Christ, the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. OR, A Short Discourse.

Pointing forth the way of making use of Christ for justification, and especially and more particularly, for Sanctification in all its parts, from JOHAN. XIV: Vers. VI. Wherein several cases of conscience are briefly ans­wered, chiefly touching Sanctification.

By JOHN BROWN. Preacher of the Gospel.

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ROTTERDAM.

Printed by H. G. for Iohn Cairns, book seller in Edinburgh, and are to be sold there 1677.

THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY TO The Right Honourable and Religious Lady, The Lady STRATHNAVER

MADAM.

IEsus Christ himself being the cheife corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy tem­ple in the Lord; as it ought to be the principal con­cearne of all, who have not sitten down on this side of Iordan, to satisfy their souls, (once created for, and in their owne nature requireing▪ in order to satifaction, Spi­ritual, immortal and incorruptible substance), with husks prepared for beasts, to be built in and upon this corner stone, for an habitation of God, through the Spirit: So it ought to be the maine designe and work of such, as would be approven of God, as faithful labourers and co­workers with God, to be following the ex­ample of him, who determined not to know [Page] any thing, among those he wrote unto, save Iesus Christ and him crucified. O! this noble, heart-ravishing, soul-satisfying mysterious theme, Iesus Christ crucified, the short compend of that uncontrovertibly great mysterie of god­liness, God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached unto the Gentiles, beleeved on in the world, received up into glory: wherein are things the Angels desire to look into, or with vehement desire bend (as it were) their necks, and bow down their heads to look and peep into (as the word used, 1 Pet. 1: 12. importeth) is a Subject for angelical heads to prie into; for the most inde­fatigable, & industrious Spirits, to be occupyed about. The searching into and studying of this one Truth, in reference to a closeing with it, as our life, is an infallible mark of a soul di­vinely enlightened, and endued with spiritual and heavenly wisdom; for though it be unto the jewes a stumbling block, & unto the Greeks foolishness; yet unto them, who are called, it is Christ the power of God, & the wisdom of God, because the foolishness of God is wiser then men, & the weakness of God is stronger then men. O! what depths of the manifold wisdom of God are there in this mysterie? The more it is preached, known & beleeved aright, the more is it understood, to be beyond understanding, & to be what it is, a mysterie. Did ever any Preacher or beleever, get a broad look of this boundless ocean, wherein infinite Wisdom, Love that [Page] passeth all understanding, Grace without all di­mensions, justice that is admirable and tremen­duous, and God in his glorious Properties, Con­descensions, high and noble Designes, and in all his Perfections and Vertues, flow over all banks; or were they ever admitted to a prospect hereof in the face of Iesus Christ; & were not made to cry out, O the depth and height, the bre­adth and length! O the inconceivable, and incomprehensible, boundlesness of all infinitly transcendent perfections? Did ever any with serious diligence, as knowing their life lay in it, study this mysterious Theme, and were not, in full conviction of soul, made to say, the more they promoved in this study, and the more they descended in their diveings into this depth, or soared upward in their mounting speculations in this height, they found it the more an unse­archable mystery? The study of other Themes (which Alas! many, who think it below them to be happy, are too much occupyed in) when it hath wasted the spirits, wearyed the minde, worne the body, and rarified the braine to the next degree unto a distraction, what satisfa­ction can it give, as to what is attained, or en­couragement as to future attainments? And when, as to both these, something is had, and the poor soul puft up with an aery and fan­cyful apprehension of having obtained▪ some great thing, but in truth a great Nothing, or a Nothing pregnant with Vanity, and vexation of Spirit, foolish twines causing no gladness to the [Page] Father, for he that increaseth knowledge, increas­eth sorrow, Eccles. 1: 18. what peace can all yeeld to a soul reflecting on posting-away time, now near the last point, and looking forward to endless Eternity? Oh! the thoughts of time wasted with, and faire opportunities of good lost by, the vehement pursueings and huntings after shadowes and vanities, will torment the soul, by assaulting it with pierceing convictions of madness and folly, in forsaking All, to over­take Nothing; with dreadful and soul-terrify­ing discoveries of the saddest of disappoint­ments: and with the horrour of an everlastingly irrecoverable losse; And what hath the labo­rious Spirit than reaped of all the travail of his soul, when he hath lost it? But, on the other hand, O with what calmness of minde, serenity of soul and peace of conscience, because of the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, will that poor soul look back, when standing on the border of Eternity, on the bygone dayes o [...] houres it spent, in s [...]eking after, praying & [...]seing all appointed meanes for, some saying acquantance with, and interest in this only soul up making, and soul satisfying Mystery; and upon its yeelding up it self, through the effica [...]i­ous operations of the Spirit of grace, wholly, without disputing unto the powerful workings of this mystery within; and in becoming cru­cified with Christ▪ and living through [...] crucified Christ's living in it, by his Spirit and power: and with what rejoyceing of heart and gloriou [Page] singing of soul, will it look forward to Eternity▪ and its everlasting abode in the prepared mansi­ons, remembering that there, its begun study will be everlastingly continued, its capacity to understand that unsearchable mystery will be inconceivably greater; and the spiritual, hea­venly and glorious joy, which it will have, in that practical reading its divinity without book of ordinances, will be its life and felicity for ever? And what peace & joy in the holy Ghost, what inward and inexpressible quiet and con­tentment of minde, will the soul enjoy, in dwell­ing on these thoughts, when it shall have withall the inward and well grounded perswasion of its right, through Jesus Christ, to the full possession of that All, which now it cannot conceive, let be comprehend; the foretastes whereof filleth it with joy unspeakable and full of glory; and the hope of shortly landing there, where it shall see and enjoy & wonder & praise, and rest in this endless and restless felicitating work, making it to sing, while passing thorow the valley of the shadow of death? O if this were beleeved! O that we were not drunk, to a distraction and madness, with the adulterous love of vaine and aery speculations, to the postponing, if not utter neglecting, of this maine and only upmaking work, of getting real acquaintance with and a begun possession of this mystery in our souls, Christ, the grand mystery▪ formed within us, living, and working within us by his Spirit, and working us up unto a con­formity [Page] unto, and an heart-closeing with God manifested in the flesh, that we may finde in ex­perience, or at least, in truth and reality, have a true transumpte of that Gospel mystery, in our souls! Oh when shall we take pleasure in pur­sueing after this happiness, that will not flee from us, but is rather pursueing us; when shall we receive with joy and triumph this King of glory, that is courting us dayly, and is seeking accesse and entry into our souls? Oh why cry we not out, in the hieght of the passion of spiri­tual longing & desire. O come Lord Iesus, King of glory, with thine owne key, and open the door and enlarge & dilate the chambers of the soul, that thou may enter, and be entertained as the King of glory▪ with all thy glorious retinue, to the ennobling of my soul, & satisfying of all the desires of that immortal spark? Why do we not covet after this know­ledge, which hath a true and firme connexion with all the best and truely divine gifts? O happy soul, that is wasted and worne to a shadow (if that could be) in this study and exercise, which at length will enliven and (as it were) bring in a new heavenly & spiritual soul into the soul, so that it shall look no more like a dead, disspi­rited thing, out of its native soile and element; but as a free, elevated and spiritualized Spirit, expatiating it self, & fleeing abroad in the open aire of its owne element and country. O happy day, O happy houre, that is really and effe­ctually spent in this imployment! what would souls, sweeming in this ocean of all pleasures [Page] and delights, care for, yea, with what abhor­rency would they look upon the bewitehing allurements of the purest kinde of carnal de­lights, which flow from the mindes satisfa­ction in feeding on the poor apprehensions, & groundlesly expected comprehensions of ob­jects, suited to its natural genius and capacity? O! what a more hyperbolically exceeding and glorious satisfaction hath a soul, in its very pur­sueings after (when it misseth & cannot reach) that which is truely desireab [...]e! How doth the least glimpse, through the smallest cranie, of this glorious and glorifying knowledge of God in Christ, apprehended by faith, raise up the soul to that pitch of joy and satisfaction, which the knowledge of natural things, in its purest perfection, shall never be able to cause; and to what a surmounting measure of this joy and contentation, will the experienceing & feeling by spiritual sense the sweet and spiritual relish of this capivating, and transcendently excellent knowledge, raise the soul unto? O! must not this be the very suburbs of heaven to the soul? When the soul thus seeth & apprehendeth God in Christ, and that as its owne God, through Christ (for as all saving knowledge, draweth out the soul unto an imbraceing & closeing with the object, so it bringeth in the object to the making up of the rec [...]procal union and in-being) it can­not but admire with exultation, and exult with admiration, at that condescendence of free grace, that hath made it in any measure capable [Page] of this begun glory, and will fur [...]her mak it meet, by this begun glory, to be a [...] of the inheritance of the Saints in light: and what will a soul, that hath tasted of the pure delights of this river of gospel manifestations, & hath seen with soul-rav [...]shing delight, in some mea­sure, the manifold wisdome of God wrapped up therein; and the comple [...]t and perfect [...]ym­metrie of all the parts of that noble contexture, and also the pure designe of that contr [...]vance to abase Man, and to extoll the riches of the free grace of God, that the sinner, when possessed of all, designed for him and effectuated in him thereby, may know who alone should weare the crown and have all the glory; what, I say, will such a soul see in another gospel [...] calculat­ed to the meridian of the natural, crooked and corrupted temper of proud man, who is soon made va [...]ne of nothing, which in stead of bring­ing a sinner, fall [...]n from God through pride, back againe to the enjoyment of Him, through a Mediator, doth but foster that innate plague, and rebellion, which caused and procured his first excommunication from the favour, and banishment out of the paradice of God) that shall attract its heart to it, and move it to [...] compliance with it? When the poor sinner, that hath bin made to pant after a Saviour, and hath bin pursued to the very ports of the city of refuge by the ave [...]ger of blood, the justice of God, hath tasted and seen, how good God is, and felt the sweetness of free love in a crucified [Page] Christ, and seen the beauty and glory of the mystery of free grace, sutably answering [...] and overcoming the mystery of its sin and misery; O what a complacency hath he therein, and in the way of gospel salvation, wherein free grace is seen to overflow all banks, to the eternal praise of the God of all grace. How saltless and un­savoury will the most cunningly devised and patch together mode of salvation be, that men, studying the perversion of the gospel▪ and seek­ing the ruine of souls, with all their skill, in­dusery and learning, are setting off with forced rhetorick, and the artifice of words of mans wisdom, and with the plausible advan­tages of a pretended sanctity, and of strong grounds and motives unto diligence and pain­fulness, to a very denying and renunceing of Christian liberty, when once itis observed, how it entrencheth upon, and darkneth the lustre, or diminisheth the glory of free grace, and hath the least tendency to the setting of the crown on the creatures head, in whole or in part? The least perception that hereby the sinners song, ascribeing blessing, honour, glory and power, unto him, that was s [...]ain, & hath redeemed them to God by his blood, out of every kin [...]ed and tongue and people and nation, and hath made them unto their God kings and prie [...]ts, shall be marred, will be enough to render that device detestable, and convince the soul, that itis not the gospel of the grace of God, nor that mystery of God and of Christ, [Page] but rather the mystery of [...]niquity. What a peculiar savouriness doth the humbled beleever finde, in the doctrine of the true gospel grace; and the more, that he be thereby made Nothing, and Christ made All; that he, in his highest atainments, be debaised, and Christ exalted; that his most lovely peacoke feathers be laid, & the crown flourish on Christ's head; that he be laid flat, without one foot to stand upon, and Christ the only supporter, and carryer of him to glory; that he be as dead without life, and Christ live in him, the more lovely, the more beautiful, the more desireable, and acceptable is it unto him. O what a complacency hath the graced soul, in that contrivance of infinite wisdom, wherein the mystery of the grace of God is so displayed, that nothing appeareth, from the lowest foundation stone to the upper, most cope-stone but grace, grace, free grace making up all the materials, and free grace with infinite wisdom cementing all? The gracious soul can be warme under no other covering, but what is made of that web, wherein grace and only grace is both wooft and werpe; and the reason is manifest, for such an one hath the clearest sight and discovery of his owne condi­tion, and seeth that nothing suiteth him, and his case, but free grace: nothing can make up his wants, but free grace: nothing can cover his deformities, but free grace; nothing can help his weaknesses, shortcomings, faintings, sins and miscarriages, but free grace: therefore [Page] is free grace all his Salvation, and all his Desire: itis his glory to be free grace's debtor, for ever­more; the crown of glory will have a far more exceeding and eternal weight, and be of an hyperbolically hyperbolick and eternal weight▪ and yet easily carryed and worne, when he seeth how free grace and free love hath lined it▪ and free grace and free love sets it on, and keeps it on for ever: this maketh the glorified Saint, weare it with ease, by casting it down at the feet of the gracious and loving purchaser, and bestower. His exaltation is the Saints glory; and by free grace, the Saints receiving and holding all of free grace, is He exalted. O what a glory is it to the Saint, to set the crown of glorious free grace, with his owne hands, on the head of such a Saviour, and to say, not unto me, not unto me, but unto thee, even unto thee alone, be the glory for ever and ever! With what delight, satisfaction, and complacency, will the glorified Saint, upon this account, sing the Redeemed and Ransomed their song? And if the result and effect of free grace will give such a sweet sound there, and make the glorified's heaven, in some respects, another thing, or at least, in some respect, a more excellent heaven, than Adam's heaven would have been; for Adam could not have sung the song of the Redeemed; Adam's heaven would not have been the purchase of the blood of God; nor would Adam have sitten with Christ Re­deemer on his throne; nor would there have [Page] been in his heaven such [...]ich hangings of free grace, nor such mansions prepared by that gra­cious and loving husband, Christ, who will come and bring his bough [...]-bride home with Him. Seing, I say, heaven, even upon the account of free grace, will have such a special, lovely, desireable, and glorious lustre, O how should Grace be prized by us now? How should the Gospel of the Grace of God be esteem­ed by us? What an antipa [...]hy to Glory, as now prepared and dressed up for sinful man, must they show, whose whole wit and parts are busied to da [...]ken the glory of th [...] Grace, which God would have shineing in the Gospel; and who are a [...] so much paines and labour, to dresse up another gospel (though the Apostle hath told us, Gal. 1: 7. that there is not another) wherein Gospel-grace must stand by, and law grace take the throne, that so man may sa­crifice to his owne net, and burn incense to his own drag, and may at most be graces debtor, in part; and yet no way may the saved man account himself more graces debtor, than the man was, who wilfully destroyed him­self, in not performing of the conditions; for Grace (as the new Gospelers, or rather Gospel - spillers meane, and say▪) did equally to both frame the conditions, make known th [...] contrivance, and tender the conditional peace and salvation. But as to the difference betwixt Paul and Iudas, it was Paul that made himself to differ, and not the free grace of God▪ deter­mineing the heart of Paul by grace to a close­ing [Page] with and accepting of the b [...]rgan. It was not grace that wrought in him both to will & to do▪ It wa [...] he & not the grace of God in him. What more contradictory to the gospel of the grace of God? And yet vaine Man will not con­descend to the free grace of God. Pelagianisme & Arminianisme, needeth not put a man to much study, and to the reading of many books, to the end, it may be practically learned (though the patrons hereof labour hote in the very fires, to make their notions hang together, and to give them such a lustre of unsanctified and cor­rupt reason, as may be taking with such as know no other conduct in the matters of God) for n [...]turally we are all borne Pelagians and Ar­minians: these Tenets are deeply engraven in the heart of every Son of fallen Adam: what serious servant of God findeth not this, in his dealing with souls, whom he is labouring to bri [...]g into the way of the Gospel? Yea what Christian is there, who hath acquantance with his owne heart, and is observing its byasses and corrupt inclinations, that is not made to cry out, O wretched man that I am! who shall de­liver me from these dregs of Pelagianisme, Ar­minianisme and Iesuitisme, which I finde yet within my soul? Hence it may seem no won­derful, or strange thing (though after so much clear light, it may be astonishing to think, that now, in this age, so many are so openly, and a [...]wedly, appearing for this dangerous and deadly errou [...]) to us, to hear and see this in­fection spread [...]ng and gaining ground so fast, [Page] there needeth few arguments or motives, to worke up carnal hearts to an imbraceing there­of, and to a cheerful acquiesceing therein; little labour will make a spark of fire worke upon gunpowder. And, me thinks, if nothing else will, this one thing should convince us all of the errour of this way; that nature so q [...]imely and readyly complyeth therewith; for who, that hath any eye upon, or regaird of such things, seeth not, what a world of carnal reasonings, objections, prejudices, and scruples, natural men have in readiness against the Gospel of Christ; and with what satisfaction, peace and delight, they reason and plead themselves out of the very reach of free grace; and what work there is to get a poor soal, in any measure wa­kened and convinced of its lost condition, wrought up to a compliance with the gospel way of Salvation? How many other designes, projects and essayes doth it follow; with a piece of natural vehemency and seriousness, without wearying, were it even to the wasteing of its body and spirits, let be, its substance & riches, before it be brought to a closeing with a cruci­fied Mediator, and to an accounting of all its for­mer workings, attainments, and painful la­bourings, and gaine, as losse for Christ, and for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and as dung that it may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having its own righteousness, which is of the la [...], but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness, which is of God by fai [...]h, Phil. 3: 7, 8▪ 9. A [...]d m [...]y it not seem strange, that [Page] now, after so many have found, through the grace of God, the sweet experience of the gra­cious workings of the gospel grace of God up­on their hearts, and so are in case, as having this witness within them, to give verdict a­gainst those assertions; yea moe and many moe, than were in several ages before; yet Satan should become so bold, as to vent these despe­rate opinions, so diametrically opposite to the Grace of God, declared in the Gospel, and ingraven in the Hearts of many hundereds, by the finger of God, confirming▪ in the most un­doubted manner, the truth of the gospel do­ctrines. This would seem to say, that there are such clear sun shine dayes of the Gospel, and of the Son of man, a coming (and who can tell how soon this night shall be at an end?) that all these doctrines of nature shall receive a more conspicuous and shameful dash, than they have received for these many ages: Hithertil when Satan raised up, and sent forth his qualified instruments, for this desperat work, God al­wayes prepared carpenters to fright these horns and thus Gospel▪truth came forth, as gold out of a furnace, more clear and shineing: And who can tell but there may be a dispensation of the pure grace of God, in opposition to these perverting wayes of Satan, yet to come, that, as to the measure of light and power, shall ex­cell whatever hath been, siace the Apostles dayes? Even so come Lord Iesus!

However, Madam, the Grace of God [Page] will be, what it is, to all the chosen and ran­somed ones. They will finde that in it, which will make whatever cometh in competition therewith or would darken it, contemp­tible in their eyes: And happy they, of whom, in this day wherein darkness covereth the earth, and grosse darkness the people, it may be said, the Lord hath arisen upon them, and his glory, hath been seen upon them: for whatever others, whose understanding is yet darkned, and they alienated from the life of God, through the igno­rance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts, imagine of the Gospel Grace; and however they discerne nothing of the heavenly and spiritual glory of the Grace of God: yet they being delivered or cast into the form and mould of the doctrine of the Gospel, which they have obeyed from the heart, through the powerful and irresistible efficacy of the mighty grace of God, have seen such an allureing ex­cellency, in [...] gracious contrivance of infinite wisdome, to set forth the unparallelableness of the pure grace of God, and are dayly seeing more and more of the graciousness & wisdome of that heavenly invention, in its adeq [...]at s [...] ­teablness to all their necessities, that as they cannot but admire and commend the riches of that grace that interlineth every sentence of the gospel, and the greatness of that love, that hath made such a compleatly broad plaster, to cover all their sores and wounds; so the longer they live, and the more they drink of this pure [Page] fountain of heavenly nectar; and the more their necessities presse them, to a taking▪on of new obligations, because of new supplies from this ocean of grace, the more they are made to ad­mire the Wisdom & Goodness of the Author▪ and the more they are made to fall in love with, to delight [...], and lose themselves in the thoughts of this incomprehensible grace of God; yea and to longe to be there, where they shall be in better case to contemplate, and have more wit to wonder at, and better dexterity to prize, & a stronger head to muse upon, and a more enlarged heart to praise for this boundless and endless treasure of the Grace of God, with which they are enriched, through Jesus Christ. Sure, if we be not thus enamoured & ravished with it, it is because we are yet standing with­out, or, at most, upon the threshold & bor­der of this Grace; were we once goto within the jurisdiction of grace, and had yeelded up ourselves unto the power thereof, and were living and breathing in this aire, O! how sweet a life might we have? What a kindly [...]lement would Grace be to us? As sin had reigned unto death, even so grace should reigne, through righ­teousness, unto eternal life, by Iesus Christ, our Lord Rom. 5: 21. Grace reigning within us th [...]ough righteousness, would frame & fit our souls for that eternal life, that is ensured to all, who come once under the commanding, enli­vening, strengthening, confirming, corrobo­rating, and perfecting power of Grace: and [Page] seeking grace for grace, and so living and walking and spending upon Grace's cost and charges, O how lively, and thriveing profi­cients might we be? The more we spent of grace (if it could be spent) the richer should we be in grace: O what an enriching trade must it be to trade with free Grace, where there is no losse, and all is gaine, the stock and gaine and all is ensured; yea more, labouring in Grace's field would bring us in Isaack's blessing, an hun­dered fold: But Alas! it is one thing to talk of Grace, but a far other thing to trade with Grace. When we are so great strangers unto the life of grace, through not breathing in the aire of grace; how can the name of the Lord Iesus Christ be glorifyed in us, and we in Him, accord­ing to the grace of our God, and the Lord Iesus Christ, 2 Thes. 1: 12? Consider we, what an affront and indignity it is unto the Lord dispen­fator of Grace, that we look so leane, and ill favoured, as if there were not enough of the fatning bread of the grace of God, in our Fa­thers house, or as if the great Steward, who is full of grace and truth, were unwilling to bestow it upon us, or grudged us of our allo­wance, when the fault is in ourselves, we will not follow the course, that Wise Grace, and Gracious Wisdome hath prescribed; we will not open our mouth wide, that He might fill us; nor goe to Him, with our narrowed or closed mouthes, that Grace might make way for grace, and widen the mouth for receiving [Page] of more grace; but lye by in our leanness and weakness: and alas we love too will to be so. O but grace be ill wared on us, who cary so unworthily with it, as we do: yet it is well with the gracious soul, that he is under grace's Tutory and care; for Grace will care for him, when he careth not much for it, nor yet seeth well to his owne welfare; Grace can & will pre­vent, yea must prevent, afterward, as well as at the first; that Grace may be Grace, and appear to be Grace, and continue unchange­ably to be Grace, and so free Grace. Well is it with the Beleever, whom grace hath once taken by the heart, and brought within the bond of the Covenant of Grace, its deadest con­dition is not desperat: when corruption pre­vaileth to such an hight, that the man is given over for dead, there being no sense, no motion no warmth, no breath almost to be observed; yet Grace, when violently constrained by that strong distemper, to retire to a secret corner of the soul, & there to lurk and lye quiet, will yet at length, through the quickening, & reviv [...]ing inf [...]uences of Grace▪ promised in the Covenant, & granted in the Lords good time, come out of its prison, take the fields, & recover the impire of the soul; and then the dry & withered stocks, when the God of all grace will be as the dew unto Israel, shall blossome and grow as the lilie, and cast forth his roots as lebanon: his branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as lebanon. It is a hap­py thing, either for Church or particular soul [Page] to be planted in G [...]ace's [...] soyl, they lye open to the warm beames of the sun of righte­ousness; and though winter blasts may be sharpe and long; clouds may intercept the heat, and nipping frosts may cause a sad decay ▪ and all the sap may returne and lye, as it were dormant, in the root; yet the winter will passe: the raine will be over and gone, and the flowers will appear on the earth: the time of the singing of birds will come and the voice of the turtle will be heard in the land: then shall even the wilderness and solitary place be glade, and the desert shall rejoice and blossome as the rose, it shall blossome abun­dantly, and rejoyce even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God We wonder that it is not alwayes hote summer dayes, a flourishing and fruitful season, with Souls and with Churches; But know we the thoughts of the Lord? See we to the bottom of the deep contrivances of infinite wisdom? Know we the usefulness, yea necessity, of long winter nights, stormy blasts, hail, raine, snow and frost? Consider we, that our state, and condition, while here, calleth for those vi­cissitudes, and requireth the blowing of the north, as well as of the south windes? If we considered, how Grace had ordered all things for our best▪ and most for the glory and exal­tation of Grace; we would sit down and sing, under the sadest of dispensations, and living by [Page] faith and hope, we would rejoyce in the confi­dent expectation of a gracious outgate, for as long as Grace predomineth (and that will be untill Glory take the Empire) all will run in the channel of grace: and though now, sense (which is oft faiths unfaithful friend) will be alwayes suggesting false tales of God, and of His Grace unto unbeliefe, and raising thereby discontents, doubts, feares, jealousies, and many distempers in the soul, to its prejudice and h [...]rt; yet in end, Grace shall be seen to be Grace; and the faithful shall get such a full sight of this manifold Grace, as ordering, tempering, time­ing, shortening or continueing of all the sad and dismal dayes and seasons, that have passed over their own, or their Mothers head, that they shall see, that Grace did order all, yea every circumstance of all the various tossings, changes, ups & downs, that they did meet with. And O what a satisfying sight will that be, when the general▪ assembly, and Church of the first borne, which are enrolled in heaven, and every individual saint shall come together, and take a view of all their experiences, the result of which shall be, Grace began, Grace carryed on, and Grace hath perfected all, Grace was at the bottome of all, and Grace crowned all? What shoutings Grace, Grace unto it, will be there; when the head stone shall be brought forth? What soul satisfying complacency in, & admiration at all, that is past, will a back look [...]hereat yeeld, when every one shall be made [Page] to say, Grace hath done all well, not a pin of all the work of Grace in and about me might have been wanted; now I see, that the work of God is perfect, Grace was glorious Grace, and wise Grace, whatever I thought of it then: O what a fool have I been, in quar­relling at, and in not being fully satisfied with, all that Grace was doing with me? O how little is this beleeved now?

In confidence, Madam, that your La: (to me no wayes known, but by a savoury report) shall accept of this bold address, I recommend your La: my very noble Lord your Husband, and off spring, to the word of His grace, and sub­scribe my self Your and Their

Servant in the Gospel of the Grace of God. JOHN BROWN.
Christian Reader,

IF thou answer this designation, and art really a partaker of the Unction, which is the high import of that blessed and glorious name called upon thee, thine eye must affect thy heart, and [...] soul swelled with Godly sorrow must at last burst and bleed forth at a weeping eye, while thou looks upon most of this licentious and loathsome generation, arrived at that h [...]ight of pro­digious profanity, as to glory in their shame, and boast of bearing the very badge and blake marke of damnation. but, besides this swarme, who savage it to h [...]ll, and make such hast thi [...]her, as they foame themselves into everlasting flames, car­rying, under the shape and visage of men, as Devils in disguise. The face of the Church is cover­ed with a sc [...]me of such, who are so immersed in the concerns of▪ this life, and are so intense in the pursute of the pleasures, gaine and honours thereof, as their way doth manifestly witnesse them to be sunk into the deep oblivion of God, and desperat inconsi­deration of their precious and immortal souls: But in the 3. place besides these, who are hurried into such a distraction with the cares of this life, that they as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and d [...]stroyed, are never at leasure to consider either the nature and necessitie of their noble souls, or to converse with the notion of a Deitie. Thou may perceive a company of self deceiving specula­tists, who make broad the phylacteries of their gar­ments, [Page] and boast of some high attainements, in religion; yea, would have others look upon them as arrived at the very porch of heaven, and advanced to a high pitch of proficiency in the wayes of God, because they can discourse a little of the mysteries of salvation, and without ever diveing further into the depth and true nature of Religion, dream them­selves into a confidence of being saints, and con­clude themselves Candidats for glory.

This is that heart-moveing object, which pre­sents itself to thy eye & observation this day: this is that deplorable posture, wherein thou mayst perceive most men at the very point of perishing eternally, who are within the pale of the visible Church; some danceing themselves headlong in all hast into the lake of fire and brimstone; some so much con­cerned in things, which have no connexion with their happiness, as to drop inconcernedly into the pit, out of which there is no redemption; and others dreaming themselvs into endlesse perdition; & all of them unite in a deriding at or despiseing the means used, & essays made, in order to their recovery.

Now while Religion (which is the beautie of the soul, and the basis of mans blessednesse, ad­vanceing him both to a conformity to God, and qualifying him for the fruition of Him) by the ge­nerality of those, called to be saints, (that they may be haved) is not onely upon deliberation and choice laid aside, as having nothing in it to recom­mend and endeare it to the souls of men, but hated, floured, fled from and forsaken, as if it came on pur­pose to marre mens tranquillity, and torment them before the time. While I say it is thus some faithful [Page] Servants, who make conscience to carry on His work, who came to destroy the works of the Devil, and went about, while in the world, healing all that were oppressed of him, set themselves to pray, preach and perswad the things concerning the Kingdome of God, yea to write and warne and weep men into a compliance with their own happi­pinesse; they endeavour solicitously to informe mens minds, that they may reforme their man­ners, and rescue them with feare, who are runing upon their own ruine, but alas with so little suc­cesse, that they doe the work of the Lord with grief, and have much sorrow of those, of whom they ought to have joy; and after all their beseech­ings, obtestings, requestings and cryings, this is the way, walke yee in it, turne you, turne, oh! why will you dye; have this as the last returne to all their importunities, Nay, there is no hope; speake no more to us of that matter; do not offer to per­swade us to relinquish the old road, or disswade us from following our lovers; for when ye have done all, after these we will go; we resolve to abide, what we have been, children of imperswasion.

But if his Servants, in following their work clos­ly, seem to have gained a little ground upon men, and almost perswaded them to be Christians, Sa­tan, to the end he may make all miscarry, and counter worke these workers together with God, and poison poor souls by a perversion of the Gospel, beyond the power of an antidot, hath raised up, instigat, and set on work a race of proud Rationalists (for they are wiser then to classe themselves a­mongst those poor fools, those base things, those [Page] nothings, to whom Christ is made all things, to whom Christ is made wisdome that he may be righteousnesse, sanctification and redemption to them; nay, they must be wise men after the flesh, wise above what is written: a crucified Christ is really unto them foolishnesse and weaknesse, though the power of God and the wisdome of God; they will needs go to work another way; they will needs glory in his presence, and have a heaven of their own hand-wind. (O my soul enter not into their secrets! and, O sweet Jesus, let thy name be to me, the Lord my righteousness, thou hast wone it, weare it; and gather not my soul with such, who make mention of any other righteous­ness, but of thine onely!) to bring-in another Gospel amongst men, then the Gospel of the grace of God; as they determine to know some other thing then Christ and him crucified; so with the inticeing words of mans wisdom, they bewitch men into a disobedience to the truth, setting somewhat else before them then a crucified Christ: And this they do, that they may remove men from those, who call them into the grace of Christ, unto an­other Gospel: A Christ, it is true, they speake of; but it is not the Christ of God; for all they drive at (O cursed and truely Antichristian de­signe!) is, that he may profite them nothing, while they model all Religion according to this novel project of their magnified morality? This is that which gives both life and lustre to that image they adore, to the Dagon, after whom they would have the world▪ wonder and Worship.

[Page]That there is such a moralizeing or muddizeing (if I may be for once admitted to coine a new word to give these men their due) of Christianity now introduced and comeing in fashion, many of the late pieces in request do evince? Now, that Chri­stianity should moralize men above all things, I both give and grante; for he who is partaker of the divine nature, and hath obtained precious faith, must adde vertue to his faith; But that it should be only conceived and conceited as an elevation of nature to a more cleare light, in the matter of morality, wherein our Lord is onely respected, as an heavenly teacher, and perfect paterne proposed for imitation, is but a proud pleasing fansie of self con­ceited, darkened and deluded dreamers, robing God of the glory of his mercy and goodnesse; our Lord Jesus Christ of the glory of his grace and merit; The Spirit of the efficacy of his glorious and mighty operations; and themselves and their pil­grimes, who give them the hand as guids, of the comfort and frute of all.

This is the pilgrimage, we are perswaded to under­take to the holy Land; this is that reasonablenesse of Christianitie, which with great swelling words of vanitie is ventilat, to the allureing and ensnare­ing of such, who had almost escaped the corrup­tion, which is in the world through lust, and the pollutions of the flesh through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; This is the way which they, who undertake to publish to the world the true causes of the decay of pietie, take to revive and introduce that pietie, which they com­plain is wanting: O impious invention, not only [Page] encroaching upon the unsearchable mysterie of the Gospel; but subversive of the whole method, and blessed and beautiful contrivance of salvation, and rendering salvation impossible to the greatest pro­ficients in this studie; and the grand patrons and practitioners in this new art, the greatest opposers of that grace of God, which b [...]ingeth salvation unto all men. It is true, they will not plainly plead for profanitie, Nay, they may and do make a great noise about the practise of pietie, as if they were the only patrons thereof; that with lesse observa­tion and greater facility, they may beguile them­selves and their followers of the reward: they may possibly perswade even to a pinching of the body, that they may puffe up, and pamper their fleshly minde; and while they overdrive men to the pra­ctise of will - worship, and performance of those things, which have a shew of wisdome, it is that they may withdraw them from holding that blessed head, from which all the body by joints & bands, having nourishment ministred, and knit toge­ther, encreaseth with the encrease of God; yet the grace of God, that onely liveing principle of all true pietie, which they dispute out of the souls of men, that they may debauch them into a contempt of the Spirits working in men to will and to do, takes frequent vengance on this their invention, by leav­ing them not onely to play the Devil in disguise, that they may be known by their fruits; but also to lay aside that garbe of external godlinesse, (for the Devil nor his Domesticks cannot long weare a strait doublet) that it may appeare, how it is verified in them, from him that hath not shall be taken [Page] away even that he hath; which is so plain, that to many of these pleaders for this new way, and their pros [...]lyts, in the righteous judgement of God, it happeneth according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his owne vomit againe, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

It cannot escape thy observation, how busie Satan is this day, upon the one hand, to keep men, under the call of the Gospel to give all di­ligence to make their calling and election sure, idle all the day; so that no perswasion can enduce them to engage seriously to fall about a working out their own salvation in feare and trembling; and on the other, equally diligent and industrious to divert men from trusting in the name of the Lord, and staying upon their God; seting them on work to go and gather fewel, and kindle a fire, and com­passe themselves about with sparks, that they may walk in the light of their own fire, and in the sparks that they have kindled; knowing well that they shall this way most certainly lose their toil and travel, and have no other reward at his hand of all their labour, but to ly down in everlasting sorrow, while the stout hearted and far from righteousnesse, and salvation, shall get their soul for a prey, and be made to rejoyce in his salvation, and blesse him who hath made them meet to be partakers of the in­heritance of the saints in light.

It is fit therefore, in order to thy own establish­ment in the present truth, and that thou mayest so work, that thy labour be not in vaine, but God may accept thy works, often to think, and seriously to consider in thy own soul, what that [Page] Gospel holinesse is, and what these men substitute in the place of it, that thou may choice the perfect and pleasant way of Gospel holinesse, and exer­cise thy self to that godlinesse, which is profitable for all things, haveing the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

I am neither the fit person for so great an under­taking, nor do these limits, within which I must bound my self, permit me to expatiat, in many notions about the nature of this excellent and pre­cious thing, true Gospel holinesse: Oh if, in the entry, I could on my own behalfe and others, sob out my Alas, from the bottome of my soul, because, be what it will, it is some other thing then men take it to be: few habituat themselves to a thinking upon it, in its high nature, and soul enriching advantages, till their hearts receive su­teable impressions of it, and their lives be the very transumpt of the law of God written in their heart; the thing (Alas!) is lost in a noise of words, and heap of notions about it, neither is it a wonder that men fal into mistakes about it, since it is onely the heart possessed of it that is capable to understand & perceive its true excellency: But if it be asked, what it is? we say, it may be shortly taken up, as the elevation and raising up of a poor mortal un­to a conformity with God; As a participation of the divine nature; or as the very image of God stamped on the soul, impressed on the thoughts & affections, and expressed in the life and conversa­tion; so that the man, in whom Christ is formed, and in whom he dwells, lives and walks, hath, while upon the earth, a conversation in heaven; [Page] not only in opposition to those many, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, whose glory is in their shame, who minde earthly things; but also to these pretenders unto & personaters of re­ligion, who have confidence in the flesh, & Worship God with their own Spirit (which in the matters of God is flesh, and not Spirit) and have somewhat else to rejoyce in, then in Christ Jesus, and a being found in him not having their own righteousnesse.

True Gospel holinesse then consists in some simi­litude and likenesse to God, and fellowship with him, founded upon that likenesse: there is such an impression of God, his glorious attributes, his infinit Power, Majesty, Mercy, Justice, Wisdom, Holinesse, and Grace, &c. As sets him up all alone in the soul without any competition, and produceth those real apprehensions of him▪ that he is alone excellent and matchlesse. O how prefer­able doth he appeare, when indeed seen, to all things? And how doth this light of his infinit glo­riousnesse, shineing into the soul, darken & abscure to an invisiblenesse all other excellencies, even as the riseing of the sun makes all the lesser lights to disappear. Alas! how is God unknown in his glo­rious being and attribute? When once the Lord enters the soul, and shines into the heart, it is like the riseing of the sun at midnight: all these things, which formerly pretended to some lovelinesse, and did dazil with their lustre, are eternally darkened: now all natural perfections and moral vertues, in their flowr and perfections are at best looked upon as aliquid nihil: what things were formerly ac­counted gaine and godlinesse, are now counted [Page] losse for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord; and the soul cannot onely suffer the losse of them all without a sob, but be satisfied to throw them away as dung, that it may win him, and be found in him. Now the wonder of a Deity, in his greatnesse, power and grace, swallowes up the soul in sweet admiration: O how doth it love to lose it self in finding here what it cannot fathome? And then it begins truely to see the greatnesse and evil of sin; then it is looked upon without the co­vering of pleasure or profit, and loathed as the leprosy of hell. Now the man is truely like God in the knowledge of good and evil, in the knowledge of that one infinit good, God; & to the knowledge of that one almost infinit evil, sin. This is the first point of likenesse to him, to be conformed to him in our understanding, that as he knowes himself to be the onely self being and fountain good, and all created things in their flour and perfection, with all their real or fancied conveniencies being com­pared with him, but as the drop of a bucket, the small dust of the ballance, or nothing, yea lesse then nothing, vanity; (which is nothing blown up, by the force or forgery of a vainly working imagination, to the consistence of an appearance) so for a soul to know indeed and beleeve in the heart, that there is nothing deserves the name of good besides God, to have the same superlative and transc [...]dent thoughts of that great and glorious self being God, and the same diminishing and de­baseing thought [...]o all things & beings besides him. And that as the Lord seeth no evil in the creation but sin, and hates that with a perfect hatred, as [Page] contrary to his holy will; so for a soul to aggravat sin in its own sight to an infinitnesse of evil, at least till it see it onely short of infinitnesse in this respect, that it can be swallowed up of infinit mercy. But whence hath the soul all this light? It owes all this and owns it self as debtor for it to him, who opens the eyes of the blind: it is he who commands the light to shine out of darkenesse, who hath made these blessed discoveries, and hath given the poor benighted soul, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Iesus Christ: These irradiations are from the Spirits illumination: it is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that hath made day light in the darkened soul: the man who had the heart of a beast, as to any saveing or solid knowledge of God or himself, hath now got an understanding to know him that is true: now is Christ become the poor mans wisdome, he is now renewed in knowledge after the image of him that oreated him: he might well bable of spiritual things, but till now he understood nothing of the beauty & excellency of God and his wayes: Nay, he knew not what he knew, he was ignorant as a beast of the life and lustre of those things, which he knew in the letter: nothing seemed more despicable to him in the world, then true godlinesse; but now he judgeth otherwise, because he hath the mind of Christ: the things, which in his darkenesse he did undervalue as trifles to be mocked at, he now can onely minde and admire▪ since he became a child of light: now being delivered from that blindnesse and brutishnesse of Spirit, which possesseth the world, (and possessed himself till he was trans­formed [Page] by the renewing of his minde) who esteem basely of spiritual things and set them at nought, he prizeth as alone precious: the world wonders, what pleasure or content can be in the service of God, because they see not by tasteing how good he is: to be pryeing into, and poreing upon invi­sible things, is to them visible madnesse, but to the enlightened minde, the things that are not seen are onely worth seeing, and while they appeare not to be they onely are; whereas the things that are seen appeare but to be, and are not. Though the surpas­sing sweetnesse of spiritual things should be spoke of to them, who cannot savour the things of God, in such a manner as the giorious light of them did surround men; yet they can perceive no such thing: all is to them cuningly devised fables: let be spoke what will, they see no forme, no comelinesse, no beau [...]y in this glorious object, God in Christ re­concileing sinners to himself. Alas the mind is blind [...]d, the dungeon is within▪ and till Christ open the eyes, aswell as reveal his light, the foul abide [...] in its blindnefse, and is buryed in midnight darkenesse; but when the Spirit of God opens the mans eyes, and he is translated by an act of omni­potency out of the kingdome of darken [...]sse into the kingdome of his dear son, which is a kingdom of marvellous light; O! what matchlesse beauty doth he now see in these things, which appeared despicable and [...]ke rothings to him, till he got the unction, the eye salve, which teacheth all things: now he sees (what none without the Spi­rit can see) the things, which God hath prepared for them that love him, and are freely given them [Page] of God; and these, though seen at a distance, reflect such rayes of beauty into his soul, that he beholds and is ravished, he sees and is swallowed up in wonder.

But then, in the next place, this is not a Spirit­lesse inefficacious speculation about these things, to know no evil but sin and separation from God, and no blessednesse but in the fruition of him; it is not such a knowledge of them as doth not principle mo­tion to pursue after them. This, I grant, is part of the image of God, when the sun of righte­ousnesse, by ariseing upon the man, hath made day light in his soul, and by these divine discoveries hath [...]aught him to make the true parallel betwixt things that differ, and to put a just value upon them according to their intrinsick worth: But this divine illumination doth not consist in a meer notion of such things in the head, nor doth it sub­sist in enlightening the mind; but in such an im­pression of God upon the soul, as transformes and changes the heart into his likenesse by love: know­ledge is but one line, one draught or lineament of the souls likenesse to him; that alone doth not make up the image; but knowledge rooted in the heart, and engraven on the soul, shineing & shew­ing it self forth in a gospel adorneing conversation, that makes a comely proportion; when the same hand that touched the eye, and turned the man from darkenesse to light, and give an heart to know him, that he is the Lord, doth also circum­cise the mans heart, to love the Lord his God, with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his minde▪ and this love manifesting its liveli­nesse, [Page] in its constraining power to live to him and for him: light without heat is but wild fire; but light in the mind begetting heat in the heart, mak­ing it burne Godward, Christward, and Hea­venward, light in the understanding setting on fire and enflameing the affections, and these shin­ing out in a heavenly conversation, makes up the lively image of God, both in feature & stature, both in proportion and colour: faith begins this image and drawes the lineaments; and love bring­ing forth obedience finishes, and gives it the lively lustre: the burneings of love in obedience to God is that which illuminats the whole, and maks a man look indeed like him, to whose image he is predestinat to be conforme, and then maks him, who is ravished with the charmes of that beauty, say, as in a manner overcome thereby, how fair is thy love, my Sister, my spouse? How much better is thy love, then wine, and the smell of thine ointments then all spices? But consider, that as these beames, which irradiat the soul, are from the Spirit of Christ, so that spiritual heat and warmth come out of the same airth, and proceed from the same Author▪ for our fire burnes as he blowes, our lampe shines as he snuffes and furnish­eth oile: men therefore would not indulge them­selves in this delusion, to think that, that which will passe for pure Religion and undefiled before God, consists either in an outward blamelesse conversation, or in putting on and weareing an external garbe of profession: no, as the top of it reacheth higher, so the root of it lies deep [...]r; it is rooted in the heart, this seed being sowen in an [Page] honest heart (or makeing the heart honest, in which it is sowen) takes root downe ward, and brings forth fruit upward; as trees that g [...]ow as far under ground as above, so these trees of righteousnesse, the planting of the Lord that he may be glorified, grow as far and as fast under ground, as above; god­linesse growes as far downward in self emptying, self denyal and self abaseing, in hungring and thirsting after more of righteousness, in the secrete engagements of the heart to God in Christ, in these burstings of heart and bleedings of soul (to which God alone is witnesse) because of shortcomeing in holinesse, because of a body of death within, and because of that law in the members warring a­gainst the law of the mind, and bringing often in­to captivity to the law of sin; as it growes upward in a profession: and this is that pure Religion and undefiled before God, which is both most pleasant to him, and profitable to the soul.

But to make the difference betwixt dead mora­lity, in its best dress, and true godlinesse, more cleare and obvious (that the loveliness of the one may engage men into a loathing of the other, this dead ca [...]ion and stinking carca [...]e of rotten morality, which still stinks in the nostrills of God, even when embalmed with the most costly ointments of its miserably misled patrons) we say, that true godlinesse, which in quality and kinde differs from this much pleaded for and applauded mo­rality (a blake heathen by a [...]el kinde of Christians baptized of late with the nam [...] of Christi­anity, and brought into the temple of the Lord, concerning which he hath commanded hat it [Page] should never, in that shape, and for that end it is introduced, enter into his congregation; and the bringers for their pains are like to seclude themsel­ves for ever from his presence) It respects Jesus Christ. 1. As its Principle. 2. As its Paterne. 3. As its Altar, and. 4. As its end.

First, I say, true holinesse, in its being and operation, respects Jesus Christ as its principle: I live, (said that shineing saint) yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: as that which gives religion its first being, is the religation of the soul to God; so that which gives it motion, and drawes forth that life into action, is the same God's working all their works in them and for them, so that in all they do, they are workers together with God; every act of holinesse is an act of the soul made alive unto God through Jesus Christ, and quickened to each acti­on by the supervenience of new life and influence: therefore, says Christ, without me you can do nothing: it is not, being out of me you can do nothing (for he spoke it to those who were in him) but if ye leave me out in doing, all ye do will be nothing: Its Jesus Christ who gives life and leggs, so that our runings are according to his drawings: my soul followeth hard after thee (said that holy man;) but whence is all this life and vigour? Thy right hand upholdeth me. O it is the upholdings and helpings of this right hand, enlargeing the mans heart, that makes a runing in the way of his com­mand [...]ents; it is he who, while the saints worke­out the work of their own salvation, work [...]th in them [...]th to will and to do: It is he, who giveth power to the faint, and who to them that have no [Page] might encreaseth st [...]ength; so that the poor life­lesse, languishing ly by is made to mount-up with Eagles wings, and su [...]mount all these difficulties, with a holy facility, which were simply insupera­ble, and pure impossibilities: now the man runs and doth not weary, because Christ drawes; and he walks and doth not faint, because Christ, in whom dwels the fulnesse of the God-head bodily, dwels in him, and walks in him, and dwels in him for that very end, that he may have a com­pleatnesse and competency of strength for duety: all grace is made to abound unto him, that he alwayes having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work: he is able of himself to do nothing, no not to think any thing as he ought, but he hath a sufficiency of God, whereby he is thorowly furnished unto every good work; so that he may say, I am able for all things, it is more then I am able to do all things (as we read it) its just import is. I am able to do all things, and to endure all things; and that which keeps it from vain boasting is what is ad led, through Christ which strengtheneth me, or putting power in me, or rather impowering me, which is by a supervenient act drawing forth life into a livelinesse of excercise, according to the present exigent. There is a power in a saint, because Christ is in him, that over pow­ers all the powers of darknesse with out, and all the power of indwelling corruption within, so that when the poor weak creature is ready to despond, within sight of his duty, and say because of diffi­culty, what is my strength that I should hope? Christ saith, despond not, my grace is sufficient forthee, [Page] and my power shall rest upon thee, to a reviveing thee, and raising thee up, and putting thee in case to say, when I am weake then am I strong; his strength, who impowers me, is made perfect in my weakenesse, so that I will glory in my infirmities, and be glade in being graces debtor. But what power is that, which raiseth the dead finner, and carries the soul in its actings so far without the line, and above the sphere of all natural activity, when stretched to its utmost? O it is an exceading great power, which is to them ward who beleive, that must make all things, how difficult so ever, easie, when he works in them to will and to do, accord­ing to the working of his mighty power (or as it is upon the margent, & more emphatick, of the might of his power) which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand, &c. he that raised up the Lord Jesus from the dead, raiseth up beleevers also by Jesus, and being raised and revived by him, to walk in new nesse of life: the life of Jesus, in its commu­nications of strength, is manifest in their mortal flesh, according to that of the same Apostle, the life that I live in the flesh (sais he) I live by the faith of the Son of God: faith brings in Christ in my soul, and Christ being my life carries out my soul, in all the acts of obedience, wherein▪ though I be the formal agent, yet the efficiency and the power, by which I operat, is from him; so that I can give no better account of it, then this, I not I. But who then, if not you? The grace of God, sais he, which was with me. But this my­stery to our bold, because blind, moralists, of [Page] an indwelling Christ, working mightily in the soul, is plain madnesse and melancholy; however we understand his knowledge in the mystery of Christ, who said, the life I live in the flesh, &c. and from what we understand of his knowledge in that mystery, which he had by revelation, we understand, our moralists to be men of corrupt minds, who concerning the faith have made ship­wrack; but what is that, the life I live in the flesh, &c? The [...]port of it seems to be this, if not more, while I have in me a soul animating my body, as the principle of all my vital and natural actions, I have Jesus Christ animating my soul, and by the impulse and communicat vertue and strength of an indwelling Christ, I am made to run the wayes of his commandements, wherein I take so great de­light, that I am found of no duty as of my enemy.

Secondly, This gospel holinesse respects Jesus Christ as its patern. It proposeth no lower patern for imitation, then to be conforme to his image; he that is begotten againe unto a lively hope, by the re­surrection of Christ from the dead, girds up the loins of his minde (wh [...]ch are the affections of his soul, lest by falling flat upon the earth he be hin­dered in runing the race set before him, as looking to the foreruner his patern) in this girdle of hope, that he may be holy in all manner of conversation, keeping his eye upon the precept and paterne, that his practice may be conforme. It is written, saith he, Be ye holy for I am holy, the hope of seeing God, and being ever with him imposeth a necessity upon him who hath it, to look no lower, then [Page] at him, who is glorious in holinesse; and there­fore he is said to purify himself, even as he is pure; and knowing that this is the end of their being quic­kened together with Christ, that they may walk even as he walked; they, in their working and walking, aime at no lesse then to be like him; and therefore never sit down upon any attained mea­sure, as if they were already perfect: the spotlesse purity of God expressed in his laws, is that whereto they study assimilation; therefore they are still in motion towards this mark, and are changed from one degree of glorious grace into another, into the same image, even as by the Spirit of the Lord, who never gives over his putting them to cleanse from all filthinesse of the flesh and of the Spirit, till that be true in the truest sense, thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee. And knowing that perfect fruition of him cannot be without perfect confor­mity to him, herein do they exercise themselves, to grow in grace, and to be still advanceing towards some more likenesse to his image, forgetting all their attainments, as things that are behind, and by their reachings forth unto that which is before, make it evident, that they make every begun de­gree of grace and conformity to God, a prevenient capacity for a new degree, which yet they have not attained. I know, our maralists look upon them­selves as matchlesse, in talkeing of following his steps, as he hath left us an example: in this they make a flourish with flanting effrontry, but for all their boasting of wisdom, such a poor simple man as I, am made to wonder at their folly, who propose­ing, as they say, the purity of Christ for their [Page] paterne, are not even thence convinced, that in order to a conformity thereto, there is a simple & absolute necessity of the mighty operations of that Spirit of God, whereby this end can be reached; but while they flout at the Spirits working, as a melancholy fancy, whereby the soul is garnished with the beauty of holinesse, and made an habita­tion for God, I doubt not to say of these great sayers, that they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirme: nay doth not their talk­ing of the one, not only without seeing the neces­sity of the other, but speaking against it, say in the heart of every one, (who hath not the heart of a beast) that they have never yet got a sight of the holinesse of that paterne, nor of their own pollu­tions and impotency; for if they had, they would give themselves up to Jesus Christ to be washed by him, without which they can have no part with him. O there will be a [...]ast difference, at the latter day, betwixt them who have given their blake souls to Jesus Christ to bletch, when he shall pre­sent them without spot, not onely cloathed with wrought gold, but all glorious within, and these who have never dipped, yea who have despised to dip their defiled souls in any other fountain, save in the impure pudle of their own performances: this will make them loathsome in his sight, and cause his soul abhorre those, whō have done this despite unto the Spirit of grace, as to slight that bl [...]ssed fountaine, opened for sin & for uncleannesse, let them pretend as high as they will, to look to him, as a paterne, while (because the plague sore i [...] got up in their eye) they look not to him as a price, no [...] [Page] to the grace of Jesus Christ, as that which can onely principle any acceptable performance of duety, he will plunge them in the ditch, and it Will cost them their souls, for rejecting the counsel of God against themselves, in not making use of him who came by water, as well as by blood.

Thirdly, This gospel holinesse respects Christ as the Altar. It is in him and for him that his soul is well pleased with our performance, this is the Altar, upon which thou must lay thy gift, & leave it, without which thy labour is lost, and what­soever thou dost is loathed, as a corrupt thing. As beleevers draw all their strength from him, so they expect acceptation onely through him, and for him: they do not look for it, but in the beloved: they dare not draw near to God in duty, but by him: this is the new and liveing way, which is consecrat for them: and if such, who offer to come to God, do no enter in hereat, in stead of being admitted to a familiar converse with God, they shall finde him a consumeing fire: when the saints have greatest liberty in prayer (and so of all other performances, when their hearts are most lifted up in the wayes of the Lord) they abhorre at think­ing their prayer can any otherwise be set forth be­fore him as incense, or the lifting up of their hands as the evening sacrifice, but as presented by the great intercessor and perfumed by the merit of his oblation. If they could weep out the marrow of their bones, and the moisture of their body in mourning over sin; yet they durst not think of having what comes from so impure a spring▪ and [Page] runs thorow so polluted a channel, presented to God but by Jesus Christ, in order to acceptation; for as they look to the exalted Saviour, to get their repentance from him, so when by the pourings out upon them the Spirit of grace and supplication, he hath made them pour out their hearts before him, and hath melted them into true tendernesse, so that their mourning is a great mourning, they carry backe these teares to be washen and bathed in his blood, as knowing without this of how little worth and value with God their salt water is; but when they are thus washed, he puts them in his bottle, and then pours them out again to them in the wine of strong consolation: thus are they made glade in his house of prayer, and their sighes and groans come up with acceptance upon his Altar. O blessed Altar, that sanctifies the gold! This is that Al­tar, whereto the mocking moralist hath no right. It is by him, that the poor beleever offers up his sacrifice to God continually; what ever he doth, in word o [...] deed, he desires to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus: as he knowes, He lives to make intercession, and to appeare in the presence of God for his poor people, both to procure influences for duety, and plead for acceptation; so he depends upon him for both, as knowing he can never o­therwise heare, or have it said unto him, well done, good and faithful servant. It may be he can do little, he hath but a mite to offer; but he puts it in the mediators hand to be presented to God: he hath not gold, nor silver, nor purple to bring, he can do no great things, he hath but goats hair or rams skins, but he gives them the right tincture, [Page] he makes them red in the blood of Christ, and so they are a beautiful incarnat.

Lastly, This Gospel holinesse respects Jesus Christ as its last end: as it hath its being from him, so it is all directed toward the praise of his grace; while the beleeving soul in whom Christ dwells de­signes no l [...]sse, and aims at no lower mark, then assimilition to God, and f [...]uition of him, while he is endeavouring, alwayes and in all things, to be unlike himself and what he was, that he may be like God; it is not to be like him on that wicked and wretched designe, which man had at first in his eye, whereby he lost his God, and unmade a man▪ but it is that thereby he may be in better case to glor [...]fy him, and that God may be the more en­deared to his own soul, because of what he hath done for him, and commended and mad [...] precious to the souls of others, while they take notice of what a change grace hath not onely made in his most eminent appearances for God: he contracts himself into a disappearance, that God may ap­peare and be seen, in the shin [...]ing glory of his grace bestowed upon him: for the godly man of all men is [...]he most humble▪ this is the garbe he cloaths him­self with, if his face shine in his accesses to God, that pride may be h [...]d f [...]om his eyes, he wots not of it; the very thoughts of [...]obing God of his glory, and clothing himself with th [...] spoils of his honour▪ are terrible to him, and looked upon as that wherein th [...] soul resembls Satan most mani­festly; and therefore that great practitioner, who ou [...] stript all others in doing and suff [...]ring for God, dare not stand up to intercept the glory due to his [Page] Master, but ascribes all to him, with a neverthe lesse, neverthelesse not I, but the grace of God which was with me: what hast thou, which thou hast not received, prevents his boasting, and imposeth the necessity of blessing the donor: the marke he aims at in his exerciseing himself to godlinesse, is mainly this, that men seeing his goods works may glorify his Father which is in heaven. As he knowes, he acts not in his own strength, but in his, who counts him worthy of the high calling, and fulfils all the good pleasure of his goodnesse in him, and the work of faith with power; so he considers for what all this is, it is that the name of our Lord Je­sus Christ may be glorified in us, and we in him, according to the grace of our God & the Lord Jesus Christ: and he hath a sweet complacency in com­plying with this God-exalting and grace-magnifi­ing designe: when grace hath set a crown upon his head, and made him a king (for the meanest be­leever is truely a more illustrious Prince, then the greatest Potentat of the earth, not onely because under his rags lyes hide a title to a crown, and his expectation is to sit with Christ upon his throne; but because he is already crowned with loving kindenesse and tender mercies, and doth, while on the earth, sit together with Christ in heavenly places; Christ is possessed of glory in his stead, as his representee and head, and a man is all crowned and acknowledged as king, when his head is crown­ed) he knowes he is made a preist al [...]o, to sacri­fice it to the giver; and therefore he casts downe his crown before the throne with this, thou art worthy to receive glory and honour, &c. and he esteems [Page] the priviledge of doing so [...], as great as the prero­gative of haveing it set on: when he works hardest to adorne himself with the beauty of holinesse, it is not so much that his beauty may appeare perfect, as that that grace, to which he is a debtor for all his comelinesse, may shine in its lustre; and his vertues, who hath called him to glory and vertue, may be shewed forth: he designes not, in his dili­gence in duty, to be taken notice of as a singular saint, but his great and shineing singularity, which he doth most ambitionat, lyes in this, that Christ, in the communications of his grace, and efficacy of his influence, may be admired in him, as in all that beleeve. In a word, as all he hath is of him and from him, so all he does or designs is for him and to him; it is Christ to him to live, in whom Christ lives: now this is the very nature of pure religion and undefiled, and that which compleats the image of God, and puts it beyond all debat, that his soul hath received the stamp and impression of the royal seal on it, and that his heart is the epistle of Christ, written not with inck and pen, but with the Spirit of the liveing God, when his glory and the exaltation of the manifold grace, and mani­fold wisdom of God, in the contriveance of salva­tion, is upmost in his thinkings, desireings, Pro­jectings and endeavourings, and hath the first place in the roll of his wishings; while other men seek their own things, it is his own, his onely own, his one, his all, to seek the things of Christ, that blessed seeker, who came to seek him and save him; and being found of him, he endeavours to carry as one no more his owne; the glorifieing of him in [Page] his body and Spirit, which are his, because bought by him, is his begun heaven; and the greatest errand he hath in heaven, is to get a more cleare sight of that blessed object of all admiration and adoration, and to be in better case to cry him up for ever.

Now this is but a short and general Character, drawn by an unskilful hand, of that holinesse, which will abide the test, and be found true, when tried by the touch stone of the word.

But let us, on the other hand, take a short view of what our moralists substitute in its place, as (in their account) both more beautiful to the eye, and more beneficial to the souls of men; wherein I intend to be breife. I might compend the account to be given shortly, and give it most exactly, yet true­ln, in these few words. As the most undoubted deviation from, and perfect opposition unto the whole contriveance of salvation, and the convey­ance of it unto the souls of men, as revealed in this gospel, which brings life and immortality to light, that fighters against the grace of God in its value and vertue can forge, stretching their blind reason to the overthrow of true religion, and ruine of the souls of men: for to this height these Masters of reason have in their blind rage risen up against the Lord and against his Anointed; this is the dreadful period of that path, wherein we are perswaded to walk, yea Hectored, if we would not forfeit the repute of men by these grand Sophies, who arrogat to themselves the name and thing of knowledge, as if wisdome were to dy with them. The deep my­steries of salvation, which Angels desire to look [Page] into, and onely satisfy themselves with admirati­on at, must appeare as respondents at their bar, and if they decline the judge and court, as incompe­tent, they flee out and flout at subjecting this blinde mole, mans reason, to the revelation of faith in a mystery. The manifold wisdome of God and the manifold grace of God, must either con­descend to their unfoldings, and be content to speak in their dialect, or else these wits, these A­thenian dictators will give the deep things of God, because beyond their diveings, the same entertain­ment, which that great gospel preacher, Paul, met with from men of the same mould, kidney and complexion, because he preached unto them Je­sus, what would this babler say, said they; The Spirit of wisdom and revelation they know not, they have not, they acknowledge not; nay they despise him in his saveing, and soul - ascertaining illuminations; and the workings of that mighty power to them ward who beleeve, is to the men of this new mould (because they have not found it) an insufferable fansy, to be exploded with a disdain and indignation, which discovers what Spirit acts them in this opposition.

But what do they say, that will found this charge, and free us from casting iniquity upon them? They are of age and can speake for themselves: when they have vomit out their gall against the imputed righteousnesse of Christ, and the new birth, and that holinesse, which is imparted to the real mem­bers of Christ, with a scoffeing petulancy, they then make a great noise of holinesse, as who but t [...]ey; the thing they plead for and perswade unto▪ [Page] is a kinde of holinesse educed out of natural abilities, wherein Christ, the Spirit and the Gospel of the grace of God, is permitted no greater interest, nor allowed a more effectual adjuvancy, then to con­curre by way of precept, motive and example? Thi [...] is now that admired and applauded Diana, morality. It is true, they will sometime chirt thorow their teeth (for what ever Christ, the Spirit and Gospel gets of our Moralists, it is against the hair, and they are hard put to it, ere they give it) a tepid acknow­ledgement, that the gospel doth afford men some special help, and is of singular use and advantage, in shewing the way and rule with greater clearnesse, and guiding and directing how to walk in it with a plain perspicuity, and exciting by noble examples▪ and some do also adde some faint and frigid moti­ons of the holy ghost, in the dispensation of this truth, put forth to make men more foreward; but all this salvo jure of the great Diana: so much and no more is yeelded to the gospel, then to shew men with clearnesse, how they may exert and put forth their proper and innat power, it affords them some special help in holding the candle, or rather snuf­ing it, that so they may with more promptitud see how to operat, and by the motives it adduceth, and examples it brings, have a special provocation to the exercise of these vertues commanded: the gospel, with all it brings and doth, does no more but hold the candle, till these artists weave their web, shape and shew their garment, and then let them see how to put it on▪ and being put on per­swade them to weare it, as the highest beauty and chief ornament of the soul: this is all the provision [Page] they lay up for eternity, and in this dresse and garb of guilded morality, they mind to addresse them­selves to God, and appeare before his tribunal with confidence of acceptation: they will beare their own charges to heaven, and carry a summe with them to purchase the possession of the saints in light, with a little abatement, which a mercy of their own moulding (for God mercy it is not) must make; and thus they make all sure.

But what is all this noise, that these vain talkers make about holinesse; they heap up words (which weep to be so abused) about vertue, love to God, mortification, &c. But they have really taken away our Lord Jesus Christ, and will not tell us where they have laid him, for feare we should go seek him, and foresake them. What are these rot­ten and loathsome raggs, where with they would cloath us, that the shame of our nakednesse may not appeare, to that holinesse, whereto we are pre­destinat before the foundation of the world, and whereto (in order to the obtaining of that salvati­on, even the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, to which we are chosen) we are created againe in Christ Jesus, and made meet to be possessed of by sanctification of the Spirit, and beleife of the truth? What is all this tattle of theirs to the new birth, the saveing work of regeneration (without which a man cannot enter into the kingdome of God) the new creature, the new heart, haveing the law written in it, the Spirit which he puts within us, causeing us to walk in his wayes; that noble principle of spiritual life, whereby we are quickened, raised from the dead, made alive unto God through [Page] Christ Jesus, disposed, enclined and enabled to live to God, and walk before him to all pleasing? Nay, according to the imposeings of these new dogmatists (beware of dogs, says the Apostle of the same size and sort of men) in stead of that prin­ciple implanted, and that power produced in us by the effectual operation of the H. G. working in us mightily, according to the workings of that mighty power, which was wrought in Christ, when raised from the dead; we must be content with some what, which was liveing, though lazie and dormant, in the natural powers of our own soul, now awakened out of its sopor, and educed into act by the meer application of external means: in a word, in stead of all that, which is purchased and procured unto us by the death of Jesus Christ, wrought in us by his Spirit (who takes of his, and shews it unto us) whereby our conformity to Jesus Christ is begun and carried on, we must be content with this morality (good Lord prevent such mad­nesse!) whose Principle is natural reason; whose Rule is the law of nature, as explained in the scrip­tures; whose use and end is acceptation with God, and justification before him; which is pure (im­pure) Pelagianisme, propagat now in Brittan, where it had its unhallowed birth; a tremenduous signification of the high displeasure of God against these huffeing arrogants of this age, who, because they have not received the truth in love, are left to soul-murthering delusions, and for their dis­piseing the unsearchable riches of Christ, held forth in the gospel, are left, in stead of embraceing Christ Jesus into their soul as altogither lovely, [Page] whom God hath made unto us wisdom, righte­ousnesse, sanctification and redemption; to em­brace in their bosome, and hug between their brests this hell-borne, and (after all the cost they have bestowed upon it, wherein they are at the expence of their precious soul, if repentance pre­vent it not) hell-blake brate, morality, in oppo­sition to that gospel holinesse, wherein conformity to God consists.

It concernes thee, Christian Reader, whoso▪ ever thou art, carefully to observe, that the great designe▪ the Devil this day drives in the world, i [...] how to introduce a Religion, amongst these called Christians, which for the soul and substance of it is an Antichristian masse and medly, substitute and obtruded, in place of the marrow of the gospel, & mysteries of salvation: And though Christ be named amongst these perverters of the gospel; yet he is really exautorat and robbed of his offices; and while false ends are assigned, the great end of his comeing in the world is denied, and the blessed in­tendment and designe of the gospel of the grace of God is defeat. Now because Satan finds no mids so propper for his purpose, nor mean so certain to ac­complish his end, as to corrupt the minds of men with perverse principles (for they are more then halfe way to hell, when their principles state them in an opposition to thē Prince of life) he perverts them into a nauseating of the plain path way of sal­vation by a slain Saviour (for the preaching of the crosse, what ever they pretend, is really to them foo­lishnesse) and seduceth them into a satisfaction with, and pleading for this pagan piety, as pre­ferable [Page] to pure Religion and undefiled before God: And then under this maske of morality, and dis­guise of vertue, doth Abaddon muster all his several legions, and mannage his opposition against the Mediator, in the comeing of his kingdome in the world, and conquering the souls of men. It is true, there may be some small differences betwixt his forces when gathered in the field, in their manner or method, and marke; some attacqueing the gospel in the very substance of it, with a flouting and fierce insolency, others with a subtile and snarkeing fullenness; but all of them concenter in the designe, and bewray such a keenness and dili­gence in driveing it, as showes both under whose banner they fight, and how true they are to their collours and Captain: herein Papists, Pelagians, Socinians, Arminians, and (the compound of all abominations) Quakers are unite. And r [...]uely if I might be heard, I would beseech also our pepper corne men to consider, how far the Adver­sary of mans salvation hath improved their asserti­ons and concessions, and how much advantage the common enemies of the truth have got thereby.

Take notice therefore, I say, Christians, of this, being Satans main designe, and how and by whom it is mannaged, lest yee be seduced into the same conspiracie; for many, who seemed to be of understanding, have fallen; and fallen, because the did not feare to fall: O beware, lest yee also being led away with the error of the wicked fall from your own stedfastness; but study to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savi­our [Page] (for there is none other name given und [...] heaven, whereby men may be saved) Jesus Christ▪ I know, that every Reader and serious Christian▪ in order to his own establishment, is not able to purchase, nor is at leisure to peruse what Godly men have written for this end, and whose praise, because of their pains, is in the Church of Christ, such as that large discourse of learned and truely religious Doctor Owen, upon the Holy Spirit [...] wherein that worthy Author, as he hath given▪ proof to the world of Christs being formed in him, and that his working, and walking, and witnessing to the truth▪ proceeds from the same noble prin­ciple, Christ dwelling in him, and walking in him; so he hath with a profound perspicuity, and con­vinceing plainnesse, discovered the nature, pedegree, discent and tendency of this monster; and then, haveing discovered whence it came, and for what end, he hath given it a mortal blow, whereby he hath laid it all alongs, and left it sprawling and gnawing its tongue and gnashing its teeth: for which learned, elaborat and judicious discourse, as all the lovers of that truth, which is according to godlinesse, are obliged to blesse the Lord; so are they under the obligation of thankfulnesse to him; and by this I returne him my poor insignifi­cant thanks, And I have the allowance of the Au­thor, to do the same in his name.

But I would recommend to you, who can nei­ther purchase nor peruse what is more voluminous (how worthy soever) the serious perusal, as of the whole of that savoury & grace-breathing peece. The fulfilling of the Scriptures; so therein that [Page] short but sweet digression, against blake-mouthed Parker, wherein the gracious Author takes out his own soul, and sets before thine eye, the image of God impressed thereon; for while he deals with that Desperado by clear and convinceing reason, flowing natively from the pure fountain of divine revelation, he hath the advantage of most men, and writers too, in silencing that blasphemer of the good wayes of God. with arguments taken from what he hath found acted upon his own soul. And likewise I would recommend, as a soveraigne antidot against this poison, the diligent peruseing, and pondering of what is shortly hinted against the hellish belchings of the same unhallowed Author, (in the preface to that piece of great Mr. Durham, upon the Commands) by a disciple, who, besids his natural acuteness and subactness of judgement in the deepth of gospel mysteries, is known by all who know him (and for my self, I know none now alive his equal) to have most frequent accesse to lean his head on his Masters bosome, and so in best case to tell his fellow disciples and brethren, what is breathed into his own soul, while he lives in these embraces, and under the shedings abroad of that love of God in his soul, which drew, and did dictat these lines▪ against that flouter at all such frui­tions. Nor can I here omit to observe, how when the devil raised up Parker, that Monster, to barke and blaspheme, the Lord raised up a Merveil to fight him at his own weapon▪ who did so cudgel and quell that boasting Bravo▪ as I know not if he be dead of his wound, but for any thing I know, he hath laid his speech.

[Page]But to close this short account of that new gos­pel, that other gospel introduced and obtruded upon us, with a foameing flourish of words; and to say it before thee, in its pure and perfect opposi­tion to the gospel of the grace of God, take a short compend of it, in the words of one of its great patrons, they are set down in that new piece, called Claustrum animae Pag. 114. where the Author haveing cited some scriptures, which do indeed press and perswade to the practice of pure religion and undefiled, lest his morality should suffer loss, and be found reprobat mettal, if tried by such a touchstone, he guards his Reader from falling into such a mistake (a dangerous one it is indeed to his designe, for if thou fall in it thy soul is escaped out of his cloister, he loses his prey, and he will not be able to car [...]y thee hood-winked to the pit) as if he meant or were pressing that holiness, which for its foundation hath peace with God through Christ Jesus, and for its working principle hath the life of God, whereby the dead is quickened; and for its progress the renewed influences of the Spirit: no, by no means, he cleares himself that he is of a far other minde, and therefore to make his Reader of his minde too, he adds—Here is nothing to countenance these frightful fana­tical pangs of the new birth, which proceed from Enthusiasme or Melancholy, nothing to counte­nance the [...] applications of a barrowed or rather snatcht away righteousnesse: why not? The change (says he) that our religion requires, the scrip­ture supposeth it in all that have embraced Christi­anity, Pag. 113. And again to the same purpose [Page] Pag, 114. in opposition to the new creature, which he mocks and murthers, the real change in our affe­ctions is supposed and recommended (Pelagius re­divivus) which is this upon the matter; it is fright­ful, fanatical melancholy, mad fansy to talk and tell people of being borne againe, of quickening the dead: no, the soul is alive, itis not dead, itis but at worst a little drowsy or a sleep; there needs no more but knock at the door, and the man will rise and run in the way of commanded duties, and acquire more liveliness and agility by a frequent and reiterat eduction of his innare power into act: let objective grace be but given (and to these great wits every stone and brute is a bible, on which they can read, what will regulat them in their walk; so that there is no simple necessity of the scriptures to them, for makeing them wise to salva­tion: these concurre onely ad bene esse, and are given ex superabundante); there is subjective grace enough; one needs not go without the powers of his own soul, to seek a sufficiency; he can will, and he can do, without a dependence upon any real life­giving power, or supervenient influence, working in him to will and do: And then, in opposition to that fansieful, borrowed and snatched away righte­ousnesse (to him an odde and new devised doctri­ne) do and live is substitute at the close of the Pa­ragraph: and that to him is the onely way, how the offered salvation is obtained.

Now Reader, if thou be not an utter stranger to the work of God upon the souls of his people, the poison dropped from this impure and impious pen, is so hell-blake and bitter, that it needs not [Page] my antidot; and it is so palpable and plain a perver­sion of the gospel, as will vindicat and acquite any thing, which hath been said of these perverters of the right wayes of the Lord, and layers of another foundation, besides Jesus Christ▪ from the imputa­tion of severity. Christ had told us, that the way to heaven is strait and narrow, and few finde it; but out comes one out of the Cloister (I suspect hell is broke loose against us) and having laid aside Christ, who is the door, and the way, and the light, and the life, showes us an easy, plaine and pleasant way to heaven.

Well, before thou follow such a▪ guid, I desire thee to take notice, how well the all of what is contained in this cursed claustrum, doth agree unto, and is a just commentar upon what is pre­fixed in his frontispeece, wherein he hath Christ drawn upon the crosse, but not satisfied to cruci­fy him in effigie, he, through the whole of his discourse, doth really crucify him againe, and put him to an open shame▪ the sense and soul of every line, as it lies in his book, & is levelled to his designe, is away with him, away with him, he calls him self the Lord our righteousnesse, take away that name from him, we owne him not, we acknow­ledge him not, as our righteousnesse, we will not beg nor borrow a rob from him, our owne mantle of morality must be to us, in stead of this Mediator: and for the two theevs that must be crucified with him, the one is the new birth, the other is the all of that gospel obedience, performed by vertue of su­pervenient influences, communicat from that sole spring of spiritual life, Christ dwelling in the soul [Page] of the regenerat person: two (in their account) as great theeves as ever run, for they have stole away mistresse morality her plumash, and stript her of her ornaments, so that it is impossible to hide the shame of her nakednesse but in their death, and for this must they be taken and crucified with their Master, that morality, having what these took from her restored, may bewitch the world with her beauty, and ravish them with her charmes. And for his title to his book, The love of Iesus, I▪ judge, considering, how he explaines it in his book, and how true he is to his undertaking, this question is a suteable returne to it, betrayest thou the son of man with a kisse? O he is killing kind, it is not enough that he act Pila [...]'s part▪ unlesse he act Iudas his part also. But why did he not speake more modestly of the new birth, lest men should remem­ber that it was Jesus his own doctrine? Why? (the man goes not mad without reason) first because in prejudice to morality, and its merite, he had de­livered this doctrine with such a severe certification, that there is no seeing the kingdome of God without it. But secondly lest any thing of the solemnity, that attended the crucifieing of Christ, should be wanting, after he hath nailed him upon the crosse, and thrust a speare in his side, falls a mocking, to encrease his pangs; for having taught so frightful, fanatical, enthusiastick and melancholy a doctrine, as the necessity of being in pangs of the new birth, if ever men would be in heaven.

However, I perceive some are now upon a refor­mation (good newes if true, for the world will beare them witness of its necessity.) But is this it? [Page] is this the mode of the Religion to be introduced with such a pomp and parad? Is this the reforma­tion, that the reformed Church must be taken away and thrown down, to make way for the erection of this new monastry? Well, when it is built (which onely mercy can prevent) to give it its due, you see, lesse cannot be writen over the poarch of this aedifice, if according to the paterne, then this; The unclean spirit that was cast out, is returned, and hath taken possession, with seven devils worse then himself.

Now while Satan drags most men with their own consent, thorow the pudle of grosse profanity, & these swine, swallowed up in sensuality▪ run as he dri­ves (being led captive of him at his pleasure) with­out all dread of being drowned in the lake, where he will land them. And while he besots the sore­ing witts of the age, into a slighting and setting at naught the glorious Saviour, with that invaluable and precious salvation, which he brings to poor self destroyed sinners; some few there are, whom he will not want, and whom he will not suffer to wander from the refuge and resting place of souls, and whom he will not suffer to rest satisfied while they want him; these he delivers from the impose­ings of Satan, and the betrayings of their own deceitful and desperatly wicked heart, by opening their eyes, so that they are made to approve the things, which are more excellent, being taught of God, and are prevailed with, through the effica­cious perswasions of that grace, which will take no refus [...]l from some, to subject their consent unto the gospel▪ But Alas! even many of these, into [Page] soul the light hath shined, and who have a liveing principle implanted in them, which will spring up into everlasting life; (and therefore cannot misse of the end of their faith, the salvation▪ of their souls) yet how busy is Satan, and how doth he hang upon their working hand, so that the good which they would that they do not; and in this he hath the concurrence of that law, which is in their members, carrying them impetuously to do what they would not, and captivating them unto that law of sin, which is in their members? How often Alas! are they engaged by the slye suggestions of Satan, and specious solicitations of their own hearts, into things unworthy of their high and holy calling; so that however grace, which prevented them at first, will also rescue them at last; yet by their untender way and walk, as they rob God of the glory of his grace, in not shewing forth his vertue [...] in all things, they also deprive themselves of the comfort thereof, through their uncircumspect walking, and of that sweet inward serenity of minde, and unspeakable joy, which is to be had in fellowship with him; and in the end must suffer loss, by heaving their works burnt, and they themselves but almost, yea scarcely saved; saved they must be (because on the foundition) yet so as by fire; while the tender Christian, who exerciseth himself to godlinesse, hath a sweet life, his heaven is serene and cleare, his study to purge his heart from corruption and cle­anse his hands in innocency, keeps his interest un­clouded; his care not to grieve the Spirit in his workings, delivers him from the grief, flowing from the Spirits ceasing to witnesse; he so thinks [Page] on whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatso­ever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, as to do them, knowing this is the way to have that peace of God, which passeth all understanding, to guard his heart and mind through Christ Jesus: he who hath a conversation in heaven, cannot want a con­sort of sweet musick in his own soul. O what me­lody must it make in the soul, how sweet must the chirpings and chimeings of such a bird be singing in the bosome, as the testimony of a mans conses­ence, that in simplicity and Godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdome, but by the grace of God (O mark how the crown of his gloriation and gladness is put upon grace's head!) he hath his conversation in the world; and then when he hath served his generation thus, according to the will of God, haveing made it his work, as one made partaker of the divine nature, to adde one grace to another, he enters his harbour (O glorious landing, where God is seen, and glory dwels!) with a roome sea, and a porting winde: for says the Holy Ghost, an enterance shall be ministered unto you aboundantly into the everlasting kingdome of our Lord and sa­viour Iesus Christ: whereas the man, whose work it hath not been, so to walk as he might adorne the doctrine of God the saviour, in all things, & hold forth in his way the word of life, dies often in the dark, because he did not walk as become a child of light: & though that God, whose gifts & calling are without repentance, may save him; yet his glory may require it, to withhold from him the testimony [Page] of the Spirit, which is by watter, and never, while he is in this world, either let himself or others wit of it, nay not onely so, but he may go off the stage with horrour, and go out of this life under the ter­rors of God; for, though the Spirit of God being the spirit of truth will never alter the word that is gone out of his mouth; and once having said, thou art a son, and in a gracious state, will never againe say, thon art no son, and thy grace is no grace; but yet, when his conscience awaks upon him, and aggravats his guilt, from what he had formerly been helped to do, and stings him till he roar by rea­son of the disquietnesse of his heart, and all his evi­dences for heaven are so blurred, (though not de­let) as there is not one legible letter in them, he cannot say, when he is just laying speech, that he hath one toaken for good; and in this mist, the sin­cerity and reality of the whole may not onely be questioned, but denied. The Spirit, I say, though once haveing wrought the good work, and tran­slated the soul out of a state of bondage into a state of glorious liberty, will never againe deny his owne work; yet may he stand by silent, and say nothing, and see the poor man, whom he will save for all this (as a just punishment for his unten­dernesse, and that all, who heare or look on, my learne to walk more circumspectly, and take heed of grieving the Spirit, whereby they are sealed) ex­pire under these pangs, throwes, tossings, ter­rors, affrightments, and soul-distracting feares, wherewith he was filled and overwhelmed, under the first workings of the Spirit of bondage.

But besids these, a little lovely flock there is, a [Page] few number, who through grace obtaine mercy to walk, as hateing the garment spotted with the flesh; they make Religion their businesse; it is their one thing, to abstaine from all appeareance of evil; and to excercise themselves to godlinesse: by the cir­cumspection of their walking, it is evident, they are upon their watch, and make it their work, not onely to keep their heart with all keeping, but so to keep themselves in their converseings in the world▪ amidst a croud of snares, and throng of tentations, as that evil one touch them not: they carry as knowing that Satan, who goeth about seeking whom he may devour, way [...] layes them, and watches to catch all advantages against them; and therefore as not ignorant of his devices, they study sobriety and vigilancy, left through a secure incircumspection they be circumvented, and give him the advantage he seeks; and so beare the marke of his blake hand: yea some of these, at some rare times, do not onely satisfy themselves to carry as defendants, but are helped to such a heroick heaven­ly and Christ-like resistance, as to make Satan flee from them; and when they, through him who strengtheneth them unto the battal, (and will at last once for all and for eve [...], tread Satan under their feet, and make the weakest wrigling, that ever gave up their names to the Captain of salvation, set their feeble feet as more than conquerours upon the neck of the great red dragon, and off his neck, to his everlasting confusion, mount up in their tri­umphing charriot, and receive the conquerours crown) have acquit themselves, as the good soul­diers of Jesus Christ, not onely in warding off the [Page] blowes of that soul enemy, but in manageing the sword of the Spirit, and the sheild of faith, so in the conflict, as they make the enemy, who stretched out the hand to strick at them, take in a stump, they then pursue their victory, on purpose to set the crown on the Captains head, through whose strength alone they gained it. But Alas! even a­mongst this select number, these more serious souls and single servants of God, how few do improve, as they ought and might, that strength and help, which is their allowance▪ and whereby they might be made strong for the labour of Religion? How many, of these few followers after holinesse, do move slowly, and promove little? They cannot give over the study of holinesse, (their heart being engaged to God and his wayes, beyond a retreat) but how heartlesse and handlesse are they at their work? They tugge at duty, and tire themselves in the wayes of God, without any seen successe, or experiencing the sweet of his service; their profit­ing doth not appeare to all, which, as it is their sin, is also attended with shame and sorrow: yea, they carry so despondently in duty, as if the gospel required brick without furnishing straw, whereas if they took the right way, they might walk with­out wearying; even the faint, and they who have no might, if they knew, and had learned how to lay their help upon him, who is mighty, where God hath laid it, should finde their strength encre­ased, to a surmounting of all difficulties, and an experienceing of a sweet facility in the wayes of God, so that in stead of whineing and sobing over their duty, of which they are often found as [Page] an enemy, and sinking under a hand [...] weakening despondency, they might sing in the sweet, plea­sant and plain wayes of holinesse, they might make his statutes their songs in the house of their pilgri­mage, and be able from their own experience to say it and seal it, that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.

Now, that the lesse tender, in whom the root of the matter is, may be perswaded and provoked to a shineing seriousnesse, to the adorning of that doctrine of God, the Saviour, which they pro­fess: And they whose souls are not onely byassed towards the wayes of God, but have some holy habitual bentness heaven - wards, and it is their burden that the whole of their course doth not e­vidence a conversation in heaven: To the end, I say, that both may not onely be prevailed with, to study more conformity to the Head, whose mem­bers they are, and have a conversation such as be­cometh the gospel indeed; but may through grace acquire a blessed facility▪ in going from strength to strength, and growing strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, this ensuing Treatise is put in thy hand, that thy heart may be lift up, in the waves of the Lord, wherein the Author hath, with a peculiar perspicuity and special plainness, not onely set before thine eye that blessed Sun of righteousness, as shineing in this gospel with a meridian brightness, to the irradiating, with the rayes of his glorious light, the darkened soul; & likewise thou hast him not onely here held forth as that alone liveing fountaine and overflowing spring of all spiritual life and strength. But he hath taught [Page] thee and me, how to make use of him, in whom dwels the fulnesse of the God head bodily, in all the several steps of darkenesse or difficulty, which may emerge and occurre, to the fore-slowing us in our course of Christianity, so as we may finde a com­pleatnesse and competency of strength communicat unto us. That blessed high way, called the way of holinesse, is made so plaine herein, that the way fare­ing man cannot erre in it, because it shewes how to give the hand to God, as a gu [...]d to Jesus Christ, that blessed leader, who brings the blind by a way that they know not, and leads them in paths that they have not knowen, who maks darkenesse light before them, and crooked things straight: And the apparently rough and rigid wayes of godliness are discovered to be so easy and sweet, that the lame may leap as an hart, because of life-giveing influence; and the tongue of the dumb or discon­solat Christian may sing, under these gracious sup­portings, and say, his wayes are indeed ways of plea­santnesses.

It was not the Authors designe in this peece, (levelled onely at this marke, to teach thee how to make use of the strength and grace, that is in Christ Jesus, and finde the promised ease in performance of duties; in handleing of which argument, he hath been remarkably assisted; and thou canst not read with attention, but thou must beare him witness, and bless the Lord on his behalfe, that he hath hit the marke at which he aimed) to engage in a formal debate with these audacious moralists, who would boast and bogle us out of the good old way▪ where­in if men walk they must finde rest to their souls: [Page] yet if by the doctrine he hath here explained and pressed, as the onely way of life, they do not finde, what a mortal wound he hath given their morality, all the lovers of the truth will see it; and it may be, the Lord spareing life, and continueing the same gracious and great assistance, he hath had in enga­geing with many great adversaries to the truth at home & a broad, they may see somewhat from his pen▪ which may make the lovers of our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, and of the operations of his Spirit, sing over these successors to Sisera, who with their jumping charriots and rattleing wheels assault the truth, at his feet they bowed, they fell, they lay down at his feet, they bowed, they fell where they bowed, there they fell down dead; so let all the enemies of thy truth perish, O Lord. How to make the whole more useful for thee, for whose ad­vantage its mainly intended I leave to the Author's own direction; onely this I must say, his method and mould, wherein he casts this sweet matter; and his way of handling this so seasonable a subject, it so accommodat to each case, and brought home to the conscience, and down to the capacity of the meanest Christian, which was his aim, that the feeble, in this day, might be as David; that howbeit many worthy men have not onely hinted, but enlarged upon the same matter, yet thou canst not but see some heart-endeareing singularity in his way of improveing and handleing this great gospel truth. Next I must tell thee▪ that as I my self read it with much satisfaction (though Alas! I dar not say, I have by reading reaped the designed advantage so that thou mayest be blushed into a [Page] peruseal thereof, and profiting thereby, I must likewise tell thee, I say, it hath been turned into dutch, and that it hath not onely met with great acceptation, amongst all the serious and Godly in these parts, who have seen it; but is much sought after; and they professe themselves singularly there­by edified, and set a going after God, by its effi­catious perswasivenesse, with a singing alacrity; and if it have not the same effect upon thee and me, they▪ and it will rise up against us in judgment.

Up therefore, Christians, and be doing: listen to such a teacher, who, lest thou tire in thy race or turne bake, teacheth thee a certaine and sweet way of singular proficiency and progresse in the wayes of God. It may be, it is not thy work▪ nor mine, to writ books against these soul murthering, however magnified, methods of takeing men off Je­sus Christ; but our pe [...]ury of parts for that▪ should (1.) Put us to seek plenty of teares▪ that we may weep, to see our Master so wounded, by the piercing pens of those, who, to patronize their mock re­ligion, wrest the Scriptures, and with wicked hands wring the word of the Lord, till it weep blood: this▪ I say, should provoke thee and me to weep upon Him, till He appeare, and beat the pens of such deceivers out of their hand by a blow of his. (2.) It should provoke us to know the truth, that we may contend earnestly for the faith delivered to the saints, and to have these con­tradicted truths so impressed in their life upon our souls, that the pen of the most subtile pleader, for this perversion of the gospel, may neither delet th [...]se, nor be able to stagger us, but we may from the efficacious workings of these, have the witnesse [Page] in our selves, and know the men who teach other­wayes not to be of God. (3.) It should be our ambition, when the all of religion is cryed down, and a painted shadow, a putrid (however perfum­ed) nothing put in its place, to make it ap­peare by our practise, that Religion is an elevation of the soul above the sphere and activity of dead mo­rality; and that it is no lesse or lower principle that acts us, than Christ dwelling in us, and walking in us: how can the love of God, & of Christ, & of the Spirit be in us, if these perverse pratters against, the power of godlinesse, provoke us not to emit a pra­ctical declaration to the world, & extort a Testimony to his grace by our way, from the enemies thereof▪ Improve therefore this his special help to that pur­pose, which in a most sensonable time is brought to thy hand.

But to sum up all shortly, there are but three things which make religion an heavy burden. First, the blindnesse of the minde; & here thou art taught to make use of that eye-salve, whereby the eyes of the blind see out of obscurity and out of darkenesse he who formerly erred in Spirit, by the light held forth in these lines, may see a surpasseing beauty▪ in the wayes of God. Secondly, That aversion and unwillingnesse, which is in the minde, whereby the sweet & easy yoke of his commands i [...] spurned at as heavy; in order to the removing thereof; & that thou mayest be among his willing people, here thou hast Christ held forth in his conquering beau­ty, displaying his banner of love over souls, so that thou canst not look upon him as held forth, but [...]ith will bow thy neck to take on his yoke, because [Page] it sees it is lined with the love of Christ, & then this love, that line the yoke, shed abroad in the heart, will constraine to a bearing of it. O it must be an easy yoke, because itis love, tender love, that imposeth it; and it must be easy & delightful to the bearer, because itis the nature of love to think the greatest difficulties easy, if thereby an evidence of loves reality may be given to the party beloved: now, if Christ thought the greatest burden easy, even that which with its weight wrung these words from him, now is my soul troubled, &c. to perswade souls of the reality and riches of his love to them; Then the soul can think nothing heavy that he im­poseth, since he will interpret the bearing of it an evidence of its love to him: none of his command­ments can be grievous to the man now, since he hath saide, This is the love of God, that yee keep his commandments. Now there is a readinesse of minde to do all things without disputings & mur­murings; as love knowes no lyon in its way, so it is no murmuring disputant; when this question is cleared, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do, then love hath no moe questions; its greatest difficulty is solved. But Thirdly when the Spirit is willing, there remains yet much weaknesse, love kindled in the heart conquers the mind into a compliance with his will, and a complacency in his commands, but its greatest strength is often to weep over a withered hand: now that thy hands which fall down may be made strong for labour, and thou mayest be girded with strength, and have grace for grace, yea all grace, to make thee abound unto every good word and work; The Author leads thee up [Page] unto the sull fountaine of all Gospel furniture, and strength; and teacheth thee how to make use of Jesus Christ, as thy sufficiency, for working all thy works in thee and for thee. Take heart therefore unto thee: when thy looking unto du [...]y may make thee dispair of performance, lift up thine eyes to him, who is here set before thee; look till every new look upward bring light and life inward, and capacitat thee for makeing a new louse foreward, in the power of [...] might: [...]he was but a wicked servant who said, I [...] thou art a hard master: No, it is false. That religion which gives ease must be an easy religion; and truely such [...] Gospel holinesse, not onely in regaird that it is the libera­tion of the soul from the basest bondage, but in regaird that he who is thy Master will be served of his own: the allowed supplies for all commanded duties▪ are full mea­sure, heaped, up, shaken together, and runing over. And though he who hath much hath nothing over, yet he [...] hath little hath no inl [...]ke, for he abounds towards us in [...] wisdome. I say therefore againe unto thee, take heart, let not thine hands fall down, essay nothing thou would have well done or easily done, in thine own strength▪ but yet how difficult so ever the duty be, approach it as have­ing no confidence in the flesh, but with an eye to thy stoc [...] that rich store house of all furniture, and it shall be with thee, as it was with the priests, before whom jordan re­coiled, so soon as their foot entered within the [...] ▪ God shall make thy difficulties evanish; and by the [...] the Spirit of power and might, from Jesus Christ depended upon, shall so strengthen thee, that thy duty is made easy to admiration, and becomes the delight of thy souli [...] I have exceeded the just limits of an Epistle: pray for the con­tinuance of the life of the Author, who by his assiduous work­ing for Christ, hath been often neir unto death, not reguard­ing his own life, to supply the lake of other meus service, [...] the interest & Church of God; & let him be comforted for this piece of travel, undertaken for thy soul's m [...]erest, by hear­ing thou dost improve it to thy advantage, for which it is so exactly calculat: And withall I beg thy fervent & earnest intercessions for grace, & more grace, to him who is.

Thy poor, yet souls well wisher and servant for Christ's sake. R. Mc. W.

The Author to the Reader.

Christian Reader,

AFter the foregoing adress, I need not put thee to much more trouble: only I shall say; That he must needs be a great stranger in our Israel, or sadly smitten with that epidemick plague of indifferency, which hath infected many of this Generation, to a benumming of them, and rendering them insensible, and un­concearned, in the matters of God, and of their own souls; and sunck deep into the gulfe of dreadful inconsideration, who seeth not, or taketh no notice of, nor is troubled at the manifest and terrible appearances of the unexpressibly great hazard, our all, as Chri­stians, in this life, is this day into. I meane the mystery of the Gospel of the grace of God, wherein the exceeding riches of His grace, in his kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus, hath been shoune: VVe have enjoyed, for a considerable time, a clear and powerful dispensation hereof, in great purity and plenty; but Alas! is it not [Page] manifest to all, that will not wilfully shut their eyes, that this Mercy, and Goodness of God, hath been wickedly abused, and the pure ad­ministration of His Grace & Love perfidiously sinned away, by this Apostate Generation? Are our spots this day the spots of his children? Are there fruits answerable to the Lord's pai­nes and labour about us, to be seen even among the greatest of Professours? Is there that gospel holiness, tenderness, watchful­ness, growing in grace and in the know­ledge of Jesus Christ, that growing up [...] Christ, in all things, that heavenly mind­edness, that followshipe with the Father and with his Son Christ Iesus, and that conversation in heaven, that the dispensa­tion of grace, we have been favoured with be­yond many, and have been long living under, did call for at our hands? Alas! our grapes are but wilde and stincking. VVherefore (and who can think it strange, if it be so?) the Lord seemeth to be about to contend with us, by co­vering our horizon with Egyptian darkness: many, who would not receive the love of the Truth, that they might be saved; being already given up to strong delusion, that they should beleeve a lie, and many [Page] moe in hazard to be drawn aside to crooked pathes, by men of corrupt mindes, who have been, and are still busie to vent and spread abroad, with no little petulancy and confidence, damnable doctrines, to the perverting of the doctrine of the Gospel of Iesus Christ, and to the subverting and overturning of the very foundations of our Hope & Assurance; and that in such a way, and by such meanes and stratagems, as seem to have wrath written upon them, in legible letters; for the more plausible and taking a corrupt do­ctrine be, it is the more dangerous, & judg­ment-like, and moe are thereby in hazard to be deluded and drawn away.

Nay (which is yet more terrible and dread­ful) it is to be feared, that the jealous God, in his holy and righteous judgment, hath given a providential commission (to speak so) unto the seduceing Spirit, to perswade and prevail: for is not this the clear language of the present holy and righteous dispensations of God, and of the stupenduously indifferent frame and disposition of the generality of men, called Christians, not only provoking God to spew them out of his mouth, but dispose­ing them also unto a receiving of whatsoever [Page] men, lying in waite to deceive, shall pro­pose and obtrude?

Alas! the clouds are not now a gathering▪ but our horizon is covered over with blakness▪ and great drops are a falling, that presage a ter­rible overflowing deluge of errour, and Apostasie from the Truth and Profession of the Gospel of Iesus Christ, to be at hand▪ if the Lord wonderfully prevent it not. And behold (O wonderful!) the generality of Pro­fessours are sleeping in security, apprehending no danger. Satan is more cunning now, than to drive men to Popery by rage and cruelty; (and yet what he may be permitted to do after this manner, who can tell?) or by openly pleading, in his emissaries, for this abomination, (and yet even thus is he already prevailing with not a few) or to send forth his agents for Armini­anisme and Socinianisme (though even this way too, he is too much prevailing.) But his maine work now seemeth to be, to bring in a­nother Gospel, (and yet there is not ano­ther) or rather an Antievangelick and An­tichristian delusory dream, overturning at, once the whole Gospel of our Lord and Sa­viour Iesus Christ; and for this end he in­ployeth the Quakers, one the one hand, Men [Page] of desperat and antievangelick principles, the very sinke of all abominations, old and late (as I shall show, if the Lord will continue health and strength, in an examination of their doctrine and principles, lately emitted by one Robert Barclay) and on the other hand, Men (or Moralists if you will call them so) plead­ing for and crying up an antievangelick holi­ness, a meer shadow without substance or re­ality; and that in place of Christ himself; And in order to the carrying on of this desperat designe, The old dragon is imploying men of seeming different principles and wayes, whom, though their faces seem to look to contra­ry a [...]rths, yet he holdeth notwithstanding fast tyed by their tails (as Samson's foxes were) that thereby, if the Lord permit it, he may, by the fire of enmity to the pure Gospel of the grace of God, burning in their tails▪ cause a confl [...]gration of that Truth, wherein lyeth all our hope: for this new model of Re­ligion, that many are so busied about, is such as Pelagians, Arminians, Papists, So­cinians, Quakers, yea Turks, and moral H [...]athens; Yea and all, who are enemies to, and not reconcileable with the true grace of God held forth in the Gospel, will willingly [Page] admit of, and harmoniously agree in: A way, which complyeth so well with proud self, and with the Corrupt Nature of Man, that it is little wonder, if it have many abettors and admirers. I shall say no more of this, seing my beloved Brother hath said so much to it already to very good purpose, in the foregoing Epistle; but only inferre,

That sure the consideration of this should move all, in whom is any thing of the zeal of God, and love to souls, their owne and others, to appear in the defence of the Gospel of our Sal­vation, by all meanes, incumbent to them, and possible for them: for if this Citadel, & strong hold, wherein our All, and the all of pure and true Religion, lyeth, be blown up, we are gone: and indeed no less is intend­ed by this Antichristian and antievangelick enemy, than the utter subversion of True Christian Religion. VVho would not then be hereby alarmed, and upon their guaird, when matters are at this passe? Should not all, vvho have any love to their ovvn souls, any zeal for the glory of Christ, anointed of the Father to be our Prophet, Priest, & King; any desire to see the crown flourishing upon his Head, and to have the Gospel preserved [Page] pure and uncorrupted, be pleading vvith God by prayer, in the behalfe of His Son's Kingdom, Crown, and Glory; and vvrestling vvith Him, till He vvere pleased to dispel these clouds, & prevent this blake day: Especially, should they not be labouring to be acquanted, in truth and reality, vvith the Gospel of Iesus Christ, that having the my­sterious truths thereof imprinted on their souls, and their hearts casl into its mould, they may be preserved from the hurt of this deadly poison: for this, vvith a constant dependence upon, and use making of Christ in all His offices, vvill prove the best preserva­tive against this infection.

The persvvasion vvhereof did induce me to publish the follovving heads of some sermons, after they had been translated into dutch, and published here; knovving that they might be of no lesse use to the people of God, in Britane and Ireland. I knovv not a more effectual mean to keep unstable souls from sideing with and imbraceing every new notion; & from being carryed about with every winde of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lye in waite to deceive; than to put them upon the [Page] real exercise of Gospel godliness, and to the dayly practice of the maine and fundamental gospel work, of living by faith in Jesus Christ and of growing up into Him, in all things, who is the Head, from whom the whole body fitly joyned together and compacted, by that which every joynt supplyeth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of it self in love. Such, I am sure, as have thus learned the Truth, as it is in Iesus, and are practiseing the same accordingly, will have an Antidot within them against the strongest poison of these Seducers; and a real answere to, and confutation of all their subtile sophismes. The soul exerciseing it self unto Gospel god­liness, will finde work enough to take it whol­ly up▪ and finde such a solide ground to stand upon; and see such a satisfying fulness, ans­wering all its necessities and wants, & such a sure heart-quieting ground of Peace, Hope and Consolation, in Iesus Christ, as that it will have no leasure, and small temptation to listen to Seduceing perverters, and no in­clination to seek after empty Cisterns.

[Page]I know much may be desiderated, in this following Treatise, and many may have ex­ceptions, not without ground, against it: Some may think it arrogancy and too great confidence in me, to attempt the handling of such a mysterious & necessary part of Christian practice, wherein few, (if any so far as I know) have gone before, in direct handling of this matter, at least in this me­thode & order; I meane that part, which is about Sanctification: others may be displeased with the meane & low stile; with my mul­tiplying of particulars, vvhich might have been better & more handsomly couched under fevver heads; and vvith my uncessary con­tracting of the vvhole, into such narrovv bounds; and other things of that kinde: for vvhich & many other failings of the like nature & import, vvhich may vvithout any diligent search, be found in it, even by ordinary & unpre­judiced Readers, I shall not industriously la­boure to apologize, knovving that my very apology, in this case, vvill need an apolo­gy: Only I shall say this, That considering hovv the snare, vvhich the vigilant & active enemie of our Salvation, the Devil, vvas laying, by an unholy morality, did nearly [Page] concearne all, & especially the meanest (for parts & experience) and less fixed Chri­stians, I thought a discourse on such a subject, as I judged most necessary at all times, & espe­cially in such a day of hazard, should be fram­ed to the capacity of one, as well as another; the most understanding can receive benefite, by that which is calculat to the capacity of chil­dren, when these can reap little edification by what is suited to the palate of those: & the less experienced, or such as are of lower un­derstanding, will be less able to draw a Ge­neral to a Particular; or to improve, & so fully to comprehend one particular touched, as to be able thereby to understand, & take in a like particular, not mentioned; than such, as have their senses more exercised, and are thereby in case to make a better improve­ment of what is but compendiously declar­ed, when those must have the bread brocken to their hand, or they shall receive but small edification thereby: and yet, I suppose, the judicious will observe some variety, smaller or greater, even where Particulars seem to be, at the first view, most unnecessarily multiplied. I know, and willingly grant (for it is obvious enough) that a discourse of this [Page] Subject and matter, might have required a fa [...] larger volume; But then how should such have profited thereby, whom Poverty might possibly have scarred from b [...]ying; or the necessary affaires of their ordinary callings would have keeped from a diligent perusal of it? And I thought, that neither of these should have been overlooked, in this speci­al, or general designe, which I had before mine eyes.

One thing, as my answere to all, I shall but add: If hereby Others, whom the Lord hath more enabled with all necessaries for such a work, shall be hereby either instigated, or encouraged, to write upon this Subject (I meane mainly the last part thereof, touching the usemaking of Christ, in Sanctificati­on; for, blessed be the Lord, many have been employed of the Lord to speak soundly and edify­ingly, unto the usemaking of Christ as to Righteousness and Justification) and give a Full, Plaine, Edifying and Satisfying discovery of this Necessary & Important Truth, viz. Christ made of God to us Wisdome, Righteousness, Sanctificati­on & Redemption: and withall Point out plainely & particulary the way, how Be­leevers, [Page] in all their Particular and various exigéncies, ma [...] and should so make use of, and apply that all fulness, which is treasur­ed up in the Head, for the benefite and ad­vantage of the Members of the Mystical body, as they may not only theoretically see, but practically also experience this truth. That in Him they are compleat; and so they may be helped to understand how, through the necessary & constant usemaking of Him, as all in all, they may grow up in Him, in all things: If this be, I say, done by any, to better purpose, I shall think this my adventure not altogether fruitless, & in part, at least, excusable.

As for thee, O Christian, whose instru­ction, edification and confirmation in the Faith of our Lord Iesus Christ, the faith which was once delivered unto the Saints, I mainly intended in this undertaking, I have a few things to adde: knovv then that there are certain men (as the Apostle Iude speaketh) crept - in unawares, who were of old or­dained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Iesus Christ for in [Page] these last dayes, vve see that these perillous times are come, (of vvhich Paul advertised Timothy, 2 Tim. 3: 1. &c.) vvherein men shall be lovers of their owne selves, co­vetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to Parents, unthankful, un­holy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, (or make bates) incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitours, heady, high mind­ed, lovers of pleasure morethan lovers of God, having the forme of godliness, but denying the power thereof—for of this sort are they, which creep into houses, & lead captive silly women, laden with sinnes, led away with diverse lusts, ever learning, & never able to come to the knowledge of the truth: And because it is so; be exhorted to give deligence to make your Calling & Election sure, by giving all diligence to adde to faith vertue; to vertue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godli­ness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. As the Apostle Peter [Page] assureth us, 2 Pet. 1: 5, 6, 7, 10. for itis the Elect, vvho are secured from full and final defection and Apostasie, Mat. 24: 24. Mark. 13: 22. Rom. 11: 5, 7. & 9: 11. & 8▪ 33. Mat. 24: 31. Mark. 13: 27. and the promise of Salvation is made to such, as shall endure to the end. The Crown is for the Over­comers, & such as are faithful to the death, Mat. 10: 22. & 24: 13. Mark. 13: 1 [...] ▪ Revel. 2: 10, 11, 17, 26, 27, 28. & 3: 5, 1 [...], 21. All vvhich, and the like, are sct dovvne, that hereby his people might be rationally moved to a constant seriousness, in the working out of their owne Salvation, in fear & trem­bling; and the forevvarnings given of the great difficulty of reaching the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls, because of the many Active, Vigilant, Indefatigable, Sub­tile, and Insinuating adversaries, who by good words & faire speaches, vvill readily deceive the hearts of the simple, are to avvaken the more His people to be sober & vigilant, because their Adversary, the De­vil (vvho acteth and moveth his under-agents, in their several Modes, Methods and Mo­tions, so as he may best, according to the various Tempers, Present Dispositions, Advanta­ges [Page] or Disadvantages of such▪ as he intendeth to seduce, vvhich he carefully studyeth, and ply­eth for this end, obtaine his designed end, their ruine and destruction) as a roaring lyon, walking about seeking whom he may de­voure. And this calleth them to haste out of their slumber and security, lest their Adversary, who will be loath to misse his Opportunity, sur­prize them, to their great losse and disadvantage.

It is, Beloved, high time novv to awake, to look about us, to consider where we are, upon vvhat ground vve stand, vvhether the Enemy or we have the advantage, hovv and in vvhat Postour vve are, to rancontre with deceivers, that seek to cheare us of all, of our souls, and of our Salvation, because they vvould cheat us of the Lord our Righte­ousness, and dravv us off the pathes of life, that vvhen vve come to die (beside the unspe ak­able great losse vve vvould thereby be at, even here, in missing the comfortable accestes to God, through lesus Christ, the inflow­ings of grace & strength for spiritual duty, through the Lord our Strength; the sweet com­munications of peace and joy in the holy Ghost; the shedings abroad of the love of God in our hearts, by the holy Ghost, [Page] vvhich is given unto us, and the full assurance of hope, through the Lord Iesus our hope) vve might be frustrated of all our expectations; and finde that all that, vvhich Men made us grip to, lay hold on, and leane unto, in stead of Christ, vvas but a meer shadow, and a lie in our right hand, to the unexpressible griefe, vexation and sorrovv of soul, vvhen all should end in a dreadful and horrible dis­appointment.

But let us not think, that our Purposes, firme-like Resolutions, to adhere to the Truth, and our present Abhorrence at, and Detestation of errours novv broached, to the overturning of the very foundations of true Christianity, vvill sufficiently guaird us from, and make us proof against the shotes and as­saults of these crafty seducers: Nor think▪ that our learning and knovvledge in the Theory of the Truth; nor our Abilities to rancontre Sophisters, vvill secure us from a fall: let us not think that the Enemies are contemptible, and therefore vve need be the less anxious; nor yet think that former experiences & through­bearings, in the like cases, vvill be a pillow, vvhereupon vve may novv lay our selves downe to sleep: If vve do, vve shall cer­tanely [Page] deceive ourselves, if all our strength & standing be in ourselves, and through ourselves; and if this be the ground of our hope, the Righ­teous Lord, in his holy justice, may give us up to be a Prey: Peters instance should never be forgotten b [...] us: and such as tempt the Lord have no ground to expect his last issue.

Our strength must be in Christ: to the rock of ages must vve flee: to our chambers in Him must vve retire, and there must vve hide ourselves: on Christs lee side can vve only ride salfe, and be free of the hazard of the storme. To Him therefore must our re­course be dayly, by new & fresh acts of Faith. In and through Him and His Influences, communicated according to the tenor of the Co­venant of grace, through Faith eyeing the Promiser, the Promise, vvith the Price purchaseing, and so dravving and s [...]king Light, Direction, Strength, Stability, and vvhat our present exigent calleth for, must vve think to stand: and happy they, vvho con­scious to themselves of their own weakness and convinced of the insufficiency of all things▪ vvithin them, in Godly fear hide themselves under the wings of the Almighty, and get in into this Strong hold, resolving there to [Page] abide, and there to be secured from all their Adversaries, vvithin, or vvithout: These humble fearers may expect a saife & noble outgate; vvhen more strong-like & more confident adventurers, shall (being left to themselves, because trusting in themselves) shamefully fall, and be triumphed over by the Enemie, to the griefe of the Godly, and for a snare to others.

The best vvay then, to keep the faith of Christ, vvhich many are novv seeking to shake, and to loose us from, is to be exerciseing the faith of Christ. The serious and upright practiseing of the Gospel is the only best mean to keep thee firme in the profession of the Gospel: vvhen the Gospel vvith thee, is not a fevv fine notions in the braine; but is heavenly and necessary Truth sunck into the heart, and living and acting there; it vvill keep thee, and thou will owne it, more firmly and steadfastly, in a day of tryal. Thy walking in Christ, and working and living, by Him living in thee, will so root thee in the Gospel truth, that enemies will pull in vaine, when seeking to overthrow thee. The Gospel of the grace of God, received and entertained in thy soul in love, and con­stant [Page] sutable improvement, will fortifie thee, and secure it self in thee, so that vehement blasts shall but contribute to its more fixed abode, and more fruteful actings in thee. Live up then to the Gos­pel, and so be sure of it, and be saife in it. I mean, let Christ live in thee, as thy all, and cast all thy care and cumber on Him; lay all thy diffi­culties before Him; lean all thy weight upon Him; draw all thy necessities out of Him; un­dertake all thy duties in Him; be strong in Him, and in the power of His might; let Him by thy Counseler, Conductor, Leader, Teacher, Captain, Commander, Light, Life, Strengh and all, so shall thou stand, and have cause to glory, even in thy infirmities, for thou shalt finde the power of Christ resting upon thee, and thou shalt have cause to say, Therefore I take plea­sure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christs sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong: Remem­ber that great word, Phil. 4:13. I can do all things, through Christ, which strengtheneth me.

It hath bin the usual and ordinary question of Beleevers; How shall we make use of Christ for Sanctification. To this great and important question; I, (though the meanest and most unfit for such a work, of all that God hath sent to feed his flock) have adventured or endeavoured, at least, to give such as truely desire to cleanse them­selves from all filthiness of the flesh and Spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, some [Page] satisfation herein, laying before them, some plaine directions, framed to their capacities, and suited to some of their most ordinary and usual cases; some whereof are more comprehensive; & others, more particular, may be looked upon as exem­plary instances, serving for other cases of the like nature; for hardly could every particular cir­cumstan [...]iat case be particularly spoken to, and some might judge that to be superfluous. If thou, in the light & strength of Christ, shalt really practise what is here pointed forth, I may be confi­dent to say, thy labour shall not be in vaine in the Lord, & thou shalt attaine to another sort of holiness▪ than that, which Proud pretenders boast of; & shalt be far without the reach of that snare, which unstable souls are too readily entangled with. I meane, the plausible pretension of more than or­dinary sanctity, which yet is but forced, feigned, constrained, mostly external, & framed to cause some admiration in beholders, whom they intend to make a prey of. This shall be no temptation to thee, who by experience findeth a more saife, satisfying, full, free, easy, pleasant & heartsome way of mor­tifying lusts, growing in grace▪ & in the know­ledg of Jesus Christ▪ & so perfecting holiness▪ by runing immediatly to Christ, & by living in & up­on Him, who is mad of God to us, Wisdom, Righteousnes, Sanctification & Redemption. That the Lord may blesse the same to thee, for this end▪ shall [...]e and is the desire and prayer of Him, who is thy servant, in the work of the Gospel.

I. B.

CHRIST, The Way, the Truth, & the Life. Or A discovery of the right way of making use of Christ, for Sanctification:

From IOHN. XIV. 6.‘Iesus sayeth unto them, I am the Way, & the Truth▪ & the Life; No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.’

CHAP. I. The introduction, with some generall obser­vations from the cohesion.

DOubtlesse it is alwayes usefull, yea necessary, for the children of God, to know the right way of making use of Christ, who is made all things to them which they need, even Wisdome, Righteousnesse, Sanctification, and Redemp­tion▪ 1 Cor. 1: 30. But it is never more necessarie for beleevers to be cleare & distinct in this matter▪ than when Satan by all meanes is seeking to per­vert [Page 2] the right wayes of the Lord; and one way or other to lead souls away, and draw them of Christ; knowing that if he prevail here, he hath gained his poynt: and therefore he endeavoureth not only to darken it by error, either more grosse, or more subtile; but also to darken it by mistakes, and prejudices; whence it cometh to passe, that not only Strangers are made to wander out of the way, but oftentimes many of his owne people are walking in the darknesse of ignorance and mistakes, and remaine leane through want of the reall exercise of the Life of faith, which would make them fat & flouri­shing; because it would make them strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, and to grow up in Christ in all things.

The clearing up then of this truth cannot but be most seasonable now, when Satan is prevailing with many, whom he cannot get tempted to loosenesse and profanitie, to sit downe upon some thing, which is not Christ; and to rest upon something within themselves, distinct from him, both in the matter of Iustification, and Sanctification. This subtile Adversary is now setting some a work, to cry up, by preaching, speaking and printing, a way to heaven, which is not Christ, a kinde of morality, civility and outward holinesse, where­upon the soul is to rest: and this holinesse, not wrought and effectuated through the strength of Iesus, by faith sucking life and furniture from him; but through our owne art and skill; which in effect is nothing but an extract of refined Po­pery, Socinianisme, and Arminianisme, devised [Page 3] and broached of purpose, to draw the soul off Christ; that he may stand upon his owne legs, and walk by his owne power, and thank himself, at least in part, for the crown, at length.

Further, through the great goodnesse of God, the true way of a soul's justification is admirablie cleared up; and many are, at least theoretically, acquanted therewith; and many also practically, to the quieting of their wakened consciences, and stopping the mouth of their accusers, and obtea­ning of peace, joy, and the lively hope of the ever­lasting crowne: yet many a gratious soul pro­fesse their unacquantednesse with the solide and thriveing way of usemaking of Christ for grouth in grace and true Sanctification. Therefore some discovery of the truth here cannot but be usefull, seasonable, yea and acceptable unto them: If He, who is the Truth, would give grace to understand, and to unfold this so necessary and alwayes advanta­gious a Truth; and would help to write of and ex­plaine this Truth, by faith in him, who is here said to be the Truth; then should we have cause to blesse and magnifie his name: But if he▪ because of sin, shall hide himself, and not let out those beames of light, whereby we might discover light, we shall but darken counsell with words without knowledge, and leave the matter as uncleare, as ever. Therefore is it necessarie, there be both in him that writeth, and in such as reade a single dependence on him, who is given for a leader, Esa. 55: 5. and hath promised to bring the blinde by a way, which they knew not, and to lead them in paths that they had not known, and to make dark­ness, [Page 4] light before them, and crooked things streight▪ Esa. 42: 16. that thus by acting faith on him, we may finde, in so far, the truth of this verified, viz. That he is the Way the Truth, and the Life.

Now for clearing up of this matter, we would know, That our Lord Iesus, from the beginning of this Chapter is laying downe some grounds of consolation, sufficient to comfort his Disciples, against the sad newes of his departure and death; and to encourage them against the feares they had of much evill to befall them, when their Lord & Master should be taken from them▪ Which is a sufficient proof of the tender heart of Iesus▪ who alloweth all his followers strong consolation, against all▪ feares, hazards▪ troubles and perplexities, which they can meet with in their way. He will not leave them comfortlesse; and therefore he layeth downe strong grounds of consolation, to support their drouping and fainting hearts; as loving to see his followers rejoyceing alwayes in the Lord, and Singing in the wayes of Zion; that the world may see, and be convinced of a reality in Christianity, and of the preferablenesse of that life, notwithstanding of all the troubles that at­tend it, unto any other, how sweet and desireable so ever it may appear to flesh and blood.

In prosecution of which designe, he told them vers. 4. that they knew wh [...]ther He went, and the way also▪ which he was to take, and by which he was to bring them to the Father to the man­sions spoken of, and so to life eternall. But Thomas rashly and incredulously (as too usually he did Chap. 11: 16. and 20: 25) venteth himself, [Page 5] and little lesse then contradicteth his Master, saying vers. 5▪ We know not whither thow goest, and how can we know the way? wherein we have an emblem of many a beleever, who may have more grace and knowledge of God and of Christ, than they will be able to see, or acknowledge that they have, what through temptations; inward di­stempers; sense of their many defects and great ignorance; strong desires of high measures; clear­er discoveries of the vastnesse of the object; mi­stakes about the true nature of grace, despiseing the day of small things; and indistinctnesse as to the actings of grace, or want of understanding and right uptaking of grace, in its various out goings, and actings under various notions, and the like▪

Whereupon Christ, after his usuall manner, ta­keth occasion to clear up that ground of consola­tion further unto them; and to let them see the true way of coming to the Father, that thereby they night be helped to see, that they were not such strangers unto the way, as they supposed; and with­all he amplifieth; and layeth out the properties and excellencies of this way, as being the true and li­ving way, and the only true and living way; and that in such a manner, as they might both see the way to be perfect, full, saife, saving and satis­fying; and also learne their duty, of improving this way alwayes, and in all things, untill they came home at length to the Father: saying I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh to the Father but by me.

Christ then, saying, that He not only is the Way to the Father, even the true way; but that he is [Page 6] so the true way, as that he is also Truth it self▪ in the abstract, and so the Living way, that he i [...] Life itself, in the abstract, g [...]eth us ground to consider, after what manner it is, that He is the Truth, and the Life, as well as the Way; and that for the clearing up and discovering of His being an absolutely perfect, transcendently excellent, incomparably preferable, and fully satisfying way, usefull to beleevers in all cases, all exigents, all distresses, all difficulties, all tryals, all temptations, all doubts, all perplexities; & in all causes or oc­casions of distempers, feares, faintings, discour­agements &c. which they may meet with in their way to heaven. And this will lead us to cleare up the duty of beleevers, on the other hand, and to shew how they should, in all their various cases and difficulties, make use of Christ, as the only al­sufficient Way to the Father, and as Truth and Life in the way, and so we will be led to speak of Christs being to his people all that is requisite for them here in the way, whether for justification or sanctification, and how people are to make use of him, as being all, or as being made of God to us Wisdom, Righteousnesse, Sanctification and Re­demption. 1. Cor. 1: 30.

Ere we come to the words in particular, we would look upon them, as having relation to Thomas his words, in the preceeding verse. wherein he did little lesse, then contradict what Christ had said in the 4 vers. and learne severall very comfort­able points of doctrine, as.

First.

THat Iesus Christ is very tender of his follo­wers, and will not cast them off, nor upbraide them for every escape, whereby they may provock him to anger and grieve his Spirit; but gently passeth by many of their faileings, when he find­eth they are not obstinate in their mistake, nor perverse in their way: for how gently and meekly doth He here passe over Thomas his unhandsome expression, findeing that Thomas spoke here, not out of obstinacy and pertinaciousnesse, but out of ignorance and a mistake. And the reason is because 1 Christ knoweth our infirmitie and weaknesse, and is of a tender heart, and therefore Will not break the bruised reed. Esa. 42. Well knoweth He, that rough and untender handling would crush us, and break us all in pieces. And 2. He is full of bowells of mercy, and can have compassion on them that are out of the way and can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Heb. 4: 15. & 5: 2.

Which truth, as, upon the one hand, it should encourage all to choose him for their leader, & give up themselves to Him, who is so tender of his fol­lowers; so, upon the other hand, it should rebuke such as are ready to intertaine evill and hard thoughts of Him, as if he were an hard Master, and ill to be followed: and put all from intertean­ing the least thought of his untendernesse, and want of compassion. But moreover.

Secondly.

WE see, That weaknesses and corruptions breaking out in beleevers, when they are ho­nestly and ingenuously laid open before the Lord, will not scarre Him away: But rather engadge Him the more to helpe and succour. Much of Thomas his weaknesse and corruption appeared in what he said: yet the same being honestly and in­genuously laid open to Christ, not out of a spirit of contradiction, but out of a desire to learne, Christ is so far from thrusting him away, that He rather condescendeth the more, out of love and tendernesse, to instruct him better, and to cleare the way more fully. And that because 1. He knoweth our mould and fashion, how fecklesse and frail we are, and that if he should deal with us according to our folly, we should quickly be de­stroyed. 2. He is not as Man, hasty, rash, Proud; but gentle, loving, tender and full of compassion. 2. It is his office and proper work to be an instru­cter to the ignorant, and a helper of our infirmities and weaknesses, a phisitian to binde up and cure our sores & wounds.

Who would not then willingly give up them­selves to such a teacher, that will not thrust them to the door, nor give them up to themselves, alwayes when their corruptions would provoke Him there­unto? And what a madnesse is this in many, to stand aback from Christ, because of their infirmi­ties; and to scarre at Him, because of their weak­nesse, when the more corruption we finde the more [Page 9] should we run to him? and it is soon enough to depart from Christ, when he thrusts us away; & sayeth, he will have no more to doe with us: yea he will allow us to stay, after we are, as it were, thrice thrust away: only let us take heed, that we approve not ourselves in our evils, that we hide them not, as unwilling to part with them, that we obstinatly maintaine them not, nor ourselves in them: but that we lie open before him, and deal with him, with honesty, ingenuity and plainnesse.

Thirdly.

WE see further, That ignorance ingenuously acknowledged and laid open before Christ puts the soul in a faire way to get more instruction. Thomas having candidely, according as he thought, in the simplicity of his heart, professed his igno­rance, is in a faire way now to get instruction: for this is Christs work to instruct the ignorant, to open the eyes of the blinde.

Why then are we so foolish, as to conceale our ignorance from him, and to hide our case and con­dition from him: and why doth not this commend Christ's School to us so much the more? why do we not carry as ingenuous schollars, really de­sireous to learn [...]? But.

Fourthly.

WE may learne. That our ill condition, and distempers put into Christs hand will have remarkable ou [...]gates, and an advantagious issue; [Page 10] seeing Christ taketh occasion here from Thomas his laying open his condition, not without some mixture of corruption, to cleare up the truth, more fully and plainely, than it was before: for hereby 1. Christ giveth an open declaration of the glory of his power, mercy, goodnesse, wisdome &c. 2. He hath occasion to give a proof of his divine art, and glorious skill of healing diseased souls, and of making brocken bones stronger than ever they were 3. Thus he effectually accomplisheth his no­ble designes, and perfecteth his work, in a way tending to abase Man, by discovering his infir­mities, and failings; and to glorifie Himself in his goodnesse and love. 4 Thus he triumpheth more over Satan, and in a more remarkable and glorious manner destroyeth his works. 5. Thus he declar­eth how wonderfully he can make all things work together for good to his chosen ones, that love him, and follow him. 6 Yea thus he engadgeth souls to wonder more at his divine wisdome and power; to despaire lesse in time comeing, when cases would seem hard; to acknowledge his great and wonderfull grace, and his infinite power and wisdome, that can bring death out of life; and also to be more sensible of the mercy, and thank­full for it.

O beleever; what matter of joy is here? how happy art thou, that hath given up thy self to him! Thy worst condition can turne to thy ad­vantage. He can make thy ignorance, vented with a mixture of corruption, turne to the increase of thy knowledge. Blesse him for this; and with joy and satisfaction, abide thou under his tutory & [Page 11] at his school. And withall be not discouraged▪ be thy [...]ase of ignorance and corruption what it will▪ lay it out before him with sincerity and singlenesse of heart, and then thou mayest glory in thine in­firmities, that the power of Christ may rest on thee 2 Cor. 12: 9. for thou shalt see, in due time, what advantage infinite love and wisdome can bring to thy soul thereby.

May not this be a strong motive to induce stran­gers to give up themselves to him, who will sweetly take occasion at their failings, and short comeings, to helpe them forward in the way? and what ex­cuse can they have, who sit the call of the gos­pell, and say in effect they will not goe to Christ because their case is not good. And oh that be­leevers were not sometimes led away with this er­rour of scarring at Christ, because of Infirmities seen and discovered!

Fiftly.

IT is remarkeable, that, as the disciples did ofttimes vent much of their carnall conceptions of the kingdome of Christ, as apprehending it to be some carnall, outward, pompous, stately, and, upon that account, desireable condition; so there might be much of this carnall apprehension, lurking under this acknowledgment and question of Tho­mas: And the Lord, who knew their thoughts, doth here wisely draw them off those notions▪ and [...] them about another study: To tell us, That it is [...]est and most usefull and profitable for us, to be much taken up in the study & sear [...] of necessary [Page 12] and fundamentall truths and particularly, of the way to the father, for 1. Here is the substantiall food of the soul: other notions are but vaine, and oftentimes they make the case of the soul worse; but the study of this is alwayes edifying. 2 The right understanding of this, & other fundamentall truthes, will not puff up, but keep the soul humble, and will make the soul active and diligent in duty. 3 The fruite of this study is profitable, and la­sting. 4 And the right uptaking of these truthes will discover the vanity of other sciences, falsly so called, and the folly of spending our time about other things. 5 The right understanding of this fundamentall▪ will helpe us to understand other truthes the better. 6 A mistake in this and such like fundamentals, or the ignorance of them, is more dangerous, then the ignorance of or a mista­ke in other things.

Oh if this were teaching us all, in humility, to be much in the study of such fundamentall ne­cessary truthes, as this is: and to guaird against a piece of vanity in affecting knowledge, the effect of which, is nothing but a puffing of u [...] up with pride & conceite.

Sixtly.

WE may here take notice of what may serve to discover Thomas his mistake, and what is the ground of Christ's assertion vers. 4. which Thomas doth little lesse than contradict vers 5. viz. That such as had any acquantance with Christ, did, ac­cording to the measure of their knowledge of him, [Page 13] both know heaven, and the way to it, whence we see those truthes.

1 Persons may have some reall acquantance with Christ, and yet be, for a time, very indistinct in their notions about him, and apprehensions of him: They may know Christ, in some measure; and yet look upon themselves as great strangers to the knowledge of heaven, and be oft complaineing of their ignorance of the right way to heaven.

2. Where there is the least measure of true acquantance with Christ, with love to him, and a desire to know more of him, Christ will take notice thereof, though it be covered over with a heap of mistakes, and accompanyed with much ignorance, weaknesse, and indistinctnesse. He seeth not as man seeth: which is good newes to some, that are weak in knowledge, and unable to give any good account of any knowledge they have, yet one thing they can say, That he who knoweth all things, knoweth that they love him.

3. Various are the dispensations of Gods grace unto his owne: to some he giveth a greater, to others a lesser measure of knowledge of the my­steries of the kingdom of heaven; And to one & the same person, more at one time than at another: Various are his manifestations and outlettings of grace and love. Small beginnings may come to much at length. Thomas, and the rest of the dis­ciples, had but little cleare and distinct apprehen­sions of the way of Salvation through Iesus Christ▪ and yet ere all was done, they attained to such a measure of understanding in the mysteries of God, as that we are said to be built upon the foundation [Page 14] of the Apostles; Christ Iesus being the chief corn [...]r stone Ephes. 2: 20. This should teach the best much sobriety, and not to judge of all by them­selves; or to think, that Gods way with them must be a standart or a rule, whereby to judge of all the rest▪ as if his way of dealing were one and the same with all.

4 The knowledge of Christ is all; know him and we know heaven, and the way to it: for upon this ground doth Christ make good, what he had said, touching their knowing whither he went, & the way: and answereth the objection that Thomas did propose, viz, Because he was the way &c and they being acquant with him (which here is pre­supposed) were not ignorant of the place, whither he was going; nor of the way leading thither. The knowledge then of Iesus Christ is a true and full compend of all saveing knowledge. Hence It is life eternall to know him Ioh. 17: 3. They that know him, know the Father Ioh. 14: 9. & 8: 19. They that see him▪ see the Father also Iohn. 14: 9. He is in the Father, and the Father in him, Iohn. 14: 10, 11▪ & 10: 38. & 17. 21. And so knowing him, they know heaven: for what is heaven else▪ but the presence, and glorious manifestations of the Father: for when Christ speaks of his going to heaven, he sayeth, he was going to the Father. So knowing him, they knew the way, both how Christ was to goe to heaven, as our Cautioner, Head & Atturnay; and how we must follow.

Let then a Man have never so much knowled­ge, & be acquanted with the mysteries of all artes & sciences: & with the deepths of nature, and in­trigues [Page 15] of States, and all the theorie of Religion; if he be unacquanted with Iesus Christ, he knoweth nothing as he ought to know.

And upon the other hand, let a poor soul, that is honest, and hath some knowledge of and acquan­tance with him, be satisfied, though it cannot dis­course, nor dispute, nor speak to cases of con­sciences, as some others. If we know him, it mat­ters not, though we be ignorant of many things, and thereby become lesse esteemed of by others. Here is the true teste, by which we may take a right [...]stimate of our owne or of others knowledge: The true rule to try knowledge by, is not fine no­tions, clear and distinct expressions: but heart ac­quantance with him, in whom are hid all the trea­sures of wisdome and knowledge Col. 2: 3.

O sad! that we are not more taken up in this stu­dy, which would be a compendious way for us to know all? Why spend we our money for that which is not bread, and our labour for that which will not profite us? Why waste we our time and spirits, in learning this science, and that art, when alas, after we, with much labour and toyl, have attain­ed to the youdmost pitch there, we are never one white the nearer heaven and happinesse? yea it were well, if we were not further off? Oh! if we were wise at length, and could think more on this one thing necessary▪ and could be stirred up to lear [...]e more of him, and to make this the subject of all our study, and labour▪

CHAP. II Of the words themselves in generall.

WE come now to the words themselves; wherein Christ asserts that, He is [...]1) the Way (2) the Truth, (3) the Life. & (4) That no man cometh to the Father but by him.

In them we learne those two things, in generall▪ first The miserie of wretched man by nature: This c [...]nnot be in a f [...]w words expressed▪ These words will point out those particulars thereof, which we will but mention.

1. That he is borne an enemie to, and living at a distance from God, by vertue of the curse of the bro [...]ken covenant of life, made with Adam.

2. That he neither can, nor will returne to God, of himself. His way is not in himself; He hath need of another to be his way.

3. That he is a blinde wandering creature, ready to take by wayes and to wander; yea he loveth to wander: He goeth astray as soon as he is borne, speaking lyes.

4▪ He cannot discerne the true way; but is blind­ed with prejudice thereat, and full of mistakes, he is nothing but a lump of error.

5: He is dead legally, and really, how can he then come home? How can he walk in the way, though it were pointed out to him?

6. He, even when entred into the way, is subject to so many faintings, swoonings, upsittings &c. [Page 17] that except he get new quickening, he must lye be the way, and perish.

In a word▪ his miserie is such as cannot be ex­pressed; for as little as it is beleeved, and laid to heart; or seen and mourned for, and [...]amented.

Now fo [...] a ground to our following discourse, I would pr [...]sse the solide, through, and sensible ap­prehension of this, without which there will be no usemaking or application of Christ: for the whole need not the phy [...]itian, but the sick: and Christ is not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repen­tance. Mat. 9: 12. Marc. 2: 17. Yea, beleevers themselves would live within the sight of this, and not forget their frailty: for though there be a chan­ge wrought in them, yet they are not perfect, but will have need of Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life, till he bring them in, and set them down upon the throne, and crowne them with the crowne of life. And O happy they, who must not walk one foot without this guide, leading them by the hand, or rather carying them in his armes. Let all then, who would make use of Christ, re­member what they were, and what they are, and keep the sense of their frailty and miserie fresh; that seeing their need of him, they may be in better case to look out to him for help and supply, and be more distinct in their application of him.

The Second generall is, That Christ is a compleat Mediator, throughly furnished for all our necessities: Are we at a distance from the Father: He is a Way to bring us together. Are we wandered out of the way: He is the Way to us. Are we blinde and ig­norant: He is the Truth▪ Are we dead: He is the [Page 18] Li [...]e: Cuncearning this fulnesse & compleatnesse of his, we would marke those things.

1. That he is throughly fu [...]nished with all things we stand in need of: the Way, the T [...]uth and the Life▪ He hath eye salve, cloothing, gold tryed in the fire, &c. For the Spirit of the Lord is upon him, and hath anoynted him. Esa. 61: 1.

2. He is suteably qualified, not only having a fulnesse, and an all fulnesse, so that whatever we need, is to be had in him; but also a suteable ful­nesse answering our case to the life: are we out of the way. He is the Way, are we dead, he is Life &c.

3. He is richly qualified with this suteable good. He hath not only wisdome and knowl [...]dge, but trea­sures of it, yea all the treasures thereof Col 2: 3. There is fulnesse in him, yea it hath pleased the fa­ther that in him should all fulnesse dwell. Col. 1: 19. Yea the fulnesse of the godhead dwelleth in him bodyly. Col. 2. 9.

4. Hence this is an upmaking compleatnesse & fulnesse: for we are said to be Compleat in him Col. 2: 10. And he is said to be all and in all Col. 4: 11▪ He fill [...]th all in all. Ephes. 1. 23.

5. It is also a satisfying compleatnesse. The eye▪ is not satisfied with seeing, nor the eare with hea ring, the avaricious man is not satisfied with gold, nor the ambitious man w [...]th ho [...]our: but still they are crying with the loch-leech give, give. But the man who getteth Christ is full; he sitteth downe and cryeth, enough, enough▪ and no wonder, for he hath all. He can desire no more, he can seek no more, for what can the man▪ want, that is compleet in him?

[Page 19]6 There is here that, which will answere all the objections of a soul, and these sometimes are not few. If they say, they cannot know the way to the Father; then he is Truth, to instruct and teach them that, and so to enter them into it: and if they say, they cannot walk in that way, nor advance in it one step, but will faint and sitt up, succumb and fall by; he answereth that. He is the Life, to put life, and keep life in them, and to cause them to walk, by putting a new principle of life in them, and breathing of new on that Principle.

O thrice happy they who have fled to him for refuge! It is easie for them, to answere all obje­ctions, and [...]avils of Satan, and of a false heart; It is easie for them, to put Christ to answere all. And on the other hand, who can tell the misery of such, as are strangers to Iesus? How shall their wants be made up? how shall they answere chal­lenges, accusations, temptations, doubts, feares, objections, and discouragements [...]ast up in their way?

O! should not this indeare the way of the gos­pell to us, & make Christ precious unto us? Is it not a wonder that such an alsufficient Mediator, who is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God through him, should be so little regairded and sought unto, and that there should be so few, that imbrace him, and take him, as he is offered in the gospell?

How can this be answered, in the day of ac­counts? what excuse can unbeleevers now have? Is not all to be found in Christ that their case cal­leth for? Is he not a compleat mediator, thorow­ly [Page 20] fournished with all necessaries? Is not the riches of his fulnesse written on all his dispensations? The mouthes then of unbeleevers must be for ever stopped.

CHAP. III. How Christ is the way, in General. I am the way.

WE come now to speak more particularly to the words; and first of his being a Way. Our designe being to point at the way of use making of Christ, in all our necessities, straites and difficul­tyes, which are in our way to heaven: and parti­cularly to point out the way, how beleevers should make use of Christ▪ in all their particular exigences; and so live by faith in him, walk in him, grow up in him, advance & march forward toward glory in him. It will not be amisse to speak of this fulnesse of Christ in reference to unbeleevers, as occasion offereth, because this will help to cleare the other.

Before we can cleare up, how any can make use of Christ, we must speak some thing of their necessi­tie of him, and of his being furnished fitly, fully, richly & satisfylngly for their case; and this will make the way of use making of Christ more plaine.

While Christ then sayes I am the Way, he points out those things to us.

first. That man is now estranged from the Lord, and in a wandering condition: He hath departed, [Page 21] from God; he is revolted and gone. They are all gone out of the way. Rom. 3▪ 12. They goe astray, as soon as they are borne, speaking lies. Psal. 58: 3. Nay not only so, but we [...]ove naturally to wander, and to run away from God▪ as Ieremiah compleaneth of that wicked people Ier 14: 10. Naturally, with the dromedary, we traverse our wayes. Ier. 2. 23. and run hither and thither, but never looke towards him. Nay we are like those spoken of Iob. 21: 14. We desire not the knowledge of his wayes we will have none of him Psal. 81: 11. Nor of his reproofs Prov. 1: 30.

Oh how sad is this? And yet how is it more sad, that this is not beleeved, nor once considered. And that it is not beleeved, is manifest, for,

1. How rare is it to meet with persons, that are not very well pleased and satisfied with themselves and their condition? They thank the Lord, it was ay well with them. They have no complaints. They see no wants, nor necessities. They wonder what makes folk complaine of their condition, of their evill heart, or of their hazard and danger. They understand not these matters.

2. Do we not finde people very quiet and at rest, though they remaine in the congregation of the dead P [...]ov. 21: 16. They sleep in a sound skinne, because they see no hazard. The thoughts of their condi­tion never bereave them of one nights rest: no challenges have they; all is at peace with them, for the strong man keeps the house.

3. How rare is it, to finde people exercised about this matter, and busied with it in their thoughts, either while alone, or while in company [Page 22] with others; or once seriously thinking and con­sidering of it, yea or so much as suspecting the matter?

4 How rare is it to see any soul brocken in heart, and humbled because of this? who is walk­ing under this as under a load? whose soul is bleeding upon the consideration of this? Is there any mourning for this?

5 Where is that to be heard, Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved? How shall we en­ter into the right way? where is that good old way, that we may walk in it? Few such questions and cases troubling consciences: and no wonder; for a deep sleep is upon them.

6. How cometh it then, that the pointing forth of the way is so little hearkened unto; Sure, were this naturall condition perceived, a report of the sure and saise way, would be much more welcome, then it is. Christ by his Messengers would not be put to cry so often in vaine. This is the way, turne in hither.

Here is enough to convince of this ignorance, and in sensiblenesse: but it is his Spirit, which con­vinceth the world of sin, Iohn. 16. that must beare home this conviction.

Secondly. It pointeth out to us this, That the way of man is not in himself Ier. 10: 23. That is, That nothing he can do, can or will prove a way to him to the Father: for Christ is the Way, as excludeing all other meanes and wayes. And that man can do nothing to help himself into the way is cleare, for,

1. His way is▪ is as darknesse Prov. 4: 14. He [Page 23] knoweth no better, he is satisfied therewith, there he sleepeth and resteth.

2. He cannot, nor doth not desire to returne▪ He hateth to be reformed.

3. Yea, he thinketh himself saise; no man can convince him of the contrary, The way he is in seemeth right to him, though the end thereof be death, Prov. 14: 12. & 16: 25.

4. Every man hath his owne particular way, to which he turneth Esa. 53: 6. some one thing or other, that he is pleased with, and that he thinks will abundantly carry him through, and there re­steth he: and what these ordinaryly are, we shall hear presently.

5. In this his way, which yet is a false way, he trusteth Hos. 10: 13. he leaneth upon it, little knowing that it will faill him at length, and that he and his hope and confidence shall perish.

Is it not strange then to see men and women gau­deing about to seek their way, as it is said, Ier▪ 2: 36. as if they could finde it out; or as if they could of themselves fall upon the way. What a lamentable sight is it, to see people, wearying themselves with very lies, Ezech. 24: 12▪ and wearyed in the multitude of their owne counsells, Esa. 47: 15.

But what are those false and lying wayes, which men weary themselves in, and all in vaine, & which they choose & trust into, and yet are not the way, which will prove sa [...] and sure?

Answere. It will not be easie to reckon them all up, we shall name some, that are principall, and most ordinary: such as,

1. Good purposes and resolutions, with which [Page 24] many deceive themselves, supposeing that to be all, which is required: and alas all their purposes are like to Ephraims goodnesse, like the early cloud and mor­ning dew, that soon evanisheth: their purposes are soon brocken off, and soon disappointed, because made without counsell, Prov. 15: 22. Many foo­lishly rest here, that they have a good minde to do better, and to amend their wayes, and they purpose after such a time or such a time, they shall beginne a new manner of life; but their purposes never come to any effect, and fo at length they and their purposes both perish.

2. Some convictions and inward challenges. The word now and then p [...]erceth them so far; and [...]ore and sharpe dispensations from the Lord so far affecte their heart, that they see it is not well with them, and they are made with Saul to cry out, I have sinned 1 Sam. 15: 24. and they advance no further, those convictions either die out againe, or work no further change: And poor souls they think because at such a sermon or such a Communion, they had some such convictions and sharpe challen­ges, therefore they imagine all is well with them▪ when a Iudas may have convictions, sharper than ever they had. & a Felix Act. 24: 25.

3. Convictions followed with some sort of amende­ment. Some may dreadfully deceive themselves with this, and conclude that all is right with them, and that the way they are in is saife & sure: because they have had convictions, which have been so effectuall, as to cause them amend many things, and become, as to many things, changed men & women, when alas their way is but a way of dark­nesse. [Page 25] still; it is not Christ, they have never, come to him. Herod hearing Iohn Baptist had his owne convictions and amendements: for he did many things, Mark. 6: 20.

4. Many rest upon their outward civility & mo­rality, or negative holinesse. They cannot be chal­lenged for grosse faults, and that is all the way they have to rest in: alas, could not a wicked Pharise [...] say, as much as they, viz That he was no extortio­ner, unjust person, nor an adulterer, nor such as the publicane was, Luk. 18: 11? How many hea­thens, as to this, shall outstripe such as professe themselves Christians? and yet they lived and dyed strangers to the right way to happinesse. See what that poor young man said Luk. 18: 21.

5. Some may win to more then civility, and attai­ne unto a kinde of outward holinesse, and outward performance of the duties of religion, such as hear­ing, reading, prayer, communicating; and rest there, and yet perish: for that is but their owne way; it is not the right way. Had not the foolish virgins lamps? and did they not waite with the rest Matt. 25? and will not many say in that day, we have eaten and drunken in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streats, to whom Christ shall answer, I know not whence you are, depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity▪ Luk. 13: 26, 27? were not the jewes much in duties & outward or­dinances? and yet see how the Lord rejecteth them all, Esa. 1: 11, 12, 13▪ 14, 15▪ & 66: 3.

6. Much knowledge doth deceive many. They think because they can talk of religion, speak to cases of consciences, handle places of scripture, and [Page 26] the like, that therefore all is right with them: when alas that is but a slippery ground to stand upon. The Phari [...]ees sat in Moses seat, & taught sometimes sound doctrine: and yet were heart enemies to Jesus, Mat. 23. And will not many, think to plead themselves in to heaven. By saying, that they have Prophecyed in his name, Mat. 7: 22? There is a knowledg that puffeth up 1 Cor. 13: 2▪ Some there are, whose knowledge seemeth to be opera­tive and practicall, and not meerly speculative. Some may escape the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord & Saviour Iesus Christ, and yet againe become entangled therein & over­come, so that their latter end is worse than the be­ginning, See 2 Pet. 2 20, 21, 22. knowledge, I grant, is good, but it is not Christ; and so it is not the way to the Father: and many, alas leane to it, & are deceived, at last.

7. A kinde of seeming seriousnesse in the perfor­mance of duties, and in seeking of God, deceiveth many. They think because they are not conscious to their owne dissembling, but they look upon themselves as earnest in what they do, that therefore all is well. Sayeth not Christ, that not every [...] that sayeth Lord, Lord, shall enter into the king­dom of God. Mat. 7: 21? that is, not every one that reneweth their sutes, & ingeminateth their desires, cry and cry over againe, and as it were, will not give it over. And yet they come short of their expectation: did not the foolish virgins seem earnest and serious, when they continued wait­ing with the rest, and at length, cryed Lord, Lord open unto us; and yet they were keeped at the door▪ [Page 27] Many consider not that there is a secret and closse hypocrisie, that some may be under and not know it, as well as a grosse hypocrisie, and dissi­mulation, which may be easily observed: Will not many seek to enter in, that shall not be able? Mat. 7: 13. Luk. 13. 24.

8. Many may deceive themselves with this, that they are looked on by others godly discerning persons & ministers, as good serious Christians, and that they carry so handsomely and faire, that no man can judge otherwayes of them, than that they are good serious seekers of God. But alas the day is comeing, which will discover many things: and many one will be deceived both of themselves & of others. Not he who commendeth himself is approved; but whom God approveth. 2 Cor. 10: 18. There­fore Paul exhorts Timothie to study to show him­self approved unto God, 2 Tim. 2: 15. Men look only on the outside, and cannot see in to the heart▪ but God searcheth the heart: and it is an easie mat­ter to deceive Men: But God will not be deceiv­ed.

9. Some may suppose themselves in a saife and sure way, if they out stripe others in religious du­tyes, and be much in extraordinary dutyes, when alas, for all that, the heart may be rotten. The Pharisee fasted twice a week. Luk. 18: 12. and yet was but an enemie to Christ. O how deceit­full is the heart of Man!

10. Inward peace and quietnesse of conscience▪ may deceive some: and they may suppose that [...]ll is right with them, because they do nothing over the belly of their conscience. Their heart doth not [Page 28] accuse them of falshood and dissimulation in their way with God or Man; but they do all things according to their light. No doubt that young Man, Luk. 18: 21. spoke according to his judg­ment, and light, when he said, all these things have I observed from my youth. And Paul sayeth of him­self▪ Act. 23: 1. that he had lived in all good con­science before God till that very day. Meaning, that even while he was a Pharisee unconverted, he had not thortured his conscience, nor done any thing directly against it, but had alwayes walked according to his light. See Act. 26: 9.

11. A way of Zeal may deceive many; who may think their case unquestionable, because they are Zealous for their way: and as they think their Zeal is pure zeal for God: was not Paul, while a Pharisee, very Zealous, when out of zeal to his way he persecuted▪ the Church? Phil. 3: 6. See my zeal for the Lord, could a I [...]hu. say, 2. King. 10: 16. and the jewes had a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge, Rom. 10: 2. and Christ tells us, that such as should persecute the Apostles unto death, wouldthink they did God good service Iohn. 16: 2.

12. Some also may put it beyond question, that they are in the right way, because, they are more strick in all their wayes, than others, and will not so much as keep fellowship or company with them, saying, with those Esa. 65: 5. Stand by, I am holier▪ than thou, come not neare to me, who yet are but a smoak in Gods nose, & a fire that burneth all the day.

13. Some may rest on, and deceive themselves [Page 29] with their great attainments, and more then ordi­nary experiences. When alas! we see to what a hieght some may come, and yet prove nothing▪ Let such souls read with trembling that word of Paul Heb. 6: 4, 5. where we see some may come to be enlightened, to taste of the heavenly gift, to be made partakers of the holy ghost, to taste the good word of God, & the powers of the world to come▪ and yet prove castawayes: taking these expressions as pointing forth some thing distinct from reall grace.

Many such false wayes, wherein Men please themselves, might be mentioned: By these every one may see cause of Searching & trying, over & over againe. It is a dreadfull thing to be deceived here; and it is best to put it to a tryall, when there is a possibility of getting the matter helped: and many may feare and tremble, when they see, they are not yet come the length of many such, as sit downe without Christ, and lose all their labour. O▪ if this could put people to a serious examination & tryall of themselves, and of the nature of that way, wherein they are & rest at present!

Thirdly We might here observe. That this true & living way is but one for all. There is but one Mediator betwixt God & Man, 1 Tim. 2: 5. One Mediator for both old & new Testament: the Seed of the woman: Howbeit the Lords dispensa­tions with his people, in that one way, may be various; as his way with his people under the Law is different from his way with his people under the gospell; and his dispensations with individual beleevers, whether under the law, or under the [Page 30] gospell, is not the same in all things.

And this should teach us to relinquish our owne wayes, and to enter into this one only way: and it should move such as are in this way, to study unity and agreement among themselves; and yet not in­ferre or suppose that Gods way with them must be in all things alike. Yea, though the Lords way with them be different from his way with others, & more dark, disconsolate, and bitter; yet let them be quiet and silent before the Lord, and acknowledge his goodnesse, that hath brought them into the one only way▪ Iesus Christ, and keepeth them there.

But fourthly, the maine thing here, and which is obvious, is this, That Iesus Christ is the Way to the Father▪ the one and only way, the soveraigne and excellent way: and he alone is this way. There is not another. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, Act. 4: 12.

For clearing of this, we shall speak a little to those foure things, and show

  • 1. What is our case, and what need we have of a way.
  • 2. How Christ answereth this our case & neces­sitie, and is a fit way for us.
  • 3. How he alone is this way, and answereth this our case.
  • 4. What are the rare advantages & specialities of this way.

And this will make way for our clearing up▪ how Christ is made use of as a way by poor sinners.

For the first of these, our present case & necessi­tie, [Page 31] something was spoken to it before: we shall reduce all to those two heads. The first is our state of guilt, and separation from God because of sin & guilt. The next is our state of wickednesse and enmity against God.

As to the first, we may take notice of those things.

1. That sin originall and actuall hath separated us from God, and cast us out of his favour, and out of that station of favour & friendshipe, which once we were advanced to, in Adam.

2. That we are under Gods curse & wrath, and excommunicated from the presence of the Lord, by a sad, yet just, sentence, according to law, and so are under death.

As to the next thing, we may take notice of those particulars

1. That we are impure and polluted with sin, and dayly iniquity.

2. That we are ignorant of the right way of re­turning into favour with God, seeking out to our­selves many inventions.

3. That we are impotent for any good work or commanded duty.

4. That not only so, but we are unwilling to do any thing that is good, or to enter into the way, when pointed out unto us; ye [...] we are enemies to God by wicked works, & have an innate hatred to all his wayes.

5. We desire not to be out of the condition where­into we are: there we love to lie and sleep, and desire not to be roused up or awakened.

[Page 32]6. We are under the power & command of Satan, who leadeth us out of the way, yea & driv­eth us forward in the wrong way to our per­ [...]tion.

These things are plaine & undeniable, and need no further confirmation, though alas! it is little beleeved & laid to heart by many.

For the second, How Christ answereth this our [...]ase and necessitie. He is a way to us, to helpe us out of both these, both out of our state of guilt, and separation; and out of our state of wickednesse, & enmity.

And first he helpeth us out of our state of guilt & separation.

1. By Taking away our guilt & sin, being made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousnesse of God in him 2 Cor. 5: 21. He hath filled up the great gap betwixt God & us, with his body, and hath made of it, as it were, a bridge, by which we may goe over unto the Father: we enter now into the holyest by the blood of Iesus, by a new & living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh, Heb. 10: 19, 20. we are now brought neer by his blood, Ephes. 2: 13. So that through him we are re­stored againe to friendship with God, & made one with him: for Christ the Mediator hath made both one, reconcileing jewes & Gentils both unto God, in one body, by the crosse, having slaine the enmity, Ephes. 2: 16.

2. By taking way the curse & wrath, that was [...]ue to us, being made a curse for us, Gal. 3: 13. [Page 33] So that he is become our peace, and through him, we have an accesse by one Spirit unto the Father, and are no more strangers & forreigners, but fellow citi­zens with the saints, and of the houshold of God, Ephes. 2: 14, 18, 19. He is set forth to be a pro­pitiation through faith in his blood, Rom. 3: 25, 1 Iohn. 2: 2. & 4: 10. by him have we now received atonement Rom. 5: 11.

Next, He helpeth us out of our state of wicked­nesse & enmity.

1. By taking away our impurity and unclean­nesse, by washing us & cleansing us in his blood Ephes. 5: 26. 27. Col. 1: 22▪ having purchased grace for us Ephes. 1: 3. we are blessed with all spirituall blessings in Him: He applyeth his merites and layeth the foundation of grace & holinesse in the soul, & carryeth on the work of mortification and vivification, and so, killing the old man by his Spirit, both meritoriously & efficiently, he cleans­eth and washeth. Hence we are said, to be Bap­tized with him in his death, and buryed with him by baptisme into death, that we should walk in newnesse of life: and so our old Man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed that henceforth we should not serve sin, Rom. 6: 3, 4, 6. And for our dayly infirmities & escapes, whereby we pollute ourselves his blood is a foun­taine opened to the house of David & to the inha­bitants of Ierusalem, for sin & uncleannesse Zach. 13: 1. and to this fountaine he bringeth, by the spirit of repentance, which he, as an exalted prince, bestoweth. Act. 5: 31. & by faith. So 1 Ioh. 2: 1. If any Man sin, we have an advocat with the Father, &c.

[Page 34]2. As for our ignorance & blindnesse, he taketh that away, being given for a light to the Gentiles. Esai. 42: 6. & 49. 6. Luk. 2. 32. He is sent to open the blinde eyes Esa. 42: 7. to bring out the prisoners from their dark prisons, Esa. 42: 7. & 61: 1. Yea, he is anoynted for this end. So that such as walk in darknesse see a great light, and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them the light hath shined, Esai. 9: 2. Mat. 4: 15. and he hath eye salve to give Revel 3: 18.

3. He is qualified for taking away our impo­tency: so that through Him, we can do all things, Phil. 4: 13. When we are weak, we are strong in him, who is our strength, and liveth in us, 2 Cor. 12. 10. Gal. 2: 20. Hence He worketh in us both to will, & to do, of his owne good pleasure, Phil. 2: 13.

4. He also taketh away our naturall aversenesse, unwillingnesse, wickednesse & hatred of his wayes, making his people willing, in the day of his power. Psal. 110. So he taketh away the enmitie that is in us Col. 2: 20, 21. and reconcileth us to God, and to His wayes, that our hearts do sweetly comply with them, and we become most willing and glade to walk in them: yea & to run the way of his com­mandements through his enlarging of our hearts, Psal. 119: 32.

5. He likewise taketh away that desire and wil­lingnesse; which we have to lie still in our naturall condition; by convinceing us of the dreadfull hazard thereof, through the Spirit of conviction, whe­reby he convinceth the world of in▪ Iohn. 16: 8. and circumciseth their care to hear, & maketh them [Page 35] willing to hearken to the counsel of God.

6. As for the power & Dominion of Satan, he breaketh that, by leading captivity captive. Ephes. 4: 8. Psal. 68: 18. and spoiling the strong Mans house: for he is come to destroy the works of the de­vil, 1 Iohn. 3: 8. and He spoileth principalities & powers, Col. 2: 15. Thus, as captaine of salva­tion, he leadeth them out as a conquerour; having payed the price, he delivereth also by power and authoritie, from the hand of this Jailour.

And thus we see, how he answereth our case and necessitie, and is a fit way for us: and though this be not questioned; yet little is it beleeved and con­sidered, and lesse put in practise.

And as for the Third particular. That He alone is this way, and answereth our case herein▪ it needeth not be much spoken to, since it is clear and manifest, confirmed by the experience of all generations, and the disappointments of fools, who have been seeking other wayes. Angels in heaven cannot do our businesse. They cannot satisfy justice for [...] ▪ nor have they any power over our heart to turne it as they will; nay they are not acquanted with our secret thoughts, that cabinet is keept closse from them, and reserved as the peculiar privilege of God alone. The blood of bulls and goats can not do it: for the Apostle tells us, that it is impossible that that should take away sin, Heb. 10: 4. That blood shed according to the law did cleanse cere­monially, but it is only the blood of Iesus, typi­fied by that, which cleanseth really: so that we are sanctified through the offerring of the body of Jes [...] Christ once for all. Heb. 10: 10. No [Page 36] paines or labour of ours can avail here. The Lord will not be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil. He will not take our first borne for our transgression, nor the Son of our body for the sin of our soul, Micah. 6: 7. Ordinances and meanes will not do it, nor any invention of our owne, No man can by any meanes redeem his brother, or give to God a ran­some for him, for the redemption of the soul is precious & ceaseth for ever. Psal. 49: 7. 8. He alone hath laid downe the price; all our sufferings, prayers, teares, labours, pennances, and the like, signifie nothing here; they cannot satisfie justice for one sin.

As to the fourth particular, viz the singularity of this way, Those things make it manifest and apparent.

1. This is such a way, as can discover it self, and make it self known unto the erring traveller: Christ Iesus is such a way, as can say to the wandering soul, This is the way walk in it, Esa. 30: 25. No way can do this. This is comfortable.

2. This way can not only discover it self to the wandering traveller; but also it can bring folk into it. Christ can bring souls unto himself, when they are runnig on in their wandering condition, He can move their heart to turne in to the right way, put grace in their soul for this end, beginne reso­lutions in them, and sow the seed of faith; and so stay their course, which they were violently pur­sueing, and make them look about and consider what they are doing: as the former was good newes to poor blinde and witlesse creatures, that were [Page 37] wandering, and knew not whither they were going; so this is good newes to poor souls, that finde their heart inclineing to wander, and loving to goe astray.

3. This way can cause us walk in it, If we be rebellious and obstinate. He can command with authoritie: for he is given for a leader and a com­mander, Esa. 55: 4. How sweet should this be to the soul, that is weighted with a stubborn, untra­ctable and unperswadable heart, that He, as a King, Governour, & Commander, can with autho­ritie draw, or drive, and cause us follow and run?

4. This way is Truth▪ as well as the Way, So that the soul that once entereth in here is saife for ever, no wandering here: The wayfareing men though fooles shall not erre in this way, Esa. 35: 8. He will bring the blinde by a way that▪ they knew not, and lead them in paths that they have not knowne; he will make darknesse light before them, and crooked things streight, those things will he do unto them, and not forsake them. Esai. 42: 16.

5. This way is also Life: and so can revive the fainting and weary travailer: He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might, he In­creaseth strength: Yea, he renowes their strength, and makes them mount up with wings as eagles, and run and not be weary, and walk and not faint, Esa. 40: 29, 31. and so he giveth legs to the tra­veller: yea he carryeth the lambs in his bosome Esa. 40: 11. O! who would not walk in this way? what can discourage the man that walketh here? [Page 38] what can he feare? no way can quicken or refresh the weary man. This way can do it: yea it can quicken one that is as dead, and cause him march on with fresh alacrity and vigour.

6 From all these it followeth, that this way is a most pleasant, hartsome, desireable and comfor­table way. The man is saife here, and he may sing in the wayes of the Lord, Psal. 138: 5▪ for wisdomes wayes are wayes of pleasantnesse, and all her paths are peace Prov. 3: 17. He is a Way, that is Food, Physick, cordials, and all that the poor traveller standeth in need of, till he come home.

From all which, [...]re we come to particulars, we shall in generall shortly point out those dutyes, which natively result thence by way of use.

1. O! what cause is there here for all of us to fall on wondering, both that God should ever have condescended to have appointed a way, how sin­ners and rebells, that had wickedly departed from him, and deserved to be cast out of his presence and favour for ever, might come back againe, and enjoy happinesse and felicity, in the friendshipe and favour of that God, that could have gote the glory of his justice in our destruction, and stood in no need of us, or of any thing we could do: as also, that he appointed such a way, That Iesus Christ, his only Son should, to speak so, lie as a bridge betwixt God and sinfull rebells, and as a high-way that they might returne to the great God, upon him: Let all the creation of God wonder at this wonderfull condescending love of God, that appointed such a way; and of Christ, that was content to lou [...] so low, as to become this way to us, this new and li­ving [Page 39] way▪ and that for this end, he should have tak­en on flesh, and become Emmanuel, God with us, and taberrackled with us, that through this vaile of his flesh, he might consecrate a way to us. Let angels wonder at this condescendency.

2. Hence we may see ground of being convinced of those things 1 That naturally we are out of the way to peace and favour with God, and in a way that leadeth to death, and so, that our miserie and wreatchednesse, so long as it is, so, cannot be ex­pressed. 2. That we can do nothing for ourselves, set all our wits a work we cannot fall upon a way that will bring us home. 3. That it is madnesse for us to seek out another way, and to vex ourselves in vaine, to run to this and to that meane, or inven­tion of owr owne, and be found fools in end. 4. That our madnesse is so much the greater in this, that we will turne to our owne wayes, that will fail us, when there is such a noble and excellent & every way satisfying way prepared to our hand. 5. That our wickednesse is so desperat, that the way, which is pointed out to us, doth not please us, and that we will not enter into it, not walk in it, 6. That this Way, which is also the Truth and the Life, is only worth the Imbraceing, and is only saife and sure: we should be convinced and perswa­ded of the worth, sufficiency and desireablenesse of this way. Reason with ordinary light from the word may teach these things; But grace can only cary them into the heart, and make them take rooting there.

3. We may read here our obligation unto those particulars. 1. To turne our bak upon all other [Page 40] false and deceitfull wayes, and not rest there. 2. To enter into this way; though the gate be nar­row & straite, Mat. 7: 13. Luk. 13: 24. yet to strive to enter in. 3. To resolve to abide in that way as acquiesceing in it, resting satisfied with it, and this is to be rooted in him, Col. 2: 7. & to dwel in him. 1 Iohn. 3: 24. & to live in him or through him! 1. Iohn. 4: 9. 4. To walk in this way, Col. 2: 6. that is, to make constant use of him, and to make progresse in the way, in & through him: to goe from strength to strength in him, drawing all our furniture from him, by faith, according to the covenant: And this sayeth, that the soul should guaird against, 1 stepping aside out of this good & pleasant way. 2. backslideing. 3. sitting up & fainting by the way.

In a word, This pointeth out our duty, to make use of Christ as our way to the father; and only of Christ: and this leads us to the particulars we shall speak a little to.

There are two maine things, which stand in our way, and hinder us from approaching to the Father, 1. Unrighteousnesse and guilt, whereby we are le­gally banished because of the broken covenant, and the righteous sentence of God according to that covenant: & 2. Wickednesse, impurity & un­holinesse, which is, as a physicall bar, lying in our way, because nothing that is uncleane can dwell and abide with him, who is of purer eyes then he can behold inquitie; and nothing that is uncleane can enter in there, where He is. So then there must be an usemaking of Christ, as a way, through both these impediments. We need justification & par­don [Page 41] for the one, and sanctification & cleansing for the other. Now Christ being the way to the Father; both as to justification, in taking away the enmitie, in changeing our state, & removing our unrigh­teousnesse, & guilt, whereby we were lying under the sentence of the law, adjudging such sinners, as we are, to hell: and as to sanctification, in cleansing us from all our pollutions, renewing our souls, washing away our spots & defilements &c. He must be made use of in reference to both.

In speaking to the first, we shall be the shorter, because, through God's great mercy, the gospell pure way of justification by faith in Christ, is richly and aboundantly cleared up by many worthy au­thors of late, both as concearning the theoreticall, and practicall part.

CHAP. IV. How Christ is made use of for justification, as a Way.

WHat Christ hath done to purchase, procure & to bring about our justification before God, is mentioned already viz. That He stood in the room of sinners, engadging for them as their cautioner, undertaking, & at length paying down the ransome: becoming sin, or a sacrifice for sin, & a curse for them, and so laying downe his life a ransome to satisfie divine justice: and this he hath made known in the gospell, calling sinners to an accepting of him, as their only Mediator, and to a resting upon him for life & salvation; and with­all [Page 42] working- up such, as belong to the election of grace, to an actuall closeing with him, upon the conditions of the covenant, & to an accepting of him, beleeving in him, & resting upon him, as satisfied with, and acquiesceing in that soveraigne way of salvation & justification, through a crucified mediator.

Now, for such as would make use of Christ as the way to the Father in the point of justification, those things are requisite; to which we shall only premit this word of caution; That we Judge not the want of these requisites a ground to exeem any, that heareth the gospell, from the obligation to believe & rest upon Christ, as He is offered in the gospell.

First▪ There must be a conviction of sin & miser [...], a conviction of originall guilt, whereby we are banished out of God's presence & favour, & are in a state of enmity & death, are come short of the glory of God. Rom. 3: 23. becomeing dead or under the sentence of death, through the offence of one, Rom. 5: 15. being made sinners by one Mans disobedience vers, 19. and therefore under the reigneing power of death vers. 17. and under that judgement, which came upon all men to condemna­tion, vers. 18. And of originall innate wicked­nesse, whereby the heart is filled with enmity against God, and is a hater of Him & of all his wayes; standing in full opposition to him & to his holy lawes; loving to contradict and resist him in all his actings; despiseing and undervalueing all his condescensious of love; obstinately refuseing his goodnesse & offers of mercy; & perempto [...]ily [Page 43] persisting in rebellion & heart opposition; not only not accepting his kindnesses & offers of mercy; but contemning them, trampling them underfoot as imbittered against him. As also there must be a conviction of our actuall transgres­sions, whereby we have corrupted our wayes yet more, run further away from God, brought on more wrath upon our souls, according to that sen­tence of the law, cursed is every one that abideth not in all that is written in the law to do it. Deut. 27: 26. Gal. 3: 10. What way this conviction is begun & carryed on in the soul, and to what a mea­sure it must come, I cannot now stand to explaine: only in short know, That upon whatsoever occasion it be begun, whether by a word carryed home to the heart by the finger of God, or by some sharpe & crossing dispensation, feare of approaching death, some hainous outbreaking, or the like, it is a reall thing, a heart reaching conviction, not generall & notionall, but particular, plaine, and pinching, affe­cting the heart with fear & terrour, making the soul seriously & really to minde this matter, to be taken up with the thoughts of it, and anxiously & earnestly to cry out, what shall I do to be saved, and finally will make the soul willing to hearken & hear what hopes of mercy there is in the gospell, and to imbrace the way of salvation, which is there laid downe: And the reason of this is, because Christ himself tells us, The whole needeth not the phisi­tian, but the sick, Mat. 9: 12. He is not come to call the righteous, that is, such as are righteous in their owne eyes, but sinners, that is, such as are no more now whole at the heart, as seeing no evill, no hazard [Page 44] or danger; but pricked & pierced with the sence of their lost condition, being under the heavy wrath & vengeance of the great God, because of sin; and seeing their owne vilenesse, cursednesse, wicked­nesse & desperat madnesse. Because naturally we hate God & Christ Iohn. 15: 23, 24, 25. and have a strong naturall antipathy at the way of sal­vation through Iesus; therefore, nothing but strong & inevitable necessity will drive us to a complyance with this gospell device of love.

2. There must be some measure of humiliation: under this conviction the man is bowed down, and made mute before God; no more boasting of his goodnesse & of his happy condition; no high or great thoughts of his righteousnesse; for all are now to be looked on as filthy rags, Esai 64: 6. what things were as gaine before to the soul, must now be counted losse, yea and as dung Phil. 3: 7, 8. The man must be cast downe, in himself, and far from high and conceity thoughts of himself, or of any thing he ever did, or can do: for the Lord resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble, Jam 4: 6. 1 Pet. 5: 5. He reviveth the Spirit of the humble. Esa 57: 15. He that humbleth him­self shall be exalted, Mat. 18: 4. & 23: 12. Luk. 14: 11. & 18: 14.

3. There must be a despaireing of getting help or relief out of this condition, by our selves, or any thing we can do: a conviction of the unprofitable­nesse of all things under the sun for our reliefe: No expectation of help from our supposed good heart, good purposes, good deeds; works of charity, many prayers, commendation of others, sober & [Page 45] harmlesse walking, or any thing else within us or without us, that is not Christ: for so long as we have the least hope or expectation of doing our owne businesse without Christ, we will never come to Him. Our heart hangeth so after the old way of salvation through works, that we cannot endure to hear of any other, nor can we yeeld to any other: could we but have heaven by the way of works; we would spare no paines, no coast, no labour, no expences; Nay we would put ourselves to much paine & torment by whippings, cuttings, fastings watchings, and the like; we would not spare our first borne; nay, we would dig our graves in a rock with our nailes, and cut our owne dayes, could we but get heaven by this meanes: such is our antipathy at the way of salvation through a crucified Christ, that we would choose any way▪ but that, cost what it would: therefore before we can heartyly close with Christ & accept of him, we must be put from those refuges of lies, and see that there is nothing but a disappointment written on them all, that all our prayers, fastings, cryes, dutyes, reformations, sufferings, good wishes, good deeds &c, are nothing in his eyes, but so many provocations to the eyes of his jealousie, and so, further causes of our misery.

4. There must be a rational, deliberate, & re­solute relinquishing of all those things in our sel­ves, on which our heart is ready to dote. The Man being convinced of the vanity of all things, by which he hath been hopeing for salvation, must now purpose to loose his grips off them, to turn his back upon them, to quite them with purpose [Page 46] of heart, & say to them, get you hence, as Esa. 30: 22. This is to deny our selves, which we must do, ere we become his disciples Mat. 16. 24. This is to forsake our Fathers house Psal. 45: 10. and to pluck out our right eye, & to cut off our right arme. Mat. 5: 29, 30. This abandoning of all our form­er false props & subterfuges must be resolute, over the belly of much opposition within, from the carnall & naturall inclinations of the heart; and of much opposition without, from Satan's insnareing suggestions, & deceitfull temptations: It must be a real, rational act of the Soul, upon solide and through conviction of their unprofitablenesse; yea of their dangerousnesse & destructivenesse.

5. There must be some knowledge of the nature of the gospell covenant, and of the way, which now God hath chosen, whereby to glorifie his grace in the salvation of poor sinners. That God, Father, Son, & Holy ghost thought good, for the glory of free grace, and wisdome, in a way of Ju­stice & mercy, to send Jesus Christ to assume mans nature, and so become God & man in two distinct natures, & one person for ever; & to become un­der the law, to undergoe the curse thereof, and to die the cursed death of the crosse, to satisfie Iu­stice, and to pay the ransome for the redemption of the elect. In which undertaking our Lord was a servant Esa. 42: 1. & 49: 6. & 52: 13. & 53: 11. Zech. 3: 8. Matth. 12: 18. and had furniture from God for all his undertaking Esai. 42: 1. & [...]1: 1, 2. Mat. 12: 18. and had a promise of seeing his seed, & of prolonging his dayes &c. Esa. 53: 10. 11. Thus there was a covenant of Redemption be­twixt [Page 57] God & the Mediator: and the Mediator undertaking was obliged to performe all that he undertook, and accordingly did so: for as the Lord laid on him, or caused to meet together on him, the iniquitie of us all Esa. 53: 6. So in due time He bear our griefs and carryed our sorrowes: He was wounded for our transgressions & bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him: He was cut off out of the land of the li­ving, and stricken for the transgression of his people. He made his soul an offering for sin, & bear the iniquities of his people. Pouring out his soul unto death; he beare the sin of many, & made interces­sion for the transgressours Esa. 53: 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12. So that what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his owne Son in the likenesse of sinfull flesh, for sin, (or by a sacrifice for sin) condemned sin in the flesh Rom. 8: 3. that the righteousnesse of the law might be fulfilled in us vers. 4. Thus he made him sin, (or a sacrifice for sin) that we might become righteous 2 Cor. 5: 20. and he was once offered to beare the sinnes of many Heb. 9: 28. and he through the eternall spirit offered himself without spot to God. vers. 14. and his owne self bear our sins in his owne body on the tree 1 Pet. 2: 24. There must, I say, be some knowledge of, and acquantance with this great mysterie of the gospell, wherein is declared the manifold wisdome of God Ephes. 3: 10. and with the noble designe of God in sending his Son after this manner, to die the death, that condem­ned sinners might live, and returne to the bosome [Page 48] of God, as redeemed not with gold or silver or cor­ruptible things; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish & without spot 1 [...]et. 1: 18. and being so redeemed by blood, to become kings & priests unto God, 1 Pet. 2: 2, Revel 5: 9, 10. The man must not be ignorant of this, else all will be in vaine. I do not deter­mine, how destinct and full this knowledge must be; but sure, there must be so much knowledg of it, as will give the soul ground of hope; and, in ex­spectation of salvation by this way, cause it turne its back upon all other wayes, and to account it self happy, if it could once win here.

6. There must be a perswasion of the sufficiency, compleatnesse & satisfactorynesse of the way of salvation, through this crucified Mediator; el [...]e the soul will not be induced to leave its other cours­es, and betake it self to this alone. He must be sure, that salvation is only to be had this way; And that undoubtedly it will be had this way; that so with confidence he may cast himself over on this way, and sweetly sing in hope of a noble outgate. And therefore he must beleeve, that Christ is really God as well as Man, and a true Man, as well as God; that he is fully furnished for the work of Redemption, having the spirit given to him without measure; and endued fully and richly with all qualifications, fitting him for all our necessiries, & inabling him to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, Heb. 7. 25; that He is made of God to us wisdome, righ­teousnesse, sanctification and redemption, 1 [...]. [Page 49] 1: 30. That all power in heaven & earth is given unto Him. Mat. 28: 18. That all things are put under his feet, and that He is given to be the head over all things to the Church Ephes. 1: 22. That in him dwelleth all fulnesse Col. 1: 19. That in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom & knowledge. Col. 2: 3, yea, that in him dwelleth all the ful­nesse of the god-head bodyly: so that we are com­pleat in him, who is the head of all principality & power vers. 9, 10.

7. The soul must know, that He is not only an able & alsufficient mediator; but that also he is willing and ready, to redeem & save all that will come: for all the preceeding particulars will but increase his sorrow, and torment him more, so long as he supposeth▪ through ignorance, & the suggestion of Satan, that he hath no part in that redemption, no accesse to it, no ground of hope of salvation by it. Therefore it is necessary, that the soul con­ceive not only a possibility; but also a probability of helpe this way; and that the dispensation of the gospell of grace, and the promulgation and offer of those good newes to him, speake out so much; that the patience of God waiting long, and his good­nesse renewing the offers, confirmeth this; that his serious pressing, his strong motives on the one hand, and his sharpe threatnings on the other; his reiterated comands, his ingeminated obtestations; his expressed sorrow & grief over such as would not come to him, his upbraidings & objurgations of such▪ as do obstinately refuse, and the like, put his willingnesse to save such as will come to him, out of all question: yea [...] his obviating of objections, [Page 50] and takeing all excuses out of their mouth, make [...] the case plaine and manifest; so that such as will no [...] come, are left without excuse, and have no impedi­ment lying in the way, but their owne unwilling­nesse.

8. The man must know upon what tearmes & conditions Christ offereth himself in the gospell▪ viz. upon condition of accepting of Him, beleeving in him and resting upon him; and that no other way can we be made partakers of the good things purchased by Christ, but by accepting of Him, as he is offered in the gospell, that is to say, freely▪ without price or money Esa. 55: 1. absolutely without reservation: wholly, & for all ends &c. for till this be known there will be no closeing with Christ; and till there be a closeing with Christ, there is no advantage to be had by him, The soul must be marryed to him as an husband; fixed to him as the branches to the tree; united to him as the members to the head; become one with him, one Spirit. 1. Cor. 6. 17. See Iohn. 15: 5. Ephes. 5: 30. The soul must close with him for all things; adhere to him upon all hazards; take him and the sharpest crosse that followeth him: now I say, the soul must be acquanted with these conditions: for it must act deliberatly & rationally here: Covenan­ting with Christ is a grave businesse & requireth deliberation, posednesse of soul, rationall resolution, full purpose of heart, & satisfaction of soul; and therefore the man must be acquanted with the con­ditions of the new covenant.

9. There must be a satisfaction with the tearmes of the gospel, and the heart must actually close with [Page 51] Christ, as h [...]s offered in the gospel. The heart must open to him, and take him in, Revel 3: 20. The soul must imbrace and receive him Ioh. 1: 12. The man must take him, as his Lord and Master King, Priest & Prophet; must give up himself to him as his Leader and Commander, and resolve to follow him in all things, and thus close a bargain with him: for till this be done there is no union with Christ; and till there be an union with Christ, there is no partaking of the frutes of his redemp­tion, as to Iustification▪ no pardon, no acceptance, no accesse to the favour of God, nor peace, nor joy in the holy ghost, no getting of the conscience sprinkled, nor no intimation of love or favour from God. &c.

10. There must be a leanning to, and resting upon him and on his perfect sacrifice. The soul must sit downe here as satisfied, and acquiesce in this compleat mediation of his. This is to beleeve on him, to rest on him Ioan. 3: 18. 1 Pet. 2: 6. as an alsufficient help. This is to cast the burden of a brocken covenant, of a guilty conscience, of deserved wrath, of the curse of the law &c. upon Him, that He may bear away those evills from us. This is to put on the Lord Iesus (in part) Rom. 1 [...]: 14▪ to cover ourselves with his righteousnesse from the face of justice, to stand in this armour of proof against the accusations of Law, Satan, and an evill conscience: This is to flee to him as to our city of refuge, that we may be saife from the avenger of blood: This is to make him, our refuge from the strome of Gods anger, and, a shadow from th [...] heat of his wrath Esa. 25. 4. and our hideing place [Page 52] from the winde, and a covert from the tempest, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land Esai. 32: 2. When we hide ourselves in him as the com­pleat cautioner, that hath fully satisfied justice, and desire to be found in him alone, not having our owne righteousnesse, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousnesse which is of God by faith, Phil. 3: 9. This is to lay our hand on the head of the sacrifice, when we rest on this sacrifice, and exsp [...]ct salvation through it alone. This is to cast our selves in Christs armes, as peremptorily resolving to goe no other way to the Father, and to plead no other [...]ighteousnesse before Gods barr, but Christs. That is faith, yea the lively acting of Iustifying faith.

Thus then is Christ made use of, as the way to the Father, in the point of Iustification, when the poor w [...]kened sinner, convinced of his sin and mi­sery, of his owne inability to help himself, of the insufficiency of all meanes beside Christ; of Christs alsufficiency▪ readinesse, and willingnesse to helpe, of the equitie and reasonabln [...]sse of the conditions on which he is offered, and life through him, is now content, and fully satisfied with this way, actually renunceing all other wayes whatsomever, and doth with heart, and hand imbrace Iesus Christ, & take him as he is offered in the gospell, to make use of him for all things, to leane to him, and rest upon him in all hazards; and particularly to refuge it self [...] his wings, and to rest there with com­placency, satisfaction, & delight; and hide it self from the wrath of God, & all accusations.

Yet it would be knowne, that this act of faith, [Page 53] whereby the soul goeth out to Christ, and accepteth of and leaneth to him, is not alike in all: for▪

1. In Some it way be more lively, strong & active, like the centurious faith, that could a [...]gue syllo­gistically. Matth. 8: 8, &c. which Christ looked upon as a great faith, a greater whereof he had not found, no not in Israel vers. 10. and like the faith of the woman of Canaan Mat. 15: 21. &c. that would take no nay say, but of seeming refu [...]eals did make arguments, which Christ commended as a great faith vers. 28. But in others, it may be more weak, and fainting, not able to reason a [...]ight for its owne comfort and strength, as Mat. 6: 30. [...]ut is mixed with much feare, as Math. 8: 26. yea and with much faithlesnesse, so that the soul must cry, Lord helpe my unbeleef Mark 9▪ 24.

2. In some, the acts and actings of this faith may be more clear, and discerneable, both by them­selves, and by spirituall on-lookers: In others so covered over with an heape of doubts, unbeleef, jealousie, & other corruption, that the actings of it can hardly, or not at all, be perceived by themselvs or others, so that nothing shall be heard but complaints, feares, doubtings, and obje­ctions.

3. In some, this faith may have strong, and per­ceptible actings, wreastling thorow much discou­ragment and opposition, and many difficulties; as in that woman of Canaan Matth. 15. runing tho [...]ow with peremptory resolutenesse; saying with Iob. Cap. 13. 15. though he stay me, yet will I trust in him; and thus taking the kingdome of heaven with violence. In others it may be so weak, that the least [Page 54] opposition or discouragement may be sufficient to make the soul give over hope, & almost dispaire of overcomeing and wining thorow: & be as a bruised reed, or a smoaking flax.

4. In some, though it appeare not strong, & vio­lent or wilfull (in a manner) in its actings; yet it may be firme, fixed, & resolute, in staying upon Him, Esa. 26: 3, 4. and trusting in Him. Psal. 125. 1. resolving to hing there, and if it perish It perisheth. In others weak, & bashful.

5. In some, it may be yet weaker, going out in strong & vehement hungerings, Mat. 5: 6. The man dar not say, that he doth beleeve, or that he doth adhere to Christ, and stay upon him; yet he dar say, he longeth for him, and panteth after Him, as ever the hart doth after the wa [...]ter brooks Psal. 42: 1, 2. he hungereth and thirsteth for him, and cannot be satisfied with any thing without him.

6. in some, it may be that weak, that the soul can only perceive the heart looking out after Him: upon little more ground, than a may be it shall be helped Esai. 45: 22. They look to Him for sal­vation, being convinced that there is no other way, and resolved to follow no other way, they re­solve to lye at his door, waiting and looking for à sight of the kings face, and to lye there waiting till they die, if no better may be.

7. In some, it may be so weak, that nothing more can be perceived, but a satisfaction with the tearmes of the covenant, a willingnesse to accept of the bargane, and an heart consenting thereunto, though they dar not say, that they actually close therewith, yea nor dar say, that they shall be welcome Revel. 22: 17.

[Page 55]8. In some, it may be so weak and low, that they cannot say, that they have any right hunger or de­sire after Him, nor that their heart doth rightly and really consent to the covenant of grace; yet they would faine be at it, and cry out oh for a willing heart. O for ardent desires! O for a right hunger! and they are dissatisfied and can not be reconciled with their hearts, for not desireing more, hungering more, consenting more; so that if they had this, they would think themselvs happy and upmade. And thus we see their faith is so low, that it appeareth in nothing, more manifestly, than in their complain­ings of the want of it.

So then the poor weak beleever needeth not be so far discouraged, as to dispaire and give over the matter as hopelesse & lost: let him hang on, depend, and waite; a week faith to day may become stronger within a short time. He that laid the foundation, can and will finish the building, for all his Works are perfect. And a weak faith, when true, will prove saving, and lay hold on a saving strong Mediator.

Moreover, as to the acting of faith on Christ's death and sacrifice; for stopping the mouth of Conscience, Law, Satan, and for opposeing to the pursueing Justice of God because of sin. It may some times be strong, distinct, clear and resolute. At other times againe be weak, mixed, or accom­panyed with much feare, perplexity doubting, and distrust, because of their owne seen unworthi­nesse, many failings, doubtings of the sincerity of their repentance, and the like.

[Page 56]This is a maine businesse, and of great concearn­ment, yet many are not much troubled about it, nor exercised at the heart hereabout, as they ought, deceiving themselves with foolish imaginations; for

1. They think, they were beleevers all their dayes, they never doubted of Gods grace and goodwill, they had alwayes a good heart for God, though they never knew what a wakened conscien­ce, or sense of the wrath of God meaned.

2. Or they think, because God is mercifull, he will not be so severe, as to stand upon all those things, that Ministers require; forgetting that He is a just God, and a God of truth, that wil do accor­ding to what He hath said.

3. Or they suppose, it is an easie matter to be­leeve, & not such a difficult thing as it is called: not considering or beleeving, that no lesse power, than that, which raised Christ againe from the dead, will worke up the heart unto faith.

4. Or they resolve that they will do it after­ward, at some more convenient season; not perceiv­ing the cunning slight of Satan in this, nor con­sidering that faith is not in their power, but the gift of God; and that if they lay not hold on the call of God, but harden their heart in their day, God may judicially blinde them, so that these things shall be hid from their eyes; and so that occasion, they pretend to waite for, never come.

Oh if such, whom this mainely concearneth, could be induced to enter into this way, consi­dering.

1 That except they enter into this way, they [Page 57] cannot be false the wrath of God will pursue them, the avenger of blood will overtake them; no Sal­vation but here.

2 That in this way is certaine Salvation; this way will infallibly lead to the Father; for he keepeth in the way and bringeth saife home Exod. 23: 20.

2 Its the old path▪ and the good way, Ier. 6: 16. all the saints have the experience of this, who are already come to glory: and.

4. It is a high way, and a way of righteousnesse, wherein if very fools walk, they shall not wand [...]r, Esai. 35: 8, 9 and if the weak walk in it, they shall not fainte Esai. 40: 31.

5. That except this be done, there is no advantage to be had by Him, His death & all his sufferings, as to those persons that will not beleeve and enter into him as the way to the Father, are in vaine.

6. Yea, such as will not beleeve in Him, say in effect, either that Christ hath not died nor conse­crated away through the veile of his flesh: or that all that He hath done & suffered is not sufficient for bringing a soul home to God: or that they can do their owne businesse without him▪ and that it was a foolish and vaine thing for Christ to die the death for that end: or lastly that they care not for salva­tion, they are indifferent whether they perish, or be saved:

7. That, as to them, the whole gospel is in vaine, all the ordinances, all the administration of ordi­nances, all the paines of Ministers are in vaine.

8. That, as to them, all Christs intreaties, motives, allurements, patience and long suffering, his standing at the door and knocking, till his locks [Page 58] be wet with the dew &c. are in vaine: yea, they are contemptuously rejected, despised, slighted, & undervalued.

9. That all the great promises are by such rejected as untrue, or as not worthy the seeking or having: and that all the threatnings on the other hand, are not to be regairded or feared.

10. In a word. That heaven, and the fellow­shipe of God is not worth the seeking; and that hell and the fellowshipe of devils is not worth the fearing. Or that there is neither a heaven, nor a hell: and that all are but fictions: and that there is no such thing as the wrath of God against sinners, o [...] that it is not much to be feared.

If it be asked, what warrand have poor sinners to lay hold on Christ, and grippe to him, as made of God righteousnesse?

I answere, Our absolute necessity of him, is a ground to presse us to go and seek help and re­liefe: we see we are gone in ourselves, and there­fore are we allowed to seek out for help elsewhere.

2 Christ's alsufficient furniture, whereby he is a qualified mediator, fitted with all necessaries for our case & condition, having laid downe a price to the satisfaction of justice, is a sufficient invitation for us to look toward him for helpe, and to waite at that door.

3. His being appointed of the Father, to be me­diator of the covenant, and particularly to lay down his life a ransome for sin; and Christs under­taking all his offices, and performeing all the duties thereof, conforme to the covenant of redemp­tion, is a strong encouragement to poor sinners [Page 59] to come to Him; because He cannot deny him­self, and he will be true to his trust.

4. The Fathers offering of him to us in the gospell, and Christs inviteing us, who are weary, and heavy loaden; yea calling and commanding such to come to him, in his owne, and in his Fathers name, under the paine of his and his Fathers wrath and everlasting displeasure; exhorting further and requesting upon tearms of love, pressing earnestly by many motives, sending out his ambassadours to beseech, in his stead, poor sinners to be recon­ciled, and to turne in to him for life and salvation: yea upbraiding such as will not come to him: all these are a sufficient warrant for a poor necessitous sinner to lay hold on his offer.

And further, to encourage poor souls to come unto him, all things are so well ordered in the gos­pel as that nothing occurreth, that can in the least prove a stumbling block, or a just ground of excuse, for their forbearing to beleeve, and to accept of his offer: all objections possible are obviated to such, as are but willing? the way is cast up; and all stones of stumbling cast out of it; so that such as will not come can pretend no excuse. They cannot object the greatnesse of their sins: for the greater their sins be, they have the greater need of one who is sent to take away sin, and whose blood purg­eth from all sin, 1 Joh: 1: 7. what great sinner did he ever refuse, that came to him, and was willing to be saved by him▪ Is ther any clause in all the gospel exclud [...]ing great sinners? Nor need they object, their great unworthinesse: for [...]e doth all freely for the glory of his free grace: [...][Page 60] got any good of him for their worth: for no man ever had any worth. Nor need they object their long refuseing, and resisting many calls: for he will make such as are willing welcome at the Eleventh houre. Him that cometh he will in no case put away Ioh. 6: 37. Nor can they object their changeablenesse, that they will not stand to the bargan, but break and returne with the dog to the vomite: for Christ hath engadged to bring all thorow that come to him, He will raise them up at the last day, Joh. 6: 40. He will present them▪ to himself holy and without spote or wrinckle, or any such thing▪ Ephes. 5. The covenant is fully provided with promises to stoppe the mouth of that objection. Nor can they object the difficulty, or impossibility of beleeving: for that is Christ's work also. He is the author and finisher of faith Heb. 12: 1. Can they not with confidence cast them­selvs upon him; yet if they can hunger and thirst for him, and look to him, he will accept of that: look to me (sayes he) and be saved Esa. 45: 22. If they cannot look to him, nor hunger & thirst for him; yet if they be willing, all is well: are they willing that Christ save them in his way, and there­fore willingly give themselves over to him, and are willing and content, that Christ by his spirit work more hunger in them, and a more lively faith, and work both to will and to do according to his owne good pleasure. it is well.

But it will be said, that the tearmes and condi­tions, on which he offereth himself, are hard Ans. I grant the tearmes are hard to flesh and blood, and to proud unmortified nature, but to such as are [Page 61] willing to be saved, so as God way be most glorified, the tearmes are easie, most rationall and satisfying: for▪

1. We are required to take Him only for our me­diator, and to joyne none with him, and to mix nothing with him. Corrupt nature is averse from this, and would at least mix something of self with him, and not rest on Christ only: corrupt nature would not have the man wholly denying himself, and following Christ only: and hence many lose themselves and lose all; because with the Gallatians they would mix the law and the gospel together; do something themselvs for satisfaction of justice, & take Christ for the rest that remaines. Now the Lord will have all the glory, as good reason is, & will have none to share with him. He will give of his glory to none. And is not this rationall and easy? What can be objected against this?

2. We are required to take him Wholly, that He may be a compleat Mediator to us, as a Prophet to teach, as a King to subdue our l [...]sts, to cause us walk in his wayes, as well as a Priest to satisfie justice for us, to die & in [...]ercede for us. Is it not rea­son, that we take him as God hath made him for us? Is there any thing in him to be refused? And is there any thing in Him which we have no need of? Is there not all the reason then in the world for this, that we take Him wholly? and what stum­bling block is here?

3. We are required to take Him Freely, without money and without price Esa. 55: 1▪ for He, will not b [...] bough [...] any m [...]nner of way: th [...]t free grace may be free grace, therefore he will give all freely. [Page 62] True enough it is, corruption would be at buying, though it have nothing to lay out: Pride will not stoup to a free gift. But can any say the tearms are hard, when all is offered freely?

4. We are required to take him absolutely, with­out any reversion or mentall reservation. Some would willingly quite all, but one or two lusts, that they cannot think to twinne with: and they would deny themselvs in many things, but they would still most willingly keep a back door open to some beloved lust, or other. And who seeth not what double dealing is here? And what reason can plead for this double dealing? Corruption, it is true, will think this hard, but no man can ratio­nally say, that this is a just ground of discourag­ment, to any; or a sufficient ground to warrand them to stay away from Christ▪ seing they cannot be supposed sincerely to desire redemption from any sin, who would not desire redemption from every sin. He who loveth any known lust, and would not willingly be delivered therefrom, hath no re [...]ll hatred at any lust, as such▪ nor desire to be saved; for one such lust would be his death.

5. It is required, that we accept of Him really and cordially, with our heart and soul, and not by a meer externall verbal profession: and is there not all the reason in the world for this? He offereth Himself really to us, and shall we not be reall in accepting of Him? what, I pray, can justly be excepted against this? or what reall discourage­ment can any gather from this?

6. We are to take Him for all necessities, that i [...], with a resolution to make use of Him as our [Page 63] alsufficient Mediator. And is not this most reaso­nable? Ought we not to take Him for all the ends and purposes, for which God hath appointed Him, and set Him forth, and offered Him to us? What then can any suppose to lie here, which should scarre a soul from laying hold upon Him? Nay should not this be looked upon as a very great en­couragement? And should we not blesse the Lord, that hath provided such a compleet and alsufficient Mediator?

7. We are to take Him, and all the crosses, that may attend our taking or following of Him: we must take up our crosse, be it what it will be, that He thinketh good to appoint for us, and follow Him. Matth. 16: 24▪ Mark. 8: 34. for he that taketh not up his crosse, and followeth not after Him, is not worthy of Him. Mat. 10: 38. I know, flesh and blood will take this for a hard saying; but they, that consider, that Christ will beare the heavyest end of the crosse, yea all of it, and so support, them by his Spirit, while they are under it, that they shall have no just cause to compleane; and how He will suffer none to goe his errand, upon their owne charges, but will be with them, when they goe through fire and watter, Esai. 43: 2. so that they shall suffer no losse, neither shall the watters over flow them; nor the fire kindle upon them: and that he who loseth his life, for Christ's sake, & the gospels, shall save it. Mark. 8: 35. yea, that they shall receive an hundered fold for all th [...] losses Matth. 19: 29. and that even with persecu­tion, Mark. 10. 30. and in the world to come eter­nall life. They, I say, who consider this, will [Page] see no discouragement here, nor ground of com­plaint; nay, they will account it their glory to suffer any losse for Christ's sake.

8. Hence it followeth, that we are to take Him, so as to avouch Him, and his cause, and interest, on all hizards, stand to his truth, and not be ashamed of Him, in a day of tryall. Confession of Him must be made with the mouth, as with the heart we must beleeve Ro. 10: 9. Let corruption speak against this what it will, because it is alwayes desireous to keep the skinne whole: yet reason cannot but say, that it is equitable, especially, seing He hath said▪ that whosoever confesseth Him before men, He will confesse them before his Father which is in heaven. Mat. 10. 32. And that, if we suffer with Him, we shall also reigne with Him. 2 Tim. 2. 12. Is He our Lord and Master, and should we not owne and avouch Him? Should we be ashamed of him for any thing, that can befall us, upon that account? What Master would not take that ill at his servants hands?

Hence then we see, that there is nothing in all the conditions, on which He offereth Himself to us, that can give the least ground, in reason, why a poor soul should draw back, and be unwilling to accept of this noble offer, or think that the condi­tions are hard.

But there is one maine Objection, which may trouble some, and that is. They cannot beleeve: faith being the gift of God, it must be wrought in them▪ How then can they goe to God for this, and make use of Christ for this end, that their souls may be wrought up to a beleeving & consenting to [Page 65] the bargan and hearty accepting of the offer?

To this I would say these things.

1. It is true, that faith is the gift of God. Ephes. 2: 8. and that it is He alone who worketh in us, both to will & to do Phil. 1: 29, and none cometh to the son, but whom the father draweth Iohn. 6: 44. and it is a great matter, and no small advance­ment, to win to the reall faith, and through con­viction of this our impotency: for thereby the soul will be brought to a greater measure of humi­liation, and of despaireing of salvation in it self, which is no small advantage unto a poor soul that would be saved.

2. Though faith be not in our power, yet it is our duty: Our impotency to performe our duty, doth not loose our obligation to the duty; so that our not beleeving is our sin; and for this God may justly condemne us. His wrath abideth on all, who beleeve not in his Son Jesus, and will not accept of the offer of salvation through the crucified me­diator. And though faith, as all other acts of grace, be efficiently the work of the Spirit, yet it is formally our work: we do beleeve; but it is the Spirit that worketh faith in us.

3. The ordinary way of the Spirit's working faith in us, is by pressing home the duty upon us, whereby we are brought to a despairing in ourselves and to a looking out to Him, whose grace alone it is that can work it in the soul, for that necessary [...] and breathing, without, which the soul will not come.

4. Christ Jesus hath purchased this grace of faith, to all the elect, as other graces necessary to [Page 66] their salvation: and it is promised and convenanted to Him; that He shal see his seed and shall see of the travell of his soull Esai. 53: 10, 11. and that by the knowledge of him, that is, the rationall and understanding act of the soul griping to and laying hold upon Him, as he is offered in the gospell, many shall be justified: Ibid. Hence he sayeth, that all, whom the father hath given to Him, shall come unto Him, Ioh. 6: 37. and the Apostle tels us, that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Him, Ephes. 1: 3.

5. Not only hath Christ purchased this grace of faith, and all other graces necessary for the salvation of the elect; but God hath committed to Him the administration and actuall dispensation and outgiv­ing of all those graces, which the redeemed stand in need of. Hence, He is a Prince exalted to give re­pentance and forgivenesse of sinns Act. 5: 31. all power in heaven and earth is committed unto him. Mat. 28: 18: 19. Hence, He is called the author and finisher of faith Heb. 12: v. 2. and He tel­leth his disciples Iohn. 14▪ 13. 14. That whatever they shall ask in his name, He will do it. He is made Prince and a Saviour, having all judgment committed unto him. Iohn. 5: 22. and He is Lord of all Act. 10: 36. Rom. 14: 9.

6. Hereupon, the sinner being convinced of his lost condition, through sin and misery: of an utter impossibility of helping himself out of that state of death: of Christ's alsufficiency, and willingnesse to save all that will come to Him; and of its owne inability to beleeve or come to Him for life and sal­vation; or to lay hold on and leane to his merites [Page 67] and satisfaction, and so despaireing in himself, is to look out to Iesus the author of eternall salvation, the foundation and chiefe corner stone, the author and finisher of faith. I say, the sinner, being thus convinced, is thus to look out to Iesus; not that, that conviction is any proper qualification, prere­quisite as necessary, either to prepare, dispose, and fit for faith, or, far lesse, to merite, any manner of way, or bring on faith; But because this is Christ's methode to bring a soul to faith by this convi­ction, to the glory of his grace. The soul natu­rally being averse from Christ, and utterly unwil­ling to accept of that way of salvation, must be re­dacted to that straite, that it shal see, that it must either accept of this offer, or die: as the whole needeth not a physitian; so Christ is come to save only that which is lost: and his method is to con­vince the world of sin, in the first place, and then of righteousnesse Iohn. 16: 8, 9.

7. This looking out to Iesus for faith, compre­hendeth those things 1. The Souls acknowledge­ment of the necessitie of faith, to the end it may partake of Christ, and of his merites. 2. The souls satisfaction with that way of partaking of Christ; by a closeing with Him, and a resting upon Him, by faith 3. A sense and conviction of the unbeleefe and stubbornnesse of the heart; or a seeing of its own impotency, yea and un­willingnesse to beleeve 4. A persuasion that Christ can overmaster the infidelity, & wickednesse of the heart, and worke up the soul to a willing consent unto the bargane. 5. A hope, or a half hope (to speak so) that Christ, who is willing [Page 68] to save all poor sinners, that come to Him for sal­vation, and hath said, that He will put none away in any case, that cometh, will have pity upon him at length. 6. A resolution to lye at his door, till he come with life, till He quicken, till He unite the soul to Himself. 7. A lying open to the breathings of his Spirit, by guarding against every thing (so far as they can) that may grieve or provok Him, and wai­ting on Him in all the ordinances, He hath ap­pointed, for begetting of faith; such as reading the scriptures, hearing the word, conference with godly persons, and prayer &c. 8. A waiting with patience on Him, who never said to the house of Iacob, seek me, in vaine, Esai. 45: 19. still crying, and looking to Him, who hath commanded the ends of the earth to look to him; and wai­ting for him, who waiteth to be gracious, Esai. 30: 18. remembering that they are all blessed that waite for him, Ibid. and that there is much good prepared for them, that waite for Him. Esai. 64: 4.

8. The sinner would essay this beleeving, and closeing with Christ, and set about it, as he can, seriously, heartily, & willingly, yea and resolutely over the belly of much opposition, and many discou­ragements, looking to Him, who must helpe, yea and worke the whole work: for God worketh in and with Man, as a rationall creature. The soul then would set the willingnesse it findeth on work, & waite for more; and as the Lord is pleased to commend, by his Spirit, the way of grace more unto the soul, and to warme the heart with love to it and a desire after it, strick the yron while it is [Page 69] hote; and looking to Him for help, gripe to Christ in the covenant: and so set to its seal, though with a tembling hand; and subscribe its name, though with fear and much doubting, re­membring that He who worketh to will, must work the deed also Phil. 2: 13. and He that begin­neth a good work will perfect it, Phil. 1: 6.

9. The soul essaying thus to beleeve, in Christ's strength, and to creep when it can not walk or run, would hold fast what it hath attained, and resolve never to recall any consent, or half consent, it hath given to the bargane, but still look forward, hold on, wreastle against unbeleefe, and unwilling­nesse; intertaine every good motion of the Spirit for this end, and never admit of any thing, that may quench its longings, desires, or exspecta­tion.

Nay 10. If the sinner be come this length, that with the bit willingnesse he hath, he consenteth to the bargane, & is not satisfied with any thing in himself, that draweth back, or consenteth not, & with the little skill or strength he hath is writing downe his name, and saying even so I take Him. and is holding at this, peremptorily resolving, ne­ver to goe bake, or unsay what he hath said; but on the contrare, is firmly purposed to adhere, &, as he groweth in strength, to grippe more firmly, and adhere to Him, he may conclude, that the bar­gan is closed already, and that he hath faith already: for, here ther is an accepting of Christ on his owne tearmes, a reall consenting unto the covenant of grace, though weak, and not so dis­cernable, as the soul would wish. The soul dar [Page 70] not say, but it loveth the bargane, and is satisfied with it, and longeth for it, and desireth nothing more than that it might partake thereof, and enjoy Him whom it loveth, hungereth for, panteth after, or breatheth, as it is able, that it may live in Him, & be saved through Him.

But Some will say, If I had any evidence of God's approbation of this act of my soul, any testi­mony of his Spirit, I could then with confidence say, that I had beleeved & accepted of the covenant and of Christ offered therein: but so long as I per­ceive nothing of this; how can I suppose, that any motion of this kinde in my soul, is real faith?

For answere. 1. We would know, that our be­leeving, and God's sealing to our sense are two distinct acts, and separable, and oft separated: our beleeving is one thing, and God's sealing with the holy Spirit of promise to our sense, is another thing; and this followeth though not inseparably the other Eph. 1: 13.—In whom also, after that yee beleeved, yee were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.

And so, 2. We would know, that Many a man may beleeve, & yet not know that he doth belee­ve; He may set to his seal, that God is true, in his offer of life through Iesus, and accept of that offer as a truth, and close with it; and yet live under darknesse & doubtings of his faith, long & many aday; partly through not discerning the true na­ture of faith; partly through the great sense and feeling of his owne corruption and unbeleefe; partly through a mistake of the operations of the spirit within, or the want of a clear & distinct uptaking [Page 71] of the motions of his owne soul; Partly because he findeth so much doubting and feare, as if there could be no faith, where there were doubting or fear, contrare to Mark. 9: 24. Mat. 8: 26. & 14: 31. Partly because he hath not that perswa­sion, that others have had, as if there were not va­rious degrees of faith, as there is of other graces, & the like.

Therefore 3. We would know, that many may really beleeve, and yet misse this sensible sealing of the Spirit which they would be at: God may think it not yet seasonable to grant them that, lest they forget themselves and become too proud; and to traine them up more to the life of faith, whereby He may be glorified; and for other holy ends, He may suspend the giving of this for a time.

4. Yet we would know, that all that beleeve, have the seal within them 1. Iohn. 5: 10. He that be­leeveth on the Son of God, hath the witnesse in himself▪ that is, He hath that which really is a seal, though he see it not, nor perceive it not; even the work of God's spirit in his soul▪ inclining and de­termineing him unto the accepting of this bargan, & to a likeing of & endeavouring after holinesse: and the whole gospel clearing up what faith is, is a seal & confirmation of the businesse. So that the matter is sealed, and confirmed by the word, though the soul want those sensible breathings of the Spirit, sheding abroad his love in the heart, and filling the soul with a full assurance, by hushing all doubts and feares to the door; yea though they should be a stranger unto the Spirits witnessing [Page 72] thus with their spirits, that they are the children of God, and clearning up distinctly the reall wot [...] of grace within their soul, and so saying in effect, that they have in truth beleeved.

But enough of this, seing all this and much more is abundantly held forth and explained, in­that excellent & usefull treatise of Mr. Guthries intituled The Christians great interest.

CHAP. V. How Christ is to be made use of, as the VVay, for Sanctification, in generall.

HAving shown how a poor soul, lying under the burden of sin & wrath, is to make use of Iesus Christ, for righteousnesse & justification, and so to make use of Him, goe out to Him, and apply Him, as He is made of God to us righteousnesse 1. Cor. 1: v. 30. and that but briefly; this whole great businesse being more fully, and satisfactoryly handled, in th [...]t fore men­tioned great, though small Treatise, vix The Christians great Interest. We shall now come and show, how a beleever or a justified soul shall furder make use of Christ, for Sanctification, this being a particular, about which, they are ofttimes much exercised and perplexed.

That we may therefore, in some weak measure, through the helpe of His light and grace, pro­pose [Page 73] some things to cleare up this great and necessa­ry truth, we shall first speak a little to it, in the generall, and then come to cleare up the matter more particularly.

Before we speak of the matter in generall, it would be remembered, first, That the person who only is in case to make use of Christ for Sanctifi­cation, is one, that hath made use of Him already for Righteousnesse & justification: for one who is a stranger to Christ▪ and is living in nature, hath no accesse to Christ for sanctification. He must be a beleever and within the covenant, ere he can make use of the grounds of sanctification, laid down in the covenant. One must first be united to Christ, and justified by faith in Him, before he can draw any vertue from Him for perfecting holinesse. He must first be in Him before he can grow up in Him, or bring forth fruit in Him. And therefore the first thing that souls would goe about, should be to get an union made up with Christ, and be cloathed with his righteousnesse by faith▪ and then they have a right to all his benefites: first they should labour to get their state changed from enmity, to peace & reconciliation with God, through faith in Jesus.

Yet, next, it would be observed. That when it is said, that one must be a beleever, before he can go to Christ, & make use of Him for▪ holinesse & sanctification; it is not so understood, or said. That one must know, that indeed he is justified by faith▪ before he can make any use of Christ for sanctifica­tion. One may be justified, and a beleever, yea and growing in grace through Iesus Christ, and so [Page 74] actually improving the grounds of sanctification, and making use of Christ for this end, and allowed thereunto, and yet win to no certainty, o [...] his union with Christ, of his justification through faith in Him▪ no [...] of his faith.

But thirdly, if it be said, How can a soul with confidence approach to Christ, for usemaking of Him, in reference to sanctification, that is still doubting of his state and regeneration? I answere▪ It is true, a clear fight of our interest in Christ by faith, would be a great encouragement to our con­fident approaching to, and usemaking of Him, in all things; and this consideration should mo [...]e all, to a more earnest search & study of the marks & evidences of their Interest▪ a good help whereunto they will finde in the forementioned book. I shall only say this here. That if the soul, have an earnest desire, t [...] be sanctified wholly, and to have on the image of God, that he may glorifie Him▪ and panteth after holinesse, as for life, that he may look like Him, who is holy▪ & maketh this his work and study; sorrowing at nothing more than at his short coming; crying out and longing for the day, when he shall be delivered from a body of death, and have the old man wholly crucified; he needeth not question his interest in Christ▪ & warrant to make use of Him, for every part of sanctification: for this longing desire after conformity to Gods law, and panting after this spiritual life to the end God may be exalted, Christ glorified, & other [...] edified; will not be readyly found, in one that [...] yet in nature. It is true, I grant, some who de­signe to establish their owne righteousnesse; and [Page 75] to be justified by their owne works & inherent holi­nesse, may wish, that they might be more holy and lesse guilty: and for some other corrupt ends, they may desire to be free of the power of some lust▪ which they finde noxious & troublsome; and ye [...] retaine with love and desire, some other beloved lusts; and so have a heart still cleaving to the heart of some detestable thing or other: But gracious souls, as they have respect to all the commands of God; so they have not that designe of being justi­fied before God by their works; nor do they study mortification, or sanctification for any such end▪ nay, they no sooner discover any by as of their false deceitfull hearts unto any such end, but as soon, they disowne it, and abhore it. So that hence be­lievers may get some discovery of the reality of their faith, and interest in Christ, and of their warrand, yea & duty to make use of Christ for sanctifica­tion.

T [...]s premised, we come to speak some thing, in the generall, of beleevers usemaking of Christ, as made of God to us Sanctification: and for this end, we shall only speak a little to two things, first we shall show, upon what account it is, that Christ is called our sanctification, or made of God to us sanctification, as the Apostle's phrase is 1. Cor. 1: 30. or what Christ hath done, as Mediator, to beginne, & carry on to perfection, the work of sanctification in the soul. And secondly, How the soul is to demeane it self in this matter, or how the soul is to make use of, & improve, what Christ hath done, for this end, that it may grow in grace▪ and perfect holinesse in the fear of God.

[Page 76]As to the first, we would know, that though the work of sanctification be formally ours; yet it is wrought by another hand, as the principal efficient cause; even by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Father is said to purge the branches, that they may bring forth more fruit Iohn. 15: 1. 2. hence, we are said to be sanctified by God the Father, Iud. vers. 1. The Son is also called the sanctifier Heb. 2: 21. He sanctifieth & cleanseth the Church, with the washing of water by the word Ephes. 5. [...]6. The Spirit is also said to sanctifie 2. Thes 2: 13. 1 Pet. 1: 2. Rom. 15: 16. Hence we are said to be washed & sanctified by the Spirit of God 1 Cor. 6: 11.

But more particularly, we are said to be sancti­fied in Christ. 1. Cor. 1. 2. and He is made of God to us sanctification 1 Cor. 1. 30. let us then see, in what sense this may be true: and

1 He hath by his death & blood procu [...] that this work of sanctification shall be wrought, & carryed on: for he suffered without the gate, that He might Sanctifie the people with his owne blood Heb. 13: 12. we are saved by the washing of rege­neration, & renewing of the holy ghost, which He shed on us abundantly, through Iesus Christ our Saviour Tit. 3: 5, 6. He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purifie unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Tit. 2: 14. Thus our sanctification is the fruit of his death, & purchased by his blood [...] He gave himself for his church, that he might san­ctifie it Ephes. 5: 25, 26.

[...], He dying as a cautioner & publick person, [Page 77] beleevers are accounted in law to be dead to sin, in Him. Hence the Apostle tells us, Rom. 6: 3▪ 4, 5, 6. that as many of us as are Baptized into Iesus Christ were Baptized into his death; and that therefore we are buryed with Him by baptisme into death; and are planted together in the likenesse of his death; yea and that our old man is crueified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that hence forth we should not serve sin: whence beleevers are warranded & commanded vers. 11. to reckon themselvs to be dead indeed unto sin: and therefore sin should not reigne in their mortall bodyes to fulfill the lusts thereof vers. 12. This is a sure ground of hope & comfort for beleevers, that Christ dyed thus, as a publick person; and that by vertue thereof, being now united to Christ by faith, they are dead unto sin by law; and sin can­not challenge a dominion over them, as before their conversion it might have done, and did; for the law hath dominion over a man, as long as he liveth▪ but no longer: wherefore beleeving bre­thren, becomeing dead to the law by the body of Christ, are marryed to another, even to Him, who is raised from the dead, that they should bring forth fruit unto God Rom. 7: 1, 4.

3. Hence It followeth, that our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed Rom. 6: 6. So that this old tyrant, that oppresseth the people of God, hath got his deaths wounds, in the crucifixion of Christ, & shall never recover his former vigour & activity, to oppresse & beare down the people of God, as he did: He is now virtually, through the death of Iesus, [Page 78] killed, & crucified, being in Christ, nailed to the crosse.

4. His resurrection is a paune & pledge of this sanctification: for, as He died as a publick person, so He rose againe as a publick person: we are buryed with Him by baptisme, that likeas Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newnesse of life. Rom. 6: 4. and beleevers are said to be planted together with him, in the likenesse of his resurrection vers. 5. and they shall live with Him. vers. 8. and therefore they are to reckon themselvs, alive unto God, through Iesus Christ our Lord, verse. 11. we are raised up together Ephes. 2: 6.

5. This sanctification is an article of the cove­nant of redemption, betwixt the Father & the Son Esa. 52: 15. so shall he sprinkle many nations: & Cap. 53: 10. He shall see his seed, and the plea­sure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Christ then having this promised to Him, must see to the accomplishment thereof, and will have▪ it granted to him; seing He hath fulfilled all that was engadged to by Him, having made his soul an offering for sin.

6. This sanctification is promised in the cove­nant of grace. Ier. 33. 8. & I will cleanse them from all their iniquity Ezech 37: 23.—and I will cleanse them. So Chap. 36: 25. Then will I sprinkle cleane water upon you, & yee shall be cleane, from all your filthinesse, & from all your idols will I cleanse you. Now all the promises of the covenant of grace are confirmed to us in the [Page 79] Mediator: for in Him all the promises are yea & amen 2. Cor. 1: 20.

7. He hath also purchased & made sure to his owne, the new nature, and the heart of flesh▪ which is also promised Ezech. 36: 26. & 11. 19. Ier. 32. 39. This is the new & lively principle of grace, the spring of sanctification, which cannot be idle in the soul▪ but must be emitting vitall acts natively.

Yea, through Him, are beleevers made parta­kers of the divine nature, which is a growing thing; young glory in the soul. 2. Pet. 2: 3, 4. Accor­ding as his divine power hath given unto us all things, that pertaine unto life & godlinesse, through the knowledge of Him, that hath called us to glory & virtue whereby are given unto us exceeding great & precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature. &c.

8. The Spirit is promised, to cause us walk in his statutes Ezech. 36: 27. Now all these promi­ses are made good to us in Christ, who is the cau­tioner of the covenant: yea He hath gotten now the dispensing and giving out of the rich promises of the covenant, committed unto Him; so as He is the great Lord treasurer and administrator of the great & glorious purchased blessings.

9. There are new waterings, breathings, & gailes of the Spirit, given in Christ. Esai. 27: 3. He must water his garden or vinyaird every mo­ment. This is the north winde, & the south winde that bloweth upon the garden Cant. 4: 16. He must be as the dew unto Israel. Hos. 14: 5.

10. Through Christ is the beleever brought into [Page 80] such a covenant state, as giveth great ground of hope of certane victory. He is not now under the law but under grace; and hence inferreth the Apostle Rom. 6: 14. That sin shall not have do­minion over them. Being now under that dis­pensation of grace, whereby all their stock, is in the Mediators hand▪ & at his disposall; and not in their own hand & power, as under the covenant of works, there is a sure ground laid down for constant supply & furniture, in all necessities.

11. Christ hath prayed for this. Iohn. 17. 17. Sanctifie them through thy truth. where the Lord is praying, that his disciples might be more & more sanctified, and so fitted & qualified for the work of the ministrie, they were to be imployed in. And what He prayed for them, was not for them alone▪ but also for all the elect, proportionably, who are op­posed to the world, for which He did not pray v. 9.

12. He standeth in relation to beleevers of a Vine, or a Root, in which they grow as branches, so that by abiding in Him, living by faith in Him, and drawing sap from him, they bring forth fruit in Him Iohn. 15: 1, 2, 4, 5. Their stock of grace is in Him, the root; and He communicate [...]h sap and life unto his branches, whereby they grow, floorish, and bring forth fruit to the glory of God.

13. Christ hath taken on Him the office of a Prophet and Teacher, to instruct us in the way, wherein we ought to goe: for He is that great Pro­phet, whom the Lord promised to raise up, and who was to be heard and obeyed in all things Deut. [...]8: 15. Act. [...]. 2 [...]. and 7: 37. He is given for a [Page 81] witnesse & a leader. Esai. 55: 4. and we are com­manded to hear Him Mat. 17: 5. Mark. 10: 7.

14. He hath also taken on Him the office of a▪ King Psal. 2: 6. Mat. 21: 5. Esai. 9: 6, 7. Phil. 2: 8. 9, 10, 11. and thereby standeth engadged to lubdue all their spirituall enemies, Satan & corrup­tion: Psal. 110. He is given for a leader and com­mander. Esai. 55: 4▪ and so can cause his people walk in his wayes.

15. When we defile ourselves with new trans­gressions & failings. He hath provided a fountaine for us to wash in: a fountaine opened to the house of David & to the Inhabitants of Ierusalem for sin & for uncleannesse Z [...]ch. 13: 1. and this fountaine is his blood which cleanseth from all sin Heb. 9: 14. 1. Iohn. 1: 7▪ Revel. 1: 5.

16. He is set before us, as a copie & pattern [...] that we should walk even as He walked 1. Ioh. 2▪ 6. He left us an example, that we should follow his stepps 1. Pet. 2: 21. But we would beware to separate this consideration from the preceeding, a [...] Antichristian Socinians do, who will have Christ only to be a copie.

17. He hath overcome Satan our arch-enemie▪ and hath destroyed his works. 1. Iohn. 3▪ 8. He came to destroy the works of the devill. And in particular his works of wickednesse in the soul▪ Thus He is a conquerour, & the Capta [...]e of our Salvation.

18. As He hath purchased, So hath He appointed ordinences, for the laying of the founda­tion, and carrying on of this work of sanctification [...] both Word & [...] are appointed for this end▪ [Page 82] The Word to convert and to confirme▪ Iohn. 17: 17. sanctifie them through thy truth, thy word is truth, said Christ. The word is given as the rule; and also through the meanes thereof is life and strength conveyed to the soul, to perfect holinesse in the fear of God 1. Pet. 2: 2. And the Sacraments are given to strengthen & confirme the soul in the wayes of God.

19. As He hath laid downe strong encourage­ments to his followers, to hold on in the way of ho­linesse, many great & precious promises, by which they might be partakers of the divine nature. 2. Pet. 1: 4. and by which they are encouraged to cleanse themselves from all filthinesse of the flesh & spirit 2. Cor. 7: 1. and many motives to hold on & continue; So hath He rolled difficultyes out of the way, whether they be within us, or without us, and thereby made the way easie, and pleasant to such as walk in it; so as they may now run in the way of his commandements, & walk & not weary, & run & not be faint.

Nay 20 we would remember, for our encourag­ment and confidence, that in carrying on of this work lyeth the satisfaction of soul, & the pleasure of the Lord, that must prosper in His hand, & thus He seeth his seed, & hath of the travail of his soul, and is satisfied.

These particulars rightly considered will disco­ver unto us, what a noble ground for sanctifica­tion▪ is in Christ laid downe for beleevers, which they may, and must, by faith, grippe to, that they may grow in grace, and grow up in Christ▪ and perfecte holinesse; and what a wonderfull [Page 83] contriveance of grace this is, wherein all things are made so sure for beleevers; Christ becomeing all things to them, and paveing a royall & sure way for them▪ sure for them, and glorious to himself.

As to the second particular; that is, How belee­vers are to carry in this matter, or how they are to make use of Christ, and of those grounds of saucti­fication, in Christ, which we have mentioned.

First, There are some things which they would bewar of, and guaird against: as,

1. They would bewar of an heartlesse despon­dency, & giving way to discouragements, and heark­ning to the language of unbeleefe, or to the suggestions of Satan, whereby he will labour to perswade them of the impossibility of getting the work of sanctification throughed, or any progresse made therein to purpose. Satan & a deceitfull heart can soon muster up many difficultyes, & alledge that there are many Lyons, many insuperable difficultyes, in the way, to discourage them from ventureing forward: and if Satan prevail here, he hath gained a great point. Therefore the beleever would keep up his head in hope, and beware of multiplying discouragements to himself, or of con­cludeing the matter impossible; for then shall he neither have heart nor hand for the work, but sit downe & wring his hands, as overcome with discouragement, & despondency of Spirit.

2. They would beware of wilfull rejecting their owne mercyes, and forbearing to make use of the grounds of hope of strength and progresse, in the matter of sanctification, which Christ hath allo­wed them to make use of. There is such an evill [Page 84] even amongst Gods children, that they scarre at that which Christ out of great love hath provided for them, and dar not with confidence make use of nor apply to themselves, the great and comfort­able promises, to the end they might be encouraged: they will not take their allowance, as thinking themselves unworthy; and that it should be pre­sumption in them to challenge a right to such great things; and they think it commendable hu­mility in them, to stand aback; and so wilfully refuse the advantages and helps, that make so much for their grouth in grace.

3. They would beware of a carelesse neglect of the meanes, appointed for advanceing in holinesse: for though the meanes do not worke the effect, yet it is by the meanes, that God hath chosen to worke the work of sanctification: Here that is to be seen, that the hand of the diligent maketh rich; and the field of the slothfull is soon grown over with thorns and nettles; so that poverty cometh as one that travelleth, and want as an armed man. Prov. 24: 30, 31, 34. It is a sinfull tempting of God, to think to be sanctified another way, than God hath in his deep wisdom condescended upon.

4. Yet they would beware of laying too much weight on the meanes & ordinances; as if they could effectuat the businesse. Though the Lord hath thought good to work in and by the meanes; yet He himself must do the work. Meanes are but meanes, and not the principal cause; nor can they work, but as the principal agent is pleased to make use of them, and to work by them: when we leane to the meanes, and to instruments, we prejudge our [Page 85] selves; by disobligeing God, and provoking Him to leave us, that we may wrestle with the ordinances alone, and finde no advantage. Therefore the soul would guaird against this.

5. Albeit the meanes can do nothing unlesse He breath, yet we would beware not only of negle­cting them (as we said afore) but also of a slighting way of performing of them, without that earnestnesse and diligence, that is required. Cursed is he who doth the work of the Lord negligently. Ier. 48: 10. Here then is the speciall art of Christianity ap­parent, to be as diligent, earnest, and serious in the use of the means, as if they could effectuate the matter, we were seeking; and yet to be as much abstracted from them, in our hopes and exspectation, and to be as much leaning on the Lord alone, and depending on Him for the blessing, as if we were useing no meanes at all.

6. They would beware of slighting and negle­cting the motions of the Spirit: for thereby they may lose the best opportunity. They should be alwayes on the wing, ready to imbrace the least motion; and they should stand alwayes ready, waiting for the breathings of his Spirit, and open at his call; least afterward, they be put to call and seek, and not attaine what they would be at, as we see in the Spouse Cant. 5: 2, 3, 4. 5, 6. &c.

7. They would also guaird against the quen­ching of the Spirit 1 Thes. 5: 12. or greiving of the Spirit. Ephes. 4: 30. by their unchristian & unsuteable carriage: for this will much marre their sanctification. It is by the Spirit that the work of sanctification is carryed on, in the soul: and when [Page 86] this Spirit is disturbed, and put from his work▪ how can the work go on? When the motions of this indwelling Spirit are extinguished, his work is marred, and retarded: and when He is grieved, he is hindered in his work. Therefore souls would guard against unbeleefe, despondency, unsuteable & unchristian carriage &c.

8. Especially they would beware of wasteing sinns Psal. 51: 10. Sins against light and con­science; such as David calleth presumptuous sin [...]. Psal. 19: 13. They would beware also of favour­ing any known corruption, or any thing of that kinde, that may hinder the work of sanctifica­tion.

Secondly. It were usefull and of great ad [...]antage, for such as would grow in grace, and advance in the way of holinesse, to be living in the con­stant conviction▪

1. Of the necessity of holinesse, without which no man shall see God Heb. 12: 14. nothing enter­ing in into the new Ierusalem, that defileth. Revel. 21: 27.

2. Of their owne inability to do any one act aright; how they are not sufficient of themselvs to think any thing, as of themselvs 2 Cor. 3: 5. and that without Christ, they can do nothing Iohn. 15: 5.

3. Of the insufficiency of any humane helpe, or meanes, or way, which they may think good to choose, to mortifie aright one corruption; or to give strength for the right discharge of any one duty▪ for our sufficiency is of God 2. Cor. 3: 5. and it, i [...] through the Spirit that we must mortifie the deed [...] of the body Rom. 8: 13.

[Page 87]4. And of the treachery and deceitfulnesse of the heart, which is bent to follow by wayes▪ being not only deceitfull above all things, but also desperatly wicked, Ier. 17: 9.

That by this meanes the soul may be jealous of it self, and despaire of doing any thing in its owne strength; and so be fortified against that maine evill, which is an enemy to all true sanctification, viz confidence in the flesh.

Thirdly. The soul would keep its eye fixed on those things.

1. On Christ's alsufficiency to helpe, in all cases, that He is able to save to the uttermost. Heb. 7: v. 25.

2. On his compassionednesse to such as are out of the way; and ready nesse to helpe poor sinners, with his grace and strength: and this will keep up the soul from fainting and dispaireing.

3. On the commands to holinesse: such as those cleanse your hands, and purify your hearts Iam 4: 8. and be ye holy for I am holy 1 Pet. 1: 15, 16. and the like. That the authority of God, and conscience to a command, may set the soul a work.

4. On the great recompense of reward, that is appointed for such as wrestle on, and endure to the end; and on all the great promises of great things to such, as are sanctified, whereof the Scriptures are full; that the soul may be encouraged to run thorow difficultyes, to ride out stormes, to endure hardnesse, as a good souldier, and to persevere in duty.

5. On the other hand▪ on the many sad threat­nings and denunciations, of wrath, against such as transgresse his lawes; and on all the sad things [Page 88] that such as shake off the fear of God, and the study of holinesse, have to look for, of which the Scripture is full; that by this meanes, the soul may be keeped in awe, and spurred forward unto duty, and made the more willing to shake off Leazy­nesse.

6. On the Rule, the word of God; by which alone we must regulate all our actions; and this ought to be our meditation day and night, and all our study, as we see it was Davids▪ and other holy men of God their dayly work. See Psal. 1. and 119.

Fourthly, In all this study of holinesse, and aimeing at an hiegher measure of grace, the belee­ver would lavell at a right end: and so would not designe holinesse for this end, that he might be justified thereby, or that he might thereby procure and purchase to himself heaven and God's favoure for the weight of all that, must lie on Iesus Christ, who is our Righteousnesse: and our holinesse must not dethrone Him, nor rob Him of his glory, which He will not give to another: But would study holinesse, to the end, he might glorifie God, Father, Son, and holy Spirit; and please Him, who calleth to holinesse; and thereby be made meet to be par­taker of the Inheritance of the saints in light Col. 1: 10, 12. and be made a meet bride for such a holy bridegroome, and a member to such an holy head: that hereby others might be edified Mat. 5: 16▪ 1. Pet. 2: 12. and 3: 1, 2. that the soul may look like a temple of the holy ghost, and like a servant of Christ's, bought with a price 1 Cor. 6: 17, 18, 10. 20. And have a clear evidence of his regene­ration [Page 89] and justification, and also that he may expresse his thankfulnesse to God, for all his favours and be­nefites.

Fiftly. The soul would by faith lay hold on, and grip fast to the ground of sanctification: that is to say. 1. To what Christ hath purchased for his people. 2. To what as a publike person He hath done for them: And so by faith,

1. Challenge a right to, and lay hold on the promises of grace, strength, victory, and throw­bearing, in their combating with corruption within, and Satan and a wicked world without.

2. Reckon themselves dead unto sin, through the death of Christ; and alive unto God through his resurrection, Rom. 6: 4, 11. and that the old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed vers. 6. and that they are now, not under the law, but under grace, vers. 14.

That by this meanes, they may be encouraged to continue fighting against a vanquished enemy, and not give over, notwithstanding of disappointments, discouragements, prevailings of corruption, &c. and the beleever may know upon what ground he standoth, and what is the ground of his hope and ex­spectation of victory in end; and so he may run, not as uncertanely; and so fight, not as one that beateth the aire 1 Cor. 9: 26.

Sixtly. In this work of sanctification, the be­leever would be much in the lively exercise of faith; fight by faith; advance by faith; grow up, and bring forth fruit by faith: and so▪

1. The beleever would be oft renewing his grips of Christ, holding Him fast by faith, and so abid­eing [Page 90] in Him, that he may bring forth fruit Iohn. 15: 4, 5.

2. Not only would he be keeping his union fast with Christ, but he would be also eyeing Christ by faith, as his store house, and generall Lord dispen­sator of all the purchased blessings of the Covenant, which he standeth in need of: and looking on Christ, as standing engadged by office, to compleate his work of salvation; and to present him with the rest to himself holy, without blemish, yea and without spote or wrinkle or any such thing Ephes. 5: 27.

3. He would by faith gripe to the promises, both of the generall stock of grace, the new heart & heart of flesh, and the Spirit to cause us walk in his statutes Ezech. 36: 26, 27. and of the severall particular acts of grace, that he standeth in need of, such as that Ier. 30: 8. I will cleause them from all their iniquities &c. so Ezech. 36: 25: Ier. 31: 19. as the Church doth Micah. 7: 9. He will subdue our iniquities &c. And so having, or gripping these promises, we are to cleanse our selves from all filthinesse of flesh & Spirit, and perfect holinesse in the fear of God. 2 Cor. 7: 1.

4. As the beleever would by faith draw out of Christ, through the conduite of the promises, which are all yea & amen in Him, 2 Cor. 1. 20. grace, strength, knowledge, courage, or what ever his fight in this warfare calleth for, to the end, he may be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, Ephes. 6: 10. So he would by faith roll the weight of the whole work upon Christ; and thus cast himself, and his care and burden on Him, who careth for him, 1 Pat. 5: 7. Psal. 37: 5. & [Page 91] 55: 22. and so go on in duty, without anxiety▪ know­ing who beareth the weight of all, and who hath undertaken to work both to will and to do, according to his good pleasure: thus should the work be easie and saife, when by faith we roll the burden on Him, who is the chosen one, fitted for that work; and leave it on Him, who is our strength, patiently waiting for the outgate, in hope.

Thus the beleever makes use of Christ, as made of God Sanctification, when in the use of meanes ap­pointed, eyeing the covenant of grace, and the promises thereof, and what Christ hath done to Sanctifie and cleanse his prople, he rolleth the mat­ter on Him, and exspecteth help, salvation & victo­ry, through Him.

CAUTIONS.

But least some should be discouraged, and think all this in vaine, because they perceive no progresse, nor grouth in grace, for all this, but rather corrup­tion as strong and troublesome as ever, I would say a few things to them.

1. Let them search and try, whether their short­coming and disappointment doth not much pro­ceed from this, that the matter is not so cleanly cast over on Christ, as it should be: Is it not too oft found, that they goe forth to the battell in their own strength, lippening to their owne stock of grace, to their own knowledge or to their du­ties, or the like? How then can they prosper?

2. Let them mourne, as they get any discovery of this; and guaird hereafter against that corrupt by as of the heart, which is still inclining them to an engadgment, without the Captane of their salva­tion, [Page 92] and a fighting without the armour of God.

3. Let them try and see, if in studying holi­nesse, they be not led by corrupt ends: and do not more laboure after sanctification, that they may be more worthy, and the better accepted of God, and that they may have quietnesse and peace as to their acceptance with God, as if this were any cause, matter or condition of their righteousnesse and justification before God; then that they may shew their obedience to the command of God 1 Thes. 4: 3. Ephes. 2: 10. Ioh. 15: 16. and expresse their thankfulnesse to Him, and glorifie God Mal. 1: 6. Mat. 5: 16. Iohn. 17: 10. Ephes. 4: 30. and if so, they ought to acknowledge Gods goodness in that disappointment, seing thereby they see more and more a necessity of laying aside their own righ­teousness, and of betaking themselves to the righ­teousnesse of Christ, and of resting on that alone, for peace and acceptance with God.

4. They would try and see, if their negligence and carelesnesse in watching, and in the discharge of duties, do not occasion their disappointments & shortcomeing. God sometimes thinks fit to suffer a lion of corruption to set on them, that they may look about them, and stand more vigilantly upon their watch tour, knowing that they have to do with a vigilant adversary, the devil, who as a roar­ing lion goeth about, seeking whom he may devoure 1 Pet. 5: 8. and that they fight not against flesh & blood; but against Principalities, against powers, against the Rulers of the darknesse of this world▪ against spirituall wickednesse in high places. Ephes. 6: 12. It is not for nought, that we are so often com­manded [Page 93] to watch Mat. 24: 42. & 25: 13. & 26: 41. & 14: 38. Luk. 21: 36. Mark 13: 33, 34, 35, 37. 1 Cor. 16: 13. 1 Thes. 5: 6. 1▪ Pet. 4: 7. Col. 4: 2. through the want of this, we know what [...]efell David and Peter.

5. They would try and see, whether there be not too much self confidence, which occasioned Peter's foule fall: God may, in justice and mercy, suffer corruption to break loose upon such, at a time, and tread them underfoot, to learne them afterward to carry more soberly; and to work out their salvation with fear & trembling Phil. 2: 12. remembering what a Jealous holy God He is, with whom they have to do; what an adversary they have against them; and how weak their owne strength is.

6. This would be remembered, that one may be growing in grace, and advancing in holinesse, when to his apprehension, he is not going forward from strength to strength, but rather going back­ward. It is one thing to have grace, and another thing to see that we have grace: so it is one thing to be growing in grace, and nother thing to see that we are growing in grace. Many may questi­on their grouth in grace, when their very questio­ning of it may evince the contrary: for they may conclude no grouth, but rather a back going, because they perceive moe and more violent, and strong corruptions, and hidden works of darknesse and wickednesse, within their souls, than ever they did before; while as that great discovery, sheweth the Increase of their spirituall knowledge; and an in­crease in this is an increase in grace. So they may [Page 94] question and doubt of their grouth, upon mistakes▪ as thinking corruption alwayes strongest, when it makes the greatest stirre & noise; Or their complaints may flow from a vehement desire they have to have much more sanctification, which may cause them overlook many degrees they have advanced: or some such thing may occasion their darknesse and com­plaints; yea God may think it fittest for them, to the end they may be keeped humble and diligent, to be in the dark as to their progresse; whereas if they saw, what advancement & progresse they had made in christianity, they might grow wanton, secure, and carelesse, and so occasion some sad dispensation to humble them againe.

7. It would be remembered, that perfect victo­ry is not be had here: it is true, in respect of justi­fication, through the imputation of the perfect righteousnesse of Christ; and in respect of their sincerity and gospel simplicitie, and in respect also of the parts of the new man, beleevers are said to be perfect; Such an one was Noah Gen. 6: 9. and Iob. Cap. 1: 1, 8. see also Psal. 37: 37, and 64: 4. 1 Cor. 2: 6. Heb 5: 14. Iam. 3: 2. And it is true, we are to aime at perfection▪ and to pray for it, as Mat. 5: 48. 2. Cor. 13: 11. Col. 4: 12. Heb. 13. 21. Iam. 1: 4. 1. Pet. 5: 10. Heb. 6: 1. Yet as to the degrees of holinesse▪ & sanctification, and in respect of the remnant of corruption within, there is no full perfection here. Iob. 9: 20, 21. Phil. 3: 12. for even he who is washen, and as to justification, is cleane every whit, yet needeth to wash his feet, because contracting filth, in his con­versation Ioh. 13: 10. So that if the Lord should [Page 95] mark iniquity, no man should stand. Psal. 130: 3. & 143: 2. There will stil be in the best something, more or lesse; of that battell, that Paul speaketh of Rom. 7: 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. So that they will stil have occasion to cry out with him vers. 24. O! wretched man that I am, who shall deliver [...]e from the body of this death? And the flesh will stil lust against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, so that they shall not be able to do what they would Gal. 5: 17. The place of perfection is above, where all tears are wiped away, and the weary wreastler is at rest.

8. Let them not mistake, and think, that every stirring of corruption in the soul, argueth its dominion and prevailing power. Corruption may stirre and make a great deal ado, where it cannot get leave to reigne; and be as a violent and cruell invader, seeking the throne, putting the whole kingdom in a combustion, who is resisted with force of armes. Corruption may be more quiet and still, when indeed it hath the throne of the soul: as a conquerour may be more quiet and still, when he hath overcome, and is in peacable possession of the kingdom, than when he was but fighting for it: when the strong▪ man keeps the house, and is Master, than all is quiet, and at rest, till a stronger come to thrust him out, and dispos­sesse him.

9. Sanctification doth not alwayes consist, in a mans freedom from some corruptions: for there may be some corruptions, that one hath no natu­rall inclination to; but, o [...] the contrary, a great aversation from: as some worlds wretches, may have [Page 96] no inclination to prodigality, and ranting, or such like vices, which are contrary to their humor, or to their constant education: and Satan may [...]e­ver tempt some man to such evils▪ knowing he wi [...] get more advantage, by plying his temper and genius, and so carying him away to the other con­trary evill; and so, though this man know not so much, as what it is once to be tempted to those vices, yet that will not say, that he is a sanctified man; farr lesse will it say, that he hath more grace than another man, whose predominant that evil is, and against which he is dayly fighting and wreast­ling. Whence it appeareth, that wreastling, and protesting against even an overcoming corruption, may evidence more of grace, than freedom from some evils, to which some are not so much tempted, and to which they are naturally lesse inclined.

10. Nor should they think, that corruption is alwayes master of the soul, and possessing the throne as a full conquerour, when it prevaileth and car­yeth the soul head-long, at a time: for corruption may sometimes come in upon the soul as an inu [...]da­tion, with irrestible violence, and, for a time, carry all before it; so that the soul cannot make any sensible resistence; as when a sudden, violent and unexpected temptation setteth on, so as the poor Man is overw helmed, & scarce knoweth where he is, or what he is doing, till he be laid on his back: at that time, it will be a great matter, if the soul dar quietly enter a protest against, and dissent from what is done: and if there be an honest protestation against the violent & tyrannicall invasion of cor­ruption, we cannot say, that corruption is in pea­cable [Page 97] possession of the throne: if the Spirit be lusting against the flesh, leavying all the forces he can▪ against the invader, by prayer and supplication to God, and calling-in all the supply of divine help he can get, and when he can do no more, is sighing and groaning under that unjust invasion, resolving never to pay homage to the usurper, no [...] to obey his lawes, nor so much as parley with him, or make peace, we can not say, that the soul doth consent▪ fully unto this usurpation: Nay, if the soul shall do this much, at such a time▪ when Satan sets on with all his force, it will be a greater evidence of the strength of grace in the soul, than if the soul should do the same or alittle more, at a time, when the temptation is not so strong.

11. It is not good for them to say, that grace is not growing in them, because they advance not so far, as some do; and because they come not to the pitch of grace, that they see some advanced to: That is not a sure rule to measure their grouth in grace by. Some may have a better naturall temper, whereby they are lesse inclined to severall vices, which these finde a strong propension to; they may have the advantage of a better education, and the like. So that they should rather t [...]y themselves this yeer, by what they were the last yeer, and that in reference to the lusts, to which they have been most subject, all their dayes.

12. We must not think that every beleever will attaine to the same measure of grace: there is a measure appointed for every member, or joynt of this body; and every joynt supplieth, according to the effectuall working in the measure of every p [...] [Page 98] Ephef. 4: 16. God hath more a doe with som [...] [...]han with others: there is more strength required [...] an arme or legg, than in a finger or toe. And ev [...] one should be content with his measure, so [...] [...]ot to fret or repine against God, and his dispen [...] ­tions, that makes them but a finger, and not [...] arme of the body; and do their duty in their sta­tion, fighting against sin, according [...]o the measure of grace dispensed to them of the Lord, and th [...] [...]aithfully & constantly; and not quarrell with God, [...]hat He maketh us not as free of temptations and corruptions, as some others: for the Captane must [...]ot be blamed for commanding some of his soul­diers to this post, where they never once see the enemy; and others to that post, where they must continually fight: the souldier is here under com­mand, and therefore must be quiet, and take his lot▪ so must the Christian reverence the Lords dispensa­ [...]tions, in ordering matters, so as they shall never [...]ave one houres quietnesse, whileas others have more rest and peace; and stand at their post fig [...] ­ting, resolving never to yeeld, but rather to cover the ground with their dead bodyes, till the Com­mander in chief think good to relieve them. Su [...] [...] am, as the only wise God hath distributed to eve [...]y member of the body, as He hath thought good▪ so it is the duty of every member, to endeavour this holy submission to Him, as to the measure of gra [...] ▪ considered as His free gift, bestow [...]d on them: [...]nd to be humbled for the grudgings of his heart▪ [...] God hath not given him moe talents? [...] sure I am, though this submission make no [...] [...]oise in th [...] world; yet really this is one of [...] [Page 99] [...]ghest degrees of grace attaineable here, and [...] a [...] ornament of a m [...]ek and quiet Spirit, [...] it in [...] sight of God of great price; So that who ever hath [...] to this; have the very grace they seem to [...], and more. Yet le [...]t this should be [...], l [...] me adde a word or two of c [...]ution, to [...] this submission. 1. There must be with it an [...] pri [...]ing even of that degree of grace, which they want. 2. There must be a panting after grace, as it is God's image, and a conformity to Him▪ and that with so much singlness, as they may be in [...]ase to say, without the reproachings of their heart, they do not so much love holiness for heaven, a [...], heaven for holiness. 3. There must be an unces­santness in useing all meanes, whereby the grouth o [...] grace may be promoved, to this end, that they may be comformed to His image▪ rather than that they may be comforted. 4. There must be also a deep humiliation for the want of that degree of grace they would have, as it importet [...] the want of so much conformity to Him, to whose image they are praedestinated to be conforme, which will very well consist with this submission, we are speak­ing of [...]

13. It would be remembered, that there may be a great progress, even when it is not observed, when, 1. Hereby the man is made to ly in the dust, to loath himself, and cry, behold I am vile▪ 2. Here­by his indignation against the body of death is the more increased. 3. Hereby his esteem of a Saviou [...] an [...] of the blessed contrivance of Salvation is the [...] hi [...]ghtned, that he seeth he is thereby brough [...] to make mention of His righteousness, even o [...] [...] only. 4. Hereby his longing after [...] [Page 100] fr [...]ition is increased, where all these complain [...] shall cease. 5. And hereby he is put to [...] that much slighted duty of holding fast the rejoy [...] ­ing of his hope firme unto the end, looking [...] longing for the grace, that shall be brought unto him, at the revelation of Iesus Christ, when he shall be presented without spot, and made meet to be [...] partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.

CHAP. VI. How Christ is to be made use of, in reference to th [...] k [...]lling and crucifying of the old man.

HAving thus shortly pointed out something [...] ▪ in generall, serving to the clearing and open­ing up the way of our usemaking of Christ for san­ctification, we come now more particularly to the clearing up of this business. In sanctification we must consider First the renewing and changeing of our nature and frame: and next the washing and purging away of our dayly contracted spots. The first of these is commonly divided into two parts▪ viz. 1. The mortification, killing and crucifying of the old man of sin and corruption, which i [...] within; and 2. The vivification renewing, quicke­ning and strengthening of the new man of grace, and this is a grouth in grace, and in fruitfulnesse & holinesse.

As to the first of these viz the mortification [...] crucifying of the old man, we would know, th [...] there is such a principle of wickednesse and enmi [...] ▪ against God, in man by nature now, since the fall, [Page 101] whereby the man is inclined to evil, and only to evil. This is called the old man, as being, like the body, made up of so many parts, joynts and members▪ that is, so many lusts & corruptions and evill inclinations, which together make up a corpus, and they are f [...]st joyned and compacted together as the members of the body, each usefull and service­able to another, and all of them concurring and contributing their utmost to the carrying on of the work of sin▪ and so it is the man of sin and it is also called the old man, as ha [...]ing first posses­sion of the soul, before it is by grace renewed; and is [...] dying more and more dayly. Thus it is called the old man, and the body of sin Rom. 6: 6. This old man hath his members in our members & fa [...] ­cultyes, so that none of them are free, understan­ding, will, affections, and the members of our body are all servants of unrighteousnesse to this body of sin, and old man. So we read of the motions of sin Rom 7: 5. which work in our members to bring for [...] fruit unto death: and of the lusts of the flesh Rom. 13: 14. Gal. 5: 16, 24. and the lusts of sin Rom. 6: 12. So we hear of the desires of the flesh, and of the minde Ephes. 2: 3. and of affections and lusts Gal. 5: 24. And the old man is said to be corrupt, according to the deceitfull lust [...]. Ephes. 4▪ 22. all which lusts and affections are as so many members of this body of sin, and of this old man. And further, there is herein considerable a power, force and efficacy, which this old man hath in us, to carry us away, and, as it were, command us, o [...] constraine us▪ as by a forcible law. Hence we read of the law of sin and death Rom. 8: 2▪ which only [Page 102] the law of the Spirit of life in Christ doth make [...] free from. It is also called a law in our mem [...]rs warring against the law of our minde Rom. 7: 23. and bringing us into captivity to the law of sin, which is in our members. So it is said to lust against the Spirit and to warre. Gal. 5: 17 All which point out the strength, activity and dominion of sin in the soul; so that it is as the husband over the wife Rom. 7: 1. yea it hath a domineering and constraineing power, where its horns are not held in by gr [...]e. And as its power is great, so its nature is wicked & malicious; for it is pure enmity against God Rom. [...]: 7. so that it neither is, nor can be reconciled, [...] therefore must be put off, and abolished Ephes. 2: 15. killed & crucified Rom. 6: 6. Now herein lyeth the work of a beleever, to be killing, mor­tifying and crucifying this enemy, or rather enmity; and delivering himself from under this bondage and slavery, that he may be Christ's free man, and that through the Spirit. Rom. 8▪ 13.

Now if it be asked, how shall a beleever make life of Christ, to the end this old man may be goten crucified: or how should a beleever mortifie th [...] Old man, and the lusts thereof, through Christ, or by the Spirit of Jesus? We shall propose thos [...] things which may helpe to cleare this.

1. The beleever would have his eye on this old man, as his arch enemy, as a deadly cut-throat, lying within his bosome. It is an enemy ludging within him, in his Soul, Minde, Heart and Affe­ctions, so that, there is no part free; and therefore is acquant with all the motions of the soul, and i [...] alwayes opposeing, and hindering every thing that [Page 103] is good, It is an enemy, that will never be recon­ciled to God, and therefore will not be reconciled with the beleever, as such; for it is called enmi [...]y it self: and so it is actively alwayes seeking to pro­move the ruine of the soul, what by prompting, inclineing, moving and forceably drawing or dri­veing, (sometimes with violence and rage) to evil; what by withstanding resisting, opposeing, coun­ter working, and contradicting what is good; so that the beleever can not get that done, which he would do; and is made to do that, which he would not. Therefore this being such an enemie, and so dangerous an enemie, so constant and implaca­ble an enemy, so active▪ and closse an enemie, so deadly and destructive; it is the beleevers part, to guaird against this enemy, to have a vigilant eye upon it, to carry as an irreconcilable enemy there­unto; and therefore never to come in tearms of capitulation, or agreement, therewith, never o [...]ce to parlie, let be, make peace. And the belee­ver would not have his vigilant eye upon this or that Member of this body of death, so much as upon the Body it self, or the Principle of wicked­nesse and rebellion against God; the Head, Life, Spirit or Law of this body of death: for there lyeth its greatest wickednesse, and activity: and this is alwayes opposeing us though not in every joy at and member; but sometime in one, sometime in another.

2. Though the beleever should have a maine eye upon the Body, this innate, strong and forcible law of sin and death; yet should he have friendshipe and familiarity with no part, member or lust of [Page 104] all this body: all the deeds of the body should be mortified, Rom. 8: 13. the old man with his deeds should be mortified Col. 3: 6. & we should mortifie our members, which are upon the earth, vers. 5. for all of them are against us, & the least of them counte­nanced, intertained & imbraced, will worke ou [...] ruine, & cut our souls throat; therefore should the beleever look on each of them, & on all of them, as his deadly enemies.

3. He would consider, that as it is a very un­seemly thing for him, to be a slave to that old ty­rant, and to yeeld his members, as so many ser­vants to iniquity; so it is dangerous & deadly: his life lyeth at the stake: either he must get it morti­fied, killed & subdued, or it will kill him: his life will goe for its life: if this enemy escape, he is a gone man. The consideration of this would cause the beleeve [...] act here in earnestnesse and seriousnesse, with care and diligence; and set about this work of mortification, with labour and paines.

4. Much more must it be against all reason and christianity, for the beleever to be making pro­vision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof, Rom. 13: 14. To be strengthening the hands of, and laying provision to this enemy, which is l [...]t & sworne against us, can stand with no reason. And here is much of the christians prudence & spirituall wisdome required, to discerne, what may make for fostering of this or that corruption, or member of the body of sin & death, and to withdraw that, as we will labour to take away provision of any kinde, from an enemy, that is comeing against us: Paul acted herein, as a wise gamster, & comba­tant, [Page 105] when he keept under his body, & brought it into subjection 1 Cor. 9: 27. It were but to mock God, & to preach forth our own folly, to be looking to Christ for help against such an enemy, and in the mean time, to be under-hand strengthen­ing the hands of the enemie: this would be double dealing and trearchery against our selves.

5. To the end, their opposition unto this ene­my may be the stronger and more resolute, they would consider, that this body of sin is wholly set against God, & his interest in the soul, being very enmity it self against God Rom. 8: 7. and alwayes losting and fighting against the work of God in the soul Gal. 5: 17. & against every thing that is good, so that it will not suffer (so far as it can hinder) the soul to do any thing that is good, at least in a right manner, and for a right end: nay, with its lust­ings it driveth constantly to that which is evill, raiseth evil motions & inclinations in the soul, ere the beleever be aware: sideth with any tentation that is off [...]ed, to the end it may destroy the soul, like a traitour within; as we see it did in David, when he fell in adultery; and with Asaph Ps. 73: 2. yea it self opposeth and tempteth Iam. 1: 14. by setting minde, will & affections, on wrong cour­ses: and thus it driveth the soul to a course of rebel­lion against God, or diverts it and drawes it back, that it cannot get God served aright; yea some­times it sets a fire in the soul intangling all the facul­tyes, filling the minde with darknesse or prejudice, misleading or perverting the affectious, and so mis­carrying the will, & leading it captive Rom. 7: 23. [Page 106] so that the thing is done, which the regenerate soul would not do, and the duty is left undone which the soul would fain have had done: yea, and that sometimes notwithstanding of the souls watching, and striveing against this; so strong is its force.

6. The beleever would remember that this ene­my is not for him to fight against alone, and that his owne strength and skill will make but a slender opposition unto it: It will laugh at the shaking of his spear: it can easily insinuate it self, on all occasions, because it lyeth so neare & close to the soul, alwayes resideing there, and is at the beleevers right hand, whatever he be doing, and is alwayes openly or closely, opposeing, and that with great facility: for it easily besetteth Heb. 12: 1. because it lyeth within the soul, & in all the faculties of it, in the Heart, Minde, Will, Conscience & Affectiones; so that upon this account, the deceitfulnesse of the heart is great, & passeth the search of Man Ier. 17: 9. Man cannot know all the windeings and turnings, all the drifts and designes, all the lurking and retireing places, all the falshoods and double dealings, all the dissimulations, lies and subterfuges, all the plau [...]ible and deceitfull pretexts and insinuations of this heart, acted and spirited by this law of sin and death. And beside this slight and cunning, it hath strength and power to draw, by lusts, into destruction and perdition 1 Tim. 4: 9. and to carry the soul headlong. So that it makes the mans case miserable Rom. 7: 24. All which would say, that the beleever should call in other help than his owne, and remember, that through the Spirit he must mor­tifie the deeds of the body. Rom. 8: 13.

[Page 107]7. And therefore the beleever must lay aside all his carnall weapons, in dealing with this adversary; and look out for divine help & assistance, even for the promised Spirit, through which alone he can be in­structed & inabled for this great work; for of him­self he can do nothing, not so much as think a good thought as of himself 2 Cor. 3: 5. fa [...] lesse will he be able to oppose such a mightie adversary, that hath so great & many advantages, and therefore all his carnall meanes, purposes, vowes, & fightings in himself, will but render himself weaker, & a readyer prey unto this adversary, which gaineth ground while he is so opposed. It is Christ alone and his Spirit, that can destroy the works of the devil, and kill or crucify this enmity.

8. So that the beleever must have his recourse, for help and succour here, unto Iesus the Captaine of salvation; and must follow Him, and fight un­der his b [...]nner, make use of his weapons, which are spiritu [...]ll; fight according to his counsell and conduct, taking Him as a leader & commander▪ & lying open for his orders & instructions: waiting for the motions of his Spirit. & following them: and th [...]s oppose & fight against this deadly enemie, with an eye alwayes on Christ by [...]aith, depending on Him, for light to the minde, resolution to the will, and grace to the whole soul, to stand in the battel; and to withstand all assaults, and never en­gadge in a disput with this enemie, or any lust or member of this body, without Christ the Princi­pall: that is, the soul would dispaire in it self, and be strong in Him, and in the power of his might, by faith gripping to Him, as Head, Captaine and [Page 108] Commander in chiefe, resolving to fight in his strength, and to oppose, through the helpe of his Spirit.

9. And for this cause, the beleever would eye the covenant of Redemption, the basis of all our hope and consolation, wherein finall and full victo­ry is promised to Christ, as head of the elect, viz, that He shall bruise the serpents head; and so that in Him, all his followers, and members of his mysticall body, shall lift up the head, and get full victory at length over both sin and death. Now it is God, th [...]t giveth us the victory, through our Lord Iesus Christ, 1 Cor. 15▪ 57. The b [...]leever would also eye by faith the covenant of Grace, where▪in particularly this same victory is promi [...]ed to the beleever, in and through Jesus, Rom. 16: 20 & the God of peace shall br [...]ise Satan under your feet shortly: and, Sin shall not have dominion over you, for yee are not under the law but under grace Rom. 6: 14. The beleever, I say, would look out by faith unto, and lay hold on, these and the like pro­mises; and thereby get strength conveyed to him. self, whereby he may strive lawfully, and fight valiently, and oppose with courage and resolution.

10. Further, the beleever would eye Christ as a fountaine of Furniture, as a full and compleat magazine, standing open, & ready for every one of his honest souldiers, to run to, for new supply of what they want: so that whatever they finde wanting in their Christian armour, they must run away to the open magazine, Christs fulnesse, that standeth ready for them; and by faith take & put on what they want & stand in need of, in their [Page 109] warfare. If their girdle of truth be slacked, loosed or weakened, and they be meeting with temptations anent their hypocrisie, and Satan objecting to them their double dealing, of purpose to discourage them, and to make them fainte & give over the fight; they must away to Him, who is the Truth that He may binde on that girdle better, and make their hearts more upright before God, in all they do. And if their breast plate of righteousnesse be weakened, & Satan there seem to get advantage, by casting up to them their unrighteous dealings towards God or Men, they must flee to Him, who only can help here, and beg pardon through his blood, for [...] failings, and set to againe a fresh to the battel. If their resolution, which is understood by the pre­paration of the gospell of peace, grow weak, it must be renewed in Christs armory, and the feet of new be shode therewith. If their shield of faith beginne to fail the [...], away must they get to Him, who is the Author & finisher of faith Heb 12: 2. And if their helmet of hope beginne to fail them, In this armory alone can that be supplied. And if their sword be blunted in their hand, or they unable to weild it aright, the Spirit of Jesus can only teach their hands to fight, and instruct them how to mannage that usefull weapon with advantage. Thus must the beleever be strong in Him, and in the power of his might Ephes. 6: 10. He is their God that girdeth them with strength and maketh their way perfect. He maketh their feet like hindes feet, & setteth them upon their high places. He teacheth their hands to war, so that a bow of steal is brocken by their armes. He giveth them the shield of Salvation. His [Page 110] right hand upholdeth them. He girdeth with strength unto the battell, &c. Psal. 18: vers. 32, 33, 34, 35, 39. &c.

11. For the further strengthening of their Hope, Faith & Confidence, beleevers would eye Christ, as hanging on the crosse▪ and overcome­ing by death, Death and him that had the power of death, the Devill; & so as meritoriously purchase­ing this redemtion from the slavery of sin and Sa­tan; and particulary, from the slavery of that body of death, and of the law of sin & death: for the A­postle tells us Rom. 8: 2▪ that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Iesus, doth make us free from the law of sin and death, and that because, as he say­eth further vers. 3, 4. what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his owne son in the likenesse of sinfull flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh. That the rig [...] ▪ teousnesse of the law might be fulfilled in us. So that the beleever may now look upon that enemy, how fearfull so ever it appear, as condemned and killed▪ in the death of Christ. He, having laid downe the price of Redemption, hath bought this freedom from the chaines & fetters, with which he was held in captivity: faith then on the death of Jesus, satifying justice, for the poor captive, may & should support, and strengthen the hope & confi­dence of the beleever, that he shall obtaine vi­ctory at length.

12. And it will further confirme the hope and faith of the beleever, to look to Christ hinging on the crosse, and there vanquishing and evercomeing this [...], as a publick person, representing [Page 111] the elect, who died in him, and virtually and le­gally did, in him, overcome that Jailour, and break his fetters: and the soul now beleeving, may, yea should, reckon it self, in Christ, dying, as it were, upon the crosse; and there overcomeing all those spirituall enemies: likewise, sayeth the Apostle Rom. 6: 11. Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin. From hence, even while fighting, the beleever may account himself a conquerour, yea more then a conquerour, through Him that loved him▪ Rom. 8: 37. Now faith acting thus on Christ▪ as a publick person, dying and overcomeing death and sin, the beleever may not only inferte the cer­tainty of victory, knowing that our old man is cru­cified with Christ Rom 6: 6. but also from the crosse of Christ draw strength to stand, & fight a­gainst the struglings of this vanquished and killed enemy. They that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections & lusts, Gal. 5: 24. But how? even by the crosse of Christ, for thereby is the world crucified unto me (sayeth the Apostle Gal. 6: 14.) & I unto the world: your old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, Rom. 6: 6.

13. The beleever, being dead indeed unto sin, through the crosse of Christ, is to look upon him­self as legally freed from that yock of bondage under sin & death. The law hath dominion over a man, so long as he liveth Rom. 7: 1. but by the body of Christ, beleevers are become dead to the law, vers. [...] ▪ That law of sin & death, which hath dominion over a man, that liveth still in nature, and is not yet by fai [...]h planted in the likenesse of Christs death, no [...] [Page 112] buryed with him by baptisme into death Rom. 6: 4, 5. hath not that dominion over beleevers, it had once: for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Ie­sus hath made them free from the law of sin & death Rom. 8: 2. So that now the beleever is free from that tyranny; and that tyrant can exerce no law­full jurisdiction or authority over him, and there­fore he may with the greater courage repell the in­solencies of that tyrant, that. contrare to all right and equity, seeketh to Lord it over him still. They are no lawfull subjects to that cruell and rageing Prince, or to that spirituall wickednesse.

14. So that the beleever renunceing that juris­diction, under which he was formerly, and being under a new husband, and under a new law▪ even the law of the Spirit of li [...]e in Christ Iesus▪ is to look upon all the motions of sin as illegall, and as treaso­nable acts of a tyrant. The old man being crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, the beleever is not any more to serve sin Rom. 6: 6. And being now dead they are freed from sin vers. 7. and are married to another, even to Him, who is raised from the dead, & so they should not serve sin, but bring forth fruit unto God Rom. 7: 4. & there­fore look upon all motions of the flesh, and all the inclinations and stirrings of the old law of sin, as acts of treachery and rebellion against the right and jurisdiction of the beleevers new Lord & Husband; and are therefore obliged to lay hold on this old man, this body of death, and all the members of it, as traitours to the rightfull King▪ & Husband, and to take them prisoners to the King, that He may give out sentence, and execute the same, against [Page 113] them, as enemies to his kingdome and interest in the soul: They being now no more servants of sin, but of righteousnesse Rom. 6: 18. they ought no more to yeeld their members servants to uncleannesse & iniquity, un [...]o iniquity vers. 19. and being debters, no more to the flesh, to live after the flesh Rom. 8: 12. they are to mortifie the deeds of the body through the Spirit vers. 13. and to crucify the flesh with the affections & lusts Gal. 5: 24. that is, by bringing them to the crosse of Christ, where first they were condemned and crucified, in their full body and power; that a new sentence, as it were, may goe out against them, as parts of that con­demned Tyrant, and as belonging to that crucified body.

15. So that the beleever, that would carry faithfully in this matter, and fight lawfully in this warfare, and hope to obtaine the victory, through Jesus Christ, must bring these Traitours, that appeare in their sinfull motions, and lusts in the soul, working rebellion against the lust authority, and equitable lawes of the lawfull Prince, Iesus, before the tribunal of Him, who hath now gote all power and authority, in heaven and earth. Mat. 28: 18. and hath all judgment committed to Him. Ioh. 5: 22. And to this end, both died and rose, & revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living Rom. 14: 9. that He may execute justice upon the T [...]aitor, head and members, that He may tr [...]mple these devils under, and bruise the head of these serpents within us. The beleever then is, by faith in prayer, to carry these open ene­mies to Christ, and declare and witnesse against [Page 114] them as Traitours, by what mischief they have done in the soul, by their hindering the righteous lawes of the king to be obeyed; and constraining & force­ing, what by arguments or allurements, and what by forceable inclinations and pousings, to disobedience and a counteracting of Christ; and he should urge and plead, upon the fundamentall lawes of the land, viz the articles of agreement betwixt the Father and the Son; and the faithfull promises of the Covenant of grace; and upon Christs office as King, and Governour, and his undertaking as Mediator; upon the merites of his death and sufferings; upon his dying as a common person; upon the constitution of the gospell, where­by they are in law repute as dying in him, and so free from the law of sin and death; and upon their relation to Him as their new Lord, Head▪ Hus­band, King▪ Commander &c. Upon these argu­ments (I say) to plead for justice against the rebell, that is now brought to the barre, and so by faith leave the prisoner in His hand, that He may, in his own time, and way, give a second blow unto the neck of this implacable and rageing enemy, that he may no [...] rise up to disturbe the peace of the soul, as before; or to trouble, impede, and mo­lest the soul in paying the homage and obedience due to his lawfull Master and Soveraigne King Jesus.

Cautions & Directions.

For furder clearing of the premises, I would propose a few particulars, for caution & dire­ction: as,

[Page 115]1. This work of laying the burthen of this businesse on Christ by faith, would be gone about, with much singlenesse of heart, aimeing at the glory of God, and the carying on of his work in the soul: and not for self ends, and carnal by [...] respects, lest thereby we marre all.

2. It would be carryed on, without partiality, against all and every one of the lusts, and motions of the Old man: for if there be a complyance with and a spareing of any one known lust, the whole work may be marred, they may meet with a disappointment, as to the particular lust, they a [...] desireing victory over: and the lust they are har­bouring, though it may seem little, may open a door to many stronger; and so occasion sad dayes to the man, ere he be aware.

3. As they would bring the particular lust, or lusts, unto Christ, as chiefe Lord justice; so they would alwayes lay the axe to the root of the tree; and crave justice against the maine body, that yet lieth within the soul; and these particular corrup­tions and affections, that are as members of that body of sin, should put them in minde of the old man; for they should crucifie the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof Gal. 5: 24. the body and the members: these lusts are the lusts of sin▪ or of that Head-sin, which hath a law, or the force and impulse of a law, in the soul: and therefore, their maine designe would be against this root, where lyeth the strength and body of the enemy, and which acteth in those members; this is the capitall enmity, and should be mainely opposed: and the following of this course, would prove more [Page 116] succesfull, than that which many a time we take: out nibling at or wreastling against this or that member of the body of death, is but of little ad­vantage▪ so long as the maine body of sin, the bitter root of wickednesse, the carnall minde, this innate enmity, is miskent, and not opposed: but on the contrary strick at this, we strick at all.

4. This would be the beleevers constant work, to be crucifying the flesh, with the lusts thereof; to be mortifying their members, wherein the members of the old man quarter and lodge▪ Colos. 3: 5. to be spiritually minded, and to minde the things of the spirit Rom 8: 5, 6. for this carnall minde is enmity against God Rom. 8: 7. and so is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. It is not only an enemy, which may be recon­ciled; but enmity, in the abstract, which never can be reconciled: and this enmity will never be idle, for it c [...]nnot, till it be fully and finally de­stroyed: the flesh is alwayes lusting against the Spirit Gal. 5. 17. for they are contrary one to the other. So that though, to our sense, it may sometimes appear as sleeping, in regaird that it doth not by some particular lust so molest and per­plexe the soul, as formerly it did; yet it is restlesse, and may be more active in another lust; and so by changeing weapons upon us deceive us. Here then is much spirituall wisdome and vigilancy re­quired; when they think they have gotten one lust subdued, they must not think the war is at an end; but after all their particular victories, watch and pray, that they enter not into temptation.

5. This way of laying the weight of the [Page 117] matter on Christ, should and will keep them humble, and teach them not to ascribe the glory of any good that is done unto themselves, but to give Him all▪ the glory, who is jealous of his glory and will not give it to another, that the crowne may alone floorish on his head, who is the Captane of their salvation, and who by his Spirit worket [...] all their workes in them.

6. Nor would this way of carrying the matter to Christ, and putting it over on Him, cause the beleever become negligent in commanded dutyes, reading, hearing, prayer &c. for it is there he must exspect to meet with Christ, there must he seek Him, and there must he waite for Him, and his Spi­rit, to do the work desired: for though He hath not limited himself to these meanes, so as He can­not, or will not, any other way helpe; yet He hath bound us to them; and it is our duty to waite there, where He hath commanded us [...]o waite, though He should sometime [...]hink good to come another way, for the manifestation of the soveraignity of hi [...] grace.

7. Yet while we are about the meanes, we would guaird against a le [...]ning to them, lest in stead of getting victory over corruption, we be brought more in bondage thereunto, another way: we must not think, that our Prayers, or our Hearing or Reading &c. will bring downe the body of death, or subdue any one corruption: for that were but an yeelding to corruption, and opening a back door to the carnal minde, and to another deadly lust, and a beating corruption with a sword of straw: This is not to mortifie the deeds of the body [Page 118] through the Spirit, but through the flesh; and a fleshly weapon will never draw blood of this spiri­tuall wickednesse, or old man; or of any corrupt lust or affection thereof: and yet how many times doth our deceitfull heart by as us thi [...] way? Our work would be, as is said, to use the ordinances, a [...] meanc [...] ▪ whereby we may get the businesse laid on Christ, and help from Christ to do the b [...]sinesse. We must go to the meanes with our prisoner to finde Christ there at his court, and a [...]ifes; that He may take course with the Traitor.

8. In all this there would be a looking to, and dependance on Christ for helpe and grace: because of our selves, as of our selves, we can not do this much; we cannot complean aright of corruptions, nor take them away to Christ, not ask for justice against them: a [...] constable [...] ▪ and other officers must carry malefactores to the courts of justice, u [...]on publick charges; so Christ will not have us doing or attempting this m [...]ch, on our own charges: for He giveth noble allowance.

9. In following of this course, we would not think alwayes to come speed at the first. Some­times the Lord, for the encourageing of his children, may give them a speedy hearing, and de­liver them from the tyranny of some particular lust or other, that hath troubled them; that for some time, at least, it sh [...]ll not so trouble them, as it did. Yet He will not do so alwayes; but may think it good, to keep them waiting on Him, and hanging on his courts, for so [...]e considerable time, that He may thereby exercise their Faith, Patience, [...], [...], and Diligenc [...] ▪ So that it should [Page 119] not seem strange to us, if we be not admitted a [...] the first, and get▪ not our answer, at the first cry.

10. When the Lord thinketh good to delay the answer to our desires, and the execution of justice on the Malefactor & Traitour, or to deliver us from his tyranny and trouble, we would beware of thinking to capitulat with the enemy for our peace and quiet, or to enter into a ce [...]lation of armes with him: that is, our [...]mity against him should never abate, nor should our desire after the mortification and crucifixion of this lust grow lesse; nor should we be quiet and at peace, though it should seem to grow a little more calme and still, or not to rage as formerly [...] this looks but like a covenant or confedera [...] [...], which will not stand.

11. We would also know, that w [...]at Christ said of devils, holdeth good of these lusts▪ viz. Th [...] some of them do not goe out, but by fasting and prayer; that is, by Christ sought unto and found in these meanes. There are some lusts, that will not be gote so easily killed and mortified, as others; but will cost us more paines and labour, as being cor­ruptions, which possibly have some greater advan­tage of our naturall temper, and constitution of body, or of long continuance and a cursed habit, or the like. We must not then think it strange, if some such lust be not subdued, so easily as some others, to which we have fewer, and weaker, and not so frequent▪ temptations.

12. As we cannot [...] full conquest of the [Page 120] body of death, so long as we are here, as was shown above; so nor can we exspect a full and finall victory over any one lust, which ever we have been troubled with. It is true, Beleevers may be keeped from some grosse outbreaking of a cor­ruption, which sometime prevailed, as Peter was from relapseing into an open and down-right denying his Master; yet that same corruption did afterward stirre, though not so violently as to carry him to such an hieght of sin; yet so farr as to cause him do that, which was a partiall denying of his Master, when Paul withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed, for with­drawing from the Gentils, for fear of them of the circumcision &c▪ Gal. 2: 11, 12. So, though a particul [...] [...] be so far subdued through grace, as [...] considerable time, a man may not finde it so violent, as it was; yet he can­not say, that it is totally killed, because it may stirre thereafter in some weaker measure; yea he cannot tell, but ere he come to die, that same corruption may rise to be as violent as ever, and that Satan may againe think to enter the soul, at that same breach, which once he entered at; yea, and who can tell, whether God may not suffer that corrup­tion, which lay long as dead, to revive againe, for a time, and for a time drive the soul as violent­ly as ever, and prevaile for a time? And this should teach all to walk soberly, watchfully, and in feare, and to have a vigilant eye, even upon such lusts and carnall affections, as they may suppose, they have gote the victory of.

[Page 121]13. We would not think, that we gaine no ground upon corruption, because we still perceive it stirring, lesse or more; for as corruption is not alwayes strongest▪ (as was said above) nor hath the deepest footing in the soul, when its motions and stirrings are most felt; so nor must we think that there is no ground gained upon a lust, because we are still troubled and molested with its▪ stirrings: for it is a great advantage to be more sensible of the motions of this enemy; and our more faithfull, and active wreastling against it, may make its least stirrings more sensible to us; as the motions and trouble, which a malefactor, while in grips & in prison, maketh, may be thought more of, than his greater rageings, before he was apprehended; yet he may be sure in fetters for all that: a beast that hath gotten deaths blow may get out of grips and run more mad then ever, and yet will die at length of the same blow.

14. Though we should not finde present ease and quiet, by our following this way; yet we should think it much, if the Lord helpe us to stand, when we have done all we can; though we meet not with the hoped for successe presently: If he give us grace to continue, without wearying or fainting, and to be resolute never to give over, we have reason to blesse Him: if we be keeped still in the conflict with pursuite of the enemy, it is our great advantage; the victory shall come, in God's owne time. If our opposition [...]o continue, that we are resolved never to take, nor give quarter, though our trouble and exercise should be the greater, and our ease and quiet the lesse, we [Page 122] ought to blesse Him, yea and rejoyce in hope of what He shall yet do for us. For He that will come shall come, and will not tary. Let us waite for Him, in doing our duty, and faithfully keeping our post.

15. Yea, if we get quietnesse or ease from the violence of rageing lusts, for any little time; and be not continually driven and carryed head-long therewith, we ought to be thankful for this, and to walk humbly before Him; lest He be provoked, through our unthankfulnesse and pride, to let these furious dogs loose upon us againe.

16. When we are bending our strength and all our forces against some one corruption or other, which possibly hath been most troublesome to us; we would not be secure as to all others; or think that we are in hazard only on this side: for Satan may make a sainte here; and really intend a [...] assault at another place, by some other corrupt affection. O What need have we of spirituall wisdome, that we may be better acquanted with his stratagems and wiles? Let us so then fight against one member of this body of death, as to have our eye upon others, lest when we think to keep out Satan at the fore door, he enter in at the back door. He can make use of extremities, and play his game, with both; yea, and gaine his poynt, if we be not aware.

Objections answered.

It will not be amisse, for further explaining of the matter, to remove a scruple or two. Some may say. That they cannot perceive, that all [Page 123] their paines in this matter come to any good issue; for they never found corruption stir more, & act more lively and incessantly, than since they began to fight against it in earnest, So that this would seem not to be the right way.

I answere: Though, from what is said before, particularly cautions 9th and 13th a resolution of this doubt may be had; yet I shall propose those things, for further clearing of the matter.

1. May not much of this flow from thy not laying the whole work so wholly off thy self, and upon Christ, as thou oughtest to do? Try and see.

2. May not the devil rage most, when he thinks ere long to be ejected? May he not laboure to create most trouble to the soul, when he seeth that he is like to be put from some of his strengths▪

3. May not the devil be doing this of purpose, to drive thee to dispaire, of ever getting corruption subdued and mortified; or to a fainting and [...]it­ting up in the pursuite; and to a despondency of spirit, that so in stead of fighting or standing, thou may cede and turne the back? and should we comply with him in his designes?

4. May not the Lord give way to this for [...] time, to try thy Seriousnesse, Patience, Submis­sion, and Faith, and to sharpen thy diligence, and kindle up thy Zeal? And should we not submit to his wise dispensations?

5. How can thou say, that thou gainest no ad­vantage, as long as thou are not made to lay aside the matter wholly, as hoplesse of any good issue; [Page 124] but on the contrary, art helped to stand, and to resist sin, to cry out against it, to fight as thou canst, and at least not to yeeld?

6. What if God see it for thy advantage, that thou be keeped so in exercise for a time, to the end thou may be keeped Humble, Watchfull and Diligent? He may see more of thee, than thou canst see of thy self: and so may know what is best for thee; and should thou not condescend to be disposed of by Him, as He will, and to let Him make of thee, and do with thee, what He will?

7. What if God be about to chasten thee thus, for thy former Negligence, Secur [...]y, and Unwatchfulnesse, and giving too too much advan­tage to those lusts, which now, after his awakening of thee, thou would be delivered from? Should not thou bear the indignation of the Lord, because thou hast sinned against Him, as the Church resolved to do Micah. 7: 9.

8. Is it not thy duty, the more that corruption stirre, to run with it the oftner to Christ, that He may subdue it, and put it to silence? May not thou improve this to advantage, by making many errands to Him?

9. May it not come in a day, that hath not come in a year? Art thou sure, that all thy paines shall be in vaine? Or thinks thou, that all his children have go [...]e victory alike soon over their lusts? What cause is there then to complaine thus?

10. May not all this convince thee, that it is thy duty to waite on Him, in the use of his ap­pointed [Page 125] meanes, and to be patient, standing fast to thy post, resolving, when thou hast done all, yet to stand?

11. May not this satisfy thee, that God through grace accepteth thy labour and wreastling, as thy duty, and accounteth it service to Him, and obedience?

But againe, it may possibly be Objected thus▪ So long as I am in this condition, keept [...] under with my lusts▪ I cannot get God glorified and served, as He ought to be.

I answer, Though so long as it is so with thee [...] thou cannot glorifie and serve Him, in such a par­ticular manner, as others, who have gote more victory over those evils, under which thou art groaning; yet God can get glory and service of thee another way; as,

1. By thy Submission with calmnesse of spirit, to his wise dispensations, when thou dar not speak against Him, and say with Rebecca, in another case, if it be so, why am I thus? But sweetly and wil­lingly casts thy self downe at his feet, saying, good is the will of the Lord; let Him do what seemeth Him good &c.

2. By thy Patient onwaiting, when thou are not wearying, nor fainting; but saying, why should I not waite upon the great king's leasure; Is He not free to come, when He will? Dar I set limites to the holy one of Israel?

3. By thy Humility, when thou blesseth Him for keeping thee so long out of hell; and thinketh much of his giving thee grace to see, and observe the stirrings of corruption, which carnall wreat­ches [Page 126] never perceive; and helping thee to withstand, and complean of corruption, which they sweetly comply with.

4. By thy Hatred of sin, when all that Satan can do cannot make thee comply with those lusts▪ or sweetly imbrace those vipers, or lye down in peace with those rotten members of the old man, as others do.

5. By thy Watchfulnesse; when all thy disap­pointments cause thee, the more earnestly, wat [...] against that enemy▪

6. By thy Acting faith; when still thou art carrying sin in its lusts to Christ to kill and subdue, as beleeving the tenour of the gospell, and [...] covenant.

7. By thy Hope, which appeareth by thy not despaireing and giving over the matter as a hope­lesse businesse, and turning aside to wicke [...] courses.

8. By thy Praying, when thou cryest to H [...] ▪ continually for help, who only can help.

9. By thy Wreastling and standing against all opposition, for thereby is his strength made perfect in weaknesse. 2. Cor. 12: 9.

10. By thine Obedience. For it is his com­mand, that thou stand and fight this good fight of faith.

So that if thou hast a desire to glorify Him, th [...] wants not occasion to do it, even in this condition, wherein thou complainest, that thou cannot g [...] Him glorified. And if those grounds do not sa­tisfie thee, It is to be feared, that it is not so much [...] desire to glorifie Him, that moveth thee to [...]y [Page 127] so earnestly, for actuall delivery from the trouble of the flesh, and the lusts thereof, a [...] some thing else, which thou may search after and finde out, such as love to ease, quietness; applause and commenda­tion of others, or the like.

But in the Third place it may be objected, Is it not promised, that sinne shall not have dominion over us, as not being under the law, but under grace? Rom. 6: 14. How can we then but be troubled, when we finde not this promise made good?

I Answere. 1. Sin is not alwayes victorious and domineering, when it seemeth to rage and stirre most; your opposition thereunto, fighting and wreastling against it, sheweth that it hath not full dominion: So long as an invadeing [...]rper [...] opposed, he hath not full dominion, not having peaceable possession of what he is seeking [...]d thus the promise is in pa [...]t accomplished.

2. Victory and a full conquest over the [...] and the lusts thereof, is not promised to any beleever, at his first appearing in the fields to fight, nor granted to all, in any measure, at their first putti [...] on their armour.

3. Therefore it is thy part to fight on, and waite for that full victory, viz that sin shall not have dominion over thee; for it shall come in due time.

4. God hath his own time and seasons, wherein he accomplisheth his promises. And we must leave Him a latitude, both as to the time when, and as to the manner how; and as to the degree, in which, He shall make good his promises; and He is wi [...]e in his dispensations.

[Page 128]Therefore though the promise as yet appeareth not to be accomplished, there is no true cause of trouble of minde; because it shall be afterward fully accomplished; and thy wreastling against sin, sayeth that it is in a great measure accomplished al­ready; because where it hath a full dominion, it suppresseth all opposition or contradiction, except some faint resistence, which a naturall conscience, for carnall ends, on carnall principles & grounds, may, now or then, make against this or that par­ticular corruption, which occasioneth shame, disgrace, losse, challenges of a carnall conscience, and disquietnesse that way, when yet it is not hated nor wreastled against as sin, or as a member of the old man▪ & the body of death. The objecter would consider, that having subjected his consent to Christ, he is delivered really from that naturall state of bondage under sin as a lawfull Lord, how be it the [...], now wanting a tittle, is making [...] v [...]sions, to trouble the peace and quiet of the soul.

Fourthly, It may be said. But what can then, in the meane time, keep up the heart of a poor soul from si [...]king?

Answer. Severall things, if rightly consider­ed, might helpe to support the soul, in this [...]ase, as

1. That they are helped to wreastle against this body of death, in all the members of it, so soon, as they discover themselves, were it their right eye, and right hand.

2. That those lusts gaine not ground upon them; or if they do seem to gaine ground; yet [Page 129] they attaine not to a full dominion, not [...] their consent.

3. That God is faithfull, and therefore the pro­mised victory shall be had, in due time, and Sa­tans head shall certanely be bruised.

4. That the wreastling soul is about his duty, carrying as a good souldier of Jesus Christ, fighting the battels of the Lord, and waiting on Him in faith and hope.

But further Fiftly, some may say. If I were keeped from yeelding, my wrestling and standing would yeeld me some comfort; but when lust so stirreth, as that it conceiveth, and bringeth forth sin Iames 1: 15. what can support or comfort me then?

Answer. 1. Corruption can not stirre in us, but therein we sinne, for the very first rise, the motus primo-primi, as they are called, are sinfull, being contrare to the holy law of God: and the very in­beeing of that Old man, is our sin; for it is sinfull and rebellious against God, yea it is very enmity & rebellion it self: when Satan cometh with a temp­tation from without, he findeth alwayes much in us, to intertaine the temptation. So that the very stirring of corruption, which is occasioned by the temptation from without, is ou [...] guilt.

2. It is true, it is our duty, [...]o set against the first riseings and motions of corruption, when it first enticeth, before it hath conceived of brought forth sin: and it will argue grace in life and in action; to be able to hinder the motions of lust so farr, that it shall not conceive and bring forth sin. Yet we may not say, that there is no grace in the soul, or no [Page 130] measure of Mortification attained, where lust some­times not only enticeth, but conceiveth and bring­eth forth sin. The sad experience of many of God's worthies, registrated in the word, cleareth this abundantly. We must not say, Such an one is fallen, Therefore he is dead. Paul reasoneth otherwayes Rom. 7.

3. Yet even then, when lust conceiveth and bringeth forth sin, this may comfort and bear up the heart of a poor beleever, 1. That though cor­ruption prevail so farr, as to bear down all oppo­sition & run downe all that standeth in its way; yet it getteth not the full consent of the soul, there is still a party for God, in the soul, that opposeth, so farr as to protest against it, or at least, to dissent from it, and not to will, that which yet is done, and positively to will that which cannot be gotten effectuated. 2. And farther this may bear up the poor soul, that there is a party within, which, though for a time, dureing the violent overruning of cor­ruption, can do little more than sigh & groan in a corner, yet is waiting & longing for an oppor­tunity, when it may appear more for God, and against that wicked usurper. 3. So also this may comfort the poo [...] soul, that as it perceiveth cor­ruption stirring, and the old man moving one member o [...] other, it runeth away to the king; and when it is not able to apprehend the Treator, & take him captive to the court of justice, doth there dis­cover the Taitour, and tell the king, that there is such or such a traitou [...], acting such and such re­bellion against Him, and his lawes; and comple [...], and s [...]k help to take the rebell prisoner, and bring [Page 131] him bound hand and foot to the King, that He may give out sentence against him; that is, when he can do no more against that rageing enemie, maketh his complaint to the Lord, & lyeth before Him, [...]gh­ing & groaning for help, & strength to withstand, and oppose more this enemy.

Lastly some may yet Object & say, if it were not worse with me, than it is with others, I could then be satisfied: but I see some mightily prevailing over corruption, and I am still at under, and can get no victory: and can I choose but be sad at this?

I Answere. 1. Dost thou know for a certan [...] ­ty, that those persons, whose condition thou judg­est happy, are altogether free of the inward stir­rings of those lusts, that thou art brought under by? Or dost thou know for a certainty, that they are not under the power of some other corruption, as thou thinkest thy self under the power of that cor­ruption, whereof thou compleanest? What knowest thou then, but they may be as much complaining, on other accounts, as thou dost on that?

2. But be it so as thou supposeth, that thereis a difference betwixt thy condition, and the con­dition of others, knowest thou not, that all the members of the body are not alike great and strong, as not being equally to be imployed in works requireing strength? Are there not some young strong men, in Christs family, & some that are but babe [...]? May not a Captane send some of his souldiers to one post, where they shall possibly not see the enemy all the day long; and some others to another post, where they shall have no rest all the [Page 132] day? And why, I pray, may not God dispose of his souldiers as He will? He knoweth what He is doing: It is not saife, that every one of the soul­diers know, what are the designes of the Comman­der or Generall; no [...] is it alwayes fit for us to know, or to enquire, what may be the designes of God with us, and what He may be about to do. He may intend to imploy one in greater works than another, and so exercise them otherwayes for that warfare and work. It may suffice, that the prevailing of others may encourage thee to hope, that, at last, thy strong corruptions shall also fall by the hand of the same grace of God.

3. If thy sadnesse [...]avoure not of envy & f [...]etting, thou should blesse Him, that hereby thou art put to the exercise of spirituall sorrow.

4. It is well of this bring thee to blesse God, for the successe of others, because hereby his grace is glorified 1 Cor. 12: 26.

Therefore 5. Let this satisfie us, that He is the Lord, who doth what He will in heaven and in earth; and may dispose of us, as He will; and make of us what He will, for his owne glory. And that we are to minde our duty, and be faithfull at our post, standing and fighting, in the strength of the Lord, resolving never to comply with the enemy: and to rejoyce in this, that the enemy is already conquered by the Captaine, and that we share in his victory: and that the very God of peace shall quickly bruise Satan under our feet Rom. 16: 20.

CHAP. VII. How Christ is to be made use of, in reference to Growing in grace.

I Come now to speak a little to the other part of Sanctification, which concearneth the change of our nature and frame, and is called Vivification, or Quickening of the new man of grace: which is called the New man, as having all its severall members and parts, as well as the old man; and called New, because posteriour to the other; and, after regeneration, is upon the growing hand▪ This duty of growing in grace, as it is called 2. Pet. 3. u [...]t, is variously expressed and held forth to us in scripture: for it is called, an abideing and bringing forth fruit in Christ Iohn. 15: 5. adding to faith vertue, and to vertue knowledge &c. 2 Pet. 1: 5, 6, 7. a going on to perfection Heb. 7: 1. a growing up in Christ in all things Ephes. 4: 15. a working out our salvation Phil. 2: 12. a perfecting of holi­nesse 2. Cor. 7: 1. a walkeing in newnesse of life Rom. 6: 4. a yeelding of our selves unto God, as a­live from the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousnesse unto God Rom. 6: 13, 18. a bringing forth of fruit unto God Rom. 7: 4. a serving in newnesse of spirit Rom. 7: 6. a being re­newed in the spirit of our mindes▪ and a putting on the new man, which after God is created in righ­teousnesse and true holinesse Ephes. 4: 23, 24. Col. 3: 10. and the like: some whereof do more imme­diatly [Page 134] expresse the nature of this change, as to the root; and some as to the fruit, and effects thereof, and some the progresse and advancement, that is made or to be made therein. And all of them point out a speciall piece of work, which lieth on all, that would see the face of God, viz. to be holy, gracious and growing in grace.

This then being a speciall piece of the exercise▪ and dayly work of a Christian and it being certane▪ as some of the places now cited do also affirme, that without Christ, they cannot get this work either begun o [...] carryed on, the maine difficulty and question is, how they are to make use of Christ for this end?

For answere whereunto, though, by what we have said in our former discourse, it may be easie to gather what is to be said here; yet I shall briefly put the Reader in minde of those things, as usefull here.

1. The Beleever would consider, what an orna­ment this is to the soul, to have on this new m [...]n, which is created after the image of God Ephes. 4▪ 23. what an excellency lyeth here, to recover th [...] lost glory, holinesse and the image of God; and what advantage the soul reapeth hereby, when it is made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the Saints in light Col. 1: 12. and walking worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitfull in every good work▪ and increasing in the knowledge of God▪ Col. 1: 10. and strengthened with all might accor­ding to his glorious pover, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulnesse vers. 11. and when the abounding of the graces of the Spirit make [Page 135] them, that they shall neither be barren nor unfruitfull in the knowledge of our Lord Iesus Christ 2. Pet. 1: 8▪ and to be a vessell unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the masters use, and prepared unto every good work 2. Tim. 2: 21; what glory and peace is here, to be found obedient unto the many commands given to be holy? What hazard is in the want of holinesse, when without it we cannot see God Heb. 12: 14. How unanswereable it is unto our profession, who are members to such a holy Head, to be un holy? What profite, joy and satisfaction there is, i [...] being temples of the holy ghost, in walking after the spirit, in bringing forth fruit unto the glory of the Father, &c. The con­sideration of these and other motives unto this study of sanctification, would arme the soul with resolution, and harden it against opposition.

2. It would be remembered, that this work, though it be laid upon us, as our duty, and we be called thereunto of God; yet it is beyond our hand and power: it is true, at conversion, the seed of grace is cast into the soul, new habites are infused, a new principle of life is given, the stonny heart is changed into an heart of flesh; yet these principles and ha­bits can not act in themselves, or be brought into act, by any thing that a beleever, considered in himself and without divine helpe, can do: But this work of sanctification, and grou [...]h in grace▪ must be caryed on by divine help▪ by the Spirit of Jesus, dwelling and working within; and therefore it is called the sanctification of the spirit 2. Thes. 2: 13. 1. Pet. 1: 2. The God of peace must san­ctifie us 1. Thes. 5: 23. We are said to be sancti­fi [...] [Page 136] by God the Father Iud. 1. and by the holy ghost Rom. 15: 16. See also 1. Cor. 6: 11. We would remember, that of our selves we can do no­thing 2. Cor. 3: 5. and that He must work in us both to will and to do, of his owne good pleasure Phil. 2: 13. Albeit no beleever will question the truth of this; yet it may be, it shall be found af­ter tryal, that one maine cause of their not growing in grace, and making progresse in this work, is their not acting as beleeving this; but setting about the work, as if it were a work, which they themselves could master, and do, without speciall divine help: Therefore the beleever would abide, live and act▪ in the faith of this truth.

3. Therefore beleevers would not, in going about this work, either trust to their own strength, to the habites of grace, to their former experiences, to their knowledge and pairts, or the like; nor yet would they trust to any externall meane, which they are to go about: because the wisdome, strength and helpe, which their case calleth for, is not to be found in them: yet they should not think of laying these meanes and dutyes aside; for then should they sin against God, they should prejudge themselvs of the helpe, strength and supply, which God useth to convey to the soul, in & by the use of the meanes: and withall▪ they should tempte the Lord, by prescribing another way to Him, than He hath thought good to take: The beleever then would use the meanes and duties prescribed, and that diligently, se [...]iously and constantly; and yet would leane as little to them, and exspect help & reliefe as little from them▪ as if he were not [Page 137] useing them at all, as we said above. And indeed this would be a right way, yea the most advantagious and profitable way, of going about dutyes, to be diligent in the use of them, because of Gods command; and yet to place out hope and exspe­ctation in God alone, and to look above the ordi­nances for our help.

4. Albeit it be true, that the power and grace of God, alone, doth beginne, and carry on this work of sanctification in the soul; yet, though he might, did He but see it for his glory, carry on and finish this work in the so [...]l, without the interven­tion of second causes or meanes, he hath notwith­standing thought it fit, forth [...] glory of his name, to worke this work, by meanes, and particulary by beleevers setting about the work: He worketh not in man, as if he were a block or a stone, but useth him as a rationall creature, endued with a rationall soul, having useful and necessary facultyes▪ and having a body fitted by organs to be [...]ubservient to the soul, in its actions. Therefore the beleever must not think to lye by and do nothing: for he is commanded to worke out his owne salvation, and that because it is God that worketh in him, both to will and to do: Because God worketh all, therefore he should worke; so reasoneth the Apostle: so that God's working is an argument and motive to man to worke, and not an argument to him to lye by idle, and do nothing. And here is the holy art & divine skill, requisite in this businesse, to wit, for the believer to be as diligent and active, as if he could bring forth fruit, in his own strength, and by his owne working; and yet to be as abstracted [Page 138] from himself, his owne grace, ability, knowledge and experience, in his working, as if he were lying by like a mee [...] block, & only moving as moved by externall force.

5. The soul, that would make progresse in Chri­stianity, and grow in grace, would remember, that Christ is proposed to us, as a copy, which we are to imitate; and that therefore we should set Christ continually before us, as our patterne, that we may follow his steps. 1. Pet. 1: 15. and 2▪ [...]1. But with all, it would be remembered, that He is not like other ensamples or copies, that can helpe the man, that imitateth them, no other way than by their objective prospect▪ for looking by faith on this copy, will bring vertue to the man, that studyeth to imitate, whereby he shall be inabled to follow his copie the better. O [...] we knew in experience, what this were, to take a look of Chr [...]'s Love. Patience, Long suffering▪ Meeknesse, Hatred of sin, Zeal &c. and by [...] to pore-in, till, by vertue proceeding from that copie, we found our hearts, in some measure, framed into the same disposition, or, at least, more inclined to be cast into the same mould!

6. The beleever would act faith on Christ, a [...] the Head of the body, and as the stock, in which the branches are engrafted, and thereby suck sap and life and strength from Him▪ that he may work, walk and grow, as becometh a Christian. The be­leever must grow up in Him, being a branch in Him, and must bring forth fruit in Him, as the forementioned places clear. Now Christ himselfe tells us, that the branches cannot bring forth [Page 139] fruit, except they abide in the vine, and that no more can his disciples bring forth fruit, except they abide in Him. Iohn. 15. Therefore, as it [...] faith, that the soul, as a branch, is united to Christ, as the vine; and as it is by faith, that they abide in Him; so is it by faith, that they must bring forth fruit: and this faith must grippe Christ as the Vine, and the Stock, or Root, from which cometh sap, life, and strength: faith then must look to Christ, as the fountain of [...] ▪ as the head, [...]om whence cometh all the in [...] ­ces of strength and motion. Christ [...] strength and life enough to give out, for the fulnesse of the God head dwelleth in Him bodyly▪ and he is also willing enough to communicate of his fulnesse, as the relations He hath taken on do witnesse Th [...] head will not grudge to give to the members of the body spirits, for action and motion; [...] will a vine grudge to give sap unto the branches: [...]ay life, strength and furniture will (as it were) native­ly flow out of Christ unto beleevers, except they through unbeleef, and other distempers, cause ob­structions; as life and sap doth natively and kindely flow from the root to the branches, of from the head to the members unlesse obstructions stoppe the pas­sage▪ It is necessary therefore, that beleevers eye Christ under these and the like relations, and look upon Him, as standing (to speak so) obliged by his place and relation, to grant strength and influ­ences of life, whereby they may become fruitful in every good work; and so with holy, humble and allowed boldnesse, presse in faith for new com­munications [Page 140] of grace, vertue, strength, courage activity, and what else they need: for from the head all the body by joints & bands, having nourishment ministred, increaseth with the increase of God Col. 2: 19. Ephes. 4: 16.

7. For this cause, beleevers would lye open unto the influences of Christ, and guaird against the puting of obstructions in the way, through griev­ing of the Spirit, by which He conveyeth & com­municateth those influences unto the soul; and through questioning & misbeleeving Christ's faith­fulnesse, and unchangable willingnesse, which as a violent humore stoppeth the passage. So then beleevers would lye open by looking, and waiting, drawing▪ seeking from Him, what they need, and by guarding against every thing, that may provoke the Lord to anger [...], whether in omission or commission. Here is requisite [...]n holy, humble, sober and watchfull walk, an earnest, serious, and hungry looking out to Him, and a patient waiting for supply and furniture from Him. This is to open the mouth wide, that He may fill it; to lie be­fore the sun of righteousnesse, that the beames thereof may beat upon them, & warme & revive them; and to waite as a beggar at this kings gate, till he give the almes.

8. For the strengthening of their hope & faith in this, they would lay hold upon Christ dying, and by his death purchaseing all those influences of life and strength, which are requisite for carrying on of the work of grace and sanctification in the soul: for we must be blessed in Christ with all spiritual blessings. Eph. 1 [...] ▪ 3. The beleever then would [Page 141] look on these influences, as purchased at a deare rate, by the blood of Jesus Christ; so that the divine power giveth unto us all things, that pertaine unto life and godlinesse, through the knowledge of Him, that hath called us to glory & virtue 2 Pet. 1: 3. And this will encourage the soul to wait on, and expect the flowing down of influences, and spiritual bless­ings, and showres of grace, to cause the soul to flourish, and become fruitfull; and to urge and presse more earnestly by faith the bestowing of the purchased benefites.

9. Moreover, the beleever would look on Je­sus, as standing engaged and obliged to carry on this work, both as receiving them for this end, from the Father: hence we are said to be chosen in him, before the fundation of the world, that we should be holy &c. Ephes. [...]: 4. and a [...] dying for them [...] for He gave himself son the church, that He might san­cti [...]y & cleanse it, that He might present it to him­self a glorious church, that it should be holy Ephes. 5: 25, 26, 27. He hath reconciled them, in the body of his flesh, through death to present them holy Col. 1: 21, 22. So that the noble [...] of Re­demption may found the [...] hope and expecta­tion of the beleever, upon [...] [...]. First upon the account of the Fathers faithfulnesse, who promised a seed to Iesus, Viz. such as should be his children, and so be sanctified through Him, and that the pleasure of the Lord, which in p [...]rt i [...] th [...] work of sanctification▪ should prosper in his hand. And next upon the account of Christs undertaking▪ and engaging▪ as is said, to b [...]ing his son [...] and daughters to glory, which must be through san­ctification, [Page 142] for without holinesse no man shall see God. And they must look like himself, who is a holy Head, a holy Husband, a holy Captane, and therefore they must be holy members, a holy spouse & holy souldiers. So that He standeth en­gaged to sanctifie them by his Spirit and word; and therefore is called the Sanctifier. Heb. 2: 11. for both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one. Yea, their union with Christ layeth the foundation of this: for being joyned to the Lord they become one Spirit 1 Cor. 6: 17. and are ani­mated and quickened by one & the same Spirit of life and grace; and therefore must be sanctified by that Spirit.

10. The beleever likewise would act faith upon the promises of the new Covenant, of grace, strength, life, &c whereby they shall walk in his wayes, have Gods lawes put into their mindes, and write into their hearts, Heb. 8: 10. Ier. 31: 33. and of the new heart, and new spirit, and the heart of flesh, and the Spirit within them to cause them walk in his wayes or statutes, and keep his judgments and do them Ezech. 36: 26, 27. and the like, wherewith the scripture aboundeth: Because these are all given over to the beleever, by way of Testament and lega­cy, Christ becoming the mediator of the new Testa­ment, that by meanes of death, for the redempti­on of the transgressions, that were under the first Testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternall inheritance. Heb. 9: 15. No [...] Christ by his death hath confirmed this Testament▪ for where a Testament is, there must also of necessi­ty be the death' of the testatour, for a Testament is of [Page 143] force after men are dead vers. 16, 17. Christ then dying to make the Testament of force, hath made the legacy of the promises sure unto the beleever, so that now all the promises are yea and amen in Christ 2 Cor. 1: 20. He was made a minister of circumci­sion to confirme the promises made to the Fathers Rom. 15: 8. That the eyeing of these promises by faith is a noble meane to sanctification, is cleare, by what the Apostle sayeth, 2 Cor. 7: 1. Having therefore these promises let us cleanse ourselves—perfecting holinesse in the feare of God. And it is by faith that those promises must be received Heb. 11: 33. So that the beleever, that would grow in grace, would eye Christ, the fundamentall promise, the Testatour establishing the Testament, and the ex­cutor or dispensator of the covenant, and exspect the good things through Him and from Him, through the conduite, and channell of the pro­mises.

11. Yet further, beleevers would eye Christ i [...] his Resurrection, as a publick person: and so look on themselves, and reckon themselves, as riseing virtually in and with Him, and take the resurre­ction of Christ as a certane paune and pledge of their sanctification: for so reasoneth the Apostle Rom. 6: 4, 5, 11▪ 13. we are buryed (say [...]s He) with him by baptisme into death, that likeas Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Fa­ther; even so we also should [...] in [...] of life: for—we shall [...]e [...] also in the likenesse of his resurrection, and if we [...] dead with Christ, we beleeve, that we shall also live with him—therefore reckon ye also yourselves to be—alive [Page 184] unto God, through Iesus Christ our Lord ▪ and yeeld yourselves unto God, as these that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righ­teousnesse unto God. The right improving of this ground, would be of noble advantage unto the student of holinesse: for thence he might with strong confidence conclude, that the work of sanctificati­on should prosper in his hand: for he may now look upon himself, as quickened together with Christ Epes. 2: 5. Christ dying and riseing, as a publick per­son, and he by faith being now joyned with him, and united to him.

12. Moreover this Resurrection of Christ may yeeld us another ground of hope and confidence, in this work: for there is mention made of the power of his resurrection Phil. 3: 10. So that by faith we may draw strength and vertue from Christ, as an arisen and quickened Head, whereby we also may live unto God, and bring forth fruit unto him, and serve no more in the oldnesse of the letter, but in the newnesse of Spirit. Rom. 7: 4, 6. He was quickened as an Head, and when the head is quickened, the members cannot but look for some communication of life therefrom, and to live in the strength of the life of the head: See Col. 3: 1, 2.

13. Faith may and should also look to Christ, as an intercessor with the Father, for this particular, Iohn. 17: 17. Sanctifie them through thy truth, thy word is truth: and this will adde to their confi­dence, that the work shall go on: for Christ was alwayes heard of the Father Iohn. 11: 41, 42. and so will be in this prayer, which was not put up for these few disciples alone.

[Page 145]The beleever then would eye Christ as engadg­ing to the Father, to begin and perfect this work; a [...] dying to purchase the good things promised, and to confirme the same; as quickened and riseing a [...] head and a publick person, to ensure this work; and to bestow and actually conferre the graces requisite; and as praying also for the Fathers concurrence; and cast the burden of the work on Him by faith, knowing, that He standeth obliged, by his place and relation to his people, to beare all their bur­thens, to work all their works in them; to perfect his owne work that He hath begun in them; to present them to himself at last a holy bride; to give them the Spirit to dwel in them Rom▪ 8: 9▪ 11▪ and [...]o quicken their mortall bodyes vers. 11. and to lead them vers. 14. till at length they be crown­ed, and brought forward to glory. This is to live by faith: when Christ liveth, acteth and worketh in us by his Spirit Gal. 2: 20. Thus Christ dwelleth in the heart by faith: and by this, his people become rooted and grounded in love, which is a car­dinall grace, and knowing the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, they become filled with all the fulnesse of God Ephes. 3: 17, 19. So that the be­leever is to commit by faith the work to Christ, and leave the stresse of all the businesse on Him, who is their life: Yet the beleever must not think, to do nothing, nor to lay aside the means and ordi­nances, but us [...]ing these diligently would, in them, commit the matter to Christ, and by faith roll the whole work on Him, exspecting, upon the ground of his relations, engadgments, promises, beginnings &c. that He will certanely perfect the [Page 146] work Phil. 1: 6. and take it well off their hands, and be well pleased with them, for putting the work in his hands, and leaving it on Him, who is made of God to us sanctification.

Cautions.

As in the former part, so here, it will not be [...] to give a few words of caution, for prevent­ing of mistakes.

1. We would bewar of thinking, that perfection can be attained here: the perfect man, and mea­sure of the stature of the fulnesse of Christ is but coming▪ and till then the body will but be a perfect­ing & edifying, through the work of the ministery Ephes. 4: 12, 13. Beleevers must not think of sitting down on any measure of grace, which they attaine to here; but they must be growing in grace, going from strength to strengh, till they appeare in the upper Z [...]on, with the Apostle Phil. 3: 13. forgetting those things that are behinde, and reach­ing forth unto those things which are before, they must presse toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Iesus. It must then be a dreadful delusion, for any to think, that they can reach to such a degree of perfection here, as not to stand in need of the ordinance any more▪ Let all beleevers live in the constant convicton of their shortcoming and be humbled, and so worke out their salvation with fear and trembling.

2. Nor should every beleever exspect one and the same measure of holinesse, nor can it be expect­ed with reason, that all shall advance here to the same height of sanctity▪ for every part of the body [Page 147] hath its owne measure: and an effectuall working in that measure; and so every joint of the body supplieth lesse or more according to its proportion, and contribureth to the increase of the body, and to the edifying of it self in love, as the Apostle cle­a [...]ly showeth. Ephes. 4: 16. As in the natural [...] body, the diversity of functions and uses of the members requireth diversity of furniture & strength; so, in the mysticall body of Christ, the members have not all alike measure, but each hath his proper distinct measure, according to his place and useful­nesse in the body. Beleevers then would learne much sobr [...]ety here and submission, knowing that God may dispense his graces as he will, and give them to each member, in what measure he thinketh good: Only they would take heed▪ that their poverty and leannesse be not occasioned through their own carelesnesse and negligence, in not plying the meanes of grace with that faithful­nesse, and single dependence on Christ, that they ought.

3. It would be remembered, that there may be some progresse made in the way of holinesse, when yet the beleever may apprehend no such thing; not only because the measure of the grouth may be so small and indiscernable, but also because even where the growth in it self is discernable, the Lord may think it good for wise ends, to hide it from their eyes, that they may be keeped humble, and diligent; whileas if they saw how matters stood indeed with them▪ they might, (without a new degree of grace) swell and be puffed up, yea even forget God, and misken themselves and others [Page 148] too. Likewise this may proceed from such an ear­nest desire after more, that they forget any measure they have gotten. and so despise the day of small things.

4. There may be a progresse in holinesse, though not in that particular, which the beleever is most eying, to his sense and apprehension: for when he thinks he is not growing in Love to, and Zeal for, God &c. he may be growing in Humility, which is also a memb [...]r of the new man of grace; and when he can perceive no grouth in Knowledge, there may be a grouth in Affection & Tendernesse▪ And if the work be carryed on in any joynt or mem­ber, it decayeth in none, though it may be better apprehended in one, than in another.

5. There may be much holiness, where the believer is compleaning of the want of fruits, when under that dispensation of the Lord towards him, he is made to stoup before the most high, to put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope, and pleasantly to submit to God's wise ordering, with­out grudging, or quarrelling with God for what He doth; and to accept sweetly the punishment of his iniquity; if he see guilt lying at the root of this dispensation. Where there is a silent submission to the soveraigne & only wise disposeing hand of God, and the man is saying, if he will not have me to be a frutefull tree in his garden, nor to grow and flou­ri [...]h as the palme tree▪ Let me be a shrub, only let me be keep [...]d within the precincts of his garden, that his eye may be upon me for good▪ let me abide within his courts, that I may behold his countenan­ce, there is grace, and no small measure of [Page 149] grace. To be an hired servant is much Luk▪ 15: 19.

6. But withall, it would be observed▪ that this gracious frame of soul, that is silent before God, under severall disappointments, is accompanied with much singleness of heart, in panting after more holiness, and with seriousness and diligence in all commanded dutyes, waiting upon the Lord, who is their hope and their salvation, in each of them: and with mourning for their own sin­full accession to that shortcoming in their expecta­tions.

7. We would not think that there is no progress in Christianity, or grouth in grace, because it cometh not our way, or by the instruments and meanes, that we most expect it by: possibly we are too fonde o [...] some instruments and meanes, that we preferre to others, and we think, if ever we get good, it must be that way, and by that meane, be it private or publick: and God may give a proof of his Soveraignity, and check us for our folly. By taking another way: He would not be found of the Bride, neither by her seeking of him secretly on her bed by night; nor more publickly, by going about the city, in the streets and broad wayes; nor by the meanes of the watchmen Cant. 3▪ 1, 2, 3.

8. Nor would we think, that there is no grouth in the work of grace, because it cometh not at such or such a prelimited or fore-set time: nor would we think the matter desperate, because of our looking long, and waiting, and asking, and labouring, and yet seeing no sensible advantage: Such and such a [Page 150] beleever (sayeth the soul) made great progresse in a short time, but I come no speed, for as long as I have been at this school. O! we should beware of limiteing the holy one of Israel, Let us be at duty, and commit the event to Him.

9. It is not a fit time, to take the measure of our graces, as to their sensible grouth and fruitfulnesse, when devils are broken loose upon us; temptations are multiplyed, corruptions make a great noise, and we are meeting with an horrible tempest shaking us on all hands: for it will be strong grace, that will much appear then; It will be a strong faith, that will say, though He kill me, yet will I trust in Him. At such a time it will be much, if the man keep the ground he hath gained, though he make no pro­gress: It will be much for a tree to stand, and not be blowne out of the ground, in the time of a strong and vehement storme of winde, though it keep not its flourishes, & yeeld not fruit. The trees, which in a cold winter day bear neither leafs nor fruit, must not be said to go back, nor not to grow, be­cause when the spring cometh againe, they may revive, and be as fruitfull as ever.

10. We would not alway measure our graces by what appeareth outwardly; for there may be some accidental occurrence, that may hinder that: and yet grace be at work within doors, which few or none can observe. The Believer may be in a sweet and gracious frame▪ blushing before the Lord, y [...]a melting in love, or taken up with spirituall medi­tations, & wondering, when as to some externall duties, it can finde no present disposition, through some accidentall impediment or other, so that to [Page 151] some, who judge most by out ward appearance, no such thing as the active working of grace in life can appeare.

11. We would think it no small measure or de­gree of holinesse, to be with singleness [...] of heart pursueing it, even though it should seem to flee from us: to be earnestly panting after it, and hungering and thirsting for it: Nehemiah thought this no small thing, when he said Neh. 1. last. O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine eare be attentive to the prayer—of thy servants, who desire to feare thy name.

12. Whatever measure of holinesse the beleeve [...] win to, he would take speciall heed, that he place no part of his confidence of his being accepted and justified before God, in it; as if that could come in as any part of the price to satisfy justice: but when he hath done all, let him call and account himself an unprofitable servant: Though beleevers will not be so grosse, as to speak thus; yet sure, their justi­fying of their holding aback from God, because they finde not such a measure of grace and holinesse, as they would have, looketh too much this way, and sayeth, that they leane too much hereunto, in the matter of the acceptance of their persons before God. Now this would be specially guairded against▪ lest their labour be in vaine.

Objections answered.

An Objection or two must here also be removed▪ and first some may say: That though they have been labouring and striveing and working, now for some long time, yet they can perceive no advancement [...] they are as far short as ever.

[Page 152] Answer 1. Hath it not been found, that some have compleaned without cause? Have not some complained of their fruitlesnesse and want of grouth, that other good Christians would have thought themselves very happy, if they had but advanced half so farre, as they saw them to have done?

2. But be it so, as it is alleiged, what if the fault be their owne? what if the cause of this be, that they attempt things in their owne strength, leaning to their own understanding, or habites of grace, or meanes &c. and that they do not go about duties, with that single dependence on Christ that is requi­site, nor do they suck life, strength and sap from Him by faith, through the promises; nor give themselvs up to Him by faith, that He may worke in them both to will and to do? Should not this be seen, mourned for, and helped?

3▪ If all this shortcoming and disappointment cause them lye in the dust, and humble themselves more and more before the Lord, the grace of humi­lity is growing, and that is no small advantage, to be growing downward.

4. Withall, they would do well to hold on in duty, looking to Christ for help, and rolling all difficulties on Him, give themselves away to Him, as their Head and Lord, and so continue their life of faith, or their consenting to let Christ live in them by faith, or work in them by his Spirit, what is welpleasing in his sight, and waite for the blessing and fruit, in God's own time.

Next it will be Objected. Though▪ we might wait thus; yet how unedifying are we unto others, when there appeareth no fruit of the spirit of grace [...]

[Page 153] Answer. A Christian behaviour and deport­ment, under the sence of fruitlesnesse, expressing an holy submission of soul unto God as Soveraigne, much humility of minde before Him, justifying of God and taking guilt to themselves, with a firme resolution to waite on patiently, in the use of meanes appointed, cannot but be edifying to Christian soules; such exercises being really the works and fruit of the Spirit of grace working within.

But thirdly Some may say▪ How are then the pro­mises of the covenant made good? Answere 1. The same measure of sanctification and holinesse is not promised to all.

2. No great measure is promised to any absolutly. So much indeed is secured to all beleevers, as shall carry them to heaven, as without which they cannot see God: but much as to the degrees depends on our performing through faith the conditions requi­site, to wit, on condition of our abideing in the vine, of our acting faith on Him &c. and when these & the like conditions are not faithfully performed by us, what can we exspect? So the Lord hath appoint­ed a way, wherein He will be found, and will have us to waite for strength and influence from Him▪ and if we neglect those meanes, which He hath ap­pointed, how can we exspect the good, which He hath promised in the use of these means?

3. The Lord hath his owne time of making good all his promises, and we must not limite Him to a day.

4. Hereby the Lord may be trying and exerciseing thy Faith, Patience, Hope▪ Dependence, Submission, Diligence▪ &c. and if these be in thee and abound, they [Page 154] shall make, that thou shall neither be barren, no [...] unfruitfull in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ 2. Pet. 1: 11.

But lastly it will be enquired, what can support the beleeving soul, in this case?

Answere 1. The consideration and saith of the covenant of Redemption, wherein both the Fathers engadgment to the Son, and the Sons engadgment to the Father, secureth grace and holinesse, and salvation to the beleever. And whatever we be, They will be true to each other, our unbeleef will not make the faith of God of none effect.

2. The consideration of the noble and faithfull promises, contained in the covenant of Grace, which shall be all made good in due time.

3. If we be humbled under the sence of ou [...] failings and shortcomings, and made to mourne before the Lord, and stirred up to more diligence and seriousnesse, that may yeeld comfort to our soul. If we be growing in Humility, godly Sorrow, Repentance, Diligence, and be gripping faster by faith to the Root, we want not ground of joy and support: for if that be, we cannot want fruit.

4. It should be matter of joy and thanksgiving, that the beleever is keeped from turning his back on the way of God, aud keeped with his face still Zion-ward: though he make but little progresse; yet he is still looking forward, and creeping as he may waiting at God's door, begging and asking, studying, labouring, and endeavouring for strength to go faster.

5. It is no small matter of peace and comfort▪ if we be keeped from fretting grudging, and repineing [Page 155] at the Lords dispensations with us, and be taught to sit silent in the dust, adoreing His Soveraignity▪ and ascribeing no iniquity to our maker.

CHAP. VIII. How to make use of Christ, for taking the guilt of our dayly out-breakings away.

THe next part of our sanctification, is in refe­rence to our dayly failings and transgressions, committed, partly through the violence of temp­tations, as we see in David and Peter, and other eminent men of God; partly through dayly infir­mities, because of our weaknesse and imperfections: for in many things we offend all Iam. 3: 2. and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us 1 Iohn. 1: 8. A righteous man falleth seven times Prov. 24: 16. There is not a just man upon earth▪ that doth good and sinneth not. Eccles. 7: 20. and Solomon further sayeth 1 King. 8: 46. that there is no man that sinneth not. This being so, the question is, how Christ is to be made use of, for taking of these away.

For satisfaction to this, it would be considered, that▪ in those dayly outbreakings there are two things to be noticed, first there is the Guilt, which is commonly called Reatus poen [...], whereby the trans­gressour is liable to the sentence of the law, or to the penalty annexed to the breach thereof, which is no lesse then God's curse▪ for cursed is every [...] that abideth not in all things, which are [...] the [Page 156] law to do them Gal. 3: 10. Next, there is the [...]taine or blote, which is called Reatus culp [...], whereby the soul is defiled and made, in so far, in­capable of glory (for nothing entreth in there which defileth) and of communion and fellow­shipe with God, who is of purer eyes then He can behold iniquity. So that it is manifest, how necessary it is, that both these be taken away, that they may not stand in ou [...] way to the Father. And as to both, we must make use of Christ, who is the only way to the Father.

And this we shall now cleare: and first, speak of the taking away of the Guilt, that is contracted by every sin: and for this cause, we shall briefly speak to two things: first, Shew what Christ hath done as Mediator, for this end, that the guilt, contracted by our dayly failings and outbreakings, might be taken away. Secondly, shew what the beleever should do, for the getting of guilt taken away in Christ: or▪ how he should make use of Christ▪ for reconciliation with God after transgres­sions; or for the taking away of the guilt that he lyeth under▪ because of his violation of the law.

As to the first, We say, Christ, for taking away of Guilt contracted dayly, hath done these things.

1. Christ laid downe his life a ransome for all the sinns of the Elect: both such as were past before they beleeved, and such as were to be committed after. His blood was shed for the remission of sin [...], indefinitly, and without distinction Mat. 26: 28▪

[...] ▪ And this was done according to the tenour of [Page 157] the covenant of Redemption, wherein the Fathe [...] caused all our sins to meet together on Him Esai▪ [...]3: 6. and made Him sin, or a sacrifice for sin, indefinitely 2 Cor. 5: 21. and so did not except the sins committed after conversion.

3. Having satisfiedjustice, and being risen from the dead, as a Conquerour, He is now exalted to be a Prince to give Repentance and Remission of sins Act. 5: 31. Now repentance and remission of sins his people have need of, after conversion, as well as before conversion.

4. There are promises of pardon and remission of sins in the new covenant of Grace, all which are sealed and confirmed in the blood of Jesus Ier. 31: 34.—for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more: and Chap. 33: 8. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity▪ whereby they have sinned against me: and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned against me, and whereby they have transgressed against me. Esai. 43: 25. I even I am he that blot­eth out thy transgressions for mine own sake; and will not remember thy sins.

5. Though there be no actuall pardon of sins, till they be committed, and repented of, accord­ing to the tenor of the gospell Matth. 3: 2. Luke 13: 3. Act. 2: 38. & 8▪ 22. yet, while Christ beare all the sins of his people upon the crosse, they were all then virtually and meritoriously taken away: of which Christ's resurrection was a certane pledge and evidence: for then gote He his acquittance from all, that either law or justice could charge Him with▪ in behalfe of them▪ for whom He laid downe [Page 158] his life a ransome Rom. 8: 33, 34. who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, or rather that is risen againe &c.

6. So that by vertue of Christ's death, there is a way laid down, in the covenant of grace, how the sinns of the elect shall be actually pardoned. viz. That at their conversion and first laying hold on Christ by faith, all the sins, whereof they then stand guilty, shall be actually pardoned and forgi­ven, in their justification: and all their after sins shall also be actually pardoned▪ upon their grip­ing to Christ of new by faith, and turning to God by repentance. And this way is agreed to by Father and Son, and revealed in the gospel, for the instru­ction and encouragement of beleevers: and all to the glory of his free grace. In whom we have redemp­tion (sayeth the Apostle Ephes. 1: 7, 8, 9.) through his blood, the forgivenesse of sins, according to the riches of his grace, wherein He hath abounded toward us, in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, ac­cording to his good pleasure, which He purposed in himself.

7. Beside Christ's Death and Resurrection, which give ground of hope of pardon of dayly out­breakings; there is likewise his Intercession usefull for this end: for sayeth the Apostle Iohn▪ 1 Epist. 2: 1. 2.—If any man sin, we have an advocat with the Father, Iesus Christ the righteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins. This intercession of his [...] a special part of his Priesthood, who was the great Highpriest Heb. 4: 14, 16. and a compleating [Page 159] Part Heb. 8: 4 & 9 8. and upon this account [...], that He is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God through Him, because He liveth for ever to make intercession for them Heb. 7: 25. for by his intercession is the work of redemption carryed on, the Purchased benefites applyed; and particularly new grants of remission are through his intercession issued forth. He pleading and interceeding, in a way suteable to his glorified condition, upon his death and propitiation made, while he was upon the crosse, accepted of the Father, and declared to be accepted by his resurrection, aso [...]sion, and sitting at the Fathers right hand. And thus, as beleevers are reconciled to God by Christs death, they are saved by his life. Rom. 5: 10. So that Christ's living for to be an intercessour, makes the beleevers sal­vation sure; and so layeth down▪ a ground for taking away of dayly outbreakings, which, if not taken away, would hinder and obstruct the be­leevers salvation.

8. And as for the condition requisite to renewed pardon, viz faith and Repentance, Christ is the worker of both: for He is a Prince exalted to give Repentance, first and last Act. 4: 30. and as He is the author of faith, so He is the finisher of it Heb. 12: 2.

As to the second particular, namely, what belee­vers should do for getting the guilt of their dayly failings and outbreakings taken away by Christ: or how they should make use of Christ for this end; I shall for clearing of it, propose those things to con­sideration.

1. We would beware to think, that all our after [Page 160] actuall transgressions are actually pardoned, either when Christ dyed, or when we first beleeved in Christ, as some suppose; for sin cannot properly be said to be pardoned before it be committed, David was put to sue out for pardon, after his actu­all transgression was committed; and not for the mere sense and feeling of the pardon, or the intima­tion of it to his Spirit, when he cryed out Psal, 51: 2—blot out my transgressions, wash me &c. & vers. 9▪ hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities and vers. 14. deliver me from blood guiltinesse. Sure when he spoke thus, he sought some other thing, than intimation of pardon to his sense and conscience; for that he desired also, but in far more clear expressions vers. 8. make me to hear joy and gladnesse &c. and vers. 12. restore unto me the joy of thy salvation &c. Scripture phrases to expresse remission import this. viz Covering of sin, Pardoning of debts, Blotting out of sins Hideing of God's face from sins, not Remembering of them, Casting of them behinde his back, Casting of them into the sea, Removing of sins Psal. 103: 12. a lifting off of sin, or Taking it away, a Non-imputation of sin Psal. 33: 1, 2. These and the like phrases, though many of them be metaphoricall; yet do all of them clearly evince, that sin must first have a being, before it can be pardoned. The same is clearly imported by the gospel conditions, requisite before Par­don, such as acknowledgment of sin 1 Ioh. 1: 9. which we see was practised by the worthies of old, David Psal. 32. & 51. Nehemiah Cap. 9. Ezra Cap 9 & Daniel Chap. 9. Confessing and Forsaking of it Prov. 28: 13. Sorrowing▪ for it & Repenting of it, and laying hold on Christ by faith, [Page 161] &c. The reason why I propose this, is not only to guaird against this antinomian error: but also to guaird the soul from security, to which this do­ctrine hath a naturall tendency: for if a person once think, that all his sins were pardoned, upon his first beleeving, so that many of them were pardoned before they were committed; he shall never be affected for his after transgressions, nor complean of a body of death, nor account himself miserable upon that account, as Paul did Rom. 7: 24. nor shall he ever pray for remission, though Christ hath taught all to do so, in that patern of prayer; nor shall he act faith upon the promises of pardon, made in the covenant of grace, for after transgres­sions, or for transgressions actually committed Ier. 31: 34. & 3 [...]: 8. Heb. 8: 12. and so there shall be no use made of Christ for new pardons, or re­missions of new sins.

2. The beleever would remember, that, among other things, antecedently requisite to remission of posterior actuall transgressions, gospel Repen­tence is especially required Luk. 13: 3. Mat. 3: 2. Ezeck. 18: 28, 30, 32. Luk. 15: 17, 18 Ho [...]. 2: 6, 7. Ezech. 14: 6. whereby a Sinner▪ through the helpe of the Spirit, being convinced not only of his hazard by reason of sin, but also of the filthi­nesse and hatefulnesse of sin; and having a sight of the mercy of God in Christ Jesus to sinners, turning from their sin, doth turne from those sins unto God, with a full purpose of heart, in his strength, to follow Him and obey his lawes: and hereby the soul is brought to loath its self and sin, and is made willing to desire, seek for, accept of and prize re­mission of sins. This makes them more warry in [Page 162] time coming, and carefull: for behold (sayes the Apostle 2 Cor. 7: 11.) This self same thing that yee sorowed after a godly sort, what carefulnesse it wrought in you; yea, what clearing of yoursel­ves; what indignation, yea what feare; yea, what vehement desire; yea what Zeal; yea what reven­ge; &c. Thus is God glorified in his justice, Psal. 51: 4. and his mercy is acknowledged, in not entering with us into judgement, nor cast­ing us into hell, as He might have done in justice.

3. Yet it would be remembered, that though it hath seemed good in the Lord's eyes, to chuse this method, and appoint this way of obtaining pardon of sins dayly committed, for the glory of his grace and mercy; and likewise for our good, we must not ascribe too much unto Repentance, in the matter of pardon: we must not make it a cause of our remission, either efficient or meritorious: we must not think, that it hath any hand in appease­ing the wrath of God, or in satisfying of justice: par­don must alwayes be an act of God's free grace, unmerited at our hands; & procured alone through the merites of Christ: we must not put repentance in Christ's room and place, nor ascribe any imper­fection unto his merites, as if they needed any sup­ply from any act of ours: we must beware of lean­ing to our Repentance, and godly Sorrow, even so far as to think to commend ourselves to God thereby, that we may obtaine pardon.

4. The beleever would consider seriously the dreadfulnesse of their condition, who are lying under the lash of the law for sin, The law sayeth, [Page 163] cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the law: and every sin is a transgression of the law: so that, acording to law and justice, they are in hazard: for evry sin in it self exposeth the sinner to eternal wrath, sin being an offence against God who is a righteous judge, and a breach of his law. A right sight and apprehension of this, would serve to humble the sinner before God, and make him more earnest in seeking out for par­don, that this obligation to punishment might be removed.

5. The beleever would not only consider the sin it self; but also take notice of all its Aggrava­tions. There are peculiar aggravations of some sins, taken from the time, manner and other circumstanc­es, which rightly considered will helpe forward the work of humiliation: And the sins of beleevers have this aggravation, above the sins of others, that they are committed against more love, and spe­ciall Love, and against more opposition and con­tradiction of the grace of God within the soul, against more light and conviction &c. and there­fore, their humiliation upon this account ought to be singular and serious, So was it with David, when he took notice of the speciall aggravations of his sin Psal. 51: 4, 6, 14. and Ezra. cap. 9. & Nehemiah Cap. 9. and Daniel Cap 9. This con­sidering of sin with its due aggravations, would helpe to prize mercy at an high rate, and cause the soul more willingly waite for, and more seriously seek after Remission; knowing that God is more angry for great sins, than for sins of infirmity, and may therefore pursue the same with sorer judg­ments, [Page 164] as He broke David's bones, withdrew his comforts &c.

6. The beleever would be convinced of an impossibility of doing any thing in himself, which can procure pardon at the hands of God: should he weep, cry, afflict himself, & pray never so, all will do nothing by way of merite; for the taking away of the least sin, that ever he commited: and the con­viction of this would drive him to despaire in him­self; and be a meane to bring him cleanly off him­self, and to look out for mere mercy in Christ Jesus. So long as, through the deceitfulnesse of Satan, the false heart inclineth to the old byas, and hath its eye upon any thing in it self, from whence it draw­eth its hops and expectation of pardon and accep­tance, it will not purely act faith on Christ for this end, and so he will lose all his labour, and in end be disappointed. Therefore the beleever would guard against this, and that so much the more, that the false deceitful heart is so much inclined thereto; and that this deceit can sometime work so cuningly, that it▪ can hardly be discerned, being fairded over with many false glosses and pretexts; and that it is so dishonourable to Jesus, and hurtful and prejudicial to the soul.

7. The beleever would act faith on the promises of pardon in the new covenant, as having a right to them through Jesus Christ, and challenge with humble boldnesse, the fulfilling of the same▪ accor­ding to that 1. Ioh. 1: 9▪ If we confesse our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. So that the beleever may not only take hold of mercy, and grace in God, as an incouragement and invitation [Page 165] to go to God for pardon; but even of the justice and righteousnesse of God, because of his faithful promises: and the beleever would have here a spe­ciall eye to Christ, in whom all the promises▪ are yea and amen; and look for the accomplishment of them through Him, and for his sake alone.

8. Faith would eye Christ, as hanging upon the crosse, and offering up himself, through the eter­nall Spirit, a sacrifice to satisfie divine justice, for all the sins of his own chosen ones: we cannot think, that Christ bare but some of their sins, or only their sins, committed before conversion; and if he bare all, as the Father laid all upon Him, the beleever is to lay hold on Him by faith, as hanging on the crosse, as well for taking away of the guilt of sins committed after conversion, as be­fore. His sacrifice was a sacrifice for all, and He bare our sins without distinction or exception, in his owne body on the tree, 1. Pet. 2: 24. David had his eye on this, when he cryed out Psal. 51: 7. purge me with hysope, hysope being sometimes used in the legall purifications, which typified that purification, which Christ really wrought, when He gave himself a sacrifice for sin Levit. 14: 6. Num. 19: 18.

9. The beleever looking on Christ, dying as a Mediator, to pacifie the wrath of God, and to make satisfaction to the justice of God, for the sins of his people, would renew his consent unto that gracious, and wise contriveance of heaven, of pardoning sins, through a crucified Mediator, that mercy and Justice might kisse each other, and be glorified together: and declare againe his full satisfaction [Page 166] with Christ's satisfying of justice for him, and taking away the guilt of his sins, by that blood, that was shed upon the crosse, by taking those sins, whereof now he standeth guilty, and for which he is desireous of pardon, and by faith nail­ing them to the crosse of Christ, and rolling them on his shoulders, that the guilt of them, as well as of the rest, might be taken away, through the merites of his death and satisfaction. Thus the beleever consenteth to that noble act of free grace, whereby the Lord made all our sins to meet to­gether on Christ, when he taketh those particular sins, wherewith now he is troubled, and casteth them in into the heape, that Christ, as the true scape-goat, may carry all away. This is to lay our hands on the head of our sacrifice.

10. The beleever hath another ground of comfort to grippe to, in this case, and that is, Christ's eternall Priesthood, whereby he makes in­tercession for the transgressions of his people, and as their advocate and atturnay with the father, pleadeth their cause, whereby he is able to save them to the last, and uttermost step of their jurnay, and so to save them from the guilt of all casuall and emergent sins, that might hinder their salvation: So that the beleever is to put those sins, that now he would have pardoned, into the hands of Christ, the everlasting intercessour and alsufficient advo­cat, that He, by vertue of his death, would ob­taine a new pardon of these their failings▪ and transgressions, and deliverance from the guilt thereof; and their acceptance with the Father not­withstanding of these transgressions.

[Page 167]11. Thus beleevers eyeing Christ as Dying, Riseing againe, Ascending, and as Sitting at the Fathers right hand, there to be a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedeck, and to interceed for his owne, and to see to the application of what benefites, pardons, favours, and other things they need, from all which they have strong ground of comfort and of hope, yea and assurance of pardon, would acquiesce in this way; and having laid those particular sins, under the burden whereof they now groan, on Christ the mediator, dying on the crosse to make satisfaction, and ariseing to make applica­tion of what was purchased, and having put them in his hand, who is a faithfull High priest, and a noble Intercessour, would remember, that Christ is a Prince exalted to give Repentance and Remis­sion of sins▪ and so exspect the sentence even from Him, as a Prince now exalted, and as having obtain­ed that of the Father, even a power to forgive sins, justice being now sufficiently satisfied, through his death; yea & as having all power in heaven and in earth, as being Lord both of the dead and of the living. Sure a right thought of this would much quiet the soul, in hope of obtaining pardon through Him; seing now the pardon is in his owne hand, to give out, who loved them so dearly, that he gave himself to the death for them, and shed his heart blood to satisfie justice for their transgressions. Since he, who hath procured their pardon at so dear a rate, and is their atturnay to agent their businesse at the throne of grace, hath now obtained the prayed-for & looked-for pardon, and hath it in his ownehand, they will not question but He will [Page 168] give it, and so absolve them from their guilt.

12. The beleever, having taken this course, with his dayly provocations, and laid them all on Him, would acqui [...]sce in this way, and not seek after ano­ther, that he may obtaine pardon. Here he would rest, committing the matter by faith in prayer to Christ, & leaving his guilt and sins on Him, ex­pect the pardon: yea conclude, that they are alrea­dy pardoned: and that for these sins, he shall never be brought unto condemnation; whatever Satan and a misbeleeving heart may say or suggest after­ward.

Thus should a beleever make use of Christ, for the taking away of the Guilt of his dayly trans­gressions; and for further clearing of it, I shall adde a few cautions.

Cautions.

1. However the beleever is to be much moved at, & aff [...]cted with, his sins and provocations, which he committeth after God hath visited his soul with salvation, and brought him into a covenant with himself; yet he must not suppose, that his sins after justification do marre his state; as if thereby he were brought into a Non-justified state, or to a Non reconciled state. It is true, such sins, espe­cially if grosse, whether in themselves or by reason of circumstances, will darken a mans state, and put him to search and try his condition, over againe. But yet we dar not say, that they make any alteration in the state of a beleever: for once in a justified state alwayes in a justified state. It is true likewise, that as to those sins, which now he hath committed, he [Page 169] cannot be said to be acquited or justified, till this pardon be got out by faith and repentance, as is said; yet his State remaineth fixed and unchanged; so that though God should seem to deal with such in his dispensations, as with enemies; yet really his affections change not; he never accounteth them real enemies; nay love lieth at the bottom of all his sharp st dispen [...]ations. If they for sake his law, and walk not in his judgements, if they break his statutes and keep not his commandements, he will visite their transgression with the rod, and their iniquit [...] with stripes: neverthelesse his loving kind­nesse will he not utterly take from them, nor suffer his faithfulnesse to [...]ail: his covenant will he not break nor alter the thing that is gone out of his lips Psal. 89: 30, 31, 32, 33, 34.▪ And againe, though after­transgressions may waken challenges for former sins, which have been pardoned and blotted out, and give occasion to Satan to raise a storme in the soul, and put all in confusion; yet really sins once pardoned cannot become againe unpardoned sins. The Lord doth not revoke his sentence, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his mouth. It is true likewise, that a beleever, by committing of grosse sins, may come to misse the effects of God's favour and good will, and the intimations of his love and kindnesse; and so be made to cry with David Psal. 51: 8. make me to heare joy and gladnesse and vers. 12. restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, &c. Yet that really holdeth true, that whom he loveth he loveth to the end; and He is a God that changeth not; and his gifts are without repentance. Yea though grieving of the Spirit may bring souls under [Page 170] sharp throwes, and pangs of the Spirit of bondage, and the terrors of God, and His sharpe arrowes, the poyson where of may drink up their spirits▪ and so be far from the actuall witnessings of the Spirit of Adoption: yet the Spirte will never be againe re­ally a Spirit of bondage unto fear, nor deny his his owne work in the soul, or the souls real right to, or possession of that fundamentall privilege of A­doption; or say, that the soul is no more a Son, no [...] within the covenant.

2. The course before mentioned is to be taken with all sins, though. 1. They be never so hai­ [...]ous and grosse. 2. Though they be accompanyed with never such aggravating and crying aggravati­ons. 3. Though they be sins frequently fallen in­to: and. 4. Though they be sins many and heaped together. Davids transgression was a hainous sin, and had hainous aggravations, yea there was an heap and a complication of sins together in that one; yet he followed this course. We finde none of those kinde of sins excepted in the new covenant; and where the law doth not distinguish, we ought not to distinguish: where God's law doth not expressely exclude us, we should not exclude our selves. Christs death is able enough to take away all sin. If through it a beleeve [...] be justified from all his transgressions committed before conversion, why may not also a beleever be, through vertue of it, justified from his grosse and multiplied sins committed after con­version? The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin [...] Christ hath taught his followers to pray, forgive us our sins, as we forgive them that sinne against us, and he hath told us also, that we must forgive [Page 171] our brother seventy times seven times Mat. 18: 22. We would not be discouraged then from taking this course, because our sins are such and such; nay rather, we would look on this, as an argument to presse us more unto this way, because the greater our sins be, the greater need have we of pardon, and to say with David Ps. 25: 11. Pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.

3. We would not think, that upon our taking of this course, we shall be instantly freed from chal­lenges, because of those sins, for pardoning where­of we take this course: nor should we think, that because challenges remaine, that therefore, there is no pardon had, or that this is not the way to par­don: for, as we shall shew afterward, pardon is one thing, and intimation of pardon is another thing: we may be pardoned, and yet suppose that we are not pardoned; challenges will abide, till the conscience be sprinkled, and till the Prince of peace command peace to the conscience, and put the accuser to silence; who, when he can do no more▪ will marre the peace of a beleever, as long as he can▪ and stoppe the current of his comforts, which made▪ David pray, that God would restore to him the joy, of his salvation Psal. 51.

4. Nor would we think, that upon our taking of this course for the pardon of our sins, we shall never thereafter meet with a challenge upon the ac­count of these sins. It is true, when sins are par­doned, they are fully pardoned in God's court, and that obligation to condemnation is taken away, and the pardoned person is looked upon as no sinner, that is, as no person liable to condemnation because of [Page 172] these sins; for being pardoned he becometh just be­fore God; yet we darre not say, but conscience afterward, being alarmed with new transgressions, may mistake, as people suddenly put into a fright are ready to do: nor dar we say, that God will not permit Satan, to upbraid us with those sins, which have been blotted out long ago, as he suffered Shim [...]i, who was but an instrument of Satan, to cast up to David his blood guiltinesse, which had been pardoned long before. The Lord may think good to suffer this, that his people may be keeped humble; and made more tender and watchfull, in all their wayes.

5. Beleevers would not mis▪ improve or abuse this great condescendency of free grace, & take the grea­ter liberty to sin, because there is such a sure, saif [...], and pleasant way of getting those sins blotted out and forgiven. Shall we sin because we are not under grace, but under the law? That be far from us, sayeth [...] Apostle Rom. 6: 15. This were indeed to turne the grace of God into lasciviousnesse. And it may be a question, if such as have really repented, & gotten their sins pardoned, will be so ready to make this use of it: sure, sense of pardon will work some other effect, as we see Ezech. 16: 62, 63.

6. The beleever, in going about this work of nailing his sins to the crosse of Christ, and of im­proving Christ's Death, Resurrection and constant intercession, for the obtaining of pardon, would not think of going alone, or of doing this, in his own strength: for of himself he can do nothing. He must look to Christ for grace, to help in this time of need, and must got about this duty with [Page 173] dependence on Him, waiting for the influences of Light, Counsell, Strength, and Grace from Him to repent and beleeve: for He is a Prince exalted to give repentance, first and last, and He is the author and finisher of faith: so that without Him we can do nothing.

7. Let the beleever beware of concluding, that he hath got no pardon, because he hath met with no sensible intimation thereof, by the flowing in of peace and joy in his soul. Pardon is one mercy, and intimation of it to the soul is another distinct mer­cy, and separable from it: shall we therefore say, we have not gotten the first, because we have not gotten both? The Lord, for wise reasons, can pardon poor sinners, and not give any intimation thereof; to wit, that they may watch more against sin afterward, and not be so bold as they have been, and that they may finde more in experience, what [...] bitter thing it is to sin against God, and learne with­all to depend on Him for lesse and more: and to carry more humbly: for it may be, God seeth, that if they saw their sins pardoned, they would forget themselves, and rush into new sins againe.

8. The beleever must not think it strange, if he finde more trouble after greater sins, and a great­er difficulty to lay hold on Christ for pardon of those, then for pardon of others: for as God hath been more dishonoured by these; so is his anger more kindled, upon that account: and it is sure­able for the glory of God's justice, that our sorrow for such hainous sins be proportionably greater: and this will likewise increase the difficulty: and ordi­narly the effects of God's fatherly displeasure, make [Page 174] deeper wounds in the soul after such sins, and these are not so easily healed: all which will call for [...] and proportionably greater godly sorrow and repentance, and acts of faith: because faith will meet with more opposition and discouragment there; and therefore must be the more strong, to go thorow these impediments, and to lay hold on his crosse. Yet though this should make all watch­full, and to guaird against grosse and crying sins, it should not drive any to dispaire, nor to say, with that dispairing wretch, their sin is greater than it can be forgiven, the ocean of mercy can drown and swallow up great, as well as lesser sinnes: Christ is an alsufficient Mediator, for the greatest sins, as well as for the least. O for thy names sake pardon mine iniquitie, for it is great, will come in season to a soul ready to sink with the weight of this milstone, [...]ied about its neck.

9. as the greater sins should not make us dispaire of taking this course for remission; so nor should the smaln [...]sse of sin make us to neglect this way: for the least sin cannot be pardoned but through Jesus Christ; for the law of God is violated thereby, ju­stice provoked, Gods authority vilipended &c. and therefore cannot be now pardoned, by reason of the threatnings annexed to the transgression of the law, without a ransome: death is the wages of all sin, lesser and greater; and the curse is due to all sinners greater and smaller. Therefore the beleever would not suffer one sin, seen and discovered, to lie un­pardoned; but on the first discovery thereof, take it away to Christ, and nail it to his crosse.

10. The beleever would not conclude, that his [Page 175] sins are not pardoned, because possibly temporal strokes, inflicted because of them, are not remov­ed: for though Davids sin was pardoned; yet, because of that sin of his a temporall stroke attended him and his family, to his dying day: for not on­ly did God cut off the childe 2 Sam. 15: 14. but told him, that the sword should never depairt from his house, and that He would raise up evil against him, [...]ut of his own house, and give his wives to one, that should lie with them in the sight of the sun vers. 10, 11. So we read, that the Lord took vengeance on their inventions, whose sins he had pardoned Psal. 99: 8. God may see this fit and expedient, for his own glory, and for humbling of them, and causing them feare the more to sin against him. Yea not only may temporal calamities be inflicted, be­cause of sin pardoned; or continued, after sin is par­doned; but even sense of God's displeasure may con­tinue after pardon, as appeareth by that penitential Psalm 51. penned by David, after Nathan had spo­ken to him concearning his sin.

Quaestions or Objections answered.

1. What course shall we take with secret sins [...] I answer. This same course must be followed with them: There is an implicite repentance of sins, that have not been distinctly seen and observed, as who can see and observe all their failings? And so there may be an implicite faith acting: that is, the be­leever, being perswaded that he is guilty of mo [...] sins, than he hath yet got a clear sight of, as he would bewail his condition before God because of these, and sorrow for them after a godly man­ner; [Page 176] so he would take them together in a heape, o [...] as a closed bag full, and by faith nail them to the crosse of Christ, as if they were all distinctly seen and known: who can understand his errours, said David Psal. 19: 12. yet sayes he moreover, cleanse thou me from secret faults.

2. But what if after all this, I finde no intima­tion of pardon to my soul? Ans. As this should serve to keep thee humble, so it should excite to more diligence, in this duty of going with thy sins to Christ, and to plye him, and his crosse more, in and through the promises, and keep thy soul constant in this duty of runing to Christ, as an al­sufficient Mediator, and as an intercessour with the Father; and thus waite on Him who waiteth to be gracious; even in this particular, of intimating pardon to thy soul. He knoweth when it is fittest for thee to know, that thy sins are forgiven.

3. But what can yeeld me any ground of peace, while itis so, that I see no pardon or remission grant­ed to me? Answere. This may yeeld thee peace, that following this course, which hath been explain­ed, thou art about thy duty. Thou art not at peace with sin, nor harbouring that viper in thy soul; thou art mourning and sorrowing over it, and runing to Christ, the Prince of pardons, through his blood, and intercession, conforme to the co­venant of redemption and after the encouragement given, in the many and precious promises of the covenant of grace, and, having these promises, and rolling thy guilt on Christ, as thy cautioner, conforme to the manner expressed in the gospel, thou art allowed to beleeve, that thy sins are pardon­ed, [Page 177] and that thou art accepted in the beloved, and so quiet thy soul through faith, God abideing faithfull and true, and his promises being all yea and amen in Christ.

4. But so long as I finde not intimation of par­don, I cannot think that I have taken the right gospel way of bringing my sins to Christ. Answere. Though that will not follow, as we cleared above: for a soul may take the right gospel way of getting the guilt of their sins taken away in Christ; and God may pardon thereupon; and for all that not think it fit to give intimation of that pardon as yet, for wise and holy ends: yet the soul may humble it self for its shortcoming, and still goe about the duty, amending in Christ, what it supposeth is amisse, and renewing its acts of repentance and faith, and beg of Christ understanding in this mat­ter, and so continue carrying sin al way to Christ's crosse, and eyeing his intercession, and waite for a full clearing of the matter, in his good time.

5. But what shall I do with the guilt of my weak Repentance, and weak faith? Answer. When with a weak and defective repentance and faith thou art carrying thy sins away to Christ, and nailing them to his crosse, let the imperfections of thy faith and repentance go with the rest, and leave all there.

6. What shall I do with my conscience, that still accuseth me of guilt, notwithstanding of my taking and following this course▪ Answer. Despise not the accusations of conscience; but let these humble thee the more, and keep thee closser at, this [Page 178] duty: yet know that conscience is but an under ser­vant and God's deputy, and must accuse according to law (I speak not here of the irregular, furious and turbulent motions of Satan, casting-in granads in the soul and conscience, to raise a combustion and put all in a fire) its mouth most be stopped by law, and so the soul would stay and answere the accusati­ons of conscience with this, that he hath fled to Christ, the only Mediator and Cautioner, and cast his burden on him; and leaneth to his merites alone; and hath put those sins in his hand, as his advocat and intercessour with the Father; and that the gospel requireth no more of him: and if con­science should say, that both faith and repentance are imperfect and defective, and that guilt is there­by rather increased then taken away: He must ans­were againe. True, but I have done with the guilt of my faith and repentance, as with the rest, taken all to Christ, and left all on him; and herein only do I acquiesce; I look not for pardon for my imper­fect faith and repentance, yea nor would I look for pardon of my sins, for my faith and repentance, were they never so perfect, but only in and through Jesus Christ, the only Cautioner, Redeemer and Advocat. But further, this deputy would be brought to his master, who can only command him to si­lence: that is to say, the Beleever would goe to Christ with the accuseing conscience, and desire Him to command it silence, that he may have peace of conscience, and freedome from those accusations, that are bitter and troublesome. Remember with­all, that if these accusations drive thee to Christ, and indear Him more to thy soul, they will do no [Page 179] harme, because they drive thee to thy only rest­ing place, and to the grand peace maker. But if otherwise they discourage or for [...]stow thee in thy motion Christ ward, then be sure conscience speak­eth without warrand, and its accusations ought not, in so far, and as to that end, be regairded.

CHAP. IX. How to make use of Christ, for cleansing of us from our dayly spots.

HAving spoken of the way of making use of Christ, for removing of the guilt of our dayly transgressions, we come to speak of the way of mak­ing use of Christ, for taking away the filth that cleaveth to the soul, through dayly transgressions: for every sin defileth the man Mat, 15: 20 and the best are said to have their spots, and to need washing▪ which presupposeth filthinesse and defilement Ephes. 5: 27. Iohn. 13: 8, 10. Hence we are so oft called to this duty of washing and making us clean Esai. 1: 16. Ier. 4: 14. Act. 22: 16. David prayes for this washing Psal. 51: 2, 7. And it is Christ's work to wash 1 Cor. 6: 11. Revel. 1: 5. Ephes. 5: 26. See Tit. 3: 5. Now in speaking to this, we shall observe the same method; and first shew, what Christ hath done to take away this filth; and next, what way we are to make use of Him▪ for this end, to get our spots and filthinesse taken away, that we may be holy.

As to the first. For the purging away of the [Page 180] filth of our dayly failings and transgressions, Christ hath done those things.

1. He hath died that He might procure this be­nefite and advantage to us; and thus he hath washed us meritoriously in his blood, which he shed upon the crosse. Thus he loved us, and washed us from our sins, in his owne blood. Revel. 1: 5. and this is from all sins, as well such as are committed after, as such as are committed before conversion. Thus He by himself purged our sins Heb. 1: 3. viz by offering up of himself as an expiatory sacrifice to make an atonement, and so procure this liberty. So also it is said Ephes. 5: 25, 26, 27. that Christ gave himself for his Church, that He might sanctify and cleanse it—that He might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy & with­out blemish. So Tit. 2: 14. He gave himself for us, that he—might purify to himself a peculiar people, Zealous of good works. Here then is the foundation and ground of all our cleanseing and purification; Christ's death procuring it.

2. As He hath procured; so he sendeth the Spirit to effectuate this, and to worke this washing and sanctification, in us. Hence it is said 1 Cor. 6: 11. that we are sanctified and washed, in the name of the Lord Iesus, and by the Spirit of our God. We are said to be saved by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the holy ghost, which he shed upon us abundantly through Iesus Christ our Saviour Tit. 3: 5▪ 6. The sending then or shedding of the holy and sanctifying Spirit upon us, whereby we are sanctified, and consequently purified and purged from our filth, [Page 181] is a fruit of Christ's death and mediation, being purchased thereby, and is an effect of his resurrection: and glorification, and intercession in glory.

3. He hath made a fountaine of his blood for this end, that we may go to it daylie, and wash and be cleane: thus his blood cleanseth from all sin 1 Ioh. 1: 7, 9. This is the fountaine opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Ierusalem for sin and for uncleannesse. Zech. 13: 1.

4. He hath purchased and provided the externall meanes, whereby this cleansing and sanctification is brought about: viz the preaching of the gospell, which He himself preached, and thereby sanctified Iohn 15: 3. Now are yee clean through the word that I have spoken unto you. Ephes. 5: 26. the Church is sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water, by the word.

5. So hath He procured, and worketh in the soul those graces, that promove and cary on this work of sanctification and purifying; such as faith, which purifyeth the heart Act. 15: 9. whereof he is the author and finisher Heb. 12. and hope which whosoever hath, purifyeth himself, even as He is pure. 1 Iohn. 3: 3.

6. He hath confirmed and ratified all the promi­ses of the covenant, which are ample and large, touching this cleansing and washing Ier. 35: 8. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me Ezech. 36: 25. Then will I sprinkle cleane water upon you, and yee shall be cleane, from all your filthinesse. So Ezech. 37: 23.—and I will cleanse them. And all the other promises of the covenant, apprehended [Page 182] by faith, have no small influence on our cleanseing 2 Cor. 7: 1. having there o [...]e these promises, let us cleanse our selves &c. all which promises are yea and amen in Christ 2 Cor. 1: 20.

Thus Christ hath made all sure, for the cleanse­ing and washing of his people, conforme to that article of the covenant of Redemption. So shall he sprinckle many nations Esai. 52: 15.

Secondly, As to the way of our usemaking of Christ, for the purging away of our filth and daylie pollutions. Beleevers would take this course.

1. They would remember and live in the convi­ction of the exceeding abominablnesse and filthi­nesse of sin, which is compared to the vomite of a dog, and to the mire, wherein the sow walloweth 2 Pet. 2: 22. to filthy rags Esai. 64: 6. to a men­struous cloath Esai 30▪ 22▪ and the like, that this may move them to seek with greater care and dili­gence, to have that filth washen away.

2. They would remember also how abominable sin maketh them in the eyes of an holy God, who cannot behold iniquity, being a God of purer eyes than to behold it Habak. 1: 13. nor can He look on it. And how therefore no unclean thing can enter in into the new Jerusalem▪ nor any thing that defileth. And this will make them so much the more to abhore it, and to seek to be washen from it.

3. They would look by faith upon the blood of Christ, that is shed for this end, to wash filthy souls into; and run to it as a fountaine opened for this end, that they might come to it, and wash & be cleane.

[Page 183]4. For their encouragement, they would grip by faith to the promises of the new covenant, which are large and full.

5. And remember the end of Christ's death▪ viz to purchase to himself a holy people, Zealous of good works, to present them to Himself holy, and with­out spot and wrinkle, or any such thing: and this will be a further encouragement.

6. They would put the work by faith in his hand, who hath best skill to wash a foule soul, and to purge away all their spots; and by faith pray for and exspect the Spirit, to sanctifie and cleanse them from all their filthinesse: that is, they would make known, and spread forth their abominations be­fore the Lord, and eyeing Christ as the only great Highpriest, whose blood is a fountaine to wash in, would lay the work on Him, and by faith put Him to wash away that filth, and to purifie their souls by his Spirit, pardoning their bygone iniquities, & renewing them in the spirit of their mindes by gra­ce, that they may walk before him in fear. Thus they would roll the work on Him, and leave it there.

Cautions & Directions.

1. The beleever would in all this work be keep­ed, in the exercise of those graces following.

1. Of Humility, seeing what a vile filthy wreatch he is, that stands in need of washing and purging dayly, because of his daylie pollutions, and trans­gressions.

2. Of Love▪ considering with what a loving God he hath to do, that hath provided so liberally [...] [Page 184] things for him, and particularly hath provided a fountaine and such a fountaine, whereto he no [...] only may, but is commanded to resort dayly.

3. Of Thankfulnesse, remembering how great this mercy is, how unworthy he is, on whom it is bestowed, and who He is that doth grant it.

4. Of Fear, least God's goodnesse be abused, and He provoked, who is so gracious to us.

5. Of Sincerity, and godly ingenuity, avoid­ing all hypocrisie, and formality, knowing that we have to do with Him, who will not be mocked.

6. Of holy Hatred, loathing and abhorrence of sin, which maketh us so filthy and odious in the eyes of the Lord.

2. This course would be followed, for the purging away of the least sins: for till they be pur­ged away, we remaine in our filth, and cannot ex­spect God's favourable countenance, nor his warme imbracements, nor the hearty intimations of his love and kindnesse. And a small inconsi­derable like spot may grow greater, and provoke God to let the accuser of the brethren, Satan, who alwayes waits for his opportunity, losse upon us, and a conscience wakened may make much of a little defilement, to keep the soul from approaching to God.

3. This course would be followed with every sin, quickly, without delay: for the longer those spots continue, it will be the more difficult to get them taken away: the soul will after some time, become the lesse troubled about them, and possibly forget them; and so they will remaine; and this may occa­sion at last a sad distance, and provoke God to hide [Page 185] his face, which will cause more bitternesse and sorrow. It were good then, to keep up a Spirit of tendernesse and feare.

4. Let this be our Dayly work and exercise: for we are daylie contracting new filth: yesterdayes cleansing will not save us from new filth to day: nor will our runing to the fountaine to day, serve to take away new spots tomorrow: new spots call for new washing, so that this must be our very life and exercise, to be dayly and continually runing to the fountaine with our foule souls; and giving Christ, the great purger, much to do.

5. We must not think to be perfectly Washen, so long as we are here; for we will be contracting new filth dayly, our feet will still be to wash Iohn. 13: 10. We will not be without spote or wrinckle, till we come home to that place, wherein entereth no­thing that defileth.

6. Let the beleevers recourse in this matter be wholly to Iesus Christ and his blood, and lay no weight on their sorrow, repentance, or teares, or on any outward meane, which they are commanded to use: yet would they not lay aside these meanes, but goe through them to the fountaine, to Jesus, there and there only to be cleansed.

7. They would not be discouraged or dispaire, when their spots appear great, and not like the spots of his children: for Christ's blood can purge from all sin; and wash away all their filth, of how deep so ever a dye it, be. Christ's blood is so deep an ocean▪ that a mountain will be sunck out of sight in it, as wel as a small peeble stone.

8. Though Christ's blood be strong enough to [Page 186] purge from all sin, even the greatest; yet they would know, that scandalous spots, or a deep staine, may cost them more frequent runing to the fountaine, through humiliation, godly sorrow, prayer and sup­plication. David's scandalous blot cost him more trouble and paines, before he got it purged away, than many others, as we see Psal. 51.

9. When all this is done, we must think of having on another righteousnesse, as our cloathing and covering, in the day of our appearance before our judge, even the righteousnesse of Jesus Christ, which only is perfect, and able to save us from the wrath of God. Let us be never so washen in the matter of sanctification, and cleansed from our spots, we cannot for all that be accounted righ­teous before God: nor will that satisfie justice, or take away the guilt so much as of one transgression before God. Christ's righteousnesse will be ou [...] upper-garment for all eternitie: Ut his is the fine lin­ning wherewith his bride is busked in heaven.

10. At every time we run to the fountaine, with our dayly contracted filth, we would not forget to carry alongs with us the mother corruption, which is the sinck and puddle of all filthinesse: I meane, our naturall corrupted rottennesse and pollution, from whence flow all our other actuall pollutions. We would do well to carry mother and daughter both together to the fountaine. David prayeth to be washen and purged, as well from his originall filthinesse, wherein he was conceived and borne, as from his bloudguiltinesse Psal. 51: 5, 7.

11. Let not this occasion our carelesnesse in watching against sin; for that would be to turne [Page 187] his grace into wantonness, but rather let it sharpen our diligence in watching against all occasions of sin, lest we againe defile our soul.

12. Not only must we have our bodyes, or our outward conversation washen; but our soul within, the frame of our heart, our understanding, will, affections, and conscience sprinkled with that blood. The blood of Christ, who through the eternall Spirit, offered himself without spot [...]o God, must purge our consciences from dead works, to serve the living God. Heb. 9: 14. And we must have our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. Heb. 10: 22.

Finally. If the beleever feare, that he shall not be able to remember all these particular duties, let him remember this, to wit. To put a [...]oule soul, defiled with originall and actuall pollutions, in Christ's hand, dayly, and leave it with him to wash by his blood and Spirit. And yet remember to lay the weight of his acceptance before God, upon the imputed righteousnesse of Iesus Christ, and not upon his own cleannesse, when thus sanctified and washen, which is but imperfect.

Questions or objections answered.

But alas some may Object. and say, That their very faith which must carry the rest of their filth to the fountaine of Christ's blood, is defiled; How then can they expect to be made clean? An. The blood of Iesus Christ is sufficiently able to wash all our filth away; and the filth of faith, as well as of other actions: Therefore, when faith, as a hand, is carrying the filth of the soul away to Christ to be [Page 188] washen in his blood; let the foule hand go with the foule hand - full, give Christ faith and all to wash.

2. But what shall I do, when notwithstanding of all this, my conscience shall still accuse me of un­cleannesse, and cry out against me as filthy and abominable? Ans. Take it away also to the blood of Iesus, that there it may be purged Heb. 9: 14. and here alone will we get our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. Heb. 10: 22. The con­science must be steeped (to speak so) in the blood of Iesus, and so it shall be cleane: and taking our filthy hearts to this cleansing fountaine, to be washen, we will get them delivered, and sprinkled from an evil conscience, that it shall no more have ground of accusation against us: when we have it to say, that we have put our filthy souls in the hands of the great cleanser, Jesus Christ, and brought all our pollutions to his blood, what can conscience say to us? The Lord, it is true, may suffer our consciences still to bark upon us, and cast up our filthinesse to us, that we may be the more humbled, and be put to lye more constantly at the fountaine; yet when we have fled to Christ, and taken our fil­thinesse to the open and appointed fountaine, we can answere the accusations of conscience, in law, and have peace.

3. But I am apt to think, will some say▪ That if I had once taken the right way, to get my sins & filthinesse purged away, my conscience would trouble me no more; but now so long as it doggeth me thus, I cannot think, that the way, which I have taken, is the right way. Ans. Though the [Page 189] Lord may think good to suffer conscience to trou­ble a man for a time, though he hath taken the right way, as is said, for a further exercise and tryall to him; yet the beleever will have no losse nor disadvantage, by examineing his way, and trying whether he hath laid the matter, cleanly over on Christ, or whether he hath laid too much weight on his own humiliation, sorrow and paines; and whether he beleaving the matter on Jesus; and ex­specting to be washen alone in his blood, or looking in to himself, and exspecting some helpe in the matter from self. And after tryall would mourne for any failing he gets discovered: and still be about that work of runing with filth to the foun­taine. But withall they would go to Christ for helpe, because without Him, they cannot come to Him, they cannot come or carry their soul to the fountaine opened for sin and uncleannesse. So that, in all this work, there would be a single depen­dance on Christ, for understanding, and strength to go about this work aright.

Thus, have we endeavoured to cleare up Christ's being the Way to the Father, first and last; and how all, beleevers or unbeleevers, are to make use of him, as the way to the Father, whatever their condition be; from all which we may see▪ 1. That such are in a wreatched and forlorne condition, who are still strangers to Christ▪ and will not lay hold on Him, nor come to Him, and walk in Him, and make use of Him. They are unrighteous and unholy, and dayly contracting more guilt and more filth: and they know no way either for justi­fication or sanctification, but a way of self, which [Page 190] will prove like the brooks, which run dry in sum­mer & disappoint the weary travailer, when he hath most need. They are without Christ, and so without the way, the only way, the saife and sure way, to the Father. And oh! if all that is here spoken could induce them, to think once of the misery of their condition; and to seek out for re­liefe, that they might not only be saved from their state of sin and misery; but brought into a state of salvation through Jesus Christ; so that they might be justified before God, from all that justice, the de­vil, the law, or conscience, could lay against them▪ and throughly sanctified; and so at length brought home to the Father, faire and spotlesse 2. Upon the other hand, we see the noble advantage of be­leevers, who through grace are entered into this way; for it is a full and compleat way, that shall carry them saife home: they shall finde, that He is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God through Him. And O if▪ they were sensible of this! How would it excite them to thankfulnesse▪ How would it encourage them to run thorow difficulties great and many! 3. We see what a special duty lyeth upon beleevers to make special use of Christ, in all things, as the way to the Father, and so march to heaven in Him, as the only way, march in his hands, or rather be carryed in his armes and bosome. This were to goe from strength to strength, till at length they appeared in Zion, and landed in that pleasant place of rest, where the weary are at rest, and yet rest not, day nor night, but sing praises to Him, that hath redeemed them by his blood, out of every kinred and tongue, and [Page 191] people and nation, saying blessing, honour, glory & power be unto Him, that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the lamb, forever and ever Revel. 5: 9, 13. 4. Hence we may see the cause of the lean­nesse of beleevers, of their wanderings, of their short comings▪ of their many defilements &c. viz. their not constant making use of Christ, as the way, in all things, according to the tenor of the gospel. Oh if this were laid to heart and mourned for, and if grace were sought to helpe it.

This one point of truth. That Christ is the way, well understood, and [...]ghtly put into practice, would do all our businesse, both as to justification and sanctification, and were poor sinners once en­tred into this way, and had they grace from this way to walk in it, it would prove their life and sal­vation: for it is the marrow and substance of the whole gospel. So that there needeth little more to be said: yet we shall speak, a little to the other par­ticulars in the text.

CAP. X. The Truth. Some generalls proposed.

THat what we are to speak for the clearing and improving of this noble piece of truth. That Christ is the Truth, may be the more clearly un­derstood and edifying, we shall first take notice of some generalls, and then show particularly how, or in what respects, Christ is called the Truth, and [Page 192] finally speak to some cases, wherein we are to make use of Christ, as the Truth.

As to the first. There are foure generall things here to be noticed.

First This supposeth what our case by nature is, and what we are all without Christ, who is the Truth: as,

Frst. It supposeth that without Christ, we are in darkness, mistakes, errors: yea we are said to be darkness it self Ephes. 5. 8. yea were sometimes darknesse &c. Iohn. 1: 5. and of darknesse. 1 Thes. 5: 5. yea, under the [...]ower of darknesse Col. 1: 13 Iohn 12: 35. 1 Iohn. 2: vers. 11. walking in darknesse 1 Iohn. 1: vers. 6. and abideing in darknesse 1 Pet. 2: 9. 1 Thes. 5: 4. Iohn. 12: 46. we wander and go astray, as soon as we are borne speaking lies Psal. 58: 3. yea we go astray in the greatnesse of our folly Prov. 5. last. we are all gone astray Esai. 53: 6. See also Psal. 119: 67, 176. So far are we from any knowledge of, or acquantance with Truth, or with the way of truth.

Secondly it supposeth, that we cannot turne-in to the right way: a Spirit of errour and untruth leadeth us continually wrong: like the sheep we wander still▪ and we weary ourselves in our wan­dering; and so spend all our labour and paines in vaine. Being under the power of untruth and errour, we cannot walk one step right.

Thridly. Though all other wayes, beside Him who only is the Way, and the Truth, be false wayes, and by-wayes, leading us away from the true test­ing place, and from that Way, which is the Truth; yet we are prone, and ready to cleave to those false [Page 193] and erroneous wayes, to grippe to shadowes▪ and­to leane to them, as if they were the wayes of truth: Such as

1. A good heart, which many imagine they have, when they have nothing lesse.

2. Good intentions and purposes for time to come, which such, as were not under the power of errour and untruth, would never deceive them­selves withall.

3. An harmelesse life without scandalous out­breakings to the reproach of christianity: a foun­dation▪ on which [...] wise man, led by truth, would build his salvation, or hopes of eternal happinesse.

4, An outward morall, civil and discreet car­riage, which no man can blame, and wherein a heathen can outstripe many, called christians, so that it must be a poor ground to found our hopes upon, and yet many are so blinded, that they leane all their weight upon such a rotten staff.

5. Outward exercise of religious dutyes, wherein a Pharisee may outstripe many: and yet O! how many build all their hopes of heaven upon this sandy foundation, which none but blinded persons would do.

6. The commendation & applause of ministers & christians, is that which many rest upon: which is a sad proof of the blindnesse of their hearts.

7. The way of good works and almes deeds, blindfoldeth many, and sheweth that they were never led by truth, or taught of Christ, who is the Truth.

[Page 194]8. Some pinching greif and sorrow for sin, i [...] another way, which people, strangers to the truth, deceive themselves withall.

9. A common sort of repentance, backed with some kinde of amendement and outward reformation, is away that many rest secure in, though it lead to destruction.

10. Freedom from challenges of conscience, de­ceiveth many.

Though these and such like wayes be dangerous, yea deadly, yet how many is there to be found among christians, that have no better ground of their hope of salvation, and will cleave to them so fast, as no preaching will make them so much as once question the matter, or suspect that these wayes will in end deceive them; so strong is their inclination to the way of errour, though not as the way of errour.

Fourthly. It presupposeth also an inclineable­ness in us by nature to wander out of the way: for being nothing but a mass of errour, made up of darkness, ignorance and mistakes, we have a strong byas to errour, which agreeth best, with our naturall corrupted temper. Hence is it, that we have such a strong propension to errour and mista­kes: Whether

1. Concearning God, and his way of dealing with his Church or with our selves. O how ready are our hearts by nature, to hatch and foment wrong, unseemly, untrue, yea unchristian, if not blasphemous thoughts and conceptions of his Nature, Attributes, Word, and Works? And how ready and prone are we, to receive and inter­taine [Page 195] wrong apprehensions of all his wayes and deal­ings with his Church and people? And as for his works in and about ourselves▪ O what unsuteable, erroneous, false, ungodly, absurd and abominable opinions do we with greediness drink-in, and foster; yea feed upon with delight? Who is able to recount all the errours and mistakes, which our heart by nature is ready to admit, and foster with complacency? Are we not by nature ready to say, that there is not a God, as the fool Psal. 14: 1. Or That He is not such a God, as his word and works declare Him to be; a Holy, Just, Righteous, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient God &c▪ Or that He is a changeable God, and actually changed, not being the same now, which some­time he was. That He hath forgotten to be graci­ous, and remembereth not his people in adversity; and so is not Tender and Mercifull. That He hath forgotten his promises, and so is not Faithful and True. That he approveth of sin, because he suffer­eth the way of the wicked to prosper, and so is not an Holy God &c. Yea do not ofttimes such thoughts as these lodge within the heart of the truly God­ly? All which sheweth, how prone we are to re­ceive and intertaine erroneous and false thoughts of God.

2. Concearning Ourselves, Supposeing our­selves to be borne againe and reconciled to God, when yet we are living in black nature: and who so [...]old and confident that they are right, as such as are [...]thest out of the way? Or, on the other hand, sup­ [...]osing ourselves to be in a bad state and in nature, [...] darknesse, when the day starre from on high [Page 196] hath visited us, and brought our souls from death unto life. And who more ready to compleane, then such as have least cause? Or supposeing ourselves in a good condition, lively, active, diligent, watch­full, &c. when it is just other wayes with us: or on the contrary, compleaning of deadnesse, for­mality, upsitting, fainting, heartlesnesse in the wa­yes of God, when it is not so. Or, in questioned matters, taking truth to be errour, and errour to be truth.

3. Concearning Others. How ready are we to run either to the one extremity, or the other, in judging their persons, and actions?

O! where is the faith of this natural condi­tion? Where is the reall conviction of it? Sure there is but little real beleeving of this, when

1. There are so many, that never so much as suspect themselves, or question either their state or condition, at one time or other; never once imagine that their blinded hearts may deceive them; never once dreame of a possibility of mistaking, and of dying with a lie in their right hand.

2. And so many, that are not lamenting and be­wailing this their condition, nor crying out and compleaning of a false deceitful and desperatly wicked heart.

3. And so few, that are indeed humbled unde [...] the sence of this, and made therefore to walk mor [...] watchfully and soberly with an eye alwayes upo [...] their treacherous and deceiving hearts.

4. And so few, crying for help from God, a­gainst this deceitful adversary, through dayly ex­perience of the atheisme, hypocrisie, ignoranc [...] [Page 197] misconceptions of God and of his wayes, and de­ceitfulness of our hearts, might sufficiently put it out of doubt with us.

Next. How miserable must their condition be, who are yet strangers to Christ; for they are living in darkness, lying in darkness, walking in darkness, yea very darkness it self, a mass of er­rour, mistakes, ignorance, and misconceptions of all things, that are good; and still wandering out of the way.

Finally should not this preach out to, and con­vince us all of a necessity of having more acquantance with Truth, with Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, that we may be delivered from this wofull and wre­atched condition: for Truth only can set us free therefrom.

The Second general thing to be noticed here is. That all other wayes and courses, which we can take or follow, that we may obtaine life, be­side Christ, are but lies, false and deceitful wa­yes, there is no truth in them: for He only is the Truth, No other whatsoever can beare this epithete: for

1. He only can satisfie the soul in all points: other wayes, whatever we may imagine and dre­ame, can yeeld no true satisfaction in this matter.

2. He only can secure the soul from destructive ruinous courses, which will undoe the soul: all other wayes will fail here; none of them can give the least security to the soul, that they shall not bring him, in end, to destruction and everlasting perdition.

3. He only can bring the soul saife through all [Page 198] opposition, and difficulties in the way: no o­ther way can do this; but will leave us in the myre, ere ever we come to the end of our journay.

4. He will not deceive nor disappoint the soul: all other wayes, in end will prove treacherous, and give the travailer a doo [...]ul and sad disappoint­ment.

O what a warning should this be to us all, to take heed, that we imbrace not a lie, in stead of Him, who is the Truth: and sit not downe with a shadow in stead of the substance. How ready are we to put other things in his place? But whatever it be, that gets his room in the soul, though good and worthy in it self, will prove a lie, Even. 1. All our outward holinesse and duties: yea. 2. All our experiences and great attainments. Yea. 3. All our gifts and enduements. Ay. 4. Our very gra­ces: none of these are Christ; and if we place that hope and confidence in them, which we should place on Him, they will not prove the Truth to us. He alone is the Truth.

How sure then should we laboure to be, that we do not die with a lie in our right hand: and how carefully should we guaird against the trusting in, or leaning to any thing that is not Christ, and whole Christ, and only Christ, and Christ as of­fered in the gospel: seing this way is only the Truth. And no other way will be found so in end, though at present we may finde in it.

1. Some inward peace and quietnesse of heart, as if all were right.

2. Some satisfaction of minde, things being right as we apprehend, butfalsly, through the de­ceitfulnesse of the heart.

[Page 199]3. Something like assurance and confidence, tha [...] all will be right with us.

4. And hope founded thereupon, which may helpe to ride thorow some stormes, and yet fail us atlength.

The third general is this, Christ Jesus is not only the Truth in himself, but also in reference to us. The scope of the place cleareth this, as he is the Way and the Life, for our use; so he is the Truth. Not only as God equall with the Father, but also as Me­diator, and our immanuel.

As God, He is 1. Essentially Truth, being God equall with the Father, in power and glory.

2. In respect of veracity, he is the God of truth Deut. 32: 4. faithfull in all his sayings Psal. 31 [...] vers. 5. keeping truth for ever Psal. 146: 6.

3. He is the fountaine and spring head of all cre­ated truth, for he is the first truth.

As Mediator, and in reference to us. He is full of grace and truth Iohn. 1: 14. He received not the Spirit in measure Iohn. 3: 34. and this Spirit is a Spirit of truth. But of this more, when we come to show more particularly, how and in what respects, he is called the Truth, as mediator.

The fourth general, which is here observable▪ is, That he is not only called Truth, but the Truth, as he is the Way, and the Life: and not only true▪ but Truth, in the abstract: which sayeth.

1. That He is every way Truth. how ever we consider him, as God, or as Mediator.

2. That [...]ll Truth is in Him: all truth of sal­vation for us is to be found in Him.

3. That all that is in him is truth, his Natu­res, [Page 200] Offices, Performances, Words, Works &c. all are true.

4. That He is pure and unmixed Truth: no lie in Him, no errour or mistake there.

5. That truth in Him is in its perfection, and excellency: In the truest of men, it is very im­perfect.

O what an excellent one must He be? How compleatly fitted and furnished for us! Oh if our souls could love him, and close with him, and rest upon him as alsufficient!

CHAP. XI. More particularly, in what respects Christs is called the Truth.

BUt for further explaineing of this matter, we would see more particularly, in what respects it is, that He is called the Truth; and this will make way to our use making of Him. So

First He is the Truth, in opposition to the shadowes and types of Him, under the law: Hence, as the law (the whole leviticall and typicall dispen­sation) came by Moses; so grace and truth came by Iesus Christ Iohn. 1: 17. They were all shado­wes of Him, and He is the substance and body of them all. Col. 2: 17. And this is true in these res­pects.

1. All these shadowes and types pointed at Him, and directed as with a finger the Israelites, who were under that dispersition, to look to Christ, the [Page 201] promised Messiah, and to rest, and to lay all their weight, on Him: so that the law was a shadow of good things to come Heb. 10: 1. Col. 2: 17.

2. They all terminate in Him, He putting an end, by his coming and performing his work, to all those typs, which only related to Him, and to what He was to do: the body being come, there is no more need of the shadow, and the thing typi­fied existing, there is no more need or use of the type.

3. They are all fulfilled in Him, He answereth them all fully: so that what ever was shadowed forth by them is compleatly to be found in Him. This the Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrewes abundantly evinceth, and Paul to the Colossians tells us, we are compleat in Him. and therefore need no more follow the shadowes.

Secondly He is the Truth in reference to the prophecies of old; all which did principally point at him, and his concearnments: his Person, Nature, Offices, Work, Kingdome, &c. and whatever was foretold in these prophecies, is perfectly fulfilled in Him, or done by Him, or shall in due time be effe­ctuated by Him. He is that great prophet, spoken of Deut. 18: 15, 18, 19. So said the Jewes them­selves Iohn. 6: 14. All the Prophets from Samuel spoke of Him, and of his dayes Act. 3. 22, 23, 24. And to Him gave all the Prophets witnesse Act. 10. 43. And whatever they prophecied or witnessed of Him, was, or is in due time, to be fulfilled in Him. Hence we finde the Euangelists and Apost­les frequently applying the sayings and prophe­cies of the old testament unto Him, And Luk. [Page 202] 4: 18. himselfe said, that the prophecy of Esa 61: 1. &c. was fulfilled in him. See 1 Pet. 10: 11, 12. And Himself expounded to the two Disciples going to Emmaus, in all the scriptures, beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, all the things con­cerning himself Luk. 24: 27. And thus is He the truth of all the prophecies.

Thirdly He is the Truth, in reference to his undertaking with the Father, in that glorious co­venant of redemption: for whatever the Father laid on him to do, that He did fully and faithfully. He was to bear our griefs and to carry our sorrows, and that He did. He was to be wounded for our trans­gressions, and bruised for our iniquities, the chasti­sement of our peace was to be upon Him, and by his stripes we were to be healed Esai. 53: 5, and so it was Rom. 4: 25. 1 Cor. 15: 3. 1. Pet. 2: 23. His soul was to be made an offering for sin Esa. 53: 10. and so it was; for he offered up himself a sacrifice for sin: yea all that He was to do, by ver­tue of that covenant, he did it perfectly, so as he cryed out, while hanging on the cross, it is finished. Iohn. 19: 30. and in his prayer Iohn. 17. he told the Father vers. 4. that He had glorified Him on earth, and had finished the work, which He gave him to do. So that the Father was well pleased with Him Mat. 3: 17. and 12: 18, and 17: 5. Mark. 1: 11. Luk. 3: 22.

Fourthly He is the Truth, in respect of his Offi­ces, which He took upon him for our good: for all the duties of these offices, which He was to do, & what remaineth to be done, He will perfect in due time. Did He take upon him the office of a [Page 203] Prophet? He did fully execute the same, in re­ [...]aling mediatly and immediatly the whole coun­sell of God. Iohn. 1: 18. and 15: 15. Ephes. 4: 11, 12, 13. Act. 20: 32. 1 Pet. 1. 10, 11, 12. Heb. 1: 2. Did He take upon him the office of a Priest, so did he fulfill the same, offering up himself an ex­piatory sacrifice to God. Heb. 9: 14, 28. and 2: 17. and becoming a Priest, living for ever to make intercession for us Heb. 7: 25. And, did He take on the office, and function of a King, so doth He exe­cute the same, calling a people to himself out of the world by his word and spirit Act. 15: 14, 15, 16. Esa. 55. 4, 5. Psal. 110. 3. erecting a visible Church, a company of visible professors, to pro­fesse, and declare his name, which, as his kingdom, he ruleth, with his own Officers, Lawes, and Penalties or Censures, so that the government is on his shoulders Esa. 9: 6, 7, who is the Head of the body the Church Ephes. 1: 22, 23. Col. 1: 18. and this his kingdom He ruleth, in a visible manner, by his own officers &c. Ephes. 4: 11, 12. 1 Cor. 12: 28. Esai. 33: 22. Mat. [...]8: 17, 18. 1 Cor. 5: 4, 5. and further he executes this office by effe­ctually calling the elect, giving them grace Act. 5: 3. rewarding the obedient Revel. 22: 12. and 2. 10. chastiseing the disobedient Revel. 3: 19. bringing his own home at length▪ through all their temptations, afflictions, and overcoming all their enemies 1 Cor. 15. 25. Psal. 110. and at length, He shall do the part of a king, when He shall judge quick and dead, at the last day 2. Thes. 1: 8, 9. Act. 17: 31. 2. Tim. 4: 1.

Fiftly He is the Truth, in this regaird, that He [Page 204] fully answereth all the titles and names, which he got▪ As he was called Iesus, so did He save his people from their sins Mat. 1: 21. As He was called Christ; so was He anoynted with the Spirit without measure Iohn. 3: 34, Psal. 45. 7. and separated for his work, and endued with all power for that effect. Iohn. 6: 27. Mat. 28: 18, 19, 20, and established to be a Prophet Act: 3: 21, 22. Luc. 4: 18, 21. a Priest Heb. 5: 5, 6. 7 and 4: 14. 15. and a King. Psal. 2. 6. Esa. 9: 6, 7. Mat. 21: 5. Phil. 2: 8, 9, 10. 11. Was He called Immanuel Esai. 7: 14. so was He indeed God with us, being God and Man in one person for ever: was he called wonderfull, Esai. 9: 6. so was He indeed, in his two distinct natures in one person, at which the Angels may wonder Ephes. 3: 10, 11. 1 Pet. 1: 12. 1. Tim. 3: 16. was he called counseller, so was He indeed, coming out from the Fathers besome, with the whole counsel of God concerning our salvation. Iohn. 1: 14, 18. and 3: 13. and 5: 20, and 15: 15. was He called the mighty God; so was He indeed Psal, 110: 1. Mat. 22: 44. Heb. 1: 13. Psal. 45: 6. Heb. 1: 8. Ier. 23: 6. and 33: 16. Mal. 3: 1. Matth. 11. 10 Psal. 83: 18. Luk. 1. 76. Iohn. 1: 1, 14. 1 Iohn. 5: 20. Tit. 2: 13. Rom. 9: 5. was He called the everlasting Father, so is He the father of eternity, being (as some interpret the word) the author of eternall life, which He giveth to all that beleeve in Him Ioh. 6. 39, 40, 47, 51. and 8: 51. and 10. 28. and 11: 25, 26. Heb. 5: 9. and 7: 25. was He called the Prince of peace, so is He the Prince [Page 205] of peace indeed, being our peace Mic. 5: 5. Eph. 2: 14. making up peace betwixt God and us Esa. 53: 5. and 57: 19. Eph. 2: 17. Col. 1: 20. Hence his gospell is the gospell of peace, and his Ministers embassadours of peace Esa. 52: 7. Rom. 10: 15. 2 Cor. 5: 19, 20. Eph. 6: 15. And he giveth peace to all his Zach. 9: 10. Ioh. 14 27. and 16: 33. Rom. 5: 1. and 8, 16. and 14: 17. 2. Thes 3, 17. was He called the Lord our righteousnesse Ier. 23, 6. So is He the same indeed, bringing in everlasting righteousnesse Dan. 9: 24. and being made of God to us righteousnesse 1. Cor. 1: 30. & making us righteous 2. Cor. 5: 21.

Sixtly He is the Truth, in reference to the promises, which

1. Centre all in Him, and lead to Him, as the great promise.

2. Are founded all upon Him, who is the only Mediator of the covenant of promises.

3. Are confirmed all by Him, and made yea and amen in Him 2 Cor. 1: 20. He confirmed the promises made to the fathers Rom. 15: 8.

4. are all dispensed and given out by Him; who is the executor of his own testament, and the great dispensator of all that we need; so that what we ask of the Father, He giveth it himself, Iohn. 14: 13, 14.

Seventhly He is the Truth, in that He fully answereth all the hops and expectations of his people. He shall not be found a liar unto them, whatever Satan may suggest unto them, or a misbe­leeving heart may prompt them to conceive, and their Iealousie may make them apprehend; and [Page 206] whatever his dispensations may now seem to say. In end they shall all finde, that He is the Truth, fully satisfying all their desires: and granting all that ever they could hope for, or expect from Him. They shall at length be satisfied with his likenesse Psal. 17: 15▪ yea aboundantly satisfied with the fatnesse of his house Psal. 36: 8. and with his goodnesse Psal. 65: 4. and that as with marrow and fatnesse Psal. 63: 5. One sight of his glory will fully satisfy, and cause them cry out, enough. Ieremiah is not now saying, as once he did in the bitternesse of his soul, through the power of cor­ruption and temptation Cap. 15: 18. will thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters, that fail?

Eightly. He is the Truth, in opposition to all other wayes of salvation: for

1. There is no salvation now by the law of works, that covenant being once broken [...]annot any more save: The law cannot now do it, in that it is weak through the flesh Rom. 8▪ 3.

2. There is no salvation by the law of Moses: without Christ: hence Israel, which followed after the law of righteousnesse, did not attaine to the law of righteousnesse, because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law Rom. 9: 31, 32. They went about to establish their own righteousnesse, and did not submit themsel­ves unto the righteousnesse of God. Rom. 10: 3.

3. There is no salvation by any thing, mixed in with Christ, as the Apostle fully cleareth in his Epistle to the Galatians.

[Page 207]4. There is no salvation by any other way or me­dium, which man can invent or fall upon, where­of there are not a few, as we shewed above: for there is not another name given under heaven, by which we can be saved, but the name of Iesus Act. 4: 12. No religion will save but this.

So that He is the true savation, and He only is the true salvation; and He is the sure and saife sal­vation: such as make use of Him, shall not be mistaken nor disappointed Esai. 35: 8.

Ninthly He is the Truth▪ In respect of his lead­ing and guideing his people in the truth. Hence He is called a Teacher come from God, Iohn. 3: 2. and one that teacheth the way of God in truth Ma [...]. 22: 16. A Prophet mighty in deed and word Luk. 24: 19. And in this respect, He is the truth, upon severall accounts.

1. Of his personal teaching, God spoke by Him Heb. 1: 2. He revealed the Father's minde Mat. 11: 27. Iohn. 1: 18.

2. Of his messengers sent by Him, as Prophets of old, Apostles and ministers of late, whom he sendeth forth to make disciples Mat. 28: 18. and to open the eyes of the blinde Act. 26: 18.

3. Of his word, which He hath left as our rule, and which is a sure word of prophecy, more sure than a voice from he [...]ven 2 Pet. 1: 19.

4. Of his ordinances, which He hath established as meanes to guide us in the way of truth.

5. Of his Spirit, whereby He maketh the word cleare Iohn. 14: 26. This Spirit is sent to teach all truth, and to lead and guide in all truth Ioh. 16: 13. 1 Iohn. 2: 27. and sent by Him, and by the Fa­ther [Page 208] in his name Iohn. 14: 26: & 15: 16: & 16: 14▪

6. Of his dispensations of providence, within us & without us, by which likewise he instructeth in the way of truth.

Tenthly He is the Truth, in respect of his bearing witnesse to truth: and this He doth.

1. By Himself, who was given for a witnesse Esa. 55: 4. and came to beare witnesse to the truth Iohn. 3: 10. & 18: 37. and was a faithfull witnesse Revel. 1: 5. & 3: 14.

2. By his Ministers, who witnesse the tr [...]th of the gospel, by publishing and proclaiming the same.

3. By his Martyrs, who seal the truth with their blood, and so beare witnesse to it Revel. 2: 13. & 17: 6. Act. 22: 20.

4. By his Spirit, sealing the truth of grace in a beleever, and his interest in God through Christ, and his right to all the benefites of the new covenant. In whom also after ye beleeved, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance. Ephes. 1: 13: 14.

Eleventhly, He is the Truth, in respect that He carryeth towards poor sinners in all things, accord­ing to the tenor of the gospel, and the offers there­of: He offers himself to all freely, and promiseth to put none away that come to Him; and this He doth in truth; for no man can say, that he had a sin­cere and true desire to come to Jesus Christ, and that He rejected him, and would not look upon him. He giveth encouragement to all sinners to come; that will be content to quite their sins, and pro­miseth to upbr [...]id none that cometh, and is there [Page 209] any that in their own experience can witnesse the contrary? He offers all freely, and did He ever reject any upon the want of a price in their hand? Nay, hath not the cause of their getting no admittence, been, that they thought to commend themselves to Christ by their worth: and would not take all freely, for the glory of his grace? Let beleevers and others speak here, out of their owne experience, in truth and in uprightnesse; and it shall be found, that He was and is the Truth.

Twelvely He is the Truth, in that, in all his dis­pensations of the gospell, and in all his works and actions, in and about his own people, He is true and upright: all his offers, all his promises, all his dispensations, are done in truth and uprightnesse, yea all are done out of truth and uprightnesse of love, true tendernesse, and affection to them, whatever the corruption of jealousie and misbeleefe, think and say to the contrary: He is the Truth; And so alwayes the same, unchangeable in his love, whatever his dispensations seem to say: And the beleever may rest assured hereof, that He being the Truth. Shall be to him, whatever his word holdeth him forth to be, and that constantly and unchangeably.

CAP. XII. Some general uses from this usefull truth; that Christ is the Truth▪

HAving thus cleared up this truth, we should come to speak of the way of beleevers making [Page 210] use of Him, as the Truth, in several cases, wherein they will stand in need of Him as the Truth. But ere we come to the particulars, we shall first propose some general uses of this usefull point.

First. This point of truth, serveth to discover to us the wofull condition of such, as are strang­ers to Christ, the Truth: and oh if it were beleev­ed! for

1. They are not yet delivered from that dread­ful plague of blindenesse, errour, ignorance, mistakes, under which all are by nature, a condi­tion, that, if rightly seen, would cause the soul lie low in the dust.

2. Whatever course they take, till they come to Christ, and while they remaine in that condition, is a lie, and a false, erroneous, and deceitful way: for still they are turning aside to lies Psal. 40: 4. and seeking after them Psal. 4: 2.

3. Whatever hopes and confidence they may have, that their way shall carry them thorow; yet in end they will be found to inherite lies Ier. 16: 19▪ and meet with the sadest disappointment that can be: for in stead of the followshipe of God, Christ, angels, and glorified spirits, they shall take up their lodg­ing with devils and damned souls: and that because they have made no acquantance with the way of truth; and the way wherein they are is but a lie, and a falshood: and so of necessity must deceive them.

4. All their literal and speculative knowledge shall not avail them, so long as they are strangers unto Him, who is the Tr [...]th. Their knowledge is but ignorance because it is not a knowledge of Him, who is the Truth.

[Page 211]5. They have none to go to, for help and light, in the day of their darknesse, confusion and per­plexity: for they are not reconciled unto the Truth, which alone can prove steadable and comfortable in that day.

6. They can do nothing to helpe themselves out of that state of darknesse and ignorance; and whatever they do to helpe themselves, shall but increase their darknesse, and misery: because there is no truth there, and Truth▪ even the Truth, alone can dispell these clouds of errour, mistakes, ignorance, &c.

Secondly. Hence we see the happy and blessed condition of beleevers, who have imbraced this Truth, and gotten their souls opened to Him, who is the Truth: for,

1. They are, in part, delivered from that masse of lies, mistakes, misapprehensions, errours, de­ceitfulnesse and ignorance, under which they lay formerly, and all the unregenerate do yet lye: and though they be not fully delivered therefrom, yet the day is comeing when that shall be, and the begun work of grace and truth in them is a cer­tane pledge thereof: and at present they have ground to beleeve, that that evil shall not againe have dominion over them, they being now under grace, and under the guidance of Truth.

2. Howbeit they have many perplexing thoughts, doubts and feares of their state and condition, and think many a time, that they shall one day or other perish by the way; and all their hopes and confi­dence shall evani [...]h; yet having given up themsel­ves to Truth, and to the Truth, they shall not be [Page 212] disappointed in end. The Truth shall land them saife on the other side. The Truth shall prove no lie.

3. They have a fast and steadable friend to go to, in a day of darknesse, clouds, doubts, when falshood and lies are like to prevail, even the Truth, who alone can help them in that day.

4. Howbeit the knowledge they have of God, and of the mysteries of the gospell, be but small; yet that small measure, being taught by Him, who is the Truth, and flowing from Truth, shall prove sanctifying and saving.

5. They have ground to hope for more free­dome from errours and deceitfull lies, than o­thers: for they have chosen the way of truth, and given themselves up to the leading of Truth.

Object. But do not even such drink-in and re­ceive and plead for errours, as well as others: and is it not sometime found, that they even live and die in some mistakes and errours?

Answere I grant the Lord may suffer even some of his own to fall into, and to continue for some time in errors, yea and it may be all their dayes, as to some errours, that hereby, all may learne to tremble and feare, and to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. 2. Some may be tryed thereby Dan. 11: 35. 3. Others may break their neck thereupon. 4. To punish themselves, for not making that use of Truth, and of the Truth, that they should have done: yet we would consider these few things.

1. That there are many moe unregenerat persons that fall into errour

[Page 213]2. If his people fall into errour at any time, they do not alwayes continue therein to the end. God for his own glory maketh, some time or other, truth shine in upon their soul, which discovereth that mistake, and presently, the grace of God in their soul maketh them to abhore the same.

3 Or if some continue in it to their dieing day; yet they repent of it, by an implicite repentance, as they do of other unknown, and unseen evils, that lye in their soul; so that that errour doth not de­stroy their soul.

4 There are some grosse errours, which a rege­nerat soul cannot readyly imbrace, or, if, through a mistake, or the power of a temptation, they do imbrace them, yet they cannot heartyly close with them, whatever for a time, through corruption and pride, they may seem outwardly to do: and that because the very dayly exercise of grace, will dis­cover them; and so they will be found to be against their dayly experience; as some opinions of the Papists, Arminians and Socinians, together with the abominable Quakers, which a gracious soul, when not carryed away with the torrent of corrup­tion, and with the tempest of a temptation, cannot but observe to contradict the dayly workings of grace in their soul, and the motions of their sancti­fied soul, in prayer and other holy dutyes; and so such as they cannot but finde to be false by their own experience.

Thirdly. Here is ground of a sharpe reproof of the wicked, who continue in unbeleef; and

I Will not beleeve, nor give any credite to his [Page 214] promises, wherewith He seeketh to allure poor souls to come to Him for life.

2 Nor will they beleeve His threatnings, where­with He useth to alarme souls, and to pouse them forward to their duty.

3 Nor will they beleeve and receive His offers, as true.

4 Nor will they beleeve, that He is the true Prophet, Priest, and king, that must save souls from hell and death, and therefore they will not give Him imployment in his offices.

All which cannot but be an high provocation: for in effect, it is to say, that He is not the Truth, nor worthy to be beleeved. Let them consider this, and [...]ee how they think, he shall take this off their hands. No man will take it well, that another should either call or account Him a liar: and can they think, that Christ shall take it well, at their hands, to be accounted by them a liar? What will they think to be challenged for this, in the great day? Now the truth is, all unbeleevers, as they make God a liar (o horrid and abominable crime! Whose haire would not stand on end to hear this?) 1 Iohn. 5: 10, 11,—He that beleeveth not God, hath made him a liar, because he beleeveth not the record, that God gave of his Son, and this is the record, that God hath given to us eternall life; and this life is in his Son. So do they make the Son of God a liar, in all his sayings, in all his Offi­ces, and in all his works: And they make the holy ghost a liar, in not beleeving that truth, that He hath sealed as a firme truth. They make the cove­nant [Page 215] of surtyshipe betwixt the Father and the Son a mere lie, and a forgery, o dreadfull! They make the word of truth a lie, and they make all the saints liars, and all the officers of Iesus Christ, who de­clare this truth, and the saints, who beleeve it and test upon it, liars.

Fourthly. Hence is there ground of reproof to the godly, in that

1. They do not firmely enough beleeve his sayings, neither his promises, nor his threatnings, as appeareth too oft upon the one hand, by their faintings and feares; and upon the other hand, by their carelesnesse and loose walk.

2. They make not use of Him, in all cases, as they ought: his offices lye by and are not impro­ven, no [...] is He gone to as the Truth, in cases requi­reing his helpe, as the Truth; that is; in cases of darknesse, doubtings, confusion, ignorance of their case and condition, and the like.

3. They do not approach to Him, nor to God through Him heartyly, and cordially, as the very Truth, and true way.

4. Nor do they rest with confidence upon Him, in all difficulties, as being the Truth, that will not fail them, nor disappoint them.

5. Nor do they rejoyce in Him, as satisfied with Him, who is the Truth, in the want of all o­ther things.

Fiftly. The right consideration of this truth, should keep us in minde of several great duties: such as those,

1. Of pitying those places, where this truth is not heard of, as among Turks and Heathens: or [Page 216] where it is darkened with superstition and mens in­ventions, as among Papists: or where it hath been clearly shineing, but now is darkened; as in some churches now under the prevailing power of corrup­tion: or lastly where it is not received in its power & lustre, as alas it is too little received in the best and purest churches.

2. Of being thankful to Him, for making this truth known in the world, and particularly in the place, where we Were borne, or had our abode; and yet more, for that he hath determined our hearts to a beleeving of this Truth, in some weak measure; to an imbraceing of it, and to a giv­ing of our selves up to be led, ruled and guided thereby.

3. Of esteeming highly of every piece of Truth for his sake, who is the Truth; studying it for his sake, loving it for his sake; holding it fast for his sake; witnessing to it, as we are called, for his sake: we should buy the truth, and not sell it Prov. 2 [...]: 23. and we should plead for it, and be valiant for it Esai. 59: 4, 14. Ier. 7: 28. & 9; 3.

4. Of taking part with Him, and his cause, in all hazards, for Truth is alwayes on his side, and truth shall prevail at length.

5. Of giving Him imployment in our doubts & difficulties, whether (1) they be about some con­troverted points of truth, which come to be deba­ted, and to trouble the Church: or (2) about our own estate and condition, quarreled at by Satan, or questioned by the false heart: or (3) about our carriage in our dayly walk. In all these and the like, we should be imploying Truth, that we may be [Page 217] led in truth, and taught by truth, to walk in sure pathes.

6. Of carrying in all things before Him as true: for He is Truth, and the Truth; and so cannot be deceived, and therefore we should walk before Him in sincerity and singlenesse of heart, without guile, hypocrisie, or falshood, that we may look like children of the truth; and of the day, and of light, and children that will not lie or dissemble. Esa. 63: 8. not like these, that lied unto Him Psal. 78: 38. Esa. 59: 13.

7. Of taking Him only for our guide to heaven, by denying our own wit, skill and understanding; and looking to and resting upon Him, who alone is the Truth, and so acknowledging Him in all our wayes, depending on Him for light and counsell, with singlenesse of heart, humility, diligence, and truth in the inward parts.

8. Of giving up ourselves dayly unto Him, and his guidance, and denying our own wills, humors, parties, or opinions: for He alone is Truth, and can only guide us aright: and for this cause, we would acquant ourselves well with the word, which is our rule, and seek after the Spirit, whom Christ hath promised, to lead us into all truth.

Sixtly, should not this be a strong inducement to all of us, to lay hold on and gripe to Him, who is the Truth, and only the Truth? seing,

1. All other wayes, which we can take, will prove a lie to us, in end.

2. He is substance and no shadow, and all that love Him shall inherite substance: for He will fill all their treasures Prov: 8: 21.

[Page 218]3. Such as Imbrace Him, shall not wander, not be misled: for his mouth shall speak truth; and wickednesse is an abomination to his lips Prov. 8: 7. all the words of his mouth are in righteousnesse and there is nothing froward or perverse in them vers. 8. He is wisdom and dwelleth with prudence, and findeth out knowledge of witty inventions vers. 12. Counsell is his and sound wisdom, he hath understanding and strength. vers. 14.

4. He will make good all his promises in due time, and give a subsistence and a being to them all, for He is the Truth, and the truth must stand to his promises, and fulfill them all.

5. He will never, nay never, leave his people, not forsake them. Heb. 13: 5. He is Truth, and cannot deceive; he cannot forsake nor disappoint: He is a spring of water, whose waters fail not Esai. 58: 11. Therefore they cannot be disappointed in end, and perish, who trust to Him.

6. The truth will make them free Iohn. 8: 3 [...] ▪ 36. and so deliver them from their state of sin and misery, wherein they lay as captives; and from that spirituall bondage and slavery, under which they were held.

Seventhly, This to beleevers may be a spring of consolation, in many cases, as

1. When errour and wickednesse seem to prospe [...] and prevail: for though it prevail for a time; yet Truth will be victorious at length, and the Truth will overcome all. He is Truth, and will plead for truth.

2. when friends, acquantances, relations, faile them; and father and mother forsake them, truth [Page 219] will take them up: He who is the Truth will answere his name, and never deceive, never for­sake.

3. When riches, honours, pleasures, or what else their heart hath been going out after, prove like summer brooks: for the Truth will be the same to them in all generations; there is no shadow of turning with Him. The Truth is alwayes truth, and true.

4. When we feare, that either ourselves or others shall fall away, in a day of tryall, and turne from the truth. Though all men prove liars and deceivers, Truth will abide the same, and stand out all the blasts of opposition.

5. When unbeleef would make us question the truth of the promises. The faith of his being Truth it self, and the Truth, even Truth in the abstract, would shame unbeleef out of countenance. Shall Truth faile? Shall not the Truth be true? what a contradiction were that!

6. When we know not how to answere the objections of Satan, and of a false treacherous heart: for Truth can easily answere all cavils: and He who is the Truth, can repell all objections against truth. Truth is impregnable, and can stand against all.

7. When we cannot know, nor discover the wiles and subtility of Satan. Truth can discover the depths of Satan, and make the poor soul more ac­quant with them; so that they shall not any more be ignorant of his devices, who look to Him.

8. when the thoughts of the deceitfulnesse of our hearts trouble us, the depth whereof we cannot search. This then may comfort us, that Truth can [Page 220] [...]earch the heart, and the reines Ier. 17. 9, 10.

9. When we cannot tell what our disease and distemper is, and so cannot seek suteable remedies, or help from God, O what a comfort is it, to know and beleeve, that He is the Truth, with whom we have to do, and so knoweth our distemper perfect­ly, & all its causes and symptoms, Truth cannot be at a stand in discerning our disease; so nor can he be ignorant of the fittest and only saifest cures.

10. When we know not what to ask in prayer, as not knowing what is best for us; it is comfort to remember, that we have to do with the Truth, that is perfectly acquanted with all that, and knoweth what is best.

11. When we know not how to answere the ca­lumnies of adversaries. It is comfortable to know that he is the Truth, that will hear truth, when men will not; and will own and stand for the truth, when enemies do what they can to darken an honest mans good cause. It is comfortable to know, we have the Truth to appeal to, as David had Psal 7: and 17.

12. When we think on our own covenant­breaking, and dealing deceitfully with God. It is comfortable to remember that, though we and all men be liars, and deal deceitfully with Him, yet He is the Truth and will keep covenant for ever, He will not, He cannot deny himself. 2 Tim. 2: 1 [...]

Eightly, Hence we may certanely conclude, that truth, which is Christ's cause, shall at length prevail: for He is Truth, yea the Truth, and so abideth truth; therefore must He prevail, and all the mouthes of liars must be stoped. So then let us [Page 221] remaine perswaded, that truth at length shall be vi­ctorious, and that the cause of Christ shall have the victory: though

1. The enemies of truth, and of the cause of Christ be multiplied, and many there be that rise up against it.

2. These enemies should prosper, and that for a long time, and carry on their course of errour and wickednesse with a high band.

3. There should be few found to befriend truth, and to own it, in an evil day.

4. Yea many of those, that did some time owne it, and plead for it, should at length turne their back upon it, as did Demas.

5. And such, as continue constant and faithful, be loaded with reproaches and pressed under with sore persecution, for adhereing to truth, and owning constantly the good cause.

6. Yea though all things in providence should seem to say, that truth shall not rise againe, but seem, on the contrary, to conspire against the same.

Nenthly, May we not hence read, what should be our way and course, in a time, when a spirit of error is gone abroad, and many are carried off their feet therewith, or when we are doubtful what to do, and what side of the disput to take. O then is the fit time for us to imploy Truth, to live near to Him, who is the Truth, to waite on Him, & hang upon Him, with singlenesse of heart.

Object. But many even of his own people do erre and step aside.

Ans. That is true: but yet 1. That will be no excuse to thee. Nay 2. That should [Page 222] make thee feare and tremble more. 3. And it should presse thee, to lye neare to Christ, and to wreastle more earnestly with Him, for the spirit of light and of truth, and to depend more constantly and faith­fully upon Him, with singlenesse of heart, and to give up thy soul and wayes to Him, as the God of Truth, and as the Truth, that thou mayest be led into all truth.

Tenthly, This should stirre us up, to goe to Him, and make use of Him, as the Truth, in all cases, wherein we may stand in need of truths hand to helpe us: and for this cause we would minde those particulars.

1. We would live in the constant conviction of our ignorance, blindnesse, hypocrisie, readynesse to mistake a [...]d erre. This is clear and manifest, and proved to be truth by dayly experience; yet how little is it beleeved, that it is so with us? Do we see and beleeve the atheisme of our hearts? Do we see and beleeve the hypocrisie of our hearts? are we jealous of them, as we ought to be? Oh that it were so! let this then be more minded by us.

2ly. Let us live in the persuasion of this, that He only, and nothing below Him, will be able to clear our doubts, dispel our clouds, cleare up our mi­stakes, send us light, and manifest truth unto us: Not our own study, paines, prayers, duties, learning, understanding; not Ministers, or professours, and ex­perienced Christians, and the like.

3ly. We should be dayly giving up ourselves to Him, as the Truth, in all the forementioned res­pects; and receiving Him into our souls as such, that He may dwell and abide there▪ Then shall [Page 223] the truth make us free; and if the Son make us free, we shall be free indeed Ioh. 8: 36.

4ly. There would be much single dependance on Him, for light, instruction, direction, and gui­dance, in all our exigences.

5ly. Withall, there would be a waiting on Him, with patience, giving him liberty to take his own way and time, and a leaving of Him thereunto.

6ly. We should, by all meanes, guaird against such things as are hinderenees, and will prove ob­stacles to us, in this matter: such as,

1. Praejudices against the truth: for then we will undervalue light, and reject all the directions and instructions of the Spirit, as not agreeing with our prejudicat opinion.

2▪ A wilfull turning away from truth, as these 2. Tim. 4: 4. Tit. 1: 14.

3. Addictednesse to our own judgments and opi­nions, which causeth pertinaciousnesse, Pride, and conceite, as thinking ourselves so wise, as that we need no information: and this occasioneth a self confidence.

4. Looking too much unto, and hanging too much upon Men, who are but instruments; crying them up as infallible, and receiving, without further examination▪ all that they say, not like the Bereans: Act. 17. This is a great hinderence to the receiv­ing of truth▪ and very prejudiciall.

5. A neglecting of the use of the meanes, which God hath appointed for this end.

6. Or an hanging too much on them, and so misplaceing them, g [...]ving them His roome.

[Page 224]7. Leaning too much to our own understanding, wit and knowledge &c.

8. A refisting of the Truth 2. Tim, 3: 8.

These and the like hinderances would be guarded against, lest they marre our attaining to the know­ledge of Truth.

7ly There would be much of the exercise of prayer: for this is the maine conduite, and meane, through which light is conveyed into the soul. There would also be a serious and Christian reading and hearing of the word, which is Truth, and the Word of Truth, and the Scripture of Truth, and those duties would be gone about, with (1) much self denyal (2) with much singlenesse of heart. (3) with much humility. (4) with much willing­nesse and readynesse to be instructed. (5) with much seriousnesse and earnestnesse: and (6) with faith and dependance on God, for his blessing and breathing.

8ly We would beware, as of trusting to our own understandings, so to the judgments of other men: nor would we look to what suiteth most our own humors, nor to what appeareth most specious and plausible: for that may deceive us.

9ly We would lye open to the influences and rayes of light, by exerciseing faith in earnest de­sires, as also patient waiting for and single looking to Him: mindeing his name and his relations, pro­mises and engadgments; for the strengthning of our faith, and confidence.

10ly We would labour to keep fast, whatever He teacheth us by his word and spirit; & not prove [...]ecking vessels. This the Apostle exhorteth to [Page 225] Heb: 2: 1. Therefore we ought to give the more e [...]rnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip: yea and we should be established in the Truth 2. Pet, 1: 12.

11ly We would beware of resting on a forme of the truth, as those did, of whom we read Rom. 2: [...]0. and of holding the truth in unrighteousnesse, as these Rom. 1: 18. and of disobeying it as these mentioned Rom. 2: v. 8. see also Gal. 3: v. 1. and 5: v. 7.

12ly But on the contrary, we would so receive truth, as that it might [...]ule and be master in us▪ cap­tivate judgment, will and affections, and break out into the practice: and this comprehendeth seve­ral duties, such as

1. To have the Truth in us; whileas if we pra­ctise otherwise, the truth is not in us 1. Iohn. 1: v. 8. and 2: v. 4.

2. To be of the Truth, as belonging to its jurisdiction, power and command 1. Iohn. 3: 19. Iohn. 18: 37.

3. To doe the Truth, by having true followshipe with Him. 1. Iohn. 1: 6▪ and to walk in the Truth 2, Ioh. 4. 3. Ioh. 4. Psal. 86: 11.

4. To have the loyns girt with truth Ephes. 6: v. 14.

5. To receive the love of the truth [...] Thes▪ 2: 10.

6. To be instructed of him, as the truth is in Iesu [...] Ephes. 4: 21.

7. To purify the soul in obeying the truth. 1 Pet. 1: v. 22.

This shall suffice for clearing up and applying, in the generall, this excellent truth, That Christ is [Page 226] the Truth. We shall now come and make some more particular use of this precious point, by speak­ing to some particular cases (which we shall in­stance in, by which the understanding christian may be helped to understand how to carry and how to make use of Christ, in other, the like cases) wherein Christ is to be made use of, as the Truth; and show how beleevers are to make use of Him, in these cases, as the Truth.

CHAP. XIII. How to make use of Christ, as the Truth, for grouth in knowledge.

IT is a commanded duty, that we grow in the knowledge of Iesus Christ. 2 Pet. 3. last. And the knowledge of Him being life eternal Ioh. 17: 3. and our measure of knowledge of Him here being but imperfect, for we know but in part; it cannot but be an useful duty, and a desireable thing, to be growing in this knowledge. This is to walk wor­thie of the Lord unto all pleasing, to be increasing in the knowledge of God. Col. 1: 10. Knowledge must be added unto vertue; and it layeth a ground for other christian virtues 2 Pet. 1: 5, 6. In this know­ledge, we must not be barren 2 Pet. 1: 8. And this being so necessary, so desireable, and so use­ful, and so advantagious a grace, the beleever can­not but desire to have more and more of it. Espe­cially seing it is a part of the image of God Col. 3: vers. 10.

[Page 227]Now, it is the Truth that must teach them here, first and last. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God must be had, in the face of Iesus Christ 2 Cor. 4: 6. The question therefore is, how we should make use of Jesus Christ for this end, that we may attaine to more of this excellent know­ledge?

For clearing of this, I shall propose those di­rections.

First. It is good to live in the constant convi­ction of a necessity of his teaching us, and this tak­eth in those particulars,

1. That we should be conscious of our ignor­ance, even when we know most, or think we know most, remembring that the best knoweth but in part 1 Cor. 13: 9. The more true knowledge we attaine to, the more will we see and be convinced of our ignorance; because the more we know, the more will we discover of the vastnesse, and in­comprehensibility of that object, which is proposed to our knowledge.

2. That we should remember, how deceitful our hearts are; and how ready they are to sit down upon a shadow of knowledge, even when we know nothing, as we ought to know. 1 Cor. 8. vers. 2. and this will keep us jealous, and watchful.

3. And to helpe forward our jealousie of our own hearts, and watchfulnesse, we would remem­ber, that our hearts naturally are averse from any true and saving knowledge: whatever desire there be naturally after knowledge of hidden things, out of curiosity; and of things natural; or of thing [...] spiritual, as natural, for the perfection of nature, [Page 228] as might be pretended, whereby in effect those that increase knowledge, increase sorrow Eccles. 1: 18. yet there is no inclination after spiritual and saving knowledge, in us naturally: But an aversation of heart therefrom.

4. That we should study and know the absolute necessity of this knowledge: how necessary it is for our christian communion with God, and chri­stian walk with others; how necessary for our right improving of dispensations, general and particu­lar; what a noble ornament of a christian it is, and a necessary piece of the image of God, which we have lost;

Secondly. Upon these grounds mentioned, [...] would also be convinced of this; That of ourselves, and by all our natural parts, enduements, quick­nesse and sagacity, we cannot attaine to this saving knowledge; which is a special and saving grace, and so must be wrought in the soul, by a divine hand, even the mighty power of God. By our pri­vate study and reading, we may attaine to a literal, heady, and speculative knowledge, that will puff us up 1 Cor. 8: 1. but thereby shall we never at­taine to this knowledge, which is spiritual, hearty, and practical, and so saving. We must have the anoynting here, which teacheth us all things. 1 Iohn. 2: 27. And of this we would be perswaded, that we may look to a higher hand, for light, and instruction.

Thirdly, There would be an eyeing of Christ's furniture and fitnesse, for this work of teaching of us. To wit,

[Page 229]1. An eyeing of Him, as the substantial wis­dome of the Father Prov. 8.

2. An eyeing of Him, as one come out of the bosome of the Father Iohn. 1: 18. and so sufficiently enabled to acquant us with the mysteries of God, for salvation.

3. An eyeing of Him, as mediator, fully endu­ed with all necessaries for this piece of his work, and so, having received the Spirit without measure, for this end Iohn. 3: 34. and as having hid in Him, all the treasures of wisdome and knowledge Col. 2: 3. and as having all fulnesse dwelling in Him Col. 1: 19. Sed also Esai. 11: 2, & 61: 1, 2.

4. An eyeing of Him, as having power to send the Spirit, that anointing that teacheth us all things, and is truth and is no lie 1 Iohn. 2: 20, 27. not only by way of intercession and intreaty, begging it of the Father Iohn. 15: 16, 17. But also autho­tatively, as conjunct with the Father. The Father sendeth Him in Christ's name Iohn. 14: 26. and Christ sendeth Him from the Father Iohn. 15: 26. and this Spirit of truth, which guideth into all truth, shall receive of Christ's, & shew it unto us Iohn. 16: 13, 14, 15.

Fourthly. There would be an eyeing of Christ's readynesse, willingnesse and engadgment to helpe, in this case: and this will encourage the soul to go forward: And for this cause we would remember those things.

1. That He standeth obliged to helpe us with instruction, by vertue of his office, as a Prophet, a Witnesse, a Leader, and a Commander, Esai. 55: vers. 4.

[Page 230]2. That He is commissionated of the Father for this end, and so is the Fathers servant; and is given for a light to the gentiles Esai. 42: 6. & 49: 6. and the Father is said to speak by Him, or in Him Heb. 1: 1.

3. That He received his gifts and qualifications for this end and purpose, that He might give out and dispense to his members, according to their necessity: as is clear from Psal. 68: 18. compared with Ephes. 4: 8. what He is said to have received, in the one place, he is said to have given, in the other.

4. That He hath begun this work already, by his Spirit, in his followers; and therefore standeth engadged, to see it perfected: for all his works are perfect works.

5. That He hath a love to his scholers, and a desire to have them all thriveing, and making pro­gresse in knowledge; this being his glory, who is their master and teacher.

6. That He laid down wa [...]es and meanes, and a constant course, for instructing of his peo­ple: for.

(1.) He hath given his word, and setled and established ordinances, for this end.

(2.) He hath established a ministery for in­structing his people Ephes. 4: 8, 9, 10, 13.

(3.) He hath gifted persons for this work of the ministery, 1 Cor. 12: 4, 5, 6 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

(4.) He backeth these officers, in the faithful administration of their function, and, through his blessing and Spirit, maketh their work prosperous and effectuall, in his own, as He seeth fit.

[Page 231] Fiftly. There would be an eyeing of the promises of the covenant of grace, made for this end, whe­ther general, or particular, or both. Such as those which we have Esai. 11: 9. Habbak. 2: 14. The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord (or of the glory of the Lord) as the waters cover the sea: and that Esai. 32: 4. the heart of the rash shall understand knowledge &c. and Ier. 31: 34. They shall all know me &c.

Sixtly. There would be a constant, diligent, serious and single useing of the means of knowledge, with a faithfull dependence on Christ by faith, gripping to him, in his relations, offices, engadg­ments and promises, and waiting upon his breath­ing, in hope and patience Psal. 25: 5.

Seventhly. There would be a guairding against every thing, that may obstruct this work, and grieve Him, in it: and therefore we would be­ware.

1. To undervalue and have a little esteern of knowledge: for this will grieve Him, and, to speak so, put him from work.

2. To misimprove any measure of knowledge, he giveth.

3. To weary of the meanes and ordinances, whereby He useth to convey knowledge in to the soul.

4. To limite the holy one of Israël to this, or that meane, to this or that time, or to this or that measure, who should have a latitude, as to all these.

5. To despise the day of small things, because we get not more.

[Page 232]6. To be too curious in seeking after the know­ledge of hidden mysteries, the knowledge whereof is not so necessary.

7. To leane too much unto, and to depend too much upon the ordinances or instruments, as if all, or any thing, could come from them.

Eightly There would be a right improving of any measure of knowledge we get, to his glory and to the edification of others, with humility & thank­fulnesse, and so a putting of that talent in use, to gaine more to his glory: whatever measure of know­ledge we get, we should in all haste, put it into practice; and set it to work: so shall it increase, and engadge Him to give more.

Ninthly. There would be a lying open to Christs instructions, and to the shineings of the Spirit of light and of truth, and a ready receiving of what measure He is pleased to grant or infuse: which in­cludeth those duties.

1. A serious and earnest hungering and thirsting after more spiritual knowledge.

2. A diligent use of every approven meane for this end.

3. A going about the meanes with much self denyal, spirituality▪ singlenesse of heart and since­rity, looking to and depending upon Him, who must breath upon the meanes, and make them usefull.

4. A greedy receiving, drinking in, and trea­sureing up in the soul, what is gotten.

5. A guairding against Selfish and by ends, with a single eyeing of his glory.

6. A guairding against pride in the heart, and a [Page 233] stustying of humility and meeknesse: for the meek will He guide in judgement, and the meek will He teach his way Psal. 2▪ 5: 9.

7. A putting of the heart, or understanding in his hand, together with the truth, that is heard and received, that He may write the truth in the heart, and cause the heart receive the impression of that truth.

Tenthly. There would be a rolling of the whole matter by faith on Him, as the only teacher, a putting of the ignorant, blockish, averse, and perverse heart, into his hand, that He may frame it to his own minde, and a leaving of it there, till He by his Spirit, write in it what He thinketh meet, to his own glory, and our good.

And sure, were this way followed, grouth in knowledge would not be so rare a thing as it is.

Cautions.

For further direction and caution in this mat­ter, the beleever would take notice of these parti­culars.

1. That he should not sit down upon any mea­sure of knowledge he hath attained to, or can at­taine to here, as if he had enough, and should la­bour for no more: but he should still be mindeing his duty of seeking, and pressing for more.

2. Whenever he is about any mean of know­ledge, such as preaching, reading, conference &c. his heart should be only upon Christ: He should be hanging on his lips for a word of instruction; and with greedinesse looking for a word from his mouth: he would be sending many postes to hea­ven, [Page 234] many ejaculatory desires for light and un­derstanding, and that with singlenesse and since­rity, and not for base ends, or out of hypocrisie.

3. Let him not think, that there is no grouth in knowledge, because possibly he perceiveth it not, or is not satisfied, as to the measure thereof; yea though possibly he perceive more ignorance, than ever he did before: If he grow in the knowledge of his own ignorance, it is a grouth of knowledge not to be despised: and in a manner, what can we else know of God, but that He farr transcendeth all our knowledge, and that He is an incomprehensible one, in all his wayes?

4. Let him not think, that there is no grouth in knowledge, because he perceiveth not a grouth in the knowledge of such or such a particular, which he desireth most: for if there be a grouth in the knowledge of other particulars, necessary to be known, there is no reason to compleane. If one grow▪ not, as he supposeth, in the knowledge of God, and of the mysteries of the gospel; yet if he grow in the discovery of the treachery and wicked­nesse of his own heart, he cannot say, that he grow­eth not in knowledge.

5. Let him not measure his grouth in knowledge, by his grouth in the faculty of speaking and dis­coursing of such or such points of Religion: many measure their knowledge by their tongue, and think they know little because they can expresse little; and so they think they attaine to no increase or grouth in knowledge, because they perceive no grouth or increase in this faculty of discoursing, and talking of such or such points of truth. It is saifer to measure [Page 235] their knowledge by the impression that the truth hath on their spirits, and the effects of it on all their carriage, than by their ability or skill to talk and disput of it.

6. Let them beware to imagine, that they shall be able to search out the almighty unto perfection, canst thou (said Zophar Iob. 11: 7, 8, 9.) by searching find out God? canst thou finde out the almighty unto perfection? He is as high as heaven, what canst thou do? deeper then hell, what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth▪ and broader than the sea. Or that they shall be able ever to win to the bottome of their own false deceitful heart, which, as Ieremiah sayeth Cap. 17: 9. is deceitful above all things, and desperatly wicked, who can know it? And which is God's prerogative alone to search and try. vers. 10. Neither let them think, so long as they are here, to win to an exact and perfect knowledge of the myste­ries of God, wherein is the manifold wisdom of God Ephes. 3: 10. which very Principalities and po­wers in heavenly places are learning; and which the Angels are poreing and looking into with desire 1. Pet. 1: 12. There is no perfection in knowledge to be had here: for here the best but knoweth in part, and Prophecyeth in part. 1 Cor. 13: 4.

7. Let them not think that every one shall have the same measure of knowledge▪ Every one hath not the like use for it, or the like capacity for it. There is a measure proportioned to every one: They should not then complean, because they have not such a measure of knowledge, as they perceive in some others. It may be, the Lord hath some [Page 236] harder piece of service, which calleth for more knowledge, to put others to. Let every one then minde his duty faithfully, and conscientiously, and let him not quarrel with God, that he attaineth not to such a measure of knowledge, as he seeth others attaine unto.

8. Neither let them think, that the same measure is required of all: for more is required of some, by reason of their office and charge, in the house of God, being called to teach and instruct others; than of others: and so more is required of such, as have larger capacities, and a better faculty of un­derstanding than others, who naturally are but of a narrow reach, and of a shallow capacity: more also is required of such, as live under plaine, po­werfull, and lively ordinances, and under a more powerful and spiritual dispensation of the grace of God▪ than of others, that want such advantages. So likewise, more is required of old Christians, than of new beginners: Old men, of much and long experience, should know more, than such as are but babes in Christ, and of yesterday.

9. Let their desires run out after that knowledge, not which puffeth up; for there is a knowledge which puffeth up. 1 Cor. 8. 1. but which humbleth, and driveth the soul further from it self, and nearer to Christ.

10. They would carefully distinguish betwixt the gift of knowledge, and the grace of knowledge, That ordinarily puffeth up; This humbleth: That bringeth not the soul to Iesus; This doth: That is but a forme Rom. 2: 20. and doth not retaine God Rom. 1: 28. This is a real thing, laying hold [Page 237] on God, and holdeth him fast, having the feare of the Lord for its principle, for this fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdome Iob. 28: 28. Psal. 111: 10. Prov. 1: 7. and 9: 10. That lyeth most in the head, and venteth most in discourses, words, yea and sometime evanisheth into vaine notions; But this goeth down to the heart, and lodgeth there, and appeareth in the mans walk & conversation: as these two would be distinguished, so the one should not be measured by the other.

11 When they do not profite indeed, let them beware of quarrelling with Christ, or of blameing Him, in any manner of way: but let them lay the blame of their shortcoming on themselves, for not making more use of Him, by faith and single de­pendence upon Him. It is true, none will be so bold, as in words to quarrell with or blame Him; yet the heart is deceitful, and tacitely may raise & foment such thoughts of Him, and his dispensations, as can passe under no other notion, than a quar­relling with Him. Now these would be guairded against.

12. Beware of urgeing for or expecting of immediat revelations, or extraordinary manifesta­tions: for we should not tempt the Lord, nor set limites to Him, neither should we prescribe meanes and wayes to Him, we must be satisfied with the ordinary meanes, which He hath appointed, and waite at wisdomes doors, with our eares nailed to his posts.

13. Whatever point of truth they learne, or whatever measure of knowledge they get▪ they would do well to give that back againe to Christ, [Page 238] to keep for them, against a time of need; and waite on Him for grace to improve it for his glory.

14. Let them beware of mindeing things too high. Psal. 131: 1. It is better to feare and stand in awe, and to seek to lay the foundations well, to get the saving knowledge of things necessary to salvation. This will yeeld most peace and satisfa­ction.

CHAP. XIV. How to make use of Christ, as Truth, for comfort, when truth is oppressed and borne down.

THere is another difficulty, wherein beleeving souls will stand in need of Christ, as the Truth, to helpe them; and that is, when his work is over­turned, his cause borne down, truth condemned, and enemies, in their opposition to his work, prospering in all their wicked attempts. This is a very trying dispensation, as we see it was to the holy penman of Psalme 73. for it made him to stagger, so that his feet were almost gone, and his steps had well nigh slipt: yea he was almost repenting of his being a godly person, saying vers. 13. ver [...]ly I have clansed my heart in vaine, & washed my hands in innocencie. It was something like this, which made Ieremie say Cap, 8: 18. when I would comfort my self against sorrow, my heart is faint in me. The harvest was past, and the summer was ended, and yet they were not saved. vers. 20. and they looked for peace, but no [Page 239] good came, and for a time of health, but behold trouble vers. 15. and this was fainting and vexa­tious. And what made Baruch, Ieremiah's faith full companion in tribulation, say, woe is me now; for the Lord hath added grief to my sorow, I fainted in my sighing, and I finde no rest▪ Ier. 45: 3. but this▪ that all things were turning upside down. God was breaking down that, which he had bui [...]; and plucking up that; which he had planted▪ Tribulation and suffering for a good cause, is even fainting to some; as the Apostle hinteth Ephes. 3: 13. when he sayes, wherefore I desire that yee fainte not, at my tribulation for you. And that which evinceth the danger of this dispensation, is the fainting and backsliding of many, in such a time of tryal▪ as sad experience too often cleareth.

Now the beleevers stay in this case, must be the rock of ages, Jesus, the Truth. It is He alone, who can keep streight and honest, in such a reeling time. So that a sight of Christ, as the Truth▪ in reference to the carrying on of Truth in the earth, and throughing his cause and work, will be the only support of a soul, shaken by such a piece of tryal.

But the question is, How should Beleevers make use of Christ, in such a time, to the end they may be keeped from fainting and succumbing in such a storme? To which I answere. That the faith and consideration of those particulars would helpe to esta­blishment.

1. That Christ, in all this great work of re­demption, and in every piece of it, is the Fathers servant. So is He frequently called, his servant Esai. [Page 240] 42: 1. & 49: 3, 5, 6. & 52: 13. & 53: 11. Zech. 3: 8. & therefore this work is a work intrusted to Him, & He standeth engadged as a servant, to be faithful to his trust. Moreover adde to this, that He hath a commission to perfect that work; and we need not doubt, but He, who is the Truth, will be true to his trust. Him hath God the Father sealed Iohn. 6: 27. & He oft tells us himself, that He is sent of the Father Iohn. 4: 34. & 5: 23, 24, 30, 36, 37. & 6: 38: 39. 40, 44, 57. & 8: 16, 18. & 12: 44, 45, 49. & 7: & 9: 4. & 10: 36. & 11: 42.

2. That while He was upon the earth, He fi­nished that work, that was committed to Him to finish here, having purchased all that was to be bought by his blood, paying all the price that justice did ask Iohn. 17: 4. & 19: 30. By which price he hath purchased a people to himself Revel. 5: 9. Luk. 1: 68. So that His work, cause, and inte­rest is a purchased work, bought with his blood.

3. That his resurrection and glorification is an undoubted proof of this, that justice is satisfied, and that the price is fully payed; and also that his exal­tation at the Fathers right hand is a sure evidence & ground of hope, that He shall at last triumphe over all his enemies; and that his work of truth shall prosper. The Father said to Him Psal. 110: 1. Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies, thy foot stool. Being now highly exalted, he hath got a name above every name, that in his name every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confesse, that Iesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father Phil. 2. 9, 10, 11.

[Page 241]4. That the Father standeth engadged to make good to Him, all that was promised, and to give Him all that He purchased Esa. 53: 10, 11, 12. Christ, having now fulfilled his undertaking, by making his soul an offering for sin, and so satisfying justice, which is openly declared by his resurre­ction, admission to glory, as the Head of his elect, is to expect the accomplishment of what was condi­tioned unto Him. His work therefore on the earth must prosper: and the Father hath undertaken to see it prosper. Sure the faith of this would much support a poor soul, staggering at the thoughts of the prosperity of the wicked, and of their evil cause.

5. That Christ himself is now throughly furni­shed and inabled, for the carrying on of his work, over the belly of all adversaries, for all power in heaven and earth is given to Him Matth. 28: 18. and every knee must bow to Him. Phil. 2: 10. all judgment is committed unto Him Ioh. [...]: 22, 27. Angels, powers and authoritie are made subject unto Him 1 Pet. 3: 22. Yea all things are under Him Ephes. 1: 22. How then can his work miscarry? or who can hinder, that truth should not flourish in the earth?

6. That Christ is actually at work, imploying this power for the carrying forward of his designe, for the glory of the Father and for his own glory, and for the good of his poor people. The Father worketh by Him, and He by the Spirit, which is his great vicegerent, sent from the Father, and from Him, and his work is to glorify the Son, and shall receive of his, and show it unto us Iohn. 16: 14.

[Page 242]7, That Christ, upon many accounts, standeth engadged to perfect this work, which He hath be­gun and is about. His honour is engadged to go thorow, seing now He is fully furnished for it, and hath all the creation at his command. He must then perfect his work, as to the application, as well as He did perfect it, as to the purchase: His love to his Fathers & his own glory, & to his own peoples good and salvation may assure us, that He will not leave the work unperfected; and his power and furni­ture may give us full security, that no stope, which his work meeteth with, shall be able to hin­der it.

8. That hence it is clear and manifest, that his wheel is in the midst of the wheels of men, and that therefore He is ordering all their motions and reel­ings to the best. His wheel keepeth an even pace and moveth equally & equably, in the midst of mens contrary motions.

9. And that therefore, all the eccentrick and irregular motions of devils and wicked men, being in His hand, and ordered by Him, cannot hinder but further His end; So that even enemies, while opposeing and seeking to destroy the cause and inte­rest of Christ, that his name and truth should no more be mentioned, are promoveing his work. His wheel is the great wheel that ordereth all the lesser and subordinate wheels, whatever contrary motions they may have the one to the other, and all or many of them may seem to have to this great wheel. So that, do they what they will, the work of our Lord goeth on. Their opposition is setting his work forward, though they intend the contrary. How­ever [Page 243] their faces look, they row to the port, He would be at. This is an undoubted truth, and confirmed in all ages, and yet is not firmly beleev­ed: and a truth it is, which, if beleeved, would do much to settle our staggering souls in a stormy day.

10, That at last, He shall come to be glorifyed in his saints 2 Thes. 1: 10▪ when He shall be revealed from heaven with all his mighty angels vers. 7. Then shall it be seen, whose shall counsel stand His or mens; and whose work shall prosper, His or Satans.

Cautions.

Yet let me adde a few words, for caution and di­rection here.

1. The consideration of those things mentioned should not make us slacken our diligence in prayer, and other duties: and when they are a right consi­dered, they will rather prove a spurre and a goad in our side, to set us forward, than a bridle to hold us aback.

2. We would not think, that Christ's work and interest is going backward alwayes, when it seem­eth so to us. Even when He is casting downe. what He hath built up; and plucking up, what He hath planted, his work is prospering, for all that is in order to the laying of a better foundation, and to the carrying on of a more glorious work; when He shall lay all the stones with faire colours, & the foun­dations with saphires, and make the windowes of crystal &c. Esai. 5 4: 11, 12.

3. Though his work be alwayes going on, and [Page 244] his truth prospering; yet we would not think that it will alwayes prosper alike, in our apprehensions; many times we judge by rules of our own making, and not by the rule of truth; and hence it is that we mistake oftentimes. We walk little by faith, and too much by sense; and hence we judge too much by sense, and so passe a wrong judgement, to his dishonour, and the sadning of our own hearts.

4. Nor would we think, that His Truth and interest is ruined and gone, because it is sore oppressed, in this or that particular place of the world; as if his work were not of an universal ex­tent, and in all the churches. If his truth thrive and prosper in some other place of the world, shall we not say, that his kingdome is coming? Or shall we limite all his work and interest to one small part of the world?

5. We would not think the worse of his work, because it is carryed on with so many stops, and doth meet with so many Impediments in its way: We are not acquanted with the depths of his infinite wisdome and counsel: and so we see not what noble ends He hath before Him, in suffering those im­pediments to lie in the way of his chariot. We think He should ride so triumphantly all alongs, that none should once dar to cast the least block in his way: but we judge carnally, as unacquanted with the many noble and glorious designes, which He hath, in ordering matters. As Himself was for a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence; so will he have the way of the carrying on of his work prove, in his holy and spotlesse justice, a stumbling stone to many, that shall stumble thereat, and fall, and never rise any more.

[Page 245]6. We would beware to think, that Christ-hath forgotten his work, because He seemeth to take no notice of our prayers, which we are putting up, now and then for his work. He may be doing that, which we are desireing, in the general, and yet not let us know, that He is answering our prayers: & that for wise and holy ends, to keep us humble & diligent. He may seem to misregaird our suites, and yet be carrying on his work, and granting us our desires, upon the matter.

7. Hence we [...]ould beware of desponding, and growing heartlesse and fainte, when we see few owneing truth, Or standing upon Christ's side; for He needeth not mans help, to carry on his work, though He sometimes thinketh good to con­descend so far, as to honour some to be instrument­al in setting of it forward, who yet have nothing but as He giveth; let us not then think, that his work cannot prosper, because great ones and meane ones oppose it, and such as should stand for it and owne it, are few and fainting, without strength courage or Zeal.

CHAP. XV. How to make use of Christ for stedfastness, in a time, when truth is oppressed and borne downe.

WHen enemies are prevailing, and the way of truth is evil spoken of, many fainte and many turne aside, and do not plead for truth, not stand [Page 246] up for the interest of Christ, in their houre and po­wer of darknesse; many are overcome with base feare, and either side with the workers of iniquity, or are not valient for the truth, But being faint­hearted turne back. Now the thoughts of this may put some, who desire to stand fast, and to owne Him and his cause, in a day of tryall, to enquire how they shall make use of Christ, who is the Truth, so as to be inabled to stand in the day of temptation, and to keep fast by Truth, when it is loaded with re­proaches, and buryed under an h [...]pe of obloquy. For satisfaction to this question, I shall shortly point out those directions, which, if followed, may prove helpful to keep the soul from fainting, misbeleeving, doubting, quarrelling at the Lord's dispensations, and from yeelding to the temptati­tions, in such a day.

1. The beleever would live in the conviction of his hazard, through the slight of Satan, the strength of the temptation, the wickednesse and treachery of the heart, the evil example of others, and the want of sanctified courage, Zeal and resolution; and this will keep the soul humble, and farr from boast­ing of its own strength, which was Peter's fault.

2. They would live in the faith and perswasion of this. That it is Christ alone, who is the Truth, who can help them to stand for truth, in a day of temptation; and that all their former purposes, vo­wes, resolutions, solemne professions, and the like, will prove but weak cables to hold them fast, in a day of storme: and that only the rock of ages must save them; and their being a ley ward of Him, and partaking of his warme and saife protection, [Page 247] will do their businesse. That all their stock of grace, and knowledge, and that confirmed with resolutions and sincere purposes, will helpe but little, in that day: and that new influences of grace and truth, from the fountaine, that is full of grace and truth, will only prove establishing to the soul, and confirme it in the truth, in that day.

3. Therefore, they would eye Christ in his Offi­ces; particularly as the great Prophet, who can teach, as never man taught; so teach, as to make the soul receive the doctrine, and to hold it fast, to receive it in love, and lay it up in the heart, as a rich and enriching treasure.

4. They would eye him, in his relations unto his people, as their Head, Husband, Brother, Leader, Commander, Captaine, &c. for those give ground of approaching unto Him, with con­fidence, in the day of darknesse and mists, for light and direction, and for strength and courage▪ in the day of temptation: and give ground of hope of helpe, in that day of tryal and difficulty.

5. They would eye and act faith upon the pro­mises of assistance and through▪ bearing, in the day of calamity; such as those▪ Esa. 43: 2. when thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thow walkest through the fire, thou shall no [...] be burnt; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee▪ And Esai. 41: 13. for I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, feare not, I will helpe thee: and particularly▪ they would eye the promises o [...] light, in the da [...] of darknesse. See Esai. 58: 8, 10. & 60: 20. 2 Sam. [...]2: 29.

[Page 248]6. They would look on Christ as an exalted conquerour, now risen and glorified: as a victorious captaine, that hath fought and overcome; that they, as his followers, may be made partakers of his victory and conquest, and so reape the fruit of his resurrection and ascension, in their establishment in the truth, when it is borne down, and questioned, yea and condemned by men. He abode stedfast and unmoveable in the midst of all the stormes, that blew in his face: and as He came to bear witnesse to the truth; so did He faithfully and zealously avow truth, even to the death; and in death got the victory of the Arch liar and deceiver. Now the beleever would eye this, for the strengthening of his faith and hope of victory also, through Him: and therefore would waite patiently for his help; and not make haste: for they who beleeve make not haste Esa. 28: 16. knowing that He is true and faithful and will not disappoint his followers, that trust in Him. And moreover, it would be of ad­vantage to them, in this case, to eye that gracious and comfortable word Iohn. 14: 19—because I live, you shall live also: and so by faith conclude, that seing Christ now liveth, as a conquerour over darknesse, untruth, reproaches, calumnies, and opposition of liars, yea of the father of lies; they, through Him, shall also live, and ride out that storme: and this will give much courage to the soul, to endure temptation, and to waite in patience for an outgate.

7. They would study much, and suck at the grand promise of his coming againe, and of final­ly dispelling all clouds: and of fully clearing up [Page 249] his glorious truths, that are now covered over with obloquie, and buryed under reproaches: and this will encourage the soul to stand to truth, in the midst of all opposition, beleeving that, at length, truth, how much soever opposed now, shall be victorious.

8. They should be single in their dependence on Him, for strength and throwbearing, in that day of tryal; not leaning to their own understanding; but acknowledging Him in all their wayes Prov. 3: 6. and when they see no hope of outgate in the world, nor appearance of the clearing up of the day, they would comfort themselvs, and encourage them­selves in the Lord, as David did, in a great straite 1 Sam, 30: 6.

9. Upon the forementioned grounds, they would cast all the care of their throughbearing on Him, who careth for them 1 Pet. 5: 7. rolling all their difficulties on Him, consulting only with Him, & his Word, and not with flesh and blood; and so they would commit their wayes to Him, who disposeth of all things, as He seeth good; forbea­ring to limite the holy one of Israel, or to quarrel with Him for any thing he doth; and patiently wait for his out-gate, and delivery.

10. It were good, in this time of tryal, to be remembring the worth of truth, and intertaining high thoughts of the smallest piece of truth, that is questioned, for his sake, who is the Truth: that a sight of the glorious worth thereof, may make them account the lesse of all they can lose, in the defence and maintenance thereof.

11. So were it good at this time, when truthes [Page 250] come to be questioned, to be lying neare to the Truth, for light, and to be keeping fast, what He by his Spirit cleareth up to be truth, though the light should not be so full, as to dispel all objections. This were to depend upon Him for light, with singlenesse of heart; and in godly simplicity and sincerity to follow his direction and torch, though it should not shine so bright, as they would wish.

Cautions.

A few words of caution will be usefull here also: as

1. The beleever, though taking this course, would not think to be altogether free of fear of stepping aside, in lesse or in more: God may think good, to let much of this abide, to the end he may be keeped watchfull, tender and diligent; for fear maketh the soul circumspect and watchfull; and this is a good preservative from defection.

2. Nor would the beleever think, that hereby he shall be keeped altogether free of fainting. The heart now and then, through fear and misbeleef, may fall into a fit of fainting, and think all is gone: and yet He may carry poor souls thorow, and make his strength perfect in their weaknesse 2 Cor. 12: 9. That when they are supported and carryed through the temptation, they may sing praise to Him; and not ascribe any thing to themselves: remembring how often they were f [...]inting, and almost giving over the cause, as desperate and hope­lesse.

3. They would not think it strange, if in the time of their wreastling with difficultyes, the Lord [Page 251] hide his face from them, and give them not that [...] [...] Him in prayer that sometimes they have met with for the Lord may see it fit, to put them to this point of tryall, among the rest, to see if the love of his glory and truth will keep them standing▪ when they want the encourage­ments, that might be expected in that way: and if pure conscience to the command and authority of God will keep from siding with an evil way, when the soul is destitute of all sensible encouragement, both from within and from without.

4. In all this businesse, beleevers would carry singly, with an eye to God's glory; and would not be acted with self-ends, or drawn by carnal and selfy motives. They would not desire stability and through bearing, to be seen of men, or to gaine applause and the praise of Men; lest God be provok­ed to leave them to themselves, and they at length come off with discredit, as Peter did. Therefore they would strive against these carnal motions of the heart; and laboure for spirituality, singlenesse of heart, and truth in the inward parts, which the Lord desireth. Psal. 51: 6.

CHAP. XVI. How to make use of Christ as the Truth, when error prevaileth, and the spirit of error carryeth many away.

THere is a time▪ when the Spirit of error [...] going ab [...]oad▪ and truth is questioned, an [Page 252] many are led away with delusions▪ for Satan can change himself into an angel of light, and make many great and faire like pretensions to holinesse, and under that pretext ushere-in untruthes, and gaine the consent of many unto them; so that, in such a time of temptation, many are stollen off their feet, and made to depart from the right wayes of God, and to imbrace error and delusions, in stead of truth. Now the question is, how a poor beleever shall make use of Christ, who is the Truth, for keeping him stedfast in the truth, in such a day of tryal, and from imbracing the way of error, how plausible soever it may appeare: for satisfaction to this, we shall propose those few things.

1. In such a time, when a Spirit of error is let loose and rageth, and carrieth severall away, it were good for all, who would be keeped streight & honest, to be walking in feare. It is not good to despise such a s [...]ye and subtile enemy, especially in the houre and power of darknesse. Then all are called to be on their guaird, and to stand upon their watch toure, and to be jealous of their corrupt hearts, that are ready enough, of their own accord, to drink-in errour, and to receive the temptation, at any time, and much more then.

2. They would not think, that their knowledge, and ability to dispute for truth, will keep them stedfast, if there be not more: for if the tempta­tion grow, they may come to reasone and dispute themselves out of all their former knowledge and skill. The father of lies is a cuning sophister, and knoweth how to shake their grounds, and cast all loose.

[Page 253]3. They would renew their covenant grips of Christ, and make sure that maine businesse. viz. their peace and union with God in Christ, and their accepting of Christ for their Head and Hus­band. They would labour to have the fundation sure, and to be united unto the chief corner stone; that so, blow the storme as it will, they may ride saifely; and that hereby they may have accesse to Christ with boldnesse, in their difficulty; and may with confidence seek light from Him, in the houre of darknesse.

4. To the end they may be keeped more watch­full, and circumspect, they would remember, that it is a dishonourable thing to Christ, for them to step aside, in the least matter of truth: the denying of the least point of truth, is a consequentiall denying of him, who is the Truth: and to lose a foot in the matters of truth, is very dangerous▪ for who can tell when they, who once slip a foot, shall recover it againe? And who can tell how many, and how dreadful errors, they may drink▪in, who have once opened the door to a small errour? Therefore they would beware of tampering in this matter, and to admit any errour, upon the account that it is a small and inconsiderable one: there may be an unseen concatenation betwixt one errour and another, and betwixt a small one and a greater one, so as if the little one be admitted and received, the greater shall follow▪ and it may be feared that if they once dally with errour, and make a gape in their consciences, that God give them up to judiciall blindenesse, that, ere all be done, they shall imbra­ce [Page 254] that opinion, which sometime they seemed to hate as death.

5. They would eye the promises suteing that case: viz. the promises of Gods Guideing the blindely a way, which [...] know not: of making darknesse light before them and crooked t [...]ings streig [...]s Es [...]. 42: 16. and of guideing contin [...]ally Esa. 8▪ [...]. see also Esa. 49▪ 10. and 57: 18. and they would act faith on these and the like promises▪ as now made sure through Jesus.

6. Particularly, they would fix their eye upon that principal promise of the Spirit of truth, to guide into all truth Iohn 16: 13.

7. With singlenesse of heart, they would depend on Christ, and waite for light from Him, and be­ware of prejudice at the truth: with singlenesse of heart, they would lye open to his instructions, and to the influences of his light and direction, and re­ceive in the beames of his divine light: and thus go about duties viz. Prayer, Conference, Preaching, Reading &c. with an eye fix [...]d on him, and with a soul open to Him, & free of all sinful preingadg­ment, and love to errour.

8. With singl [...]nesse of heart, they would give up their souls to Christ, as the Truth, that He would write the truth in their souls, and frame their souls unto the truth, and unto that truth, which is most questioned, and by which they are most in hazard to be drawn away; and urge and [...] Him by prayer and supplication, to do the duty of an Head, an Husband guide and Commander &c. unto them; and that He would be a [...] unto them, in that [Page 255] day of darkness, and not suffer them to disho­nour Him, or prove scandalous to others; by de­parting from the truth, and imbracing of errour. A serious single-hearted dealing with Him, upon the grounds of the covenant promises, and his re­lations and engadgments, might prove steadable in this case, if accompanyed with a lying open to the influences of truth▪ and to the light of information, which He is pleased to send by the Spirit of truth.

Cautions and Directions.

For further clearing of this matter, we shall hinte at some cautions, and further directions useful here: such as

1. They would beware of thinking that God should come to them with light and instruction, in an extraordinary manner; and reveal the truth of the question controverted somewhat immediatly: for this were a manifest tempting and limit [...]ing of the holy one of Israel. We must be satisfied with the meanes of instruction, which he hath provided, and run to the Law and to the Testimony. We have the Scriptures, which are able to make the man of God perfect and throughly fournished unto all good works 2. Tim. 3: 16, 17. and to make wi [...]e unto Salvation vers. 15. There must we seek light; and there must we waite for the breathing of his Spirit with life, and coming with light to cleare up truth to us: for they are the Scriptures of truth. Dan. 10: 21. and the law of the Lord, which is perfect, converting the soul, and the com­mandement of the Lord▪ that is pure enlightening the eyes &c. Ps [...]l. [...]9: 7▪ 8. We have the Mini­stery, [Page 256] which God hath also appointed for this end, to make known to us his minde: there must we waite for him and his light. Thus must we waite at the posts of wisdomes doors: and waite for the king of light, in his own way, wherein He hath appoint­ed us to waite for Him. And if He think good to come another way, more immediat, Let Him alwayes be welcome: but let not us limite Him, nor prescribe wayes to Him; but follow his dire­ctions.

2. When any thing is borne-in upon their Spirit, as a truth to be received. or as an errour to be reje­cted, more immediately, they would beware of admitting of every such thing, without tryal and ex­amination: for we are expressely forbidden to be­leeve every Spirit, and commanded to try them, whether they are of God or not 1 Iohn. 4: 1. The Lord will not take it ill, that even his own imme­diat motions and revelations be tryed and examin­ed by the word; because the word is given us for this end, to be our teste and standart of truth. The way of immediat revelation is not the ordinary way now of God's manifesting his minde to his peo­ple. He hath now chosen another way, and given us a more sure word of prophecie, than was even a voice from heaven, as Peter sayeth 2 Pet. 1: 18, 19. It is commended in the Bereans Act. 17: 11. who upon this account were more noble, then those of Thessalo­nica, in that they received the word with all readi­nesse of minde, & searched the scriptures dayly, whether those things were so. Even Pauls words, though he was an authorized, & infallible Apostle of Christ's, are here put to the touch stone of the [Page 257] word. Many false Prophets may go out, and de­ceive many, and speak great swelling words of va­nity 1 Iohn. 4: 1. 2 Pet. 2: 18. and the devil can transchange himself into an angel of light 2 Cor. 11: 14. And though an Angel out of heaven should preach any other thing, than what is in the written word, we ought not to receive his doctrine, but to reject it, and to account him accursed Gal. 1: 8. So that the written word must be much studied by us; and by it must we try all motions, all do­ctrines, all inspirations, all revelations, and all manifestations.

3. Much more would they beware of thinking, that the dictats of their conscience obligeth them, so as that alwayes they must of necessity follow the same. Conscience, being God's deputy in the soul, is to be followed no further, than it speaketh for God, and according to truth. An erring conscience, though it binde so far, as that he who doth contrary to the dictats thereof sinneth against God, in that, knowing no other than that the dictats of consci­ence are right and consonant to the minde of God▪ yet dar counteract the same, and thus formally rebel against Gods authoritie; yet it doth not oblige us to beleeve and to do, what it asserteth to be truth, and duty. It will not then be enough for them to say, my conscience, and the light within me speak­eth so, and instructeth me so: for that light may be darknesse, and errour and a delusion; and so no rule for them to walk by. To the law and to the testimony: and, if their conscience, minde, or light within them, speak not according to this word, it is because there is no lig [...]t in them Esai. 8: 20. I [Page 258] grant, as I said, they can not without sin, coun­ter act the dictats even of an e [...]ing [...]; be­cause they know not better, but that these dictats are according to truth: and thus an erring consci­ence is a most dangerous thing, and bringeth peo­ple under a very sad dilemma, that whether they follow it or not, they sin: and there is no other remedie here, but to lay by the e [...]ing conscience, and get a conscience rightly informed by the word: puting it in Christ's hand, to be better formed and informed; that so it may do its office better. This then would be especially guairded against; for if once they lay downe this for a principle, that what­ever their conscience and minde or in ward light (as some call it) dictat, must be followed, there is no delusion, how false, how abominable so ever it be, but they may be at length in hazard to be drawn away with: and so the rule, that they will walk be, be nothing in effect but the Spirit of lies and of de­lusion; and the motions and dictates of him, who is the Father of lies, that is, the Devil.

4. Such as pretend so much to walk by consci­ence, would take h [...]ed, that they take not that for the dictate of conscience, which really is but the dictat of their own humors, inclinations, pre­occupyed mindes, and byassed wills. When con­science speaketh, it groundeth on the authority of God, whether truely or falsely, and proposeth such a thing, to be done, or to be refrained from, meerly because God commandeth that, and forbiddeth this, though sometimes it mistaketh: but, though the d [...]ctats of mens humors, inclinations, preoc­cupyed judgements and wills, may pretend God's [Page 259] authority, for what they say, yet really some car­nal respect▪ selfish end and the like, lyeth at the bottom, and is the chiefe spring of that motion: and also the dictats of humor, and byassed willes are usually more violent and fierce, then the dictats of conscience; for wanting the authority of God to back their assertions and prescriptions, they must make up that with an addition of a preternatural force and strength. Hence such as are purely led by conscience, are pliable, humble, and ready to heare and receive information; whereas others are headstrong, and pertinacious, unwilling to re­ceive instruction, or to heare any thing contrary to their mindes, lest their conscience▪ receiving more light, speak with a higher voyce, against their inclinations, and former wayes; and so create more trouble to them; whileas now they enjoy more quiet within, so long as the cry of their self­will & byassed judgment is so loud, that they can not well hear the still and low voyce of conscience.

5. They would labour for much self denyal▪ and sincerity; and to be free from the snares and power of selfish ends, as credite, a name▪ and applause, or what of that kinde, that may be like the fear of man, that bringeth a snare: Prov. 29: 2. 5. for that will be like a gift, that blindeth the eyes of the wise Exod. 23: 8. love to carry on a party, or a de­signe, to be seen and accounted some body, to maintaine their credite and reputation, lest they be accounted changelings, and the like, will prove very dangerous in this case: for these may forcibly carry the soul away, to imbrace one er­rour after another, and one errour to strengthen [Page 260] and confirme another, that it is hard to know▪ where or when they shall stand: and these by-respects may so forcibly drive the soul forward, that he shall neither heare the voice of conscience within, nor any instruction from without.

6. They would study the word of truth, without prejudice and any sinfull preingadgment, lest they be made thereby to wiredraw and wrest the word, to their own destruction; as some, of whom Peter speaketh 2 Pet. 3: 16. It is a dangerous thing, to study the word with a prejudicat opinion; and to bow or wiredraw the word, and make it speak what we would have it speak, for the confirmation of out opinions and sentiments: for that is but to mock God and his law; and to say, Let his law speak what it will, I will maintaine this opinion; and so make the word speak, as we would have it, or else lay it by. This is to walk by some other rule, than the word▪ and to make the word serve our lusts, and confirme our errours, than which a grea­ter indignitie can not be done to the Spirit of truth, speaking in the word.

7. In reading and studying of the word, there would be much single dependance on the Spirit for light: waiting for clearnesse from Him, whom Christ hath promised to lead us into all truth. An earnest wreastling with Him for his assistance, enlightening the minde with divine light, to understand the truth, and inclineing the soul to a ready imbraceing and receiveing of the truth, declared in the word.

8. Though one place of scripture be enough to confirme any point of truth, and ground sufficient for us to beleeve what is there said, there being [Page 261] nothing in scripture, but what is truth: yet in such a time of abounding errours, and when many are going abroad, speaking perverse things, to lead the simple away, it were spiritual wisdome to be compareing scripture with scripture; and not to be lightly imbracing whatever may seem probable, and fairely deduceable from some one passage or other of scripture; but to be comparing that with other passages, and see what concord there is: for this is certane, what ever point contradicteth other clear and manifest testimonies of scripture cannot be true; how ever a cunning sophister may make it seem very probably to flow out of such or such a passage of scripture. The testimony of the Spirit is uniforme, and free from all contradictions: and therefore we must see, if such an assertion, that some would draw from such a passage, agree with other plaine passage: and if not, be sure, that that is not the meaning of the place. When the devil did wreste and abuse that passage of truth Psal. 91: 11. He shall give his angels charge concearning thee. &c. and from thence would inferre, that Christ might cast himself down. Mat. 4; 6. Christ shew that this inference was bad, because it did not agree with other divine testimonies, particularly not with that Deut. 6: 16. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God: And thereby he teacheth us to take this course, in times of temptation? and so compare spirituall things with spirituall, as Paul speaketh, 1. Cor. 2: 13. Especially they would beware of expounding clear Scriptures by such as are more dark and mysterious: See 2. Pet. 3: 16. it is al­wayes [Page 262] saifer, to explaine darker passages by such as are more clear.

9. Let them guaird against an humore of new­fanglednesse, nauseating old and solide truthes, and seeking after something new, having eares itching after new doctrines, yea or new modes and dresses of old truthes: for this is provocking to God, and proveth dangerous; for such turne away their eares from the truth, and are turned into fables, as Paul telleth us. 2. Tim. 4: 3. 4. for the time will come, sayeth he, when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their owne lusts, shall they heape to themselves teachers, having itching ears: and they shall turne away their eares from the truth▪ and shall be turned unto fables. This favoureth of a spirit of levity and inconstancy; which is dan­gerous.

10. They would labour to have no prejudice at the truth, but receive it in love, and the love of it▪ lest for that cause God give them up to strong de­lusions to beleeve lies, and to be led away with the deceiveablnesse of unrighteousnesse: as we see 2. Thes. 2: 10, 11, 12. and with all deceivablenesse of unrighteousnesse in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved▪ and for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should beleev a lie; that they all might be damned, who beleeved not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousnesse.

11. So would they beware of stifling the truth, of making it a prisoner▪ & detaineing it in unrighteousnesse, like those spoken of Rom. 1: 18. [Page 263] for which cause God gave▪ them up to uncleannesse and to vile affections, and they became vaine in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened; yea professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. vers. 21, 22, 24▪ 26. They should let truth have free liberty, and power in the soul; and should yeeld up themselves to be ruled and guided by it: and not thorture with it, lay chaines upon it, or fetter it, and keep it as a prisoner, that can do nothing.

2. For this cause, they would hold fast the truth, which they have learned, and have been taught by the Spirit out of the word. When Paul would gua [...]rd▪ and fortifie Timothy against seducers, that creept into houses, leading captive silly women &c. among other directions, he giveth him this 2. Tim. 3:▪ 14, 15▪ But continue thou in the things, which thou hast learned, and hast bin assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise to Salvation &c. So he would have the Colossians walking in Christ, rooted and build up in Him, & stablished in the faith, as they had been taught Col. 2. 6, 7.

13. Especially they would be holding the ground-work fast, saith in Christ: It were good, in such a time of erring from the way of truth, to be griping Christ faster, and cleaving to▪ Him by faith, and living by faith in Him. This is to hold the foundation fast; and then let the tempest of errour blow as it will, they will ride at a sure anchor, and be s [...]ife, because fixed upon the rock of ages: and further, living neare Christ, in such a [Page 264] dangerous day, would be a noble preservative from the infections of error. The soul that is dwelling in Christ, and griping to Him dayly by faith, and acting love on Him, dwelleth in light, and will discover errour, sooner than another, because liv­ing under the rayes of the sun of righteousnesse; which discovereth errour.

14. They would labour to learne the truth, as it is in Iesus; and the truthes, which they have heard of Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Him, will abide, when other truthes, that have been learnt but of men, and heard of men, and as it was in the preaching of men, and in books, shall soon evanish, in a day of trial. This is to learne Christ, as the Apostle speaketh Ephes. 4: 20, 21. But yee have not so learned Christ, if so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Iesus, When we learne the truth, as it is in Iesus, it bringeth us alwayes in to Him, and hath a tenden­cy to fixe our hearts on Him, and is a piece of the bond that bindeth us to him and his way: we receive it then as a piece of his doctrine, which we must owne, and stand unto; O if we learned all our divi­nity thus! we would be more constant and stedfast in it, then we are.

15. When controversies arise, and they know not which side to choise; both seemeth to them to be alike well founded on the word, they would exerce their spiritual sagacity, and set their gift of discerning a work, to see which of the two tendeth most to promove piety and godlinesse, and the kingdome of Christ: and so see which of the two is [Page 265] the truth, which is after godlinesse, as the Apostle speaketh Tit. 1: 1. they must look which of the two is the doctrine, which is according to God­liness 1 Tim. 6: vers. 3. That is thetruth which is Christ's, and which should be owned and imbraced, viz, which floweth from a Spirit of godlinesse, & tendeth to promove godlinesse, and [...]eth with the true principles of godlinesse, even gospel godli­nesse, wrought according to the tenor of the co­venant of grace; that is, by the strength of the Spirit of Jesus, dwelling and working in us; and not according to the tenor of the covenant of works, that is, wrought by our own strength &c.

16. Yet withal, they would take heed, that they mistake not here: for they may look upon some wayes and doctrines, as having a greater ten­dency to promove godlinesse, then others; which indeed have not, but only seem so. They would therefore consider well, what is the way of godli­nesse laid down in the noble device of the gospel, which is the way that only glorifyeth God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost; and see what suiteth most with that, according to the word; and not what seemeth most suitable to godlinesse in their appre­hension. The word is the best judge and teste of true godlinesse; and in the word, we have the only saifest meane of true godlinesse held forth▪ therefore we should see, what doctrine tendeth most to promove godlinesse, according to the way held forth in the word, and choose that.

17. They would guaird against pride and selfe­conceite, as thinking they are wise enough, and understanding enough, in those matters: and so [Page 266] need not take a lesson of any. This may be of great prejudice, for itis the meek, that God guideth in judgment. And to the meek will He teach his way Psal. 25: 9. Therefore it were good for his people in such a day, to be meek and humble, willing & ready to learne of any person, how meane so ever, that can teach the wayes of God. The Lord may bless a word spoken by a private person, when he will not bless the word spoken by a Minister: for his blessings are free. And itis not good to despise any meane: Apollos, though instructed in the way of the Lord, mighty in the Scriptures, fervent in Spirit, and teaching diligently the things of the Lord Act. 18: 24, 25. Yet was content to learne of Aquila & of his wife Priscilla, when they expounded unto Him the way of God more perfectly vers. 26.

18. In such a time, itis not unsaife to look to such, as have been eminent in the way of God, and lye neare to Him: for itis probable, they may know much of the minde of God, in those question­ed matters: Hence, we finde the Apostle putting Ti­mothy & others to this duty, in a time when false tea­chers were going abroad, saying 2 Tim. 3: 10. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life: & 1 Cor. 4: 16. wherefore I beseech you be ye followers of me: & 1 Cor. 11: 1. & Againe Phil. 3: 17. Brethren be followers together of me. All which say, that though we should call no man Rabbi, as hanging our faith absolutely on Him; yet in such a time of prevailing errour, and of false teachers going abroad, some respect should be had to such, as have found grac [...] of the Lord to be faithful in times of tryal, an [...] have maintained truth, and stood for it, in times [Page 267] persecution, and have with singleness of heart fol­lowed the Lord; It not being ordinare with God, to leave such, as in sincerity seek Him, and desire to follow his way, in truth and uprightness; and to give the revelation of his minde, and the mani­festation of his Spirit, to others, who have not gone thorow such trials.

19. They would also at such a time be much in the sincere practice of uncontroverted duties, and in putting uncontroverted and unquestionable and unquestioned truthes into practice: and this may prove a notable meane to keep them right: for then are they in God's way; and so the devil hath not that advantage of them, that he hath of others, who [...]re out of the way of dutie. David understood more than the Ancients, because he keeped God's precepts Psal. 119: 100.

20. It were good and suteable at such a time, to be much in the feare of God; remembering what an one He is, and how hazardous itis to sin against Him, by drinking-in the least point of errour. The promise is made to such. Psal. 25: 12. What man is he that feareth the Lord, him shall He teach in the way that he shall chuse.

21. Finally, at such a time, they would be much in communion with Jesus, lying neare Him; much in prayer to Him, studying his Relations, Offices, Furniture, Readiness to helpe with light and coun­sel; and they would draw neare to Him with hu­mility, boldness, faith, confidence, love, ten­derness and sincerity; and then they shall not finde that He shall fail them or disappoint them.

[Page 268]Enough of this. I proceed therefore to another case, which is.

CHAP. XVII. How to make use of Christ, as the Truth, that we may get our case and con­dition cleared up to us.

THe beleever is oft complaining of darkness, concearning his case and condition, so as he cannot tell what to say of himself, or what judg­ment to passe on himself, and he knoweth not how to win to a distinct and clear discovery of his state and condition. Now, it is Truth alone, and the Truth, that can satisfie them as to this. The ques­tion then is. How they shall make use of, and apply themselves to this Truth, to the end, they may get the truth of their condition discovered to them. But first let us see, what this case may be. Con­sider then

1. That grace may be in the soul, and yet not be seen nor observed: this is manifest by daylie ex­perience.

2. Not only so, but a gracious soul, that is reconciled with God in Christ, and hath the Spirit of grace dwelling in it, may suppose itself a stranger yet unto this reconciliation, and you of the grace of God, and so to be still in the state of nature.

3. Yea, a soul may not only suppose and conclude [Page 269] it self in nature, while it is in a state of grace, but [...]urder, may be filled with terrour and apprehen­sions of God's wrath and indignation; and that in such a measure, as that thereby it may be as a di­stracted person, as we see it was with Heman, Psal. 88: 15. who said, while I suffer thy terrours, I am distracted. The wrath of God lay hard upon Him, and he said, that he was afflicted with all God's waves vers. 7. hence he cryed out vers. 16, 17. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me, thy terrours have cutt me off, they came round about me dayly, (or all the day) like water, they compassed me about to­gether, And yet for all this, the first word of his complaint was faith vers. 1. Many such complaints hear we our of Iob's mouth, to whom God notwith­standing was that gracious, that he never, came to question his state before God, or to conclude his hypocrisic, or his being still in the state of nature. But it is not so with every one, that is so ex­ercised.

4. Yea further, with those inward strokes upon the soul, they may have sin and guilt charged home upon their consciences: and this will make their life yet more bitter, & put a sharper edge upon the rods. Thus was Iob made to possesse the sinnes of his youth, Iob, 13: 26. and made to say, My trans­gression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sowest up mine iniquity Iob. 14: 17.

5. Moreover, they may be in such a condition a long time, and all the while have no light of com­fort, as we see in Iob and Heman. They may even walk in darknesse, and have no light of comfor [...] Esai. 50: 10.

[Page 270]6. Yea and also be without the hope of a delivery or outgate, Hence cryeth Heman Psal. 88: 4, 5. I am counted with them that go downe into the pit, free among the deed, like the slaine that lye in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more, and they are cut off from thine hand. Yea they may be driven to the very border of despaire; and conclude that there is no hope; as the Church did, Ezek. 37: 11. Our bones are dryed, and our hope is lost, and we are cut off for our pairts: and as Iob Chap. 7: 6. My dayes are swifter then a weavers shuttle, and are spent without hope, and Chap. 19: 10. He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: mine hope hath he removed like a tree.

Now though sometimes, as we see in Iob, and in Heman too, a soul may be under such a sad and sharpe dispensation, and yet not brought to question their state, or to conclude themselves child­ren of wrath, lyeing still in blacke nature; yet it is not so with all, who are so exercised: but many, under such a dispensation, may, at least, be in the dark, as to their state before God: and if they do not positively assert their state to be bad; yet they do much question, if they be in the state of grace, and would be comforted under all their pressures and afflictions, if they could win to the least well grounded apprehension of their interest in Christ.

In such a case as this is, there is ground fot a poor soul to make use of Christ for outgate; and an out­gate may be had in God's time, and as He seeth sit, by a right use-making of and going▪ out to Him, who is the Truth. So then the soul, that would [Page 271] have its state and condition cleared up, and a dis­covery of its being reconciled to God through Jesus, and in a state of grace, and would make use of Christ as the Truth, for this end, would

1. Look out to Christ, as a feeling Highpriest, faithful and mercyful, who, being like us in all things except sin, doth sympathize with, and succure such as are tempted Heb. 2: 17: 18. And as a Priest, that is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, Heb. 4: 15. Albeit Christ, in the deepest of his darknesse, was never made to question his soneshipe, but avouched God to be his God, even when he was forsaken, Psal. 22: 1▪ Mat. 27: 46. Mark. 15: 34. Yet He knew what it was to be tempted ▪ to question his sonshipe, when the devil said unto Him Mat. 4. if thou be the Son of God, and He knowes, what such a distresse, as He himself was into, wreastling with an angry God, hideing him­self and forsaking, will worke in a poor sinner, and being a mercyful and sympathizeing Highpriest, he cannot but pity such as are under such a distemper; and as a gracious Head sympathize with them▪ Now the beleever would look out to Him, as such an one, and upon this ground go to Him with con­fidence and boldnesse, and lay out their case be­fore Him, that He may helpe and send reliefe.

2. They would also eye Christ, as able to save out of that condition, and to command light to shine out of darknesse: and so, as one able to save to the uttermost, all that come to God through Him Heb. 7▪ 25.

3. And not only so, but eye Him also, as given, sent and commissioned of the Father, to be a light to [Page 272] such, as sit in darknesse; even to the Gentiles, Esa. 42: 6. & 49: 6. Luk. 2: 32. Act. 13: 47. & 26: 23. Iohn. 8: 12. and this will encourage the poor Souls to go out to him, with their darknesse, when they see that He is sent, as a Light, and as the Truth, to clear up poor souls, that walk in darknesse and have no light: when they see, that it is his place and office to helpe them; and consider that He is true to his trust, and true and faithful, in all that was committed to Him, it not only will embolden them to come forward to Him, but it will streng­then their hope, and encourage them to waite on.

4. They would stay themselves on Him, as an alsufficient helper, renunceing all other; crying out, that they will have no light, but His light; and that they will seek no where else for light, but waite at His door, till He, who is the Sun of righte­ousnesse, arise in their soul, and come with hailing light in his wings.

5. They would by faith roll and cast their dar­kened souls, their confused case, their over whelm­ed hearts, on Him, and leave them there: for He is the only physitian: and the blinde soul must be put in his hand, who can take away the filme, and cause the scales fall off, and make light break in to the soul, and discover to it its condition.

6. It would be useful and very steadable, in such a time of darknesse, for the beleever, to be frequent in acting direct acts of faith on Christ; that is, be frequent in going to Him, as an alsufficient Me­diator, as the only refuge and shadow, for a po [...]r weary scoarched soul Esai. 4. last & 32: 2. And a man shall be as an hideing place from the winde, [Page 273] and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a drye place, as the shadow of a great rock in a [...]eary land: as one who is a strength to the needy in his distresse, a refuge from the storme, a shadow from the heat, &c. Esa. 25: 4. When the soul is thus overwhelmed with clouds, and doubteth of its in­terest in Christ, it would then put it out of doubt, by fleeing to Him for refuge from the storme of God's indignation, and lay hold on Him, as He is offer­ed in the gospel; and thus renew its grips of Him▪ as the offered alsufficient Mediator: and frequent direct acts of faith will helpe at length to a reflex act. The soul that is daylie running to Christ, ac­cording to the covenant, with all its necessities; and laying hold on Him, as only able to helpe, will at length come to see, that it hath beleeved on Him, and is made welcome by Him, and accept­ed through Him. So that rëterated acts of faith on an offered Cautioner, and Salvation, will dispel at length those clouds of darknesse, that trouble the soul.

7. Such souls would beware of making their bands stronger, and their darkness greater, by their [...]olly and unwise carriage: for this cause, they would beware,

1. To cry - out in despondency of Spirit, as if there were no hope, and to conclude peremptori­ly, that they are cut off; and it is in vaine to waite any longer: for this course will but darken them more, and multiply the clouds over their head.

2. To run away from Christ through unbeleef and dispaire; for that will make their case yet worse.

[Page 274]3. To walk untenderly and not circumspectly; for the moe sins appear, the lesse light will be had. O but souls would be tender in all their conversati­on at that time, and guaird against the least sin, or appearance of evill.

4. To fret and repine against God, because of that dispensation: for that will but entangle the soul more, and wreath the yock straiter about its neck; and put it self furder out of case to be relieved, and to receive light.

8. Lastly, such would do well not to limite the holy one of Israel, but to waite with patience, till his time come, to speak-in light to the soul; know­ing that such as waite upon Him shall never be ashamed, Esai. 49: 23. because He waiteth to be gracious; and therefore blessed are they all that waite upon him Esai. 30: 18.

Quest. But what if for all this, I get no outgate, but my distress and darkness rather grow upon my hand?

Ans. That such a thing may be, I grant, the Lord thinking it fit. (1.) To exercise their faith, dependence, patience, hope, and desire more. (2.) And to discover more unto them their own weakness, faintings, faithlesness. (3.) To shew his absolute power and soveraignity. (4.) To make his grace and mercy more conspicuous & remarke­able at length: and. (5.) To traine them up in a­way of dependence on him in the dark; and of lean­ing to him, when walking in darknesse; yea and in a way of beleeving, when they think they have no faith at all, and for other holy ends. Yet the soul would not despond; for there are several things, [Page 275] that may serve to support and beare up the heart, even in that case; as

1. This is not their case alone: Others have been in the like before; and many have had the like complaints in all ages, as is known to such as have been acquanted with exercised souls.

2. It may yeeld peace and comfort, to know that they are about duty, when looking to Him, and depending upon Him, and waiting for his light.

3. The promises made to such, as waite for Him, may support the soul, and yeeld comfort.

4. The distinct knowledge and uptaking of their condition, though it be comfortable and refresh­ing; yet itis not absolutely necessary. A soul may be a saved soul, though those clouds should con­tinue to its dying day; and though, as long as they lived, they should never get a clear discovery of their gracious state, but spend their dayes in mourning, complaineing, and crying out of dark­nesse, &c.

5. Such a soul should think that its much, that he is keeped out of hell so long: and sure, the thoughts of what he is, and of what he doserveth, may make him sober, and not to think much, though he reach not so high, as to see his name written in the book of life.

6. They would know, that full assurance of hope and of faith, is but rare; and even such as have it, do nor ordinarily keep it long: So that it should not much trouble them, if after all their paines they cannot win at it.

7. If they win to any real ground of hope, how [Page 276] small so ever, they should think much of that; for many dear to Christ live long, and never know what so much is.

8. It is no small matter, that they are not sinck­ing in the gulfe of inconsideration, and plagued with an indifferency in these matters; but are made to value Christ and an interest in Him, at such a rate.

9. Their going to Christ with all their wants, laying all on Him; and their making that their daylie exercise, may keep up their hearts from faint­ing, yea and fill their souls with joy: for that is really the exercise of faith. And the great and graci­ous promises are made to such as beleeve, and not to such only, as know they do beleeve. I grant such as know not that they do beleeve, cannot draw comfort from these promises; yet it is as true, that one may, by reflecting on the actings of his own soul, see and know that really he is going out to Christ, forsaking himself, casting his burden on Him, waiting and depending upon Him: when yet he will not say, that he doth beleeve: and when he seeth this working of soul toward Christ, he is obliged to beleeve, that he beleeveth, and thereupon rejoyce in the hope of the great promises. And however, the very sight and knowledge of this acting and mo­tion of soul, may give them some comfort, though they shall not take it for faith; because, it is the way of duty, and it is the thing, which the gospel cal­leth for; and because they cannot show an instance of any one soul, that did so, and perished. But the truth is, the right understanding of the nature [Page 277] of faith, would cleare many doubts, and prevent many questions.

I come to speak a little to the last case, which I shall handle, which is

CHAP. XVIII. How we shall make use of Christ, as the Truth, that we may win to right and suteable thoughts of God.

This is a case, that much troubleth the people of God. They cannot get right and sutable thoughts of God, which they earnestly desire to have; nor know not how to win at them. And certane it is, He only who is the Truth, and came out of the bosome of the Father, can helpe here. Therefore, for our use making of Him for this end; It would be remembered.

1. That the minde of man, through the fall, is nothing but a masse of ignorance and blindenesse; that the understanding is darkned Ephes. 4: 17, 18. And naturally we are in darknesse 1 Iohn. 2: 9, 11. Yea under the power of darknesse. Col. 1: 13. And, which is more, our mindes naturally are filled with prejudice against God and enmity, through wicked­nesse, naturally resideing there, and which the Prince of the powers of the aire, the Spirit that worketh in the children of disobediance, increaseth and stirreth up.

2. That this evil is not totally taken away, even in the godly, but helped only in pairt: for they see [Page 278] and know but in pairt. 1 Cor. 13: vers. 13.

3. That hence it cometh to passe, that through the working of corruption, the soul of a beleever can sometime win to no right thought of God at all, or at best to some very narrow, and unsutable con­ceptions of Him and his wayes: yea sometimes, all the thoughts that they can get of God, are vaine and idle, if not misshapen and blasphemous.

4. That as we are, we cannot see God: for no man hath seen Him Mat. 11: 27. Iohn. 4: 46. for He is an invisible God, 1 Tim. 1. 17. Heb. 11: 27. He dwelleth in light, which no man can approach unto. Him no man hath seen, nor can see 1 Tim. 6: 16. 1 Iohn. 4: 12.

5. That all that knowledge of God, which i [...] saveing, is to be found in Christ, who is the bright­nesse of his glory, & the expresse image of his person. Heb. 1: 2. and the image of the invisible God Col. [...]. 15. and is for this end come out from the bosome of the Father, that He might acquant us with Him, and with all his secrets Iohn. 1: 18. Mat. 11: 27. so far as is needful for us to know. He is God in­carnate, that in Him we may see the invisible. Thus God is manifest in the flesh 1 Tim. 3: 16. and the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us Iohn. 1: vers. 14.

6. That therefore, if we would see and know God we must go to Christ, who is the temple, in which God dwelleth and manifesteth his glory; and in and through Him, must we see and conceive of God. The light that we get of the knowledge of the glory of God, must be in the face of Jesus Christ 2 Cor. 4: 6, that is, in the manifestations, that Christ [Page 279] hath made of himself, in his Natures, Offices, Ordi­nances, Works, Dispensations of grace, mediate and immediate &c. And thus doth God, who commanded the light to shine out of darknesse, cause this light of the knowledge of his glory shine into our hearts, viz. in the face of Iesus Christ, that is, in the dispen­sations of grace in the gospel, which is the glorious gospel of Christ 2 Cor. 4: 4. and, as it were, the face of Iesus Christ: for, as by the face a man is best known, and distinguished from others; so Christ is visibly, discernably, and manifestly seen and known, in and by the gospel dispensations; there are all the lineaments and draughts of the glory of God, which we would know, lively and clearly to be seen.

So then, if we would make use of Christ for this end, that we may win to a right sight of God, and suteable conceptions of his glory, we would con­sider those things.

1. We would live under the sense and through conviction of the greatnesse and incomprehensible­nesse of God, as being every way past finding out: and also under the conviction of our own darknesse, and incapacitie to conceive aright of Him, even as to what He hath revealed of himself.

2. We would know, that what the works of Creation and Providence declare and preach forth of God, though it be sufficient to make Heathens and others, that do not improve the same to a right acknowledging of him, inexcuseable; as Paul teach­eth us, Rom. 1: 20. yet all that is short of giving to us that saving knowledge of Him, which must be had, and which is life eternal▪ Iohn. 17: 2.

[Page 280]3. We would know, that what of God is to be found-out by the works of creation and providence, is more distinctly seen in Christ, and in the gospel. Here is a greater and more glorious discovery of God, and of his glorious attributes, his Iustice, Power, Wisdome, Goodnesse, Holiness, Truth▪ &c. than can be found by the deepest diveing na­turalist, and most wise moral observer of providen­ce, that is not taught out of the Gospel.

4. Yea, there is something of God to be seen in Christ, in the gospel, which can be observed [...]o none of his works of creation, or common provi­dence: there is the grace of God that bringeth sal­vation, that is made to appear only by the gospel Tit 2: [...]1. and there is a peculiar kindenesse and love of God toward man, which is only discovered by Christ in the gospel, Tit. 3: 4. There is that manifold wisdome of God, that mysterie, which was hid from the beginning of the world in God; that Principalities and powers in heavenly places, the greatest and wisest of naturalists, must learne by the church, wherein that is preached and proclaim­ed, by the dispensations of the gospel Ephes. 3: 9, 10. His mercy pardoning poor sinners, justice being satisfyed, can not be cleared by nature. Nature cannot unfold that mystery of justice and mercy, concurring to the salvation of a sinner, only the gos­pel can cleare that riddle.

5. We would remember, that all the beames of that glory, which are necessary and useful, for us to know, are, to speak so, contracted in Christ and there vailed, to the end that we may more stea­dyly look upon them. We may go to our Brother, [Page 281] who is flesh of our flesh, and there, through the vaile of his flesh, see and behold what otherwayes was invisible: as we can look to the sun better shine­ing in a pale of water, than by looking up im­mediatly; so can we behold God and his glory better in Christ, where there is a thinne vail (to speak so) drawne over that otherwise blindeing yea kill­ing, glory, than by looking to God without Christ: for alas we could not endure one glance of an immediat ray of divine glory, it would kill us out right.

6. We must then go to Christ, and there see God: for He who seeth Him, seeth the Father also. Iohn 14: 9. Particularly, we must go to the face of Iesus Christ, that is, that, whereby He hath made him­self known, the noble contriveance of the glorious gospel; wherein all things are so carryed on, as that God is glorified in his Son, in the salvation of poor sinners. The whole work of salvation is laid on Christ, and the Father is glorified in Him, who is his servant and his chosen, whom He up­holdeth and furnisheth for the work Esai. 42: 1, 2. He is called the Covenant it self: He is the underta­ker in the covenant of Redemption, and in the cove­nant of Grace: all is founded on Him: all the good things of it are given out by Him: all the grace, by which we close with it, and accept of Him, ac­cording to it, is given by Him. Now, in this gospel contrivance are all the lines of the glorious face of Christ to be seen: and in that face must we see and discerne the glory of God; all the rayes of which are centred in Christ, and there will we get a noble prospect of that glorious object. So that [Page 282] all such, as would make use of Christ for this end, that they might come to have right and suteable thoughts and apprehensions of God, must be well acquanted with the whole draught and frame of the gospel; and so acquanted therewith, as to see Christ the substance, ground, and all of it, and to see Him in every part of it.

7. Whatever we know or learne of God, by his works of Creation or Providence, in the world or about ourselves, we would bring it in here, that it may receive a new tiucture, and a deeper impressi­on. That is done, when we finde and learne some­thing of Christ there; and are brought nearer Christ thereby; and made thereby to discover something more of the glory of God in the face of Christ; or are made to understand better something of the re­velation, that is made of God in the gospel; or moved thereby to improve it better.

8. In all this matter, we must not go without our guide, lest we wander in this wildernesse, and it prove a labyrinth to us. We must take Christ with us all alongs: He must teach us to un­derstand his own face: and to read the glorious cha­racters of that excellent glory, which is to be seen in his face: He must be our interpreter, and teach us, how to read this book, and how to un­derstand what is written therein; He must give the discerning eye, and the understanding heart: even the Spirit of wisdome and understanding, to take up the mysteries of God.

9. And for this cause, we would by faith lay hold upon the promises of the Spirit, whereby we may be made spiritual, and have our understand­ings [Page 283] enlightened more and more, to understand the mysterious characters of divine Majesty and Glory.

10. In all this exercise, we would walk with fear, & carry with us impressions of the dreadful Majesty and Glory of God, that we may tremble and feare, and stand in awe, and read what we read of this glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, this glori­ous bible, with reverence, and godly fear.

And thus may we be helped to win to right and suteable thoughts of God; yet with all we would, for

Cautions,

Consider a few things further, as

1. That we must not think, to search out the Almighty unto perfection, Iob. 11: 7.

2. Nor must we think, to get any one point of God known & understood perfectly: corruption will mix-in itself, do our best; and our short comeings will not easily be reckoned up.

3. We must beware of carnal [...] curiosity, and of unlawful diveing-in in this depth, least we drowne.

4. We would not dreame of a state here, where­in we will not need Christ for this end. Yea, I sup­pose, in glory, He will be of use to us, as to the seeing of God: for even there, as he is to day, so [...]hall he for ever abide, God and man in two distinct natures and one person: and that cannot be for [...]ought: and as God will be still God, invisible & [...]nsearchable; so we, though glorified, will remaine [...]ite creatures; and therefore will stand in need of [Page 284] Christ, that in his glorious face we may see the invi­sible. He must be our lumen gloriae.

5. We should think it no small matter, to have the impression of this sight upon our hearts, that we cannot see Him▪ and that we, in this state of sin, cannot get right and sutable apprehensions of Him. I say, the impression of this on our spirits, that is, such a sight of an impossibility to get Him seen aright, as will keep the heart in awe, & cause us walk before Him in feare and reverence, and to humble ourselves in the dust, & to tremble when ever we make mention of his name, or beginne to medi­tate on Him, knowing how great an one He is, and how dangerous it is to think amisse of Him, & how difficult to get a right thought of him.

CHAP. XIX. And the Life. How Christ is the Life.

THis, as the former, being spoken indefinitly, may be universally taken, as relating both to such as are yet in the State of nature, and to such as are in the state of grace; and so may be considered in reference to both, & ground three points of truth, both in reference to the one, and in reference to the other. To wit, 1. That our case is such as we stand in need of his helpe, as being the Life. 2. That no other way but by Him can we get that supply of life▪ which we stand in need of; for He only is the Life, excluding all other. 3. That this help▪ is to be had in Him fully [Page 285] and compleetly: for not only is He able to quicken, but He is called the Life. So that the help, which he giveth, is full, excellent, and compleet.

Looking upon the words, in reference to such as are in Nature, they point out those three truthes to us.

First. That all of us by nature are dead, stand­ing in need of quickening and of life: for this is presupposed, while He is said to be the Life: and that both legally and reall [...]: legally being under the sen­tence of death, for Adams transgression Rom. 5: 15. and for that original corruption of heart we have: and Really, the sentence of the law being in part executed▪ & that both as to the body, & as to the soul. As to the body. It is now subject to death, and all the sorerunners thereof, such as weaknesse, paines, sicknesse, feares, torment, trouble, wearynesse: yea and in hazard of hell fire, and the torments of the second death for ever. As to the soul, it also is many wayes dead, both first in away that is purely penal, and next in a way that is also sinful; and both wayes, as to what is present, and as to what is future: for as to that which is penal and present. It is (1) separated from God and his favour Gen. 3: 8, 10, 24. (2) is under his curse and wrath, whence it cometh to passe, that by nature we are children of wrath Ephes. 2: 2▪ 5. Servants of Satan 2 Tim. 2: 26. The consequence of which is sad and heavy; for hence it is that we cannot please God, do what we will: till we be brought out of that state, our ordinary & civil actions, even plowing the ground, is sin. Prov. 21: 4. Yea out Religious actions, whe­ther natural or instituted, are abomination; even our [Page 286] sacrifices Prov. 15: 8. & 31: 27. & prayers Prov. 2 [...]: 9. Ps. 10: 7. Yea and all our thoughts & purpose [...] Prov. 15: 26▪ and likewise all our wayes Prov. 15: 9. As to what is penal and future, it is obnoxious to that everlasting excommunication from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power 2 Thes. 1: 8, 9. and to the torments of hell for ever Mark. 9: 44, 46, 48 Luk. 16▪ As to what is not only penal, but also sinful, the soul here is under the stroke of darknesse in the understanding, perversenesse and rebellious­nesse in the will, irregularity & disorder in the affe­ctions, whereby the soul is unfit for any thing that is good, & prone to every thing that is evil. Rom. 3: 10▪ 20. Ephes. 2: 1, 2, 3. Rom. 5: 6. & 8: 7, 8, whence proceedeth all our actual transgressions. Iam▪ 1: 14, 15. And moreover sometimes the soul is given up to a reprobat minde Rom. 1: 28. to strong delu­sions 2 Thes. 2: 2. to hardnesse of heart Rom. 2: 5. horror of conscience Esa. 33: 14. to vile affections Rom. 1: 26 and the like spiritual plagues; which, though the Lord inflict on some only, yet all are ob­noxious to the same by nature, & can exspect no lesse, if the Lord should enter with them into judgment. And finally, as to what is future of this kinde, they are, being fuel for Tophet, obnoxious to that malig­nant, sinful, blasphemous and desperat rebellion a­gainst God, in hell for ever more.

O how lamentable, upon this consideration, must the condition of such be, as are yet in the state of nature. Oh if it were but seen and felt! But alas there is this addition to all, that people know no [...] this, they consider it not, they beleeve it not, they feel it not, they see it not: and hence it cometh to passe, that

[Page 287]1. They cannot bewail and lament their condi­tion, nor be humbled therefore.

2. They cannot, nor will not, seek after a re­medie: for the whole will not trouble themselves to seek after a physician.

And sure upon this account, their case calleth for pity and compassion from all, that know, what a dreadful thing it is to be in such a condition: and should stirre up all to pray for them, and to do all they can to helpe them out of that state of sin and misery, which is dreadful to think upon.

Should not the thoughts and consideration of this put us all to try and search, if we be yet translated from death to life, and delivered out of that terri­ble and dreadful state, and made partakers of the first resurrection. It not being my purpose, to handle this point at large, I shall not here insist in giving marks, whereby this may be known, and which are obvious in Paul's Epistles, & to be found handl­ed at large in several practical pieces, chiefly in Mr. Guthries Great interest. I shall only desire every one to consider and examine,

1. Whether or not, the voice of Christ, which quickeneth the dead▪ hath been heard and wel­comed in their soul? This is effectual calling.

2. Whether or not, there be a through change wrought in their soul, a change in the whole Man, so as all things are become new 2 Cor. 5: vers. 17?

3. Whether or not, there be a Principle of life within▪? And they be led by the Spirit?

4. Whether or not, there be a living to the glory of the Lord Redeemer?

[Page 288]And when by impartial tryal, a discovery is made of the badness of our condition, should we not be alarmed to look about us, and to laboure by all meanes for an outgate, considering, (1.) How do [...]l­ful and lamentable this condition is. (2.) How sad and dreadful the consequents of it are. (3.) How happy a thing itis to be delivered from this misera­ble and sinful condition: and. (4.) How there is a possibility of outgate.

Finally, It may break a heart of stone to think, how people, that are in such a condition, are so un­willing to come out of it: for,

1. How unwilling are they, once to suspect their condition, or to suppose that it may be bad, and that they may be yet unconverted?

2. How unwilling are they, to sit down seri­ously to try and [...] the matter, and to lay their case to the touch-stone of the word?

3. Yea, how unwilling are they, to heare any thing that may tend to awaken them, or to discover unto them the badness of their condition?

4. How ready to stiffle challenges of conscien­ce, or any common motion of the Spirit, which tendeth to alarme their soul?

5. How great enemies are they to such ordi­nances, as serve to awaken sleeping consciences?

6. And how do they hate such ministers, as preach such doctrine, as may serve to rouz th [...]m up, and set them a work about their own sal­vation?

Secondly, We learne hence. That without Christ there is no imaginable way of delivery out of this natural state of death. No other name is given under [Page 289] heaven whereby we can be saved. Act. 4: 12. and angels can make no help here, nor can one of us deliver another; the redemption of the soul is more precious then so Psal. 49: 7, 8. Not is there any thing we can do for ourselves, that will availe here; all our prayers, teares, whipeings, fastings, vo­ [...]es, almes deeds, purposes, promises, resolutions, abstenance from some evils, outward amendements, good morality and civility, outward religiousnesse, yea and, if it were possible, our keeping of the whole law, will not helpe us out of this pit. And we may weary ourselves in such exercises in vaine; for they will prove but bodylie exercises that profite little. And when in this way, we have spent all our time, parts, spirits and labour, we shall at length see, and say, that we have spent our money for that which is not bread.

This should put all of us to try, what itis, which we leane to for life; and what it is, the con­sideration whereof giveth us peace and quietnesse, when the thoughts of death, judgment, hell and the wrath of God come upon us, and trouble us: for if it be any thing beside Christ that our soul leaneth to, and that we are comforted by, and found all our hopes upon, we will meet with a lamentable (oh! for ever lamentable!) disappointment. Be sure then, that our hearts renunce all other wayes and meanes of outgate, out of this death, beside Je­sus, the Resurrection and the Life, else it will not be well with us.

Thirdly, We see here. That delivery out of this natural state of death, is only had by Christ: for He alone is the Life, and the life that is in Him is [Page 290] suiteable and excellent. Hence he is called the bread of life Iohn. 6: 35, 48. The resurrection and the life Iohn. 11: 25. The water of life Revel. 21: 6. & 22: 17. The tree of life Revel. 22: 2, 14. The Prince of life Act. 3: 15. our life Col. 3: 4. The word of life, and life it self 1 Iohn. 1: 1, 2.

And as He is a suitable and excellent life; so is He an alsufficient and perfect life, able every way to helpe us, and to deliver us from all the parts of our death. For

1. He delivereth from the sentence of the law Rom. 5: 17, 18. undergoing the curse of the law, and becomeing a curse for us 2 Cor. 5. last.

2. He taketh away the curse and sting of all tem­poral plagues, yea and of death it self, causeing all work together for good to such as love Him Rom. 8: 28. He hath killed Him, that had the power of death, that is, the devil Heb. 2: 14. And through Him, the sting of death, which is sin, is taken away 1 Cor. 15: 56, 57.

3. He reconcileth to God, taking away that distance and enmity 2 Cor. 5: 20. and so He is our peace and peace-maker, purchaseing accesse to us to the Father Ephes. 2: 14, 16. & 3: 12.

4. He also delivereth from the power of sin and corruption Rom. 7: 24.

5. And from all those spiritual stroakes; such as blindnesse, hardness of heart, &c: for He is our light, and hath procured a new heart for us, even [...]n heart of flesh.

6. So delivereth He from hell fire, having sa­tisfied justice, and having brought life and im­morta­lity [Page 291] to light. And He giveth life eternal, as [...]e see Rev. 2. & 3.

Oh! it is sad, that Christ is so little made use [...], and that so many will forsake the fountaine of [...]wing waters, and dig to themselves brocken ciste­ [...]s, that can hold no water; and slight, despise [...]d undervalue the gospel of Christ, which bring­eth life and immortality to light.

Oh! if the consideration of this, could move [...]ch, as never found any change in themselves, to [...]to and make use of Jesus Christ, for life: and would for this end,

1. Cry to Him, that He would make them [...]ensible of their deadnesse, and waken them out of their deep sleep.

2. Cry to Him, to set them a work to renunce [...]ll other helpe beside his, as being utterly unable [...]o quicken, and put life in them.

3. Cry to Him, that He would draw and deter­mine their souls, to a closeing with Him by faith [...]lone, to a hearing of his voice, to an obeying [...]f his call, to a following of his direction, to a giving up of themselves to Him, leaning to Him, [...]d waiting for all from Him alone: in a word, to [...]ake Him for their life in all points, and to leane [...]o Him for life, and to expect it from Him, through [...]th in the promises of the gospel.

Next. This being spoken to the disciples, whom [...]e suppose to have been beleevers, it will give us [...]round to speak of it, in reference to beleevers, and [...] yeeld three points of truth, which we shall briefly [...]ch, and then come to speak of use-making of [...]hrist, as the Life, in some particular cases.

[Page 292] First. It is here clearly presupposed, that even beleevers have need of Christ to be life unto them; & so have their fits of deadnesse. If it were not so, why would Christ have said to beleevers, that He was life? And daylie experience doth abundant­ly confirme it. For

1. They are oft so weak and unable to resist temp­tation, or to go about any commanded duty, as if they were quite dead.

2. They are oft so borne down with discourage­ment, because of the strength of opposition, which they meet with on all hands; and because of the manifold disappointments, which they meet with▪ that they have neither heart nor hand; and they faint and sit up, in the wayes of the Lord; and cannot go thorow difficulties, but oftim [...] lye by.

3. Through daylie fighting, and seeing no victory, they become weary and faint hearted; so that they lie by as dead; Esai. 40: 29.

4. They oft fall sick and decay, and have need of restauration and quickning.

5. The want of the sense of God's favour, and [...] the comforts of the holy ghost, maketh them [...] dwine, and droup, and look out as dead.

6. While under soul desertions, upon one ac­count or other, they look upon themselves as f [...] among the dead, that is▪ as dead men▪ of the so­ciety of the dead, with Heman Psal. 88.

7. Yea many times, they are as dead men [...]d captive in chaines of unbeleef, and corrup­ [...]ons, as we see David was, when his hea [...] panted, and his strength failed him, and [...] [Page 293] light of his eyes was gone from him Psal. 38: 10.

8. Many times the frequent changes, and ups and downs they meet with, take all courage and heart from them▪ that they become like men tossed at sea, so as they have no more strength.

And many such things befall them, which make them look as dead, and to stand in need of quicken­ing, reviveing and strengthening cordialls from Him, who is the Life. And thus the Lord think­eth good to dispense with his owne people.

1. That they may be keeped humble, and know themselves to be indigent creatures, needing influ­ences of life daylie.

2. That they may have many errands to Him, who is the Life, and have much to do with Him, and depend upon Him continually.

3. That He may shew himself wonderful, in and about them, giving proof of His skill in quicken­ing the dead, and in bringing such thorow unto everlasting life, who were daylie, as it were, giv­ing up the ghost, and at the point of death.

4. That heaven may be heaven; that is, a place where the weary are at rest Iob. 3: 17. and the troubled rest 2 Thes. 1: 7. And where the inhabitants shall not say they are sick Esai. 33: vers. 24.

5. That they may be taught more the life of faith and of dependence on Him, and trained up in that way.

6. That He may be owned, acknowledged and submitted unto, as a Soveraigne God, doing what He will▪ in heaven and in earth.

For all this, there is no cause, that any should [Page 294] take up any prejudice at christianity: for, for all this, their life is sure, and the outgate is sure and saife. Nor would they think it strange, to see beleevers oft mourning and drouping, seing their case will oft call for new supplies of life. Their fits are not known to every one; nor doth every one know what lyeth sometime at their heart.

Nor would they think it such an easie matter, to win to heaven, as they imagine, and so deceive themselves. The righteous are saved through many deaths.

And as for beleevers, They would not think it strange, to meet with such fits of deadnesse; nor thence conclude, that all their former work was but delusion, and that they are still into the state of nature. But rather observe the wisdome, faithful­nesse and power of God, in bringing their brocken shipe thorow so much brocken water; yea and ship wracks; and his goodnesse in ordering matters so, as they shall be keeped humble, watchful, di­ligent, and constant in dependence upon Him, who is and must be their life, first and last. And hence learne a necessitie of living alwayes neare to Christ, and depending constantly upon Him by faith; for, he being their life, they cannot be without Him, but they must die and decay.

Secondly, We hence learne. That under all these fits of deadnesse, to which his people are sub­ject, nothing without Christ will helpe. Not

1. All their paines in and about ordinary mean­es, prayer, reading, hearing, meditation, con­ference &c. They will all cry out, that help is not in them: for He is the Life.

[Page 295]2. Nor extraordinary duties. Such as fasting and prayer, and vowes, these will never revive & quicken a drouping or fainting sickly soul: for they are not Christ; nor the Life.

3. Nor will a stout couragious Spirit, and reso­lution of heart avail. If He, who is the Life▪ breath [...] not, all that will melt away, and evanish.

4. Nor will the stock of habitual grace, which remaineth in the soul, be sufficient to quicken and revive the sick soul: if the Life breath not on these habites, and if new influences of life and strength flow not in upon the soul, and new rayes come not down from this sun of righteousnesse, to warme the frozen soul, the habites will lye by as dead.

5. Far lesse will their great gifts and enduements helpe them out of that dead condition: all their light and knowledge, without the influences of this Life, will prove weak and insufficient for this end and purpose.

6. Nor will sound, pure, and lively like or­dinances work out this effect: for till He look down, all those ordinances may prove dead and deadning to them.

It were good if beleevers were living under the conviction of this daylie, and, by their practice and carriage, declareing that they believe, that Christ only is the Life, and that they must live in Him, and be quickened and revived through Him alone.

Thirdly, We see hence▪ That Christ is the Life▪ that is, one that sufficiently, yea and abundantly, can helpe the beleever, while under those fits of deadnesse, which have been mentioned, and the like. There is in him a rich supply of all things, that tend [Page 296] to revive, encourage, strengthen, and enliven: soul, under spiritual deadnesse and fainting. There­fore is He called the Life; as having in Him all that, which is necessary for, and answereable to souls under spiritual sicknesses, distempers, desertions, fainting & swooning fi [...]es, &c. for with Him is the fountaine of life Psal. 36: 9. and He itis that up­holdeth the soul in life Psal. 66: 9. and can com­mand the blessing, even life for evermore Psal. 13 3: vers. 3.

For further clearing of this, we would consider those things.

1. That He is God, equal with the Father in power and glory, and thereby hath life in himself Iohn. 5: 26. and can quicken whom He will. vers. 21. By this He proveth there his own godhead & equality with the Father. So Iohn. 1: 4. Itis said that in Him was life; and that life was the light of men, whereby also his Godhead is confirmed. This should be firmly beleeved, and rooted in our hearts, as being the ground of all our hope, comfort and life: for were it not so, that our Mediator were the true God, all our hopes were gone, our com­forts could not be long lived, and our life were extinct.

2. As mediator God-man, He is fully and througly fournished to quicken and enliven his members and followers, first and last: and all alongs their life must be hid with Christ in God, for in Him dwelleth the fulnesse of the godhead bodyly Col. 2: 9. as mediator he is called a tree of life Prov. 3: 18. quickening and enlivening all that feed upon Him; and the bread of life. Iohn. 6: 35, 48. Yea [Page 267] because of power and authoritie to commmand life to the dead soul▪ He is called the Prince of life Act. 3: 15. and as a living quickening stone, he giveth life to all that are built upon Him 1 Pet. 2: 4. Yea as being fully fitted and fournished for this work, He calleth himself the resurrection and the life Iohn. 11: 25. This should be riveted in our hearts, as a comfortable and encouraging truth.

3. Of this stock of life, and quickening and revi­veing grace, which He hath gote, and is furnished withal, as Mediator and Redeemer of his people, He is communicative: of his fulnesse do we re­ceive, and grace for grace Iohn. 1: 16. He gote it, that He might give it out; and that from Him as an head it might flow out unto his members, and therefore He is the bread that came downe from hea­ven, and giveth life to the world Iohn. 6: 35. Yea He giveth eternal life to all his sheep Ioh. 10: 28. and He is come for this end, that his sheep might have life Iohn. 10: 10▪ Therefore hath he taken on such relations, as may give ground of confirmation of this, as of an head, of a stock or root, and the like. This consideration is strengthening and reviveing.

4. He communicateth of this stock of life, and of reviveing strength, which He hath, most sweet­ly, and on most easie tearmes. So that

(1.) Such as seek him shall finde life by Him Psal. 69: 32.

(2.) Yea such as know Him, shall not misse life. Iohn. 17: 3. 1 Iohn. 5: 20.

(3.) If we will beleeve on Him and rest upon him, we have life, first and last Iohn. 3: 15, 16▪ 36. & 6: 40, 47. 1 Tim. 1: 16.

[Page 298](4.) If we will come to Him Iohn. 5: vers. 40. and cast our dead soul upon him▪ we shall live.

(5.) If we will heare his voce Esai. 55: 3. and receive his instructions we shall live; for they are the instructions of life.

(6.) Nay, if the soul be so dead, that it can neither walk, nor hear, if it can but look to Him, he will give life Esai. 45; 22.

7. And if the soul be so weak, that it cannot look, nor lift up its eyes; yet if it be willing, He will come with life Revel. 22: 17.

Oh! if this were beleeved.

5. As he is communicative of that life, which he hath goten as Head, and that upon easie tearmes; so He giveth out of that life liberally, largely, a­bundantly; yea more abundantly Iohn. 10: 10. The water of life, which He giveth, is a well of water springing up to everlasting life Iohn. 4: 14. Therefore he alloweth his friends to drink abun­dantly Cant. 5: 1.

6. Yet it would be remembered, that, He is Lord and master thereof, and Prince of this life, and so may dispense it and give it out, in what mea­sure He seeth fit, and He is wise to measure out best for his own glory, and to their advantage.

7. All this life is sure in Him, none of his shall be disappointed thereof. His offices, which He hath taken on; and his commission, which he hath of the Father, abundantly cleare this; and love to his will not suffer him to keep up any thing, that i [...] for their advantage. He is faithful in his house as a Son: and will do all that was committed unto Him to do. The whole transaction of the covenant of [Page 299] Redemption and Surety-sh [...]pe, and all the promi­se [...] o [...] the new Covenant of grace confirme this, to be a sure truth: so that they that have Him have life. 1 Iohn. 5: 12. Prov. 8: 35.

8. Yea all that is in Christ contributeth to this life and quickening; His Words and Doctrine, are the words of eternal life Iohn. 6: 63, 68. Phil. 2: 16. His Works and Wayes are the wayes of life Act 2: 28▪ His Natures, Offices, Sufferings, Actings, and all He did as Mediator, concurre to the quickening and enlivening of a poor dead soul.

9. This fulness of life, which He hath, is fully suited to the beleevers condition, in all points, as we shall hear.

10. This life is eminently and transcendently in Him, and exclusively of all others. Itis in Him, and in Him alone; and itis in Him, in a most ex­cellent manner. So that He is the Life, in the abstract; not only a living head, and an enli­vening head; but Life it self, the Life, the Resurre­ction and the Life.

CHAP. XX. Some general uses.

BEfore we come to speak of some particular cases of deadnesse, wherein beleevers are to make use of Christ, as the Life; we shall first propose some useful consequences and deductions from what hath been spoken of this life, and.

[Page 300] First. The faith of those things, which have been mentioned, would be of great use and advantage to beleevers: and therefore they should study to have the faith of this truth fixed on their hearts, and a deep impression thereof on their spirits, to the end, that

1. Be their case and condition what it will, they might be keeped from dispaire, and despondency of spi [...]it, from giving over their case as hopless; and from looking upon themselves as irremediably gone. The faith of Christs being Life, and the Life, would keep up the soul in hope, and cause it say; how dead so ever my case be, yet Life can help me, and He, who is the resurrection and the Life, can recover me.

2. Yea, be their case and condition what it wil, they would have here some ground of encourage­ment, to goe to Him with their dead soul, and to look to Him for helpe, seing He is the Life, as me­diator, to the end He might enliven and quicken his dead, fainting, swooning members, and to reco­ver them from their deadness.

3. They might be freed from many scruples and objections, that scar and discourage them. This one truth beleeved would cleare up the way so, as that such things, as would have been impediments and objections before, shall evanish and be rolled out of the way now: such as are the objections taken from their own worthlesness, their long continuance in that dead condition, and the like.

4. They might hereby likewise be freed from that dreadful plag [...]e and evil of jealousie, whereby the soul is oft keeped aback from comeing to Christ: [Page 301] for they feare, He will not make them welcome; they doubt of his love and tendernesse, and questione his pity and compassion; yea their jealousie maketh them to doubt of his faithfulnesse. So that the faith of this truth would cure this jealousie, and deliver the soul therefrom, and open a way for the soul to come forward with boldnesse and confidence.

5. They might also be hereby helped to waite with patience, and to be still and quiet under the Lord's various dispensations: so as they would not frete nor repine against him, knowing that He would prove himself to be Life, even the Life, in his own good time: so that the soul would paitiently waite at his door, till He were pleased to look out, and with his look convey life in to their dead soul.

6. They might be preserved hereby from look­ing out to, or expecting any help from, any other arth: knowing that He alone is the Life, and so, that help can no where else be had. The faith of this truth would guaird from many sinistrous wa­yes, which the soul, in a time of straite, is ready to run to, for reliefe: for hereby would it see, that neither instruments, nor meanes, nor outward ad­ministrations, nor any thing of that kinde, can quicken their dead soul; and that He, and He a­lone, must breathe - in life into them, as at first, so now againe.

Secondly, May we not see and observe here great matter of admiration, at the goodnesse and rich bounty of God towards his people, who hath found out and condescended upon such a sure, saife and satisfying way, whereby he becometh all things to [Page 302] his [...]ple, which they stand in need of; and that notwithstanding

1. That we are most unworthy of any such dispensation of grace at his hands.

2. That we too oft are too desirous of other guests in our hearts, beside Him. O How much corruption, sin and death lodge we within our souls! and how more desirous are we oftimes of death, than of life!

3, That we little improve the noble advantages for life, which we have granted unto us: yea many a time we abuse them; and this He did foresee, and yet notwithstanding would condescend thus unto us.

4. That we do little expresse our thankfulnesse for such mercies.

But not for our sakes hath He done this, but for his owne names sake: for noble and holy ends hath He resolved upon this course; as

1. That He might be all and in all Col. 3: 11. and they nothing. That He alone might fill all in all Ephes. 1. ult, and they be empty & nothing with­out Him.

2. That He might weare the glory of all; for of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things Rom. 11. last, and that no man might share therein.

3. That Man might be His everlasting debtor, and cast downe, in testimony thereof, his crowne at His feet, who sitteth on the throne, as those did Revel. 4: 10. and might c [...]y out with these same elders vers. 11. Thou art worthy O Lord, to receive glory & honour and power &c. and with those Chap. 5: 12. [Page 303] worthy is the lamb that was staine, to receive power, and riches, and wisdome, and strength, & honour, and glory, and blessing.

4. That mans mouth might be stopped forever, and all boasting excluded: for man is a proud crea­ture, and ready to boast of that, which is nothing and vanity. Now God hath chosen this noble way of the covenant of grace, that man might boast no more. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? by the law of works? no, but by the law of faith, sayeth the Apostle, Rom. 3: vers. 24.

5. That all might be sure to the poor chosen be­leever. The Lord will not have the stock of life, any longer to be in mans own hand: for even A­dam, in the state of innocency, could not use it well, but made shipewrack thereof, and turned a banke­rupt: much more would man now do so, in this state of sin, in which he lyeth at present; therefore Hath God, out of love and tendernesse to his cho­sen ones, put all their stock in the hand of Christ, who is better able to manage it, to God's glory and mans advantage, being faithful in all things, and a trusty servant, having the fulnesse of the Godhead dwelling in Him bodyly. Therefore (sayeth the Apostle Rom. 4: 16.) It is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end, the promises might be sure to all the seed.

6. That beleevers might have strong consola­tion, notwithstanding of all the opposition of ene­mies without and within, when they see that now their life is hid with Christ in God Col. 3: 3. and that their life is in their Head: they will not feare so [Page 304] much devils and men without, nor their own dead and corrupt hearts within.

Thirdly, How inexcuseable must all such be, (1.) Who will not lay hold on this life, on Jesus who is the Life, sure life, yea everlasting life?

(2.) Who seek life any other way, than by and through Him, who is the Life?

(3.) Who oppose this way of life, and not only reject the offers of it, but prove enemies to it, and to all that carry it, or preach it?

Fourthly, Here is strong encouragement to all, that would be at heaven, to enter into this gospel way, which is away os life. Such need not fear that their Salvation shall not be throughed, let Sa­tan and all their adversaryes do what they can, all that enter into this way shall live: for the way it self is life, and nothing but life. So that here all obje­ctions are obviated: life can answere all. If the be­liever fear, that he shall never win thorow difficul­tyes, he shall die by the way, or by fainting, suc­cumbeing and swooning, dishonour the profes­sion, and at length f [...]ll - off and apostatize, or dis­paire and give over all hope; Here is that, which may answere and obviat all: life can quicken, and who can perish in the way, which is the way of life, an enlivening way, yea the way, which is life it self; yea the Life, in a singular and eminent manner?

Fiftly, Here is ground of reproof even of be­leevers. who, though they have come to Christ, yet do not live in Him, as they ought; do not walk in Him, with that livelinesse, activity, which is called for: but

[Page 305]1. Leane too much to their owne understanding▪ gifts, or graces; and think thereby to ride - out stor­mes, and to wade thorow all difficulties, whileas, if He who is the Life, do not breath upon us, all that will faile us, in the day of tryal: our under­standing and pairts or gifts may drie up, and our graces may whither and decay, and goe back­ward.

2. Rest too much an duties; when they should in them goe to Him, who is the Life; for only in Him is life to be had; and Him should they seek to in the ordinances▪ that they might have life from Him, in those outward duties: and this appeareth in their way of going about duties, without that dependence on Him, & single eyeing of Him, which is called for; as also by their freting and repineing, when duties do not their business, as if life lay all in du­ties: and concludeing all will be right, because they get duties somewhat tolerably performed; and on the contrary desponding, when duties fall heavie on them, and they finde themselves indis­posed for duty: all which clearly evinceth, that they lay too too much weight on duties; whileas it would be otherwayes with them▪ if they were purely depending on Christ, and looking for all from Him.

3. Desponde too soon, because they get not help [...] and reliefe instantly; or because they are not pre­served from every degree of fainting.

4. Neglect to make use of Him, and to come to Him, with all their wants, failings and necessities, as they ought: or come not with that freedome and boldnesse, which the gospel grounds allow.

[Page 306] Sixtly. This preacheth out the woful misery of such, as are strangers to Christ: for being stran­gers to the Life, they have no life, they are dead, and death is ingraven on all they do; even though

1. They should be very diligent in external du­ties, yea and outstripe many true beleevers; as the pharisees had their fasts twice a week. Luk. 18.

2. They should be eminently gifted, able to iustruct others, and to speak of the mysteries of the gospel, to good purpose and to edification: for such gifts of knowledge and utterance may be, where the lively operations of the grace of Christ are not; and consequently, where Christ is not, [...] the Life.

3. They should seem eminent in all their out­ward carriage, and seem to carry most christinaly in all their walk, and appeare most devout in the matter of worshipe.

4. And they should have something more than ordinary; even taste of the heavenly gift, & be made partakers of extraordinary gifts of the holy ghost, yea and taste the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come. Heb. 6: 4, 5.

Seventhly. This discovereth the noble advantage of such, as have accepted of Christ for their life. Their condition is happy, sure, desirable & thrive­ing; for Christ is theirs, and life is theirs; because Christ, who is the Life, is theirs

Objection. 1. But some wicked person may say, we see not that happy and advantagious condition of such, as go for beleevers; for we observe them to be as little lively oftimes, as others, and as unfit [Page 307] for duties; yea and sometimes, as much subject to sin and corruption, as others.

Answere. 1. However it be with them, either in thine eyes, or possibly in their own, sometimes; yet thou may hold thy peace: for in their worste condition, they would not exchange with thee, for a world. In their deadest-like condition, they are not voide of all life, as thou art, notwithstanding all thy motions, and seeming activenesse in duty▪ because all thy motion in and about duty is but like the moveing of childrens puppies, caused by external motives, such as a name, applause, peace from a natural conscience, or the like; and not from any in­ward principle of grace and life.

2. Howbeit they sometimes seem to be dead; yet they are not alwayes so; life doth really worke sometimes in them: whereas there was never any true or kindly motion of life in thee.

3. There may be more life in them, yea life in motion, when they seem to be overcome with some lusts or corruption, yea when really they are over­come; then beholders, that are strangers to the heart, can observe: for when temptation is vio­lent, as having the advantage of the time & place, of the constitution of the body, and the like, it argu­eth no small degree of life, and of life in motion, to make some resistance and opposition thereunto, though at length he should be overcome thereby. And this opposition and resistence, flowing from a principle of grace, speaketh out life, though cor­ruption, having the advantage, should at that time over - power the motion of life, and carry the man away.

[Page 308]4. If it be not otherwise with beleevers than is objected, they may blame themselves: for not improveing Christ better for life.

Obj. 2. But some, who are true beleevers, will object the same, and cry out of themselves as dead; and say, they finde not that livelinesse & activity in their souls, that will evidence Christ, the Life, dwelling and working in them.

Ans. It may be they prejudge themselves of that lively frame, they might enjoy, and so wronge themselves.

1. In not exere [...]eing faith on Christ, nor draw­ing life from Him through faith. The life which they live should be by faith Gal. 2: 20. How then can such as do not eat become fat? by faith we feed on Christ.

2. In not watching, but giving way to securi­ty, and thereby encourageing and strengthening the adversary, as we see in David: when they stand not on their watch towre, they invite Satan to set on; and he is vigilant enough, and knoweth how to take his advantage, and to improve his oppor­tunity.

3. In giving way to leazinesse and not stirring up themselves, as we see in the Bride Cant. 3: 1. & 5: 3. When they stirre not up the grace of God, which is in them, how can they belively? If grace be laid by, it will contract rust. The best way to keep grace lively, is to keep it in exercise, how little so ever it be.

4. By their rashnesse, walking without feare, as is to be observed in Peter, whe [...] he slipped so foulely. When through their want of circum­spection, [Page 309] they precipitate themselves into danger, and cast themselves among their enemies hands, is it any wonde [...], that it goe not with them, as they would; and that they provock God to leave them to themselves, that they may know what they are, and learne afterward not to tempte the Lord, and to walk more circumspectly?

5. By leaning too much to their attainements, and not looking out for new influences of grace and life. Hereby they provock God to let them know to their expences, that for as great a length as they are come, they must live by faith, and be quickened by new influences from the Spirit of life.

6. So they may wronge themselves through their ignorance of Christ, and of the way of makeing use of Him: and if they, through unacquantednesse with Christ and the right way of improveing the fulnesse that is in Him, misse the fruit and advantage, which otherwise they might have, they can only blame themselves.

7. They may also prejudge themselves, by their self love, self esteem, self seeking, self pleasing &c. which piece and piece will draw them off Christ, and cause them forget the way of sucking life from Him, who is the fountaine of life.

8. When they give way to small sins, they open a door for greater; and they lose thereby their ten­dernesse, and so provock the Lord to withdraw: and this is another way, whereby they prejudge them­selves of that benefite of livelinesse, which they might otherwise have.

[Page 310]9. So also by wordly mindednesse, which alie­nateth their minde from God: and.

10. By their impatience and fret [...]ing and repi­neing against God, and his wi [...]e dispensations, they also prejudge and wrong themselves: for while they are in that mood, they can not, with [...]e com­posednesse of Spirit, go to Christ, and draw life from Him through faith.

Obj. 3. But is there not even some of those, who are most tender, that compleane of their deadnesse and shortcomings?

Ans. 1. It may be that they complaine with­out cause; & that they have more cause of rejoyce­ing. and of blessing the Lord, for what He hath done to them, than of complaineing.

2ly. Their complaineing will not prove the want of life, but the contrare rather: for when they complaine most, they must be most sensible, if their complaints be real, and not meerly for afa­shion; and sense is a manifest evidence of life.

3ly. It would be remembered, that the Lord can make their failings and shortcomings contri­bute to the furthering of their life; as we see it did in Peter.

4ly. It would also be remembered, that Christ doth not distribute and give out of this life to all his members and followers, in a like measure; but to some more, and to others lesse, according as He seeth it meet and convenient, both for his own glory and their good. He hath more service for some, than for others: and some He will imploy in greater and more difficult work, which will call for [Page 311] more life; and others He will imploy in common work, which will not call for such an eminent de­gree of life.

5ly. And upon the same account, He may think it good, to give to the same person a larger measure of grace at one time, than at another.

6ly. And that for wise reasons and noble ends, as

1. That all may see, how absolute He is in his dispensations: a Soveraigne, that doth with his owne what He will, and will not give an ac­count of any of his wayes or communications▪ to us.

2. That we may learne submission, and quietly to stoup before Him, whatever measure He be pleas­ed to dispense towards us.

3. That we may learne, to depend upon Him, more closely all alongs; and in all our wayes to acknowledge Him.

4. That we may learne, to exercise patience, which must have its perfect work, in waiting upon Him, as a great king. This is his glory, and itis the testifying of our homage to Him.

5. He will traine us up so, as to be welcontent­ed and satisfied, if He bring us home at length, though not with such a convey of the graces of his Spirit, as we would wish.

6. That we may see and read our dayly obliga­tion to Christ our life, and the dayly need we have of his keeping our life in, by fresh ga [...]ls of his Spi­rit, and new heavenly influences.

7. And that getting new proofs of his kindnesse [...]nd faithfulnesse, we may give Him new songs of [Page 312] praise daylie and so expresse our thankfulnesse to Him, which will tend to set forth his glory.

Eightly. This may point out unto beleevers, several duties, to which they are called: we shall name some few of many: as

1. That they should rejoyce, and be comforted, in the thoughts of this, that they have such a com­pleet Mediator, one that is throughly furnished, and made all things for them; not only the Way, and the Tru [...]h; but the Life also.

2. The thoughts of this should also stirre up to wondering at the wisdome, graciousnesse and good­nesse of God; & to thankfulnesse for providing such an alsufficient way for them.

3. This should also encourage them under all temptations, faintings, backsets and fits of dead­ness, that they fall into, that there is one, who is the Life: and that He, whom their soul hath chosen, is the Life, and so fully able to quicken and enliven them.

4. This should teach them humility, and not to be proud of any thing they have▪ or do: for it is He, who is the Life, who keepeth them in life, and helpeth them to any duty; yea it is life, that worketh all in them.

5. And likewise it should teach them to acknow­ledge Him, to whom they are obliged, for any thing they do, for any life they have, or any acts or frutes of life that appeare in them; and to be thank­ful to Him therefore.

6. And mainly, They should here read their obligation and duty, to improve this advantage, and to draw life out of this fountaine, and so live by [Page 313] this life; act and do all in and through this life; and so be quickened by this life, in all their fits of dead­nesse: and for this cause would keep those things in minde,

(1.) That they should live in a constant convi­ction of their own weaknesse, deadnesse and ina­bility to do any acts of life, of themselves; and far lesse to recover themselves out of any distemper and fit of deadnesse, which they fall into.

(2.) That they should live in the faith of this. That there is life enough in Him, who is the Life, to do their businesse. They should be perswaded of His alsufficiency.

(3.) That He is not only an alsufficient deliverer, able to deliver a soul, that is, as it were, rotting in the grave, and to cause the dead to heare his voice and live; but also most willing and ready to answere them, in all their necessities, according to wisdome, and as He seeth it is for his glory, and their souls advantage. The faith of this is necessary, and will be very encourageing.

(4.) That they should go to Him, how dead­like so ever their condition be, and by faith roll their dead case upon Him, who is the Life.

(5.) That they should pray upon the promises of grace and influence, even out of the belly of hell, or of the grave, with Ionah Cap. 2: 2. for He is faithful and true, and tender - hearted, and will heare and give a good answer at length.

(6.) That in the exercise of faith and prayer, they should waite with patience, till He be pleased to come, and breath upon the dry bones, and till the [...]un of righteousnesse arise on their souls, with healing [...] his wings.

[Page 314]But of this more particularly, in the following cases, which now we come to speak a little unto, of purpose to cleare up more fully, how the beleever is to make use of Christ, as the Life, when he is under some one distemper or other, that calleth fo [...] life and quickening from Christ the Life. We can­not handle distinctly all the particular cases, which may be brought under this head, it will suff [...], for clearing of this great duty, to speak to some few.

CHAP. XXI. How to make use of Christ as the Life, wh [...] the beleever is so sitten-up in the wayes of God, that he can do nothing.

SOmetimes the beleever is under such a distem­per of weaknesse and deadnesse, that there is al­most no commanded duty, that he can go about: his heart and all is so dead, that he cannot so much as groan under that deadnesse. Yea he may be und [...] such a decay, that little or no difference will be ob­served betwixt him and others, that are yet in na­ture; and be not only unable to go actively and livelily about commanded duties, yea or to [...] astle from under that deadnesse; but also be so dead▪ that he shall scarce have any effectual desir [...] or longing to be out of that condition. Now▪ in speaking to the use making of Christ, fo [...] quickening in this dead case, we shall do tho [...] things

[Page 315]1. For clearing of the case, we shall shew how probably it is brought on.

2. How Christ is life to the soul in such a case, as this.

3. How the beleever is to make use of Christ for life, in this case; and,

4. Further cleare the matter, by answering a question or two.

As to the first. Such a distemper as this may be brought upon the soul,

1. Through some strong and violent tempta­tion, from without, meeting with some evil dis­position of the heart within, and so surprizeing & overpowering the poor soul, as we see in David, & Peter.

2. Through the cunning and slight of Satan, stealing the beleever, that is not watchful enough, insensibly off his feet, and singing him asleep by degrees.

3. Through carelesnesse, in not adverting at first to the beginnings and first degrees of this dead­nesse and upsiting, when the heart beginneth to grow formal, and superficial in duties, and to be satisfied with a perfunctorious performance, without life and sense.

4. Through thortureing of conscience, in light [...]nd smaller matters: for this may provock God to [...]et conscience fall a sleep, & so the soul shall become more untender, and scruple little, at length, at greater matters; and thus deadnesse may come to an hieght, God ordering it so, for a further punish­ment to them, for their▪ untendernesse and uncir­cumspectnesse.

[Page 316]5. Through their not stirring up themselves, and shaking off that Spirit of lazinesse and drousi­nesse▪ when it first ceaseth upon them; but, with the sluggard, yet another slumber, & another sleep, and a folding of the hands to sleep.

6. Continuing in some known sin, and not re­penting of it, may bring on this distemper, as may be observed in David.

As to the Second particular; Christ is life to the soul in this case; in that

1. He keepeth possession of the soul: for the seed remaineth, the root abideth fast in the ground, there is life still at the heart, though the man make no motion; like one in a deep sleep, or in a swoon, yet life is not away.

2ly. He is due time awakeneth, and rouzeth up the soul, & so recovereth it out of that condition, by one meane or other, either by some alarme of judg­ment and terror, as He did David; or dispensation of mercy and tenderness, as He did Peter. And usu­ally He recovereth the soul

1. By discovering something of this condition▪ by giving so much sense and knowledg; and sen [...] ­ing so much light, as will let the soul see, that it [...] not well, and that it is under that distemper of life­lesness.

2. By discovering the dreadfulness of such a con­dition, and how hazardous it is to countinue therein.

3. By puting the soul in minde, that He [...] the Life, and the resurrection; and through th [...] stirring up of grace airting the soul to look to Him for quickening and outgate.

[Page 317]4. By raseing up the soul at length out of that drouziness, and sluggish folding of the hands to sleep, and out of that deep security; and putting it into a more lively, vigilent and active frame.

As to the Third. The beleever, that would make use of Christ, for a recovery out of this condition, would minde those duties.

1. He would look to Christ, as the light of Men, and the enlightner of the blinde; to the end, he may get a better and a more through discovery of of his condition; for it is halfe health here to be sen­sible of this disease. The soul that is once brought to sense, is halfe recovered of this feaver and le­thargie.

2. He would eye Christ, as God, able to cause the dead and dry bones to live, as Ezech. 37. and this will keep from despondency and despaire; yea it will make the poor beleever conceive hope, when he seeth that his physitian is God, to whom noth­ing is impossible.

3. He would look to Him also, as Head and Husband, an Life to the poor soul, that adhereth to Him; and this will strengthen his hope & expe­ctation: for he will see, that Christ is ingadged, to speak so, in point of honour, to quicken a poor dead and lifeless member: for the life in the head is for the good of the whole body, and of every member of the body, that is not quite cut off: and the good that is in the husband is forthcoming fo [...] the reliefe of the poor wife, that hath not yet gotten a bill of divorce. And Christ, being Life & the Life, he must be appoint­ed for the releife, the quickening, & recovering from death of such as are given to Him, that they may [Page 318] be finally raised up at the last day, He must presente all his members lively in that day.

4. He would by faith wrape himself up in the promises, and lie before this Sun of righteousness, till the heat of his beames thaw his frozen heart, and bring warmth into his cold and dead soul, and thus renew his grips of Him, accepting of Him, as the Life, and as his Life. Christ himself tells us Iohn. 6: 40. That this is the Fathers will, that hath sent Him, that every one which seeth the Son, and beleeveth on Him, might have everlasting life, and He will raise him up at the last day. Faith closeing with Him, as it was the meane of life at first, so will it be the mean of recovery out of a dead distemper, af­terward.

5. He would mourne for such sins and provoca­tions, as he discovereth in himself to have caused and brought on this distemper. Repentance and godly sorrow for such evils, as have sinned Christ and life away, is a way to bring life back againe.

6. He would be sure to harboure no known sin in his soul, but to set himself against every known evil, as an enemie to the life and recovery, which he is seeking,

7. He must waite on Christ his Life, in the ap­pointed meanes: for that is the will of the Lord, that He should be waited - upon there, and sought for there. There is little hopes of recovery for such, as lay aside the ordinances. Though the ordinances without him cannot revive or quicken a poor soul; yet if He hath condescended so far as to come with life to his people, in and through the ordinances, and hath appointed us to waite for Him there, we [Page 319] must be willing to accept of all his condescensions of love, and seek him and waite for Him there, where He hath said, He will be found.

8. In going about those ordinances of life, He would beware of putting them in Christ's room: that is, He would beware of▪ thinking, that ordi­nances will do his business: as some ignorantly do, who think that by praying so often a day, and read­ing so much, and hearing so much, they shall reco­ver their lost lively frame, when (alas!) all the ordi­nances without Him signifie nothing. They, with­out Him, are cold and lifeless, and can never bring heat or warmth to a cold soul. It is He in the ordi­nances whom they are to seek, and from whom alone life is to be expected, and none else.

9. Though life lyeth not in the ordinances, as separated from Christ, and life is to be expected from Him alone; yet he would beware of going a­bout the ordinances in a careless, superficial and in­different manner: for this will argue little desire after life, and will bring-on more deadness. The or­dinances than should be gone about seriously, dili­gently, and with great carefulness, yea with such earnestness, as if life were to be had in them; and yet with such a single and pure dependence on Christ for life, as if we were not about the ordinances at all. This is the right way of going about ordi­nances.

10. He must in all this waite with patience, without freting or quarrelling with Him, for his delaying to come▪ He must waite with much humi­lity. It becometh not him, who hath▪ through his folly, sinned life away to quarrel now with God, [Page 320] because he restoreth him not againe to life, at the first asking. He may be glade if at length, after long seeking, waiting and much diligence, He come and restore to him the joy of his salvation, and if he be not made to lie as a bedrid all his dayes, for a mo­nument of folly, in sinning away his life, strength and legs, as he did.

11. He must beware of giving way to any thing, that may increase or continue this deadnesse, such as untendernesse in his walk, unwatchfulnesse, ne­gligence and carelesnesse; and especially he must beware to provock God, by sinning against light.

12. He would also beware of limiteing the Lord to any set measure of life and strength: for it be­cometh not beggers to be carvers; far lesse such beggers, as through folly have sinned away a good portion. It was not fit for the prodigal to seek [...] new patrimony, after he had dilapidated the for­mer, it might suffice him to be made as a servant.

13. He would use well any small measure of life, he getteth, for God and his glory; getteth he but one talent he should use it, that he may gaine thereby: use (we say) limbs and have limbs, use strength and have it. This will be the way to get more.

14. He would be taking on the vowes of the Lord, and that in the Lord, to walk more watch­fully in time comeing, charging all within and with­out not to stirre or provoke the Lord to depart fur­ther, or to scarre Him from coming to the soul.

As to the last particular.

If it be enquired. 1. What can that soul do, that is not sensible of this deadnesse and weaknesse?

[Page 321] Ans. Though there be not any reall sense or feeling of this condition; yet there may be a suspi­cion, that all is not right: and if this be, the soul must look out to Christ, for the life of sense, and for a sight of the provocations, that have brought on that condition. He that is the Life must recover the very beginnings of life: and when the soul winneth to any real apprehension and sense of this deadnesse, it must follow the course formerly prescribed, for a recovery.

2. But it will be asked. How a soul can act faith in such a case? And if it cannot act faith, how can it come to Christ, and make use of Him?

Answere. It is true, while the soul is in that case, it cannot act a strong and a lively faith; yet it can act a weak and a sickly faith: and a weak and sickly faith can lay hold upon an enlivening Christ, and so bring▪in more strength and life to the soul. If the soul be so weak, as that it cannot grippe; yet it can look to Him, that can quicken the dead, and hath helped many a poor soul before, out of a dead condition. Or if it cannot do so much as look, yet it may give an half-look, and lie before Him, who waiteth to be gracious; and sustaine it self, if it can get no more, with a may be He shall come.

3. But further it will be asked, what the soul can do▪ when after all this, it findeth no helpe or supply, but deadnesse remaining, yea and, it may be, growing?

Ans. The soul in that case must lye at his door, waiting for his salvation; and resolving, if no bet­ter may be, to die at his door; and leave no approven mean, or commanded duty, unessayed, that it may [Page 322] recover its former vigour, activity and strength. And while the beleever is waiting thus, he is at his duty; and this may yeeld him peace, and he may be­sure that he shall never be ashamed Ps. 25: 3. & 69: 6. Esai. 30: 18.

CHAP. XXII. How Christ is to be made use of for life, in case of heartlesnesse and fainting, through discouragements.

THere is another evil and distemper, which be­leevers are subject to, and that is a case of faint­ing through manifold discouragements, which make them so heartless, that they can do nothing; yea and to sit up, as if they were dead. The que­stion then is. How such a soul shall make use of Christ, to the end it may be freed from that fit of fainting, and win over those discouragments: for satisfaction to which, we shall

1. Name some of those discouragements, which occasione this.

2. Show what Christ hath done, to remove all those discouragements.

3. Show how the soul should make use of Christ for life, in this case; and

4. Adde a few words of caution.

As to the first. There are several things, which may give occasion to this distemper; we shall name those few.

1. The sense of a strong, active, lively, and [Page 323] continually stirring body of death, and that not with­standing of meanes used to beare it down, and to kill it. This is very discourageing: for it made Paul cry out woes me miserable man, who shall deliver me from this body of death, Rom. 7: 24. It is a most discouraging thing, to be still fighting, and yet getting no ease, let be victory; to have to do with an enemie, that abides alwayes alike strong, fight and oppose as we will, yea not only is not weakned far lesse overcome, but that groweth in power and prevaileth. And this many times affecteth the heart of God's children, and causeth them to faint.

2. It may be the case of some, that they are assaulted with strange temptations of Satan, his buffettings, that are not usual. This made Paul cry out thrice, 2 Cor. 12. and if the Lord had not told him, that His grace was sufficient for him, what would he have done? Hence some of his cry out, in their complaint, was there ever any so tempted, so assaulted with the devil, as I am? Sure, this dispensa­tion cannot but be much afflicting, sadning and discourageing.

3. The sense of the real weakness of grace under lively meanes, and notwithstanding of their serious and earnest desires, and endeavours after grouth in grace, cannot but disquiet and discourage them: for they may readily conclude, that all their paines and labour shall be in vaine, for any thing they can observe.

4. The want of sensible incomes of joy and com­fort, is another fainting and discourageing dispen­sation; as the feeling of these is a heart-strengthen­ing [Page 324] and most encourageing thing, which made David so earnestly cry for it Psal. 51: 8, 12. when a poor soul, that hath the testimony of its own con­science, that it hath been, in some measure of sing­leness of heart and honesty, seeking the face of God, for a good many yeers, and yet cannot say, that ever it knew what those incomes of joy and com­fort meane, which some have tasted largely of, it cannot choose but be discouraged, and much cast down, as not knowing what to say of it self, or how to judge of its owne case.

5. The want of access in their addresses to God, is another heart-discouraging thing. They go a­bout the duty of prayer, with that measure of ear­nestness and uprightness of heart, that they can win at, at least this is their aime and endeavour, and yet they meet with a fast-closed door: when they cry & shout, he shooteth out their prayer; as the Church complaineth Lament. 3: 8. This sure will affect them deeply, and cause their hearts sometimes to fainte.

6. The want of freedom and liberty in their ad­dreses to God, is another thing, which causeth sor­row and fainting. They go to pray, but their tongue cleaveth to the roof of their mouth; they are straitned, and cannot get their hearts vented.

7. Outward persecution, that attendeth the way of godliness, and afflictions, that accompany such as live godly, is another discourageing thing, both to themselves, who are under afflictions; and to others, who heare it and see it; wherefore the Apostle desired earnestly, that the Ephesians should not faint at his tribulation, Cap. 3: 13.

[Page 325]8. The Lords sharpe and sore dispensations for sin, as toward David Psal. 51. or out of his So­veraignity for tryal and other ends, as toward Iob, is likewise a discourageing heart-breaking thing, and that which will make strong gyants to roare and fainte, and look upon themselves as dead men, as we see in these two eminent men of God.

As to the second thing. Christ is life to the belee­ver, in this case, in having done that which in reason may support, under all these discouragements, and having done so much for removing or weaken­ing of these; yea and for carrying them over them all, which may be in a word cleared, as to each.

1. As for the body of death. Let it stirre in the beleever, as fast as it will, or can, it is already killed, & all that strugling is but like the strugling of a man in the pangs of death; for our old man is crucified with Christ, Rom. 6: 6. and the beleever is dead to sin, and risen legally with him, Col. 2: 11, 12. & 3: 3. But of this we spoke abundance above.

2. As to Satans troubling the poor beleever. Through Christ also he is a vanquished enemy. He hath overcome him that had the power of death, even the devil, Heb. 2: 14.

3. As for that felt weakness of grace. That is no ground of discouragement, so long as he liveth, who can make the lame to leep as an hart, and can make waters break out in the wildernesse, and strea­mes in the desert. Esai. 35: 6, 7. and giveth power to the fainte, and to them that have no might increa­seth strength: so that such as waite upon the Lord shall renew their strength, and they shall mount up [Page 326] with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint, Esai. 40: 29, 31. For in H [...]m are all the promises yea & amen, 2 Cor. 1: 20. So that they need not faint upon this account, nor be discouraged: for the work He hath begun, He will finish it, and He will quicken in the way, Psal. 119: 37.

4. As for the want of sensible incomes of joy and comfort: He hath promised to send the comforter, in his own good time, Iohn. 14: 26. & 15: 26. as one whom his mother comforteth, so will he com­fort his, Esai. 66. 13. Joy and gladnesse is pro­mised in the covenant, Ier. 31: 13. But further; though He keep up those influences of joy and com­fort, He supporteth another way. The lively hope of heaven may bear up the heart, under all this want: for there shall the soul have fulnesse of joy and plea­sures for ever more: no teares, nor sorrow there, Psal. 16: 11. Esa. 35: 10. & 51: 11.

5. As for the want of accesse in their prayers. They may possibly blame themselvs, for He hath by his merites opened the door; and is become (to speak so) master usher to the poor soul, to lead him, in to the Father, so that by him we have accesse, Ephes. 2: 18. yea boldnesse and accesse, through faith in Him Ephes. 3: 12. and He is our advocate 1. Iohn. 2: 1. and as our atturnay is gone to heaven before us; and there liveth for ever to make inter­cession Heb. 6: 20▪ & 7: 25. And what is there more to be done, to procure us accesse? or to move & encourage us to come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtaine mercy, and finde grace to helpe in time of need? Heb. 4: 14, 16.

[Page 327]6. As to that want of freedome and liberty in prayer: He helpeth that also: for He maketh the dumb to sing, Esa. 35: 6. and maketh the tongue of the stammerers to be ready to speak elegantly, Esai. 32: 4. He can enlairge the heart, and help the soul to pour-out its heart before God.

7. As to outward persecution: He can easily take that discouragement away, by giving the hun­dereth fold with it: by supporting under it, and bringing saife thorow it: when his presence is with them through fire and water, Esa. 43: 2. what can trouble them? and when he maketh their con­solations abound, 2 Cor. 1: 5. what can discourage them? Have not his sung in the very fires? and re­joyced in all their afflictions? The resting of the Spirit of God and of glory, which Peter speaketh of, 1 Pet. 4: 14. is comfortable enough.

8. As for all those sharpe dispensations, mentioned in the last place: He, having taken the sting of all, even of death, away, by taking away sin, and purchased the blessing and love of the Father, having made reconciliation through his blood, all those dispensations flow from love, even such as seem sharpest, being inflicted for sin, as we see Heb. 12: 6. So that there is no cause here of fainting, or of being so discouraged, as to give over the matter. But for helpe in this case, there should be an use making of Jesus, as the Life; and that is

The third thing, which we shall speak a little to, viz How the soul should make use of Christ, as the Life, to the end it may be delivered from this fainting, occasioned through manifold discoura­gements,

[Page 328]1. The beleever in this case would minde the co­venant of Redemption, wherein Christ hath pro­mised, and so standeth obliged and engaged, to carry on his own through all discouragements, to the end; so that if any one beleever miscarry, Christ loseth more than they can lose: for the beleever can but lose his soul, but Christ shall lose his glory, and this is more worth, than all the souls that ever were created. And further, not only shall Christ lose his glory, as Redeemer; But the Father shall also lose his glory, in not making good his promise to Christ his Son: for by the same covenant, He standeth en­gaged to carry thorow all the seed, that Christ hath died for. And his appointing Christ to be his ser­vant for this end, and chooseing Him from among all the folk▪ and his upholding of Him, concur­ring with him, delighting in Him, and promiseing that He shall bring forth judgment to the gentiles, and that, to victory, or to truth, speak out His engadgment to see all true beleevers brought home. See Esai. 42: 1, 2, 3▪ 4. Mat. 12: 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. Psal. 89: 19, 20, 21, 28, 29▪ 35, 36, 37. S [...]re, the faith of this would support the poor belee­ver, under all those discouragements.

2. They would minde likewise the covenant of Grace, wherein all things are contrived and laid downe, so as that the beleever may have abundant consolation and comfort, in all cases; and wherein there is enough to take away all cause of fainting & discouragement: as might fully be made to appeare, if any did questione it.

3. They would remember how richly Christ is furnished, with all qualifications, suiteing even [Page 329] that case, wherein they are like to be overwhelmed with discouragements: and could the beleever but think upon, and beleeve those three things, he might be keeped-up under all discouragements first. That Christ is a compassionate tender-hearted me­diator, having bowels more tender, than the bowels of any mother; so that He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoaking flax Esai. 42: 3. He had compassion on the very bodies of the multitude, that followed him; and would not let them go away fasting, lest they should fainte in the way, Mat. 15: 32. Mark. 8: 3. and will He not have compassion on the soules of his followers, when like to faint through spiritual discourage­ments? Secondly. That He hath power and au­thority to command all things, that can serve to carray-on a poor beleever: for all power in Heaven and Earth is given to Him; all things are made sub­ject to Him. Thirdly. That He hath a great re­adinesse and willingnesse, upon many accounts, to helpe his followers in their necessities. Sure, were these three firmly believed, the beleever could not [...]aint, having Christ, who is tender and loving & willing to helpe, and withall able to do what he will, to look to, and to run to, for supply.

4. They would take up Christ, under all his heart-strengthening, and soul comforting relations, as a tender Brother, a careful Shepherd, a fellow­feeling Highpriest, a loving Husband, a sympa­thizing Head, a life-communicating Root, an alsufficient King &c. any one of which is enough to beare up the head, and comfort the heart of a droup­ing, discouraged and fainting soul: much more may [Page 330] all of them yeeld strong consolation, to support & revive a soul, staggering and fainting, through dis­couragement. Oh! if wee could but rightly im­prove, and dwell upon the thoughts of these com­forting and heart-quickening relations! our hearts would not fail us, so much as they do.

5. They would eye Him, as now in glory, who, as Head and Captaine of salvation, hath wreastled through, and overcome all difficulties and discouragments, that were in his way, and in name and behalf of all beleevers, that are his fol­lowers, and members of his body, is now possessed of glory, and thence draw an heart-comforting, and soul-strengthening conclusion, thus. Is He en­tered into glory as Head, than such a poor faint heart­ed, heart-brocken, discouraged worme, as I am, may at length come there, as a little bit of his body, especially since He said, that seing He liveth all his shall live also, Ioh. 14: 19.

6. They would remember how Christ, who was alwayes heard of his Father, Iohn. 11: 41, 42. did supplicat for this, as Mediator and Intercessor for his people Iohn. 17: 24. saying, Father, I will th [...] they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me, where I am, &c. May not the poor faint-hearted, be­liever, that is looking to Iesus, draw an heart-revi­veing & soul encouraging conclusion out of this, & say. Though my prayers be shote out, and when I cry for reliefe under my discouragements, I get no hearing; but, on the contrary, my discourage­ments grow, and my heart fainteth the more; yet Christ alwayes was heard, and the Father will not say Him nay, why then may I not lift up my head in [Page 331] hope, and sing in the hope of the glory of God, [...] the midst of all my discouragements?

7. By faith they would cast all their discourage­ments, entanglements, and difficulties, as bur­dens, too heavy for their back, on Christ, and [...]eave them there with Him, who only can remove them; and withal resolve never to give over, but [...]o go forward in his strength, and thus become dayly [...]ronger and stronger in resolutions, purposes, desires and endeavours, when they can do no [...]ore.

8. They would look to Jesus, the author and [...]isher of faith, and set Him before them, as a copie [...]f courage, who, for the joy, that was set before Him▪ [...]dured the crosse, despiseing the shame, and en­ [...]red contradiction of sinners against himself Heb. 12: 2, 3. and this may prove a meane to keep us [...]om wearrying and fainting in our mindes, as the [...]postle hinteth there.

9. They would remember, that Christ, going [...]fore, as the Captaine of salvation, hath brocken [...]e yee to them, and the force and strength of all [...]ose discouragements, as we did lately show; so [...]at now they should be looked upon, as brocken & [...]owerlesse discouragements.

10. They would fix their eye by faith on Iesus, as [...]ly able to do their businesse, to beare up their [...]ad, to carry them thorow discouragements, to [...]ply cordials to their fainting hearts; and remaine [...]red in that posture and resolution, looking for [...]rengthening and encourageing-life from Him, & [...]om Him alone: and thus declare that 1. They [...]e unable in themselves to stand-out such storms [Page 332] of discouragements and to wreastle thorow such difficulties. 2. They beleeve, He is only able to beare them up, and carry them thorow, & make them to despise all those discouragements, which the Devil and their own evil hearts muster up against them. 3. That, come what will come, they will not quite the bargane, they will never recal or take back their subscription and consent to the covenant of grace, and to Christ as theirs, offered therein, though they should die, and die againe, by the way. 4. That they would faine be keeped-on in the way, and helped forward, without failing and fainting by the way. 5. That they cannot run▪ tho­row hard wals, they cannot do impossibilities, they cannot break thorow such mighty discourage­ments. 6. That yet through Him, they can d [...] all things. 7. That He must helpe, or they [...] gone, and shall never win thorow all these difficul­ties and discouragements, but shall one day or o­ther die by the hand of Saul. 8. That they wil [...] waite earnestly seeking helpe from Him, crying for it, and looking for it, and resolve never [...] give over, and if they be disappointed, [...] a [...] disappointed.

Now for the last particular. The word of ca [...] ­tion. Take these.

1. They would not think to be altogether [...] of fainting: for there is no perfection here, an [...] there is much flesh and corruption remaining, [...] that will occasion fainting.

2. Nor would they think to be free of all [...] causes and occasions of this fainting, viz the dis­couragements formerly mentioned, or the like [Page 333] for, if the devil can do any thing, he will work dis­couragements, both within and without. So that they would lay their resolution to meet with dis­couragaments: for few or none ever went to heaven, but they had many a storme in their face, and they must not think to have a way paved for themselves alone.

3. They would not pore too much, nor dwell too long and too much upon the thoughts of those discouragements: for that is Satans advantage, & tendeth to weaken themselves. But it were better to be looking beyond them, as Christ did Heb. 12: 2. when he had the crosse and the shame to wreastle with, He looked to the joy that was set before Him; and that made Him endure the crosse, and despise the shame: and as Moses did Heb. 11: 25, 26, 27. when he had afflictions, and the wrath of the King to wreastle against, He had respect unto the recom­pence of the reward, and so he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.

4. They would remember, that as Christ hath tender bowells, and is full of compassion, and is both ready & able to helpe them, so is He wise, & knoweth how to let-out his mercies best. He is not like a foolish affectionat mother, that would ha­zarde the life of the childe, before she put the childe to any paine. He seeth what is best for his owne glory, and for their good, here and hereaf­ter; & that He will do, with much tendernesse & readinesse.

5. They would look upon it, as no mean mercy, if, notwithstanding of all the discouragements; and stormes that blow in their face, they are helped to [Page 334] keep their face up the hill, & are fixed in this resolu­tion, never willingly to turne their back upon the way of God; but to continue creeping forward, as they may, whatever stormes they meet with: yea upon this account, ought they heartily to blesse his name, and to rejoyce; for their hearts shall live that seek Him, Psal. 22: 26.

6. They would remember, for their encourage­ment, that as many have been helped thorow all dis­couragements, & have been brought home at length, so may they be brought thorow all those stormes, which now they wreastle with. It is the glory of the Mediator to bring his brocken, torne & sincking vessels saife to shore.

Now I come to a third case, & that is

CHAP. XXIII. How to make use of Christ as the Life, when the soul is dead, as to duty.

SOmetime the beleever will be under such [...] distemper, as that he will be as unfit & unable for dischargeing of any commanded duty, as a dead man, or one in a swoon, is to work or go a journay: & it were good to know how Christ should be made use of, as the Life, to the end the diseased soul may be delivered from this: for this cause, we shall con­sider those foure things,

1. See what are the several steps & degrees of this distemper.

[Page 335]2. Consider whence it cometh, or what are the causes or occasions thereof.

3. Consider how Christ is life to the soul, in such a dead case: &

4. Point out the way of the souls usemaking of Christ, that would be delivered herefrom.

As to the first. This distemper cometh-on by several steps & degrees: it will be sufficient to men­tion some of the maine & most remarkable steps; such as,

1. There is a falling from our watchfulnesse & tendernesse: & when we leave our watchtour, we invite & encourage Satan to set upon us; as was said before.

2. There is going about duty but in a lazie way, when we love & seek after carnal ease, and seek out wayes of doing the duty, so as may be least trouble­some to the flesh; as the Spouse did, Cant. 3: 1. when she sought her beloved upon her bed.

3. There is a lying by, & not stirring up oursel­ves to an active way of going about duty, of which the Prophet complaineth, Esai. 64: 7. when he sayeth, there is none that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee.

4. There is a giving way to spiritual drouzinesse, & upsitting in duties, & in the wayes of God. I sleep (said the Spouse Cant. 5: 2, 3.) & I have put off my coat &c. She knew she was not right, but was drousie, & yet she did not shake it off, but com­posed herself for it, tooke off her coat, & washed her feet, & so lay downe to sleep.

5. There is a satisfaction and contentment with his condition, as thinking we are pretty well; at [Page 336] least, for that time; and thus was the spouse in that forementioned place led away, she was so far from being dissatisfied with her condition, that she rather expresseth her contentment therewith.

6. There may be such a love to such a condition, & such a satisfaction in it, as that they may shift every thing, that hath a tendency to rouze them up out of that sluggish lazinesse, as not loving to be awakened out of their sleep. So we see the Bride shift [...] & putteth off Christ's call & invitation to her, to arise & open to Him.

7. Yea, there is a defending of that condition, as, at least, tollerable & none of the worste; a justi­fying of it; or, at least, a pleading for themselves & excuseing the matter, & covering over their ne­glect of duty with faire pretexts, as the Spouse did, when she answered Christ's call, with this, that she had washed her feet & might not defile them agine.

8. Yea further, there is a pleading for this case, by alledging an impossibility to get it helped, [...] matters now stand; or at least, they will muster up insuperable-like difficulties, in their own way of doing duty, as the sluggard will say, that there is a lyon in the way: & the Spouse alledged she could not put on her coat againe.

9. Yea, it way come yet higher, even to a peremptour refuseing to set about the duty: for what else can be read out of the Brides carriage▪ than that she would not rise, and open to her be­loved?

10. There is also a desperate laying the duty aside, as supposeing it impossible to be gote done, [Page 337] and so a resolute laying of it by as hopelesse, and as a businesse, they need not trouble themselves with [...]l, because they will not get it throughed.

11. And hence floweth an utter indisposition, & unfitnesse for duty.

12. Yea, and in some it may came to this hieght that the thoughts of going about any commanded duty, especially of worshipe, either in publick or Private; or their minting, and attempting to set about it, shall fill them with terrour and affright­ment, that they shall be constrained to forbeare, yea to lay aside all thoughts of going about any such duty.

This is a very dead - like condition, what can be the causes or occasions thereof▪

I answere▪ (And this is the Second particular) Some, or all of those things may be considered, as [...]ving a hand in this.

1. No care to keep up a tender frame of heart, but growing slack, loose and carelesse, in going [...]bout christian duties, may bring - on such a dis­ [...]emper.

2. Slighting of challenges for omission of duties, or leaving duties over the belly of conscience, may make way for such an evil.

3. Giving way to carnality and formality in du­ties, is a ready meane to usher - in this evil: for [...]hen the soul turns carnal o [...] formal, in the discharge of duties, duties have not that spiritual luster, which they had, & the soul becometh the sooner wearyed of them, as seeing no such desireablnesse in them, [...]or advantage by them▪

4. When people drown themselves in the cares of [Page 338] the world, they occasion this deadnesse to them­selves: for then duties not onely are not gone a­bout heartily, but they are looked on as a burden, and the man becometh weary of them; and from that he cometh to neglect them; and by continue­ing in the neglect of them, he contracteth an aver­sation of heart from them; & then an utter unfit­nesse and indisposition, for dischargeing of them, followeth.

5. Satan hath an active hand here driveing-on with his crafts and wiles from one steppe to another.

6. The hand also of a Soveraigne God is to be observed here, giving way to this, yea and order­ing matters in his justice and wisdome so, as such persons shall come under such an indisposition, and that for wise and holy ends, as 1. That by such a dispensation he may humble them; who possibly were puft up before, as thinking themsel­ves fit enough to go about any duty, how difficult or hazardous soever, as Peter, who boasted so of his own strength, as he thought nothing to lay down his life for Christ, and to die with him; and yet at length came to that, that he could not, or durst not, speak the truth before a damsel. 2. That He may punish one spiritual sin with another. 3. To give warning to all to watch, and pray, and to worke out their salvation with fear and trembling, and not to be high minded but feare. 4. That thereby, in his just and righteous judgment▪ He may lay a stumbling block before some, to the breaking of their neck, when they shall, for [...]his cause reject and mock at all religion. 5. That He may give proof at length of his admirable skill [Page 339] recovering from such a distemper, that no flesh might have ground to despare, in the most dead con­dition. they can fall into. 6. And to show some­times, what a Soveraigne dispensator of life He is, and how free He is in all his favours.

As to the third particular. How Christ is Life, in this case?

We answere. 1. By keeping possession of the be­liever, even when he seemeth to be most dead; [...]nd keeping life at the root, when there is neither frute appearing, nor flourishes, and hardly many grean leaves, to evidence life.

2. By blowing at the coal of grace in the soul, in his own time and way, and putting an end to the winter, and sending the time of the singing of the birds, a spring - time of life.

3. By looseing the bands, with which he was held fast formerly, enlargeing the heart with desires to go about the duty; so that now he willingly ris­ [...] up out of his bed of security, and cheerfully [...]aketh off his drousinesse, and sluggishnesse, and former unwillingnesse; and now with willingnesse, and cheerfulnesse he setteth about the duty.

4. By sending influences of life and strength into the soul, whereby the wheels of the soul are made to run with ease, being oyled with those di­vine influences.

5. And this he doth by touching the heart, and [...]akening it by his Spirit, as He raised th [...] Spouse out of her bed of security and leazinesse, by putting in his hand by the hole of the door, then were her bowels moved for Him, ant. 5: vers. 4. and thus He setteth faith on work againe, having the [Page 340] key of David to open the heart, Revel 3: vers. 7.

6. By giving a discovery of the evil of their former wayes and courses, He worketh up the heart to godly sorrow and remorse, for what is done, making their bowels move for grief and sorrow, that they should have so dishonoured and grieved Him.

7. By setting the soul thus on work to do, what formerly it neither could, nor would do; and thus He maketh the soul strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, Epes. 6: 10. and able to run and not be weary, and to walk and not be faint, Esai. 40.

8. By discovering the great recompence of re­ward that is comeing, and the great help they have at hand, in the Covenant and promises thereof, and in Christ, their Head and Lord▪ He maketh the burden light, and the duty easie.

As to the Last particular viz. How a beleever in such a case should make use of Christ, as the Life, that he may be delivered therefrom?

When the poor beleever is any way sensible of this decay, and earnestly desireing to be from under that power of death, and in case to go about com­manded duties, he would

1. Look to Christ for enlightened eyes, that he may get a more through discovery of the hazard & wreatchednesse of such a condition, that hereby being awakened and alarmed he may more wil­lingly use the meanes of recovery, and be more willing to be at some paines to be delivered.

2. He would run to the blood of Jesus, to get the guilt of his by gone sinful wayes washen away, [Page 341] and bloted out; to the end he may obtaine the fa­vour of God, and get his reconciled face shineing upon him againe.

3. He would eye Christ, as a Prince exalted to give repentance, that so his sorrow for his former sinful courses, may be kindely, spiritual, through and affecting the heart. He would cry to Christ, that He would put - in his hand by the hole of the door, that his bowels may become moved for Him.

4. He would also look to Him, as that good Shepherd, who will strengthen that which is sick, Ezech. 34: 16. And take notice also of his other Relations, and of his Obligations thereby, and by the Covenant of Redemption; and this will strengthen his hope.

5. He would lay hold on Christ as his Strength, whereby his feet may be made like hindes feet, and he may be made to walk upon his high places, Habb. 3: 19. and he would grippe to that promise, Esai. 41: 10▪ I will strengthen thee; and lay hold on Christ in it.

6. Having done thus, he would set about every commanded duty, in the strength of Jesus, looking to Him for help and supply, from whom cometh all his strength: and though he should not finde that help and assistance, which he expected, yet he would not be discouraged, but continue, and when he can do no more offer himself▪ as ready and willing to go about the duty, as if he had strength.

7. He would lye open to, and be ready to receive the influences of strength, which He, who is the Head, shall think good to give, in his own time [Page 342] manner and measure: and this taketh in those duties:

1. That they would carefully guaird against the evils formerly mentioned, which brought on this distemper; such as Carelesnesse, Untendernesse▪ Unwatchfulnesse, Lazynesse, carnal Security, Formality, and want of Seriousnesse, &c.

2. That they would beware of giving way to despondency, or of concludeing the matter hope­lesse, and remedilesse: for that is both discou­rageing to the soul, and a tempting provocation of God.

3. That they should be exerciseing the grace of patient Waiting.

4. That they should be waiting, in the use of the appointed meanes, and thereby, as it were, rubbing the dead and cold member before the fire, till it gather warmth.

5. That they should be keeping all their sails [...]p, waiting for the gaile of the Spirit, that should make their shipe sail.

6. That they should be looking to Him alone, who hath promised that quickening Spirit; and pa­tiently waiting his leasure, not limiting Him to any definite time.

7. That they should be cherishing and stirring up any small beginnings that are.

8. That they should be welcoming most cheer­fully every motion of the Spirit, and improveing e­very advantage of that kinde, and stricking the yron when it is hote, and hold the wheels of the soul a go­ing, when they are once put in motion, and so be loath to grieve the good and holy Spirit of God, [Page 343] Ephes. 4: vers. 30. or to quench his motions. 1 Thes. 5: vers. 19.

If these duties were honestly minded and gone about, in Him, and in His strength; none can tell, how soon there might be a change wrought in the soul.

But of it be asked what such can do, to whom the very thoughts of the duty, and aimeing at it is matter of terrour.

Ans. It may be something, if not much, of that may flow from such a bodyly distemper, as occasioneth the alteration of the body, upon the through apprehension of any thing, that is weighty and of moment, so as they cannot endure to be much affected with any thing: But leaving this to o­thers, I would advise such a soul to those duties.

1. To be frequently seting to the duty, as for example of prayer, though that should raise the distemper of their body: for, through time that may weare away, or at least grow lesse; while as their giving way thereto will still make the duty the more and more terrible, and so render themselves the more unfit for it, and thus they shall gratifie Satan, who (it may be) may have a hand in that bodyly distemper too: when the poor soul is thus accustomed or habituated to the attempting of the duty, it will at length appeare not so terrible as it did; & so the body may become not so soon altered thereby, as it was.

2. When such an one can do no more, He would keep his love to the duty, and his desires after [...]t, fresh and lively: and would not suffer these quite to die out.

[Page 344]3. He would be much in the use of frequent eja­culations, and of short supplications darted up to God; for these will not make such an impression on the body, and so will not so occasion the raiseing and wakening of the bodyly distemper, as more solemne addresses to God in prayer would possibly do.

4. If he cannot go to Christ with confidence, to draw out of Him life and strength, according to his need; yet he may give a look to Him, though it were from a farre: and he may think of Him, and speak of Him frequently: and would narrowly observe every thing, that pointeth Him out, or bringeth any thing of Him to remembrance.

5. Such souls would not give way to despairing thoughts, as if their case were wholly helpelesse and hopelesse: for that is a reflecting upon the power & skill of Christ: and therefore is provoking and dishonourable to Him.

6. Let Christ, and all that is His, be precious al­wayes and lovely unto them. And thus they would keep some room in their heart open for Him; till He should be pleased to come to them with salvati­on. And who can tell, how soon He may come?

But enough of this: there is a Fourth case of deadnesse to be spoken to; and that is this.

CHAP. XXIV. How shall the soul make use of Christ, as the life, which is under the prevailing power of unbeleef & infidelity.

THat we may helpe to give some clearing to a poor soul in this case, we shall

[Page 345]1. See what are the several steps and degrees of this distemper.

2. Consider what the causes hereof are.

3. Shew how Christ is life to a soul in such a case: and

4. Give some directions, how a soul in that case, should make use of Christ, as the Life, to the end, it may be delivered therefrom.

And first. There are many several steps to, and degrees of this distemper: we shall mention a few, as

1. When they cannot come with confidence, and draw ou [...] of Him by faith, what their souls case calleth for; they cannot with joy draw waters out of the wels of salvation, Esai. 12: 3. But keep at a distance, and intertaine jealous thoughts of Him: this is a degree of unbeleefe, making way for more.

2. When they cannot confidently assert, and avow their interest in Him, as the Church did, Esai. [...]2: 2. saying Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afra [...]ed; for the Lord Ie hovah is my strength, & my song▪ He also is become my salvation,

3. when they much question, if ever they have indeed laid hold on Christ; and so cannot go to Him, for the supply of their wants and necessities.

4. When moreover they question, if they be allowed of God, and warranted to come to Him, and lay hold upon Him: yea and they think they have many arguments, whereby to maintaine this their unbeleefe, and justify their keeping aback from Christ.

[Page 346]5. Or when, if they look to Him at all, it is with much mixture of faithlesse fears that they shall not be the better: or, at least, doubting whether it shall be to their advantage or not.

6. This unbeleef will advance further, and they may come to that, not only to conclude, that they have no part or portion in Him▪ but also to con­clude, that their case is desperat and irremediable: and so say, there is no more hope, they are cut off for their part, as Ezech. 37: 11. and so lye▪ by as dead and forelorne.

7. Yea they may come higher, and vent some desperat thoughts and expressions of God, to the great scandal of the godly, and to the dishonour of God.

8. And yet more, they may come that length, to question all the promises, and cry out, with Da­vid in his haste, Psal. 116: 11. that all men are liars.

9. Yea they may come to this, to account the whole gospel, to be nothing but a heap of delusions, and a cunningly devised fable, or but mere notions and fancies.

10. And at length come to question, if there be a God, that ruleth in the Earth.

These are dreadful degrees and steps of this hor­rid distemper, and enough to make all flesh tremble.

Let us see next, whence this cometh. The causes hereof we may reduce to three heads.

First. The holy Lord hath a holy hand in this, and hath noble ends and designes before Him, in this matter: as

1. The Lord may think good to order matters [Page 347] thus, that He may magnifie his power and grace, in reseueing such, as were returned to the very brinke of hell, and seemed to many to be lost and irrecoverably gone.

2. Tha [...] in punishing them thus, for giving way to the first motions of unbeleefe, he might warne all to guaird against such an evil, and not to foster and give way to groundlesse complaints, nor intertaine objections, moved against their condi­tion by the devil.

3. To warne all to walk circumspectly, and to worke-out their salvation with fear and trembling, not knowing what may befal them, ere they die.

4. To teach all to walk humbly, not knowing what advantage Satan may get of them, ere all be done; and to see their dayly need of Christ to stren­then their faith, and to keep their grips of Him fast.

5. So the Lord may think good to dispense so with some, that he may give a full proof of his won­derfully great patience and longanimity, in bearing with such▪ and that so long.

6. As also to demonstrate his Soveraignity, in measureing out his dispensations to his own, as he seeth will most glorifie himself.

Next, Satan hath an active hand in this, for

1. He raiseth clouds and mists in the believer, so that he cannot see the work of God within him­self, and so is made to cry out, that he hath no grace, and that all was but delusions, and imagi­nations, which he looked upon as grace before.

2. He raiseth up in them jealousies of God, and of all his wayes, and puts a false glosse and constru­ction [Page 348] on all, which God doth, to the end he may confirme them in their jealousies, which they have drunk in of God.

3. Having gained this ground, he worketh then upon their corruption, with very great ad­vantage; and thus driveth them from evil to worse, and not only to question their present interest in Christ, but also to quite all hope for the time to come.

4. This being done, he driveth the soul yet fur­ther, and filleth it with prejudices against God & his glorious truthes; and from this he can easily bring them to call all in question.

5. Yea he will represent God as an enemy to them; and when this is done, how easie is it with him to put them on desperat courses, and cause them speak wickedly and desperatly of God?

6. And when this is done, he can easily darken the understanding, that the poor soul shall not see the glory of the gospel, and of the covenant of grace, nor the lustre and beauty of holinesse: yea and raise prejudices against the same, because there is no hope of partaking of the benefite thereof and so bring them on, to a plaine questioning of all, as [...]eer delusions.

7. And when he hath gotten them brought this length▪ he hath faire advantage to make them que­stion if there be a God and so drive them forward to Atheisme. And thus deceitfully he can carry the soul from one step to another.

But thirdly. There are many sinful causes of this, within the man self as

1. Pride and haughtinesse, of minde, as think­ing [Page 349] their mountain standeth so strong, that it can­not be moved: and this provoketh God to hide his face, as, Psal. 30.

2. Self confidence, a concomitant of pride, sup­posing themselves to be so well rooted, that they cannot be shaken, whileas it were better for them to walk in feare.

3. Want of watchfulnesse over a deceitful heart, and an evil heart of unbeleef, that is still departing from the living God, Heb. 3: 12. It is good to be jealous here.

4. Giving way to doubtings and questionings too readyly at first. It is not good to tempt the Lord by parlying too much and too readyly with Sa­tan Eva's practice might be a warning sufficient to us.

5. Not living in the sight of their wants, and of their dayly necessity of Christ, nor acting faith upon Him dayly, for the supplying of their wants: and when faith is not used, it may contract rust and be weakned, and come at length not to be dis­cer [...]ed.

6. Intertaining of jealous thoughts of God, and harkening too readyly to any thing, that foster and increase, or confirme these.

7. Not delighting themselves in, and with plea­sure dwelling on the thoughts of Christ, of his offices, of the gospel, and promises; so that these come at length to lose their beauty and glory, in the soul, and have not the lustre that once they had; and this doth open a door to much mischiefe.

8. In a word, not walking with God, accord­ing [Page 350] to the gospel, provoketh the Lord to give them up to themselves for a time.

We come now to the Third particular, which is to show, How Chist is life to the poor soul in this case. And for the clearing of this, consider

1. That Christ is the author and finisher of faith, Heb 12: 2. and so, as He did rebuke unbeleef at the first, he can rebuke it againe.

2. That He is the great Prophet, clearing up the gospel, and every thing, that is necessary for us to know, bringing life and immortality to light by the gospel, 2 Tim. 1: 11. and so manifesting the lustre and beauty of the gospel.

3. He bringeth the promises home to the soul, in their reality, excellency, and truth, being the faithful witness and the Amen, Revel 3: 14. and the confirmer of the promises, so that they are all yea and Amen in him, 2 Cor. 1: 20. And this serv­eth to establish the soul in the faith, and to shoot­out thoughts of unbeleefe.

4. So doth He, by his Spirit, dispel the mists & clouds, which Satan, through unbeleef, had raised in the soul.

5. And thereby also rebuketh those mistakes of God, and prejudices at Him and his wayes, which Satan hath wrought there, through corruption.

6. He discovereth himself to be a ready help in time of trouble▪ the hope and anchor of salvation, Heb. 6: 19 and a Priest living for ever to make in­tercession for poor sinners, Heb. 7: 25.

7. And hereby he cleareth up to the poor soul a possibility of helpe and reliefe; and thus rebuketh dispaire, or preventeth it.

[Page 351]8. He manifesteth himself to be the ma [...]ow and substance of the gospel: and this maketh every line thereof pleasant and beautiful to the soul and so freeth them from the prejudices that they had at it.

2. So in manifesting himself in the gospel, he revealeth the Father, that the soul cometh to the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Je­sus Christ, 2 Cor. 4: 6. and this saveth the soul from atheisme

10. When the soul cannot grippe Him, nor look to Him, yet He can look to the soul, and by his look quicken and revive the soul, and warme the heart with love to Him, and at length move and incline it sweetly to open to Him. And thus grippe and hold fast a lost sheep, yea and bring it home againe.

But what should a soul do in such a case. To this (which is the Fourth particular to be spoken to) I answere.

1. They would strive against those evils, for­merly mentioned, which procured or occasioned this distemper: a stop should be put to these malig­nant humors.

2. They would be careful to lay againe the foun­dation of solide knowledge of God, and of his glo­rious truthes, revealed in the gospel: and labour for the faith of God's truth and veracity: for till this be, nothing can be right in the soul.

3. They would be throughly convinced of the treacherie, deceitfulnesse, and wickednesse of their hearts, that they may see it is not worthie to be trust­ed, and that they may be jealous of it, and not hearken so readyly to it, as they have done, espe­cially [Page 352] seing Satan can prompt it to speak for his ad­vantage.

4. They would remember also, that it is divine helpe, that can recover them, and cause them grippe to the promises, and lay hold on them of new againe, as well as at the first, and that of themsel­ves, they can do nothing.

5. In useing of the meanes for the recovery of life, they would eye Christ, and because this eye­ing of Christ is faith, and their disease lyeth most there they would do as the Israelits did, who were stung in the eye with the serpents, they looked to the brazen serpent with the wounded and stung eye: so would they do with a sickly, and almost dead, faith, grip Him, and with an eye, almost put out and made blinde, look to Him, knowing how ready He is to help, and what a tender heart He hath.

6. And to confirme them in this resolution, they would take a new vieu of all the notable encourage­ments to beleeve, wherewith the whole gospel a­boundeth.

7. And withal, fix on Him, as the only author and finisher of faith.

8. And in a word, They would cast a wonder­derfully unbeleeving, and atheistical soul on Him, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in work­ing and is wonderful in mercy and grace, and in all his wayes. And thus may He at length, in his own time, and in the way that will most glorify Himself, raise up that poor soul, out of the grave of infidelity, wherein it was stincking; and so prov [...] [Page 353] Himself to be indeed the resurrection and the life, to the praise of the glory of his grace.

We come now to speak to another case, which is

CHAP. XXV. How Christ is to be made use of, as the life, by one that is so dead and senselesse, as he cannot know what to judge of himself, or his own case, except that it is naught.

WE spoke something to this very case upon the matter, when we spoke of Christ as the Truth. Yet we shall speak alittle to it here; but shall not enlarge particulars formerly mentioned: and there­fore we shall speak alittle to those five particulars; and so,

1. Shew, what this distemper is.

2. Shew, whence it proceedeth, and how the soul cometh to fall into it.

3. Shew, how Christ, as the life, bringeth a­bout a recovery out of it.

4. Shew how the soul is to be exercised, that it may obtaine a recovery: and

5. Answere some Questions or Objections.

As to the first: Beleevers many times may be so dead, as not only not to see and know, that they have an interest in Christ, and to be uncertaine, what to judge of themselvs; but also be so carried away with prejudices and mistakes, as that they will judge no otherwayes of themselves, than that [Page 354] their case is naught; yea and not only will'deny, or mis-call the good, that God hath wrought in them by his Spirit; but also reason themselves to be out of the state of grace, and a stranger to faith and to the workings of the Spirit: and hereupon will come to call all delusions, which some time they had felt, and seen in themselves: which is a sad distemper; and which grace in life would free the soul from.

This proceedeth (which is the second particular) partly from God's hideing of his face, and chang­ing his dispensations, about them, and compas­sing them with clouds; and partly from themselves, and their owne mistakes: as

1. Judging their state, not by the unchangable rule of truth; but by the outward dispensations of God, which change upon the best.

2. Judging their state by the observable mea­sure of grace within them; and so concludeing their state bad, because they observe corruption pre­vailing now and then, and grace decaying; and they perceive no victory over temptations, nor grouth in grace, &c.

3. Judging also their state by others; and so they suppose that they cannot be beleevers, because they are so unlike to others, whom they judge true beleevers. This is also to judge by a wrong rule.

4. Judging themselves by themselves, that is, because they look so unlike to what sometimes they were themselves, they conclude, that their state cannot be good, which is also a wrong rule to judge their State by.

5. Beginning to try and examine their [...]ase and [Page 355] State, and comeing [...]o no close or issue, so that when they have done, they are as uncleare and uncertaine, what to judge of themselves, as when they began: or

6. Taking little or no paines to try themselves seriously, as in the sight of God, but resting satis­fied with a superficial trial, which can come to no good issue.

7. Trying and examineing, but, through the slight of Satan, and because pitching upon wrong marks, comeing to no good issue, but condem­ning themselves without ground.

8. There is another thing which occasioneth this misjudging, to wit, the want of distinctnesse and clearnesse in covenanting with Christ, and the ignorance of the nature of true saving faith.

As to the third particular. How Chist is Life to the beleever in this case.

I Answere. Christ manifesteth himself to be life to the soul, in this case.

1. By sending the Spirit of life, that Enlighten­eth, Informeth, Perswadeth▪ and Sealeth.

2. By actuating grace so in the soul, that it ma­nifesteth it self, and evidenceth it self to be there, as the heate and burning of a fire will discover it self, without other toakens.

The fourth particular, to wit, how the soul should be exercised, or how it should imploy Christ, for an outgate out of this, hath been abundantly cleared above, where we shewed, that beleevers in this case would

1. Be frequent in griping Christ, and closeing with Him as their alsufficient Mediator: and faith [Page 356] thus frequently acting on Him, may discover it self at length.

2. Look to Christ, that hath eye salve, and is given for a witnesse.

3. Keep grips fast of Him, though they be in the dark, and walk on, griping to Him.

4. Keep love towards Him and his working, and in exercise.

5. Beg of Him to cleare up their state by his Spirit, explaining the true marks of grace, and discovering the working of grace in the soul.

But it will be said (and so I come to the last par­ticular) what if after all this, I remaine as for­merly, as unable to judge aright of my State, as ever?

Ans. Yet, thou would continue griping Christ, loving Him, looking to Him, casting a lost dead soul, with all thy wants, upon Him, and minde this as thy constant work. Yea, thou would labour to be growing in these direct acts of faith: and learne to submit to God herein, knowing that those reflect acts are not absolutely necessary, and that thou should think it much, if He bring thee to heaven at length, though covered with a cloud, all thy dayes.

Obj. 2. But others get much more clearnesse?

Ans. I grant that: yet know, that every one geteth not clearnesse, and such as have it, have it not in the same measure▪ and must God give thee as much as He giveth to any other? What if thou could not make [...]hat use of it, that others do, but wax proud thereby, and forget thy self? There­fore, it will be best to give God liberty to dispense [Page 357] his favours, as He will, and that thou be about [...]hy commanded duty, the exercise of faith, Love, Feare, Patience, &c.

Obj. 3▪ But if at any time I gote a sight of my case, it would be some peace and satisfaction [...]o me?

Ans. I grant that, & what knowest thou, but [...]hou may also get that favour ere thou die? Why [...]hen will thou not waite his leasure?

Obj. 4. But the want of it in the mean time maketh me go heartlesly and discouragedly about [...]ommanded duties, and maketh that I cannot ap­ply things distinctly to my self.

Ans. Yet the word of command is the same, [...]he offer is the same, and the encouragement is the same: why then should not thou be going [...]on, leaning to Christ in the wildernesse, even though thou want that comfortable sight?

Obj. 5. But it is one thing to want a cleare [...]ight of my state; it is another thing to judge my self, to be yet in the state of nature: and this is my case.

Ans. I grant this is the worste of the two: yet, [...]hat if thou misjudge thy self without ground▪ [...]hould thou not suffer for thine own folly? and [...]hom can thou blame but thy self? And if thou judge so, thou cannot but know▪ that it is thy duty to do the thing, that thou supposeth is not yet done, that is, run away to Christ for life and salvation, and rest on Him, and abide there: and if this were frequently renewed, the grounds of thy former mistake might be easily removed.

Yet further, I would adde those few things.

[Page 358]1. Take no pleasure in debateing against your own soul; for that is but to serve Satans designe.

2. Be not too rash or ready to drink-in prejudi­ces against the work of God, in your own souls: for that is to collude with Sathan against your selves.

3. Make much of any little light He is pleased to give, were it but of one mark; and be not ill to please: for one scriptural mark, as love to the brethren, may sufficiently evidence the thing.

4. See how thy soul would like the condition of such as are carnal, profane, carelesse in the mat­ters of God: and if thy soul doth really abhore that, and thou would not upon any account choose to be in such a case, thou may gather something from that, to thy comfort: But enough of this case here?

CHAP. XXVI. How is Christ as the Life to be applyed by a soul, that misseth God's favour and countenance.

THe sixt case, that we [...]hall speak a little to, is a deadnesse, occasioned by the Lord's hideing of himself, who is their Life▪ and the fountaine of life, Psal. 36: 9. and whose loving kindn [...]sse is bet­ter then life▪ Psal. 63: 3. and in whose favour is their life, Psal [...]0: 5. A case▪ which the frequent complaints of the Saints manifest to be rife enough. Concearning which we shall,

1. Shew some of the consequences of the Lord's [Page 359] hideing of his face, whereby the soul [...] case will appeare.

2. Shew the reasons of this dispensation.

3. Shew how Christ is life to the soul in this case, and

4. Point - out the souls duty; or how he is to make use of Christ, for a recovery.

As to the first, we may take notice of those par­ticulars,

1. They complaine of God's hideing of himself▪ and forsakeing them, Psal. 22: 1. my God my God, why hast thou forsaken me! and Psal. 13: 3. how long wilt thou forsake me? &c.

2. They cry out for a blaink of his face, and get i [...] not: for He hath withdrawn himself, Ps [...] [...] 1. How long wilt thou hide thy face from me. Heman Psal. 88. cryed out night and day, but yet God's face was hid vers▪ 1: 9, 14. The spouse seeketh long, Cant. 5. See Ps. 22: 1, 2.

3. They are looking for an outgate▪ but get none? And hope deferred maketh their heart sick, Prov. 13: 12.

4. They are in the dark, and cannot tell, why the Lord dispenseth so toward them: why (said He­man Psal. 88: 14▪) castest thou off my soul? why [...]idest thou thy face from me? They cannot under­stand wherefore it is. So Iob cryed out, Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me, Iob 10: 2.

5. They may also be walking, in the meane while, without light or counsel, so as they shall not [...] what to do. How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Psal. 13: 2.

6. Moreover▪ they may have their heart filled [Page 360] with sorrow; as we see, Psal. 13: 2. having sor­row in my heart, said David. He also sayeth, Ps. 38. that his sorrow was continually before him, vers. 17. and Psal. 116: 3. I found trouble and sorrow.

7. They may be so, as that the sweet expe­riences of others, may yeeld them no supply of comfort, at present, Psal. 22: 4, 5, 6. Our Fa­thers trusted in the (said David) and thou didest deliver them. They cryed unto thee, and were deli­vered; they trusted in thee, and were not con­founded. But that gave him no present ease or com­fort: for immediatly he addeth, vers. 6. But I am a worm and no man; a reproach of men▪ &c.

8. Yea all their own former experiences may yeeld them little solace: as we see in the same place, Psal. 22: 9, 10. compared with, vers. 14: 15. Thou art He (sayes he vers. 9) that took me out of the womb, &c. and yet he complaines, vers. 14. that he was poured out like water, and his bones out of joynt, that his heart was melted in the midst of his bowels▪ &c.

9. They may be brought neare to a giving over all in despondency; and be brought, in their sense, to the very dust of death▪ Psal 22: 16.

If it be enquired, why the Lord dispenseth so with his own people?

We answere, (and this is the Second particular) That he doth it for holy and wise reasons, whereof we may name a few, as

1. To punish their carelesnesse and negligence▪ as we see he did with the Spouse, Cant. [...].

2. To chastise them for their ill improving of his favour▪ and kindeness [...], when they had [...] as the same passage evidenceth.

[Page 361]3. To check them for their security and carnal confidence, as He did David Psal. 30: 6, 7. when he said his mountaine stood strong, and he should never be moved: then did the Lord hide his face, and he was troubled.

4. To try if their obedience to his commands be pure and consciencious, and not in a sort merce­nary, because of his lifting - up upon them the light of his countenance: and to see if conscience to a command driveth them to duty, when they are in the dark, and have no encouragement.

5. To put the graces of the Spirit to tryal, and to exercise; as their Faith, Patience, Hope, Love &c. Psal. 13: 5, 6. & 22: 24.

6. To awaken them from their security, and to set them to a more diligent following of duty: as we see in the Spouse, Cant. 5.

7. To sharpen their desire and hunger after Him, as that same instance cleareth.

Even in such a case as this, Christ is life to the soul, (which is the Third particular)

1. By taking away the sinful causes of such a di­stance, having laid down his life, and shed his blood: for the remission of their sins; so that such a dispensation is not flowing from pure wrath; but is rather an act of mercy and love.

2. By advocating the poor [...]ans cause in heaven, where he His makeing Intercession for His own, and thereby obtaining a delivery from that condition, in God's own time, even the shining againe of his countenance upon them.

3. By keeping life in, as to habitual grace, and by breathing thereupon; so that it becometh [Page 362] lively and operative, even in such a winter day.

4. By supporting the soul under that dispensa­tion, and keeping it from fainting, through the secret influences of grace, which He conveyeth into the soul: as He did to the poor woman of Ca­naan, Math. 15.

5. By seting the soul a work, to use such mea­nes, as God hath appointed for a recovery; as to cry, to plead, to longe, to waite, &c. Their heart shall live that seek Him.

6. By teaching the soul to submit to, and ac­quiesce in what God doth; acknowledging his Righ­teousnesse, Greatnesse and Soveraignity: and this quietnesse of heart is its life.

7. By keeping the heart fast to the covenant of grace. So that, whatever come they will never quite that bargan, but they will trust in Him, though He should kill them; and they will adhere to the co­venant of grace, though they should be dragged through hell.

8. At length, when He seeth it fit and conve­nient, He quickeneth, by drawing-by the vaile, and filling the soul with joy, in the light of God's coun­tenance; and causing it to sing, as having the heart lifted up in the wayes of the Lord.

As to the last particular, concearning the duty of a soul in such a case, we say

1. He would humble himself under this dispen­sation, knowing that it is the great God with whom he hath to do; and that there is no contend­ing with Him: and that all flesh should stoop before Him.

2. He would justify God in all that He doth; [Page 363] and say with David Psal. 22: 3. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

3. He would look upon himself as unworthy of the least favour of that kinde: I am a worme (said David Psal. 22: 6.) and no man.

4. He would search-out his provocations, and run away to the fountain, the blood of Christ; that these may be purged away. and his conscience sprinkled from dead works, and his soul washen in the fountain opened to the house of David, for sin and for uncleannesse.

5. He must also imploy Christ, to discover to him more and more of his guiltinesse, whereby he had grieved the Spirit of God; and as sins are dis­covered to him, he would repent of them, and run away with them to the blood, that cleanseth from all sin. This was Elihu's advice to Iob▪ Cap. 34: vers. 31, 32. Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not of­fend. That which I see not, teach thou me, is I have done iniquity, I will do no more.

6. He would grip to Christ in the Covenant, and [...]est there, with joy and satisfaction: he would hold that fast, that he may ride out the storme in a darke night. Though he make not mine house to grow▪ said David, 2 Sam. 23: vers. 5. Yet this was all his salvation and all his desire, that He had made with him an everlasting Covenant, or­dered in all things and sure. The Spouse took this course, when he could not get a sight of Him, whom her soul loved, Cant. 6: vers. 3. and assert­ed her interest in Him. I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine.

[Page 364]7. He would be intertaining high, and loving thoughts of God, commending Him highly, let His dispensations be what they will. So did the Spouse, Cant. 5: vers. 10 - 16.

8. He would earnestly seek after Him. The Spouse did so, Cant. 5: vers. 6. the discourage­ment she met with at the hands of the watch men did not put her off her pursuite, Vers. 7. but she continued, yea was sick of love, Vers. 8. and here looks had a prevailing power with him, as we see, Cant. 6: vers. 5. where the Bridgroom uttered that most astonishing word, Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.

9. This new manifestation, which he is seeking for, must be expected in and through Jesus, who is the true Tabernacle, and he who was represent­ed by the Mercy - seat. He is the only trysting place, in Him alone will the Father be seen

10 He would also look to Him, for strength and support, in the meane time; and for grace, that he may be keeped from fainting, and may be help­ed to waite, til he come, who knoweth the fittest season, wherein to appeare.

But, it will be said, what if after all this, we get no outgate, but He hideth his face still from us?

I answere, Such would know, that life is one thing, and comfort is another thing: Grace is one thing, and warme blainks of Gods face is an­other. The one is necessary to the very being of a Christian, the other not; but only necessary to his comfortable being: and therefore they should be content, if God give them grace, though they [...]isse comfort for a time.

[Page 365]2. They would lairne to commit that matter to Christ, who knoweth how to give that which is good, and what is best for them.

3. They would be hanging on Him, for strength for duty; and, in his strength, seting about every commanded duty, and be exercising, Faith, Love, Patience, Hope, Desire, &c.

4. Let the well ordered covenant be all their sal­vation, and all their desire; and though they should not get a comfortable blaink of God's face, so long as they were here, yet holding fast this covenant they should at length be saved souls, and what would they have more? and when they get this, what will they misse?

CHAP. XXVII. How shall one make use of Christ, as the Life, when wreastling with an angry God because of sin?

THat we may give some satisfaction to this que­stion, we shall

1. Shew what are the ingredients in this case, or what useth to concurre in this distemper.

2. Shew some reasons, why the Lord is pleased to dispense thus with his people.

3. Shew how Christ is life to the soul in this case.

4. Shew the beleevers duty for a recovery: and

5. Adde a word or two of caution.

As to the first. There may be those parts of, or [...] in this distemper▪

[Page 366]1. God presenting their sins unto their vieu, so as they shall cry out, our sin is ever before us, Psal. 51: 3. and say, as it is Psal. 90: 8. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance: and so cause them see the Lord contending for sin, as the Church did, Esai. 59: we roare all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment but there is none, for salva­tion but it is far off from us: for our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testifie a­gainst us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them, &c.

2. Yea, God may bring upon them the iniqui­ties of their youth, as Iob speaketh Cap. 13: 26. and so bring upon them, or suffer conscience to charge them with their old sins, formerly repented of and pardoned. And this is more terrible: David is made to remember his original sin, Psal. 51.

3. And, as Iob speaketh, Cap. 15: 17. God may seem to be sealing up all their sins in a bag, that none of them may be lost or fall by, without being taken notice of; and, as it were, be gathering them together in a heape.

4. He may pursue sore with signes of wrath & dis­pleasure, because of those sinnes, as we see in Da­vid Psal. 4. & 38. & 51. and in several others of his people, chastened of the Lord because of their trangressions; whereof there are many instances in scripture.

5. Yea, and that for a considerable time toge­ther, and cause them cry out, with David Psal. 4: 3.—but thou O Lord how long!

6. And that not only with outward, but also [Page 367] with inward plagues. And strokes, as David's case cleareth, in the forecited Psalmes.

7. Yea and not only themselves, but even their posterity: as Davids childe was smiten with death, and the posterity of Manasses, who found mercy himself, 2 Chron. 33: 13. was caryed into captivity for his sin, 2 Kings 23: 26, 27.

8. Further, the Lord may deprive them of all their former joy and comfort, which made David cry out Psal. 51: 12. restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and grant me thy free Spirit.

9. And, which is yet more terrible, write their sin upon their judgment, as when He caused the sword and whoredom follow Davids house.

10. And finally, He may cause them feare utter offcasting as Psal. 51: 11. cast me not away (said he) from thy presence.

And this the Lord thinketh good to do (that we may speak a word to the second particular) for those and the like reasons.

1. To discover to them, and to all the world, how Just, Holy, and Righteous a God He is, that cannot approve of or beare with sin, even in his own children.

2. To make all fear and tremble before this great and holy God, who is terrible in his judgements, even when they come from a Fathers hand, that is not pursueing in pure anger and wrath, but cha­stening in love: Sure, all must think, that his dis­pensations with the wicked will be much more fear­ful and horrible, seing they are not yet reconciled unto Him through the blood of [...]esus.

3. To presse Believers more earnestly in to Christ, [Page 368] that they may get a new extract of their pardon▪ and their souls washen in the blood of Iesus.

4. To teach them to walk more circumspectly afterward, and to guaird more watchfully against Satans temptations, and to imploy Christ more as their Strength, Light and Guide.

5. To cause them see their great obligation to Jesus Christ, for delivering them from that state of wrath, wherein they were by nature, as well as o­thers, and would have lyen-in to all eternity, had not He redeemed them.

6. To exercise their Faith, Patience and Hope; to see if in hope, they will beleeve against hope, and lay hold on the strength of the Lord, that they may make peace with him, Esai. 27: 5.

7. To give a fresh proof of his wonderful Mer­cy, Grace, Love, and Compassion, upholding the soul, in the meane time, & at length, pardoning them, and speaking peace to their souls through the blood of Jesus.

But as to the third particular. We may look on Christ, as the Life to the soul in this case, upon those accounts.

1. He hath satisfied justice, and so hath borne the pure wrath of God due for their sinnes: He hath troden the winepresse alone, Esai. 63: 3. He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our sins, Esai. 53: 5, 10. And therefore they drink not of this cup, which would make them drunk, and to stagger, and fall, and never rise againe.

2. Yea, He hath procured, that mercy and love shall accompany all those sharpe dispensations; and that they shall flow from mercy; yea and that [Page 369] they shall be as a covenanted blessing, promised in he covenant, Psal. 89: 30, 31, 32, 33.

3. And sometimes He is pleased to let them see this clear difference betwixt the strokes they lye un­der, and the judgments of pure wrath, which at­tend the wicked: and this supporteth the soul: for then he seeth, that those dispensations, how sharpe so ever they be, shall work together for good to him, and come from the hand of a gracious and loving Father, reconciled in the blood of Christ.

4. He is a Prince exalted to give repentance and remission of sins to Israel, Act. 5: 31. Yea, He hath procured such a clause in the covenant, which is wel ordered in all things and sure, that upon their renewing of faith and repentance, their after sin shall be pardoned; and besides the promises of faith and repentance, in the covenant, His being [...] Prince exalted to give both, giveth assurance o [...] their receiving of both.

5. He cleareth to them their interest in the Co­venant, and their right to the promises of the Cove­nant; and through their closeing with Christ▪ b [...] faith, He raiseth up their heart in hope, & cause [...] them to exspect an outgate, even remission of the [...] sins, and turning a way of the displeasure in due tim [...] through Him: and this is a great part of their life▪

6. Being the author and finisher of faith, [...] [...] Prince to give repentance, He, by His Spirit, worketh up the soul to a renewing of its grips o [...] Himself, by faith, and to a [...]uning to the death and blood of Christ for pardon, and washing: and worketh godly sorrow in the heart; whereupon fol­loweth [Page 370] Pardon, according to the gospel consti­tution, though the beleever as yet perceiveth it not. And sin being pardoned before God, con­forme to the tenor of the covenant of grace, the man is a living man, whatever feares of death, he may be keeped under for a time.

7. He helpeth also the soul to a justifying of God, and to a holy submissive frame of Spirit, under that dispensation; so that they are willing to beare the in­dignation of the Lord, because they have sinned a­gainst Him, Micah. 7: 9. and to waite for an outgate in God's own time: and to kisse the rod, and accept of the punishment of their sin.

8. When He seeth it fit for his own glory, and their advantage, He speaketh peace at length to the soul, and sayeth, Son or daughter, be of good cheer, thy sinnes are forgiven thee. And then is the soul restored to life.

As to the fourth particular. The soul that is wreastling with an angry God for sin, and would make use of Christ as the life, would do those things,

1. He would look to Christ, as standing under God's curse in our room, and as satisfying justice for all the elect, and for all their sinnes.

2. He would eye the covenant, wherein new pardon is promised, upon the renewing of faith and repentance.

3. He would eye Christ, as the great Lord dis­pensator of both Faith and Repentance, and hing on Him for both; and thus beleeve, that he may beleeve and repent, or lay his soul open to Him, that He may work in him both Repentance and Faith.

[Page 371]4. He would flee to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than the blood of Abel, that he may be washen, and sprinkled with hysope, as Da­vid did Psal. 51: 7.

5. He would eye Christ as a prince, to pardon, and give remission of sins, and as exalted for this end, and would fix his eye upon Him, as now exalt­ed in glory for this end.

6. He would close with Christ of new, as his only alsufficient mediator; and, having done this, and repented of his sins, whereby God hath been provoked, he would conclude through faith, that a pardon is past in the court of heaven, conforme to the tenor of the gospel, and waite on Christ, until the intimation come.

As for the cautions, which I promised to speak to, in the last place, take those few

1. Do not conclude there is no pardon, because there is no intimation thereof made to thy soul, as yet. According to the dispensation of grace, con­descended upon in the gospel, pardon is had imme­diatly upon a souls beleeving and repenting; But the intimation, sense, and feeling of pardon, is a distinct thing, and may, for several ends, be long [...]eeped-up from the soul; Sure, they go not alwa­yes together.

2. Do not conclude, there is no pardon, be­cause the rode, that was inflicted for sin, is not as yet taken off▪ God pardoned Davids sin, and did intimate the same to Him by Nathan, and yet the sword did not depart from his house till he died: God can forgive, and yet take vengeance on their in ven­ [...]ions, Psal. 99▪ 8.

[Page 372]3. Do not upon this ground, question God's Faithfulnesse, or conclude that God's covenant doth not stand fast: He is the same, and the cove­nant abideth fast and firme; but the change is in thee.

4. Do not think, that because thou hast once received Christ, that therefore, without any new act of faith on Him, or of repentance towards God, thou should immediatly be pardoned of thy sinnes, as soon as they are committed: for the gospel methode must be followed, and it should satis­fie us.

CHAP. XXVIII. No man cometh to the Father but by me.

THis being added for furder confirmation of what was formerly said, will pointe out unto us several necessary truthes: as

First. That it is most necessary, to be sound and cleare in this fundamental point, of coming to God, only in and through Christ: for

1. It is the whole marrow of the gospel.

2. It is the [...]inge of all our salvation, Christ is the chiefe cornerstone, Esa. 28: 16. 1 Pet. 1: 5, 6. and

3. The only ground of all our solide and true peace and comfort.

4. An errour, or a mistake here, is most dan­gerous, hazarding, if not ruineing, all

5. Satan endeavours mainely against this, raiseth [Page 373] up heresies, errours and false opinions, and prompt­eth some to vent perplexing doubts and objections, & all to darken this cardinal point▪ So doth he muster up all his temptations for this end, at length, to keep poor souls from acquantance with this way, and from making use of it, or entering into it.

6. Our corrupt hearts are most averse from it, and will close with any way, how troublesome, how expensive and costly so ever it may seem to be, rather than with this.

7. There are a multitude of false wayes, as we did shew above.

All which cleare up this necessity, and should teach us to be very diligent to win to acquantance with it▪ and to make sure that we are in it, and to hold it fast, and to keep it pure in our practise, with­out mixing any thing with it, or corrupting of it.

Secondly. That it is no small difficulty to get this truth beleeved and practised, that through Christ alone we come to the Father. Therefore is the same thing asserted and inculcated againe, upon the matter: for

1. Nature will not teach this way, it is far above nature.

2. Yea our natural inclination is much against it, opposing it, and fighting against it.

3. This way is altogether contrary to that high esteem, which naturally all of us have of ourselves.

4. And is opposite to that pride of heart, which naturally we are subject to.

5. Yea there is nothing in us by natur, that will willingly comply with this way: but, on the contrary, all is opposite thereunto.

[Page 374]6. And therefore it is the Christians first lesson, to deny himself.

The consideration of which should humble us, and make us very jealous of our own hearts and in­clinations, and of all those courses, which they are inclineable to, and bent upon. And it should put us to try, if ever we have overcome this difficulty: and have now all our hopes and comforts founded on Him, and on nothing else: and are up or down in our peace and joy, according as we win in to Him, or are shut out from Him: and in all our approaches to God, upon whatsoever account, are leaning to Him and resting on Him alone, exspecting accesse, acceptance, and a hearing, only in Him; and are quieted under all our feares and temptations with this, that Christ is our way to the Father.

Thirdly. That even beleevers have need to have this truth inculcated often: for

1. Satan is busie pulling them off this ground, by all the wiles and temptations he can.

2. Their own corruption within, and the evil heart of unbeleefe, is alwayes opposeing this way, and drawing them off it.

3. Through the slight of Satan, and the power of corruption, they are oftimes declineing from this pure gospel way.

4. The experience of beleevers can tell, that when they a [...]e at their best, it is a great work and exercise to them, to keep their heart right in this matter.

5. Is it not too oft seen, that they are under the spiritual plague of formality, which stealeth them off their feet here?

[Page 375]6. And is it not found oftentimes, that they are too too ready to leane to some thing beside Christ?

How ought all to be convinced of this, and humbled under the sense of it? And see also how necessary it is to be oft preaching on this subject, and to be oft thinking upon and studying this funda­mental truth.

Fourthly. It should be a strong motive and inci­tement to us to make use of Christ, as the way to the Father, That no man cometh to the Father but by Him: for this may be looked upon as an argument, enforceing their usemaking of Him, as the way.

Fiftly. It discovereth the ground of that truth, that there are but few that are saved; for none com­eth to the Father but by Him: few, in respect of the whole world, once heare of Him▪ and of such as hear of Him, few have the true way of imploying and applying him, as the way to the Father, clear­ed up unto them: and againe▪ of such as have the truth, as it is in Jesus, preached unto them, O how few go to Him, and make use of Him according to the truth, and beleeve and practise the truth▪

Sixtly. That in and through Christ alone we must come.

1. To the Knowledge of the Father: for no man knoweth the Father but the son: and He alone, who came out of the bosome of the Father, reveal­eth Him.

2. To the Favour and Friendship of the Father: for He alone is our pea [...]e, and in Him alone is the Father well pleased.

4. To the Kingdome of the Father here: for He [Page 376] only is the door, Iohn. 10. and by his Spirit are we effectually called.

4. To the Kingdome of the Father above: for He alone hath opened that door, and is entered into the holiest of all, as our forerunner, and is gone to prepare a place for us.

5. Through Him alone must we addresse our­selves to the Father, in our supplications, Iohn. 16: 23. Revel. 8: 3. in our thanksgivings Rom. 1: 8▪ Col. 3: 17. and praise Heb. 13: 15. Ephes. 3: 21.

6. Through Him alone have we accesse, and an open door to the Father, Ephes. 2: 18. & 3: 21. Heb. 4: 16.

I shall only speak to one case here. viz.

CHAP. XXIX. How should we make use of Christ, in going to the Father, in prayer and other pieces of worship?

IN short, for answering of this question, I shall lay down those particulars.

1. There would be a lively sense of the infinite distance, that is betwixt the great God, and us finite creaturs; and yet more betwixt the holy God and us sinful wreatches.

2. There would be an eyeing of Christ, as the great peacemaker through his death and merites, having satisfied justice, and reconciled sinners unto God; that so we may look on God now, no more [Page 377] as an enemie, but as reconciled in Jesus.

3. There would be, sometimes at least, a more formal, and explicite actual closeing with Christ as ours, when we are going about such duties: and alwayes an implicite and virtual imbraceing of Him as our mediator; or an habitual hanging upon Him, and leaning to Him as our mediator, and Peacemaker.

4. There would be an eyeing of Him as our great Highpriest, now living for ever to make intercession for us, and to keep the door of heaven open to us: upon which account the Apostle presseth the Hebre­ewes to come boldly to the throne of grace, Heb. 4: 14, 16. See also Heb. 7: 24, 25.

5. There would be a griping to Him, even in reference to that particular act of worship, and a laying hold upon Him, to speak so, as our Master usher, to bring us by the hand in to the Father, as conscious of our own unworthinesse.

6. There would be a confident leaning to Him, in our approching; and so we would approachin Him, without fear or diffidence. And that not­withstanding that we finde not our souls in such a good frame▪ as we would wish, yea and guilt looking us in the face.

7. Thus would we roll all the difficulties, that come in our way, and all the discouragements, which we meet with, on Him, that He may take away the one and the other, and helpe us over the one and the other.

8. As we would take an answer to all objecti­ons from Him alone, and put Him to remove all scruples, and difficulties, and strengthen ourselves [Page 378] against all impediments and discouragments, alone, in and through Him, so there would be the bring­ing of all our positive encouragements from Him alone, and all our hopes of coming speed with the Father should be grounded upon Him.

9. We would ex [...]pect all our welcome and ac­ceptance with the Father, only in & through Christ, and expect nothing for any thing in ourselves, not for our graces, good frame, preparation, or any thing of that kinde. So we would not found our acceptance, nor our peace and satisfaction, on our­selves, nor on any thing we have, or do; nor would we conclude our exclusion or want of accep­tance, because we do not apprehend our frame so good as it ought to be; so we should not found our acceptance on our right performance of duties, for that is not Christ.

10. We would quiet ourselves on Him alone, in all our approaches, whatever livelinesse we finde, or misse in the duty▪ we are too much tickled and faine, when duties go well with us, and troubled upon the other hand, when it is not so; and the ground of all this, is, because we leane too much to our own duties, and do not quiet ourselvs on Him alone: and hence itis, that we are oft quieted when we get the duty done and put by, though we have not met with Him there, nor goten use made of Him, as was necessary. All our comfort, peace and quiet would be founded on Him alone.

11. We would look to Him for the removal of all the discouragments, that Satan casts in our way, while we are about this or that piece of wor­ship, to put us back, or to cause us advance slow­ly [Page 379] and faintingly: and, casting them all on Him, goe forward in our duty.

12. We would look for all our returns and ans­wers only in and through Him, and lay all the weight of our hopes and exspectation of a good ans­wer only on Him, [...] Iohn. 5: 13, 14, 15.

For Caution I would adde a word or two.

1. I do not think, that the beleever can explicitely and distinctly act all these things, when ever he is going to God; or can distinctly perceive all these several acts: nor have I specified them, and parti­cularly mentioned then thus, for this end; but to shew at some length, how Christ is to be imployed in those acts of worship, which we are called to performe; and that because, we ofttimes think the simple nameing of Him, and asking of things for His sake, is sufficient, though our hearts leane more to some other thing, than to Him: and the conscientious christian will find his soul, when he is rightly going about the duties of worship, look­ing towards Christ thus, sometimes more distinctly and explicitely as to one particular, & sometimes more as to another.

2. Though the beleever cannot distinctly act saith on Christ, all these wayes, when he is going about commanded duties of worship; yet he would be sure to have his heart going out after Christ, as the only ground of his approaching to, and acceptance with, and of being heard by the Father; and to have his heart in such an habitual frame of resting on Christ, that really there may be a relying upon Him, all these wayes, though not distinctly discerned.

[Page 380]3. Sometimes the beleever will be called to be more distinct and explicite in looking to, and resting upon Christ, as to one particular, and sometimes more as to another: when Satan is dis­swading him to go to God, because He is an in­finite holy one, and he himself is but a sinner: then he is called to act faith on Christ as the mediator, making reconciliation betwixt God and sinners: and when Satan is disswading from approaching to God, because of their want of an interest in God▪ then should they act faith on Christ, and im­brace him, according to the gospel, and rest there, and so approach. And when Satan casts up his un­worthinesse and former sins, to keep him aback, or to discourage him, then he is called to lay hold on Christ, as the great Highpriest, and advocate; and, casting that discouragement on Him, to goe forward. So likewise when Satan is discourageing him in his duty, by bringing before him his sins, he should take this course. And when, because of his sinful way of worshiping God and calling upon him, and other things, he is made to feare, that all is in vaine, that neither God regairdeth him, nor his service, and that he shall not come speed, than should he cast all the burden of his acceptance, and of obtaining what he asketh and desireth, on Christ, and quiet himself there: and so as to the rest: and hence appeareth the usefulnesse of our branching-out of this matter.

4. In all this, there must be an acting in the strength of Jesus: a looking to Christ and resting up­on Christ, according to the present case and neces­sity, in Christ; that is, by his strength and grace [Page 381] communicated to us by his Spirit. Then do we worshipe God in the Spirit, and in the newnesse of the Spirit, when all is done in the matter of worship; in and through Jesus.

FINIS.

A Table of the Chapters.

Chap. I,
THe Introduction, with some general Ob­servations from the cohesion. Pag. 1
Chap. II.
Of the Words themselves in general. 16
Chap. III.
How Christ is the Way in general. 20
Chap. IIII.
How Christ is made use of, for justification. 41
Chap. V.
How Christ is the Way, for sanctification, in ge­neral. 72
Chap. VI.
How Christis to be made use of, for killing and crucifying the old man of sin. 100
Chap. VII.
How Christ is to be made use of, for grouth in grace. 1 [...]3
[Page]Chap. VIII.
How Christ is to be made use of, for taking a­way the guilt of our dayly outbreakings. 155
Chap. IX.
How Christ is to be made use of, for cleansing us from our dayly spots. 179
Chap. X.
Some generals clearing how Christ is the Truth. 200
Chap. XI.
More particularly, in what respects Christ is called the Truth. 206
Chap. XII.
Some general Uses from this useful truth, that Christ is the Truth. 209
Chap. XIII.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Truth, for grouth in knowledge. 226
Chap. XIIII.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Truth, for comfort, when truth is oppressed and born down. 238
Chap. XV.
How Christ is to be made use of, for stedfastness▪ in a time when truth is oppressed and born down. 245
Chap. XVI.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Truth when the Spirit o [...] errour prevaileth. 25 [...]
Chap. XVII.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Truth [Page] for geting of our case and condition cleared up. 268
Chap. XVIII.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Truth, to the end we may get right and suteable thoughts of God. 277
Chap. XIX.
How Christ is the Life. 284
Chap. XX.
Some general Uses of Christ's being the Life. 299
Chap. XXI.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Life, when we are so sitten-up in the wayes of God▪ that we can do nothing. 314
Chap. XXII.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Life, when we are heartless and fainting through dis­couragments, 322
Chap. XXIII.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Life, when we are dead, as to doing of duties. 334
Chap. XXIIII.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Life, when we are under the prevailing power of un­beleef and infidelity. 344
Chap. XXV.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Life, when we cannot know▪ what to judge of our case. 353
[Page]Chap. XXVI.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Life, by one that misseth God's favour▪ 358
Chap. XXVII.
How Christ is to be made use of, as the Life, when we have to do with an angry God because of sin▪ 365
Chap. XXVIII.
The last words of the Text explained, with some Observations thence deduced. 372
Chap. XXIX.
How Christ is to be made use of, in going to the Father, in prayer, and other acts of Worship. 376
FINIS.

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