The Barren Fig-tree: OR, The Doom & Downfal of the Fruitless Professor.

Shewing, That the Day of Grace may be past with him long before his Life is ended.

The Signs also by which such mise­rable Mortals my be known.

By JOHN BVNYAN. —who being dead, yet speaketh, Heb. 11. 4.

To which is added, His Exhortation to Peace and Unity among all that fear God.

LONDON; Printed for J. Robinson, at the Golden Lion in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1688.

To the Reader.

Courteous Reader,

I Have written to thee now about the Barren Fig-tree, or how it will fare with the Fruitless Pro­fessor that standeth in the Vineyard of God.

Of what Complexion thou art, I cannot certainly divine, but the Pa­rable tells thee, that the Cumber-ground must be cut down.

A Cumber-ground Professor, is not only a provocation to God, a stumbling-block to the World, and a blemish to Religion, but a snare to his own Soul also. Though his Excel­lency mount up to the Heavens, and [Page] his Head reach unto the Clouds, yet he shall perish for ever, like his own dung, they that have seen him, shall say, Where is he? Job 20. 6.

Now they count it pleasure to riot in the day-time, 2 Pet. 2. 13, 14. but what will they do when the Ax is fetcht out?

The Tree whose Fruit withereth, is reckoned a Tree without Fruit, a Tree twice dead, one that must be pluck'd up by the Roots, Jude 12.

O thou Cumber-ground, God ex­pects Fruit, God will come seeking Fruit shortly.

My Exhortation therefore is to Professors, that they look to it, that they take heed.

The Barren Fig-tree in the Vine­yard, and the Bramble in the Wood, are both prepared for the Fire.

Profession is not a Covert to hide from the Eye of God; nor will it pal­liate the revengeful Threatning of his Justice, he will command to cut it down shortly.

[Page] The Church and a Profession, are the best of places for the Upright, but the worst in the World for the Cumber-ground: He must be cast, as profane, out of the Mount of God; Cast, I say, over the Wall of the Vineyard, there to wither; thence to be gathered and burned. It had been better for them that they had not known the Way of Righteousness, 2 Pet. 2. 21. And yet if they had not, they had been damned; but it is better to go to Hell without, than in, or from under a Profession: These shall receive greater Damnation, Luke 20. 47.

If thou be a Professor, read and tremble; If thou be Profane, do so likewise. For if the righteous scarce­ly be saved, where shall the Ungod­ly and Sinners appear? Cumber-ground, Take heed of the Ax; Bar­ren Fig-tree, beware of the Fire.

But I will keep thee no longer out of the Book; Christ Jesus, the Dresser [Page] of the Vine-yard, take care of thee, dig about thee, and dung thee, that thou maist bear Fruit: That when the Lord of the Vineyard cometh with his Ax to seek for Fruit, or pronounce the Sentence of Damnation on the Barren Fig-tree, thou mayest escape that judgment. The Cumber-ground must to the Wood-pile, and thence to the Fire.

Farewel. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus in Sincerity. Amen.
J. Bunyan.

The Barren Fig-tree: OR, The Doom and Downfal of the fruitless Professor.

Luke 13. 6, 7, 8, 9.‘A certain Man had a Fig-tree planted in his Vineyard, and he came and sought Fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he to the Dresser of his Vineyard, Behold, these three Years I come seeking Fruit on this Fig-tree, and find none: cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering, said, Lord, let it alone this Year also, until I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear Fruit, well: and if not, [Page 2] then after that thou shalt cut it down.’

AT the beginning of this Chapter we read, how some of the Jews came to Jesus Christ, to tell him of the cruelty of Pontius Pilate, in mingling the Blood of the Galileans with their Sacrifices. An heathenish and prodigious Act: for therein he shewed, not only his Malice against the Jewish Nation, but also against their Worship, and consequently their God. An Action, I say, not only Heathenish, but prodi­gious also; for the Lord Jesus paraphra­sing upon this Fact of his, teacheth the Jews, that without Repentance, they should all Likewise perish. Likewise, that is, by the Hand and Rage of the Roman Em­pire: Neither should they be more able to avoid the Stroke, than were those eighteen upon whom the Tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, Luke 19. 42, 43, 44. The fulfilling of which Prophecy, for their hardness of Heart, and Impeniten­cy, was in the days of Titus Son of Ve­spasian, about forty Years after the Death of Christ. Then, I say, were these Jews, and their City both, environed [Page 3] round on every side, wherein both they and it, to amazement, were miserably overthrown. God gave them Sword, and Famine, Pestilence, and Blood, for their outrage against the Son of his Love: So Wrath came on them to the uttermost, 1 Thess. 2. 16.

Now to prevent their old and foolish Salvo, which they always had in readi­ness against such Prophecies and Denun­ciations of Judgment, the Lord Jesus presents them with this Parable, in which he emphatically shews them, that their cry of being the Temple of the Lord, and of their being the Children of Abraham, &c. and their being the Church of God, would not stand them in any stead. As who should say, It may be you think to help your selves against this my Prophecy, of your utter and unavoidable over­throw, by the Interest which you have in your outward Priviledges: But all these will fail you; for what think you, A certain Man had a Fig-tree planted in his Vineyard, and he came and sought Fruit thereon, and found none. This is your Case, The Jewish Land is God's Vine­yard, I know it; and I know also, that you are the Fig-trees. But behold, there [Page 4] wanteth the main thing, Fruit; for the sake, and in expectation of which, he set this Vineyard with Trees. Now, seeing the Fruit is not found amongst you; the Fruit, I say, for the sake of which he did at first plant this Vineyard; what re­mains, but that in Justice he command to cut you down, as those that cumber the Ground, that he may plant himself ano­ther Vineyard. Then said he to the Dresser of his Vineyard, Behold, these three Years I come seeking Fruit on this Fig-tree, and find none; cut it down, why cumbreth it the Ground? This therefore must be your End, altho you are planted in the Garden of God, for the barrenness and unfruitful­ness of your Hearts and Lives, you must be cut off, yea, rooted up, and cast out of the Vineyard.

In Parables there are two Things to be taken notice of, and to be enquired into of them that read.

First, The Metaphors made use of.

Secondly, The Doctrine, or Mysteries couched under such Metaphors.

The Metaphors in this Parable are; (1.) A certain Man. (2.) A Vineyard. [Page 5] (3.) A Fig-tree, barren or fruitless. (4.) A Dresser. (5.) Three Years. (6.) Digging and Dunging, &c.

The Doctrine, or Mystery, couched under these words, is to shew us, What is like to become of a fruitless or formal Professor. For,

1. By the Man in the Parable, (Luk. 15. 11.) is meant God the Father.

2. By the Vineyard, (Isa. 5. 7.) his Church.

3. By the Fig-tree, a Professor.

4. By the Dresser, the Lord Jesus.

5. By the Fig-tree's barrenness, the Professor's fruitlesness.

6. By the three Years, the Patience of God, that for a time he extendeth to barren Professors.

7. This calling to the Dresser of the Vineyard to cut it down, is to shew, the outcries of Justice against fruitless Pro­fessors.

8. The Dresser's interceding, is to shew, how the Lord Jesus steps in, and takes hold of the Head of his Father's Ax, to stop, or at least to defer present exe­cution a barren Fig-tree.

9. The Dresser's desire to try to make the Fig-tree fruitful, is to shew you, [Page 6] How unwilling he is that ever a barren Fig-tree, should yet be barren, and perish.

10. His digging about it, and dung­ing of it, is to shew his willingness to ap­ply Gospel-helps to this barren Professor, if happily he may be fruitful.

11. The Supposition that the Fig-tree may yet continue fruitless, is to shew, that when Christ Jesus hath done all, There are some Professors will abide barren and fruitless.

12. The Determination upon this Sup­position, at last to cut it down, is a cer­tain prediction of such Professors unavoida­ble and eternal Damnation.

But to take this Parable into pieces, and to discourse more particularly, tho with all brevity, upon all the parts thereof.

A certain Man had a Fig-tree planted in his Vineyard.]

The Man, I told you, is to present us with God the Father, by which Simili­tude He is often set out in the New-Testament.

Observe then, That it is no new thing, if you find in God's Church, [Page 7] barren Fig-trees, fruitless Professors; e­ven as here you see is a Tree, a fruitless Tree, a fruitless Fig-tree in the Vineyard. Fruit is not so easily brought forth, as a Profession is got into; 'tis easy for a Man to cloath himself with a fair show in the flesh, to word it, and say, Be thou warmed and filled with the best. 'Tis no hard thing to do these with other things; but to be fruitful, to bring forth fruit to God, this doth not every tree; No not every Fig-tree, that stands in the Vineyard of God. Them words also, Joh. 15. 2. [Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away,] assert the same thing. There are branches in Christ, in Christ's Body mystical, (which is his Church, his Vineyard) that bear not Fruit, wherefore the Hand of God is to take them away. I looked for Grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes, Isa. 5. 4. that is, no fruit at all that was acceptable with God. Again, Hos. 10. 1. Israel is an empty Vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself, none to God; he is without Fruit to God. All these, with many more, shew us the truth of the Observation, and that God's Church [Page] may be cumbered with fruitless Fig-trees, with barren Professors.

Had a [Fig-tree.]

Although there be in God's Church that be barren and fruitless; yet, as I said, to see to, they are like the rest of the Trees, even a Fig-tree: 'Twas not an Oak, nor a Willow, nor a Thorn, nor a Bramble, but a Fig-tree. Ezek. 33. 31. They come before thee as the people cometh. Isa. 58. 2, 3, 4. They delight to know my Ways, as a Nation that did Righteousness, and forsook not the Ordinances of their God: they ask of me the Ordinances of Justice, they take delight in approaching to God; and yet but barren, fruitless, and unprofitable Professors. Judas also was one of the twelve, a Disciple, an Apostle, a Preacher, an Officer, yea, and such an one as none of the Eleven mistrusted, but preferred before themselves, each one crying out, Is it I? is it I? Mar. 14. 19. none of them, as we read of, (Joh. 6. 70.) mistrusting Judas, yet he in Christ's Eye was the barren Fig-tree, a Devil, a fruitless Professor. The foolish [Page 9] Virgins also went forth of the World with the other, had Lamps, and Light, and were awakened with the other; yea, had boldness to go forth when the midnight Cry was made with the other; and thought that they could have looked Christ in the Face, when he sat upon the Throne of Judgment with the other; and yet but foolish, but barren Fig-trees, but fruitless Professors: Mat. 7. 22, 23. Many, saith Christ, will say unto me in that day, this and that, and will also talk of many wonderful Works; yet, be­hold, he finds nothing in them, but the Fruits of Unrighteousness: they were altogether barren and fruitless Profes­sors.

Had a Fig-tree [planted].

This word [planted] doth also reach far; it supposeth one taken out of its natural Soil, or removed from the place it grew in once; one that seemed to be called, awakened; and not only so, but by strong hand carried from the World to the Church; from Nature, to Grace; from Sin, to Godliness. Psal. 80. 8. Thou broughtest a Vine out of Egypt; thou didst [Page 10] cast out the Heathen and plant it. Of some of the Branches of this Vine, were there unfruitful Professors.

It must be concluded therefore, That this Professor (that remaineth notwith­standing fruitless) is, as to the view and judgment of the Church, rightly brought in thither; to wit, by Confession of Faith, of Sin, and a shew of Repentance and Regeneration, (thus false Brethren creep in unawares). All these things this word, Planted, intimateth; yea, further, that the Church is satisfied with them, consents they should abide in the Garden, and counteth them sound as the rest. But before God, in the sight of God, they are graceless Professors, bar­ren and fruitless Fig-trees.

Therefore it is one thing to be IN the Church, or in a Profession; and another to be OF the Church, and to belong to that Kingdom, that is prepared for the Saint, that is so indeed. Otherwise, be­ing planted, shall it prosper, shall it not utterly wither, when the East Wind touch­eth it? It shall wither in the Furrows where where it grew, Ezek. 17. 10.

Had a Fig-tree planted in [his] Vine­yard.

In [his] Vineyard. Hypocrites, with rotten Hearts, are not afraid to come before God in Sion. These words there­fore suggest unto us, a prodigious kind of boldness and hardened Fearlessness: For what presumption higher, and what attempt more desperate, than for a Man that wanteth Grace, and the true Know­ledg of God, to croud himself (in that condition) into the House, or Church of God; or to make profession of, and de­sire that the name of God should be cal­led upon him?

For the Man that maketh a Profession of the Religion of Jesus Christ, that Man hath, as it were, put the Name of God upon himself, and is called and recko­ned now, (how fruitless soever before God, or Men) the Man that hath to do with God, the Man that God owneth, and will stand for. This Man, I say, by his Profession suggesteth this to all that know him, to be such a Professor. Men meerly natural, I mean, Men that have not got the devilish art of Hypocrisie, are [Page 12] afraid to think of doing thus. And of the rest durst no Man join himself to them, but the people magnified them. Act. 5. 13. And indeed it displeaseth God, They have brought, saith he, Men uncircumcised into my Sanctuary. And again, (Isa. 1. 12.) When you come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my Courts? saith God. They have therefore learnt this boldness of none in the visible World, they only took it of the Devil; for he, and he only (with these his Disciples) attempt to present themselves in the Church before God. The Tares are the Children of the Wicked One; the Tares, that is, the Hypocrites that are Satan's Brood, the Generation of Vipers, that cannot escape the Dam­nation of Hell.

[Had] a Fig-tree planted in his Vine­yard.

He doth not say, He planted a Fig-tree, but there Was a Fig-tree there, he Had, or found, a Fig-tree planted in his Vineyard.

The great God will not acknowledg the barren Fig-tree, or barren Professor, [Page 13] to be His Workmanship, or a Tree of his bringing in; only the Text saith, He Had one there. This is much like that in Matthew, Chap. 15. 13. Every Plant which my Heavenly Father hath not plan­ted, shall be rooted up. Here again are Plants in his Vineyard, which God will not acknowledg to be of his planting: and he seems to suggest, that in his Vine­yard are many such—Every Plant, or all those Plants, or Professors that are got into the Assembly of the Saints, or into the Profession of their Religion, without God and his Grace, shall be rooted up.

And when the King came in to see the Guests, he saw there a Man that had not on a Wedding-garment; and he said unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a Wedding-garment? Matth. 22. 11, 12. Here is one so cunning and crafty, that he beguiled all the Guests; he got and kept in the Church, even un­til the King himself came in to see the Guests. But his subtilty got him nothing; it did not blind the Eyes of the King; it did not prevert the Judgment of the Righteous. Friend, how camest thou in hither? did overtake him at last, even a [Page 14] publick rejection; the King discovered him in the face of all there present. How camest thou in hither? My Father did not bring thee hither, I did not bring thee hither, My Spirit did not bring thee hi­ther, thou art not of the Heavenly Fa­ther's planting, How camest thou in hi­ther?

John 10. 1. He that cometh not in by the Door, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a Thief and a Robber. This Text also is full, and plain to our purpose; for this Man came not in by the Door, yet got into the Church, he got in by climb­ing; he broke in at the Windows, he got something of the Light and Glory of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in his Head; and so (hardy Wretch that he was) he presumed to croud him­self among the Children. But how is this resented? what saith the King of him? Why this is his Sign, The same is a Thief and a Robber. See ye here also, if all they be owned as the planting of God, that get into his Church, or Pro­fession of his Name.

Had a Fig tree, had one without a Wedding-garment, had a thief in his Garden, at his Wedding, in his House. [Page 15] These climbed up Some other way. There are many ways to get into the Church of God, and Profession of his Name, besides, and without an entring by the door.

1. There is the way of lying and dis­sembling, and at this gap the Gibeonites got in; Josh. 9. 3, 4, &c.

2. There is sometimes falsness amongst some Pastors, either for the sake of car­nal Relations, or the like; at this hole, Tobiah the enemy of God got in; Nehem. 13. 4, 5, 6.

3. There is sometimes negligence, and too much uncircumspectness in the whole Church, thus the Uncircumcised got in; Ezek. 44. 7, 9.

4. Sometimes again, let the Church be never so circumspect, yet these have so much help from the Devil, that they be­guile them all, and so get in. These are of that sort of Thieves that Paul com­plains of; false Brethren brought in un­awares, Gal. 2. 3, 4. Jude also cries out of these, Certain Men crept in unawares, Jude 4. Crept in! What, were they so lowly! A voluntary humility, (Col. 2. 22, 23.) a neglecting of the Body, not in any humor. Oh, how seemingly self-denying [Page 16] are some of these creeping things, that yet are to be held, (as we shall know them) an abomination to Israel, Lev. 11. 43, 44.

But in a great House, there are not only Vessels of Gold, and of Silver, but also of Wood, and of Earth; and some to Honour, and some to Dishonour; 2 Tim. 2. 20. By these words the Apostle seems to take it for granted, that as there hath been, so there still will be, these kind of Fig-trees, these barren Professors in the house, when all Men have done what they can; Even as in a great house there, are always Ves­sels to Dishonour, as well as those to Ho­nour and Glory; Vessels of Wood, and of Earth, as well as of Silver and Gold▪ So then there must be wooden Professors in the Garden of God, there must be ear­thy, earthen Professors in his Vineyard; but that methinks is the biting word, and some to Dishonour. That to the Ro­mans is dreadful, (Rom. 9. 21, 22.) but this seems to go beyond it; That speaks but of the Reprobate in general, but this of such and such in particular. That speaks of their hardening but in the com­mon way; But this, that they must be suffered to creep into the Church; There [Page 17] to fit themselves for their place, their own place, Act. 1. 25. the place prepa­red for them of this sort only. As the Lord Jesus said once of the Pharisees, These shall receive greater damnation, Luke 20. 47.

Barren Fig-tree, fruitless Professor, hast thou heard all these things? Hast thou considered that this Fig-tree is not ackdowledged of God to be his, but is denied to be of his planting, and of his bringing unto his Wedding? Dost not thou see that thou art called a Thief, and a Robber, that hast either climbed up to, or crept in at another place than the Door? Dost thou not hear, that there will be in God's House, wooden and earthly Professors, and that no place will serve to fit those for Hell, but the House, Church, the Vineyard of God! Barren Fig-tree! fruitless Christian! do not thine Ears tingle?

And [He] came and sought Fruit thereon.

When a Man hath got a Profession, and is crouded into the Church and House of God; the Question is not now, [Page 18] Hath he Life, hath he right Principles; but hath he Fruit, He came seeking Fruit thereon. It mattereth not who brought thee in hither, whether God or the De­vil, or thine own vain-glorious Heart; But hast thou Fruit? dost thou bring forth Fruit unto God? And, let every one that nameth the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, depart from Iniquity, 2 Tim. 2. 19. He doth not say, and let every one that hath Grace, or let those that have the Spirit of God; but let every one that nameth the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, depart from Iniquity.

What do Men meddle with Religion for? Why do they call themselves by the Name of the Lord Jesus, if they have not the Grace of God, if they have not the Spirit of Christ? God therefore ex­pecteth Fruit: What do they do in the Vineyard? Let them work, or get them out, the Vineyard must have Labourers in it: Son, go work to day in my Vine-yard, Mat. 21. 28. Wherefore, want of Grace, and want of Spirit, will not keep God from seeking Fruit; And He came and sought Fruit thereon, Luke 8. 8. He requireth that which He seemeth to have: Every Man in the Vineyard, and [Page 19] House of God, promiseth himself, pro­fesseth to others, and would have all Men take it for granted, that an Hea­venly Principle is in him; Why then should not God seek Fruit?

As for them therefore, that will retain the Name of Christians, fearing God, and yet make no Conscience of bringing forth Fruit to him: He saith to such, Away! As for you, Go ye, serve every one his Idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me, &c. Ezek. 20. 39. Bar­ren Fig-tree, dost thou hear? God ex­pecteth Fruit, God calls for Fruit; yea, God will shortly come seeking Fruit on this Barren Fig-tree. Barren Fig-tree! either bear Fruit, or go out of the Vine-yard, (and yet then thy Case will be un­speakably damnable). Yea, let me add, If thou shalt neither bear Fruit, nor de­part, God will take his Name out of thy Mouth, Jer. 44. 26. He will have Fruit. And I say further, If thou wilt do nei­ther, yet God in Justice and Righteous­ness will still come for Fruit. And it will be in vain for thee to count this Austerity; He will reap where he hath not sowed, and gather where he hath not [Page 20] strewed, Matth. 25. 24, 25, 26. Barren Fig-tree, dost thou hear?

Q. What if a Man have no Grace?

A. Yes, seeing he hath a Profession.

And he came and sought Fruit [there­on].

A Church then, and a Profession, are not places where the workers of Iniqui­ty may hide themselves, and Sins, from God. Some of old thought, that be­cause they could cry, The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, that there­fore they were delivered, or had a Di­spensation to do the Abominations which they committed; as some in our days. For, who (say they) have a right to the Creatures if not Christians, if not Professors, if not Church-Members? And from this Conclusion, let go the Reigns of their inordinate Affections af­ter Pride, Ambition, Gluttony, pamper­ing themselves without fear, Jude 12. daubing themselves with the Lust pro­voking Fashions of the Times; to walk with stretched-out Necks, naked Breasts, [Page 21] frizled Fore-tops, wanton Gestures, in gorgeous Apparel, mix'd with Gold and Pearl, and costly Array. I will not here make inspection into their Lives, their Carriages at Home, in their Corners, and secret Holes; But certainly; Persons thus spirited, thus principled, and thus enclined, have but empty Boughs, Boughs that want the Fruit that God expects, and that God will come down to seek.

Barren Fig-tree, thou art not licensed by thy Profession, nor by the Lord of the Vineyard, to bear these Clusters of Gomorrah▪ neither shall the Vineyard, nor thy being crowded among the Trees there, shelter thee from the sight of the Eye of God. Many make Religion their Cloak, and Christ their Stalking-horse, and by that means cover themselves, and hide their own wickedness from Men: But God seeth their Hearts, hath his print upon the heels of their feet, and pon­dereth all their goings: and at last, when their iniquity is found to be hateful, He will either smite them with hardness of Heart, and so leave them, or awa­ken them to bring forth fruit. Fruit he looks for, seeks and expects, barren Fig-Tree.

[Page 22] But what! Come into the Presence of God to sin. What, Come into the Pre­sence of God to hide thy Sin, Alas Man! The Church is God's Garden, and Christ Jesus is the great Apostle and High-Priest of our Profession. What come into the House that is called by my Name▪ into the place where mine Honour dwel­leth! Psal. 26. 8. where mine Eyes and Heart are continually! 1 King. 9. 3. What, come there to sin, to hide thy Sin, to cloak thy Sin! His Plants are an Orchard with pleasant Fruits, Song 4. 13, 14, 15. And every time he goeth into his Garden, it is to see the Fruits of the Valley; and to see if the Vine flourish, and if the Pomegranates bud.

Yea, saith he, He came seeking Fruit on This Fig-tree. The Church is the place of God's Delight; where he ever desires to be, there he is night and day. He is there to seek for Fruit; to seek for Fruit of all, and every Tree in the Garden. Wherefore assure thy self, O fruitless one, that thy wayes must needs be open before the Eyes of the Lord. One black sheep is soon espied, although in com­pany with many; that is taken with the first cast of the eye; its different colour [Page 23] still betrays it. I say, therefore a Church and a Profession are not places where the workers of Iniquity may hide themselves from God, that seeks for Fruit; My Vine-yard, saith God, which is mine, is before me, Song. 8. 12.

And he came and sought Fruit thereon [and sound none].

Barren Fig-tree, hearken; The conti­nual non-bearing of Fruit, is a dreadful sign, that thou art to come to a dreadful End, as the winding up of this Parable concludeth.

And found none.] None at all, or none to God's liking: For when he saith, He came seeking Fruit thereon, he means Fruit meet for God, (Heb. 6.) pleasant Fruit, Fruit good and sweet.

Alas, it is not any Fruit will serve; bad Fruit is counted none. Every Tree that bringeth not forth Good Fruit, is hewen down, and cast into the Fire, Matth. 3. 10.

1. There is a Fruit among Professors that withers, and so never comes to be ripe, a Fruit that is smitten in the growth, and comes not to maturity, and this is [Page 24] reckoned no Fruit. This Fruit those Pro­fessors bear, that have many fair begin­nings, or blossoms: That make many fair offers of Repentance and Amend­ment; that begin to pray, to resolve, and to break off their Sins by Righteous­ness; but stop at those beginnings, and bring no Fruit forth to perfection. This Man's Fruit is withered, wrinkled, smit­ten Fruit, and is in effect no Fruit at all.

2. There is an hasty Fruit, such as is the Corn upon the House top, Psal. 129. or that which springs up on the Dunghil, that runs up suddenly, violently, with great stalks, and big shew, and yet at last proves empty of Kernel. This Fruit is to be found in those Professors, that on a sudden are so awakened, so convinced, and so affected with their Condition, that they shake the whole Family, the End-ship, the whole Town. For a while they cry hastily, vehemently, dolefully, mournfully, and yet all is but a Pang, an Agony, a Fit, they bring not forth Fruit with Patience. These are called those hasty Fruits, that shall be as a fading flower, Isa. 28. 4.

[Page 25] 3. There is a Fruit that is vile, and ill-tasted, Jer. 24. how long soever it be in growing; the Root is dried, and can­not convey a sufficiency of Sap to the Branches to ripen the Fruit. These are the Fruit of such Professors, whose Heart is estranged from Communion with the Holy Ghost, whose Fruit groweth from themselves, from their Parts, Gifts, strength of Wit, natural or moral Prin­ciples. These, notwithstanding they bring forth Fruit, are called empty Vines; such as bring not forth Fruit to God.

Their Root is dried up, they shall bear no Fruit; yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved Fruit of their Womb, Hos. 9. 16.

4. There is a Fruit that is Wild; I looked for Grapes, and it brought forth Wild Grapes, Isa. 5. 4. I observe, That as there are Trees and Herbs that are wholly right, and noble, sit indeed for the Vineyard: So there are also their Semblance, but wild; not right, but ig­noble. There is the Grape, and the wild Grape; the Vine, and the wild-Vine; the Rose, and canker-Rose; Flowers, and wild-Flowers; the Apple, and the wild-Apple, which we call the Crab. Now Fruit [Page 26] from these wild things, however they may please the Children to play with, yet the Prudent and Grave count them of little or no value. There are also in the World a Generation of Professors, that notwithstanding their Profession, are wild by Nature; yea, such as were ne­ver cut out, or off, from the wild Olive-tree, nor never yet planted into the good Olive-tree. Now these can bring no­thing forth but wild Olive-berries, they cannot bring forth Fruit unto God. Such are all those that have lightly taken up a Profession, and crept into the Vineyard without a new-birth, and the blessing of Regeneration.

5. There is also untimely Fruit; Even as a Fig-tree casteth her untimely Figs, Rev. 6. 13. Fruit out of Season, and so no Fruit to God's liking.

There are two sorts of Professors sub­ject to bring forth untimely Fruit.

First, They that bring forth [Fruit] too soon.

Secondly, They that bring forth [Fruit] too late.

[Page 27] First, They that bring forth too soon. They are such as at present receive the Word with Joy; and anon, before they have Root downwards, they thrust forth upwards; but having not root, when the Sun ariseth they are smitten, and mise­rably die without Fruit. These Profes­sors are those light and inconsiderate Ones, that think nothing but Peace will attend the Gospel; and so anon rejoice at the Tidings, without foreseeing the Evil: Wherefore when the Evil comes, being unarmed, and so not able to stand any longer, they die, and are withered, and bring forth no Fruit. He that re­ceived the Seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the Word, and anon with joy receiveth it: yet hath he not root in him­self, but dureth for a while; for when Tri­bulation or Persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by they are offended, Mat. 13. 20, 21. There is in Isa. 28. men­tion made of some, Whose glorius Beauty shall be a fading Flower, Isa. 28. 4. because it is Fruit before Summer. Both these are untimely Fruit.

Secondly, They also bring forth un­timely Fruit, that stay till the Season is over. God will have his Fruit in His [Page 28] Season; I say, he will receive them of such Men as shall render them to him in Their Seasons, Matth. 21. 41. The missing of the season is dangerous, staying till the Door is shut is dangerous, Mat. 25. 10, 11. Many there be that come not till the Flood of God's Anger is raised, and too deep for them to wade through; Surely in the Floods of great Waters, they shall not come nigh unto him, Psal. 32. 6. Esau's [afterward] is fearful: For ye know how that afterward when he would have inherited the Blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of Repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears, Heb. 12. 16, 17.

So the Children of Israel, they brought to God the Fruits of Obedience too late; their Lo, we be here, (Numb. 14. 40, 41, 42) came too late; Their, We will go up (vers. 21, 22, 23.) came too late. The Lord had sworn, Mat. 25. 10. & 27. 3. before, that they should not possess the Land. All these are such as bring forth untimely Fruit, Heb. 12. 17. Luk. 13. 25, 26, 27. It is the hard hap of the Reprobate to do all things too late; to be sensible of his want of Grace too late; to be sorry for Sin too late; to seek Re­pentance [Page 29] too late; to ask for Mercy, and to desire to go to Glory, too late.

1. Thus you see that Fruit smitten in the growth, that withereth, and that comes not to maturity, is no Fruit.

2. That hasty Fruit, such as the Corn upon the House top, Psal. 129. 6. withereth also afore it groweth up, and is no Fruit.

3. That the Fruit that is vile and ill tasted, is no Fruit.

4. That wild Fruit, wild grapes, Rev. 6. are no Fruit.

5. That untimely Fruit, such as comes to soon, or that comes too late; such as come not in their Season, are no Fruit.

And he came and sought Fruit thereon, and found none.]

Nothing will do but Fruit: Mat. 21. 34. He looked for Grapes; when the time of Fruit drew near, he sent his Servants to the husbandmen that they might receive the Fruit of it.

Quest. But what Fruit doth God ex­pect?

A. Good Fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth Good Fruit, is hewn do on, Mat. 7. 19. Now before the Fruit can be good the [Page 30] Tree must be good, for good Fruit makes not a good Tree, but a good Tree bringeth forth good Fruit; Do Men gather Grapes of Thorns, or Figs of Thistles? A Man must be good, else he can bring forth no good Fruit; he must have righteousness im­puted, that he may stand good in God's sight from the curse of his Law. He must have a Principle of Righteousness in his Soul, else how should he bring forth good Fruits; and hence it is, that a Christians fruits are called, Gal. 5. 22, 23. The fruits of the Spirit, the fruits of Righ­teousness, which are by Jesus Christ, Phil. 1. 11. The Fruits of the Spirit, therefore the Spirit must be there: the Fruits of Righteousness, therefore righteousness must first be there; but to particularize in a few things briefly.

First, God expecteth Fruit that will answer, and be worthy of the Repen­tance, which thou feignest thy self to have. Every one in a Profession, and that hath crouded into the Vineyard, pretendeth to Repentance; now of every such Soul, God expecteth that the Fruits of Repentance be found to attend them. Mat. 3. 8. Bring forth Fruits therefore meet for Repentance, or answerable to [Page 31] thy profession of the Doctrine of Re­pentance. Barren Fig-tree, seeing thou art a Professor, and art got into the Vineyard: thou standest before the Lord of the Vineyard, as one of the Trees of the Garden: Wherefore He looketh for Fruit from thee, as from the rest of the Trees in the Vineyard; Fruits, I say, and such as may declare thee in Heart and Life, one that hath made sound Profession of Repentance. By thy Profession thou hast said, I am sensible of the evil of Sin: Now then, live such a Life, as declares that thou art sensible of the Evil of Sin. By thy Profession thou hast said, I am sorry for my Sin: Why then, live such a life as may declare This Sorrow. By thy Profession thou hast said, I am asha­med of my Sin, Psal. 38. 18. yea, but live such a Life, that Men by that may see thy shame for Sin, Jer. 31. 19. By thy Profession thou sayest, I have turned from, left off, and am become an enemy to every ap­pearance of evil, 1 Thess. 5. 22. Ah! but doth thy Life and Conversation declare thee to be such an one? Take heed, bar­ren Fig-tree, lest thy Life should give thy Profession the lye. I say again, Take heed [Page 32] for God himself will come for Fruit; And he sought Fruit thereon.

You have some Professors, that are only Saints before Men, when they are abroad; but are Devils and Vipers at home; Saints by Profession, but Devils by Practice; Saints in Word, but Sin­ners in Heart and Life. These Men may have the Profession, but they want the Fruits that become Repentance.

Barren Fig-tree! Can it be imagined that those that paint themselves, did ever repent of their Pride? or that those that pursue this World, did ever repent of their Covetousness? or that those that walk with wanton eyes, did ever repent of their fleshly Lusts? Where, barren Fig-tree, is the Fruit of these Peoples Repen­tance? Nay, do they not rather declare to the World, that they have repented of their Profession? Their fruits look as if they had. Their Pride saith, they have repented of their Humility: Their Co­vetousness declareth, that they are weary of depending upon God; and doth not thy wanton actions declare, that thou abhorrest Chastity? Where is thy Fruit, Barren Fig-tree? Repentance is not only a sor­row, and a shame for, but a turning from [Page 33] Sin to God, Heb. 6. it is called Repentance from dead works. Hast thou that Godly Sorrow that worketh Repentance to Sal­vation, never to be repented of? 2 Cor. 7. 10, 11. How dost thou shew thy careful­ness, and clearing of thy self; thy in­dignation against Sin; thy fear of of­fending; thy vehement desire to walk with God; thy zeal for his Name, and Glory in the World; and what revenge hast thou in thy Heart against every thought of Disobedience?

But where is the Fruit of this Repen­tance? Where is thy Watching, thy Fasting, thy Praying against the remain­ders of Corruption? Where is thy Self-abhorrence; thy blushing before God, for the Sin that is yet behind? Where is thy tenderness of the Name of God and his Waies? Where is thy Self-denial and Contentment? How dost thou shew before Men the truth of thy turning to God? Hast thou renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness? 2▪ Cor. 4. 2. Canst thou commend thy self to every Man's conscience in the sight of God?

And he sought Fruit thereon.]

Secondly, God expecteth Fruits that shall answer that Faith which thou makest Profession of. The Professor that is got into the Vineyard of God, doth feign that he hath the Faith, the Faith most holy, the Faith of God's Elect, Ah! But where are thy Fruits, Barren Fig-tree? The Faith of the Romans was spoken of throughout the whole World, Rom. 1. 8. and the Thessalonians Faith grew exceed­ingly, 2 Thess. 1. 3.

Thou professest to believe thou hast a share in another World; Hast thou let go this, barren Fig-tree? Thou profes­sest thou believest in Christ; is he thy Joy, and the Life of thy Soul? Yea, what conformity unto Him, to his Sorrows and Suffering? What resemblance hath his Crying, and Groaning, and Bleed­ing, and Dying wrought in thee? dost thou bear about in thy body the dying of the Lord Jesus? and is also the Life of Jesus made manifest in thy mortal body? 2 Cor. 4. 10, 11. Barren Fig-tree, Shew me thy Faith by thy Works. Shew out of a good Conversation thy Works with meekness of wisdom, Jam. 2. 18. & 3. 13.

[Page 35] What Fruit, barren Fig-tree, what degree of Heart-Holiness: for Faith pu­rifies the Heart, Act. 15. 19. What love to the Lord Jesus? for Faith worketh by Love, Gal. 5. 6.

Thirdly, God expecteth Fruits, accord­ing to the Seasons of Grace thou art un­der, according to the rain that cometh up­on thee. Perhaps thou art planted in a good Soil, by great Waters, that thou mightest bring forth Branches, and bear Fruit; that thou mightest be a goodly Vine or Fig-tree: Shall he not therefore seek for Fruit, for Fruit answerable to the means? Barren Fig-tree, God ex­pects it, and will find it too, if ever He bless thee. For the Earth which drinketh in the rain that comes oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for him by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God; but that which heareth thorns and briars is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned; Heb. 6. 7, 8.

Barren Soul! How many showers of Grace, how many dews from Heaven, how many times have the Silver Streams of the City of God, run gliding by thy Roots, to cause thee to bring forth Fruit! These Showers, and Streams, and the [Page 36] Drops that hang upon thy Boughs, will all be accounted for; And will they not testify against thee, that thou oughtest of right to be burned? Hear, and trem­ble, O thou barren Professor! Fruits that become thy profession of the Gospel, the God of Heaven expecteth. The Gospel hath in it the Forgiveness of Sins, the King­dom of Heaven, and Eternal Life: But what Fruit hath thy Profession of a belief of these things put forth in thy Heart and Life? Hast thou given thy self to the Lord; and is all that thou hast to be ventured for his Name in this World? Dost thou walk like one that is bought with a price, Even the price of precious Blood?

Fourthly, The Fruit that God expect­eth is such, As is meet for himself, Fruit that may glorify God; God's Trees are Trees of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified; Fruit that tasteth of Heaven, abundance of such Fruit: For herein, saith Christ, is my Fa­ther glorified, that ye bring forth much Fruit, John 15. 8. Fruits of all kinds, new and old; the Fruits of the Spirit is in all Goodness, and Righteousness, and Truth. Fruits before the World, Fruits before [Page 37] the Saints, Fruits before God, Fruits be­fore Angels.

O, my Brethren, What manner of Per­sons ought we to be, who have subscribed to the Lord, and have called our selves by the Name of Israel? One shall say, I am the Lords; and another shall call him­self by the Name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his Hand unto the Lord, and sirname himself by the Name of Is­rael, Isa▪ 44. 5. Barren Fig-tree, hast thou subscribed, hast thou called thy self by the Name of Jacob? and sirnamed thy self by the Name of Israel? All this thou pretendest to, who art got in­to the Vineyard, who art placed among the Trees of the Garden of God: God doth therefore look for such Fruit as is worthy of his Name, as is meet for Him; as the Apostle saith, We should walk wor­thy of God; that is, so as we may shew in every place, that the presence of God is with us, his Fear in us, and his Majesty and Authority upon our Actions. Fruits meet for him, such a dependance upon him, such trust in his Word, such satis­faction in his Presence, such a trusting of him with all my Concerns, and such delight in the enjoyment of him, that may [Page 38] demonstrate that his Fear is in my Heart, that my Soul is wrap'd up in his Things, and that my Body, and Soul, and Estate, and All, are in Truth, through his Grace, at his dispose, Fruit meet for him▪ Hearty thanks, and blessing God for Jesus Christ, for his good Word, for his Free-Grace, for the discovery of himself in Christ to the Soul, secret longing after another World, Fruit meet for him. Liberality to the poor Saints, to the poor World; a Life, in Word and Deed exemplary; a patient and quiet enduring of all things, till I have done and suffered the whole Will of God, which he hath appointed for me. That on the good Ground are they, which in an honest and good Heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth Fruit with patience, Luke 8. 15. This is bringing forth Fruit unto God; Having our Fruit unto Holiness, and our End ever­lasting Life, Rom. 7. 4. & 6. 22. & 14. 8.

Fifthly, The Lord expects Fruit be coming the Vineyard of God. The Vine­yard, saith he, Isa. 5. 1. is a very fruit­ful Hill; witness the Fruit brought forth in all Ages▪ The most barren Trees that ever grew in the Wood of this World; [Page 39] when planted in this Vineyard by the God of Heaven, what Fruit to Godward have they brought forth? Abel offered the more excellent Sacrifice, Heb. 11. 4. E­noch walked with God three hundred Years, vers. 5. Noah▪ by his Life of Faith, con­demned the World, and became Heir of the Righteousness which is by Faith, vers. 7. Abraham left his Country, and went out after God, not knowing whither he went, vers. 8. [...] left a Kingdom, and ran the hazard of the Wrath of the King, for the Love he had to God and Christ. What shall I say of them who had Tri­ [...]l [...], not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better Resurrection? Heb. [...] 35, 36, 37. They were stoned, they were [...]; were tempted▪ [...] They wandred [...] and Goat-skins, being destit [...]te, [...] left his Father ▪ Ship and Nets, Mat. 4. [...]8, 19▪ Paul turned off from the feet of Gamalie [...] Men brought their Goods and Possessions (the price of them) and cast it down at the Apostle's Feet, Acts 19. 18, 19, [...]0. [...] others brought their Books together, and burnt them, [...] Books, though they were worth fifty thou­sand [Page 40] pieces of Silver. I could add, how many willingly offered themselves in all Ages, and their all, for the worthy. Name of the Lord Jesus, to be rack'd, starved, hanged, burned, drowned, pulled in pieces, and [...] thousand. Cal [...] ­mities. Barren Fig-tree, the Vineyard of God hath been a fruitful Place, What dost thou there? What dost thou bear? God expects Fruit, according to, or be­coming the Soil of the Vineyard.

Sixthly, The Fruit which God ex­pecteth is such as becometh God's Hus­bandry and Labour. The Vineyard is God's Husbandry, or Tillage, I am the Vine, saith Christ, John 15. [...]. and my Father is the Husbandman. And again, 1 Cor. 3. 9. Ye are God's Husbandry, ye are God's Building. The Vineyard, God fences it, God gathereth ou [...] the Stones; God builds the Tower, and the Wine­p [...]ess in the midst thereof. Here is La­bour, here is Protection, here is re­moving of Hindrances, here is conve­nient Purgation, and all, that) there might be [...].

Barren Fig-tree, What Fruit hast thou? hast thou Fruit becoming the Care of God, the Protection of God, the Wisdom [Page 41] of God, the Patience and Husbandry of God? It is the Fruit of the Vineyard, that is either the shame or the praise of the Husbandman. I went by the Field of the slothful, saith Solomon, and by the Vine­yard of the Man void of Vnderstanding; and lo, it was grown over with Thorns, and Nettles had covered the face thereof. Prov. 24. 30, 31, 32.

Barren Fig-tree, If Men should make a judgment of the care, and pains, and labour of God in his Church by the Fruit that thou bringest forth, what might they say, is he not slothful, is not he careless, is he not without discretion▪ O thy Thorns, thy Nettles, thy barren Heart, and barren Life, is a continual provocation to the eyes of his Glory, as likewise a dishonour to the glory of his Grace.

Barren Fig-tree, hast thou heard all these things, I will add yet one more.

And he came and sought, fruit thereon.]

The question is not now, What thou thinkest of thy self, nor what all the people of God think of thee? but what thou shalt be found in that day, when [Page 42] God shall search thy boughs for Fruit▪ When Sodom was to be searched for righ­teous Men, God would not, in that matter, trust his faithful servant Abra­ham, but still as Abraham interceded, God answered, If I find fifty, or forty and five there, I will not destroy the City. Gen. 18. 20, 21, 26, 27. Barren Fig-tree, what sayest thou? God will come down to see, God will make search for Fruit himself.

And he came and sought Fruit thereon, and found [none.] Then said he to the Dresser of the Vineyard, Behold, these three Years I come seeking Fruit on this Fig-tree, and find none; Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?

These words are the effect of God's search into the boughs of a barren Fig-tree; He sought Fruit, and found none, none to his liking, none pleasant and good. Therefore, first, he complains of the want thereof to the Dresser, calls him to come, and see, and take notice of the Tree; then signifieth his pleasure, he will have it removed, taken away, cut down from cumbering the Ground.

[Page 43] Observ. The barren Fig-tree is the Ob­ject of God's displeasure, God cannot bear with a fruitless Professor.

[Then] said he, &c.

Then, after this provocation; then, af­ter he had sought and found no Fruit, then. This word [then] doth shew us a kind of an inward disquietness: as he saith also in another place, upon a like provocation, Then the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy, shall smoke against that Man, and all the Curses that are written in this Book shall lye upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his Name from under Heaven, Deut. 29. 18, 19, 20.

Then; It intimateth that he was now come to a point, to a resolution what to do with this Fig-tree. Then said he to the Dresser of this Vineyard, that is, to Jesus Christ, Behold; as much as to say, come hither, here is a Fig-tree in my Vineyard, here is a Professor in my Church, that is barren, that beareth no Fruit.

Observe, However the barren Professor thinks of himself on Earth, the Lord cries out in Heaven against him; Isa. 5. 5. [Page 44] And now go to, I will tell you what I will do to my Vineyard; I will take away the hedg thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and I will break down the Wall thereof, and it shall be troden down.

Behold, these three Years I come seeking Fruit, &c.

Observ. These three Years. God cries out that his patience is abused, that his forbearance is abused: Behold, these three Years I have waited, forborn; these three Years I have deferred mine anger; Therefore will I stretch out mine hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with re­penting, Jer. 15. 6.

These three years. Observe, God layeth up all the time; I say, a remembrance of all the time, that a barren Fig-tree, or a fruitless Professor mispendeth in this World. As he saith also of Israel of old, Forty Years long was I grieved with this gene­ration, Psal. 95. 10.

These three Years, &c.

These three Seasons; Observ. God re­members how many Seasons thou hast mispent: For these three Years signify so many Seasons. And when the time of Fruit [Page 45] drew nigh, that is, about the Season they begin to be ripe, or that according to the Season might so have been. Barren Fig-tree, thou hast had Time, Seasons, Sermons, Ministers, Afflictions, Judg­ments, Mercies, and what not? and yet hast not been fruitful: thou hast had Awakenings, Reproofs, Threatnings, Comforts, and yet hast not been fruitful: Thou hast had Patterns, Examples, Ci­tations, Provocations, and yet hast not been fruitful. Well, God hath laid up thy three Years with himself. He remem­bers every Time, every Season, every Ser­mon, every Minister, Affliction, Judg­ment, Mercy, awakening Pattern, Ex­ample, Citation, Provocation, He remembers all: As he said of Israel of old, They have tempted me these ten times, and have not hearkned to my Voice, Numb. 14. 22. And again, I remember all their Wickedness, Hos. 7. 2.

These three Years, &c.

He seeks for the Fruit of every Sea­son: He will not that any of his Ser­mons, Ministers, Afflictions, Judgments, or Mercies should be lost, or stand for [Page 46] insignificant things; he will have accord­ing to the benefit bestowed, 2 Chron. 32. 24, 25. Ezek. 14. 23. He hath not done without a Cause all that he hath done, and therefore he looketh for Fruit; Look to it, barren Fig-tree.

I came [seeking] Fruit.

Observ. This word [seeking] signi­fies a narrow search: for when a Man seeks for Fruit on a Tree, he goes rouud it, and round it, now looking into this Bough, and then into that, he peeks in­to the inmost Boughs, and the lowermost Boughs, if perhaps Fruit may be there­on.

Barren Fig-tree, God will look into all thy Boughs, he will be with thee in thy Bed-Fruits, thy Midnight-Fruits, thy Closet-Fruits, thy Family-Fruits, thy Conversation-Fruits, to see if there be any among all these that are fit for, or worthy of the Name of the God of Heaven. He sees what the Children of Israel do in the dark, Ezek. 8. 12. All things are open unto the Eyes of him with whom we have to do, Heb. 4. 12, 13.

Seeking Fruit on [this] Fig-tree.

I told you before, that he keeps in re­membrance the Times and Seasons that the barren Professor had wickedly mis­spent. Now, forasmuch as he also pointeth out the Fig-tree, This Fig-tree; it sheweth that the barren Professor, above all Professors, is a continual odium in the Eyes of God. This Fig-tree, This Man Coniah, Jer. 22. 28. This People draw nigh me with their Mouth, but have re­moved their Hearts far from me. God knows who they are among all the thou­sands of Israel, that are the barren and fruitless Professors, his Lot will fall up­on the Head of Achan, though he be hid among six hundred thousand Men. And he brought his Houshold, Man by Man, and Achan, the Son of Carmi, the Son of Zabdi, the Son of Zerah, of the Tribe of Judah, was taken, Josh. 7. 17, 18. This is the Achan, this is the Fig-tree, this is the barren Professor.

There is a Man hath an hundred Trees in his vineyard, and at the time of the Season, he walketh into his Vineyard to see how the Trees flourish; and as he [Page 48] goes, and views, and pries, and observes how they are hanged with Fruit; be­hold, he comes to one where he findeth naught but Leaves. Now he makes a stand, looks upon it again and again, he looks also here and there, above and be­low; and if after all this seeking, he finds nothing but Leaves thereon; Then he begins to cast in his mind, how he may know this Tree next Year, what stands next it, or how far 'tis off the Hedg; but if there be nothing there that may be as a Mark to know it by; then he takes his Hook, and giveth it a private mark, (And, the Lord set a Mark upon Cain, Gen. 4.) saying, Go thy ways, fruitless Fig-tree, Thou hast spent this Sea­son in vain.

Yet doth he not cut it down, I will try it another Year; may be this was not a hitting Season. Therefore he comes again next Year to see if now it have Fruit; but as he found it before, so he finds it now, barren, barren, every Year barren; he looks again, but finds no Fruit. Now he begins to have second thoughts: How! neither hit last Year, nor this. Surely the Barrenness is not in the Sea­son, sure the fault is in the Tree. How­ever [Page 49] ever I will spare it this Year also, but will give it a second Mark: And it may be, he toucheth it with a hot Iron, because he begins to be angry.

Well, at the third Season he comes a­gain for Fruit, but the third Year is like the first and second, no Fruit yet; it only cumbereth the Ground. What now must be done with this Fig-tree? Why, The Lord will lop its Boughs with terror; yea, the Thickets of those Professors with Iron. I have waited, saith God, these three Years, I have missed of Fruit these three Years: It hath been a cumber-Ground these three Years, cut it down. Precept hath been upon Precept, and Line upon Line, one Year after another, for these three Years, but no Fruit can be seen, I find none, fetch out the Ax; I am sure this is the Fig-tree, I know it from the first Year, Barrenness was its sign then, barrenness is its sign now, make it fit for the Fire. Behold, the Ax is laid to the Root of the Trees; every Tree there­fore that bringeth not forth good Fruit, is hewen down, and cast into the Fire, Matth. 3. 10.

Observe, my Brethren, God's Heart cannot stand towards a barren Fig-tree. [Page 50] You know thus it is with your selves: If you have a Tree in your Orchard, or Vineyard, that doth only cumber the Ground, you cannot look upon that Tree with pleasure, with complacency, and delight: No, if you do but go by it, if you do but cast your Eye upon it; yea, if you do but think of that Tree, you threaten it in your Heart, saying, I will hew thee down shortly; I will to the Fire with thee shortly. And it is in vain for any to think of perswading of you to shew favour to the barren Fig-tree; and if they should perswade, your Answer is irresistible, It yields me no profit, it takes up room, and doth no good, a better may grow in its room;

Cut it down.

Thus when the godly among the Jews (Jer. 14. 17.) made Prayers, that rebel­lious Israel might not be cast out of the Vineyard, what saith the Answer of God? Jer. 15. 1. Though Moses and Sa­muel stood before me, yet could not my mind be towards this People; wherefore cast them out of my presence, and let them go forth.

[Page 51] What a Resolution is here, Moses and Samuel could do almost any thing with God in Prayer. How many times did Moses by Prayer turn away God's Judg­ments from even Pharoah himself! yea, how many times did he by Prayer pre­serve Israel, when in the Wilderness, (Psal. 106. 23.) from the Anger and Wrath of God? Samuel is reckoned ex­cellent this way, yea so excellent, that when Israel had done that fearful thing, as to reject the Lord, and chuse them another King, (1 Sam. 12.) he prayed, and the Lord spared, and forgave them: But yet neither Moses nor Samuel can save a barren Fig-tree. No though Moses and Samuel stood before me, that is, pleading, arguing, interceding, supplicating, and beseeching, yet could they not incline mine heart to this People;

Cut it down.

Ay, but Lord it is a Fig-tree, a Fig-tree! if it was a Thorn, or a Bramble, or a Thistle, the matter would not be much; but it is a Fig-tree, or a Vine: Well, but mark the answer of God; Ezek. 15. 2, 3. Son of Man, what is the [Page 52] Vine-Tree, more than any Tree, or than a Branch that is among the Trees of the For­rest? shall Wood be taken thereof to do any Work? or will Men take a Pin thereof, to hang any Vessel thereon? If Trees that are set, or planted for Fruit, bring not forth that Fruit, there is betwixt them and the Trees of the Forest, no betterment at all, unless the betterment lieth in the Trees of the Wood, for they are fit to build withal; but a Fig-tree, or a Vine, if they bring not forth Fruit, yea good Fruit, they are fit for nothing at all, but to be cut down, and prepared for the fire; and so the Prophet goes on, Be­hold, it is cast into the fire for fuel: if it serve not for Fruit, it will serve for fewel, and so the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the middle of it is burnt.

Ay but, these Fig-trees and Vines are Church-Members, Inhabiters of Jerusa­lem. So was the Fig-tree mentioned in the Text; But what answer hath God prepared for these Objections? Why, Ver. 6, 7. Thus saith the Lord God, As the Vine-tree among the Trees of the forrest, which I have given to the fire for fuel; so will I give the Inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will set my face against them, they [Page 53] shall go from one fire, and another fire shall devour them:

Cut it down.

The Woman that delighteth in her Garden, if she have a Slip there, suppose (if it was fruitful) she would not take five Pounds for it; Yet if it bear no Fruit, if it wither, and dwindle, and die, and turn cumber-ground only, it my not stand in her Garden. Gardens and Vineyards are places for Fruit, for Fruit according to the nature of the plant or flowers. Sup­pose such a Slip as I told you of before, should be in your Garden, and there die: Would you let it abide in your Garden? No! away with it, away with it. The Woman comes into her garden towards the Spring, where first she gives it a slight cast with her eye; then she sets to ga­thering out the Weeds, and Nettles, and Stones; takes a Beesom and sweeps the Walks: this done, she falls to prying into her Herbs and Slips, to see if they live, to see if they are likely to grow: Now, if she comes to one that is dead, that she is confident will not grow, up she pulls that, and makes to the heap of rubbish [Page 54] with it, where she despisingly casts it down, and valueth it no more than a Nettle, or a Weed, or than the dust she hath swept out of her Walks. Yea, if any that see her should say, Why do you so? The answer is ready, 'Tis dead, 'tis dead at Root: If I had let it stand, 'twould but have cumbered the ground. The strange Slips (and also the Dead ones) they must be a heap in the Day of Grief, and of desperate Sorrow; Isa. 17. 10, 11.

Cut it down.

There be two manner of cuttings down;

First, When a Man is cast out of the Vineyard.

Secondly, When a Man is cast out of the World.

First, When a Man is cast out of the Vineyard. And that is done two ways.

1. By an immediate hand of God.

2. By the Churches due execution of the Laws and Censures which Christ for that purpose hath left with his Church.

First, God cuts down the Barren Fig-tree by an immediate Hand, smiting his Roots, blasting his branches, and so [Page 55] takes him away from among his people. Every Branch, saith Christ, that beareth not Fruit in me, He (my Father) taketh away, Joh. 15. 2. He taketh him out of the Church, He taketh him away from the Godly. There are two things by which God taketh the barren Professor from among the Children of God.

First, Strong Delusions.

Secondly, Open Prophaneness.

First, By strong Delusions, such as be­guile the Soul with damnable Doctrines, that swerve from Faith and Godliness; Isa. 66. 3, 4. They have chose their own Ways, saith God, and their Soul de­lighteth in their Abominations; I also will chuse their Delusions, and will bring their Fears upon them. I will smite them with blindness, and hardness of Heart, and failing of Eyes; and will also suffer the Tempter to tempt and effect his hellish Designs upon them; 2 Thess. 2. 10, 11, 12. God will send them strong Delusions, that they may believe a Lie▪ that they all may be damned who believe not the Truth, but had pleasure in Vnrighteous­ness.

Secondly, Sometimes God takes away a barren Professor by open Profaneness. [Page 56] There is one hath taken up a Profession of that worthy Name, the Lord Jesus Christ; but this Profession is but a Cloak, he secretly practiseth Wickedness: He is a Glutton, a Drunkard, or Covetous, or Unclean. Well, saith God, I will loose the Reins of this Professor, I will give him up to his vile Affections, I will loose the Reins of his Lusts before him, he shall be entangled with his beastly Lusts, he shall be overcome of ungodly Company. Thus they that turn aside to their own crooked ways, Psal. 125. 5. The Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of Iniquity. This is God's Hand immediately; God is now dealing with this Man himself. Barren Fig-tree, hear­ken, Thou art crouded into a Profession, art got among the Godly, and there art a scandal to the Holy and Glorious Go­spel; but withal so cunning, that like the Sons of Zerviah, thou art too hard for the Church; She knows not how to deal with thee. Well, saith God, I will deal with that Man my self: Ezek. 14. 7, 8. I will answer that Man by my self he that sets up his Idols in his Heart, and puts the Stumbling-block of his Iniquity before his Face, and yet comes and ap­pears [Page 57] before me; I will set my Face a­gainst that Man, and will make him a Sign and a Proverb; and I will cut him off from the midst of my People; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

But, secondly, God doth sometimes cut down the barren Fig-tree by the Church, by the Churches due execution of the Laws and Censures, which Christ for that purpose hath left with his Church. This is the meaning of that in Mat. 18. 1 Cor. 5. and that in 1 Tim. 1. 20. upon which now I shall not en­large. But which way soever God deal­eth with thee, O thou barren Fig-tree, whether by himself immediatly, or by his Church, it amounts to one and the same. For if timely Repentance pre­vent not, The end of that Soul is damna­tion. They are blasted, and withered, and gathered by Men, God's Enemies; and at last being cast into the Fire, burning must be their end. That which beareth Briars and Thorns, is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned, Heb. 6. 8.

And again, sometimes by cut it down, God means, cast it out of the World: Thus he cut down Nadab and Abihu, [Page 58] when he burned them up with Fire from Heaven, Numb. 16. 31, 32, 33. Thus he cut down Corah, Dathan, and Abi­ram, when he made the Earth to swallow them up. Thus he cut down Saul, 1 Sam. 31. 4. when he gave him up to fall upon the edg of his own Sword, and died. Thus he cut down Ananias with Saphira his Wife, when he struck them down dead in the midst of the Congregation, Acts 5. 5. 10. I might here also Discourse of Absolom, Ahithophel and Judas, who were all three hanged: The first by God's revenging Hand, the other were given up of God to be their own Executio­ners. These were barren and unprofi­fitable Fig-trees, such as God took no pleasure in, therefore he commanded, to cut them down. The Psalmist saith, Psal. 58. 9. He shall take them away as with a Whirl-wind, both living, and in his Wrath.

Barren Fig-tree, hearken; God calls for the Ax, his Sword, bring it hither▪ here is a barren. Professor, Cut him downn, why cumbereth he the Ground?

Why cumbereth it the Ground.]

By these words the Lord suggesteth Reasons of his Displeasure against the Barren Fig-tree; It cumbereth the Ground. The Holy Ghost doth not only take an Argument from its barrenness, but be­cause it is a Cumber-ground, Therefore cut it down; wherefore it must needs be a provocation.

1. Because, as much as in him lieth, he disappointeth the Design of God in planting his Vineyard; I looked that it should bring forth Fruit.

2. It hath also abused his Patience, his [...] suffering, his three Years, Patience.

3. It hath also abused his Labour, his Pains, his Care, and providence of Pro­tection and Preservation: for he hedges his Vineyard, and walls it about. Cum­ber-ground, all these things thou abusest. He waters his Vineyard, and looks to it Night and Day, but all these things thou hast abused.

Further. There are other Reasons of God's Displeasure; As,

First, A Cumber-ground is a very mock and reproach to Religion, a mock and [Page 60] reproach to the Ways of God, to the People of God, to the Word of God, and to the Name of Religion. It is ex­pected of all Hands, that all the Trees in the Garden of God should be fruit­ful; God expects Fruit, the Church ex­pects Fruit, the World, even the World conclude that Professors should be fruit­ful in good Works; I say, the very World expecteth that Professors should be bet­ter than themselves: But, barren Fig­tree, thou disappointest all: Nay, Hast thou not learned the wicked Ones thy Ways? Hast thou not learn'd them to be more wicked by thy Example, (but that's by the by): Barren Fig-tree, Thou hast disappointed others, and must be disappointed thy self. Cut it down, why cumbereth it the Ground?

Secondly, The Barren Fig-tree takes up the room where a better Tree might stand I say, it takes up the room, it keeps, so long as it stands where it doth, a fruitful Tree out of that place, and therefore it must be cut down. Barren Fig-tree, Dost thou hear? Because the Jews stood fruit­less in the Vineyard; Therefore, said God, Mat. 21. 33-41. The Kingdom of Heaven shall be taken from you, and shall [Page 61] be given to a Nation that shall render him their Fruits in their Season. The Jews for their barrenness were cut down, and more fruitful People put in their room. As Samuel also said to barren Saul, 1 Sam. 15. 28. The Lord hath rent the Kingdom from thee, and hath given it to thy Neigh­bour that is better than thou; the unpro­fitable Servant must be cast out, must be cut down, Mat. 25. 27.

Cumber-ground! How many hopeful, [...]nclinable, forward People, hast thou by thy fruitless and unprofitable Life, kept out of the Vineyard of God; for thy sake have the People stumbled at Re­ligion; By thy Life have they been kept from the Love of their own Salvation. Thou hast been also a means of harden­ing others, and of quenching, and kil­ling weak beginnings. Well, Barren Fig­tree! look to thy self, (thou wilt not go to Heaven thy self, and them that would, thou hinderest); Thou must not always Cumber the Ground, nor always hinder the Salvation of others: Thou shalt be Cut down, and another shall be planted in thy room.

Thirdly, The Cumber-ground is a Sucker, [...] draws away the Heart and Nourish­ment [Page 62] from the other Trees. Were th [...] Cumber-ground cut down, the other would be more fruitful; he draws away that fatness of the Ground to himself, tha [...] would make the other more hearty and fruitful. One Sinner destroyeth much good Eccl. 9. 18.

The Cumber-ground is a very Droan i [...] the Hive, that eats up the Honey tha [...] that should feed the labouring Bee; [...] is a Thief in the Candle, that wasteth the Tallow, but giveth no Light; he is th [...] unsavory Salt, that is fit for nought b [...] the Dunghil. Look to it Barren Fig-tree.

And he answering, said unto him, Lord, l [...] it alone this Year also, until I shall d [...] about it, and dung it; and if it be [...] Fruit, well; and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down, vers. 8, 9.

THese are the words of the Dresser o [...] the Vineyard, who, I told you, [...] Jesus Christ (for he made intercession fo [...] the Transgressors.) And they contain Petition, presented to an offended Ju­stice, praying that a little more time, an [...] Patience might be exercised towards th [...] [Page 63] barren, cumber-ground Fig-tree.

In this Petition there are Six things considerable;

First, That Justice might be deferred, O that Justice might be deferred. Lord [...]et it alone, &c. a while longer.

Secondly, Here is time prefixed, as a space to try if more means will cure a bar­ [...]en Fig-tree. Lord let it alone this Year also.

Thirdly, The means to help it, are propounded, until I shall dig about it, and dung it.

Fourthly, Here is also an insinuation of a Supposition, that by thus doing, God's expectation may be answered, And if it bear Fruit, Well.

Fifthly, Here is a Supposition that the barren Figtree may yet abide barren, when Christ hath done what he will unto it, and if it bear Fruit, &c.

Sixthly, Here is at last a Resolution, that if thou continue barren, hewing Days will come upon thee. And if it bear Fruit, well, And if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

But to proceed according to my for­mer Method, by Way of Exposition.

Lord, let it alone this Year also.

Here is astonishing Grace indeed, asto­nishing Grace! I say, that the Lord Je­sus should concern himself with a barre [...] Fig-tree; that He should step in to stop [...] the blow from a barren Fig-tree. True▪ He stopt the blow but for a time; Bu [...] why did he stop it at all? Why did no [...] he fetch out the Ax? Why did he not do Execution? Why did not he cut it down? Barren Fig-tree! 'tis well for thee that there is a Jesus at God's right Hand, a Jesus of that largeness of bowels, As to have compassion for a barren Fig-tree, else Justice had never let thee alone to cumber the Ground as thou hast done. When Israel also had sinned against God, down they had gone, But that Moses stood in the breach, Exod. 32. 10. Let me alone, said God to him, that I may consume them in a moment, and I will make of thee a great Nation. Barren Fig-tree, dost thou hear? Thou knowest not how oft the hand of Divine Justice hath been up to strike, and how many Years since thou hadst been cut down, had not Jesus caught hold of his Father's Ax. Let me alone, let [Page 65] me fetch my blow, or cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground? Wilt thou not hear yet, Barren Fig-tree? Wilt thou provoke still! Thou hast wearied Men, and provoked the Justice of God; And wilt thou weary my God also? Isa. 7. 13.

Lord, let it alone this Year.]

Lord, a little longer, lets not lose a Soul for want of means; I will try, I will see if I can make it fruitful, I will not beg a long Life, nor that it might still be barren, and so provoke thee. I beg for the sake of the Soul, the immortal Soul, Lord spare it one Year only, one Year lon­ger, this Year also; if I do any Good to it, it will be in little time. Thou shalt not be over-wearied with waiting, one Year and then.

Barren Fig-tree, Dost thou hear what striving there is between the Vine-dresser and the Husband-Man for thy Life. Cut it down, says one; Lord, spare it, saith the other: 'Tis a cumber-ground, saith the Father: one Year longer prays the Son, Let it alone this Year also,

Vntil I shall dig about it, and dung it.

The Lord Jesus by these words sup­poseth two things, as Causes of the want of Fruit in a barren Fig-tree, and two things he supposeth as a Remedy.

The things that are a cause of want of Fruit, are,

1. 'Tis Earth-bound; Lord, the Fig-tree is Earth-bound.

2. A want of warmer Means, of fatter Means.

Wherefore accordingly he propound­eth;

First, To looser the Earth, to dig about it.

Secondly, And then to supply it with Dung; to dig about it, and dung it. Lord, let it alone this Year also, until I shall dig about it. I doubt it is too much ground-bound, The Love of this World, and the deceitfulness of Riches (Luke 14.) lie too close to the Roots of the Heart of this Professor. The love of Riches, the Love of Honours, the Love of Pleasures, are the Thorns that choak the Word; 1 Joh. 2. 15, 16. For all that is in the World, the Lusts of the Flesh, the Lusts of the Eyes, and the Pride [Page 67] of Life, are not of the Father, but en­mity to God); how then (where these things bind up the Heart) can there be Fruit brought forth to God? Barren Fig-tree, see how the Lord Jesus, by these very words, suggesteth the cause of thy fruitlesness of Soul. The things of this World lie too close to thy Heart; the Earth with its things have bound up thy Roots. Thou art an Earth-bound Soul, thou art wrapt up in thick Clay. If any Man love the World, the Love of the Father is not in him: how then can he be fruitful in the Vine­yard? This kept Judas from the Fruit of caring for the poor, Joh. 12. 6. This kept Demas from the Fruit of Self-denial, 2 Tim. 4. 10. And this kept Ananias and Saphirah his Wife, from the goodly Fruit of Sincerity and Truth, Act. 5. 5, 10. What shall I say, These are foolish and hurtful Lusts, which drown Men in Destruction and Perdition; for the love of Mony is the root of all Evil, 1 Tim. 6. 9, 10. How then can good Fruit grow from such a Root, the Root of all Evil; Which while some covet after, they have erred from the Faith, and pierced themselves through with many Sorrows. It is an evil Root, nay it is the Root of all Evil: how the [...] [Page 68] can the Professor that hath such a Root, or a Root wrap'd up in such earthly things, as the Lusts, and Pleasures, and Vanities of this World, bring forth Fruit to God!

Vntil I shall [dig] about it.]

Lord, I will loose his Roots, I will dig up this Earth, I will lay his Roots bare; my Hand shall be upon him by Sickness, by Disappointments, by cross Providences; I will dig about him until he stands shaking and tottering, until he be ready to fall; then, if ever, he will seek to take faster hold. Thus, I say, deals the Lord Jesus oft-times with the barren Professor; he diggeth about him, he smiteth one blow at his Heart, another blow at his Lusts, a third at his Pleasures, a fourth at his Comforts, another at his Self-conceitedness; thus he diggeth a­bout him: This is the way to take bad Earth from his Roots, and to loosen his Roots from the Earth. Barren Fig-tree, see here the Care, the Love, the Labour and Way, which the Lord Jesus, the Dresser of the Vineyard, is fain to take with thee, if happily thou mayest be made fruitful.

Vntil I shall dig about it, and [dung] it.

As the Earth, by binding the Roots too closely, may hinder the Tree's being fruitful; so the want of better Means may be also a Cause thereof. And this is more than intimated by the Dresser of the Vineyard, until I shall dig about it, and dung it, I will supply it with a more fruitful Ministry, with a warmer Word. I will give them Pastors after mine own Heart, I will dung them; You know Dung is a more warm, more fat, more hearty, and succouring Matter, than is common­ly the place in which Trees are plan­ted.

I will dig about it, and dung it, I will bring it under an heart-awakening Mini­stry, the Means of Grace shall be fat, and good. I will also visit it with Heart-awakening, Heart-warming, Heart-encouraging Considerations; I will ap­ply warm Dung to his Roots, I will strive with him by my Spirit, and give him some tastes of the heavenly Gift, and the Power of the World to come. I am loth to lose him for want of digging; [Page 70] Lord, let it alone this Year also, until I shall dig about it, and dung it.

And if it bear Fruit, well.]

And if the Fruit of all my Labour doth make this Fig-tree fruitful, I shall count my Time, my Labour and Means well bestowed upon it; And thou also, O my God, shalt be therewith much de­lighted: For thou art gracious, and mer­ciful, and repentest thee of the Evil which thou threatnest to bring upon a People.

These words therefore inform us, that if a barren Fig-tree, a barren Professor, shall now at last bring forth Fruit to God, it shall go well with that Pro­fessor, it shall go well with that poor Soul. His former Barrenness, his for­mer tempting of God, his abuse of God's Patience, and long-Suffering; his [...]spending Year after Year, shall now be all forgiven him. Yea, God the Fa­ther, and our Lord Jesus Christ will now pass by, and forget all, and say, Well done, at the last. When I say to the Wicked, O wicked Man, thou shalt surely die; if he then do that which is lawful and right, if he walk in the Statutes of Life, without commiting Iniquity, he [Page 71] shall surely live, he shall die, Ezek. 3. 3.

Barren Fig-tree, Dost thou hear! the Ax is laid to thy Roots, the Lord Jesus prays God to spare thee: Hath he been digging about thee? Hath he been dung­ing of thee? O barren Fig-tree, now thou art come to the Point; if thou shalt now become good, if thou shalt af­ter a gracious manner suck in the Go­spel-dung, and if thou shalt bring forth Fruit unto God, well; but if not, the Fire is the last. Fruit, or the Fire; Fruit or the Fire, Barren Fig-tree. If it bo [...]r Fruit, well.

And if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.]

And if not, &c. The Lord Jesus by this, If, giveth us to understand, that there is a Generation of Professors in the World, that are incureable, that will not, that cannot repent, nor be profited by the means of Grace: A Generation, I say, that will retain a Profession, but will not bring forth Fruit: A Generation that will wear out the Patience of God, Time and Tide, Threatnings and In­tercessions, [Page 72] Judgments and Mercies, And after all will be unfruitful.

O the desperate Wickedness that is in thy Heart! Barren Professor, Dost thou hear, the Lord Jesus stands yet in doubt about thee! There is an [if] stands yet in the way. I say, the Lord Jesus stands yet in doubt about thee, whether or no at last thou wilt be good; whether he may not labour in vain; whether his digging and dunging will come to more than last labour. I gave her space to re­pent, and she repented not, Rev. 2. 21. I digged about it, I dunged it; I gained Time, and supplied it with Means; but I laboured herein in vain, and spent my strength for nought and in vain. Dost thou hear, Barren Fig-tree! There is yet a Question, Whether 'twill be well with thy Soul at last?

And if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.]

There is nothing more exasperating to the Mind of a Man, than to find all his Kindness and Favour slighted: Nei­ther is the Lord Jesus so provoked with any thing, as when Sinners abuse his [Page 73] Means of Grace, if it be barren and fruitfless under my Gospel; if it turn my Grace into wantonness; if after dig­ging, and dunging, and waiting, it yet remain unfruitful, I will let thee cut it down.

Gospel-means applied, is the last Re­medy for a barren Professor; if the Go­spel, if the Grace of the Gospel will not do, there can be nothing expected, but cut it down. Then after that thou shalt cut it down.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kil­lest the Prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have ga­thered thy Children together, as an Hen ga­thereth her Chickens under her Wings, and ye would not? Therefore your Houses are [...]ft unto you desolate, Matth. 23. 37, 38. Yet it cannot be, but that this Lord Je­sus, wh [...] at first did put a stop to the exe­cution of his Father's Justice, because he desired to try more Means with the Fig-tree▪ I say, it cannot be, but that an Heart so full of Compassion, as his is, should be touched, to behold this Pro­fessor [...] be cut down; Luke 19. [...] And when he was come near, he be­held the City, and wept over it, saying, If [Page 74] thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day the things that belong to thy Peace, but now they are hid from thine Eyes.

After that, thou shalt cut it down.]

When Christ giveth thee over; there is no Intercessor, no Mediator, no more Sa­crifice for Sin: all is gone but Judgment, but the Ax, but a certain fearful looking for of Judgment, and fiery Indignation, which shall devour the Adversaries, Heb. 10. 26, 27, 28.

Barren Fig-tree, take heed that thou comest not to these last words, for these words are a give-up, a cast-up, a cast-up of a cast-away; after that thou shalt cut it down. They are as much, as if Christ had said, Father; I begg'd for more time for this barren Professor; I begged until I should dig abou [...] it, [...]nd dung it: But now, Father, the time is out, the Year is ended, the I Summer is ended, and no good done. I have also tried with [...] have digged about it; [...] the fat and hearty [...] of the Gospel to it; but all comes to nothing. [...] [Page 75] deliver up this Professor to thee again, I have done, I have done all, I have done praying, and endeavouring, I will hold the head of thine Ax No longer: Take him into the Hands of Justice, do Justice, do the Law, I will never beg for him more. After that thou shalt cut it down. Wo unto them when I depart from them, Hos. 9. 12. Now is this Professor left naked indeed, naked to God, naked to Satan, naked to Sin, naked to the Law, naked to Death, naked to Hell, naked to Judgment, and naked to the Gripes of a Guilty Conscience, and to the torment of that Worm that never dies, and to that Fire that never shall be quenched. Heb. 12. 25. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh; for if they escaped not, who refused him that spake on Earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven. From this brief pass through this Para­ble, you have these two general Obser­vations;

First, That even then when the Justice of God cries out, I cannot endure to wait on this barren Professor any longer: Then Jesus Christ intercedes for a little more Patience, and a little more striving with this Professor, if possible he may make [Page 76] him a fruitful Professor. Lord, let it alone this Year also, until I shall dig about it and dung it, and if it bear Fruit, well, &c.

Secondly, There are some Professors whose Day of Grace will end with, cut it down, with Judgment; when Christ, by his means, hath been used for their Salvation.

The First of these Observations I shall pass, and not meddle at all therewith; But shall briefly speak to the Second, to wit,

That there are some Professors, whose Day of Grace will end with, cut it down, with Judgmeut, when Christ by his means hath been used for their Salvation.

This the Apostle sheweth in that third Chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews; where he tells us, that the People of the Jews, after a forty Years patience, and endeavour to do them good by the means appointed for that purpose, their end was to be cut down, or excluded the Land of Promise, for their final incredulity, So we see they could not enter in, because of Vnbelief. Wherefore saith he, I was grieved with that generation, and said, they do always err in their Hearts, and they have not known my ways: So I sware in [Page 77] my Wrath, they shall not enter into my Rest. As who should say, I would they should have entred in, and for that purpose I brought them out of Egypt, led them through the Sea, and taught them in the Wilderness, but they did not answer my Work nor Designs in that Matter; wherefore, they shall not, I sware they shall not; I swore in my Wrath they should not enter into my Rest: Here is cutting down with Judgment. So again, Chap. 4. he saith, As I have sworn in my Wrath, if they shall enter into my Rest, although the Works were finished from the Founda­tion of the World, Heb. 4. 2, 3, 4. This word [if] is the same with [they shall not] in the Chapter before. And where he saith, Although the Works were finished from the Foundation of the World. He giveth us to understand, that what prepa­rations soever are made for the Salvation of Sinners, and of how long continu­ance soever they are, yet the God-tempting, God-provoking, and fruitless Professor is like to go without a share therein; although the Works were finish'd from the Foundation of the World. Jude 5, 6. I will therefore put you in remem­brance, though ye once knew this, how that [Page 78] the Lord having saved the People out of the Land of Egypt, [...] afterwards destroyed them that believed not. And the Angels that kept not their first Estate▪ but left their own Habitation, he hath reserved in ever­lasting Chains under Darkness, unto the Judgment of the great Day. Here is an Instance to purpose, an Instance of Men and Angels: Men saved out of the Land of Egypt, and in their Journey towards Canaan, the Type of Heaven [cut down] Angels created and placed in the Heavens in great Estate and Principa­lity; yet both these, because unfruitful to God in their places, were cut down, the Men destroyed by God, (for so saith the Text) and the Angels reserved in everlasting Chains under Darkness, to the Judgment of the great Day.

Now, in my handling of this Point, I shall discourse of the cutting down, or the Judgment here denounced, as it respect­eth the doing of it by God's Hand im­mediately, and that too, with respect to his casting them out of the World; and not as it respecteth an Act of the Church, &c. And as to this cutting down, or Judgment, it must be con­cluded, that it cannot be before the Day of [Page 79] Grace be past with the Fig-tree. But ac­cording to the Observation, There be some Professors whose Day of Grace will end, with cut it down; and according to the words of the Text, Then [after that] thou shalt cut it down. After that, that is, after all my Attempts and Endeavours to make it fruitful, after I have left it, given it over, done with it, and have resolved to bestow no more Days of Grace, Opportunities of Grace, and Means of Grace upon it; then, after that, thou shalt cut it down.

Besides, the giving up of the Fig-tree, is before the Execution. Execution is not always presently upon the Sentence given; for after that a convenient Time is thought on, and then is cutting down: And so it is here in the Text. The De­cree, that he shall perish, is gathered from its continuing fruitless quite through the last Year, from its conti­nuing fruitless at the end of all Endea­vours: But cutting down is not yet, for that comes with an after-word; Then after that thou shalt cut it down.

So then, that I may orderly proceed with the Observation, I must lay down these two Propositions.

[Page 80] Prop. 1. That the Day of Grace ends with some Men before God takes them out of this World. And,

Prop. 2. The Death, or cutting down of such Men, will be dreadful. For this cut it down, when it is understood in the largest sense, (as here indeed it ought) it sheweth, not only the Wrath of God against a Man's Life in this World, but his Wrath against him Body and Soul. And is as much as to say, cut him off from all the Priviledges and Benefits that come by Grace, both in this World, and that which is to come.

But to proceed, The Day of Grace ends with some Men, before God taketh them out of this World.

I shall give you some Instances of this; and so go on to the last Proposition.

First, I shall instance, Cain; Cain was a Professor, (Gen. 4. 3.) a Sacrificer, a Worshipper of God; yea, the first Wor­shipper that we read of after the Fall; but his Grapes were wild Ones, Gen. 4. 5, 8. his Works were Evil, he did not do what he did, from true Gospel-motives; therefore God disallowed his Work: at this his Countenance falls: Wherefore he envies his Brother, disputes him, takes [Page 81] his opportunity and kills him. Now in that day that he did this Act, were the Heavens closed up against him, and that himself did smartingly and fearfully feel, when God made inquisition for the Blood of Abel; And now cursed (said God) shalt thou be from the Earth, which hath opened her Mouth to receive thy Bro­thers Blood from thy Hand, &c. Gen. 4. 8, 11, 12, 13, 14. And Cain said, My Punishment is greater than I can bear. Mine Iniquity is greater than that it may be for­given. Behold, thou hast driven me out this Day from the Face of the Earth, and from thy Face shall I be hid. Now thou art cursed, saith God. Thou hast driven me out this Day, saith Cain, and from thy Face shall I be hid; I shall never more have Hope in thee, Smile from thee, nor expect Mercy at thy Hand. Thus therefore, Cain's Day of Grace ended, and the Heavens, with God's own Heart, were shut up against him; yet after this, he lived long, Gen. 4. 10. Cutting down was not come yet; after this he li­ved to marry a Wife, vers. 17. to beget a cursed Brood, to build a City, (and what else I know not) all which could not be quickly done: Wherefore Cain [Page 82] might live after the Day of Grace was past with him, several hundred of Years.

Secondly, I shall instance Ishmael, Gen. 17. 25, 26. Ishmael was a Professor, was brought up in Abraham's Family, and was circumcised at thirteen Years of Age, Gen. 16. 12. But he was the Son of the Bond-woman, he brought not forth good Fruit, he was a wild Professor: For all his Religion, he would scoff at those that were better than himself. Well, upon a day his Brother Isaac was weaned, at which time his Father made a Feast, and rejoiced before the Lord, for that he had given him the promised Son; at this Ish­mael mocked them, their Son, and godly rejoicing. Then came the Spirit of God upon Sarah, and she cried, Cast him out, cast out this Bond-woman and her Son; for the Son of this Bond-woman shall not be Her with my Sou, with Isaac, Gen. 21. 9, 10, 11. Now Paul to the Galatians, (Chap. 4. 29, 30, 31.) makes this cast­ing out to be, not only a casting out of Abraham's Family, but a casting out al­so from a Lot with the Saints in Heaven. Also Moses giveth us a notable proof thereof, in saying, that when he died, he was gathered to his People, Gen. 25. 17. [Page 83] his People by his Mother's side, for he was reckoned from her, the Son of: Ha­ [...]ar; the Son of the Bond-woman. Now [...]he came of the Egyptians, Gen. 21. 9. So that he was gathered when he died, notwithstanding his Profession, to the place that P [...]araoh and his Host were gathered to, who: were drowned in the Red Sea; these were his People, and he was of them, both by Nature and Dis­position, by persecuting as they did. But now, When did the Day of Grace [...]nd with this Man [...] Observe, and I will shew you: Ishmael was thirteen Years old when he was circumcised [...], [...]nd the [...] was Abraham ninety Years old and nine, Gen. 17. 24, 25, 26. the next Year Isaac was born. So that Ishmael was now fourteen Years of Age. Now when Isaac was weaned, (suppose [...] suck'd four Years) by that account, The [...] Day of Grace must be ended with Ishmael, by that time he was eighteen Years old, Gen. 25. 12, &c. For that day he mocked, that day it was [...], Cast him out; and of that casting out; the Apostle makes what I have said. Beware ye young barren Professors. Now Ishmael lived [...] Years after this, [Page 84] in great tranquillity and honour with Men: After this he also begat twelve Princes, even after his Day of Grace was past.

Thirdly, I shall instance Esau, Gen. 25. 27, &c. Esau also was a Professor, he was born unto Isaac, and circumcised ac­cording to the custom: But Esau was a gamesom Professor, an Huntsman, a Man of the Field; also he was wedded to his Lusts, which he did also venture to keep rather than the Birth-right. Well, up­on a day, when he came from hunting and was faint, he sold his Birth-right to Jacob his Brother. Now the Birth-right, in those days, had the Promise and Blessing annexed to it. Yea, they were so entailed in this, that the one could not go without the other, where­fore the Apostle's Caution is here of weight; Heb. 12. 16, [...]. Take heed faith he, [...] you a Forni­cator, or profane Person as Esau, who [...] one [...] of Meat sold his Birth-right▪ for ye know how that afterwards, when [...] would have inherited the Blessings he was rejected; for he [...] of [...], though he [...]. Now the ending of Esau [...] Day [Page 85] of Grace is to be reckoned from his sel­ling of his Birth-right: For there the Apostle points it, lest there be among you any, that like Esau, sells his Birth-right: for then goes hence the Blessing also.

But Esau sold his Birth-right long be­fore his Death. Twenty Years after this, Jacob was with Laban, (Gen. 31. 41. & [...]2. 6.) and when he returned home, his brother Esau met him. Further, after [...]his when Jacob dwelt again some time with his Father, then Jacob and Esau bu­ried him. I suppose, (Gen. 35. 28, 29.) He might live above forty, yea for ought [...] know, above fourscore years after he had [...]old his Birth-right, and so consequently had put himself out of the Grace of God.

Three things I would further note upon these three Professors.

First, Cain an angry Professor, Ishmael [...] mocking one, Esau a lustful, game­some one: Three Symptomes of a barren Professor. For he that can be angry, and that can mock, and that can indulge his lusts, cannot bring forth Fruit to God.

Secondly, The Day of Grace ended with these Professors at that time when they committed some grievous Sin; [Page 86] Cain's, when he killed his Brother; Ish­mael's, when he mocked at Isaac, &c. and Esau when out of love to his Lusts, he despised, and sold his Birth-right. Be­ware, barren Professor; Thou mayst [...] that in half a quarter of an hour, from the evil of which thou mayst not be delivered for ever and ever.

Thirdly, Yet these three, after their Day of Grace was over, lived better lives as to outward things, than ever they did before. Cain, after this, was Lord of a City, Gen. 4. 17. Ishmael was after this, father of twelve Princes, Gen. 25. 16. and Esau after this, told his Brother I have enough, my Brother, keep that th [...] hast to thy self, Chap. 33. 8, 9. Ease, and Peace, and a prosperous Life in out­wards, is no sign of the Favour of God to a barren and fruitless Professor; But rather of his Wrath, that thereby he may be capable to treasure up more Wrath against the day of Wrath, and revelation of the righteous Judgment of God.

Let thus much serve for the proof the first Proposition, namely, That the day of Grace ends with some Men, before God takes them out of this world.

[Page 87] Now then, to shew you, by some Signs, how you may know that the day of Grace is ended, or near to ending with the Barren Professor; And after that thou shalt cut it down.

First, He that hath stood it out against God, and that hath withstood all those means for Fruit, that God hath used for the making of him (if it might have been) a fruitful Tree in his Garden, he is in this danger; and this indeed is the sum of the Parable: The Fig-tree here mentioned, was blessed with the appli­cation of means, had time allowed it to receive the nourishment; but it outstood, with-stood, overstood All, All that the Husband-man did, All that the Vine­dresser did.

Signs of being past Grace.

But a little distinctly to particularize in four or five Particulars:

First Sign. The Day of Grace is like to be past, when a Professor hath with­stood, abused, and worn out God's Pati­ence, then he is in danger, this is a pro­vocation, then God cries, Cut it down. There are some Men that steal into a [Page 88] Profession, no body knows how; even as the Fig-tree was brought into the Vineyard by other hands than God's; and th [...] they abide liveless, graceless, careles [...] and without any good Conscience to God [...] all. Perhaps they came in for the Loave [...] for a Trade, for Credit, for a Blind; [...] it may be to stifle and choak the Check and grinding Pangs of an awakened and disquieted Conscience. Now having obtain'd their purpose, like the Sinners [...] Sion, they are at ease, and secure; Sa [...] ­ing, like Agag, 1 Sam. 15. 32. Surely [...] bitterness of Death is past; I am we [...] shall be saved, and go to Heaven: Th [...] in these vain conceits it spends a Year, two or three; not remembring that at every Season of Grace, and at every oppor­tunity of the Gospel, the Lord come [...] seeking Fruit. Well, Sinner, well barre [...] Fig-tree, this is but a course beginning; God comes for Fruit. What have I here, saith God,: what a Fig-tree is this that hath stood this Year in my Vine­yard, and brought me forth no Fruit▪ I will cry unto him, Professor! Barre [...] Fig-tree, be fruitful! I look for Fruit, I expect Fruit, I must have Fruit, therefore bethink thy self. At these the [Page 89] Professor pauses; but these are words, not blows, therefore off goes this Conside­ration from the Heart: When God comes the next Year, he finds him still as he was, a barren, fruitless cumber-ground. And now again he complains, here are two Years gone, and no Fruit appears; Well, I will defer mine anger for my Namesake. Isa. 48. 9. I will defer mine Anger for my Praise, I will refrain from thee, that I cut thee not off (as yet.) I will wait, I will yet wait to be Gracious. But this helps not, this hath not the least influence upon the barren Fig-tree, Tush, saith he, here is no Threatning: God is merciful, he will defer his anger, Isa. 30. 18. He waits to be gracious: I am not yet afraid. O how ungodly Men, that are at unawares crept into the Vineyard, how do they turn the Grace of our God into lasciviousness! Well, he comes the third Year for Fruit, as he did before, but still he finds but a barren Fig-tree; No Fruit: now he cries out again, O thou Dresser of my Vineyard, come hither, here's a Fig-tree hath stood these three Years in my Vineyard, and hath at every season disappointed my expectation, for I have looked for Fruit in vain; Cut it [Page 90] down, my patience is worn out, I sha [...] wait on this Fig-tree no longer.

2. And now he begins to shake the Fig-tree with his threatnings; fetch out th [...] Ax. Now the Ax is Death, Death ther [...] fore is called for; Death, come, smi [...] me this Fig-tree. And withal the Lor [...] shakes this Sinner, and whirls him upon Sick-bed, saying, Take him Death, [...] hath abused my Patience and Forb [...] rance, not remembring that it shou [...] have led him to Repentance, and to th [...] Fruits thereof. Death, fetch away th [...] Fig-tree to the fire, fetch this barren Professor to Hell. At this, Death com [...] with Grim looks into the Chamber, ye [...] and Hell follows with him to the Bed-sid [...] and both stare this Professor in the fac [...] yea, begin to lay Hands upon him; o [...] smiting him with pains in his Body, with Head-ach, Heart-ach, Back-ach, Shortness of Breath, Fainting Qualms, Trembling of Joints, Stopping at the Chef [...] and almost all the Symptomes of a Man pa [...] all recovery. Now while Death is th [...] tormenting the Body, Hell is doing with the Mind and Conscience, striking the [...] with its Pains, casting sparks of Fire i [...] thither, wounding with sorrows an [...] [Page 91] Fears of everlasting damnation, the Spi­rit of this poor creature: And now he begins to bethink himself, and to cry to God for Mercy; Lord, spare me, Lord, spare me. Nay, saith God, you have been a Provocation to me these three Years. How many times have you disap­pointed me? How many seasons have you spent in vain? How many Sermons and other Mercies did I of my Patience afford you? but to no purpose at all, Take him Death. O good Lord, saith the Sinner, Spare me but this once; Raise me but this once. Indeed I have been a barren Professor, and have stood to no purpose at all in thy Vineyard: But spare! O spare this one time, I beseech thee, and I will be better. Away, away, you will not. I have tried you these three Tears already, you are nought; If I should recover you again, you would be us bad as you was before (and all this talk is while Death stands by.) The Sinner cries again, Good Lord, try me this once, let me get up again this once, and see if I do not mend. But will you promise me to mend? Yes indeed, Lord, and vow it too; I will never be so bad again, I will be better. Well, saith God, [Page 92] Death, let this Professor alone for this time. I will try him a while longer, he hath promised, he hath vowed that he will amend his ways. It may be he will mind to keep his Promises. Vows are solemn things, it may be he may fear to break his Vows: Arise from off thy Bed; and now God laies down his Ax. At this the poor Creature is very thankful, praises God, and fawns upon him, shews as if he did it heartily, and calls to others to thank him too. He therefore riseth as one would think, to be a new-creature indeed. But by that he hath put on his clothes, is come down from his bed, and ventured into the Yard, or Shop, and there sees how all things are gone to Sixes and Sevens, he begins to have second thoughts: and says to his folks, What have you all been doing? How are all things out of order? I am I cannot tell what behind-hand; one may see if a Man be but a little a to-side, that you have neither Wisdom, nor Prudence to order things: And now, in­stead of seeking to spend the rest of his time to God, he doubleth his Diligence af­ter this World. Alas, all must not be lost, we must have provident Care: and thus [Page 93] quite forgetting the Sorrows of Death, the pains of Hell, the Promises and Vows which he made to God to be better: Be­cause Judgment was not (now) speedily exe­cuted, therefore the Heart of this poor Creature is fully set in him to do Evil.

These things proving ineffectual, God takes hold of his Ax again, sends Death to a Wife, to a Child, to his Cattel, (your young Men have I slain, and taken away your horses, Amos 4. 9, 10.) I will blast him, cross him, disappoint him, and cast him down, and will set my self against him, in all that he putteth his Hand unto. At this the poor Barren Professor cries out again, Lord, I have sinned, spare me once more, I beseech thee. O take not away the desire of mine Eyes, spare my Children, bless me in my labours, and I will mend and be better. No, saith God, you lyed to me last time, I will trust you in this no lon­ger, and withal he tumbleth the Wife, the Child, the Estate, into a grave.

And then returns to his place, till this Professor more unfeignedly acknowleg­eth his offence, Hos. 5. 14, 15.

At this the poor creature is afflicted and distressed, Rents his Cloaths, and be­gins to call the breaking of his Promise [Page 94] and Vows to mind, he mourns and Prays, and like Ahab, a while walks soft­ly, at the remembrance of the justness of the hand of God upon him. And now he renews his Promises; Lord, try me this one time more, take off thy hand and see; They go far that never turn. Well, God spareth him again, sets down his Ax again; Many times He did deliver them, but they provoked him with their Coun­sels, and were brought low for their Iniqui­ties, Psal. 106. 43. Now they seem to be thankful again, and are as if they were resolved to be Godly indeed. Now they Read, they Pray, they go to Meet­ings, and seem to be serious a pretty while, but at last they forget. Their Lusts prick them, suitable Temptations present themselves: wherefore they turn to their own crooked ways again. Psal. 78. 34, 36. When he slew them, then they sought him, and returned early after God, nevertheless they did flatter him with mouth, and lyed unto him with their tongue.

4. Yet again, The Lord will not leave this Professor, but will take up his Ax again, and will put him under a more heart-searching Ministry, a Ministry that [Page 95] shall search him, and turn him over and over; a Ministry that shall meet with him, as Elijah met with Ahab, in all his acts of Wickedness (and Now the Ax is laid to the Roots of the Trees.) Besides, this Minstry doth not only search the Heart, but presenteth the Sinner with the Golden rays of the glorious Gospel; Now is Christ Jesus set forth evidently, now is Grace displayed sweetly; Now, now are the Promises broken like Boxes of Ointment to the perfuming of the whole room. But a as, there is yet no Fruit on this Fig-tree. While his Heart is searching, he wrangles; while the glorious Grace of the Gospel is unvail­ing, this Professor wags and is wanton, gathers up some scraps thereof, Tastes the good Word of God, and the Powers of the World to come, Jude 4. Drinketh in the Rain that comes oft upon him, Heb. 6. 3— 7, 8. But bringeth not forth Fruit meet for him, whose Gospel it is; takes no heed to walk in the Law of the Lord God of Israel with all his Heart, 2 Kin. 10. 31. but counteth that the Glory of the Gospel consisteth in talk and shew, and that our Obedi­ence thereto, is a matter of Speculation; that good Works lie in good Words, and [Page 96] if they can finely talk, they think they bravely, please God. They think the Kingdom of God consisteth only in Word, not in Power: and thus proveth ineffectual this Fourth Means also.

5. Well, Now the Ax begins to be heaved higher, for now indeed God is ready to smite the Sinner, yet before he will strike the stroak, he will try one Way more at the last, and if that mis­seth, down goes the Fig-tree. Now this last way is to tug and strive with this Pro­fessor by his Spirit. Wherefore the Spi­rit of the Lord is now come to him: But not always to strive with Man, Gen. 6. 8. yet a while he will strive with him, he will awaken, he will convince, he will call to remembrance former Sins, former Judgments, the breach of former Vows and Promises, the mispending of for­mer Days; he will also present perswa­sive Arguments, encouraging Promises, dreadful Judgments, the shortness of time to repent in; and that there is hope if he come. Further, he will shew him the certainty of Death, and of the Judgment to come; yea, He will pull and strive with this Sinner. But, be­hold, the mischief now lies here, here [Page 97] is tugging and striving on both sides. The Spirit convinces, the Man turns a deaf Ear to God; the Spirit saith, Re­ceive my Instruction and live; but the Man pulls away his Shoulder; the Spirit shews him whither he is going, but the Man closeth his Eyes against it; the Spirit offereth violence, the Man strives and resists, They have done despite unto the Spi­rit of Grace, Heb. 10. 29. The Spirit parlieth a second time, and urgeth Rea­sons of a new nature; But the Sinner answereth, No, I have loved strangers, and after them I will go, Amos 4. 6, 8, 9, 10, 11. At this God's Fury comes up into his Face, now he comes out of his holy Place, and is terrible: now He sweareth in his Wrath, they shall never enter into his Rest, Ezek. 24. 13. I exercised towards you my Patience, yet you have not tur­ned unto me, saith Lord. I smote you in your Person, in your Relations, in your Estate, yet you have not returned [...]nto me, saith the Lord. In thy filthi­ness is lewdness, because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged; thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I cause my Fury to rest npon thee. Cut it down, why doth it cumber the ground?

[Page 98] The Second Sign, That such a Profes­sor is almost (if not quite) past Grace, is, When God hath given him over, or lets him alone, and suffers him to do any thing, and that without controul, helpeth him not either in Works of Holiness, or in Straits and Difficulties. Ephraim is joy­ned to Idols, let him alone, Hos. 4. 17. W [...] be to them when I depart from them. I will laugh at their Calamities, and will mock when their Fear cometh, Prov. 1. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.

Barren Fig-tree, thou hast heretofore been digged about, and dunged, God's Mattock hath heretofore been at thy Roots, Gospel-dung hath heretofore been applied to thee; thou hast heretofore been strove with, convinced, awakened, made to taste and see, and crie, O the Blessedness! Thou hast heretofore been met with under the Word; thy Heart hath melted, thy Spirit hath fallen, thy Soul hath trembled, and thou hast felt something of the Power of the Gospel. But thou hast sinned, thou hast pro­voked the Eyes of his Glory, thy Iniqui­ty is found to be hateful, and now per­haps [Page 99] God hath left thee, given thee up, and lets thee alone.

Heretofore thou wast tender, thy Con­science startled at the temptation to Wickedness, for thou wert taken off from the pollutions of the World, through the knowledg of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 2 Pet. 2. 20, 21, 22. but that very Vomit that once thou wert turned from, now thou lappest up (with the Dog in the Proverb) again, and that very Mire that once thou seemest to lie washed from, in that very Mire thou now art tumbling afresh. But to particularize, there are three Signs of a Man's being given over of God.

1. When he is let alone in Sinning, when the reins of his Lusts are loosed, and he given up to them. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledg, God gave them over to a reprobate Mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, Rom. 1. 28, 29. Seest thou a Man that heretofore had the knowledg of God, and that had some awe of Majesty upon him; I say, seest thou such an one, spor­ting himself in his own Deceivings, Rom. 1. 30, 31. turning the Grace of our [Page 100] God into Lasciviousness, and walking after his own ungodly Lusts; his Judg­ment now of a long time lingereth not, and his Damnation slumbereth not, 2 Pet. 2. 13. Dost thou hear, barren Professor? It is astonishing to see, how those that once seemed Sons of the Morning, and were making Preparations for Eternal Life, now at last, for the rottenness of their Hearts, by the just Judgment of God, to be permitted, being past feeling, to give themselves over unto Lascivious­ness, to work all uncleanness with greedi­ness, Eph. 4. 18, 19. A great number of such were in the first Gospel-days; a­gainst whom Peter, and Jude, and John pronounceth the heavy Judgment of God. Peter and Jude couple them with the fal­len Angels, 2 Pet. 2. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. and John forbids that prayer be made for them, because that is happened unto them, that hath happened to the Angels that fell, Jude 5, 6, 7, 8. Who for forsaking their first State, and for leaving their own Habi­tation, are reserved in Chains under ever­lasting Darkness, unto the Judgment of the great Day. Barren Fig-tree, dost thou hear?

First, These are beyond all Mercy.

[Page 101] Secondly, These are beyond all Pro­mises.

Thirdly, These are beyond all hopes of Repentance.

Fourthly, These have no Intercessor, nor any more share in a Sacrifice for Sin.

Fifthly, For these there remains nothing but a fearful looking for of Judgment.

Sixthly, Wherefore these are the true Fugitives and Vagabonds, that being left of God, of Christ, of Grace, and of the Promise, and being beyond all hope, wander and straggle to and fro, even as the Devil, their Associate, until their time shall come to die, or until they de­scend in Battel, and perish.

2. Wherefore they are let alone in hearing. If these at any time come un­der the Word, there is for them no God, no savour of the means of Grace, no stirrings of Heart, no pity for themselves, no love to their own Salvation. Let them look on this hand or that, there they see such effects of the Word in others, as produceth Signs of Repen­tance, and Love to God and his Christ, These Men only have their Backs bowed down alway, Rom. 11. 10. These Men only, [Page 102] have the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear to this very day, Eccl. 8. 10. Where­fore as they go to the place of the Holy; So they came from the place of the Holy, and soon are forgotten in the places where they so did. Only they reap this dam­mage, They treasure up Wrath against the day of Wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, Rom. 2. 3, 4, 5. Look to it, barren Professor.

3. If he be visited after the common way of Mankind, either with Sickness, Distress, or any kind of Calamity, still no God appeareth, no sanctifying Hand of God, no special Mercy is mixed with the Affliction. But he falls sick, and grows well, like the Beast; or is under distress, as Saul, who when he was en­gaged by the Philistines, was forsaken and left of God. 1 Sam. 28. 4, 5, 6. And the Philistins gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem; and Saul gathered all Israel together, and thy pitched to Gilboa: And when Saul saw the Host of the Philistins, he was afraid, and his Heart greatly trembled. And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him no more, neither by Dreams, nor by Urim, [Page 103] nor by Prophets. The Lord answered him no more, He had done with him, cast him off, and rejected him, and left him to stand and fall with his Sins by himself. But of this more in the Conclusion, there­fore I here forbear.

4. These Men may go whither they will, do what they will, they may range from Opinion to Opinion, from Notion to Notion, from Sect to Sect, but are stedfast no where, they are left to their own Uncertainties: they have not Grace to establish their Hearts, and though some of them have boasted themselves of this Liberty, yet Jude calls them wander­ing Stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever, Jude 13. They are left, as I told you before, to be Fugi­tives and Vagabonds in the Earth, to wander every where, but to abide no where, until they shall descend to their own place, (Acts 1. 5.) with Cain and Ju­das, Men of the same fate with them­selves.

A Third Sign that such a Professor is quite past Grace, is, When his heart is grown so hard, so stony and impenetra­ble, that nothing will pierce it. Barren [Page 104] Fig-tree, dost thou consider? A hard and impenitent Heart is the Curse of God. A Heart that cannot repent, is instead of all Plagues at once; And hence it is that God said of Pharaoh, Exod. 9. 14. when he spake of delivering him up in the greatness of his Anger, I will at this time, saith he, send all my Plagues upon thy Heart.

To some Men that have grievously sinned under a Profession of the Gospel, God giveth this Token of his Displea­sure, they are denied the Power of Re­pentance, their Heart is bound, they cannot repent: It is impossible that they should ever repent should they live a thousand Years, It is impossible for those Fall-a-ways to be renewed again unto Re­pentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, aed put him to open shame, Heb. 6. 4, 5, 6. Now to have the Heart so hardened, so judicially har­dened, this is as a bar put in by the Lord God against the Salvation of this Sin­ner. This was the burden of Spira's Complaint, I cannot do it: O now I can­not do it.

This Man sees what he hath done, what should help him, and what will be­come [Page 105] of him, yet he cannot repent; he pulled away his Shouldier before, he stopped his Ears before, he shut up his Eyes before, and in that very posture God left him, and so he stands to this very Day. I have had a fancy, that Lot's Wife, when she was turned into a Pillar of Salt, (Gen. 19. 26.) stood yet looking over her Shoulder, or else with her Face to­wards Sodom; as the Judgment caught her, so it bound her, and left her a Monument of God's Anger to after-Generations.

We read of some that are seared with an hot Iron, and that are past feeling, for so seared Persons, in seared Parts are. Their Conscience is seared, 1 Tim. 4. 2. The Conscience is the thing that must be touched with [...]eeling fear and remorse, if ever any good be done with the Sin­ner. How then can any good be done to those whose Conscience is worse than that, that is fast asleep in sin, Eph. 4. 19. For that Conscience that is fast asleep, may yet be effectually awakened and saved; but that Conscience that is seared, dried, as it were, into a Cinder, can never have sense, feeling, or the least regret in this World. Barren Fig-tree, hearken, judi­cial [Page 106] hardening is dreadful. There is a dif­ference betwixt that hardness of Heart that is incident to all Men, and that which comes upon some as a signal or special Judgment of God: and although all kind of hardness of Heart, in some sense, may be called a Judgment, yet to be hardened with this second kind, is a Judgment peculiar only to them that perish; an hardness that is sent as a punishment, for the abuse of Light received, for a reward of Apostacy.

This Judicial hardness is discovered from that which is incident to all Men, in these Particulars:

1. It is an hardness that comes after some great Light received; Because of some great Sin committed against that Light, and the Grace that gave it. Such hard­ness as Pharaoh had, after the Lord had wrought wonderously before him: Such hardness as the Gentiles had, a hardness which darkened the Heart, a hardness which made their Minds reprobate. This hard [...]ess is also the same with that the Hebrews are cautioned to beware of, (Heb. 3. 7, &c.) an hardness that is caused by Unbelief, and a departing from the Li­ving God; and hardness compleated thro [Page 107] the deceitfulness of Sin: Such as that in the Provocation, of whom God sware, that they should not enter into his Rest. 'Twas this kind of hardness also that both Cain, and Ishmael, and Esau were hardened with, after they had com­mitted their great Transgressions.

2. It is the greatest kind of Hardness, and hence they are said to be Harder than a Rock, Jer. 5. 3. or than an Ada­mant, Zec. 7. 13. that is, harder than Flint. So hard that nothing can enter.

3. It is an Hardness given in much anger, and that to bind the Soul up in an impossibility of Repentance.

4. It is an Hardness therefore which is incurable, of which a Man must die and be damned. Barren Professor, hear­ken to this.

A Fourth Sign that such a Professor is quite past Grace, is, when he fortifies his hard Heart against the tenour of God's Word, Job 9. 4, &c. This is called hardening themselves against God, and turn­ing of the Spirit against him. As thus, When after a Profession of Faith in the Lord Jesus, and of the Doctrine that is according to Godliness, they shall em­bolden [Page 108] themselves in courses of Sin, by promising themselves that they shall have Life and Salvation notwithstanding. Bar­ren Professor, hearken to this. This Man is called, (Deut. 29. 18.) A Root that beareth Gall and Wormwood, or a poisonful Herb, such an one as is abominated of God; yea the abhorred of his Soul. For this Man saith, v. 19, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination or stub­bornness of my Heart, to add drunkeness to thirst; an opinion flat against the whole Word of God, yea against the very Na­ture of God himself. Wherefore he adds, Deut. 19. 20. Then the Anger of the Lord, and his jealousy shall smoak against that Man; and all the Curses that are written in God's Book shall lie upon him, and God shall blot out his Name from under Heaven.

Yea, that Man shall not fail to be ef­fectually destroyed, saith the Text, 21. vers. The Lord shall separate that Man un­to evil, out of all the Tribes of Israel, ac­cording to all the Curses of the Cove­nant.

He shall separate him unto Evil; He shall give him up, he shall leave him to his Heart; he shall separate him to that, [Page 109] or those that will assuredly be too hard for him.

Now this Judgment is much effected, when God hath given a Man up unto Satan, and hath given Satan leave, with­out fail, to compleat his destruction. I say, When God hath given Satan leave ef­fectually to compleat his destruction: For all that are delivered up unto Satan, have not, nor do not come to this End. But that is the Man, whom God shall sepa­rate to Evil, and shall leave in the Hands of Satan, to compleat, without fall, his Destruction.

Thus he served Ahab, a Man, that fold himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, 1 Kin. 21. 25. And the Lord said, Who shall perswade Ahab, that he may go up, and fall at Ramoth-Gilead? And on said on this manner, and another said on that manner: And there came forth a Spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will perswade him. 1 Kin. 22. 20, 21, 22. And the Lord said unto him, Where­with? And he said, I will go forth, and be a lying Spirit in the mouth of all his Prophets. And he said, Thou shalt per­swade him, and prevail also, go forth, and do so. Thou shalt perswade him and [Page 110] prevail, do thy Will, I leave him in thy Hand, Go forth, and do so.

Wherefore in these Judgments, the Lord doth much concern himself for the management thereof, because of the Provocation wherewith they have pro­voked him. This is the Man, whose Ruine contriveth, and bringeth to pass by his own con­trivance. I will chuse their delusions for them; I will bring their fears upon them, Isa. 66. 4. I will chuse their Devices, or the Wickednesses that their Hearts are contriving of. I even I, will cause them to be accepted of, and delightful to them. But who are they that must thus be feared? Why, those among Pro­fessors, that have chosen their own Ways, those whose Soul delighteth in their Abomi­nations.

Because they received not the Love of the Truth, that they might be saved; for this cause God shall send them strong Delusions, that they should believe a Lye, that they all might be damned, who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in Vnrighteousness.

God shall send them.] It is a great word; Yea, God shall send them strong Delusions; Delusions that shall do, that shall make them believe a Lye. Why so? That [Page 111] they all might be damned, every one of them, who believe not the Truth, but had pleasure in Vnrighteousness. 2 Thess. 5, 10, 11, 12.

There is nothing more provoking to the Lord, than for a Man to promise, when God threatneth; for a Man to be light of conceit, that he shall be safe; and yet to be more wicked than in for­mer days: This Man's Soul abhorreth the Truth of God, no marvel therefore if God's Soul abhorreth him: he hath invented a way contrary to God, to bring about his own Salvation; no mar­vel, therefore, if God invent a way to bring about this Man's Damnation: And seeing that these Rebels are at this point, We shall have peace; God will see whose Word shall stand, His or theirs.

A Fifth Sign of a Man being past Grace, is, When he shall at this, scoff, and in­wardly grin, and fret against the Lord, secretly purposing to continue his course, and put all to the venture, despising the Messengers of the Lord. He that despi­sed Moses's Law, died without Mercy; of how much sorer Punishment suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath troden [Page 112] under foot the Son of God, &c. Heb. 10. 28.

Wherefore, against these Despisers God hath set himself, and foretold, that they shall not believe, but perish. Be­hold ye Despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, which ye shall in no wise believe, though a Man de­clare it unto you. Acts 13. 41.

After that thou shalt out it down.]

Thus far we have treated of the Bar­ren Fig-tree, or fruitless Professor, with some Signs to know him by; whereto is added also some Signs of one who neither will or can, by any means, be fruitful, but they must miserably perish. Now be­ing come to the time of Execution, I shall speak a word to that also, After that thou shalt cut it down.] Christ at last turns the Barren Fig-tree over to the Ju­stice of God, shakes his hands of him, And gives him up to the fire for his unpro­fitableness.

Thou cut ent it down.]

Two things are here to be consi­dered.

1. The Executioner, Thou, the great, the dreadful, the eternal God. These words therefore, as I have already said, signify that Christ the Mediator, through whom alone Salvation comes, and by whom alone Execution hath been defer­red, Now giveth up the Soul, forbears to speak one Syllable more for him, or to do the least Act of Grace further, to try for his Recovery; but delivereth him up to that fearful Dispensation, To fall into the hand of the living God, Heb. 10. 31.

2. The Second to be considered, is, The Instrument by which this Execution is done, and that is Death, compared here to an Ax; and forasmuch as the Tree is not felled at one Blow, therefore the strokes are here continued, till all the blows be struck at it that are requisite for its felling; For now cutting-time, and cutting-work is come, cutti [...]g must be his Portion, till he be cut down. After that [Page 114] thou shalt cut it down.] Death, I say, is the Ax, which God often useth, therewith to take the Barren Fig-tree out of the Vineyard, out of a Profession, and also out of the World at once. But this Ax is now new-ground, it cometh well-edged to the Roots of this Barren Fig-tree. It hath been whetted by Sin, by the Law, and by a formal Profession, and therefore must, and will make deep gashes, not on­ly in the natural life, but in the Heart and Conscience also of this Professor. The wages of Sin is Death, the sting of Death is Sin, 1 Cor. 15. Wherefore Death comes not to this Man as he doth to Saints, muzzled, or without his Sting, but with open Mouth, in all his strength; yea, he sends his First born, which is guilt, to devour his strength, and to bring him to the King of Terrors, Job 18. 13, 14.

But to give you, in a few Particulars, the manner of this Man's dying.

1. Now he hath his fruitless Fruits be­leaguer him round his Bed, together with all the Bands and Legions of his other wickedness. His own Iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden in the Cords of his Sins, Prov. 5. 22.

[Page 115] 2. Now some terrible discovery of God is made out unto him, to the perplexing and terrifying of his guilty Conscience, God shall cast upon him, and not spare; and he shall be afraid of that which is high, Job. 27. 22.

3. The dark Entry he is to go thro, will be a sore amazement to him; For fear shall be in the way, Eccl. 12. 5. yea Terrors will take hold on him, when he shall see the yawning Jaws of Death to gape upon him, and the Doors of the Shadow of Death open to give him pas­sage out of the World. Now who will meet me in this dark Entry; how shall I pass through this dark Entry into ano­ther World!

4. For by reason of Guilt, and a shaking Conscience, His Life will hang in continual doubt before him, and he shall be afraid day and night, Deut. 28. 66, 67. and shall have no assurance of his Life.

5. Now also Want will come up against him, he will come up like an ar­med Man. This is a terrible Army to him that is graceless in Heart, and fruit­less in Life. This Want will continually cry in thine Ears, here is a New Birth wanting, a new Heart, and a new Spirit [Page 116] wanting; here is Faith wanting; here is Love and Repentance wanting; here is the Fear of God wanting, and a good Conversation wanting; Thou art weighed in the Ballance, and art found wanting. Dan. 5. 27.

6. Together with these, standeth by the companions of Death; Death and Hell, Death and Devils, Death and endless Torment in the everlasting flames of devouring Fire. When God shall come up unto the people, he will invade them with his Troops. Hab. 3. 16.

But how will this Man die? Can his Heart now endure, or can his Hands be strong? Ezek. 22. 14.

1. God, and Christ, and Pity have left him: Sin against Light, against Mercy, and the Long-suffering of God, is come up against him; his Hope and Confidence now lie a dying by him, and his Conscience totters and shakes continually within him.

2. Death is at his work, Cutting of him down, hewing both Bark and Heart, both Body and Soul assunder; The Man groans, but Death hears him not: He looks gastly, carefully, dejectedly; he sighs, he sweats, he trembles, but Death matters nothing.

[Page 117] 3. Fearful Cogitations haunt him, mis­givings, direful apprehensions of God terrify him. Now he hath time to think what the loss of Heaven will be, and what the torments of Hell will be; now he looks no way but he is frighted.

4. Now would he live, but may not; he would live, though it were but the life of a Bed-rid Man, but must not. He that cuts him down, sways him, as the Feller of Wood, sways the tottering Tree; now this way, then that, at last a Root breaks, an Heart-string, an Eye-string snaps assunder.

5. And now, could the Soul be ani­hilated or brought to nothing, how happy would it count it self; but it sees that may not be. Wherefore it is put to a wonderful strait: stay in the Body it may not, go out of the Body it dares not. Life is going, the Blood settles in the Flesh, and the Lungs being no more able to draw Breath through the No­strils, at last out goes the weary tremb­ling Soul, who is immediatly seized by Devils, who lay lurking in every hole in the Chamber for that very purpose: His Friends take care of the Body, wrap it up in the Sheet or Coffin; but the Soul is [Page 118] out of their thought and reach, going down to the Chambers of Death.

I had thought to have enlarged, but I forbear: God, who teaches Man to profit, bless this brief and plain Dis­course to thy Soul, who yet standest a Professor in the Land of the Living, among the Trees of his Garden. Amen.



Ephes. 4. 3.‘Indeavouring to keep the Vnity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace.’

BEloved, Religion is the great Bond of humane Society; and it were well if it self were kept within the Bond of Unity; and that it may so be, let us, according to the Text, use our utmost endeavors to keep the Vnity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace.

[Page 2] These words contain a Counsel and a Caution: the Counsel is, That we endea­vour the Vnity of the Spirit; the Caution is, That we do it in the Bond of Peace: as if he should say, I would have you live in Unity, but yet I would have you to be careful, that you do not purchase Unity with the breach of Charity.

Let us therefore be cautioned that we do not so press after Unity in Practice and Opinion, as to break the Bond of Peace and Affection.

In the handling of these words, I shall observe this method;

First, I shall open the Sense of the Text.

Secondly, I shall shew wherein this Unity and Peace consists.

Thirdly, I shall shew you the Fruits and Benefits of it, together with nine Inconveniencies and Mischiefs that at­tend those Churches where Unity and Peace is wanting.

Fourthly, and lastly, I shall give you twelve Directions and Motives for the obtaining of it.

[Page 3] First, As touching the Sense of the Text; when we are counselled to keep the Unity of the Spirit, we are not to understand the Spirit of God, as perso­nally so considered; because the Spirit of God in that sense, is not capable of being divided; and so there would be no need for us to endeavor to keep the Unity of it.

By the Unity of the Spirit then, we are to understand, that Unity of Mind which the Spirit of God calls for, and requires Christians to endeavor after; hence it is that we are exhorted, by one Spirit, with one Mind, to strive together for the Faith of the Gospel, Phil. 1. 27.

But farther; the Apostle in these words alludes to the state and composition of a Natural Body, and doth thereby inform us, that the Mystical Body of Christ holds an Analogy with the Natural Bo­dy of a Man: As first, In the Natural Body there must be a Spirit to animate it, for the Body without the Spirit is dead, James 2. 26. So it is in the Mystical Body of Christ; the Apostle no sooner tells us of that one Body, but he minds us of that one Spirit, Eph. 4. 4.

Secondly, The Body hath Joints and [Page 4] Bands to unite all the parts; so hath the Mystical Body of Christ, Col. 2. 19. This is that Bond of Peace mentioned in the Text, as also in the 16th Verse of the same Chapter, where the whole Bo­dy is said to be fitly joyned together, and compacted, by that which every Joynt supplieth.

Thirdly, The Natural Body receives Counsel and Nourishment from the Head; so doth the Mystical Body of Christ, he is their Counsellor, and him they must hear; he is their Head, and him they must hold; hence it is that the Apostle complaineth, Col. 2. 19. of some that did not hold the Head from which the whole Body by Joynts and Bands hath Nourishment.

Fourthly, The Natural Body cannot well subsist if either the Spirit be wound­ed, or the Joints broken or dislocated; the Body cannot bear a Wound or bro­ken Spirit; A broken Spirit dryeth the Bones, Prov. 17. 22. And a wounded Spi­rit who can bear? Prov. 18. 14. And on the other hand, how often have the dis­joyinting of the Body, and the break­ings thereof, occasioned the expiration of the Spirit? In like manner it fares [Page 5] with the Mystical Body of Christ, how do divided Spirits break the Bonds of Peace, which are the Joynts of this Bo­dy? And how doth the breakings of the Body and Church of Christ, wound the Spirit of Christians, and oftentimes oc­casion the Spirit and Life of Christiani­ty to languish, if not to expire? How needful is it then that we endeavour the Vnity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace?

I now come to shew you wherein this Unity and Peace consists, and this I shall demonstrate in five particulars.

1. This Unity and Peace may consist in the ignorance of many Truths, and in the holding of some Errors; or else this Duty of Peace and Unity could not be practicable by any on this side Perfe­ction; but we must now endeavour the Unity of the Spirit, till we come to the Unity of the Faith, and of the Know­ledg of the Son of God, Ephes. 4. 13. Because now (as the Apostle saith) we know in part, and we prophesy in part, and now we see through a Glass darkly, 1 Cor. 13. 12. And as this is true in gene­ral, so we may [...]ind it true if we descend to particular Instances; the Disciples seem to be ignorant of that great Truth [Page 6] which they had often, and in much plainness been taught by their Master once and again (viz.) That his King­dom was not of this World, and that in the World they should suffer, and be persecuted; yet in the first of the Acts, ver. 6. we read, That they asked of him if he would at this time restore the King­dom to Israel? thereby discovering that Christ's Kingdom (as they thought) should consist in his Temporal Jurisdicti­on over Israel, which they expected should now commence and take place a­mongst them. Again, Our Lord tells them, that he had many things to say (and these were many important Truths) which they could not now bear, John 16. 12. And that these were im­portant Truths, appears by the 10th and 11th Verses, where he is discoursing of Righteousness and Judgment, and then adds, that he had yet many things to say, which they could not bear; and there­upon promises the Comforter to lead them into ALL TRUTH; which implies, that they were yet ignorant of many Truths, and consequently held di­vers Errors; and yet for all this he prays for, and presses them to their great Du­ty [Page 7] of Peace and Unity, John▪ 14. 27. and 17. 21. To this may be added that of Heb. 5. 11. where the Author saith, He had many things to say of the Priestly Office of Christ, which by reason of their dulness, they were not capable to re­ceive; as also that in the 10th of the Acts, where Peter seems to be ignorant of that Truth, viz. That the Gospel was to be preached to all Nations; and contrary hereunto, he erred in thinking it unlawful to Preach amongst the Gen­tiles. I shall add two Texts more, one is Acts 19. where we read, That those Disciples which had been discipled and baptized by John, were yet ignorant of the Holy Ghost, and knew not (as the Text tells us) whether there were any Holy Ghost or no; though John did teach constantly, That he that should come after him, should baptize with the Holy Ghost and Fire. From hence we may easily and plainly infer, that Chri­stians may be ignorant of many Truths, by reason of weak and dull Capacities, and other such-like Impediments, even while those Truths are with much plain­ness delivered to them. Again, We read, Heb. 5. 13. of some that were un­skilful [Page 8] in the Word of Righteousness, who nevertheless are call'd Babes in Christ, and with whom Unity and Peace is to be inviolably kept and maintained.

2. As this Unity and Peace may con­sist in the ignorance of many Truths, and in the holding some Errors, so it must consist with (and it cannot consist without) the believing and practising those things which are necessary to Salva­tion and Church-Communion; and they are, First, Believing that Christ the Son of God died for the Sins of Men. Se­condly, That whoever believed, ought to be baptized: The third thing essenti­al to this Communion, is a holy and a blameless Conversation.

First, That believing that the Son of God died for the Sins of Men, is necessa­ry to Salvation, I prove by these Texts, which tell us, that he that doth not be­lieve, shall be damned, Mark 16. 16. John 3. 36. Rom. 10. 19.

That it is also necessary to Church-Communion, appears from Mat. 16. 16, 17, 18. Peter having confest that Christ was the Son of the Living God, Christ thereupon assures Peter, that upon this Rock, viz. this Profession of Faith, or [Page 9] this Christ which Peter had confest, he would Build his Church, and the Gates of Hell should not prevail against it. And 1 Cor. 3. 11. The Apostle having told the Corinthians they were God's Build­ing, presently adds, that they could not be built upon any Foundation but upon that which was laid, which was Jesus Christ. All which proves, that Christi­an Society is founded upon the profession of Christ; and not only Scripture, but the Laws of Right-reason dictate this, that some Rules and Orders must be ob­served for the founding all Society, which must be consented to by all that will be of it. Hence it comes to pass, that to own Christ as the Lord and Head of Christians, is essential to the founding Christian Society.

Secondly; The Scriptures have decla­red that this Faith gives the Professors of it a right to Baptism, as in the case of the Eunuch, Acts 8. when he demanded why he might not be baptized? Philip an­swereth, That if he believed with all his heart, he might; the Eunuch thereupon confessing Christ, was baptized.

Now that Baptism is essential to Church-Communion, I prove from [Page 10] 1 Cor. 12. where we shall find the Apo­stle labouring to prevent an evil use that might be made of Spiritual Gifts, as thereby to be puft up; and to think that such as wanted them, were not of the Body, or to be esteemed Members; he thereupon resolves, that whoever did confess Christ, and own him for his Head, did it by the Spirit, ver. 3. though they might not have such a visible mani­festation of it as others had, and there­fore they ought to be owned as Mem­bers, as appears, ver. 23. And not on­ly because they have called him Lord by the Spirit, but because they have by the guidance and direction of the same Spirit been baptized, ver. 13. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one Body, &c. I need not go about to confute that Noti­on that some of late have had of this Text, viz. That the Baptism here spo­ken of, is the Baptism of the Spirit, be­cause you have not owned and declared that Notion as your Judgment, but on the contrary. All of you that I have ever conversed with, have declared it to be understood of Baptism with Water, by the direction of the Spirit: if so, then it follows, that Men and Women [Page 11] are declared Members of Christ's Body by Baptism, and cannot be by Scripture reputed and esteemed so without it; which farther appears from Rom. 6. 5. where Men by Baptism are said to be planted into the likeness of his Death; and Col. 2. 12. We are said to be buried with him by Baptism; all which, toge­ther with the consent of all Christians, (some few in these late times excepted) do prove that Baptism is necessary to the initiating Persons into the Church of Christ.

Thirdly, Holiness of Life is essential to Church-Communion, because it seems to be the reason why Christ founded a Church in the World, viz. that Men might thereby be watched over, and kept from falling; and that if any be overtaken with a Fault, he that is Spiri­tual might restore him.

That by this means Men and Women might be preserved without blame to the coming of Christ, and the Grace of God teacheth us to deny Vngodliness and Worldly Lusts, and to live soberly and uprightly in this present evil World, Tit. 2. 11, 12. And let every one that names the Name of the Lord, depart from Iniquity, Tim. 2. 19. [Page 12] And James tells us, (speaking of the Christian Religion) That pure Religion and undefiled before God, is to visit the Fa­therless and Widows in their Affliction, and to keep our selves unspotted from the World, James 1. 27. From all which (together with many more Texts that might be produced) it appears, that an unholy and prophane Life, is inconsistant with Christian Religion and Society. And that Holiness is essential to Salvation and Church-Communion; so that these three things, Faith, Baptism, and a Holy Life, as I said before, all Churches must agree and unite in, as those things, which when wanting, will destroy their being; And let not any think, that when I say, believing the Son of God died for the Sins of Men, is essential to Salvation and Church-Communion, that I hereby would exclude all other Articles of the Christian Creed, as not necessary, as the belief of the Resurrection of the Dead, and eternal Judgment, &c. which for want of time, I omit to speak particular­ly to, and the rather, because I under­stand this great Article of believing the Son of God died for the Sins of Men, is comprehensive of all others, and is that [Page 13] from whence all other Articles may easily be inferred.

And here I would not be mistaken, as though I held there were nothing else for Christians to practise, when I say this is all that is requisite to Church-Communion; for I very well know that Christ requires many other things of us, after we are Members of his Body, which if we knowingly or maliciously refuse, may be the cause, not only of Excom­munication, but Damnation: But yet these are such things as relate to the well­being, and not to the being of Churches; as laying on of Hands in the Primitive Times upon Believers, by which they did receive the Gifts of the Spirit; this (I say) was for the increase and edify­ing of the Body, and not that thereby they might become of the Body of Christ, for that they were before: And do not think that I believe laying on of Hands was no Apostolical Institution, because I say Men are not thereby made Members of Christ's Body, or because I say that it is not essential to Church-Communion: Why should I be thought to be against a Fire in the Chimney, because I say it must not be in the Thatch [Page 14] of the House? Consider then how per­nicious a thing it is to make every Do­ctrine (though true) the bound of Com­munion, this is that which destroys Uni­ty, and by this Rule all Men must be per­fect before they can be in Peace: For do we not see daily, that as soon as Men come to a clearer understanding the Mind of God (to say the best of what they hold) that presently all Men are Excommunicable, if not Damnable, that do not agree with them; do not some believe and see, that to be Pride and Co­vetousness, which others do not, be­cause (it may be) they have more nar­rowly and diligently searched into their Duty of these things than others have [...] what then? Must all Men that have not so large acquaintance of their Duty herein be Excommunicated? Indeed it were to be wished that more moderati­on in Apparel and Secular Concernments were found among Churches; but God forbid, that if they should come short herein, that we should say, as one lately said, That he could not Communicate with such a People, because they were proud and superfluous in their Appa­rel.

[Page 15] Let me appeal to such, and demand of them if there was not a time since they believed and were baptized, where­in they did not believe laying on of Hands a Duty? and did they not then believe, and do they not still believe they were Members of the Body of Christ? And was not there a time when you did not so well understand the nature and extent of Pride and Covetousness as now you do? And did you not then be­lieve, and do you not still believe that you were true Members of Christ, though less perfect? Why then should you not judg of those that differ from you herein, as you judged of your selves when you were as they now are? How needful then is it for Christians to distinguish (if ever they would be at Peace and Vnity) between those truths which are essential to Church-Communion, and those that are not?

Thirdly; Vnity and Peace consists in our making one Shoulder to practise and [...]ut in execution the things we do know. Phil. 3. 16. Nevertheless wherein we have [...]ained, let us walk by the same Rule, let [...] mind the same things. How sad is it to [...] our Zeal consume us, and our preci­ous Time, in things doubtful and dispu­table, [Page 16] while we are not concerned, nor affected with the practice of those indi­sputable things we all agree in? We all know Charity to be the great Command, and yet how few agree to practise it? We all know they that▪ labour in the Word and Doctrine, are worthy of double Honour; and that God hath or­dained that they which Preach the Go­spel, should live of the Gospel; these Duties, however others have cavil'd at them, I know you agree in them, and are persuaded of your Duty herein; but where's your Zeal to practise? O how well would it be with Churches, if they were but half as zealous for the great and plain, and indisputable Things, and the more chargeable and costly Things of Religion, as they are for Things doubtful or less necessary, or for Things that are no charge to them, and cos [...] them nothing but the breath of Conten­tion, though that may be too great a price for the small things they purchase with it.

But further; Do we not all agree, that Men that preach the Gospel, should do it like Workmen that need not be asha­med? and yet how little is this consi­dered [Page 17] by many Preachers, who never consider before they speak of what they say, or whereof they affirm? How few give themselves to study, that they may be approved? How few meditate and give themselves to these things, that their profiting may appear to all?

For the Lord's sake let us unite to practise those things we know; and if we would have more Talents, let us all agree to improve those we have.

See the Spirit that was among the Pri­mitive Professors, that knowing and be­lieving how much it concerned them in the propagating of Christianity, to shew forth Love to one another (that so all might know them to be Christ's Disci­ples) rather than there should be any complainings among them, they sold all they had: Oh how zealous were these to practice, and with one Shoulder to do that that was upon their Hearts for God! I might further add, how often have we agreed in our Judgment? and hath it not been upon our Hearts, that this and the other Thing is good to be done, to enlighten the dark World, and to repair the breaches of Churches, and to raise up those Churches that now [Page 18] lie a gasping, and among whom the Sou [...] of Religion is expiring? But what [...] we more than talk of them? Do no [...] most decline these things, when they either call for their Purses, or their Per­sons to help in this and such-like Work [...] as these? Let us then, in what we know [...] unite, that we may put it in practice remembring, that if we know these things, we shall be happy if we d [...] them.

Fourthly; This Unity and Peace con­sists in our joyning and agreeing to pray for, and to press after those Truths we do not know. The Disciples in the Pri­mitive Times, were conscious of their Imperfections, and therefore they with one accord continued in Prayer and Supplications: If we were more in the sence of our own Ignorances and Imper­fections, we should carry it better to­wards those that differ from us, then we should abound more in the Spirit of Meekness and Forbearance, that thereby we might bring others (or be brought by others) to the knowledg of the Truth; this would make us go to God, and say with Elihu, Job 34. 32. That which we know not, teach thou us. Brethren, did [Page 19] we but all agree that we were erring in many things, we should soon agree to go to God, and pray for more Wisdom and Revelation of his Mind and Will concerning us.

But here's our misery, that we no sooner receive any thing for Truth, but we presently ascend the Chair of Infal­libility with it, as though in this we could not err: Hence it is we are impatient of contradiction, and become uncharitable to those that are not of the same Mind; but now a consciousness that we may mistake, or that if my Brother err in one thing, I may err in another, this will unite us in Affection, and engage us to press after Perfection, according to that of the Apostle, Phil. 3. 13, 14, 15. Brethren, I count not my self to have ap­prehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press towards the Mark, for the prize of the [...]igh Calling of God in Christ Jesus. And if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. O then that we could but unite and agree to go to God for one another, in confidence that he will teach us; and that if any [Page 20] of us want Wisdom (as who of us does not) we might agree to ask of God, who giveth to all Men liberally, and up­braideth no Man. Let us, like those people spoken of in the second of Isaiah, say one to another, Come, let us go to the Lord, for he will teach us of his Ways, and we will walk in his Paths.

Fifthly; This Unity and Peace main­ly consists in Unity of Love and Affe­ction; this is the great and indispensible Duty of all Christians, by this they are declared Christ's Disciples: And hence it is that Love is called the Great Com­mandment, the Old Commandment, and the New Commandment; that which was commanded in the beginning, and will remain to the end, yea and after the end. 1 Cor. 13. 8. Charity never fails; but whether there be Tongues, they shall cease; or whether there be Knowledg, it shall vanish away. And, verse 13. And now abideth Faith, Hope and Charity; but the greatest of these is Charity. And▪ Col. 3. 14. Above all these things put on Charity, which is the Bond of Perfectness. Because Charity is the end of the Command­ment, 1 Tim. 1. 5. Charity is therefore called the Royal Law; and though it had a [Page 21] superintendency over other Laws, and doubtless is a Law to which other Laws must give place, when they come in com­petition with it; Above all things therefore have fervent Charity among your selves, for Charity covereth a multitude of Sins, 1 Pet. 4. 8. Let us therefore live in Uni­ty and Peace, and the God of Love and Peace will be with us.

That you may so do, let me remem­ber you (in the words of a learned Man) that the Unity of the Church, is a Uni­ty of Love and Affection, and not a bare Uniformity of Practice and Opini­on.

Having shewn you wherein this Unity consists, I now come to the third Gene­ral Thing propounded; and that is, to shew you the Fruits and Benefits of Uni­ty and Peace; together with the Mis­chiefs and Inconveniences that attend those Churches where Unity and Peace is wanting.

First, Unity and Peace is a Duty well-pleasing to God, who is stiled the Au­thor of Peace, and not of Confusion in all the Churches, God's Spirit rejoyceth in the Unity of our Spirits; but on the other hand, where Strife and Divisions [Page 22] are, there the Spirit of God is grieved. Hence it is that the Apostle no sooner calls upon the Ephesians, not to grieve the Spirit of God, but he presently sub­joins us a Remedy against that evil, That they put away bitterness and evil-speaking. And be kind one to another, and tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven them, Eph. 4. 30, 32.

Secondly, As Unity and Peace is plea­sing to God, and rejoiceth his Spirit, so it rejoiceth the Hearts and Spirits of God's People; Unity and Peace brings Heaven down upon Earth among us: Hence it is that the Apostle tells us, Rom. 4. 17. That the Kingdom of God is not Meat and Drink, but Righteousness and Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost. Where Unity and Peace is, there is Heaven up­on Earth; by this we taste the first Fruits of that blessed Estate we shall one day live in the fruition of; when we shall come to the general Assembly and Church of the First-born, whose Names are written in Heaven, and to God the Judg of all, and to the Spirits of just Men made perfect, Heb. 12. 23.

[Page 23] This outward peace of the Church (as a learned Man observes) disti [...]s into peace of Conscience, and turns writings and read­ings of Controversy, into Treatises of Mor­tification and Devotion.

And the Psalmist tells us, that it is not only good, but pleasant for Brethren to dwell together in Unity, Psal. 133. 1. But where Unity and Peace is wanting, there are Storms and Troubles; where Envy and Strife is, there is confusio [...], and every evil Work, Jam. 3. 16. It is the out­ward Peace of the Church that increas­eth our inward Joy; and the Peace of God's House gives us occasion to eat our meat with gladness in our own Houses, Act. 2. 46.

Thirdly, The Unity and Peace of the Church makes Communion of Saints de­sirable. What is it that imbitters Church-Communion, and makes it burdensom, but Divisions? Have you not heard many complain that they are weary of Church-Communion, because of Church-Conten­tion? but now where Unity and Peace is, there Christians long for Communion.

David saith, that he was glad when they said unto him, Let us go to the House of God, Psal. 122. 1. Why was this, but [Page 24] because (as the third verse tells us) Je­rusalem was a City compact together, where the Tribes went up, the Tribes of the Lord, to give thanks to his Name. And David speaking of the Man that was once his Friend, doth thereby let us know the be­nefit of Peace and Unity, Psal. 55. 14. We (saith he) took sweet counsel together, and walked to the House of God in company. Where Unity is strongest, Communion is sweetest and most desirable. You see then that Peace and Union fills the People of God with desires after Communion: But on the other hand, hear how David complains, Psal. 120. Wo is me, I sojourn in Mesech, and that I dwell in the tents of Kedar. The Psalmist here is thought to allude to a sort of Men that dwelt in the deserts of Arabia, that got their li­vings by Contention; and therefore he adds, ver. 6. That his Soul had long dwelt with them that hated Peace. This was that which made him long for the Courts of God, and esteem one day in his House better than a thousand; this made his Soul even faint for the House of God, because of the peace of it; Blessed are they (saith he) that dwell in thy House, they will be still praising thee. There is a cer­tain [Page 25] note of concord, as appears, Act. 2. where we read of Primitive Christians, meeting with one accord, praising God.

Fourthly, Where Unity and Peace is, there many Mischiefs and Inconveniences are prevented, which attends those People where Peace and Unity is wanting: And of those many that might be men­tioned, I shall briefly insist upon these nine.

First, Where Unity and Peace is wan­ting, there is much precious time spent to no purpose; How many Days are spent, and how many fruitless Journeys made to no profit, where the People are not in peace? How often have many re­deemed time (even in Seed-time and Harvest) when they could scarce afford it, to go to Church, and, by reason of their Divisions, come home worse than they went, repenting they have spent so much precious time to so little benefit? How sad is it to see Men spend their pre­cious time, in which they should work out their Salvation, by labouring, as in the Fire, to prove an uncertain and doubt­ful Proposition; and to trifle away their time, in which they should make their Calling and Election sure, to make sure [Page 26] of an Opinion, which when they have done all, they are not infallibly sure whether it be true or no, because all things necessary to Salvation and Church-Communion are plainly laid down in Scripture, in which we may be infallibly sure of the Truth of them; but for other things that we have no plain Texts for, but the Truth of them depends upon our Interpretations, Here we must be cautioned, that we do not spend much time in imposing those upon [...] others, or venting those among others, unless we can assume Infallibility, otherwise we spend time upon uncertainty▪ And who­ever casts their Eyes abroad, and dot [...] open their Ears to intelligence, shall both see, and to their sorrow hear, that ma­ny Churches spend most of their time in Jangling and Contending▪ about those things, which are neither essentialy to Salvation or Church-Communion, and that which is worse, about such doubt­ful Questions which they are never able to give an infallible solution of. But now where Unity and Peace is, there, our time is spent in praising God; and in those great Questions, What we should do to be saved? and how we may be more [Page 27] holy and more humble towards God, and more charitable and more serviceable to one another?

Secondly, Where Unity and Peace is wanting, there is evil surmizing, and evil-speaking, to the damage and dis­grace, if not to the ruining of one ano­ther; Gal. 5. 14, 15. The whole Law is fulfilled in one word, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy self: but if you bite and devour one another, take heed you be not consumed one of another. No sooner the Bond of Charity is broken, which is as a Wall about Christians, but soon they begin to make havock and spoil of one another; then there is raising evil Re­ports, and taking up evil Reports against each other: Hence it is that whispering and backbiting proceeds, and going from House to House to blazon the Faults and Infirmities of others; Hence it is that we watch for the haltings of one ano­ther, and do inwardly rejoice at the Miscarriages of others; saying, in our Hearts, Ah, ah, so we would have it: But now where Unity and Peace is, there is Charity; and where Charity is, there we are willing to hide the Faults, and cover the nakedness of our Brethren; [Page 28] Charity thinketh no evil, 1 Cor. 13. 5. And therefore it cannot surmize, neither will it speak evil.

Thirdly, Where Unity and Peace is wanting, there can be no great matters enterprized, we cannot do much for God, nor much for one another; when the Devil would hinder the bringing to pass of good in Nations and Churches, he divides their Councils, (and as one well observes) he divides their Heads, that he may divide their Hands; when Jacob had prophesied of the cruelty of Simeon and Levi, who were Brethren, he threatens them with the consequent of it, Gen. 49. 7. I will divide them in Ja­cob, and scatter them in Israel. The Devil is not to learn that Maxim he hath taught the Machavilians of the World, divide & impera, divide and rule, it is a united force that's formidable: Hence the Spouse in the Canticles is said to be but one, and the only one of her Mo­ther, Cant. 6. 9. Hereupon it is said of her, ver. 10. That she is terrible as an Army with Banners. What can a divided Army do, or a disordered Army, that have lost their Banners, or for fear or shame thrown them away? In like man­ner, [Page 29] what can Christians do for Christ, and the enlarging his Dominions in the World, in bringing Men from darkness to light, while themselves are divided and disordered? Peace is to Christians, as great Rivers are to some Cities, which (besides other Benefits and Commodities) are natural Fortifications, by reason whereof those places are made impreg­nable; but when, by the subtilty of an Adversary, or the folly of the Citizens, these Waters come to be divided into little petty Rivulets, How soon are they assailed and taken? Thus it fares with Churches, when once the Devil or their own folly divides them, they will be so far from resisting of him, that they will be soon subjected by him.

Peace is to Churches as Walls to Cities; nay, Unity hath defended Cities that had no Walls; it was once demand­ed of Ageslaus, why Lacedemon had no Walls; he answers (pointing back to the City) That the Concord of the Citizens was the strength of the City. In like manner, Christians are strong when united, then they are more capable to resist tempta­tion, and to succour such as are tempted; when Unity and Peace is among the [Page 30] Churches, then are they like a Walled Town; And when Peace is the Chur­che's-Walls, Salvation will be her Bul­warks.

Plutarch tells us of one Si [...]rus that had 80 Sons, whom he calls to him as he lay upon his Death-bed, and gave them a shea [...] of Arrows, thereby to signify, that if they lived in Unity, they might do much, but if they divided, they would come to nothing. If Christians were all of one Piece, if they were all but one Lump, or but one Sheaf or Bundle, how great are the things they might do for Christ and his People in the World, whereas otherwise they can do little but dishonour him, and offend his.

It is reported of the Leviathan, that his strength is in his Scales, Job 41. 15, 16, 17. His Scales are his pride, shut up together, as with a close Seal; one is so near to another, that no Air can come be­tween them; they join together, they stick together, they cannot be sundred. If the Church of God were united like the Scales of Leviathan, it would not be every brain-sick Notion, nor angry Spe­culation, that would cause their separa­tion.

[Page 31] Solomon saith, Two are better than one, because if one fail, the other may raise him; then surely twenty are better than two, and an hundred are better than twenty, for the same reason, because they are more capable to help one another. If ever Christians would do any thing to raise up the fall'n Tabernacles of Jacob, and to strengthen the weak, and com­fort the feeble, and to fetch back those that have gone astray, it must be by Unity.

We read of the Men of Babel, Gen. 11. 6. The Lord said, Behold, the People are one, &c. And now nothing will be re­strained from them that they have imagined to do.

We learn by Reason what great things may be done in worldly Atchievements where Unity is: And shall not Reason (assisted with the Motives of Religion) teach us, that Unity among Christians may enable them to enterprize greater Things for Christ? would not this make Satan fall from Heaven like Lightning? For as Unity built literal Babel, it's Uni­ty that must pull down mystical Babel. And on the other hand, where Divisions [Page 32] are, there is Confusion; by this means a Babel hath been built in every Age. It hath been observed by a Learned Man, and I wish I could not say truly observed, That there is most of Babel and confu­sion among those that cry out most a­gainst it.

Would we have a Hand to destroy Babylon, let's have a Heart to unite one among another.

Our English Histories tell us, that after Austin the Monk had been some time in England, that he heard of some of the Remains of the British Christians, which he conven'd to a place, which Cambden in his Britannia calls Austin's Oak; here they met to consult about Matters of Religion; but such was their Division, by reason of Austin's imposing Spirit, that our Stories tell us, That Synod was only famous for this, that they only met and did Nothing. This is the mischief of Divisions, they hinder the doing of much good; and if Christians, that are di­vided, be ever famous for any thing, it will be, that they have often met toge­ther, and talked of this and the other thing, but they did nothing.

[Page 33] Fourthly, Where Unity and Peace is wanting, there the Weak are wounded, and the Wicked are hardened: Unity may well be compared to precious Oil, Psal. 133. 2. It's the nature of Oil, to heal that which is wounded, and to sof­ten that which is hard. Those Men that have hardened themselves against God and his People, when they shall be­hold Unity and Peace among them, will say, God is in them indeed. And on the other hand, are they not ready to say, when they see you divided, That the De­vil's in you that you cannot agree?

Fifthly, Divisions, and want of Peace, keep those out of the Church that would come in; and cause many to go out that are in.

‘The Divisions of Christians (as a Learned Man observes) are a Scandal to the Jews, an Opprobrium to the Gentiles, and an Inlet to Atheism and Infidelity.’ Insomuch that our Contro­versies about Religion (especially as they have been of late managed) have made Religion it self become a Contro­versy. [Page 34] O then, how good and pleasant a thing is it for Brethren to dwell toge­ther in Unity! The Peace and Unity that was among the Primitive Christi­ans, drew others to them: What hin­ders the Conversion of the Jews, but the Divisions of Christians? Must I be a Christian, says the Jew; what Christi­an must I be, of what Sect must I be of? The Jews (as one observes) glos­sing upon that Text in Isa. 11. 6. where it is prophesied, That the Lion and the Lamb shall lie down together, and that there shall be none left to hurt nor destroy in all God's Holy Mountain; they inter­preting these Sayings, to signify the Concord and Peace that shall be among the People that shall own the Messiah, do from hence conclude, that the Messi­ah is not yet come, because of the Con­tentions and Divisions that are among those that profess him. And the Apo­stle saith, 1 Cor. 14. 23. That if an Un­believer should see their Disorders, he would say they were mad; but where Unity and Peace is, there the Churches are multiplyed; we read, Acts 9. that when the Churches had rest, they mul­tiplied. [Page 35] And, Act [...]2. 46, 47. when the Church was serving God with one ac­cord, the Lord [...] added to them daily such as should be saved.

It is Unity brings Men into the Church, and Divisions keep them out. It is reported of an Indian passing by the House of a Christian, and hearing them contending, being desired to turn in, he refused, saying, Habamack dwells there, meaning, that the Devil dwelt there: but where Unity and Peace is, there God is; and he that dwels in Love, dwells in God. The Apostle tells the Corinthians, That if they wal­ked orderly, even the Unbeliever would hereby be enforced to come and wor­ship, and say, God was in them indeed. And we read, Zech. 8. 23. of a Time when ten Men shall take hold of a Jew, and say, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.

And hence i [...] is that Christ prays, John 17. 21. That his Disciples might be one, as the Father and he were one, that the World might believe the Father sent him: As if he should say, you may preach me as long as you will, and to little [Page 36] purpose, if you are not at Peace and Unity among your selves. Such was the Unity of Christians in former days, that the intelligent Heathen would say of them, That though they had many Bo­dies, yet they had but one Soul: And we read the same of them, Acts 4. 32. That the multitude of them that believed were of one Heart and one Soul.

And as the Learned Stillingfleet ob­serves in his Irenicum; ‘The Unity and Peace that was then among Christi­ans, made Religion amiable in the Judgment of impartial Heathens: Christians were then known by the be­nignity and sweetness of their Dispo­sitions, by the candour and ingenui­ty of their Spirits, by their mutual Love, Forbearance, and Condescen­tion to one another: But either this is not the practice of Christianity,’ (viz. a Duty that Christians are now bound to observe) ‘or else it is not calculated for our Meridian, where the Spirits of Men are of too high an elevation for it; for if Pride and Uncharitableness, if Divisions and Strifes, if Wrath and Envy, if Animosities and Contenti­ons [Page 37] were but the Marks of true Chri­stians, Diogenes need never light his Lamp at noon to find out such among us; but if a Spirit of Meekness, Gen­tleness, and Condescention; if a stoop­ing to the Weaknesses and Infirmities of one another, if pursuit after Peace, when it flies from us, be the indispen­sable Duties, and charactaristical Notes of Christians, it may possibly prove a difficult Inquest to find out such, for the crouds of those that shelter themselves under that glorious Name.’

It is the Unity and Peace of Churches that brings others to them, and makes Christianity amiable. What is prophe­sied of the Church of the Jews, may in this case be applied to the Gentile Church, Isa. 66. 12. That when once God extends Peace to her like a River, the Gentiles shall come in like a flowing Stream; then (and not till then) the Glory of the Lord shall arise upon his Churches, and his Glory shall be seen a­mong them; then shall their Hearts fear and be enlarged, because the abundance of the Nations shall be converted to them.

[Page 38] Sixthly, As want of Unity and Peace keeps those out of the Church that would come in, so it hinder the growth of those that are in. Jars and Divi­sions, Wranglings and Prejudices, eat out the Growth, if not the Life of Re­ligion. These are those Waters of Ma­rah, that imbitter our Spirits, and quench the Spirit of God. Unity and Peace is said to be like the Dew of Hermon, and as a Dew that descended upon Sion, where the Lord commanded his Blessing, Psal. 133. 3.

Divisions run Religion into Briars and Thorns, Contentio [...]s and Parties. Divisions are to Churches like Wars in Countries: Where War is, the Ground lieth waste and untill'd, none takes care of it. It is Love that edifieth, but Di­vision pulleth down: Divisions are as the North-east Wind to the Fruits, which causeth them to dwindle away to nothing; but when the Storms are over, every thing begins to grow. When Men are divided, they seldom speak the Truth in Love; and then no marvel they grow not up to him in all things, which is the Head.

[Page 39] It is a sad presage of an approaching Famine, (as one well observes) not of Bread nor Water, but of hearing the Word of God, when the thin Ears of Corn, devour the plump full Ones; when the lean Kine devour the fat Ones; when our Controversies about doubtful things, and things of less moment, eat up our Zeal, for the more indisputable and practical things in Religion; which may give us cause to fear, that this will be the Character by which our Age will be known to Posterity, that it was the Age that talked of Religion most, and loved it least.

Look upon those Churches where Peace is, and there you shall find Pro­sperity: When the Churches had rest, they were not only multiplied, but walk­ing in the Fear of the Lord, and the Comforts of the Holy Ghost, they were edified▪ it is when the whole Body is in it together, as with Joints and Bands, that they increase with the Increase of God.

We are at a stand sometimes, why there is so little growth among Chur­ches, why Men have been so long in [Page 40] learning, and are yet so far from attaining the knowledg of the Truth; some have given one Reason, and some another; some say Pride is the cause, and others say Covetousness is the cause; I wish I could say these were no causes: but I observe, that when God entered his Controversy with his People of old, he mainly insisted upon some one Sin, as Idolatry, and shedding Innocent Blood▪ &c. as comprehensive of the rest; not but that they were guilty of other Sins, but those that were the most capital are particularly insisted on; in like man­ner, whoever would but take a review of Churches that live in Contentions and Divisions, may easily find that breach of Unity and Charity is their capital Sin, and the occasion of all other Sins. No marvel then, that the Scripture saith, the whole Law is fulfilled in Love; and if so, then where Love is wanting, it must needs follow, the whole Law is broken. It is where Love grows cold; that Sin abounds; and therefore the want of Unity and Peace is the cause of that leanness and barrenness that is among us; it's true in Spirituals as well [Page 41] as Temporals, That Peace brings Plen­ty.

Seventhly; Where Unity and Peace is wanting, our Prayers are hindered: The Promise is, that what we shall agree to ask, shall be given us of our Heaven­ly Father: No marvel we pray and pray, and yet are not answered, it is because we are not agreed what to have.

It's reported, that the People in La­cedemonia, coming to make Supplications to their Idol God, some of them asked for Rain, and others of them asked for fair Weather: The Oracle returns them this Answer, That they should go first and agree among themselves: Would a Heathen God refuse to answer such Prayers, in which the Supplicants were not agreed; and shall we think the True God will answer them?

We see then that Divisions hinder our Prayers, and lay a prohibition on our Sacrifice: If thou bring thy Gift to the Altar, (saith Christ) and there re­member that thy Brother hath ought a­gainst thee, leave thy Gift, and go, and [Page 42] first be reconciled to thy Brother, and then come and offer it: So that want of Unity and Charity hinders even our particular Prayers and Devotions.

This hindred the Prayers and Fastings of the People of old from finding ac­ceptance, Isa. 58. 3. The People ask the Reason wherefore they: fasted, and God did not see nor take notice of them? He gives this Reason, because they fasted for Strife and Debate, and hid their Face from their own F [...]esh. Again, Isa. 59. the Lord saith, His Hand was not shortned, that he could not save; nor his Ear heavy that he could not hear: but their Sins had separated between their God and them. And among those many Sins they stood chargeable with, this was none of the least, (viz.) that the way of Peace they had not known. You see where Peace was wanting, Prayers were hindred, both under the Old and New Testament.

The Sacrifice of the People in the 65th of Isaiah, that said▪ Stand farther off, I am holier than thou, was as Smoke in the Nostrils of the Lord. On the other hand we read how acceptable those [Page 43] Prayers were that were made with one accord, Acts 4. 24. compared with verse 31. they prayed with one accord, and they were all of one Heart, and of one Soul: and see the benefit of it, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and spoke the Word with all boldness: Which was the very thing they prayed for, as appears vers. 29. And the Apostle ex­horts the Husband to dwell with his Wife, that their Prayers might not be hindred, 1 Pet. 3. 7. We see then, want of Unity and Peace, either in Families or Churches, is a hindrance of Pray­ers.

Eighthly; It is a dishonour and dis­paragement to Christ, that his Family should be divided. When an Army falls into Mutiny and Division, it reflects disparagement on him that hath the Conduct of it: In like manner the Di­visions of Families are a dishonour to the Heads, and those that govern them. And if so, then how greatly do we dishonour our Lord and Governour, who gave his Body to be broken, to keep his Church from breaking, who [Page 44] prayed for their Peace and Unity, and left Peace at his departing from them for a Legacy, even a Peace which the World could not bestow upon them.

Ninthly; Where there is Peace and Unity, there is a sympathy with each other; that which is the want of one, will be the want of all; Who is afflicted, (saith the Apostle) and I burn not? we should then remember them that are in Bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer Adversity, as being our selves also of the Body, Heb. 13. 3. But where the Body is broken, or Men are not reckoned or esteemed of the Body, no marvel we are so little affected with such as are afflicted: Where Divisions are, that which is the Joy of the one, is the Grief of another; but where Uni­ty, and Peace, and Charity abounds, there we shall find Christians in Mourn­ing with them that mourn, and re­joicing with them that rejoice; then they will not envy the Prosperity of others, nor secretly rejoice at the Miseries or Miscarriages of any.

[Page 45] Last of all; I now come to give you Twelve Directions and Motives for the obtaining Peace and Unity.

First; If ever we would live in Peace and Unity, we must pray for it. We are required to seek Peace: Of whom then can we seek it with expectation to find it, but of him who is a God of Peace, and hath promised to bless his People with Peace? It is God that hath pro­mised to give his People one Heart, and one Way; yet for all these things, he will be sought unto: O then let us seek Peace, and pray for Peace, because God shall prosper them that love it.

The Peace of Churches is that which the Apostle prays for in all his Epistles; in which his desire is, that Grace and Peace may be multiplied and increased among them.

Secondly; They that would endea­vour the Peace of the Churches, must be careful who they commit the care and oversight of the Churches to; as, first, (over and besides those Qualifications [Page 46] that should be in all Christians) they that rule the Church of God, should be Men of Counsel and Understanding; where there is an ignorant Ministry, there is commonly an ignorant People, according as it was of old, Like Priest, like People.

How sad is it to see the Church of God committed to the care of such that pretend to be Teachers of others, that understand not what they say, or where­of they affirm: No marvel the Peace of Churches is broken, when their Watch­men want skill to preserve their Unity, which of all other Things is as the Church's Walls; when they are divided, no wonder they crumble to Attoms, if there is no skilful Physician to heal them: It's sad when there is no Balm in Gilead, and when there is no Physician there. Hence it is, that the Wounds of Chur­ches become incurable, like the Wounds of God's People of old, either not healed at all, or else slightly healed, and to no purpose. May it not be said of many Churches at this day, as God said of the Church of Israel, That he sought for a Man among them that should stand [Page 47] in the Gap, and make up the Breach, but he found none?

Remember what was said of old, Mal. 2. 7. The Priest's Lips should pre­serve Knowledg; and the People should seek the Law at his Mouth: But when this is wanting, the People will be stumbling and departing from God and one ano­ther; therefore God complains, Hos. 4. 6. That his People were destroyed for want of Knowledg; that is, for want of knowing Guides; for if the Light that is in them that teach, be Darkness, how great is that Darkness? And if the Blind lead the Blind, no marvel both fall into the Ditch.

How many are there that take upon them to teach others, that had need be taught in the beginning of Religion; that instead of multiplying Knowledg, multiply Words without Knowledg; and instead of making known God's Counsel, darken Counsel by Words without Knowledg? The Apostle speaks of some that did more than darken Counsel, for they wrested the Counsel of God; 2 Pet. 3. 16. In Paul's Epi­stles (saith he) are some things hard to [Page 48] be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Some things in the Scripture are hard to be known, and they are made harder by such unlearned Teachers, as utter their own Notions by Words without Know­ledg.

None are more bold and adventurous to take upon them to expound the dark Mysteries and Sayings of the Prophets and Revelations, and the 9th of the Ro­mans, which I believe contains some of those many things which in Paul's Epi­stles, Peter saith, were hard to be under­stood. I say, none are more forward to dig in these Mines, than those that can hardly give a sound Reason for the first Principles of Religion; and such as are ignorant of many more weighty things, that are easily to be seen in the Face and Superficies of the Scripture; nothing will serve these but swimming in the Deeps, when they have not yet learned to wade through the Shallows of the Scriptures: Like the Gnosticks of old, who thought they knew all Things, though they knew nothing as they ought [Page 49] to know. And as those Gnosticks did of old, so do such Teachers of late break the Unity and Peace of Churches. How needful then is it, that if we de­sire the Peace of Churches, that we chuse out Men of Knowledg, who may be able to keep them from being shat­tered and scattered with every Wind of Doctrine: And who may be able to convince and stop the Mouths of Gain­sayers?

Secondly; You must not only chuse Men of Counsel; but if you would de­sign the Unity and Peace of the Chur­ches, you must chuse Men of courage to govern them; for as there must be Wisdom to bear with some, so there must be Courage to correct others; as some must be instructed meekly, so o­thers must be rebuked sharply, that they may be sound in the Faith; there must be Wisdom to rebuke some with long-suffering, and there must be Cou­rage to suppress and stop the Mouths of others. The Apostle tells Titus of some whose Mouths must be stop'd, or else they would subvert whole Houses, Tit. [Page 50] 1. 11. Where this Courage hath been wanting, not only whole Houses, but whole Churches have been subverted. And Paul tells the Galatians, That when he saw some endeavour to bring the Chur­ches into Bondage, that he did not give place to them, no not for an hour, &c. Gal. 2. 5. If this course had been taken by the Rulers of Churches, their Peace had not been so often invaded by unruly and vain Talkers.

Thirdly; In chusing Men to rule (if you would endeavour to keep the Unity of the Spirit, and the Bond of Peace thereby) be careful you chuse Men of peaceable Dispositions. That which hath much annoyed the Peace of Churches, hath been the froward and perverse Spirits of the Rulers thereof: Solomon therefore adviseth, That with a furious Man we should not go, lest we learn his Ways, and get a Snare to our Souls, Prov. 22. 24, 25. and with the Froward we learn frowardness. How do some Mens words eat like a Canker; who in­stead of lifting up their Voice like a Trumpet, to sound a Parley for Peace, [Page 51] have rather sounded an Alarum to War and Contention. If ever we would live in Peace, let's reverence the Feet of them that bring the glad-Tidings of it.

O how have some Men made it their Business to preach Contentions, and upon their entertainment of every no­vel Opinion, to preach Separation! How hath God's Word been stretched and torn, to furnish these Men with Arguments to tear Churches! Have not our Ears heard those Texts, that saith, Come out from among them, and be sepa­rate, &c. and, withdraw from every Bro­ther that walks disorderly? I say, have we not heard these Texts, that were written to prevent Disorder, brought to countenance the greatest Disorder that ever was in the Church of God, even Schism and Division? whereas one of these Exhortations was written to the Church of Corinth, to separate them­selves from the Idol's Temple, and the Idol's Table, in which many of them li­ved in the participation of, notwithstand­ing their profession of the True God; as appears 2 Cor. 6. 16, 17. compared [Page 52] with 1 Cor. 8. 7. and 1 Cor. 10. 14, 20, 22, recites. And not for some few or more Members, who shall make themselves both Judges and Parties, to make sepa­ration, when and as often as they please, from the whole Congregation and Church of God where they stood rela­ted; for by the same Rule, and upon the same Ground, may others start some new Question among these new Separatists, and become their own Judges of the communicableness of them, and thereupon make another separation from these, till at last two be not left to walk together. And for that other Text mentioned 2 Thess. 3. 9. where Paul exhorts the Church of Thessalonica to withdraw themselves from every Brother that walks disorderly; I cannot but won­der that any should bring this to justify their separation, or withdrawing from the Communion of a true (though a disorderly) Church. For,

1. Consider, that this was not writ for a few Members to withdraw from the Church, but for the Church to with­draw from disorderly Members.

[Page 53] 2. Consider, that if any offended Members, upon pretence of Error, ei­ther in Doctrine or Practice, should by this Text become Judges (as well as Parties) of the Grounds and Lawful­ness of their Separation: Then it will follow, that half a store notorious He­reticks, or scandalous Livers (when they have walked so as they foresee the Church are ready to deal with them, and withdraw from them) shall anti­cipate the Church, and pretend some­what against them, of which themselves must be Judges, and so withdraw from the Church, pretending either Heresy or Disorder; and so condemn the Church, to prevent the disgrace of be­ing condemned by the Church. How needful then is it, that Men of peacea­ble Dispositions, and not of froward and factious, and dividing Spirits, be chose to rule the Church of God, for fear lest the whole Church be lea [...]ed and sower'd by them.

Fourthly; As there must be care used in chusing Men to rule the Church of God, so there must be a consideration [Page 54] had, that there are many things darkly laid down in Scripture, this will temper our Spirits and make us live in Peace and Unity the more firmly in things in which we agree; this will help us to bear one another's Burden, and so fulfil the Law of Christ, in as much as all things necessary to Salvation and Church-Communion are plainly laid down in Scripture. And where things are more darkly laid down, we should consider that God intended hereby to stir up our diligence, that thereby we might in­crease our Knowledg, and not our Di­visions, for it may be said of all Dis­coveries of Truth we have made in the Scriptures, as it's said of the Globe of the Earth, that though Men have made great Searches, and thereupon great Discoveries, yet there is still a terra incognita, an unknown Land; so there is in the Scriptures, for after Men have travelled over them, one Age after ano­ [...] yet still there is, as it were, a [...]rra incognita, an unknown Tract to put us upon farther search and enquiry, and to keep us from censuring and fal­ling out with those who have not yet [Page 55] made the same Discoveries; that so we may say with the Psalmist, when we re­flect upon our short apprehensions of the Mind of God, that we have seen an end of all Perfections, but God's Com­mands are exceeding broad; and as one observes, speaking of the Scrip­tures, that there is a Path in them lead­ing to the Mind of God, which lieth a great distance from the Thoughts and Apprehensions of Men. And on the other hand, in many other places, God sits, as it were, on the Superficies, and the Face of the Letter, where he that runs may discern him speaking plainly, and no Parable at all. How should the consideration of this induce us to a peace­able deportment towards those that differ.

Fifthly; If we would endeavour Peace and Unity, we must consider how God hath tempered the Body; that so the comely Parts should not se­parate from the uncomely, as having no need of them, 1 Cor. 12. 22, 23, 24, 25. There is in Christ's Body and House, some Members and Vessels less honoura­ble, [Page 56] 2 Tim. 2. 20. And therefore we should not, as some now a-days do, po [...] the more abundant disgrace, instead of putting the more abundant honour up­on them: Did we but consider this, we should be covering the Weakness, and hiding the Miscarriages of one another, because we are all Members one of ano­ther, and the most useless Member in his place is useful.

Sixthly; If we would live in Peace, let us remember our Relations to God, as Children to a Father, and to each other as Brethren. Will not the thoughts that we have one Father, quiet us, and the thoughts that we are Brethren, unite us? It was this that made Abraham propose Terms of Peace to Lot, Gen. 13. Let there be no Strife (saith he) be­tween us, for we are Brethren. And we read of Moses, in Acts 7. 26. using this Argument, to reconcile those that strove together, and to set them at one again; Sirs, saith he, you are Brethren, why do ye wrong one another? A deep sense of this Relation, that we are Brethren, wou [...]d keep us from dividing.

[Page 57] Seventhly; If we would preserve Peace, let us mind the Gifts, and Graces, and Vertues that are in each other; let these be more in our eye, than their Failings and Imperfections. When the Apostle exhorted the Philippians to Peace, as a means hereunto, that so the Peace of God might rule in their Hearts, he tells them, Chap. 4. 8. that if there were any Vertue, or any Praise, they should think of these things. While we are always talking and blazoning the Faults of one another, and spreading their Infirmities, no mar­vel we are so little in Peace, and Chari­ty; for as Charity covereth a multitude of Sins, so Malice covereth a multitude of Vertues, and makes us deal by one another, as the Heathen Persecutors dealt with Christians, (viz.) put them in Bears Skins, that they might the more readily become a Prey to those Dogs that were designed to devour them.

Eighthly; If we would keep Unity and Peace, let us lay aside provoking and dividing Language, and forgive [Page 58] those that use them. Remember that old Saying, Evil Words corrupt good Man­ners. When Men think to carry all afore them, with speaking uncharitably and disgracefully of their Brethren, or their Opinions; may not such be answered, as Job answered his unfriendly Visitants, Job 6. 25. How forcible are right Words? but what do your Arguings reprove? How healing are words fitly spoken? A word in season, how good is it? If we would seek Peace, let us cloath all our Treaties for Peace with acceptable words; and where one word may better accommo­date than another, let that be used to express Persons or Things by; and let us not, as some do, call the different Practices of our Brethren, Will-wor­ship, and their different Opinions, Do­ctrines of Devils, and the Doctrine of Balaam, who taught Fornication, &c. unless we can plainly, and in express­ness of Terms prove it so; such Lan­guage as this hath strangely divided our Spirits, and hardened our Hearts one to­wards another.

[Page 59] Ninthly; If we would live in Peace, let us make the best constructions of one another's Words and Actions. Charity judgeth the best, and it thinks no evil; if Words and Actions may be construed to a good sence, let us never put a bad construction upon them: How much hath the Peace of Christians been broken by an uncharitable Interpretation of Words and Actions? as some lay to the charge of others, that which they never said; so by straining Mens Words, others lay to their charge, that they never thought.

Tenthly, Be willing to hear, and learn, and obey those that God by his Providence hath set over you; this is a great means to preserve the Unity and Peace of Churches: but when Men (yea, and sometimes Women) shall usurp Au­thority, and think themselves wiser than their Teachers, no wonder if these People run into Contentions and Parties, when any shall say they are not free to hear those whom the Church thinks fit to speak to them: This is the first step [Page 60] to Schism, and is usually attended, if not timely prevented, with a sinful Se­paration.

Eleventhly; If you would keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace, be mindful, that the God, whom you serve, is a God of Peace, and your Saviour is a Prince of Peace, and that his Ways are Ways of Pleasantness, and all his Paths are Peace; and that Christ was sent into the World, to give Light to them that sit in Darkness, and in the shadow of Death, and to guide our Feet in the Way of Peace.

Twefthly; Consider the oneness of Spirit that is among the Enemies of Re­ligion; though they differ about other things, yet to persecute Religion, and extirpate Religion out of the earth, here they will agree; the Devils in the Air, and the Devils in the Earth, all the De­vils in Hell, and in the World, make one at this turn. Shall the Devil's King­dom be united, and shall Christ's be di­vided? Shall the Devils make one shoul­der to drive on the design of damning [Page 61] Men, and shall not Christians unite to carry on the great Design of saving of them? Shall the Papists agree and unite to carry on their Interest, notwith­standing the multitudes of Orders, De­grees and Differences there are among them, and shall not those that call them­selves Reformed Churches, unite, to carry on the common Interest of Christ in the World, notwithstanding some petty and disputable Differences that are among them? Quarrels about Religion (as one observes) were Sins not named among the Gentiles. What a shame is it then, for Christians to abound in them, espe­cially considering the nature of Chri­stian Religion, and what large provisi­ons the Author of it hath made, to keep the Professors of it in Peace? Insomuch (as one well observes) It is next to a mi­racle, that ever any (especially the Pro­fessors of it) should fall out about it.

Thirteenthly; Consider and remem­her, That the Judge stands at the door; let this moderate our Spirits, that the Lord is at hand. What a sad account will they have to make when he comes, that [Page 62] shall be found to smite their Fellow Ser­vants, and to make the way to his King­dom more narrow than ever he made it? Let me close all in the words of that great Apostle, 2 Cor. 13. 11. Finally, Bre­thren, farewel; be perfect, be of good com­fort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you.


REader, I thought good to advertise thee, that I have delivered this to thy Hand, in the same Order and Me­thod in which it was preached, and al­most in the same words, without any diminishings, or considerable Enlargings, unless it be in the thirteen last Particu­lars; upon some of which I have made some enlargements, which I could not then do for want of time; but the sub­stance of every one of them was then laid down in the same particular order as here thou hast them; and now I have done, I make no other account (to use the words of a moderate Man upon the like Occasion) but it will fall out with me, as doth commonly with him that parts a Fray, both Parties may perhaps drive at me for wishing them no worse than peace: My ambi­tion of the publique Tranquillity of the [Page 64] Church of God, I hope [...] through these hazards, let [...] me, so their Quarrels may cease [...] [...] shall rejoyce in those Blows and Scars I shall take for the Church's Safety.


Some Books printed for Jonathan Robinson, at the Golden Lion in St. Paul's Church-Yard.

  • MR. Pool's Annotations on the whole Bible, in which the whole Sacred Text is inserted. In two Volumes.
  • Dr. Tho. Goodwin's Works. In 2 Vol.
  • Dr. Tho. Manton's Works. In Folio, Quarto,and Octavo.
  • Bp Vsher's Body of Divinity.
  • Josephus's History of the Jews. With Cuts.
  • The Turkish History, to the Year 1687. In 2 Vol.
  • Thesaurus Brevium, or a Collection of ap­proved Forms of Writs.
  • Nani's History of Venice.
  • Crollius and Hartman's Chymistry in English.
  • DR. Tuckney's Prelectiones & Determi­nationes.
  • Dr. Jacomb on the 8th of the Romans.
  • Several Sermons before several Lord Mayors of London, viz. Mr. Jekyll's, [Page] Mr. Fen's Mr. Newcome's, Mr. Wil­liams, &c.
  • A plain Representation of Transubstan­tiation.
  • A Paraphrase on the 6th of S. John.
  • A Sermon on Humanity and Charity: both by Dr. Claget.
  • DR. Bates's Harmony of the Divine Attributes.
  • —His three Sermons,
  • —at Dr. Jacomb's
  • —at Mr. Clarkson's
  • —at Mr. Ashurst's
  • Funeral.
  • Mr. Tho. Gale his Philosophy. In Latin. —his Anatomy of Infidelity.
  • Several Pieces of Mr. Baxter, Mr. Whi­ston, and Mr. Willis, of Infant Baptism.
  • Mr. Faldoe against the Quakers.
  • Mr. Shelton's Discourse of Superstition.
  • Mr. Ran [...]w on Divine Meditation.
  • Mr. Lassell's Voyages into Italy.
  • Suetonius in English, with Cuts.
  • Sir Paul Ricaut's State of the Ottoman Empire.
  • A Voyage to Syam, perform'd by Six Je­suits.
  • Grotius, of the Truth of the Christian Religion. In English Verse.
  • [Page] The Idea of Christian Love. By W. Atwood Esq.
  • MR. Pearse's Preparation for Death.
  • —his Best Match.
  • —his Last Legacy.
  • Mr. Case his Treatise of Affliction.
  • Mr. Hooker, the Doubting Christian drawn to Christ.
  • The Epitome of the Bible in English Verse, useful for Children.
  • The Temperate Man. By Lessius, in English.
  • The Rules of Civility, useful for all people.
  • Meriton's Guide for Constables.
  • Bibanck's Present for Children.
In 16o and 24o.
  • QVintus Curtius. Lat.
  • Val. Maximus. Lat.
  • Kempis Imitation of Christ. In English.
Lately Published.
  • A Brief Account of the first Rise of the name Protestant; and what Protestantism is: With a Justification of it; and an Earnest Exhortation to all Protestants to persist in that [Page] Holy Religion. Very usefull for these times.
  • For ever being with the Lord, The Great Hope, End and Comfort of Be­lievers. Preached by Matthew Syl­vester, and published at the publick Re­quest of Mr. Richard Baxter. Price stich'd 6d.
  • Catechism made Practical. The Chri­stian Instructed: 1. In the Principles of Christian Religion; Positively, in the Shorter Catechism. 2. In what he is to refuse, and what to hold fast in the greatest Points of Contro­versy: and how to Confute Errors, and Defend the Truth. 3. In the Practise of several Duties. Viz. (1) The Practical Improvement of the Holy Trinity. (2) Baptism. (3) Prayer. Ard (4) Preparation for the Lord's Supper. Fitted to the meanest Capacity, and very useful for all Fa­milies.
  • A System of the Revelations, proving who is The Antichrist, &c.

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