. If you delay to day▪ you are utterly uncer­tain of living till to morrow. If you [Page 396] put by this one motion, you know not whether ever you shall have another. Alas, that ever the heart of man should be so sensless, as to delay, when they know not but it may prove their damna­tion; and when Heaven or Hell must cer­tainly follow; that they dare put off a day or hour, when they know not whether ever they shall see another. 2. And as your life is uncertain, so are the means uncertain, by which God useth to do the work. He may remove your Teachers, and other helps; and then you will be further off then before. 3. And if both should continue, yet Grace it self is uncertain. You know not whether ever the Spirit of God will put another thought of turning into your hearts: Or at least whether he will give you hearts to turn.

14. Moreover, The delay of Conversi­on, continueth your sinne, and so you will daily increase the number, and increase your guilt, and make your souls more abun­dantly miserable. Are you not deep e­nough in debt to God already, and have you not yet sinnes enough to answer for upon your Souls? Would you fain have one years sinnes more, or one daies sinnes [Page 397] more to be charged upon you? O if you did but know what sinne is, it would amaze you to think what a mountain ly­eth already upon your Consciences. One sinne unpardonned will sink the stoutest sinner into Hell: And you have many a thousand upon your Souls already: and would you yet have more. Me thinks you should rather look about you, and bethink you how you may get a pardon for all that's past.

15. And as sinne increaseth daily by de­lay, so consequently the Wrath of God in­creaseth; you will run further into his dis­pleasure; and possibly you may cut down the bough that you stand upon, and ha­sten even bodily destruction to your selves. When you live daily upon God, and are kept out of Hell, by a miracle of his mercy, me thinks you should not desire yet longer to provoke him, least he withdraw his Mercy, and let you fall into misery.

16. And do but consider, what will become of you, if you be found in these de­laies. You are then lost body and Soul for ever. Now if you had but hearts to know what is good for you, the worst of you might be converted, and saved: [Page 398] for God doth freely offer you his Grace. But if you die in your delaies, in the twink of an eye you will find your selves utterly undone for ever. Now there is hope of a change: but when delays have brought you to Hell, there is no more change, nor no more hope.

17. Consider, that your very time which you lose by these delaies, is an un­conceivable loss. When time is gone, what would you then give for one of those years, or daies, or hours, which now you foolishly trifle away. O wretched sinners; are their so many thousand Sous in Hell, that would give a world if they had it, for one of your daies; and yet can you afford to throw them away, in worldliness, and sensuality, and loite­ring delaies. I tell you, Time is better worth, then all the wealth and honours of the world. The day is coming when you will set by time: When it is gone you will know what a blessing you made light of. But then all the world cannot call back one day or hour of this precious time, which you can sacrifice now to the service of your flesh, and cast away on unprofitable sinning.

18. Consider also that God hath given [Page 399] you no time to spare. He hath not lent you one day or hour, more then is needfull for the work that you have to do: and therefore you have no reason to lose any by your delaies. Do you imagine that God would give a man an hours time for nothing; much less, for to abuse him, and serve his enimy. No, let me tell you, that if you make your best of every hour; if you should never lose a minute of your lives, you would find all little enough for the work you have to do. I know not how others think of time, but for my part I am forced daily to say, How swift, how short is time? and how great is our work; and when we have done our best, how slowly goeth it on. O pre­cious time [...] what hearts have they, what lives do those men lead, that think time long? that have time to spare, and pass in idleness.

19. To convince you more; consider I beseech you the exceeding greatness of the work you have to do; and tell me then whether it be time for you to delay. Especially you that are yet unconverted, and strangers to the heavenly nature of the Saints; you have far more to do then other men. You have a multitude of [Page 400] head-strong passions to subdue, and a­bundance of deadly sinnes to kill; and rooted vices to root up [...] You have many a false opinion of God, and his waies, to be plucked up; and the customes of ma­ny years standing to be broken: You have blind minds that must be enlightned with heavenly kowledg; and abundance of Spiritual Truths, that are above the reach of flesh and blood, that you must needs learn and understand: You have much to know, that is hard to be known, You have a dead Soul to be made alive, and a hard heart to be melted; and a sca­red Conscience to be softned, and made tender; and the guilt of many thousand sinnes to be pardoned: You have a new heart to get, and a new End to ayme at, and seek after, and a new life to live: abundance of Enemies you have to sight with and overcome: abundance of tem­ptations to resist and conquer. Many Graces to get, and preserve, and exer­cise, and increase: and abundance of holy works, to do for the Service of God, and the good of your selves, and others. O what a deal of work doth every one of these words conteine! and yet what abun­dance more might I name! And have [Page 401] you all this to do, and yet will you de­lay? And they are not indifferent mat­ters that are before you: It is no less then the saving of your Souls; and the obtaining the blessed Glory of the Saints. Necessity is upon you: These are things that Must be done, or else wo to you that ever you were born: And yet have you another day to lose! Why Sirs, if you had a hundred mile to go, in a day or two, upon paine of death; would you delay? O think of the work that you have to do, and then judg whether it be not time to stirre.

20. And me thinks it should excee­dingly terrifie you to consider, what abundance by such Delayes do perish: and how few that wilfully delay are ever converted, and saved. Many a Soul that once had purposes hereafter to repent, is now in the misery, where there is no Re­pentance, that will do them any good. For my part, though I have known some very few Converted when they were old; yet I must needs say, both that they were very few indeed, and that I had rea­son to believe, that they were such that had sinned before in ignorance, and did not wilfully put off Repentance, when [Page 402] they were convinced that they must turn. Though I doubt not but God may con­vert even these if he please, yet I can­not say that I have ever known many, if any such to be converted. Sure I am that Gods usual time is in Child-hood, or youth, before they have long abused grace, and wilfully delaid to turn when they were convinced. Some considerable time I confess many have before their first convictions, and purposes be brought to any great ripeness of performance: but O how dangerous is it to delay.

21. Consider also; Either Conversi­on is Good, or Bad for you: Either it is needfull, or unnecessary. If it be bad, and a needless thing, then let it alone for altogether? But if you are convinced that it is Good, and necessary, is it not better now then to stay any longer? Is it not the sooner the better? Are you afraid of being safe, or happy too soon. If you are sick, you care not how soon you are well: If you have a bone out, you care not how soon it is set: If you fall into the water, you care not how soon you get out: If your house be on fire, you care not how soon it be quenched: If you are but in fears by any doubts, or [Page 403] ill tidings, you care not how soon your fears be over. And yet are you afraid of being to soon out of the power of the Devil, and the danger of Hell; and of being too soon the Sons of God, and the holy, justified heirs of Heaven.

22. Consider also: Either you can turn now, or not. If you can, and yet will not, you are utterly without excuse. If you cannot to day, how much less will you be able hereafter; when strength is less, and difficulties greater, and burdens more. Is it not time therefore to make out to Christ for strength; and should not the very sense of your disability dis­swade you from delay?

23. Consider how long you have staid already, and put Gods Patience to it by your folly: Hath not the Devil, the world, and the flesh, had many years time of your life already? Have you not long enough been swallowing the poison of sinne? and long enough been abusing the Lord that made you, and the blood of the Sonne of God, that was shed for you, and the Spirit of Grace, that hath moved and perswaded with you? Are you not yet gone far enough from God? and have you not yet done enough to the [Page 404] damning of your selves, and casting away Everlasting Life. O wretched sinners; it is rather time for you, to fall down on your faces before the Lord, and with tears and groans, to lament it, day and night, that ever you have gone so far in sinne, and delayed so long to turn to him as you have done. Sure if after so many years rebellion, you are yet so far from lamenting it, that you had rather have more of it, and had rather hold on a little longer, no wonder if God forsake you, and let you alone.

24. Have you any hopes of Gods accep­tance, and your Salvation, or not? If you have such hopes, that when you turn, God will pardon all your sinnes, and give you Everlasting Life: is it think you an ingenious thing to desire to offend him yet a little longer, from whom you ex­pect such exceeding Mercy, and Glory as you do? Have you the faces to speak out what is in your hearts, and practice; and to go to God with such words as these; Lord I know I cannot have the par­don of one sinne, without the Blood of Christ, and the riches of thy Mercy: Nor can I be saved from Hell without it: But yet I hope for all this from thy Grace: I be­seech [Page 405] thee let me live a little longer in my sinnes; a little longer let me trample on the Blood of Christ, and despise thy com­mands, and abuse thy Mercies; a little longer let me spit in the face of thy Good­ness, and prefer the flesh, and the world before thee, and then pardon me all that ever I did, and take me into Glory. Could you for shame put up such a re­quest to God as this? If you could, you are past shame: If not, then do not practise and desire that, which you cannot for shame speak out and request.

25. Moreover, it is an exceeding ad­vantage to you, to come in to God betimes, and an exceeding loss, that you will suffer by delay, if you were sure to be converted at the last. If you speedily come in, you may have time to learn, and get more understanding in the mat­ters of God, then else can be expected: For knowledg will not be had but by time, and study. You may also have time to get strength of Grace, when young beginners can expect no more then an infant strength: You may grow to be men of parts and abilities, to be usefull in the Church, and profitable to those about you, when others cannot go or [Page 406] stand, unless they lean on the stronger for support. If you come in betime, you may do God a great deale of service; which in the evening of the day, you will neither have strength, nor time to do. You may have time to get Assurance of Salvation, and to be ready with comfort when death shall call: When a weakling is like to be perplexed with doubts, and fears, and death is like to be terrible, be­cause of their unreadiness.

26. And did you ever consider, who and how many do stay for you while you de­lay? Do you know who it is that you make to waite your leisure. God himself stands over you with the offers of his Mercy, as if he thought it long till you return, saying, O that there were such a heart in them! and when will it once be? How long ye simple will you love simplicity, and scorners delight in scorning, and fools hate knowledg? Turn you at my reproof. Deut. 5 29. Jer. 13. 17. Prov. 1. 22. And do you think it wise, or safe, or mannerly for you to make the God of Heaven to wait on you, while you are serving his Enimy? Can you offer God a baser indignity, then to expect that he should support your lives, and feed [Page 407] you, and preserve you, and patiently forbeare you, while you abuse him to his face, and drudg for the flesh, the world, and the Devil? Should a worm thus use the Lord that made him? You will not your selves hold a candle in your hands, while it burns your own fingers; nor will you hold a nettle, or a wasp in your hand to sting you; nor will you keep a dog in your house, that is good for nothing but to snarl at you, and bite your Children, or worry your sheep: And yet God hath long held up your lives, while in stead of Light, you have yielded nothing but a stinking snuff; and in stead of graps you have brought forth nothing but thorns and thistles; and while you have snarled at his Children, and his Flock, and done the worst you could against him. And would you indeed put God to wait on you thus, while you serve the Devil yet one day more. Must God as it were hold the drunkard the candle while he reeles and spues? Must he draw the curtain, while the filthy wretch doth once more please his fleshly lusts? Marvaile not, if he withdraw his supporting Mercy, and let such wretches drop into Hell.

[Page 408] And it is not God only, but his Ser­vants, and Creatures, and Ordinances, that all are waiting on you. The Angels stay for the joy that is due to them upon your Conversion. Ministers are study­ing, and preaching, and praying for you. Godly neighbours are praying, and longing for your change. The Springs, and rivers are flowing for you: The winds blow for you: The Sunne shines for you: The clouds raine for you: The Earth bears fruit for you: The beasts must labour, and suffer, and die for you: All things are doing, and would you stand still? or else do worse. What hast makes the Sunne about the world, to return in its time to give you light? What hast make other Creatures in your service? And yet must you delay. Must God stay, and Christ, and the Spirit stay; Must Angels stay, must Ministers stay, must the Godly stay, and the Or­dinances stay, and all the Creatures stay your leasure, while you are abusing God, and your Souls, and others, and while you delay, as if it were too soon to turn?

27. Consider, that when you were lost, the Sonne of God did not delay the [Page 409] work of your Redemption. He presently undertook it, and turned by the stroak of damning Justice. In the fulness of time he came and performed what he un­dertook: he failed not one day of his ap­pointed time. And will you now Delay to accept the benefit, and turn to him? Must he make such hast to save you at so dear a rate, and now will you delay to be saved.

28. Moreover, God doth not delay to do you good: You have the day and night in their proper seasons: The Sunne doth not faile to rise upon you at the appoin­ted time: You have the Spring, and Harvest in their meetest seasons: the former and later raine in season. When you are in want you have seasonable sup­plies: and when your are in danger, you have seasonable deliverance: And is it meet or equal that you should refuse to bring forth seasonable fruit, but still be putting off God with your delaies?

29. Moreover, When you are in trou­ble and necessity, you are then in hast for deliverance, and relief. Then you think every day a week till your danger or suffering be past. If you be under the pain of a disease, or in danger of death, or [Page 410] under poverty, or oppression, or dis­grace, you would have God relieve you without delay: And yet you will not turn to him without delay. Then you are ready to cry out, How long, Lord, how long till deliverance come: but you will not hear God, when he cryeth to you in your sinnes, How long will it be ere you turn from your transgressions: when shall it once be? When you are to re­ceive any outward deliverance, you care not how soon; the sooner the better: but when you are to turn to God, and receive his Grace, and title to Glory, then you care not how late, as if you had no mind of it. Can you for shame beg of God to hasten your deliverances, when you remember your delaies, and still continue to trifle with him, and draw back?

30. Your present prosperity, and worldly delights are posting away without Delay: and should you delay to make sure of better in their stead? Time is going; and health is going; youth is go­ing: yea life is going: your riches are taking wing: your fleshly pleasures do perish in the very using: Your meat, and drink is sweet to you little longer [Page 411] then it is in your throat. Shortly you must part with house, and lands, with goods, and friends, and all your mirth, and earthly business will be done. All this you know; and yet will you delay to lay up a durable treasure which you may trust upon, and to provide you a better tenement before you be turned out of this? What will you do for a habitati­on, for pleasures and contents, when all that you have now is spent and gone, and Earth will afford you nothing but a grave? If you could but keep that you have, I should not much wonder, that knowing so little of God, and another world, you look not much after it: But when you perceive death knocking at your doores, and see that all your world­ly comforts are packing up, and hasting away, me thinks, if you have your wits and sense about you, you should pre­sently turn, and make sure of Heaven, without any more delay.

31. Consider also whether it be equal, that you should delay your Conversion, when you can seasonably dispatch your worldly business, and when your flesh would be provided for, you can hearken to it with­out Delay. You have wit enough to sow [Page 412] your seed in season, and will not delay it till the time of harvest: You will reap your corn when it is ripe, and gather your fruit when it is ripe, without de­lay. You observe the seasons in the course of your labours, day by day, and year by year: You will not lie in bed when you should be at your work, nor delay all night to go to your rest; nor suffer your servants to delay your busi­ness: You will know your dinner time, and supper time day by day: If you be sick you will seek help without delay, lest your disease should grow to be uncura­ble. And yet will you delay your Con­version, and the making sure of Heaven? Why Sirs, shall these trifles be done without delay, and shall your Salvation be put off? In the Name of God Sirs what do you think of? Do you imagine that you can better suffer Hell-f [...]re, then hunger, or nakedness? Or that you can better bear the loss of Everlasting Joyes, then the loss of your commodi­ties, and provisions in the world. Sure if you believe the life to come, you can­not think so. And can you have while for every thing, except that one thing, which all the rest are meerly to promote? [Page 413] and in comparison of which they are all but dreams? Can you have while to work, to plow, and sow, and reap, and cannot you have while to prepare for Eternal Life? Why Sirs, if you cannot find time yet to search your hearts, and turn to God, and prepare for death; give over eating, and drinking, and sleep­ing, and say, you cannot have time for these. You may as wisely say so for these smaller matters, as the greater.

32. Moreover; if men offer you cour­tesies, and commodities for your bodies, you will not stand Delaying, and need so many perswasions to accept them. If your Landlord would for nothing renew your lease; if any man would give you houses, or lands, would you delay so long before you would accept them? A beggar at your doore will not only thankfully take your almes, without your intreaty, and importunity, but will beg for it, and be importunate with you to give it. And yet will you Delay to accept the bles­sed offers of Grace, which is a greater thing?

33. Ye Consider, that it is God that is the Giver, and you that are the misera­ble beggars, and receivers: And there­fore [Page 414] it is fitter that you should wait on God and call on him for his Grace, when he seemeth to delay, and not that he should waite on you. He can live without your receiving, but you cannot live without his giving. The beggar must be glad of an alms at any time; and the condemned person, of a pardon at any time: but the giver may well expect that his gift be received without delay, or else he may let them go without it.

34. And me thinks you should not deal worse with God, when he comes to you as a Physician to save your own Souls, then you would do with a neighbour, or a friend, when it is not for your own good, but for theirs. If your neighbour lay a dying, you would go and visit him without delay: If he fell down in a swoon, you would catch him up with­out delay: If he fell into the fire, or water, you would pluck him out with­out delay: Yea you would do thus much by a very beast. And yet will you delay when it is not another, but your selves, that are sinking, and drowning, and within a step of death, and desparation? If a woman be but in travaile, her neigh­bours will come to her without delay: [Page 515] And yet when their own Souls are in bon­dage to sinne, and Satan, and a state of death, they will let them lie there, year after year, and when we desire them to be Converted, here's nothing but delaies.

35. If yet you perceive not how un­reasonably you deale with God, and your Souls, I beseech you consider whe­ther you do not deal worse with him, then you do with the Devil himself. If Satan or his servants perswade you to sinne, you delay not so long, but you are present­ly at it: You are ready to follow every tipling companion, or gamester that puts up the finger. You are as ready to go, as they to invite you: The very sight of the cup doth presently prevaile with the drunkard: and the sight of his filthy mate prevaileth with the fornica­tour; and sinne can be presently enter­tained without delay. But when God comes, when Christ calls, when the Spirit moveth, when the minister per­swadeth, when Conscience is convinced, we can have nothing after all, but wishes, and purposes, and promises, with De­laies. O what a stomack hath that man, or what a brain, that will snatch at poy­son, [Page 416] and swallow dung and dirt with greediness, without any chewing; and when you offer him meat, stands sigh­ing, and looking on it, and hardly will be perswaded to put it in his mouth: and if he do, he is chewing it so long, that at last he even spits it out againe, and cannot get it down. Thus deal ungodly wretches, between their poisonous sins, and the saving means, and Grace of Christ.

Nay more then this, so eager are they on their sinne, that we are not able to intreat them to delay it. When the pas­sionate man is but provoked, we cannot perswade him to delay his rayling lan­guage, so long as to consider first of the issue. We cannot intreat the drunkard to put off his drunkenness but for one twelve-month, while he tryeth another course: All the ministers in the Country cannot perswade the worldling to for­bear his worldliness, and the proud per­sons their pride, and the ungodly person his ungodliness, for the space of one moneth, or week, or day. And yet when God hath a command, and a request to them, to Turn to him, and be saved, here they can Delay without our intreaty.

[Page 417] 36. Consider also that it is not possible for you to turn too soon; nor will you ever have cause to repent of your speediness. De­lay may undoe you: but speedy turning can do you no harm: I wonder what hurt you think it can do you, to be quick­ly reconciled to God. And why then should there be any Delay, where it is not possible to be too hasty. Do you think that there is ever a Saint in Heaven, yea or on Earth either, that is sorry that he stayed not longer unconverted? No: you shall never hear of such a repentance from the mouth of any that is indeed con­verted.

37. But I must tell you on the contra­ry side, that if ever you be so hapy as to be Converted, you will Repent it, and an hundred times Repent it, that you delayed so long before you yielded. O how it will grieve you when your hearts are melted with the Love of God, and are over­come with the infinite kindness of his par­doning, saving Grace; that ever you had the hearts to abuse such a God, and deal so unkindly with him, and stand out so long against that compassion that was seeking your Salvation? O how it will grieve your hearts to consider, that you [Page 418] have spent so much of your lives in sinne, for the Devil, and the flesh, and the de­ceitfull world. O you will think with your selves; was not God more worthy of my youthfull daies? Had I not been better have spent it in his Service, and the work of my Salvation? Alas, that I should wast such precious daies, and now be so farre behind hand as I am! Now I want that Faith, that Hope, that Love, that Peace, that Assurance, that Joy in the Holy Ghost, which I might have had if I had spent those years for God, which I spent in the service of the world, and the flesh. Then I might have had the comfort of a well spent life, and with joy have now lookt back upon those daies, and seen the good I had done to others, and the honour I had brought to God: whereas I must now look back up­on all those years with sorrow, and shame, and anguish of mind. You will think to your selves then a hundred times, O that▪ I had but that time againe to spend for God, which I spent for sinne! and to use for my Soul, which I wasted for my bruitish flesh. Believe it, Sirs, if ever you be converted, you must look for these Repenting sorrows for all your [Page 419] Delaies. (and that is the best that can come of it) And who would now wilful­ly make work for sorrow?

38 And I pray you consider, whe­ther it belongs of right to God or you, to determine of the day and hour of your com­ing in? It is he that must give you the pardon of your sinnes; and doth it not then belong to him to appoint the time of your receiving it? You cannot have Christ, and life without him: It is he that must give you the Kingdom of Hea­ven: And is he not worthy then to ap­point the time of your Conversion, that you may be made partakers of it? But if he say, To day, dare you say, I'l stay till to morrow.

30. Nay consider, whether God or you be likelier to know the meetest time. Dare you say that you know better when to turn, then God doth. I suppose you dare not: And if you dare not say so; for shame let not your practice say so God saith, To day, while it is called to day, hear my voice, and harden not your hearts. And dare you say, It's better stay one moneth longer, or one day longer, God saith, Behold this is the accepted time▪ behold this is the day of Salvation, [Page 420] 2 Cor. 6. 2. And will you say, It's time enough to morrow? Do you know bet­ter then God? If your Physician do but tell you in a plurisie, or a feaver, you must let blood this day before to morrow; you will have so much reason as to sub­mit to his understanding, and think that he knows better then you: And can­not you allow as much to the God of Wisdom?

40. Consider also, that the speedi­ness of your Conversion when God first calls you, doth make you the more welcome, and is a thing exceeding pleasing to God. Our Proverb is, A speedy gift is a double gift: If you ask any thing of a friend, and he give it you presently, and cheer­fully at the first asking, you will think you have it with a good will: but if he stand long delaying first and demurring upon it, you will think you have it with an ill will, and that you owe him the smaller thanks. If a very beggar at your doore must stay long for an alms, he will think he is the less beholden to you. How much more may God be displeased, when he must stay so long for his own, and that for your benefit? God loveth a cheerfull giver; and consequently a cheer­full [Page 421] Obeyer of his call: And if it be hear­ty and chearfull, it is the liker to be spee­dy, without such delaies.

41. And I would desire you but to do with God as you would be done by▪ Would you take it well of your Children if they should tear all their cloaths, and cast their meat to the doggs, and tread it in the dirt, and when you intreat them to give over, they will not regard you? Would you stand month after month, intreating and waiting on them, as God doth on you, in a foolisher course? Or rather would you not either soundly whip them, or take their meat from them, till hunger teach them to use it bet­ter? If your servant will spend the whole day and year, in drinking and playing, when he should do your work, will you wait on him all the year with intreaties, and pay him at last, as if he had served you? And can you expect that God should deal so by you?

42 And consider I pray you, that your Delay is a Denial, and so may God interpret it. For the Time of your Tur­ning, is part of the Command. He that saith Turn, saith Now, even To day, without delay. He giveth you no longer [Page 422] day: If time be lengthned, and the of­ [...]er made again and again, that's more then he promised you, or you could have promised your selves. His Command is, Now Return and Live. And if you re­fuse the Time, the Present Time, you refuse the offer, and forfeit the benefit. And if you knew but what it is, to give God a denial in such a case as this, and what a case you were in if he should turn away in wrath, and never come neer you more, you would then be afraid of je­sting with his hot displeasure, or dally­ing with the Lord.

43. And me thinks you should remem­ber, that God doth not stay thus on all as he doth on you. Thousands are under bur­ning and despaire, and past all remedy, while patience is waiting yet upon you. Can you forget that others are in Hell at this very hour, for as small sinnes as those that you are yet intangled, and linger in? Good Lord, what a thing is a sensless heart? That at the same time when millions are in misery, for delaying or refusing to be Converted, their suc­cessours should fearlesly venture in their steps. Surely if Faith had but opened your ears, to hear the cries of those [Page 423] damned Souls, you durst not imitate them by your Delaies.

44. And I must tell you, that God will not alwaies thus wait on you, and attend you by his patience, as hitherto he hath done. Patience hath his appointed time. And if you outstay that time, you are miserable wretches. I can assure you Sirs, the glass is turned upon you; and when it is runne out, you shall never have an hour of patience more: Then God will no more intreate you to be con­verted. He will not alwaies stand over you with Salvation, and say, O that this sinner would Repent and live! O that he would take the Mercies that I have provided for him! Do not expect that God should do thus alwaies with you: for it will not be.

45. Your Delaies do weary the Ser­vants of Christ, that are employed for your recovery. Ministers will grow weary of preaching to you, and perswading you: When we come to men that were never warned before, we come in hopes, that they will hear and obey: and this hope puts life, and earnestness into our per­swasions: But when we have perswaded men but a few times in vaine, and leave [Page 424] them as we found them, our spirits be­gin to droop and flag: Much more when we have preached and perswaded you many years, and still you are the same, and are but where you were: This dulls a Ministers spirit, and makes him preach heavily and coldly, when he is almost out of heart and hope. I do not justifie Ministers in this, and say, they should do thus: I know they should not; and if they were perfect they would not: but they are but men, and imperfect them­selves: and what man is able to be as lively and fervent in his work, when peo­ple stir not, and he sees no good done on the miserable hearers, as if he had the encouragement of success? O when we do but see the hearts of hardned, stub­born sinners relent, and break, and melt before the power of the Word, and when we hear them cry out for Christ and Mercy, and cry out against themselves for their former folly, and confess their sinnes, and ask us what they shall do to be saved? and are but willing to be ru­led by Christ the Physician of their Souls; this would put life into a Preacher that was cold and dull; this would even make a stone to speak. But when we tell men [Page 425] of Gods threatnings till they are past be­lieving them, and tell you of Gods An­ger till they seem to be past fearing it, and tell them of the plague of sinne, till they are past feeling; when in stead of preach­ing men to Faith, and Repentance, and fear, and tenderness of heart, we preach them into greater unbelief and careles­ness, and dead stupidity, this is enough to dull or break the heart of almost any Preacher in the world: What man is able to sollow so fruitless a work with liveli­ness? And then it's you that will have the loss, and danger of it: When you have dried the brests, the child may fa­mish: If your Preachers could not awake, and change you with all their convincing arguments, and fervency, how quietly may you sleep on when you have flatted them by discouragements: If Satan can either dismount, or make useless these Cannons, that were wont to batter his garrison, he may then pos­sess you Souls in peace. You talk against persecutors that silenced Ministers: But O Sirs, it is you that are our greatest persecutours, that refuse and delay to yield to the calls of Christ by our Mini­stry, and make us labour so much in [Page 426] vaine: Though it be not in vaine as to our own Souls, yet you make it in vaine as to yours: When we have studied till we almost break our braines, and preach­ed till we have quite broke our strength, and we are consumed, and worn away with labour, and bodily paines that it procureth, then you come after, and make us requital by breaking our hearts, by your delaies, and refusing to turn and live. Truly Sirs, I must tell you for my own part, that if it had not been for those that gave me better encouragment by their obedience, I should never have held out with you a quarter of this time: If all had profited as little as some, and all had stuck as fast in an unconver­ted state as some; if the humble penitent, obedient ones among you, had not been my comfort, and encouragment under Christ, I had been gone from you many a year ago; I could never have held out till now: either my corruption would have made me runne away with Jonas; or my judgment would have com­manded me to shake the dust of my feet, as a witness against you, and depart: But to what end do I speak all this to you? To what end? Why? to let you [Page 427] see how you abuse both God and man, by your Delaies and disobedience. You cannot possibly do us that are your Teachers, a greater injurie or mischief in the world. It is not in your power to wrong us more. Are our studies, and our labours worth nothing, think you? Are our watchings and waiting, worth nothing? Are our Praiers, and tears, and groane; to be despised? God will not despise them if you do: Believe it, he will see them all on your score, and you will on [...] day have a heavy reconing of them, and pay full deare for them. Is it equal dealing with us, that when we are watching for your Souls, as men that know we must give an account, you should rob us of our comfort, and make us do it with sighes and sorrow? Heb. 13. 17. Yea that you should undo all that we are doing, and make us lose our labour and our hopes: And yet do you not think to pay for this? I tell you again, unconverted sinners, we are wea­ried with your delaies: Many years we have been perswading you but to Turn and live, and yet you are unturned: You have been convinced long, and thinking on it, and wishing long, and talking of [Page 428] it, and promising long, and yet it is un­done, and here is nothing but delaies. We see while you delay, death takes a­way one this week, and another the next week, and you are passing into ano­ther world apase; and yet those that are left behind will take no warning, but still delay: We see that Satan delaies not while you delay: He is day and night at work against you: if he seem to make a truce with you, it is that he may be do­ing secretly while you suspect him not: We see that sinne delaieth not while you delay: It is working like poyson, or infection in your bodies, and seazing upon your vital powers; it's every day blinding you more and more; it's har­dening your hearts more, and searing up your Consciences, to bring you past all feeling and hope: And must we stand by, and see this miserable work with our peoples Souls, and all be frustrate, and rejected by themselves, that we do for their deliverance? How long must we stand by with the light in our hands, while you are serving the flesh, and neg­lecting that which we are sent to call you to? It is not our business to hold you the candle to play by, or to sleep by, [Page 429] or to sinne by: these are works that bet­ter agree with the dark: But God sent us to you on another message; even to Light you out of your sinnes to him, that you might be saved. Truly beloved hearers, I must needs say, that the time seems long, and very long to me, that I have been preaching so many yeares to you for Conversion, and for an Holy, Heaven­ly life, even since I first knew you, and that yet so many of you are drown'd in sinne, and ignorance, and are uncon­verted; when I think your very Con­sciences tell you that it is a thing that must be done: I tell you all these years do seem to me a long time to wait on you in vain: Blessed be the Lord that it hath not been in vaine with some; or else I would scarce preach any more then one other Sermon to you, even to bid you farewel. I pray you deal but fairly with us, and tell us whether ever you will turn or not: If you will not, but are resolved for sinne and Hell, say so that we may know the worst; speak out your minds, that we may know what to trust to: For if we once knew you would not turn, we would soon have done with you, and leave you to the Justice of God. But if [Page 430] still you say, you will turn, when will you do it? You will do it, and you hope you shall, but when? How long would you have us wait yet? Have you not abused us enough? Nay I must tell you, that you even weary God himself. It is his own expression, Mal. 2. 17. Isa. 43. 24. Thou hast wearied me with thine ini­quities, Isa. 1. 14. And I must say to you as the Prophet, Isa. 7. 13. Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but you will weary my God also? Consider what it is that you do.

46. Consider also that you are at a constant unspeakable loss every day and hour that you Delay your Conversion. O little do you know what you deprive your selves of every day. If a slave in the Gallies, or prison, might live at Court as a favourite of the Prince, in ho­nour, and delight, and ease, would he delay either years, or hours? Or would he not rather think with himself, Is it not better to be at ease, and in honour, then to be here. As the Prodigal said, How many hired servants of my fathers have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger? All this while I might be in plenty, and delight. All the while [Page 431] that you live in sinne, you might be in the favour of God; in the high and Hea­venly employments of the Sants; you might have the comforts of daily Com­munion with Christ, and with the Saints; you might be laying up for another world, and might look death in the face, with Faith and confidence, as one that cannot be conquered by it; you might live as the Heirs of Heaven on Earth: All this and more then this, you lose by your delaies: All the Mercies of God are lost upon you: Your food and rayment, you health and wealth, which you set so much by, all is but lost and worse then lost, for they turn to your greater hurt: All our pains with you; and all the Ordi­nances of God which you possess; and all your time, is lost and worss. And do you think it indeed a wise mans part to live any longer at such a loss as this, and that wilfully and for nothing? If you knew your loss, you would not think so.

47. Nay more, you are all this while doing that which must be undone againe, or you will be undone for ever. You are run­ning from God; but you must come back again or perish when all is done. You [Page 432] are learning an hundred carnal lessons, and false conceits, that must be all un­learnt again: You are shutting up your eies in wilful ignorance; which must be opened again: You must lean the Do­ctrine of Christ, the great Teacher of the Church, if you stay never so long, or else you shall be cut of from his peo­ple, Acts 3. 22. & 7. 37. When you have been long accustoming your selves to sinne, you must unlearn, and break all those customes again: You are hard­ning your hearts daily, and they must again be softned. And I must tell you that though a little time, and labour may serve to do mischief, yet it is not quick­ly undone again. You may sooner set your house on fire, than quench it when you have done. You may sooner cut and wound your bodies, then heal them again: And sooner catch a cold, or a disease, then cure it: You may quickly do that which must be longer a undoing. Besides; the cure is accompanied with paine: You must take many a bitter draught, in groanes or tears of godly sorrow, for these delaies: The wounds that you are now giving your Souls, must smart, and smart again, before they are [Page 433] searcht and healed to the bottom. And what man of wisdom would make himself such work and sorrow. Who would travail on an hour longer, that knowes he is out of his way, and must come back again? Would you not think him a mad man that would say, I will go on a little further, and then I will turn back?

I know Mr. Bilney the Martyr was offended with this comparison, because he thought it was against Free Grace. But comparisons extend not to every re­spect: There are two things in your sins to be undone: the one is the Guilt, and the other is the Habit and power of sin: the first indeed is done away, when you are Converted: but at the cost of Christ, which should not be made light of: And yet some scarres may be left behind, and such twigs of Gods Rod may fall upon you as shall make you wish you had come sooner in. And for the habit of sinne, though Conversion break the heart of it, yet will it live and trouble you while you live: and those sinnes that now you are strengthning by your delaies, will be thorns in your sides, and rebels in your Country, and find you work as long as you live. And thus I may well say that [Page 434] you are doing that while you delay, that must be long in undoing, and will not be undone so easily as it is done; and you are going on that way, that must be all trod backward.

48. And me thinks if it were but this, it should terrifie you from your Delaies; that it is likely to make your Conversion more grievous, if you should have so great Mercy from God, as after all to be Con­verted. There is very few scape that are so exceeding long in travaile: but if you come to the birth, it's like to be with double paine. For God must send either some grievous affliction to fire and frigh­ten you out of your sinnes, or else some terrible gripes of Conscience, that shall make you groane, and groane againe, in the feeling of your folly. The pangs and throws of Conscience, in the work of Conversion, are far more grievous in some then in others. Some are even on the wrack, and almost brought besides their wits, and the next step to despera­tion, with horror of Soul, and the sense of the Wrath of God; so that they lie in doubts and complaints many a year toge­ther; and think that they are even for­saken of God. And to Delay your Con­version, [Page 435] is the way to draw on either this or worse.

49. Consider also, that Delaies are contrary to the very nature of the work, and the nature of your Souls themselves. If indeed you ever mean to turn, it is a work of hast, and violence, and dili­gence that you must needs set upon: You must strive to enter in, for the gate is strait, the way is narrow that leads to life, and few there be that find it. Many shall seek to enter, and shall not be able, Luke 33. 24, 25. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the doore, and ye begin to stand without, and knock at the doore, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us, he shall answer, I know you not whence you are: depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity, vers. 27. It is a race that you are to run, and Heaven is the prize. And you know that they which run in a race, run all: but one receiveth the prize: and therefore you must so run, as that you may win and obtain, 1 Cor. 9. 24, 25. And what is more contrary to this then Delay? You are Souldiers in fight, and your Salvation lieth on the victory: and will you trifle in such a case, when death or life is even at hand? You [Page 436] are travailers to another world, and will you stay till the day is almost past, be­fore you will begin your journey? Chri­stianity is a work of that infinite conse­quence, and requireth such speedy, and vigorous dispatch, that Delay is more unreasonable in this then in any thing in all the world.

And besides, your Souls are Spirits, of an excellent active nature; that will not be kept idle: and therefore Delay is unsuitable to their excellencie. The best and noblest creatures are most active: The basest are most dull, and unfit for action: The earth will stand still: You may easily keep clods and stones from moving: But fire and winds that are purer things, and the Sunne, and such nobler sublimer creatures, you are not able to keep idle for an hour. Who can cause the Sunne to delay its Course? or who can stay the ascending flames? And therefore to your more excellent immor­tall Souls, and that in a work that must needs be done, how exceeding unsuita­ble are Delaies?

50. If all this will not serve turn, let me tell you, that while you are Delaying, your Judgment doth not delay; and that [Page 437] when it comes, these Delaies will multi­ply your misery, and the remembrance of them, will be your Everlasting torment. What ever you are thinking of, or what ever you are doing, your dreadfull doom is drawing on apace; and misery will overtake you, before you are aware. When you are in the Ale-house little thinking of damnation, even then is your damnation coming in hast: when you are drown'd in the pleasures, or cares of the world, your judgment is still ha­stening. You may delay, but it will not delay. It is the saying of the Holy Ghost, 2 Pet. 2. 3. Whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbreth not. You may slum­ber, and that so carelesly that we cannot awake you: but your damnation slum­breth not, nor hath not done of a long time, while you thought it slumbred; and when it comes, it will awaken you. As a man that is in a coach on the road, or a boat on the water, what ever he is speaking, or thinking, or doing, he is still going on, and hastening to his jour­neies end, or going down the stream: So what ever you think, or speak, or do, whether you believe it, or mock at it, [Page 438] whether you sleep or wake, whether you remember it or forget it, you are ha­stening to damnation, and you are every day a day neerer to it then before: and it is but a little while till you shall feel it. Behold the Judg standeth before the doore, Jam. 5. 9. The Holy Ghost hath told you, The Lord is at hand, Phil. 4. 5. The day is at hand; the time is at hand; the end of all things is at hand, Rom. 13. 12. Rev. 22. 10. 1 Pet. 4. 7. Behold, saith the Lord, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be, Rev. 22. 12. And do you as it were see the Judge approaching, and damnation hasting on, and yet will you delay?

And withall consider, that when it comes, it will be most sore to such as you: and then what thoughts do you think you shall have of these Delaies? You are unable to conceive how it will torment your Consciences, when you see that all your hopes are gone, to think what you have brought your selves to, by your trifling: To feel your selves in remediless misery, and remember how long the Remedy was offered you, and you Delaied to use it, till it was too late. [Page 439] To see that you are for ever shut out of Heaven, and remember that you might have had it as well as others; but you lost it by Delay. Oh then it will come with horrour into your mind, How oft was I perswaded, and told of this? how oft had I inward motions to return? how oft was I purposed to be holy, and to give up my heart and life to God? I was even ready to have yeelded; but I still delaied, and now it is too late. Then you shall pay for all our warnings, and all the Sermons and motions which you lost.

And now having laid you down no less then fifty moving Considerations, if it be possible to save you from these De­laies, I conclude with this Request to you whoever you be that read these words; that you would but consider of all these Reasons, and then entertaine them as they deserve. There is not one of them that you are able to gainsay; much less all of them. If after the rea­ding of all these, you can yet believe that you have reason to delay, your un­derstandings are forsaken of God: But if you are forced to confess that you should not Delay, what will you do then? Will you obey God, and your [Page 440] own Consciences, or will you not? Will you Turn this hour without delay? Take heed of denying it, lest you have never such a motion more: You know not, but God that calls you to it, may be resol­ved, that it should be now or never. I do beseech you, yea as his messenger I charge you in his Name, that you Delay not an hour longer, but presently be re­solved, and make an unchangeable Co­venant with God; and as ever you would have favour in that day of your distress, delay not now to accept his favour, in the day of your visitation. O what a blessed family were that, which upon the Reading of this, would presently say, We have done exceeding foolishly in Delay­ing so great a matter so long: Let us agree together to give up our selves to God without any more Delay. This shall be the day: we'l stay no longer. The flesh, and the world, and the Devil, have had too much already: It's a wonder of pa­tience that hath borne with us so long: we will abuse the patience of God no longer; but begin to be absolutely his this day. If this may be the effect of these exhortati­ons, you shall have the everlasting bles­sing: But if still you Delay, I hope I [Page 441] am free from the guilt of your blood.

DIRECT. XII. The last Direction that I shall give you, for preventing your miscarriage in the work of Conver­sion is this: Stop not in weak and wave­ring Purposes, and faint attempts: but see that you be groundedly, unreservedly, and habitually (or firmly) Resolved.

There are many good thoughts, and meanings in the Soul, before Resolution: but you are not truly Converted, till you are Resolved, and thus Resolved as is here exprest. Here I shall shew you, 1. What this Resolution is. 2. Why it is so necessary: and 3. I shall urge you to resolve: and 4. I shall Direct you in it.

1. Resolution is the firm or prevalent Determination of the Will upon Delibe­ration,

In opening this Definition, I shall first shew you how we are led up to Re­solution by Deliberation: and 2. What is this Determination of the will.

There are several steps, by which the will doth rise up to Resolution, which I shall set before you. And first it is pre­supposed [Page 442] that in the state of corrupted Nature, the Soul is unresolved for God, if not (in many that are exceeding wic­ked) Resolved against him. At first the sinner doth either Resolve to be as he is, or else he hath no Resolution to Return. But God breaks many a wicked Resoluti­on, or else woe to the ungodly; for there were no hope. Many wicked wretches, have not only neglected their Souls; but also Resolved that they would never lead a Holy life, nor never joyn themselves to the Communion of Saints, nor never leave their drunken company, or be so precise, and make so great a matter of sinne, as the Godly do▪ When we urge them with the plainest Words of God, and the most unquestionable Rea­sons, so that they have not a word of sense to speak against it. When we have told them of the Command of God, and told them of the certain danger of their Souls, they will plainly tell us that they are Re­solved never to be so precise: When they have nothing else to say, but non­sence, they will put us off with this, that they are Resolved to venture their Souls without so much adoe. But as Resolute as they are, God will break and chang [Page 443] their Resolution, and make them as much Resolved of the clean contrary, if ever he will save them. For woe to them that ever they were born, if he should take them at their word, and Resolve as they Resolve!

Now in this case there are many de­grees that men go through, before they come to be Resolved for God.

1. The first thing usually that befalleth such a Soul, is some further Light, which shews him that which before he under­stood not. 2. This Light causeth him to begin to Doubt, whether all be so well with him as he thought it had been; and whether he were so wise in his former Re­solutions as he thought himself. 3. When Light hath bred these Doubtings in his mind, these Doubtings breed some Fears within him, and he begins to be a little awakened. Lest evil be neerer him then he was aware of, and lest the threa­tenings of God, and his Ministers should prove true. 4. These Fears do drive him to Consider of the matter, and to Deliberate what he is best to do: To con­sider whether these things be so or not, and what course he must take if they should prove true. 5. Though some­times [Page 444] God may bless the very first Consi­derations to be the present means of true conversion, yet that is no usual thing; but ordinarily the first Considerations do help the mind to some slight convictions, so that the man begins to see a great deal more then he did before; and so much as puts him now past doubt that he was before mistaken; and out of the way. 6. Finding himself, in this case, his fears increase, and his grief comes on for his former folly, and he finds himself in a miserable case, and at a loss for a Re­medy. 7. By this much he is quickened to a purpose or resolution, to hearken to those that can instruct him, and enquire of them that he thinks are in the right, and to use such means as he is acquain­ted with, to find out what he must do to be saved. And accordingly he goes among good company, and begins to hear more diligently, and sensibly, and to mark, and regard what he hears, and reads; and also to cry to God in Prayer for mercy and relief. But all this is but from the Natural Fears of misery, a­wakened in him by Common preparing Grace. 8. In the use of these Means of Grace, he begins better to understand, [Page 445] and relish the Doctrine of Redemption by Jesus Christ, and the nature and ne­cessity of true Sanctification by the Ho­ly Ghost. And though sometime these Evangelical Illuminations may be special saving works at the very first, yet it's more usual, especially with us that are bred up under the Gospel, to have a more superficial common Illumination, before the saving Light come in. And by this common Light, men have at first but a general glimmering, and confused Knowledg of a Saviour, and of Redemp­tion, and of Mercy to be had by him. And sometime they have a distinct Know­ledg of some parts only of the Christian Faith; and sometime a distinct Know­ledg, and belief of every Article; but only superficial, and not savingly effe­ctual. 9. By this general, or superfi­cial Knowledg of Christ, and Mercy, a kind of Hope ariseth in the heart, that yet there is a possibility of escape: and a kind of comfort answerable to this Hope. 10. These Hopes are accompanied with some Desires to understand yet more of the Mistery of the Gospel; and to be made partakers of the saving Mercy of which he hath had a confused light. [Page 446] 11. And hereupon there is further kind­led in the will, a Purpose, or Resoluti­on to go further on in learning, and en­quiring into the Will of God, and using his means: And 12. This purpose is per­formed, and means are further used. And thus far the Soul is but in Preparation, and under the common workes of Grace, and possibly may fall off and perish. The first degree may be so stifled, that it shall not reach unto the second; or the second so stifled that it shall not reach unto the third: But the most common stop is at the third degree: when men are a little frightened, they will not follow it on to Consideration: And they that follow Consideration diligently, do usually speed well, and get through all the rest.

But when the Soul is brought thus farre, if God will save it, he next proc [...]eds to this much more: 1. He giveth a clea­rer Light into the Soul, which giveth a more distinct, or at least a more pier­cing, convincing, deep and savoury ap­prehension of the essentials of Christia­nity then he ever had before.

Where note of this special Heavenly light, 1. The being, usually the Conse­quent of a more common knowledg, [Page 447] therefore most ordinarily the sum of Christian Doctrine is in some manner known before. 2. That it doth not re­veal only some one point of Faith alone, and then another, and so on: as if we savingly knew one essential point of Faith, when we have no saving Know­ledg of the rest: For that is a Contradi­ction. But finding all these Truths re­ceived in the mind before by a common Knowledg, the special Light comes in upon them all at once; and so shews us the Anatomy of Christianity, or the parts of Gods Image in one frame, as to the essentials. 3. For the understanding of which you must further know, that there is such an inseparable connection of these Truths, and such a dependance of one upon another, that it is not possible to know one of them truly, and not know all. For example, Believing in Jesus Christ, is an act so inseparable from the rest, that (if the essentials of Christianity be not essential to it) cer­tainly you cannot do this without them. For to Believe in Christ, is essentially to believe in him as God and man, two Na­tures in one Person, by Office the Me­diator, our Redeemer and Saviour, to [Page 448] save us from guilt and sinne, from pu­nishment, and pollution, and to give us by the Holy Ghost, a Holy nature and life, and to give us the forgiveness of sinne, and Everlasting life, and so to restore us to the mutual Love of God here, and fruition of him hereafter: and all this as merited and procured by his Death, Obedience, Resurrection, Ascen­sion, and Intercession for his Church. Whether here be all that is Essential to Christianity, and absolutely necessary to Salvation to be believed, I leave to con­sideration; but sure I am that all this is Essential to saving Justifying Faith. And Christ is not taken as Christ, if he be not thus taken: For the Ends thus enter the definition of his Relation as the Redee­mer, and Saviour, and Lord.

So that the Love of God as our felici­ty and End, and the belief in Christ, as the way, are both together in the same minute of time, which soever of them be first in order of nature: (which is a que­stion that I dare not here so unseasonably handle)

2. Upon this special Illumination of the Soul, and the special Consideration with which it doth concurre; the Delibe­rating [Page 449] Soul is presently Resolved. And in these two Acts which alwaies go toge­ther, consisteth the special Sanctifying Work: Even in the Illumination, and Estimation of the Understanding, and in the true Resolution of the Will.

2. The Determination of the Will, is its own free act, performed by its natu­ral self determining power, procured by the special Grace of God (I mean in this special case) It followeth Delibera­tion. While we are unresolved, we Deliberate what to Resolve upon; that is, we are considering which is best and most eligible, and which not; and as we practically judg, we use to Determine, and to choose. And when this choice after Deliberation is peremtory and full, it's called Resolution.

So that my meaning is to let you un­derstand, that when the Matter of our Faith is set open to the Soul, it is not a wavering fickle purpose, that is a saving closure with it, but it must be a firm Re­solution. Much less will it ever bring a man to Heaven, to be thinking and deli­berating what to do, as long as he is un­resolved. And now I shall prove the Necessity of this.

[Page 450] II. Till you are Resolved, you are not Converted, and that appeareth by these Evidences. 1. If you are not firmly Re­solved, it is certain that you do not firm­ly believe. For such as your Belief is, such will be the effects of it upon the Will. An unsound Opinionative belief, will produce but tottering, languishing pur­poses: but a firm belief will cause a firm Resolution of the Will. And if your be­lief be unsound, you must confess you are unconverted.

2. Moreover, if you do not esteem God above all Creatures, and Heaven above Earth, and Christ and Grace above sinne, you are certainly uncon­verted. But if you have such a true esti­mation, you will certainly have a firm Resolution. For you will Resolve for that which you highly esteem.

3. If God have not your firm Resolu­tion, he hath not indeed your Heart and Will: For to give God your Hearts and Wills, is principally by firm Re­solving for him. And if God have not your Hearts, you are sure unconver­ted.

4. Moreover, if you are not firmly [Page 451] Resolved, your Affections will not be sincere and stedfast. For all the Affecti­ons are such as to their sincerity, as the Will is, which doth excite or command them And nothing is more mutable then the Affections in themselves considered: They will be hot to day, and cold to morrow, if they be not rooted in the firm Resolution of the Will, which is the life of them.

5. Lastly, Without a firm Resolution, there can be no faithfull obedience and execution, of the Will of God. For if men be not Resolved, they will heavily go on, and lazilie proceed, and easily come off: For their hands go to work without their hearts. It is the greatest work in all the world, that God calls you to; and none but the Resolved are able to go through with it. Of which we shall give you a fuller account anon.

III. In the next place, let me intreat you, in the feare of God, to look after this great and Necessary part of your Conversion. There are many degrees of good motions in the mind; but all that falls short of Resolution is un [...]ound. [Page 452] Many are brought to Doubt whether all be well with them, and to have some fears thereupon▪ that yet will not be brought so far as to consider soberly of the matter, and deliberate what is best to be done, and to advise with their Mi­nisters for the furthering of their Salva­tion. Many that are perswaded so far as to consider, and deliberate, and take advice, yet go no further then some cold wishes, or purposes, which are all over­come by the love of the world, and the power of their sinnes Many that do pro­ceed to some kind of Practice, do only take a tast, or an essay of Religion, to try how they can like it; and begin some kind of outward Reformation, without any firm Resolution to go through with it: Or if their purposes seem strong, it is but occasioned by something without, and not from a setled habit within. All these are short of a state of special Saving Grace, and must be numbred with the unconverted.

It is a common, and very dangerous mistake, that many are undone by, to think that every good Desire is a certain sign of Saving Grace: Whereas you may have more then bare Desires, even pur­poses, [Page 453] and promises, and some performan­ces, and yet perish for want of Resoluti­on, and Regeneration. [...] Do you think that Judas himself had not some good Desires, that followed Christ so long, and preached the Gospel? Do you think that Herod had not some good De­sires, that heard John gladly, and did many things accordingly? Agrippa had some good Desires, when he was almost perswaded to be a Christian. They that for a time believe have sure some good Desires, and more, Matth. 13. 20. And so had the young man, that went away sorrowfull from Christ, when he could not be his Disciple; unless he would part with all that he had, Luke 18. 23. Matth. 19. 22. And doubtless those had more then good Desires, that had known the way of Righteousness, and had escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledg of the Lord and Saviour Je­sus Christ, 2 Pet. 2. 20, 21. And so had those, Heb. 10. 26, 29. That had received the knowledg of the Truth, and were Sanctified by the blood of the Cove­nant. And those Heb. 6. 4, 5, 6. That were once inlightened, and tafted of the Heavenly gift, and were made partakers [Page 454] of the Holy Ghost, and tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come. And sure Ananias and Saphira had more then some good Desires, when they sold all, and brought half the price to the Apostles.

Believe it Sirs, there are none of your Desires, or Endeavours, that will serve turn, to prove you in a state of Grace, unless they be accompanied with firm Re­solution. Be it known to you that you are unconverted, if you are not habitu­ally Resolved. And therefore I must here intreat you all, to put the question close to your hearts, Are you Resolved; firm­ly Resolved, to give up your selves and all to Christ, and to be wholly his, and follow his conduct? or are you not? The question is not, what good mea­nings, or wishes, or purposes, you may have, but whether you are Resolved, and firmly Resolved? Take heed Sirs, what you venture your Souls upon: God will not be dallied with, nor be deceived. He will have no unresolved, false-hear­ted servants.

Before I proceed to urge you further, I shall here tell you what kind of Resolu­tion it must be, that will prove a man [Page 455] converted: and then I shall give you such Motives as should perswade you to it.

It is not all kind of Resolution that will serve turn; but it is only that which hath these following properties, that will evi­dence a state of Grace.

1. As to the Matter, it must be the whole Essence of Christianity, that must be Resolved on. It must be no less then a closing with God as your chiefest happi­ness, to be Loved above all, and as your chiefest Lord to be obeyed before all: and a closing with Jesus Christ, as your only Saviour, your Teacher, and your Lord; to bring your hearts again to God, and reconcile you to him: and a closing with the Holy Ghost as your Sanctifier, to make you a holy people, and clense you from all your sinne of heart and life, and guide you by the Mini­stery, Word, and Ordinances, to Ever­lasting life. Thus must you Resolve to deliver up your selves to God the Father, Sonne, and Holy Ghost, to be made a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Should you be never so Resolute in some point of Religion, and as Ananias to give God Half, and to become half Re­ligious, and half Holy, and half Heavenly, [Page 456] this is but to be half Christians, and will not bring you half way to Heaven: It's entire Christianity that must be Resol­ved on.

2. You must also be Resolved for pre­sent obedience, and to turn without any more delay; and not only Resolve to turn to morrow, or sometime hereafter. No Resolution is sincere in this case, if it be but for the future: If you had rather stay but one day or hour longer in the state of sinne, and service of the flesh, you are no true Disciples of Christ, though you should be Resolved to turn to mor­row.

3. And your Resolution must be Ab­solute and peremptory, not only with­out any secret Reserves, but Positively against any such Reserves. Here it is that Hypocrites commonly fall short: They see they must mend, and they are convinced that a holy life is necessary, and they Resolve hereupon to change their course, and turn religious: but either it is with this secret Reserve, Pro­vided alwaies that I look to my credit, or estate, or life, what ever I do, and pro­vided that I go no further in Religion then will stand with these; provided that god­liness [Page 457] be not my undoing in the world. Or else if he have not actually such thougths, he hath them alwaies virtually, and habi­tually: He is not Resolved against such Reserves: He hath not considered that Christ will have no Disciples that cannot and will not part with all; and that if he hope for Heaven, he must not look for a treasure on earth, but only pass through the world as a travailer, or la­bour in it as the harvest of the Lord, in expectation of a Reward and Rest here­after; and so Resolved to take Christ on these self denying terms. But he that will be saved must be thus resolved: Even to sell all, to buy the unvaluable pearl, Matth. 13. 46, 47. To make sure of Heaven, though he lose all on Earth by it: to lay up his hopes in the life to come, and venture, and let go all ra­ther then those hopes: to take Christ absolutely upon his own terms, for bet­ter and worse, as being certain that there is no other way to life, and that there is no danger of losing by him. The Hy­pocrite is like a man that when he delive­reth up the possession of his house, will make his bargain, that he will keep this room, or that room to himself, for his [Page 458] own use. Or like a servant that will not be hired but on Condition that his Ma­ster shall not set him to such or such work that he loves not: But Christ will have no such servants: You must deliver up all to him, or he will accept of none: You must give him leave to make his Conditions for you, and tell you on what terms you must serve him, and wholly referre the matter to him, even for life it self, and not offer to put Con­ditions upon him, and think to bring him to any terms of yours. It is not true Resolution unless it be Absolute, and un­reserved, and against all reserves: Yea, and that also as to perseverance; that you Resolve to give up your selves finally as well as totally, not only without any Reserve of a Revocation, but against any such Revocation: It must not be a com­ing to Christ upon essay, or meer tryal, that if you do not like you may leave again: But you must make an unchanga­ble everlasting Covenant: It must be part of your Covenant, that you will never revoke it.

4. Moreover, your Resolution must be well grounded: You must know what the Essentials are of that Religion which [Page 459] you Resolve on, and you must be mo­ved to it by right and weighty Conside­rations; and go upon reasons that will hold up your Resolution. For should you Resolve on the most necessary work (as this is) upon mistakes, and wrong, or insufficient Reasons, as the will of man, the custom of the country, the reputation of Christianity, or only such like; there is no likelyhood that your Resolution should endure, and it is not sincere while it doth endure.

5. Your Resolution must be accompa­nied with a sense of your own insufficiency, to stand to it immutably, and execute it faithfully by your own strength; as knowing the corruption, and deceitfull­ness of our own heart: And it must be strengthned, and supported by a confi­dence, or dependance on the sufficiency of Christ. on whose Grace, and Spirit you must rely, both for the continuing, and the performing of your Resolutions; as knowing that without him you can do nothing, but that you can do all things (necessary) through Christ strengthning you.

6. Lastly, Your Resolution is not Sa­vingly sincere, unless it be habitually. It [Page 460] is a very hard question, how far some moving exhortation, or the approach of death in sicknes, may prevaile with the unsanctified for an Actual Resoluti­on: Undoubtedly very farre: But that's a mans mind and will which is Habi­tually his mind and will: When the very Inclination, and bent of your will is Right, then only is your heart right. A bowle may by a rub, or banck, be turned contrary to the byas: but when it is over the rub it will follow the byas againe in its ordinary course. The flame may be hindred from assending a little while, but when it is got over the stop, it will be mounting upward. A stone will move upwards against its Nature, while it is followed by the strength of the hand that cast it; but when the strength is spent, it will quickly fall again. It is not an extraordinary act, that you can try your selves by, but such a free course and te­nor of your lives, as will prove that you have a new Nature, or a heart Inclined and Habituated to God. The main busi­ness therefore is to prove that you are Habituallly Resolved. Set all these toge­ther now, and you may see what Reso­lution it is, that must prove you to be [Page 461] Converted. 1. It must be a Resolution for all the Essence of Christianity, and not only some part. 2. It must be a Re­solution for present Obedience, and not only for some distant time to come: 3. It must be an Absolute, peremptory Reso­lution, without and against Reserves for the flesh: both Total, and final; with­out and against any Revocation. 4. It must be soundly grounded; and moved by right Principles: 5. It must be joyned with a humble sence of your insufficiency, and a dependance on Christ, for conti­nuing, and performing it. And 6. It must be Habitual, and such as sets right the bent and drift of heart and life. All this is of Necessity.

Well Sirs; you see now what you must do: the next question then is, what you will do? A great many of motions God hath made to you, to let go your world­liness, and wickedness, and become New Creatures, and live to God, and ne­ver could you be got to Resolve, and obey them. Many thoughts you have had of it, I suppose; and long you have been purposing that: Turn you would; [Page 462] but all have come to little or nothing, be­cause you were never fully Resolved. I am once more sent to you on this mes­sage from God, to see whether yet you will Resolve: Whether after all you tri­fling delaies, and after all your wilfull sinning, and abuse of Gods Patience, against your own knowledg and Con­sciences, you will yet Resolve. What say you? Shall God be your Master indeed, and shall Christ be your Saviour & Lord? Shall Heaven be your happiness, and have your hearts indeed? Shall Holiness be your business indeed? and shall sinne be your hatred, and the flesh and the world be your enemies indeed, and used accor­dingly from this day forward, without any more ado? I beseech you Sirs Re­solve, and fully Resolve.

And because I know if we prevaile not with you in this you are undone for ever, and therefore I am loath to let you go before we have brought you, if it may be, to Resolve: I will give you here some Considerations to turn the scales, and if you will but read them, and so­berly consider of them, I shall have great hope to prevail with you, yet after all. One would think that the fifty Conside­rations [Page 463] under the last Direction might suffice: But lest all should be too little, I will add these following.

1. Consider I beseech you, what lei­sure you have had to think of the matter. You have lived many years in the world already; and you have had nothing to do in it, but to seek after true Happi­ness: Even your worldly labours ought to have been all but in order to this. And yet are you unresolved? Alas Sirs, have you lived some twenty some thirty years and more in the world, and yet are you not Resolved, what you came hither for, or what you have to do here? Is it twenty, or thirty, or fourty years, since you set out, and should by this time have been farre on your journey, and are you yet unresolved whither to go, or which way to go? As if you were newly entering the world, or as if you had ne­ver heard of your business. I think so many years are a faire time of Conside­ration, and it's time to be Resolved, if you will Resolve at all.

2. And I pray you consider, what Helps you have had to have Resolved you before this. If you did not know what you had to look after, and which way to [Page 464] take, you should have enquired: You had the Word of God to advise with; and you had your Teachers to advise with; and many experienced Christians to ad­vise with. You wanted not for the wisest faithfulest Counsailers; if you had been but willing and diligent, certain­ly you might have been Resolved long ago.

3 And consider I beseech you, what a case it is that you are unresolved in: Is it so hard a question that all this time, and all these helps cannot Resolve you? What? whether God or the flesh should be first obeyed, and loved? Whether Heaven or Earth▪ Eternal Glory or the transitory pleasures of sinne should be preferred? Whether you should care and labour more to be saved from sinne and Hell, or from poverty and worldly crosses, and reproaches? These, and such like are the questions to be Resolved: And are these so hard, that all your wit, and all the advise you can have from Scripture and Ministers, would not serve turn to help you to a Resolution, no not in twenty or thirty years time? O won­derful! that ever the Devil should be able so to befool men! That Reasonable [Page 465] Creatures should be so phrenet [...]ck, that they cannot be resolved whether it be bet­ter be saved, or be damned? or whe­ther sinne with Hell after it, be better than Holiness with Heaven after? The Lord have Mercy upon the poor di­stracted world, and bring some more of them to their wits! We have Wise men, if themselves may be judges; very wise in their own conceit, that know many great matters in the world, and yet do not practically know whether God or the Devil be the better master; whether sinne or Holiness be the better work; and whether Heaven or Hell be the bet­ther wages? If they say They know these things, judge by their lives whe­ther they know them Practically or not? Resolve they will not for God, and Ho­liness, and Heaven, nor against the flesh, the world, and sinne; whatever they may be brought to confess to their self-condemnation. Is it not a pitifull case, that such points as these, should seem so hard to reasonable men, as to be so long in Resolving of them?

4. And I pray you Consider, How horribly by this you disgrace your under­standings. You that cannot abide to be [Page 466] derided as sots and fools in the world, do yet abuse your selves thus grosly, as i [...] there were never greater sots scarce upon the Earth. We have proud men that are so high in their now eies, that they can hardly endure contempt from others, and love almost none that think but mean­ly or dishonourably of them; and yet what a horrible contempt and dishonour do they cast upon themselves? If one of these our wise neighbours, should study seaven years, to know whether the Sea be fire or water, whether a mountain be heavy? Whether the fire be hot or cold? and could not be Resolved after so many years Consideration; what would you think and say of these wise men? Why Sirs, it is far grosser folly, I tell you again, it is far grosser folly, to be unresolved whether you should be Ho­ly or unholy? which is in plain English, whether it be better go to Heaven or to Hell? For Faith and Holiness is the way to Heaven; and an unholy life is the way to Hell: And if you will needs forsake the way to Heaven, you may hope to come thither as long as you will; but you may as well hope to touch the Moon with your finger, or to runne up and down [Page 467] with a mountain on your backs. And if you will hold on in the way to Hell, that is, in an unsanctified state, you may say you hope for all that to escape Hell, even as wisely as to leap into the Sea, and say I hope to scape drowning, or to throw down your selves headlong from the top of the steeple, and say I hope to scape hurting me, as well as you. Sirs, I beseech you do not abuse God, and abuse Christ, and the Spirit, and Scripture, and withall abuse your immortal Souls, for I know not what; for a stinking sin; for a thing of nought: Your Souls are noble Creatures, and your understand­ings are noble faculties: Why will you expose them to be the scorn of Satan, and make them so base and sottish as you do? You can see the folly of a poor drunkard, that will make a beast of him­self, and go reeling and talking non­sence about the street, for the boies to hoot at him, and make himself the laugh­ing-stock of the town: And I pray you why do you not understand, that till you are Resolved for a Holy, Heavenly life, you are all drunk, while you think your selves to be sober? You are as miserable as the other, and more in this, that [Page 468] yours is in your natures, and theirs is but an accident; yours is continued, and theirs (in that particular) but by fits. In the Name of God Sirs, bethink you, whether you can possibly more disgrace your wits, then to be unresolved of a case as plain as the high way, and which your Everlasting Salvation or damnation lieth on? If one of you could not in twenty years be Resolved; whether the the Sunne be light or dark, or whether the day or the night be fitter for rest; or whether it be better plow and sow, or let all alone, and hope God will give you a crop without labour; would you take this for a wise man? Again I tell you, your folly is more gross, that cannot all this while be Resolved, whe­ther you should cast away your wilfull sinnes, and give up your selves to Christ, and a Holy life, to obtain the Glory, and scape the misery that is hard at hand. If you stood up to the neck in the water, or stood but in a storm of raine, you would not be so long in deliberating, whether it were better for you to stay there longer or come out. If your fin­ger were but in the fire, you need not so long a deliberation, whether you [Page 469] should take it out. Any yet these wise men, are under many thousand unpar­doned sinnes, and under the curse of the Law of God, and within a step of ever­lasting fire, and have no way possible to escape, but by Conversion, Faith and Holiness; and this God hath told them, as plain as the tongue of man can speak, and yet they are Considering of it, whe­ther it be best to come out of it; and yet they cannot be Resolved? Did I say They are Consid [...]ring? Nay, the Lord be mercifull to them, they are so dead­hearted and besotted, that they do not so much as seriously Consider of it: But even runne on without Consideration: Ah poor wretches! They are ready to go to another world, and may look eve­ry day when the bell toles for them, and when death will bring them to their end­less life, and yet they have not wit enough, to Resolve whether they should make ready: no nor with enough in their most carless, worldly state, to know that they are unready. Death is coming, and Judgment is coming, and the burn­ing Wrath of God is coming, and are even at the doore; and yet these wise men are unresolved of that only way that [Page 470] is of absolute necessity to their safety; They must have more time yet to consi­der of the matter, whether it be best for them to turn or no? They stand at the very brink of Hell; and yet they must further consider of it, whether it be better to turn back or to go on: Nay they will go on without Consideration! And yet these men would take it [...]aynously, if one should lay hands on them, and car­ry them to Bedlam; or but tell them of the hundreth part of the sottishness that they are guilty of.

5. And it is further considerable, that these men that are all this while unresolved, about their Conversion and Sanctification, have wit enough to resolve of doubtfuller, and less necessary matters, without any such advising or delaies: And they are men of ordinary parts and capacities, for the matters of this world. They can eat when they are hungry, and drink when they are thirsty, without a twelve-months tim [...] to advise first on it: They can resolve to go to bed at night, and to rise in the morning, without a years or a daies deliberation. If they have any thing to buy or sell, they will not deli­berate upon it till the market be past: If [Page 471] they have their land to plow, or their [...]orn to sow, or reap, or mow, they will not take a twelve months time to pause upon it. They can quicky Resolve upon their every-daies business, their travails, their labours, and all their or­dinary affaires. And yet these same men cannot Resolve in seaven years time, and seaven to that, whether Heaven or Earth should be more loved and laboured for? Or whether a corruptible flesh, a wic­ked fancie, a greedy throat, should be pleased before the God of Heaven, though the pleasing of it cost them the loss of their Salvation?

Why Sirs, a man that is well in his wits, would think that these matters should be more out of doubt then the former, and speedilier resolved on? One would think it should be an easier question, whether you should turn to God and a Holy life, for the saving of your immortal Souls? then whether you should eate, or drink, or sleep, for the preservation of your bodies? For I can in many cases bring some reason that should perswade you to forbeare eating, or drinking, or sleeping for a considerable time: but no man breathing can speak a word [Page 472] of reason (except mens folly should be called Reason,) that should perswade you to forbear your Conversion for a minute. And if you mistake about these bodily matters, the loss may be repaired, at least in the world to come: but if you die before you are Resolved, and firmly Resolved, to give up your Soul and bo­dy to Christ, and live a Holy, Heavenly life, you are undone body and Soul for ever, and all the world can never save you.

Oh what a strange and horrible thing is it, that a man that hath the wit to mannage his affaires as plausibly as any of his neighbours, that can overwit others in the matters of the world; that can govern Towns and Countries; that is learned in his Profession, in Law, in Physick, in Merchandize, in Navigati­on, or any the like; I say, that a man of so deep a reach, so plodding and active a wit as this, should yet be unresolved, yea at 30 or 40 years old be unresolved, whether to be Sanctified or unsanctified; whether to be Holy and be Saved, or to be unholy, though God hath professed expresly that such shall not see the face of God, Heb. 12. 14. These are our [Page 473] wise men, these are too many (besides the ignorant country men) of our Gentlemen, our Worshipfull, and Ho­nourable men, our great Schollars, and men of noble or reverend esteem; that yet are unresolved, whether to be saved or to be damned. Though God hath written a Bible to Resolve them, and a thousand books are written to Resolve them; and Preachers are studying, and preaching to Resolve them; and a thou­sand mercies are cast into the scales, that one would think should help to turn them; and some sharp afflictions are helping to Resolve them; and twenty, or fourty years certain experience, of the vanity of this world, the deceitfull­ness of riches, and honour, and plea­sure, and the unprofitableness of sinne, one would think should Resolve them; yet after all this they are unresolved, whe­ther they should presently let go their sinne, and whether God, or the flesh should be pleased or displeased? If this be the wisdom of these men, the Lord bless me, and all his chosen, from such wisdom!

6. Nay consider further of your unrea­sonable wickedness: Are not many of your [Page 474] Judgments Resolved, when yet your hearts and wils are unresolved. I am confident, nay I am certain it is so. You are at once both Resolved and unresolved. What a confusion and warre do you thus make in your own Souls? The Judgment is for one thing, and the Will and Affecti­ons are for another thing. What? are you not led by Reason? Will you let out your Affections, and lead your lives, quite contrary to your knowledg. Would not most of you give it me as your Judg­ments under your hands, that it's a thou­sand times better to cast away your drun­kenness, your filthiness, your world­liness, and other known sinnes, then to keep them any longer? What say you? are you not Convinced that it were your wisest course to part with them this very day and hour? Undoubtedly ma­ny of you are. And yet for all this will you not Resolve to do it? Are you not perswaded in your Consciences, that it's better to dye in a Holy and Heavenly state, then in a loose and careles world­ly state? And that it were your safest, and wisest course to become New men, and lead a Holy Heavenly life without de­lay. Dare you deny this? Is it not [Page 475] your Judgment? And yet will you not do it? Are you Resolved that it should be done, and must be done, and yet will you not Resolve to do it? Why what is this but to be condemners of your selves? to carry a Judge about with you in your own brests, that is still passing sentence against you? Happy is he (saith the Spirit of God, Rom. 14. 22.) that con­demneth not himself in that which he al­loweth. If your Judgments be Resolved, let your Wills Resolve, or else you are wilfull adersaries of the light, and fight against Reason, and unman your selves, and sinning wilfully against your Know­ledg, shall be beaten with many stripes.

7. Me thinks also it should somewhat quicken you to Resolve, when you con­sider what a case you had now been in, if death had found you unresolved. For if you are unresolved, you are unsanctified; and if not Sanctified, you are not pardo­ned, or justified, and therefore un­doubtedly you had been past all help, in endless misery, if you had died all this while, before you were firmly Rosolved for God. O what a dangerous ticklish condition have you stood in all this while? [Page 476] What wise man would live an hour in such a case for all the world? For feare lest that hour should be his last. And yet would you stay longer in it? and still are you unresolved?

8. Believe it, Christ will not own you as his servants, nor trust you what ever promises you may make him, as long as you are unresolved. Who will take a servant that is not resolved to do any service? Who will take an unresolved person if he knows it, as a wife, or friend into his intimate love? And indeed you are not truly Christians till you are Resolved to take Christ for better and worse. What ever state is short of this, is also short of true Sanctification, and will fall short of Heaven. Christ is Resolved to stick to his servants, and he will have no ser­vants, that be not resolved to stick to him.

9. And indeed if you be unresolved; as you are falshearted at the first setting out, so it is certain that you wll never go well on, nor endure to the end in case of tryall, nor can you do the business of a Christian life, without Resolution. If you will be Christ's Disciples, you must reckon upon perse­cutions: You must take up your Cross [Page 477] and follow him: You must be hated of all men for his sake and the Gospels; and you must prepare for prison, and fire, and sword. There's no hope of being saved, while you purpose to save your pleasures, riches, liberties, or lives, Matth. 16. 25. Marke 8. 35. Luke 9. 24. And will a man that is unresolved forsake his friends, estate, and life, for the sake of Christ, and the hopes of Glory? He cannot do it. I know that a carnal un­grounded Resolution, may decive a man in the day of tryal; when the self-suspe­cting, fearfull Christian may hold out: But yet without a humble self-denying Resolution, joyned with an adherence to Christ for strength, there's no man will hold out. If thou be a wavering minded man, thou wilt be unstedfast in all thy waies, Jam. 1. 8. If thou be not Re­solved, the words of a mans mouth will turn thee out of the way; the very mocks and scorns of a drunkard, or a fool that hath no understanding in the mat­ters of Salvation, will make thee shrink, and hide thy profession, and be ashamed of Christ, in whom alone thou hast cause to Glory. If thou be not a Resolved man, what better can be expected, but [Page 478] that thou turn as the weather-cock with every wind, and fit thy Religion to thy worldly ends, and as another Judas sell thy Lord for a little money. If thou fall not away, it will be but for want of a tryal to procure it; and therefore in Gods account thou art gone already; because thy Resolution was never with him.

When you turn to God, there will remain within you the remnants of your corruption, a body of death, a rebel­ling flesh: and this will be still tempting you, and drawing you from God: And O how strong do these temptations seem to the Soul that is unresolved? Yea without a firm habituate Resolution, it is impossible to overcome them. Your whole way to Heaven is a continual war­fare: You have enemies that will dispute every foot of the way with you. There's no going a step forward, but as the ship doth in the Sea, by cutting its way through the waves, and billows; and as the plow doth in the earth, by cutting through the resisting soil: There is self which is your principal enemy, and there is Satan, and the world, and almost all that you meet with in it, will prove your [Page 479] hinderers: And you must make your way by valour, and Holy Violence through all: And will an unresolved man do this? You will scarce ever how your knee to God in secret prayer, nor set your selves upon serious Meditations, but the flesh and the Devil will be drawing you off; You will never attempt, a faithfull reproof, a liberal work of Cha­rity, a hazardous confession of Christ, or any dangerous or costly duty, but the flesh and the Devil will plead against it, and put you to it: And in these and many such cases of your lives, you will never break through, nor do any good on it, without Resolution. Do I need to tell you how hard the way of Salvation is, that fly from it on mistake, because you think it harder then it is? Do I need to tell you how false you will prove to Christ, if you have not Resolution, that know it by your ordinary, miserable ex­perience, that a poor temptation will make you sinne against your knowledg? How many good wishes and purposes have you had already, in sickness or at a lively Sermon, that are all come to no­thing, for want of a firm Habituate Re­solution? What abundance of time-servers, [Page 480] and of chaffie professours are lately fallen off, to the way of rising and riches in the world, or to the pride, and giddy levity of dividers, that oppose the Truth of God, and their Teachers, and trouble the Church, and all because they were never well rooted by a sound Re­solution. They that take Christ but up­on liking, do usually mislike him, when he calls them to self-denial. For they had never that connatural principle that should effectually dispose their Souls to like him; nor had they ever the in­ward experiences of power and sweetness, which are proper to the sincere, and should increase their liking of him. Either Resolve therefore, or stand by and perish.

10. I beseech you consider also, what abundance of clear undeniable Reasons, doth God give in to thee, to turn the Scales, and cause thee to Resolve. He fetcheth Reasons from his own Dominion, and Soveraignty? Should not a creature obey the Lord that made him? He rea­soneth with you from his daily preserva­tions. Do you live upon him, and should you not obey him? He reason­eth with you from his Almightiness: [Page 481] You are all at his Mercy, and wholly in his hands; and yet dare you disobey him? He reasoneth with you from his Love and Goodness: Never did evil come from him; nor did he ever do any wrong: Never was there man or Angel that was a loser by him; it is not possible to have so good a master, and yet will you not obey him? He fetcheth reasons from all his Mercies: Every bit of bread is from him, and should be an Argument with thee to obey him: Every daies health, and strength, and comforts; and every nights rest and ease, thy Mercies at home, and thy Mercies abroad; in private and in publike; all should be so many Argu­ments with thee to Resolve. You can­not look upon a plant, or a flower un­der your feet, upon the Sun, or a Starre that's over your heads; or upon any creature, but you may see so many Rea­sons that should move you to Resolve. If all these will not serve, he fetcheth yet stronger Reasons from the Incarnation, example, and blood of the Sonne of God: Canst thou look on God incar­nate for sinne, combating with Satan, and conquering for thee, and dying, and bleeding, and buried for thy sinne, and [Page 482] yet be unresolved to leave that sinne, and turn to him that hath bought thee by his blood? If all this will not serve, he Reasoneth with thee from thy own bene­fit. If thou care not for God, dost thou care for thy self? Dost thou regard thy own Soul? If thou do, it's high time to Resolve. He reasoneth with thee from Everlasting Glory. Is a certain King­dom, an Everlasting, glorious King­dom, nothing to thee? Art thou con­tent to be thrust out of that Eternal In­heritance? Is the filthy pleasure of the flesh for a few hours, better then the endless joys of the Saints? He pleads also with thee from the danger that thou art near. Poor Soul, thou little seest what others see, that are dead before thee. Thou little knowest what they feel that died before they were Resolv'd for God. He fetcheth his Reasons from the certaine, everlasting flames of Hell: and is there not force enough in these for to Resolve thee? Good Lord, what a thing is a senseless sinner? Dost thou believe Heaven and Hell as thou takest on thee to do? If thou do believe them, is it possible for thee believingly to think of Heaven, and its Eternal Glory, and yet [Page 483] to be unresolved whether to turn or not? Or canst thou think of the endless mise­ries of the damned, and yet be unresol­ved whether to turn or not? Can any heart be so senseless, or deluded?

Moreover he pleadeth with thee from the equity and sweetness of his Service. It is but to Love him, and to seek his Kingdom, and forbear those things that hurt thy Soul. His Commands are not unreasonable nor grievous. Darest thou speak out and say that sinne is better; and that Satan hath provided thee a better work then God hath done? He reason­eth with thee also from his Wisdom and his Justice. He tels thee that as Satan hath nothing to do with thee, and as he is none of thy friends, and meaneth thee not so well as God doth; so he is not able to prescribe thee a more just and perfect law then God hath done. Fol­low God and thou art sure thou shalt ne­ver be deceived or misled. For he want­eth not Wisdom, or Power, or Good­ness to be a meet Law-giver and Guide: But if thou follow the Devil, the world, or the flesh, thou followest a blind and a deceifull guide. And yet after all these Reasons art thou not Resolved?

[Page 484] He Reasoneth with thee also from thy own experience: What good hath sinne done thee? And what hurt would Ho­liness do thee? Yea he reasons with thee from the experience of all the world: Who was ever the b [...]tter for sinning? And who was ever the worse for Holiness? How long will thy fleshly delights endure? What will this do for thee in thy extremity? Was ever man made Happy by it? Thou know­est well enough thou must shorty leave it; and that it will forsake thee in thy greatest need: But so would not God, if thou hadst Resolvedly given up thy self to him. All men that refuse a Heavenly life, do soon­er or later wish that they had chosen it.

Abundance of such Reasonings God useth with thee in his Word, and by his Ministers; and dost thou think indeed that there is not weight enough in these to give thee cause immediately to Re­solve? How little or nothing canst thou say against them? Canst thou bring any Reason, that is Reason indeed, against these or any of these Reasons of the Lord? Darest thou say that ever a one of them is false, or insufficient? And what are the Reasons which you have on the con­trary to hinder you from Resolving? [Page 485] Forsooth, because your sinnes are sweet, you would fain have the pleasure of them a little longer yet: O wretched Souls! that find more pleasure in the abusing of your Maker and Redeemer, then in lo­ving, honoring, and pleasing him: That delight more in serving the flesh, and the Devil, then in serving God and seeking after his Favour and your own Salvation. You are a hundred times madder then a man that lieth tumbling himself in his dung, and will not rise out of it to receive a Kingdom, because it is so soft and so sweet that he is loth yet to leave it: You are foolisher then Nebu­ [...]hadnezzar had been, if he had been loath to return again to his Kingdom, because he would fain stay longer among the beasts of the fields; among whom in his distraction he had betaken himself, Dan. 4. 31, 32, 33. And what other Reasons have you against Resolving? Forsooth you shall be mockt or jested at by others: By whom I pray you? Not a man but a miserable fool will do it? Yea but you are told you must forsake [...]ll, and be ready to die for Christ, if he [...]all you to it. Very true! and can you [...]eep that which he calleth you to for­sake? [Page 486] How long will you keep it? Silly Souls! do you not know that you for­sake it by not for saking it, and lose all, by saving any thing? and that you have no way to save it but by losing and for­sakeing it. Suppse you were by enemies banished out of England, and upon pain of death you must be gone within a twelve-month: And a King that loveth you invit­eth you to his Country, and tells you for the poor livings that you have lost, he will make you Lords and Princes, so you will bring with you the little goods you have, and leave nothing behind you. Hereupon one man takes the next wind, and ships over all his riches, that he may have it when he comes there: Another saith, I am loath to leave my goods; I have a while longer to stay here, and what shall I do without them? I am loath to see the habitation of my Ance­stours impoverished: And so when his time is expired, he is fain to leave them all behind him, and hath none that will receive him in the Country where he must abide. Which of these think you is the wiser man? Which of them was it that lost his goods, and which did save them? I speak to you but such another parable [Page 487] as Christ used to you himself, Luke 16. 2, 3, 4, 9. Where you are advised to send your riches before you; and to make you friends of the mammon of unrighte­ousness, that when you dye you may be received into the everlasting habitations.

I know there are other vain delusi­ons that hinder you from Resolving: I will not call them Reasons; for they are unreasonable. I shall only say this to you, that if there be ever a man of you that heareth his words, that dare be such a Blasphemer, as to reproach the Laws and Image of his maker, and say that he hath made you too strict a Law, and laid too heavy a task upon you, and a Heavenly life is troublesome and unne­cessary: If there be a man of you, that is so devilish, as that you dare plead the Devils cause, and justifie his work before the Lord's, and say that it is better to please the flesh; let that man prepare himself to make good these words before the Lord, and his Holy Angels; and be sure that he shall be there put to it in ano­ther manner then he is here by me: And if you have such Reasons as you will stand to before the Barre of God, to prove the Devil the better Master, and an unholy [Page 488] life to be better then a Heavenly; see then that you look them up, and there make your best of them; and expect to live with the Master that you served, and to reape as you sowed, and eate the fruit of your fleshly waies, which you took to be the best. But if you have no such Reasons, but your Consciences are con­vinced that God should be served, and sinne should be speedily forsaken, and Heaven should be provided for above all; Resolve then to do it before you stirre? Or else say plainly, I have no Reason to be wicked, but because I will be wicked: I will forseke God, and damn my own Soul without any Reason because I will do it. And if you are at this pass, you may take your course.

11. Another thing that I would in­treat you to consider of is this: It is a most base and treacherous abuse of God, to make any question of this which you are so long unresolved of. I confess when a blind mind haith raised such a question, it is lawfull for a reasonable man to answer it. But in him that makes a doubt of such a thing, as its a shame to himself, so it is a hainous indignity to God. If you had a chast and modest woman to your wife, I [Page 489] think shee would take it for an injury, if you should but make a question of it, whether shee or a common whore be the honester woman? If your wife or chil­dren should bring before you a Hobby­horse or an Ass, and make a great que­stion of it, whether you or the Ass be the comlier, or the wiser; How would you take this of them? If you should bring an ideot or a mad man before your Prince, and make a question whether he or they be the wiser man: or if you set a Rebel before him, and make a question which of them hath the better title to the Crown; what entertainment might you expect? I tell you it is ten thousand thousand times a baser affront and wrong to God, to set the pleasure of sinne before him, and make a question which of them is the better; and to set your riches, and your sports, and your drun­kenness and gluttonny, and your whore­dom, and your revenge, in competition with your Redeemer, and Everlasting Glory, and to make a question which of them is to be preferred. To make once a question whether God or flesh should be pleased; whether Christ or the world should be loved, and followed? Whe­ther [Page 490] the Holy Ghost or the Devil should dwell in us, and guide us? Whether the Saints of God, or the servants of the Devil should be our chosen company? Whether the Word and Minsiters of Christ, or the examples and words of wicked men, should more prevail with us? Whether Heaven or Earth should be more carefully sought after? Whe­ther a Holy, or a careless, wicked life be more to be desired? Or whether it be better to turn to God, or not? I say, to make such a question as this, or one of these, is little better then to put a scorn upon the God of Heaven? and sa­voureth of such malice as is more like a Devil then a reasonable man; or else of such folly, as is below the Devil, and as none of you would be guilty of, in the matters of this world; If one should but make a comparison between you and some deformed monster, or between your house and a swine-stie, though he gave you the better, I think you would take it as a scorn, that he should make such a comparison, or question? Much more may God so take it, when you make a question betwixt sinne and him. There is but one Infinite, unconceivable, [Page 491] perfect Good; and shall he be abased by such a question? There is but one thing that is contrary to God in all the world, that is worse then the Devil himself, and that is sinne; and shall this be put in que­stion or comparison with God? There is but One that hath Loved us to the death, with a matchless, unconceivable, saving Love, and that is Jesus Christ: And there is but one thing that is a dead­ly enemy to us and him, and that would damn us, when he is endeavouring to save us; and that is sinne: And must there be a question or comparison between these? There is One Sanctifying Spirit, that would clense, and heal, and save us; and there is a malicious spirit that would de­ceive us, defile us, and destroy us: And must there be any question or compari­son made between these? There is but one Eternal Happiness, and One Holy way to it: and there is but One everlasting misery, and a fleshly, filthy, sin­full way to it: And must there be made any question which of these should be preferred? Consider I beseech you what you do; And if it be so vile a thing to make any question of it, what is it then to be still unresolved? Yea and to choose the [Page 492] worser part, and stick to it in your heart and life?

12. Consider also that Present Reso­lution would put an end to a great many fruitles, troublesome deliberatiens, and delaies. If a man had but a weighty busi­ness of the world upon his hand, that his estate or life lieth on, it is a perplexity to him as long as he is unresolved, what course he should take: It will be troubl­ing him when he should rest, and break his sleep; it will fill him with musings, and disturb and distract his mind, and even make him Melancholy. And how can it choose but be a troublesome distra­cting thing to your mind, to be unresol­ved what course to take for your Everla­sting state? I know some hearts are so desperately hardened, and past feeling, (Epes. 4. 19.) and some mens Conscien­ces so seared as with an hot iron, (1 Tim. 4. 2.) that they can throw away all thoughts of Resolution, and never be much troubled: But I hope that many are not so desperate: It is not thus with all that are unconverted. How long have some of your minds been troubled whe­ther to turn or not? Resolve man, if thou love thy Soul, and put an end to such troubles.

[Page 493] 13. Consider also, that Resolving will put an end to a great many of troublesome Temptations, that do assault you, and will break the heart of Satans hopes. As long as you are unresolved, he hath still possession of you, and is still in hopes to keep possession. And as long as he hath any hope he will never give over, but will be repairing his Garrison, and mak­ing up all the breaches that the Ordinan­ces of God had made. When one temp­tation takes not, he will be offering you another; and will be following and dis­quieting you day and night: But if once he see you firmly Resolved, his hopes will faile him, and you may be much freer from his temptations then you were be­fore. I do not say he will give over: For even when you are broken away from him, he will make after you again. But it is a greater advantage to you to fight against him in the open field, under such a Captaine as Jesus Christ, that will as­sure you of the victory, then to be in his own prison with his fetters on your heels. You know the way to be troubled with an unwelcome suiter, is to delay your an­swer, and take time to consider of it: and the way to be eased of him, is to give [Page 494] him a peremptory Resolute answer. And when he seeth you Resolved, he will cease.

14. Moreover, till you are Resolved of your Conversion, you cannot Rationally Resolve of any one word or action of your lives: Nay till they are all misem­ployed to your hurt. For no man can Resolve of the Means till he is Resolved of the End. You must Resolve whither to go, before you can Resolve which way to go. Before Conversion mens End is wrong: Their Intention and business is to please the flesh: And all their thoughts, and words, and actions, that have such an End, are wicked and pernicious. Till you are Resolved by Conversion to be for God, you have never a right End (in a prevailing sence;) and therefore you cannot order one thought, nor word, nor deed aright. I tell you, every thought you think, and every word you speak, and every deed you do while you are un­converted, are so many steps towards Hell, except only those that tend towards Conversion, and some way further it. Re­solve therefore of this, or you can Re­solve of nothing.

15. Moreover, if you would presently [Page 495] and firmly Resolve, you would ease your friends and the Ministers of Christ of much of their sorrows, and fears, and cares for you; and of much of the most troublesome part of their work. As long as you are unconverted, they can look on you but as the heirs of Hell, that will be quickly in those torments, if conversion prevent it not: and therefore their hearts are full of sorrow for you, when you sorrow not for your selves; and their care is how they might prevent your damnation, which they know without Conversion can never be done. Many a groan doth your Misery cost them! and many a thought have they of your danger, which you are not aware of. O what a grief is it to believing Ministers, to see so many of their people in the power of Satan, and the high-way to Hell, after all their care and labour for their recovery? We cannot say that the unconverted shall cer­tainly perish, because we have yet hopes that they may be Converted, though they be not: But we know that if they die in the case that they are in, there is no hope of them at all; and we know they are uncertin to live an hour: And therefore as long as they are in this Con­dition, [Page 496] how can we chuse but be filled with fear, and grief, and care for them? All the troubles that befall a faithfull Mi­nister, in his worldly affaires, by crosses and persecutions, are nothing to the trouble that your sinne and misery bring­eth to their minds. O what a comforta­ble life were it for a Minister to live with bread and water among a people that would obey the Gospel; and give us hopes that we should live with them in Heaven? O how cheerfully may we stu­dy for them, and preach to them, when we see that it is not lost upon them! How willingly should we prepare them the bread of life, when we see they feed and live upon it? How joyfully may we pray and praise God with them, when we think how they must joyn with us in the Celestial Praises? O Sirs, I beseech you grudg not your Ministers this comfort: Do not destroy your selves to grieve and trouble them. O put them once out of their fears and grief for you, by your Resolving, ad speedy return to God: That they that have many a time thought in their hearts, I am afraid this poor sinner will never be recovered; I am afraid he will be a firebrand in Hell, may now [Page 497] rejoice with you when they see you com­ing home, and may meet you as the Fa­ther himself doth meet his prodigal chil­dren, and weep over you for joy, as they were wont to do in sorrow. You would ease our hearts of abundance of sad thoughts, if we could but perceive you once Resolved, and see you come home. Now you think our preaching harsh to you, because we tell you so much of sinne and of damnation: and you think our discipline more harsh, when we refuse to have communion with you. But if you would once Resolve and Turn, how gladly should we open our doores and our hearts to you: and how gladly should we turn the stream of our preach­ing, and tell you of nothing but Christ, and Heaven, and peace, and comfort, further then your own necessities should require it. What say you Sirs to this rea­sonable request? Will you Resolve with­out any more ado, and ease us of our grief and fears, and give us but leave to preach more comfortable Doctrine to you?

16. Moreover consider, that you have much work to do when you are Resolved and Converted; and a great way to go when you [Page 498] have begun your journey towards Heaven: and till you are Resolved, none of this can be done. You can go no further, till Con­version have set you in the right way. Till then, the further you go, the further you are out of the way. Will you be un­resolved till the night come on? Shall all the rest of your work be undone? Will you begin your race when you should be at the end. Alas you should be able to say as Paul, 2 Tim. 4. 8. I have fought a good fight: I have finished my course: hence­forth is laid up for me a crown of righteous­ness: when as you cannot yet say, I have begun my course; I am set in the right way.

17. Consider also that Rosolution ma­keth works easie and successfull. The reso­lute Army is seldom couquered.. A re­solute travailer will go through with his journy; and it is easier to himself: His spirits are excited; and doing it with vi­vacity, he findeth less trouble in it. A slow and lazy pase doth sometime soonest weary us. A slow motion is most easily stopt, when a swift one bears down that which would resist it. A man that Resol­vedly sets himself to the Work of God, and is past any further deliberating of the [Page 499] matter, and is at a point with all the world, will make a pleasure of that which will stop and stall an unresolved profes­sour. Resolve therefore for your own success and ease.

I tell you, by Resolving it is that you must conquer, and by conquering, you must obtain the Crown. The unresolved are wavering at every assault, like cow­ardly soldiers, even ready to runne before they fight. They will not bear the cost or labour: they are soon aweary: They cannot say Nay to an old Companion, or a tempting bait. But the Resolved breaks through all, and treads that un­der his feet as dirt, which another sells his Soul for. If he meet with reproaches and scornes from men, he remembreth that Christ foretold him this, and suffe­red much more of the like before him. If his friends turn enemies for the Gospel sake, he saith, I was told of this before, even that I must be hated of all men for Christ. If he be ticed by lewd and wan­ton company, he saith as David, Psal. 119. 115. Depart from me ye evill doers, for I will keep the Commandements of my God. If he be tempted with rewards and honours in the world, he will not stand [Page 500] wavering and longing after it, as Balaam; but he will say as the same Balaam was forced to do: If you will give me a hand­full of Gold and Silver, I cannot go beyond the Word of the Lord. And let their money perish with them, that think all the Gold in the world, worth the peace of a good Con­science and the favour of God. If he be threathened by men, to move him to for­sake his duty, he saith, Whether it be better to obey God or man, judge ye? If he heare seducers, he is rooted in the Spirit, and the infallible Word, and is not shaken by every wind. If he see never so many fall off by backsliding; he saith; It was not only for their company that I chose the holy way; God is still the same; and Heaven is the same; and Scripture is the same; and therefore I am Resolved to be the same. If God afflict him by poverty, sickness, or other tryals, he saith; I did not become a Christian to scape affliction, but to scape damnation! If he kill me yet will I trust in him: Shall I receive good at the hands of God, and not evill: Naked came I out of my mothers wombe, and naked must I return to dust: the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away: blessed be his name. If op­pressing enemies insult over him, he can [Page 501] say as Mic. 7. 8, 9. Rejoice not against me O mine enemy: when I fall I shall arise: when I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light to me: I will bear the Indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, untill he plead my cause, and exe­cute Judgment for me: He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his Righteousness. If the wicked cast in his teeth his profession, and the name of his God, he rejoiceth that he is counted wor­thy to suffer for that Name, and yet he will hope to see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the living. And if he must go to Heaven through poverty, and a mean estate, he hath learned to want, as well as to abound, and in what estate soever he be, therewith to be contented. And so in the work of Conversion it self, for want of Resolution, many stick long in the birth, and they are hanging so long between Heaven and Hell, that it's a wonder of Mercy that God doth not cut them off and let them perish. But the well Resol­ved Soul doth deal more faithfully with the light that is revealed to him, and doth not stand strugling so long against it, nor hold Christ and his Spirit so long in hand; but is glad to make sure work in [Page 502] so great a business, and take so good a match while it is offered: And being en­gaged once, he is firm as Mount Zion, that cannot be moved. Resolve therefore that your work may be the more easy, and successfull; and conquer by Re­solving.

18. I suppose you dare not Resolve a­gainst Conversion, and a Heavenly life! And why then will you not Resolve for it? What purpose you to do for the time to come? Is it your Resolution to live and die as you are? Have you not purposes in your mind to Repent hereafter? Dare you say, I am Resolved never to be Con­verted? Some may be so desperate; but I think it is but few even of the ungodly. Why this shews that there is a secret con­viction in your consciences; O do not stifle it: Neutrality never saved Soul. Se­ing you dare not Resolve against it, Re­solve for it.

19. Consider I beseech you, how much it doth concern your selves, to have this question well and speedily Resolved. God asketh you, whether you will be Conver­ted and Sanctisied or not? Resolve this question, and you Resolve your selves of a great many more that depend upon it. [Page 503] The answer to this, must be the answer to the rest. If the question were, whether you will be pardoned or no? Whether you will live in Heaven or Hell for ever? Whether you will dwell with God and Angels, or with Devils? You would not be long in answering this. You would Resolve with­out an hours delay. Why? this is the que­stion Sirs: but the answer to it, must be the answer to the first question: For without Sanctification, there is no Salva­tion: If you will not be Converted, you shall be condemned whether you will or no: For God hath Resolved of this al­ready, and there is no resisting the Re­solution of God. The true state of the question is, Whether you will Turn, or burn: choose you whether; for it must be one. O therefore if you will but Re­solve Christ and us this one question, that you will be Converted, Christ will Re­solve you the principal questions, that concern you in the world, even whether you shall be pardoned or saved, and where, and with whom, you must live for ever.

20. Lastly consider, that if you stay till you receive the sentence of death, it's two to one but that will force you to Resolve: [Page 504] But a forced Resolution will not serve turn: and then it will be very hard for you to discern whether it be any better then meerly from your fears. You put off all till sickness come, and you see once that you must die; there's no Remedy; and then you will cry, O if the Lord would but recover me, and try me once againe with life, I would delay no longer, but I would become a new man, and live a Holy, and Heavenly life; I am resolved of it by the Grace of God. Yea; but who knows whe­ther these last Resolutions be sincere? We heare abundance speak this in their sickness, that [...]ver turn when they come to health, but forget all, and live in a manner as they did before. Is it not most likely to be only the fear of death that makes you take up these Resolutions? If it be so, they will never save you if you die, nor hold you to your promises if you live: For it is not bare Fear that is true Conversion; but it's a changed heart, that is fallen in Love with God and Holiness, and into a setled hatred of for­mer sins. No late Repentance and Reso­lutions but these, will be any thing worth as to the saving of your Souls: And therefore if you should have true Reso­lutions [Page 505] at the last (which is too rare) you cannot choose but be much in doubt of them, when you find so much of fear upon your spirit, and consider that you never would Resolve till then. And therefore if you would have a Comfor­table change, Resolve now in your pro­sperity, before the face of death affright you to it, and those feares and the late­ness do make you question the truth, and soundness of it, and so deprive you of the comfort, which you have so much need of at a dying hour.

And thus I have given you twenty Considerations to perswade you, if it may be, presently to Resolve. I am sure there is truth, and reason, and weight in them; but what good they will do you I am not sure, because I know not how you will receive them.

IV. And now I come to the last part of my task; which is to Direct you how to perform the work that I have perswa­ded you to. But because it is meerly the Determination of the Will, it is presuasi­on that must do more to the work then Direction. And therefore I shall only de­sire [Page 506] you to look back upon the qualifica­tions of sound Resolution, which I before laid down to you, and then take heed of the hinderances in your way, and so set your selves to do your duty.

Remember that I before told you, that it it is not a holy, saving Resolution, unless it be 1. Entire, for the matter of it, comprehending all that is Essential to Christianity: 2. And unless you Resolve upon present obedience without delay: 3. And also unless it be Absolute and pe­remptory, taking Christ for better and worse, without any reserve: 4. And un­less it be well grounded: 5. And unless it be built on the strength of Christ, and not only a carnal confidence of your own: 6. And unless it be habitual and firm, and become your ordinary frame and byas, and as it were the new Nature, and in­clination of your Souls. By this much you see already what manner of Resolu­tion it is that you must have.

The next thing is, to advise you of the hinderances that you may avoid them. 1. The principal hinderance of Resoluti­on is Secret Vnbelief; when Everlasting life is taken but as an uncertainty, or men have no more but a slight Opinion [Page 507] of it. The Cure of this disease, I have often, and a little before delivered you.

2. Another thing that hindereth Re­solution is Inconsideratness, of which al­so I have spoken purposely before.

3. Another hinderance is a sleepy In­sensibility; when the heart is hardened, and men are past feeling. We cannot tell how to awaken these men to be sensible of the things that should move them to Resolve. Of this also I have spoken by it self.

4. Another great hinderance is the naturall strangness and aversness of the mind of corrupted man, to these high and Spiritual things. So that we drive men by all our Arguments against the byas of their sinfull habits. And those habits plead against us more forcibly without a word of reason, then all the reason in the world could do. See there­fore that you keep under changing means till your hearts be changed; And the per­using of such weighty Arguments as we offer you, may be of use to the chang­ing of your hearts: For God useth to work on the Will, by the Understand­ing: And therefore Light hath an apti­tude to change the Will it self.

[Page 508] 5. Moreover, the rooted Interest of this world, doth much hinder men from Resolving to turn: It's alwaies drawing them another way, or putting objecti­ons and eavils into their minds; and if they will needs Resolve, it is this that se­cretly enticeth them to reserves, and to resign themselves to God but with con­ditions and exceptions; and so makes them Hypocrites when they think them­selves Converts; and cheats them with a halfe deceitfull Resolution, instead of one that is absolute and firm. Against this impediment also I have spoken before.

6. Another hinderance is, The neer­ness of fleshly enticing objects. When the Covetous man seeth his houses and lands, his goods and money, the very sight of them breaks the heart of all his better Re­solutions. The drunkard seems to be Re­solved till he sees the cup, and then his Resolution is broken. The Whoremong­er seemeth to be Resolved, till the bait is brought neer him, and then he goes as an Oxe to the slaughter, and as a fool to the correction of the stocks. Certainly if these Resolutions were sound, they would either cause men to fly from the bait, and not come neere it, or else to [Page 509] refuse it when it is presented them: In the course of their lives their Resoluti­ons would govern them, if they were sincere.

7. And Satan himself will do all that he can to hinder you when he sees you ready to Resolve. He knows that he must bestirre him now or never. You never put him to it indeed till you are Resolving to forsake him. One block or other he will be sure then to cast in your way; Ei­ther he tels you, it is but folly and me­lancholy to trouble your self with these matters: or that you may be saved with­out all this ado: or that God is more mercifull then to cast away all that be not Sanctified: or that Godliness doth but trouble and distract people: and that the professours of it are secretly no better then others; and that it is but Hypocri­sie for them to make such a stir with their Religion; and that we must be moderate in our Godliness, and take heed of being Godly over much: A hundred such foolish suggestions as these, the Devil hath at hand to cast in your way, when he seeth you ready to Resolve.

If these will not serve, he will set some of his wicked Disciples on rail­ing [Page 510] or deriding you! And perhaps some cunning fool a caveling with you, to see if they can overwit you, and draw you back.

If that will not do, perhaps he will open the falls of professours to you, and labour to perswade you that all are such: Or he will shew you what divisions and differences are among them; or he will take advantage of some difficulties in Re­ligion, or some controversies in which he sees you already engaged to a party; or he will tell you of some false doctrine that some forward professours may be tainted with, to make them, and con­sequently Godliness it self more odious, or at least suspected to you. If all this will not do, he will endeavour to set your very parents, or natural kindred against you; that those that should most pro­mote your Salvation, and on whom your livelyhood much dependeth, shall be­come your enemies, and hate you for offering to give up your selves to Christ: If that will not do, he will endeavour to entice you with the baits of fleshly plea­sure, or of preferments, or much busi­ness, or merry company, or some great matters that you may hope for in the [Page 511] world. And usually this snare is the strongest of all. Or else he will tell you that if needs you wll Resolve it is time enough hereafter: You may yet take more of your pleasure or commodity be­fore you leave it: Yet you may suck the brests of the world a little dryer, and then turn to God and cast it off. If all this will not prevail with you, he will tell you it is now too late; you have sinned so long, or such haynous sinnes that God will not have mercy on you: he will make you believe that God hath utterly forsaken you, and there is no remedy; and you may as well spare your thoughts of Turning now, for Christ will not re­ceive or welcome you: and therefore it is even as good go on, and take up the rest that the world can afford you, for there is no hope of better. But the most desperate temptation of all the rest is, to put some blasphemous, unbelieving thoughts into your mind; especially if you fall into company with infidels, that will draw you to question the Word of God, and the Immortality of the Soul, and the truth of Christianity, or the life to come, whether there be any such things or not: Where these once take, [Page 512] and are received with approbation, the Soul is in a miserable case: Though I know many tempted, melancholy Chri­stians, are haunted with such temptati­ons, who yet abhorre them, and do well at last, for all this. Some times also when he cannot take you off from Resol­ving, he will lead you among some di­sputing Opinionists, and they shall tise you to take up with their Opinionative Religiousness instead of true Sanctifica­tion, of which I have spoke in the eighth Direction. By these and many such wiles as these, doth the old serpent do all that possibly he can, to hinder you from sound Resolution and Conversion. And therefore you must be armed against his temptations, and meet them with ab­horrence; and if you feel them too hard for you, go daily to Christ by Faith and Prayer for renewed strength: and call to your faithfull friends, and Ministers for helpe. Open your case to some one that's able, experienced, and faithfull; that he may help you with Arguments to re­sist those temptations, which you know not how your selves to deale with. God hath appointed Pastours in his Church to be Spiritual Fathers in the Lord; and [Page 513] when they have sowed in you the seed of eternall life, they watch over it till they see the blade and fruit: They travaile as in birth of you, till Christ be formed in you. It is their offer to help you; and God giveth to them that are faithfull abi­litis and affections agreeable to their of­fice. And therefore lean upon the hand of your faithfull guides, and think not to break through temptations alone, and get to Heaven without the means that God hath appointed you.

Having told you the Hinderances, and what to do against them, I shall add but these two words more of Direction. 1. When you are Resolving, give up your selves to God with a Holy Covenant or Vow. I mean not any rash vow, nor any unnecessary vow; but the same that you made in Baptism, which your age it self doth call you to renew, but your sinnes against it do call you more.

Perhaps you'l say, that you are not able to perform it by your own strength, and you are uncertain of Gods assistance, and therefore how can you promise or vow?

To this I answer: 1. You may be sure that this Objection is frivolous, because [Page 514] it makes against the frequent, express Commands of God, the practice of his Church in all ages, and the nature of Christianity it self: God hath in all Ages been pleased to receive men into his ser­vice and Church in a Covenant way; and Baptism it self is our solemn Covenanting with him: and the Lords Supper is ap­pointed for a solemn renewing of it. And indeed it is implicitly and virtually re­newed by a true Christian every day of his life. In every duty he gives up him­self to God: And if he should cease this Heart-covenant, he would cease to be a Christian: For the very essence of his Christianity consisteth in it. It is his Faith it self.

2. And when you covenant for the time to come, you do not take on you to foretell infallibly your own perseve­rance; but you Profess your present con­sent to be Christ's, and to continue his, and you engage your selves thereto. And should you not choose the strictest en­gagements: 1. Where there is the greatest need of them, because of the loosness of the heart, and the strength of temptations, that would draw us away; and 2. Where there is the most absolute [Page 515] necessity, because if we miscarry we are undone: 3. And where you are already obliged by Gods Commands whether you vow or not: 4. And where God hath made your consent to the Obligati­on of necessity to Salvation. He that in­tends to keep Covenant, and knows that he must keep it, or be condemned; hath little reason to be loath to make it.

3. And for Gods assistance, you have much more cause to expect it in the way of Covenanting, which himself hath ap­pointed you, then in the neglect of his appointed means.

Object. But if I did it in Baptism, what need I do it again?

Answ. I told you the Covenant must be continued and renewed through the whole course of our lives, but especially after a notorious violation of your former promise: You once gave up your selves to God, and you have proved false to him, and it is a wonder of Mercy that ever he will trust you more, or enter any more into Covenant with you: and will you draw back from such Mercy, and such a duty as this?

Object. But I am afraid of breaking my vows again, and it is better to for­bear [Page 516] them, then not to perform them.

Answ. 1. This Reason makes as much against the inward Vow and Resoluion of the heart; so that by this rule you would never be Christians for fear of falling away, and being worse. 2. There is an absolute necessity of your Resolving, and Covenanting, and of Keeping your Re­solutions and Covenants: And when it must be kept, or you are utterly undone; it's but a madness to refuse to make the Covenant for fear of breaking it: For that is but to make choice of an easier place in Hell, for fear of having a worse, if you should resolve for Heaven: When as Heaven is set open before you, and you thus wilfully cast away your hopes. Nay your place in Hell is not like to be the ea­sier, when you thus deliberately, and wilfully refuse the Covenant. 3. Your Resolutions and Holy Vows, are means of Gods appointment to keep you from breaking his imposed Covenant. Is not a Resolved, Engaged, Devoted Cristi­an liker to be accepted, and to perse­vere, then a waverer that saith, I dare not vow, for fear lest I performe not.

In unnecessary matters I had rather you were too backward to vow. Some [Page 517] will vow poverty, and some a single life, and some will vow that they will never drink wine or strong drink more; such vows as these may be good for some, in cases of special necessity, as the last re­medies of a dangerous disease; but they are not for all, nor rashly to be made. But the Resolution and vow of cleaving unto God in Faith and Holy Obedience, and of renouncing the flesh, the world, and the Devil; this is for all, and must be made and kept by all that will be sa­ved.

2. Direct. And as I would have you second your Resolution by a Cove­nant with God, so would advise you (ordinarily) to go further and openly Profess the Resolution and Covenant that you have made. For as with the heart men believe unto Righteousness, so with the mouth Confession is made unto Salvati­on, Rom. 10. 10. Christ will confess those that confess him, and disown, and be ashamed of those that are ashamed of him. When you have escaped the great­est misery in the world, and obtained the greatest Mercy in the world, the great­ness of it calleth you to acknowledg it, and give Glory to God. Go to your [Page 518] old Companions in sinne, and tell them what God hath revealed to you and done for you! Tell them, O Sirs, I see now that which I never saw before: I wonder how I could venture so madly upon sinne! and how I could make light of God, of Christ, of death, of Judgment, and Everlasting life▪ I have been hitherto your Compani­on in sinne, but I would not take the same course again for all the world: I see now there is a better portion hereafter to be ob­tained, which I was mindless of: I see now we were all this while making merry at the brink of Hell, and there was but a step between us and death: Now I see, that the course that we have taken is wicked and deceitfull, and will not serve turn: If I serve the flesh, it will reward me but with rottonness: I will therefore hereafter serve that God, that will certainly reward me with Evorlasting life. I beseech you Sirs, come away with me, and see and try what I have seen and tryed: I have lived with you in sinne, O now let us joyn together in Repentance, and a Holy life: I shall be glad of your company to Heaven: but if you will not do it, take your course: For my part I am Resolved; by the Grace of God I am fully Resolved to be from this day [Page 519] forward a New man, and never to joyn with you more in a fleshly and ungodly life. Never tempt me or perswade me to it; for I am Resolved.

Thus if you will declare your Resolu­tions to others, and seek to win them, you may possibly do them good; but however you will be the deeper engaged to God your selves.

Yea, though I would have no ostenta­tion of Conversion, nothing done rashly in publike, nor without the advice of a faithfull Minister beforehand; yet with these Cautions, I must say, that it's a shame that we hear no more in publike of the Conversion of sinners. As Baptism is to be in publike, that the Congregati­on may witness your engagement, and pray for you, and rejoice at the recei­ving of a member; So the solemn renew­ing of the same Covenant by Repentance after a wicked life, should ordinarily be in publike, to give warning to others to avoid the sinne, and to give God the ho­nour, and to have the Prayers of the Church, and to satisfy them of our Re­pentance, that they may have Commu­nion with us. The Papists do more offend (of the two) in so much confining Con­fession [Page 520] and Penitence, to the Priests eare in secret, and not bringing it before the Church, then they do in making a Sa­crament of it. I wonder that people should every day thrust into our hands their requests to pray for them when they are sick, and that it is so rare a matter to have any desire our Prayers, for the pardon of all the sinnes of their natural, unconverted state.

I would here seriously advise all those that it concerneth that when God hath shewed them so great a Mercy as to Con­vert them, and make them New Crea­tures, they would go to their faithfull Minister, and by his advice, put up such a bill as this, Such a man of this parish, having long lived in blindness, and dead­ness, and ungodliness, (and name the par­ticular sinnes, if they were publickly known,) and being by the great Mercy of God convinced of his sinne, and misery; and sustained with some hopes of Mercy by the Blood and Merits of Jesus Christ, and being now Resolved by the Grace of God, to forsake this fleshly, worldly life, and to give up himself to Christ and Holiness, doth earnestly intreat the Church to pray for him, that his many, and hainous sins [Page 521] may be all forgiven, and that God would againe receive him into Mercy, and that he may hold on in Faith and Holiness to the last, and never turn again to the course of his iniquity.

And if the Minister think it meet, re­fuse not to make your selves an open Con­fession of your former life of sinne and misery, and to Profess openly your Re­solution to walk with God for the time to come.

This course should be more ordinary with us: and if Convers [...]ion it self were not so rare, or else so defective, that it doth too little quicken men to a sence of duty, and sinne, and Mercy, or so doubtfull, and by slow degrees, that it is scarce discerned by many that have it; were it not for some of these; more or­dinary would it be, to the great rejoycing and benefit of the Church.

The Conclusion, And now I have given you Directions in the most great and ne­cessary business in this world; They are such as I received of God, and if Faith­fully practised will put your Salvation past all hazard. But what they have [Page 522] done, or what they will do, I cannot tell; but must leave the Issue to God and you. Its pitty eternall Glory should be lost, for want of yielding to so holy, and sweet, and reasonable a course. It is la­mentable to observe, what ignorant, base, unworthy thoughts the most have of the very Office of the holy Ghost, who is the sanctifier of all that God will save. The very name of Regeneration and San­ctification is not understood by some, and is but matter of derision to others; and the most think that it is another kind of matter then indeed it is. To be bap­tized, and come to Church, and to say some cold and heartless Prayers, and to forbeare some gross disgracefull sins, is all the Sanctification that most are acquaint­ed with: (and all have not this:) And thus they debase the work of the holy Ghost. If a Prince have built a sumptu­ous Pallace, and you will shew men a Swine-stie, and say, [This is the Pallace that the Prince hath bin so long a building] were not this to abuse him by contempt? If he build a Navy, and you shew a man two or three pig-troughs and say, [These are the Kings ships] would he not take it for a scorn? Take heed of such dealing [Page 523] with the holy Ghost. Remember what it is to believe in the name of the Father, Son, and holy Ghost; and remember that you were Baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and holy Ghost? And do you not yet know why? nor know the meaning of your Baptismall Cove­nant? It is not only to believe that there are three Persons in the Trinity, but to consent to the Relations and duty to them, in respect to their several Relati­ons and works▪ If the Father had not Created you, how could you have been men? The Lord of nature must be ac­knowledged as the End and the gover­nour of nature, and accordingly obeyed. And this is to believe and be Baptized into the Name of God the Father. If the Son had not Redeemed you, you had bin as the Divels were, forsaken and given o­ver to dispaire. The Purchaser, Procurer, and Author of Grace, of Pardon, and Sal­vation must be acknoledged to be such, and himself and his Salvation accordingly ac­cepted, and his terms submitted to. And this is to believe in the name of the Son, and in baptisme we make profession hereof. And certainly the work of the holy Ghost is as necessary to your Salva­tion. [Page 524] Without the sanctifying work of the Spirit, you could never be delivered from sin and Satan, nor restored to Gods Image, and consepuently could never be the Members of Christ, nor have any saving benefit by his Sufferings. Would you not think him unworthy to live, that would reproach the Fathers work of na­ture, and say that the whole Creation is but some poor contemptible work? And would you not think him unworthy the name of a Christian that had contempti­ble thoughts of the Sons Redemption, as if we could be saved as well without a Sa­viour, or as if it were but some poor and triviall commodity that Christ had pur­chased us? I know you would confess the mistery of that man, that believeth no better in the Father, and the Son. And how comes it to pass that you think not of your own misery, that believe no bet­ter in the holy Ghost? Do not you de­base the Sanctifying office of the holy Spirit, when you shew us your know­ledg, and parts and outward duties and civility, and tell us that these are the work of sanctification? What? is Sanctificati­on but such a thing as this? Why? Holi­liness is a new Life and Spirit in us: and [Page 525] these that you talk of are but a few flow­ers that are stickt upon a Corps to keep it a while from stinking among men, till death convey it to a buriall in Hell. O Sirs, Sanctification is another kind of matter, then the forsaking of some of your fouler vices, and speaking well of a Godly life. It is not the patching up of the Old man, but the Creating of a New man. I give you warning therefore from God that you think not basely of the work of the holy Ghost; and that you think no more to be saved without the Sanctifying work of the Spirit, then with­out the redeeming work of the Son, or Creation, Government, or Love of the Father. Sanctification must turn the very bent and stream of heart and life to God, to Christ, to Heaven; it must mortifie Carnall Self, and the world to you; it must make you a people Devot­ed, Consecrated, and Resigned up to God, with all that you have: it must make all sin odious to you, and make God the Love and Desire of your Souls; so that it must give you a new Heart, a new End, a new Master, a new Law, and a new Conversation. This is that noble Heavenly work which the holy Ghost [Page 526] hath vouchsafed to make the business of his office: To slight and despise this, is to slight and despise the holy Ghost: To refuse this, is to refuse the holy Ghost, and not to believe in him: to be without this work, is to be without the holy Ghost: & if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his, Rom. 8. 9. The holy Ca­tholick Church, is composed of all through the world that have this work upon them, and therefore it is called Holy. The Com­munion of Saints, is the blessed Vitall fel­lowship of these Sanctified Ones: For these only is the Resurrection unto blessedness, & the life everlasting with the Lord of life: for all others is the Resurrection of Con­demnation, & the everlasting punishment.

But if the other two Articles of our Faith, have been so denied by the blind, it is less wonder if this be so. Some He­reticks denied God to be the Creatour of the world; and because they saw so much evill in the world, they said that it was made by Devils or evill Angels (who indeed made the sin, but not the world,) So dealt the Jewes by the Son, and the Second Article of our Faith: The Sa­crifice of Bulls and Goats, and such Beasts, was all the Sacrifice for sin that they be­lieved [Page 527] in. And thus deale the multitude of the ungodly by the Spirit. Indeed they know not themselves sufficiently to know the need and worth of Sanctificati­on. They are too whole to value the skill and care of Christ or the holy Ghost. The insensibility of spirituall death and misery, and thinking too lightly of Origi­nall Corruption, and too well of our de­praved nature, is both the cause of many of the Heresies of the learned, and of the common contempt of Christ, and the Spi­rit and recovering grace, in all the unre­generate. For it is not possible that men should have any deeper sence of the need or worth of the remedy, then they have of the greatness of their sinne and mi­sery.

O Sirs, did we not come upon this great disadvantage to you, that we speak to dead men, that have indeed a naturall life, which doth but take pleasure in their spirituall death; how confidently should we expect to prevaile with you all. But while you think lightly of your disease, we can expect no better, but that you think as lightly of Christ and holiness, and all the meanes that tend to your recovery, and think of the new man, as the Poets fabled [Page 528] of the Promethean race, that it grows out of the earth (of your own poor, sorry purposes and performances) like ordina­ry plants.

Truly Sirs, I have led you even as farre as I can; and what more to say to you, or what more to do for you to procure your Conversion I do not know. If it had been in my power to have shewed you Heaven and Hell it self, that you might better have known the matters that we speak of, I think I should have done it. But God will not have men live by sense in this life, but by Faith. If I could but help you all to such a knowledge and apprehension of these in visible things, as the worst of you shall have as soon as you are dead, then I should make but lit­tle doubt of your Conversion and Salva­tion. Sure if you had but such a sight, the force of it would so work upon you, that before I went out of the Congrega­tion, you would all cry out that you are resolved to be new Creatures. But though this be beyond my power, and though I cannot shew you your great and won­derfull things that every eye here must shortly see; yet I come not to you with­out a glass of Gods own making, and in [Page 529] that glass you may see them. There if you have but an eye of Faith, you may see that God that you have so long of­fended, and that now so earnestly invi­teth you to return: There you may see that Crucified Christ that hath opened you a way for Repentance by his Blood, and pleadeth that Blood with you for the melting of your impenitent, obstinate hearts. There you may see the odious face of sinne, and the amiable face of Holiness, which is the Image of God: There you may see both Heaven and Hell for all that they are invisible; and may know what will be, and that to all Eternity, as well as what is.

And will not such a sight in the glass of Gods Word, serve turn to move thee presently to give up the trade of sinning, and to Resolve before thou stir for God? I am now come to the End of this part of my work: if the reading of it have brought thee to the End of thy ungodly, careless life, it will be happy for thee, and I shall so far attain the End of my la­bour. I have purposely put this Dire­ction of the Necessity of Resolution in the last place, that I might leave upon thy spirit the Reasons for Resolution, [Page 530] that here I have laid down. And now I beseech thee Reader whoever thou art; with all the earnestness that I am able to use with thee, as ever thou wouldest scape the fruits of all thy sinne, as ever thou wouldest see the face of God with comfort, and have him thy reconciled Father in Christ; as ever thou wouldest have a saving part in Christ, and have him stand thy friend in thy extremities; as ever thou wouldest have hope in thy death, and stand on the right hand, and be justified at Judgment; as ever thou wouldest scape the day of Vengeance, prepared for the unconverted, and the endless misery that will fall upon all un­sanctified Souls, as sure as the Heaven is over thy head: See that thou Resolve and Turn to God, and trifle with him no more. Away with thy old transgres­sions; away with thy careless, worldly life; away with thy ungodly company; and set thy selfe presently to seek after thy Salvation with all thy heart, and mind, and might. I tell thee once more, that Heaven and Hell are not matters to be jested with; nor to be carelesly thought of, or spoken of, or regarded. The God of Heaven stands over thee now [Page 531] while thou art reading all these words, and he seeth thy heart whether thou art Resolved to turn or not. Shall he see thee read such urgent Reasons, and yet wilt not Resolve? Shall he see thee read these earnest requests, and yet not Re­solve? What? not to come home to thy God, to thy Father, to thy Saviour, to to thy self, after so long and wilfull sin­ning? What? not to accept of Mercy, now it is even thrust into thy hands; when thou hast neglected, and abused Mercy so long. O let not the Just and Jealous God stand over thee, and see thee guilty of such wickedness? If thou be a Christian shew thy self a Christian, and use thy belief, and come to God. If thou be a man, shew thy self a man, and use thy Reason, and come away to God. I beseech thee read over and over again the Reasons that I have here offered thee, and judge whether a reasonable man should resist them, and delay an hour to come in to God. I that am now writing these lines of Exhortatation to thee, must shortly meet thee at the barre of Christ. I do now adjure thee, and charge thee in the Name of the living God, that thou do not thy self and me that wrong, as [Page 532] to make me lose this labour with thee, and that thou put me not to come in as a witness against thee, to thy coufusion and condemnation. Resolve therefore presently in the strength of Christ, and strik an unchangeable Covenant with him: Get thee to thy knees, and bewaile with tears thy former life, and deliver up thy self wholly now to Christ; and never break this Covenant more.

If thou lay by the Book, and go away the same, and no perswasion will do any good upon thee, but unholy thou wilt still be, and sensual, and worldly still thou wilt be; I call thy Conscience to witness, that thou wast warned of the evill that is neer thee; and Conscience shall obey this call, and bear me witness whe­ther thou wilt or not: And this Book which thou hast read, which I intended for thy Conversion and Salvation, shall be a witness against thee: Though age or fire consume the leaves and lines of it, yet God and Conscience shall bring it to thy memory, and thou shalt then be the more confounded to think what Reasons, and earnest perswasions thou didst reject in so plain, so great, and necessary a case.

[Page 533] But if the Holy Ghost will now be­come thy tutor, and at once both put this Book into thy hand, and his Hea­venly light into thy understanding, and his life into thy heart, and effectually perswade thee to Resolve and Turn, how happy wilt thou be to all Eternity? Make no more words on it; but answer my request, as thou wouldest do if thou wert in a burning fire, and I intreated thee to come out. Thou hast long enough grieved Christ and his Spirit, and long enough grieved thy friends and Teach­ers: Resolve this hour, and Rejoyce them that thou hast grieved; and now grieve the Devil, that thou hast hitherto rejoyced; and hereafter grieve the wic­ked, and thy own deceitfull flesh, whose sinfull desires thou hast hitherto follow­ed: And if thou also grieve thy self a little while, by that moderate sorrow that thy sinne hath made necessary for thee, it will be but a preparative to thy endless joyes, and the day is promised, and coming apace, when Satan that thou turnost from, shall trouble thee no more, and God that thou turn [...]st to, shall wipe away all tears from thy eyes. And if the reading of this Book, may be but a means [Page 534] of so blessed an End, as God shall have the Glory▪ so when Christ cometh to be glorified in his Saints, and adm [...]red in all them that do believe, (2 Thes 1. 10.) both thou and I shall then partake of the Communication of his Glory; if so be that I be sincere in wri­ting, and thou and I sin­cere in obeying the Doctrine of this Book. Amen.


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