EBEN-EZER: OR, Profitable Truths after Pestilential Times.

Being some MEDITATIONS Upon ISAIAH 4.2.

SHEWING The MERCY and the DUTY Of Those that have Escap'd the Slaughtering Pestilence.

As also, That all Slaughter shall end in the Exaltation of CHRIST, and the set­ting up of HIS KINGDOM.

Together with An Epistolary Preface To the Citizens of London & Westminster.


London, Printed in the Year 1666.

To the Citizens of LONDON and WESTMINSTER: A few Things are humbly offered, needful to be considered.


IN this day of the Lords Controversie, a Cup of trembling hath been put into your hands, and you have drank deep of it: Such Slaughters rarely, if ever, have been within your Walls since their Foundations were first laid. The memorable year of Twenty Five, must not be compar'd with Sixty Five, either for the number of the Slain, the continu­ance of the Visitation, or such unwonted reiterated Increases and Decreases: And O that suitable to the dread of the Dis­pensation, Effects might be wrought up­on all your Hearts! that the Lord may be pacified towards you, and may not add to this Plague seven other and worse Plagues. You are now comforting your [Page]Hearts with thoughts that the bitterness of Death is past; your Trade will return, and the Cloud that hath darkened your glory and splendor will vanish: To which I heartily say, Amen; the Lord do so. But if I thought it would be born, and kind­ly received, I would take leave to tell you, I have my fears; fears not bottom'd up­on [...], as the Apostles expression is, 1 Tim. 4.7. profane and old Wives fables; but upon Considerations (as I judge) more solid: An account of which, be pleased to take in a few words.

First, Cities every way famous have had their Periods: all worldly glory carrieth decaying Principles in its bowels. It may, as the Sun, go forth in its beauty and strength until it climb to its Meridian and thenceforward it will decline until its lu­stre set in obscurity. As they say of the World, so of Cities, they have their Youth and Manhood, in which they are in their strength and vigour; and after that, Old Age, until they return to the dust out of which they were raised. Tyre, a City of strength, called the strong City, Josh. 19.29. [Page]an ancient and enriching City; yet from the Lord went forth a Commandment to destroy it, Isa. 23.11. Babylon, once the Metropolis of a mighty Empire, and con­sequently stood upon suitable advantage-ground for its security; yet could not bear up it self against that Sentence, Isa. 14.4. Thou shalt take up this Proverb against the King of Babylon, and say, How hath the Oppressor ceased? the golden City ceased? Ceased to be, as well as to oppress: It is the destiny of some, that when they cease to oppress, they must cease to be also. Jeru­salem, the beloved City, honour'd by the King of Heaven (that Fountain of all true Honour) against her cries the Prophet, Isa. 3.8. Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fal­len. God commands and threatneth con­cerning Tyrus, Ezek. 26.4. Break down her Towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and leave her like the top of a Rock: not so much as any Monument should remain. Jamseges est ubi Troja fuit. Others their memory is perished, Psal. 9.6. Thou hast destroyed Cities, their memorial is perished with them.

Secondly, Sins & great Provocations have been precedaneous unto, and the procu­ring Causes of the ruine of Cities. God is known to be long-suffering to all among whom he is known; he doth not strike, much less destroy, without a cause, nor yet for every cause: God can bear long, yet will he not bear always. Wickedness may in places of eminency, as Diseases in the Body, lurk up and down for a season, till by continuance they grow strong, seiz the Vitals, and down goes the House of Clay. Sin drowned the old World, and burnt Sodom and Gomorrha; and they are left upon record, as Examples of Divine Vengeance, to put a restraint upon the exorbitancies of sinful Cities. Every pub­lick sin of Cities, as they are a Body and Community, or the sin of them that are the visible owned authority in them, act­ing as such, is a stroke at their Founda­tions, and many such may soon level them with the ground. There are Prog­nosticks of decaies & approaching Death, not onely in the Natural, but in Bodies Politick also. The Death-Marks upon [Page]Cities of old, have been such as these:

1. Pride: God resisteth the Proud, is true concerning a Nation, City, or Man. It it was Moabs height that laid him low: We have heard of the pride of Moab, he is exceeding proud; therefore shall Moab howl, for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn, Isa. 16.6. Tyrus said, I am of per­fect Beauty, Ezek. 27.3. thence was she de­faced, and brought to nothing.

Dicta foret—si non sibi visa fuisset.

2. Oppression; especially oppression and cruelty towards the Lords own Peo­ple: Wo to the oppressing City, Zeph. 3.1. Rev. 18.21. With violence shall that great City Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all: and why so? that follows, vers. 24. In her was found the Blood of Prophets, and of Saints, and of all that were slain upon the Earth. God will make inquisition for Blood, especially for the Bloood of his Abels, that will cry; all that have had their hands in it, call themselves by what name of distinction they will, will be found to be Brats of Babylon, and they [Page]and their Cities may fall thereby. One of the great Sins that came up into remem­brance against Tyre and Zidon, was this, The Children of Judah and the Children of Jerusalem have ye sold to the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border, Joel 3.6.

3. Treachery and Unfaithfulness: A­mos 1.9. For three transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, I will not turn away the punish­ment thereof; because they dilivered up the whole Captivity of Edom, and remembred not the Brotherly Covenant.

4. False-Worship: Jer. 19.11. I will break this City as one breaketh a Potters Ves­sel that cannot be made whole again; and they shall bury in Tophet till there be no place. In Tophet they sinned in their corrupt Wor­ship, and there they must fall by this their iniquity. Certainly wo to them who after Light received, and solemn Covenants made, dare to corrupt the Worship of God, and defile the Sanctuary with their detestable things; wo to them, whether Persons or Places.

5. The baseness of pretended spiritual [Page]men: There is a wo against Jerusalem, Zeph. 3.1. and why? Her Prophets are light and treacherous Persons; her Priests have polluted the Sanctuary, they have done violence to the Law: HER Prophets and Priests, saith God, not MINE; some of their own making: they do wickedly, and would wrest the the Word, and labor to make it speak for their abominations.

6. Contempt of the Gospel: This evi­dently was Jerusalems undoing; They kil­led the Prophets, and stoned them that were sent unto them; and upon a supposition and hope to preserve their worldly inte­rest, they set themselves against Christ himself, Joh. 11.48. If we let him thus a­lone, all men will believe on him, and the Ro­mans will come and take away our Place and Nation. This their design proved abor­tive; that which they intended for the promoting of their carnal ends, let in the Enemy upon them like a flood, to the ut­terruine of them and their City. Never yet did any sell a Gospel to gain a Trade, but ran an eminent hazard of selling themselves into ruine and misery.

7. Incorrigibleness: Jerusalems scum went not out of her, as the Prophet com­plains: A fire was kindled under her; she was in distress, but yet sin was not purged out: She received not correction, as it is expressed, Zeph. 3.1. Judgments are Gods last Remedy, if they do no good, the Pa­tient must die, without a miracle of mercy.

Thirdly, Sins have been the ruine of Cities, by their turning God to be against them: So long as a People or Place can say, The LORD is with us, they stand firm. God is the Rock of Persons, Cities, and Na­tions; if they sell or forfeit their Rock, he will also sell them, or give them into the hands of spoilers. A People and Places that God has wrought for, must not suppose the presence and care of God so entaild upon them, that he will stand by them, be it right or wrong. If they turn their backs upon God, cast off the thing that is good, serve their lusts, seek themselves, scoff at Holiness, tread his People in the dirt, per­vert all Equity and Right, call evil good, and good evil, put darkness for light, and light for darkness; God will also turn him­self [Page]against such, and fight against them as an Enemy: Wo to them that have God against them! Wo unto them when I depart from them, saith God, Hos. 9.12. Jerusa­lem's doom was, Saith the Lord God, behold I, even I, am against thee, and will execute Judgements in the midst of thee. It is a great vanity in some, who when they have pro­voked God to his face, and done evil even to the uttermost they can, do imagine the breach may be repair'd with a little feign­ed Humiliation, upon whom that Text looks very sadly, Jer. 14.12. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer Burnt Offering and an Oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them, &c. Sometimes God is so turned against Cities, that he will not accept of the mediation of his People for them, and this was the case in the Text but now cited, v. 11. God saith to Jeremiah, Pray not thou for this People. God, when turned against Jerusalem, saith to Ezekiel, Son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody City: some render it, An causam ageres, an causam ageres Civita­tis istius? Wilt thou plead for that City? [Page]No, saith God, thou shalt not set upon such lost labour. Noah, Daniel and Job, can sometimes onely deliver their own Souls. God Almighty keep his Noahs, Da­niels, Jobs, whatever may be the lot of others.

Fourthly, There is no fence against Di­vine Displeasure; nothing can be a secu­rity to that place against which God is turned. Jerusalem was once supposed to be impregnable; hence when David went to take it, they set the blind and lame to keep it, as a Guard conceived sufficient to de­fend it from all Assaults; yet was it trod­den down, when God armed an Enemy against it. Tyrus was wasted in the day of Gods displeasure, although rich and strong in Shiping, and what else might be ac­counted the strength of a place.

Fifthly, God wants not ways to lay Ci­ties low, if his Mind be engaged against them: He may possibly not do it all at once, but he can do it gradatim, by de­grees: He saith of Tyrus, Bring it out piece by piece, Ezek. 24.6. The remains after one Judgement, he can take off by another; [Page]What survives the Pestilence, may fall by the Sword and Famine.

And great is the Equity of God in deal­ing thus with Cities and places of eminency. They are the Heads from whence other places receive influence. If sin abound in Cities, it is from them proppagated tho­row all places that have commerce with them, or depend upon them. It is said of Babylon, Rev. 17.1. The Kings of the Earth and Inhabitants of the Earth have been made to drink of the wine of her fornication.

Should you now put the question to me, that the People once did to Ezekiel, Wilt thou tell us what these things are to us? My Answer is, Be you faithful to your selves, and compare your selves with what I have laid before you, and so may you come to inform your selves how far these things concern you. What your sins are, you know, or may know: You have been and yet are under the Rod. Under your Glory a burning is kindled, I wish it may be extinct ere it consume both Root and Branch.

Three things there are, that speak for [Page]you; I wish they may out-cry your Pro­vocations.

1. There are many among you in whom the Lord takes pleasure, however they are by some lightly esteemed.

2. You have been a Refuge to the Needy in their distress: What day you cease so to be, you will augment my fears, and perhaps your dangers also.

3. Some among you have lately with chearfulness received the Gospel.

Certain it is, your Rowers have brought you into Great Waters, as the Prophet speaks, Ezek. 27.26. God Almighty work you to a repenting broken frame, that the Lord may repent him of the Evil. Nineveh had perished, had they not put on their Sackcloth. The Lord humble you for Crying Sins, and give you New Spi­rits, that you may not go on in ways of Provo­cation. A part of what is your present Duty, the following Treatise may possibly give you a little light into. I have used freedom and plainness with you; let it not be to me accor­ding to that Old Saying, Obsequium Amicos, ve­ritas odium parit. I am satisfied in what I have written, having a witness in my self: I desire not the woful day, but am among the number of

Your hearty Well-wishers, Thomas Blake.

To the READER.


APologies for appearing in publick are so common, and sometimes so full of vanity, that they create suspitions of Pride and Vain-glory in the spirits of men, rather then remove such stones of stumbling: I shall there­fore leave my integrity in this Ʋndertaking to Him whose prerogative it is to try the spirits. Onely know, Having upon some ground published some­thing at the beginning of this Calamity, I thought it not amiss to follow it with some suitable Word, now we are (as is hoped) drawing towards a period of this sore slaughter: Be assured I shall not any more for ever trouble the World with any thing in this way, unless upon some special occasion and more then ordinary Call.

My design in the whole is to speak something, that Saints may know their Duty, being escaped; and to bear up their hearts under the sad thoughts of past, and what future slaughters may be: and to commend Saintship to Sinners, that they may be desirous to get into that number. I have avoided affected strains and Jingles, that sound of words, (which in my apprehension are but dead flies, that corrupt the Boxes of otherwise precious Oyntment) that the design may be heeded more then the expres­sion, and have sought to speak something that may be suitable to every case. I have not much more to adde. Onely,

1. If what I have written fall into the hands of any in any place not reached by the hand of God this day; Remember the cup doth many times go round, your turn may yet be to come: Be not secure.

2. Let none be discouraged, though you seace sudden wished effects of the slaughter the Lord hath made; God is in his way, and will do his work with sober speed: He could have made the World in one hour, but took six days for it. God saith of Zidon, Ezek. 28.23, 24. He will execute Judgments in her, he will send into her Pestilence, and Blood in her streets, and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her, by the Sword on her, on e­very side: The issue of this? Vers. 28. There shall be no more a pricking Brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving Thorn of all that are round about them, that despise them. The Promise is true, Faith and Patience is our work.

3. If thou art a Soul that knowest the Plague of thine own Heart, and art in some measure deliver­ed from it, thou hast enough, and God will bear thee in his Arms, and bring thee to himself, how­ever things may be in the World.

I have this onely to request of thee, That thou wouldst look this little Piece through, and if one page suit not thy case, another may. If it serve thy spiritual Welfare in any measure, Give God the Glory, and beg that he may feel the power of all Truth upon his heart, which he recommends to thee, and is thine to serve thee for Jesus sake.



‘In that day shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the Fruit of the Earth shall be excellent and comely, for them that are escaped of Israel.’

THat you may have a little light into these words, it will be expedient to consider two things: 1. What we are to understand by the Branch of the Lord, and the fruit of the Earth; and 2ly. To what Time and what Persons these words do relate. As for the former, you shall find in Scripture [Page 2]there is one who is called the Branch, Zac. 6.12. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the BRANCH; and Zac. 3.8. For behold, I will bring forth my Servant the Branch: in these Scriptures, and also in the Scripture I am upon, by Branch we are to un­derstand Jesus Christ; and that we are to take Christ to be thereby intended, is evident from Jer. 23.5, 6. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall exe­cute Judgement and Justice in the Earth; in his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely, and this is his Name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness, or Jehovah our Righteousness: He that is the Lord our Righte­ousness, is this Branch, and that is certainly the Lord Jesus: He is called the Branch of the Lord upon the account of his Divine Nature, that he is the Son of God, the onely begotten of the Father, that lay in his Bosom from Eter­nity; as also because he was a Branch growing out and appearing in his glory and splendour, before the Sons of Men, by the appointment and Decree of the Father.

As for the Fruit of the Earth, who may that be? You find sometimes in Scripture, Jesus Christ is said to be a Rod out of the Stem of Jesse, and a Branch growing out of his Roots, Isa. 11.1. And there shall come forth a Rod out of the Stem [Page 3]of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his Roots; He is so called upon account of his humane Na­ture; as he is Man, he is of the Seed of David, and upon the same score he is here termed the Fruit of the Earth; Christ, the Branch of the Lord, as he is Man, is of earthly extract and Original; Man is of the Earth, and Christ as Man, is made of the same mould with the rest of the Children of Men; he was made Man, and being of the Seed of the Woman, he is here called the Fruit of the Earth. Thus much for answer to the first Enquiry, Who is meant by the Branch of the Lord, and the Fruit of the Earth.

Secondly, To what Time and Persons do these Words refer? For there is a certain time unto which these words have relation; in That day; in what day is that? it is a day of slaugh­ter, a day of great calamity; for it refers unto the end of the foregoing Chapter without all dispute: in the 25 and 26 Verses it is said, Thy men shall fall by the Sword, and thy mighty in the war, and her Gates shall lament, and she being de­solate shall sit upon the ground: it relates to a time when much slaughter should be made, slaughter to a desolation, when men should be exceedingly weeded out of the Earth, then shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glo­rious, and the Fruit of the Earth excellent and comely. If that be the issue of Desolation, we [Page 4]need the less matter it. But unto what Persons doth this word relate? I answer primarily, un­to the Jewish People, and unto those among them that should survive and out-live the Ca­lamities that do befall them; it relates unto the surviving People among the Jews: The Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the Fruit of the Earth excellent and comely, for them that escape, and them that escape of Is­rael: It relates, secondarily (I suppose) and may indifferently have some respect to all the People of God; or more largely, to all those unto whom the Gospel of Christ shall come, and they be thereby prevailed upon: as Israel in Scripture was a name unto all the Jewish Nation unto whom the Oracles of God were committed, and they owned a subjection to them; so it may have respect unto all in all times of the Gospel, brought over to Christ, who falling under sore Calamities, have this grace allowed them, to survive and out-live those days of distress. This may serve to give light into the words; and two Truths I would note from them, which lie fairly in them, and which I judge as pertinent unto the present circumstances under which we fall, as any in any one Scripture that I know of in the Book of God.

Doctr. 1. That it is a proper issue and a good effect of slaughtering-Judgement, upon them that [Page 5]have escaped the slaughter, to have Christ become glorious and excellent unto them. And

2. That the issue of all those dreadful destroy­ing Judgements that shall break forth in the world, shall be the putting of glory upon the head of Christ, and that glory upon Christ shall be to the good and benefit of those of Israel that shall escape the slaugh­ter.

I shall begin with the first, namely, That it is a good issue of Slaughtering-Judgements, upon them that out-live such calamities, that Christ is become glorious and excellent in their accounts: The Words do certainly relate to a Time of great slaughter, such a slaughter that Jerusalem (which was once a very populous City) and the places of the greatest concourse in it, which were the Gates (for in the Gates Justice was executed, and thither was a confluence of per­sons from all parts) but such should be the slaughter that her Gates should lament, and mourn, and become desolate; at this time there were some should escape, (God useth to have a remaining Remnant when his displea­sure is at highest) and what should this sad Judgement work upon them that should re­main? The Branch of the Lord should become glorious among them: You read in the 78 Psalm, vers. 34, 35. When he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned, and enquired early after God, and they remembred that God was their [Page 6]Rock, and the high God their Redeemer: When he slew them, that is, when he came forth with slaughtering Judgements, as he did sometimes against Israel; and particularly, God smote them with Plagues more then once: now what did they that remained and were left alive do? they began to have more high and awful thoughts of the Lord then before, the esteem of him was a little raised in their hearts; they re­membred he was their Rock, and the high God their Redeemer; thus far they went well, onely that which followeth spoiled all; in vers. 36, 37. Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues; for their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his Covenant: if really the esteem of the Lord had been raised in their hearts, they had been an excellent People, and the Lords Judgements had wrought kindly. You shall find the Lord complains for the want of such a spirit in Hos. 11.7. God called there to the People, and how? He called by mercy; I drew them with the cords of a man, with the bands of love, vers. 4. that is, I treated them kindly; he called them by Judgements, as you see in vers. 6. The Sword shall abide on his Cities, and shall consume his Branches, and devour them; what did God expect should be the answer unto his Call, and the fruit of all his Dispensations? it was that they should have exalted him, ho­noured [Page 7]him, and admired him at a greater rate then before? but because they did not, God took it ill, and reckoned that his Providences had not a kindly reception among them. Psal. 2.6. Yet (says he) have I set my King upon my holy Hill of Sion; which words are not onely a Prophecy concerning that Kingdom Christ shall have, but declarative of that Kingdom he hath, viz. his Providential Kingdom, by which he manages and governs affairs in the World; now in the management of it what doth he do? sometimes, as in vers. 9. he rules them with a Rod of Iron, and dashes in pieces like a Potters Vessel; but what should they do that should out-live such Providences? you shall see the Fruit that should grow upon this Root, Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way; Christ expects when he is abroad with his Iron Rod, and dashing Earthen Vessels to pieces, as he hath this day, they that stand on their feet not dashed to pieces, as others of the same mould, he expects higher thoughts of him­self, and to be more esteemed by them; and if he fail of his expectation, let them remember that they are but Clay, and therefore in the way, not out of danger. Jer. 51.50. Ye that have escaped the Sword, go away, stand not still; remember the Lord afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind: God was abroad with the Sword, it may be the material Sword, and it [Page 8]may be with such a Sword of the Angel as he hath lately been cutting withall; what should the Escaped do? Remember the Lord: Re­member him, you will say, what is that? Give me leave to open it unto you a little, because I shall use the term again anon; To remember the Lord, implies two things among others:

1. To have the heart wrought up into the fear of the Lord, to sanctifie his Name; Re­member the Sabbath, to keep it holy; that is, sanctifie the Sabbath: so remember the Lord, that is, fear him, let his Name be great, his ho­nour be dear unto thee. Remember thy Creator; what is that? it is, Give up thy self unto the Lord, remember who he is, and what he is, and what he calls for from thee: when a People sin against the Lord, they are said to forget him many times; so suitably to remember him, is to fear him, to honour him, and lift up his Name.

2. To remember the Lord, is to love and de­light in him, to have a great esteem of him; as the Lord saith, Jer. 31.20. Is Ephraim my dear Son? is he a pleasant Child? since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him: Gods remem­bring Ephraim, was his love to and delight in Ephraim; so our remembring the Lord, is our loving of and delighting in him: and this is the frame that should be found upon the hearts of them that escape sore Calamities, To fear and [Page 9]magnifie, to love and delight in him: This in­deed is a right Spirit, and it is called for else­where, Ezek. 6.9. And they that escape of you shall remember me among the Nations whither they shall be carried Captives: Time was when Israel had few and slight thoughts of God their Re­deemer, but when GOD had been at work a­mong them by severe strokes, those that did escape of them, their Spirits should be much a­mended, much altered for the better; they should come and love him and fear him, so as they did not before: So Isa. 10.20. And it shall come to pass in that day; what day was that? a day of great slaughter: for, vers. 19. The rest of the Trees of his Forrest shall be few, that a Child may write them; a Child that is but a bad A­rithmetician should be able to number them that should remain, the smallness of them should be such: It shall come to pass, that the Remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon the Lord, the holy One of Israel in truth: staying upon the Lord, is an Act of Faith, and Acts of Faith do greatly glorifie Christ, and speak the Heart much delighted in him; if thou be'st not taken with him, thou wilt never act Faith upon him: But this was the Fruit that this escaping Rem­nant should bring forth, and is that which God expects from preserved ones in a day of slaughter.

All this confirms the Truth I have been dri­ving at; and in the prosecution of it, I shall propose two things to be spoken to:

1. To show what Engagement there lieth upon them that escape in a day of slaughter, to be thereby led unto an esteem of Christ; why it should render this Branch of the Lord, and Fruit of the Earth, beautiful and glorious in their eyes.

2. When those that do escape may conclude their escaping hath this issue and effect upon their Souls. And

3. Try what Improvement we may make of this Truth.

First, How doth our escaping in a time of Calamity, lay an engagement upon the heart to prize and value Christ the more? I suppose it is very natural; I would evidence it in four or five things.

1. Christ hath the management of all Pro­vidences, and surely then of such as these; a Sword goeth not thorow a Land, nor a Plague thorow a City, Country, or Town, but Christ hath a great hand in it: Joh. 3.35. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand; the Father out of his great love unto his Son, and confidence he hath in him, that he will do nothing but what is well, hath commit­ted the management of all Providences into his hands; he hath given him the power of life [Page 11]and death in the World, and where he will he spares, and where he will he slayes: the Peo­ple of God (represented under the notion of the two Witnesses) it is said of them, that they have a kinde of power to kill People as they will, Rev. 11.6. These (meaning the two Wit­nesses) have power to shut Heaven, that it rain not in the days of their Prophecy, and have power over Waters, to turn them into Blood, and to smite the Earth with Plagues as often as they will; but their power is but in a way of Prayer; through the great interest they have in the Lord, and his Christ, they can do much, and carry a great stroke for or against a People: But now the power of Christ is absolute, he can do and go­vern in this matter as he pleaseth; and why hath he this power? look Joh. 5.22, 23. The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all Judgement unto the Son: by judging here, I hum­bly conceive, Ruling and Government, order­ing and disposing of things in the World, is in­tended, which the Father doth not do without, but by the Son; the matter is left unto him, and why? That all men might honour the Son even as they honour the Father; therefore is this Go­vernment committed unto the Branch of the Lord, that it might gain him the more esteem: We that have seen so much of Christ in these his Dispensations, ought it not to have this ef­fect upon our hearts, to teach us to honour the Son as we honour the Father? Especially,

2. Considering, That that Escape which you and I have in a day of Calamity, it is through the Son; if thou do'st escape, this Branch of the Lord hath a great hand in it; however we may rob Christ of his honour, and attribute it unto second Causes, yet indeed and in truth, the matter is in Christs hand: You read of a Retiring-Chamber for the People of God in days of Calamity, Isa. 26.20. Come my People, enter into your Chamber, and shut the doors about you, hide your selves for a little moment, until my indignation be over-past: Are there Retiring-Chambers in the day of Gods Controversie, when he comes to contend, and smite down un­to the Earth? I might ask the question, Where are they? and say as David, Psal. 139.7, &c. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence? if I ascend up into Hea­ven, thou art there; if I make my bed in Hell, behold thou art there; if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the Sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me: where may a man be hid in the day of Gods anger? I would say, Retire into Christ, he is a Rock of shelter, he is the Munition of Rocks where the Soul shall be hid, it is the man Christ Jesus shall be a Co­vert from the storm, a hiding place in the day of distress, suitable unto which the Psalmist speaks in Psalm 32.7. Thou art my hiding-place, thou [Page 13]shalt preserve me from trouble, thou shalt compass me about with Songs of Deliverance: Soul, art thou preserved? it is Christ hath been thy hi­ding place. There were some in the days of David's Calamity scoffed at him, and bid him flee as a Bird unto his Mountain; but see what he saith, Psal. 11.1. In the Lord I put my trust, how say ye to my Soul, Flee as a Bird to your Moun­tain? It was a Psalm penn'd in the time when he fled from Saul (as I conceive) and it is as if he should say, It is true, I have recourse some­times unto this and that Mountain, and I do go up and down from place to place to be hid from the hand of Saul, but I go as God leads me, as Christ goes before me; and where-ever I am, and which way so ever I look, it is the Lord is my Refuge, from him I expect my security. You read, Ezek. 1.26. of a Throne, and upon the Throne there was one like unto a man; that Man was the Man Christ Jesus; the Throne upon which he sat, is the Throne of his Providential Kingdom, where he sits and governs all things in the World, and where he sits to order all the matters in the following part of this Prophecy. Now see what he doth upon this Throne of his; And the Lord said unto him, (that is, the Man cloathed with Linen, that had the Writers Ink­horn by his side) Go through the midst of Jeru­salem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and that cry for all the Abomina­tions [Page 14]that be done in the midst thereof; and to the others he said, Go ye after him through the City, and smite, let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly, old and young, both maids and little children, and women, but come not near any upon whom is the mark, &c. I gather hence that it is Christ hath the marking men for destructi­on or preservation: he upon the Throne of his Providential Kingdom, governs and orders for preserving or destroying in a day of slaughter; therefore if thou art kept, know who hath been thy Keeper. This was typified in the Case of Aaron, in that sore Plague, Numb. 16.46, &c. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a Censer, and put fire therein from off the Altar, and put on In­cense, and go quickly unto the Congregation, and make an attonement for them, for there is wrath gone out from the Lord, the Plague is begun: and Aaron took as Moses commanded him, and ran into the midst of the Congregation, & behold the plague was begun among the People; and he put on Incense and made an atonement, and stood between the dead and the living, and the Plague was stayed. Aaron he was the High Priest, and in that Office a great Type of Christ, and in this action a great Type of Christ also; it is he, by his interces­sion and mediation, steps in between the Li­ving and the Dead; if thou art not fallen a­mong them that fall, it is because this Aaron hath stept in to thy help, because he hath rescu­ed [Page 15]thee, and been a Preservation unto thee. The 68th Psalm is a Psalm applicable to Christ, witness that passage in the 18th verse, Thou hast ascended up on high, thou hast led captivity captive, and received Gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them; This, you know, is spoken of and applied unto Christ by the Apostle in the Epistle to the Ephe­sians, Chap. 4. mark now what follows in this 68th Psalm, vers. 26. He that is our God is the God of Salvation, and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death: This is also spoken of Christ, unto him belong the issues from death; so that if thou art spared, and saved in a day of slaugh­ter, it is from the Lord, thou must say thou hast had this issue from death. That which I drive at, is this, (that you may not lose my design) Have you not cause, great cause, to see that the Branch of the Lord by your escape be rendered so much the more excellent and comely to you, since what escape you have, is through him? if you are preserved, it is by Christ, unto whom you are beholding for your preservation.

3. Further, The escaping of slaughter should render the Lord beautiful and glorious to you, seeing it is from him that thou hast not onely thy Escaping, but the Good of thy Escape; not onely the Thing it self, but the Mercy with it; by him it is blessed unto you, if it be blessed. Some there are (and O unhappy they!) unto [Page 16]whom every thing is accursed, Psal. 69.22. Let their Table become a snare before them, and that which should have been for their welfare, let it be­come a trap. Every enjoyment is a snare unto some; The curse of the Lord is in the House of the Wicked, Prov. 3.33. Some men, though they have houses to hide their heads in, and it may be many things in them that look like mer­cies, they are yet curses to them; possibly their houses are full of the things of this World, Waters of a full Cup may be rung out unto them, their Eyes may stand out with fatness, and they may have more then Heart can wish; they may have Basket and Store, and yet be cursed both in the Basket and in the Store: it may be their Houses are full of Children, and the Substance they leave is left unto their Babes, as is the Psalmists expression; but they are cursed also in the fruit of their Womb: it may be Health and Life are within their Walls, not one sick, not one dead, all preserved, and well; but yet it is not well, for this their pre­servation is not blessed. Let me tell you, that read these lines, As God smites some in anger, in anger also sometimes he forbears to smite; therefore in Isa. 1.5. Why should you be smitten any more? It was a word of great displeasure: The escaping of some may be cursed unto them; but if thy escape be blessed unto thee, and thou hast it, and the mercy with it, thou art be­holding [Page 17]unto Christ for both: Some are pre­served in love; sweet is that expression, and happy they that can say so, Isa. 38.17. Behold for peace I had great bitterness, but thou hast in love to my Soul delivered it from the pit of corruption; He was not onely delivered from the pit of corrup­tion, but delivered in love unto his Soul, in a way of mercy and special kindness: happy they that can say, Thou hast given me this escape in love to my Soul! But how comes a Soul to have such a Deliverance, and to have it in love too? from that general word, Gen. 22.18. there is the fountain-head from whence our mercies flow, In thy Seed shall all the Nations of the Earth be b [...]essed; in Abraham's Seed (meaning Christ) all the Blessings come, that come upon the World: Whatever comes to thee or me, if it come as a Blessing, it is through the Seed of A­braham, and upon that score we are to place it. Now if thou do'st escape, and this Escape be sanctified unto thee, and all this be but Fruit growing upon this Branch of the Lord, should not thy Escape render the Lord Jesus the more amiable to thy Soul?

4. Thou hast not onely the mercy of thy E­scape, from Christ, but skill to walk under it be­comingly; Vain man would be wise, though he is born as the wild Asses Colt, untoward, untracta­ble, good for nothing, unruly and perverse, and if there be any thing of Wisdom given him, it is [Page 18]from this fountain, 1 Cor. 1.30. it is Christ that is made of God unto us, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption; it is in him are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge, and from him communicated and given down unto poor Creatures; as Paul, Phil. 4.12, 13. saith, I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; every where and in all things I am instructed, both to be full, and to be hungry; both to abound, and to suffer need; I can do all things through Christ that strengthneth me: that is, I can do all wisely, I can use and manage every Providence rightly: and how canst thou do this; Paul? Through Christ that strengthens me. So to use Afflictions and Distresses, Miseries and Mercies becomingly, thy strength is in Christ, and from him it must be communicated unto thee; and therefore the sence of this should much endear Christ unto thy Soul, that not only the Mercy of an Escape is from him, but also Wisdom to use, and rightly to manage it. To which adde,

5. That by Jesus Christ, this Branch of the Lord, we have not onely an Escape in time of common Calamity, but greater and better things, which by our Escape we may be led un­to the consideration and meditation of: Cer­tain it is, that through this Branch of the Lord, we have salvations of more kinds then one: in that 68th Psalm, vers. 20. where it is said, He [Page 19]that is our God is the God of Salvation; Junius renders it thus, He is a God powerful to all kindes of Salvation; or as the Hebrew is, He is the God of Salvations, in the plural number: So is it with Souls that have really Grace and Mercy from Christ, they have Salvations of divers sorts: they have Salvation from Sin, from that power and dominion that sin is wont to have in the Soul, they are wonderfully by Christ deli­vered from that bondage; and Christ had there­fore his Name Jesus, Mat. 1.21. Because he shall save his People from their sins: Though the Canaanites may dwell in the Land, they shall become tributary, they shall not sit at the Stern turning the Soul which way they please. Christ brings Salvation from Hell, he hath the Key of David, that shuts and no man openeth, and opens and no man shuts; he delivereth from wrath to come, 1 Thes. 1.10. Salvation from sin, and the most dismal issues and consequen­ces thereof, and from a temporal deliverance, the Soul hath occasion to consider and think of these Salvations. Psal. 103. I suppose might be penn'd upon the occasion of some temporal deliverance, for this reason, because the Psal­mist saith in the fourth verse, The Lord did heal his diseases, and redeemed his life from destruction; what doth this make the Psalmist think of? in vers. 3. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases; it made him think of [Page 20]pardoning Grace, and greater Mercy, that he was made partaker of through the Lords boun­ty and goodness. Hezekiah from his temporal deliverance, was raised to think of some higher pieces of kindness, Isa. 38.17. Thou hast in love to my Soul, delivered it from the pit of corruption, for thou hast cast all my sins behind my back. Now if from this Branch of the Lord you have this fruit, not onely of an Escape from temporal evil, but freedom also from greater; and the escape from temporal ones, help to raise up the Soul to consider its interest in higher things; then your Escape it self should render Christ more dear and precious to you then he hath been in times past. This therefore may serve for the ground of the point, why the Soul should from its Escape have higher Thoughts of Christ.

I come now to the second thing propounded for prosecution of this Doctrine: When may a poor heart have some cause to conclude its E­scape hath this effect attending it, That it is accompanied with more precious thoughts of this Branch of the Lord?

I answer to it in five things:

1. If in thy Escape thou findest thy heart more crucified unto the World, that it is gotten out of thy heart beyond what it was, it is to be hoped the Branch of the Lord grows in thy heart, and flourisheth more then it did. Me­thinks [Page 21]it is with the heart of a poor Crea­ture, with respect to Christ and the World, as it is between the Sea and Land; the Sea some­times breaks out, and overflows much of the Earth; you can very hardly recover any Land out of the Sea, and be able to fence it out, or if you do, it is at every turn ready to break in a­gain, and swallow up all that hath been recove­red out of it: this World breaks in like a Sea, and swallows up the hearts of many poor Crea­tures, it drinks up their Souls, Eccles. 3.11. Also he hath set the World in their Hearts; the World is so rooted in them that it over-runs them: Some are called in Scripture the men of this World, Psal. 17.14. From men of this World, which have their portion in this life; and they are called the Men of this World, because there is nothing else they love and delight in: How hard a thing is it for Christ to get ground upon the Heart, so as to sence out this World; wit­ness that case, Luk. 18. when one comes unto Christ, and saith, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal Life? he bid him at last, ver. 22. Go sell all thou hast, and distribute unto the Poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven, and come and follow me: and when he heard this, he was ve­ry sorrowful, for he was very rich. Some of whom it is hoped sometimes are recovered out of the World, and the World in some good measure fenced out of their hearts, that one would think [Page 22]there were no great danger of its returning; yet it again breaks in like a torrent, and carries them away, so that all their Profession comes to nothing: This World is a Sea that drowns thousands, thousands of Professors are by it born down headlong, yet some through the power of Christ over-come the World, 1 John 5.4. Who ever is born of God, overcometh the world; and this is the victory we have over the World, even our Faith. Then the World is said to be overcome, when it is fallen in a mans esteem and love; when a Soul is convinced what Ido­latry it is, for this World to rule in the heart; for Covetousness is Idolatry; when the Soul comes to see that all below is empty, perish­ing, and vain, and that that fades in the very using, then it is overcome in some good mea­sure. Now Soul, if thou canst say that thy Escape in the day in which God frowned upon the World, hath made thee see all to be vanity and vexation of Spirit, and that thy heart is an entertainment for something more noble, it is to be hoped that Christ hath gained upon thee. Psal. 45.10, 11. Hearken, O Daughter, and consi­der, and encline thine ear, forget also thine own Kindred and thy Fathers House, so shall the King greatly desire thy Beauty; for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him. You must not worship the World: then you worship it, when it hath that place in the Heart that Christ should only pos­sess; [Page 23]but if the love of this World be rooted out, it is to be hoped that the love unto Christ hath expelled it, and the sight of Christ more excellent, hath made thee trample upon these terrene objects. It was Moses his ardent love unto Christ, that made him esteem the reproaches of Christ, greater riches then the treasures of E­gypt, Heb. 11.26. It was his value for Christ, made him under-value these things. I desire I might reach every of your Consciences that read these lines, if God will own me so far, I would urge it upon you; We are yet escaped through infinite mercy, hath your escaping had this effect, to raise up in you higher thoughts of Christ than formerly? Can you witness it by this evidence? You are possibly, some of you, those that have had much to do in the World, and concernments of it; if you have not been entangled by it, and found that it hath been very apt to get upon your hearts, I must say, Either you know not your hearts, or you have sped much better then most in your capa­city: But can you say, It is now turn'd out of doors? that the leasure-time you have had, hath helped you to look above this Earth, to view things of a more excellent nature; and Christs glory hath so ravished your Souls, that you can say that there is nothing that your souls love above or equal with him? Put it to your Consciences, I charge it upon you as your duty from the Lord. And,

2. If you can say, Sin is out of your Heart more then it was, it is to be hoped Christ is there; if that be down, Christ is set up, for these stand in opposition to each other; it must be the fall of the one, that must raise the other: the Dispensations of God are directed unto the destruction of Sin in the hearts of his People; if he correct, it is a Rod to whip out the Folly bound up in their Hearts: and he hath said that the fruit of such Providences should be the ta­king away of sin, Isa. 27.9. By this shall the ini­quity of Jacob be purged, and this is all the fruit, to take away his Sin: If he shew kindness, it is to destroy sin, to purge that out of the Heart, Ezek. 36.25, 26. Then will I sprinkle clean Wa­ter upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your Idols will I cleanse you, a new Heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you, and take away the stony heart and give you a heart of flesh. It relates unto them that should escape publick Calamities, which should be attended with the purging away of Sin; and if you can say that sin is fallen in your love, it is to be hoped Christ is raised. It is between Sin and Christ as it was between the House of David and Saul, 2 Sam. 3.1. There was long war between the House of Saul and the House of David, but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the House of Saul weaker and weaker; as the House of Saul weakened, so the House of Da­vid [Page 25]strengthened; as Sin weakens in the Soul, Christ getteth ground: I may say of the lusts that are in the Soul, as God sometimes said concerning Amalek. 1 Sam. 15.3. Go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both Man and Woman, Infant and Suckling, Camel and Ass: the Lusts in the heart are destined unto utter destructi­on, God would have them killed, and not one spared, not an Agag left alive. I would put the question unto you, the Lord help you to put it home to your Souls; You that are escaped, is all slain in your Souls, that is wont to stand up against Christ? is there not an Agag spa­red? I wish (if you say that Sin is killed) the Lord may not say unto you, as Samuel said to Saul, vers. 14. What then means the bleating of the Sheep, and the lowing of the Oxen in mine ears? What means that pride, passion, earthly-mind­edness, in the heart of the People of God? if Sin be not brought down, Christ is not exalted; if Sin be where it was, Christ is where he was; the Branch of the Lord is not made beautiful and glorious, though his kindness should have had that effect upon you.

3. If you can say that are escaped, That the Saints are become more precious unto you, it is to be hoped that Christ is become so also: Many Souls have had very precious thoughts of Saints, great esteem of them, much love for [Page 26]them; Psal. 16.1. My goodness extends not to thee, but unto the Saints, and to the Excellent, in whom is all my delight. Now love to Saints in­creaseth according as your love to Christ en­creaseth: thou canst not love a Saint, until thou hast first loved Christ; Col. 1.4. Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of your love that ye have to all Saints; love to Saints follow­ed faith in Christ. I remember a good Soul, that hath been lately telling me, that this was his constant experience, According as my Soul grows in love to Christ, so it grows in love to Saints: Even as when the Springs grow higher, you may conclude a fulness of water in the place from whence they are fed; so if the Saints are more precious then they were wont to be, he that is the Fountain of all grace, it is to be pre­sumed, hath let in more of himself into thy Soul. Many of you that read these things possibly have been wont to be the Companions of them that fear the Lord, and have met and conversed with them, but how have they been in your hearts? have they been dear, have they lodged in your Bosom? it may be some will complain, Our Souls have not been so knit unto them as they should have been; but can you say, That fault is somewhat amended since the Lord hath shown you kindness, and not onely mark'd you for, but blest you with preserving-mercy?

4. Thou mayst hope thy Soul is growing in [Page 27]its love unto Christ, if thou canst say, since thy Escape thy Soul hungers more after Communi­on with him then it was wont to do. The na­tural issue of Love is to desire Enjoyment; and according as thy desires of enjoyment of com­munion with Christ are, so is thy love unto Christ, of this thou mayst be confident: Many Souls that go up and down from one Duty to a­nother, have not their hearts inflamed with holy desires to meet with Christ in ways of Du­ty; and therefore it is said of some, Their Ob­lations were vain, that is, because not directed unto their proper ends: The Lord (Isa. 64.5.) hath promised that he would meet with them that rejoyce and work Righteousness, that remem­ber Him in their ways: They that would see the Lord, meet with him, and hold fellowship with him, they shall be delighted in his Ap­proaches unto them. How is thy heart? if the Branch of the Lord be more glorious unto thee, thou wilt more desire and breathe after com­munion with God: Says the Spouse, I sought him whom my Soul loveth. I hope I write to some that know what communion with Christ means, it is that that all understand not; it is a Riddle to many, I fear to some professing Ones: If thou art taught of God, and Christ hath to do with thy spirit, and thou art really a gainer by thy escape, thou dost encrease in longings after communion with Christ.

5. Hereby it will appear that the Branch of the Lord is become beautiful and glorious unto thee who art escaped in this day of Distress, if there be a great care upon thy heart to be found living up unto every Duty which Christ requires and calls for at the hands of them that are escaped: every Mercy is a Call to Duty, & lays an obligation upon the heart to some Du­ties or other; so this eminent Mercy of Pre­servation in the midst of slaughtering-Provi­dences, hath a loud Call from Christ, to live in an hearty respect unto some especial Duties that are enjoyned thee; which are such as these:

1. It is the requirement of Christ, That af­ter thou art escaped a Calamity, thou consider seriously, and seriously lay unto heart, and mourn for whatever provocation might cause him to shake the Rod over thee; this is cer­tain, that the time of our escape, as well as our distress, should make us seriously to consider, and having considered, to mourn over what­ever abominations may have occasioned the Lord to come forth at such a rate; Scripture hath more then a little to say for this, Ezek. 36.31. Then shall you remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loath your selves in your own sight, for your Iniquities, and for your abominations. The time intended here, is the time when they should escape Ca­lamities [Page 29]that were upon that People, and God should have wrought graciously for them, Then shall you remember your Own evil ways, not others onely, though you may remember others also; you may warrantably look abroad, consider the National sins and evils, but be sure thou for­get not thy own; and having remembred, to loath thy self for them, to be offended with thy self, that thou shouldst have any hand in the procuring of any Judgement from the Lord. There is a great mistake very common, whe­ther in Practice or Judgement, I will not stand to determine; we are not careful to mourn o­ver our miscarriages, but when the Rod is on our Backs; like Children, while the Rod is on their Backs they will cry and mourn, but when the Father is pacified, then forget wherefore he was contending. The time of your escape is to be a time for enquiry into your ways, and mourning over them: look a text or two, one you have Ezek. 6.9. And they that Escape of you shall remember me among the Nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes which go a whoring after their Idols, and they shall loath themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations: observe what Fruit it is the Lord expects from them that are escaped; they shall remember me, and remember themselves too, [Page 30]their ways and doings, and then shall loath them­selves: to which adde, Ezek. 7.16. Escape they shall, but being escaped there is a Duty lies upon them, They should be upon the Mountains as the Doves of the Valleys, every one mourning for his iniquity. The Babylonish Captives after they escaped out of Captivity, & out-lived the distress that had buried many, you find that at that time there was found a spirit of mourning upon them; Ezra 9.3. is an evident testimony of it, And when I heard this thing, I rent my gar­ment and my mantle, and pluckt off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied: thus did Ezra, and thus should every one that esca­peth the Day of Gods Controversie. Now what is the frame of your hearts? truly all our hearing and knowing of what frame we should be in, will stand for little, unless you compare your Spirits and the Word together, and see whether it be with you accordingly: This you may be confident of, we have all had a hand in the provocation of this day, and if so, we should have also an eye to look into our hearts, and mourn over our evil ways, which must be done if we would have a proof unto our selves, that this Branch of the Lord is become glorious to us after our escape.

2. The Lord expects of them that escape, That they should perform their Vows, make good the Covenant and Promises which they [Page 31]made in the day when they were in trouble and fear; it is very common with men in a day when distress is threatned, to make large Pro­mises, and when the distress is over, to be as backward in performing, as before they were forward in promising: this was the case of that people, Jer. 2.20. For of old time I have broken thy Yoke, and burst thy Bonds, and thou saidest I will not transgress; when upon every high Hill, and under every green Tree, thou wanderest, playing the Harlot: the meaning is, when distress was upon them they cried, if God would but take off that distress, and remove the stroke, they would be a people not transgressing, a holy people; but how did they keep the Promise? whenas upon every high Hill, and under every green Tree thou wanderest, playing the Harlot; falsified their word abominably; that is a great evil that the Lord cannot well pass by: that is a known Scripture, Eccles. 5.4, 5. When thou vowest a Vow unto God, defer not to pay it, for he hath no plea­sure in fools; pay that which thou hast vowed: bet­ter it is that thou shouldest not vow, then that thou shouldest vow and not pay: in this kind delays are dangerous; defer not to pay thy Vows, for he hath no pleasure in folly; it is folly for a man to pro­mise unto God what he means not to perform; Better it is not to vow, then having vowed not to pay: the Devil hath a double design upon crea­tures in days of distress, and our own hearts [Page 32]much deceive us in it: First, I am perswaded the Devil puts poor Creatures many times up­on a great forwardness to make Promises, and many times our hearts do exceedingly deceive us by feeding us with some secret hopes by our Promises to buy out an indulgence from the Lord, that we may escape the evil we fear: and the second design of the Devil is, when he hath brought the Soul to bind it self unto the Lord in abundance of bonds, then to cool the heart as fast as he can, and make it forget its engage­ments, and so wraps the Soul in abundance of guilt. I have found that there is no guilt de­files the Soul at a greater rate then the breach of Covenant; for God will not endure to be mocked, and have the Promises made unto him falsified; God will put your Bonds in suit against you, and require of you what you have been free to engage for: Deut. 23.21. When thou shalt vow a Vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it, for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee, it would be sin not to live up unto En­gagements. Examine your hearts what En­gagements have you passed in the days of your distress? it may be Visitations were near you, you were in eminent hazard, and your hearts troubled for fear; did you not say, Lord, If thou wilt keep me this day, if I may but out-live this distress, never will I be so vain, so earthly, [Page 33]so carnal, so slight in the Work of God as I have been? Have you not past some such or the like promise to the great God? Now Jesus Christ he is privy unto all that you have said and done, though it were in secret, he hath ta­ken an account of all that you have engaged to be and do; how do you perform? you cannot comfortably conclude that Christ hath gotten ground in your hearts, unless you have paid your Vows to the Lord. The Servants of God have been conscientious in the Case; Psal. 66.13. I will go into thy House with burnt-offerings, I will pay thee my Vows, which my lips have utter­ed, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trou­ble: David had his troubles as well as other of his Neighbours, and in his troubles he did sometimes make Promises unto God; herein he was honest and faithful, did conscientiously regard the performing the Promises he had past: and thus to do, will be a proof of your love to, and esteem of this Branch of the Lord, as more excellent to you, then he was wont to be. Saith David, Psal. 116. I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice, and my supplications; that is, I will love him better then ever I did; if he had but a little, he shall now have more; and what proof doth he give of it? vers. 14. I will pay my Vows unto the Lord, now in the presence of all his People: here was a proof it. The Lord help us that have the Vows of God upon us, to evi­dence [Page 34]that Christ is become glorious unto us, by performing our Covenant: God is known to be a Covenant-keeping-God, and his Peo­ple should be like their heavenly Father. But again,

3. A third thing required from them that e­scape a day of Calamity, is this, That Christ be owned in the Escape, that he have the glory of it; put it not upon your natural Fortitude and Courage, your natural hardiness and bold­ness, as some vaunting spirits are apt to do, and to conclude thence was their preservation: God doth not fear to strike the most fearless, and sometimes the most fearless are in the greatest danger: Put not thy escape upon the score of thy own Wisdom, that thou hast acted thus and thus prudently for thy preservation; if the Lord would, he could easily have out-witted thee; and if he had not been with thee in the acting, the best of thy Wisdom would not have been useful; take heed of boasting in Means, if Means have been successful, look up to that God that hath been pleased to bless them unto that end, Psal. 116.8. David puts the matter upon its proper Basis, Thou hast delivered my Soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling: Gracious hearts desire to cry as Moses and the Children of Israel did, when they saw Pharoah and his Host sunk as Lead in the Sea, and themselves preserved, to their great [Page 35]amazement, Exod. 15.2. The Lord is my Strength, and my Song, and He is become my Salvation; He is my God, and I will prepare him a Habitation, my Fathers God, and I will exalt him According to this time it shall be said (said Balaam in his Prophecy) What hath the Lord wrought? This must you and I say, What hath the Lord wrought? The truth is, Christ suffers much in the World, and suffers much from his own People, they rob him of his glory, we are apt to give that honour that is due to him, unto some one else; but it should be our care to be found in the frame with them, Jer. 50.28. The voice of them that flee and escape out of Babylon, to declare in Sion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the venge­ance of his temple: it is the work of escaping Ones to praise the Lord, and declare his works: Would you all have some token for good, that the interest of Christ is promoted in you? see whether it be your care to give Christ the glory of this Salvation, of which you have been partakers.

4. This is the requirement of Christ from them that are escaped, That the sence of this Mercy should long rest upon our Spirits: our goodness in every respect is apt to be like the morning-cloud, and the early dew, that soon passeth away; and in this respect more then in many other things; the sence of our [Page 36]deliverance is very apt to wear off the Soul; but it is a frame that Christ much mislikes, where he findes it; an instance or two may serve to convince us of it, Psal. 78.10, 11. They kept not the Covenant of God; possibly by this may be intended the Covenants they made with God in distress, they did not keep them; why not? it was because they forgot his Works, and Wonders that he had shewed them; and one sin draws many more after it oft times; they forgot the Works of God, and so their Covenant with God, both are taken ill, and the latter as ill as any; that God should shew abundance of kindness to a People, whilst they slight, and dis-esteem, and let the sence of that kindness slip out of their minds; and therefore he complains of the same thing, Psal. 106.13. They soon for­gat his Works, they waited not for his Counsel: They were the delivering-Works of God, and all the wonders he had shewed them, they soon forgot, the sence thereof was crept out of their hearts in a little time. All of us alive may say we have seen much of the goodness of God to us, but if we should be of the number of them that soon forget his goodness, we do very evilly requite the Lord.

5. This is the requirement of Christ from them that are escaped in the day of Calami­ty, [Page 37]That we should be dedicated, consecra­ted and given up to his Use and Service in our whole Course: This is the obligation that Christ hath laid on our Souls, by carry­ing us through the distresses of this day, That the rest of the time we spend in the flesh, should not be spent according to the will of the flesh, but according to the will of God, that the rest of the time of our sojourning here, might be spent in fear. It is a kind of a new life that every one of us have received, and this new Life should have Newness of Life going along with it: saith the Apostle, I beseech you by the mercies of God, that you give up your selves, Body and Soul, as a Sacrifice to God, which is but your reasonable service; and such a mercy as this doth call for it, that your Souls should be for God, and your Bodies for God; the Body hath received a great deal of mer­cy at this time, that is preserved and kept, the Clay-Cottage kept from tumbling to dust and ashes; now all the members of the Body, as well as the powers of the Soul, ought to be for the Lord: this the Lord expects, and it is but your reasonable service, which in common Justice should be given unto Christ: Psal. 116.8, 9. For thou hast de­livered my Soul from death, mine Eyes from tears, and my Feet from falling: I will walk before the Lord in the land of the Living: that [Page 38]is, I will walk as in his sight and presence, I will look to maintain a good frame of Life and Conversation in the rest of the time I have to spend in the World: And thus may you testifie unto your selves and others, that Christ gains on you by your Escape this day, if you be found in the discharge of those Du­ties which are expected from you. And thus I have dispatched the Doctrinal part.


If this be a proper effect of your Escaping in a day of slaughter, to have the Branch of the Lord become lovely; know this kind­ness hath been shewed us; therefore it con­cerns us narrowly to see how this effect is wrought out: Every Soul should turn his Eyes inward, I would hope your Souls have been a little thus engaged; I have not long since, met with a People that would eagerly make it their business to compare themselves and a Word together, and see where their guilt was, and get what light they could in­to their hearts: this be confident of, the God of Heaven is considering diligently, Jesus Christ (this Branch of which we are speaking) is observing what is the Fruit of every Mercy; as Deut. 32.15. But Jesurun waxed fat and kicked; thou art grown thick, [Page 39]thou art covered with fatness: then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his Salvation: when God had done much for him, he considers how he had car­ried it, but he found sad effects of all, Jesu­run waxed fat, and kicked: I would the good­ness of God to us should have some more kindly reception, and entertainment. Now that which I shall do for the present, shall not be to clear it up to you that Christ hath gotten ground upon you, for as to that, I shall refer you to what is spoken already, but to lay some few things before you, that may convince you, if really you are short and wanting in this blessed issue af your Escape.

If really this effect be not wrought upon your hearts, it will appear by these four or five things, and I beg you to consider them seriously.

1. If in the day when the Rod of God hung more eminently over your heads, you were not considering and pondering what effect it should work, and if the Spirit of God were not teaching and instructing your Souls, that it was to produce a greater esteem of Christ in your hearts; then I fear it is not done, I fear Christ hath no more of you then he was wont to have: You know this, that God with his Correction, is wont to give Instruction; therefore saith the Psal­mist [Page 40](Psal. 94.12.) Blessed is the man whom thou Chastenest, and Teachest out of thy Law: God is wont to tell the Soul, where it is wanting, what he calls for, and what he would have wrought in the heart: So Job 36 9, 10. Then he sheweth them their Work, and their Transgressions, that they have exceeded, he openeth also their Ears unto Discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity: He speaks here about a Day of Affliction, and truly if the Lord hath not been teaching you, and shewing you that you were wanting in your esteem of Christ, it is much to be que­stioned he is not become glorious. David (Psal. 119.67.) said, Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept thy Word: how came he to be brought in unto God, to walk with him, and keep his Word and his Way better then he was wont to do? God had been shewing him that he was out of the way, and where he should be, and so brought him in again. Commune with your own hearts, my Friends, faithfully: have you sat like Stocks and Stones, under the Visitations of God, when his Rod was upon others, and threatned you? Had you any of the Visits of God? Were your Souls exercising them­selves at a spiritual rate? Did God make any approaches unto you? Or did you live in that time without God? If you did, I fear you are without him still.

2. If your souls have not been pressing after Christ, and longing for a better frame towards him, longing for an higher esteem of him; it is doubtful the esteem of him is not raised in your souls: such an esteem of Christ is not a frame that useth to steal up­on the heart, it knows not how; It is for the most part the issue of much care and pains, and great diligence; and if thy soul hath been wanting herein, it is to be feared that the interest of Christ is not to any great degree promoted in thee: Some souls find sin very apt to creep in do they what they can, and that it is a work, a hard work to keep it down; nor is it less difficult to en­crease in our esteem of Christ, Phil. 3. Paul would know more of Christ, and the power of his Resurrection, what course did he take in order to it? saith he, I go forward, and I press on to the mark, for the price of the high Calling of God in Christ Jesus: He set himself unto the work with great diligence. How have you been exercising your selves? have you been crying unto the Lord in secret, wrestling and pleading with him that he would carry on the Love of his Son in you? What was it you asked of the Lord, was it meerly to be kept from the evil of the day? or that the work of Christ might be promo­ted in you by your escape? If your hearts [Page 42]have not been exercised this way, I fear the Branch of the Lord is not become glorious unto you, though you are escaped.

3. If in your Escape your great care is how to repair and piece up those outward dammages that you have sustained by this Visitation, the Interest of Christ I fear hath not much gained in you; possibly many of you may be sensible you have sustained out­ward dammages by this day, if your hearts are only contriving how you may make up those breaches made upon your outward concerns, you are not where you should be: I fear many this day will be like to the Sea­men and Mariners, who after a storm, when a calm comes, they are busie in patching up their tackling, and repairing the dammages the Vessel hath sustained by the storm, but not so carefull to consider who hath preser­ved them in the storm, and brought them to a calm: but this is a bad frame; if thou beest gained upon by Christ, thou wilt say, What shall I render unto the Lord for all his kindness? To which add,

4. If thy heart in this time of thy Escape be not affected wth that unkind usage which Christ meets with from many escaping-ones, I shall fear that thou thy self also dost not use him kindly, nor prize him much the more though thou hast an Escape from his [Page 43]goodness; doubtless Christ meets with much unkindness from some that have es­caped. How many in an Atheistical spirit this day, live as if there were no after-state, nor eternal judgment? as they, 1 Cor. 15. cry, Let us eat and drink, for to morrow we shall dye; they have learned to know that Death hangs over their heads, therefore what will they do? why serve their lusts as much as they can, make use of their time, as they call it, though it be to abuse time, and turn the grace of God into wantonness. Now when thou hast heard things, how is it with thee? If Christ hath gotten ground within thee, these things will pierce thine heart. The evil of wicked men is a great grief unto the Saints; therefore it is said, 2 Pet. 2. Righteous Lot was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked; his righte­ous soul was vexed in hearing and seeing the dishonour that was done unto the Lord, it was a burthen to him. And so David saith, Wo is me that I sojourn in Mesech, and dwell in the tents of Kedar; that is, among a peo­ple where God is dishonoured. When thou lookest abroad in the World, and seest how little sin is born down, and how little the Interest of Christ is advanced among any that are escaped; if thy Escape hath fur­thered Christ's Interest in thee, this will [Page 44]grieve thy heart; be careful and watchfull in the making a right use of this matter.

But to come to a second Use.


Should the escaping dreadful Calamity, work the heart to a prizing this Branch of the Lord; then if any of you have a witness coming in against you that it hath not had this effect, I must say, the Lord will say unto you as unto them, Deut. 32.6. Do you thus requite the Lord, O foolish and unwise? I would a little set before you the evil of this, and the misery that may follow upon it.

1. There is much sin in it; your sin ly­eth in this, that you have hitherto crossed the design of God by what means you can, the Designs of the Lord are very much for the advancement of Christ; God saith his Son shall be exalted and extolled, and made high, and he works to this end by all means; Word and Rod are both intended to this end; he giveth you the Word to make way for Christ into the heart; he comes with the Rod, and why with that? Rev. 3.20. Be­hold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he [Page 45]with me: He knocks by the Word, and he knocks by the Rod, and it is all, that the Door may be opened for the exalting of Christ. If he do deliver and save you in times of trouble, it is that he may be ex­alted. Is he not made glorious? If not, you cross God's design, Hos. 11.4. I drew them with the cords of a man, with the lands of love; and I was as one that took off the yoke from their jaws, and layed meat before them: All this was that they might exalt the Lord. Now if it have not this issue upon you, you are guilty of the great sin of thwarting Gods designs. Further, there is sin in this re­spect; you pretend that you are for the ex­altation of Christ; this is that you pray for: how oft have you prayed, Thy Kingdom come? how oft have you begged that Christ might become amiable and lovely to you? and is not Christ yet made glorious, not yet exalted? If not, your sin is this, it is doubt­ful your Profession is much of it Hypocrisy, and your praying, mocking of God; sins enow; you need not be guilty of greater evils.

2. It will endanger the intailing of pu­nishment upon you, if Christ be not become glorious to you. To speak of two or three things briefly: 1. It will be doubtful it will lay thee under the plague of an hard [Page 46]heart, which is the forest of all plagues: if the Lord's dealings do not soften thee, and promote Christ's Interest in thee, it is to be doubted it will set thee further from Christ, and will leave thee under very great rocki­ness and stoniness of heart: Not onely Pharoah's heart was hardned, when the dea­lings of God in removing the Plague did not work kindly upon him; but Israel had their hearts hardned also, as you may see Heb. 3.8, 9. Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation in the day of temptation in the Wilderness, when your Fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works: forty years, &c. This was the sin of Israel of old; and possibly the like evil may befall thy soul. And 2dly, if thy Escape have not produced this effect to render Christ more glorious, possibly thou shalt not yet escape for all this; thou settest up thy Eben-ezer, and sayest, Hitherto the Lord hath preserved; but it is but hitherto; thou knowest not what a day may bring forth, God can re­turn this very Judgement, and cause it to cut off thee and many more: the face of things look something sad for the present,The Plague increasing at this time. God is coming back some degrees in his dis­pleasure, and whose turn a­mong us it may be to fall, we [Page 47]know not; it may be any of our conditions, if God find us under hardness of heart; do not say the bitterness of death is past: remem­ber that when the Caldeans had besieged Jerusalem, and by the coming of Pharoah's Army the Siege was broken up, presently the people were confident the Caldeans should come no more: but see a little what God saith, and also what he doth, Jer. 37.7, 8, 9. Thus saith the Lord, the God of Is­rael, thus shall ye say unto the King of Judah that sent you unto me, to enquire of me, Be­hold Pharoahs Army which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own Land, and the Caldeans shall come again and fight against this City, and take it, and burn it with fire. Thus saith the Lord, Deceive not your selves, saying, The Caldeans shall surely depart from us; for they shall not depart. And so it came to passe, for in the 39th of Jeremy first verse, it is said, that Nebuchad­nezzar King of Babylon came, and all his Army against Jerusalem, and besieged it; and in the next verse it is said, the City was broken up. These poor people were confident, because the Caldeans were withdrawn and the Siege raised, they should be in danger no more. It may be we say, the storm is over, the Bill is much decreased: but alas it may increase again, and be yet more sore than it hath [Page 48]been. Thus, I say, if Christ be not ad­vanced in thee, possibly thou mayest not yet escape this Judgment. Or, 3dly, if not by this Judgment, God can meet with thee by others; he hath reserves of Judgments of divers kinds, and can easily and quickly meet with them that are not in the frames they should be; as God saith of Moab, Isa. 15.8. For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab; the howling thereof unto Eg­laim, and the howling thereof unto Beer-Elim. For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood: for I will bring more upon Dimon, lyons upon him that escapeth of Moab, and upon the rem­nant of the Land. God had been dealing with the Moabites in some way of Judge­ment, and there was some of them remain­ing, but though they had been emptyed from vessel to vessel, their scent still re­mained, and now God saith he will come forth with another stroke. God hath every thing at his command, and he can commis­sion another Dispensation; but let me tell you, it is sad if after thus long being under the hand of God, Christ be not advanced more in your hearts. And this leads me to the third Use of the Point.


If it be a blessed effect of Slaughtering-Judgements upon them that have escaped, to have Christ become more glorious; what shall we think of those, who though they out-live a day of sad Calamity, yet Christ is become more contemptible in their eyes? who instead of being brought near unto Christ, are at a greater distance from Christ: It is verily a sad consideration, that such should be the conclusion of such a Provi­dence upon the hearts and spirits of any; but yet I fear thus it is with more then a few. Paul (2 Tim. 3.13.) tells us, that evil men and Seducers shall wax worse and worse: It is the doom that passeth oft times upon evil men, that let the dealings of God with them be what they will, they are the worse under them; wanting the help of the Spirit of Grace to manage and improve them for good, they grow into a worse and more evil frame by them. All the goodness, the gracious deal­ings of God, they are peculiarly directed to win upon the heart, to bring Christ and Souls nearer together; this is hinted in Rom. 2.4. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance, and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repen­tance: [Page 50]We are to interpret the end of Gods kindness to be for the bringing the heart to bow, and stoop, and fall at the Foot of Jesus Christ; in case it have not this issue, what issue else it produces will certainly be very sad, namely the setting Souls at a greater di­stance from Christ, and plunging them into a condition worse then they were in before; and so it is added, vers. 5. Thou treasurest up unto thy self wrath against the day of wrath: thou by this means raisest up greater displea­sure between him and thy Soul. If you say Are there any that really have lower thoughts of Christ after they have escaped a day of Distress, then before? I answer, it is to be feared too many; and where you find one or more of these marks I shall lay down, you may conclude that such persons, though Christ hath dealt very tenderly with them, and not swept them away in a day of destru­ction, as he might have done, yet Christ is become more contemptible in their ac­counts then he was before.

1. Where you find a spirit more sence­less and stupid, more sottish and secure then before; such a one is really set at a greater distance from Christ then before. Some there are, it is much to be feared, that having survived this day of distress, begin now to look upon themselves as out of reach, as if [Page 51]no future danger could possibly attend them, growing hard hearted, and exceeding secure after those dealings of the Lord under which they have fallen; such Souls and Christ are farther apart then they were wont to be: Isa. 57.15. the Spirit of God tells you, Christ dwells in the humble heart, and with a broken Spirit: Now according as you find a heart melted, and broken, and said low, put into a tender frame; so far Christ makes his ap­proaches towards the Soul, and comes to be esteemed by it; but according as you find the spirits of men grow into a hardness, in­sensibility, and security, by so much you may conclude Christ is set at a distance from, and dis-esteemed by such Souls: and O that there were not many sensible proofs of a ve­ry insensible Spirit in many poor Creatures, who yet are allowed a being upon the Earth. If that be allowed to be a sign of security which Christ himself tells us was a sign of it, Mat. 24.38. For as in the days that were be­fore the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the Ark, and knew not till the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be: ob­serve it, Noah was in his days a Preacher of Righteousness, he warned the People of Judgement to come; the People were ex­ceeding [Page 52]stupid, not in the least prevailed up­on; and what was a proof of it? They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, then at a more then ordinary rate; therefore it was an argument, what ever was said unto them, or whatever God intended, they were not much awakened: If that were a sign of stupidity then, so it is now surely, and gives a great deal of reason to conclude that Christ hath not gotten, but ra­ther lost upon many of the hearts of those that have escaped.

2. Where persons are more desperately and eagerly set upon their lusts, there you may conclude Christ is become more con­temptible then he was. There is such a di­rect contrariety between sin and Christ, that by how much the more a man grows in love with sin, by so much the more he must grow out of love with Christ: Rom. 8.7. The car­nal mind is enmity against God, for it is not sub­ject unto the Law of God, neither indeed can be: Now by how much the more men grow more carnal, by so much their enmity against Christ is increased and improved. Sinne doth not onely harden mens hearts, but it al­so blinds and shuts mens eyes; and by how much the more a man plungeth himself in sin and gives up himself to the service of it, by so much you may conclude his mind is blin­ded, [Page 53]and his eyes shut from seeing that glo­ry and beauty that is eminently found in the Lord Jesus Christ: The more a man sets himself in the way of sin, the more he is un­der the power of Satan; and where Satan rules as a Prince, what doth he? 2 Cor. 4.4. the Apostle saith, The God of this World he blinds the minds of men. And from this you may gather, if you can observe that men that are preserved this day, their hearts are not in the least taken out of those ways of sin in which they did walk, but are rather set with greater eagerness to fulfil the desires of the flesh and of the mind; you may, without breach of Charity, conclude those persons are more blinded, and less able to see any beauty and excellency in this Branch of the Lord then before. Onely we will hope, if this spirit be found upon any, that it is but, as the Apostle saith sometimes concerning the Jews, Rom. 11.7. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the Election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded; We will hope that if there be any that are the more hardened and blinded by this gracious Dispensation of Preservation, it is not the Elect that are blinded, but those that are given up, which the Lord intends not to look after in any gracious way: We will hope for any that have any interest in [Page 54]the Lord Jesus, that he hath not, nor will leave them to such a spirit.

3. If you find any more at enmity with the People of Christ, then before, you may conclude Christ is more contemptible in their eyes then he was before: Mind not what men talk; do not heed mens grasping after the name of Christians, and talking of Christ as a Saviour; but know that men may speak of Christ, as the whole Nation doth, and other Nations do, and yet have no more real love to him, then those that never heard of Christ: It is a very notable Scripture, Jer. 12.2. Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root; they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins. It may be well with a People, they may be in an outward prospe­rous condition, they may be flourishing, and speak much of Christ, and boast of him; and yet Christ may not have one inch of their Hearts. But you shall judge whether really men be for Christ or no, by their dealings with his People: if you find their enmity against the Saints grow, let their boast be as it will, instead of discovering glory in Christ, they are become more at enmity with Christ then they were. Let me allude, at least, to that word, 1 John 5.1. Every one that loves him that begat, loveth him that is begotten of [Page 55]him: It is spoken concerning the Father and Christ; men will say they love God, why says John, You cannot, unless you love Christ; for he that loveth him that begetteth, loveth him also that is begotten: So say I of Saints; Do you love Christ? if so, you love them that are begotten of him. To which I might adde a fourth, and that is this:

4. Doubtless there is cause, at least, to fear that the Branch of the Lord is not be­come glorious to those escaping ones who have endeavoured to hinder the efficacy and force of this dispensation, upon the hearts of poor Creatures: I will tell who I think are some way culpable herein; they that have covered the dealings of Christ; if there be, as is shrewdly suspected, any that have hid this present Work of God upon us, and not let us know it in its full ex­tent & latitudeIt was feared some 1000's were kept out of the weekly Bills; it will cer­tainly lie upon their score that have stood in the way of Christs Work, and hindered that effi­cacy it might have had upon the hearts of poor Creatures. But to all or any of those that are rather at a greater distance from Christ, than brought nearer to Christ, I shall onely say in brief, that it is worth the minding. God considers what influence and [Page 56]effect his dealings have upon the hearts of men; when a Judgement is on their Backs, the Lord considers whether it work any good effect upon them, or no; as in 2 Chron. 28.22. it is said of Ahaz, That in the time of his distress, he did trespass against the Lord yet more; this is that King Ahaz: God notes especially that under his hand a person be­came worse and worse; and there is such a mark put upon him, as is scarce put upon any in Scripture, This is that King Ahaz, that Ahaz that became worse in a day of distress. God also strictly observes how his kindness works, in that fore-cited place, Rom. 2.4. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repen­tance? Observe the long-suffering of God, and his forbearance, that is, in not cutting down his poor creatures when he hath them at some kinde of advantage, as in a day of common Calamity; if God spares them then, he manifests his riches of Grace and Goodness towards them; and if it be not answered with some suitable walking, how doth the Lord interpret such a neglect? He says they despise it. And to end this Use, let me take up some passages in that first of the Proverbs; it is said, vers. 24. I have cal­led, and you have refused; I have stretched out [Page 57]my hand, and no man regarded: The Lord calls by his Word, and he calls by his Rod: He calls by his gentle dealings; his kinde usage, his preserving in a day of Calamity, is as much a Call, as the Calamity it self; and he saith unto them that answer not this Call, and do not improve it aright, vers. 26. I will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh. They that are for a time unaffected, may have a time to be in distress, when they may stand in need of kindness to be shewed unto them, though they are pre­served and kept alive. Vers. 32. The turn­ing away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them: If men turn away from the Calls of God, not an­swering his expectation, either under Preser­vations, or his more severe dealings, their turning away shall slay them, and their prosperi­ty shall destroy them. Some think, it may be, because they are yet in prosperity, there is no farther hazard: but God saith their pro­sperity shall prove their destruction, and bring forth Consequences, more sad it may be, then any of which they were afraid in the day when distress hung over their heads. That is what I would say to the third Use from this point. A fourth Use is this:


If the Lord should be beautiful and glori­ous unto those that escape, I would here ap­ply my self unto a Soul that may be tender and jealous over it self, and fear lest after its escape Christ should not be rendered glo­rious unto it as he ought. Some there are that take no pains to consider how things are, and whether they go well or ill, that is not the thing that much engages their hearts: others are jealous over their Spirits, know­ing something the treachery of their hearts, they are always apt to doubt and fear. A Soul that knoweth how precious Christ ought to be, and beautiful in its eye, fears lest after such kindness received from Christ, it should not see that beauty in him, nor be taken with him as it ought: May this be the case of any one of us at present? I would speak four or five things that may be season­able and helpful to the Soul in this case.

1. Such is the Glory and Beauty of Christ, that no Soul under Heaven is able to see him in all his Glory, nor to admire him accor­ding to all those blessed Perfections where­withal Christ is cloathed. That expression may be heeded by you, Ephes. 3.8. where the Apostle, speaking of Christs glory, calls it, [Page 59] The unsearchable Riches of Christ; it is an Ocean without a bottom, that cannot be fa­thom'd by him that searches into it most ac­curately and exactly; it is like the Mines, the bottom of whom is not found out, though men have digged in, and fetched Treasure from them, for a long time together: Let not a poor Heart think it is at present in a capacity of valuing of Christ according to all his Worth and Excellency, for that the Soul cannot fully know. What is spoken of God, I may allude to, and apply to Christ, Job 11.7. Canst thou by searching finde out God? canst thou find out the Almighty to per­fection? it is as high as Heaven, what canst thou do? deeper then Hell, what canst thou know? the measure thereof is longer then the Earth, and broader then the Sea: Such are the glorious Perfections of this Branch of the Lord, should we measure and guess at him according to the excellency found in a­ny created being, alas it would be infinitely short; there is in Christ that Excellency that doth exceed and much out-do whatever glory is found upon any thing our eyes be­hold. Shall I say, As Solomon in his glory did out-shine the glory of all the Princes that were on earth in his time, so, and infinitely more, doth the glory of Christ out-do what­ever our eyes behold, or whatever our hearts [Page 60]can conceive of? and in our searching into his perfections, we may come to do as the Queen of Sheba did, when she beheld the glory of Solomon, she gave this testimony, What she had heard was true: So may we give this testimony of Christ, That what we have heard of his Perfections, there is all in him, nay, the one half was not told us: and if the Queen of Sheba was amazed, at standing before Solomons glory, how much more may we at Christs, although we cannot see him in all his Perfections. Thou canst not know him at present in this life, accor­ding to all that Glory with which he is cloa­thed.

2. If thou that art escaped art jealous that Christ is not become beautiful enough unto thee; Remember that the highest pitch unto which the Soul can come in this life, is, to desire to see more of that beauty that is in him: The highest pitch in any thing that is good in this life, is to desire to be better: The Desires of the Soul do out-go in this life any Acts that it is able to put forth. David, in the case of Holiness, the highest pitch of his Holiness is expressed in his desire, Psalm 119.5. O that my Ways were directed to keep thy Statutes! he did keep them in some measure, but the highest pitch unto which he got, was to desire to keep them better: so [Page 61]also Psal. 68.11. Teach me thy ways, O Lord, I will walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy Name: he was sensible that his heart did in some things wander from God, he did not fear him as he should, but the high­est of his attainment lay in his desires. Paul was a man very excellent in his day, and doubtless did know and enjoy much of Christ, yet the highest pitch he attained, was large­ness of heart, and workings of desire, exprest in Phil. 3.13. This one thing I do, forgetting the things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those things that are before, I press towards the mark, for the price of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus: the desires of his heart were large. And so the Spouse hath an high esteem of Christ, she expresses the value she hath of him at a great rate, Cant. 2.3, 4. As the Apple-Tree among the Trees of the Wood, so is my Beloved among the Sons; I sat down un­der his shaddow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet unto my taste; stay me with Flaggons, comfort me with Apples, for I am sick of love: her heart was much taken with Christ, seeing a great deal of Beauty in him; but you shall see her desires did out-do any act she could put forth; and therefore (Cant. 4.16.) she says, Awake, O North Wind, and come thou South, blow upon my Garden, that the Spices thereof may flow out: she would have her [Page 62]heart enlarged, her Graces acted more strongly. Now Soul, take in this for thy comfort, it is a good frame that thou desirest to prize Christ more, and have this Branch of the Lord more glorious in thy account, though thou canst not put forth such acts as thou wouldest: Remember thou art in that frame that the best of Saints have been in.

3. Consider this, thou that art escaped, and fearest that the Branch of the Lord is not become so glorious as it should be; Re­member that jealousie over thy heart, is a good sign, and gives some hope that Christ hath gotten some ground upon thee: The wise man, Prov. 14.15. saith, The simple believeth every word, but the prudent man looks well to his going: Some are so simple to be­lieve every good word their hearts speak; if they find any thing that looks like good, they are apt to conclude that all is right: there­fore the wise man (Prov. 28.14.) saith, Hap­py is the man that feareth always: I apply it unto this; It is a good thing sometimes to bear a jealousie, a constant jealousie over the heart, lest it should not be wrought up to that pitch it ought. The Author to the He­brews gives us a warrant for holy jealousies and fears, lest we should fall short: They that have been most confident of the good­ness of the frame of their spirits, have some­times [Page 63]been in none of the best: Jehu cries, Come see my Zeal for the Lord of Hosts, when he had not one grain of true Zeal for the Lord of Hosts in him.

4. Thou that wouldest have this Branch of the Lord glorious, if thy heart work real­ly this way; Know this, thou art accepted in this thy desire: It will pass for a good improvement of this mercy of thy Escape. I confess some things there are, which I find the Lord is angry at; He loves not to see souls sit down satisfied and pleased in ways of sin, therefore he doth reflect upon them, Psal. 1.1. that sit in the seat of the scornful; he is much angry with them that can conten­tedly take up in ways of sin, and therefore you find him falling foul upon them that harden their hearts in ways of sin, and also with those that content themselves with lit­tle measures of Grace, when they have means to rise up unto greater: He rebukes the Disciples, Mat. 8.26. for the littleness of their Faith, O ye of little Faith; he up­braids them with the littleness of their Faith, because he had long been with them himself, as he doth hint unto them after­wards; Have I been so long with thee, and yet thou hast not known me? But this observe also, That where there is but a lesser mea­sure of Grace, if the heart be really work­ing [Page 64]after more, it is accepted, and Christ re­ceives it with good will: The best instance I know in the whole Bible, is that in Mark 9.23, 24. where the Father of a Child pos­sessed with a dumb Spirit comes unto Christ for cure; Christ tells him, All things are pos­sible unto him that believeth, and straight­way he cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief: he had a little Faith, and desired more; therefore you find Christ doth not reject his little, but hears him, and calls unto the dumb Devil to come forth of his Child: So if thou complainest that Christ is not exalted in thy heart to any great degree, but thou longest he should be more; believe it, it shall be accepted: as it is said in another case, 2 Cor. 8.12. If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted, according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not: Thus if really thou wouldest have Christ become more glorious unto thee, thou mayst be accepted in this which thou hast, and it shall not be charged upon thee that thou art wanting in that which thou yet hadst not. Under the Law, when a Thank-Offering was to be returned, and the Soul to admire the Lord in some kindness received, he that could bring but two Turtle Doves, and two young Pigeons, if that were the most they had, and the best they could bring, [Page 65]it was accepted as well as those that brought the greatest Offerings; their hearts were enlarged, it is like, to bring more: So though thou hast but little, if thou desirest more, thy little will be accepted, though but two Tur­tle Doves, or two young Pigeons.

5. Thou that wouldest prize Christ more, know this, That the Lord will increase that Grace in thee; and thou shalt be able to prize him at a greater rate: The Lord direct your hearts into the Love of God, 2 Thes. 3.5. it is the Lord that must direct thee into the Love of Christ, and he will do it, if thy heart be really working that way; if thou dost prize him as much as thou canst, he will help thee to prize him more. Prov. 3.9, 10. Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase; so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst with new Wine: If thou dost with the first and best of thy strength, endeavour to honour the Lord, he will encrease thy strength, and communicate unto thee abun­dantly. And that is what I shall say to the fourth Use.


To any such Soul as can say it is escaped, and the Branch of the Lord is become glo­rious unto it; I fear these Souls go into a [Page 66]little room, there are but few of that sort, yet here and there some I confidently be­lieve there are. I would all to whom this Book may come, might say they find their Escaping-Mercy hath been seconded with such an effect. In a word, and but a word or two, to this sort of persons: Ah what is thy mercy, O Soul! an Escape, and the good of it too, this is Mercy indeed! to be deli­vered from the pit of Corruption, and to be delivered in love to thy Soul; What is thy Duty? Truly,

1. To admire the faithfulness of the Lord, in keeping Covenant with thee; It is a spe­cial Blessing and Promise of the New Cove­nant, That God will not shew his People kindness onely, but will also give them the good of that kindness that he sheweth to them. To be saved in a day of Distress, and thy spirit bettered also, look on it as a mer­cy more then Preservation, without which thy Preservation might have been imbitter­ed unto thee: O celebrate his praises, as a God that keeps Covenant and Mercy, and will not alter the good word that he hath spoken to thee.

2. Let this incourage thee to press after prizing Christ more; as Paul speaking of the Corinthians, You love the Lord Jesus, see you abound yet more and more; so say I, O la­bour [Page 67]to abound more and more: Let this goodness by which you are brought to prize him, engage you to prize him more and more.

3. Communicate thy Experience unto trembling Saints, speak to them of his gra­cious dealings unto thee, that their hearts may be incouraged to trust in him: Come, saith David, and I will tell you what the Lord hath done for my Soul: We have experience, every one of us, of what God hath done up­on our Bodies, O let us be careful to shew forth his praise. That is what I shall say unto the fifth Use. Again,


I might speak a word to another sort of persons: If escaping a Day of Calamity should cause a Soul to see a greater Beauty in Christ, what should it work upon them on whom the Calamity is fallen, and yet are escaped? There are many such, if you that read what I have written, meet with them, and know them, you may do well to give them a little account of what may be spo­ken in such a case: How should that kind­ness be admired, when poor Creatures have had Bodies full of pain, Spirits full of fear, looking the King of Terrours in the face e­very [Page 68]moment; poor Creatures that it may be would have given, had they had it, all the world, to have been assured they should have been raised from their Bed, and set upon their Feet; poor Creatures that it is like were sequester'd from company, whose case was like that of David, Psal. 38.11. My Lo­vers and my Friends stand aloof from my sore, and my Kinsmen stand afar off: Now that the Lord should be with and look after them, in such a time, and raise them, this should have such effects as such a mercy had once upon Hezekiah, Isa. 38.15. I shall go softly all my years, in the bitterness of my Soul; that is, I shall retain a sence of the bitterness that was upon my Soul, and in that sence I shall go softly; the man that walks softly, step by step, he goes heedfully and carefully, and mindes every step he takes; so should such poor Souls walk, that have been delivered from such hazard and bitterness of Soul; they should walk warily the rest of their time: To which, two things may much en­gage.

1. That certainly the Escape, in such a case, is thorow Christ: I am satisfied in this, That this Judgement of the Plague, as other Diseases, hath in it natural Causes, and natural Means are helpful to deliver from it; but as it is in other cases, whatever [Page 69]natural Causes there are to further any Dis­ease upon the Body of Man, the Lord hath a hand in it, and makes use of those natural Causes; and so whatever Means are useful for recovery in any case, the blessing and ef­ficacy of it depends upon the Lord; so it is in this case also very eminently, that a Soul may say as it is said Isa. 38.16. O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my Spirit; some read the words, They shall live for whom the Lord is, which is a great variation from our Translation: They shall live for whom the Lord is; that is, whose protection he is, and whom he stands by.

2. If Christ be not glorious to such a Soul, he can bring a worse evil upon them; John 5.14. Go away, sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee: God can bring a worse thing upon a Creature then the Plague, he can make death to be chosen rather then life; as you have it, Jer. 8.3. And death shall be cho­sen rather then life, by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, &c.


Should a souls escaping publick Calamity, render Christ the more glorious? Surely it should have this effect upon those into whose Walls it came, into whose House it entered, [Page 70]and yet it may be their Persons not touched but have been preserved, though Death was gotten within their Walls. This hath been the case of many; if of any here, it should strike deep upon the heart, and make us sen­sible how much we owe unto Christ; how glorious should He become unto us! what defence was the security of a poor Creature in such a time? it was not Walls, it was not distance of place, but the hand of Christ: doubtless it hath been unto many something according to that word, Luk. 7.34, &c. There shall be two in one Bed, the one shall be taken, and the other left: Two in one Family there have been, it may be, the one taken, the o­ther left; yea, possibly two in one Bed, the one taken, the other untouched; this hath been a Case of rich Mercy, and certainly should engage the Soul much to prize him: Psal. 107.14, 15. O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, for his wonderful works to the children of men! Doubtless such a Soul must say as David, It was compassed a­bout with the shadow of Death; it was in a state of darkness, an uncomfortable time to them whose Persons were possibly untouch­ed, and a wonderful work of God it was to keep one, while others were cut down. Now this should work up the heart to admire the Lord.


But then in the eighth place, If every e­scaping-One should see that Christ is be­come glorious unto him; How should it be with those whose Houses were compassed possibly round about, and Death very near them, but yet the hand of God entered not into their Walls? My Brethren, it is promi­sed as a peculiar favour, Psal. 91.10. No Plague shall come nigh thy dwelling: It is something not to have it come unto thy per­son, and not to have it come into thy dwel­ling, that neither thy self, nor any within thy Wall, have a hair of their heads touched; nay, possibly thou hast been within the hear­ing of the cryings and groans of dying ones, doubtless many have; and when They have cried for a little longer time, to be intrusted with a little more liberty in this World, for Eternity, and everlasting Concernments, it hath been denied Them, but granted unto Thee and Me; and when the hand of God hath been round about, it hath not come within thy Door; Oh who hath been the Keeper of thy door and mine! When ma­ny have been in the bitterness of their Souls bemoaning the loss of this and that Relati­on; Parents, of Children; Children, of [Page 72]Parents; some Husbands and Wives wail­ing and lamenting for one another: What mercy is it that a Soul can say, It is well with me and mine, that no evil hath come nigh them! I tell thee Soul, these are things that should exceedingly engage thy heart to Christ, and should prevail much to the set­ting him up in thy Soul. This should be the resolution of every one partaking in this mercy, To use it for the exalting of Christ.


A Use to those that Christ hath carried from place to place, and so have been pre­served: Think not thy self the less indebted unto Christ, for his kindness towards thee; He is to be as glorious unto such, as to any: let it not lessen the mercy, that thou hast not seen the dismal sight, and heard the doleful cries of them into whose Windows Death hath entred. I know we are apt not to be affected, or at least very little, with things that our eyes do not see, and our ears hear; but that is an evil frame: and certainly though our abode may not have been in the time of this Distress, in the heat of it, in the midst of it; yet we owe our preservation unto Christ, as much as any, and ought to see that it have influence upon us as much as any; and that,

1. Considering it doth not lessen but heighten the mercy, that thou art not onely preserved from falling, but from partaking in that bitterness and trouble of spirit that hath certainly born down many who have lived in the heat of this Distress. Days of Slaughter and Calamity, are days of heart-trouble to them that are preserved in the midst of them; Jer. 30.5, 6. For thus saith the Lord, We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace; ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travel with Child; where­fore now do I see every man with his hands on his loyns, as a woman in travel, and all faces are turned into paleness? It is spoken with re­spect to some that lived in times and places when and where slaughtering-Judgements were abroad; and they that were alive, what was the horror & perplexity of their spirits! Do not think, Soul, but thou art the more engaged to Christ, that he hath graciously carried thee out of the sight and noise of those direful out-cries: Many can say, We could hardly pass the Streets but meet with Coffins, and hear the cries and complaints of Friends bereft of their Relations; bless the Lord, that he kept thee from the hearing of this: Not but that Christ can make the hearing and seeing such things, turn greatly to advantage; but yet it is a piece of ten­derness, [Page 74]if Christ will do the Soul good at some cheaper rate.

2. Consider thou couldst not have found shelter any where, had not Christ led thee thither: as it is not good to go without Christs leading us, nor could we have gone any where, if the Lord had not made our way for us: Prov. 6.9. A mans heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps: Ma­ny were considering whither to go, and what to do, and laid their designs, but if the Lord did not order their steps, they could do no­thing. You have a notable word, Job 3.23. Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in? Job was in­compassed with sad distresses, and he would fain have gotten out of them, but saith he, My way is hid, (he knew not whither to fly) I am hedged in, I must stay by it. This hath been the case of many, their ways have been hedged in; and he could have hedged in thee and me, if so it had pleased him: and therefore if you and I have been carried un­to places where we have been preserved, let us admire the goodness of the Lord: Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord; but he could not, the Lord hindred him. To which adde also,

3. Christ could have found thee with the Sword, wheresoever thou hadst gone: there­fore [Page 75]let not thy preservation at a distance rob Christ of his honour, but see his hand in it, and know that it hath been his work; and see that he be thereby rendered more beauti­ful and comely in thine Eyes.


A tenth Use may be to Sinners that are escaped; You are preserved, it's true, and Christ, this Branch of the Lord, should be glorious unto you: If thou art yet in a state of sin, I would say unto thee four or five things:

1. Though thou art escap'd, Christ is not be­come glorious unto thee: a Soul in its natu­ral condition seeth no Glory and Beauty in Christ; it is the work of Faith that opens the Eyes to see Christs Glory and Excellen­cy, 1 Pet. 2.7. To you that believe he is preci­ous: Though it be thy Duty, thou canst not live up to it; thy Eyes are blind, fast closed, and the Glory of Christ is not discerned by thee: this therefore is thy misery, thou hast not answered the Lords expectation in this eminent preservation. Sinners cry as they, Isa. 53.2. We see no form nor comliness in him, nor Beauty, for which we should desire him: the Sinners Eyes are fast closed, that though this be thy Duty, thou canst not see it. Nor

2ly. Canst thou interpret thy Preservation to be out of good will to thee: Rom. 8.28. All things shall work together for good unto them that love God; but thou dost not love the Lord, nor art thou the Called of the Lord, thou art still in thy sin, and for the present canst not interpret this dispensation to be in kind­ness: what may be in the heart of God, what secret purpose he may have, how he may design hereafter to bring thee near un­to himself, thou canst not tell, it is hidden for the present; and yet thou canst not see there is any good intended thee in thy pre­servation: and this is sad, it exceedingly robs the Soul of the sweetness of such a dis­pensation, when it cannot be took to be in kindness. And

3ly. If thou art a Sinner, thou wilt use thy preservation to a wrong end: Sinners, if they ask mercy, it is usually to wrong ends; and if they receive mercies, they improve them sinfully; Psal. 78.18. They tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust; they asked a mercy, but it was for their lust, and they did as sadly improve it, vers. 28, 29, 30. And he let it fall in the midst of their Camp, so they did eat, and were well filled, for he gave them their own desire; they were not estranged from their lust, but while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came [Page 77]upon them, &c. Thus it will be with thee, Soul, if thou art yet in thy Sin; it is true, thou art preserved, but it will be to a farther misery; thou hast asked it to sinful ends, and wilt use it sinfully, and so bring a curse upon thy self. This is the misery of a poor Soul in sin, he spoils his Mercies, and brings down the wrath of God upon himself. To which add,

4ly. If thou remainest in sin, the time is coming when thou wilt certainly give a sad accompt of this mercy thou hast received, and wilt really fall under a dispensarion much more sad then that from which thou art now delivered: Christ will come in flaming fire, and render vengeance unto them that know not God, nor obey the Gospel of Christ, the great intent of which, is the exalting of Christ. Now when by all means thou hast not been provoked to answer this end; what will the result and issue of all be, but the rendring vengeance unto thee, and the wrapping thee up in eternal misery? I would therefore say unto a Soul in sin, What wilt thou do? thou art a dying creature; though thou hast esca­ped this storm, and art in safety to day, Eternity will soon come upon thee: Ah what wilt thou do? Soul, thy great work ly­eth in two things, I will but even name them: First, Go unto the Lord, that he [Page 78]would open thy eyes to see thy own misery, and Christ in his glory, that he would anoint thine Eyes with his Eye-salve, that may cause the scales of ignorance to fall from them, so as that thou mayst see thy self and Christ, aright: Secondly, Beg that thou mayst have a heart to give up thy self to Christ, that the glory thou seest in him, may make thee restless until thou hast taken hold of him, without which thou canst not walk comfortably, though thou art preserved, nor canst thou cheerfully look another time of trouble in the face, and much less that time when thou shalt be going to thy long home.


One Use more: Should the Branch of the Lord be glorious unto Escaping Ones? It then adviseth all earnestly to press after such a Spirit: I have two or three things to say, by way of motive, and so proceed to the se­cond Note or Doctrine.

1. Consider what a Preservation it is thou hast; it is not thy Estate, thy Liberty, thy Name, but thy Life; and Skin for Skin, and all that a man hath, will he give for his Life: If thou sayest as Job, What is my life, that I should hope? If I live, I may live in trouble, Distress is like to attend the Servants of God; [Page 79]therefore why should I make such reckoning of my life? To that I say, It is true, distress may be the portion of the Lords People; yet thy Life is a mercy; thou mayst out-live, or live above the distresses of the People of God; or, at least, while thou hast life, thou hast hope, and time, and an opportunity to get into more intimate acquaintance with Jesus Christ, to be at work about thy ever­lasting concernments, for which reason mainly life is to be valued; It is thy Life that is given thee for a prey: and this should make thee greatly to value and prize the Lord Jesus, that gives thee such preserva­tion.

2. Consider how many, of Spirits more excellent, of Hearts more enlarged, of grea­ter use in their places, that have been more serviceable unto Christ and his Interest, then thou hast been, have yet fallen, and thou preserved: Should not this mercy wonder­fully affect thine heart? Yea,

3. Take this, that the more thou seest of the Glory of Christ, and the more he gains in esteem upon the Soul, the more the Soul doth gain; it is gain, yea great gain, great riches for the Soul to improve in its esteem of Christ: Is not Christ the great thing the Gospel presents, that every Soul should be seeking after? Now the more thou hast of [Page 80]him in thy heart, the more thou hast of true Treasure, of Riches that are truly so called. To which add,

4. That if Christ do not become glorious unto us, the time is hastening when he will be glorious in the esteem of others: He will have glory, no thanks unto us. Certainly it is not long, but Christ will make himself glorious, and get himself a Name and Praise; and all these slaughtering Providences they do but tend to that end. Christ is at work, though in the dark as to us, and we cannot see his out-goings; yet he is really working out his own advancement, and will make all these end in his own glory: Which leads me unto the second Doctrine from the Words.

The Second Doctrine.

That the Issue of all Slaughtering-Judgements shall be the making Christ glorious; and that glory that shall be put upon the Head of Christ, shall tend to the Good and Benefit of those of Israel that shall escape the Slaughter.

THis Truth lieth as plainly in the Words as may be; and for the prosecution of it, I shall propound this plain method:

First, To shew you that in days of slaugh­ter all the Israel of God may not escape: Some of them may, but others may fall.

Secondly, That the result of the slaugh­ter, whoever stands or falls, shall be for the raising up Christ and his glory, for the get­ting him a Name.

Thirdly, I shall endeavour to shew you what glory shall be brought to Christ in the end and issue of the slaughters that shall be made in the World. And

Fourthly, That all the glory that shall be put upon the head of Christ, shall be in mercy [Page 82]unto those of Israel that out-live and escape the Distresses that shall break in upon the World. And then

Fifthly, The Application will follow.

First, To begin then with the first, viz. That in days of slaughter all the Israel of God possibly may not escape; some of them may fall to the ground: That is clearly intimated in the Text, The Branch of the Lord shall be glo­rious to THEM that ARE escaped of Israel; strongly holding out to us, that some among Israel may fall. I need say nothing to confirm this Truth, but onely refer you to our sad experience this day: I might bid you go round unto all the Churches of Christ in and about the great City, and ask them how it hath fared with the Saints of God this day; doubtless you will find every of them rec­koning up their Slain, and those that have fallen by the Sword of the Angel: I might bid you go unto every Soul that knows God in truth, in and about this City, and see what account they will give you; I am perswa­ded you would find almost every of them making some or other sad complaint for the loss of such and such a Christian Friend, and such a one that feared the Lord, with whom they had much intimacy and acquaintance: this is the general cry among the Saints this [Page 83]day. But a little, that these proceedings of God may not startle you; you shall finde some footsteps of like dealings in the days of old, that God hath not walked in an un­trodden path, but a course he hath sometimes taken in days and times past. Sometimes in Scripture you find the Lord threatning of, and cutting down onely the Uncircumcised Ones, the profane Nations and People of the earth; thus Ezek. 32. you have a long Catalogue of the dreadful Judgements of God upon men uncircumcised, from ver. 20. to vers. 30. where he tells you that many of the barbarous Nations that knew not God, are gone down to the pit, being slain with the sword; and he concludes, vers. 30. There be the Princes of the North, all of them, and the Zidonians, which are gone down with the slain, with their terrour; they are ashamed of their might, and they lie uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword, and bear their shame with them that go down to the pit, &c. At other times you find the Lord dealing with his own People, as with the uncircumcised, and laying them together under the same Cala­mity and Distress; Jer. 9. is a famous in­stance, vers. 25. Behold, the days come saith the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised, with the uncircumcised: God tells us plainly there are such times in which [Page 84]his own People and others may fare alike; Calamities and Distresses may make no di­stinction; it may be in some measure unto the Saints as it is to the Sinners. You shall find the Lord in Scripture sometimes threa­tens as heavy things against his Israel, as a­gainst any, Jer. 14. the Prophet begins to beg mercy for Israel, O the Hope of Israel, ver. 8. the Saviour thereof in the time of trouble! why shouldst thou be as a Stranger in the Land, and as a way-faring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night? in which words he seems to in­timate that it would be a strange thing, a strange way of proceeding, if God should turn against his People; if thou art the Sa­viour of thy People, wilt thou yet turn thy hand against Israel, to whom thou hast been known as a Saviour? but God stopt the mouth of the Prophet, vers. 11, 12. Then said the Lord unto me, Pray not for this People for their good; when they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt-Offerings, and an Oblation, I will not accept them; but I will consume them by the Sword, by the Famine, and by the Pestilence: This very Israel unto whom God was sometimes known as a Savi­our, yet at this time he took up a resolution concerning them, that he would come out against them and consume them by his sore Judgements. So Ezek. 33. God threatens [Page 85]some that out-lived and escaped some Di­stresses, vers. 27. Thus saith the Lord God, As I live, surely they that are in the Wastes shall fall by the Sword, and him that is in the open Field will I give unto the Beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the Forts and in the Caves shall die of the Pestilence; This is spoken of Israel: And those of Israel that as yet were not carried away captive, God comes out a­gainst them with this purpose and determi­nation, that though they did remain and were preserved, they should at length fall. So Jer. 44.13. some there were that in the time of Israel's Captivity, fled into Egypt for re­fuge, and what says he? I will punish them that dwell in the Land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the Sword, by the Fa­mine, and by the Pestilence: observe, God sometimes punisheth Jerusalem, the Seat of his own People, with these great and sore Judgements: Sometimes if his own Peo­ple shall think to take Sanctuary, and re­fuge themselves here and there, it shall not avail, but the hand of the Lord shall over­take them. Let me tell you, not onely some of Gods Israel may fall by slaughter, but some of the principal of his People, some of the choice ones of the flock; Jer. 25.34, 35. Howl ye Shepherds, and cry, and wal­low your selves in the Ashes, ye principal of the [Page 86]Flock; for the dayes of your Slaughter, and of your Dispersion are accomplished, and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel, and the Shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the Principal of the Flock to escape. We are apt to say, when we see God terrible in his doings to the children of men, and terrible in his deal­ings to his own People, What do these things mean? We are ready to look upon such Providences as things uncouth, strange and unheard-of; but we finde it is not out of the course and method that God hath ob­served heretofore. So that I may conclude in respect of common calamity, it some­times falls according to that, Eccl. 9.2. All things come alike unto all: there is one event to the Righteous, and to the Wicked; to the Good, to the Clean, and to the Unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not. As is the Good, so is the Sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an Oath.

But if the Reason be demanded, How comes it to pass, and whence is it, that any of God's Israel should fall in times of slaughter?

1. Not to insist upon the Prerogative of God, (which might be the first thing) where­by he is Lord of all his Creatures, and his own People as well as others, and there­fore may dispense unto all according to the good-pleasure of his own Will.

2. In the second place; the ground of it may be this, viz. That God cannot keep his Covenant with his People sometimes at any cheaper rate, he cannot be faithfull sometimes to his Promise with his own People, unless he let them feel some smart­ing Rod, and taste of that Cup of which he makes his Enemies drink a full Draught; God by Covenant stands bound to purge out the folly that is bound up in the hearts of his Children; and truly sometimes lusts in the Soul are like rust in Iron, deeply eat in, and cannot well be gotten out without some severe and ruff usage.

3. But thirdly, The main Reason, the grand and principal Ground why some of Israel may perish in times of common Cala­mity is this; they sin as the world, and so God leaves them to suffer with, and as the world; their provocations are like the wic­keds, therefore he is pleased to suit out an external punishment, something like that that falls upon the rest of the world: the Lord saith, that sometimes the sin of his own People, is not onely as the sin of the world but greater; Jer. 5.28. They are waxen fat, they shine, yea they overpass the deeds of the wicked. It is spoken of God's Israel. The truth is, though the sin of Saints shall never damn them, they are in­terested [Page 88]in Christ, and there is no condem nation to them that are in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8.1. (and herein is much of the overflow­ing Grace of the new Covenant, that not­withstanding the sin of Saints may have some such provoking ingredients as the sin of sinners hath not, that yet sinners shall perish eternally under their sins, but the Saints shall not come into condemnation) yet I say the sin of a Saint may lay him un­der an external dispensation with the sin­ner: the Saints sin against such light as few sinners do, and such love as no sinner can, and that makes their provocation more pro­voking than the sins of sinners: When it is thus among the Lord's People, the Lord is pleased to let them; or some of them at least, to fall by sore slaughter. It is upon such a supposition that God threatens his People in Deut. 28.58. If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this Law that are written in this day, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful Name, THE LORD THY GOD: Then the Lord will make thy Plagues wonderful, and the Plagues of thy seed, even great Plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sickness, and of long continuance. The case supposed here is this, That God's People may not keep to the Law of the Lord, that they may not carry it like a people that [Page 89]know something of God, that they may not carry it as a people that know what dread there is in the Name JEHOVAH, (which is a Name that speaks the Great God able to meet with, & avenge himself on all them that walk not with him in Truth and Up­rightness) that they may not carry it as those that have intrest in the Lord: Intrest in the Lord doth not give a liberty unto sin, but is the greatest engagement unto Holiness, and souls may forget that Obligation under which they lie, those bonds of God that are upon them, that filial Child-like obe­dience which they are to render unto their Father, and upon such defects God threat­neth, as you have heard; Take his threat­ning in a few particulars, and you shall see what sin may bring upon the Lord's own People: he threatneth, first, Plagues, yea, all kind of Plagues, Judgements of every sort. 2dly, Such as should be wonderfull, that should be full of terrour and amaze­ment unto all that look upon them; as God sometimes speaks to his People, and tells them he will make them an astonishment to all round about them, yea such as should make them a wonder unto themselves. 3dly, He threatens they should lie under Plagues of long continuance, year after year: we are apt to think a judgment must be terminated [Page 90]to, and ended in such a space of time; but God can stretch it out upon his own, even for a long season. 4thly, All the Judge­ments of Egypt shall come upon them, all the Judgements they were afraid of, and proved a terrour unto their souls. 5thly, They might fall under such Judgements as they had not heard, or at any time read of before; he would create trouble to them: Certainly if it be according to that word, Lam. 3.33. that the Lord doth not afflict wil­lingly, nor grieve the children of men: though they are but the children of men, the Lord doth not easily afflict them, not at every turn contend with them, much less will he upon light and slight occasions contend with his own People, and the choicest of his own; but when he finds them under provocations he is pleased thus to break out against them. Observe that where you find God coming out to cut off his People by a slaugh­tering stroke, you shall find some notable provocation was the procuring cause, it was not for nothing; Deut. 28.21. The Lord shall make the Pestilence cleave unto thee, until he hath consumed thee from off the Land whither thou goest to possess it. It was spoken to Israel: upon what occasion? the 15th verse will tell you; But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the [Page 91]Lord thy God, to observe to do all his Command­ments, and his Statutes, which I command thee this day, that all these Curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. And so Ezek. 5.11, 12. Wherefore as I live, saith the Lord God, surely because thou hast defiled my San­ctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations; therefore will I also diminish thee, neither shall mine eye spare, nor will I have any pity. A third part of thee shall die by the Pestilence, and with Famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee, and a third part shall fall by the Sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and will draw out a Sword after them, &c. Here are dreadful threatnings, and it was upon great provocations; there were great turnings aside from God, cor­rupting his Worship, polluting his Sanctua­ry, the fire of God's jealousy burns hot about his Sanctuary; and if he find his People in the matter of his Worship corrupted, he breaks out against them with great severity: It was upon some such account David shun­ned the place, the high place at Gibeon, where the Plague was; he knew that he had deserved death, and therefore he could not go to Gibeon, for he was afraid because of the Sword of the Angel of the Lord, as you may see, 1 Chron. 21.28. I may allude to [Page 92]that, Ezek. 18.24. I know the words have another sense than that that is before me, but I allude to them only; and as he saith, When the Righteous turneth away from his Righteousness, and committeth Iniquity, and doth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doth, shall he live? all his righ­teousness that he hath done shall not be mention­ed: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned shall he die. So I may say, when the Saints of God turn into wayes of sinners, and act in like provoca­tions with them, in the sins they sin, and the trespasses that they commit, they may die, and the hand of the Lord may break out a­gainst them to the slaughtering of them, and cutting them down.

Obj. 1. If any shall object here and say, If the Saints may be slaughtered by, and fall in common Calamity, what profit hath the Jew then, and what advantage is there by Circum­cision? what advantage hath the Saint above and beyond the Sinner?

Answ. To that I answer; He hath ad­vantage many wayes; to name a few par­ticulars:

1. Though one of God's Israel may fall by a slaughtering Judgment, yet he is in the least danger of any one; he may fall as sin­ners do, but he is in the least danger; [Page 93]there is greater hope of his security than of those that know not God: The Saints have the Spirit of God to lead them into his way and work, and therefore are not so easily left to run into those sins that may provoke God to cut them off by such Judgments; all the Sons of God are led by the Spirit of God; Rom. 8.14. As many as are led by the Spirit of God are the Sons of God; & è con­tra: a blessed Promise the Lord doth make in that 25th Psalm unto his own People touching the guidance they shall have; ver. 12. What man is he that feareth the Lord, him shall he teach in the way that he shall chuse. God here engageth himself not to leave his People to themselves, to the ways and workings of their own hearts, but to direct them into his way; and when he hath them in his way, what then? ver. 13. his soul shall dwell at ease, or, as Junius tran­slates, his soul shall dwell in good; as if he should say, when I guide my People into my ways, than evil shall not easily overtake them; but they shall dwel and rest in good, and mercy shall compass them about; if they step out of Gods way, the Lord knows how to call them back again; Isa. 30.21. Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, say­ing, This is the way, walk ye in it. If the Saints have provoked God, there is a possi­bility [Page 94]for them to make their peace, that the difference may not grow to any great height; they may compound the difference, and make up the breach, by a spirit of mourning and humiliation; they may lye at the foot of the Lord, and abhor them­selves in dust and ashes, and so make up the breach: and to this work they are fitted in some measure through Grace; nay, they have a Friend in Heaven that intercedeth for them; and though they have provoked God, the difference may be by him so me­diated, that God may be stopped from com­ing forth in his hot Displeasure. I make no doubt but the Lord may say concerning ma­ny of his People, as he doth of Israel of old in Psal. 106.23. Therefore he said he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood be­fore him in the breach. Doubtless our Lord Jesus Christ, that Moses, he of whom Mo­ses was a type, and in this a great type, doth oftentimes step in between the Lord and his People, and make up the Breach, and divert that Wrath that otherwise would come down in dreadful Judgments, to the cutting them off the Earth.

2. Though a Saint may fall into a cala­mity, yet it is advantagious to be a Saint in such a day, for such a one, though he fall, he shall be supported in his fall, and the curse [Page 95]of the Judgment shall be taken off. God may chasten his People with a Rod, let loose the severest Judgments upon them. He may cut them down, but yet he must hold them by the hand; by Covenant he stands bound to give them strength for every tryal; and blessed Experiences there have been of this kind this day, of those Servants of God that have gone to their eternity by thou­sands; There are them that have left this Testimony, That God was with them in that hour; and though the Judgement in it self considered, had much of bitterness in it, yet God was pleased to sweeten it to them by an abundant sence of Divine Love: it is said, Psal. 149.5. Let the Saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud upon their bed. Some Saints are not only joyfull in Glory now they are with God, but have sung a­loud upon their sick and death-beds, on which they have been cast by this present Judgment of God, and declared to the praise of his Grace, that he did support and chear their inward man by the enjoyment of his blessed refreshing Presence in that needful hour; and truly the curse and sting of such a Dispensation is taken away from the Saints. Thus some interpr [...] that word Psal. 91.10. there shall no [...] come nigh their dwelling; that is, say [...], the Plague [Page 96]of the Plague shall not come nigh their dwelling; the curse of it shall not come, though the thing it self come, God will take off the curse, and that is the bitterness and sting of any affliction: Death comes upon every man, Saint and Sinner; on the Wicked it comes with a sting in its tayl, a curse with it, it is an inlet for them into eternal mise­ry, falling under the everlasting Displeasure of the glorious God; the Saint dyeth too, but the curse is taken off from him in his Death, his grave is his bed, where he rests in peace, and that stroke only opens a door unto him into his Father's presence. Isa. 57.2. They shall enter into peace, they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his up­rightness. So 1 Cor. 15.55. saith the Apo­stle, O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy Victory? The curse of Death is taken away from the Saint; So though the Saint fall in and under such a calamity, the sting of it is so taken out, that it is but a blessed passage unto him into Abraham's bosom.

3. It is yet worth while to be of Gods Is­rael in a time of Slaughter, though one should not escape the Slaughter, for this rea­son; That if a Soul go unto its Eternity by such a Slaughter, God will yet thereby glo­rifie himself [...]ore, and make the fall of his [Page 97]Servants of greater use then their standing on Earth could have been: be confident God resolveth to make the most of every one of his People; they are precious unto him, and shall not lightly fall to the Earth; but if they do fall, it shall be because he knows how to make their fall promote his glory: as in Martyrdom, the death of a Saint furthers the interest of Christ more then his living could do, and so it is here: God by this means vindicates his own Holiness, when he lets a Saint fall in a Calamity, he doth abundantly evidence his own Holiness; to the World, and let men see that if sin be found in his own, he will punish it, and that sharply, even to a temporal death; which is a high testimony of Gods purity and contra­riety unto all sin. A notable word you have Exod. 23.20, 21. Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared; be­ware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my Name is in him: Observe, the Angel here is the Lord Jesus, who hath the com­mand of Life and Death, he sometimes cuts off some of his own People, because sin is found upon them; he will not pardon, but he will cut off, and why? The Name of the Lord is upon him; he must vindicate Gods [Page 98]Honour, his Holiness, and for this end lets some of his People fall: And truly this is use enough that God makes of his People, if he pleaseth thus to deal with them. This in answer to my first Objection.

Obj. 2. But how is the fall of Gods People in a common Calamity, consistent with his Pro­mise of special Preservation? One such Pro­mise you have in that famous place, Psal. 91.9, 10. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my Refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, nor shall any Plague come nigh thy dwelling: and another such-like Promise you have, Deut. 7.15. And the Lord will take a­way from thee all Sickness, and will put none of the evil Diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them up­on all them that hate thee: How doth the Lords cutting off some of his People, consist with these Promises?

Answ. To that I answer: These Promises are conditional, as is evident, and if we keep not the condition annexed to those Pro­mises, God is not bound to fulfil them in the Letter: for that word in the 91st Psalm, No Plague shall come nigh their dwelling, I have hinted already, that it may be taken other­wise then just according to the letter; and where he saith, No Plague, it may be taken [Page 99]thus, The Plague of the Plague shall not come nigh thy dwelling; the Cause of it, and wrath it, shall not come into thy dwelling; but take it as a Promise of special particular pre­servation, and it is a Promise with a Condi­tion; the Condition is in the 9th vers. Be­cause thou hast made the Lord, which is my Re­fuge, even the most High, thy habitation: The Condition is abundance of Faith, living in, and living upon God; and a little Unbe­lief, one step awry in a way of Unbelief, may forfeit thy interest in, and good by this Promise, and that is soon done: It is a rare thing for a man to live in and upon the Lord, to make him our Habitation at all times: The Soul that doth not live up to the Con­dition, may forfeit the Mercy promised. As for that word, Deut. 7. it is a Promise on Condition also; the Condition of the Pro­mise you find, vers. 12. Wherefore it shall come to pass, if you hearken unto these Judge­ments, and keep and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the Covenant and the Mercy which he sware unto thy Fathers: but now if any of the Lords People be found tur­ning aside to crooked paths, the Lord may lead them forth with the Workers of Iniquity, to fall by the same stroke with them.

Obj. 3. If it be objected, But these Deal­ings are not suitable unto the ancient Dealings [Page 100]of God with his own People: for God hath some­times been wont to cut down Sinners but spare his Saints; Abraham hints so much in his pleading with God, Gen. 18.23, 24, 25. Wilt thou also destroy the Righteous with the Wicked? peradventure there be fifty Righ­teous within the City, wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty Righte­ous that are therein? that be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the Righ­teous with the Wicked; and that the Righ­teous should be as the Wicked, that be far from thee; should not the Judge of all the Earth do right? and also that Exod. 12.29, 30. where God cuts off the first-born of Egypt; from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his Throne, unto the first-born of the Captive that was in the Dungeon; but not a hair of the head fell from any in Israel, and he cuts them off by the Plague.

Answ. For answer to this, plainly thus: Let the Scriptures and Cases be rightly con­sidered, and you shall find the answer easie: In that case, Gen. 18. where Abraham pleads for Mercy for Sodom, because of the Righte­ous, he doth suppose though Sodom was a wicked place, there might be many found in Sodom, that did not fall in with the abomi­nations of that place, for which God was coming to destroy them; and by Righteous [Page 101]Ones, he may mean those that were free in agreat measure from the crying Abominati­ons for which God was coming to punish: Now if the People of God do stand clear from all those Abominations for which he contends with a People, then truly God will hardly cut them off; but if he find them com­mitting the sins for which he punisheth, he may then suffer them to fall among them that fall: This was the case in Egypt, God comes forth to execute Judgements upon the Oppressors of his People, the guilt was not in them, they were onely the Sufferers; therefore being free from the Sin, God ex­empts them from any part in the suffering: Which may be enough for answer to that Ob­jection.

Obj. 4. If it be said, But Israels Fall hath. disappointed the Faith of many of the Lords People; have not many of the Saints verily be­lieved that the Lords People should not have been touched, but God would distinguish between them and others?

Answ. To that I answer, That the confi­dence and expectation of some may be made void, but God will not fail the Faith of any; God fails no mans Faith, if his Faith do not fail. There is a vast difference between Confidence, Expectation, and Faith; Faith is a rare thing, a choice Plant, and I believe [Page 102]it doth not spring forth into act, even in the Garden of the Saints themselves, as we are apt to imagine; we many times think a groundless Confidence real Faith. You shall find the expectation of a People may be frustrated; Jer. 8.15. We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, but behold trouble: they did look for it, but such an expectation must not be called by the name of Faith: Let me tell you, That no­thing is Faith but that that is grounded upon a Word, Psal. 119.49. Remember thy Word unto thy Servant, on the which thou hast caused me to hope. It is very hard to find any word in Scripture, where God doth absolutely as­sure unto his People exemption in a slaugh­tering-Calamity, especially until Christ shall come forth to execute Judgement upon the Earth. Therefore there not being a word for such Faith, there cannot be a Faith of such a distinction: Though men may call their vain expectations by the name of Faith, they shall never find it to have Faiths Efficacy.

Obj. 5. If it be further said, That by the falling of Gods Israel, the Lord crosses and hin­ders his own design; he hinders the effect of the Judgement upon the Hearts of sinners; their hearts come by this means to be the more hard­ned, and they thence conclude it is not intended [Page 103]and directed specially against them; for, say they, The Good fall, as well as the Bad; and we are not intended more then others.

Answ. To that I answer: What if God will, for the hardning the hearts of Sinners, let some of his own fall? What if that shall be one part of Gods design in it, that their hearts may be hardened, and thereby they may be the more ripened for their utter ru­ine and destruction? If God have this de­sign in his heart, and will therefore be con­tent to let some of his fall in a Calamity, who are we that we should reply against God?

Obj. 6. If, in the sixth place, you should ask me, But what shall we say concerning those of Gods Israel that are fallen? must we conclude them all fallen in their trespasses, and cut off be­cause of some notable provocation that they stood guilty of?

Answ. I answer, No, in no wise; notwith­standing all that hath been said: But my poor thoughts are these, That some of the Lords own Israel may have had too great a hand in, and may have stood under too much guilt with respect to some of the provocati­ons of this day, and so may be fallen in their trespasses; God may have cut them off from the Earth in some displeasure, for some Abo­minations, in which they have been found, [Page 104]though he may receive them to himself in glory: but I must say concerning others of the Lord's People this day fallen, and some of them have this witness in my soul, that surely the hand of God went not out against them for any speciall provocation upon them, but upon account of the accomplish­ing and bringing about some notable things that are in the heart of God, which time must manifest: therefore though the falling of many Saints may speak, that the Lord is displeased with his People, yet I would e­ven say concerning many of them (and it may be a caution unto us) as Christ, Sup­pose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish; or those eighteen upon whom the Tower in Shiloe fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all others that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you nay, but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish: though many of the Saints may possibly have fallen through great provocations, yet surely for others we must not reckon them sinners above the rest of the Saints that remain.

Obj. 7. If it be asked, May we conclude that all the Israel of God that have escaped, and may escape through Grace, that they do there­fore [Page 105]escape because they have been found walk­ing uprightly with God, in a constant exercise of Grace, do they therefore escape because they are found in right and good frames of soul?

To that I answer: Let us not be high-minded, but fear. Though possibly some of the Saints that stand, God hath found them in a right Spirit, and is therefore pleased to spare, yet for many of us we must put our preservation upon some other score; I would rather place it where the Spirit of God doth sometimes place the preservation of Israel, Psal. 78. But he being full of com­passion, forgave their iniquities; yea, many a time turned away his Anger, and did not stir up all his Wrath. I do rather suppose that most of us that live, live through the grace and indulgence of a tender-hearted God, because he doth not stir up all his Wrath, rather than because we have been found in this right and excellent Spirit which this day calls for, and which of right should have been found upon us. And thus I have shewed that in dayes of slaughter all of Is­rael may not escape, and why.

I proceed now to the second Branch for prosecution of this Doctrine, to shew that whoever stand or fall, Christ will lose none of his glory, that all slaughtering-providen­ces shall end in the making Christ glorious; [Page 106] In that day shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious: that is, in that day when some great and dreadful Slaughters are brought to a conclusion; as is evident if you consider and compare it with what goes before in the third chapter. Certainly a little light into Scripture is enough to sa­tisfie us, that God hath brought forth many great things for his own glory and the good of his People, by slaughters; it were easie to observe unto you that most of the great things that God hath done for his Name and People, have been effected and brought about by great distresses: Israel were set free from their oppression, which was an e­minent mercy, and how? Slaughters were made to bring that about; Exod. 14.13. Moses said unto the People, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the Salvation of the Lord, which he will shew unto you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them a­gain no more for ever. And you shall finde they were possessed of Canaan, setled in that good Land, but which way? it was by and through great slaughters; the Canaanite was dispersed and driven out, and it was by cutting them off; yea, I do suppose that one of the means and wayes by which God made way for Israel to set them in Canaan, was by the Pestilence; I gather it from that [Page 107] Exod. 23.23. My Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perrisites, and the Canaanites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I will cut them off. God saith he would send his Angel to do it. The Angels of God work many wayes; but that that is eminently called in Scripture the stroke of the Angel, it is that stroke by the Pestilence, as many instances might make it good; and I the rather judge it to be the intent of the ex­pression, because it is said in vers. 25. You shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread and thy water, and I will take sick­ness away from the midst of thee: The Angel shall cut off the Canaanites, but I shall take sickness away from thee. And if you con­sider what God hath promised to do for his People in the time to come, Psal. 103.6, 7. you find cause to believe that this is the way that God delights to take; The Lord exe­cuteth Righteousness and Judgment for all that are oppressed; he made known his wayes unto Moses, and his acts unto the children of Israel. Mark, God saith he will act for his People, he will free them from oppression, from bonds, and from troubles; but how? He made known his wayes unto Moses, and his acts to the children of Israel. But you will say, How? I will tell you, and God hath told [Page 108]you long ago; he told Moses and Israel, not onely what he would do for them in their day, but what he would do, and how he would proceed for good unto his People in after-dayes. In the dayes of Moses God wrought for his People and led them into much good by slaughter, and this is the way that God still intends to take. Psalm 72. entituled A Psalm for Solomon, con­cerning the glory that was put upon Solo­mon: in the person of Solomon Christ is e­minently intended, and his Glory and Go­vernment is eminently pointed at; observe which way it is that Solomon and Christ shall come to their Glory, and come to do good to his People; He shall judge the Poor of his People, he shall save the children of the Needy, he shall break in pieces the Oppressors; it is in a way of slaughter. So Isa. 30. with a­bundance of Scriptures more that I might name, you shall find there what the Lord saith he will do; There shall be upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters, in the day of the great slaughter, when the Towers shall fall: Saith God, there shall be a day of great slaughter; What shall the slaughter do? the Towers shall fall; which are types and representations of the high great things of this World, that seem to have great strength, and to be almost impregna­ble: [Page 109]But in the day of great slaughter the Towers shall fall: And what will the effect thereof be? it will be glory to Christ, and good unto his People; ver. 26. it is in the dayes that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his People, in which the light of the Moon shal be as the light of the Sun, and the light of the Sun shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days: Thus will Christ glorifie himself and do his People good by slaughter. So Isa. 34.6. he gives you an account of dreadful slaughter, The Sword of the Lord is filled with Blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the Blood of Lambs and Goats, with the fat of the Kidneys of Rams: for the Lord hath a Sacri­fice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea: Here shall be great slaughter, and what shall be the effect of it? you shall see in the 12th vers. They shall call the Nobles thereof unto the Kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her Princes shall be nothing; that is, the glory that shall come to Christ shall so out-shine and out-do the glory of all the great Ones of the World, that they shall be look'd upon as if they were not, his glory that shall come to him through the slaughter shall so surpass them in all their glory. I might add Isa. 33.10, &c. The Earth mourn­eth and languisheth, Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down, Sharon is like a Wilderness, and [Page 110]Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits; Now will I arise, saith the Lord, now will I be exalt­ed, now will I lift up my self: Now look what follows, and you shall find the way by which he will be exalted, it is through slaughter; Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stub­ble, your breath as fire shall devour you, and the People shall be as the burning of Lime, as Thorns cut up, they shall be burnt in fire: Ah my Friends! we may think our selves secure and out of danger, because upon our feet; but alas, Christ that is to make himself glorious, how easily is he able to pull down the pride of man, and to lay low his lofty looks? it is a notable word that you have Job 24.22, &c. He draweth also the Mighty with his power; when He riseth up, (mark, that is to plead his Cause) no man is sure of his life; though it be given him to be in safety whereon he resteth, yet his Eyes are upon their Ways. Men may think themselves safe and secure, and that which is their strength and confidence may be un­touched for the present, but yet the Lords Eyes are upon their ways; and vers. 24. They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low, they are taken out of the way (it is done in a little time) as the tops of the Ears of Corn: Those that stand in the way of Christs Exaltation, they are exalted, but it is but for a little while; and in a little while, [Page 111]at short warning, Christ can throw them down, and cut them off as the tops of the Ears of Corn. You know a little thing will strike of the top of an Ear of Corn, when it is fully ripe; Christ can with a little stroke make all glory to perish, that his own may be advanced. So that I say it is Christ's way and method to get himself glory, and do his People good by Slaughter; yea, let me tell you, This Plague and Pestilence is a means by which God will work out his own glory; We, it may be, look upon it as a thing that comes of course once in forty years, or such a matter; but truly this is a sad mi­stake, and in the 89th Psalm, a Psalm in which David is much concerned, but in and under the Person of David, Christ is inten­ded; and God when he promiseth the King­dom to David, that he would secure the Kingdom unto him, he intends Christ espe­cially, that he would make Christ great and glorious in the World; and which way will he do it? vers. 23. And I will beat down his Foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. Junius renders the word thus, Osores ejus plagâ afficiam; we may translate it, I will smite them that hate him: for, plaga, a stroke, is put for any kinde of stroke or smiting, but properly and more especially, for this Judg­ment of the Plague; and I think so it is to [Page 112]be taken here; I will send this Judgement abroad, that I may cut off and take away the haters of my Son, that I may establish him in the glory that I have designed for him. To which add Hab. 3.2. where the Prophet petitions the Lord, O Lord, I have heard thy speech and was afraid; O Lord revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy: God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran, his glory covered the Hea­vens; (that is, God came forth to work the Exaltation of his Son) and what course doth he take in order to it? vers. 5. Before him went the Pestilence, and burning Coals went forth at his feet: The Pestilence is here cal­led a fore-runner of Christs Exaltation; he sends it before him to make room and way for himself, though we possibly, and our ca­pacities are too shallow to conceive how it should be brought about: It is possible, if God let us stand upon the Earth some few years, we may be much more enlightened in this matter, and may see that God was this day eminently working to that end.

And that is what I would say to that Head, That Slaughter, and slaughtering-Judge­ments, work for and shall end in the making Christ glorious.

Thirdly, What is that glory that shall be put on Christ in the issue and end of these things?

I answer in a few particulars:

1. The Essential Glory of Christ, in the day of his Glory, shall be more abundantly seen and discovered then now it is, and shall take more upon the hearts of all Persons. Christ is as glorious in his Essential Glory as can be, for he is infinitely glorious, and more then infinite cannot be imagined; but this Glory may be discover'd and manifested beyond what it is: The Sun is always a glo­rious Body, but you know the light of it is hid many times, Clouds stand between, and we cannot see it at some times as we can at others. Christ is exceedingly glorious, but little of his Glory hath been hitherto manifested to the Children of Men; more Eyes shall see it, and more Hearts be taken with it then at this day. Something of Christs Glory is seen already by the Saints, who have a spiritual Eye, they see that that takes their Hearts, and makes them cry out, as the Spouse sometimes doth, He is altoge­ther lovely: Some of the Saints see that in Christ which is more to them then all that is in this World; they take more comfort and content in it, more of joy and satisfaction to their Spirits. When Christ came in the [Page 114]Flesh, it is said, John 1.14. The Word was made Flesh, and dwelt amongst us, and we saw his Glory, the Glory as of the onely begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth. That Glory that we do for the present behold in Christ, and with which our hearts are taken, it is rather (for the most part) that fulness of Grace that is in Christ, for the good and be­nefit of Believers; with that we are usually more taken then with his Essential Personal Perfections: But the whole of Jesus Christs Glory shall yet shine forth so as it hath not done at any time; therefore Psal. 102.16. When the Lord shall build up Sion, he shall ap­pear in his Glory: He is glorious now, but he shall appear in his Glory hereafter, beyond what he hath done at any time to this day: suitable unto which, is that Word, Isa. 33.17. Thine Eyes shall see the King in his Beauty, they shall behold the Land that is very far off. The best of Saints upon Earth, if they see something in Christ that makes them in love with him, in the day of his Glory there shall be abundantly more discovered that shall make them in love with him, possibly more then ever they thought they should be for ever. That is one part of that Glory shall come to this Branch of the Lord.

2. Christ shall in the end of this slaugh­ter be made glorious in his Priestly Office; [Page 115]as he is a Saviour he shall be made more glo­rious then ever: It is the honour of Christ that he is a Saviour, Act. 5.31. Him hath God exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour: But it hath been greatly to the disparagement of Christ, and his dishonour in this his Office that he hath been so lightly esteemed of a­mong the Children of Men, that so few have taken hold of him for Life and Salvation: Those that have believed on Christ have been a small number, compared with the rest of the world, and of these few, they have been chiefly the poor, low and little ones of the World, persons of little esteem and ac­count; therefore Christ saith, Mat. 11.5. The Poor have the Gospel preached unto them: he saith it is preached to them, because it is received by them: the poor, inconsiderable ones of the World, have generally hitherto been the persons that have received Christ: It is true, some of the Great Ones of the World have courted Christ, and professed to own him, but not one of many have given up themselves unto Christ as a Saviour. But now this shall be the Glory upon the head of Christ, that Souls shall abundantly flock in unto him. Before Christ makes an end of his work in the World, he will so break the Hearts of Men, that they shall flow in un­to him in great abundance: Hag. 2.7. And I [Page 116]will shake all Nations, and the Desire of all Na­tions shall come; and I will fill this House with Glory, saith the Lord of Hosts: Christ by his Sword, Pestilence and Famine, is shaking the Nations, that is his way; and when he hath done shaking the Nations, the Desire of all Nations shall come: It is Christ is here in­tended, and he is called the Desire of all Na­tions, because the Nations of the World shall generally come unto him, and imbrace him, such shall be the confluence and flow­ing in to Christ. This is intimated in that known place, Isa. 60.8. Who are these that fly as a Cloud, and as the Doves unto their Win­dows? It is spoken about the access of Souls unto Christ; and mark, the Saints that shall be alive at that day, they cry with wonder and amazement, Who are these that like Doves come to their Windows? Doves you know fly in great flocks, where they are plentiful, and the meaning of this is, multitudes shall subject themselves to Christ in truth, and give up themselves to be saved by him; Christ now doth sprinkle many Nations, ac­cording to that Isa. 52. here and there a few Souls in divers parts and places of the world; but at length things shall be so ordered that even a Nation shall be born in a day, and abundance of poor Hearts shall give up themselves unto the Lord Jesus: This you [Page 117]have Numb. 24.7. He shall pour the water out of his Buckets, and his seed shall be in many wa­ters, and his King shall be higher then Agag. And this is another part of the Glory that is to come unto Jesus Christ.

3. Slaughter shall terminate in the Glory of Christ, in this respect; He shall be glori­ous in his Kingly Power, he shall be owned as the Head, and Lord, and Law-giver, the one onely Law-giver; so shall he be own­ed: Isa. 33.22. For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Law-giver, the Lord is our King, he will save us. It relates unto a time when Christ shall be glorious: The glorious Lord shall be as a place of Broad Rivers and Streams; so you have it in the foregoing verse; and then there shall be a cry, The Lord is our King, and he shall be our Law-giver. For the present there is great debate between Christ and the Men of the World, who should give Laws, whose Prerogative it is to rule the Conscience; and men say unto Saints, Bow down that we may go over: they say unto the SOULS of Saints, Bow down: But when Christ shall be made glorious, these controversies shall soon end; then a Nation shall come and acknowledge it is Christ is to rule them in every thing. Isa. 2. decides the Controversie, where more then once it is said, The Lord ALONE shall be exalted; [Page 118]and what then? vers. 3. Many People shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up unto the Mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Sion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem: and he shall judge among the Nations, and shall rebuke many People. This is the Spirit that shall be put upon many People, and they shall say, It is not this, and that, and the other, that pretends Dominion over the Conscience, must teach us how to walk, but HE will teach us, and we will walk in his ways; and it is out of Sion the Law shall go forth, and the Word of the Lord from Jeru­salem; therefore Numb. 24.7. it is said, Is­rael's King shall be higher then Agag, and shall carry the day, and all the men of the Earth shall be constrained to submit to him.

4. Christ shall be glorious in this respect, That all the Great Ones of the World shall come and fall at his Foot, and acknowledge they are in his hands, that Christ can and may dispose of them as he pleaseth. It is a business there is much tugging about in the World, the Great Ones of the World are loth Christ should take his place, they would fain stand upon their own legs, and it is from hence all their contrariety and hatred against his People and Ways doth arise, inti­mated [Page 119]in Psal. 2.3. The Kings of the Earth set themselves, and the Rulers take counsel toge­ther, against the Lord, and against his Anoin­ted, saying, Let us break their Bands asunder, and cast away their Cords from us. They can­not think of stooping unto Christ, but it is in vain, for to this the greatest on Earth shall be brought; therefore Christ hath his Name, Rev. 19.16. He hath on his Vesture and on his Thigh, a Name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS: It is written upon his Vesture and Garments, which is in the sight and full view of all Men: He shall be in the sight of the World owned as KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS, and the greatest up­on Earth shall be constrained to stoop unto him, as is excellently set forth in that typi­cal Psalm, Psal. 72. where Christs Domini­on is much held out; The Kings of Tarshish and of the Isles shall bring Presents, the Kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts; yea all Kings shall fall down before him, all Nations shall serve him.

5. Again, The Glory of Christ shall lie in the maintaining and excellent managing of his Power and Government; he shall maintain his Government and Glory: It is that that eclipses the glory of the Princes of this Earth, that they are not able to keep [Page 120]their stations oft times; but Christ shall keep and maintain, and make good his ground: Psal. 132.18. His Enemies will I cloath with shame, but upon himself shall the Crown flourish: Those that would oppose him shall fall be­fore him, but he shall maintain his own sta­tion at a glorious rate. And likewise his Glory shall be in the management of his Government, he will put an end to Oppres­sion, and judge with Equity; he will ma­nage his Government so as that none shall find fault with him: It is the misery of the Potentates of this World, that their ill ma­nagement of their Power, loseth them their Glory; but Christ, and all that shall have any power under him, shall not do so; Isa. 32.1. A King shall reign in Righteousness, and Princes shall rule in Judgement: all matters shall then be managed with much equity and uprightness. Isa. 11.1, &c. is a notable Scripture for this, There shall come forth a Rod out of the Stem of Jesse, (that is, Christ) the Spirit of the Lord and of Wisdom shall be upon him: there is his Glory, when he comes to govern he shall do things with wisdom, that is Wisdom really, for the Wisdom of this World comes to nothing, and the ends of the Men of the World are not accomplished; but Christ shall rule with Wisdom, and also with Equity, vers. 4. With Righteousness shall [Page 121]he judge the Poor, and reprove with Equity for the Meek of the Earth. Now Christs thus managing of his Government, will render him very glorious: Which leads me to the fourth thing propounded.

Fourthly, That Christ in his being glori­ous, shall be glorious for the good of his Peo­ple; those of Israel that shall be carried tho­row the distresses and straights they shall meet withal in the World, they shall share in, and partake of all the Glory of Christ with much comfort: Psal. 72.7. it is there said, In his days shall the righteous flourish: when it is well with him, it shall not be ill with them: So Isa. 24. where it is said, ver. 23. Christ shall reign in Mount Zion, and be­fore his Antients gloriously; and you shall see, vers. 16. how it will be with his People, From the uttermost parts of the Earth have I heard Songs, even Glory to the Righteous: When Christ shall be glorified, his People shall be glorified with him. If the Saints say unto Christ, as Joseph did unto Pharaoh's Butler, Remeber me when it is well with thee; their Desires shall be answered at a better rate then Joseph's were. When Christ shall be made glorious in the World, as he shall be one day, he will not be one day without his Peoples reaping the good and benefit there­of: [Page 122]and it must needs be thus; for consider First the Union between Christ and his Peo­ple; Christ is the Head and Husband of his Saints. And Civilians say, Uxor lucet Mariti radiis, the Wife partakes of the honour of her Husband; so it shall be here, the Saints shall partake of and reap the good of that honour that shall be upon the Head of Christ; Christ is so full of love to his People, that the very love he bears them, were there no other tie, would engage him to interest them in the good of his Glory; Christ is the Head and his People are the Members, and if the Head be dignified, all the Members must al­so; it cannot be otherwise. Secondly, Christs Glory must needs be for the good of his People, in that all the Glory he is intru­sted with, as Mediator, it is in their names, for their sakes, and for their uses; he is Head over all things to his Church, Eph. 1.22. I may therefore say unto Saints, as they in Cant. 3.11. Go forth, O ye Daughters of Jeru­salem, and behold King Solomon with the Crown wherewith his Mother crowned him in the day of his Espousals, in the day of the gladness of his Heart: Go forth and look upon, by the Eye of Faith, that Glory that shall be up­on the Head of Christ, and look upon it with comfort; you may account it a joyous spectacle, for it is that that shall work out [Page 123]your Mercy, if your hearts be upright with God. A little further to shew you what be­nefit shall come unto Saints by Christs being glorious.

1. When Christ is glorious, glorious Li­berty shall come unto the Saints: We are now a company of inthralled Creatures, not only unto our own lusts, but the lusts of men; you have a notable expression, Rom. 8.21. The Creature it self also shall be delivered into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God: The Creatures of the Earth are now in bondage unto the lusts of Men: our Rayment is in bondage to our Pride, our Meat to Glutto­ny, our Drink to Drunkenness; and other things the like: the Creatures are held in slavery unto the lusts of Men; but there is a time when they shall have glorious Liber­ty, when men shall not be able at their plea­sure to inthrall and oppress them. Psal. 72.12, 14. the Psalmist speaking of Christ in his glory, saith of him, That he shall deliver the Needy when he crieth, the Poor also, and him that hath no helper; he shall redeem their Souls from death and violenee, and precious shall their Blood be in his sight. It is worth your ob­serving, that the whole design of Christ is but to do his People good, to save them; and therefore at the 4th verse of that Psalm it is said, He shall save the Children of the [Page 124]needy; and particularly this service he shall do them, he shall give them glorious Li­berty.

2. This shall be their Glory, their Re­proach shall be wiped away; the People of God have been a reproached People greatly reproached, but their reproach shall be rolled away. When Israel came to Canaan they were circumcised, and the place where they were circumcised was called Gilgal, and the reason given, Josh. 5.9. For there he rolled away the reproach of Egypt; the lot of the Saints is to be reproached in Egypt, but there shall be a time and day, and a Place also, which he will name Gilgal, a time and place when and where he will roll away the re­proach of his People. For the present some­times God gives his People unto reproach, as you have it, Isa. 43.28. Therefore I have pro­faned the Princes of the Sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproa­ches: but there is also a time when reproa­ches shall be taken away, Then will the Lord be jealous for his Land, and pity his People, yea the Lord will answer and say unto his People, Be­hold, I will send you Corn, and Wine, and Oyl, and ye shall be satisfied therewith, and I will no more make you a reproach among the Heathen.

3. The Glory of the Saints shall be this, They shall be raised up to much height and [Page 125]dignity, that the greatest of all the ungodly ones of the Earth shall bow before them; for which take one place insted of many, Isa. 60.14. The Sons also of them that afflicted thee, shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee, shall bow themselves down at the soals of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel: It were great arrogancy for any of the Saints to hope for such a thing as this, had not God spoken it; and it is as great infide­lity not to believe it, since the mouth of the Lord hath uttered it.

4. They shall have this Glory, More e­minent and uninterupted Communion with God and Christ, then ever yet they had; and this is the thing that every good Soul longs for: long for it they do, that is certain; and when they are hinder'd in that enjoyment, it is their great burthen; when their Taberna­cles are taken down, their communion's bro­ken, this is that that makes them go mourn­ing: but the Lord will give his People more eminent and glorious communion with him­self and his Son, then they have yet parta­ken of. It is said, Isa. 60.7. with respect to a time yet to come, The Flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the Rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee; they shall come up with acceptance on mine Altar, and I [Page 126]will glorifie the House of my Glory. Observe it, the Glory of the Temple of old was the presence of God in the Temple, he was said to fill the House with his Glory; the commu­nion that the Saints had with God, was the Temple-Glory, God meeting with them in his Appointments and Administrations; and now he promiseth here, I will glorifie the House of my Glory; I will fill my Churches and Saints with more Glory then yet they have seen; the meaning is, they shall have more of my presence with them, and more abundant communion and fellowship with me, then heretofore: Isa. 66.11. it is said, They shall be delighted with the abundance of her Glory, that ye may suck and be satisfied with the Brests of her Consolation, that ye may milk out and be delighted with the abundance of her Glory.

5. And in the last place, this shall be the Glory of Saints, Even their glorious Union one with another, and this shall be their mercy in the day of Christ; in Zeph. 3.8, 9. the Lord saith, Therefore wait ye upon me, until the day that I rise up unto the prey, for my determination is to gather the Nations, that I may assemble the Kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger, for all the Earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousie; for then will I turn to the Peo­ple [Page 127]a pure language, that they may all call upon the Name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. It is the great cry among the Peo­ple of God, O that we could come to Unity, to love as Brethren! all cry for want of it, though few endeavour after it as they ought to do: but when we have done our utmost endeavours, (which is our Duty) yet it will not rise up to any great height, till Christ come in his Glory: Wait upon ME until I arise to the prey, to do gloriously in the World, and then I will work thus and thus, that you may come to serve me with One Consent. They mistake greatly that think to force People to a Union, to make them all of one mind; it is the work of God to pour out a Spirit of Union, which he hath promised to do; The Lord shall be one, and his Name one, in all the Earth, Zach. 4. and Jer. 32.39. I will give them one Heart, and one Way, to serve me. When Christ shall be advanced, our Divisions shall be broken; and whatever the Devil and wicked Men have cast in as a snare and means to rend and divide, shall be taken out of the way: It is then that we shall be enlightened in the things wherein we vary one from another: What is the ground of all our differences? they are part­ly ignorance, and partly pride; our igno­rance, we cannot see into Truth, one thinks [Page 128]one thing, and another another, and because we cannot see into every thing, we disagree; which is furthered by our Pride, cleaving unto our own imaginations: but this will be removed, God will lay low the pride of men, and we shall have more light, we shall see that we never saw, and be enlightened as we never were: Isa. 60.20. Thy Sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy Moon with­draw it self; for the Lord shall be thine ever­lasting Light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended: The Lord shall at that day let us into the knowledge of much of his mind, which yet we grope in the dark without light in; and then there shall be a great Union among Saints. Now to all these ends, to the Glory of Christ, and good of his Peo­ple, Christ is working by his slaughtering-Providences: Those things that we won­der at, and know not what they tend to, it is to that end they subserve, and shall be crowned with that issue. And thus I have dispatched what I intend for the Doctrinal part.

I shall now proceed to the Application


IF this then be a Truth, That the end of Slaughters shall be to make Christ glo­rious, and his Glory shall be greatly for the advantage of the Israel of God that escape in times of slaughter; It will then certainly be found a Truth very useful many ways: and that which first is upon my heart to give forth to you, is that which I hope will be al­so upon your hearts; to put the question to your Souls, Whether you are really the Is­rael of God or no. Escaped we are hither­to (through Grace) we stand alive in the presence of God, but what state is it in which we stand? Can you say, Through Grace you have good hopes the Lord hath not onely spared you, but also implanted you into the number of his own People, and made you of the number of his own Israel? The Mercy and the Good of an Escape, is li­mited in the Text unto the Israel of God; others may escape as well as they, but in the conclusion it will be little to their comforts. Israel had his name given to him from his [Page 130]wrestling with God in Prayer, and prevail­ing; and the Name is applied,

  • 1. To the natural Seed of Jacob; the Peo­ple of the Jews are often times in Scripture called Israel promiscuously, one with ano­ther.
  • 2. It is applied unto the spiritual Ones a­mong the natural Seed of Jacob, those of the Jewish People that were really brought into a subjection unto, and an acquaintance with the Lord, they are by way of distinction from the rest of the Seed of Jacob, called Is­rael.
  • 3. It is applied unto all, both Jews and Gentiles, that are really brought within the Bond of the Covenant, Scripture dignifies them often with the title of Israel. This is therefore the question that you and I are to put seriously to our Souls, What testimony and witness have we, that we are brought within the Bond of the Covenant, and that our preservation is this day a Covenant-mercy to our Souls? That is the question that must be asked.

Unbelief hath certainly proved the destru­ction of very many, I mean the eternal de­struction; and Presumption hath been the slaughter of not a few; and, if I judge not amiss, Presumption is oftentimes the root upon which Unbelief grows: Many sitting [Page 131]under the Gospel of Christ, and having some Form and Profession for God upon them, do run away hastily, concluding they are really of Gods Israel; God Almighty give to you and me a greater Spirit of Wisdom, that we may not upon slight grounds draw conclusi­sions that we are within the Covenant, but may build our hope upon some good Founda­tion. My Friends, it stands you greatly in hand to be faithful and serious in this enqui­ry into your Spirits in this matter; for if you should not be of the Israel of God, it would not onely rob you of much mercy you might enjoy in this life, it would not onely strip you of a part in the good that shall come to the Israel of God when the Branch of the Lord shall be glorious, but what is more and what is worse, it will cut you short of the glory that shall be put upon the head of the Saints in Eternity, when Christ shall have given up the Kingdom to his Father, and God shall be all in all. Brethren, upon many serious thoughts I may tell you, that there is great ground why every Soul should be jealous over his own heart, and should not hastily determine concerning its state: Great are the mistakes, false grounds, and bottoms of hope upon which many poor creatures build; and it concerns you to act curiously and warily, lest you should be also mistaken.

To quicken you a little, and to possess your Souls that there is need, and great need, for poor hearts to have a jealousie over them­selves in this matter; I would take leave to commend and open to you two Scriptures that I find in the Book of Truth: one is in Rom. 9.6, 7. Not as though the Word of God hath taken no effect; for they are not all Israel which are of Israel, neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all Children: Look to the fourth vers. and you will finde that there are great Priviledges reckoned up that did appertain to Israel; Who are Israel, to whom pertaineth the Adoption, and the Glory, and the Covenant, and the giving of the Law, and the Service of God, and the Promises. How, might some of the Jews say, do these things belong unto Israel? why surely Israel are cut short of them; for there is not one of many of them that have received Christ, and so are cut short of these Priviledges of the Gospel. To that the Apostle answer­eth, vers. 6, 7. Not as though the Word of God hath taken no effect; for they are not all Israel which are of Israel, &c. as if he should say, You must not judge that these great things are entailed upon the Jewish People because they are Jews, or the seed of Abraham, but it is through Faith they come to an Interest in these great things. And in these words [Page 133]the Apostle doth remove a double bad Foun­dation upon which many poor Creatures are apt to build a hope.

1. They are not Israel because of Israel: that is, a Soul is not an Israelite indeed be­cause he crowds himself in among that num­ber, because he takes up the same Profession with them, and pretends to be in the same Spirit with them. Let it be minded, what is the Foundation of your Hope, think you? you are not therefore Israel, because of Is­rael, because of them that do profess for God, that will not be a foundation that is fit for you to build upon. And then,

2. Neither are they Israel because they are the Seed of Abraham: This was a mighty thing which the Jewish People boasted of; say they, We are Abraham's natural Seed, his Seed according to the flesh: And possibly some also may reckon upon some such thing at this day; we are the Children of them that do believe, and our education hath been somewhat suitable thereto; but not there­fore Israel, because of Abraham's Seed, that is a mistake you should be watchful against. From the consideration of this word, it is e­vident People may reckon themselves Israel upon unsafe grounds, and therefore we ought to be serious in our enquiry into this matter.

The other Scripture is in Isa. 48. where [Page 134]you have the preceding things, and somewhat more expressed, vers. 1, 2. Hear ye this, O House of Jacob, which are called by the Name of Israel, and are come forth out of the Wa­ters of Judah, which swear by the Name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness; for they call themselves of the Holy City, and stay them­selves upon the God of Israel, the Lord of Hosts is his name. It is a Scripture worth your considering; and it doth in the general teach us thus much; That a People may be many things, and may do many things that do seemingly bespeak them to be of the Israel of God, but when the matter is more thorow­ly enquired into, it will be found it is no such thing. Take a few particulars out of the Text, and observe what persons may be and do, and yet really not be the Israel of God.

1. They may be called by the name of Israel, they may be reputed Saints, pass for somewhat in the esteem and account of o­thers; suitable to which is that Scripture which you have, Rev. 3.1. where the Spirit of God testifies concerning the Church of Sardis, that they had a name to live, but yet were dead: In the opinion of those that did converse with them, and that held commu­nion with them, they were indeed alive; [Page 135]but when the Spirit of God came to pass a sentence on them, and to determine really what their state was, says the holy Ghost, Thou art dead.

2. Observe also that they were the Poste­rity of Jacob; Hear ye, O House of Jacob, that are come forth out of the Waters of Judah: that is, you are some of the multitude of Ju­dah's Off-spring; they were the seed of them that were in Covenant, but yet notwithstan­ding many of them were Strangers to the Lord, and not of Israel unto this day. I be­seech you mind it, that Grace is not certain­ly and infallibly intailed upon every one of the Seed of Believers; although it is very frequently seen that some or other of their Seed the Lord is pleased to chuse to himself, and does set them apart to be the Instru­ments of his praise, according to Isa. 61.9. And their Seed shall be known among the Gen­tiles, and their Off-spring among the People; all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the Seed which the Lord hath blessed: not onely the Seed of them which the Lord hath blessed, but a Seed which are them­selves blessed in their own persons: It is the usual method of the Lord, though he may pass by some, yet he does take some other of the Seed, to bring them near to himself. But this I must let you know, you must no fur­ther [Page 136]make reckoning of the interest of Pa­rents in the Covenant, but as a ground of Hope to you, and an argument to plead with God; you must not thence conclude, that you your selves are in the Bond of the Co­venant, till some work be upon your hearts.

3. They made a profession for God, and therefore are said to swear by the Name of the Lord. Swearing by the Name of the Lord is an act of Worship, a professed owning of God, which shall be done by Saints, when they are found in the best Spirit, witness that word, Isa. 65.16. He that blesseth himself in the Earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the Earth shall swear by the God of Truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and are hid from thine eyes. It is spoken about times in which a great deal of mercy and good will be brought forth, and then there shall be swearing by the Name of the Lord; it is a professed owning of God: and thus did this People do, and yet there was nothing of God in them, nothing of Truth, nothing but hypocrisie and deceit bound up in their Spirits.

4. Observe also they did reckon them­selves of Israel, they were right in their own opinion and esteem; they called themselve the Holy City: It is a marvelous easie thing for a Soul to get a good opinion of himself, [Page 137]to stand right in his own apprehensions; but I would not have you build too much upon this. It is an excellent caution which the Apostle gives, Rom. 12.3. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly then he ought to think but to think soberly, ac­cording as God hath dealt to every man the mea­sure of Faith: I say unto every man among YOU, (he speaks unto Professors) be not too hasty and forward to conclude well concern­ing your selves, but let every man judge himself to be no more, then according to the measure of Grace he hath received. My Friends, be your Profession what it will, and your approbation among others what it can, you are really no more, nor will you stand for more in the day of Christ, then accord­ing as there shall be somewhat of God found upon your Souls.

5. Observe also they had much confidence that God would own them, and therefore it is said, They stay'd themselves upon the God of Israel; they profess that they do act Faith on God, and are full of confidence that they shall be owned of God, and not rejected by him. But after all this, see what a character the Spirit of God gives of this People, v. 4. Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy Neck is an Iron sinew, and thy Brow Brass: a [Page 138]People very wretched and wicked, very re­bellious against God, not in the least subje­cting themselves to God, and to his mind, after all the profession they have made, and their pretence to be Israel. Seriously consi­der these things, and tell me if there be not cause that each Soul of us should fear, lest we be found short of that number.

But you will say, How may I gather some comfortable grounded conclusions that I am one of the Israel of God? I am an Escaped One this day, and would not be willing that I should be stript of the blessing of this Bles­sing, I would have the Mercy in mercy; and therefore how may I come to some comfort­able hope, that I really am a Jew inwardly, and partake of the circumcision that is of the Heart, whose praise is not of man, but of God?

I answer in a few things, the Lord make them really effectual upon your Souls.

1. If thou art one of Israel, thou art one of another Spirit then the men of this world; the Israel of God they are a distinct People, separate from the rest of the Earth, and se­parated in their Spirits eminently, in another Spirit then the men of this world be. What is said concerning Caleb, Numb. 14.24. is truly applicable to every one of Israel in some measure; But my Servant Caleb, be­cause he had ANOTHER SPIRIT with him, [Page 139]and hath followed me fully, &c. There were a­bundance of Israelites in the Camp at that day, but few of them were in the frames they should be in; Caleb was of another Spirit, and such is every Saint: The Searcher of all hearts knows that there is a difference be­tween him and the world: Not a Saint in the world, but hath some ground to make an appeal to God, as sometimes the Psalmist doth, Search me and try me, and know my thoughts; and to appeal to the Lord, as some­times Jeremiah did, Thou knowest my heart to­wards thee, O Lord. Isaac had been begging Seed for his Rebecca, because she had been long barren; at length it is said, There was strugling in her Womb; she wondered what it should mean; but see what answer the Spirit of God makes her, Gen. 25.22, 23. And the Lord said, Two Nations are in thy Womb, and two manner of People shall be sepa­rated from thy Bowels; and the one People shall be stronger then the other People, and the Elder shall serve the Younger: The two manner of People, were Jacob and Esau; and I bring this, to tell you, that Jacob, who was after named Israel, and so all in the same Spirit with him, they are another manner of Peo­ple, as it were another Nation, another thing then the men of this world are; there is an eminent difference and distinction be­tween [Page 140] Esau and Israel, they are of different Spirits, and of a different language, as seve­ral Nations differing one from another. 1 Cor. 2.12. The Apostle tells us, We have not received the Spirit of the World, but the Spirit which is of God: This he speaks con­cerning the Saints of God, they have recei­ved not the Spirit of the World, but another Spirit distinct and different from them. Bre­thren, I would put it to your Consciences, and would ask you what the answer of your Souls is? What ground have you to conclude that there is another Spirit in you then that which is in the World? It may be your pra­ctices are somewhat other then the practices of the World are; but grant it be so, yet if you are not in another Spirit also, if the in­ward frame and constitution of your Souls do not differ, you will not be found among the Israel of God in the conclusion. Ah my Friends! possibly some of your Practices may not vary from the men of the World, possibly you can be vain with them that are vain, and prophane with them that are pro­phane; if it be thus with you, you must rec­kon your selves to be of the brood of Esau to this day. Observe the words of the Apo­stle, Rom. 12.2. And be not conformed to this World, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds. What say you? Are you con­formed [Page 141]to this World? Do you drive the trade, and take the course that the men of this World do? Are you vain, and frothy, and foolish, giving up your selves to serve divers lusts? Youth is subject to be so, and if it be thus with you, you are not of Israel to this day: But if you say, We are not of this World, we do not act as they do, we do not live as they do; then let me ask you, Are you transformed? It is well not to be conformed to this World, but that is not e­nough, you must be transformed, and your Spirits renewed; you must be of another Spirit then the men of this World. I would beseech you to look well to your hearts, and commune with your Souls, and do it not slightly: I know many (and would wail o­ver them) that notwithstanding their profes­sion for God, and their talking much of him, and being high in an external owning of God, yet in their walking (and therefore sure much more in their spirits) they vary little from the men of this World: If it be thus with you, though you are escaped this day, yet you cannot comfortably conclude you are of the Israel of God, or that you shall bear a part in that mercy and good they shall enjoy, when the Branch of the Lord shall be glorious.

2. Are you Israel indeed? then there is [Page 142]somewhat of Heart-cleanness in you; there is somewhat of cleanness of Heart, and pu­rity of Soul in you. Thus the Psalmist de­scribes the Israel of God, Psal. 73.1. Truly God is good to Israel, even to them that are of a clean Heart: God is good to Israel, he loves them, they are exceeding dear to him, and because they are dear to him, therefore it is he is good to them: But who are the Is­rael? They are a certain sort of People that do not onely put on an external garb of Ho­liness, a pretence for God, and his work, and service, and glory; but a People that have some inward conformity and likeness to God; who have some cleanness of heart, as well as of hands and face. Man by nature is a ve­ry impure creature, polluted grievously, de­filed all over, all the Soul, all the Powers and Faculties of it are stained and grievously polluted, and therefore Sinners are in Scri­pture called the Impure; and Saints, by way of distinction from them, are called Pure. A sad account it is that the Apostle gives of Sinners, Tit. 1.15. To the pure all things are pure, but to the undefiled and unbelieving is no­thing pure, and their very consciences are defi­led. Jesus Christ describing the persons that shall see God to their comfort and joy, he calls them the pure in heart, Mat. 5.8. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Ma­ny [Page 143]there are that would pretend to this puri­ty, but it is peculiar and proper to the Israel of God onely, it is the issue and fruit of a new work upon the heart; it is the blessed effect of the Grace of God in and through the Covenant of Grace, the making good of the Promise which he hath passed, Ezek. 36.25, 26. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean; from all your filthi­ness, and from all your Idols will I cleanse you; a new Heart also will I give you, and a new Spi­rit will I put within you; and I will take a­way the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a Heart of flesh.

There are them who are really impure, and grievously polluted, and yet think all is well with them, witness that known word, Prov. 14.12, 13. There is a Generation that is pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness: There is a Generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eye-lids are lifted up. There are some Souls greatly confident of their own purity, and yet defiled woful­ly: While they boast of their freedom, and brag of their purity, and are crying to others it may be, Stand by thy self, for I am holier then thou; they become after this Servants to Corruption.

Others there are in whom a cleansing-work is really begun, but because there are [Page 144]some remains of corruption in their Souls, it fills their hearts so much with grief, and blinds their eyes so much, that they cannot see the cleansing that is begun. To clear this therefore I must tell you, That where there is really heart-purity, there is much of the love of purity: If thou hast not attained what of it thou wouldest, yet thy heart is re­ally in love with it: Prov. 22.11. He that loveth pureness of Heart, for the grace of his Lips the King shall be his Friend. There are a People it may be have not attained to that pureness of heart they would do, but yet pureness of heart they love, and Grace is poured into their Lips; to such the King will be a Friend, they shall find a Friend of Christ, and he will not be ashamed to own them in the day of his greatest Glory, when the Crown shall be set upon his Head. Not a Soul in whom purity is, but he is pressing after it in greater measure; though he has not attained it, yet he does not sit down and cry, There is no hope for me; but he is going forward, and pressing after more of the Image of God to be implanted in his Soul. Now what is the answer of your Hearts? Can you from hence conclude comfortably, you are some of Gods Israel? Are the lusts that boil up in your hearts, fomented and cherished, favoured and allowed, served and pleased? [Page 145]If so, it is sad with you: If you lie in the bo­som of any Lust, as in the lap of a Delilah: if thou sayest of any sin in thy Soul, as some­times Lot said concerning his Zoar, I cannot escape to the Mountains, but there is a City near, is it not a little one? let me flee thither, and I shall live: All the Cities of the Plain were doomed to destruction at that day, but Lot was earnest to prevail for the saving of one little City, that he might delight him­self in it. There is not a lust in thy Soul but it is doomed to destruction, and God re­quires it should be put to death; but possibly thou sayest of it, O spare it, it is a little one. Let me be faithful to thee, and tell thee, that that sin will be enough to race out thy name out of the Catalogue of the Israel of God; and when others will stand with comfort, that have escaped this day, thou wilt be asha­med and confounded.

3. Art thou of the Israel of God? Then thou art one that hast learned in some mea­sure to live upon God. As it is the certain property of, so it is a great excellency in the Israel of God, that they live upon him; and this was as eminently found in Jacob, as ever in any one of the Servants of the Lord: When he was going to Padan Aram, not knowing what should befall him; observe how he speaks, Gen. 28.20. Jacob vowed a Vow, [Page 146]saying, If God will be with me and keep me in this way that I go, and will give Bread to eat, and Rayment to put on, &c. The great thing about which he was solicitous, was, that he might have the presence of God. He had a little before in this Chapter a most glorious Vision of God; (and I must confess Visions of God are exceeding effectual to teach and work up the heart to a living upon God) and what does Jacob now say? If he might have but God to live upon, a very little of other matters should content him; Bread to eat, somewhat that might support his nature, and Rayment to put on, enough to cover him, and keep him warm; he doth not say, If I may have Varieties and Dainties to eat, and may be decked in costly Apparel; no, but onely Bread to eat, and Rayment to put on: If I can have but God, a little of the World will serve my turn. This is the Spirit of Israel, and that with which I doubt very few are ac­quainted. I must crave leave to put this to all your Souls, and ask you what is the an­swer of your hearts? Can you say upon good grounds, as the Church of God some­times said, The Lord is my Portion, saith my Soul? Lam. 3.24. Suppose, should Satan take you, as once he did Christ, and set you upon a high Mountain, and shew you the King­doms of the World, and the Glory of them, and [Page 147]tell you, All these things you shall have, if you will forgo and part with God? What would the answer of your hearts be in that case? Sup­pose Christ should come and say to you, If you will have a part in me, you must expect trou­ble; you shall be hated of all men for my Names sake; yea, the Parents from whose Bowels ye sprang, shall turn against you: Can you say, Amen, so be it; Let me have the Lord for my Portion, and I can forgo all other things whatso­ever? This is Israel's Spirit, and so far as it [...]s thus with you, it is right. What excel­lency have you seen in the Lord at any time? How have your hearts been taken with him? What are the workings of your Souls toward him? What are you labouring after? Is it that you may know God and enjoy him? What is it doth relieve you in the time of your straights? Is it this, that the Lord is yours? It was David's comfort when all went against him, when Ziklag was burnt, his Wives and all were taken, and the Peo­ple spake of stoning him, he then encoura­ged himself in the Lord his God. What is it that sweetens all your enjoyments to you? Is it this, That you have a part in that which is better then all these, that you have a part in the Lord, and he is become your God and Father in Christ? Happy, yea, thrice happy are you that can say as once David did, The [Page 148]Lord hath made with me an everlasting Cove­nant, ordered in all things, and sure; and this is my Salvation, and this is all my Joy. But O unhappy they, who are not able to subsist without their Thousands, and look upon themselves as undone for ever, if worldly Interest runs but a little against them: And unhappy you, if in your Youth and Strength you have few thoughts, or few serious thoughts of God; if he be little in your thoughts and hearts, I tell you it is to be feared you are not of the Israel of God unto this day: Though you escape and are preser­ved, yet it is to be feared your preserva­tion will not be attended with mercy to you, nor shall you bear a part in that Glory that shall be upon the heads of Israel, when the Branch of the Lord shall be glorious.

4. If you are the Israel of God, then are you Holiness to the Lord; you not onely live upon him, but to him, in some measure. Jer. 2.9. the Prophet saith, Israel was Holi­ness to the Lord; that is, when Israel was in his right spirit, then he was Holiness to the Lord. For the expression, you have it in Scripture elsewhere, Zech. 14.20, 21. In that day there shall be upon the Bells of the Horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD, and the Pots in the Lords House shall be like the Bowls before the Altar; yea, every Pot in Jerusalem [Page 149]and in Judah shall be Holiness unto the Lord of Hosts: that is, every Person and every Thing shall be for God, for his Work and Service, to be to his Praise and Glory. Cer­tain it is, Saints are not their own, as the A­postle speaks, 1 Cor. 6.19. Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price; and so Tit. 2.13, 14. where speaking concerning the purchase of Christ, Looking for the blessed hope and glo­rious appearing of the great God, and our Sa­viour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and might purifie to himself a peculiar People zealous of good Works. The Vessels of the Temple, be­fore they were made use of in the Temple, they had a legal consecrating, and being cleansed, they were given up to the work of the Temple, to be for that use for ever: And so the Saints of the Lord, who were typified by the Vessels of the Temple, they are first purified, cleansed, and sanctified by Christ, by the work of the Spirit on their Souls, and then given up to the Lord and his service. It may be said of them as Hannah said of her Son Samuel, 1 Sam. 1.28. Therefore I have lent him unto the Lord, to be his so long as he lives. Every Israelite indeed is one lent to the Lord, given up to be for the work and service of the Lord in his whole course, and in every thing to exalt his praise, to mind his [Page 150]glory. Certainly thus it ought to be, and this was one end of the Death of Christ, that he might have his People be for him, 2 Cor. 5.15. He died and rose, that they which live should not henceforth live to themselves, but to him that died for them and rose again; and unto this Spirit Saints are wrought up in some good measure, as is expressed, Rom. 14.7. And none of us, saith the Apostle, live to our selves. Souls, what say your Hearts to this matter? You profess for the Lord, but are you for him as consecrated things in the House of God? Which way do your Hearts work day by day? This know, where there hath not been a so­lemn resignation and giving up a mans self unto the Lord, where there is not a diligent observing of a mans whole course, to see to what ends they are directed, and whether the glory of Christ be therein sought, it is doubtful that Soul is not of the Israel of God to this day. The truth is, the sins of many witness to their Faces, and I make no doubt but that inscription may be written over the doors of many Professors, upon too great ground, All men seek their own, and not the things of Jesus Christ: If this be the spirit of any to whom these things may come, you may fear (though you are spared, and are not cut down this day) you stand but to cumber the ground, such as God takes little delight [Page 151]in, and such as from whom he hath little fruit, such as he doth not reckon among the number of his Israel, and such as shall not be blessed with Israels mercies, when the Branch of the Lord shall be exalted.

5. Are you Israel? then are you a pray­ing People; Israel had thence his Name, from his wrestling and prevailing with God; God asked him what was his Name, Gen. 32.27, 28. he said, Jacob; and God said, Thy Name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel; for as a Prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. In his praying there is observable his importunity, and that is expressed partly when it is said he wrestled; and also in that expression wherein much freedom and familiarity with God is set forth; God said, Let me go; says Jacob, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me, v. 26. which importunity of his is again noted by the Spirit of God, Hos. 12.4. He had power over the Angel, he wept and he made supplica­tion. There is also observable, that this Prayer it was in secret, Gen. 32.24. And Ja­cob was left ALONE; it was between the Lord and himself in secret: which I would beseech you to consider heartily, That as soon, yea, at the very first moment when a Soul is enrolled among the number of Israel, at that instant he becomes a praying Per­son, [Page 152]as in the case of Saul, who was after­ward called Paul. And let me ask you that attend on the Lord in publick Duties, what are you in secret? Does God usually there hear from you? Cannot you live without seeing the face of God in secret? Let me tell you, publick Duties have many tempta­tions; a man may desire to be engaged in them from many base and bad ends; yea, it is possible natural Conscience and your E­ducation may carry you into corners some­times: but therefore in secret how do you carry it? Doth it satisfie you that you have been in your Closets, and have spent it may be a quarter of an hour there, and it may be with a slight and formal Spirit? This is not the Spirit of Israel: But if thou art an Isra­elite indeed, when thou art in secret thou wilt be fervent and earnest with God. In pub­lick Duties, a man may seem to be zealous, that he may get a Name, or keep up a Name that he hath gotten, or to some such-like end; but when in secret the Soul cries mightily to the Lord, it is a good sign that there is a sense of want, and that it does a­rise from a Spirit of Grace in the Soul, when thou canst in secret sign and mourn before the Lord.

Now these things I have gone over with this design, to see if I could let you into a [Page 153]little Hope and good Ground, that as you have escaped, so you are escaping Israelites, who shall partake of Glory when Christ, the Branch of the Lord, shall be made glorious: And the Lord help you to be faithful to your Souls, and make you Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile.


THis will lead me to a Second Use: If it be thus, that the Glory that shall come to Christ shall be for the good of esca­ping-Israel: Then methinks you should say, Pray what will come to them that are not Israel, though they do escape?

Ah wo to them! Dread and Terrour will be their portion. I tell you Souls, if any of you that are Escaping Ones this day, are not of the Israel of God, there is dread enough behind to make your hearts tremble, though you have out-lived the present calamity. I confess I cannot well tell you what the dread of your Condition is; for the Spirit of God says, Job 31.3. Is not destruction to the Wicked, and a strange punishment to the Work­ers of iniquity? The Spirit of God seems to say there should fall upon the heads of the Ungodly things that shall be strange in their very nature, things unthought of. Let me [Page 154]tell you, though you are among the number of professing Ones, and among them that are Israel, yet if thou art not an Israelite in­deed, the hand of God will find thee out. Jer. 50. when Babylons plagues are threatned, it is said, vers. 35. A Sword is upon the Calde­ans, saith the Lord; and then it is added, vers. 37. A Sword is upon their Horses and Chariots, and upon all the mingled People that are in the midst of her. It is said upon the Children of Israel's going out of Egypt, that there went with them a mixt multitude, there crowded among them some that were not the Israel of God: Indeed I suppose it is such a kind of People the Spirit of God here speaks of. Possibly thou art mixed among Professors, but thy heart is not right with God; God will find thee out, and his hand will deal with thee. What was falsly surmi­sed of Paul, when he had escaped the Ship-wrack, and was come among the Barbari­ans, it is said, A Viper came and fastened upon his hand; and say they, No doubt this man is a Murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the Sea, yet Vengeance suffereth not to live: What the Barbarians falsly surmised, may be true concerning any of you; though you have escaped the slaughter of this day, the hand of God may find you out notwith­standing.

A few things, and but a few things, to shew you what the misery of those is like to be, who are not the Israel of God indeed, though escaped for the present.

1. Christ in the day of his Glory will cut them down, tread them down without number: The expressions of Scripture in this case must not be judged of according unto some of the Laws in our Land, which they say are made (in terrorem) onely to affright men, and it is not intended that the severi­ty of them shall be inflicted on them; but whatsoever God hath said concerning Sin­ners, shall be certainly executed: Isa. 63.3. I will tread down the People in my anger, and trample them in my fury; and the same you have again, vers. 6. This is like to be the portion of those that are escaped, and are not the Israel of God. The Book of Joel is a Prophecy relating to that time when Christ shall be glorious, vers. 14. Multitudes in the Valley of Decision, for the Day of the Lord is near in the Valley of Decision: The day of the Lords Glory, it will be a slaughtering-day, and multitudes shall fall; and they are said to fall in the Valley of Decision, because at that time the Controversie shall be decided that hath depended so long, Who are the Lords People, and who are for him, and who are owned of him indeed and in truth. You [Page 156]read of Christ, Rev. 14.14. And I looked, and behold a white Cloud, and upon the Cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on his head a golden Crown, and in his hand a sharp Sickle: Christ when he shall come to wear his gol­den Crown, he comes with a Sickle in his hand: Christ is reaping by every Judge­ment and Slaughter he makes, and possibly you may out-live some Slaughters; but look on further, vers. 17, 18, &c. And another An­gel came out of the Temple which is in Hea­ven, he also having a sharp Sickle; and ano­ther Angel came out from the Altar, which had power over fire, and cried with a loud cry to him that had a sharp Sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp Sickle, and gather the Clusters of the Vine of the Earth, for her Grapes are fully ripe; and the Angel thrust in his Sickle into the Earth, and gathered the Vine of the Earth, and cast it into the great Wine-press of the Wrath of God; and the Wine-press was trodden without the City, and Blood came out of the Wine-press, even un­to the Horses Bridles, by the space of one thou­sand and six hundred furlongs. The intend­ment of this Scripture is to tell you what the dread of Earthly People shall be, they shall be cut down, and trodden down, and Blood shall come forth, even to the Horses Bridles.

2. In the day of Christs Glory, they that [Page 157]are not Israel, though they now escape, shall be cut down without respect of Sex or Age, without respect of greatness or contempt in the World; it is evident from the Word: In Isa. 13.17, 18. you have a Prophecy concer­ning Babylon of old, which is applicable to Babylon still; Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard Silver, and as for Gold they shall not delight in it; their Bows also shall dash the young men to pieces, and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the Womb, their eye shall not spare Children: It does inti­mate to us at what rate Christ will act, when he comes out against them that are none of his; he will neither spare nor pity, have no respect to young or old, nor shall mans be­ing high or low be ought of defence or secu­rity to him, The day of the Lord shall be upon the Cedars of Lebanon, and upon the Oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high Mountains: the Great Ones of the World shall feel the dread of that stroke.

3. Distress shall attend them within and without, Job 15.20, 21. The Wicked travel­leth with pain all his days, and a dreadful sound is in his Ears; the dreadful sound is the pangs of their own Consciences, being filled with terror. And this shall be the portion of the World, they shall be filled with dreadful sounds, terrors within; and also miseries [Page 158]shall compass them about in every thing, and in every way: Isa. 19. it is said concerning Egypt, They shall erre in every work, and stag­ger as a drunken man.

4. Miseries shall be recompenced upon them suitable to the violence done to the Saints, the dishonour brought to God, and the abusing of all the patience and forbear­ance of Christ towards them; three sad scores that shall be reckoned for in the day of Christ. Those that are not Israel, though they escape for a time, they shall be dealt withall according to the violence done to the Saints of God: The violence done to me and to my Flesh, be upon Babylon, shall the In­habitants of Zion say. Isa. 51.22, 23. I have taken the cup of trembling out of thy hand (that is, out of Zions hand) even the dregs of the cup of my fury, thou shalt no more drink it again; but I will put it into the hand of them that af­flict thee, which have said to thy Soul, Bow down, that we may go over; and thou hast laid thy Body as the ground, and as the street to them that went over. They shall suffer too accor­ding to the contempt of the Gospel, and the dishonour done to Christ that way; for he shall come to deal with all them that do not know him, and obey not the Gospel; and also according to the sin of despising the for­bearance of Christ. Indeed this day you are [Page 159]escaped, and the patience of Christ is exer­cised towards you, but let me tell you, if you stand and abide in your sinful state, you shall find that the abusing of the patience of Christ, is but treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath.

5. Those that have escaped, and not Is­rael, they shall be compassed about with e­ternal Sorrows, and shall never rise out of them. Says the Church, Though I fall, I shall arise again; and though I sit in darkness, yet the Lord shall be a light to me: Then shall she be confounded (that is, the Enemies of the Church) shame shall cover her. That will be the portion of every sinner; though he may escape for a season, shame shall cover him, misery and distress shall abide him for ever.


HAving dispatch'd the Second, I come now to a Third Use, (which the for­mer Uses necessarily lead unto.) It is a lit­tle to encourage the hearts of poor Sinners, that possibly may be full of thoughts and de­sires, that they might yet be brought into the number of Israel: Methinks I do even hear some poor heart say, If it be so well with them that are Gods Israel, and so ill with them that are not Gods Israel; What is there no hope for [Page 160]me, though I am yet none of that number? Must I for ever stay in that state of misery in which I am? Must an eternal doom of Misery be en­taild upon me? I acknowledge my state is excee­ding desperate and sad; but is there no hope in Israel concerning this matter?

To that I answer:

If there be any poor sinner sensible of the misery of his condition, that would gladly make an escape out of it; Soul, be not dis­couraged, thy condition is not hopeless; but be encouraged, for there is a possibility that as thou hast escaped the dread and misery of this present day, so thou mayst be delivered from that Christless state wherein thou art. There are two Scriptures I would commend to you for this purpose; the first is in Isa. 44.5. One shall say, I am the Lords: and another shall call himself by the Name of Jacob: and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and sirname himself by the Name of Is­rael. The words are both a Prophecy and a Promise, and they do respect the Gentile-World, that were at that time, and long af­ter, in their sins, in their state of estrange­ment from God; here it is prophesied that yet there should be a flocking into Israel, the number of Gods Israel should be greatly [Page 161]augmented and encreased: It is promised that God would so prevail upon the hearts of some poor Sinners that they shall come and say, I am the Lords: and shall come and subscribe their hands to the Lord, and shall sir­name themselves by the Name of Israel: that God would conquer them so far that they should see the need they had to be of that number, that they shall resign and give up themselves to be of the Israel of God. This is an encouraging word to the Sinner; there is a possibility for them that were strangers to come and to name themselves by the Name of Jacob, and subscribing to the Lord, to take up that Name, and so partake of the Priviledges of the Israel of God.

Take another Scripture: Isa. 19.24, 25. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a Blessing in the midst of the Land; whom the Lord of Hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my People, and Assyria the Work of my hands, and Israel my Inheritance. The import of the words is this, Egypt and Assyria were some of the E­nemies of God and his People, at a very great distance from him; but here is a Pro­mise that they should come to be conquered, and brought into subjection to the Lord, and to be baptized into the Spirit of Israel, to be blessed with the Blessing of Israel, they shall [Page 162]speak the Language of Canaan, they shall be of one Heart and one Lip with the Lords People. Souls, were you as Egypt, and were you as the Assyrians, Enemies to God and his People; were you at the greatest di­stance from God that could be supposed; E­gypt had neither Ordinances nor Privi­ledges, nor ought else that good was, more then the creatures of the Earth, and such­like things; yet the Lord intimates here to us, that they shall come to share in and di­vide a Blessing with Israel. If thy estate were as one of them, yet mayest thou, as and according to the promise made to them, be brought into the number that shall share in the Blessing of the Israel of God: There­fore Soul, though now thou art not of Israel, yet it may be said to thee, They have obtain­ed Mercy which had not obtained. This is the kindness of God, that he is pleased to make blessed overtures of Mercy unto poor, vile, and unworthy Sinners. But more then this, for the encouragement of any Soul that may yet be in his Sins, I would speak four or five things: Thy condition is not desperate, but thou mayst be brought into the number of the Israel of God, and so partake of the same Mercy with them in thy escaping this day, if thou dost consider,

1. That Gods Israel came to be the Peo­ple [Page 163]of God by choice, and through the Grace and Goodness of God: Israel were not born the People of God: He chose Abraham and his Seed from the rest of the World, to be a peculiar People to himself. Hence it is that Israel often-times are called in Scri­pture, Israel my CHOSEN: so Psal. 105.4. The Lord hath CHOSEN Jacob for himself, and Israel to be his peculiar Treasure: and in Isa. 44.1. Israel is called there the Chosen of the Lord; Yet now hear, O Jacob my Servant, and Israel whom I have CHOSEN: They were chosen meerly from the good pleasure of God. Choice it is a free Act, in which there is no necessity and constraint; so it was in God a free Act to pitch upon Israel, to make them his People: This account the Lord gives of it, Deut. 4.37. And because he loved thy Fathers, therefore he CHOSE their Seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with mighty power: so Deut. 7.7. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor CHƲSE you, because you were more in number then any People, for ye were the fewest of all People; but because the Lord loved you, &c. At first God did out of his meer accord chuse Abraham and his Seed, and having in love chosen them, he continues his kindness and good­ness to them, that he might keep his Cove­nant and his Mercy that he promised to A­braham. [Page 164]Poor Soul, this I would now say to thee: Israel was found out by the Lords Grace, and that Grace may also fix upon thee: It was not any thing that was in Isra­el, but meerly the good pleasure of God that chose them to be his People, and the same Grace of God may chuse thee, and plant thee among his People, and give thee with them a pleasant portion.

2. When God first chose Israel, he found them in as wretched and sad a condition as thine can be; thy case cannot be worse then the case of Israel was when the Love and Grace of God fixed upon them: Ezek. 16.1. Thus saith the Lord to Jerusalem, Thy Birth and thy Nativity is of the Land of Canaan; thy Father was an Amorite and thy Mother a Hittite. Canaan were a People originally without the knowledge of God, in their enmity against God: This, says God, was Israel when first I found them; without the knowledge of God, and at as great a di­stance from God as persons could be: Let the Devil say the worst against thee that he can, he can but say thou art by nature at en­mity with God, filled with all the Principles of Sin, and so was Israel as well as thou: and that Grace that yet pitied Israel in this his low estate, can also reach thy Soul.

3. Israel when first God did him good [Page 165]was in as hopeless and helpless a condition as thine can be: So he goes on, Ezek. 16. And as for thy Nativity, in the day thou wast born, thy Navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swadled at all, none Eye pitied thee to do any of these unto thee, to have com­passion upon thee, but thou wast cast out in the o­pen field to the loathing of thy person in the day that thou wast born. What is more helpless and shiftless then an Infant just taken from the Womb, not able to do its self the least service? This was Israel's condition when the Lord first found them, not in a capaci­ty of moving one step out of that wretched, sinful, corrupt, and rebellious state. And truly to this day the Israel of God in them­selves considered, are altogether unable to act for God and his Glory, but as they are assisted with power from on high. Isa. 45.24, 25. Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I Righteousness and Strength: even to him shall men come, and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory. Israel in their best state cannot glory in themselves, nor in any strength of their own, but must look upon themselves as weak Creatures, onely as they are strengthened by the Lord unto any good Word and Work. Soul, this [Page 166]I would say, Thou canst but be a shiftless, helpless Creature, unable to move a foot forward, or to further thy own Everlasting Concernments in the least; and this is to be in no worse state then God found his own People in, and that Grace by which they were brought near to God, can and may also work for the good of thy Soul.

4. Consider further, That the very same Promises of Mercy are made unto poor sin­ners to this day; Promises of a part in those very good things which Israel is possessed of. All the blessings of the Covenant are freely offered and tendred to Sinners to this hour: Hence are all the gracious Promises made to the Gentiles up and down the Word of Truth, of which you have more then a few. The first of which (as I suppose) is in Gen. 9.27. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the Tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his Servant: This is the first Promise ever made to the Gentiles, and some render the word (Deus alliciet Japhethum) God shall al­lure or perswade Japheth, and he shall dwell in the Tents of Shem: Japheth is put for the Gentile-World; for by him the Isles of the Gentiles were inhabited, Gen. 10.2. and 5. compared. You shall find if you look in Luk. 3.36. and downward, Christ was of the Race of Shem; and the import of the Pro­mise [Page 167]is this, When God says he will per­swaded Japheth to dwell in the Tents of Shem; he means he will overcome the hearts of the Sinners among the Gentiles, to come to an amity and friendship with Jesus Christ; as co-habitation denotes amity, and it is a word full of Grace and Favour as it can hold. But more plain and full is that word, Gal. 3.13, 14. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree; that the Blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. It was the design both of the Father and the Son, that all the Blessings of the death of Christ should reach unto the Sinners among the Gentiles, that what ever Blessing was promised first to Abraham, & unto his Seed, the same Blessing also should be made over and given in to every poor sinner among the Gentiles, that shall come and submit themselves unto the Lord Jesus. Well then, Is not this greatly for thy comfort? If thou sayest, I am not Israel; yet here is room and way made for thee: It is the in­tendment both of Father and Son to let in thy Soul into all the Blessings and Mercies promised unto the Israel of God.

5. Consider this also, poor Sinner, if thou art yet in thy sin and estrangement from [Page 168]God, That it is the real design and intend­ment of God, both in the Judgement that thou hast seen, and the Escape thou hast had in and under these Calamities, to bring thee among the number of his own People. What is the design of God in all his Controversies with the World? It is to bring them to kiss the Son: the great Controversie is, That People will not take the Yoke of Christ up­on them; and therefore sometimes he drives, sometimes he draws, and all means he uses, that he may overcome the hearts of poor Sinners: See the goodness he shews, the mercy he follows them with, in sparing and preserving them, it is to this great end, That his goodness might lead them to repentance, and to a real subjection to the Lord Jesus. Therefore Soul, though thou hast stood long in ways of Rebellion against Christ, yet the Blessings of Israel stand open for thee, and the Door of Grace is wide open; be confi­dent if thou dost enter in, close with, and accept of Grace, it will be as well with thee as with any of the Israel of God. Consider thy hearty closing with Christ will not onely let thee into Mercy and Blessing of the pre­sent Day, but it will let thee into Blessings of all kinds; it will bring a Blessing upon thee in every Work and Way; it will let thee into a part and share in the highest Pri­viledges [Page 169]that the Children of Men are capa­ble of: it will let thee into Sonship and Friendship with the great and holy God: it will make thee blessed for Time and for E­ternity. Therefore fight not against thy own Mercies; mind really and heartily what freeness and heartiness there is in the great God, in setting before sinners all the Grace of the Covenant, and what gladness it doth produce when poor Souls are willing to kiss the Son; it will not onely produce Joy in thy own Soul, it will not onely make glad the hearts of many of thy Relations and of thy Friends, (for possibly thou hast Relations and Friends that long to see Christ formed in thee, that in every petition at the Throne of Grace their hearts are working for thy Soul, and begging that thou mayst be a plant of Righteousness of the Lords own planting, and nothing would glad them more then to see thee a Son and Heir of the Kingdom of God) but also there will be Joy in Heaven; Father, Son, and Spirit are gladded to see the designs of the death of Christ graciously accomplished upon the hearts of poor sin­ners. Remember therefore, I do this day in the Name of Christ invite thee to partake of all the Mercies which be the Mercies of Gods Israel: And truly the Mercies of Isra­el are many; there is Pardon, there is Pur­ging, [Page 170]there is Adoption, Sonship, there is the Spirit to comfort you, to lead you in eve­ry work and way; there be the Promises made over to them, there is mercy now and for ever; A Kingdom the Lord has prepa­red for them that love him: I invite thee to take a part in these things this day, and for­get it not, that thou hast had a Call from the Lord at this time. Soul, I tell thee, if thou dost stand it out against this Call of God, truly though thou art escaped, and thy life is given thee for a prey, yet thou maist possi­bly be sealed up unto destruction, thou maist be left to dye in thy sins, and to fall for ever under the weight of divine displeasure, for thy neglect and contempt of Gospel-Grace. Be confident as Jesus Christ is now waiting upon poor Souls, and offering Mercy to poor Sinners; so when he comes to the glory that is reserved for him, he will be found of pow­er sufficient to recompence all that have trodden under foot the Blood of the Son of God, and made light of those overtures of Mercy that have been tendred to them. The Light is now with thee, and the Lord is cal­ling of thee; therefore make peace while thou art in the way, lest the Lord come forth against thee in his hot displeasure.


SOme methinks there are, that are of trembling hearts, and they cry, It is true, I am escaped, but I fear I am none of the Israel of God. My Use therefore would be to such as are of trembling spirits: When they consider how good God has been to them, they may possibly tremble, lest at last they should lose the Mercy of this Mercy, because they are not found among the Israel of God. Many a Soul there is possibly cries out, Israels Priviledges are too great for me to hope to have a part in them, and Israels Spirit is a Spirit more excellent then ever I have been found in; and therefore though I am escaped this day, yet I want that which is the best piece of the Mercy of an Escape.

I would answer, Know this, O Soul, that among the Israel of God there are many that are of fearful Spirits: although they are re­ally among the number of the Lords preci­ous Ones, they have not an Eye to see it, nor Faith to believe it, and so may possibly go mourning many days. But what are thy Objections? What makes thee fear? Do not fear thou know'st not what, nor why: As we are to give a reason of our Hope, so I would not have you fear without a reason.

Objection 1.

Methinks the Soul says, Gods Israel are a chosen People, and the Election of God lies deep, it is a secret lock'd up in his Bosom, and I fear I have no part in the Election of God: I fear the eternal thoughts of God did not concern themselves about such a weak and worthless Worm as I am.


It is true, the Election of God is a secret in the heart of God, and secret things be­long unto God; things written and revealed belong to us: It is not for me or thee to climb Heaven to search Records, and at first dash to turn over the leaves of the Book of Life, and to see whether we may find our Names therein written. It is a great mi­stake upon which many run, that would think to prove the truth of their being called, by finding out whether they are elected or no; it is an endless, it is an impossible work. This therefore know is thy work and mine, to consult what effects of Electing Love we can finde upon our Souls; if any thing of that be in thy heart, thence thou mayst safely conclude thou wast in the heart of God from Eternity. There is a Scripture that [Page 173]answers fully (I think) whatever the Soul can say in this matter, 1 Thes. 1.4, 5. Know­ing, Brethren, beloved, your Election of God; for our Gospel came not unto you in word but al­so in power, and in the holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. Consider whe­ther the Gospel hath had its work upon thy heart, whether it hath come with power up­on thy Soul; and if so, others may know, and thou mayst know from thence thine Ele­ction: Election is an act of God that he pas­seth from Eternity, but Calling is a work and Fruit of Election upon the Soul of a poor Sinner, by which it may come to discover that it was in the thoughts of God before the foundation of the World was laid. If therefore thou canst trace the footsteps of Gods going upon thy Soul, and of his work­ing in a Gospel-way upon thy heart, thy Soul is safe, and the thoughts of God (thou mayst conclude) were towards thee before thou hadst a being. But

Objection 2.

The Soul objects, I fear God hath not been at work upon me: I could conclude Gods election of me, if I could find a work of the Go­spel passed upon my Soul. I know the work of [Page 174]the Gospel is to cleanse and purifie the heart; but sin and filthiness dwells in me, that I cannot think the Lord has been effectually at work upon my Soul. That the work of the Gospel is to purifie the heart, is plain from Joh. 17.17. Sanctifie them through thy Truth, thy Word is truth: so 1 Pet. 1.22. Seeing ye have pu­rified your hearts in obeying the Truth tho­row the Spirit, unto unfained love to the Brethren. The Gospel, if it works, it works to the purifying of the heart.


As it is a work of the Gospel to cleanse and purifie the heart, so it is not all the work it does, nor is it the first work it doth, nor the work that is first manifest upon the Soul. The Law it humbles the sinner, and makes him see his need of Christ: the first work of the Gospel is to give the sinner hope that he may be delivered out of his undone con­dition; and the next is, to make him willing to subject to and accept of the Grace of God in the Gospel, Psal. 110.3. Thy People shall be willing in the day of thy Power. Therefore Soul, if thou dost make this Objection, this I would say to thee; Consider whether thou canst find that the Gospel hath done its first work upon thy heart, hath made thee willing [Page 175]to accept of Grace in the Gospel-way, and to bow and fall at the foot of Jesus Christ. As to thy Holiness, the holiness of thy heart will at first discover it self hardly by any o­ther ways then by thy love to Holiness, then by thy hatred of Sin, and thy fighting against the Corruptions that be in thy Soul; thy Conquest and Victory over Sin must be the work of time, the fruit of much pains and long waiting: many excellent Souls have not attained unto this: Paul himself found impurity remaining, and Corruption like to bear him down; and therefore cries out, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this Body of Death? But then

Objection 3.

The Soul objects and says, But I have been but a little time under any Soul-Work, and therefore I may soon be mistaken; I may reckon I am an Israelite, and may be but an Edomite still: for it is but a little while that I have had any workings upon my heart. I have gone in­deed from Duty to Duty, for a long time toge­ther, but I have sat in and under them like a Stock or a Stone, and moved not: and therefore whether the Workings that are upon me are ge­nuine, or whether they be spurious, and not of the right kind, I know not.


I answer therefore: The work of Grace upon the heart is wrought in a little time, a little time doth it: there are indeed many preparations to it, the Soul may fall under many convictions, and many struglings may be in the heart of a poor creature before the new Creature is formed; but Grace is infu­sed into the heart in a moment, at once. It is the Devils design to oppose young Con­verts, and puzzle them with endless questi­ons about their state: I would therefore that thou shouldst consult for thy satisfacti­on, which way is the bent of thy Soul: Canst thou say thy desire is for Communion with God, for fellowship with Father, Son, and Spirit? Thou wouldst fain see him who is invisible, and fain wouldst know him whom to know is Eternal Life: If the bent of thy heart be really for God, it is bent and bow­ed; though it hath not been long with God, thou mayest conclude, I think with some comfort, the Lord hath been at work upon thy Soul, and thou art one of the Israel of God, though thou art but a little one of that Tribe. But then

Objection 4.

Says the Soul, Many of much longer stan­ding, and of much more raised confidence, have afterwards miscarried, and it has appeared that their Souls have not been right with God; and therefore my heart trembles lest I should not be an Israelite indeed.


To this I would answer, That indeed it is so, and it may be thought of with sorrow of heart, that many Souls after long profession have been but empty Vines, bringing forth fruit onely to themselves: And happy is he that by other mens harms learns to beware. A holy fear and jealousie over thy heart is very good, and there is great cause for it, consi­dering the many and great miscarriages that are among Professors. They say of Trees that are well rooted, being shaken with the Wind, they are made to root the better: It may be thus may thy Temptations touching thy state be; if thou art rooted in Christ, thy Temptations may be for thy further set­ling in thy state. But yet to be always per­plexing thy self with questions about thy state, may not onely marre thy com­fort, [Page 178]but may spoil thee in thy growth also, and may prove a great hindrance to thee: My poor thoughts are therefore these, Be sure to make use enough of Christ, see thy All in him; that he is thy Righteousness for Justification, and that from him is the work of thy Sanctification; he must begin it, and it is he also that must carry it on: lie at his foot, live upon him, and let all thy expectations be from him; and whoever may fall, I think thou wilt stand, and wilt be found one of the Israel of God, that shall be made glorious in the day of Christs Glory. I am perswaded, if thou canst do as is hinted in Isa. 45. ult. see thy Righteousness in him, and thy Strength in him, and canst glory in Christ, it is a good ground to thee to hope that thou art of the Israel of God, with whom it is like for ever to go well.

Objection 5.

The Soul may object and say further, But alas I have had few Visions of God, and that makes me fear; Israel of old had many, and he had sometimes very glorious Visions, that did greatly comfort and strengthen, and bear up his Soul.


I answer, That visions of God indeed are exceeding sweet, very sweet, but the dis­pensing and giving them forth is in the hand of God, and he must do it how and when he pleaseth; and it is good in his sight some­times to let his own People sit in darkness, and see no light. Hast thou seen the face of God at any time? If thou hast had but some Visions of him, though not so many as thou wouldst, yet it is ground of rejoycing to thee, and thou oughtest from thence to conclude much to thy own comfort: A little hint of Good Will is given in to be lived upon in after times. However, which way is it thy Soul does press? Art thou waiting for the manifestation of the love of God in Christ? Are these the things which thou art seeking of, together with a Conformity to the mind and will of God? If so, thou hast cause of Thankfulness and Joy. Briefly, Watch against those devices of Satan where­by he labours to do thee hurt, and put thee besides thy present proper work. Thou art one of them that are escaped this day, and God expects thy great work should be to give him the glory of that mercy, to improve it to his praise: Satan would possibly divert [Page 180]thee, and cause thee to make it thy work to perplex thy self about thy state, by raising infinite questions in thee, whether thou art yet of the Israel of God, or no. Be not ea­sily thus deluded: but if thou hast ought that may be really a solid ground of hope to thee, do not easily cast away thy confidence; but having got a little hold, keep it, that thou art spared in mercy, and shalt find mer­cy when Christ shall appear glorious.


THe Fifth Use will be to them that are the Israel of God, to comfort their hearts: and this Doctrine that is under consideration, is exceeding comfortable un­to such; I may truly say to them, I do bring them glad tidings of great Joy. What! shall all the sad and dismal Slaughters made in the World, work to such a blessed issue as the Exaltation of Christ? And shall all his glo­ry be for your good? What can you wish for more? When David had been speaking of the Kingdom of Christ, and his Glory, un­der the Person of Solomon, in Psal. 72. it is said, The Prayers of David the Son of Jesse are ended: The sum of all that a gracious heart can desire, is, That Christ may be glo­rified; when that is done, he knows not what [Page 181]more to pray for. If you are Israel, and your hearts are as they should be, the great thing about which your Spirits are working, is, that Christ may be set upon his Throne, and that his Name may be exalted: If this work go forward, and be in hand, the work that is in hand and goes on, is that which lies most upon your hearts, and in which your Souls have greatest occasion to rejoyce. Let the consideration of this, comfort you,

1. Against whatever Breaches may have been made upon you by this day of slaughter; it will be strange if some of you have not lost Friends and Relations: Remember all these Breaches made upon you, onely serve to repair the interest of Christ, and work for his glory: and if your hearts be right, what would you not part with, so the work of God may be furthered? If your hearts be right, you will say, Let all go, and come what will; if Christ may but be a Gainer, I will be willing all things should be lost.

2. Let it comfort you under those per­plexities, and troubles, and dread, that it may be, hath been upon your Spirits in such a day: Doubtless Times of slaughter are Times of great sorrow and grief of heart; but who would not sustain a little grief, for the working out of greater comfort? The first sight that you shall have of Christ in his [Page 182]glory, will wipe away these Tears, and will suppress all those Fears; it will make them be as if they had never been.

3. Let it comfort you, if you should see worse things then ever yet you have seen. I do believe many Souls do this day think that nothing can be more terrible then what they have already seen and heard; but if they should be mistaken, and you should see things more dreadful, be comforted; Christs work is going forward, his glory and Israel's mercy is upon the wheel. It is not unusual in Scripture and experience, that one Judge­ment goes not alone, but it is followed by others closely at the heels. Jer. 14.12. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer Burnt-Offering & an Oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the Sword, and by the Famine, and by the Pestilence: Not one single Judgement one­ly, but others were to go in hand along with it. Christ says, Luk. 21.25, 26. That a lit­tle before the day of his glory, there shall be distress of Nations, and mens hearts shall fail them for fear, for looking after those things that are coming on the Earth. It is a very probable conjecture, that as we have seen the distress of a City, we may see the distress of Nations, and troubles may over-spread the face of the whole Earth. Yet if these [Page 183]things should be, remember Christs Coun­sel to his own Disciples, vers. 28. Look up, and lift up your heads, for your Redemption draweth nigh. Remember the words of the wise man, Prov. 3.25, 26. Be not afraid with sudden fear, neither with the desolation of the Wicked when it comes; for the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from be­ing taken.

4. Be comforted though you cannot un­derstand the method of God, and are not able to conceive how these Dispensations of God should work for Christs glory, and the good of his People: We are apt to be per­plexed because we cann't see into the depths of the proceedings of God, and understand the reason of them all. But remember he that hath the management of these things knows his own ends, and can tell how to ac­complish his own designs, and he will be sure to do his own work, when all men have done what they can: Things may and shall work for the good of the Saints, though we cannot understand them. Remember the case of Jacob, Gen. 42.36. Says Jacob, Me ye have bereaved of my Children; Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and will you take away Benjamin also? All these things are against me. To his apprehension all this made against him; when in truth, and when the issue was [Page 184]seen, it made so for him as nothing could do more. And thus it is in the great ama­zing Dispensations of God with which we are startled; though we understand not the mystery and reason of Gods proceedings, yet they make for the good of his People, and will work out his glory, though we cry these things are against us often-times.

5. And lastly, It will comfort you if you are Israel, though you should not see all ac­complished immediately, though the Branch of the Lord should not forthwith become glorious; Remember Faith and Patience, they serve to help us to wait and stay Gods time and leisure. God always keeps his Ends upon his Heart, and in his Eye, and never acts in any inconsistency with them. This is abundantly certain, that he will ac­complish every good thing for his People: Wait therefore on the Lord, and keep his Way, and he will exalt you in due time. Though he answers your desires and expectations, for the present, by terrible things, yet it is in Righteousness, and it is for the bringing about whatever mercy he promised to his People.


THe last Use would be for a Word of Counsel. You that are escaped this [Page 185]day, and are the Israel of God, what mer­cy is this that you share in? how amazing and distinguishing are the dispensations of God to you-ward! How should the sence of it over-come your Souls! To be preser­ved, and preserved in mercy, to great and glorious ends, what can you desire more had you been put to make your own terms with God? Believe it, if you are the Lords People in truth, you are much in the heart of God, and your Good in the very next place to his own and his Sons Glory is de­signed, however he deals with you: If he lets loose men upon you, it is not with a de­sign to hurt you; Psal. 66.12. Thou hast cau­sed men to ride over our heads, we went through fire and water; but thou hast brought us out in­to a wealthy place. If he comes to thunder down Judgements upon the World, it is with a design to do you good; it is for your safe­ty. Isa. 43.14. Thus saith the Lord your Re­deemer, the holy One of Israel, For your sakes I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their Nobles; and the Caldeans, whose cry is in the Ships. Christ in all his Administra­tions, and in all the Dispensations of his Kingly Power from first to last, aims at the good of his People, and it is for their bene­fit that he acts, however we are apt through blindness and ignorance to interpret it. If [Page 186]he cuts down his People, it is to do them good; if he spares them it is because he de­lights in them, and will make them partake of sparing-mercy. How admirable is the kindness of the Lord, and what effect should it have? But

1. To teach you to see the hand of Christ in all, and to sing forth the praises of the Lord; your preservation is through Christ. When the Passeover was instituted of old, God bid the Israelites to sprinkle the Blood of the Lamb upon the door posts, and when the An­gel passed by to slay the first-born of Egypt, he would pass by their doors that were sprinkled: If the destroying Angel hath passed by your Doors, and hath not come in, it is because your post was sprinkled with the Blood of Jesus, the Blood of the Lamb: It is to Christ that you own it, and O that the praises of the Lord might be sounded forth by you: in Psal. 22.3. God is said to inhabit the Praises of Israel; it is a remarkable expression, O Thou that inhabitest the Praises of Israel, our Fathers trusted in thee, and were delivered. Israel should be a praising People, and God delights in their Praises: He loves to be where his Praises are spoken forth. O that your habitations might be the habitations where the Praises of God might dwell, and where the goodness of God may be sounded forth.

2. Sure your escaping should make [...] to be Holiness unto the Lord: Hath the Lord written you unto Life, as the expression is in this 4th of Isaiah? Are you by his appoint­ment and counsel in the Land of the living? O then see that you be a People walking with him. He says in this 4th of Isaiah, to them that do escape, that they shall be a holy Peo­ple, vers. 3. It shall come to pass that he that is left in Sion, and he that remaineth in Jerusa­lem, shall be called Holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem. O that every one written among the living this day, might also be called Holy, that is, might be so, for God calls things as they are. There be great engagements lie upon our Souls that we live up to this expectation of God.

3. Surely your work is to help forward the glory of Christ and your own good, by all ways you can: Faith and Prayer are the great means by which you may be service­able to this great end. We are apt to be faithless and unbelieving, when things suc­ceed not according to our desire and expe­ctation; but the work of the Soul is, to wait for the salvation of God, and to believe for the accomplishment of all that the Lord hath spoken; to beg earnestly that God would remember his Promise, that he would [Page 188]do according to the Faith of his People: Whatsoever God has engaged himself to his People, that he will do for them, he expects that they should enquire of him for it.

4. How much ought it to be your care to be found in a spirit fit to meet Christ in his glory? There is great talk in the World of what expectations are upon the hearts of the Saints; O that we could see suitable prepa­rations in every Soul, putting off the works of darkness, and pressing after a Spirit of Humility and Holiness, that we might be crucified to the World, and raised up to a spiritual frame: the day of Christs glory will be exceedingly filled up with spiritual things, and a carnal earthly spirit will be loathed and abominable. O then shake off the filth of sin, and the filth of this World, and put on your beautiful Garments, that so you may be prepared to meet the Lord in his glory.

5. Do you much pity Sinners: When Christ shall come in his glory, with what shame and confusion will poor sinners stand? every heart will tremble, and the proudest spirit will then stoop. O pity them now, for then you will have no pity for them: the Righteous shall rejoyce when he sees the vengeance, they will then onely triumph in the righteous Dispensations of God. O pity [Page 189]them now, and mourn over them, and pray for them, and pray them into Christ, if pos­sible; and walk so before them that thou maist make them in love with the ways of God: This is your work, the Salvation of Sinners should be much upon your hearts, if you know the worth of your own Souls: And the more there are brought into Christ, the greater will the solemnity be, and the glory of this glorious appearance.

To close all therefore:

It is a sad day for the present, even with the Saints of God; and though we are pre­served, yet we and all our mercies lie open to we know not how much misery; we and our best Priviledges, how they may be dealt with we cannot tell: however, of this be confident, That all this time the Lord is at work graciously for his People: As he says in this fourth of Isaiah, when he had said in the Text, The Branch of the Lord should be glorious for them that are escaped; he addes, vers. 4. When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the Daughter of Zion. In the [...]ean time before this glory, the Lord is wa­ [...]ing away the filth of his People, and pur­ging out their dross that yet is among them, that when his glorious appearing shall be, you and all your Mercies will at once be de­livered: [Page 190]and as he says in the fifth verse, The Lord will create upon every dwelling place in Mount Zion, and upon her Assemblies, a Cloud and Smoak by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the Glory shall be a defence. Now we have our Oppor­tunities with hazard, and little Communi­on with God in them; but at that day there shall be upon the Assemblies of Mount Zion a Cloud. The Cloud in the Temple was the to­ken of Gods presence, God will be among his People: And upon their Glory shall be a defence: They shall be safe from the fear of evil, and God will bless his People with peace; He will bless them out of Zion.

Laus Deo Opt. Max.


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