AN EXPOSITION WITH Practical Observations CONTINUED Upon the Eleventh, Twelfth & Thir­teenth Chapters of the PROPHESY OF HOSEA.

Being First delivered in several LECTURES at Michaels Cornhil, LONDON.

By Jeremiah Burroughs.

Being the Seventh Book published by

  • Thomas Goodwin,
  • William Greenhil,
  • Sydrach Simpson,
  • William Bridge,
  • John Yates,
  • Will. Adderly.

LONDON: [...]inted by Peter Cole, at the sign of the Printing-Press in Cornhil, near the Royal Exchange. 1651.

To the READER.

GOD who alone is perfect in Himself, hath re­teined this Prerogative to Himself, That His Work should be perfect (as Moses speaks) And as another Holy One hath it, doth al his plea­sure. Paul, though in what-ever he was to commit to writing (in matters sacred) had infalibility of as­sistance, yet perfected not all be intended: These things we will do, if God permit, said he to the Hebrews: But we no where find extant any evi­dence, Heb. that he accomplished what he there intended; Namely, A full Methodical Discourse upon those first Principles, and Foundations of Religion, which that speech had reference unto. It is no wonder then, that if such a kind of Imperfection accompanied the Works of so great a Master-builder, if it attend those who build on this Foundation, and are not privi­ledged (as yet he was) from building Hay and stubble.

This sort of Incompleatness hath befallen the Works of this worthy Author, in respect to the fini­shing of this Prophesie, which he intended, and had performed; wherein yet to the Church of God, there shal be no loss, there being no thoughts nor Notions sug­gested to any man, which though for the present they die with him. But the same Spirit that is the inspirer of [Page] all, doth bring to light in some one or other servant of God, in his own time.

What a Treasury of Thoughts seemed to be lost, and to die with the Savior of the World, which he had not, could not then utter; which yet the Spirit that fil'd him without measure, distributed amongst the Apostles that came after him, according to the measure of the gift of Christ in each. There is no beam of Divine Light hath shone into any mans heart that shal finaly, and for ever be put under a Bushel; but in the end shall be set up, to give light to the whol House.

The purpose of this Preface is, To consign the Pasport thorough the World, of these last Notes of the Author upon this Prophesie; Namely, The Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Chapters; and to assure the Reader, That they are the best and most genuine that can be expected, being collected out of those under his hand, al along; and the best Copies of those that took them from his mouth: And to subjoyn this hearty prayr, for a blessing from Heaven on these, & the rest of these our Brothers Labors that are published, that his Works may follow him, and he receive (at latter day) a full reward, even according to the fruit of his doings.

  • Thomas Goodwyn,
  • William Greenhil,
  • Sydrach Simpson,
  • William Bridge,
  • John Yates,
  • Will. Adderly.

THE CONTENTS

CHAP. XI.

VERS. I.
  • COhaerence Page 2
  • Observation 1 God stands much upon the clee­ring of himself to be a God of Love and Mercy Ibid.
  • Obs. 2 It is the Priviledg of the Saints to be beloved of God 4
  • Obs. 3. It is a great aggravation of sin, to sin against Love 5
  • Obs. 4 It's very useful to call to mind Gods old Love 6
  • Obs. 5 All Gods old mercies remain en­gagements to duty, and aggra­tions of sin 7
  • Obs. 6 Let not our hearts sink though we are able to do but little for God 8
  • Obs. 7 If God love us so soon, our love [Page] to God ought not to be deferred 9
  • Obs. 8 The Church is in the same relation to God as a Son is to a Father 11
  • Obs. 9. Let wicked men take heed how they use the Saints, for they are Gods Sons 12
  • Obs. 10 The Saints are not only Sons in relation but in community. ib.
  • Obs. 11. Gods Sons are not free from sore and grievous evils in this world. 13
  • Obs. 12 It's a great mercie to be called out of Egypt 14
  • Obs. 13. God hath an eye to Christ in all he doth 19
VER. II.
  • Exposition 22
  • Obs. 1 It's a mercie of God to have Gods Ministers calling us to obedi­ence 23
  • Obs. 2 When God hath called us out of affliction, it's a great additi­on of mercie to call us out of son unto duty ib.
  • Obs. 3 It's a great aggravation of mens sins if they be called to duty, after God hath called them out of misery, and they do not obey it ib.
  • Obs. 4 For men not only to disobey Gods call, but to turn away them­selves from it, and from those that speak to them in his name, is very micked and a high de­gree of sinfulness 24
  • Obs. 5 It is yet a higher wickedness to have our corruptions irritated by the Word, and provoked. ib.
  • Obs. 6 That Gods free grace is very great and very strong 25
  • Use Comfort against a stubborn heart 26
VER. III.
  • Exposition 27
  • Obs. 1 When God calls his people out of afflictions, yet they know no more how to guide themselves in their way, than a little child doth 28
  • Ʋse for England 29
  • Obs. 2 The way that God leades people in many times may be a way of [Page] much difficultie ib.
  • Use We have cause to bless God that we are in his way 30
  • Obs. 3 Though we meet with difficultys in our way, yet God loves to teach his people how to go in their way, and the more difficult their way is, the more care hath God of them, to teach them how to go ib.
  • Use Be not discouraged at your diffi­culties, but look up to God for guidance ib.
  • Obs. 4 Seeing God makes it a fruit of his love to teach them how to go; when you see others slip and stumble in the way of profession of Religion: Bless God then for his mercie to­wards you that he helps and teaches you in your way 33
  • Obs. 5 Take heed, you that have need of teaching that you be not wayward, foolish, wanton, and unruly, and that you do not wilfully run into rugged and slippery waies 34
  • Obs. 6 Gods Ministers and all others should labor to follow God in this way of his, that is, To have a tender care of others ib.
  • Obs. 7 Gods Ministers must not be dis­couraged though they meet with those that are very fro­ward 35
  • Obs. 8 It is a great aggravation of sin when children requite not their parents for their educa­tion 36
  • Obs. 9 God will not cast off his children though they get hurt 37
  • Use Be not discouraged when you have gone out of Gods way, because the Lord will heal his people 38
  • Obs. 10. God doth us much good we knew not of 39
  • Use Not to abuse our strength in the waies of sin, and so manifest that you know not that God hath healed you 41
VER. IV.
  • Exposition 42
  • Obs. 1 That the waies of God are very [Page] rational so that they may draw any man of understan­ding to love thew. 49
  • Obs. 2 The way to prevail with men is to deal with them in a ratio­nal way 50
  • Obs. 3 It's a great aggravation of sin, not to be drawn dy these cords of men 52
  • Use, 1 Saints should be eminent in courtesie 54
  • Use, 2 We should draw our relations with gentleness ib.
  • Use, 3 Gentle means rejected, aggra­vate sin 55
  • Obs. 4 We must preserve the honor of our inferiors though their faults be great ib.
  • Obs. 5 It will aggravate the shame and confusion of men which dis­regarded Gods using them in an honorable way 56
  • Obs. 6 Not to be drawn to our duty but by violence and strength, it is beastial 57
  • Obs. 7 As God deals with us according to our nature so we ought to deal with God (as far as we are able) sutable to his na­ture ib.
  • Obs. 8 That the Lord doth not alwaies stand upon number, though the greatest 59
  • Obs. 9 That Love, it hath strong bonds 63
  • Obs. 10 We should labor to cast the bonds of love upon those we have to deal with 66
  • Obs. 11 Seeing Love hath such bonds in it, we should make use of the Love of God to bind our hearts to him 78
  • Obs. 12 There's nothing more aggravats sin, than that it is against Love 88
  • Obs. 13 That deliverance from oppressi­on is a great mercie 92
  • Obs. 14 To abuse our ease when God is pleased to deliver us from yokes, is very sinful 93
  • Obs. 15 To oppress one another, after we are delivered from oppression is likewise a great evil 97
  • [Page] Obs. 16 Mercies prepared and provided for, laid before us are to be prized 101
  • Obs. 17 In receiving of our food, we must look up to Heaven 102
  • Obs. 18 The Service of Gods people is ea­sie, and their provision is bountiful ib.
  • Use How great is the mercy of God to us who hath eased our yokes, and laid meat before us [...] 103
VER. V.
  • Obs. 1 That which bardens men hearts against threats in their sin, is some shifts that they have in their thoughts 104
  • Obs. 2 A stout heart cares not whether it goes rather than it will re­turn to God 105
  • Obs. 3 Stubborn hearts if any thing crosses them will foolishly and desperately wish their return to their former condition of misery ib.
  • Obs. 4 God knows how to cross wicked men of their wills, to spoil them of their plots 106
  • Obs. 5 If we will not do Gods Will, God will cross us of our own 107
  • Obs. 6 God is not so much displeased at our sins, as at our not retur­ning 108
  • Obs. 7 To refuse to return notwithstan­ding means used and mercies tendered, is a fearful thing ibid.
  • Obs. 8 Scornful spirits when they are called upon to return from their evil waies, do not only deny returning, but also scorn and slight what is said to them 110
VER. VI.
  • Obs. 1 It's time for a people to return, when God doth whet, or draw out his Sword 111
  • Obs. 2 That the abiding of the Sword is a sore judgment ib.
  • Use, Against protractors of the War
  • [Page] Obs. 3 The sword shall abide as long as God will have it ibid
  • Obs. 4 That though it be sad for the sword to be in the Field, yet for the sword to be in the City is sadder 113
VER. VII.
  • Exposition 118
  • Application
    • 1 Publick to England ibid
    • 2 Private to particular persons 119
  • Why men start back
  • Reasons
    • 1 Gods waies are unsutable to them ibid
    • 2 They have a greater mind to other things ibid
    • 3 They are weary of the waies of God ibid.
    • 4 They have watched advan­tages to get off from what they have formerly made professi­on of ibid
    • 5 They are sorrie they engaged themselves so much as they did ibid
    • 6 They greedily embrace any Objections against such waies ibid
    • 7 They are very greedie to take any offence ib.
    • 8 They watch for offences 120
    • 9 They are willing to embrace any opinion, that will give them liberty 121
  • Obs. 1 That it is a great evil for men to strive against their consci­enoes 122
  • Obs. 2. Mens hearts sink down to low and mean things naturally. 126
  • Obs. 3. It is the end of the Ministry of the Word, to call men to the Most High God, who have their hearts groveling after low and base things ib.
  • Obs. 4 It is a great and sore evil to stop our ears against the calls of the Word 127
  • Obs. 5 That the calling to the most high God is a special means to cause those that are in a su­spence to come in to a full re­solution. ibid
  • Obs. 6 The true Worship of God is an elevating thing 129
  • An Exhortation 131
    • 1 To great men ibid
    • 2 To Saints ibid
  • [Page] How God hath exalted the Saints.
    • 1 He hath raised them from the depth of miserie 131
    • 2 He hath made them one with his Son ib.
    • 3 Hath loved them with the same love wherewith he lo­ved his Son ib.
    • 4 Hath made them Co-heirs with his Son ib.
    • 5 Hath given his Angels to be ministring spirits to them ibid
    • 6 God intends to honor himself in their eternal good ib.
    • 7 He hath prepared for them a Crown of Glory ib.
  • Obs. 7 God hath little honor in the world 132
VER. VIII.
  • Exposition general 134
  • Exposition particular 135
  • Obs. 1 The greatness of mans sin hin­ders not the work of Gods mercie 141
  • Use, 1 If the bowels of Gods mercie work towards us, let ours work towards our brethren. 142
  • Use, 2 Why should great afflictions for God hinder our hearts wor­king to him, when our great sins against God hinder not Gods heart from working to­wards us ibid.
  • Obs. 2 Sinners are at the very mouth of misery when they do not think of it ibid.
  • Obs. 3 Gods free mercie is that which keeps us from being destroyed ibid.
  • Obs. 4 Sinputs God to a stand ib.
  • Obs. 5 The salvation of a sinner breaks through manie reasonings and workings in Gods heart 143
  • Obs. 6 According to the relation a sin­ful people have to God so dif­ficult a thing is it for God to execute his wrath upon them 144
  • Why God is not readie at a­ny time to execute Judg­ment upon a sinner.
    • 1 The prayers of the Saints stand against Justice 145
    • 2 The Lord look upon the place with an eye of pitie ib.
    • [Page] 3 God considers that he hath but little worship in the world 146
    • 4 He looks upon the Service hath been formerly given him in that place ib.
    • 5 There may be a remnant of Saints there ib.
    • 6 He eyes the miseries they will endure ib.
    • 7 The Lord sees how the adver­saries will insult 147
    • 8 He looks upon the Elect ones not yet born ib.
    • 9 If my wrath must be satisfied let it run out upon others ib.
    • 10. The affliction of the Saints is Gods own affliction 148
    • 11 God will fetch good out of their evil ib.
    • 12 Gods Justice is glorified by his patience ib.
    • 13 Gods mercie may convert ib.
  • Obs. 7 A chollerick disposition is none of Gods Image 150
  • Use 1 Take heed of being passionate ib.
  • Use, 2 Let not Ministers be tart in the Pulpit ib.
  • Obs. 8 Saints may be bold in seeking God in prayer 151
  • Obs. 9 The Saints that walk close with God must needs be verie se­cure 154
  • Obs. 10 When judgments come upon Gods own people there is some great matter in it 155
  • Obs. 11 There is a difference between the day of patience and the day of wrath ib.
  • Obs. 12 If God do not hasten Judgment against us, we should not ha­sten it against our selves ib.
  • Obs. 13 The people of God are subject to as sore evils as the worst of men 156
  • Obs. 14 When sinners are neerest to judgment, then the bowels of Gods mercie works towards them 157
  • Obs. 15 Those that are in relation to God have a priviledg that others have not ib.
  • Use Take heed of abusing Gods mer­cies 158
  • Obs. 16 [Page] If God be unwilling to make his People like the Wicked in pu­nishment, let them not make themselves like them in sin ib.
  • Obs. 17 Though God be never so much in­clin'd to mercy he doth not hide his eyes from the sins of his own People ib.
  • Use Let not the encouragement of mer­cie hide our sins from us 159
  • Obs. 18. Strong motions to repentance, give strong encouragements to come to God 160
  • Obs. 19 Let arguments of obedience to God cause stirrings in our hearts. 161
  • Obs. 20 Let us not think it too much to have our hearts turned from strong resolutions to do evil. ib.
  • Obs. 21 God's repentings are mighty en­couragements to Prayer 162
  • Obs. 22 Wee must gather as many argu­ments as we can to kindle Repentance in us ib.
  • Obs. 23 Our mercies to others should not be cold, but burning 165
VER. IX.
  • Exposition 165
  • Obs. 1 The stirrings of mercie in our hearts should rather prevaile with us than stirrings to wrath 166
  • Obs. 2 Stirrings for God should rather prevail with us than temptati­ons to sin 167
  • Obs. 3 Gods mercies do not free his People from all fruits of displeasure ib.
  • Obs. 4 We should acknowledge mercie, though we suffer hard things. 167
  • Obs. 5 Sinners should not be secure when evil is upon them, and think Now we know the worst on't. 168
  • Obs. 6 God is very gracious to his People when evil is upon them ib.
  • Difference between God and Man in point of Anger. 169
    • 1 Man is not able to rule his An­ger ib.
    • 2 Man is of a revengeful and cruel disposition 170
    • 3 Man is in a rage often-times with others, because of the dis­quit [Page] of his own heart ib.
    • 4 There is but very little, if a­ny mercie at all in man ib.
    • 5. Man is of a fickle and un­constant disposition ib.
    • 6 If man pass by an offence, it is from some motive from without ibid
    • 7 Man thinks it his dishonor to be reconciled to those that of­fend him ibid
    • 8 Man cannot foresee the con­sequences that may follow upon his pardoning of offen­ces 171
    • 9 Man cannot work good out of what ill carriages are a­gainst him ibid
    • 10 Though man promise much mercie yet upon any offence, he will recall his promise a­gain ibid
    • 11. Man thinks it's best to take his advantage of offenders at the present time 172
    • 12 Man is bound to positive Rules of Justice that are set to him.
    • But God is free. He will have mercie on whom he will have mercie ibid
  • Obs. 7 God glories in the goodness and mercie that is in himself. ib.
  • Use Passion and anger debases man 173
  • Obs. 8 If God were like Man, sinners could not be forborn 174
  • Obs. 9 It is a good way to exercise faith in Gods mercie ibid
  • Use Let us labor to be holy in our anger 178
  • Obs. 10 God delights to shew the glory of his holiness in mercie to­ward sinners 179
  • Obs. 11 Gods faithfulnesse is a special part of the glory of his holi­ness ibid
  • Use 1 We may see hence how holiness will help our faith ibid
  • Use 2 Let us manifest our holiness in our faithfulness ibid
  • Obs. 12 God continues among a people for his Saints and Elects sake ibid
  • Obs. 13. The Saints are of great use where they live 179
  • Obs. 14 Humiliation and reformation do often save a City from de­struction [Page] 180
  • Use Let not our sin provoke God to destroy us ibid
VER. X
  • Exposition ib.
  • Obs. 1 It is the Lords infinite goodness to be the Captain of his peo­ple 181
  • Obs. 2 It is the honor, safety, and hap­piness of the Saints to have God go before them ibid
  • Obs. 3 That the Majestie and terrible­ness of God causeth the wic­ked guilty conscience to fly from him 182
  • Use Oh the blessing of a clean consci­ence ibid
  • Obs. 4 That when Gods time is come for a through reformation in the world, he will make the earth tremble 184
  • Use 1 Despair not at the strength of the wicked 185
  • Use 2 Learn to prepare for those times ibid
  • Obs. ult. There are like to be great stir­rings in the West 186
VER. XI.
  • Exposition 186
  • Obs. 1 God hath his time to place his people in their own houses, in peace, and safetie 187
  • Obs. 2 It's a good work to be instru­mental in this ibid
  • Obs. 3 They that walk after the Lord shall be placed in their houses ibid
  • Use Trust God with your houses. ib.
VER. XII.
  • Exposition
    • General 188
    • Particular 189
  • Obs. 1 Many profess to God the ac­knowledgment of his Great­ness, Glory, Power, &c. but it is but as a lye to God ib.
  • Obs. 2 Many men beset the business and affairs that they man­nage, with lyes also 190
  • [Page] Obs. 3 That when men are once engaged in shifts and lyes, they grow pertinacious in them 191
  • Obs. 4 The sin is the greater, where there is no example of evil in others 192
  • Obs. 5 To continue in a false way of worship when a right way is held forth, is an aggravati­on of sin ib.
  • Obs. 6 It's a great comendation to con­tinue in the Truth, when o­thers fall off ib.
  • Obs. 7 We should be more severe to those that are nearest to us, when they dishonor God, than to others 193
  • Obs. 8 To enjoy but little with God, is better than to have much with­out enjoying God 194
  • Obs. 9 To serve God, is to reign 195
  • Obs. 10. God hath never bin without som Witnesses to his Truth ib.
  • Obs. 11 It is unfaithfulness to forsake the true Worship which God hath appointed 196
  • Obs. 12 God hath a special eye to a States faithfulness in point of Wor­ship ib.
  • Obs. 13. Faithfulness consists in a con­stant persisting in good ib.
  • Obs. 14 We should look more at the ex­ample of a few Saints, than of thousands of wicked men. 198

CHAP. XII.

VER. I
  • Exposition 199
  • Obs. 1 Creature-Comforts will prove but wind 202
  • Obs. 2. It's a grievous thing when trou­bles come to have nothing within us to help us but wind 203
  • Several waies of encreasing Lyes
    • 1 By carrying about Reports. 207
    • 2 By mis-reporting of Reports. ib.
    • 3 By adding to Reports ib.
    • 4 By inventing new Reports ib.
    • [Page] 5 By maintaining Lyes by Lyes ibid.
  • Use 1. Take heed of spreading Reports to the dishonour of Religion 210
  • Use 2. Search out the truth first, before you report at all ib.
  • Obs. 3 When people are guilty of a sin, the Prophets should beat upon it again and again 212
VER. II.
  • Exposition 213
  • Obs. 1 God commends and contends with his Church at once ib.
VER. III.
  • Exposition, 1. 219
  • Obs. 1. We are to acknowledg God's Election of our Forefathers to be an Act of free grace 222
  • Obs 2 Those which receive great bles­sings from Gods mercy to their Ancestors, are to acknowledg the free grace of God ib.
  • Exposiston 2 223
  • Exposition 3 ib.
  • Exposition 4 226
  • Exposition 5 228
  • Exposition 6 231
  • Exposition 7 232
  • Obs. 3 That when God strives against his Servants, he gives them sirength 234
  • Obs. 4 It's a great honour to manifest much strength in prayer ib
  • Obs. 5 The way to prevail with men is, to prevail with God 236
  • Obs. 6 That the time for the Church to prevail in, is then when she is most weak 239
VER. IV.
  • Obs. 1 Prayer is the great prevailing Ordinance with God 246
  • Ingredients to Prayer
    • 1 Faith in the Covenant of God 248
    • 2 To be in Gods way 259
    • 3 To plead a particular promise ib.
    • 4 Sence of our own unworthi­ness ib.
    • 5 Acknowledgment of mercies and truth in promises 260
    • 6 Remembrance of former [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] means ibid.
    • 7 Deep sence of the thing desi­red ibid.
    • 8 Strong arguments 261
  • Obs. 2 God finds his people many times when they little think of him 262
  • Obs. 3 The foundation of the Saints comfort is in the Covenant of God 264
  • Obs. 4 Mercies promised should be­leeved when there is much unlikelihood 265
  • Obs. 5 The multiplying of the Church is a great blessing ibid.
  • Obs. 6 The Saints have need of renew­ing promises ibid.
  • Obs. 7 The blessing that comes to the world comes by promised seed ibid.
  • Obs. 8 It was in Gods heart to do good unto us Gentiles thousands of yeers since ibid.
  • Obs. 9 God is still working towards the fulfilling of promises 166
  • Obs. 10 The mercie and faithfulness of God is constant for continu­ance ibid.
  • Obs. 11 The Saints have need of the con­firmation of mercies ibid.
  • Obs. 12 It's a great help to fiath to have God present himself to the soul as God Almighty 267
  • Obs. 13 God delights to revive his peo­ple in their fears, with suta­ble mercie ibid.
  • Use, To learn tender-heartedness to­wards them that are in fears and troubles ibid.
VER. V.
  • Exposition 269
  • Obs. 1 That though God be never so strong and terrible in himself; yet faith hath strength to wrastle with him 284
  • Use, Christians should raise up their spirits when they have to deal with God ibid.
  • Obs. 2 God is the same to us (if we for­sake him not) as he was to our forefathers 289
  • [Page] Obs. 3. There's no need of Images to keep Gods remembrance 288
  • Obs. 4 God manifests his glory, that he may be remembred from age to age ib.
  • Obs. 5 The meditation of the Name, JEHOVAH, is a useful Memorial of God 289
VER. VI.
  • Obs. 1. The consideration of our godly forefathers is a great argu­ment to turn us to God ib.
  • Obs. 2 That God is the Lord of Hosts, is another argument to turn us to him 290
  • Obs. 3. Because God is Jehovah, we must turn to him 291
  • Obs. 4 The Excellencie of the Saints is an Argument to turn us to God 293
  • Obs. 5. We depart from God in the midst of our services, when we per­form them not in Gods way. ib.
  • Obs. 6. In our turning to God, we must reform our special sins 295
  • Obs. 7 We must reform as well in Du­ties of the Second Table, as in matter of Worship 296
  • Obs. 8 There must be righteousness a­mong men, where there is a turning to God 298
  • Obs. 9 Those that are in Authority must manifest their turning to God, by Execution of Judgment. ib.
  • Obs. 10 The mixture of Mercie & Judg­ment is very comely 299
  • Obs. 11. A turning heart to God, is a waiting heart 303
VER. VII.
  • Exposition 310
  • Obs. 1. Men by their sin may lose the honor of their progenitors. ib.
VER. VIII.
  • Exposition 324
  • Obs. 1 Wicked men will have somthing to say for themselves ib.
  • Obs. 2 Wicked men may prosper a while [Page] in their evil courses ib.
  • Obs. 3 Wicked men attribute all that they get unto themselves ib.
  • Obs. 4 Carnal hearts account riches the only substantial things 325
  • Obs. 5 Wicked men glory in the estates they have gotten ib.
  • Obs. 6 Carnal hearts seek to relieve their consciences with out­ward comforts 326
  • Obs. 7 Wicked men beleeve not that God is so angry with them, as they are told he is 327
  • Obs. 8 Evil things many times have good names 330
  • Obs. 9 It's hard to convince covetous men of their iniquitie ib.
  • Obs. 10 It's hard to convince them that they do not love to be charged with their sin 331
  • Obs. 11 Men may in words profess the thing that they are guilty of to be abominable ib.
  • Obs. 12 Wicked men care not, so other men cannot accuse them 332
  • Obs. 13 A carnal heart extenuates his sins 333
  • Obs. 14 If wicked men can but scape the danger of Law, it's all they care for 334
VER. IX.
  • Obs. 1 The prosperity of men in a sin­ful way makes them forget what God hath done for them in former times 336
  • Obs. 2 God takes notice of mens un­thanfulness ib.
  • Obs. 3 Old mercies are great engage­ments to duty and the neg­lect of dutie a great aggrava­tion of sin 337
  • Obs. 4 God gives hopes of mercie to sin­ners upon their Repentance 339
  • Use To persons offended by others 341
  • Doct. 2 The consideration of what God [...]h done should help our [...] in beleeving what he will do ib.
  • [Page] Applied to England.
VER. X.
  • Obs. 1 It's God that speaks by his Pro­phets 344
  • Obs. 2 It is a great mercie to a people for God to speak to them by his Prophets 345
  • Obs. 3 God will take account what be­comes of the labor and pains of his Prophets 347
  • Obs. 4 'Tis a great mercie for God to declare his mind again and again ibid.
  • Use, How may God upbraid us with this 348
  • Obs. 5 The Lord takes account of the manner of mens preaching, as well as of the things they preach 349
  • Obs. 6 The revealing the Word by si­militudes is very useful and profitable ibid.
  • Obs. 7 Slight not the Word when it comes by a simile 350
  • Obs. 8 Rest not in the pleasantness of the simile ib.
VER. XI.
  • Obs. 1 Whatsoever is presented in the Worship of God (if not of Gods appointment) is meer vanity 352
  • Obs. 2 When Gods Judgments have been against any for sin, all sinners guilty of the same sins have cause to feare. 353
  • Obs. 3 Such whose principles are neerer to God than others, if they be superstitious God will surely be revenged of them 354
VER. XII.
  • Scope 357
  • Obs. 1 Such as take pride in their An­cestors should look back to the mean condition of their An­cestors 392
  • Obs. 2 Dependance upon God in affli­ctions shews grace of God in any 393
  • Use, 1 [Page] To servants which are in hard service ib.
  • Use, 2 To servants which are out of it. ib.
  • Obs. 3 Love wil carry through long ser­vice 394
  • Obs. 4 A good Wife is a great blessing of God, though she have no portion ib.
  • Obs. 5 Children should not marry with­out their Parents consent 395
VER. XIII.
  • Obs. 1 None shal lose any thing by what they do for God 397
  • Obs. 2. The shiftless estate of our Ance­stors, should humble us much 398
  • Obs. 3 God works great things for his Church by smal means ib.
  • Obs. 4 It's a great aggravation of sin, to transgress against God's more than ordinary appea­ring for peoples good 399
  • Obs. 5 Abuse of suth as have reference to the service of God, is a great evil ib.
VER. XIV.
  • Obs. 1. God is not angry unless he be pro­voked 403
  • Obs. 2. It is only sin that provokes God 403
  • Obs. 3 Som sins provoke God more than others 405
  • Obs. 4 They that be wilful in sin, their blood will be upon their own heads 407
  • Obs. 5 God will be Lord, let wicked men do what they can 410

CHAP. XIII.

VER. 1.
  • Obs. 1 It's an Honor to have respect from others when we speake 415
  • Vse for Inferiors ib.
  • Obs. 2 Those who are in Place of Power account it their honor, that [Page] others should tremble at what they say 436
  • Obs. 3 The subjection of the hearts of men to those in authority, is a work of God 417
  • Obs. 4 The meaner the beginnings of men are, the more imperious they prove 418
  • Obs. 5 Men of great repute, and reve­rend respect, by sin fall from their dignitie 419
  • Verified in Magistracy and Ministry ibid.
  • Use, For Magistrates and Ministers 421
  • Obs. 6 Alteration in marter of Govern­ment is a hard and difficult thing 422
  • Obs. 7 Men of resolved spirits will break through difficulties, when God raiseth them up to it 423
  • Obs. 8 If after they have gone through difficulties they rest in their own strength, they shall va­nish and come to nothing. 423
  • Obs. 9 Alteration in Religion is a dif­ficult business 424
  • Obs. 10 Men of resolute spirits will go on in matters of Religion, though it be from better to worse 425
  • Obs. 11 When God withdraws his pro­tection from a Familie, he leaves it as a dead carkass 426
  • Obs. 12 Corruption of Worship causeth God to withdraw from a peo­ple ib.
  • Obs. 13 When wicked men are most a­ctive in their evil way, then they may be under the sen­tence of death 427
VER. II.
  • Obs. 1 Vse makes a mighty alteration in mens spirits 428
  • Obs. 2 When destructions neerest, evil men are wickedest 430
  • Obs. 3 There's no stop in Apostacy. 431
  • Obs. 4 Every sin against conscience, [Page] weakens the work of consci­ence 433
  • Obs. 5 In what degree a man fals off from God, in that degree he loseth his comfort in God 434
  • Obs. 6 When one hath sinned against God, his spirit and holy du­ties are unsutable ib.
  • Obs. 7 The presence of God is terrible to an Apostate ib.
  • Obs. 8 What may turn an Apostates heart to God, is grievous to him ib.
  • Obs. 9 One sin cannot be maintained without another 435
  • Obs. 10 The pride of an evil mans heart is such that he will be justi­fying his sin ib.
  • Obs. 11 When men are grown far in an evil way they grow desperate ib.
  • Obs. 12 When men trust to their own understandings in matters of Worship God gives them up to sottishness 441
  • Obs. 13 It's false Worship to give Reli­gious respect to any creature by kissing as well as bowing to it 443
  • Use Against such as kiss the Book when they take an Oath ib.
VER. III.
  • Obs. 1 The messenger of wrath drives unsetled men to misery 444
VER. IV.
  • Obs. 1 It's a great evil to sin against the work of mercy 445
  • Obs. 2 Deliverance from Egypt is a Note of Gods being our God 446
  • Obs. 3 The end of Gods great work is, That he may be known to be God ib.
  • Obs. 4 God delights to manifest him­self in a way of salvation. 448
  • Obs. 5 Saving mercies are great mer­cies ib.
  • Obs. 6 [Page] No creature can do us good fur­ther than God gives it leave. ib.
  • Obs. 7 Our faith should be exercised on God as a Savior ib.
  • Obs. 8 We are never safe but when our peace is made with God. 449
  • Obs. 9 God is never worshiped as God, but when he is worshiped as a Savior ib.
VER. V.
  • Obs. 1. It's a great mercie for God to know a man in time of trou­ble 451
  • Obs. 2 Gods knowing us in distress, is a mighty engagement to us. 452
VER. VI.
  • Obs. 1 It's better to want the comfort of the creature, and to have Gods protection, than to have the creature and live of our selves ib.
VER. VII.
  • Obs. 1 The Lord pities sinful men in adversity 499
VER. VIII.
  • Obs. 1. The wrath of God is more dread­ful than the dreadfulness of all the creatures in the world. 505
VER. IX.
  • Obs. 1 It's an aggravation of sin ano­ther day, to be the cause of the evils we suffer 508
  • Obs. 2 Men would put offtheir evils from themselves to God 510
  • Obs. 3 God knows how to turn all the evils upon our selves 511
  • Obs. 4 A man can bring himself to no misery but there's help in God for it 519
  • Use, Look up to God when you have done evil 520
  • Obs. 5 Those that seek help in God and yet misery grows upon them, let them examin themselves. 521
  • [Page] Obs. 6 The more God hath helped men, the greater will their destru­ction be if they be destroyed at last 522
VER. X.
  • Obs. 1 It's a sad condition when God rules over a people in spight of their hearts 523
  • Obs. 2 The things that carnal hearts rest upon will vanish 526
  • Obs. 3 God loves to insult over men in their carnal confidences. 526
  • Obs. 4 It's great confusion to carnal hearts when they shall be as­ked, Where's their confiden­ces? 527
  • Use Let us learn to seek after those things we may be able to give an account for 528
  • Use, 2 Let not the Saints be afraid of evil men ib.
  • Obs. 5 Though God be much with a man, yet if he be of a low rank, carnal hearts regard him not 529.
  • Obs. 6 Men will not hear so long as they do not suffer 533
VER. XI.
  • Obs. 1 God may have a hand in things wherein men sin exceedingly. 535
  • Obs. 2 Things that are very evil, may have present success 536
  • Obs. 3 Gods gifts are not alwaies in love ib.
  • Notes whether it be out of Love, or Hatred.
    • 1 When we desire the gift ra­ther than God in it 540
    • 2 When our desires are immo­derate and violent 541
    • 3 When God grants men their desires before due time 542
    • 4 When there comes no blessing at all with what we enjoy 543
    • 5 When what we desire, is meerly to satisfie our lusts 544
    • 6 When men are so eager that they care not whether they have it from a reconciled God, or a provoked God. 545
    • 7 When the mercy is given, [Page] whether we be fitted for it or no 546
    • 8 When we rest upon the means we use and not upon God. 547
    • 9 When God gives our desires, but not a sanctified use of them 548
    • 10 When there goes a curse to­gether with what we have ib.
    • 11 When we regard not what becomes of others, so we may have our desires satisfied 549
    • 12 When God satisfying our desires makes way for some judgment 550
    • 13 When men are greedy of things, and never consider the inconvenience ib.
    • 14 When men seek to have their desires satisfied meerly be­cause they love change 551
    • 15 When it comes through im­patiency to submit to God in a former condition 552
    • 16 When desire of further mer­cies make us forget former ib.
    • 17 When men desire new things out of distrust of God 553
    • 18 If God change our conditi­tion, we bring the sins of our old condition into our new. 554
    • 19 If we seeek to attain our de­sires by unlawful means ib.
  • Corralaries drawn from the former Notes.
    • 1 Be sure you quiet your desires 555
    • 2 Let us prepare our hearts to seek proportionable grace for what we have ib.
    • 3 Be not too much exalted when your desires are satisfied ib.
    • 4 Never draw arguments of Gods love by satisfying our desires 556
    • 5 Envy not at men when their lusts are satisfied ib.
    • 6 Learn to deny your selves in your desires ib.
    • 7 Never rest in what you enjoy, before you know from what principle it comes ib.
    • 8 Look after what God never gives but in love 557
    • 9 Bless God when you find what you have in love ib.
  • Notes of another Sermon prepared by the Author, but not preached 562

The Names of several Books printed by PETER COLE, at the sign of the Printing-Press in Cornhil, by the R Exchange, in LONDON.

Seven Books of Mr JER. BURROUGHS, lately published; as al­so the Texts of Scripture on which they are grounded. VIZ.
  • 1. The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, on Phil. 4. 11. Wherein is shewed: 1 What Contentment is. 2 It is an holy Art and Mysterie. 3 The Excellencies of it. 4 The Evil of the contrary sin of Murmuring, and the Aggravation of it.
  • 2. Gospel-Worship, on Levit. 10. 3. Wherein is shewed, 1 The right manner of the Worship of God in general: and particularly, in Hearing the Word, Receiving the Lords Supper, and Prayer.
  • 3. Gospel-Conversation, on Phil. 1. 27. Wherein is shewed: 1 That the Conversations of Beleevers must be above what could be by the light of Nature. 2 Beyond those that lived under the Law. 3 And sutable to what Truths the Gospel holds forth. To which is added, The Misery of those Men that have their Portion in this life, on Psalm. 17. 14.
  • 4. A Treatise of Earthly-mindedness, on Phil. 3. 19. Wherein is shewed: 1 What Earthly-mindedness is. 2 The great Evil thereof. Also to the same Book is joyned, A Treatise of Heavenly-mindness, and Walking with God, on Gen. 5. 24. and on Phil. 3. 20.
  • The Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Books are, An Exposition with Practical Observations, on the 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. Chapters of the Prophesie of HOSEA.

AN EXPOSITION Of the PROPHESY of HOSEA.

CHAP. XI.

VERS. 1.

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my Son out of Egypt.

THIS Chapter is made by some, the sixth Sermon of Hosea's Prophesie. The scope The scope of the Chapter. of it is this: To cleer God from severity, and to upbraid Israel for ungrateful and stuborn carriage, against Mercies and Means: and yet to promise mercy to the remnant, to his Elect ones, which is to the end of the 11. verse. As for the 12. verse, though it Where the Chapter ends. be made a part of this Chapter, yet it were more aptly a great deal joyned to the 12. Chapter; and so it is by some.

[Page 2] There were in the end of the former Chapter dreadful threatnings against Israel, that the Mothers should be da­shed The coh [...] [...]ence. in pieces upon their Children, and the cutting off of the King utterly, this was in the close of the last Chapter. But now, doth not this argue God to be a God of ridged­ness and severity? Where is the Mercy, Goodnese, and Clemency of God towards his people? What! to have the Mother dasht in pieces against her Children! To cut off the King of Israel u [...]terly! Yes, saith God, for all this I am a God of Mercy and Goodness, for I have manifested abundance of Mercy already, and am ready still to mani­fest more; but you have been a stubborn and a stout hear­ted people against me. And from that General scope, Note:

That, God stands much upon the cleering of Himself to be a God of love and mercy: Whatsoever becomes of wicked Obs. 1. men, yet God will be cleered before all the world, that he is a God of much mercy; God takes it very ill that we should have any hard thoughts of him, let us not be ready to entertain such thoughts of God, as if he were a hard Master. I remember Luther hath such an expression, That, all the Scripture, the general scope of the Scripture it is, to declare the Lord to be a God of mercy and goodness; Tota Scriptura hoc praecip [...]è a­git, ne dubite­mus, sed certo speremus [...]dan [...]u & cre­damus Deum esse misericordē benegnum pati­entem. Luth. saith he, The whol Scriptures aim at this, That we should beleeve and be confident that God is a gracious and merciful God. And this is the scope of this Chapter. Let us rather charge our selves of wickedness, and ungrateful dealings with God, and let us for ever justifie God and acknowledg him to be not only a Righteous God, but a Gracious God; though thou and thousands such as thou art shall perish to all eternity, yet the Lord shall be acknowledged a God of Mercy before his Angels and Saints for evermore. But thus much for the scope. [Page 3] When Israel was a Child.’

At his first beginning to be a people, that's [...] [...] In his yong time my heart was towards him. Indeed, the heart of God was to Israel, that is, Jacob, the Father Rom 9. 11. 12. of the Tribe, before he was born, before he did either good or evil: But here 'tis spoken not of the Father, but of the Tribes, Israel, when they were first a people, In their yong beginnings, then I loved them. ‘When he was a Child. The phrase opened.

That is, First, When he knew little of me.

Secondly, When he could do little for me.

Thirdly, When there was much vanity and folly in him, as there is in children.

Fourthly, When he was helpless and succo [...]ss, and shi [...]ess, and knew not how to provide for himself.

And further, Tarnovius, a learned Commentator upon this Prophesie, thinks that the Hebrew word that is here Excuss [...] [...] significat eum, qui creb [...]ò su­gum parentis vel Heri excu­tit & quamvis [...] Ternov. in [...]c. translated a Child, is a word that notes the stubbornness of Israel against God, one that hath often shaken off the yoke of parents, or of a master, and so [Ky] that is tran­slated [when] is sometimes [although] Although Israel was a Child, a Froward and Perverse Child, that shook off the Yoke, yet then I loved him. And what a child Israel was when God loved him you may find, in Ezek. 16. 4, 5. &c. What a child Israel was. Ezek. 16. 1. &c. applied. And as for thy Nativity in the day that thou wast born, thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee, thou wast not salted at all, nor swadled at all. (and then in the 5. verse) None eye pi [...]ed thee to do any of these unto thee, to bave compassion upon thee, but thou wast cast out in the open field to the loathing of thy person in the day that thou wast born: then in the 6. verse, And when I passed by tree and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Liv [...]: yet, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live. Again and again, (and then in the 8. verse) Now when I [Page 4] passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy naked­ness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entred into a Covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.

Well, but wherein did God manifest that he did love Israel when he was a Child?

Mark the 8. verse, When I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee and entred into a Covenant with thee, saith the Lord, and thou beca­mest mine.

The Love of God to Israel i exprest in these three par­ticulars. Wherein the love of God to Israel stood

First, That God made a Covenant with him. Oh 'tis a great mercy of God, and a fruit of great love, that such an infinite God would be pleased to make a Covenant with his people, to bring them into Covenant with him; all man-kind was in Covenant with God at first, but fal­ling from that first Covenant, there was but only a pecu­lier people that God took into Covenant with himself, and made it as a fruit of his great love, to take a certain people into Covenant with himself more than others.

And secondly, Thou becamest mine; that is, I had sepa­rated thee for my self, and took thee for a peculier one to me, and intended special mercy and goodness to thee, Thou becamest mine, so as that I should have a special pro­priety in thee, and thou shouldest have a special propriety in me.

And then thirdly, I confirmed all this by an Oath, I sware this unto thee; Was not here love, for God to Covenant, to take in to such propriety, and to swear that we should be his? Thus when Israel was a child I loved him, that's the meaning of this Scripture.

Now the Note of Observation is this.

First, That, it is the priviledg of the Church and of the Saints, Obs. 1 for God to love them: God loves his people, this is their [Page 5] priviledge, he loves them with a special love. In the 12. of Jer. 7. they are called, the dearly beloved of Gods soul; see Jer. 12. 7. how God loves his people. God he delights in his Saints, and there is nothing in the world that should sanctifie a gracious heart more than this, That God loves him; And as Gods love is extraordinary to them more than to other People, so their love again should be reflected upon God in a more than ordinary way; There's nothing can be a recompence to Love, but Love: that's certain, Love is ne­ver satisfied but with Love; And therefore, seeing God professes love to his people, he doth expect love from them, therefore he will not be satisfied with any duties you per­form, whatsoever you do, but it must be out of Love, Love must have Love, and know, that you cannot prize Gods love more than God prizes yours, there is nothing in Hea­ven and Earth that God prizes more than the love of his Saints, and therefore, if ever Gods love, or Gods prizing of your love, may gain love, Oh you Saints, love the Lord. That's the first.

But Secondly, It's a great aggravation unto sin, to sin a­gainst love. For to that end God here shews that he loved Obs. 2. them, that he might aggravate their sin so much the more, and cleer himself. Many times you make in the daies of your humiliation, and at other times, many aggravations of your sin, that your sin it is against knowledge; this is great; That your sin it is of an hainous nature, that it doth a great deal of hurt, that it brings you under dread­ful threatnings, that it provokes the wrath of an infinite God against you; these are great things for the humbling of your hearts for sin. But above all aggrevations for sin, this is the great aggravation, That your sin is against Love, that though God hath shown much love to you, yet you sin against a loving God, and a gracious God. God begins with this aggravation, being his scope here to cleer himself, and to charge his people of ungratefulness, yet God loved them. Oh! sins against love are great sins in­deed.

[Page 6] But Thirdly, I loved him when he was a child. [...] very [...]. 3. [...] to mind Gods old love. That's the Third Note; The love of God unto us when we were children; yea, the love of God unto our fore-fathers, the love of God unto a people when they were at the first beginning, the ancient love of God to a people, 'tis of very g [...] use, it is of great use for al to consider of the love of God in for­mer times to them; nay brethren, it would be of very great Gods ancient love to Eng­land. An instance of it. use for us to consider of ancient love of God to England. And I will give you one remarkable Note of Gods antient love to this Nation, that's this; That it was the first Nation that ever God set his heart upon for the chusing of the Go­spel, the first Nation in the world that by publick Autho­rity England the first Nation in the world that God chose for the em­bracing Reli­gion by pub­lick Autho­rity. did submit to the Gospel, and certainly God remem­bers that love of England. For we find it recorded; it's true, we cannot expect Scrip­ture for this, because it was Lucius of England is said to be the first Christian King. (Centur. Cent. 2. Cap. 2. Tit. de Propagation. Ecclesiiae [...] J. Balai Catal.) Who also by publick Authority established Christianity, about the year 169. Lucius in lucem pro­dit. de patre coello. J. B. Author primus apud Brito­nes Religiones erat. Rossaei Britania. [...]nce the time of any Scrip­ture; but so far as we may give any credit to Stories, we find it, of all Nations upon the face of the Earth, the first that received the Gospel with the Countenance of Publick Authority. And this is not a little matter: Certainly the Lord remembers the kindness God remem­bers the kind­ness of Eng­lands youth & first love of our youth, and the old love of England, and the first love of England in receiving the Gospel. Indeed God cau­sed the Gospel to be preached to other places before it was to England; I, but there was no plac [...] that by the counte­nance of Publick Authority [...] it so soon as Eng­land did, and therefore England may be said to be the very first fruits of the Gospel in that respect. Oh! 'tis good for us to consider of that, and many good uses we may make of [Page 7] Gods old & ancient love; when we see any further expressi­ons of Gods love it may encourage us upon the thoughts of his former love, there was an old love and this God continues, his old love unto his people, and surely God intends yet further love unto us.

And then for our selves in particular, It's very good for Particul. per­sons should recal Gods antient love unto them when they were children us to look back unto his ancient love: That is, Now God hath loved some of you from your child-hood, how the providence of God did work towards you then; Some of you (I suppose) in this place may say, that God loved you when you were children, when I was a child I had such and such expressions of Gods love towards me, It was love that I was born of Christian Parents, and that I was brought up in Christian education, That I was delivered from such and such dangers, yea (it may be) God began to reveal himself to me betimes. And if you would call to mind all the loving passages of Gods providence since you were children, you might have matter of meditation sufficient. There's many of you that complain you can­not find matter for meditation: I'le give you a rule to help you in meditation at any time, it's this, When you A Rule how we may never want matter of meditation cannot meditate of other things but you are presently be wildered and know not whither to go, then turn your selves to this meditation, To think of all the gracious pas­sages of Gods providence towards you ever since you were children, and this the weakest may be able to go along in. And that's the third Note of Observation.

Fourthly, All Gods old mercies remain engagements unto du­ty, Obser. 4. and aggravations to our sin. I loved him when he was a child; 'tis brought to that end, to aggravate their sin, and further to engage them unto duty. Remember that the love and mercies of God unto you when you were children are engagements to duty when you are old. And they are aggravations of your sin, The sins of those men and women that are against old mercies they are the grea­test sins: Oh! that you should sin against that love of [Page 8] God unto you when you were children! God began with you then, and hath continued his love and mercy to you e­ver since; then, Oh! make this an aggravation of your sin, in the day of your humiliation, charge it upon your own souls, these and these sins have I committed, though God loved me, though Gods mercy and goodness was towards me when I was a child and hath gone along to me, yet I have walked unworthy of all that love and mercy, know that if you do forget the old love of God, yet the Lord re­members it, he remembers his old mercies, and he remem­bers your old sins.

But then fiftly, Let not our hearts sink in despairing thoughts, though we see that we are able to do but little for God, and though Obs. 5. we are unworthy of love; Though there be much vanity and folly in our hearts, and in our lives, yea, though there hath been much stubbornness, yet still let not our hearts sink in despairing thoughts, I loved them when they were a child, They could do little for me, and they knew little of me, and they were vain, and foolish, and stubborn, and yet I loved them. Certainly the waies of God towards Gods waies of mercy and affliction to­ward Israel, a type of his waies toward his people in all ages. Israel are as a type of his waies towards his Saints, as the afflictions of Israel are Typical to the Church; and we ga­ther an argument to be patient in afflictions when we reade how God dealt with the people of Israel in the wilderness; so we may gather an argument to help our faith when as we reade how God dealt with them, though they were unworthy and were poor and weak, yet God loved them. Therefore you poor people that find your selves weak in understanding, alas! you know little, and can remember little of that which is good, and alas! you can do little for God, [...]ea I find (perhaps saith one) much froward­ness and stubborness in my heart against God; but do you bewail it? if so, let not your hearts be discouraged, do not think that these are things that will hinder the love of Gods love doth not find, but make the person lovely. God; Gods heart may be towards you notwithstanding this, when God comes to love he doth not find the object [Page 9] to be lovely before he loves, but his love makes the object to be lovely, therefore God can love though thou kno­west little, and can do but little.

But you will say, He can love, I but, Will He love? If Object. I did but know that, this would satisfie my heart.

To that I answer,

First, how ever, when you hear that God did love Israel Answ. when he was such a child that none eye pitied him, this is enough to help you against any concluding thoughts a­gainst Gods love, for God did love his people when they were as unworthy as you are.

And then secondly, But would you know whether God would love you? the readiest way for you to know whe­ther God will love you, yea or no,

It is first, To raise up your faith, if you are able, upon such grounds as these are, Upon the consideration of his love to his people when they were unworthy.

And then secondly, In quietness and meekness of spirit to lay thy self before the Lord as an object of his pity. If thou doest not think thy self worthy to be an object of How to know whether God will love us or no? love, yet lay thy heart before God as an object of pity, and there resolve to wait til the time of love shall come, till God shall make known that his heart is towards thee for good, 'tis not the way for thee to be froward and vex­ing because of thy unworthiness, meanness, poverty, and baseness, and so to determine that he will not love thee therefore; but, I say, the way for thee to have the sence of Gods love, is this, When thou seest there is no worthi­ness in thee why he should love thee, yet there is enough in thee to make thy self an object of his pity.

And sixtly, Doth the love of God to his people begin Obs. 6. so soon? I loved Israel when he was a child, Oh! let not thy love then to him be deferred too long; Gods love begins betimes to his people, let not his people; love be deferred too long. God is before hand with you in love, and when ever we begin to love him it is upon this ground, Because [Page 10] he loved us first. You who are yong youths, do you love Youth. God betimes, for if you be such as ever shall be saved, God did not only love you when you were a child, but he lo­ved you before you were born, before the foundations of the world was laid; Oh! it is pity that the first springing of your love should not be bestowed upon God: Certainly old love is the best love, as old love in God is sweet, so old love in the Saints; it's a sweet thing to think that God loved me from a child; but then, if I can say this too, I What will compleat the comfort of our lives. loved God from a child, this will make it sweeter: put but these two together, Oh! when these two can be ad­ded, what is wa [...]g to the comfort of ones life? God loves that love that is from a child, Jer. 2. 2. I remember Jer. 2. 2. the kindness of thy youth, saith God. For yong people to love God, Oh! God loves that, God loves the love of yong ones, the love of children; how sweet will old age be to thee if thou canst say thus, Lord, through thy mercy I have loved thee from a child, and that's an evidence that How we may know whe­ther God lo­ved us when children. thou didest love me when I was a child? How many are there now that are old whom God loved when they were yong, that would give ten thousand worlds if they had them that they had known and loved God sooner than they have done? Though it's true, I lived in wickedness almost all my daies, and yet at length God manifested himself to me, and by that I know God hath loved me from eternity, but, Oh! that I had loved God from a child; I say, those whose eyes God enlightens, and hearts God converts to himself, would give ten thousand thou­sand worlds that they could but say this, Oh that I had but loved God from a child! You who are children and yong ones, do you begin betimes to love God, that if you live to be old you may say, that God loved you from a child. It was an excellent speech of Austin when God pleased to work upon his heart, Lord, I loved thee too late: And so it will be with any that do begin to love God, Nimis serò te amami. Aug. they will say that they loved God too late; and it will be [Page 11] the great burden to their souls that they loved God so late as they did. ‘And called my Son out of Egypt.

I call'd him; that is, by Moses and Aaron, I sent them to call them out of Egypt and bring them from thence; and this seems to have reference to that Scripture in Exod. 4. Exod. 4, 22. 22. where the Lord saith, Israel is my Son, even my first born. Moses comes to Pharaoh in the Name of God to have Isra­el out of Egypt, and he coms to Pharaoh after this manner, and, Tell him, that God saith, Israel is my son, even my first born, so in Jer. 31. 9. I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim Jer. 31. 9. is my first born.

My son, The Seventy have it in the plural, My sons, his [...] 70. sons out of Egypt; but in the Hebrew it is in the singular, I called my son out of Egypt, and although the holy-Ghost [...] speaks of al the people in general, yet he puts them in the singular number, and in their very community they are cal'd the son of God.

The Church (that's the Note from hence) is related to God Obs. 1. as a son to the father; yea, the very first-born; what God speaks of the people of Israel is especially intended to­wards Priviledges of Israel refer to the Saints. his Saints which are the true Israel of God, they have the priviledg to be sons unto God, to be children, Is it a light matter (saith David) to be the son in Law to to a King? but then what do you think it is to be the son to the King of Heaven and Earth? and the Heir of Heaven and Earth? Is Ephraim my dear son? Jer. 31. 20. Ephraim my dear son, This is the priviledg therfore of the Saints, that God deals with them as sons, I'le spare them as a Father spareth his own son that serveth him, in the Malach. 3. 17. third Chapter of Malachy, the 17. verse. And the speci­al priviledg that they have from this is, that they are not Saints there­fore not under the Law. under that Law that slaves are under, in reference to God; those that are in the state of slaverie they are under [Page 12] this Law, Do, or Die, if thou doest offend but in the least thou shalt perish for ever, the curse of the Law is upon thee; But the Sons of God are brought into another condition not to be under that Law, they indeed if they Psal. 89. 30, 31. &c. do offend may be corrected and chastized, but they are never under the Law of the sentence of eternal death for their offence; there's a great deal of difference between the administration of God towards Slaves, and towards Sons, This is the great priviledg of Son-ship, That thou art not under the Law, thou art brought under another Law, under the Law of Jesus Christ, that though thy sin indeed of its own nature, if God should deal with thee in Justice, would be enough to put thee under an eternal Curse, yet being a Son, God puts thee under another Law, and doth not deal with thee by that Law that pro­nounces a Curse against every sin. They are Sons.

Secondly, Let wicked men who have to deal with Gods peo­ple, Obs. 2. when any of the Saints of God are under their power, let them take heed how they use them; For they are Sons; they are not Slaves, they are the Sons of the eternal God, in Jer. 2. 14. Is Israel a Servant? is he a home-born Slave? why is Jer. 2. 14. he spoiled? How comes it to pass that Israel is dealt with­all so as he is? What, is not Israel a Son?

When as any of the people of God are under the power of any men, God looks upon them as Sons, and if they Use. deal hardly with them God will enquire and will say thus, Is such a one a slave? had he been a slave I would not so much have car'd for your dealings thus with him, but he is a Son. You find in the Acts that they were a­fraid when they heard that Paul was a Roman. When thou knowest thou hast to deal with a Son of God, know that thou hast not so much liberty to misuse him as thou hast to misuse another man, though no liberty to misuse any.

Thirdly, The Saints are not only Sons in their particular Obs. 3. relation, but in their Community they are sons too: Take them [Page 13] joyn'd together, as the members of the Church, and so the whole Community of the Church now, is but as one Son: I called my Son out of Egypt. He speaks of the whole Body of Israel: Now the Lord looks upon the Com­munity The Church one [in Faith, Spirit, Bab­tism, &c. Eph. 4. 4, 5. not in outward incorporation and visible Government] of his Church as one Son in the singular num­ber. There are many priviledges that do belong to the Church of God in their Community, as well as in their particular relation.

And they should labor to unite themselves much to­gether, seeing God puts them altogether in the singular number. Oh! the Lord loves unity in his Church.

Though a Son, yet in Egipt.

That's the Note further from thence, That Gods Sons Obs. 4. are not free from sore and grievous evils in this world, though they be Sons, yet they may go into Egipt. In Jer. 12. 7. I have Jer. 12. 17. for saken mine house, I have left mine heritage, I have given the dearly beloved of my Soul into the hands of her enemies. Though the dearly beloved of Gods Soul, yet given into the hands of enemies: Though Gods Son, yet goes into E­gypt: So the Church under Antichrist for above twelve hundred years, God gave up his Sons into that spiritual Egypt.

We must not think therefore as soon as we come un­der greivous afflictions, that God hath cast us off from be­ing Sons; though they were in Egypt, yet stil they were my Sons. Now we are ready to think that if God bring us into sore afflictions then we are no more sons; No, thou mayest be delivered up to the power of the enemy, and yet a son of God still, and no slave for all that, and no enemy. There's a notable Scripture in Deut. 32. 10. Deut. 32. 10. observed. where it is said of the people of Israel, That they were in the waste howling wilderness, and yet they were as the apple of Gods eye.: so thou maest be delivered up to the wast howling wilderness, to suffer sore things, to be banished from thy house and home, and to wander up and down in the wilderness, and yet remain as the apple of Gods [Page 14] eye. It is a strange sight indeed to see a child of God, an Heir of Heaven, a Co heir with Jesus Christ, one dea­rer unto God, than Heaven and Earth, to be under the power, the humors, the lusts of wicked men, of base un­godly Gods Sons slaves to Sa­tan oft-times, and for a sea­son. And to wic­ked men; ones; yet it is so, yea, for a time they may be slaves to Satan; I say, those that God hath an eternal love to even are for a season oft times slaves to Satan: But then they have not the comfort of this Son-ship, nor do not know it. But now they may know themselves to be Sons, and yet slaves to the humors of wicked and un­godly men, there is not a stranger sight in the world, I which is the admiration of Angels. beleeve the Angels in Heaven do not see a stranger sight that they more admire at, when they see a godly man to be under the lusts of wicked men; but this is Gods work for the present: God intends to manifest himself in ano­ther way hereafter, but for the present he fetches about the glory of his own ends this way, to let even his own dear sons to be in Egypt. But God calls them out of E­gypt, God hath his time to deliver his people and call them out of Egypt: and 'tis but a Call, and it's done, it is God hath his time to call them out of that slavery. as easily done as a man that gives a call for such a one out of such a place; let our bondage be never so great, 'tis but a word from God to deliver us.

Again, It is a great mercy to be cal'd out of Egypt. This the Lord here brings as a great testimony of his love to Obs. 5. them, that he calls them out of Egypt. In Exod. 12. 42. It is a night to be much observed of all the Children of Israel in Exod. 12. 42. their Generations; To be called from that Egypt was a fruit of Love; and so to be called from spiritual Egypt, (for mans natural estate, is a spiritual Egypt) to be cal'd from Antichristian Egypt is a great fruit of Love; and as 'tis a fruit of love, so it is an aggravation of sin, for so it is brought, I called my Son out of Egypt, and yet they did thus and thus.

If God remembred this mercy, of calling them out of Egypt so many years before as an aggravation of their sin, [Page 15] how much more may the Lord make that an aggravation of our sin that called us of late out of that Egypt that we Applicat. to England. were in? Many waies I might shew you that we were un­der a great, if not a greater bondage than the Israelites were under in Egypt. And there hath been as out stret­ched an arm (though not so obvious to sence) in calling of us out, as in calling of them out of Egypt; now let not this be an aggravation of our sin, the sound of our cries under the yoke of our bondage is not yet out of our ears, and the very sores of our shoulders through their yokes are not yet throughly healed, and therefore if we now before the sound be out of our ears and our sores be healed, yet grow to be wanton, foolish, vain proud, cruel, oppressing one another, and abusing of our liberty, Oh! our sin must needs be accounted exceeding great before God.

Well, but yet we see not all the mind of God in this ex­pression, The Text as cited Mat. 2. 15, further expounded. nor the chief part of his mind, for we find in in Matth. 2. 15. that there the holy Ghost cites this Scripture that now I am opening to you, and interprets it of Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ was fain to fly in­to Egypt to save his life, the holy Ghost saith, That it was to fulfil that Scripture, I called my Son out of E­gypt.

It is a very strange Interpretation, (as we have divers o­ther such in the new Testament) and Hierom upon the place saith, That Julian takes advantage upon this, and Hierom in loc. Matthew's in­terpretation seems strange to some. some of the Jews, with others that hated Christian Reli­gion, did take much advantage upon this quotation of Matthew, against the Authority of the Gospel, and said, surely it argued Matthew very unskilful in Scripture, that he should make such a quotation as this, when it is ap­parant that it is spoken of the calling of the people of Is­rael out of Egypt. And truly we should never have thought that there had been such a meaning in this place of Hosea, had we not found it so interpreted by the holy [Page 16] Ghost. And by the way, before we come to open that, and shew how that was a right quotation of this Scrip­ture, I'le but observe this one Note from it, that we may see that by the interpretation both of Matthew, and divers other places we find in the new Testament, that there is much more of the mind of God in the old Testament, than was ordinarily known to them that lived in those times. Which of the Jews could have made such an In­terpretation, I have called my Son out of Egypt? That is, Jesus Christ after he is born, he shall be persecuted and forced to fly for his life, and that into Egypt, and he shall come again out of Egypt; who could have thought the holy Ghost could have intended such a thing as this is? Things were not understood til they came to be fulfilled, and then they were understood. And the truth is, as in the old Testament, so in the new, there are a great ma­ny Scriptures that we understand yet but little of. And the time of our knowing the meaning of them is reserved to the time when they are to be fulfilled, many Prophe­sies we have in the Revelations, and other places, that are (I am confident) as dark to us as this place of Hosea was dark to the Jews; and there is as excellent a spiritual meaning in many places of the new Testament hidden from us, that will hereafter to the Church of God be re­vealed cleerly, as there were in the old Testament, many places (I know not whether I may say as many as those) but are as much hidden from us. Jesus Christ that was the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, in Rev. 5. [...] he that shall open the Book that is seal'd, and it is a fruit of the death of Christ, it is the Lamb, as he is a Lamb slain from the beginning of the world that shall open the Book that is sealed: there are many things in the book of God that are sealed to us this day, and 'tis the purchase of the blood See Bucer on Matth. 28. P. 197. shew­ing, that the Apostles allegations of Scripture were not proper, unless to such as the holy Ghost enlightned to see the mystical sense of them; and except we shall say that those Expositions were received things in those daies, as are among the Jews, now the Chaldae paraphrase; expounding many places of Christ, which ac­cording to the Letter have another sense, and this perhaps may be the sa [...]er to af­firm, because else it may seem the Apostles could not so well have charged the Jews with Obstinacy, as Act. 13. and Chap. 28. and else where. of Jesus Christ to open it, and [...]hen his time comes it shall be opened to us. [Page 17] I have called my Son out of Egypt

Interpreters I do find do much weary and tire them­selves and the readers about this point, and those that will search into Interpreters about the aptness of this quotation may quickly spend daies in it, I find the opi­nions reduced to these three heads.

Some think that Matthew quotes this but only by way Opinions a­bout the place in Matthew. of allusion, and similitude, that there is a similitude be­tween Christs going to Egypt and returning, as the peo­ple of Israels going to Egypt and returning, but that is a fridged and a poor, weak Interpretation, and against what is said in Matthew, which saith it was that the Scrip­ture might be fulfilled.

But the second hath more in it, which is of Junius Junius in loc. Paralel. lib. 1. Paral. 6. Isa. 2. 9. that learned man, he thinks that the very litteral sense of the place is rather a Prophesie of Christs going into E­gypt and returning again, than of the people of Israels go­ing into Egypt and returning again. So he saith in his Paralels, in his 6th of the first book, it is (saith he) as if God should say, I have threatned that I will utterly destroy the King of Israel, what shall I wholly destroy Israel therefore? No no, I will not do that for my Sons sake, for though Israel is unworthy and receive not my Son, and by my Sons going into Egypt it is declared that they are unworthy of him, and that they should never have my Son come among them again, yet he shall come amongst them again, and that shall be an evidence to them that I will not cast off my people of Israel, and it's a very spiritual and good Interpretation, and we find of­ten [Page 18] that, the Lord when he did promise mercy to his people, and would give an evidence that he would not destroy them, he would give a promise of Jesus Christ; as in Isa. 9. 6. Ʋnto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is gi­ven: Isa. 9. 6. he seals the Promise that he will not cast off his people by promising the Messias; so Junius thinks that the Lord here doth seal this promise of mercy to the people of Israel, that he will not utterly cut off his own people, Why? because he will call his Son out of Egypt.

But, yet I cannot think that it will fully satisfie, but 3. preferred. I will give you that which may more cleerly appear to be the mind of God, and that's this, That this Scripture in Hosea, it was intended to be typical, not only to shew (so Hierom on Hos. 11. 1. ex­pounds it.) what was past, that God did indeed call his people out of Egypt, but to be a type of what God did intend for the time to come; as to give you other instances, there are many things that are spoken in the old Testament, that are spoken litterally of some other things, and yet apparantly are meant typically of Jesus Christ, first in Exodus, 12. 46. compared with John, 19. 26. in Exodus, Exod. 12. 46. and Joh. 19. 36. compared it is in the institution of the Pass-over where God saith, Not a bone of it should be broken: Now in John 19. 36. it is said, when as the Soldiers came to break the bones of the two Theeves that were upon the Cross, through a provi­dence they find that Christ was dead and so they broke not Christs bones. One would think now that this were a meer accidental thing, but yet the holy Ghost saith there, it was for the folfilling of that Prophesie, that not a bone should be broken. Thus you see things that Things acci­dental are un­der provi­dene. are very accidental yet God hath a special work in them, God intends great things by things that seem to be of lit­tle moment in our eyes, What more light thing than that, that they should not break the bones of Christ? Great things intended of God by smal. though meant cleerly at first, & litterally concerning the paschal Lamb, yet typically concerning Jesus Christ. Compare two other Scriptures together in 2 Sam. 7. 14. [Page 19] with Heb. 1. 5. in Sam. it's apparantly spoken concer­ning 2 Sam. 7. 14. Heb. 1. 5. compared also. Solomon, I will be his Father, and he shall be my Son. But now the Apostle in Heb. 1. 5. he speaks of Christ there cleerly, and saith, To which of the Angels bath he said, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee? and again saith he, he shall be my Son, and I will be a Father to him. It's meant firstly of Solomon, and typically meant of Jesus Christ. So the people of Israel going into Egypt and turning back again, are meant litterally of Israel, but God meant to Prophesie what would be done with Christ, that he should go to Egypt and return back a­gain.

And indeed, God hath an eye to Christ in all things he Obs. God som way or other aims at Christin all his works; doth, in all his works some way or other they have refe­rence to Jesus Christ; that indeed was one of the greatest works of God for his people carrying them to Egypt and bringing them back again, but God did not intend that so much, but he had an eye to Jesus Christ in it.

And we shall see hereafter (take this Note) that it will be one great part of the Glory of the Saints to see how which to see wil be one part of the Saints glory. God had an eye to Jesus Christ in all his great works in the world; now we look upon such a work, and such a work to have such an influence upon such a business, but we do not see the reference that it hath to Jesus Christ; hereafter it will be a special part of the glory of the Saints that they shall see how in all the works of God, he had an eye to Jesus Christ; even the work of Creation; God would not have created the world but for his Son, and the fall, and in every thing he had an eye to his Son, for the magnifying the great work of his Son, and such who had a special work of the Spirit of God in those times did understand Gods meaning, though ordinarily they did not: I remember one learned Interpreter hath this ex­pression, to shew how they might understand Gods mind by his types, he expresses it thus, As it was with Jona­than when he carried his Bow and Arrows into the field A similitude. [Page 20] to give David a note whether he should fly away for fear of Saul, or return back again. Now when Jonathan shot his Arrows, he said unto his youth, It is beyond, and on this side. Now the youth knew no more but thus, that he was to look at the Arrow; yea, but saith he, Da­vid knew more, that when he said it was beyond him, then he should do thus, and when it was on this side then he should do thus. It is a very good expression in the difference of the types and the letter of things, those who knew but meerly the letter they were but like Jona­thans youth that did but only according to what Jona­than said, but David he knew the reach of Jonathan, and so was able to make use of it. Oh! it's an excellent thing to be able to understand the reach of God in his Word (as I may so say) and it's a fruit of love. It's a fruit of A fruit of Gods Love, and of Christ's Spirit, to un­derstand the reach of God in Scripture the love of Jesus Christ to his Saints that we should know his mind more than other men do. And certain­ly if the people of Israel had but known this when they first went into Egypt and returned back again, that the Lord did aim at Jesus Christ in it. Would it not have been a comfort to them, if they had known that God in­tended to make them conformable to his Son? Would it have been a comfort to them to have known it? Then certainly it must needs be a comfort to the Saints to A comfort to the Saints in their suffer­ings, that they have a con­formity with Jesus Christ by them. know now, that in all their sufferings they have a con­formity to Jesus Christ; we know it now, and that's the reason why we do suffer, it is to make us conformable to Jesus Christ; the Jews did not know this, that which was the reason why God would have them suffer, but we know it, and therefore in all our sufferings we should exercise our faith in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, Do we suffer thus and thus? he did so, to take away the sting of our sufferings: and in a special manner you that have been driven from house & home, if there be any here that have been driven to fly for their lives, and perhaps you have been driven to go among strangers; Oh! but your [Page 21] suffering is not so great as the suffering of Jesus Christ was, he fled for his life when he was but an infant, and did not only fly to strangers, but to his enemies, to the E­gyptians: you are driven but from one part of England to Those that fly with their children. another, Oh! exercise your faith in this; it was a very strange work of Gods providence that presently after he was born he must fly for his life; you that are fain to car­ry your children with you, Oh! remember how Joseph and Mary was fain to do it, was fain to fly for the life of Jesus Christ, and carry him, and this flight was a great deal more than your flight, for they were fain to fly to Egypt. Now supposing it was by land as that many rea­sons may be given, they were fain to fly a matter of an The danger and length of Christs flight into Egypt. hundred miles through the desert wilderness where there was no habitations: you fly from one town to another and find relief; they were fain to fly above an hundred miles, it's fifty leagues, which your Marriners accompt three miles to a league, and was in the very desert be­tween the Land of Canaan and Egypt: Now though it's true, the people of Israel was fourty yeers in the Wilder­ness; but it was not through the length of the place, three daies journey might have carried them into the Land of Canaan, but it was fourty years that they were about it, God prolonged it, and they did intangle themselves and were stubborn and Rebellions, and so it was prolonged, though the way was but in its self short: but yet certain­ly this flight of Joseph with Christ to Egypt must needs be sad and miserable; it cannot be conceived that any of your flights should be so said and miserable as that was, for they could not carry any provision with them, but were fain to fly in a private way to save the life of Jesus Christ; Oh! how often do you think did Joseph and Ma­ry look upon this Babe when they were flying through the desert Wildernes, & think, What, is this the Son of God? The inward tentations of the parents [...] Christ in thei [...] flight. Is this the Savior of the World? Is this he that should be the redeemer of Israel? Is this he that is God and Man? [Page 22] Is this he that is the second person in Trinity, that pre­sently after he is born we must fly for his life through a desert wilderness? Oh! the strange work of God in the very work of Mans Redemption! Things were so low and poor, and seemed to go on in such a contrary way, as it would have put any ones faith to it, to have thought that Jesus Christ should have done such great things as he did. Oh my brethren! this is the way of God to put the faith of men to it, especially at first. So it was with Christs flight into Egypt. It follows;

VERS. 2.

As they called them, so they went from them, &c.

AS they] That is, Moses and Aaron, and other Pro­phets, and Ministers of God sent unto them, they Expos. called them to serve the Lord, and to worship him accor­ding to his own way. And especially they called them from Idolaters and false worship.

As they called them, so some turn it; that is, Though they were so called, so called, yet they went from them. [...]. 70. When the means of God is so powerful, to resist then is a very great evil. If our Gospel; that is, our Gospel prea­ched 2 Cor. 5. 4. illustrated. with so much plainess and power is hid, it is hid to those that are lost. But take it here:

As they called them] that is, Look what earn [...]ess there was in Moses and Aaron and other Ministers of God to call them from their evil waies, so much stubornness and stoutness was it for them to go against it. Calvin thinks it is, Because they called them, THEREFORE Calvin in loc. they went from them.

Because they called them; that is, They went from them for the very nonce (as we use to say.) Because Moses would have us do thus and thus, we will do the quite contrary for the very nonce.

[Page 23] They went from them: that is, Turned their backs upon them; like stuborn Children and Servants when they are called they will not hear, but turn their backs upon you; so did they to Moses From whence observe;

First, It is a mercy of God, to have Gods Ministers calling Obs. 1 us to obedience. Who are we that God should send his Messengers after us? What need hath God of us? Sup­pose we go on in the waies of death and perish, what shal God lose by it? But this is Gods mercy, that he will cal after us; God may say, If you will go, go on and perish everlastingly: Oh! but he doth not so.

Secondly, When God hath called us out of affliction, it is Obs. 2. a great addition of mercy to call us out of sin unto duty; and we should account one as great as another. We think it a great mercy if the Lord will call us out of an afflicti­on; but when God calls us out of a misery, and calls us to a duty, Do you think that that's as great a mercy? That's a sign of a sanctified heart indeed. You are in sickness and under great extremity; if God should say, I wil give out my Word to deliver you, that would be a sweet word you would say. I but when God gives out his Word to call thee out of thy sin to a duty, thou shouldest as joyfully take an hint of that Word of God too; Oh! do you prize Gods call unto you from sin to duty, as much as from misery to prosperity.

Thirdly, It's a great aggravation of mens sins if they be Obs. 3. called to duty, after God hath called them out of misery and they do not obey it. After thou comest out of an affliction, whe­ther bodily or spiritual, God expects thou shouldest as diligently hearken to his call that calls thee to duty, as thou doest take hold of his mercy when he held it to thee to deliver thee out of thine affliction; charge thy soul How we should charge our souls if we answer not Gods call to duty after de­liverance. thus, Oh wrenched heart that I have, I called to God, and God hath heard my call, and now God hath deli­vered me, and calls me to a duty, and shall I stop mine ears against Gods call? Oh how just were it for God to [Page 24] leave me in misery, when I turn my back to him when he cals me to a duty!

Fourthly, For men not only to disobey Gods call, but to Obs. 4. turn away themselves from it, and from those that speak to them in his Name, this is very wicked, a high degree of sinfulness before God: In Jer. 2. 27. They have turned their back unto Jer. 2. 27. me, but not their face; and so in Jer. 32. 33. They turn their Chap. 32. 33. backs, that's more than not to obey. Our backs, that is, to refuse to obey, to resolve not to obey, in Jer. 18. 17. Chap. 18. 17. God threatens them that in the day of their calamity he would shew them his back too; as when a Traytor is illustrated. petitioning to his Prince, so long as the Prince is but willing to parly with him, and reade his Petition, there is hope, but if the Prince turns his back and will not look upon his Petition, there's no hope then: So there is hope of people that we may bring them to obedience so Use to Mini­sters. long as they will hearken to the Word, but if once they turn their backs, then there's little hope; so when God turns his back upon sinners there's little hope then. Re­member you that turn your back upon calls to obedi­ence, Jer. 18. 17. to be remembe­red by those that turn their backs on the Word. Oh! remember that Scripture in Jer. 18. 17. that God threatens in the day of your calamity he will turn his back to you. Now this wickedness men do not grow to on a sudden; at first they are loth to be convinced that such a thing is a truth, but at length when the evi­dence of truth comes cleer they in a desperate way turn How men come to that height. their backs upon it and resolve not to hearken to it: a famous instance you have of this in Jer. At first they said that Jeremiah did not speak the Word of the Lord, but Ier. 43. 2. with Chap. 44. 86. afterward, As for the Word of the Lord that thou hast spoken, we will not hear.

Fifhly, It is yet a higher wickedness to have our corruptions irritated by the Word and provoked. As they call'd, so they Obs. 5. went away. When mens hearts grow as Lime, that the showers of the Word shall inflame them, this is a sad condition indeed; when the more cleer evidence they Simile. [Page 25] have of the Word, the more desperate wicked they grow. We find it so in some places, when the word comes with the greatest power, this is all the effect it hath upon the hearts of men, to make them the more desperate wicked. You wonder sometimes that where the Word is prea­ched Why men most wicked where there is great means with power men should grow more wicked; won­der not at it, for where the Word doth not convert sin­ners, it doth harden them.

Sixtly, From the extream perverseness and stuborn­ness Obs. 6. of the Jews we may learn this Lesson, That Gods free Grace is very great and very strong; the Lord was merciful to his people that were thus stuborn and stout, but the more they were call'd to obedience the more wicked they grew, and yet Gods mercy continued towards them for a long time together, and indeed in that God should set his heart and love upon such a people as this, it is one of the greatest helps against despair almost as any we know, Do but look into the Book of God, and reade of The Jews a very wicked people: yet notwith­standing God makes them his peculier people. the people of the Jews what wretched, froward, perverse, stuborn, stout-hearted people they were, and yet that God of all the people of the earth should chuse them to be his peculier people; Oh! the free Grace of God! there's nothing that God hath in his design more than to honor free Grace. I confess I had thought to have spent some time in shewing to you the extream stubornness of Gods greatest delign is, to magnifie his free-grace. the people of the Jews, and all to this end to magnifie the free grace of God towards such an unworthy people; you find that God doth so himself when he speaks of his Mercy to that people, he doth give them this notice, That he would have them to know, that what he did for them was not for their own righteousness, in Deut. 9. 6. Ʋnderstand therefore that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this Deut. 9. 6. good I and to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiff-necked people; As if God should say, I might magnifie free Grace, whereas I might have chosen some other people that might have been more yeeldable to my hand, I illustrated. [Page 26] chose you, that it might appear that all that I did was out of free Grace. In Psal. 78. 8. Be not stuborn as your Psal. 78. 8. forefathers were; they are called stout-hearted, stiff nec­ked, strong, they seem to be of strong spirits, but it is strong against the truth; and though stubornness hath a kind of Glory in it, yet the truth is, there is nothing but weakness in it: in Ezek. 16. 30. How weak is thy heart, Ezek. 16. 30. saith the Lord, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman? They are said to be strong­hearted, stiff hearted, but saith the holy Ghost, how weak is thy heart? and you shall find in Scripture that they are called stiff necked, and Iron- [...]inewed, and that they walked contrary to God, and that they are perverse and crooked, and that they had hardened their hearts and made them like an Adamant; and saith Stephen, You have alwaies resisted the holy Ghost; and impudent chil­dren, Act. 7. 52. and rebellious children: It is very observable if you read those Scriptures, presently after they came out of the Land of Egypt, within three daies after God had shown them such a miraculous work they fell to murmu­ring, nay, they did not stay so long, for it is said in Psal. Psal. 106. 7. Exod. 14. 11, 12. Exod. 16. 2. 28. Chap. 17. 2. with the continual sto­ry of the Isra­elites confirm the doctrine. 106. They provoked the Lord at the Sea, even at the red Sea. And in Exod. 16. 2. 28. and in chap. 17. ver. 2. the peo­ple did chide with Moses again, so reade the story of Ex­odus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Judges, and the Kings, and you shall find them continually rebelling, a people with an Iron sinew against God, and yet for all that the Lord makes choice of this people, and loves them; Oh! free Grace, the free Grace of God. When your children are stuborn and stout against you consider of this, you think A meditation for parents vexed with stuborn chil­dren. Use. Comfort a­gainst a stub­born heart. it a grievous affliction to you, Oh! but there is none in the world that are so crossed with stuborn children as God himself is.

And though you should find your hearts to be very stu­born, yet for all that do not have your hearts sink with despair, for Gods Grace is free to overcome even stuborn­ness, [Page 27] as it did here. You have a most remarkable place for that, for the overcoming of stubornness, in Exod. 34. 9. Let my Lord I pray thee go amongst us (for it is a stiff-nec­ked Exod. 34. 9. people) This was no argument of despair, that God should not go among them (for it is a stiff-necked people:) But Moses makes such an argument with God, Lord, they are a stiff-necked people, yet I pray thee let my Lord go amongst us, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine heritage. [Where by the way we may note how the Chaldae paraphrase renders this, viz. Let the Majesty of the Lord go with us; the Majesty or Divine Presence: the Hebrews call it Shecinah [...] they usu­ally distinguish this from God the father, and say there is no coming before the blessed high King without She­cinah. So our Savior more plainly, John, 14. 16. But to return.]

God holds forth by this example that he would have none sink with despair, but be brought in by his free Grace, notwithstanding their stuborn hearts that they have had against him.

Now as for the latter part of this second verse, of their sacrificing to Baalim, and burning incense to graven I­mages, I shall not need to speak to that, as having spo­ken of that heretofore.

VER. 3.

I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their Arms: But they knew not that I healed them.

HEre we have the third degree of Gods goodness towards Ephraim, the fruit of his love, he call'd them out of Egypt, and he call'd upon them by his Pro­phets, and he taught them to go.

God here compares himself to a Nurse, or to a tender Expos. Mother, or loving Father, that carries along the child, and guides the hand of it, and the feet of it; and as they [Page 28] are leading the children if there be any rugged foul way, the Nurse or the Parent takes them up in their Arms, such was my dealings towards Ephraim said God. In Psal 77. 20. God there is said to lead them by the hand of Moses and Aaron, like a flock of Sheep. But here he is said to Psal. 77. 20. lead them like a Nurse, or a Parent, and this expression seems to have reference unto that we have in Deut. 1. 31. In the Wilderness the Lord thy God did bear thee as a man doth The T [...]xt referred to Deut. 1. 31. bear his son in all the way that ye went; Look as a man leads his son by his hand, and when he comes to hard way doth bear him up and take him in his arms, so did the Lord thy God deal towards thee as a man to his son: for so he call'd Ephraim in the former verse, his Son, he loved him when he was a child; so he is compared to to a child, and God to the parent that teaches him how to go, God taught them how to go in their way out of Egypt all along in the Wilderness until they came to Ca­naan

When they came first out of Egypt they knew not which way to go no more than a child, and if God had left them when they were brought out of Egypt, certain­ly they had perished in their way, the way was very full of difficulty in which they were to go and God did seem to leade them about, but the Scripture saith, He led them Psal. 107. 7. observed. in the right way, in Psal. 107. 7. though they were fourty years in the Wilderness, whereas they might have gone through within a few daies, yet still they were led in the right way, God taught them to go.

From whence there are these Notes of Observati­on.

First, When God calls his people out of afflictions, yet they Obs. 1. know no more how to go, to guide themselves in their way than a little child doth. We think if we be delivered from such and such an evil we are well, but when God doth grant deliverance if he should leave us there, we should quickly spoil our selves, we should quickly turn the mercies that [Page 29] we have into misery if we be left but a while; It is the pride of mens hearts that makes them venturous of them selves, hence they get many a knock and bruise; Oh! many stumble in their way and split themselves and pe­rish because they will be going themselves and not de­pend upon Gods hand.

We find by experience now God hath brought us out Use for England. of Egypt here, in great measure we are called out of E­gypt, and we hope that God intends a Canaan to us, yet what children are we? we do not know how to step a step in our way, Oh! how often have we been at a stand in our way since God hath been pleased to call us out of Egypt? we have been at a maze; not knowing which way to take, this way or that way, Oh! how often have we fallen in our way, and gone astray? If ever peo­ple had need to have God to teach them how to go, then Our path un­troden. have we at this day; our path is an untroden path, and there are many stumbling blocks in our way, we often stumble and fall in them; Poor children have not more need to have the hand of the Parent or Nurse, when they go upon the Ice, in slippery waies, then we have need of the hand of God upon us to leade us in our way and to guide us. That's the first Note.

Secondly, The way that God leads people in many times Obs. 2. may be a way of much difficulty; he said, he taught Ephraim to go, and led him in the way. If we enquire what that way is? it was the way through the wilderness, yea, before they came into the wilderness, before they came at the Sea, in Exod. 14. 9. The Egyptians pursued after them, Exod. 14. 9. (all the Horses and Chariots of Pharaoh, and his Horsemen, and his Army) and overtook them, encamping by the Sea, be­fides Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon. Pharaoh and all his host pursued them, they were in a very straight way, The Sea was before them, Pharaoh and all his Army was behind them, and they were encamping by the Sea, be­fore Pi-hahiroth, at the mouth of those Mountains, that [Page 30] the Mountains did compass them round about, and they were before Baal-zephon, that is, the god of watching, the Baal-zephon what? Egyptians God that they made accompt was the God that did watch those that went out of their Country without any leave, they came before that God that was the God for their watching those that went out of their their Country, and to keep them from going out, and between the Mountains, and the Sea before them, and a great Army behind them, and yet God taught them to go; what a way doth God teach them to go in? And then when they go further they must go through the Sea, or no other way, God taught them to go through the Sea, and when they have gone through the Sea, Is all the evil over? No, they must come into the wast howling wilderness, and there be led along for fourty years to­gether, and yet God doth reckon up his guidance of them here in this way as a fruit of his love.

So long as we are in Gods way, though the way be difficult, yet we have cause to bless God that we are in Use. his way, and let not us be troubled at the difficulty of our way when we see God before us, and leading us in our way.

Thirdly, Though we meet with difficulties in our way, yet God loves to teach his people how to go in their way; and the Obs. 3. more difficult their way is, the more care hath God of them to teach them how to go. We do not find such an expression of Gods care of them to teach them in any other way but this of theirs, when they went first out of Egypt; because that way was the most difficult, therfore God takes upon him in a special manner to teach them in that way.

Be not discouraged at your difficulties, but when you Use. are in your way, and your conscience tels you that it is not a way that you have chosen to your selves, look up to God for guidance, cry to him; as you find in Psal. 107. 6. They cryed to the Lord in their trouble; (and then vers. 7.) Psa. 107. 6. 7. he led them forth in a right way. Mark how these two are [Page 31] joyned together: They cryed to the Lord in their trouble, and he led them forth in a right way. When you are in straights, cry to God in your trouble, the Lord will lead you forth in a right way. When we have been in the greatest straits England. and have had the hardest way to go, how hath God ta­ken us up in his arms! Through Gods mercy, though we be very weak; yet we are gone on a great way even from Egypt, from our spiritual Egypt and bondage. It is un­thankfulness in people, to say, We are in as bad a con­dition as ever we were. VVhat God may bring us to through the unthankfulness of men we know not, but certainly through Gods mercy we have been led along a great way in our journey, God hath taught us to go; it hath not been the wisdom nor providence of men that hath carried us on in our way so far as we have been, no, we have found apparantly we are not much beholden to the wisdom of men for that way that we have been car­ried on in, but 'tis God that hath come in in our straits, we see by what hath fallen out, how we should have pe­rished in our way, we should have returned into Egypt; how often have we been ready to think, Would things were with us as heretofore they have been: Oh! this hath been the peevishness of our spirits, to be thinking of turning into Egypt: as it was with this people, though God was with them in their way, yet often they thought of returning back again. We have been ready to be thinking of by-waies for our selves, and every one to be shifting his own way, and what cross paths have we wal­ked in, first one way, and then another way, undoing what we have done? First engaging men, and then dis­couraging The changa­bleness of those that have been our guides. the same men that we have encoraged; though they have continued the same, yet our spirits have not continued the same towards them. VVe may apply that that you have in Jer. 31. 22. which is spoken in reference to their way, coming out of their captivity; How long Jer. 31. 22. enligntned and applied. wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? It may be [Page 32] well applied to England at this day; Oh! how long wil we go about? that is, shifting this way and that, and not daring to trust God in his way; we are afraid that if we should go on in the right path that God guids us in, that we should miscarry, and therefore we go about, and that's the reason it is so long before we have our delive­rance, because we go about, and do not follow Gods guidance in our way. There's an excellent promise that God makes to his people in Jer. 31. 9. in reference to the Jer. 31. 9. illustrated. guiding of them in their way from their Captivity; They shal come with weeping, and with supplications wil I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, aud Ephraim is my first born. This is a Scripture very su­table to that Scripture we are now opening. It's a fruit of fatherly love to guide us in a straight way, and keep us from stumbling. But mark how this shall be done: They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them. There must be weeping and supplication to It's a fruit of fatherly love to guide us in our way. cry to God for guidance in our way: As a poor child if it be left a little by the Mother or Nurse, it stands crying to be guided in its way; and this should be our care in all our straights, not to fly upon this Instrument, or the other, but to cry to God to guide us in our way. We may apply this to Gods guidance of the soul from spiri­tual Egypt; when God brings the soul out of the spiritu­al Applied to the guidence of the soul. bondage he guides it in the way to heavenly Canaan: you whom the Lord are bringing out of your Spiritual Bondage, look up to God to teach you how to go: why? For your way is a hard way, it is a straight way, it is a narrow way that you are going now, it hath many stumbling blocks in it, it hath many by-paths near it, that are very like to it; Your way is a very slippery way, Why the soul needs guiding and you had need be taught how to go; you may slip and fall and break your selves quickly if you be not taught how to go; you that are yong beginners in the [Page 33] way of Religion be not too confident in your own under­standing, and your own strength: many poor children Yong begin­ners not to be too confident. for want of the care of their Nurses have gotten such fals when they were children that have lam'd them and made them go crooked all their daies; and so it hath An apt simile. been with yong Professors of Religion, many yong ones in the profession of Religion, because they have been too bold and confident in their own understanding, the Lord hath left them to such fals that they prove but crooked all the daies of their profession, but though they do go on in a way of profession of Religion, they are but maim'd Professors, crooked Professors, because of the falls that they have gotten when they were yong ones: And truly we have very great cause to fear that A prophesie touching the proof of much of the profes­sion of these times. who lives but a few years, to see those that are yong Professors of Religion now live to be something old, I say, we have cause to fear that those that live to see it, will see a great many maim'd and crooked Professors of Re­ligion, for there are a many yong ones in these slippery times gets fals that venture so much upon the Ice, up­on doubtful things that they understand not, which get such falls and bruises that are like to stick upon them as long as they live. Some of you it may be may remember when you were children you would use to venture upon the Ice, and be sliding, and you got such bruises then that now you feel them; Oh! let yong ones take heed of venturing upon doubtful things, let them look up to God to make their way plain before them, and not lean to their own understandings lest they have falls (I say) by which they get bruises that they may feel another day.

And further: Seeing God makes it to be a fruit of his love Obs. 4. to teach them how to go, when you see others slip and stumble in in the way of profession of Religion and spoil themselves, Oh bless God then for his mercy towards you, that he helps and teaches you in your way: As when a man is riding upon the road in winter time, it may be he sees some before him whose Simile. [Page 34] horses get into holes and stumble, and it may be the man breaks his leg or shoulder before him, if it proves not to be deadly to him; now if you should see a man falling and breaking his leg or arms, falling down with his horse in such dangerous waies as there is in many places, would you not have cause to bless God that you are deli­vered from that, that God hath preserved your limbs? Thus when you see Professors falling in the way of pro­fession of Religion, Oh! bless God that he teaches you in your way, that he guides you. To women that are weak in waies that are slipery you will take hold of their hands to guide them; and so God doth to you, know the whol course of your way from spiritual Egypt to spiritu­al Canaan, it is Ice and rugged al the way, that God is fain to take you by the hand, and Oh! the goodness of God to condescend thus to his poor Creatures, to com­pare himself to a Nurse, Oh! how often would we run into harms way (as we use to say) if God did not lead us?

And further, Take heed you who are weak and have need of teaching, that you be not wayward and wanton; that you be Obs. 5. not foolish and unruly; and that you do not wilfully run into rugged and slippery waies: God indeed is as a Nurse to teach you how to go, yea, but be not you as wayward and froward children that sometimes tire their Nurses; it's more difficult to teach some children than others how to go, they are so froward and wilful that they will go their own way, if the eye of their Nurse be but from them never so little they will go their own way; Oh! take heed you be not among those froward wilful children that will be going their own way.

Again further, I taught Ephraim to go.

Gods Ministers and all of us should labor to follow God in Obs. 6. this way of his, that is, To have a tender care of others; we should be like our Father: God takes a delight in tea­ching weak opes how to go, and in guiding of them in their way. Truly we that profess our selves to be Gods [Page 35] children, we should imitate our Father, and especially Gods Ministers, they should take a delight to help weak ones on in their way, and to carry weak ones in their ve­ry arms; that which God is said here to do, Moses in a­nother Scripture is said to do, as in Numb. 11. 12. Have Num. 11. 12. I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, carry them in thy bosom, (as a Nursing Father beareth a sucking child) unto the Land which thou swea­rest unto their Fathers? It seems Moses, though he thought it to be very hard to bear so many people in his arms (as it were) yet God gave that Commission to him, and he did it according as he was able, he did carry the people as a Nurse, or a Father or Mother carrieth the sucking child in their bosom.

Yea, And though Gods Ministers meet with those that are Obs. 7. very froward, yet they must not be discouraged; we are as froward in reference unto God, as any can be in refe­rence unto us, and therefore you must consider you that are Ministers, when you meet with yong Professors, and others that are beginning in the waies of godliness, and you find them untoward and peevish many times, do not cast them off because of that; if God should have cast off you because of that, what would have become of you? No, instruct them with meekness, even instruct them with meekness that oppose themselves; though they kick and spurn, yet instruct them with meekness though they oppose themselves, and in 1 Thess. 2. 7. we have a notable 1 Thes. 2. 7. Ministers pattern. pattern of a Minister there how he should carry himself in this respect; But we were gentle among you, even as a Nurse cherishes her children. Thus Ministers should be of gentle spirits, and know that God doth put them in place to teach children how to go in their way; and therefore we find it in Tit. 1. 7. that they must not be soon Tit. 1 7. angry, Ministers must not be of angry dispositions; you would be loth to put your children to froward Nurses, An apt sim [...]le. their very milk would some way favour of them, and [Page 36] your children may get a great deal of hurt by Nurses that are pettish and froward; it is a special qualification and A Nurses qualification. necessarily required in a Nurse, that she be of a gentle and patient disposition: Now Gods Ministers are compared to Nurses, and do not think the comparison too mean, for God himself is compared to a Nurse, when he saith he taught Ephraim how to go.

And then lastly, Seeing the tender care of God, like a Parent or a Nurse towards the Child, is made an engage­ment to their duty, and an aggravation of their sin, be­cause they were not what they ought to be. As if the Prophet should have said, Oh! therefore you should have served and loved the Lord that was so gracious to you as to teach you, but you have not done so, and therefore your sin is greater. From whence the Note is,

That the love and tender care of Parents and Nurses in brin­ging Obs. 8. up children, and enduring much trouble with them, is a great judgment to children when they grow up to requite with duty and due respect their Parents and Nurses; and if they do not it's a great aggravation of their evil. You that are grown up from children, remember the care, remember the sorrow, remember the trouble of your bringing up, and be ashamed of your undutifulness; How is it that Be ashamed undutiful children. you have all your limbs, but from the care of your Pa­rents and Nurses? you are to bless God for your Parents care, and the care of those to whom you were commit­ted when you were children, and know that you owe due respect unto them for it. He is an Apostate to the great Law of Nature who Violates Charities due unto Parents and Nurses. I remember I have read of the Pisi­dians, a certain Heathen people, that when they were a Feasting at any time, the first fruit of all their Feast they The Pisidians. would offer to their Parents, as thinking it unseemly for them to rejoyce in the use of the Creature without shew­ing due honor to their Parents from whom they had [Page 37] their being and education; Heathens have ever condem­ned undutifulness in children to be unnatural and liable to punishment, and they have punished undutifulness; and the Law of God (we know) doth punish a stuborn child with death. ‘But they knew not that I healed them.’

Many times children, though there be a great care to Expos. teach them how to go, yet they will venture themselves, and by their venturousness and wantoness they get many a knock and bruise. So it was with this people, indeed my care was towards them, but they would go their own way, and they often bruised themselves. Well, did God therefore reject them and say, It is through your own fault that you have gotten these bruises and maims. No, I healed them saith God. Though he were never so froward, and he got by that many bruises, yet my pity was so great that I healed those very bruises and maims that he got by his wilfulness.

Though in the reading of this we may pass it easily The text one of the most remarkable in Scripture. by, yet it is as notable a Scripture as most we have in the Book of God. What's the reason our consciences do so misgive us, and that we are so afraid that the Lord will leave us to our selves? when our consciences accuse us of this, Oh! we may thank our selves for it, the Lord she­wed us another way, but we through our sinfulness, and frowardness would go in our own way, Can we think that the Lord should have care of us in our sores that we got our selves by our wilfulness? yes, (saith God) such was my compassion towards Ephraim, that I taught him how to go, and yet they got bruises, But I healed them af­terwards.

That's the Note from it, God will not cast off his children Obs. 9. though they get hurt; yea, though they get hurt by their own sin, yet the Lord is so gracious as to heal thm. You [Page 38] have a notable Scripture for this, in Isa. 57. 17, 18. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wrath, and smote him: Isa. 57. 17. 18 I hid me and was wrath, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. He went on frowardly when I smote him; what then? in the 18. verse, I have seen his waies. One would have thought that should have followed, I have seen his waies, and I'le smite him, and plague him, and make him to know what it is to deal so frowardly and perversely with me, but, behold the goodness of the Lord! Gods waies are not the waies of men, his thoughts are not our thoughts, for he saith, I have seen his waies, and will heal him, and restore comforts to him; I will not say, I will never leade him more, because he would not regard my teaching but goes his own waies and gets ma­ny bruises; No, I have seen his waies and will heal him, and lead him notwithstanding.

Oh! be not discouraged when you have gone out of Use Gods way, but be troubled and ashamed, make use of this promise, the Lord sees the frowardness of his people, and yet will heal them, and lead them, and restore com­fort to them.

And my brethren, thus hath the Lord dealt graciou­sly with us in our inconsiderate, foolish, sinful courses, Applicat. to England. how often we in this Land have been brought low by our inconsiderate, foolish waies, we have been sore woun­ded, we have been in danger to bleed to death by the falls that we have got, we have often given all for gone as it were, mens waies have been so perverse and cross as there hath been little hope of any good, that sometimes when we have met together we have even said, al is gone, we are but betraied, and therefore there is little hope of any good; Have not we oftentimes said thus? but the Lord hath come in and healed us, and that Scripture in Isa. 57. hath been made good unto us, the Lord hath be­held the frowardness of our waies, and yet hath healed us, and yet hath led us. You have gone one in such and [Page 39] such waies saith God, and you have even undone your selves in them, and you were made but fools, and others squandered away your estates and nothing came of it; well, you knew not what to do, I'le leade you in waies that you do not think of, in such waies as you have the least hopes of good by, I wil lead you on in those waies and restore comfort to you. My Brethren, the waies that the Lord hath this last Summer restored comfort to England by, were they waies that any of you did think of this time twelve month? Certainly it was never in the imaginations and thoughts of men to be brought in such waies as the Lord hath lead us in, and restored comforts The New-Model of the Army, 1645. to us by, the Lord did see that the way of the old Sol­dery was not the way to restore comforts to England, but the Lord hath led us in other waies: well, let Gods hea­ling of our bruises that we get in walking in our own waies make us thankful and careful that we run not wil­fully into any such waies any more, that we be not still more ventrous, and more careless; if we be, God may suffer us to break our bones; for though God be patient and loving, and merciful, yet he hath times to leave men in the perversness of their waies, it may cost us dear be­fore we are healed if God doth leave us, though God may not take away his love, to cast us wholly off, I but we may be forced to cry again and again with David, in Psal, 51. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoyce; David would go out of Psal. 5 [...] his way, and he got such a fal as he broke his bones; Oh! that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoyce. When God heals us, he expects that we should take no­tice of his work, that we should acknowledg him. But mark what follows.

But they knew not that I healed them. I healed them saith God, but they knew not that I healed them.

My Brethren, that's the Note from it, God doth us Obs. 10 [...]. much good that we know not of: I say, God doth us much [Page 40] good that we know not of; not only in preventing mer­cies in a day that we know not of, but in healing mer­cies, we attribute our healing to this and the other cause; but it is God that comes in in the use of means, somtimes comes in beyond means; though means oftentimes hath been used and no good hath been done by them, at last God by a secret and invisible blessing he comes and heals us; we must not envie at the honor that is due to Instru­ments; But certainly by the healing that we have had this last Summer, we have cause to look beyond all men and means; though God hath used means, yet it is God that hath healed us, and they desire that we should at­tribute all the Glory to God, our healing hath been such that except we even maliciously shut our eyes we cannot but know and acknowledg that God hath healed us in great measure; Oh! let not us by our pride and stout­ness, our oppression, our foolishness make it appear that we do not acknowledg that God hath healed us, God God stands much upon it to be acknow­ledged the healer of his people. stands much upon that, because it is his Glory to heal his people therefore he stands much upon it to be acknowledged to be the healer of his people. For bodi­ly healings we are ready to acknowledg those that do heal us; What thankfulness is given to Physitians when they have been Instruments to heal our bodies; Before healing any body would say they would give, Oh! what would they give! al their estates that they might be healed of such a disease; but when they are healed it may be they will neglect the Physitians, but 'tis those that are of base spirits: but others are very ready to ac­knowledg thankfulness that way to the Physitians that heals their bodies: how gainful therefore is the practice of Physitians that God makes use of to heal mens bodies? I remember I have read of Lewes the Eleventh of France, Lewis the 11. of France. that for his Chaplins he allowed them twenty shillings a month, but for his Physi [...]ian, one John Cottiere, his allo­wance was ten thousand Crowns a month; four Crowns [Page 41] would serve his Chaplin and ten thousand for his Physi­tian, that's a gainful practice, because men are more sen­sible of the healing of their bodies than the healing of their souls.

Well, any of you who have been in great sickness and Use. distresses of body, yea, and in distresses of soul too, and are healed, do not you now by the frolickness of your spirits and the abuse of your strength in the waies of sin, manifest that you do not know that God hath healed you, both in respect of National healing, and in re­spect of Personal healing; let every one make use of that of David in Psal. 103. Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and all Psal. 10. 3. that is within me bless his holy Name; and again, Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquity, who healteh all thy diseases. Oh! that we were able to joyn these two together now, Who forgiveth all thine iniquity, and healeth all thy diseases. Healing is a Healing with forgiveness a sweet mercy. mercy indeed, but then 'tis a mercy to purpose when it is a fruit of forgiveness, when we can make good the former; who forgiveth thine iniquitie, and healeth thy diseases, when we can say our healing is a fruit of our forgiveness; God hath in great measure healed the Land and Nation, Oh that we could say that he had forgiven us! our healing without our forgiveness will be to little purpose, and therefore in the times of our greatest wounds we should cry for forgiveness in the first place, and not be satisfied with anie healing without forgiveness of our sins. And so particularlie, God hath healed some of your diseases in body, it may be your families have had Applied to visited fami­lies & persons the Plague, or some other disease, Pox, or Measels, why the Lord hath been pleased to heal you, you were in a sad condition then, and the Lord hath healed your fa­milies, yea, but can you put both together, bless the Lord who hath forgiven the iniquitie of my familie, and healed the diseases of my familie? And so for your own particulars, do not satisfie your selves with this, that you [Page 42] have your healths restored you, except you can bless the Lord who hath forgiven mine iniquity, and healed my diseases; when thou findest the one, that thou art hea­led, be not satisfied except by faith thou canst see the other, that thou art likewise forgiven all thine iniquities. And thus much for the third Verse.

VERS. 4.

I drew them with cords of a man, with bonds of love.

THis Verse is a great Verse, and it will be very hard to pass over this in an Expository way only.

I drew them with cords of a man, with bonds of love.

Here's a fourth or fifth expression of Gods love,; for there was two in the former Verse, Taught them to go, and healed them. Now here's the fifth, I drew them with cords of a man, with bonds of love. God still aggravates his mercy that they might see their sin. As there's no such way to be kindly humbled for sin, as to see it against much mercy. ‘I drew them with cords of a man.’

Some would carry this as if it were a proper name, Expos. 1. with the cords of Adam, for so the word is, for the word Adam, signifies a man of red earth.

But it's rather to be taken appellatively, with the cords of a man, that is, I did not deal with them like beasts, 2. which must be drawn or put on with violence, my way was not thus with them, to draw them and to have Iron Chains about them, or strong cords to force them on in their way, no saith he, I dealt with them like men, I drew them on with the Cords of a man. It doth note Cords of a man what these three things:

First, I dealt with them in a rational way, as men, not as beasts, and sought to draw them in that way, as men.

[Page 43] Secondly, I dealt with them in a gentle way, not with rigor and violence, but as a man, for they were humane, so my waies were waies sutable to their humanity: as the Scripture sometimes speaks of the Rods of men, I'le chastise them with the Rods of men, by which some think is meant, (that is) more gentle, I dealt with them gent­ly.

And then thirdly, With the Cords of a man, that is, I dealt with them in such waies as were honorable to them, as were sutable to that respect that is due to a man. I considered that they were men made at first according to my Image, and they were the most excellent Creatures that I had upon the earth here, and therefore I dealt with them in a way sutable to their Nature, to preserve the honor of their humane Nature, Rationally, Gently, Hono­rably.

First, Consider how Rationally God dealt with this 1. How God dealt rational­ly with the people of Is­rael. 1. A Law in its self ration­al. Deut. 4. 8. people.

First, The Law that I gave to them it was according to the Principles of right Reason, there was nothing in my Law but was sutable to the very principles of right rea­son, in Deut. 4. saith he, The Nations shal hear al these Statutes, and say, Surely this great Nation is a wise and understanding people, (why?) in the 8 verse, What Nation is there so great, that hath Statutes and Judgments so righteous, as all this Law which I set before you this day? Mark, all the Nations that are about you shall say, What Nation is there so wise, that hath Statutes and Judgments like this Nation? Sure­ly explained. then my Law it had abundance of Reason in it, it had the reason that might convince not only you, but all the Nations about you; I drew you with the Cords of a man, in a rational way.

Secondly, God strengthened it with many Arguments, 2. Backt with Reasons. which is some way beyond the manner of men; If the Lord had but only given out his Law, and left men to find out the meaning, it had been enough; yea, but the Lord drew [Page 44] them with the Cords of a man, that is, added to his Law many Arguments and Reasons to shew the equitie of the Law that he had given to them: now men think it e­nough if they give out a Law, you do not use to have the proof of the Law and the reason of it; yea, but saith God, I drew them with the Cords of a man, I gave them a Law that had reason in it, and explain'd that; as if we should go no further than the very moral Law, see how God begins, I am Jehovah thy God, that brought thee out of Preface to the Decalogue. the Land of Egypt, every word a Reason to back the Law.

I am Jehovah, therefore obey. I am thy God, there­fore obey. I am thy God that brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, therefore obey. So you shall see how the Lord doth argue his Law by the strength of Rea­son.

Yea, not only Reason, but many Perswasions and Mo­tives, 3. Urg'd with Motives. Deur. Chap. 4, 5, 6. and Exhortations, as man deals with man, if you reade the 4, 5, and 6. Chapters of Deuteronomy, you shall find all those, with Motives, and Perswasions, besides Reasons, to draw them on to obedience, Now Motives and Perswasions are the Cords of a man, to draw man as a rational Creature.

Fourthly, If there were any objections that they had, I answered al their objections. Do not you find when you 4. Cleered from Ob­jections. come to hear the Word, that the Word meets with every secret objection, you can have no secret objection against any thing that God requires but at some time or other the Word meets with it.

Fiftly, Yea, I called them to reason with me, there­fore 5. God desires con [...]erence with us Isa. 1. 18. I dealt with them like rational Creatures, as in Isa. 1. 18. Come, let us reason together, saith God; see how God deals with people after the manner of men: As now, If you should fall out with a neighbor, and it may be your neighbor is froward and humorous, but now, you are a­ble to overcome your own passion, and you go to him Simile. [Page 45] and say, I pray thee let us reason the case together, and if it be yours, take it; now you deal with him like a man. So God, why saith he, let us reason the case to­gether, be not carried on with humor and passion, but let us come and fairly reason the Case one with ano­ther.

Further, Sixtly, God earnestly desires that they 6. Would have us consider. Deut. 32. 29. would but consider of things, in Deut. 32. 29. Oh that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would con­sider their latter end. Now when you have to deal with them that are humorous, if you by the strength of rea­son have power over your own passion you would be rea­dy to express your selves thus, Oh that I could but find Simile. such a man in a way of reason, that he were but wise, that he would but weigh things! thus God saith con­cerning his people, Oh that they were wise and consi­dered, and understood things!

Seventhly, God pleads with them after the manner 7. Pleads with them. of men, in Jer. 2. 35. I will plead with thee, because thou saiest, I have not sinned; thou art Righteous in thine own thoughts. Come, I will plead with thee, and convince thee saith God. As now, If one wrongs you, and they will not acknowledg that they have wronged you, per­haps Simile. some are of turbulent spirits and they will make them know that they have wronged them by casting them into prison, and by Law; but God he doth not do so, but he pleads the Case with them.

And then in the last place, The Lord will appeal to 8. Appeals to their own consciences. their own consciences whether they have dealt well with him, yea, or no; he will make them to be the Judges; in Isa. 46. 8. Remember this, and shew your selves men: Isa. 48. 8. illustrated. bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors: do not be led on like beasts in your passion and humor, shew your selves but men, and do but remember, and think of it, I will leave it to you to Judg, and so, Judg between me and my Vinyard; and then again, Are not my waies equal, and Isa. 5. Ezek. 18. [Page 46] your waies unequal? Now all these expressions are to shew how God did draw them with the Cords of a man in a rational way.

Secondly, In a gentle way: As if God should say, I have not driven them on with rigor, but I have dealt gently with them like men: indeed if so be that one should be alwaies striking a youth, or servant, or man, you would be ready to say, you are not medling with a beast, 2. How God deals gently with his peo­ple. or a dog, but with a man; saith God, I remembred I have to deal with a man, and therefore I dealt in a gentle way. There are these six or seven particulars, how God expresses his dealing with them in a gentle way.

As first, I have suted my self to their verie dispositions, 1. Sutes him­self to their dispositions. this is now to deal in a gentle way; as a Schoolmaster he looks upon his Scholers not as a company of beasts, but as the children of men, and therefore he considers their dispositions and tempers, and he sutes himself with their temper, (if he be a wise Schoolmaster) and will draw them on with such waies and Cords as are sutable Simile to humane Nature. So I do saith God.

Secondly, I have observed when they were in the best 2. Observed when they were in a good temper. temper, and have sought to work upon them then, I have observed what their dispositions are; but now though men and women are of such and such dispositi­ons, yet alwaies their good humor doth not work. If you that are wives will deal with your husbands like men, observe when they are in a good temper, and then deal with them and seek to draw them; God doth so; I Wives observed when they were in the best temper of all, and then I came upon them with the most strength, to draw them at such a time rather than another.

Thirdly, I gave them time to consider; though they were never so untoward, yet I did not come instantly up­on 3. Gave them time to con­sider. them with blows, but I gave them time to consider, to bethink themselves: many Scriptures we might shew for either of these: you do not give beasts time to consi­der.

[Page 47] Now when you fly upon others presently without gi­ving Use. them time to consider, you deal not with them like men but beasts.

Fourthly, I have hired them to obedience by my gifts; 4. Hired them to obedience. I do not only in an imperious way command them to obey, or else look to it at your peril, but I have come and hired them to the waies of obedience, and gave them gifts to draw them, and so I dealt with them like men.

Fifthly, I have had consideration when they did not 5. Distingui­shed of weak­ness & wilful­ness. obey, whether it were through weakness or wilfulness, when they were disobedient, I did not make it all one whether they disobeyd through weakness, or wilfulness, and so I dealt with them accordingly.

And then Sixtly, In all afflictions that was brought 6. Afflicted in measure as their natures might bear. upon them, I considered that they were but men of weak natures, and could not bear much; I did not lay on as if I were laying on upon an Ox, or such a creature that had so much strength to bear, but I considered they were men, and I laid on my strokes gently considering that they had tender natures: as you know the Prophet speaks in Isa. 57. 16. I will not contend for ever, lest the spirit that I Isa. 57. 16. have made should fail before me. The Lord looks upon the weaknesses of his people, and therefore will not contend, lest their spirits should fail before him.

Seventhly, In their afflictions, I was sensible of their 7. was aflicted in al their af­flictions. Isa. 63. 9. Simile. afflictions as well as themselves; so you know what the Lord saith, In all their afflictions I was afflicted, I was sen­sible: so as a tender Father, or wise Master, if he doth strike the child or servant, the very blows in a manner will be as sensible to him as to them: but it is not so with you when you strike a beast. So saith God, I did not afflict them, but it went to my very heart, and I was af­flicted as well as they. 3. How God drew his peo­ple in an ho­norable way.

Thirdly, I drew them with the Cords of a man; that is, in an honorable way, so as that honor and respect that [Page 48] was any way due to such a creature, or that was sutable to such a creature it was preserved.

First, My Instructions was ever more than my blows, I never struck more blows than I gave them Instructions, 1. Instruction more than correction. if I struck them one blow, I gave them twentie, fourtie instructions to one blow. When you have children or servants, and perhaps you will give them fourty blows to one instruction, you deal with them not like men, but like beasts. That's the first. It's a dishonor to man­kind, for any Superior to give more blows than instru­ctions, but I dealt with them like men, sutable to that respect that is in a kind due to humane Nature.

Secondly, Whatsoever spark of ingenuity remained in them, 2. Preserved their ingenui­ty. I took care to preserve it; that's the second thing; If there were but a spark of ingenuitie in any of them I took great care to preserve that ingenuitie, and not to quench that spark in all my dealings towards them.

Thirdly, I aim'd at their good as well as mine own, as well 3. Aimed at their good in all. as my glory; there's many Scriptures that way; you do not do so when you strike beasts, you do not consider of the good of the beast, but at the benefit that you should have, that he may further your work. But now when you come to strike men you must look at their good as well as at your own good; there's no parent must strike the child, but must look at the benefit of the child rather than to satisfie his humor. When you strike meerly for your own advantage without aiming at the good of those you strike, you deal not with them like men, but like beasts.

Fourthly, I did never any thing towards them but so as they 4. Stil held forth hope of reconcilia­tion. might have hope still preserved in them of being reconciled to me upon their coming in, though they deserved never so much, and I seemed to come against them the most harshly, yet I never so came against them but there was hope preser­ved, that at any time of their coming in and repenting I would be reconciled to them; this is to deal with them [Page 49] like men, when you deal with any that offend you Admonition to parents and governors. (parents or Governors) never be so harsh, but though they be very evil, there must be preserved som hope that upon their coming in they be reconciled to you.

Fiftly, I was careful to maintain their honor as my people, 5. Kept up their honor. (that is) in all my dealings with them, though they were hard somtimes to flesh and blood, yet I put a dif­ference between them and other people; other people were to me in comparison but as dogs (as it were) but these as men, and as free men, in Jer. 2. 14. Is Israel a Ser­vant? Jer. 2. 14. is he a home born Slave? why is he spoiled? What, Israel a servant, a home-born Slave! no, he must be look'd upon as a free man. So in Isa. 27. 7. hath he Isa. 27. 7. smitten him, as he smot those that smit him? No, I look upon them with some different respect, and as men, and as Free-men, and deal with them so.

Sixtly, Whensoever they began to return, I met them half 6. Met them half way. way; I did not stand it out to the uttermost to discou­rage their hearts, but I met them half way in all their returnings. And did not God deal honorably with them? Indeed if you would deal in a contemptuous way with another that hath offended, you will say, Let them wait; yea, but if we will deal with another in an hono­rable Simile. way, if we see him but in coming a far off, we will run and meet him, as the father of the prodigal did; so saith God, I did not deal with them in a contemptuous way, but I drew them with the cords of a man, and in an honorable way I dealt with them. Thus you have this expression opened, I drew them with the cords of a man.

Now there are divers Observations from hence:

The first is, That the waies of God are very rational, so Obs. 1. that they may draw any man of understanding to love them: If mans nature were not degenerated, were it that we did but stand right in regard of our principle of Reason, it were impossible but the waies of God should draw us, at [Page 50] least to an outward obedience to them; there's no reason in your waies, but there's reason in Gods waies, and ther­fore if you had but the hearts of men, though you had not the hearts of Saints, yet to approve of Gods waies, at least: and for an outward conformity to them you might be drawn; if men were not besotted with their lusts, certainly they would never be so confident in their sinful waies as they are, if men did but bethink them­selves of the way of God. Saith Solomon, When thy people are carried away captive, and shall bethink themselves: there is so much reason in Gods waies, that if one did but be­think 1 King. 8. 47. observed. himself: Saith David, I considered my waies, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. Oh! it's a great mercy Psal. 119. to have a considering heart; and it's a great judgment of God to leave men and women to a slight and vain spi­rit, not to weigh and ponder things; most people are led on in a continued hurry of passion, like to the Horse in the Battel, and no man saith, What have I done? Oh! couldest thou but have so much power over thy passion, and the violence of thy lusts, as to get alone and weigh Gods waies, surely thou couldest not but be convinc'd that the waies of God are better than thy waies, they are so rational.

The Second Observation is this:

The way to prevail with men, it is to deal with them in a ra­tional Obs. 2. way; the way that I took with this people to pre­vail with them, it was, to draw them with the cords of men: Certainly the way that God takes to prevail with people is the best way.

Therfore those men that would prevail with any peo­ple Use to bring them to any thing that they desire, tis to deal with them in a rational way, and so seek to prevail with them; the Spirit of God doth so, in Joh. 16. 8. And when Joh. 16. 8. [...]. he is come, he will reprove the world of sin: it is, shall come with DEMONSTRATION, for so the word Logically signifies; it's a word that signifies to convince in a way [Page 51] of demonstration that one cannot deny possibly, and so the Apostle saith, We came in the demonstration of the spirit 1 Cor. 2. 4. and of power. Mark; Demonstration of the Spirit, so it came to be in power; and it concerns Ministers more e­specially. If you that are Ministers would speak power­fully to people, speak in demonstration, the demonstra­tion of the Spirit indeed it must be, there is a spiritual Reason in the Scripture; Ministers must not think to scare Ministers must convince, not scare men. men into the waies of Godliness, though I know some times God makes use of the bare terrors of the Law; but the main thing whereby Ministers must have hope to do good to their people must be by preaching convincingly, to overcome their very reason as much as possibly can be, and to set the Law of God so before them as if they will but judg between God and their own souls, they shall condemn themselves, and approve of God. That Mini­stry is like to be the best Soul-saving Ministry, that meets The most convincing Ministry the most power­ful. with every objection of their hearts, and at every turn the secrets of their hearts comes to be opened; Oh! re­member you preach to men and therefore you make use of that reason that you find in Scripture: I know reason alone will never do it; I, but God when he works to the salvation of souls, he works upon them after the manner of men, and therefore the Ministers of God that are Co­workers with God, they should work in such a sutable way.

And not only Ministers, but Majestrates too, they Majestrates [...] must deal by reason rather than violence in difficult ca­ses of consi­ence. must labor to draw them with the Cords of men also, that is, not by violence, in thing, that men cannot be convinc'd of, to think to force them in a way of violence, (I say) in things that they cannot be convinc'd of, in such things as they are not wilfully ignorant of, they must not make prisons and fines to be arguments, these are not the Cords of men; indeed in things that have the light of common Equitie and Justice, as Civil things that carry in the very face of them a light of common [Page 52] Equitie and Justice, there Majestrates need not stay for any further convincement, and there (I say) they need go no further, but they may deal with them in a violent way if they break those; but in all things that are of a more dubious nature, and that are from connexions, and consequences, and more difficult to be understood, and that are controversal even among godly men, and wise men, there they must look to it, and people must have waies of instruction first, and to be informed first, and likewise if they do not oppose them in a wilful way, but if they see that they do desire to understand what they are able and cannot, they must not think to go on in a way of violence there, that is not to deal with men like men in that thing, to force them unto such waies that they do not see reason for, and let them labor to the uttermost they can, they are not able to understand, then certain­ly there must be forbearance in such things; and especi­ally the rather, because that Christ hath given us charge, not to yeeld to any thing in matter of Religion till we do understand the rule of it; Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin; Why Reason and not Vio­lence is to be used to tender consciences. when Chist gives that charge, that we must not yeeld to it because such and such men do so, till we do examine it and be able to understand the rule; now then surely the uttermost that the power of violence and force can do is this, To make men examin things, but no fur­ther.

And so for you that have any under you, your ser­vants Parents and Masters must use more Con­viction than Correction. and children, instruct them, shew them the evil of their waies, do not fly upon them with your rage and passion, but deal with them like men in way of instru­ction.

The third Note is this, It's a great aggravation of mens sin, not to be drawn by these Cords of men; for a man to stand Obs. 3. out against reason is a great aggravation: so men stand out against many waies of God, and yet their conscien­ces fly in their faces and condemn them. Oh! thou art [Page 53] a wretch, that though the Lord hath sought to draw thee with the Cords of a man, with Reason, and hath con­vinc'd thee, he hath gotten the cords into thy conscience, and God pulls, and thou pullest, and wilt not be drawn with those Cords, Oh! this is a wickedness for men to go on in waies that their own consciences do condemn them in▪ Some vain reasonings can draw men to sin as a Cart-rope, that's the meaning of that place, They draw iniquity as it were with a Cart rope; that is, their vain reas­nings that they have for their sin twisted together make a strong Cart-rope to draw iniquity; Oh! shall not Gods Cords be as strong as the Devils Cords, or Mans Cords? Manie there are, though God seems to draw them with these Cords of a man, yet their lusts are so strong like pamperd horses in a Team, they will break the Cart-ropes, break all their harness to peeces; and so do ma­nie unruly Spirits even say like those in Psal. 2. Let us Psal. 2. break his bonds, and cast away his Cords from us. Well, thou shalt one day be held by the Cords of thine own sin Who wil nor be drawn by the Cords shal be whipt with them. (as the Scripture speaks) and thy conscience shall lash thee with those Cords of Conviction that did not draw thee: Shall not the Cords of Conviction draw thee from thy sin? they shall serve to be as whips to lash thy soul e­ven to all eternity; know that the Rules of Right-reason, and Scripture-reason shall stand when thou, and thou­sands of such wilful fools as thou art shall perish eternal­ly. And these are the Notes for Gods dealing in a Ra­tional way.

And then the second was, in a Gentle way. 2. How God deals with his people in a gentle way.

First, Mans Nature, (if it be not degenerated) is of a loving, gentle disposition, 'tis the nature of man to be of a gentle disposition, that's the Note from hence, and I raise it thus: I dealt with them, with the Cords of a man: that is, Gently, which is mans Nature, such a gentleness as fair means will work upon it rather than ridged waies, and hence in ordinarie speech, Kindness is called [Page 54] humanity, let men have some humanity in them, that is, let them be Courteous; to be courteous, and to shew huma­nity we use for al one; so that the nature of men, though it be fallen, yet if it be not twice dead, and overcome by its corruptions exceedingly. There is an humanity, an ingenuity in the very nature of man naturally.

Oh! you that profess Religion, labor you to be emi­nent in this; in Courteousness, in Gentleness, in Humanity, Use 1. Saints should be eminent in courtesie. know, that Grace though it doth elevate above Humani­ty, to Christianity, yet it doth not take away Humani­ty. No, it raises it higher; and therefore seeing there is something left in mans nature of Gentleness, and Fair­ness, surely those that have Grace, and have a principle to curb corruption, they should have much Gentleness, and Fairness with them.

Secondly, Seeing that these are the Cords of men [Gen­tleness] 2. Draw our relations with gentleness. we should use them to draw those on to goodness that we do desire. Ministers, Parents, Governors, Neigh­bors, observe the dispositions of those you have to deal with, sure your selves to them, labor to gain their hearts that way if possibly you can, that they may have good thoughts of the waies of Godliness, do not put them on by bitterness and sowrness. Did not God gain upon your And why? hearts in a gentle way? however, if God did come in a harsh way to your apprehensions at first, yet know, there is no such distance between you and your neighbors, those that are under you, your children, or servants, as there is between God and you; therefore it is for you to deal with your fellow Creatures in a gentle, fair way. If a Hunter would get his Game, he doth not make a hou­ting and noise, but he goeth gently without any noise: An apt simile. And so it is not through violence, noise, and horror; if you would get people but in a gentle way, hire children and servants to that which is good. Learn that way you that are of harsh tempers, to entice your children and Harsh natures should ob­serve this. your servants to good: You do nothing but threaten [Page 55] them to good, and say, If you wil not do thus and thus I'le deal with you thus and thus, by way of threatning: Oh! try what an enticing way will do; do not you so domineer over others as to think that it is for you to sa­tisfie your wills upon them, but labor to sute your selves to them.

And never chastife Children nor servants but with greef, and put a difference between weakness and wil­fulness in your Children and Servants, and let your hand be heavie upon them only upon meer necessity, when all other means are tried, never but then let your hand be heavie upon them: Thus you should do with those un­der you, as God deals with his people, with the Cords of a man, gently. 3. Gentle meaus reje­cted agravate sin.

Thirdly, From hence it is a great aggravation of sin, That we stand out against gentle means, the fair glosses of temptation they take our hearts. As now, if you can bring gifts to a man you can quickly blind his eyes: we Evidenced. have found these cords of men, we have found that mans nature loves gifts, and those in the place of Justice if they have bribes and gifts brought them; Oh! those are the Cords of men, those are sutable to their natures indeed. Now God doth thus (as I may so speak) bring gifts, but if God shall not prevail with his gifts, this will be a great aggravation of your sin. 3 How God deals honora­bly with men Obs. 1 Preserve the honor of our inferiors, Yea, though the faults be great.

And then the Third and last is, The honorable respect that is shewed unto men. The Observations are these.

First, In your dealings with children and servants, remem­ber you have not to deal with beasts, that is, Alwaies preserve their esteem. It is a Rule that will be very helpfull to those that have yong ones to bring up, though the fault be great, yet put them not to so much shame before others as they should have no esteem or honor to lose, they will grow desperate them; and so long as there is that bridle you may keep them from much evil. And this is the rea­son that your Goal-birds never com to any good almost; [Page 56] Why? because they have no honor to lose, all is gone already and therefore they grow desperate; and there's nothing more sutable to a mans nature to be kept from evil, than the loss of respect, and the loss of honor; and therefore the very doom of the damned at the day of Judgment it is exprest, that they shall rise to shame and confusion of face; to shame, that's as much against hu­mane Dan. 12. 2. illustrated. nature as any thing: and therefore you that have to deal with men, take heed how you deal, alwaies keep such a hand over them as those that are under you may see that there is some honor that they have yet to lose, do not deprive your selves of such a means to bridle your children or servants: Some of you have for your ser­vants of good birth in this Citie, divers have children of Masters that have Appren­tices in the City. very good birth, and very good education, that had ve­ry good breeding, use them accordingly, draw them them with the Cords of men, and draw them with the Cords of men of such education, and of such birth: If you be of meaner birth and education, and had hard breeding, and were drawn by iron Cords, do not you think to deal thus with others that had better breeding than your selves, but deal with them fairly, Consider of what breeding and education they had, and so deal with them according to that respect that is due to such of such a qualitie.

And then Secondly, How will the shame and confusion of men be aggravated hereafter, which did disregard Gods using Obs. 2. of them in an honorable way? This is the way to bring shame and confusion upon you for ever, so as hereafter men and Angels shall say, and so your conscience shall say: Just it is with God to punish me with eternal shame and confusion, why? for God had respect to me when I lived, and God dealt with me in an honorable way, and did seek to draw me with the Cords of a man, and it's just with God that now he should give me my porti­on among Devils and Reprobates, and that he should [Page 57] no more regard me as a creature but rather hate and ab­hor me as a Devil, for I would not regard his dealing with me as a man: this will justifie God in that wrath that will be upon you another day.

And from all together observe, Not to be drawn to our Obs. 3. duty but by violence and strength, it is beastial: bruit beasts can roar and cry out when the pain is upon them: and so it is with many men, they never cry out of their sins, never fear God, never yeeld to the hand of God but on­ly then when Gods strokes are upon them, then they cry out and bellow like beasts; Well, God delivers them, but they to their lusts as formerly, and spurn against God as soon as they are delivered, make Vows and Covenants to God, and then sin again, and God comes upon them again, and they fall a crying out of their sin again; Well, they are raised, and the hearing of the Word that never prevails with them, but in their afflictions then they will repent and cry out, Oh! cry out of their com­panie, Oh! that we had spent our time in praying, and in lamenting for our sin, that we spent in such and such company! Yea, this is when Gods hand is upon you, To be drawn by the Word; is to be drawn like a man; to be forced by blows is to be drawn like a beast. But what do you do upon the hearing of Gods Word, that's to be like a man, to be drawn by the Word, and not to be mov'd only by blows, Oh! thou hast a beasti­al heart, and brutish heart, and charge your selves with that brutish heart: I fear some of you have cause to say, That in all the course or my life my heart hath never yeelded to God, but just when blows hath been upon me. I beseech you brethren deal with God like men, God deals with you like men. (And that might have been a­nother Note in wind [...]g up all.)

I drew them with the Cords of a man, and with the bonds of Love.

The Lord deals with us sutable to our Nature, Oh let Obs. 4. us deal with God as far as we are able sutable to his na­ture. Why, doth God regard us as men; let us regard [Page 58] him as God then, let us glorifie God as a God; when the Lord hath to deal with us he considers we are men, when we have to deal with God let us consider he is God, and as the Lord is pleased to condescend to us as men, Oh! let us labor to ascend up to him as God. ‘With Bonds of Love:’

The word here translated Bonds, it is, Thick Cords, not [...] in densis [...] ­bus a [...] contorsit con­densavit tor­quendo. only with Cords, (as you have it before) but with Thick Cords, so the word that is translated Bonds signifies; for it comes of a word that signifies to [Wreath] and to thicken with wrea hing; that as you see those that make Cords and Lines, they take their Hemp and wreath one Wreath, and then they take another and wreath that, and so a­nother, and wind many Wreaths together, and so make a strong Cord, that's the propriety of this word.

With the Bonds of Love.] That is, with such Bonds as Expos. have many Wreaths in them, have many things joyned together to make it to be a strong Cord, a Cord as strong as a Cart rope: for so I find the same word is used in Isa. 5. 18. where it is said, They draw iniquity with the Cords of [...] Isa. 5. 18. vanity, and sin as it were with a Cart rope. The word that is trranslated there, Cords, it is the same that is in the former part of our verse, The Cords of a man; But now the other: And sin as it were with a Cart rope, that's the same word that here you have in the text, translated The [Bonds] of Love. With a thick Rope of a Cart, with a Rope that hath many Wreaths in it; so that though the former word in your English [CORDS] seems to have as much as the latter [BONDS] yet according to The Hebrew of the Te [...] empharical. the Hebrew this latter hath more in it, and signifies such Cords, as have many twisted and wreathed together; As indeed we shall find when we come now to open the Bonds of Love that God did draw this people withal, we shall find many Cords wreathed and twisted together [Page 59] to bind this people fast to God; you have a sutable ex­pression Jer. 31. 3. somewhat paralel to this in Jer. 31. 3. With lo­ving kindness have I drawn thee, saith God.

I have drawn them with the Bonds of Love; that is thus; I have used them in a loving way; If love would have The Text pa­raphrased. gained them, if love would have overcome them, if love would have bound them to me they have wanted no love saith God, whereas they had deserved the bonus of iron to be upon them; instead of those iron bonds that their sins deserved, they have had the bonds of love.

If you ask me what were those Bonds of Love The bands of love to Israel. that God drew this people of Israel unto Himself by?

The first was this, God did wonderfully separate this 1. Separation from all other people. people from all the Nations in the world unto Himself, to be a people unto himself, and that out of love, and this was a great fruit of love, and a strong Wreath this was, had there been nothing else, That God should set his heart upon this people above all other people in the earth to be his people, in Exod. 33. 16. Wherein (saith Exod. 35. 16. Moses) shall it be known that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight, if thou goest not with us? for thereby (saith he) shall ne be separated from all Nations of the Earth: it is in your books, only, shall be separated, but the Hebrew word sig­nifies [...] wonderfully separated, we shall wonderfully be se­parated [Mirisicemut prae omnibus pop Munster] from all the Nations of the earth. Indeed the Lord he did wonderfully separate the people from all the Nations of the earth, and this was only out of love, it was not from any excellencie he saw in this people. In Deut. 7 6. The Lord did not chuse thee &c. but in the 7. Deut. 7. 6, 7. verse, He did not set his love upon you, nor chuse you, because you were more in number than other people, for you were the least of all people.

Observe my brethren by the way, That the Lord doth Obs. 1. not alwaies stand upon number, upon the greatest; this indeed is our argument that so many go in such a way, and so few in another way, and so surely God is most like to [Page 60] approve of that that the most go on in; No, God doth not alwaies stand upon number; saith he, I did not chuse you because you were most in number, for I knew that you were the least; therefore it was only love that made the Lord chuse this people at first, and separate them from other Nations.

And then the second Bond of Love is: I chose you, and your seed also: And this was a great mercie; If I had 2. Election of the Parents & their seed. but only set my heart upon your selves, it had been som­what, but it was upon you and your seed, so as to bring you, and your seed into Covenant with me. There's two twists (as I may so say) in this Bond of Love, that he should chuse them and their seed, and bring them both into Covenant, for thus you have it in Deut. 4. 37. Be­cause Deut. 4. 37. he loved thy fathers, therfore he chose their seed after them. and in Ezek. 16. 8. there the text saith, It was a time of love; and I took you and entered into Covenant with you. It was a time of Love: and that made the Lord to enter in­to Covenant with this people. God shewed it was a time of love indeed, that he would take such a people as this was, and enter into Covenant with them.

And then the third Twist: I set my heart upon them to de­light 3. Made them his inheri­tance, portion, treasure, &c. in them too; I made them my portion, my inheri­tance, my Treasure, the Deerly beloved of my soul, my Glory, a Royal Diadem to my self; I could shew you Scripture for every one of these expressions that this peo­ple were taken by God to be his chief Treasure, his pe­culier Treasure, and his Delight, Deut. 7. 6. The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people to himself: a spe­cial, Deut. 7. 6. and he gives them all those Epethites. Surely these are Bonds of Love.

And then in the fourth place, If so be at any time 4. Pitying thē in their affli­ctions. they were in any afflictions, I pitied them, and looked upon them with the eye of mercie, and releeved them, redeemed them out of their afflictions, in Isa. 63. 9. In his love and in his pity he redeemed them. Isa. 63. 9.

[Page 61] And then fifthly: I set on work all my Wisdom, and my 5. Engaged al his Attributes for their good Power, and my Mercy to do them good above all Nations, wor­king great wonders for them. Now this we shall not need to mention any particular Scripture for, the whol story of God, carrying of them from Egypt along in the Wil­derness to Canaan, and there providing for them is a te­stimony for this, so in Isa. 63. we named before Gods Isa. 63. redeeming of them, he ads this too, And carried them all the daies of old. The Lord never was so glorious in his power towards any people as towards them, the right hand of his Power and Excellencie was stretched out for them, in Exod. 15.

And then sixthly, By the Bonds of Love, I had a con­tinual 6. A continu­ed watchfuley over them watchful eye over them, and their Land, mine eye was upon their Land where they dwelt for good, a­bove all other Lands that were upon the earth, in Deut. 11. 12. A Land (saith the text) which the Lord thy God Deut. 11. 12. eareth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are alwaies upon it, from the beginning of the yeer, even to the end of the yeer. Ca­naan was a Land that God cared as little for as any place of the earth before his people came into it, a Land where­in God was as much dishonored as in any place of the Earth; but now when his people came into it, now it is a Land that mine eye is upon, that the Lord takes care of, from the beginning of the yeer to the end of the yeer: this respect did God shew to his people.

Seventhly. I gave them my Oracles, the Revelation of my 7. Gave them his Oracles. Will. This was another notable fruit of the love of God to this people; In Judah was God known: his Name was Psal. 147. 19, 20. great in Israel, in Psal. 147. 19, 20. He shewed his Word unto Jacob, his Statutes and his Judgments unto Israel. I dealt not so with any Nation: And as for my Judgments they have not known them, saith God. This was a notable Priviledg that Israel had above all other people. In Rom. 3. What Rom. 3. advantage hath the Jew? (saith the Scripture) or what profit is there of Circumcision? Yes, every way, the Jew hath much [Page 62] advantage every way above al other people of the earth: Why, wherein? for unto them were committed the Oracles of God Other men had the book of Nature, they could see Gods Name as it were written in the Characters of the book of Nature; yea, but the special things of God, the Counsels of God concerning the Eternal Estate of the Children of Men, were not then revealed: but saith he, I gave to this people my Oracles, they had those Coun­sels of mine concerning mans eternal estate revealed, I o­pened to them my whol heart and soul, all that I would have known to the children of men for that time I ope­ned to them; Oh this is a bond of love indeed, to have the Oracle, of God committed to a people.

And then the Eighth Twist (as I may so say) in this 8. The Mes­siah to come of them. bond of love to make it a great Cable (as it were) to bind them unto God, was this: I set my heart so upon, as to have the Messias to come from them, in whom all the Nations of the earth should be blessed; I rather chose this people than ano­ther to have my Son to be born of them, to be of their stock.

And then Ninthly, I gave them a Law, the sum of which 9. A law of Love. was nothing but love: (as I opened the last day, That the Law of God had strength of Reason in it, and so God drew them with the cords of a man, his Law was ration­al.) So I drew them with bonds of love, I gave them a Law, the sum of which was nothing but love, as thus: What's the sum of the first and second Table of the Law? The sum of the first Table it is, Thou shalt LOVE the Lord The sum of the Law. thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul: And the sum of the second Table is, Thou shalt LOVE thy Neighbor as thy self: so that Love is the sum of the whol Law.

And then Tenthly, I have out-bid all temptations, what­soever 10. Gave thē more than a­ny else could offer. good, pleasure, delights, honor they could expect in following any thing else, I shewed them that they might have it, and much more in my self; there was no­thing they could have in following after any of their [Page 63] false worship [...] creature they would have any good in, I made it appear that they might have as much in my Self, I out bid all temptations for the encouraging of them in my waies, that is in the full course of Scrip­ture, we find the Lord propounding himself to his peo­ple as a lovely object, on purpose to draw their hearts a­way from all other things that might seem to be lovely, that he might have the whol soul to himself.

Yea, and in the Eleventh place, Whensoever they were in any want, if they did but cry to me, I heard them. What people 11. Heard thē in all their prayers. Deut. 4. 7. is there so great as this people that the Lord is so nigh unto in all that they call upon him for, saith Moses?

Yea, and lastly, I have done so much for them, that it can­not 12. It could not have been conceived God should have done more. be conceived that I should have done more. What should I have done more for my Vinyard than I have done, Isa. 5. 4? Let any one speak what love they could conceive could be more from a God to his people than I have shewen. So that put all these together, and you see how God did draw this people with bands of love. Now this for the Explication.

Now from hence our First Note is, That, Love it hath Obs. 1. strong bonds; Strong, as strong as death, Cant. 8. 6. None Cant. 8. 6. are so strongly bound together as friends that are bound in Love. The bonds of Nature are not so strong as the bonds of Love. A friend is nearer than a brother saith the Scripture. The bonds of Love are the strongest bonds, The bonds of Love. they are a twisted bond.

For First, Love it is in its self a lovely thing to behold, 1. there's an amiableness in Love to draw the eye and the heart to it: In Cant. 7. 6. How fair and how pleasant art thou, O Love, for delights? How fair and how pleasant is Cant. 7. 6. Love? Take Love for the affection of love, it is fair and pleasant for delight; and when the beloved is called by illustrated. the Name [Love] it shews that Love is very amiable, and very beautiful.

[Page 64] Secondly, Love it hath much sweetness in it, much 2. power to insinuate its self into the heart: As we know base love, adultrous love it hath a great deal of power to insinuate into the heart: in Eccles. 7. 26. the hands of the whorish woman are called bonds: If whorish love hath Eccles. 7. 26. observed. such power so to insinuate and to be bonds, much more then hath True Love, Cracious Love.

Thirdly, Love it is generative, Love hath a great ge­nerative power to beged Love. Augustin saith, There is no 3. Nulla est major ad amorem pro­vocatio, quam praerentre a­mando. Aug. greater provocation to Love, than to begin to love. Magnes amo­ris amor. Love can draw iron hearts. Love, it is the Loadstone of Love, it will draw Love, and beget Love where ever it is.

Fourthly, Where Love is got into the soul it cōmands all, it commands all the Faculties and Understanding where Love is got. Look what a man loves, so according­ly his understanding will work: It a man loves his sin, Love com­mands al the souls faculties his understanding will be working for his sin; Oh what subtil Arguments will men have for their sin when they love it! any way that a mans heart is engaged in Love he will be very subtil to argue for it. So on the contra­ry, when once the Lord hath taken the heart with Love, this Love commands the understanding, and then all reasonings are for God, and the soul it hearkens after no reasonings that are against God, or against his waies, when once the heart is taken with Love. If a mans heart be taken with love to a Woman, he will hear nothing a­gainst her; but if his love be taken off from her, then e­very report that he hears against her he will aggravate to the uttermost he can, and will soon beleeve it. So it is, when a mans heart is taken with the things of God, and of Religion, it will hear nothing against them; but if a mans heart be off and do not love the waies of God, then they are glad if they can hear any thing that makes against them. Love commands all the Faculties of the Soul, the Understanding, and the Thoughts, it com­mands the Will, and Affections, it commands the Body, [Page 65] it commands the Estate, it commands the Liberties, it commands all that a man hath, or is, or can do. Love hath the absolute commanding power of all, Oh! Love hath strong Bonds.

And again, Love it makes every thing that is done for 5. Makes all services de­lightful. the beloved to be delightful; It doth not only command to do a thing, but it makes it delightful, I will rest in my love and rejoyce over them with singing, saith God. When the heart is once taken with love, (I say) it doth not on­ly do that which is good for that which it doth love, but doth it with delight.

And then, Love knows not any bounds, it never sets 6. Hath no bounds. its self any bounds at all, but would do, and do, and do, and do even infinitly for that it doth love, so far as love prevails no bounds are set.

Yea, and when it doth much, it will not be wearie 7. neither. So far as the Soul is acted with Love, it will never be wearie with what it doth. Men that love their pastime all night they will sit up at it and never be tired; so those that love the waies of God, though the flesh may Caution. be weak, yet not the spirit.

And then, Love it is strong, so as it stands out against 8. all oppositions, nothing that doth oppose can prevail a­gainst love: in Cant. 8. 6, 7. Love is as strong as death, and Song. 8. 6, 7. many waters cannot quench the fire of love.

And then in the next place, Love, it rejoyces in suffe­ring, 9. Rejoyce in sufferings. not only delights in doing, but delights in suffering. If one that loves another shall suffer for him that he doth love he will rejoyce in those sufferings.

And lastly, Love, it suffers not its self to be its self (as 10. Seeks not its own. it were) to be at his own dispose. Love doth wholly give its self into the possession of him that it doth love, it is not his own no longer; The heart that is once taken 1 Cor. 13. with love is no more its own, but gives its self into the possession of that that it doth love: so that put all these together, and you may see that love it hath strong Bonds. [Page 66] I drew them with the Bonds of Love.’

And then a Second Note of Observation is this; Let us do as God doth then; that is, Labor to cast the Bonds of Obs. 2. Love upon those we have to deal with; it's Gods way to his people to bind them to himself, to throw upon them Bonds of Love, And then saith God I have enough, I have them strong enough if I get them with the bonds of Love. Oh let us do as God doth, labor to draw people with bonds of Love; If you would draw any to you, let it be by Love, do you desire to draw any to you, you Ministers du­ty to open Gods love. that are Ministers, especially you are appointed to draw others to God, it's your work: what should you do? open the Love of God to them, present the Grace of the Gospel to souls, labor to work upon their hearts by all the mercies of God, By the mercy of God tendered to them, by the mercy of God received by them, bestowed upon them: There's no such way to draw souls to God as this. Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, that's the preaching of the Gospel. The first preaching of all Mark, 1. 15. applied. Christs Sermons, and of his Disciples was, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. As if he should say, Oh! Sirs, look about you, Consider your waies, there's a glorious Kingdom now at hand, a Kingdom of righte­ousness, and mercy wherein the glory of the Grace of God comes to be revealed to the children of men in ano­ther way than ever formerly. This is the way to bring men to repentance. It's true, it's good to use all means, to shew the greatness and the justness, and the holiness of God, and the like; But the prevailing argument above all to bring men to repentance it is, That the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; and indeed we would do so if we did consider that repentance it is a Gospel Grace, it is not that Repentauce a grace of the Gospel, not of the Law. that comes by the Law, the Law takes no notice of re­pentance, but the Gospel, and therefore to present the [Page 67] Love of God as it is in the Gospel, so there God manifests his love to the children of men, and that's the way to draw to repentance; there's a notable story that we have in the book of Martyrs, not far from the beginning, as Book of Mar­tyrs, lib. 1. Euseb. lib. 3. cap. 20. also in the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius: speaking of John the Apostle that did commit a yong man which was very hopeful unto a Bishop, to take care of him; but afterwards proved to be very wicked, and got among a company of theeves, and so came to be the Captain of a company of theeves and robbers, and was wholly bent to slaughter, and murder, and extream cruelty, and lived in the mountains: Afterwards John comes to this Bi­shop to whom he had committed the yong man, and bid him restore unto him the charge which he and Christ had committed into his Custody, then the elder looking down with a heavy countenance, sobbing and sighing, said, He is dead. John enquiring how, and what kind of death, he answered he is dead to God, for he is become the Captain of a company of theeves in such a place. The Apostle then rending his garments in great sorrow, said, Prepare me a Horse and let me have a guide, and so rode in post, being come unto the place he is taken by the theevish watch, he neither flieth nor resisteth, but saith, for this purpose came I hither; bring me unto your Cap­tain, who being armed beheld him coming, but when he knew that it was John, he was strucken with shame, and fled away. The old man forgetful of his yeers pur­sueth him flying, and crieth: My son, why fliest thou from me thy father, unarmed and old? O son! tender my case, be not afraid, as yet there remaineth hope of salva­tion, I will undertake for thee with Christ. And thus he runs after him crying that yet there was hope of mer­cie and pardon, and that he would die for him. He hea­ring this, first stood still, turning his countenance to the ground, next shoke off his Armor, then trembled for fear and wept bitterly, so that this broke his heart and he re­turns [Page 68] back and falls a weeping upon the neck of John, and became an eminent Christian afterwards.

Whatsoever is to be thought of this story, yet cer­tainly there's no such bonds as the bonds of Love to draw the hearts of people unto God. Have you to deal with stony hearts? the way it is to lay them upon the soft pillow of the Gospel, and so you may break them; lay a stone upon a stone, and so it goes from you and doth not break, but if you lay it upon a pillow you may present­ly Simile. break it with a hammer. The Word is compared to a hammer, yea, but we must labor to lay the hearts of people upon the pillow (as it were) of Love, upon the Grace of God in the Gospel, and that's the way to break their hearts; there are none so bound to God as those that are bound to him by Love, those that are bound to God by fear, that hath not Love mixt withal, their bonds will not hold, they will seek quickly to break the bonds of fear; there's no men (I say) that are held to God by the bonds of fear but they will seek after any occasions to break those bonds, and if they can but get any oppor­tunity to get themselves out of those bonds, they will, and commonly at last they do break them and get them­selves out of the bonds of fear: but now those that are held by bonds of Love, they are held for ever unto God.

I beseech you observe this Note, When men cast off the sweet of their sin, by the sweet of the Love of God, then they will never return to their sin again. Oh! but if it be only the bitterness of the Law, of punishment, that makes them cast off sin, they will be ready to turn to their sin again, as a dog will return to the vomit, as a dog casts out the vomit meerly in regard of the pain he doth feel; but Simile. when it is cast out by the sweet of Love, when one sweet enters for another, such hold on their way. Austin hath a notable expression for that in the 9. Book of his Confessions, about the beginning, speaking of a swee [...] [Page 69] of sin, Thou Lord (saith he) didest cast out those sweetnesses, Aust. Confess. lib. 9. cap. 1. Eji [...]bas eas à me tu vera ac sumum suavi­tas ejici [...]bas pro [...] omni volup­tate dulcior. and thou didest enter in thy self instead of them, who art more sweet than any pleasure whatsoever. And it was from hence that he held on so in his way, because God casting out the sweet of sin, instead of that sweet he had by sin be­fore did himself (I say) enter into the soul, that was more sweet to Austin's soul than all other sweetnesses whatsoever. Oh! saith he afterwards, The sweet it is to want those sweetnesses, when he had the Love of God come in instead of whatsoever sweetness he had before. No mervail though Grace be so persevering, and we reade Why perseve­rence more frequent un­der the Go­spel than un­der the Law, so much of perseverance, especially in the times of the Gospel, because that there's none truly converted unto God but they have that sweet come into their souls through Love, that is more delightful to them than all the sweet they had by sin before.

Never be afraid, you that God is beginning to turn to Use to yong converts. himself, never be loth to part with any sweetness you had in the waies of sin, for by turning to God you shall find that sweetness in God and his waies that will be a thousand times more. Oh they are things that they love and they are loth to part with them; Yea, but when you are turned to God, God will be as lovely to you as ever any thing in the world was. If the Ice be but bro­ken over night by the Husbandman, he comes the next An apt simile. day and it is frozen up again; but let the Sun come with his warm beams, and then it runs down with flakes, then it breaks throughout many Countries together, it breaks all at once by the beams of the Sun: And so the beaking of the heart by the terrors of the Law, it is but li [...] the breaking of the Ice with a pole by the Husband­m [...] to give the Cattel drink, but when the Love of God co [...] to the heart, then the corruptions of the heart dis­solve even as the Ice dissolves when the warm Sun comes upon [...].

Th [...]ay therefore to gain the hearts of men, it is by [Page 70] love. And we should the rather do it, because it is the great design of God in the Gospel, To manifest his love Gods great design in the Gospel. to the Children of men, he hath opened his heart, and the treasures of love in the Gospel; What is the Gospel but the treasures of the love of God opened? those eter­nal loving kindnesse, of God towards mankind they are opened in the Gospel; and no Minister can be a faithful Minister of the Gospel, but those that shall endeavor to open the heart love of God to the children of men in Je­sus Christ, and go to gain souls unto himself; Oh! 'tis a pleasant work to be a Minister of the Gospel in this re­spect, to be alwaies searching into the treasures of Love, and to make them known to souls for the gaining of them unto God.

And then likewise, If you have to deal with men, you 2. Gain men with love in dealing with them. Phil. 2. 1, 2. must labor to draw them with the bonds of love; in Phil. 2. 1. If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any com­fort of Love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels, and mercies; fulfil ye my Joy, that ye be like minded, saith the A­postle. Oh! let it be through Love, that you come to be like minded; and do not think to force men into the same mind, to use bitter language and expressions to men if they differ in judgment from your selves: But if there The way to uniformity. be any Love, be of the same mind, labor to get into one anothers hearts, if you would do good to one another. As a Minister, if he would do good to his People, he must labor to get into their hearts, that the people may love him: therefore it hath been observed that your wrang­ling Ministers, and bitter men, that if they be but crost in Spleenful Ministers. any thing they presently went their own bitterness, they never do any good at all. But those that can be willing to deny themselves, and willing to suffer for the Case of the Gospel, they prevail most. And so, if you would do good for any of your kindred, do what you ca [...] get Deal with kindred in Love. into their hearts that they may love you, and so [...] may be a means to draw them to the waies of God: [...]y Love [Page 71] you may come to have any liberty in their hearts that you would, you may say what you will if once they be perswaded that you love them, then you may ask more liberty to reprove any thing that is evil in them, and to perswade them to any thing that is good, then they take nothing ill from you; and therefore 'tis a great disad­vantage that men of sowr and bitter spirits have in ob­taining A sowr dispo­sition doth disadvantage much. their own designs; if they once speak any thing though never so good, yet it is rejected, because that peo­ple think it is not out of Love: But on the other side, it is a mighty advantage that a sweet and loving dispositi­on hath, let such an one speak never so, though the thing be never so harsh, yet the party will take it wel, be­cause he knows he loves him. Oh! these bonds of love, my brethren, they are mighty strong. When you meet toge­ther in any Society, if you would have any thing, do not seek to get your wil by wrangling, and frowardness, but by bonds of Love. I confess there are some men that are of such perverse spirits, that the neerer one comes to them, the further they go from one, that they have even But perverse spirits are o­therwise to be dealt with. lost all ingenuity; but if you have to deal with men that you think to be gracious, and to be ingenious, then do not think to gain any thing from them but by Love.

These bonds of Love that here we have in the Text the Devil seeks to break, the great design of the Devil it is, to make men to have hard thoughts of God, & his waies, Satans great design. and to make them beleeve that God hates them, and that though they have some good things from God for the present, yet that the heart of God is not towards them, and so labors to make a separation between the soul and God. And so the great design of the Devil is to break the bonds of Love between Christian and Chistian: It was a fearful judgment that we reade of in Zach. 11. 14. when Zach, 11. 14. the staff that was called Bonds was broken, even the Bro­therhood between Judah and Israel, he threatens it as a Judgment; I'le break the bonds of brotherhood. And then [Page 72] you find that the staff of Beauty was broken when the staff of bonds was broken.

My brethren, never was the bonds of Love more broken among Christians than they are now. We reade of bands of Love, but what's become of them? They are broken. They were in former times so twisted (as I told you the word in the Hebrew signifies) love so twisted into so ma­ny The love of Christians one to ano­ther in Eng­land formerly compared with our di­visions now. Wreaths as one would have thought they could never have been broken; but whatsoever the matter is, we find they snap asunder. Oh! how justly might God bind us with Iron bonds, seeing that the bonds of Love will not bind us! God hath cut the Cords of divers of our yokes asunder, and hath broken the bonds of the oppres­sor, and now behold we break the bonds of Love; Oh! unworthy wretches that we are, every one of us looks with a jealous eye one upon another, every one shifting for himself, there are no bonds of love in our hearts; the wicked in Scripture are said to die without bonds, that's Gods patience, that they shall die without bonds; but wo to us, we live without bonds, and that's our sin, and the wrath of God upon us, in Eccles. 3. 8. There is a time to love; when is the time? Certainly if ever there Eccles. 3. were a time to love, then this is a time to love. And there is a time to hate.

Oh Divine Love! whither art thou gone? hast thou left the earth as unworthy of thy beauty and glory? An Apostro­phe to Love. Oh! that thou wouldest come again unto the hearts of the Saints, and bind them together! The want of the bonds of Love every one complains of, Oh! those soul­refreshing, and soul-ravishing meetings that we were wont to have. But especially more publickly, we find the bonds of Love quite gone, and quite broken: reade but over the 1 Cor. 13. and see the effects of Love there, Publick Love gone out of England. and by that you will find the bonds of Love quite to be gone; Love, the Scripture tells us, it thinks no evil, it maks the best interpretation of things that can be; Now [Page 73] surely there's a great deal of want of love amongst us, that when men in the uprightness and sincerity of their hearts shall desire to find out the mind of God, and the will of God, and meerly out of conscience because they dare not go any further than they see the mind of God to go before them, therefore they shall be judged to be a stiff-necked people, and to be the great hinderers of Reformation; Is this the best interpretation that pos­sibly can be made of things? Is it not possible why there should be some other grounds why they differ from their brethren, but meerly stiff-neckedness? how if it should be owned by Jesus Christ at the great day, That it was out of sincerity, because they did desire to know the mind of Jesus Christ fully, and yet they could not see what their brethren say they did? We should make the best interpretation of things that possibly we can. Love it cures all things, and it bears all things; now for such publick striking against any such forbearance, and cry­ing A conviction of the consci­ences of some out that we would have a Tolleration of all things u [...] Re­ligion, this is the great argument when they know in their consciences that their brethren do joyn with them in the Doctrinal part of Religion, and in the main things, and those things wherein they differ are things of no such great moment, but may be forborn with peace enough if mens hearts were peaceable and still; now to in fuse that into the peoples heads that if they were but in any thing forborn there must be a tolleration of all things, surely this is not any fruit of Love, this is not that which the holy Ghost saith, That Love bears all things. I am loth to mention any further, lest there should be any occasion of stirring up any spirits, and so hindering the fruit of Love: Let me say on the other side, there may be too eager censure the other way, that Many of both sides in mater of discipline and Church­go [...]rnment sincere. is; to censure such as are of a different way and judg­ment that they do it altogether out of their self-ends, and self-aims, I verily beleeve that on the other side, [Page 74] those brethren that do differ, they may be consciencious in their way, and do it out of zeal to God, and to what they apprehend to be truth; We should apprehend one another so, if we see there be nothing else wherein they do manifest corruption of heart but meerly in their Caution. waies of difference in their judgments and opinions. Now if both could but thus judg each of other, that they both are upright in what they do pursue: One side imagins that our part is Gods mind, and the other side judges that that party is Gods mind; let us judg now that they do it in uprightness except it apperrs some other way, then we should quickly come to close and joyn hearts to­gether, if we had such upright opinions one of another, therefore the more it is the design of the Devil to break We should countermine Satan. those Bonds of Brotherhood, and of Love, the more should we labor to unight together.

And you who are Superiors, labor you to gain your 3. Superiors should win by love. Inferiors by love, Oh let those tie together; do not say of your inferiors, they are of untoward dispositions, and how can my heart be towards them, to love them? Oh! none of your inferiors are more untoward unto you than you are unto Christ; and Christ, if he should not love you because of your untowardness, what would become of you? Now consider of this, when your ser­vants and children are untoward, Why should that hin­der love, when as my untowardness doth not hinder the love of Christ to me. I remember I have read of Monica, Austins Mother, her husband being an Heathen, and that Monica the mother of Austin. some of her neighbors that had Christian husbands won­dred how they came to live so lovingly together, saith other Christian women that were neighbors, Our hus­bands are Christians, and yours an Heathen, and yet you live more lovingly with him than we do with our husbands. She answered them, It may be when your husbands do any thing that provokes you, you are pre­sently froward with them, but I labor to overcome my [Page 75] husband by love, & so to gain his heart to me, and upon that we live so lovingly together, Christianity teaches me to perform the duties of a wife to my husband, though my husband be an Heathen. I verily beleeve there are Godly cou­ples for want of love live worse than when one yoke-fellow is carnal oft-times. many godly men and women, that sometimes when the one is godly and the other is wicked. You will say, How can that be? Yes, though there be godliness, yet there may be such frowardness and passion as may cause won­derful disturbance: but on the other side, where there is godliness and love, there is such an overcoming with Love, that though the man be wicked and never so harsh, yet he hath the nature of a man in him, and so long as he hath the nature of a man in him he will be o­vercome by Love, and therefore that's the way to bind men and women together; Would you be united more than ever yet you have been? labor to cast the Bonds of Love one upon another; let the husband study how to o­vercome his wife with love, and so the wife the husband, and then there will be a sweet union indeed: and so for Masters and servants, there should be Love there to unite one to another, though the master be above the servant, The dist­ance betwixt Christ and us greater than betwixt us & our servants. A masters comfort. yet the master should account it a happiness to him in that his servant doth love him; there is not such a di­stance between you and your servants, as there is between God and you; Oh! it's a sweet thing when a man can say in his family, I bless God all my familie loves me; And whatsoever they do, they do it out of love to me; It may be you are harsh towards your servants, and you will make them do what you command them to do, and they dare not do otherwise, yea, but what's that? but do your servants love you? do they do all for you out of Love? you might have as much obedience from your servants as you have, and have it a great deal better than you have, if you have it out of love; and so like­wise in a family, when one servant loves another; as it was said of David in 1 Sam. 18. 22. All his servants love 1 Sam. 18. 22 [Page 76] thee, all Sauls servants did love David; so those that are servants should labor to live so in families as all the other Servants should love one another servants should love them.

But you will say, They are so wicked that how can I hope to have love from them? Object.

Yes, Though they cannot love thee as thou art godly, Answ. yet godliness hath something in it that is common to the excellency of mans nature.

Yea, and those that are in place of power in the Ma­gestracie, they should labor to gain those that are under Magistrates shold govern by love. them by love: as the greatest in a family if he be a Lord, or an Earl, should not think it too much to gain a ser­vant by Love; so those that have the greatest power in Government, they should not think it too much to gain their meanest Subjects in a way of Love: we see it was thus with David, 1 Chron. 28. 2. Then David the King 1 Chr. 28. 2. stood up and said, Hear me my Brethren, and my People. See what a sweet expression is here of a great Prince, Then The diffe­rence betwixt the gesture & language of David, & the Princes of these times David the King stood up, and he said, Hear me my Bre­thren, and my People; he did not sit down Majesterially and say, My People, and you that are my Subjects, and that are under me, I command you to do thus and thus; but he stands up unto them and saith, Hear me my Bre­thren, my People: This was a way to gain the hearts of people unto him. You know Absolom he sought in a false way to steal away the hearts of people by a gentle carriage. I remember I have read of John the Second, a John 2d King of Portugal King of Portugal, he chose his Emblem to be a Pelican, that he might express his love to his Subjects upon this ground; for the Pelican when her yong ones have been The property of the Pelican. bitten with Serpents, she feeds her yong ones with her own blood, and thereby cures them: now upon this, this King of Portugal chuses the Pelican to be his Emblem, thereby he would testifie his readiness to let out his blood for the good of his Subjects, for the healing of his Sub­jects. He would not feed upon his Subjects blood, but he [Page 77] would rather let out his own blood for their good. This is the commendations of a Prince, not to seek to feed up­on Subjects blood, and to raise up his Honor, and Prero­gative by his sheding of their blood; but to love them A Princes pattern. so, as to be willing to let out his blood for their good if it might be. The maxim that some have labored to in­fuse into Princes, I had rather be feared, than be loved; it is Timeri quàm diligi. A pernitious state maxime a maxim only beseeming Tyranny, and no way sutable to an ingenuous spirit, but to a base and sordid spirit; Certainly that man, be he what he will, that is acted by that principle, is a man of a sordid and low spirit: a man of a generous spirit, and of an ingenuous spirit would rather be beloved than be feared: Let every man The evils of striving o­therwise than by love. seek to gain another by love: If you strive otherwise to gain any but by love;

First, You are not likely to prevail.

Secondly, If you do prevail, there will be so much trouble before you do prevail, that it will not be worth the having when you do prevail.

Thirdly, When you have your will upon them, they do the thing that you would have them, they dare not do otherwise; I but they hate you though: What good is this, for a man to have his will upon another, if in the mean time he hates him?

Then Fourthly, If you do not prevail by love, They will do no more than just needs must; and this is the Why Hypo­crites are hide-bound towards God reason indeed why Hypocrites do so little for God, God hath never gained their hearts by Love, but only by fear, and therefore they will do no more for God than they must of necessity; whereas (as I said before) love never propounds bounds.

And then Fiftly, If you do not get them by Love, they watch for all opportunities to fling off. Now what a poor gain is this, to gain one with a deal of trouble, and for him to do what I would have him, and yet to hate me, and to do no more than needs must, and then to [Page 78] wath for all opportunities to appear against me? Where fore my Brethren, for the close of this Note, let us fol­low after Love, and provoke one another to Love, you will find sweetness in your own Love, and sweetness The benefits of love. that you get by Love, in the very exercise of Love you will find sweetness, and then the Love that you get by others you will find that sweet, and you will find it so much the sweeter because you get it by Love.

And then further, another Note is this, Seeing Love Obs. 3. hath such bonds in it, Let us make use of the Love of God to bind our hearts to him.

You have heard that Love hath bonds; And then you have heard that we should do as God doth. And then Thirdly, Is this Gods way? Oh! let us make use of all the Love that ever God hath shewen unto us for to gain our hearts unto himself.

And this would be a large Theam to speak of, if we should lanch into it; if I should come to open unto you what the Love of God hath been to you, how much Love God hath shewn to the Nation, and to our selves for the gaining of our hearts, Oh the many twists of this Cord! 'tis a strong Cord indeed to bind us to God. In Deut. 11. 13. If thou shalt diligently love the Lord thy God; there's Deut. 11. 13. that that he requires of them, after what he hath done for them. If thou wilt but diligently love the Lord thy God. That's that that God seeks by al his love, to work our hearts to Love.

Not to speak now of the Love of God to you as you are Creatures, nor as you are Men; But a little to speak of the Love of God to you as you are Saints. I shall shew you very briefly what strong Cords of Love God hath cast upon you, to gain your hearts to himself to love The cords of Gods love to his people, 1 Eternal. him.

As first, Gods Love to you (if you be Saints) it is eternal Love, before ever you were born the bowels of God yer­ned towards you, (as I may so speak with holy reve­rence.) [Page 79] God was twisting these bonds of love from all e­ternity that he might gain your hearts, God was thin­king that in such a time there shall be such and such men and women that shall live upon the earth; I'le make Gods thoughts from eternity concerning his Elect. preparation by such bonds now as shall unite and fasten them close to my self when ever it comes to be revealed to them. It was love from eternity, Oh! the Trans­actions that were between the Father and the Son from all eternity for to manifest love to your souls! the great Counsels (I say) that were transacted between the Father and the Son before the world was, were about these Bonds of Love to you.

Secondly, It's choise Love, when he left many thou­sands, 2 Elective and separating. Malach. 1. 2. Use. he set his heart upon you, Mal. 1. 2. Was not Esau Jacob's brother, saith God? Yet I loved Jacob.

So wert not thou of such a Familie? and yet thou se­est how God hath cast off a great part of that Familie, and yet hath he loved thee? Wert not thou such a ones brother, such a ones sister that remained wicked and un­godly, and it may be died so? and yet God hath loved thee, he hath past by so many great ones in the world, and so many of thy kindred, and rather pitcht his Love upon thee. It's choise Love, and therefore this might gain thee to himself.

Thirdly, It is free Love, the Love of God is free; so you 3 Free. Hos. 14. 4. Deut. 7. 7. discoursed. have it in Hos 14. 4. I will love them freely: and in Deut. 7. 7. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor chuse you, be­cause you were more in number than any people: for you were the fewest of all people. God there would manifest his love to his people to gain their hearts to him: saith he, The Lord did not set his love upon you, because you were more: (Why then did God set his love upon us?) in the 8. verse, but because he loved thee. It's a strange arguing: The Lord did not set his love upon you because you were more, but the Lord did set his love upon you, because he loved you; he could go no higher. There can be no other [Page 80] reason why the Lord should love you, but because he did love you. We use to say, it's a womans reason to say, I will do such a thing, because I wil do it. Now if any of you would have a reason why God loved you: why thus, He loved me, because he loved me. The Lord did not set his love upon you for this reason; but he did set his love upon you, because he loved you. So, it is a free love. Oh! let the freeness of it be another Ingredient, so as to bind your hearts unto him.

Fourthly, God hath so loved you, as he gave his Son for you. 4 He gave his Son for them So God loved us. Sometimes it hath been in the thoughts of men whether there might not he more worlds than this world. Certainly God in his infinit power he might make a thousand worlds more glorious than this, such worlds, as the meanest Creature in those worlds might be as high in excellencie above the Sun, as the Sun is high above a piece of earth. But now this we may know, let there be never such excellent Creatures made, they can­not have a greater fruit of love than mankind hath from God; Oh! this is the love of God to mankind, this cals aloud to the children of men to love God, here's a fruit of love beyond that which is to Angels; for the Lord Which he did not for An­gels. took not upon him the Nature of Angels, but the Nature of man.

Fifthly, God so loved his people, as he hath given him­self 5 And Himself also. too, as well as his Son. Not only given the Second Per­son in Trinity, but Himself. He doth not think enough to give Heaven and Earth to thee to be thy Portion, but he will make Himself to be thy portion, he will be thy God. You would think it a great matter if God should say, Well, all this world I will give to be thy portion; This is set forth by gra­dation and prosopopie. yea, that I might give a testimony that I love thee, I will make another world for thy sake, and make thee the Emperor of it all; but in that God hath given thee his Son, and given thee Himself, this is a greater degree of Love; and the soul of man, were it enlarged indeed so [Page 81] as it might be, yea, so as grace doth enlarge the hearts of the Saints, such a soul would say, Lord, what will thou give me, if thou givest me not thy Son, if thou gi­vest me not thy Self? though I be less than the least of thy mercies, yet except I have thy self to be my protion, this is not sufficient for me. Well saith God, That thou maiest know that my heart is set upon thee for good, I'le give thee my Son, I'le give thee my self and my Spirit. Oh! what love is this to the children of men, that ever we should live to have our ears filled with this sound from Heaven, that God should do such things as these are for the children of men!

Sixthly, God doth so love his people, as in compari­son 6. Regards no­thing else. Isa. 43. 4. illustrated. of his Saints he cares not what becomes of all the world; in Isa. 43. 4. I loved thee, therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. If thy case be so that it shall not be well with thee without great evils that shall come up­on the children of men, the generality of men, and many people and Nations; I do not so much care for them (saith God) my heart is upon you: so as in comparison of you I care not what becomes of all the world. Oh the Love of God unto his Saints!

Yea further, God hath loved thee so, as he hath pardo­ned 7 Pardoned all their sins. Revel. 1. 5. all thy sins; here's another twist of Gods Love, in Rev. 1. 5. Ʋnto him that hath loved us, and washed us from our sins, by his own blood. For his giving himself for us that is in Gal. 2. 20. He hath loved us, and washed us from our sins by his own blood: here's a fruit of Love. You do not Gal. 2. 20. hear it said, that Christ hath loved us and hath purcha­sed great Kingdoms for us, hath made you Lords, and observed. Earls, and Countesses, and so hath loved you; no, But he hath loved us, and washed us from our sins by his blood. Now it's a good argument; that the Love of God is upon you, if you account this to be a great fruit of Love to wash you from your sins by the blood of Jesus Christ; Surely if he will do so much for you, as shall cost him so [Page 82] dear as his own blood, he loves you; the Love Jesus Christ broke through these difficulties, for when there were such transactions between the Father and Son about redeeming the Soul, saith God, If thou wilt take upon thee to deliver them from their sin, thou must come thy A representa­tion of the love of Christ in coming to take away our sin. self and be made a Curse for their sins. What, will you undertake such a thing as that, to deliver them from their sin? it will cost you thus much. Saith Jesus Christ, Lord, thy will be done in it, yet let me deliver them from their sin, though I lose my life, though it cost me my blood, though I be made a Curse, whatsoever it cost me, yet let their sins be washed from them. He hath washed us from our sins, though it cost him his blood. Oh! the Love of Christ to his Saints! what Bonds of Love have we here! I have seen some that they may twist and bind their cords An apt simile. the more fast, they will wet them that so they may close and bind the more. Oh the Cords of the Love of Jesus Christ, are wet with his own blood.

Again, Loved thee, surely his Love hath been great, he 8 Puts loveli­ness upon them. hath put loveliness upon thee, he hath put upon thee his own Nature. If one can say any thing greater than hath been said, this one would think should be very high and great, tor God so love us as to put his own Na­ture into us, to make us partaker of the Divine Nature, so to love us, as to put his own Life into us, to enable us to live the very same life that himself doth live, so to love us as to put his own Image upon us, Oh! this is the Love of God to his Saints.

Again, He loves thee with the very same Love wherewith he 9 Loves them with the love he hath to Christ. Joh. 17. 23. loves Jesus Christ himself; In John 17. about the latter end, That thou maiest love them with the same Love wherewith thou hast loved me, saith Christ to the Father. Oh! to have the same Love that the Father loves Christ withal, Is not this a strong Bond to bind thy heart to God? If God had loved thee only so, as to give thee an estate and honors here in this world, this is no other love but that [Page 83] the Reprobate may have, and will this Love satisfie thee? Oh! the difference between the Love of God to his Saints, and the Love of God to other men! he loves the great ones of the world that are wicked with no other love, but with the love that he loves a Reprobate; but he loves the Saints with the same Love wherewith he loves his Son, and this Love will bring thee one day, to be one with the Father and the Son, and is not here a strong Bond of Love to gain thy hea [...]t to Him­self?

And further, from this it must needs be, that the Lord 10. Hence God delights in his Saints. must delight in Communion with his Saints: and indeed God doth all this for his Saints, puts the Divine Nature into them, and the Life of God, and sets so much Love upon them; why? that he might have a people to en­joy everlasting Communion with him; saith God, I would fain have some Creatures that might live with me, Why God does all the former things for his Saints. to enjoy communion with me, that might live to see my face, and see all the Glory that I intend to manifest to all eternity: Oh blessed God! hast not thou the Angels that are with thee to enjoy thy Glory, to have communi­on with thee? no saith God, but I would have these poor creatures that are so low and mean in the world, I would have them to be raised up to enjoy communion with my self; this is the end of Gods bestowing any Grace upon his Saints, it is that he might raise them to enjoy com­munion with him, and to delight in him, and he to de­light in them, that he might have creatures to commu­nicate the treasures of his goodness too, and that thou mightest communicate what thou art able to him. Sure­ly Christ doth not account himself to be full without his Saints; and therefore you find in Ephes. 1. 23. that Eph. 1. 23. illustrated by Joh. 17. 24 the Church is called, the Fulness of Jesus Christ, and therefore he praies, Father, let them be where I am, I shall not account my self so full except they be with me, and see my Glory. Oh the Love of Jesus Christ to his Saints!

[Page 84] And then further, This Love it sweetens and sanctifies all 11 Gods love sweetens and sanctifies all. for good; thou maiest see Love in every thing, now though thou hast less of the creature than others have, yet thou hast it out of Love; when thou comest home it may be thou hast not so much as others have, perhaps but a piece of bread and smal drink; yea, but I have it out of Love: look upon all thy mercies, and thou mayest see the eternal Love of God to thee in them. They are all sanctified to me for the furtherance of eternal good, the Lord from all eternity did see that such a kind of life was A meditation for afflicted Saints. the best for me to further the eternal good he intended for me, and therefore he hath disposed of me to this con­dition rather than another condition. Oh! how sweet may the life of a man or woman be when as they can rea­son after this manner, Well, this condition that now I am in, the Lord from eternity saw the fittest condition to work my heart to himself, and therefore it is that I am in this estate rather than another. And then Love; thou findest daily by experience, how hath the Lord helped thee in thy straights, and heard thee in thy prayers, and answered thy desires. This I told you in the opening of the text was a fruit of Love to the people of Israel, and so it hath been with thee.

And this love is very strange too, for though the Lord 12. Gods love o­vercomes all our unwor­thiness (both before & after conversion) which he foresaw. did forsee all thy weakness, and all thy unbeseeming car­riages, thy unworthines, &c. yea, the Lord did not on­ly foresee what thou wouldest be before he did manifest love, but he did forsee how thou wouldst walk unworthy of his love after it was manifested to thee, and though he forsaw all this, yet still his love was not quenched to­wards thee, but saith the Lord, My love shal break tho­row all this. Many times you set your love upon some, and they prove untoward, and unworthy, and you think with your selves, Could I have but foreseen this unto­wardness they should never have had my love: but now the Lord did foresee al thy il requitals, and yet it did not [Page 85] hinder the love of God towards thee.

And then further, In the love of God there is the love 13 Gods love hath in it the love of all re­lations. of all relations. As now, The love of a father towards a child: the Lord takes upon him the relation of a fa­ther, and the love of a husband; the Lord takes upon him the relation of a husband, and the love of a friend too, that's sweet.

And then, that that crowns all it is this, That it is an 14 An everlast­ing and un­changable love. Zeph. 3. 17. Jer. 3. 13. 2 Thess. 2. 16. abiding love, an everlasting love, a love that shall never be quenched: He that the Lord loves, he loves unto the end, he will rest in his love, Zeph. 3. 17. Jer. 31. 3. 2 Thess. 2. 16. If thou knowest that he hath loved thee in his Son, thou hast hereby an everlasting consolation; let Heaven and Earth meet together, let there be what changes and al­terations there will, yet there is everlasting consolation for thee, if thou knewest but this love of God.

Now my brethren, all this I have done to that end, that your hearts may be gained unto God; And what Application. wilt thou do now? Wilt not thou now love the Lord thy God? shal not al this love of God to thee in Christ con­strain thee? The love of Christ constrains me, saith the Apo­stle. Oh! love the Lord, all ye Saints; if the Lord hath 2 Cor. 5. 14. thus loved you, love ye the Lord all you his Saints. Then God is Love himself, he is the Element of Love; And whither should love go but up to the Element? Air it de­sires to be in its proper place; and Earth will descend to God the Ele­ment of Love its proper place: the proper place of Love, is God, God is (as it were) the Element of Love, for so the Scripture saith, God is Love: And he that dwels in God, dwels in love. 1 Joh. 4. 16. Oh labor to be rooted and stablished in love. in Ephes. 3. 17. Being rooted and stablished in love, you may be able to com­prehend Eph. 3. 17, 18, 19. with all Saints, what is the length, and breadth, and depth, and heighth, and to know the love of Christ, which pas­seth knowledg. Being rooted in love, thereby ye come to comprehend with all Saints, the breadth, and length, and depth, and heigth, and to know the love of Christ, [Page 86] which passeth knowledge. It is not the strength of na­tural parts, Learning doth not so much teach us what the length, and heighth, and depth of the love of Christ is, as Love, get but your hearts rooted in Love, and you wil come to understand the glorious things of the Gospel in another manner than ever you did. And mark what fol­lows: That you might be filled with all the fulness of God. Had The rarity of the expression in Eph. 3. 19. we not such an expression in Scripture, we should not dare to make use of it; What, for a poor creature to be filled with God, to be filled with the fulness of God, to be filled with all the sulness of God! This is the reason why Christians are so scant in their obedience, and emp­ty in their spirits, because they are not acquainted with Why Christi­ans ar so scant in their obe­dience, and empty in their spirits. Cant. 7. 12. noted. God regards nothing but love. Our love should be eminent to­ward Christ Minus te [...] Deus diligit, qui prae­ter te aliquid diligit qui pro­pter te non di­liget. August. Confess. this breadth, and length, and depth, and heighth of the love of Christ: Oh know, that God prizes thy love, and he is satisfied with nothing but thy love; in Cant. 7. 12. There will I give thee my loves, saith the Spouse. When thou comest to the Ordinances, to hear the Word, receive Sacraments, or Prayer, yet if thou comest not to give the Lord Christ thy loves, it is nothing; There will I give thee my loves. Oh! Christ prizes love at an high rate: and that love that will serve for other things, certainly will not serve Christ. He loves thee too little (saith Augustan) that loves any thing besides thee, who loves not that thing for thee. You may love Wife, and Children, and Friends, yea, but you must love them all for God; when you see any thing lovely in Husband, or Wife, or children, or Friends, yea, but think this is but a beam of the love­liness of God. And thus I have endeavored now to raise your hearts to God by Love; the Lord hath cast Bonds of Love upon your souls, On! that by the Ministry of his Word this day these Bonds may be somewhat streng­thened, that you may feel some strength in these Bonds, that you may go away with your hearts more strongly united to the Love of God than ever. [Page 87] I drew them with the Cords of a man, With Bonds of Love, and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their Jaws, and I laid meat unto them.’

Part of the last Sermon it was spent in opening unto you these Bonds of Love. And shewing,

First, What were the Bonds of Gods Love towards the people of Israel, the several expressions of Gods Love to them in several particulars. And shewed you how that all those that had to deal with men to draw them to God should do as God doth, labor to draw them with Bonds of Love? I have especially directed my self unto the Saints of God, and shewed to them what bonds of of Love God hath laid upon their hearts to draw them to himself. I have not applied this point generally yet; for indeed one principal Bond of the Love of God to­wards the Nation will follow in the words after; But certainly the Lord hath sought to draw this Nation to himself with Bonds of Love. We may say concerning Gods special love to Engl. God, he hath loved this Nation: Loved it. It was the first Nation that ever received Jesus Christ by the counte­nance 1. of publick Authority, of the Supream Authority in the Nation.

And when Antichrist had darkned the light of the 2. Gospel here, the bowels of Gods Compassions yerned towards it, and God wrought wonderfully to deliver this Nation from Antichristian Tyrannie.

Moreover; The Lord hath not sent the light and po­wer 3. of the Gospel to any Nation under Heaven more ful­ly; nay, without prejudice to any other we may say not so fully as to this Nation; though there are many of the Saints of God else where, yet in no place under Heaven hath God more, yea, so many Saints; (I might almost say, put all the Nations of the earth together) so many that know him so fully, and have that power of godli­ness [Page 88] in the worshiping of him, as here in this Nation. Oh! the Bonds of Love that are upon us!

Yea, If we look upon our outward mercies, those li­berties that we enjoy, there's scarce any Nation that 4. hath the Commonalty of the people that live like men in comparison of ours; for the most part of all the Nati­ons in the world, the generality of people are like slaves rather than any Free-men, their Governors rule over them with Tyranny; but here the Common people have Liberties, and God works mightily for them, for the vindicating of the Liberties, that they have both for their bodies and outward estates, and their souls likewise, and Oh! the Love that God hath shewn unto us of late in working so miraculously for us as he hath done!

But there is one point more observable in these Bonds 5. of Love that God draws people unto himself by.

The scope of the Prophet here in mentioning these Bonds of Love, it is to aggravate their sin, from whence The scope of the Text. there is this:

That there's nothing more aggravates sin than that it is against Obs. 4. Love. God hath Three Bonds to bind us to Obedi­ence.

There's the Bond of his Law.

And the Bonds of Afflictions. Three sorts of Gods Bonds.

And the Bonds of Love.

But now to break all these Bonds, The Bonds of the Commandements, and the Bonds of Afflictions, and Bonds of Love too, this aggravates sin very much.

Oh charge thy sin with this aggravation, Oh thou sinner! What against such a God, such Love, Oh what Use. a vile heart have I! Saith Augustin, Oh 'tis too hard a spi­rit; Ni [...] durus est animus, qui a­more & si nole­bat impendere, noltt rependare. August. that though it will not bestow Love, yet it will not requite Love. O! let not there be such a hardness in the Spirits of the Saints. Thou didest not begin with God to love, thou didest not begin to bestow Love; be not so hard to­wards God as not to requite Love. Do not we see how [Page 89] base Love can gain upon mens hearts, adulterous love, Adulterous love. Gifts. what strong bonds that love is, the giving of gifts and bribes, what bonds they are to tie mens harts, their hands and tongues! and shall not the Love of God and the fruits of that be a stronger Bond to tie thy heart unto him? Nothing goes more to the heart of Man of God than the abuse of Love: A man can better bear the a­buse of his mony, the abuse of any thing he doth, or hath, than the abuse of his Love: Gods Spirit is grieved with his Saints: we do not reade that the Spirit of God is grieved with the Wicked, God may be angry with the wicked every day, but not grieved, but when the Saints sin against him the Spirit of God is grieved, because their The Spirit grieved only by the Saints. sins are against Love; when thou sinnest against God the Lord looks upon thee, as Caesar once upon Brutus; What, thou my Son! What, thou whom I have so loved! What, [...] break all those bonds. When we reade in the second Psal. of the Kings and Princes of the Earth, that said, Let us break their Bonds asunder, and cast away their Cords from us, We think that's great Rebellion; but for thou that pro­fessest thy self to be Gods, it's a greater evil to break these bonds of Love; Oh! thou my Son, my Child, thou whom I have bestowed so much Love upon, yet thou to sin against me, when thou art committing of any evil, A meditation for a Saint a­bout to sin. conceive with thy self as if God were looking upon thee, and pleading with thee, by all those fruits of his love that ever thou hast received from him, and wilt thou yet sin against him for all this? We reade in Mark 14. 72. Mark. 14. 72. when Peter had sinned, Christ did but look upon him, and he wept bitterly; Oh! Peter saw love in the looks of Jesus Christ, and therefore we know after when Christ came to him, he pleaded with him with this argument of love, Doest thou love me? and doest thou love me? Oh! when he saw the eyes of Christ so sparkling of love, and then considered that he had sinned against that Christ that had so loved him, broke all those bonds of love, [Page 90] then he went out, and wept bitterly; the word is in Mark 14. 72. [...], He did break out in weeping. [...]. Erupisset. Beza. Ovelatione ca­pitis: he co­vered his head as Marriners use to do. Theophylact. For so it may signifie, that force that there is in doing any thing, to lay a force upon ones self to do a thing, He did break out, break out in weeping, he was not able to bear it, his heart burst even in sunder, when he conside­red how he had burst asunder the bonds of Love. Oh that after such manifestations of Mercy and goodness, such warmings of heart in Communion with Jesus Christ, what thou, Oh my soul! what, canst thou find in any waies like Gods waies? canst thou find the like love and the like sweetness in any as thou hast done in God, yet for all this unkind, unloving dealings, God follows thee with Love, his heart is yet open unto thee; As a man that goes from the Sun yet he hath the warm beams of the Sun that follows him, and doth warm him; Simile. so the hearts of the Saints do many times go from God, decline from him, yet they have the warm beams of Love that follows after them to draw their hearts again to him; Oh! return, return into this bosom of infinite Love, here thy soul may have everlasting imbracings. ‘And I was to them, as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.’

Here's a fruit of Love in delivering them from their bondage; as a Husband-man who is merciful to his beast he will not tire it too much with hard labor, but takes Simile. off the yoke, lifts up the yoke with his hands and gives it food; so did I saith God, I did not tire Epbraim with labor and servitude. When you were in Egypt, and often afterwards when under your enemies yokes, I freed you from your bondage; as the Husband-man when the beast hath been plowing and begins to be hot lists the yoke up to cool the neck that the beast may refresh its self. [Page 91] From their jaws.’

Because of some Instruments, some bridle that was Expos. fastened to the yoke that was on their neck and put into their jaws. Therefore there's this phrase, Lifting up the yoke from their jaws.

Luther upon the place understands this of that spiritu­al Luther. ease that there is in the yoke of Jesus Christ: so saith he, The Lord by his Spirit doth help us to obey; he doth not only command, and tel us what to obey, but assists us with his Spirit, and gives us power, and lifts up the yoke, and bears it together himself with us, and hence Christ tells us that his yoke is easie, and his burden is light. Indeed it's an easie yoke in comparison of the Law, the Law saith, Do this, and live; do not, and die: the Law takes advantage upon every infirmity, It ad­mits not of endeavors without performances, It gives no strength to what it commands; Oh! but the yoke of No cōmand in the Gospel without a promise. Simile. Christ is easie, Christ continues strength; there's never a Command without a promise to give strength; As an artery that runs together with the veins. And Christ accepts of endeavors, Oh! the yoke of the Gospel is far easier than the yoke of the Law.

So, I have taken off the yoke.] We must not think this too far fetcht, because we find that the holy Ghost in the new Testament interprets the beginning of this chap­ter concerning Christ, that we would never have thought to have been meant of Christ; I called my Son out of Egypt. I opened there how this was to be understood of Christ. Now if so be that God had an eye to Christ, when he said, I have called my Son out of Egypt: why should we not think that there might be an eye to Christ in this, when he saith, I took the yoke from off their Jaws; I delive­red them from the yoke that neither they, nor their fathers could bear; and I brought a more easie yoke of the Gospel up­on them.

[Page 92] But though the holy Ghost had an eye to this, yet that that is firstly and litterally meant, it is, the delive­rance from oppression, I delivered them from the oppressions that were upon them. From whence then the Observation is this,

First, That deliverance from oppression is a great mercy. Oh! Obs. 1 Deliverance from Oppres­sion a great mercy. Levit. 26. 13. what ease is there in it! Oh! how doth it cool our necks! In Levit. 26. 13. I have broken the bonds of your yoke, and made you go upright. There was a time that we had heavie yokes upon us, that made us stoop, we stoop'd under them, but through Gods mercy these bonds of our yokes are in a good measure broken, that we may go up­right, and wo to us, if we go not upright now. In Ezek. 34. 27. They shall know that I am the Lord, when I have bro­ken Ezek. 34. 27. the bonds of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. My brethren, If ever God manifested himself to be the Lord towards us, it hath been in breaking the bonds of our yoke, of the yokes that were upon us, and in delivering us from those who served themselves of us; we were under a proud and cru­el generation of men, that minded themselves, and car'd not what became of the Consciences, of the Estates, Li­berties, and Lives of men, so be it that they could have their humors, their lusts served upon us; and what means could we see for the deliverance of our selves from their yoke? But the Lord hath appeared; and then saith the text, They shall know that I am the Lord; If we Expounded. did not know that God was the Lord before, yet now we may know him; and the truth is, such hath been the wonderful works of God towards us in the breaking of our yokes, that it were enough to convince an Atheist me thinks; those of you that have been heretofore trou­bled with temptations of Atheism, The strange waies of God towards this Nation in freeing of us from those A cure for A­theistical thoughts. yokes that have been upon us, may convince you of a God, may make you say, Surely there is a God in Heaven that [Page 93] beholds the waies of the children of men, the Lord is God; Then shall you know that I am the Lord.

Oh! that upon the manifestation of God in this way of mercy, we may come to know that God is the Lord, the Lord might have forced us to have known that he was the Lord, by laying more grievous yokes upon us, by bringing us under more dreadful evils than ever yet we were, but the Lord hath rather been pleased to chuse a way to make us to know that he is the Lord, by taking our yokes off from us. This God hath done.

The Second Observation is from the Scope that the Prophet brings this for, which is, to aggravate their sin so much the more; as if he should say, I have taken off the yoke from your jaws, and yet now you are wanton and kick and spurn with the heel against me. From whence Note;

That to grow wanton, to abuse our ease, when God is pleased Obs. 2. To grow wanton after deliverance from yokes is very sinful. to deliver us from yokes, is very sinful, a very great evil. What now when we come to have a little libertie more than we had before, to be freed from that yoke and bondage that we were in, and begin to feel our necks freed of those yokes that were before upon them, What! now to begin to frisk, and spurn, and kick, and against God Himself, that hath taken the yoke from off us, Oh! this is very dreadful. What, to abuse our libertie that we have from our bondage, to all manner of licentiousness in hor­rid and wanton Opinions, in wicked and abominable practises; certainly this is an ill requittal of this fruit of Love, in lifting up the yoke from off our jaws. This is a very great evil which we are this day guilty of; if ever there were a people guilty of this evil, of kicking and spurning against God so soon as he hath taken off the Englands sin. yoke from their jaws, than we are at this day: Could any have beleeved that if it had been revealed from Hea­ven, but Six years since, That within six years this People of England should be delivered from those sore yokes that [Page 94] they cried to Heaven because of the burden of them, and the Lord would work in a miraculous way to deliver them; but upon their deliverance there shal be such wan­tonness, such horrid, blasphemous opinions, and wicked licentious waies, yea, that those that make profession of Religion shall be guilty of, presently upon the taking off of their yoke, Could it have been beleev'd? Certain­ly if our forefathers that were under the yoke, that were godly, and cried to God for deliverance, if they should rise out of their graves now, and assoon as ever they were risen out, ye should make a full Narration of all that Li­bertie that God hath granted to his people in England, in the breaking of all that yoke of Tyrannie in the Civil State, and the yoke of Tyrannie in the Ecclesiastical State, they would presently think that they should see wonder­ful glorious effects of this in England; but if within a month or two after they should have conversed with men they should hear of such monstrous opinions, they should see the extream licentiousness and wantonness in the hearts of men, expressed in their waies, Oh! they would be ready to spit in the very faces of their children, of those that now live in such times as these are. The wan­tonness The Evils of licentiousness after delive­rance. and licentiousness of men hearts in abusing of our freedom from our yokes, it's very evil in these Re­spects:

First, Because this hardens the hearts of former Op­pressors: 1 It hardens our Adversaries Our former Oppressors, our Prelats and others, will not they say, (or do not you give them occasion to say) Now you see what is the fruit of casting of us out, Was there such wantonness before? were there such hor­rid Opinions before when we had power? We kept down all such things, we could easily curb these, when we had power; but you see what extravegancies there are, how men run wild assoon as our power is taken from us. By this means they are hardened: And others that are of Prelatical spirits, they are hardoned, and begin to [Page 95] think surely the other way is the better way; and in­deed Suppression of Errors by vi­olence no ar­gument of the truth of Church-go­vernment. [Omnes licentiâ deteriores su­mus] if this be a good argument, That the keeping men in union, and the keeping down errors by violence shall prove the truth of any way, or of any Government, it may as well prove Prelatical, as any other, for we know that they kept men from venting of such notorious er­rors by violence; but shall we, because there is not this violence upon us, shall be more erronious, and more wan­ton in our spirits?

Secondly, This wantonness and abuse of our Liberty, 2 It obscures the work of God. and licentiousness, it darkens the glory of this great work of God in our deliverance; the Lord hath been pleased to magnifie his Name in the deliverance of these Kingdoms from the yoke; Now what should be the care of all the people of God, but to seek to magnifie the great work of God, to make it beautiful and glorious before the eyes of all? But now by this wantonness and licentiousness men do darken the Glory of God, they take off the lustre and beauty of it, Psal. 149. 4. the Lord there promises, to beautifie the meek with salvation, He Psal. 149. 4. enlightned. will beautifie them with salvation: now the Lord hath wrought so towards us as to beautifie us with salvation, and indeed there is a great beautie upon the work of sal­vation that he hath wrought; but this doth (I say) dar­ken the Glory of God, and it takes away the beauty of the work of God in our salvation; What, hath God done all this for us, that men might turn wanton and run w [...]ld into monsterous opinions, and blasphemies? Oh! wo to thee that thou shouldest live in such a genera­tion as this is, how unfit art thou to live in such a time as this is to darken the glory of such a glorious work as God hath wrought for us here in England!

Thirdly, By abusing our liberties from our yokes, you 3 Deprives o­thers of just liberty. do wrong others, wrong those who are wise, and holy, and peaceable, and you make them to be denied that li­berty that otherwise they might have. It is for your sakes [Page 96] who are so wanton and run so wild in opinions, and in the loosness of your lives, that (I say) those that are o­therwise discreet, wise, and holy, and peaceable, and that would make use of what liberty Christ would have given to his people, they must be denied it for your sakes, it will be upon your account one day, what ever denial they have of that liberty that they would use in a gracious and peaceable way for the honor of God (I Which wil be charged on the ocasioners of it. say) you must answer for it one day, for 'tis your wild­ness that is the cause of it.

Yea Fourthly, This wildness, and loosness, and abuse of deliverance from bondage, it will be the means to 4 It [...]a [...] bring the yoke on again. bring others to be under greater yokes again, it were just with God (at least) that it should be so.

Yea, It might make any that have but any Civility, or Morality in them, to think that they shall do God 5 It justly pro­vokes men a­gainst liberty. good service in yoking these men in another way than ever they were yok'd, (I say) it might make them to think that they do God good service when they see the Name of God dishonored, and Religion so abused; I say, by this means they may come to think it would be a good service to God to lay yokes upon such kind of men as these are. If ever, instead of the great strings that have tide yokes upon you, you should have lesser strings, if you should have them multiplied to tie yokes upon you, yet thank your selves, you are the cause of it, in Lament. 1. 14. The yoke of my transgression is bound by Lam. 1. 14. his hand: The Lord may justly bind the yoke of your transgressions upon you; Oh! that God would hum­ble us for the abuse of our libertie of the freedom from our yokes, Oh let us take heed of this, and say with our selves, Surely this is not the use that we should make of What use we should make of our liberty. our deliverance from our yokes; no, but rather this use, we will rather so much the more willingly take the yoke of Jesus Christ upon us: In Exod. 12. 25. after the Exod. 12. 25. people of Israel were delivered from the yoke of Egyptian [Page 97] bondage, presently upon it, Thou shalt keep this service (speaking of the passeover that was to be kept upon their deliverance from Egypt) Thou shalt keep this service. The word that is there, Service, it is the same that is used som­times [...] for their Service and Bondage under the Egyptians; as if the Lord should say, You were once in Service in­deed, there was a Service that the Egyptians requir'd of you, a servile Service it was, and your necks were under illustrated. it, now I'le work thus miraculously to deliver you from that servility that you were under, and now you shall keep this Service, Oh my service is a great deal better than the service under your Enemies. And indeed this should be the use, we were slaves to our Adversaries, let us be willing now, seeing we are free men, to be ser­vants of Jesus Christ, and to take his yoke; but the gro­wing wanton upon the taking off our yoke, is a great ag­gravation of Sin.

But further, As it is a very great evil to grow wanton Obs. 3. Oppression of others after deliverance from oppres­sion, a crying sin. Deut. 28. 48. when we are delivered from our yokes; so certainly to oppress one another after we are delivered from oppression must needs be a great evil likewise. In Deut. 28. 48. (but that belongs to the former Note that we should serve God with the strength that before was spent in serving our Enemies.) Because thou servedst not the Lord with joyfulness and gladness of heart, therefore shalt thou serve thine Enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger and in thirst, and in naked­ness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of Iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.

But surely, If this be a mercy that we should bless God for, That we are delivered from the yokes of men, and the abuse of it in our wantonness be great; Then this must needs be greater, That we should fall upon laying yokes one upon another. If it be the mercy of God to take off your yokes, we should seek to take off yokes from our Brethren, and to make their waies to be as ea­sie to them as possibly we can, not to seek waies to pinch [Page 98] their consciences; Conscience oppression of all opp [...]ssi­ons Conscience oppression the most grievous is the worst, There was heretofore a generation of men who studied what would pinch conscience most, and that that they found would most pinch conscience, that they would urge to the uttermost upon men; this was devilish; I hope we have not many so vile as these What States­men should consider in imposing things. Object. were. But you should consider what though such and such opinions and waies will serve my turn, will they not be burdens to others?

Well, but though they be burdens, if they be truths, why should they not be urged?

Nay, Suppose they be truths, yet except they be ne­cessary, Answ. Such Truths as are not of necessity, not to be imposed let not men be instrumental in imposing them upon them: If there be a necessity then there's no plea, but some men are so happy (if I may so call it) as that they have a latitude in their judgements, that which way soever the times turn they can find out a distinction Men of lati­tude in judg­ment. to help themselves, that so their fair necks should never come under a yoke, so it fals out that alwaies their judgments sutes with the times.

I will not condemn these men, for possibly it may be God gives them to see further than others do, but yet, by this they have ease: but now were these men ingenuous, they should consider their brethren thus. I have a Lati­tude, and I could go along with the countenance of the times as they were before, the former times, and now the times are changed, I can go in these times too; But some A meditation for such: And necessary at this time. others whom I have reason to judge, as faithful, as gracious as my self, they have no such latitude, it falls out unhappily for them, for in former times their judg­ments could not suffer them to do what was enjoyned them, they were fain to suffer and to be deprived of e­states and livings and whatsoever they had; well, now the times are changed, it falls out so that their judgments cannot sute now neither with these times, and yet surely it is not through frowardness, nor through perversness, [Page 99] for take these men in all things else, I find them as con­sciencious, as spiritual as my self, Alas! must they now suffer, and shal I ad to their afflictions? shall my hand be used to lay the yoke on them & to press it hard? God forbid, I'le rather study, though I will not bauk any truth, I'le stand to defend what ever I am perswaded in my conscience is a truth, yet I'le study what possibly I can to ease them, and to make their lives as comfortable to them as I can; I know God hath given them ability and hearts to do him service, and it may be as much as I, Oh! why should they be hindered and discouraged in their work? I'le study what latitude there may be for them: This were somewhat like, Oh! this were inge­nuity indeed, this would savor of a good spirit indeed, This would be a good testimony of your thankfulness unto God for breaking off the yokes that were upon you: My brethren when our yokes are taken away, or lifted up we must have regard to others as well as our selves, and not think or say, let them bear, let their necks bear; Oh no, what are our necks more than theirs? If God pities his people and will lift up the yoke, let us do what we can to put under our hand although we bear somewhat our selves. Some men they glory in imposing upon o­thers; but it is the Glory of God to take off the yoke from the Jaws of others, and from their necks, that's his Glory; 'tis not such a glorious thing to lay yokes upon others, but the glory is in lifting up the yoke from them. Christ professes his yoke is easie, his burden light; Oh! let not ours be hard and heavy then, If Christs be easie; and especially in these daies of our Fasting and Prayer, Oh! let us be verie careful to lift up the yoke from our brethren as much as possibly we can without sin, Isa. 58. Isa. 58. 6. 9. 6. Is not this the Fast (saith God) that I have chosen, To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is not this the fast that I have chosen, that ye break everie yoke [Page 100] &c. and in the 9. verse, Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; Thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am: If thou take from the midst of thee the yoke. Still mark how God urges this, when you come to fast; Is this the Fast that I require, to do thus and thus? no saith he, but to undo the burden, and to let the oppressed go free, to break e­very yoke: and again, if you shall do so, Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and be shall say, Here I am. God stands much upon this in the daies of our fasting, that we lay no burdens and yokes upon our brethren; but that we do possibly what we can to take off yokes, that we may be able to appeal to God, Lord, We should make the lives of Be­leevers com­fortable. thou knowest that I do what possibly I can, and I pray that thou wouldest direct me to do any thing to make the lives of those that I beleeve to be faithful and conscienci­ous to be comfortable to them.

This is not to let liberty to all licentiousness and blas­phemy In what things we should bear with our brethren. whatsoever, but when I see that such and such things are no other but that may stand with Godliness, and godlie and peaceable men may have many doubts a­mong them, and especially seeing I hold this now of late, and did not see it heretofore as now I do, I will do And why. possibly what I can with a good conscience that my bre­thren may enjoy thy Ordinances in what liberty thou wilt afford unto them, this savours like the Spirit of a Christian indeed.

And likewise you that are Governors, seeing God ac­count; Use. To Ma­gistrates and Governors of families. it his Glory to take off the yoke from his people, Oh! be you tender towards them that are under you; as Majestrates, so all Governors, Parents, and Brethren, and Neighbors, not to lay too heavie yokes upon Chil­dren and Servants; Fathers provoke not your Children to wrath, and Masters they should be gentle towards them that are under them, knowing they have also a Ma­ster, and therefore give them what libertie may be with­out sin, even outward libertie, not to keep them continu­ally [Page 101] at work, but some times of recreation, some times Times of Recreation to be permitted to servants. 1. It would drown the memory of the superstiti­ous Holydays. 2. It would forward the sanctification of the Sab­bath. of refreshment, it's true, your Holy-daies are taken a­ken away, but surely there was no such way and means to bury them in Oblivion that they should never be thought of again, then to have some set times for Ser­vants, and Children to have their recreation; It were the only way to keep the Sabbath pure, for if they have it not in the week day, they will have it on the Sabbath, or otherwise they will keep up that which they were wont to have in their former Holy daies. The beast must not alwaies be plowing, sometimes the yoke must be lifted up, and must have some refreshing. It follows. ‘I laid meat unto them. Expos.

Luther. I so wrought for them, as they should eat their meat Faciam eos ede­re quietè. Luth. quietly: as if he should say, You did not provide for your selves your meat, I prepared it for you, and came and laid it before you; thus God laid meat before them when he rained Manna from Heaven; when the Quails were he provided it. Whence observe:

Mercies prepared, and provided for, laid before us, are to be prized: When we come to have a mercy, I say, that did Obs. 1. not cost us much, when it is prepared and set before us, this is to be prized.

How many of you have all your mercies prepared for you! When you go abroad about business, now you take Use. To the Rich. no care for provision at home in your families, you do but dress you, and go abroad, it may be to a Ser­mon, or other company, and return home again; you have your Tables spread, and find full Dishes upon your Tables without any care of yours, it's all prepared for you. Oh! consider of the mercies of God towards you in this thing. Whenas many poor people they are fain before they can get bread, to be working hard to prepare food for their families, their wives and children; but the [Page 102] Lord laiet meat before you. God is to be acknowledged in this.

The propriety of the word is, I made it to descend, it came down from Heaven, it was neither too high nor too [...] a [...] descendere ferit low, but it came just to you, fitted for you; which tea­ches us thus much:

In the receiving of our food, we must look up to Heaven, we are more beholden to the Heavens than to the Earth for Obs. 2. our bread; God is to be acknowledged, in that he satis­fies the poor with bread, yea, and that he satisfies the rich with bread; you that are the richest of all, you are to see how it comes from Heaven; I made it to descend. I say, our very food we should look from whence it doth descend, it doth descend from Heaven; lift up thine eyes to Heaven when as thou art eating meat, be not as the Swine under the Tree that looks downward to the Ac­horns, but never upwards towards the branches of the Tree from whence the Achorns fall; but look up to Heaven from whence thy meat and provision did de­scend. ‘I took off their yoke, and I laid meat unto them.’

I made their service easie, and I made their provision comfor­table. It's quite otherwise with many ridged and cruel Obs. 3. Governors, they make the service of those that are under them hard, but their provision to be very scant, quite contrary. The service of Gods people is easie, and their Use to Hard Masters. provision is bountiful: Now the service of your servants is hard, and your provision is very penurious, you would have your servants to do your hard labor, and yet pro­vide little food for them; Oh this is a baser cruelty than any, to put their servants to hard labor, and yet not to provide comfortably for them for their food.

But my brethren, the main thing that I would note from hence, is;

How great the Mercies of God is to us, who hath eased Use. 2. [Page 103] our yoke this day, and laid meat before us too; my bre­thren, who would have thought four years since, that there should be Civil Wars for almost four years together in our Land? and such cruel bloudy Wars, and so over­spreading the Kingdom as they have, and that yet we should at this day have provision so plentiful as we have? Did not all say, even at the first year when the Wars be­gan, Surely things would be very scarce? many began to lay in Corn and other provision, and we had cause enough to have feared it; but behold the bountifulness of the love of God, that hath eased our yokes, and hath laid meat before us, that the poor is satisfied with bread, there is no complainings in our streets; we have not on­ly our bread, but our Tables fi'ld; What difference do you see upon the Tables of men now from that they were in former times? If a stranger should come into this Kingdom, hearing what miserable Wars there hath been, as bloody and cruel as in any Kingdom, and yet come to see every mans Table so fill'd, he could not but stand and wonder; Certainly strangers think our condition to be far more sad in respect of provision than it is; let's not be wanton with our plenty: we were wont to say, if we might have but Bread and Cheese and the Gospel it were good cheer. Now my brethren we have outward food, and the Bread of life too. What, Is this sweet, to be freed from outward bondage, and to have meat laid before us? how sweet is it then to be freed from spiritual bondage, and to have the food of life laid before us? yet this is our condition. Our blessing is specially in having our spiritual yokes taken off from us, and having the Bread of Life laid before us in a more plentiful measure then ever we had; Was there ever a time that this City The misery of other pla­ces, cy. mer had so much meat laid before it for the soul as at this day? the misery of other parts of the Kingdom is your mercie; the Lord grant that you do not loath your Manna, and despise it, God hath waies enough to cut you short.

VER. 5.

He shall not return into the Land of Egypt, but the As­syrian shall be his King; because they refused to re­turn.

He shall not return.

TO give you first a short paraphrase of the words, 1. for there's no difficulty in them, and then the Notes of Observation. It is,

As if the Prophet should say: Howsoever he thinks to help himself with ease, to shelter himself there, yet The Text pa­raphrased. he shall not, but he shall go into Captivity into Assyria, for all means that have been used would not bring him to return. So then the Observations:

First, That which hardens mens hearts against threats in Obs. 1. their sin, is some shifts that they have in their thoughts; let the worst come that can be, yet I have such a relief.

My Brethren, it's a great mercy of God to take mens Use. A great mer­cy to be tho­rowly taken off from car­nal props. spirits off from all their vain shifts and hopes, so as to be throughly convinced that there's no help in any thing, in the creature, in Heaven and Earth, but only in my turning to God, and casting my soul down before Mer­cy; if that saves me not; I am undone for ever: when the heart comes to this, (I say) God is in a gracious and merciful way working, I see my sin, my affliction that is upon me, and feel it, though my heart would be shif­ting this way and that way, yet God hath convinc'd me, nothing can do me good, but I am lost and undone, what ever course I take, except I return to God, and hum­ble my soul before him, and seek his face, and obtain meroie from him

Secondly, He shall not return to Egypt. 2.

It was a verie strange perverseness to think of this shift, to go back to Egypt, why was not Egypt the place of his [Page 105] bondage, and the Egyptians still retained their cruelty, and yet they thought of this help that they would turn to Egypt rather than to God.

From whence the Observation is, A stout heart cares Obs. 2. not whither it goes, rather than it will return to God. As the Prodigal will rather go to the Swine to feed upon husks, than to his father; like some stout children, they care not what miseries they suffer rather than they will come and humble themselves to their parents, They will hang themselves, and drown themselves, and seek their fortune (as they use to say) rather than be perswaded to come in and submit themselves; No, never as long as they live, though they die, yet they will not, and thus their hearts are stout, and while they think they are stout a­gainst their parents they are stout against God too, yet God hath waies to bring mens stout hearts to yeeld.

Thirdly, A stubborn heart though God be in any way of mercy, God calling them to waies of mercy, yet if any thing Obs. 3. crosses them they will foolishly and desperately wish their return to their former condition of misery. If you make any thing that God doth, an argument to a stubborn heart for du­ty, if it pleases him not, he will reject all that's done for him and say, he had rather be as he was before, let me go into Egypt again; stubborn hearts if they meet with any cross in their way, this is their unthankfulness, that because they are vext and crost in some one thing they will (I say) foolishly and desperately wish that they were in the the condition that heretofore they have been in.

Oh! thus it is with many of us, how foolishly, how Use for England. wickedly have we thought and said it was better with us heretofore then now, let us return to our former con­dition! This is thy folly and thy desperat wickedness; But saith the text, He shall not return, though he thinks of returning; as if the holy Ghost should say, do not please your selves to think it is but to return to Egypt, [Page 106] you cannot be worse than now you are, for God hath worser things for you.

And my brethren, this is our case this day, let not us think of returning to our former condition, certainly if we should take such a course to return to our former condition, we should be far worse than we were before, our danger would be far greater; this is certain, to the view of any men that have their eyes open, that our con­dition Englands con­dition must be far worse, if it think of returning. in England must either be far better than it was, or far worse than it was: There's many say, Oh! we were thus and thus in former times, and if we were but as we were, we should do well enough; Oh! let's not think of that, we must certainly either be far better, or far worse than we were, for if we think of returning it will not be to Egypt, but to Assyria, which will be worse.

The Fourth Note is this, God knows how to cross wicked Obs. 4. men of their wills, to spoil them of their plots; they please themselves with this and the other thing, they will do thus and thus, if they be put to this shift then they have a second, and a third, yea, but there's a God in Heaven that hath determined otherwise.

Never were wicked men more cross in their plots than they are at this day; They have said, that they would do thus and thus, but God hath said they should not, and they have not done it.

Now God in his Mercy crosses his people of their wills that are set upon sin; but when the wicked are crost up­on their sin, it is, because God hath other waies to bring about greater evils to them, To bring them to Assyria. Well then, whatsoever any mans thoughts and desires are, the Lord deliver us from turning into Egypt again. And likewise the Lord grant the Assyrian may not be our King. It follows. [Page 107] The Assyrian shall be his King.’

The Lord deliver us from both, That an Assyrian may not be our King. Why an Assyrian? why was he threat­ned Who the As­syrian was. to be their King? You shall find that he was one of a cruel stout heart, an hard heart, and a proud heart, the Assyrians were so; They were a generation of men of cruel, proud, stout, hard-hearted men. Isa. 10. 5. Oh Isa. 10. 5. 7. 12. Assyrian! the rod of mine anger, saith God, and in the 7. verse, It is in his heart to destroy, saith God, of the King of Assyria: and in the 12. verse, When the Lord hath performed his whol work upon Mount Zion, and on Jerusalem; I will pu­nish the fruit of the stout heart of the King of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. Oh! 'tis a sore evil to be put un­der the rage of a proud and a stout hearted man, who will set his heart against God himself, who though God A Character of a stout heart. fights against him, yet will stand it out, though his de­sign is crost yet he will not come in, he will not give glo­ry to God though his will cost him the blood of many thousands, yet he goes desperatly on, he regards more his own will and lusts than the blood or lives of milli­ons. For people to have such a stout heart, armed with power, raised with pride, enraged with cruelty to reign over them, how sad and dreadful condition are those in? This is that the Lord threatens here; and why? Because they refused to return.

I beseech you observe this; saith he, They shall not re­turn to Egypt, but the King of Assyria shall reign over them; because they refused to return. From whence the Observa­tion is this.

If we will not do Gods will, God will cross us of our own. Obs. 1. They would have their will, they would return, but they shall not saith God, for they will not return to me, therefore they shall not return whither they will them­selves. God can cross us in our own wills at every turn. [Page 108] Foolish men who will presume to cross God in his will, when God hath them at such infinite advantages to cross them every way in every thing! If you cross God in that he delights in, you may expect God will cross you in that you most delight in.

Oh! when you are crost in your minds in any thing Use. that you have set your thoughts and heart most upon, reflect upon your own hearts and think thus; Have not I crost God in his mind, in that which God hath set his heart and mind upon? It's a good way, my Brethren, to take a holy revenge upon our selves, if we cannot get A way of ho­ly revenge. our hearts to work for God as they ought, not to suffer them to work for our selves as they would.

Again, For they would not return, saith God.

God is not so much displeased at our sins, as at our not retur­ning. He doth not say, that the Assyrian should rule o­ver Obs. 2. them because they had sinned, but because they re­fused to return. It is too much that thou hast sinned, but as soon as ever thou hast sinned it concerns thee to think of returning, God expects presently as soon as ever the sin is taken notice of, that thou shouldest begin to return, it is dangerous to continue in sin in the least; this ag­gravates thy sin dreadfully, and endangers thy sealing up to wrath everlasting.

And then Thirdly, He refuses to return, after all means u­sed, after all mercies tendered, after all callings after thee, yet to Obs. 3. stand out, this is yet worse. Not to return is evil, but to re­fuse to return notwithstanding means used, mercies ten­dered, Oh this is fearful indeed!

Oh! lay this to heart thou convicted sinner, what of­fers Use, to the convicted. of mercie hath God made to thee? what calling un­to mercie hast thou heard, outward calls, inward calls of the the Spirit of God. Oh! how hath God called af­ter thee, Return, return thou Shulamite; Return, return, return thou wretched wilful sinner, Oh come in and re­turn, what means of all sorts hast thou had to cause thy [Page 109] heart to return to God, and yet standest out? think of that Scripture in Job, 9. 4. Who hath hardened himself a­gainst Job. 9. 4. to be observed by such. him and hath prospered? What, doest thou think to harden thy self against God, and yet think to prosper? Who hath hardened himself against him and hath prospered? and mark what follows; Which removeth the Mountains, and they know not; which overturneth them in his anger, which shaketh the Earth out of her place, and the Pillars thereof trem­ble. And yet cannot thy heart be overturned, nor trem­ble? In this that thou refusest to return, thy sin is aggrava­ted above the sin of the Devils themselves, for we do not An obstinate sinner worse than the De­vil in some respect. know that ever the Devils refused to return; for they were never offered mercie, God did never offer the De­vils mercie, God never sent to preach to them, either by his Ministers, or Spirit, and to call them to return and you shall have mercie; here's a price paid, here's a sal­vation for you, your sins may be pardoned; the Devil had never such an offer, Who knows what the Devil might do if such an offer were made to him? But now these offers are made to thee, and thou refusest to return; Oh! return therefore, O thou sinful soul who art wan­dering from God in the waies of death and destruction, give in thine answer; as we reade in Jer. 3. 22. where Jer. 3. 22. should be our example. the Lord there calls his back-sliding children, Return, ye back-sliding children, and I will heal your back slidings. Mark the answer that they give to God, Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God. Oh! that there An exhorta­tion to back­sliders. might be such an answer given this day from some back-sliding soul that is turned from God! Oh poor soul! whither art thou gone? God calls this day to thy soul, Return, return, and professes that he is willing to heal thy backslidings, Oh! give in this answer, Oh Lord, behold we come; for thou art the Lord our God: Oh! that some soul might return, and might refuse no longer to return; Why wilt not thou return? God is content to return to thee, thou art turned from God, and God in [Page 110] the waies of his Administrations is turned away from thee; but mark the Promise, in Jer. 8. 4, 5. Thus saith the Jer. 4. 5. ex­pounded. Lord, Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return? by then is this people of Jerusalem sliden back by a perpetual back-sliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.

Shall he turn away] Some interpret this of God: The Lord is not so turned back, but he is ready to return; Oh! why should [...] thou backslide with a perpetual back-sliding?

And then the last Note is:

They refuse to return] The word that is translated, they [...] renuit, fastidi­nit, P [...]el. refused, may signifie they scorned. What, talk to him of returning, tell him of his sin against God, the greatness of his sin, and the greatness of the danger, and the threatnings of God against his sin, he despises all these things, these are poor things to scare children withal; Tell him of the mercies of God in pardoning his sin, he slights all; this humiliation now for sin, this breaking off of sinful courses, they deride the motions of them, they scorn to return.

Scornful spirits when they are called upon in the bowels of Obs. 4. mercy to return from their evil waies, they do not only deny retur­ning, but they scorn and slight what is said to them. Wel, know there are some who admire at Gods mercies, calling of them to return, who admire at mercy tendred to them, and prize it more than all things in the world, they turn unto the Lord with all their souls, nothing in all the world can stop them, they bless God that ever their ears heard the call of God, calling them to return, and they would not for ten thousand thousand worlds but they had heard Gods call, and felt the Spirit of God working their hearts to him to return, howsoever thou dost scorn and contemn it. Thus much for the 5th Verse. It follows;

VER. 6.

And the Sword shall abide on his Cities, &c.

THey relied upon their Cities and therefore refused Expos. 1. Caepit vulg. & Hierom. of [...] in Hi­phil. to return; but saith the Lord here, The Sword shall abide on his Cities; The old Latin hath it, The Sword hath begun: and Hierom in his Translation takes it so.

If we should take it thus, we might have a hint of a very profitable meditation.

It's time for a people to return, when God doth but wher his Obs. 1. Sword, or draw out his Sword; in Jer. 18. 7, 8. At what Jer. 18. 7, 8. iustant I shall speak concerning a Nation, and concerning a Kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destray it; if that Nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil I thought to do unto them. Oh! England. happie had it been for us, if when the Sword begun with us we had turned from our evil.

But we must rather take it as it is in our Books, and so the words are more proper, for, The Sword shall abide on Expos. 2. their Cities.

As for the evil of the Sword, that I have already ope­ned in the latter end of the former Chapter. But that which I here would note, is; The abiding of the Sword upon their Cities; From whence observe; That the abi­ding Obs. 2. of the Sword it is a sore Judgment. So it was here, for afterwards in the reign of Hoshea then was this Prophesie fulfilled, when Samaria was besieged for three years to­gether. When God threatens fearfully, he threatens the abiding of the Sword; when he doth not only threaten the Sword, but Bathing his Sword, and being filled with blood, and made fat with fatness, and devour, and shall be made Satiate, and made Drunk with blood. All these expressions we have in Scripture, these six expressions, in two Scriptures you have them all. Isa. 34. 5. 6. and Isa. 34. 5. 6. Jer. [...]6. 1 [...]. then Jer. 46. 10. Oh! this is a dreadful thing, for the [Page 112] Sword to abide. It hath abode long upon Germany, the Lord hath been angry with them for almost this thirty years: we think three or four years long for the abiding of the Sword.

But if it be such a fearful judgment for the Sword to Use. Against protractors of the War. Abide; how vile are they that seek to prolong the abiding of the Sword upon a people, and that for their own ad­vantage? Oh! that is a cursed thing, these men live up­on blood, every draught they drink they drink blood, that have endeavored the prolonging of the Sword upon this Kingdom for their private advantages.

My Brethren, we have cause to bless God, that God The War ta­ken by the great. hath raised up instruments for us, who have hazarded the shortening of their own lives for the shortening of the War, who have done their work of late this year, as The New-Model of the Army. Anno 1645, 1646. if they took it by the great; there is a froward and envi­ous Generation of men that will say of some kind of men because they differ from them in somethings, they would be glad that these troubles might continue because they might have the more libertie. But we see that men, though of different judgments, they do not take a course to have the trouble continue, you see how they hazard themselves to make all the hast possibly they can, and that to admiration, and doing things in the winter sea­son, that is not ordinarilie heard of among other Nati­ons, and all this, that the Sword may not abide upon A blessing for those that ha­sten peace. their Country, but that peace may be hastened, so that the blessing of God be upon such.

Again further, The Sword shall abide as long as God will have it; he that is the Lord of Hosts, he gives the Obs. 3. Commission to the Sword, and till he calls for his Com­mission back again, the Sword it shall go on: We may think the wars may be at an end, Oh! let us look to it that we make up our peace with God, and then we may Use for Engl. hope it, but otherwaies the Lord may cause a Serpent to come out of the Cockatrice Eg, the Lord may kindle fires [Page 113] otherwise than we can imagin; therefore saith God, The Sword shall abide. It may be they thought, that indeed if the enemy come he will not stay long: Oh! but he shall abide.

I verily perswade my self, that there were many, yea, and the wisest in this Kingdom, that did perswade them­selves How men were decei­ved at the be­gining of this war. at the begining of the taking up of the Sword, that it would scarce have held twelve months together, it was impossible to have foreseen the abiding of the Sword so long upon us as it hath. Yea, but if God gives Commis­sion it must abide: There's a notable text for that in Jer. Jer. 47. 6, 7. 47. 6, 7. O thou Sword of the Lord, How long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thy self into thy scabbard, rest and be still. Mark the answer there: How can it be quiet, seeing the Lord hath given it a charge? It must go on, it must a­bide, seeing the Lord hath given it charge.

And then, The Sword shall abide on his Cities.] Obs. A sad thing for the sword to be in a Ci­ty.

It is a sad thing for the Sword to be in the Field, but for the Sword to be in the Cities it is sadder; for in the Cities there is the strength of the Kingdom: when the Sword comes into the Cities, Oh! the fearful sights of houses fired, of streets running with blood, the hideous noise of shree­king and cryings out of women and children: I remem­ber Joseph us in his story of the Jewish Wars, reports of Jerusalem when the Romans came against it and took it, Ioseph de, Bello Iudaic. lib. 7, cap. 7. that the narrow streets of the City of Jerusalem was so fil­led with dead bodies, that there was no passage, and he saith, That the streets ran with the blood of men, and there were many things set on fire, that were quenched with the blood of men and women that ran in the streets, so dreadful was the Sword there; and the number of those that were slain, & died in that time that the sword was stretch'd out against that one City, he saith was, E­leven hundred thousand, because it was that time that 1100000. slain in the siege at Je­rusalem. the people came-up to the Passeover, and then he saith it was that they were surrounded. Oh! for the Sword [Page 114] to come to populous Cities is very dreadful.

And the dreadfuller it is, the greater is the mercie of The mercy of God to Lon­don all this War. God to our Citie, the Lord hath wholly delivered it from the Sword that it hath not come at all upon it; If the Sword should have come to this City, Oh! it would have raged indeed: for this was the But of the malice of the Adversaries, their furie it was reserved for this City, The Butt the enemy aimed at. Oh! but the Lord hath protected it, it hath been the Ci­tie of the Lord of Hosts, the Lord hath commanded that no Army should meddle with it for hurt: Isa. 37. 33. 34. Isa. 37. 33. 34. 35. 35. I will defend this City (saith God) and I will save it for mine own sake. Yea, it is for Gods own sake indeed that he hath said to the Sword, Go through the Land; and indeed quite through the Land except this City, and a few Counties about it: as in Ezek. 14. 17. Or if I bring a Ezek. 14. 17. Sword upon that Land, and say, Sword, go through the Land, &c. The Sword hath even devoured from one end of the Land to another, Jer. 25. 15. And yet this Citie Jer. 25. 15. preserved, Oh! not only preserved, but made a refuge and a succour for all the godly partie flying from the Not only pre­served, but made the City of Refuge for the kingdom. rage of the Sword, great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in this City preserved by the Lord, Except it had been preserved by the Lord, the Watch-men certainly had watch'd in vain. It follows. ‘And shall cousume his branches, and devour them.’

The Branches] that is, The Towns and Villages about the City; for the Cities in a Kingdom are like the Root, Expos. or the Bodie of a Tree, and the Villages or the Towns are as the Branches of the Tree; and here's threatned both Citie and Branches.

And this Citie hath been as a great Body of a Tree that hath sent out juice, and sap, and succor to all the Towns and Villages in the Kingdom. When the Sword is upon the Citie there is little hope that the Villages shall escape, [Page 115] Isa. 14. 31. Howl, O gaie; Cry O City, thou whol Palestina Isa. 14. 31. art dissolved. When the City cries, then whol Palestina is dissolved; no mervail then though there hath been such This the caus why London hath been so aimed at. plotting in this City, by making divisions, besides other treacherous and villanous waies, to spoil this City, to bring the Sword upon it, What laboring hath there been to betray us, one plot upon another, assoon as one is broke presently another, and all against this Citie? Oh! what a pleasant sight would it have been to our Adver­saries to have seen this City in confusion, & wallowing in its own blood! But the more there is depending upon this Citie, the more careful should all that love peace, and the welfare of the Kingdom, labor for the good of Every good patriot, ought to labor the the good of London. this Citie, everie one should labor for the peace of it, that it may be a Citie compacted with unitie within its self, that all that are godly and faithful may joyn in one, that every one may bear the infirmities of his Brother, that there may be no grating upon one anothers Spirits, no exasperation, no stirrings up violence one against another, especially against those that are gracious and peaceable. The more plotting, and falsness, and treacherie there is against this Citie, the more should we be faithful and la­bor By prayer and all good en­deavors. for the good of it, yea, and the more should we encrease our prayers for it. You have a notable Scrip­ture in Psal. 55. 9. I have seen violence and strife in the City, Psal. 55. 9. 17. explained. day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof, mischief also and sorrow are in midst of it. What then? in the 17. verse, Evening, and morning, and at noon will I pray and cry aloud, and he shall hear my voice. What saith the Psalmist? I have seen violence and strife in the Citie, yea, and de­ceit and guile do not depart from their streets. What shall I do then? Evening, and morning, and at noon will I pray. We complain of contentions and divisions, and strifes in the Citie, and that there are so many plots and treacheries against the Citie; Oh! let not us only talk of these things, but encrease our prayers in the frequencie, [Page 116] and fervency of them, Oh! let there be no family, but let there be praying to God in the family, Evening and Morning at least; and if you prayed twice a day before, then thrice a day now, because of the strife in the City, and the treachery and deceipt that is here, and the Lord wil hear our voice; and he concludes the Psalm thus, Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their daies; but I will trust in the Lord. Let them be never so bloody minded, and desire to imbrue the City in blood, yet saith the text, The bloudy and deceiptful man shall not live out half his daies: but I will trust in the Lord. ‘Because of their own Counsels.’

The Evil, Folly and Danger of mens own Counsels, we have spoken to, in the 10th Chapter, 6th Verse, They shall be ashamed of their own Counsels. Now only a word of that, in reference unto the abiding of the Sword upon them.

The Sword hath abode upon us divers years; the wi­sest amongst us did not think the Sword would have con­tinued so long as it hath don; And yet who can tel when there will be an end of these things?

Among other evils, certainly this evil of our own Coun­sels is a great evil, that hath made the Sword to abide Our own Counsels a cause of Eng­lands lasting war. upon us: Every man follows his own Counsel, one man for his friend, and another for his friend: Mens own Counsels, both in Parliament, in City, in the Army, in the Country, throughout the Kingdom hath been a great cause of the abiding of the Sword so long a time upon us. ‘Their own Counsels.’

The old Latin hath it, Shall eat up, or destroy their heads, those men that had heads amongst them, that seem'd to Expos. Com [...]det capita torum. Vulg. be the wisest, the chief Heads that were the wisest and most full of Counsel, they were the cause of the con­tinuance of this evil upon them. So Montanus hath it, [Page 117] Their Counsellors. And so Vatablus. Because of those that put them upon those Counsels were the cause of the abi­ding Propter consilia eorum. Pagn. Ezek. 11. 2. of the Sword, in Ezek. 11. 2. Jaazaniah, and Pela­tiah, These are men that give evil Counsels in the City; God hath an eye upon them, upon such as give evil Counsel in the City, as the men that are causes of the evil that is upon the City: There is nothing more useful in trou­blesom times, than Counsel, if set aright; and nothing more dangerous in troublesom times, than Counsel, if it be wrong. The Lord deliver us, both Parliament, Army, City and Kingdom from their own Counsels; This wil ever be, men will ever follow their own Counsels, till When Parlia­ment, Army, City, and Kingdom wil give over their own Counsels. Good inten­tions may be seduced. they be taken off from their own designs, their own ends, till they can trust God with his work, and be willing to be swallowed up in the Publick. Squint-eyed, and sel­vish Counsel will destroy us, if God be not infinitly mer­ciful unto us, yea, and it may be there are some that have good aims for God, and yet in their Counsels they may be led aside by carnal principles: As for instance, only in this own thing: That there is no such way for the furthe­rance A false religi­ous and State principle. of the Kingdom of Christ, but by the corespondancy of it with the Kingdoms of the world. Certainly this Counsel is very dangerous in such times as these are, this principle upon which many that have good intentions do go, they desire the furtherance of the Kingdom of Christ, they can [...]ppeal to God of the sincerity of their hearts, and their [...]earts are sincere in their desires of the furtherance of the [...]ingdom of Christ, and they think this principle is a very good one. That the best way to further it is, to do that that may stand with peace in a way of corespondan­ [...]y wth the Kingdoms of the world, it wil be the best way [...] set it up, and if they did not think that were the best [...]ay to set up the Kingdom of Christ they would not do i [...] But certainly they are mistaken in their Counsels h [...]e; For as the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world, so he way of the promoting of the Kingdom of Christ [Page 118] it is not by endeavoring the correspondencie of it with this world; God hath laid the great work of mans sal­vation, Gods waies not our waies the greatest work that concerns the glorie of his Name, in that which is foolishness to men, and almost all the great works of God, especially those that have a more immediate subservencie unto the Kingdom of his Son, he brings those works about, not by mans counsel, but by waies and means that seems folly to the counsels of wise men, of men carnally wise. But we come now unto the Seventh Verse.

VER. 7.

My people are bent to back-sliding, &c.

IT may be sometimes they begin to reform, but they are quickly off again, for there is a principle of A­postasie Expos. in them, They are bent to back-sliding; If they do a­ny thing in the way of Reformation, it is upon some ex­ternal motive; but their hearts are another way; They are like a bough of a Tree that is bent contrary to the Na­ture of it, by an external force, it may be for the present yeelds such a way, but there's an inclination, a propensi­on in the Bough to go another way, the way that its own nature carries it unto. Thus it was often with Israel, upon some extraordinary work of God they would do such and such things, but they were as a deceitf [...]l bow that soon starts back.

My brethren, let us search our hearts; there was a great forwardness of Reformation in the beginning of Application, 1. [...] England. the Parliament, then how did men stir? the Spirits of men did seem to be then of another way than now thy seem to be, It appears that in many of them it was ony a spirit against those that had oppressed them, and a [...] ­umphing Why some were [...] ▪ w [...] at the begining of this Refor­mation. and rejoycing in having their wills upon them, and in the novelty of change of things, but their hearts remain as carnal, drossie, & vain as ever, and there­fore [Page 119] when mens wills were a little satisfied, and they saw that the godly people of the Land began to rejoyce, ho­ping Why they started off a­gain. that now there should be a greater freedom for, and countenance of the Religious party than ever, and fin­ding that there were some difficulties in the work of Re­formation, and that thereby their lusts should be curbed, they should not have that licentiousness in their sinful waies as before, upon this their hearts are bent to back-sliding, that is, they fall off from the godly people of the Land, that they formerly closed with, and seem'd much to rejoyce in, now their hearts are against them as much as ever they were with them, yea, their hearts do vex, and fret at any Liberties they may possibly enjoy, or at any work of Reformation that is begun. Thus it is in the publick, mens hearts are bent to backsliding.

And privately for the particular, mens hearts are 2. Private & particular persons. bent to backsliding from the waies of godliness that they began to profess, as thus, Many yong ones, and others, who have had workings on their hearts, and have made Why these start back. great profession of Religion, yet not having their hearts changed.

First, Gods waies have been unsutable to them, and 1. therefore have been hard and tedious to them.

Secondly, Other things they have had a greater mind 2 to, only they have been kept from them by the strength of conviction and external motives.

But upon that they have grown wearie of the waies of 3 God, that's a third degree, weary of them.

Yea, Fourthly, They have watched all advantages how they might get off from what they have made pro­fession 4 of.

Yea, Fifthly, They have been sorry that they have en­gaged 5 themselves so much as they did.

Yea, Sixthly, Any Objections against such waies, they 6. greedily imbrace, and diligently improve.

Yea, Seventhly, They are very ready to take any of­fence. 7

[Page 120] Yea, Eightly, They watch for offences. 8.

And Ninthly, Any Opinion that will give them a li­berty from that straitness they made profession of before, 9. they are willing to imbrace and entertain; if there be any practice that may give them any more liberty, they fall presently to it, and so they come to backslide. Now their actural backslidings are but a fruit of the bent of their spirits, their spirits were bent to backsliding before, and what they do now is but a fruit of the inward bent of their spirits. Let such know, that if they have no need of the waies of godliness, the waies of godliness Admonition to such. have no need of them; the waies of godliness shall be justified and honored, when they shal perish and be swept oft as filth and dung from the face of the earth. I'le leave only that Scripture with them, in Heb. 10. 38. If any man draw back, my Soul shall have no pleasure in him.

But I find the reading of these words [bent to back-sli­ding] [...] Suspenst sunt. Calv. Par [...]us. very various, and indeed the Hebrew doth seem to countenance divers readings; and Calvin he doth reade it, and Pareus, and others of our later Writers, Suspenst sunt, they are as men in suspence, hanging as it were in suspence; for so the word translated [Bent] it is a word that signifies a propension to a thing; and they turn it, Men that are in suspence; and so the Septuagints translati­on, They are a people in suspence: and it is very proper to [...]. 70. the Hebrew word here to translate it thus, They are a peo­ple in suspence. Now then, If the translation of the word be thus, which is for ought I know as sutable, or rather more than the other, why then there are these two things mainly in it.

First, They are in suspence; that is, They being in straits know not what to do, I find in Deut. 28. 66. [Thy life shall hang in doubt before thee.] The same word that here is translated [Bent] it is there [Hanging in doubt] and that makes me the rather think that this Interpretation may set out the mind of the holy Ghost in this Scripture; so [Page 121] then the meaning must be this.

They see themselves in a sad condition that they In suspence here what. know not which way to turn themselves, they see their plots take not, their designs prosper not, they see God is out against them, they would fain fal upon new plots, but they see as great an unlikelihood to prosper in their new plots, as in the former, what the Issue of them may be they know not, thus they are in suspence, and in doubt not knowing which way to turn themselves.

And blessed be God that hath put our adversaries in Applicat. to England. suspence, and doubt: This is a judgment of God upon men who cannot trust God in his right and holy wayes, they must have waies of their own, they follow their own counsels. and these counsels of their own insnares them, and brings them into most miserable straights that they know not how to extricate themselves. God makes the waies of the righteous plain to them, But the counsels of mens hearts brings them into straights. They thought to deal more wisely for themselves, but the truth is, their counsels in which their wisdom was much applauded, brings them into most miserable straights and extremities, that they know not what to do.

And then Secondly, Luther hath a very good interpre­tation of this, he reads the words thus: My people doth Populus meus dubitat au velit redire ad me Luth. doubt whether they would turn to me or no; thus he reads it, and interperets it thus, They see they profit not in their way, their Consciences misgive them, they have some thoughts of returning to me, sometimes they are per­swaded it's best for them to return, but the corruption of their own hearts stirs up Temptations, Temptations present themselves to them, so they are off and on, they know not what to do, they give many onsets, but they came not off freely, my people do doubt and hang in suspence and do not come off freely to my way.

And this is according to the Populus me [...]s haesitat se con­vertere ad Le­gemmeam. Chald. Para­phrase. Chaldae Paraphrase, They have plots, thus they do doubt to Convert themselves to [Page 122] my Law. There are rowlings of their thoughts, this way, and that way, but they are in doubt and come not to a full resolution.

Now my Brethren, This is a great evil, for men to strive Obs. with their consciences. When their consciences puts them upon the waies of God, they think, There is good in The conflict of conscience & corruption. Gods waies, they think that God is not well pleased in the waies that they are in, they think it might be very well if they did reform their way; yea, but then on the other side, there comes in temptations, I but there are such difficulties in the way, I shall discountenance such and such great ones, I shall have opposition by such and such, in that they will be displeased, I shall hazard my self, and the like, I must deny my self in many things, I must go against the hair in these and these things, I must cross my heart in such things that my heart is strongly bent upon, why may I not do well enough in some o­ther way without so much trouble to my self? And thus their hearts reason within them, and yet again at other times they have serious thoughts begin to work, and their consciences begin to stir again, but have not I to deal with a holy and glorious God? how if things shall prove otherwise than they are apprehended by me? what good will it do to me to cozen my own soul? were it not better for me to return? [Oh! that I could but tel how to speak this day to such as are perhaps yet in suspence, it may be there are some here this day that are in suspence in their own thoughts, they cannot be quiet in that way that now they are in, when they awake in the night sea­son their consciences trouble them, and yet when they come abroad among company then that carries them a­way again, and thus their lives do as it were hang in su­spence, and are vext and troubled in their own thoughts, not knowing what to do; Oh! that I could (I say) speak to these hearts this day, that I could but tell how to present some determining thoughts to such as these [Page 123] that are in this suspence: I'le but in a few words present four or five Meditations to such that may help them to determine, to come to a determination; for the truth is, This is the cause almost of all the wickedness of such as Suspence a caus of much evil. live under the means, that have enlightned consciences, They do not come to a full determination: If thou beest in suspence, let me cast into the scale these thoughts.

First, These stirrings that are now upon thee, that Considerations tending to settle the un­resolved a­bout the waies of God. put thee thus to oppose the waies of sin, and to bring thee so far as to be in suspence, know, they are the work of the holy Ghost in thee, take heed of sinning against the holy Ghost; I do not say, that all going against such stir­rings and workings is, The sin, that unpardonable sin; but this I say, the sinning against those stirrings and wor­kings of thy conscience is A sin against the holy Ghost, take heed of sinning against the good Spirit of God; The holy Ghost hath begun to conceive in thee, take heed thou doest not destroy the child in the womb. We know it's murder to destroy a child in the womb, when it is but Simile. beginning to be conceived; And thou that art in this suspence, thou hast a conception of the holy Ghost in thee; take heed of murdering of it.

Secondly, If the Spirit of God leaves thee after this, thou wilt be more hardened than ever; let this be in thy thoughts; Thou hast stirrings of conscience, and some propension to the waies of God, but yet thy corruptions hang off, look to thy self while these workings of God are upon thee, if they leave thee, they will leave thy heart harder than ever it was.

And then Thirdly, Take this Meditation, When thou art about matters of infinite consequence (as now thou art) certainly, the safest way is the best way; 'tis not enough for thee to say, it is necessary, and why must I do thus and thus? and what need it? and may not I do wel enough without it? But when thou art reasoning about matters that concern Eternitie, though thou canst not [Page 124] fully satisfie thy self in this, or the other way, yet to take the safest way is the best way, and that thou art upon the safest way, it's enough to countervail what ever trou­ble thou meetest withal; Though it should not be abso­lutely necessary that thou shouldest take such a course in such a particular, yet if thy conscience doth but dictate to thee, that this way is safer than the other; it's the best way to go the safest way.

And the Fourth Meditation is this, That there is more evil in the least sin, than there can be good in whatsoever all the Creatures in the world can tender to thee Resolve upon this: this is a certain principle that cannot be denied: There is more evil in the least sin, than there can be good in all that all the Creatures in the world can tender to thee.

And then Fifthly, That it is best for me to do that now, which I would wish I had done if I were now to die. Put that Meditation into the scale; Art thou in suspence, hanging this way or that way, whether fully to come off of those waies of sin that thou art upon, or no? Put this Fifth thing into the scale, It is best for me now to do that that I would wish I had done if I were now to die: This wil be a mighty thing to weigh down abundance of tempta­tions that may be put into the other scale; and so thou maiest come to a determination. ‘They are in suspence.’

The old Latin reads it, My People they hang in a kind of hope that I will return, and that all may be well with them at Populus meus pendebit ad re­ditum meum (i. e. pendulus sperabit) vulg. Montanus. last; that though they do thus and thus, yet all may be well with them at last: God hath often delivered them out of great afflictions, and why may not he deliver them still? And so they hang in expectation of Gods coming to them. So they make the word that is here translated, [Backsliding] to be a returning, a returning of God, [They would have me to return first] And so I confess the word [Page 125] hath something in it that signifies Returning: But those that are skilful in the tongues say, It is not used in a good sense, but in an evil; it's rather a going from, than a retur­ning. But yet, as the old Latin hath it, The hope for Gods returning, and that things may be well, is the cause of the hardening of many hearts in the waies of sin; they hang as it were in the Air, thinking that it may be well with them, and that things may not prove so bad as they hear: But cursed is that hope of comfort that hath no­thing else to ground upon, but only, that it may be things are not so bad as they hear out of the Word. But it follows; ‘Though they called them to the most High, yet none at all would exalt him.’

Though they called them] That is, The Prophets and Expos. Messengers of God called them unto the most High, they wanted not means in the Ministry of the Word, they were called to the Most High, that is, to God. Now that God is The Most High, we have spoken to in Chap. 7. Vers. 16. there he hath the title of THE MOST HIGH. You who are highest, look upon God as above you, know that God looks upon you, and all men that are lifted up in the pride of their own hearts, as infinitly below him.

God is the most high: Well, but, They called them out un­to the most high; that is, They called them in the Ministry of the Word.

First, That they might know him, that is, the most high, that they might know him to be the Infinit, Supream, High, Glorious, Majestie, that they might know the in­finite distance that there is between God and the Crea­ture, and that they might know him to be the Highest end of all things, so as to work after him as the most high.

Then Secondly, That they might acknowledge him, 2 that they might thus fear him, that they might worship [Page 126] him, that they might love him, and trust in him, as the most high God.

That they might submit their wills to him whose will is supream above all, and especially in matters of wor­ship. 3.

They called them to the most high, that they might come to have this high God to be theirs, to enjoy him to 4. be their portion; thus the Prophets call'd them to the most high. Whereas their hearts were d [...]ossie, and low, and base, they minded only the satisfying of their flesh, and having their wills one upon another, their hearts hung down to their devised worship, though the thing it was sutable to their publick ends, and it was great wisdom for them so to do, yet God would not own that, but did dispise that worship of theirs that they thought to honor him withal, and the Prophets therefore called them from these base, drossie things, called them to the most high God. The Note of Observation.

First, Mens hearts they sink down to low and mean things naturally; unworthy of their souls, unworthy of that Obs. 1. excellent nature that they are indued withal: men in­deed have swelling hearts in their base sinful way, but this is their disease (this swelling) I say the heart of man wants a true elevating principle, the knowledg of the most high would raise them up higher than their pride Piety raises the heart more than pride. can do, the pride of man raises mans heart, yea, but that's their disease; but the knowledg of the most high would raise them up higher than their pride: but sin wheresoever it is it doth debase mans nature.

Secondly, It's the end of the Ministry of the Word, to call Obs. 2. men to the most high God, to call after men that have their hearts groveling after low and base things, that they might come up to the most high God, to know him, to fear him, to worship him, and to enjoy the most high God to be their portion. Have not you found this fruit of the Ministry of the Word in your hearts, calling you many a time to the most high God? [Page 127] Have not those things sounded in your ears, that have called you from vain things that your hearts were upon, telling you of the high God that you have to deal withal in all your waies, who will have to deal with you to all eternity? I make no question but many of your consci­ences have found this, have found a word darted into your hearts that hath called you from low base things to the high and blessed God.

And then Thirdly, It is a great and a sore evil to stop our Obs. 3. ears against the calls to the most high God, against the calls of the word that calls you to the most high God; I say, to stop our ears against this is a sore and a dreadful evil. What, not answer to Gods call! Doth God call you, and you not answer to him? We say to a child, Your father calls you, or to a servant, your master calls you, will you not answer? Oh! to shut our ears against the call to the most high Simile. God is a dreadful thing, it will lie heavie upon thee one day, those calls thou hadest in thine ears will prove to be terrors in thine heart; Certainly, though thou lettest go the calls of the Word to the most high God, remember this one Note, The calls that thou hadest to the high God being neglected by thee, will prove terrors in thine heart; poor creature, what is it that thou listens to? what invitations doth take thy heart, that the calling to the most high cannot overcome thee?

And then Fourthly: Their hearts are in suspence, though they called them to the most high. From the connexion of these two we have this Note.

That the calling to the most high God is a special means to cause Obs. 4. those that are in a suspence, to come in to a full resolution. In Psal. 97. 9. Thou Lord art high above all the earth, thou art Psa. 97. 9, 10. illustrated. exalted far above all Gods. What follows in the 10. verse? Ye that love the Lord, hate evil. God is a high God above all Gods, hate evil then, set your selves against evil, be resolved in the waies of God, for when you are called to the most high, by this you come to see how infinitely [Page 128] worthy God is of all glory from you, you may see by this what infinite good there is in this God, and that there is infinite power in this God to avenge himself of you, if you neglect his call, therefore there is a mighty deal of force to cause resolution. In the 7. of Acts, we have a no­table speech of Stephen concerning Abraham. Abraham was called from his fathers house, and it cannot be ima­gined but that Abraham had many thoughts to keep his Abrahams example. heart in suspence, when he was called from his kindred, and al the contentment and comfort he had there, it's im­possible but flesh and blood would suggest many thoughts to Abraham to keep his heart in suspence: But what took Abrahams heart off from suspence, to resolve fully what to do in such a case? the text saith, The God of Glory appea­red Act. 7. 2. observed. to him; it was not only God, but the God of Glory. My Brethren, when God is calling you off from all Crea­ture comforts, from all things that may quiet your hearts in the world, and you have strong temptations to keep you in the waies of sin, let but the God of Glory appear to you, and this will take up your hearts, this will bring your hearts to a full resolution. Oh! bles­sed, blessed are those souls though they have continued long in suspence, yet at length the God of Glory appears to them, in the midst of their doubts, and temptations, and hangings off.

And if there be such a force in this, then learn to pre­sent Use. before thy soul that is in such a suspence, the Glorie of the great God, look up to this great God, 'tis the infi­nite high God that I am called to; Oh! thou suspending, thou wavering soul, look up to this most high, and an­swer this call of God unto himself, answer it thus;

Oh Lord, Thou art an Infinite, Blessed, Glorious Being, the Supream Being of all; I am a poor, vile worm that A form of Answering to Gods call. lie under thy feet, it's mercie that thou wilt vouchsafe to look towards me; thou mightest have let me gone on in base waies, and perished to all eternity without giving [Page 129] me any call to thy self; but now that thou shouldest give me a call to thy self, the high and glorious blessed Lord, this is mercy; Lord, I come, and with fear and trem­bling fall down before thee saying, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Those who have been wavering and afterwards setled they have found that this hath Note. been the thing that hath setled them, some dreadful au­thoritie of the high God that hath come to their hearts in some truth beyond what formerly he hath done, and this hath fully taken off their souls to him.

And then Fifthly; The true Worship of God is an eleva­ting Obs. 5. thing. Then are they called to the most high when they are called to the true Worship of God, for it raises the soul to the most high. Mens inventions are low things, are base and unworthy things, Oh consider whether thou findest this in the Worship of God? doest thou find thy soul raised up to the most high in his Worship? thou doest never worship God aright, except thou findest in some measure thy soul raised up to the most high in his Worship; let no man look upon the Worship of God as a low mean thing; know, when thou art to come to worship God, thou hast now to deal with the high God, whom Angels worship and adore; 'tis that God who is far above all Creatures in Heaven and Earth: thus thou art to look upon the Worship of God. Oh! how far are most men from this when they are worshiping of God! very few there are that lift up their hearts to the most high; even in the duties of Worship. And so it follows in the words, ‘None at all would exalt him.’

Why, If God be the most high God, how can he be Quest. exalted?

I answer: He is so high, as he cannot be more high Answ. than Himself, God cannot be more excellent than he is [Page 130] in Himself, God cannot make Himself better than He is, nor more glorious in Himself than He is: Therefore no creature can make him more than he is: all that all the Creatures in Heaven and Earth can do for God, can ad nothing to him: In Nehem. 9. 5. He is exalted (saith the text) above all blessing and praise.

Yet then God accounts Himself to be exalted.

First, When he is known and acknowledged for the When we ex­alt God. High, Supream, First being of all things, when we fear Him as a God, when we humble our selves before him as before a God, when we are sensible of the infinite distance there is between him and us, when we are willing to lay down what we are, or have, or can do for the furtherance of his praise, when his Will is made the Rule of all our waies, and especially of his Worship, when we make him the last end of all, when 'tis the great care of our souls, and work of our lives to do what possibly we can that he might be magnified & lifted up in the world, and when we account the least sin a greater evil than can be recompenced by all the good that Heaven and Earth can afford unto us; and now God accounts Himself exalted by us. And this is the Work that all of us have to do; to give up our selves to the exalting of the Name of this bles­sed Note. God; He is worthy, so worthy of honor from us creatures, that though ten thousand millions of Men and Angels should perish eternally for the furtherance of the least degree of his honor, he is worthy of it all, so high is this God, and therefore know it to be our work to endeavor in our places to exalt him, and blessed is that man or woman that when they are to die are able to say, Oh Lord, thou hast been high in my heart, thy Wisdom The comfort of a dying person. I have adored, and submitted mine unto it, thy Will I have honored, and yeelded mine likewise to it, and it hath been the great care of my soul that I might do som­thing in my place to lift up thy Name according as I have been able; I say, thou maiest go out of the world in peace [Page 131] as having done in some measure that thou camest into the world for.

Oh! you whom God hath exalted, let it be your care An Exhorta­tion; 1 To great men. 2 To the Saints. How God hath exalted the Saints: 1. 2 3 4 5 6. 7 to exalt this God; and especially the Saints of the Lord, know God hath exalted you on high, and expects that you should lift up his Name; he hath lifted up you out of the depth of miserie, from the nethermost Hell, he hath joyned you to his Son, he hath made you one with his Son, He hath loved you with the same love where­with he loveth his Son, he hath made you Heirs, Co-heirs with his own Son, he hath given his Angels to be ministring Spirits to you, he hath made it his great design to honor himself in your eternal good, the greatest work that God hath to do in the world it is the honoring him­self in your Glory; he hath prepared a Crown of glo­ry for you; Oh then, do you joyn together to exalt the Name of this God who hath lifted up you who were such poor vile worms, let the high praises of this God be in your hearts and mouths for ever; in Psal. 108. 4. Thy Psa. 108. 4. 5. noted. mercy is great above the Heavens, and thy truth reacheth unto the Clouds; mark what follows in the 5. verse, Be thou exalted, O God, above the Heavens, and thy Glory above all the Earth: Oh Lord, we see thy mercy is exalted above the Heavens, and thy truth to the Clouds: then Lord be thou exalted above the Heavens, that is in our hearts, and in our lives; Oh! that God may be exalted, in an answe­rable way above the Heavens in what we do for Him, as He hath been exalted above the Heavens in what he hath done for us; let's all exalt Gods Name: he will be ex­alted in spight of your hearts.

My brethren, God hath exalted Himself of late in our eyes, in a glorious manner, in Psal. 21. 13. Be thou exal­ted, Also Psa. 21. 13. O Lord, in thine own strength; Oh the Lord hath ex­alted Himself in His own strength: but mark what fol­lows; So will we sing and praise thy Power: Oh! let us sing and praise the power of God, who hath exalted Himself [Page 132] in his own strength, and for the good of his own people so of late. ‘But none would exalt him (saith the text.)

God hath little honor in the world; men seek to exalt Obs. God hath little honor in the world. themselves, but none to exalt God; every man follows his own way, his own lusts, but the blessed and glori­ous God is exalted by few, or none. Men will appear to lift up Antichrist, to exalt him; the Kings of the Earth they will give their power to the Beast, but none will exalt the Lord. Oh! let this grieve the hearts of the Saints, to see that the blessed God, so blessed in their eyes should be exalted by so few.

And consider, every one of you, how little he hath Use. been exalted by you in all your waies. And why should you vex and fret that you have not honor and respect, when as the blessed God who is so infinitely worthy of honor and glory, yet none (almost) respects Him. Well, let this be the Meditation from it; The less glory I see God have from the children of men, the more let me la­bor to honor him.

None would exalt him] So the words are read in your Books, and I think that is the most proper sense. Yet I find Luther hath another reading, and so others, and that Luthers rea­ding of the Text. Nemo erigeret se. Alij: ne unus qui se erigeret. [...]. [...] might likewise stand with the Original; for if you ob­serve the words [him] is not there: But it may be (saith Luther) there is none that lifts up himself; he, and others turns it thus: That's thus, Men are in a sleepy, sullen mood, that when God calls them, they will not stir up themselves to listen to Gods Call; and so Luther makes use of this similitude: As a stuborn servant, or child when the master cals him, he will not stir and lift up himself Simile. to his call; There's none will lift up themselves; drossie, base, drousie spirits, that are sleepy and sink down to base, low things, they will not lift up themselves when [Page 133] they are called to the most high God.

It's a great evil to give way to a dead, dull, and sullen heart, Obs. A drousie spi­rit, a great e­vil to nourish it. not to lift up our selves when God calls. When you come to the Ministry of the Word, you come with hearts dead and sinking down with discouragements: Now when God cals, you should stir and lift up your hearts to close with those Truths of God that do concern you; and it's a great evil in many, when they hear excellent Truths that might do them good, yet they do not lift up their hearts to close with those Truths.

And now we come to the Eighth Verse, which is a Verse very full; and if in any, you will give me liberty a little to enlarge in that Verse.

VER. 8.

How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.

HEre, according to Luther, ends the Eleventh Chap­ter, and the Twelfth begins at the next Verse.

For the words themselves, we have not a more full ex­pression of pathetical Affections of Mercy and Compassi­on in God, in all the Book of [...] than here;

How shall I give thee up?

I beseech you observe; God was in the midst of his threatnings of Judgment, & charging of them with their sin: saith he, The Sword shall abide upon their Cities, and con­sume their branches: because of their own Counsels. And when they were called to the most high God, yet none would exalt him: How! not one would com in! What would follow? One would think, Now let wrath pursue them, let the curse of the Almighty overtake them, one would wonder that it did not; but mark a greater wonder, that after the charging of them for this wickedness, and in the midst [Page 134] of Gods threatnings of the most dreadful judgments to consume them by the Sword, How shall I give thee up, E­phraim, &c?

The Lord here takes upon Him (as it were) the per­son of a loving Father towards a stubborn and rebelli­ous Expos. general. child, the child hath gone away from the Father, and hath continued in slout waies, It may be the Father sends after it, it will not come, it will not return, but goes on stubornly, the Father hath many workings in his heart to cast it off; he shall never be a peny the better for me, let him beg his bread from door to door, he is unna­tural to me; yea, but when he is in the midst of these resolutions, and hath these sad thoughts towards the child, yet there comes a turning of his bowels on a sud­den, Oh! but how shall I give it up? how shall I disin­herit it? how shall I do it? It is my child, though stuborn, why may it not return? why may not yet God work good upon it; It's very evil, but how shall I give it up? I know not how in the world to bring my heart to it. Thus the Lord breaks out here. Here we have in your books four [Hows] How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim? I confess in the Hebrew there are but two, but yet for the sense of it the Interpreters put in the other, and they have the sense of four, How? How? How? How shall I do it? there are four Interogations here, and four Answers. Four Pa­thetical Interogations that God asks as it were Him­self. Analysis of the Text.

  • First, How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?
  • Secondly, How shall I deliver thee, Israel?
  • Thirdly. How shall I make thee as Admah?
  • Fourthly, How shall I s [...]t thee as Zeboim?

God is here Interogating Himself in these four Intero­gatories that come from his own bowels.

And here are four Answers to these, As thus;

  • [Page 135]First, Mine heart is turned within me.
  • Secondly, My repentings are kindled together.
  • Thirdly, I will not execute the fierceness of mine an­ger.
  • Fourthly, I will not return to destroy Ephraim. These are the Four Answers; and the Last Answer hath Two Arguments.
  • First, I am God, and not Man.
  • Secondly, The holy One in the midst of thee.

Now what the force of the Arguments are, we shall see when we come to them. But first to give you the brief The Text paraphrased opening of the words in a way of paraphrase, and then the several Doctrinal Notes from them.

First, How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? Or as some Expos. in partic. 1. [...]. Al. [...]. Simile. others reade it, What shall I do to thee?

I am as it were at a stand what to do; as the Father that hath the rod in his hand comes to correct, and lets the rod fall out of his hand, his affections work so strong­ly;

What shall I do? As if God should say, Oh! were there but any repentings, were they but ever so little, I would be glad of it, I would take any little repentings, could I but tell how to vindicate mine honor any other way, I would do it; Oh! what shall I do? It is your foolish, wil­ful stubornness, going on in such a vile, finful way that puts God to such a stand; What shall I do? God seems here to have his heart troubled in him, much like that in Exod. 33. 5. when God was offended with the people Exod. 33. 5. Noted there, saith he, Put off thine ornaments, that I may know what to do with thee. It's a strange expression: as if he should say, come and fast, and pray, put off your ornaments, and humble your selves before me, that I may know what to do to you: Oh! why may there not be some hope? put off your ornaments, if there be but any re­pentings and turning to me.

Or if you take it as it is in your books, How shall I give [Page 136] thee up? Then the scope is thus: Thou art upon the very brink of destruction, wrath and miserie it is prepared for thee, thou art in the very mouth of ruin, It's nothing but only a giving thee up and thou art undone, wrath and miserie stand waiting only for my giving thee up, Oh! but how shall I do it? I see thee upon the very brink of ruin, thy very neck upon the block, and thou now waitest for my giving up, but I cannot tell how to find in my heart, How shall I do it? How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?

Oh! here was a strong argument that mov'd the bo­wels of God. Ephraim, if thou wert indeed the refuse of Ephraim. the world; I would not so much care for many thou­sand of them, but thou art Ephraim, Thou art my deer child, Ephraim, my deer son, you know what God saith in Jer. 31. about the 18. verse. ‘How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deli­ver thee, Israel?

As if he should say, Justice calls for thee, that I would deliver thee up to him, thou art call'd for to be delive­red up to Justice, Justice plead, that thou art her due; but, How shall I do it? How shall I do it? How shall I deli­ver thee? It goes much against me to do it.

The Septuagint they turn the words,

How shall I protect thee? So the old Latin. [...] 68 70. Protegam. Vulg. a [...] tradidit [...] [...]lypeus [...] protexit [...] a

And the mistake comes from a little difference in the Hebrew word, so that the same radical letters in the He­brew word that is for [delivering] signifies a [Shield] like­wise, To protect as with a shield. And therefore they translate it so, How shall I protect thee? but that comes to the same, thus: How shall I protect such a one as thou art? How shall it be for mine honor that thou shouldest be under my protection? Men indeed do abuse their po­wer they have, to give protection to others, you know [Page 137] there hath been a great abuse since the Parliament begun by protections that have been given to others, but saith he, How shall I do it? that is, I who am a holy and in­finite God, how shall I protect such a one as thou art? ‘How shall I protect thee, Israel?

Israel, here's another argument indeed; Israel, I re­member Israel. thy Father, I remember that mighty Prince who wrastled with me and prevail'd, and I account it my glory to be the glory of Israel, and his seed: What, art thou the posterity of Israel, of such a one so deer to me, and such a Prince that heretofore prevail'd with me in prayer? What, art thou his posterity? Oh! how shall I deliver thee up, Israel? Oh when God looks upon them he sees them sinful and wretched, but when he looks up­on what they were in reference to their forefathers, How shall I give thee up, Israel?

How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim?

Admah and Zeboim, they were the names of two Ci­ties, that were two of the five Cities that were together with Sodom and Gomorah; now four of these five Ci­ties were destroyed by fire from Heaven, for the wicked­ness of them, and one of them only was spar'd for Lot's sake. But this Admah and Zeboim were two of the Cities that the judgments of God was most terrible upon; the Apostle Jude in his Epistle, the 7. verse, saith, That they did suffer the vengance of eternal fire. Now saith God here, The truth is, you have provoked me as much as Admah and Zeboim have done, their sins were not greater than yours, and there is as great wrath that belongs to you as to them, but oh! how shall I do it? how shall I make thee as Admah and Zeboim? how is it possible for me to find in my heart to yeeld to do it?

[Page 138] Hierom upon the place doth move this Question. Why doth he mention Admah and Zeboim, and not Sodom and Ieroms Quest. on the place. Gomorah?

The Answer that he gives is this, That Judab, those His Answer. Tribes they are compared in their sin to Sodom and Gomo­rah, in Isa. 1. and Ezek 16: for Judah had more means Sodoma & Go­morah principes fuerunt in pec­cato, Adama & Zeboim earum exempla sectala sunt. than Israel had, Judah had the Temple with them, and therefore their sin was the more aggravated. Sodom and Gomorah they were the chief sinners; and Admah and Ze­boim they did but as it were follow them, (so he) And by following their example they came to inwrap them­selves in the same Judgments, but yet altogether their sin was not like Sodoms and Gomorahs, therefore Judah that had more means is compared to Sodom and Gomorah; and the ten Tribes, to Admah and Zeboim. ‘My heart is turned within me.’

Luther hath a Note upon this, according to his usual way in expressing the Grace of God to the height, saith Luth. Expos. Cor inversum, Cor concitatum ira propter pec­cata h [...]minum, non sit verum Dei cor verum Dei cor quod af­ficitur malis no­stris quod ardet commiseratione he, 'Tis as if it were, that the heart that's stir'd with anger for the sins of men, were not the true heart of God, and therefore saith he, My heart is turned to me, mine own heart; now I have my own heart indeed when I have thoughts of peace; when I had thoughts of wrath that was not as it were mine own heart, sutable to that expression we have in Scripture, That God calls his execution of Jugment, his strange work. So that's Gods own heart that is affected with our evil, and that doth even turn with mercie towards us; so mine heart is come to me saith God, as if it were gone before.

But, My heart is turned within me.

The meaning is this; As when a mans heart is much The Authors affected in love and compassion, there's the working of the Spirits and blood round about the heart, and migh­ty motions and stirrings in the heart. So saith God, [Page 139] Me thinks I find all the blood as it were, and my spirits so working and stir'd, that I find my heart even turning up and down within me when I come to the execution of wrath. And then, ‘My repentings are kindled together.’

It is a very notable phrase, Here, by [Repentings] I take is meant those thoughts of God by which he came to Expos. do such things as men do in their repentings.

My repentings together] That is, All the thoughts that I could (as it were) possibly muster up, that could be mu­stered up together for to turn my heart from the waies of Truth to the waies of Mercy, they are all come up toge­ther to me (saith God) and being all joyned together, they make a fire, and have set my heart on fire; As a company of brands being laid together make a great flame; so all those thoughts that possibly may be any means to work my heart to good to this people, they are all presented together, and being come and joyned all together in one, they set my heart even of a flame, and mightily are stirring in my heart.

Oh! this is the goodness of God to his people, to have all things that any way may be a motive to do good to his people, to come up all together before God, all in one, and when they come in one there to make a fire in the very bosom of God, all the reasonings as it were of my heart being joyned together for them have kindled a fire, so that I cannot hold, but I must needs vent my self thus, How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?

But you wil say, Why doth God express himself thus? God might without any more ado pardon, and help, or deliver, why should he express himself in this manner?

It's the Answer of Mr. Calvin here, He doth accommo­date Accommodat so ruditati nostrae. Calv. himself (saith he) to our rudeness; God who disdai­ned not to take mans nature upon him, disdained not to [Page 140] act in the person of a man, who being much wronged, is reasoning in himself what to do, his heart is full of pity, his bowels yern, and he would fain find a way for mercy; and when provocation of execution comes in in his mind, it is as a dagger to his heart. Oh! how shal I do this?

As if you would imagin any merciful man in the world Simile. that were put to a straight, would fain have a way for mercy to save a wretched sinner: God takes upon him the person (as it were) of this man, and saith, How shall I do it? God doth (as it were) in this bring Mercy and Ju­stice both together, to plead the Case, both against, and for Ephraim.

Justice comes in and pleads, Lord, their Sins are great and many, their Mercies have been great, their Means The plea of Justice. that they have had hath been exceeding much, thou hast been exceeding much, thou hast been patient a long time towards them, and this hath been abused, their hearts are still hardened, thy Name is blasphemed because of them. These Arguments come up against them. But now there comes up Arguments for them.

I, but than Mercy steps up and pleads, But Lord, art The plea of Mercy. not thou a God: thou art a God: These actions indeed may overcome men, but shall they overcome thee?

[And this is Ephraim.] Are not they thy People? are they not in relation to thee? are they not in Covenant with thee? Spare them Lord for their for fathers sake, for Abrahams sake, for Israels sake, who was so mighty with thee; remember Lord the kindness of their youth, the wonders that thou hast done heretofore for them, when they were stuborn and rebellious; Lord, thou hast many of thine Elect among them, and therefore wilt thou ut­terly consume them. Oh! when the Lord hears these prayers of Mercy on the other hand, How shall I do it? I cannot do it. Thus you have seen the opening of the words, with the paraphrase.

[Page 141] But now for the Notes. If any one of you should have The Authors Apology. any thoughts that I do not briefly pass over this Scriptur in an Expository way, I may even answer you, How shal I do it? It were a very great burden upon one, to meddle with such Scriptures as these are, in an Auditory that doth desire to have something spoken to their hearts, and meerly to pass it over in a meer Expository way; there­fore for the Notes, the first Observation is this,

The greatness of mans sin, hinders not the work of the bowels Obs. 1. of God towards them.

There was none exalted him, but they followed their own Counsels and did what they list, yet, how shall I give thee up? (this from the Connexion.) I will give you an instance, and that's a very famous one as we have in all the book of God. What sins were greater than the sins of Jerusalem against Christ when he lived? and yet Christ Jerusalem's exsample no­ted. looks on Jerusalem, and weeps over it; weeps over it, when he considered of the destruction of it. Yea, and mark, Though Jerusalem were guilty of the Blood of Christ, took away the very Life of Christ; yet when Christ was risen again, one of the first things that Christ doth in the 24. of Luke, 47. when he was going there to Emaus, Christ saith, That Repentance, and Remission of sins was to be preached in his Name among all Nations, begining at Je­rusalem. Repentance, and remission of sins preached to all Nations: Oh! but surely Jerusalem must be left, Je­rusalem that did slay the Prophets, and was so injurious, yea, Jerusalem that put Jesus Christ to death: though all Nation should have Repentance, and Remission of sins preached to them, yet one would think Jerusalem now should be excepted; No saith Christ, begining at Jerusalem, Jerusalem shall be the first place where I'le have preached Repentance and Remission of sins, even that Jerusalem that took away my life, I'le have preached Repentance and Remission of sins there in the very first place of all, Oh! Gods mercies are beyond mans iniquities.

[Page 142] My brethren, If the bowels of Gods mercies shal work toward us, notwithstanding our great sins, why should Use. 1. not the bowels of our compassions work towards our Brethren, notwithstanding their infirmities? why should we upon every little discontent cast off all pity and love to our Brethren? What, such great things in us, and yet moves not God to cast us off, but still, How shall I cast thee off? Oh! when you look upon your Brethren that once your hearts did close withal, and that were as your own souls, and if now you should be any instru­ments of evil to them, you should have such reasonings as this, How shall I do it? I see infirmities in them, I, but notwithstanding my great sins, God saith of me, How shall I give thee up?

And then Secondly, Why should great afflictions for God hinder your hearts working to him, seeing great sins against 2. God doth not hinder Gods heart yerning to you? Why should any great afflictions for God hinder your hearts working twards him? Surely if God will he merciful to us not­withstanding our sins, we should go on in the waies of obedience to him notwithstanding any afflictions that we meet withal for our obedience.

Again, a Second Note is this: Sinners are at the very mouth of misery, the brink of destruction when they think not of Obs. 2. it, there's nothing but giving of them up.

And then Thirdly, It's nothing but Gods free mercy that Obs. 3. keeps us from being destroyed; le's the Lords mercy that we are not consumed.

In the Fourth place, Sin puts God to a stand; How shall Obs. 4. I do it? It brings disorder into the world; God must set his infinit wisdom on work to bring thing about to his own glory, sin hath brought disorder and confusion; Now saith God, I must set mind infinite wisdom on work to bring glory out of this confusion. If God hath any good intentions to thee, know, they sin laies such diffi­culties in Gods way to find out a way for thee, as puts [Page 143] him to a kind of stand, as thus, For God to find out a way that all the wrong that sin hath done to him should The incom­possibility of satisfaction & salvation, puts God to the highest exer­cise of his wisdom. be made up, and yet thy soul should be sav'd, 'tis the hardest thing in the world: Thou canst commit sin easily, but (I say) when the sin is committed, for God then to find out a way that all that wrong that's done to him should be made up (as it must be, for otherwise all the disorder will not be brought into order) and yet thy soul sav'd, it's the hardest thing in the world; and were not God, a God infinite in wisdom, it would put him so to it, as he were never able to find out a way. God doth seem as it were to be at a stand, How shall I do to save these sinners, and yet not to wrong my self? Oh! this should humble us for our sins: As if a child should do so much evil as to bring himself into such bryars and Simile. troubles, as that his tender father being affected with his sad condition would fain help him, but if he doth help him, he is put to abundance of difficulties for the helping of him, and he is fain to beat his brains, and stu­dy waies and means how he shall come to save this his child from utter undoing; now if the child hath any in­genuity in him, he will not only think, it's no great matter, so be it I be delivered, Oh! but this will break his heart, Oh! what troubles have I brought my father into? It is thus with us in reference to God, if we look upon God thus as personating a man.

And then in the Fifth place, The salvation of a sinner Obs. 5. it breaks through a great many reasonings and workings of Gods heart.

How shall I do it, saith God? We little think what rea­sonings there are between Mercy and Justice about our lives, about our souls many times, could we but hear what reasonings there are in Heaven between Mercy and Justice about our lives, Oh! it would go to our hearts: The great salvation that comes by Christ, it was not de­termined without many reasonings between Mercy and [Page 144] Justice, there was presented to God whatsoever Justice could say, and what ever mercy could say; What (saith God) must my son be under my wrath for the satisfying of Justice, and be made a Curse? yet this must be, Justice requires satisfaction, How can it be done without the Son of God being made a Curse for mans sin? these kind of reasonings there are in the heart of God for saving of mans soul; in 1 Sam. 16. 8. we reade of Abishai, and 1 Sam. 16. 8. Davids reasoning the case about Sauls life; saith Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand Simile. this day: now therefore let me smite him, &c. No, saith David, do not smite him, do not destroy him, and thus they reasoned one with another; Saul was in a very ill case when there was that reasoning about his life; such a case are we in many times, the Justice and Mercy of God doth reason about our lives, and souls, Oh! how do we depend upon God for our lives and souls? and if we be sav'd, we are sav'd through many reaso­nings.

But the main Point of all is this, That according to the relation that a people, a sinful people, or persons have unto God, Obs. 6. So God finds it a difficult thing to execute wrath upon them.

How shall I do it? The wrath of God is many times brought to the birth, and God cannot as it were (to speak after the manner of men) know how to put strength to it to bring it forth. This is the reason that in Scripture we have such sending after sinners, and crying to them, to return, such earnest wishes, Oh! that they would re­turn! and such pleadings with them, They will not come in, and return; This is the reason why we reade of the Lord whetting his Sword, and bending his Bow, and preparing his Arrows.

Why, is not God ready at any time to execute judgment upon a sinner? Quest.

Oh no, he will be whetting, and bending, and prepa­ring, Answ. [Page 145] and all because it is a work that he is loth to go through withal (as it were) and this is the reason why God will not stir up his wrath, or if it be stir'd up, he will call it back again. Lament. 3. 33. The Lord afflicts not willingly; neither doth he grieve the children of men; and all this is, because Gods nature is to be merciful, mercy plea­ses The Reason. him, and the Lord doth perfectly foresee, and hath perfectly in his view all the reasons that might move him to mercy. As now thus: These are the things that makes God to be at a stand when he comes to execute judgment upon a people, or persons that have relation to him, where his Name is professed, and where himself is Other Rea­sons. worshiped.

First, This reason is presented, The many prayers of the 1. Prayrs of the Saints. Saints withstand against justice. Justice must break through all the prayers of all the Saints of God that are in such places; and this is not an easie matter; we account it not an easie matter for to break through a mighty Army; God cannot come to a people that he is related to, and is worshiped by, but that he must break through an Ar­my, Simile. the Army of the prayers of his people; now saith God, How shall I do it? Oh! it is a mighty Army that is between me and them.

Yea, Secondly, The Lord looks upon such a place 2. The little ones. with pity, Because of the many children and little ones that there are in such a place, yea, the children of his own people. You know when God was about destroying of Neniveh, he look'd upon the many thousands that knew not the difference between the right hand or the left. But when God comes to destroy a Kingdom that doth worship him, he looks upon those many infants, and the little ones, and sees them many of the posterity of his Servants; As they are but littles ones that moves his bowels, they have not been guilty of those sins that their parents have been guilty of, and they are the little ones of mine own precious Servants, many of them, How shall I destroy this place, even for their sakes?

[Page 146] Thirdly, God considers that he hath but little worship in 3. Few worshi­pers. the world, there are but few in the world that do worship him at all; and though it's true, there are such mixtures in worship here, as in respect of that I cannot accept of what they have done, yet it is somewhat that I am wor­shiped, there are very few in the world that own me to worship me at all.

Fourthly, If ever God hath been honored in such a King­dom 4 Former ser­vice to God. by his Saints, either by their doing or suffering, the Lord regards all this when he is about to draw out the Sword of judg­ment. It's true thinks God, there are but few that ho­nor me now, but there are many of my Servants that have done much, and suffered much, how many have I that have stood out to witness for me, and my truth? Certain­ly my Brethren, the Lord in saving any Kingdom when the Kingdom is in danger, if it be a place that he hath been honored in, and that his people have suffered much there for his Names sake, then he remembers it; and there is not a louder argument next to the blood of Jesus Christ, in the ears of God to save a place from ruin, than the blood of his people that have been shed for him; and therefore such a place is beholding to all that have suffe­red for God.

Fifthly, He accounts what number of his Saints are there: 5 A remnant of Saints. There are yet some of them left; And would I have sa­ved Sodom if there were but ten righteous persons? Now I'le reckon how many I have, not ten, or an hundred, but (it may be) God shall find thousands of righteous persons; now the blood of my Son that pleads for them, and therefore how shall I give them up?

Sixthly, I foresee the miseries they would endure, Oh! 6. Groans of the afflicted. the very cries are in mine ears already, if I should deliver them up into the hand of their enemies, Oh! the extre­mity they would endure, how would they be plundered of all they have, put into prison, put to miserable tor­ments! Oh! what shreekings and cries would there be, [Page 147] even from my people that would worship me! And me thinks [...] ears are fill'd already with their cries before­hand. Many times when we speak of the sorrows and miseries of people, before they come we are a little affe­cted with them, but when we are eye-witnesses of the miseries of people; as if any of you have seen the woful miseries of those that have been under the power of the adversaries, then your hearts would be affected indeed: but now all the miseries that they should endure are pre­sent before God, as if they were now in real being, and therefore, How shall I give them up? And that's the sixt thing that puts God thus to a stand, that makes it hard for him to give up a people that are any way related to him.

Seventhly, The Lord sees how the adversaries would insult; 7 Insulting of the Adversary If I should deliver them, they will not honor me, they will blaspheme, they will scorn at their prayers, and fa­stings, and at all their trusting in God, and at their good cause, and what's become of your good cause, and of your pretending to God, so much as you have done? Now the Lord foresees these blasphemies and insultings of the proud adversaries, how they will triumph, and tread upon his Saints as dirt under their feet.

Eighthly, There are many of mine elect ones that are to 8 Elect in the loins of their parents. come out of their loyns, and therefore though I do not pre­serve the Kingdom for their own sakes, yet for those e­lect ones that comes out of their loyns; If I should deli­ver them up to the rage of the enemy, then the line of my election would even be cut asunder, and therefore, How can I give them up? I shall wrong my self in this thing, in cutting asunder even the very thread of ele­ction in giving them up.

Ninthly, If my wrath and justice must be satissied, let it 9 Other objects of wrath. run out upon others, who will set the bryars and thorns before me that I may go through them and burn them up together.

[Page 148] Tenthly, If my Saints be afflicted, it will be my affliction; 10. Gods own affliction. It's true, they will suffer very much, but in an their af­flictions I must be afflicted too; I foresee what afflictions it will be to mine own Soul.

Eleventhly, I am bound to fetch good out of all their evils. 11 God makes himself work Suppose I should give them up, yea, but then I must work for mine own glory, and fetch out good from all their snfferings; And will it not be as easie for me to be pati­ent towards them, as to work good from their sufferings when they are given up? God reasons in this man­ner.

Twelfthly, If I destroy them, what glory shall I have? I 12. Justice glori­fied by others shall have the glory of my Justice; I, but it will be but passively: And will that be much, to have the glory of Justice in a passive way? I have enough in Hell to glori­fie my Justice in a passive way.

Yea, Lastly, Why may not Mercy yet work upon their hearts? 13. Mercy may convert. Who knows but if ye I continue the Gospel amongst them, and deliver them from those great straights that now they are in, who knows but their hearts may be tur­ned unto me?

Oh! my brethren, I make no question, but at this day Application to England. all these reasonings have been in the heart of God, con­cerning England. When we have been at the very pits brink, the Lord hath been often saying even concerning England, How shall I give thee up England? how shall I make thee as Admah? and set thee as Zeboim? mine heart it turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. At that time when Forces were raised (before the Parliament) Instances of the workings of Gods heart towards Engl. against our Brethren of Scotland, then said the Lord, How shall I give thee up? And then at Edge-hill, and at Brain­ford, and at Newbery, and Marston-more, and Nazeby-fight, we were at every one of them even at the delivering up to the rage of the Enemy; and then comes in these reason­ings of the heart of God, Oh! how shall I make them as other people, as Germany, and other people? besides o­thers [Page 149] in former times, as in 88. and the Pouder-Treason; I say, there have been the workings of the bowels of God towards us, a poor, wretched and sinful people. And let us now learn to acknowledg whence our preservation is; It is not from this man, and the other man, so much as from the reasonings of the heart of God thus for good unto us.

Hence let us learn what to do when any temptation Obs. 7. For the resist­ing of temp­tation to sin, imitate God in the Text. comes to any sin: What, is it thus with God? doth God say when we are in danger of being destroyed, how shall I do this? Then when any temptation comes to us to sin against God, Oh let us say, How shall I do this, and sin against God? As Joseph (you know) it was his reasoning, when he had as fit an opportunity to fin as almost a man could have had, with his Mistris, yet presently comes there this reasoning in his heart, How shal I do this, and fin against God? Oh! there is reason it should be so with us, when God hath fit opportunities to destroy us, there comes the reasoning of Gods mercy into his heart; so when we have our temptations to sin, there should com these reasonings into our hearts, Oh! how shall I do this, and sin against the Lord our God? Let us present al these reasonings to our souls. Men wil gather reasonings for their sin: and so we should gather al the reasons that possibly we can against our sins. It were well my bre­thren, if men after they have sinned would say, Oh, what have I done? But it's better if men before they have sin­ned would say, How shall I do it? Oh! certainly our mind: are very barren that we have not upon every oc­casion when a temptation comes, reasonings to move us against it; Indeed after a sin is committed, men then can think of this reasoning, and the other reasoning, Oh! if God should thus deal with us, First deliver us up and and destroy us, and then God should think of this and God reasons before, not af­ter our evils are upon us. that what might have been to have preserved us, it would have been ill for us; therfore God, just when the danger [Page 150] comes for our ruin, then he thinks of all that might keep off ruin from us: And so when the temptation to a sin comes then should we think of all things that might keep us from this sin. ‘How shall I give thee up Ephraim, &c.

The last Exercise we opened unto you this verse, and made some Observations from it; to proceed now: The next Note is this,

It is not the Image of God in any man to be prone to wrath, to delight in wrath, to be sudden in, the execution of anger; when Obs. 8. Proneness to wrath, not Gods Image. God comes to execute anger he cannot do it, but he must have a how shall I do it? before he doth it, he must make a stop: proneness to anger, suddenness to let out wrath, it is not the Image of God in any man or woman.

When any of you are about to do any thing, especial­ly against your Brethren, against those that you have Use. relation to, be not over passionate, reason the Case first in thine own heart, How shall I do this? True, I think such and such they are in the wrong, but what good will come of it if I do thus and thus? Are they not those that I have had sweet converse with, and experience of their godliness? would it not be more for the honor of God if I did forbear? will any good come to the pub­lick? shall not I rather serve the designs of the enemies with such sharpness and bitterness? will they not laugh and scorn at Religion? Oh! How shall I do this? Oh! when we have workings in our own thoughts as bitter as gall, if before we vent them, we would but put this to our selves, how shall I do this? with presenting all the arguments that possibly we can to stop it, much good would come of it.

Yea, Ministers when they are to preach, when they Ministers should be wary in using tartness. have prepared to deliver something, yet if there will be any tartness in it, they should think, how should I do [Page 151] this? what may come of it? I may vent my self, but what good may come of it? what glory to God? what good to the Church? We should make many pauses, and many stops to our anger. As somtimes when you are tra­veling abroad in the Country, you come upon some Simile. steep hill, you shall find that the Country men they lay here and there in several places something to stop the Current of the water, for otherwise it would gore too much, if it should run down swiftly, but when it hath some stop it doth not do so much hurt: Oh! how doth the anger of men gore deep; why? because it runs hea­dily, and violently down, and it hath nothing to stop it. Men in anger they are very full of thoughts, and resoluti­ons, and continually all the reasonings of the hearts of men and women in their anger tend to nothing else but to heat their hearts more, all their thoughts work that way, till their hearts are made fiery hot, and so they burst out and cannot stay, they muse upon nothing else but that that may further their anger and displeasure: And The effects of Anger. those that are barren enough in their thoughts otherwise, yet are very quick in invention, and wittie for the let­ting out of anger and wrath. But this would be your wis­dom had you the Image of God prevailing in you, when you find anger stirring in your bosom, you would rather muster up reasons that may allay your anger, that may qualifie it, you would muse upon those things that may serve to be a stop to it for the present, as God doth here: Oh! did men but do so, say, How shall I do this? what peace and quiet might we have among us!

A Ninth Observation is this; you see when God, though he threatned very sorely, and charges deeply, yet, How shall I do this? He reasons in his own heart for waies of mercy towards his people. The Note from it is this;

Here we have encouragement, plentiful encouragement to come Obs. 9. Encourage­ment to Pra­yer & Faith. to God in prayer in seeking mercy, notwithstanding our wretched­ness, [Page 152] and sinfulness, yea, encouragement for beleeving, This Scripture may be a mighty help to faith in our prayers, seeking of our resting upon God, as thus, What, doth God find it hard to him to execute wrath, doth God muster up all arguments that may be to stop his anger, and how he may manifest goodness and mercy? why then if thou hast any arguments to plead with God for mercy, thou mayest come up with boldness, and freedom to him, he is ready to receive it, for thou bringest unto him that which is exceedingly sutable to him, sutable to his very heart, thou bringest matter to him that is a­greeable to what his heart is set upon; what, doest thou apprehend the displeasure of God out against thee, or against the Land where God hath any relation? hast thou any arguments at all in prayer to plead with God, For so God gives his Creature leave to plead with him as if he were a man; Oh! come (I say) with a free spirit, come cheerfully, come with encouragement, for thou comest now to do that which Gods heart is full of; If so be that a man could know the thoughts of other men, know what thoughts their spirits are most full of, and could come at that time and suggest thoughts unto them suta­ble to what their thoughts are upon, what entertain­ment would they have, why surely, when poor sinners (if they be penitent sinners) shall come to God and sug­gest any arguments for mercy, I say thou doest suggest that which the heart of God was full of, and exceeding­ly sutable to it, The same thing that thou pleadest, mer­cy is pleading already, and mercy carries on those argu­ments with a great deal more strength than thou art a­ble to do, but it takes it well at thy hand to present any to it, Thou art loth to perish, and God is as loth thou shouldest perish, if God give thee a heart to come to him to stop wrath, thou comest to him to do a work exceeding ac­ceptable to him, 'tis as acceptable to God, such a work, as it can be acceptable unto thee: when thou apprehen­dest [Page 153] Judgment ready to be executed, look up to mercy, Advice when the blow is coming it may [...] the holy Ghost may raise an act of faith, and this act of faith will set bowels on work, the bowels of God are very ready to work; That which is very ready to work, a little thing will set it on work; I say, Gods bowels are very ready to work in the waies of grace and mercy towards sinners, and the least act of faith in that mercy, would certainly set bowels on work a main: Mercy calls thee to help, Mercy hath been pleading a great while, and Justice pleading; Mercy calls thee in to help, and assist her to plead for thee, and who knows but the casting voice staies for thy coming in, though The casting voice, Prayer. there hath been pleadings in Gods heart, yet the dispensa­tions of God may be such as the casting voice shall not come till thy pleadings be come in, and then the business may be determined as it was here.

The Tenth Observation is this, Oh consider the different Obs. 10. dealings of the Father with his Son; let our Meditations be raised from this, Doth the bowels of God thus work to­wards poor sinners, pleading for them when wrath is ready to be executed, then we may here see the great dif­ference between Gods dealings with his Saints, and with his Son. When God comes to deliver his people, these that he had relation to, where he had some of his Saints, and for their sakes he speaks this, he saith, How shall I deliver thee? We do not find that God said so concerning his Son, God did deliver up his Son unto wrath with­out a How shall I do it, yea, the Heart of God was in it, there's no such expression of reluctancie about this work, but the Scripture saith that it pleased God to bruise him; It pleased him well, it was an act that pleased God to bruise his Son: Indeed it was for glorious ends that he had in it; why so? God might have ends enough for to bring forth his glory in our bruising; but yet notwith­standing any ends that he might bring about, he saith, How shall I do it? God doth not delight to grieve the [Page 154] children of men, but God did grieve his Son, he bruised him, and it pleased him to bruise him. You shall find such an expression in Isa. 53. and in Psal. 40. In the vo­lumn Isa. 53. of the book it is written of me, that I should do thy will: It was the will of God that Christ should come and suf­fer what he did; when Ephraim was bemoaning himself, Góds bowels were troubled within him, he doth let the rod fall out of his hand, in Jer. 31. 19, 20. When Ephra­im Jer. 31. 19, 20 was bemoaning himself; mark how Gods bowels there works, but the Scripture saith That God did not spare his Son; God would spare Ephraim; Jesus Christ did bemoan himself when he cried out, If it be possible, let this Cup pass from me: and, Oh God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Oh what a bemoaning of himself was this! and yet in Rom 8. 32. God spared not his own Son, he did not spare with Rom. 8. 32. him, notwithstanding all the moans that he made unto him, but he delivered him up. Here we reade of the re­pentings of God that are kindled, and divers times in Scripture of Gods repenting of the execution of Justice upon sinners, but when he speaks of Chist, I have made him a Priest for ever, that is, so as he should be a Sacrifice, both the Priest to offer, and the Sacrifice its self, in Heb. 7. 21. The Lord sware, and will not repent: Oh certainly it was from this work of God, the delivering up of his Son, that the Lord hath such working of bowels towards sin­ners when wrath comes to be executed, to say, How shall I give thee up?

Yet further, If the heart of God doth thus work to­wards sinners when they are ready to be given up, yea towards those that are very evil, for so these were, Their hearts bent to back-sliding; Hence then we may learn.

That the State of the Saints that walk close with God must needs be very secure; If the Lord deals thus with rebellious Obs. 11. Sons, what will he do with a Son that serves him, that walks close with him? though a Son very vile, very sin­ful, yet there is a how shall I give thee up? Oh then, thou [Page 155] whose conscience witnesses of thy sincere endeavor in walking close with God continually, know that thy e­state must needs be secure.

Yea further, if this be so, Surely whensoever God deli­vers Obs. 12. up his own people to any judgments, there's some great mat­ter in it; some great matter in it, for never doth any af­fliction come unto them, but it breaks through many reasonings of Gods heart, God intends some great mat­ter; Doth judgment begin at the house of God? It is be­cause the Lord hath some great intents to bring forth, it is not because the Lord takes pleasure in the moans of his people, in the sorrows and sufferings of his Servants, but it is because he intends some great things; for certain­ly these bowels of compassion would not let such sore and grievous evils pass, if there were not some great ends and purposes of God to bring about.

And yet further, hence observe, The difference between Obs. 13. the day of patience, and the times of wrath: for the sakes of those that were godly here, Gods patience speaks thus towards the body of the People, and so was patient and long-suffering towards them. There is a time that God wile laugh at the destruction of sinners, and he will mock when their fear cometh, when he will execute his wrath, and be comforted as the Scripture speaks: There is a time indeed when God saith, How shall I give them up? but there is another time wherein God doth give forth the wine of his wrath, The Wine, it doth delight the Lord as Wine doth unto a man, when indignation shall Rev. 14. 10. illustrated. be as Wine to God, then mercy and patience shall hold their peace, for they have then their glory already, they will never speak more, but turn over the sinner unto Ju­stice, yea, pleads unto Justice against the sinner.

And then lastly, Seeing that God comes off thus, when he Obs. 14. is about the letting out of wrath, making such stops as he doth, then surely we should not hasten Judgment against our selves; but let us make use of these dealings of God for the brea­king [Page 156] of our hearts, and causing them to return unto him; let not us assist Justice to our own destruction, seeing Mer­cy pleads (as it were) against the execution of it, let us take heed of new provocations, when God is about the letting out of his wrath, let not us pull it upon our own heads, seeing God keeps off, and forbears, let not us ha­sten it (I say) and pul it upon our own heads. If Sodom Note. had but known Gods reasonings with Abraham in the behalf of it, one would have thought it might have broke the very hearts of Sodom. And let us consider of the rea­sonings of God in this, and lay them to our hearts for the breaking of our hearts, and think thus with our selves, Lord, why should it be so hard with thee to deli­ver me up, when it is so easie with me to sin against thee? there's no pleadings hath stop'd me in the course of my sin, the Word hath pleaded, Conscience hath often plea­ded, but I have not been stop'd in the course of my sin; Oh! why should any pleadings stop thee in the course of thy wrath? The Lord cause such kind of workings to be in our hearts for the breaking of them, Considering, that indeed it is through the pleadings of Mercy that any of us are alive, that we are out of the nethermost Hell. And thus much for those words, How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee Israel? It follows; ‘How shall I make thee as Admah, and set thee as Zeboim?

I opened the words the last day, what is meant by Ad­mah and Zeboim, the two Cities that were neer to Sodom and Gomorah, that were destroyed in the same destructi­on.

The Notes of Observation follow.

First, That Gods people may be in danger of as sore and great Obs. 1 evils as the vilest and worst of men, their sin may have such agra­vations upon them, as may make them liable for the present in this world to as sore & great evils as the worst of mankind. For [Page 157] indeed, the aggravations of the sins of the Saints are such as makes their sins, if God should deal with them accor­ding to a Covenant of Works, and not in a Covenant of Grace, their condition would be sadder than the most wicked and vile: In Amos, 9. 7. saith God there, Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto me? You have had (indeed) deliverances, and so have they, And are you not unto me as the children of the Ethiopians? What are you better than the children of the Ethiopians unto me, if I should look upon you as in your selves; There­fore in Isa. 1. 10. The Princes of Judah are called the Prin­ces of Sodom; and the people, the people of Gomorah: And in Lament. 4. 6. The punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom. Ezek. 16. 48. As I live, saith the Lord, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she, nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou, and thy daughters. [As I live] God swears to Note. it, that Sodom was not guilty of such great sins.

You will say, Yea, but we are delivered from such evils, Object. by being under another Covenant.

Yea, but that should not at al hinder the work of your Answ. humiliation, but rather further it, considering what you are in your selves.

Secondly, When sinners are at the worst, and the neerest Obs. 2. Judgment, yet bowels of mercy are working towards them, when they do deserve to be as Admah and Zeboim, even then. This Note rises from hence: but we had it also from the dependance of the words.

Thirdly, Those that have relation to God have a great pri­viledge Obs. 3. that others have not: Thus: As if God should say, Let Admah and Zeboim perish if they will, let Fire and Brimstone come from Heaven, and Eternal Fire pursue them, what care I for Admah and Zeboim: But how shall I make thee as Admah and Zeboim? Oh! I know not how to find in my heart to make thee so. Those that have relation to God have a great priviledge that others [Page 158] [...] [Page 159] [...] [Page 154] [...] [Page 155] [...] [Page 156] [...] [Page 157] [...] [Page 158] have not; God disposes his Mercies as he pleases.

It may be some of you think that your sins are not so Use of Admonition. great, or not greater than the sins of others, and there­fore you may escape as well as they. No, you may mistake in that, God may save some that are guilty of greater sins than you, and yet damn you, damn you for sins less than the other. Gods mercy is his own; If God wil destroy Admah and Zeboim eternally; who can say against Gods dealings with them? But, how shall I make thee as Admah and Zeboim? God knows how to make a difference be­tween man and man. Let no man presume, and say, Be­cause others commit as great sins as I, I may escape aswel as they; No, thou reckonest in this without thine Host; God may make a great difference between his dealings­with them, and with thee, and do thee no wrong neither; for the mercies of God are his own.

Fourthly, Seeing God is loth to make his people like to o­thers, Obs. 4. like to the wicked and reprobates in punishments, let not them make themselves like to them in sin. Doth God put a difference between Reprobates and his People in punish­ment? Oh! let the Saints then labor to put a difference between themselves and such as are of the world in mat­ter of sin, let that be no argument to them, Such and such do thus, and why may not I do so [...]oo? that's no argu­ment with God; I have destroyed such and such, and why may not I destroy thee? that argument wil not pre­vail with God. Thou committest such a sin, and I have some in Hell that I sent thither for the same sin: but this argument prevails not with God: Oh! let not such an argument prevail with thee, that because such and such sin, therefore I will venture too.

A Fifth Note is, Though God be never so inclined to mercy, Obs. 5. yet this doth not hide from his eyes the sins of his own people, he still sees them, he sees what they are in themselves, and he sees what would become of them if they were left to themselves: Now I am in a way of mercy towards you, [Page 159] yet I look upon you now as such as have deserved to be as Admah and Zeboim, do not think that because my mercy works towards you, that therefore your sins are not before my eyes, I know your iniquities, and yet am gracious and merciful.

And is it so? Neither then should the hope, or encou­ragement Use. Direction. of mercy from God hide our sins from us: As the thoughts of Gods mercies to us do not hide our sins from him, so our hope of mercy from God should not hide our sins from our own eyes, but at the same time when we think of the greatest mercy, yet we should look upon our selves as the most wretched, miserable, forlorn Creatures in our selves. It follows. ‘My heart is turned within me, my Repentings are kind­led together.’

The word here translated [Turned] it signifies some great stirring, some change into another condition. And [...] that expression of God here, My heart is turned, it is not Expos. 1. only to note, (according as I see several Interpreters go) that God doth change the sentence of his wrath, yet without any change in Gods Nature, for the same God working upon divers objects, works in a diverse way without any change in himself, so that though there were those things that might have produced wrath, and reasoning for it, and (God speaking after the manner of men as it were) inclinations to it, yet upon such conside­rations it should not be, and though this would be a change in man, yet God is infinitly above us, and we are not able to know his Nature, this is without any change in him.

But I think the words besides that, it specially hath a­nother 2. The Au­thors. scope, and that is to note the strong affections (as it were) in God, for so in all this we must speak of him after the manner of men, to note the strong affections [Page 160] that there were in the heart of God; as now, We know that strong affections in us, whether they be affections of Love, or of Joy, or of Anger, They carry the heart a­long with them, and cause very strong motions in the heart. I'le give you one Scripture that hath this very phrase, that will shew you the meaning is not, Turned within me, that is, in a way of change so much; as to note strong motions that there are in the heart of God towards sinners: Lam. 1. 20. there the Church is lamen­ting for her sin, and expressing the mighty workings of heart that she did feel in her self by reason of her sin, and of her affliction, and you have there the same expression that you have here: I am in distress, my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned within me. The meaning is not there, that I am changed in my heart, so as I am turned from my sin; But, My heart is turned within me, that is, I find a mighty moving in my heart through the mighty workings of it, and the strong affections of my heart, (as we say sometimes) You make my heart to leap in my belly, or pant, or ach within me. Any kind of strong affections makes strong stirrings in the heart. So 'tis here, My heart is turned within me, I find mighty strong motions and stirrings in my heart.

The Notes.

First, When there are strong movings of the heart of a peni­tent after God, such an one may be very well encouraged to come Obs. 1. to God, for there are strong motions in Gods heart after him. My heart is turned, there are mighty strong movings in my heart for mercy to you, do you find such movings in your hearts as you never were acquainted withal before? before your hearts lay dead, and dull, and nothing would stir your hearts; and now you find your hearts mighti­ly stirring and working; Doth your hearts work strong­ly towards God? be encouraged in those stirrings, there are as strong stirrings in Gods heart towards sin­ners.

[Page 161] And then secondly, Let arguments to obedience for God cause stirrings in our hearts; let them not lie dead and dull Obs. 2. in us: As Arguments for mercy, Oh! how stirring are they in Gods heart! If any argument for mercy towards finners be propounded, the heart of God mightily stirs, Oh! what arguments do you meet withal coming from the Word many times, that one would think might work upon the heart of a Devil to draw to obedience, and yet your hearts lie dead, and dull under all those po­werful arguments, Oh! how unsutable are your hearts to God! Do you expect that Gods heart should work strongly towards you to do you good, and yet nothing stir in you?

And then Thirdly, My heart turned within me; we Obs. 3. must not cast out wholly the sence that's given of it; Turned in respect of the revoking of the sentence.

The Note is: When we have resolutions, strong resolutions to that that's evil, let us not think it too much to have our hearts turned, to recall our thoughts, and our determinations, and our strong inclinations: Many times men have strong resoluti­ons to a thing, and they see arguments that might turn them, but only this, They have resolved, and they are loth to change their thoughts and resolutions: Oh! take heed of this, for God expresses himself after the manner of men, there have been many times strong re­solutions to have destroyed thee eternally, but the Lord doth that which man would do when he changes his re­solutions, though there be no change in Gods Nature; and he would by expressing himself after this manner to us, hold forth this Note, That we should take heed we stand not upon our resolutions when there are arguments to the contrary, but be willing to have it known that now we are otherwise than before we were. [Page 162] My repentings are kindled together.’

Surely God repents not as man doth. But you know the answer of Divines; viz. That his administrations are such as if he did repent: But the word here transla­ted Repenting, comes from [...] [...] Consolat poeni­tuit, &c. [...] root that signifies as well Comfort, as Repentance, noting that Repentance and Com­fort are very neer a kin one to another: as the Hebrews express Sin, and Punishment with the same word; so they express Repentance and Comfort with the same word.

My Repentings are kindled. My bowels yern within me; so that expression you have in Gen. 43. 30. Josephs bowels did yern within him. And 1 Kings, 9. 26. The mother of the child when she saw it would be cut pieces, her bowels yerned; the word yerned there, is the same here with kindled, her bowels kindled within her, she found a heat in her bowels. ‘They are kindled [together.]’

Whatsoever might cause any Repentings, they all come together, they lie glowing at the heart. The Notes Expos. are these Three,

First, Here's mighty encouragement for prayer; when we Obs. 1 present arguments to God for mercy, to think, that those arguments we present, and all other that possibly may be presented they lie glowing at Gods heart, they lie glo­wing warm at the heart of God; they are not only before God, but there they lie as a company of sticks that are gotten together and so glow and are ready to flame out; so all considerations that any way may serve to do good unto the Saints, they do lie glowing at the heart of God altogether. It may be sometimes we come in prayer, alas we are straightned in our own bowels, perhaps we cannot express our selves, it may be but in one or two particulars we are able to express, and that which comes out of our hearts comes very cold; but when we are [Page 163] straigtned in our own bowels, and can express but little for our selves, and if we see such as belongs to Gods Cove­nant, we must know that all considerations that possibly men and Angels can express, that may do thee good they are all with God, and are in a heat in Gods heart. I do not know such a full expression as this is of Repentings The Text re­markable. kindled; kindled together.

Then Secondly, Let us gather as many arguments as we Obs. 2. can to cause repentance, and lay them together, and never leave working them upon our hearts till we find them kindled: Sure­ly there's all the reason for it in the world; Doth the Lord gather all together that may be for our good, and lay them upon his heart, and there keep them to his heart till they kindle and work powerful workings up­on his heart for good to us? then, when we would re­pent, (for there's reason that we should repent as well as expect that God should for us) we should be gathering all arguments that possibly can be, and never leave till we find them kindled and warm at our hearts.

Oh! many of you, at some times you have one argu­ment Note. that sticks at your hearts, and at another time there's another; at such a time there was some one truth darted in, and it took your hearts, and you would say as those that went to Emaus, Did not we find our hearts burn within us? so you found Truths coming in at such a Sermon, and at another, and another; yea, but now could you get but all those arguments that ever God did dart into you to waies of repentance, could you but get them together, and work them upon your hearts, and never leave till they be kindled, and be crying to God as Elisha did, till he got fire to come from Heaven to con­sume the Sacrifice: Oh Lord, my heart hath a deal of waterie stuff in it that will not kindle, till the fire of the holy Ghost come to kindle these arguments and make them to burn; Oh! if it were with us, as David in Psal. 39. 31. saith he, While I was musing, my heart was hot with­in [Page 164] me, and the fire burned: so we should go into our closets and be gathering all things together that we can to work upon our hearts, and continue mufing till we find the fire burning within us. Nay, our hearts heat so, as to break forth with our tongues, and even to say from our souls, Well, the Lord is God, it is he that is worthy for ever to be feared, and honored, and serv'd, I have lived like a base, and sinful, wretched creature, without a God in the world, but it's the Lord that is God, that is wor­thy to be honored, from my Bodie, and Soul, and Estate, and Name, and Liberty, and Life, and whatsoever I am, or can do; now if it would break forth in such a reso­lution, how excellent would it be? Oh! let us be hum­bled I beseech you for the coldness of our hearts, that no­thing can kindle there; What a damp is there upon our spirits, that when any argument is laid it goes out pre­sently? We have Truths laid upon us when we come to Note. the Word, but our dampie hearts quenches them all, they do not kindle; many are wittie enough to gather arguments for sin, and lay them upon their hearts, and so to kindle wickedness in their hearts, as in Psal. 41. 6. Psa. 41. 6. Opened you have a notable Scripture there of wicked men that came to David, They gathered iniquity in their hearts; all things that might sute with their wicked hearts, and for the furtherance of their ungodly waies they gathered them together for the encouraging, and strengthening of them in their evil waies: But it should be the care of the Saints to gather all things that might further repen­tance in them; That's the reason why wicked men are so hot in that that's evil, They gather arguments toge­ther; and hence it is that wicked men when they have been in wicked company they come from it so hot in their re­solutions Company heals whe­ther evil, to sin, Why? because they have gathered a great deal together for the heating of their hearts in their sin; and so should the Saints when they are together in a holy communion and fellowship, they should be gathe­ring or good. [Page 165] one from another, every one come and afford some­thing to lay (as it were) to kindle the fire, But how? laying their light ends together, and not their dead ends together.

And then the Third Note is this, Our mercies to others Obs. 3. should not be cold, but burning: Let us be merciful, as our Hea­venly Father is merciful: That is, Not only wishing good to others, but let there be kindled mercies in our bowels, that we may not be able to keep them in. I suppose ma­ny of you, especially of estates, have had many thoughts, that you would do this and this for such good uses, and you see some reason why it should be so; yea, but now, have these arguments burnt in your hearts, so as to cause you to break forth into resolutions? Well, though I have had thoughts and inclinations to make use of my e­state thus and thus, yet I have been kept off, but now they are kindled in my heart, and I am resolved upon it. Thus it was with God; and let it be so with you. And thus much for the Eighth Verse. The Ninth follows.

VER. 9.

I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger. I will not execute the [burning] of mine anger (so the words are) [...]

IT's true, your sins, and arguments against you did Expos. lie at my heart, and did even burn it; but I will not execute that, I will execute the kindling of my mercy, but not the kindling of mine anger. Mark the several phrases, Bowels was kindled in way of mercy, and Wrath was kindled, there was burning Wrath, and burning Mercy, but that which prevails, It is, the burning Mercy, that prevails, I will not execute the burning of mine anger; why? For I have kindlings of mercy in my bowels.

But how was this true? Was not Israel carried into Quest. captivity, and continued there many yeers, and never yet [Page 166] returned again (as some think) and when they were carried into captivity for three yeers together, there was a siege at the City, and yet God saith here, He will not ex­ecute the sierceness of his anger?

For the Answer: That which before was said, will Answ. give sufficient answer to it, How shall I make thee as Ad­mah, and Zeboim? that is, though God did suffer them to be carried away captive, and their enemies prevail'd against them, yet he did not make them as Admah and Zeboim though: There was not the fierceness of Gods anger, the Burning of the anger of God, out against them. And the Lord had even in their carrying into Captivity, yet he had respect to his Elect Ones, and hath to this very day an intention to do them good after­wards: And so we shall find in the next verse, that there is a promise of the returning from their Captivity, and therefore though they were for a long time to continue in Captivity, yet still God did not execute the fierceness of his anger.

Sin indeed stirs up anger and fierce anger in God. The Septuagint translate the words thus, I will not do ac­cording to the anger of my wrath, that is, in extremity, I [...]. 70. will not do thus with you, there were mighty stirrings in Gods heart, pleadings of Justice, and pleadings of Mercy, but Gods mercy overcomes, gets the day, as it were: Mercie triumphs over Justice.

The Observations:

When we have stirrings between Mercy and Wrath, the stir­rings of Mercy should rather prevail, the bent of our hearts should Obs. 3. rather be in them. When we have workings this way and that way; which is the most benign side? the arguments had need be very much the stronger for wrath, than for Mercie; If the arguments have any equality, or neer a­ny equalitie in them, certainly the arguments for mercie should prevail: they do so with Gods heart; Oh! be you like God in this.

[Page 167] And then Secondly, When there are stirrings with God, and temptations to draw to sin, the stirrings for God likewise Obs. 2. should prevail. Have not you found it thus many times in your selves? you have had stirrings in your hearts to such and such duties, and at the same time there hath been temptations coming to such and such sins; now I put it to your Consciences, as in the Name of God, Cannot you tell divers times how the temptations to sin hath got the day? you have been rather carried from God to your base sinful lusts, and your Conscience hath been overcom; Conscience hath pul'd, and drawings of the Spirit have been very powerful, but yet temptations have been more powerful, and you have gone that way; Oh! be asha­med of this, that it should ever be said, That at such a time there were stirrings with Conscience and Temptati­ons, Temptations and Conscience stirring together, yet that Temptation should overcome Conscience.

Thirdly, Gods mercies do not free his People from all fruits Obs. 3. of displeasure. [But I will not execute the fierceness of mine an­ger.] And my brethren, this is not meant meerly of the times of the Law; for this anger of God upon them is to this very day? But yet it is not fierceness of anger, like that of Adamah and Zeboim: There are (no question) a­mong them the elect Ones of God at this day, God wil not have this called the fierceness of anger.

So, 'tis displeasure, 'tis captivity, long captivity, They are a reproach, and a by-word to the world, and yet not fierceness of anger: Our discontented hearts are ready to call every little affliction, fierceness of anger; Oh! how fierce is God, if we suffer any little! And indeed did we but know what anger our sins deserve, we would learn, not to call every affliction that is upon us, no, nor our greatest afflictions, fierceness of anger.

Fourthly, We should acknowledge mercy, though we suffer Obs. 4. hard things; If yet we be not utterly, not everlastingly cast off, acknowledge Mercy; it is Mercy my Repentings [Page 168] kindled: I will not execute fierceness of anger: Why? Be­cause they were not as Admah and Zeboim.

Learn we all this: This day whatsoever afflictions are upon me; though it may be you are ready to say, Such afflictions are upon me, as upon none; we are ready to think our afflictions to be the greatest of all; yea, but bless God that thou hast not fire from heaven to consume thee and thy family, for this might have been thy porti­on, this fierceness of Anger. ‘I will not return to destroy Ephraim.

God here compares himself to a Captain that comes Expos. with his Soldiers unto a Town: I suppose many of you in this place may easily come to understand the meaning of this word, by what they have seen and felt themselves: Soldiers come to a Town, and there they pillage it and away they go, and so the poor people think, Soldiers have been here, and I hope we shall do well enough now, and think all's over: It may be within a month or two after, the same Soldiers come again, and utterly ruin the place, and strip them of all. But now saith God, I will not return to destroy Ephraim, that is, Though I lay my hand upon them, and afflict them, and take away ma­ny comforts from them, yet when I have done that, there I'le leave, I will not come back again with a purpose ut­terly to ruin them; This I might do, I might return up­on them with one evil upon another, but I will not do so. From whence note:

There is no cause that sinners should be secure when some evil is upon them, to think this is all, now they know the worst: No, Obs. 5. God may justly return upon them again and again; If thou turnest not to God under thy affliction, God may justly return upon thee to ruin thee. Indeed if thy afflicti­ons were such as hath caused thy heart to return to God, thou maiest then hope that God wil not return upon thee, [Page 169] but if so be thou behav'st thy self frowardly under thy afflictions (I say) thou maiest justly expect that God should return upon thee.

But Secondly, God is very gracious to his people when evil Obs. 2. is upon them, he will not ad, and ad, till he utterly de­stroy them, but he will forbear that he might have some subject for his Mercie, he will not contend for e­ver.

For I am God (saith he) and not man. Text.

Here's an argument that is very full, I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, for I am God, and not a man.

Before God took upon him the person of a man in Expos. those yernings of his bowels, that is, When he would express his mercie, mark, there God would come in the most familier way to make us know the meaning of his mercy; but when he comes to speak of Anger, there he would have us know that he is not like to a man in way of Anger; in the way of Mercie, saith he, if there be the most merciful man upon earth, know that I am like him; but when I come to anger, I am not like man in the way of anger: God is verie desirous that we understand ful­ly his heart in the waies of his mercy, but when he speaks of the execution of his wrath, I will not do that, why? For I am a God, and not a Man: And mark the strength of this expression, the difference between God and Man in the point of the execution of wrath, you will find it ve­ry The differen­ces betwixt God and man in point of Anger. 1. useful to you; First for the opening of it, and then for the several Observations to be drawn from it.

As first, Man is of a weak spirit, not able to rule his anger, Man, if he be but a little heat with anger, it's turn'd into rage, and there's no rule at all; but I am not man saith God, I am God, I am no man, 'tis not with me thus, I am not of a weak spirit, I am able to rule my anger, in Nahum, 1. 6. the Lords anger there is said to be furious, but I find the word in the Original, The Lord [Page 170] of anger, so Montanus turns it, a God that's able to rule his anger, and expresses it in the midst of the expression of his greatest wrath, I am God, and not Man, [Man;] the word is not [Adam] but [Ish] a strong man, or a No­ble [...] man, but I am God [Ell] I am a strong God, and I am able to rule anger so as man cannot.

Secondly, Man is of a revengeful and of a cruel dis­position, 2 man cares not what he doth so that he may have his lusts; but I am a God and not a man, of a lo­ving, sweet, and tender disposition.

Thirdly, Man, many times because he hath not satis­faction within his own heart, therefore he is in a rage 3 with every body: Man flies upon others, not so much for any thing that they do, but because of the disquiet of his own heart; but I am a God and not man, I am infi­nitly Note. Alsufficient of my self, & there is no disquiet in me, all it at rest and quiet within me, and this makes me to be of such a quiet disposition towards my Creature.

Fourthly, If there be any mercie in a man, it's but ve­rie 4. little, a little matter will stop the current of the mer­cy that is in man; but I am a God and not man, there is infinite mercie in me, an infinite current, and the cur­rent of the mercie that is in me cannot easily be stopt, for I am a God.

Fifthly, Man is of a fickle and an unconstant disposi­tion, 5. but I am Jehovah and change not, and therefore the sone of Jacob are not consumed.

Sixthly, If man passes by an offence, it is from some 6. motives or some perswasions from without, if there be none of those motive and perswasions from without, he is fevere, and he is ridged, but I am a God and not Man, I have enough in mine own heart to perswade me, though there be no arguments from without, yet there's enough within me, in my own bowels to perswade me, for I am a God.

Seventhly, Man he thinke it a dishoner to him to be­gin 7. [Page 171] reconciliation with those that have offended him, what shall I go and disgrace my self to begin with my in­ferior? let him begin with me if he will; this is mans disposition; but I am a God and not man, I account it my glory to begin the work of reconciliation, there is not such a disposition in me as in man.

Eightly, Man, he cannot foresee the consequences that 8. may follow upon his forbearing, or pardoning of offen­ces, and therefore he is loth to forbear or pardon: But I am a God and not man, I have infinite wisdom and can foresee all consequences that will come.

Ninthly, Man, he cannot work good out of what ill 9 carriages there are against him, and that makes him not to forbear; but I am a God and not man, I know how to work out mine own ends, and for the glory of my Name out of all the sins of my people.

Tenthly, Man though he promises much mercie, yet 10. oftimes, if those that he promises meroy to do offend him, he will recal his promise again, and he thinks he may do it, and he makes all his promises but conditional; yea, but I am a God and not man, I do not stand so upon it, though I know beforeh and there will be many weaknes­ses, and infirmities is my creature, yet I have some pro­mises that are absolute promises to those that are my E­lect Ones, and I will not recal my Promises though they be unfaithful and sinful. Man doth not only recal Pro­mises when there is occasion given, but many times through unfaithfulness. And therefore I remember Brentius an approved Divine, hath this More upon this place, The word (saith he) is Ish, not Adam, and so he Brentius. translates it, I am a God; and not a Noble man; you shall not have such dealings with me as from your great men, many great then make great and fair promise [...] and you Noble men. depend upon them, but they will deceive you, accor­ding to that in Psal. 62. 9. Surely men of low degree are va­nity, and men of high degree are a lye; and your Courtiers [Page 172] and great men, how do they deceive the expectation of those that are with them, especially in their need, they leave them in the lurch many times; but I am a God and not man, you shall not have such unfaithful dealings with me.

Further, If man forbears and passes by offences now, 11 he cannot have the offenders again at advantage when he pleases, and therefore he thinks he had best take the advantages now; Oh but I am a God and not man, my Creatures I have them alwaies at advantage; it's true, I can spare them now, for I can have them under my feet again, and again, and again, and therefore I have no such reason to take advantage of my poor Creatures as one man hath of another.

Lastly, I am God and not man; that is, Man he is bound to positive rules of Justice that are set to him, but 12. I am a God and not man, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercie, and whom I will I harden.

The Observations.

First, Goodness and mercy in God is that wherein he Glories: it's true, the Lord is high above man in all excellencies, Obs. 1. but mark here how he glories that he is a God and not man in the point of execution of wrath: Many glory in their anger, and make that to be their excellencie, and their bravery, Oh they are brave men and of brave spi­rits when they can vent their wrath, when they can rail and speak evil, and make others to come and submit to them, and strike or punish them, why now they are brave men, I'le make you do thus and thus: as in a Familie you shall have sometimes a poor man or woman manifest abundance of pride of spirit as if they were Princes and Masters of Families. Monarchs, they will do thus and thus, and you think your selves to be of brave spirits; but mark, God glories in this, that he doth not execute the fierceness of his an­ger.

I am infinitly above man: Wherein O Lord art thou [Page 173] above them? I am above them in this, That I can rule mine anger, and am merciful to those that are beneath me: here's Gods glory.

My Brethren, this Scripture (were there no other) shews Use. that passion and anger debases man, we have a notable Scripture for this, that God glories in his long suffering and patience towards his Creature, in Numb. 14. 17. And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, ac­cording Numb. 14. 17. explained as thou hast spoken. What had God spoken, or where had he spoken any thing? Mark, this Scripture hath reference to the latter end of Exod 32. there God promised that Moses should see his glory, and in Chap. 34. God made his glory pass by him, and what was it? The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundance in mercy and truth &c. Now Moses hath reference to this, Moses laies hold upon this, as if he should say, Oh Lord, was not there a time that I was pleading with thee? and didest not thou promise to shew me thy glory? and was it not the Lord long-suffe­ring and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgres­sion &c? why now Lord manifest thy glory, now Lord shew thy self to be a glorious God, in doing what? mark in the 19. verse, Pardon I beseech thee the iniquity of Vers. 19. this people: That's the glory that God should shew forth, and manifest his power in it; one would rather think that the power of God should rather be manifest in the destruction of sinners; no, the power of God is manifest in Mercie as well as in miserie and destruction: And we find that those that come up neerest to God, they are the Neerness to God most merciful. most loving and gracious merciful hearts, yet if they do but come neer to God so as possibly natural men may, to have but any magnanimitie, that's a little neerer to God than a base sordid spirit, the magnanimousness of yea, if but in a­moralneernes. of any mans spirit appears in his love and forbearance and meekness, and gentleness, for so we know the Hea­thens could say, The greater any one is the more placable [Page 174] is his anger, a generous mind not easily mov'd, and so he compares the Lyon, and Bears, and Wolves, [...], the Lyon is a magnanimous Creature, therefore saith the Heathen, it's enough for to fall down before a magna­nimous Lyon, but for Wolves and Bears they insult over those that falls down before them; So those that have the most magnanimous spirits have the most patient spi­rits, and forgiving spirits, and pardoning spirits: This is as cross a Note unto a carnal heart almost as any thing, I mean to one that gives way to the lusts of his passion, for he thinks himself only magnanimous when he can vent his anger; and were it not for the thought that he thinks he should be a fool, he would forbear his anger; it is not thy honor, but it makes thee base in the eyes of thy servants, children, and wife, when thou co­mest Masters of Families. into thy house like a mad fool, it makes them look upon thee, and despise thee, when they see thee thus drunken in thy passion.

Secondly, Such are the provocations of God caused by sin, that if God were like to you, sinners could not be forborn; as if Obs. 2. God should say, The truth is, your sins were such as were not I a God, it were impossible that I could bear; for so it is (though we think not of it) the evil of sin is so great that if all the patience that were in all the men that ever was since the world began were put into one man, if he knew the great evil that there is in sin, he would destroy the world, he would not bear, if his heart were but holy, as here God saith himself.

Thirdly, It's a good way to exercise saith in Gods mercy, to look upon God as a God beyond us, beyond any creature; for Obs. 3. so this is therefore exprelled, to the end that the people of God might exercise faith in beholding God as a God; that's the way to help thee in thy faith; wouldest thou exercise faith upon God? look upon him as a God, [...] do not conceive him to be as a man; It's [...], [...] [...] upon him somtimes as a compassion at man is a litle help, [Page 175] [...] that will not do it; I suppose it would help a little, some that are here, suppose this, Thou hadest to deal An apt simile. with the most merciful man that ever liv'd upon the face of the earth, wouldest not thou hope then that thou mightest be sav'd if he had the dispose of thy eternal e­state: suppose there were a Judg that had the most relen­ting heart that ever was in the world, and all relentings that ever were in all mens hearts were in him, if this Judg had the dispose of thy eternal estate, would it not help thee, to know thou hast to deal with one that is infinitely above that Judg: That Judg were a cruel Tyrant and Tyger in comparison of this God, God is God, and not man, he is infinitely above man in the waies of his mer­cy: We many times with looking upon God as our selves it makes us bold in sin first, and afterwards it makes us The Devil's stratagem. despair in sin, as thus in Psal. 50. 21. Thou thoughtest I was like to thy self, saith God there, that is, because I was patient and long-suffering towards thee, thou thoughtest I was like unto a man; and a man though he be a little offended, you think you may please him again, and so you thought I was like to your selves, therefore you go on in your sins; So the Devil first makes us look upon God like our selves, and so we think that God hath no greater hatred to sin than we have; but then turn the o­ther side, when we have once committed the sin, when the Devil would tempt to despair then he makes us look to God, like to our selves, that's thus, I find that I could not forgive such an one if he had wronged me in such a manner, and therefore they look upon God like a man, nay, like a corrupt man; Oh! what a dishonor is this to God, that because thou thy self hast a froward perverse Discouraging thoughts in afflicted con­sciences cura­ble by the former do­ctrine. [...] cruel heart that thou canst not forgive, therefore thou lookest upon God as if it were as hard for him to forgive as for thee. My Brethren, the looking upon God as a God, it would help against many discouraging thoughts in poor sinners: as first thus, My sins are very great; [Page 176] Men will forgive little offences, but God is a God, and not man, and therefore great mercies are little in compa­rison to him.

A second discouraging thought is, I have sinned against 2. many offers of mercy; but God is God, and not a man, and Gods mercy is such as brings in men that have refu­sed the offers of Mercy.

And then Thirdly, None is so sinful as I, but God is a God, and not a man, and therefore he is above thee in the 3. waies of his mercie, God hath more mercy yet than ever he did manifest to any one creature in the world, and though I be the vilest of all sinners, yet let me look upon God as a God, and not a man.

Fourthly, I am unworthy (saith the sinner) of any mercy from God. Indeed, if you had to deal with a man it might 4 hinder, but God is a God, and not a man, therefore 'tis not unworthiness that hinders mercy in God, it is that mercy pleases him.

Yea, But I am like to be of no use to God. It's true, if you were to deal with a man, he might not be pleased, 5 but God stands in no need of you, or any of his creatures, for he is a God, and not man; thou doest not honor God, as a God, if thou doest not cast thy soul upon his mercy, as the mercy of a God.

If I put this unto thee, I hope the glory of it will be so great as will keep it from being abused, What, doest thou think thy condition is grievous, but doest thou think that such mercy would not serve the turn as this is that now I am naming, that thou shouldest have such mercie as an infinite God should therefore manifest, to A ground of strong conso­lation, from Ephes. 2. 4, 5, 6, 7. Caution a­gainst the abuse of this doctrine. that end that he might shew to Men and Angels to all e­ternitie what the power of his infinite Mercy can do? would not this mercie serve thy turn, such a mer­cie as this is? I'le name it again, abuse it at your peril Suppose thy condition so low, yet would not this serve thy turn, such mercy as an infinit God should shew, to [Page 177] that end that he might appear to men and Angels to all eternity, what he is able to do in the infinitness of his mercy, Would not this serve thee, and help thee, and heal thee? Now this is tendred to thee in the Gospel, even this mercy is tendred to thee in Christ to be an object of thy faith; and the very presenting of this is a work of the Ministry of the Gospel that it might draw acts of faith, The chief work of the Ministry. for it hath a power to draw forth faith, yea, to beget faith, the very presenting such a thing as this is hath a quickness in it: It's true, if you look upon God only as a merciful man, this is no such glory as the shining of it upon the soul will ad life; As now, the shining of the Moon, or a hundred Torches wil never beget life in a Gar­den; but the shining of the Sun wil do it: so the apprehen­ding of the mercy of God any other way but as a God, as a God in Christ, will never beget life in the soul, but What is the imediate root of Faith. look upon him in the infinitness of his mercy, whose thoughts of mercy are beyond ours as high as the Hea­vens are above the Earth, this is the way to beget faith. And therefore those that cannot beleeve, they take very il courses for themselves, only to have their thoughts upon such things as may discourage them, and they think that this is as pleasing to God; but certainly the way to beget or raise faith in thy heart is, to look upon God as a God in the waies of his mercy.

Yea, but you will say, The truth is, this that you Objects speak of, that God is a God, and not a man, is rather a discouragement to my heart, 'tis a God that I have sin­ned against, and not a man; as one way it may encou­rage me, so another way it may discourage me; Against thee, against thee only have I sinned (saith David) Psal. 51. And indeed, this is the most piercing thought in a true penitent heart, My sin is against God, I have lived so long a time without a God in the course of my life, and I have struck at God himself in my sinful waies. Oh wretch that I have been! I have been guilty of the darkening of [Page 178] the glory of the great God in the world: Now I'le an­swer thee this in a word;

And is this that which doth aggravate thy sin in thy Answ. heart? does this work upon thy heart most, that thou canst appeal to God, that of all the considerations of sin that ever thou hadest in thy life, there is nothing grieves thee so much, as that it is against God? Because God is so glo­rious, so infinitely worthy of honor from all his crea­tures; be of good comfort, and take encouragement from this point, and mark what I am saying, and with that I shall close all.

If the confideration of the glory of God above a man doth thus aggravate thy sin to thy humiliation, then it will aggravate the mercy of God to thy consolation as well; If thou workest this thought upon thy heart, Oh my sin is against a God and not a man, and therefore my heart is humbled, then the Lord would have thee to make use of the consideration of his glory as a God for thy comfort; God is a God, and not a man, in the way of mercy. ‘The Holy one in the midst of thee.’

God glories much in his Holiness, and that in the mi­dest of his people.

Gods Holiness is,

[He is] here said to be the Holy One. 1. To shew that the anger He would let out should be such, as should have Expos. no mixture of evil. But what considerations might be to order and guide it should not be wanting. Mens an­gers are very unclean, there is much smoke and fil thy stuff together in their fire. But here in Exod. 15. 11. [God is said to be] Glorious in Holiness. Gods vials [of wrath] are golden, Revel. 15. 7.

Let us labor to be holy in our anger. This is a rare Use. thing, if there be any corruption in mans heart it usual­appears in his anger.

[Page 179] 2. Because of his gracious carriage toward them in re­gard [...] of his Covenant, to make that good to them, he would remember his faithfulness to Abraham.

Obs. 1. God delights to shew the glory of his Holiness in mercy, and in pardoning of sin rather than in reven­ging for sin.

Obs. 2. Gods faithfulness is a special part of the glory of his Holiness.

Use, 1. Hence see how Holiness will help our faith.

Use, 2. Let us manifest our holiness in our faithfulness. I am holy to make them holy; to sanctifie them to my self. ‘In the midst of thee. [...].

Casting the beams of his Glory on every fide of him.

But how in the midst, when they so vile, and cast off Quest. from being his people, a sink of Idolatry and wicked­ness?

In respect of some of his Elect Saints. Answ. Obs. 1

Obs. God continues among a people for his Saints, his Elects sake. The Saints should consider of God, a holy God in the midst of them, and accordingly behave them­selves, Levit. 26. 12. I will walk among you, and I will be your God; But 2 Cor. 16. 16. I will dwell among them, and walk in them.

Obs. Men of Place and Government, should be in the Obs. 1. midst of those that are under them, carrying themselves holily, though they should be froward, pettish, sinful, yet they should carry themselves according to rule in all holiness, gravity, wisdom, moderation, &c.

Rivit, Tarnovius, with some others, thinks that here is Expos. 2. (Enallage Numeri) a change of the number (Sanctus, for Sancti) Holy, for Holy Ones, or Saints, and so hath re­ference to the destruction of Sodom, because there were no righteons, here are.

Obs. The Saints are of great use in the places where Obs. 2. they live. They are the cause of mitigation of Judg­ments. [Page 180] I will not enter into the City.’

Luther thus, God would [signifie himself] to be mer­ciful Luth. Expos. Cultum meum non ponum in unâ tantum ci­vitate, sed per totum mundum from the ri­sing of the Sun, &c. to scattered Israeh among the Gentiles, Vt tamen non redeant ad Politiam Mosaicam, but so that they should not return to the Mosaical Law.

But rather it is to be taken in reference to the manner of Gods proceedings in the destruction of Sodom; after he had done conferring with Abraham, he entred into the City, and destroyed it by fire and brimstone.

Obs. God many times stands at the gates of a City, rea­dy to enter in and destroy it, but humiliation in prayer, Obs. 2. and reformation keeps him out.

God hath not entred in here thus yet; Oh! let not Use. our sin cause a meroiful God to go out, and a provoked God to enter in.

VER. 10.

They shall walk after the Lord, He shall roar like a Liyon.

THey shall not walk after their own inventions any more; nor after the lusts of their own hearts, nor af­ter Expos. 1 the examples, or the counsels of men, but after the Lord, they shall see God before them, their hearts shall be drawn after him, as they shall see God in his various administrations, so they shall turn this way, or that way which way soever God leads them; though in paths they have not known before, yet now they shall walk af­ter him, though in paths that few others walk in yet.

Through fire and water, though in difficult paths never so dangerous to outward appearance; though God should lead them from their dearest comforts, sweetest contents, though it did not appear to them, whither the way tended, what God meant to do with them; yet see­ing God before them, they shall be willing to walk after [Page 181] him; they shall account that way God is in, the best way, the safest way, the most comfortable way, Revel. 14. 4. These shall follow the Lamb whither soever he goeth, these were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God, and to the Lamb. They shall walk in a constant steady course of obedience after the Lord.

It is the Lord, the blessed glorious God, whom their Reas. souls love; whom they desire to honor; to whom they have given up souls, bodies, lives, liberties, names, estates, whatsoever they are, have, or are able to do. When Pe­ter heard it was the Lord he threw himself into the Sea, that he might walk after him there.

Thus the soul converted to God, loves to walk after him.

But this is spoken of the Church, as walking after the Expos. 2. Lord in times of Reformation, especially that famous time of the restitution of all things, when God shall call home his people, the ten Tribes, who yet are scattered up and down wandring and groping in darkness; They shall walk after the Lord, the Lord shall be a Captain to them, leading them along as his redeemed ones, wor­king by them glorious things in the earth, and bringing them through all opposition to places of rest, and fulness of all good; God shall appear in such visible administra­tions of his, so as they shall say, Lo, this is our God, this is the Captain of the host of the Lord, yea, it is even the Lord himself, we will joyn together and follow him, whose wisdom, faithfulness, and courage is infinite; we will follow no other but him, and in subordination to him. The sight of such a Captain going before them, shall put life, courage, and magnanimity into them, what­soever they were before. Hence note,

Obs. It is the infinite goodness of the Lord, to be the Obs. 1. Captain of his people.

Obs. It is the honor, safety, happiness of the Saints to Obs. 2. have God before them, to be walking after him. [Page 182] He shall roar like a Lyon.’

If God appears thus it will make them fly from him: Expos. No, they shal, notwithstanding this, walk after him.

Obs. That the majesty, and terribleness of God, in his Obs. wonderful and dreadful works, causes the wicked, guilty conscience to fly from him; But the Saints shall follow after him, and cling unto him: Isa 33. 14. The sinners in Syon are afraid, fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who amongst us shall dwell with devouring fire? who amongst us shall dwel with everlasting burnings? He that worketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly. Act. 5. 13, 14. Of the rest durst no man joyn himself to them. And Beleevers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women. Psa. 46. (Luthers Psalm) 2. We will not fear, though the Earth be moved, though the Mountains be carried into the midst of the Sea, though the waves thereof roar, though the Mountains shake. Vers. 6. The Heathen raged, the Kingdoms were moved; be uttered his voice, the Earth melted, The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our Refuge. Nahum, 1. 2. The Lord revengeth, the Lord reven­geth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance of his adver­saries. Vers. 3. The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind, and in the storm. Vers. 5. The Mountains quake at him, the Hills melt, and the Earth is burnt at his presence. Who can stand be­fore his indignation? who can abide the fierceness of his anger? his fury is powred out like fire, and the Rocks are thrown down by him. Vers. 7. The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble, and he knoweth them that trust in him. Joel, 3. 15, 16. The Sun and the Moon shall be darkened, and the Stars shal withdraw their shining; the Lord shall roar out of Syon, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; The Heavens and the Earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. Hab. 3. 17, 18. Although the Figtree shall not blossem, &c. yet will I rejoyce in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Oh! the blessing of a clean Conscience, it looks on th [...] Use. Terror of the Law, and of God, with comfort. Where [Page 183] there is neighing of Horses, beating of Drums, ratling of Simile. Pikes, foaring of Cannons, yet if a friend be the Gene­ral, we fear not. Al the terror there is in God, is comfort to the Saints; the wicked have the dark side of the Cloud, the Saints the bright. Deut. 33. 2. From his right hand went a fiery Law. Vers. 4. Moses commanded us a Law, even the inheritance of the Congregation of Jacob. Nehem. 9. 32. The great, mighty, and terrible God, will keep Covenant and Mercy. Psal. 47. 1, 2. Shout unto God with the voice of Tri­umph, for the most high is Terrible.

Be godly, and keep Conscience clean in these latter times; train up your Children in waies of godliness. ‘Shall roar like a Lyon.’

The roaring of the Lyon invites the rest of the beasts, Plutarch. there is something for them.

Quest. But when was this? Quest.

Answ. Many think when the Babylonian Monarchy was Answ. 1. broken by Cyrus; then Belshazzars knees beat together, and then the Captivity returned, and that divers of the ten Tribes joyned in the return. But this is spoken of the Rejected. Body of them; and if any such remarkable return [had been] Ezra would not have left out their Genealogyes.

Others refer it to the times of the Gospel, Heb. 12. 26. 8 Yet once more I shake not the Earth only, but also Heaven. The voice of the Gospel, Repent; and he that beleeves shall be sa­ved; but he that beleeves not, shall be damned, was a Terrible voice. When secure minds (saith Luther) hear, that sal­vation Quid faciomus viri fratres e­um severe men­tes audiunt, non contingere salutem nisi Baptizatis & credentibus in Nomen Christi, verè expanescunt; et de salutemsunt soliciti. Luther. belongs to none but those that are baptized, and that beleeve in the Name of Christ; they indeéd tremble, and are solicitous concerning their salvation. [Page 184] Junius when he read the first Chapter of the Gospel of John [was terrified]

But I take this rather to be meant of some notable work of Reformation and calling in these ten Tribes to [...] joyn with the Church. The Lord will roar to terrif [...] the hearts of their Adversaries, that they shall not be ab [...] to hinder their return. Hence note,

That when Gods time is, come for a through Reformation and Obs. bringing in his people; he will roar terribly in the world, he will appear in such Majesty, Glory, and Justice, that he will make the earth tremble, Psal. 102. 16. When the Lord shall build up Sion, he will appear in his Glory. It hath been his way in his appearing for his Church, Psal. 76. 1. Thou, even thou art to be feared; and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry? Thou didest cause Judgment to be heard from Heaven, the Earth feared and was still [...] God arose to Judgment to save the meek of the Earth [...] 12.) He shall cut off the spirit of Princes, he is [...] Kings of the Earth. Isa. 34. 4. All the host of [...] be dissolved, and the Heavens shall be rolled together as [...] and all the host shall fall down as a leaf; for my Sword shall be bathed in Heaven. (Ver. 6.) The Sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness. (Ver. 7.) The Land shall be soaked with blood. (Ver. 8.) For it is the day of the Lords vengance, and the yeer of the recompences for the contro­versie of Sion. Ezek! 17. 10. Shall it not wither when the East wind toucheth it?

At the raising of Christs Kingdom, Psal. 45. 4. Thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things, Revel. 6. 15. The Great troubls at the aaising of Christs Kingdom. Kings of the earth, and the great Men, the rich men, the chief Captains, the Mighty men hid themselves in the dens, the rocks of the Mountains, and said to the Mountains and Rocks, F [...]l [...] on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the Thron and from the wrath of the Lamb. Dan. 12. 1. There shall [...] a time of trouble, such as was never since there was a Nation all that time thy people shall be delivered. Lactantius Lib. [Page 185] Cap. 15. as then Egypt imitten, so now all places; as Lactant. Pro­digia miranda per omnia ele­mentae mundi. Reas. 1. then signs and prodiges, so now; admirable wonders in all the Elements of the World, [Earth, Sea, Air.]

1. Because the ungodly have been cruel against the Saints, Psal. 74. 4. Thine Enemies roar in the midst of the Congregation.

2. The wicked will be secure; yea, his own people, [and will stand in need of roaring to awaken them.]

3. The Adversary will be stout and proud, Consunde­tur omne jus, & Leges perilunt. All right will be over­turned, and Laws perish.

4. The difficulties will be great, so as when Christ comes shall he find saith on the earth [namely that ever his work shall be brought about] Luke, 18. 8. There will Luke, 18. 8. eulightned. [...]ighty changes of things. Hence observe,

[...]ir not though wicked men strengthen themselves Obs. 1. [...]uch, God can soon make mighty alterations. [...]. 14. Be not afraid; remember the Lord which is ve­ [...] and terrible. Deut. 7. 21. Thoushalt not be afrighted at them, for the Lord thy God is amongst you, a mighty God and a terrible.

Again, Hence learn to prepare for thosetimes. Obs. 2. Text. ‘When he shall roar, the children shall tremble from the west.’

Amos, 3. 8. The Lyon hath roared, who will not tremble? There shal be mighty stirrings of heart: Mens hearts shal shake within them, so as there shall be way made for peo­ple whose hearts are awakened to come into the Church. There is a trembling of the Enemies, they shall be struck with such astonishment, that they shall not hinder; Their violence and rage shall be abated. They shall say [...] once the Egyptians, Let us take heed what we do, the Lord [...]ts for them.

And the hearts of those that God intends to call shall Saints need awaking be­fore times of Reformation. [...]wakened, the slightness, and vanity of their spirits shall be taken off; The fear upon their hearts, shall make [Page 186] them fear; they shall be roused from their sluggishness; they shall make hast to come in to joyn with the people of God. Fear causes hast, so the word [...] Turpidè accur­rent. Tremel. Properabunt, Vatablus in notis. here signifies, [and is rendered by some] Men delay and trifle, till God strikes their hearts with fear. Spiritus sanctus nescit tarda molimma. The holy Ghost likes not lazy laboring. Isa. 49. 17. Thy children shall make hast. ‘The children shall tremble from the west.’

Those afar off [which were] most unlikely, Isa 42. 4. Text. [...] Filij Maris. Expos. Legem expect abunt Insulae. The Isles shall wait for my Law. The Mediterranean, the Mid land Sea is in the west. Isa. 49. 1. 12. Hence note that,

There are like to be great stirrings in the Western Obs. parts.

VER. 11.

They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as [...] out of the Land of Assyria.

BEing strucken with fear they shall hasten, so the word▪ advolabunt, they shall fly. Expos. [...] Advolabunt. Vulgat. Expos. 1.

This some think to be fulfilled when divers of the ten Tribes joyned with Judah in the return of their captivity; for the Monarcy of the Assyrians was subdued by the Per­sians, whose King was Cyrus. Therefore it is thought that the fame liberty was given in Assyria for the ten Tribes, as in Babylon for Judah. And not long after Cambyses the son of Cyrus, overcame the Egyptians, as Herodotus, Lib. 8. Justinae, Lib. [...]. saies. And it's like he would be favorable to the ten Tribes, as his father had been to Judah.

But Ezra, as was noted above, in likelihood would Expos. 2. not then have omitted their Genealogies: Howso [...] in the great Restauration of things, this will be fulfill [...] The Jews were strongly set to go to Egypt; now they shall as strongly desire to get out, to joyn with the Chur­ches. [Page 187] Fly as a bird, not come as a snail; get over all difficulties, [having] their spirits elevated, raising them from earthly drossie things, they have no consideration of them. Now all their desire is to joyn with the Saints, that they together with them may follow after the Lord. ‘And as a Dove out of the Land of Assyria. Text

  • 1. Doves are sacred there. Euseb. Preparat. Evang. Lib. 8. 5.
  • 2. They are terrified with the least noise. Terretur mi­nimo penae stridore Columba.
  • 3. Doves fly swiftly, Oh! that I had the wings of a Dove (saith the Psalmist, Psal. 55. 6.)
  • 4. They fly by flocks, Isa. 60. 8. Who are those that fly as a cloud, and as the Doves to their windows?
  • 5. It may be from those Countries, Doves come at certain times of the yeer, as several sorts of Fowls do to to us in their seasons.

And I will place them in their houses (saith the Lord.) i. e. Text Expos. I will provide lockers for them [he followeth the the for­mer metaphor of Doves.]

Gods people have been tossed up and down, they have had no abiding in their houses.

But God hath his time to place them in their houses Obs. 1. in rest, quietness, and safety; to deliver them from vio­lence and wrong. 2 Sam. 7. 10. Moreover, I will appoint a place for my people, Israel, and I will plant them that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more.

It's a good work to be instrumental in this, that those Obs. 2. who live godlily and are peaceable, may abide quietly in their houses and not be tossed up and down, because they cannot beleeve or practice what others do. This tossing such up & down, though it may be from a zeal for Christ, yet Christ will never own it.

[Page 188] Those who walk after the Lord, shall be placed in their Obs. 3. houses. They were willing to leave their houses that they might follow him; and now God places them in them.

Trust God with your houses, Resolve to follow the Use. Lord whithersoever he goes; he hath time to place his people in their houses, when others, who dared not trust God, shal wander in darkness. ‘—. Saith the Lord. Text. Obs.

This must be the work of the Lord, it's only He can do it. That mercy that comes beyond all means, it's the sweetest mercy. No matter what the means be, whether any or no, so be it you have a Word of God for the thing.

VER. 12.

Ephraim compasseth me about with lyes, and the house of Israel with deceit.

THe Lord having manifested the bowele of his tender compassion towards Ephraim, (the ten Tribes) he Cohaerance. comes further to shew what was that, that stopt the way and course of his grace, of the grace that otherwise might have been let out unto them. Ephraim compasseth me about with lyes.’

Besets me with lyes, that's the word, be besets me round; I am in respect of the sin of Ephraim, (that is, of the Go­vernors, [...] and of the [house of Israel] that is the People) I Expos. general. am (as it were) a man beset round. As a men that would have a passage such a way, he goes one way and there he is stopt; and another way and there he is stopt: so God compares himself to such a man, as if he would be going on in the waies of mercy, & there he is stop [...] in one co [...] of sin or another, and going on in another way, there [...] is stopt again.

[Page 189] Ephraim hath beset me with lyes, that is, with false wor Particular. ship, (for that's a lye) with Pretences, they put fair Glos­ses upon things but all are but lyes, he hath beset me with politick shifts of his own.

These did beset God, yea, and beset the Prophet too, Expos. 2. for so I find some turn it, they think it's spoken as in the person of the Prophet, the Prophet complaining that he was beset with lies, that they might prejudice his Mini­stry, that they might do what they could to take off the power of his Ministry in their hearts, they beset him with lyes, with false reports of this and the other thing. Up­on which one hath that Note. A faithful Divine, a Theologus fide­lis nihil aliud est, quàm Cen­trum, ad quod omnes line [...] dolorum ten­dunt. Meisner Preacher, is nothing else but as it were a Center to which all lyes of falsehood do tend, they all go that way, 'tis a great plot of the Devil to draw his lines, and to let them make the Ministers of God (that God uses as any Instru­ments of good unto his people) to be as the Center of them all. Thus Meisnerus in his Comment upon the place.

But I rather take it as spoken in the Name and Person of God; Beset me with lyes, (i. e.) They do not only seek The meaning to blind men, but they would do what they could (if it were possible) to deceive me, saith God. And indeed when men seek to blind their own consciences, what do they but seek what they can (if it were possible) to deceive God. In the very act of Worship (saith God) they are false, they do profess, honor and service to God, but they lye unto him, even when they are worshiping of Him. Many in their prayers, in the solemn act of Worship, they beset God with lyes.

Oh! how do many come into the presence of God Obs. 1. when they are worshiping of him, and there profess to God the acknowledgment of his Greatness, his Glory, his Majesty, his Power, his Sovereignity, his Dominion over them, and profess a great deal of the fear of the Name of God! and yet God knows it is not in their hearts, it is [Page 190] but as a lye to God; when they are worshiping God there they acknowledg their sin, and judg themselves for their sin, as if they were very much humbled, and trou­bled for their sin; but God knows that this is but a lye to him, there is no such humiliation of their hearts be­fore him as seems to be in their expressions before God; especially when they are in company they cry to God for grace, and would fain above all things in the world have his Grace, but God knows 'tis but a lye, all their prayers are even besetting God with lyes.

Oh! Consider how far any of you have been guilty of this, especially in praying with others, according to that Use. Scripture, Psal. 78. 36. They flattered him with their mouth, and lyed unto him with their tongue. The word that is tran­slated flattered, it signifies deceived, They deceived him with their mouth. [...]

Why, Can God be deceived? Quest. Answ.

No; But they did what lay in them to deceive him, if it were possible that he should be deceived they would deceive God. No mervail though men do deceive men so much as they do; many that are of upright hearts they wonder when they hear of the falsness of mens spi­rits that they can be so. No mervail (I say) when as God himself complains of being deceived by them, that is, They are so false, and do so beset God with lyes, that if it were possible he himself should be deceived. That's the first Note.

And then Secondly, As it was here with this people besetting God with lyes, Thus many do compass and be­set Obs. 2. businesses, the businesses and affairs that they mannage they beset them with lyes, that's thus, They plot with themselves how they may handsomly contrive a compa­ny of lyes together, by a handsom putting of them toge­ther, that so they may beset mens unsterstandings; there is such a cunning abroad in the world (I say) to seek to beset the understandings of men, so as men shall not [Page 191] know what to say to things, and yet they cannot tel how to beleeve them, neither do they know what to say, things are so contriv'd, and so set, they think with themselves, If such a thing shall be questioned, then I have such a shift Let deceitful men note. to put it off; and if another thing shal be doubted of, then I have such a report to make it good, some fair pretence or other: And thus they beset businesses with lyes, and beset mens understandings. ‘But Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the Saints.’

This of Judahs ruling with God, Luther, Meisnerus, Expos. 1. and others, do think that it hath reference unto the story that you find in 2 King. 18. the story of Hezekiah, of the great Reformation that he made: Truly if it should be so, then it appears that this people had continued very long in besetting God, and his Prophet with lyes, for then the Prophet had been threescore years and ten a Prophet to this People, and had been shewing to them their sin a­bove seventy years; for from the time of Hosea's prophe­sie, The time be­tween Hosea the Prophet, and King He­zekiah. unto the begining of Hezekiah's reign, it will appear to be above threescore and ten years, and stil the Prophet is complaining of this people, at that time when Judah did thus rule with God, That they still continued besetting God with lyes.

I would only note this Observation from it; Obs.

That when men maintain their way by shifts, and falsness, if they be once engaged in falsness, and shifts and lyes, they grow pertinacious then, there's little hope of their recovery, then let what will be said against them, let Gods hand never so much appear, let the Truths be never so cleer before them, they go on pertinaciously when they are engaged in such a way as that.

But for the words themselves,

Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the Saints.

[Page 192] That's thus, Israel, the ten Tribes were not encouraged by her sister Judahs example, for Judah did otherwise, Expos. 2. though the ten Tribes they did beset God with lyes thus, their worship was all false, and nothing but a lye: yet Judah continued still in the true Worship of God.

Though examples of evil in others are no excuses, yet where Obs 1. there is no such temptation, the sin is so much the greater. That's the Note from it. If indeed Israel could have said thus, You indeed complain of our false worship, Who doth o­therwise? Doth not Judah do so aswel as we? do not they follow the same course aswel as we? we took our ex­ample from them. No, Israel could not say so, this would not have wholly excused, but it might somewhat have lessened, evil examples do somewhat lessen, but not ex­cuse wholly. Yet when there is no examples at all, but men take up evil of themselves, and are rather examples to others: this is a great aggravation of their sin. Again, Note, That,

To continue in a false way of Worship when there is a right Obs. 2. way held forth by others, this makes the sin the greater. It's true, if we could say, we have been all our daies brought up in this way, we never knew no better, we saw none that held forth any other to us; this might have been somewhat. But they could not say so, for Judah yet ru­led with God, Judah held forth the right way of Worship according to the mind of God, and therefore the sin of Israel is here aggravated.

Thirdly, Yet Judah rules with the Saints. It was more to the commendations of Judah to continue in the true Obs. 3. worship, after Israel (the ten Tribes) had broken off; for they were the ten Tribes, they were more in number, they were a more flourishing Kingdom a great deal than Judah was, yet for Iudah to hold on in the right Worship of God, when so many fel off from it, and when a more flo [...] rishing Kingdom than Judah was, had continued so many years in false worship, this was a great commendations. [Page 193] Indeed there is a great temptation in this, when we see a multitude go another way; the Devil prevails much to draw mens hearts to that way; But the stronger the temptation is, the greater is the commendations of those that shall stand out; what though they be but a few, what though they see others for the present seem to pro­sper, yet if thou canst hold on in the way of truth, in the way of Gods Worship according to his Word, God looks upon this as a thing very pleasing to him; it is a very great commendations to those that do thus, and God takes it kindly from them: yet Judah doth thus, whatsoever Israel doth.

There were many evils, and that very gross in Judah, but yet saith the Prophet Hosea here, Judah ruleth with God. Why? for the Prophet Hosea he was a Prophet to Judah, he was not sent to Judah to enveigh against Judah, but to the ten Tribes; and therefore though there were many evils in Judah, he takes not so much notice of their evils, as of the evils of the ten Tribes. From whence the Note is this,

That we should be more severe to those that are neerest to us Obs. 4. when they dishonor God, than to others that we have not so much to do withal; as now; A Minister he is not so much to en­veigh Ministers] against those that God hath not set him over, that doth not belong to his charge, but if there be any evil in those that belongs to his charge there he should deal more plainly; and so for others, you are not so much to meddle with other men that do not concern you, as Masters of Families. with your own familie, those that are under your charge. It's true, we should not see God dishonored, but we should Al men shold shew zeal for God. some way or other (as God calls us to it) testifie for him; but the main thing that we should look to, it is, To those that are under our charge; many are very indul­gent towards those that are under their charge, and ve­ry busie and bitter against others.

Again, Judah ruleth with God.

[Page 194] Hierom upon this place tells of a Tradition that the Jews have here about Judahs rule, and it is this, faith Jerom in loc. he, When the people came out of Egypt, and Pharaoh pur­sued them, and the red Sea was before them, the Moun­tains on either side, they were mightily terrified, yet God bad Moses bid them go on, the people thought with themselves, whither shall we go? and so were afraid. Now Judah had a spirit (say they) beyond the rest, and was the first Tribe that ventured to go into the Sea, and from thence obtain'd to be the principal Tribe: This is but their Tradition.

But here the meaning is, Judah yet ruleth with God, that is, the Kingdom of Judah yet continued according to Expos. Gods mind in the house of David, and maintained the true Worship, and so ruled with God. There are divers excellent Notes further from hence:

First, That which men enjoy with God, though it be but a little, it is better than to enjoy much, and not with God; as Obs. 1. thus; The Kindom of Judah was but smal in respect of the Kindom of Israel; yea, but Judah rules with God: To have a little with God, it's a great deal better than to have a great deal without God. As here in a Kingdom, Few regard this. so in an Estate, Hast thou a little Estate, yea, but hast thou it with God? Oh! it's a great deal better than to have a great Estate? and have much guiltiness with it, and not to have it with God; Israel maintained their Rule by shifts, and that's a great evil; Though thou hast thy desires, yet if thou gettest them, and doest maintain them by shifting courses, that's a sore and a great evil, thou Shifts. canst have little comfort in the enjoyment of thy desires; for this is the meaning of the Prophet, as if he should say, Israel rules, but how did they get and maintain their rule? it was in false, sinful waies: It may be thou hast thy will over thy brother, yea, but thou hast it in a sin­ful way, thou blessest thy self in that thou hast thy will, but thou hast little cause if thou knewest all. Israel did not rule with God.

[Page 195] Luther upon the place, saith, Papist, dare not venture to i [...] the true Doctrine, for fear their Rule should Luther in lo [...] be lost; so 'tis in many people, they are afraid of the loss of their Rule, if they should entertain the true waies of Gods Worship, they think that the true waies of Gods Worship cannot stand with their Ruling, and Power, and Why some decline the waies of God therefore they had rather have their Rule, and Power, and let the true Worship of God go. Thus it was with Israel.

Or thus: Judah yet rules with God; That is, Judah continuing in a right way of Worship, and doth so re­form Expos. 2. as he rules in an honorable condition, Judah rules with God, Judah reforming as he doth, why Judah rules with God, is, in an honorable condition.

To serve God is to Reign the Kingdom that serves God, Obs. reigns indeed, yea, that man or woman that serves God, reigns. It's an honorable thing to serve God; the Lord Christ hath made us Kings unto his Father, because the Revel. 1. 6. illustrated. service of God is so honorable.

Judah rules with God. This saies Meisnerus, and others, hath reference to Hezekiahs notable Reformation, and Victory thereupon over the Assyrians, of which 2 King. 18. &c.

The old Latin hath it▪ they translate Ruling with Testis descendit cum Deo. vulg God, thus: He doth descend, or come down as a witness with God, so they render it. And indeed the difference, though it may seem to be very much in our English tongue, yet in the Hebrew the letters that are for ruling with God, adhuc [...] testis [...] à [...] damnatus est [...] descendit [...] Riberain loc. and for coming down to be a witness for God, there is very little difference, it is in the pointing, not in the He­brew letters.

Ribera maintains this reading, and hath these two meditations hinted from that reading: first, others they leave the true Worship of God, but Judah continues, and so witnesses for God.

God hath never been without some witnesse to his Truth. Obs. 1. [Page 196] And in evil times when others do forsake God, and his worship, then for people to be willing to venture, and appear any way to witness for God is a very honorable thing; Oh! 'tis a blessed thing to be a witness to the Truth, therefore was I born saith Christ, that I might bare witness to the truth, for those that are faithful and upright in evil times they are Gods witnesses. That's his first Note.

And then Secondly, He descends, that is, he is content to be in a lower condition so be it he may witness for Obs. 2. God, though Israel be in a more flourishing condition, and we be kept low, it's no great [...] so be it we may be Gods Witnesses, thus doth a gracious heart, I indeed see others in the world, they are brave, and have the countenance of the times, and have all things according to the desires of the flesh here, but we are kept low, it's no matter, so be it we may but witness for God, let o­thers take the outward glory and bravery of the world, let us be witnesses with our God. It follow [...]. ‘And is faithful with the Saints. Text.

He is faithful, that is, he continues in the right Go­vernment God would have him, and in his true Wor­ship.

To forsake the true Worship and Government God hath ap­pointed, Obs. 1 is unfaithfulness. And cleaving to it [...]lly through much difficulties and suffering is a special p [...] of faithfulness; 'tis an evil not to be [...] with the State in Civil [...], but not to be [...] with God in matters of Religion is a greater evil.

Again, God hath a [...] to a S [...] faithfulness with Obs. 2. him in point of Worship; though there may be many evils otherwise, yet if they be [...] [...]o him in point of Wor­ship, God hath a special eye to that.

Lastly, [...] in good, Obs. 3. [Page 197] it is not faithfulness only to profess good, but to conti­nue in our profession. Judah is faithful with the Saints. I Expos. 1 find divers learned men to take this to be an E [...]ll age of the number, and reade for, with the Saints, with the Holy One, for we may find such examples in Scripture that the Holy ones for the Holy One plural number is used sometimes for the singular, as I'le give you an instance in this very word, how the Saints, is used for the Holy One; for God himself, in Joshua, 24. 19. For be is a Holy God. The word that is translated Holy there, is in the plural number, as here, and yet it must be understood and read in the singular, He is a holy God, and so faithful with the holy God, so some reade it.

But to take it as you find it in your books, Faithful Expos. 2. 1. with the Saints, that is, with Abraham, Isaac, and with Jacob, with Moses, with the Prophets, with the Forefa­thers, he doth continue faithful with them.

Or Secondly, Faithful with such as are sanctified; the 2. true Priests of God, that God had sanctified to himself, faithful with the Sanctified Ones: whereas Jeroboam took off the lower sort of the people and made Priests to God, Judah he would have no other Priests, but the Sanctified Ones of God.

Thirdly, He [...] faithful with the people of God; for all 3. of Israel that were holy, that were godly, that were the Saints, that were not detain'd by some special hand of God, as much as they could they went from the ten Tribes, and went to Judah to the true Worship of God, now Judah entertain'd them, and used them well, and were faithful to them; But on the contrary, Israel, the ten Tribes they were unfaithful, by using the Saints of God evilly, that would worship God according to Gods own way, they were cruel, and oppressing, and un­faithful to them, but Judah was faithful towards such, imbracing and encouraging of them. For us to go on in faithfulness, though we have none to joyn with, it is a commendation, and the waies of God are excellent whe­ther [Page 198] any or no do joyn with us in them. But it is a great encouragement to be faithful with the Saints, that is, to go on in those waies that we see the Saints go on in, and [...]o joyn with the Saints of God, with such as are the choice Saints of God, to joyn with them, that's a great [...]ncouragement, it strengthens the people of God in their way very much, Faithful with the Saints; Oh! 'tis good to be with the Saints, to be with a few of the Saints, a great deal better than to be with abundance of the men of the world.

Judah is faithful with the Saints. You should look more at the example of a few Saints, than at the exam­ples Obs. of thousands of wicked men, yea of carnal men, of loose and carnal professors; It's true, the example of no man is to be a rule, but it is a mighty encouragement, and hath much probability in it, when the most gracious A Caution and holy Saints are in such or such a way. And thus much for the opening of this Eleventh Chapter.

CHAP. XII.

VER. 1.

Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the East wind.

WEE reade in the 8th Chapter of this Pro­phesie, the 7th Verse, that they had sown the wind, and should reap the whirl­wind, and now they feed according to what they sowed, and of what they reap'd; according to our proverb, (They drink according to what they have brewed) They did sow the wind, and here they feed upon the wind.

By feeding on the wind, is a proverbial speech, to note the following after vain, unprofitable things, that's to Feeding on the wind. feed upon the wind, when men please themselves in their own conceits, and in their own counsels, and plots, and 1. waies that are unprofitable, [and wil certainly be unpro­fitable to them] these men feed upon the wind. When men have vain confidences in such waies of their own, leaving the waies of God, and blessing themselves in foo­lish plots, and hopes of their own, these men feed upon the wind. When men think to please God with their own [Page 200] inventions, they feed upon the wind; when they think to escape danger by their own shifts they feed upon the wind; when they think to prevail against the Saints by their deep Counsels, and fetches, these men feed upon the wind; when they promise to themselves great mat­ters by waies of their own, that are not Gods, these men feed upon the wind: And the Prophet rebuk [...]h the ten Tribes for this.

They feed upon the wind, and so their hearts come to 2 be puft up, to be filled with pride by such food; you know according to the food of a man or woman, so will the body be; so those that feed upon wind must needs have puft-up hearts, proud hearts, puft up with concei­tedness of themselves, and contempt of others that are not in the way that themselves are in, they lie sucking of imaginary content and sweetness in their own waies, they are full of themselves, wheresoever they come they must needs vent themselves, they are so ful of their wind, they feed upon the wind, yet one prick of disapointment wil quickly let out all the wind from such bladders, they are quickly amort and dead in the nest if they be disap­pointed.

Evil men that live upon comforts, that are carnal in 3 any creature, upon the applause of men, upon honors, they likewise feed upon the wind and are puft up for a while, but any prick of Gods appearing against them lets out the windy stuff and quickly they are dead; any member of the body that is puft up with wind it seems to be greater than any other part, but it is not stronger, no, it is the weaker for being puft up with wind: And so it Simile. is with the hearts of men that are puft up with windy conceits, and with the contentment of the creature, they have no strength by this puffing up, though they seem to be higher, yet when they are call'd either to do, or suffer for God, they appear to be very weak then, and therfore will change as the wind changes. I remember Pliny ob­serves [Page 201] this of the Chamaeleon (a creature that feeds upon the wind) and he cites Democrates for it, (that hath writ­ten The Chamae­leon, the rea­son of its changablenes▪ a whole book upon that creature) That there is no creature in al the world more fearful than the Chamaeleon is, and the reason (saith he) that it is so changable, (that it will change into all kind of colours according to that that it joyns to) is, the fearfulness of its nature. And truly it is a very good discription of men that feed upon the wind, they seem big when they have no opposition, and ô, what they will do! they will do thus and thus, and great matters; but the truth is, no men are of more None sink lo­wer when disappointed, than conceit­ed and confi­dent men. fearful hearts than those men that are puft up with the wind of their own conceits, when God comes to cross them, or they are call'd to suffer in the way that they go in, they will quickly turn to any colour, this way or that, because they do but feed upon the wind, therefore they come to be feeble creatures, they have no strength at all in them.

And we know that the wind raises tempests and storms: 4. and so men that are puft up with the wind of their own conceits, they are the men that raise such tempests and storms in the places where they live. My brethren, the Saints have better food to feed upon, that that makes them more sollid, and more staid, while the men of the world feed upon the wind of applause, upon their own conceits, and upon their own vain counsels and plots, and upon the creature, and think to fill their bellies that way; the Saints they feed upon the Mercy of God, upon Gods Al-sufficiency, they feed upon his Word, and Pro­mises, and upon the Covenant of Grace, they feed upon Jesus Christ whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed, and so they come to have strength in them, for their food is [...]great deal better than the food of others; other men feeding upon the wind their sto­machs are fill'd, and hence it is that they cannot savor, nor relish heavenly things, the breathings of the Spirit of [Page 202] God are not entertain'd by them, because they are fill'd with their own wind; but the Saints are willing to emp­ty themselves, and to receive in the holy Ghost into their souls, and the blessed things that the holy Ghost doth bring, Christ comes in to sup with them, and they to sup with him, and thus they come to be nourished to eternal life, and fitted for any service, or any suffering that the Lord is pleased to call them to; their food is different. It follows; ‘And followeth after the East wind▪’

This East Wind, especially in those Countries, it is noted to be a very hurtful Wind; exceedingly hurtful to The East wind, man and beast; and so we have a proverb of the East Wind, The East wind blows neither good to man nor beast; but more especially in that Country. So we find it in Scripture, in Gen. 41. 6. the text saith, The seven thin Ears that Pharaoh saw of Corn that came up, but were blasted with the East wind, and in Ezek 17. 10. Shall it not wither when the East wind toucheth it? and in Job, 15. 2. Should a wise man utter vain knowledg, and fill his belly with the East wind? When you see men talk and utter vain things, they do but seek to fill their bellies with the East wind. The East wind was so hurtful because there came a heat of the Sun that made it dry and scorching in those Why hurtful. Countries; and therefore the Septuagint translate this, the scorching Wind, for the burning and heat of it. And [...]. 70. the vulgar Latin likewise, renders it, Heat.

Now you will say, What doth the holy Ghost mean Aestus. Vulg. here? It's to hold out a very excellent Truth to us:

‘That those men that seek to satisfie themselves with creature comforts, the thoughts of their own counsels Obl. Creatures hope will prove but wind, and plots, their own inventions, their own waies, they do not only deceive themselves, and will be disappointed [Page 203] at last of what they expect; but they will find these waies of theirs to be very pestilentious; very hurtful, ve­ry dangerous, they will find that such waies as these, will undo them, will bring them to misery.’ Oh! how many have undone themselves with their own counsels; were it indeed that men were but meerly disappointed of their vain hopes, there were a great evil in that, but if that were all it were not so much, if so be that men at last should meet with no other evil but disappointment, it were not so much, but you must not escape so, you that will feed upon the wind, and bless your selves in And perni­cious. your own waies, you must expect to meet with wrath and misery, those waies that you may think to shift from danger will bring you into danger; Oh! how many upon their sick beds, and death beds, have cried out in the bitterness and trouble of their souls, for following of their own conceits, and counsels, and waies, and the waies of other men, they see how that they are undone, undone by those waies: Oh! we have fed upon the wind, and we find evil waies that pleased us then to torment us now, to bring anguish, sorrow, and trouble upon us.

And one Note further, Follows the East wind. They Obs. 2. met with storms, (observe) for the East wind was very hurtful, and tempestuous in those parts: Now to meet with storms, and tempests, and have nothing within us to bear us out, but the wind, but emptiness, this is grie­vous, when they shall meet with the East wind, and have nothing within them (I say) to bear them out but meer­ly emptiness, this is very sad and grievous. Suppose men meet with the rough East wind, or there's such storms and tempests, yet if they have had solid food whereby they come to get good blood, and marrow, and spirits, they may be able to bear it; but when the body is empty and meets with tempests, Oh! this is very grie­vous to the body: so it is with many when they meet with afflictions, but the Saints they have such solidity [Page 204] within them that bears them out; but other men that are empty, that have fed upon the wind all their daies, Difference in the Saints frō others in Af­flictions. they have nothing to bear them out in great afflictions, but their hearts sink down in horror and despair. But it follows; ‘He daily encreaseth lyes and desolation.’

Ephraim together with the ten Tribes, with them all, Expos. all the day long he encreaseth lyes, that is, he hath new plots, and new devises, and new shifts for himself, he en­creaseth lyes, new opinions, and new reports, so we are to understand the word in the latitude, encreaseth lyes.

First, In matters of Doctrine, there he encreaseth lyes, 1. Lyes in Do­ctrine. having forsaken once the Truth: if the truth be once for­saken, men do not know whither they shall go: Grant but one error (we use to say) a thousand will follow, and Vno absurdo dato mille se­quuntur. they will multiply abundantly, especially some errors, there are some such breeding lyes as if they be granted, there must be a great many others to maintain them. Ne­ver was there such an encrease of false Doctrine, of lyes in that sense, as there is at this day, in Revel. 12. 15. the These times. text saith, that when the Dragon could not prevail a­gainst the Church, against the woman, by bloody perse­cutions, (for that's the meaning of it) then saith the text the Dragon cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the floo [...] this was the policie of the Devil, first laboring by vio­lence to prevail against the Church, but that he could not do, and when he could not do that, then he cast w [...] ­ter out of his mouth like a flood, that it, as Interpre [...] observe, he did labor by a deluge of error and her [...] Rev. 12. 5. enlightned. undo the Church, when he could not do it by open vio­lence: Truly this Scripture is even fulfilled, concerning us this very day, the Lord hath been pleased to curb the England. [Page 205] Dragon in this sense, and those that were instruments of the Dragon in open and violent perse [...]cution, so that they cannot persecute the Truths as they were wont to do; now this is the way of the Devil, this Dragon he sends out of his mouth a flood of Errors and Heresies af­ter the Truth, after the Church, laboring to swallow up all by this flood; and certainly we are in a great deal of danger at this day in this respect, there is a flood and deluge of such things, of all sorts almost of old errors that ever were, and many of them extream dangerous, and men are serviceable to the Dragon in this thing more than Let Novelists mark. they are aware of, Oh! that we could but see the subtilty of Satan in this, in the continual encreasing of lyes, for these four or five yeers there hath been such an encrease as it could never have been thought; Certainly if some of our forefathers that were holy and gracious should rise out of their graves, and come to see and hear such things as may be seen and heard in our daies, they would stand amazed at it, and they would wonder how it were possi­ble that ever England should be fill'd with such horrible opinions, and waies as they have been in these latter times, so that now there lies the hope of the Devil, by en­crease of such lies, to eat out Godliness, and Religion thereby, and this indeed seems to be the most hopeful de­sign, that the Devil hath in these latter times, mens hearts Whence it comes that there is such an encrease o false doctrine in England. are carnal, loose, and sensual, and therefore they are prepared to receive these lyes; and hence they multiply apace, because they are prepared to receive them, but yet let none multiply them more than they are, by put­ting among those lyes some truths, By shutting in truths in the midst of them, to make them appear likewise to be lyes, and Note. to be taken as honest men are when they are gotten by any accident in the company of lude people, they are ap­prehended An apt similo upon suspition, meerly because they are in their company; and it is a way of the Devil to multi­ply and encrease these falshoods and lyes by shuffling in [Page 206] [...] [Page 207] [...] [Page 208] [...] [Page 209] [...] [Page 206] some truths among them, and because he could not have them suspected otherwaies they must be taken upon suspi­tion because they are there among them; let not men ga­ther these lye [...] together to the end that they may oppose some truths thereby, but as the Prophet speaks, What is the chaff to the wheat? If men will speak of lyes let them enveigh against them, and only against them, and make it appear that that's the work of their spirits, meerly to oppose them, and not under such a pretence to make o­ther things that yet they cannot make appear to be false, to make them appear to be odious and monstruous, meer­ly by shufling them together among such horrible and damnable lyes. That's for false Doctrine.

And then secondly, Thy encrease lyes and desolation, that 2 Lyes against the Prophets. is, lyes against the Prophets of God, against the Saints, and against the Waies of God. And certainly there was never the like multiplying as there is at this day in this sense too, men carry their multiplying glasses along with them up and down; at first, a lye, it's like a stone in the water; you know a stone first cast in makes a little circle, and then that another, and that another, and e­very Simile. one greater than another: And so it is with many lyes, at first they appear not so great, but that makes a­nother, and that another, and that another, and so they grow greater, and greater, and that exceedingly; there's Several waies of encreasing lyes. 1 many waies of multiplying and encreasing lyes.

First, by carrying about reports, and so make one lye to become many.

And then a Second way is, by misreporting of re­ports, 2 that is, by putting reports into another dress, ac­cording to what men themselves apprehend, and that which is a truth when it comes to be examined nakedly, yet they will, being put into another dress, and such and such things laid together in another way than they were at first, they will seem to be very false. This is a way of multiplying lyes.

[Page 207] Thirdly, by adding to reports, every man according 3 to his spirit, draws consequences, and when he hath drawn them, he makes them to be part of the report, and so makes it to be the Original, as if it were the Original, whenas it is but the Comment, and so lyes comes to be multiplied.

Fourthly, by inventing new ones they come to encrease 4 and multiply, because such and such falshoods will not do the feat, more shall then be added to them.

Fifthly, they encrease and multiply, by maintai­ning 5 lyes by lyes, as if men be engaged once in a business, they must defend themselves; If once they have misre­ported a thing, there's no help for it, but now it must be defended one way or other, somewhat must be done to defend it; as 'tis many times so in your servants, a Ser­vant Servants hath done a thing amiss, well, this Servant seeks to cover it by a lye, and when once he hath told one, he must tell a great many more to defend that one; and thus it is with men.

And truly my Brethren, seeing that this Scripture doth so by providence come in our way, let me speak thus much to you from it. It is one of the strangest things that ever was in the world, that there should be such strange reports of things that are matters of fact, (See the A­pology of the dissenting Brethren: And the As­sembly's An­swer to it.) yea, that one Godly man, or company of men should say one thing, and others, that we think Godly men, should say quite contrary, and both in matters of fact; I say, 'tis that which would make men stand amazed as much as ever any thing that fell out in any age, to consider of it; for there is no sin that is more against the in­genuity of a gracious heart, than a deliberate lye, to speak against a mans knowledg, and against a mans conscience, this sin is against the ingenuity of a gracious heart as much as any sin; and yet even such as we think to be godly, and gracious, even reporting so quite cross, what shall we say to this?

[Page 208] Austin hath such an expression of his, to a friend that Austin. writ to him about the telling of an officious lye: he an­swers him again, No; he must not tell a lye, no, not to save the whol world. Now what a difference is there in the hearts of men in these daies? Truly, I do not know a greater temptation to Atheism at this day than this is, for what will men think? There's such Religious men speak thus, and others that we account as Religious as they speak quite contrary; Is there any Religion in the world? We see so much contradicting one against ano­ther, surely one side must be false. It's that that I am A horrible temptation to Atheism. verily perswaded is the cause of much Atheism amongst us, and if God be not pleased to prevent one way or o­ther, it will open a wide door to Atheism in the Nation; But therefore those that would fain get this stumbling. block to be remov'd, and do not rejoyce at it as some do, some there are that rejoyces at these things, there's no­thing more pleasing to them when they meet together, We should mourn for this. Condderati­ons to prevent suggestions of Atheism frō the contrary reports of godly parties. 1. whereas they should be matter for our humiliation, we should mourn for them, to see how God is dishonored this way, and what abundance of hurt is like to come to souls by this means? But now therefore, a little to quiet our hearts, so as we may not be endanger to turn Atheists by it, let us consider from whence this comes, that so many lyes should be encreased and multiplied.

For First, Consider, though one saith this thing is so, and the other faith it's quite contrary, yea, but it may be that both sides do report according to their own ap­prehensions of things, and apprehending things in a dif­ferent way, having divers principles, both of them may think they are in the Truth, and yet one may con­tradict the other, because they may speak according to their apprehensions on both sides, for it is very much ac­cording to the principles of ones spirit in any thing, espe­cially if a business hath many things depending on it, and there are many circumstances to be laid together, [Page 209] then according to mens apprehensions and their princi­ples, [...]hey will lay things together, so as may best sute their principles; and others will say things together, so as may best sute their principles, and so both of them may think they are in the Truth, and contradict one a­nother, and yet neither of them speak against their con­sciences: this (possibly I say) may even be among good men.

And then sometimes the reason of contradiction, it is, 2 because men do not speak from their own knowledg, but they are ready to speak from others, and are so confident in others; whomsoever men love, when they see men to be of their side and way, they are very confident in their rports, and so speak it, not from being Eye-witnesses themselves, and so they may come to contradict one a­nother, and not go against their own consciences: Re­ports are cross one to another; and this is the evil in­deed of giving credit to reports, and of running away too suddenly with them; But though it be an evil in men, yet it comes not from this, of speaking against their consciences.

And then a Third cause it may come from this, That when men report, they do not report all; Reports are 3 cross one to another, yea, but did you hear all, or do you report all? It's a great matter when a man will take one piece of a thing and make a report of it, and not all; another man may come and report the quite contrary, whereas if all were brought together there might appear some agreement, and perhaps they would be both of the same mind if the whol series of the thing were laid be­fore them; bring things to the Original and then you see how they agree; as now, sometimes in Scripture, there are divers readings, yea, but now by the bringing divers Simile, in Scripture. Translations to the Original, we come to see what an agree­ment there is: And so it is with reports, bring them to the Original, and so you may come to help your selves [Page 210] and see what agreement may be made.

And then further, Reports (may be) are cross, but the 4. crosness of things may be in mens memories, rather than in the things themselves, I say meerly in the memory, and people do not in all things that they speak, say, why I remember thus, or I remember this is not expressed, but sometimes the very nature of the thing carries it so.

My Brethren, therefore take heed of spreading reports Use. 1. to the dishonor of Religion. And,

Secondly; If you hear any false things that you think 2. surely this must be a lye, rather go to the party, or get some that are acquainted with them to go to them to see whether they can satisfie you in the thing; there's many men that stand and wonder at such a report, whereas if they, or any friend for them, would but search out the thing, they might have such a plain history of the things related to them, as should fully satisfie them, as they should say, there would be no such matter at all, so that their apprehensione would be changed presently. But so much concerning encreasing of lyes in regard of re­ports.

But then there's a Third thing here; That is, En­creasing lyes in regard of Practice, still following after 3. Lyes in pra­ctice. new vanities, if they find not satisfaction in one they are not mov'd thereby to seek the true God that they may have satisfaction, but seek to have satisfaction in other things: Oh! let's consider thus; I find no satisfaction in this, yea, but is it not because I forsake the Lord God, Why men find not satis­faction in their waies. in whom there is all satisfaction? let me repair to God, and in him I shall find satisfaction. No, but they take another course; I have not satisfaction in this thing, then I'le seek to have satisfaction in another thing, and so they go from one false way to another, and encrease lyes in this sense; I will have new devises to shift off Truth; the consciences of men will not be put off with old shifts, they have satisfied their consciences a while with one [Page 211] shift, yea, but conscience will not be put off long with that, but they must have another, and when conscience Invention to satisfie con­science, may prove judg­ment. comes to apprehend the weakness of that, then it must have another; Oh; take heed of being inventive for the satisfying of conscience. It follows; ‘They have encreased lyes and desolation.’

Men when they imbrace their own vain conceits, and hopes, and false waies; they think they have gotten a Expos. great catch; but the truth is they imbrace their own ruin: Mark how they are put together, Encrease lyes, and desolation is the fruit of lyes; and secondly, desolation is encreased by lyes; the more sin the more desolation, you will perish the more dreadfully, in Prov. 19. 8. A false witness (saith the text) shall not be unpunished, and be that speaketh lyes shall perish. He that walks uprightly he walks surely. Prov. 12. 19. The lip of Truth shall be established for ever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment; it may bluster a while and keep ado, and deceive many, yea, but it is but for a moment. It follows; ‘And they do make a Covenant with the Assyrians; and Oyl is carried into Egypt.

That is, That they might have power to crush their Expos. Brethren of Judah, they think to strengthen themselves and so seek to make a Covenant with the Assyrians; you have found this charged upon them many times here in this Prophesie of Hosea, 13. 7. 11. and in Hosea, 10. you have this sin of making a Covenant with wicked men, and it is repeated again, and again, to shew the hainous­ness of this sin, in forsaking God, to joyn with ungodly men.

And to teach us this lesson, That when people are guilty Obs. of a sin, the Prophets of God should beat upon it again, and a­gain. [Page 212] I shall not need to speak any further of this, but only so.

And Oyl is carried into Egypt] That is, They carry Oyl Expos. for gifts, and merchandize, the Land of Canaan aboun­ded much in Oyl; but there was little or no Oyl in the Land of Egypt, and therefore it was a great merchan­dize to carry Oyl from the Land of Cannan into Egypt; in Ezek. 27. 17. Judah, and the Land of Israel were thy Mer­chants, they traded in thy Market, Wheat of Minnich, and Pannag, and Honey, and Oyl, and Balm. But this was (as it were) the staple Commodity.

Now my Brethren, Egypt you know is a type of Anti­christ, Aegypt. Canaan. and Canaan a type of the Church; Egypt hath no Oyl, there's no Oyl grows there, no, there's Gall and Wormwood, there's no Oyl; but Oyl is in the Land of Canaan. My Brethren, What are we but almost like E­gypt this day? We would be loth to return into Egypt to our former bondage, but we even turn our selves to be as Egypt, we have little Oyl among us; What, is God brin­ging us to Canaan? how comes it to pass there is no more Oyl then? Oh! the Oyl that is among us (if there be any) it's rather the Oyl of Scorpions, than any thing els! mens Spirits, and mens Pens, and mens Tongues are even full of this Oyl, as if the Ink that were made in these daies, were made of the Oyl of Scorpions. Israel (the ten Tribes) would send Oyl to Egypt, to gain the favour of Egypt, that they might have their wils over their bre­thren, they would be at a great deal of cost, and part with their Oyl: Oh! my brethren, shall it be so with us? to apply it spiritually, that we might have our wils over our brethren, shall we part with our Oyl? Why do Note. not we say as the Figtree, Shall we leave our sweetness to come and reign over you? So, shall we leave our Oyl? that is, The suppleness, the gentleness, the tenderness of our spi­rits, shall we lose these, that we may prevail over our Brethren? Oh! how many were of supple tender spirits, [Page 213] and loving one towards another, yet out of a desire to prevail against their Brethren, they have parted with their Oyl, even with the tenderness and suppleness of their spi­rits: Remember, Egypt hath no Oyl, but Oyl is in Ca­naan, it grows there.

VER. 2.

The Lord also hath a Controversie with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his waies, according to his doings will he recompence him.

THis Verse I shal presently pass over. But the first part is very observable.

Calvin saith of it, It's a wonderful thing; Did not Mir [...]m est &c. Calv. in loc, God say, That Judah rules with God, and is faithful with the Saints; and now saith, He hath a Controversie with Ju­dah?

I find some therefore would reconcile it thus, and say, Expos. 1 The Lord hath a Controversie FOR Judah; (but that's a little strain'd)

But the Lord hath a Controversie WITH Judah. 2. God comends, and contends with his Church at once. Reas. 1,

And there may be Four Reasons why after God had said, That Judah rules with God, and is faithful with the Saints, that he saith, He hath a Controversie with Judah.

The First Reason is this, To shew, that God doth not so look at the good of his People, but he sees the evil in them too. You know those passages in the 2d of Revelations, where God commends such and such Churches for doing thus and thus; but yet notwithsthnding, I have a few things against thee, I do not so observe your good, but I observe your evil too. My Brethren, some there are, that if there Mens error in judging others. 1. 2. be any evil in men, they can see no good in them, this is wicked. But others there are that if there be any good in them, can see no evil; this is too much indulgence too, it is two extremities in both.

[Page 214] Secondly, Yet God hath a controversie with Judah; Judah hath no cause to bless her self in her waies that are 2. good, because she retain'd the true Worship of God: Men are very apt to bless themselves in some waies that are not good, because they did chuse some other waies that are good; I mean thus, That such men as imbrace Men excuse their evil by their good. the true Worship of God, are right there, they will have pure Ordinances, and the way of God right according to the Word, and because of that though there be some loosness and negligence in their waies otherwaies, yet Reformed worshipers. they put off conscience with this, and think they are the true Worshipers of God, and have the Ordinances of God in the purity and power of them, and so think to swallow down all, much loosness, much carnality, much pride, much sensualness, much hypocrisie, and yet be­cause they are in the way of the true Worship of God they seek to satisfie conscience with this. Oh! take heed of this, God may have a Controversie against you.

Thirdly, The Lord hath a Controversie with Judah, he doth express himself thus, that Israel might neither think 3 God or the Prophet partial. The ten Tribes might say, Doth God threaten us? Is not Judah as bad as we? are there not evils among Judah as well as us? are we only the sinful people? No (saith the Prophet) I acknowledg there's much evil in Judah, and therefore the Lord hath a Controversie against Judah too, and Judah is not like to escape, and let not this satisfie you, that because others are bad, therefore you may escape; no, they are bad, and God hath a Controversie against them. And this may be an useful Note to us, men are very ready to put off the evils that they are guilty of with this, I am not worse than others, I do such a thing amiss, and others do such a thing amiss as well as I, and so they think to escape that way. Oh! thou weak man, thou vain man, why wilt thou deceive thy soul with this? Doest thou [Page 215] think that another mans evil may be an excuse to thy evil? Thou art a vain man and knowest not the way of God.

The Fourth Note is this: Therefore doth God say, he 4 hath a Controversie against Judah here, to shew them, how much more must the ten Tribes expect the displeasure of God; If Judah who retains the true Worship of God, yet for some other evils God hath a Controversie against them, then what will become of Israel, who have those evils, and re­ject the true Worship of God too? As if the Prophet should say, your condition is far worse, therefore doth the Lord say, he hath a Controversie against Judah, that he might aggravate the evils of Israel: like that of Peter, If Judgment begin at the House of God, where shall the wic­ked and the sinner appear? If so be that the Church which have the Ordinances in the purity of them, yet God is displeased with them for their sin, how much more will he be displeased with them who are corrupt in the Wor­ship of God? Therefore men should not bless themselves with such discourse as this: Why, others have evils as well as we, yea, but if God will punish them for their evils that have sewer, and a great deal more good than thou, how much more will he punish thee? Oh! if those that are the dear Saints of God, that worship him in truth and sincerity, and they have evils among them, but yet they shall not escape scot-free, Oh! then, what will become of thee who art a wicked and vile wretch and hast no good at all? If a Moses that had done God so much service, yet for one sin of passion (for so it was) was shut out of the Land of Cannan, (it was but one time that he spake unadvisedly with his lips, that God shut him out, and bid him speak no more to him of that mat­ter) what will become of thee that hast a passionate fro­ward spirit, and thou that never hast, nor wilt do God A Note for passionat men the service that such a Servant of his hath done, what will become of t [...]? Oh! how [...]ayest thou look to be [Page 216] shut out. This use you must make of the sins of others, and Gods dealings with them. And saith he, ‘I will punish Jacob according to his waies &c.’

There is Two Questions necessarie for the opening of this.

First, Why the ten Tribes are call'd by the name of Jacob, we never reade that they are call'd by the name of Quest. Isaac, and of Abraham.

Now for the Answer to that, it's given thus; which is a very satisfying Answer, That therefore the People Answ. of God are call'd in Scripture by the name of Jacob, and by the name of Israel his other name, rather than by the name of Abraham and Isaac, because they (though godly) and were the Father and Grand-father, yet in Abrahams family there was wicked aswel as good; likewise from I­saac's loins there came Esau aswel as Jacob; but now from Jacobs loyns there came none but were of Gods Church, all Jacobs Sons they are the twelve Patriarchs, and there­fore they are call'd by the name of Jacob, rather than A­braham or Isaac; and therefore when he speaks of the People of God, he calls them the seed of Jacob, I said not to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain. Quest.

But then Secondly, Why is Jacob mentioned in this place? Answ.

Because the Prophet intends presently in the words that follow, to bring the example of Jacob to them be­fore he was Israel, to aggravate their sin for the work of humiliation, and therefore here he names Jacob to take away that vain plea of their hearts, whereas they would say, Why were not we the posterity of Jacob, Have not we Jacob to be our Father? Well (saith he) I'le punish Jacob, and I'le shew you by and by that you have no such cause to boast your selves, that you have Jacob to be your Father, and so I take it, and most Interpreters, that [Page 217] by Jacob he means the ten Tribes. Now for the other part of the text I shall speak nothing concerning that, because in Chap. 4. Ver. 9. we had the very same words there. It follows;

VER. 3.

He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength had power with God, &c.

THis Prophet enveighing against the sins of these ten Tribes, and threatning Judgments in these words; He takes away the plea that he saw was in their hearts a­gainst what he had said, We are the children of Jacob, and why do you thus charge us, and threaten us in the Name of God? was not Jacob our Father? As in Christs time they pleaded that Abraham was their Father.

Now in these words read unto you, the Prophet takes away this plea, and the scope of them comes to this, as Scope of the Text. if he had said, you may bless your selves in that Jacob was your Father, but it will do you little good, for you are a degenerate off-spring from him; It's true, God was very gracious to Jacob, and Jacob was very deer to God, it's otherwise with you, Jacob worshiped God af­ter another manner than you do; The Prophet therefore sets before this people here in the words read, Gods mercy to Jacob, and Jacobs graciousness in his behavior towards God, that he might upbraid those children of Jacob, who walked so unworthy of such a gracious Fa­ther as Jacob was, that's the scope.

Now how this is set forth we shall speak to presently, only for the scope of the Prophet in these three Verses read unto you we take notice only of this one instructi­on.

That it is a great upbraiding of children that are wicked, to Note. hear of the graciousness of their parents, and should be a mat­ter of much humiliation to wicked children to hear of [Page 218] the relation that their parents had to God, and what worshipers of God their parents were: children that have had gracious parents should look upon it as a shame to them when at any time the graciousness of their pa­rents is but mentioned before them. I remember I have read of a King of Poland, that was wont to carry the picture of his Father in a plate of Gold about his neck, that he had honorable esteem of, and when he was to do any matter of great importance, he would take this pi­cture and kiss it, and use these words, God grant that I may do nothing now remisly, that I may do nothing now unworthy of my Father; because his Father was so good a man. Oh! you that have had gracious Ancestors, think often of them, and when you are tempted to sin, think this, Is not this unworthy of my Ancestors? would they have done thus? Children should so walk as the vertues of their Fathers should not die in them, but they should hold them forth. As Ambrose in an Oration of his up­on Ambrose. Theodotius. the Commendations of Theodotius, saith he, Though Theodotius be gone, yet surely so long as his Son lives, Theo­dotius will live among us. He meant thus, that the ver­tues of that vertuous Emperor would certainly live in his Son that was so hopeful. Oh! it's an excellent thing when the vertues of gracious parents do live in their Children; and it is a very evil thing when the Pa­rents are dead, yea, and their vertues are dead in respect of their children, there's nothing of them appears in them; they love to inherit their Lands and Estates, but it was a great deal better to inherit their vertues, and their godliness. But the people of Israel did not inherit the godliness of Jacob, and did not so much take to heart the goodness of God towards their Father Jacob, that the Prophet doth here now lay open before them, and to that end he makes use of three Histories. There is three famous Histories in the two first verses that I have read to you that the Prophet here makes use of, and there's [Page 219] much of the mind of God in them, I shall open much Three Histo­rys to explain the Text. Scripture in the first two verses, for they refer unto three Histories that we have in the book of Genesis.

The First History of Jacobs taking his brother by the 1. heel you shall find in Gen. 25. 26. He took his brother by the heel.

And then the Second History you shall find in Gen. 2. 32.

And the Third History, partly in the 28, and partly 3. in the 35. of Gen.

The first is, He took his brother by the heel. You must Expos. 1. refer to that Scripture in Gen. to know the mind of God in this, there you shall find that in the womb of Rebekah there was a striving between Iacob and Esau, this was be­fore they were born, and at their birth Iacob put his hand out and takes his brother by the heel, from whence he had his name Iacob; that signifies a heel, and from thence [...] á [...] supplantavit. [...] á [...] operatus est. a Supplanter. And Esau he hath his name of Acting or Doing, he was made a man, that is, because he was hai­ry when he was born, he was as it were a man already, from whence he had his name Esau, he is (as it were) a man made in the womb: Saith Habet nomen à faciendo, hic ille vir qui prae­clarè omnia fa­ciet, ut [...]ulgd dicitur fac totū mirabilit profe­ctò Historia. Luth. Luther, here's the man that will do all things famously; when Esau was born, and they saw him so hairy, they thought he was the man that would do very great and famous things in the world, and from thence he had his name Esau: Now Iacob in his birth he takes this Esau that every one thought when he was born would have been a famous man, and done famous things, he takes him by the heel: saith Luther upon the place, a most wonderful History, this taking his brother by the heel.

But what's the meaning of this, (you will say?) why doth the Prophet instance in this? to what purpose is Reasons why the Scripture sets down Ia­cobs taking his brother by the heel. this to the ten Tribes, that Iacob took his brother by the heel? what good would this do to the People, that Ho­sea was prophesying to? he tells them that their Father [Page 220] Iacob take his brother by the heel? what did he aim at? Was this story to be a means to humble the people for their sins? how could it do it? Therefore we must know that the scope & meaning of this great work of God, in taking his brother by the heel, it was this:

First, It shewed, That though Esau was the first born, and so in an orderly course the birthright should have descended upon him, and upon his posterity, for so it did, the blessing did use to go along with the first-born, and with their posterity; in which the first-born was a type of Christ, who is called, The first begotten of all creatures: and the blessing upon the first born was a type of the bles­sing that we have by Christ: Now though this in an or­derly way belonged to Esau, as being the first-born, yet Jacob's taking of him by the heel, was a certain token from God that Jacob should supplant him, and that he should get the birthright from him, and so the blessing from him; and in that Jacob should thus get the blessing, though he were the yonger, and this sign was given of it when he was in the womb; this did shew the free election of God, that it was through Gods meer free Grace that Jacob had the blessing rather than Esau, and so that the posterity of Jacob were in a better condition than the po­sterity of Esau: It was only the free Grace of God, not from any excellency in Jacob, any worthines in him more than in Esau, for God shewed a sign of it that he inten­ded good when they were in the womb, before Jacob could do any thing that was good.

Though Esau was the Elder, stronger, hairy, active, stout man, and Jacob a plain man, yet Jacob is chosen, Esau is rejected; and God shews the sign of this, by his taking his brother by the heel. Now this concern'd the people very much, they understanding this to be the scope of it.

As if he should say, What, you are the posterity of [Page 221] Jacob, and not of Esau, and you glory in this; Wel, how comes it to pass there is so great a priviledge to the poste­rity of Iacob rather than to the posterity of Esau? how comes this? Is it not from the free Grace of God in chu­sing one rather than the other, & that in the very womb? as in Mal. 1. 2. I have loved you, saith the Lord; yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother, saith the Lord? yet I loved Jacob, and hated Esau. In this I manifested my free love, even unto this people, that though Esau was Iacob's brother, and eldest brother, yet I loved Iacob, and hated Esau. So in Rom. 9. 11. The chil­dren being not yet born, neither having done good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand; not of works, but of him that calleth. It was said, The elder shall serve the yonger; as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. Now this was to shew Gods free grace, that it was in the womb.

If any should say, But God foresaw that Jacob would be Quest. a better man than Esau.

I answer: If it were of foreseen works, there were no Answ. Argument in this to prove Gods free election, but the Apostle makes it to be an Argument to prove Gods free election of Iacob rather than Esau, because he chose them in the womb.

Luther upon the 25. Chap. of Genesis hath an excellent Luther in Gen. 25. discourse upon this subject, concerning Gods rejecting the pride, pomp and vanity of the world, and chusing the things that are mean and contemptible in the eyes of the world; and it was an emblem of it, in that God would rather chuse Iacob the plain man, than Esau the hunter, and the hairy man: I say, it was an emblem of this, That the Lord intends to reject the brave things in the world, the galantry, glory and pomp of the world, and wil rather chuse the mean and contemptible things of the world: Who can perswade (saith Luther upon the place) the Pope, and Charls the fifth, the French King, and the like, [Page 222] that they being great in the world, yet are contemptible in the eyes of God, and God hath rather chosen despi­sed and contemptible things than them? And that was the scope of the Prophet to humble this people, that they should consider of the free grace of God towards Jacob.

And we should make use of this, We are to consider the Obs. 1. free Grace of God how it hath wrought in chusing our for fathers, and what good we do enjoy by such a choice, we are to acknow­ledg it to be a fruit of free Grace too; Others were before God as well as our forefathers; as now, when God brought the Gospel first to England, other Nations were before God as well as them, It was meer free Grace that pitcht upon them rather than others, and we enjoy the blessing of it to this day, let us not sin against this free Grace of God shewed to our Ancestors.

And more particularly, You that now enjoy great blessings from Gods mercies to your Ancestors either outward or inward, Obs. 2. you must consider the free Grace of God; as now, such of you as are rich, great in the world; whence is it that your Ancestors were richer than others, and were not beggers as well as others? Was it not free Grace, free Grace in The free grace of God to our Ance­stors. in the kind of it? it was the free goodness of God; O­thers that had their Ancestors to be beggers they were be­fore God in the same lump with your Ancestors, and that God should rather pitch upon your Ancestors to be honorable in the earth and rich, and you enjoy the bene­fit of it in this world, look to the free goodness of God that hath made such a difference between your Ancestors and others; it may be some of you, though you be ho­norable, and rich, yet your elder Brother might be re­jected, and sometimes Families rises from the yonger Brother rather than the elder; It was so here, Iacob that was the yonger he afterwards came to have the blessing, and Esau rejected. And it may be that the posterity of the elder Brother proves wicked; it was so here, Reli­gion [Page 223] in the Family of Jacob and not in Esau; look back to this, and see what cause you have to bless God, and how you are engaged to the free Grace of God towards you in regard of your Ancestors; as here the Prophet would have this people look back to the free Grace of God to their Father Jacob; and that's the first thing the Prophet aim'd at.

But in the Second place,

Jacob took his Brother by the heel. That is, as if he should Expos. 2. say, your Father Iacob he was greedy of the blessing, gree­dy of the birth-right, there was a secret in stinct of God upon the spirit of Iacob when he was in the very womb, to be greedy of the blessing of the birthright, and there­fore he would do what he could to get it from his Bro­ther, as if the Prophet should say, Oh! but you that are his posterity you are carnal, you do not regard the pri­viledg of the birthright, you do not regard the blessing that comes by it, being carnal you care not which way that goes, so be it you may but live and have your ease and contentment to the flesh; Oh! you are not like your Father Iacob that was so greedy to have this bles­sing.

We are to make use of this for our instruction thus, Use of In­struction. some of you that have had your parents very forward in their youth, betimes some of your Parents were gracious and godly, were greedy of the things of God, now you should make use of that for the humbling of your souls, Oh! how negligent have I been? how careless is my spi­rit, and slight and vain? yea, though I be come to yeers, do little regard that which my Parents were greedy upon when they were very yong. That's a second thing.

And then yet further, Jacobs taking his brother by the Expos. 3. heel, in the third place, it was a type of the prevailing of the Church, of the people of God against the wicked at last; God made Iacob a famous and notable type in this work; That certainly the Saints though they may seem [Page 224] to be low and mean for the present, yet they shall get ad­vantage over the men of the world. The men of the world are set out by Esau, they are ruffling abroad in the world, & of fiery hot spirits as Esau was, & they have great things in the world for a time, and the Saints are under them, as Iacob was under Esau; but certainly the Saints shall prevail against all the Edomites, all the Esaus (as I may so speak) there is a time that they shall sup­plant them, and get the power over them, this was typi­fied in this work of God upon Iacob in the womb, in ta­king his brother by the heel, the godly shall prevail at length against all the wicked and ungodly in the world: You should consider it, as if the Prophet should say to them; you are seeking to provide for your selves in the sinful way you are in, Oh! if you did but consider, that the faithful, though they be persecuted for a time, what low condition soever they are, yet they shall get the power over all the great ones in the world, it would be otherwise with you than now it is. So we find in Scripture that though indeed the way of the Saints be such as they are kept low for a long time, yet the Scrip­ture tells us, that at length they shall have the dominion, in Dan. 7. 18. The Saints of the most High shall take the Kingdom, and in the 21. verse, I beheld, and the same horn made war with the Saints, and prevailed against them, (but how long?) Ʋntil the Antient of daies came, and judgment was given to the Saints of the most High, and the time came that the Saints possessed the Kingdom. And verse 17. The King­dom, and Dominion, and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whol Heaven shall be given to the people of the Saints of the most High, There is a time that it shall be given to them. And Psal. 49. 14. The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning. This was typified in this notable work of God in Iacob's taking Esau by the heel to supplant him.

Fourthly, Here we may see the providence of God, 4. [Page 225] how it extends towards infants, even in the very womb; the very striving of children in the womb is not without providence; there was a mighty providence of God in this, to set out the greatest things of God that are revea­led in the Scripture. Now though there be such extra­ordinary and great things set forth by the ordinary stir­rings of infants in the womb, yet certainly there is no stirring of the child in the womb but it is with some pro­vidence of God, and God he hath his eye upon, and his hand in the working even of the very child in the womb.

And yet further, Luther observes the secret waies of 5. God in working upon infants, and though they have not the use of Reason, yet saith he, there may be mighty workings of God even upon their spirits in a secret way that we are not able to understand: And upon that oc­casion he falls a crying out upon such as do deny bap­tism to them, upon that very ground, because they are not capable of any work of God upon them, and the denying of it upon that ground, he calls it a very odious Odiosum & impium dogma Anabaptista­rum, qui ideo pueris Baptis­mum negant, quia sensu ac mentacareant, nec intelligant quae cum eu a­guntur. Luth. in loc. 6. opinion, to think that because of that, they should not have it, for saith he, as it is with children, they have their nourishment in the womb in another manner than when they are born, and so the works of God upon their spi­rits may be such as when they are in the womb, and when they are little ones before they come to the use of Reason, that may be far different to what the work of God is upon them when they come afterwards to have the use of Reason.

And then the last thing that is to be noted from hence, is this, That men who prove notable in their lives, have many times notable presages of their notable exploits in their very birth of what they should do after; as it was a notable ex­ploit that Jacob should do in supplanting his Brother: By some notable providences God shews many times what men shall do that he chuses to be eminent in the world; as Moses, by what was done upon his birth there [Page 226] was a presage of his strange and wonderful kind of deli­verance when he was both, and being brought into Pha­raoh's Court: and so John Baptist a Presage of what should be afterwards; and so other stories tell us of men that have been famous for good or evil, there hath been presages at their birth. I remember it is said of Nero that did such monstrous things, that when he was born, he was born with his heels forward: and it is said of Domi­nicus that great persecuter of the Saints, that when his Mother was with child, she dream'd that she had in her womb, a Wolf with a fire-brand in his mouth, and he even proved to be so, for he was one of the first that stir­red up Persecution against the SAINTS by FIRE; and your Papists they turn it quite otherwise; I remem­ber one of the Papists interpreting this providence of God, that the Mother of Dominicus (who was the father of the Dominicans) should have such a dream; it was to S. Dominic. Vt splendore sanctitatis & doctrinae homi­nes toto orbe inflammaret. signifie saith he, That by the Splendor of his holiness, and Doctrine he should inflame the whol world, and that was signified (say they) by the fire-brand in his mouth, whereas experience taught otherwise. Now I note this only to shew the vanity of mens spirits in inter­preting waies of providence meerly according to their own humors. And thus much for that notable story of Jacobs taking his brother by the heel. Now follows the next, and that is, ‘—He had strength with God. Text.

Now this story refers to Gen. 32. you shall find if you Expos. Gen. 32. 31. observed. cast your eyes upon the Chapter before the 31. that God having bid Jacob return into the Land of his Fathers, and to his kindred, he promised him that he would be with him in his journy; yet mark, though God had made him go this journy, and had promised that he would be with him in the journy, yet Jacob for all that doth meet with as hard things in the journy as almost a man can [Page 227] reade, or hear of, that ever man did hear of, or meet with We may be sorely afflict­ed in doing that which God com­mands us. See Judg. 20. 18. & 1 Sam. 4. 1, 2. 10, 11. in a journy or business that God set him about; he had an express command of God to go, and a promise of God that he would be with him in the journy; it would ask some time to shew the many hard things that Jacob met withal in the journy, but among other of the hard things that he met with, this was a very sad one, that be­ing to go by the Land of Seer, the Country of Edom where his brother Esau liv'd, he sent messengers before him, not being altogether without some fear, that the old grudg that was in the heart of his brother still re­main'd, and that his brother might now have an oppor­tunity for to satisfie his desire upon him, and according as he fear'd he found it, for having sent messengers to his brother, they reurn again to him, and bring him word that his brother was coming against him with four hun­dred men in a hostile way, so manifesting by the manner of his coming that he did intend mischief against Iacob, in Gen. 32. 6. and now upon this the heart of Iacob was Gen. 32. 6. much distressed, so the text saith, That Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed, vehemently afraid, and great straits was upon his spirit; now being in so great straights, Ia­cob seeks to provide for himself, he did not presently con­clude and say, we are utterly undone, but he would see what could be done, so though he knew the sury of his brother, yet if it were possible but to save some part of his company he would do it, and so he divides them in the way of prudence as might be the best way that he conceived for the safety of any of them, but though he dealt in a way of prudence for safety, yet, That he trusted not to, but seeks unto the Lord, he would go to prayer in so great a straight and extremity that he was in, for so in verse 24 he had been at prayer, and there he was found alone, which cannot be interpreted to no purpose Vers. 24. but that he might be waiting upon God to know his mind, and to seek God. And when he was alone there [Page 228] appeared to him in the form of a man that came out a­gainst him as an enemy, and as though he would destroy him, not only Esau his brother came out to destroy him, but there comes out one wrastling against him as though he intended to destroy him likewise, and this man that did appear as a man, the truth is, was no other than God himself, it was Jesus Christ, and so he is call'd an Angel; That it was Christ appearing in the form of a man there, taking humane shape, it's cleer from verse 5. for he is call'd Jehovah, and the Lord of Host, and you shall find in Gen. 32. that Jacob call'd the name of the Gen. 32. 36. explained place Peniel, for saith he, I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved, so that Jacob knew before he had done, he knew it was God, God comes and appears against him as an enemy even at that time that this holy man Jacob was in so great straights as he was, and yet Jacob though God did thus appear against him, he did not sink in his heart, but stir'd up all the strength that he had, and wrastles even with God himself thus ap­pearing like an enemy and prevail'd, and had power at length, though one would have thought that there had been enough to have sunk Jacob's spirit, the distress that he was in at that time, his brother coming with four hundred men ready to destroy him, he left alone, one comes and wrastles with him, yet he had power with God. This is a famous and a notable story as any we have in the old Testament.

And for the First, that which is implied here, He had Expos. 1 power with the Angel, that is, with God, when he came and wrastled with him in such a time of so great extremi­ty.

Oh! I beseech you observe this in the first place, This Use. 1. is Gods way with his Saints, sometimes with his best and dearest Saints, that when they are in the greatest dangers, and in the greatest afflictions and troubles, God even then comes and seems to be an enemy to them at that [Page 229] time; for the time that God came & wrastled with him, and seem'd to be as an enemy to him, it was in the time of the greatest extremity that one would think it's possible for a man to be in, you cannot apprehend greater distres­ses, or greater cause than there was for the distres, of Ja­cob at this time; A poor man with a few women and children and cattel, and having his brother that owed him a grudg, and had sought his death, to come with four hundred men in an hostile way, and he left alone, and at this time God appears like an enemy to him, this was sad, a very heavie condition indeed. As God did with Jacob, so with Christ himself; when Christ was be­trayed, God never appeared in outward appearance a­gainst Christ as at that time when his Disciples left him, just in the night when he was to be betrayed then he was in an Agony, and sweat drops of water and blood, yea, and when he was in the hands of his enemies, and lift up to the Cross, and made a decision to all the world, yet then he cries, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Forsaken at that time in so great a distress; Jacob in this was even a type of Gods forsaking Christ in times of such great distress. And so we find in Job, when he was in so great distresses, yet the terrors of the Almighty were up­on him. And Heman, with divers others that we might name: 'Tis a point of very great concernment to us; Oh Use. 2. Encourage­ment to the Saints. be not discouraged, be not discouraged you that are the people of God, if at any time you be brought into his condition, for Jacob was a type of all the people of God in this case, and therefore this story is of very great con­cernment, Gods waies towards him were a resemblance of what they are like to be to others afterwards, and to the end of the world, namely this; That the most emi­nent, precious Saints of God must not think to be excu­sed even from this condition, but when they are brought into the greatest outward afflictions that possibly can be imagined, that God even at that time should appear a­gainst [Page 230] them like an enemy, Oh! this is the saddest con­dition that can be, to any one that hath any acquain­tance with God. You shall have many poor Servants of God in affliction wil say, As for these afflictions they are heavy indeed upon me, my Estate gon, or Husband gon, or Wife gon, my Friends leave me in this condition, yea, and it may be the hand of God is upon me in sickness, and so one trouble after another; Oh! but though these are heavy, had I but the light of the face of God upon me it would be nothing to me, had I but those comforts that once I had in the assurance of Gods love, it would not be much to me; but when all these outward comforts are gone, and I never saw God appearing like an enemy to me so as at this time, Doth God deal thus with any of his people? Am I not a Reprobate? For God doth use when his People are in affliction, then to appear with the light of his face to comfort and encourage them; but he hath not done so to me, even at this time I find God more ter­rible to my soul than ever yet I found him, and therfore surely I am but a cast-away: I make no question but some of you may know the meaning of such temptations as these are in the time of your afflictions, or if you have not known the meaning of them hitherto, you may come to know the meaning of them hereafter; and you that have known, or hereafter if you shall know what these things mean, Oh! treasure up this Scripture, it will be worth a world to you, For the Devil wil mightily streng­then himself with this, What, are not you a cast-away? surely God hath rejected you, he would never appear a­gainst you in your afflictions if he had any love to you.

Or you may answer the temptation thus:

Yes, yes, I have read in the Book of God, and heard 2. that even thus God dealt with my father Jacob that was so precious.

Yea, but was not he in some way of sin? Quest.

[Page 231] No, he was in the way that God bad him go on in, Answ. and yet even then when he was in so great a distress, God wrastled with him, never wrastled more with him than then, and seem'd to come against him like an enemy, and such a time as that was, Oh! treasure up this that your hearts may not sink in despair, in the greatest afflictions, and spiritual dissertions that are both together.

Only this by the way, —He had power with God. Text.

It appears that when God came thus against him to Expos. 2. wrastle with him, God intended no hurt to him, it was but to stir up his strength, and to prepare him for great deliverance, and for choice mercies, God at this time did intend to Jacob as great a mercie as ever he gave to any of the children of men in this world, and that was this, That he should have strength to prevail with God, and as a Prince to prevail with God, and that he should in this be a type of all his people hereafter that they should prevail with God, that he should have his name changed and be cal­led Israel, because he was a Prince prevailing with God, and in this he should be honorable to the end of the world, and be set up as a type for the comfort of al the Saints to the end of the world; I say, it was as great a mercy as ever any meer child of man had in this world, at this time when Jacob was in the greatest depth of affli­ction almost as you can conceive a man to be in.

Therefore oh remember this that it is the way of God God some­times brings the deepest afflictions when he in­tends the greatest mercy. when he doth intend the greatest mercy to any of his peo­ple, sometimes to bring them into the depth of affliction, and therefore do not conclude that never any was so af­flicted as I have been, why Jacob might have said so, and yet at that time God had never greater thoughts of mer­cy than he had to him then, and therefore remember this again, when such kind of temptations work, never any [Page 232] was so afflicted as I have been, grant it, yet it may be there is mercy intended for you at this time, that never yet was granted to any of the children of men before, 'tis possible it may be so, it was so with Jacob, and therefore let not your faith flag.

He had power with God; in this great distress that he was in he doth not lie down as a man discouraged, but Text. Expos. 3. he [...]rs up what strength he had, and he falls a wrastling, a wrastling with this man, even with God thus appea­ring against him as an enemy: Oh! thus should the seed of Jacob do, you that are the seed of Jacob, for so speci­ally your praying Christians in time of distress are call'd by the seed of Jacob, [I said not to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain.] They are not call'd the seed of Abraham, but of Jacob, because Iacob was so eminent in praying in so great extremity, the seed of Iacob should do so, every lit­tle opposition that comes upon a sluggish heart, a heart that hath low and mean principles, sinks him presently, I say, take a man or woman that hath but low and mean principles, every little opposition presently damps his spirit and maketh him yeeld and bows him down, and they are ready to say al is gone if they are but opposed a little; Oh! art thou of the seed of Iacob? the seed of Iacob should never think their condition to be so sad, but there may be recovery; Is it a great affliction that is up­on me? am I in great distress? let me so much the more stir up my strength. As I remember it was said of Alexan­der, that when he was in a great danger, saith he, Now there's a danger fit for the mind of an Alexander. So, doth God bring into great straights? now there's a straight fit for a gracious heart, for one that is partaker of the Divine Nature to incounter with; stir up therefore what strength thou hast, do not say, I shall never be t­able to overcome this difficulty, do not say so, for you are not in greater straights than Iacob was at this time, and yet mark, Iacob had power, and stirs up his power. [Page 233] It may be you have that strength that will do more than you are aware of, the grace of God is mighty in the hearts of his Saints: Have you never been enabled to do more than ever you thought you should have been ena­bled to have done? he stirs up his strength, he doth not lie down sullen and discouraged; as it's usual for Chri­stians to do if God doth but afflict them, and specially if he draws but the light of his face a little from them, pre­sently they lie down discouraged, and will not be com­forted: Oh! thou doest not shew thy self to be of the seed of Iacob, thou hast not the spirit of thy Father Iacob in thee. ‘By his strength he prevailed with God.’

Strength: What strength, you will say? Text. Quest. Answ.

He had very great bodily strength, he wrastled partly with bodily strength, as in Gen. 29. 8. 10. you shall find that Jacob was a very strong man of his body, for the Stone of the Well that the Shepherds was fain to meet to­gether to roul away, Jacob took it and roul'd it away presently; but certainly he had strength beyond his or­dinary bodily strength at this time, God raised a bodi­ly strength beyond what ever he had, and it's like be­yond what ever man had before; God raised Sampsons bodily strength to be very great, and the power of God was seen in that, and may be seen much in the elevating of nature in a creature, whereas the Scripture saith, The body that is sown in weakness, shall rise in power. I remember 1 Cor. 15. 43 Luther saith, That mens bodies shall be raised to that Luther. strength that they shall be able to coss Mountains as a man tosseth a Ball. And Anselme hath such an expressi­on Anselm. tending that way, That the Saints shall be so strong in the world to come, that if they will they can shake the earth at their pleasure. Surely much bodily strength was here to wrastle with an Angel; you know the po­wer of an Angel, one, in one night could slay above four­score thousand men, and yet here Jacob himself wrastles [Page 234] with an Angel, that is the Son of God, the Second per­son in Trinity, that is the Messenger, the Angel of the new Covenant, but especially his spiritual strength was great, wrastling with his soul, the wrastling of Faith that was in his soul at that time, that was very great, he had power with his spirit when he did prevail.

Now from hence observe, That he did prevail with his strength. That when God strives against his servants he Obs. 1. gives them strength answerable to his striving. Here Jacob, was in great extremity, and God comes and wra­stles against him, but God gives him strength proporti­onable to his wrastling; Oh! take this for thy comfort and encouragement, Many times thou art ready to rea­son thus, Alas, I am not able to lie under a little afflicti­on, what shall I do if I meet with a greater affliction? cer­tainly then I should sink. Oh! be not discouraged with such unbeleeving thoughts, for though thou beest weak, and it is as much as ever thou canst do to stand un­der the burden that there is upon thee, now, it may be there may be greater burdens, but then there may be greater strength; there was answerable strength put in­to Jacob to wrastle with those difficulties he was call'd unto: He will not suffer us to be tempted beyond our strength. And then,

With HIS strength] What, Jacob's strength! Mark, Text. The strength that God puts into us, though it be Gods own, yet when we have it, and work by it, God accounts it as ours, 'tis call'd Jacobs strength, though the truth is, it was Gods strength, God himself wrastling with him gives him strength, and yet he will account it Jacob's own strength.

Further, That's another Note, It's a great honor to ma­nifest much strength in prayer in wrastling with God; this Obs. 2. was the honor of Jacob, O! with his strength he prevai­led with God, a great honor to put forth strength in wrastling with God even in prayer. We should not [Page 235] come with weak and empty prayers, but we should put forth strength; if a Christian hath any strength in the world for any thing, he should have it in prayer: Accor­ding to the strength of the fire the bullet ascends; so ac­cording to what strength we put forth in prayer it's that we prevail with; this strength of Jacob was a type of the spiritual strength that God gives his Saints when they have to deal with him: and we find in the new Testa­ment, there's mention of very great strength that the Saints have by the Grace of God; in Ephes. 3. 16. Accor­ding Eph. 3. 10. to the riches of his Glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. Mark what expressions are here, That they might be strengthened, be strengthened with might, and with might by the Spirit of God, and in the Explained. Inner man; and all this according to the riches of his Glo­ry: This is the strength that a Christian may attain to, I say, a Christian may here in this world attain to that strength, as it shall appear that there is Might added to Strength, and the Spirit of God to enable him to that Might, and that in the Inner man, and that according to the riches of Gods Glory; surely the strength is great that is by the Spirit of God, but such strength as shall manifest the Glory of the Spirit of God, yea, such strength as shall manifest the riches of the Glory of the Spirit of God, this is the strength that is attainable for Christians, even here in this world: This is that the A­postle praies for the Ephesians. Oh! let us be ashamed of our weaknesses seeing there is such strength to be had, Jesus Christ is the Lyon of the Tribe of Judah, he hath strength, And of his fulness we may come to receive Grace for Grace, Oh! let us not be satisfied with faint desires and wishes, when as Jesus Christ is tendered to us as the Fountain of strength.

Now I appeal to you Christians, Do you walk so as Use. that it doth appear that you have such strength as doth manifest such riches of the glory of God in you? And [Page 236] there's another Scripture, Col. 1. 1 [...]. Strengthened (saith the text there) with all might, Mark; Strengthened with Col. 1. 11. all might; with all might, according to his glorious power: Thus Christians should seek for to be strengthened with enlightned. all might, according to the glorious power of God: To what? Ʋnto all patience, and long suffering, with joyfulness.

Ʋnto all patience] It may be you have strength to bear some afflictions, you have some patience; But are you strengthened with all might? and are you strengthened according to the glorious power of God, unto all patience? And it may be for a time you seem to have some patience; But hath Patience had her perfect work in you? and is it to all long-suffering? Though the affliction doth continue a great while, Will you patiently hold out to long-suffe­ring, and that with joyfulness? This is the glory of a Chri­stian, to have strength with God, the glorious power of God strengthening of them to all might, to all patience, with long-suffering, and with joyfulness; And with his strength he had power with God, and he prevail'd; he was as a Prince with God, and so, that's the word accor­ding to the expression, in Gen. 32. 28. For as a Prince he hath power with God; whereas it is said in your books, Gen. 32. 28. Opened That with his strength he had power with God, the words may be as well translated, He was a Prince with God; and then [...] Princeps fuisti. it is repeated, yea, he had power over the Angel, he was a Prince against the Angel, and so prevailed.

Now the main thing in this expression, That he had po­wer with God as a Prince, and prevailed; The main thing that is held forth, is this,

That the way to prevail with men, it is, to prevail with God: Obs. 1. This was an evidence to Jacob, that certainly he should prevail against his brother Esau, Esau came against him to destroy him, and he was afraid, God gave him a cer­tain evidence that he should prevail, saith he, Thou hast prevail'd with me, and there's no fear of prevailing with all the men of the world, now thou hast prevailed with [Page 237] God. This indeed were a notable point, if one would speak of this at large, and a very useful point in these times, That the way to prevail with men, it is, to prevail with God: What's all the powers of men? they are all at the dispose of God; the work is done when thou hast but prevail'd with God; thou heatest of great dangers that there are abroad in the world, but do thou get a­lone in thy closet and fall a wrastling with God, and be wrastling till thou feelest thy faith wrastling with God, then thou mayest come down and conclude the work is done; no men shal ever prevail against you that have so much interest with God, these may live joyfully in the world, never need fear the power and the rage of wicked men, they have that within them that helps them to pre­vail with God, and certainly man cannot prevail against them. Our rough brethren have come out against us, as here Esau this rough brother of Jacob came out against him, and yet Jacob prevailing with God, prevail'd against him: And blessed be God, that when our rough bre­thren have come enraged against us, there hath been some amongst us have prevailed with God, and by prevailing with God, have prevailed over them, and against them: But though we are delivered from these rough brethren, yet we have rough ones in another kind still, that are a­gainst us; Oh, but let us carry our selves blamelesly, and inoffencively towards them, that yet behave themselves roughly and furiously against us, and so seek to prevail with them that way, in a constant carriage of innocence and blameless lives before them, to convince them if it be possible of all their mistakes: But above all, let us seek to prevail with God, and then God may turn their hearts, turn the hearts of our roughest and furiousest brethren, whose mouthes are so opened as they are, and whose pens do go so as they do, let's prevail with God, that so at length they may come and fall upon their necks as Esau did, and to give them the right hand of fellowship; [Page 238] it's not impossible that such things may be done, surely one would not have thought that they that were at such a distance as they were, that they should have come so together, surely we have never provoked our brethren so as Esau hath done Jacob: let's not be troubled more than God would have us, but seek God, and wrastle with God, it's in vain to stand wrastling with them, gi­ving ill word for ill word, and pen for pen, that's not the way, but wrastle with God, and walk convincingly before them, and so you may turn the hearts of our rough brethren, and that in a little time; surely it's not more impossible to soder the spirits of brethren that seem not to be at so great a distance and so imbittered one against another, it is not more impossible to soder them, than it was here with God to soder the spirits of Esau and Jacob, and to have such a comfortable meeting as there was at this time.

In this prevailing of Iacob against Esau we have a type of the Churches prevailing against all the ungodly; though the Enemies may be strong and furious, certain­ly the people of God shall prevail. As before in Iacobs taking Esau by the heel, there was a type that the people of God shall supplant all the wicked; so in Iacob's pre­vailing at this time, here's a type that certainly the Churches shall prevail let men do what they will, and be as bitter as they will, the Iacobs shall prevail at length.

Mark yet further, With his power he prevailed even over the Angel.] If you look into the Story you shall find that Expos. he did prevail, but it was after he had wrastled a great while; Constancie in wrastling with God will over­come at length, though we do not prevail at first, as Ia­cob did not, but was wrastling all night, and day broke, and then he prevailed: Oh! be not discouraged though you prevail not at first. Oh! I have been seeking God thus long, and have not prevailed, but go on still, you [Page 239] know not but that may be done in one hour that hath not been done a long time before.

Mark further, Iacob after he was lame prevailed; Ia­cob Expos. had been wrastling all night, and got nothing, then the hollow of his theigh was toucht and he was lame, now surely he will be overcome; shall he prevail now? he that could not prevail when he was so long and strong he is not like to prevail now, Oh! this is very use­ful and seasonable for us.

That the times for the Churches prevailing, it is the times when they are most weake, when they are most unlikely to Obs. prevail, when they are lame, why then is the time for them to prevail; We are ready to think, Oh! if we could not get it when we had so much strength, is it like to be done now we have so little strength? Now by this Iacob came to be more humbled when his theigh was toucht, so that he was lame: God uses to damp means, and to bring even the sentence of death before he doth intend to bring the greatest mercies.

Further, Iacob though he had a strong Adversary a­gainst him, and he wrastled long with him, and he was lame, yet continuing wrastling, he grew more resolute towards the latter end than he was before; for you ne­ver read of Iacob so peremptory before, I wil not let thee go, until thou bless me; and that's one thing that's very obser­vable for the sad condition Iacob was in, the hollow of his theigh was toucht, and that likewise should have been added, That the Angel would have been gone, God would have been gon and have left him in that affliction, but then Iacob's spirit grew up more with a greater reso­lution than he had before, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me: It seems now that Iacob had more sight of him that he was God than he had before. This should be our way in our dealings with God, that when God brings us in the lowest condition, and God seems as if he would leave us, we should stir up our spirits then, and [Page 240] be more resolute and strong than before, Oh! it's time now for the heart to bestir its self, when God is ready to go away, do not say, God will be gone, and therefore link down sullenly, but it's time for thee then to stir up all that thou hast, and to act faith more then, as if Jacob should say, I will try yet one fall more, I will not yield the cause yet, certainly I must not perish; as if Jacob should say, it's true, all things seem against me, as if I should be destroyed, but it must not be saith Jacob, Faith begins to stir, Hath not God bid me come here? have I not the Word of God for it? did not God say, he would do me good in this journy? and though it's true, the providence of God seems to work against me, but yet the Word of God works for me, and I will try whether shall prevail, Gods Word, or Gods Providence: thus Jacob wrastles, I will not let thee go, as if he should say, I have the Word for what I do, and God hath bound himself by Covenant, and so long, though Heaven and Earth meet together, although I see my brother coming against me, and God departing from me, and all threat­ning ruin, yet I will beleeve still that there is mercy for me; This was Jacobs last turn (as I may so say) as the trying as it were the last fall in this his wrastling, in op­posing the Word that he had, with the Work of God to­wards him: And this is a Note of very great use in al our conditions, let us not lay so much weight upon any Work of God as upon the Word of God, let us build upon the Word rather than fear the Works, for it hath been the usual way of God when he hath given out a Word, that his Works have seem'd to go quite cross, as not only in our father Jacob, but even in our father Abra­ham, What was the Word of God to Abraham? There was two promises by God made to Abraham, one was this, Two Promi­ses to Abrahā. 1. 2. That he would bring him into a Land that flowed with milk and hony. And a second, That he would make his seed as the Stars in the Firmament. Wel, here was Gods [Page 241] Word, But how was Gods Work? The very next thing that you hear of him, he was carried into Canaan, after he had left all his friends and was ready to starve present­ly, now the word is, Thou shalt be brought into a Land that flows with milk and bony; and assoon as ever he comes in­to that Land he was ready to starve. Here's a Land in­deed!

And then a second Promise of having his seed as the 2. Stars of Heaven; Abraham was twenty five yeers after this before he had any one child of the Promise, and he grew old, and also his wife: Well, he had at length one, and God commands him to kill that one, to sacrifice that one; But what a work is here? how quite contrary to the Word? Well he was saved; and Isaac is forty yeers be­fore he marries; here's sixty five yeers gone from the pro­mise, and there's but even one of his seed that must be as the Stars of Heaven, at length Isaac marries and he was twenty yeers without a child, here's eighty five yeers and but only one birth from him; yea, and after that the story will make it out, that Jacob was above fourscore yeers before he married and had any children, there's between eight and nine score yeers gone, and here's but only Isaac and Jacob. How doth the Work of God seem against his Word in appearance? It's the way of God, and therefore let us never trouble our selves about Gods Works; he came indeed afterwards with his Works and fulfilled his Word to the uttermost, but for the present it seem'd to be against it. Oh! lay up this as a lesson, you will have use of it many, and many a time. It follows. ‘With his strength he prevailed. Text

Prevailing at last will recompence all our strivings; Jacob Obs. was fully recompenced; here he speaks in a way of re­compence of Jacob after his striving, Oh! it was a hard [Page 242] wrastling, I, but he prevail'd at length. And so it will be with all the people of God, let them go on and wra­stle, and though things be hard for the present, when mercy comes it wil pay for all: Oh! thou wilt hereaf­ter see no cause of repenting that ever thou did est conti­nue in this wrastling with God, Oh! thou wilt see cause to bless God: blessed be God that kept up my heart all this while; Oh! God knows that many times it was rea­dy to sink, and if I had left off, what had become of me? I had lost the mercy that now I find; but I continued through Gods mercy, and now he is come, he is come at length; Prevailing recompences all our labor and trou­ble Prevailing re­compences al our labor in seeking. in seeking.

Well, he prevail'd, but what's this to this people of Israel? Thus; this was to shew, the base degenerate­ness of this people, as if he should say, Oh! of what a brave spirit was your Father Jacob, but you, you are a base people, you basely subject your selves to Heathens, to Idols; your father was of a brave spirit indeed, and would not have subjected himself to any creature in the world, yea, he would wrastle with God himself when he had his Word for it; Oh! but it is otherwise with Jacob's posterity, you can crouch to every base thing, you will crouch to the humors of men in the Worship of God, and do any thing to save your skin saith he, you are unworthy to be counted of the posterity of Jacob: that's the meaning of the Prophet here: Jacob's posteri­ty indeed they should be prevailers upon the world, above temptations, it's unseemly for one of the seed of Iacob to yeeld to the base lusts, and the humors of men; what, shall we yeeld to a base lust when Iacob would not yeeld to the Almighty, but prevail'd with him? are we of the seed of Iacob now? Oh! we are of low, mean spirits, led aside of every vanity, and overcome with every diffi­culty. But how did he prevail? in what way did he put forth this his strength? It follows;

VER. 4.

He wept, and he made supplication.

THis weeping of Jacob is not recorded in the History of Genesis, nor in all the Book of God, but only here; his supplication is recorded, but not his weeping: therefore his weeping was had either from hand to hand, by way of tradition, (it was known that when he wra­stled so with the Angel he prevailed) or otherwise by Re­velation, but certain it was that he wept when he did wrastle: There are many ridiculous conceits of the Jews, and some old Writers about this, they say it was A Jewish fiction. the Angel that fell a weeping, and prayed Jacob to let him alone, thus they carry it; But to take it generally as our Divines do, that Jacob wept, and made supplicati­on, and so prevailed with God, Iacob's heart was prest in the condition that he was in, and so prest, that it caused tears to bubble from him, and no mervail though tears came from him, his heart could not but be full, for when he came to think thus with himself, What, after I have served such a hard service under Laban my Uncle, and God bad me come away from him, which I took to be such a great mercy from God to deliver me, yet how soon was I presently in danger of my life, even my Uncle Laban pursuing of me, and God delivered me there; And must I now fall into the hand of my Brother? is the day come for him now to have his rage upon me? I see little other likelihood, his strength is great, and God himself appears against me, and I have been wrastling a great while, and I can get nothing from God, but that it's likely here I must die and perish, yea, and that God should leave me thus as he doth, that God should appear a greater enemy to me than my Brother Esau, and lame me: Oh! now might not this be a sign that God intends to destroy me, yea, God would be gone too when I am [Page 244] in such a strait as this is; Oh! this makes him weep. As a poor child when it is in straits and is crying to the mo­ther, the mother beats it and strikes it, yea, the mother Simile. will be gone and leave it in those straits; Can you blame the child though it cry? So it was here, Jacob was in straits, and was seeking God, and God beats him and makes him cry, and would be gon; Oh! this doth press tears out of the eyes of Jacob, Oh! what will become of me now? As if Jacob should have said, Were it that I should perish alone it were not so much, but my Wives perish, and how can mine eyes be able to see their destru­ction? yea, it may be they will be ravished before mine eyes by these rude Soldiers: These kind of workings in Jacob's spirit you cannot but conceive that it must draw tears; he wept before the Angel, considering this his sore distressed condition.

And on the other side, there were thoughts would make him weep too, The thoughts of his Misery, and the reasoning of his Faith, when he considered; I, but sure­ly I am in the way of God though I be in a great deal of danger, I have the Promise of God, I have his Covenant with me, I have to deal with the Holy, Blessed and Gra­cious God in all my waies, Who knows but that my ex­tremity may be Gods opportunity? The heart of my brother it is certainly in the hand of God, and all Crea­tures are in Gods hands too: Now the actings of Faith would make one to weep aswel as of Fear and Trouble, and it were well if we could weep on both sides: Some­times you roul in your thoughts all the aggravations of your afflictions, and they make you weep: Now can you roul in your thoughts the aggravations of Gods Good­ness and Mercy, and can that make you weep? The end why God brought Jacob into this condition, to fal a wee­ping before the Angel, it was, That he might humble him, and break his heart before he gives him deliverance; for it was one of the greatest honors (as we intimated be­fore) [Page 245] that God did for Jacob, that ever he did to man, therfore God would bring him very low before he would raise him so high, and make him fall a weeping aswel as praying before he should have the Mercy; Oh! this is Gods way, He will bring men very low, to humble them before they shall have mercy, therefore when mens hearts are high and lofty, stout and hard, they are not in a way of Mercy from God; but when mens hearts be­gin to break, thaw and melt, and are tender, then they are in a way of mercy, as here; So we find it often in Scripture that God intending mercy, first breaks the heart and melts it by mourning and sorrowing; as Josiah, you know that was his condition, his heart melted when he heard the Law, and God sends presently a Promise of Mer­cy to him: and in Ieremiah, there the Lord promises his People, That he will bring them with weeping, and with sup­plications, that shall be the way.

One Note or two more: It becomes the most generous and magnanimous spirit, to have his heart breaking, and to express Note. his heart breaking with tears before God; It is an excellent thing to see a man of a brave spirit, strong and ful of cou­rage in any service of God, and yet when he comes to have to deal with God, to have a melting, tender and soft spi­rit in his dealings with God. If you should see now a great Captain or General that were brave and magnani­mous when he was abroad in the field about any difficult work, but when he comes before God in Prayer, there he can weep like a child, there he can mourn and lament, and his heart break assoon as a child; this is an excel­lent spirit now, spirits that can turn according to what God cals them to, this way or that way, can be stout and hardy in a work that requires stoutness, and can be soft tender and yeelding in such a work that requires such things: Thus was our father Jacob: Oh! to have tender hearted Captains and Generals, to have couragious spi­rits, yet broken hearted spirits, to mix the work of Grace [Page 247] thus it is most excellent, and it becomes the most bravest spirit in the world, not only to fall down to prayer, but to weep before the Lord; some men think it's too low a thing to fall a weeping in prayer, as if it were a woma­nish and a childish thing; Oh! it's an argument that thy heart is carnal and base to think, that it's for want of understanding, I say, this is evil, and it comes from much corruption in the heart for to think it either be­neath a brave spirit, or beneath a prudent spirit; I'le give you one example that weeping is not beneath a Weeping su­table to an high spirit. brave spirit, this is enough, and also that of David, no man did shed more tears in the presence of God than Da­vid that brave Captain; but to put both together, I'le set before you the example of Jesus Christ, in Heb. 5. 7. the text saith, That in the daies of his flesh he offered up pra­yers and supplications, (how?) with strong cries and tears: even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God blessed for ever, he that was equal with the Father, the Lyon of the Tribe of Judah, he that had all strength and power, and had all the treasures of wisdom hid in him, and the fulness of the God head dwelt bodily in him, and yet when he had to deal with the Father, he offers up prayers, with strong cries and tears. Doth it become the Captain of our sal­vation in his seeking of God to weep? know then, it is not unbecoming any man or woman: Are you of the seed of Jacob? then when you would prevail with God labor to work your hearts even so as you may express your affections, outwardly labor to do it in prayer, it will help to break thy heart: As a broken heart will cause outward expressions, so outward expressions will be a further cause to break the heart. And work thy heart by all arguments thou canst to come to that tender­ness and softness, that thou mayest be like the Captain of thy Salvation, when thou art crying to God to cry e­ven with tears before him, and when thy heart is so bro­ken with tears, then exercise thy faith upon the prayer [Page 246] of Jesus Christ. Now it is through the Spirit of Jesus Christ that my heart doth thus break, but I do not rest upon these, God forbid that I should rest upon my en­largements, upon my breakings; No, but I will rest upon the breakings of Jesus Christ, who in the daies of his flesh did send up mighty cries with tears to God, and was heard, he prevail'd. ‘—He made supplication. Text.

Supplieation (or prayer) it is the great prevailing Ordinance Obs. with God; that's the Note. It hath been the great En­gin that hath carried things on in the world, Prayer, in Revel. 8. 4. The prayers of the Saints were offered up, and Rev. 8. 4. Opened. voices of Thunder, and Lightening, and Earthquakes followed when they were offered. Prayers of the Saints can move Heaven and Earth, they can prevail with the God of Heaven and Earth. The Praying Legion, was called the Thundering Legion. And Luther saith of prayers, they are our Guns, our Cannons, our Prayers can prevail Bombardo nostrae. more than Cannons; The Saints have alwaies put their great strength upon Prayer. It's a very observable Scrip­ture. Psal. 109. 4. For my love, they are my adversaries (but what then?) But I pray; it is in your books, But I give my self to prayer, but the words, Give my self, you may ob­serve printed in another distinct Character, which is to note that those words are not in the Original, but ad­ded by the Translators, and in that they dealt For the sens is more full and cleer by that addition. faith­fully; but if you reade it as it is in the Hebrew it is, For my love, they are my adversaries; but I pray: as if he should say, that's my refuge, I account prayer to be the great help that I have, when they are my adversaries and rail upon me, I will not rail upon them again; when they oppose me, I will not oppose them again; but I pray, I'le pray to my God, and I make account I have help enough there to resist my enemies that I have. Jacob prevailed [Page 248] over the Angel by suppication. It's a good sign of a gracious heart to lay the weight of business upon pra [...] But I will not enter into this common place of the excel­lency or power of Prayer and Supplication, but only this, It's not every prayer that will prevail so with God.

What prayer will then?

Such a prayer as Jacob's was, in Gen. 32. 9. there [...] Quest. Answ. shall find how your Father Jacob prayed, and there [...] excellent Ingredients; saith the text, And Jacob said, O God of my Father Abraham, and God of my Father Isaac, &c.

That's the First Ingredient to Prayer, Faith in the Cove­nant of God, upon that the strength of any prayr most de­pends; 1 Faith. Indeed to have strong Expressions, and Affecti­ons in prayer are good; but Strength of Faith in the Co­venant of God is the greatest strength of prayer, and it was with this strength that Jacob did prevail: Oh! God of my Father Abraham, and God of my Father Isaac, as if he should say, Oh! thou God that hast entred into Co­venant with my Father Abraham, and Isaac, O God, re­member thy COVENANT, O God, I rest upon [...] COVENANT, the COVENANT of Grace that [...] hast made with them, for so certainly that with [...] hans and Isaac was the same, for it's said, That Circum [...] Rom. 4. sion was the sign and seal of the righteousness that he had [...] Faith. And in Thee shall all the Nations of the Earth be bl [...] There was the Covenant of Grace. Now O Lord [...] it is the Covenant of Grace that I rest upon in the [...] straits. When you are in any strait, and go to Go [...] prayer, if you can have recourse to the Covenant [...] Grace, and act your saith upon Gods Covenant with you, Oh! that will be a strong prayer. When there are but words in prayer they vanish as the wind, but when there is much saith in prayer, that makes it to prevail; the prayer of faith, that's prevalent, saith the Apostle James, Jam. 5. [Page 259] that's the first ingredient in his prayer, he made supplica­tion and exercises faith in the Covenant.

And then the second was, His appeal to God that he was 2. In Gods way [...] the way that he had set him; He could appeal thus to God; which saidst unto me, Return unto thy Country, and to thy Kindred. Why Lord, am I out of my way? am I not in the way that thou hast set me? I met with difficul­ [...] in my way, but Lord, thou saidest to me, Return [...]to thy Country, thou bidest me return; so that's an excellent ingredient in prayer, and ads much strength, when the soul in prayer can come to God and say, O Lord, there is this and this difficulty befallen me, but Lord, I am in the way that thou hast set me, I am doing thy work, I am not out of my way. For any man or woman to be out of their way that God hath set them in will mightily damp their hearts in prayer. And it's a mighty encouragement to prayer, and carries it on with mighty strength when the soul can appeal to God, Lord, whatsoever straits I meet withal, yet I am in thy way.

Then the Third thing in prayer, It is the pleading of 3. Particular Promise. [...]particular Promise, And I will deal well with thee.] God [...]de a Promise to Jacob in particular that he would deal [...] with him in his journy that he went. And the [...] faith we have to take hold upon particular promi­ses that concerns the particular business we pray about, [...] we pray about any business, (though it's true, the [...] strength is in the great Promise, the Covenant of [...]) But then it ads much strength likewise to have [...]f particular Promises that concerns the very busi­ness we are about, and it's a very good thing when we go about a business that hath difficulty in it to search the Word, and to see what Promises there are that doth more particularly concern the business we go a­bout. 4. Sence of un­worthiness.

The Fourth Ingredient it was, his Acknowledgment, [Page 260] and Sence of his own unworthiness, and vileness, in ver. 10. I am not worthy of the least of thy mercies and of all the truth which thou hast shewn unto thy Servant. When the soul comes with humility before God in Prayer, and is truly sensible of its unworthiness of any mercy, Lord, I am not worthy of the least crum of bread, but rather worthy to be cast out from thy presence for ever, it's an easie matter for men and women to have such words in their mouths, but to have this indeed in their hearts in prayer, ads very much strength to prayer.

The Fifth Ingredient in his prayer it was, The acknow­ledgment 5. Acknowledg­ment of mer­cies, and truth of promises. of the mercy that he had received, and of the truth of God in fulfilling Promises; and both ads much strength to prayer, to take notice of what God hath done for us, to take notice how God hath fulfil'd his Word in great mea­sure for us: when we are praying, we many times are sensible only of what we would have, but not of what we receive; and the vehemencie of our desires after what we would have, doth take away our apprehensions, and hinders our acknowledgment of the mercies we have had already; but when thou comest to prayer, whatsoever thy condition be, though in never such great straits, yet acknowledg what thou hast already, be willing to praise God in the lowest condition that thou art in.

And then he doth proceed further, and looks back to 6. Remēbrance of former meanness. his former meanness that once he was in; For with my staff passed I over this Jordan, and now I am become two band [...] that's a further expression of his humility, and God. [...] ther mercy.

And then the next thing is the great sence of what he 7. Deep sence of what is pray­ed for. praies for, Deliver me I pray thee from the hand of my Bro­ther, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. Lord, I do not speak words that have expressions in them without sence of my heart, for Lord, as I am crying to thee for help against my Brother, I do apprehend my great ex­tremity, [Page 261] Lord, I fear him lest he come and smite me, with the mother and the children.

When we come to prayer, we must not have words, Use. that are puft-up words, and have little in them, but there must be as much sence of the thing that we pray for, as the words that we speak do seem to import & carry with them; many times we have great words, and little sence, and that makes our prayers to be so empty.

And then the next thing in his prayer it was, The strong 8. Strong Argu­ments. arguments that he did use with God; though it's true, That what we can say to God cannot move God, yet it may move our own hearts, and God would have us to use strong arguments in prayer; And thou saidest (in ver. 12.) I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand on the Sea which cannot be numbred for multitude. As if he should say, Lord, how will thy promise be fulfill'd? didest thou not say that my seed should be as the sand of the Sea? now if the mother and children be cut off, what will become of thy Promise?

God is so indulgent as to suffer us to plead our cause with him. And these pleading prayers are strong pra­yers, Use. he wept and made supplication, so he prevail'd with God. Now labor you, (if you be of the seed of Jacob) to pray as your Father Jacob did. But so much shall suffice for that Second History, about Jacob's prevailing with the Angel.

Now the Third History follows: ‘He found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us. Text.

The words in the Hebrew are, He [will] find us in Be­thel, [...] and there he spake with us. As if it were an encoura­ging word of the Angel to Jacob, that God would find him in Bethel; and indeed the Gramatical sense of the words would carry such a sense, but rather, because the Learned know that the word is often used for the Preter [Page 262] tense in the Hebrew, and it's more according to the scope of the place, to reade them as you have them in your books, He found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us. That is, He found Jacob in Bethel, and spake to Jacob, and in speaking to Jacob, he spake unto us all.

Now for the opening of this History, and the shewing Expos. how it sutes with the scope of the Prophet in this place. We reade in Scripture of two Meetings that God and Ja­cob had together at Bethel, and this Text in Hosea doth refer to them both, God finds him in Bethel two times and spake with Jacob, and spake to us both those times.

The First time for fear of danger he fled from his bro­ther, 1. when his brother had mischievous thoughts a­gainst him, after he got the blessing from him.

And the Second time (again) after his wrastling with 2. the Angel God meets him in Bethel.

The First of these you have in Gen 28. 10. and the Se­cond in Gen. 35. 1. and so on. And it's necessary to refer to those two Scriptures for the interpretation of this Scri­pture, you will not know what it means else.

1. He finds him in Bethel, Gen. 28. 10. yea indeed, for Jacob he lay asleep, with a stone under his head, he saw a vision of Angels ascending, and descending from Heaven and God speak excellent things unto him. But the Note is,

That God finds his People many times when they little think Obs. of him: He comes unto his People in waies of mercy when they scarce dream of it: Jacob was but in a dream at this time, and yet God came in very wonderful waies of mer­cy towards him.

Oh! how often hath God found us in this way? how Use. often may many of you say, that the Lord hath come un­expectedly to you in waies of mercy? that you never made account of such mercies as you have met withal. Oh! when unexpected mercies come, we should consider that God found us, whereas our sins might have found [Page 263] us; but the mercies of God have found us out.

And the other time that God found Jacob, it was when 2 he was in great distress, after his daughter Dinah had been defloured, and his sons Simeon and Levi had com­mitted that great outrage against the Shechemites, so great an outrage as to kill the City, and upon that Jacob and all his family was in great danger of being destroyed, for the act was so foul, that it could not but make all the people (as Jacob thought) to abhor him, and would be a cause that they should all rise against him, and utterly to cut him off, therfore in Gen. 34 30. Jacob tels his sons, that they had made him to stink among the inhabitants of the Land, so that he was afraid they would gather toge­ther and destroy him and his house; no question the di­stress that Jacob was in, was very great, that his daugh­ter should be defloured by the uncircumcised ones, and that his two sons should commit such an outrage, and should endanger him to be destroyed utterly by them; For, who would have thought but that all the Inhabi­tants of the Land should have risen against him, and have cut him off? Now the next thing that we hear of, God meets with him at Bethel, and speaks very gracious things to him there, and he did not only speak to him, but there he spake with us.

That is, God meeting with Jacob in Bethel, that which he spake to him there concern'd us aswel as it concern'd Jacob. An expression to the same purpose we have in Psal. 66. 6. He turned the Sea into dry land: they went through the Floud on foot: there We did rejoyce in him: For indeed the mercy of God towards the Isralites at that time that did rejoyce them, was a matter of Rejoycing for us. Whatsoever is written, is written for our learning, 'tis as if God spake to us: That which God spake to Abraham, [I am God Alsufficient; walk before me, and be upright] he spake that to us, he spake that to thee and me. That that God spake to Joshua, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee; Josh. 1. 5. with Heb. 13. 5. [Page 264] that the Apostle to the Hebrews applies to the Christians at that time: that he spake to us, he spake it to thee and me; if we be BELEEVERS, that that God spake to the distressed and afflicted ones in Psal. 102. He will re­gard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer, that he spake to us, for in ver. 18. This shall be written for the Generations to come. And that which God spake to Jacob at these two several times in Bethel, it's written for the Generations to come, it's written for us, Well then, what was it? What was the special thing that God spake to Jacob when he found him at Bethel? and what was that What God spake to Iacob and to us at Bethel. to us? I'le shew you many things, There are nine or ten notable things to be observed by us, which God spake unto us:

The first thing that he spake to Jacob that concerns us as well as himself was this, That the foundation of the com­fort Obs. 1. of the Saints it is in the Covenant of God. That he spake to us there, Gen. 28. 13. when he appeared to Jacob, what said he to him? I am the God of Abraham, thy Fa­ther, and the God of Isaac; Jacob was flying for his life then, and this was to comfort him in his danger, I am the God of Abraham, thy Father, the God of Isaac; then he spake this to us, that the foundation of the comforts of the Saints in the times of their distresses, it is the Cove­nant of Grace that God hath made with them, and their fathers before them.

The second thing was this, That the seed of Jacob are Obs. 2. the inheritors of the Land of Canaan; for so he told him, The Land wherein thou liest, I'le give to thee, and to thy seed. Now this concerns us, that the seed of Jacob shall inherit the Land of Canaan, That was typified by it. There are some that have a thought that yet there shall be an in­heritance of the Land of Canaan by the faithful seed of Jacob, but however, this certainly he spake to us, that all the seed of Jacob are the Inheritors of the Land of Ca­naan one way or other, take it in the Litteral, or in the Typical Sense.

[Page 265] The Third thing was, God would have faith raised to be­leeve Obs. 3. in mercies promised, even when there is a great deal of un­likelihood of the fulfilling of it; that's the Third thing he he spake of to us there; he tells Jacob there at that time when he was a poor, lone man, with his staff, and no provision but a stone for his pillow, then he tells him of making good his promise, it was as unlikely a time as could be, a poor, lone man that Jacob was, went over with his staff at that time, and that he should have such a Promise fulfill'd, and his seed to be so great, and to in­herit the hand of Canaan, how unlikely was this? But God would have him to exercise his faith upon the Pro­mise at this time when there was such a great unlikeli­hood of it.

The Fourth thing is this, That the multiplying of the Obs. 4. Church is a great blessing, for saith he, thy seed shall be thus and thus, as the sand of the Sea shore, I'le encrease my Church abundantly from thy loyns.

Fifthly, Promises defer'd, though they are to be loo­ked Obs. 5. upon as certain as ever they were, Yet the Saints of God have need of renewing of Promises, even those that have most faith. God renews the same Promise to him that was made; before God had promised to Abraham to make his seed great, but the truth is, that the Promise though it be as certain as before, yet it had been a long time and there was little come of it.

And then the Sixth thing was this, That the blessing Obs. 6. which comes to the world, it is by the Promised seed. He tels him that in his seed all the Nations of the Earth should be blessed; the great blessing of the world is, by the Promi­sed seed, by Jesus Christ.

And then the Seventh thing was, That we Gentils were Obs. 7. in Gods heart, to do good unto us for thousands of years since; Though at that time we were as Dogs, yet it was in Gods heart to bless us. Oh! this is a comfortable speech to us, it concerns us Gentils in a more special manner, than it [Page 266] did them that Hosea did prophesie to at this time.

And then the Flighth thing is, That the Presence of God and his Protection, is the only Encouragement of the Saints in their waies. For in Vers. 15. saith God, Behold, I am with thee, and I will keep thee in all places whither thou goest; this he spake to us; this the Saints should make high account of.

And then the Ninth thing is, That though Promises be not yet fulfilled, yet God is still working towards their fulfilling; Obs. 9 for so he tels him, I will not leave thee until I have don all that I have promised to thee, though you cannot see how my Administrations towards you do any way work for the fulfilling of my Promise, yet know I will not leave you until I have fulfilled my Promises.

And then the last thing is this which God spake to us there, he tels us of the constancy of his Mercy and faithfulness, Obs. 10. that however things may go with us here for a while, yet the mery of God continues, the line of Gods mercy is not cut asunder, but his faithfulness is carried along till all the good that he hath promised, or that Faith can beleeve shal be granted to us, for so he tels Iacob there, I will not leave thee till I have done that which I have spoke to thee of. All this he spake with us. That's the first time of Gods meeting with Iacob in Bethel.

Now the Second time that he met with Iacob in Bethel, it is in Gen. 35. 10. and there see what God spake with The Second story implied in the Text. us, there God changes his Name to Israel, there God con­firms his Promise and Covenant to him again as before, God there remembers his prevailing with him, and his wrastling with him, and in that God tells us he remem­bers our servent prayers, after they are gone, yet his heart is upon them, there he confirm'd his name, Israel; and confirm'd his Promise; That's that he spake with us there too.

That the Saints have need of the confirmation of mercies, e­specially Obs. 1. the Covenant.

[Page 267] But then further, Gods presenteng himself to the soul as Obs. 2. God Almighty, that's a great help to faith. I am God Al­mighty, saith he there, thou hast had experience of my Almighty power in turning the heart of thy Brother, and now thou art in a great danger. Because thou art few in number, thou art afraid of the people of the Land, but I am God Almighty; There's little power in Thee, but there's great power in Me. The Consideration of Gods Almighty power, is that that should help the Saints in the midest of all their straights and afflicti­ons.

We find in Scripture that God very seldom when he speaks of his Almighty Power, speaks of his willingness to do them good, for that God would have his people take for granted, that's implyed in his Covenant that he made with them at first.

And then lastly, When Iacob was afraid of being cut off because he was few in number, now God presents himself as God Almighty, and he blesses him now with fruitfulness, and tells him he will multiply him to a com­pany of Nations, and Kings shall come out of his loyns; In this we have an excellent lesson that God speaks to us.

That God delights to receive his people in their fears with su­table, Obs. 3. and seasonable mercies. Iacob was never in greater fears than at those two times, yet now the Lord comes at this time of his great straits, and tells him now of mul­tiplying of him to many Nations, and that Kings should come out of his loyns; at that time when he was afraid that the Nations should come and destroy all that belon­ged to him, at that time God tells him that Kings should come out of his loyns: Oh! the Lord delights to revive his people in their fears, and doth come with sutable mercies to them.

Oh it should teach us to be tender-hearted towards the Use. Saints that are in sears and troubles, and to labor to [Page 268] comfort our Brethren with seasonable and sutable mer­cies, And especially after great conflicts, that's observable; for Jacob had been wrastling with God not long before, and after these great conflicts God comes with the manife­station of great mercies, this God spake to us there, That we should not be discouraged, though God bring us into great conflicts; because after those times are the seasons for God to speak the most comfortable, and the most encoura­ging things unto us. There God spake to us. So you see the Third Story thus opened unto you, and the useful­ness of it, I know scarce a Scripture fuller than these two verses.

And the Reason why the Prophat brings this Third Story to upbraid this people is this; as if he should say thus;

First, Your Father Jacob, he worshiped the true God in Bethel; you worship the Calf in Bethel, (For you know The scope of the Text. that in Dan and Bethel the Calves were set up) as if the Prophet should say, Are you the Children of Jacob? did Jacob worship an Idol in Bethel? No, God found him in Bethel, and God spake with him there; but you Worship a Calf in Bethol.

Secondly, God made gracious promises to your father Jacob in Bethel, you flight them, you regard them not, you go to shifting courses for your selves and dare not rely upon Promises as your Father Jacob did.

Thirdly, You pollute the place that God had made his House, that place where there were such gracious manifestations of God, you pollute it. It's an aggrava­tion of sin to sin in those places where God hath shewed much mercy.

And then lastly, You are gone from the Covenant that your Father Jacob made with God at Bethel, your Father Jacob (as God renewed his Covenant) enters in­to Covenant himself with God at Bethel, and saith, that the Lord should be his God; But have not you forsaken [Page 269] that Covenant? you do not stand to the Covenant that your Father Iacob did make at Bethel. It follows.

VER. 5.

Even the Lord God of Hosts, the Lord is his Memo­rial.

HE that appeared to your Father Iacob was no other Expos. than the Lord of Hosts, Jehovah, and Jehovah is his memorial.

Your Father Jacob conversed with God, he had great power with the great God, the Lord of Hosts, Jehovah. You forsake this God, you see no such excellency in him, you rather turn to Idols. ‘The Lord of Hosts.’

But how doth the Prophet make use of this Title of Quest. God, The Lord of Hosts?

It is in reference unto those Hosts of God that appea­red Answ. to Iacob a little before he met with his Brother Esau, the Prophet is speaking of the story of Jacob's meeting with Esau, and how he then wrastled with God, upon which his name was changed, in Gen. 32. 1, 2. the text saith, The Angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is Gods Host: This hath reference to that place. The Hosts of God appeared to Iacob just up­on this time of his wrastling, and the text saith there, He called the name of the place Mahanaim, that is, two Hosts, or two Camps. Saith Hosea, The Lord of Hosts is his name, as if he should say, It is the same Lord that was the Lord of Hosts that appeared to Iacob your Father a little before his wrastling, it's the same God, he remains the same God still, and your sin is against that God, and return unto that God that is this Lord of Hosts.

Now for this Title, The Lord of Host.

[Page 270] That which you see this morning, may put you in mind a little of it, yet I shall not speak much of it now, Because you that have been Auditors here, and others too, may know, that even in this place I have preached upon that Title, The Lord of Hosts, That glorious Name Lord of Hosts. [The glorious Name of the Lord of Hosts: the Title of a Book of the Authors, be­ing one of the first in defence of the Wars on the Parlia­ments side] of God, the Lord of Hosts, and likewise published it, I opened that Title some yeers since, because God did ap­pear to England in that Title, the Lord of Hosts more fully than in former times. Therefore to the end that we in this Land might learn now to sanctifie that Name of God, The Lord of Hosts, I endeavored to open it as I was able unto you, to shew what glory of God was in that Name, that we might sanctifie it; and since that time the Lord hath given us more occasion to sanctifie that Name of his than formerly, indeed this Title, Lord of Hosts, as well as Iehovah is the Memorial of God, and should be to the posterity that remains, we should tell the posterity after how the Lord hath manifested himself the Lord of Hosts among us; if ever God appeared in the Glory of this Title in any Country and Nation, then he hath done it here: It is from the Lord of Hosts that our Armies have prevailed so as they have done; one that hath but half an eye (as we use to say) can see it. Had God wrought our Victory by a company of Old, Brave, Gallant Soldiers, and by Mighty Armies, then the Glory of God as the Lord of Hosts had been ecclipsed in some measure, but when as such great things have been done, as scarce any story can tell us, since Ioshua's time, the great things that have been done as have been here in this Kingdom within this twelve months, I say the most re­markable story it will be, of what hath been done, as e­ver we reade of in any stories. How wil the Lord of Hosts be in his memorial if these Stories be set out to the life, An impartial story of the late Warrs would tend much to Gods glory. lustre, and verity of them! the children that are not yet born will learn to magnifie God by this Name of his, Lord of Hosts, that such things should be done by an Ar­my [Page 271] so contemptible in the eye of flesh and blood as this The New-Model at first our Army was, it is no other than the Lord of Hosts that hath appeared for us.

And in that God hath manifested himself by his own people so much; I will give you one Scripture which I do not remember I made use of then, to shew you what the Hosts of God are besides the Angels, there's the An­gels, and Sun, and Moon, and Stars, and the wholeworks of Creation, there are two special Armies that God hath Gods Armies 1. besides the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and the works of Cre­ation in general. There are two Armies, The Saints, 2. 3 and the Angels, these I may call Mahanaim, the two Hosts of God, the Angels, and the Saints. For that of the Angels I shall not need to give you Scripture. But for the People of God, that they are call'd the Hosts in way of distinction from all other of the Hosts of God: Gods Gods People are his Hosts in a special own people (I say) God glories in as his Hosts in way of distinction from all other people, this you have in Exod. 12. 41. where the people of Israel going forth from E­gypt, the text saith, And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty yeers, even the self same day it came to pass, that all the Hosts of the Lord went out from the Land of Egypt. What were they but Gods people? the Church is call'd here the Hosts of God. And so in Cant. 6. 4. the Church of God is said to be terrible as an Army with Banners. And Song. 6. 4. through Gods mercy the Lord hath manifested what great things he can do by such an Host, by an Army that Exemplified in England. hath had so many of his chosen ones among them, they have been the Hosts that God, the Lord of Hosts hath ta­ken so much delight to be the Captain of, and to go forth withal. But thus much for that Name, the Lord of Hosts, what use the Prophet makes of that Name we shall speak to presently, how it is a Doctrinal point that he builds his Exhortation upon, Therefore return unto the Lord.

The next name is, JEHOVAH: The Lord Jehovah Jehovah. is his Memorial.

[Page 272] This name Jehovah is a name that God glories much in, for indeed it is the name of Gods Being, it signifies the Being of God more fully than any name God hath; this, and that name of God, I am that I am, which comes from the same root, and is in effect the same with this name Jehovah; I say, God glories in this above all his Names: and therefore in Deut. 28. 18. That thou maiest fear this glorious and fearful Name Jehovah, the Lord; in your books it is, The Lord thy God, but in the Original, That thou mightest fear this glorious and fearful name, Jehovah, thy God; God looks upon this name, as his Glo­rious Name, and his Fearful Name, and would have peo­ple to take heed that they look to this, that they fear this glorious and fearful Name, JEHOVAH, thy God: This Name the Jews keep a mighty stir about, and think they find great Mysteries in it, they have such superstition, and do so reverence this Name, that they will not so much as pronounce it, they call it the Ineffable Name; and if it be written upon a Paper, they think it is a very wicked thing to tread upon that Paper. But it's very observa­ble here how cross the superstition of men is to God, they in way of reverence to God will not so much as mention this Name, because they say 'tis a name that God so much glories in: And yet mark here, my Text saith, this name is Gods memorial, God would have this Name mentio­ned above any of his Names, 'tis the Name by which he would be remembred to all generations. So in Exod. 3. 15. there you shall find, that God speaking of this Name of his, [Iehovah] it is that that he would be known by to all generations. Surely there is much then in this Name.

First, This Name [JEHOVAH] it sets forth the Glory of God more than any name in this, because it is Iehovah what it signifies. a Name that above all Names shews, that God hath a be­ing from himself, in wch much of the glory of God is, this is proper to God: And indeed from this one Principle, [Page 273] that God is from himself; we come to understand almost all things that can be known of God by any light of Na­ture, by any Natural Understanding, besides what you have by Divine Revelation, As the knowledge of God in Christ, that's above it; But the knowledg of God as A­dam knew him, and as the Creature can know him by any Iehovah, Gods being of him­self. what it infers. 1 Natural light, there's most of all known from this Prin­ciple, That God hath his being from himself.

First, From Himself follows, That he is the First Being of all things.

Secondly, From hence follows, That he is the Su­pream 2. Being, he is above all.

Thirdly, From hence follows, That he is an Eternal 3. Being, he can have no begining, because it is from Him­self.

Fourthly, From hence follows, That he is an Infinit 4 Being, that there's no bounds at all of his Being; for what ever is bounded is bounded by some thing that is without it; but God being from Himself, and having no cause, can have nothing to limit and bound his Being.

Fifthly, From hence follows, That there is All Being 5 in God, whatever hath any being, it must be either that that is the First, or from the First, He is an absolute Being of Himself, having it from Himself, and therefore Al Being is eminently contain'd in God Himself.

Sixthly, From hence follows, That whatsoever is in 6. God, is God Himself, from this Name Iehovah, He is an Absolute Being, nothing but Himself: This is the diffe­rence between God and any Creature: Whatsoever is in the Creature, is not the being of the Creature. A man hath Wisdom, now the Wisdom of a man is one, and the Esteem of the man is another thing; but it is not so with God, whatsoever you can say of God, is God, the Wis­dom of God, is God; the Mercy of God, is God; the Ju­stice of God, is God Himself: and so all the Attributes: [Page 274] we conceive of the Attributes as if they were distinct from the Being; when we say, God is wise, as if God were one thing, and Wisdom were another; but certainly if we would apprehend God as in Himself, we cannot appre­hend him so; As if his Wisdom were one thing, and God another; or his Mercy one thing, and God another; so that the truth is, nothing can properly be predicated of God, because when a thing is predicated there's a diffe­rence between the Subject and the Predicate, but there's Nothing can be properly predicated of God. no such distinction in God; but whatsoever can be said of God, is God Himself, and there's as much of the glory of God appears in this one thing, in this (I say) that all that is in God is God Himself. The understanding God thus doth help us to see God in his glory as much as any way How to con­ceive aright of God. whatsoever, and few people apprehend this, but look up­on God as a Creature, and so they think God is some ex­cellent thing that hath so many Excellencies in him; but to understand, that all that is said of God, is God Him­self, and therefore it is all but one being in God; it doth appear divers to us, Wisdom, Mercy, Justice, Power, Life, Holiness, and Faithfulness appears many things to us, but in God all is but one Excellency; As now, The beams of the Sun appear divers to us, they shine through a blue glass, and there's a blue reflection, and a Simile. green glass and then 'tis green, and a red glass and then 'tis red, but all one beam: So the Infinit, First, Abso­lute Being of al things appearing in the several workings of His, in the several Administrations of His, this way or that way, seem to be several, but it's all but one being that is in himself: and this is signified by the Name Je­hovah.

And further; By the Name Jehovah, is signified to us, That all the being of the Creature depends upon God, 7 is from God originally, and so depends upon God every The name Ie­hovah, what it shold remind us of. moment, every time you hear the Name Jehovah you should be put in mind of this, That as all creatures had [Page 285] what they had from God at first, so they do absolutely depend upon God every moment for their being, and for all the good they have.

And then lastly, In this Name is signified thus much, 8 That the Lord will give a being unto all his Promises, and to all his Threatnings; And therefore when he did appear to Moses, to tell him that he would fulfil the Pro­mise made to his people, to bring them out of Egypt, then he doth tell him that indeed, though he did appear to Abraham by the name Elshaddai, God-Alsufficient, yet he did not appear to him by the name Jehovah, which is as much as if he should say, yea indeed, when I spake to Abraham, I made a Promise to him, that I would give him such a Land, and thus and thus, but I did not give a being to the Promises; but now I come to make way to the fulfilling of this Promise, now I appear to be Je­hovah, thus Jehovah is Gods memorial, that is, every time you reade of the name Jehovah, (it might very well be wish'd that the very word Jehovah had been kept in Iebovah to be kept in the translation. your English Translation, but almost alwaies when you reade the word Lord Alwaies when it is in capital letters as LORD, not when it is in other let­ters, as Lord it is Jehovah) every time therefore you reade the name Jehovah, or hear that name, then you should meditate this, and contemplate of God, it will help your meditation of God very much, God Jehovah, the Lord he is a Being from himself, the First-being that is the Supream of all, an Infinite being, that hath no bounds at all, it is he that is such a God as is of himself, whatsoever is in him it is his own Essence, it is his Being, an Eternal Being, and from whom all creatures have Be­ing, and do depend, and it's he that will give a Being to all his Promises, so all his Threatnings, all this is con­tained in the Name Iehovah which is the memorial of God. And thus for the opening of these Two Names.

Now then for the Observations from them. The first is this,

Though God be never so strong and terrible in himself, never Obs. 1. [Page 286] so great and glorious, yet faith hath strength to wrastle with this God, it's brought in to this end, Iacob he prevailed with God. God, what God? The Lord of Hosts, Ieho­vah, even this God that is the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of all Armies, that hath al power, that is so terrible in all the Armies in Heaven and Earth, and is this Iehovah, this Infinite, Glorious, Supream, Eternal First-being of all things? and yet Iacob wrastles with this Lord of Hosts, God Iehovah, and prevails with him.

So that hence Christians should learn, to raise up Use. their spirits when they have to deal with God, if God hath given them faith they should not be daunted with Gods terror, or with Gods greatness; thou sometimes lookest upon God as the great Creator of Heaven and Earth, the great Lord of Hosts, the infinite Iehovah, the lustre of his glory seems to amaze thee; be not afraid, Oh thou beleeving soul, if thou beest a seed of Iacob, not­withstanding all the terribleness there is in God, and all the glory that there is in God, the infinite distance that there is between him and us, which his Name Iehovah sets out unto us, yet thou mayest wrastle with this God, even with this God, and prevail with such a God as this is. Many poor Christians are much daunted, and discoura­ged with the sight of the greatness of God; but this text is a very great help to us that we should not be daunted and discouraged with the apprehensions of Gods great­ness; indeed it is for ungodly men, to whom God is an Enemy, they are to be daunted with the apprehension of the greatness of God; but to the seed of Iacob, even when Iacob prevailed it was with this God, that is the Lord of Hosts, whose memorial is Iehovah.

The Second thing is this, That the greatness and glory of Obs. 2. God in these Names of his is a great aggravation of sin: for to that end it's likewise brought to aggravate the sin of this people in departing from this God. Oh! the Lord is infinitely terrible, he is the Lord of Hosts, and he is Ieho­vah, [Page 287] and yet you wretched creatures have departed from this God, you have sinned against this God; Oh! 'tis a fearful aggravation of mens sin, that their sin is against such a God that is the Lord of Hosts, whose Name is Jehovah; there is nothing that can humble the soul of a sinner more than the sight of the Lord in his glorious What hum­bles most ef­fectually. Attributes, when thou comest to know what a God it is thou hast to deal with, this will make thee to see thy sin to be great; therefore the Prophet sets God in his Glo­ry before this people, that they should come to see their great sin, and that there should be a stop given to the course of their hearts that were running on in the waies of sin.

Thirdly, Which is very useful; Look what Glory and Obs. 3. Excellency of any Title, or Name, or Work that God hath ever ap­peared in to our Forefathers, the same we may have God to ap­pear in to us, if we forsake him not: That's the Third end why the Prophet here brings these Titles, The Lord of Hosts, Jehovah; as if he should say, He was thus to your Father Jacob, the Lord of Hosts, and he was Jehovah; and his memorial is still the Lord of Hosts, and Jehovah, and therefore you might have this God to appear, the Lord of Hosts for your good as well as he did to your Forefa­thers, and you might have God appear to be Jehovah for you as well as he did to Jacob, if you forsake him not; Oh! wretches, that you should forsake this God whom you might have to be the Lord of Hosts, and Jehovah to you.

Oh! Let's learn this, That when we reade in Scrip­ture, Use or hear from our forefathers how God hath ap­peared heretofore for his Saints, for our Forefathers, let us make this use of it, God is the same God still, and we may come to have as much good from this God as ever a­ny had since the world began, there's no shortning of his Power, there's no darkning of his Glory, but what­soever Power hath wrought, whatsoever Glory of God [Page 288] hath appeared in former times, we may come to have it appear to us now, it's a mighty argument for people to keep close to God and be faithful with him even because of this.

Fourthly, There's no need of Images to keep Gods remem­brance; the glorious Titles of God and his Attributes, Obs. 4. and the Manifestation of Himself in his Works, is the best Memorial of God; that's our way, the way of man to make to himself Memorials. God hath made himself a Memorial. When you reade in the Word this glori­ous Title of God, Jehovah, it's a better Memorial of God than all the Images in the world are, and we may bet­ter Sanctifie Gods Name, and have our hearts better wrought upon by such Titles of God, than by all kind of Images whatsoever.

The Fifth Note, When God manifests himself in his Glo­ry, it's not only for the present that men now might see his Glo­ry, Obs. 5. but it is that he may be remembred from Generation to Gene­ration, from one to another, from one time of our life to another, and so from one Age to another; so here, the Lord of Hosts, Je­hovah is his memorial, as if he should say, the Lord mani­fests himself Jehovah thus and thus, and he would be re­membred in other Ages to be so; what God doth to his people in one Age, he doth not expect only to have his Name sanctified for that present, but he would have it laid up from Age to Age, and would be honored in all Generations from those great manifestations of himself in some one Age.

My Brethren, Oh! that we had hearts to do this, Oh! that we could make this God his Memorial, that we could lay up what God hath manifested of himself in Use. this Age for the benefit of another Age; I hope God wil one way or other provide means for the recording of the famous things that God hath done in this Age, that it may be a Memorial to the posterity afterwards; for cer­tainly our Age cannot give God the glory that is due [Page 289] unto his Name for what he hath done, we had need la­bor to continue it to posterity that the Ages to come may remember what God hath done to give glory to him, it is his Memorial.

And then the last Note is this, When we would have a Obs. 6. holy Memorial of God, the meditation of the Name JEHO­VAH is very useful for us. You that say you cannot me­ditate, your meditations are barren; Would you help your selves in meditation to have a holy Memorial of God, think much of the Name Jehovah, remember what hath been hinted to you from that Name, and what is contained in it; And thus much for the Fifth Verse.

VER. 6.

Therefore turn thou to thy God; keep Mercy, and Judg­ment, and wait on thy God continually.

THerefore] Here comes the Use now, all the other Cohaerance. seem'd to be the Doctrine, and this is the Use, there­fore turn unto thy God, so that this Therefore, it hath reference unto all that the Prophet had said concerning Jacob, and to these Titles of God, as if he should say thus.

  • 1. You had such a gracious Father that did thus pre­vail with God, to whom God did so appear, therefore turn to God.
  • 2. It is the Lord of Hosts, therefore turn to him.
  • 3. Iehovah is his Memorial, therefore turn to him.

For the First, The reference it hath to their father Ja­cob affords us this Note, That the consideration of our graci­ous Obs. 1. Predecessors, of our Forefathers that were godly, to whom God appear'd in Mercy, is a great argument to turn us to God. Oh! you that are Children, that have had Parents that were wrastlers with God, Are you wicked now? Consi­der what Parents you had, and turn you therefore unto God: In. 2 Tim. 1. 3. I thank God (saith St Paul) whom I [Page 290] serve with a pure conscience from my forefathers. Oh! 'tis a great comfort unto a man or woman, if they can be able to say thus, I thank God, whom I serve with a pure con­science, from my Forefathers: my Forefathers served God, my Grandfather, or Grandmother, or Father, or Mother they were godly; and I thank God, even from them that I serve God: God is my God, and my Fathers God, Exod. 15. 2.

The Second is this, That the consideration of God, to be the LORD of Hosts, is a mighty motive to cause us to turn to God: Obs. 2. Wilt thou go on in waies of enmity against the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of Hosts who hath Angels and all Crea­tures to fight for him? Wilt thou, a poor worm, stand out against this God? thou that goest on in a way of wic­kedness, know, thou fightest against the great LORD of Hosts. What were it for a drunken fellow to come and think to oppose but such an Army as we have that goes out of the City at this time? but for a poor wretched Simile. worm to think to stand against the Infinit GOD, the Lord of Hosts, Oh! 'tis infinit boldness, and presumption, and desperate madness in that man; therefore turn to the Lord: All the while thou art going on in waies of wic­kedness, thou art fighting against the Lord of Hosts.

And on the other side, If thou hadst but an heart to turn unto the Lord, Oh how joyful would this Title be to thee, that that God which is thy God, is the Lord of Hosts, is the Lord of all the Hosts in the World: We are not afraid now to see Soldiers, and hear the beating of Drums, and shooting of Guns, when we know that all are our Friends; but if we should have heard the beating Simile. of Drums, and neigbing of Horses, and shooting of Guns of our Enemies, that would have struck fear: So, one that hath turned to God need not fear any Army, any Creatures, Why? for all is commanded by God their Father, and Oh! the joy, peace and security that a heart may have that is turned to God. I'le give you one [Page 291] notable Scripture, in Act. 27. 23. saith Paul, There stood by me this night the Angel of God, whose I am, and whom I Act. 27. 23. Explained. serve, saying, Fear not, Paul. Mark, There stood before me the Angel of God. Did not that terrifie him? The Angel that is but one of the Members of the Hosts of God, any one Angel hath a great deal of terror in him sometimes, for there is much of the glory of God in An­gels, and we know that the appearing of Angels hath struck terror into many men: But now saith Paul, The Angel said, Fear not; If it be the Angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, then I need not fear; yea, let God muster up all his Hosts, and appear to one that hath turned to him, if he can say thus, Whose I am, and whom I serve, these Hosts will say, Fear not. Therefore turn unto the Lord, because he is the Lord of Hosts.

Thirdly, Because God is JEHOVAH, therefore turn Obs. 3. unto the Lord. There's a great deal of force in this Name to cause sinners to turn to him, because he is Jehovah, for this Name JEHOVAH hath as much terror in it to a guilty ungodly soul, as we reade of in all the Book of What Terror in the Name-Iehovah. God, I say, put all together that we reade in the Book of God, yet if we did but throughly understand the Name Jehovah we should see as much terror in it to a guilty con­science, and a sinful soul that goes on in the waies of wic­kedness, as almost all that is mentioned of God that might be terrible. As thus,

JEHOVAH.] If he be Jehovah, he hath power over every thing that hath a being to torment thee with it, for he hath all being in Himself, al being is from him, and the dispose of all, therefore whatsoever thing hath any be­ing in it, this God hath the power over it, to make use of it to torment thee withal. Do but consider how some little creature, if it be in some part of a mans body, what power it hath to bring torment, a little gravel in the kid­neys, or stone in the bladder, that's but a poor weak creature in its self, but being in that place, what tortor [Page 292] doth it bring! now if a little gravel or stone hath that power to torment thee, then what power hath all things in the Earth, and the infinite God that hath all essence, and all being, and can dispose of all things as he plea­ses, to bring pain, misery, and torment to a sinner? It's a very humbling consideration to a sinner.

And on the other side, If there be any power in any And whrt Consolation. thing that hath a being, to bring any comfort to a man or woman, it's all in God, for God hath all in him e­minently; As now, one Creature hath power to tor­ment in one way, another in another way; and so one Creature hath power to comfort us one way, another another, but all this is eminently in God, the gravel torments one way, the humor in the veins in the gout that torments another way, and fire torments another way, and the Sword torments after another manner, and burning feaver torments in the body, fire without, and burning feaver within, the stinging of Serpents torments after another way; now all power of all things is in God Eminently, the quintessence of all things is in God, and therefore the power of God is able to bring all sorts of torments at one time in one thing; As now, suppose several herbs that have several vertues, one hath a vertue in one kind, another in another, but if these herbs were all distill'd into one water, then a drop of that water hath the same vertue and efficacy that it A fit simile. may be forty several herbs hath; so now, all creatures that have their several kind of efficacies and vertues distil­led into one, If I may compare this distillation unto God, he hath all kind of power in himself, and is able to put it forth in one instant, all the power and efficacie that there is in all creatures in Heaven and Earth, either to torment, or to comfort us, If one herb hath one sweet­ness, and a second another, and the third another, the distillation of them all together, how sweet will that be? Now all these being in God eminently, Oh what com­fort [Page 293] is there in God than to the soul! So that look ei­ther way to the Name Jehovah, we may see an argument to humble us for sin, the dreadfulness of the wrath of God appears in this, more than in any one meditation The Excel­lency of the name Iehovah. that I know of. Neither do I know any meditation that may stick upon the heart to comfort and encourage the heart to turn to God and to rejoyce in God so much as this, That there's all being in God eminently, and all depending absolutely upon him; therefore turn to God, because he is Jehovah. Thus you see the connexion of these two.

Further, When the excellency of the Saints, or glory of God Obs. 4. is set before us, we should make it an argument to turn to the Lord: when both together, the Exccellency of Jacob, and the Excellency of God, this is set as an argument to turn to the Lord; Turn to me.

But they might say, Do not we turn to God? we do serve God.

That may be another Note, That whatsoever Services Obs. 5. men do perform to God, yet if they be not in Gods way they do in the midest of them all depart from God, and do not turn to him. They did worship God after a fashion, but God did not account that worshiping of him, but departing from him, therefore turn to God. ‘But turn Thou to God. Text.

That is, Every one of you, do not stand objecting and Expos. cavelling against what I say, but turn to God every one of you, turn Thou to God. Thou art Israel, Thou art the posterity of that great prevailer with God, therefore turn Thou to God, That's the Note of Observation from hence; and if you lay it to heart, you will find it of ve­ry great use, Every one should consider what peculier argu­ments there are that concern him in particular to turn to God; Therefore Turn thou to God, O Israel. There's a great deal [Page 294] more reason why thou shouldest turn to God, than o­thers.

Oh that every one of us here in this place would but Use. in our meditations labor to recal all those particular ar­guments that concern our selves, that might turn us to God, do not take it in the general, Turn to God because he is your Creator, turn to God that you may be saved, this concerns all; but consider what special arguments thou hast, as thus; Consider what special manifestati­ons 1. of God there hath been to thee; Consider what spe­cial offers of Grace there hath been to thee; Consider 2. what special workings of the holy Ghost there hath been 3. upon thy heart; Consider what special illuminations of Gods Spirit there hath been in thee; Consider of what 4. 5 6. special dangers thou hast been in; Consider what speci­al Vows, and Covenants thou hast made to God, and yet hast departed from him afterwards; Consider what special engagements thou hast had; These are but the hints that men and women may lay to heart all the ar­guments that may concern them especially to turn to God. Turn Thou to God therefore. Do not thou look upon others, and think thus, I do as others do, yea, but thou hast more reason to turn to God than others. There are more arguments to perswade thy heart than others, Turn Thou to God. And this is a great mercy of God towards any man or woman, when as God shall dare powerfully those special considerations and argu­ments A mercy, for God to speak particularly to a soul. that concern their souls to turn to God; a man or woman comes to hear the Word, and hears the nature of Repentance, & the motives to Repentance, but that gene­rally concerns all, and this doth not much stir the heart, but at another time it pleaseth God to hint something out of the Word that concerns them in particular, and Particulars affect most. this gives a mighty turn to their hearts more than all the other; As if a man be asleep, though there be a great noise, perhaps this doth not awaken him, but let one [Page 295] come and call him by his name, Thomas, or Richard, or John, and speak particularly to him, and that will a­waken him when a greater noise will not do it: so though there be general arguments of turning to God, it doth not so much prevail with people, as when God speaks to men and women by name, and saies, Turn thou to God. There are these special arguments why thou shouldest turn to God rather than others. Many times you will say, If ever any were bound to God, then I am, then turn thou to God because thou art more en­gaged than others. ‘Turn thou to THY God. Text.

That is, Though you have departed from him, yet Expos. he hath not wholly cast you off so but he may yet be thy God: From whence the Note is,

That the sight of any Relation to God, or hope of Mercy from him, is a special means to draw the heart to turn to him; Yet Obs. he may be thy God, God hath not left thee, O thou wretehed sinful soul, who knows but that he may be thy God, and thy God to all eternity? Thou mightest have been past such an Argument of hearing any possibility of God's being thy God, and therefore turn to God, turn to thy God, ‘—And keep Mercy and Judgment.’

Want of Mercy (in the Fourth Chapter of this Pro­phesie) was charged upon this People, That there was no Expos. Mercy in the Land: and so in diverse other places, want of Justice. Now, Turn to thy God, and keep Mercy and Judg­ment.

The Note from the Connexion is this, That in our tur­nings to God, we must look to our special sins, and reform them. Obs. 1. It's not enough for men and women to turn to God, and leave some gross sins; But is there any sin more special [Page 296] than another, that you have lived in before your turning unto God? Reform in that sin above all. A man or wo­man can never have any sure argument that their Repen­tance is true, though they have left many sins, if they have not left their special sins; there's som special sin that thou hast liv'd in, what saiest thou to that?

Then Secondly, It is nothing for people to reform in Gods Worship, except they reform also in the duties of the Second Ta­ble, Obs. 2. that's wonderful. The duties of the Second Table, Mercy and Judgmeut, Turn to thy God, and keep Mercy and Judgment. Many men and women that seem to be for­ward in duties of Instituted Worship, which is very good; we are to honor God, God is jealous in that business; but now, together with that, if we be not conscionable in the duties of the Second Table, of Mercy and Judg­ment too, it's nothing, all will vanish and come to no­thing except thou livest righteously and mercifully with men also, as well as worship God; do not think to put off thy conscience with the duties of Worship, except thou doest keep Mercy and Judgment, that's more Ge­neral.

And then Particularly.

Keep Mercy, and then, Keep Judgment, be merciful unto thy Brethren, A heart turning to God, if it be a true turning, it must needs be very merciful to men, God expects Obs. 3. that from all that do turn to him, that upon thy turning to God, thy bowels should yern towards thy Brethren, and turn to them in Love, and in Mercy, and Meekness, and Gentleness, and Forgiveness, for when thou turnest to God, is it not the mercy of God that draws thy heart? If it be not that, thy turning is not right; never any turned to God rightly but their hearts were taken with Gods mercy: And can thy heart be taken with Gods mercy, and thou not merciful to thy Brethren? Many Professors of Religion think little of this, but I find the The Scripture most in this next to Faith. Scripture makes as much of this as of any thing, but faith [Page 297] its self, faith in the Covenant of Grace. These Three thing [...] [...]he Scripture holds forth, and urges very much upon men.

Faith, Mercy, and Ʋnity; the two latter are thought What the Scripture presses much to be little and of no moment with men, but certainly the Lord Christ doth lay much upon mercy towards men, that all that are his Members should be of merci­ful dispositions, and of uniting dispositions one towards another; Oh! 'tis Mercy that the Scripture makes Reli­gion to consist in, Jam. 1. 27. Pure Religion, and undefi­led, is, To visit the Fatherless and Widdows: and in Jam. 2. 13. Mercy rejoyceth over Judgment, it is that which will help men and women in the time of straits, and in times Jam. 2. 13. of danger, that they have been merciful towards their brethren, for that I take to be the meaning of that text, Mercy rejoyceth over Judgment; not that Gods mercy is more than his Judgment, and that though a sinner hath Interpreted. deserved Judgment, yet Gods Mercy will prevail, and triumph over it; but I take the meaning of that text to be, Mercy in man, and not Mercy in God, that's thus; That when man hath had a merciful heart towards o­thers, towards his brethren, that then if he should live to meet with affliction, live to a time of Judgment, times of common calamity, common dangers, that mercy that he hath exercised towards his brethren in the time of his prosperity will cause his soul to triumph in the midest of all dangers; In the time of affliction mercy rejoyces over Judgment; let Judgment come, let afflictions come in the world, let there be never such hard times abroad in the world, yet I have a testimony to my conscience, the Lord hath given me a merciful heart towards my Bre­thren that are in misery, and I that am but a poor crea­ture that have but a drop of mercy to that God that hath, an infinite Ocean of Mercy, will not that God be merciful to me much more? Keep Mercy therefore, you that turn to God, be of merciful dispositions towards [Page 298] your brethren; Oh! this is wanting among many that are Professors of Religion, they are of cruel and harsh dis­positions, Ridged Pro­fessors. ridged, sowr, and severe dispositions towards others, care not what becomes of others; Oh! be mer­ciful to your brethren, You that are turn'd to God, shew it in this, That you keep MERCY.

The next is, JƲDGMENT.

Where there is a turning to God, there must be righteousness among men. Obs.

Judgment] That is, Righteous Judgment among men, thou canst not turn to God from thy Unrighteousness, and to a Righteous God, and yet still not be Righteous towards men; Certainly if thou beest turn'd to God, from thy Unrighteousness towards a Righteous God, then thou will be turn'd likewise from thy unrighteousnes towards men, and will be righteous towards them. Many texts of Scripture I might have shewn you, that commend this Grace of Righteousness, and it's made the great Promise to the Glorious Church when that shall be, That Righteous­ness shall prevail there, that the People shall be a Righteous People.

And Judgment: Not only Judgment in doing no man any wrong, and being righteous in dealing; But thus Expos. Judgment, Execute Justice against Sin, manifest thy ha­tred against Sin, by the Execution of Judgment: This is the Note from thence,

That those who turn to God will manifest their hatred against sin, by the Execution of Judgment, if they be in place of Power. Obs. Though in thine own cause thou maiest forbear, yea, thou shouldest be merciful; but when Publick Manifestation of hatred against Sin requires Justice, then there's no place for Sparing; when God calls thee in any Publick Place, to manifest hatred against Sin, then (I say) thou maiest not think of Sparing.

[Page 299] But you will say, Oh! I must pity, and shew Mercy. Quest. Answ.

Well, If you would be merciful, be merciful in your own cause. Many men that will pleade for Indulgence to Malefactors, yet in their own business they have no In­dulgence to those that offend them. It beseems a Judg to Pretended Mercy. be very pitiful when he is wronged himself, but it be­seems him to be very righteous and just when the Publick calls him. ‘Keep MERCY, and JƲDGMENT.’

Mercy is first, and Judgment afterwards. The Scripture Obs. makes a difference between our respect to Mercy & Judg­ment: that place in Micah, The Lord hath shewen thee, O man, what he would have thee to do, LOVE MERCY, and Mic. 6. 6. DO JƲSTICE: There should be a Preheminency in Mer­cy, Mercy must not only be shown, but loved; and Justice must be done. And then, ‘Keep MERCY and JƲDGMENT.’

The mixture of Mercy and Judgment is very comely; The Obs. Scripture doth mix them very often, Psal. 101. 1. I will sing of Mercy and Iudgment: and Prov. 21. 21. He that fol­loweth after Righteousness and Mercy, findeth Life, Righteous­ness, and Honor. Psal. 112. 4. The upright man he is full of Compassion, and Righteousness. Jer. 9. 24. The Lord there doth seem to glory in this, in his Righteousness aswel as Mercy, saith the Lord, Let no man glory in the flesh, but let him glory in this, That he knoweth Me, that I am the LORD, which exercise loving kindness, Iudgment and Righteousness in the Earth. Let him glory in this, That he knows that I am such a God, this is my glory, That I am both Righte­ous and Merciful.

Now for the several Rules, when Mercy should be Quest. Shown, and when Judgment should be Executed, that would be the Use here, How men should be directed to mix both these together.

Mercy, when men offend by Infirmity, when I see it's Answ. [...]. When we are to shew Mercy. but a weakness, it is not through wilfulness, Mercy then should be shown.

[Page 300] Oh that we would consider of this, our brethren that sometime differ from us in Judgment, in practice, consi­der, 1. Do they appear in any of their carriages any waies, Difference in judgment. to be wilful in their way? can you take it upon your consciences, that it is through obstinacy, and through any wicked principles that they have, that they go a­gainst conscience? doth it not appear in all their other waies that they walk humbly and conscionably, that if they be in the wrong, yet it is through meer weakness that they cannot see the Truth, that thou thinkest thou doest see? Now thou shouldest be merciful towards them, and carry not thy self in a ridged, severe, bitter, and harsh way towards them, but in a Merciful way, Mercy when the offence is by infirmity.

And then when the offender is already sensible of his offence, then Mercy. 2.

Or, when there may be as much good done in a fair, gentle, merciful carriage, as in a harsh, ridged carri­age. 3

And then especially at that time when any man or woman begins to feel passion arise in their hearts and a 4. spirit of revenge to stir in them, above all times, then is the time for mercy; examin thine heart, thou hast to deal with thy brother, now see whether there doth not begin to arise passion and revenge in thy spirit towards him, now is the time for Mercy, it's not the fit time for Judg­ment, it's not a fit time to give Judgment, nor for thee to execute Judgment, but now is the time for Mercy.

And then there's the time for judgment, When thou art call'd to manifest hatred against sin, when the publick good re­quires Answ. 2 When we are to execute Judgment. it; when you cannot be merciful to one, but you must be cruel to another: As in many things wherein men would be merciful, the truth is, the Mercy they shew to some is cruelty to others, and when thou hast the least interest in a business, then there's the most like to be the time for Judgment. Well,

[Page 301] Keep Mercy and Judgment:

Keep it, not only do some acts of Mercy and Judg­ment, Text. but keep it.

Many men in some good moods (observe it) Oh how Obs. pitiful are they! how merciful are they! but come to them at another time, and Oh! how ridged are they then! Oh! how sowr are they! how bitter, how cru­el! how harsh are they! We have found it so by expe­rience, you can say, such a man, Oh! what sweet con­verse had we together, and what a sweet temper'd man he was, how loving, how meek, how gentle, how pi­tiful! But come to him now, how harsh, and how rug­ged in his expressions, and extream bitter, mightily turned as if he were not the man; keep Mercy, keep it. Doth God at any time melt thy heart, and make thee apprehensive of thy need of mercy? doth thy heart begin to bleed towards thy Brethen? Oh! keep it, keep this temper; the Lord keep this in the thoughts and pur­poses of thy heart for ever, Oh take heed of change of heart. It should be the care of Christians, not only to do that that is good, but to keep their hearts in such a constant frame. Oh that some of you would but call to mind the dales of old, Was there not a time that your hearts did melt towards your brethren, and had sweet converse and communion with them, what's become of those spirits now? Oh! turn to that gracious, sweet, temper again, and if ever God bring you to that temper again, keep it; Consider what is it that hath changed my heart, what hath brought me to it; now if God doth Note. discover how thou hast lost that sweetness of thy heart, Oh! labor to repent and turn to God, and resolve, if ever God bring me to that temper again (as sometimes through his mercy I have felt) I hope through his Grace that I shall keep my self in that temper; Oh how happy were it with us if when God brings our hearts into a good temper if we had but hearts to keep them in that temper, keep Mercy. [Page 302] And keep Judgment too.’

In some acts you shall find men very just, and take them in other acts and there they will be false enough. But now, It should be our care, to be as it's said of God in Jer. 50. 6, 7. God is said there to be the habitation of Justice, so it should be in the Courts of Justice, there should be the habitation of Justice. Perhaps sometimes, in some one Cause a man may have Justice in a Court: Courts of Justice. yea, but if it be not so in all Causes, at all times, there is not the keeping of Justice; Justice should be alwaies at home: sometimes you may come to a Court and not find Justice at home, but it's gone abroad, but it should be alwaies the habitation of Judgment. And so it should be in Families, and in particular Persons; It may be at some times thou wert just in thy waies, yea, but then thou hadest not a temptation, the tempration came not Families. for unjust dealing: There are some men that by a temp­tation are brought to such unjust dealing, that if a man should have said some divers yeers ago, that thou woul­dest have done such things, you would have been ready to think, Am I a dog, that I should do such things? but now, when a man is once engaged in any unjust way, then he must go on: and therefore keep Judgment. It follows; ‘Keep Judgment, and wait on thy God continually.’

That's thus, Do not satisfie your selves in duties of Mer­cy Text Expos. and Judgment only, but worship God; For by waiting on God is meant the exercise of spiritual Graces, where­in the Worship of God consists, wherein we come to make God to be our God: As it is not enough for men to think they worship God, and yet make no conscience of the Second Table; so neither is it enough for men to make conscience of the Second Table, and not to wor­ship God. It may be there is som of you that are very just, [Page 303] yea, but what worship of God is there in your Families, and in your own hearts? Do your souls worship God, and sanctifie the Name of God in all your waies? There­fore this is added, Turn to the Lord thy God, and keep Mer­cy and Judgment, and wait on thy God continually. ‘Wait on God.’

The bases, or foundation of waiting, is Faith, Beleeve How we ar to wait on God. 1. there is good in God, help, supply here, and that in God alone; however things seem to be contrary, let things go how they will, I beleeve there is help in God alone, and not in those former base waies that I have taken be­fore, that my corrupt heart hath led me into, here's help, and not in the other way.

Secondly, Waiting on God, is, To attend God in the use of what means God hath appointed for the attaining 2. of such a thing that I expect from him.

Thirdly, A looking out for Mercy; I beleeve here is 3. Mercy and no where else, I attend on God for it in the use of these means, and I look out for mercy.

Fourthly, I quietly submit in the mean time, though 4 God staies long; that's to wait, so as not to be discon­tent, not to have my heart sink, though God staies long.

Fifthly, I keep in the way of seeking of God all the 5. while: That soul that doth this, may be said to wait on God.

A turning heart to God is a heart that is a waiting Obs. heart, the heart that turns truly to God is taken off from all Creature contentments, so as to rest in them, and looks up to God for all help, and for all supply. And this waiting is of very great use to those that are turning to God, Consider of it, Is any of you about the work of turning to God? hath God begun to make a turn to any of your hearts? Know, that when you are Use for new Converts [Page 304] turning to God, you are very like to meet with a great many things that may discourage you, many suggesti­ons of the Devil and your own hearts; Why should not I go back again? what good have I gotten by reading, and praying? I get nothing by it, and all will come to nothing at last, Temptations are like to come thick and three-fold upon the heart of a sinner turning to God: I am confident I am speaking in this to the hearts of all that knows what it is to turn unto God, there was a time that thou wert departing from God, and then thou wentest on quietly, but ever since the time that God hath begun to turn thy heart, Oh! the thick, and three fold temptations of the Devil that come to thee! Now this is a very seasonable exhortation, turn to God and wait upon him, be not discouraged not withstanding all difficulties, fears, temptations, and discouragements, from Men, and Devils, and thine own heart, yet wait up­on God and keep in his way.

Oh! it had been happy that this exhortation had been set home upon the spirits of many that the Lord was Applie. to some back­fliders. beginning to give a turn to their hearts, not long since the Lord was beginning to turn thy heart to himself, and thou mettest with some things that discouraged thee which hath turned thee quite off again, Oh! had but this exhortation come seasonably then, Turn to the Lord, and wait upon him, Oh! it had been happy for thee. The Lord make it seasonable now to thee, Oh! remember this text, Turn to God, and wait upon him.

Wait.] Oh! there's reason that thou shouldest wait up­on God, Oh! thou saiest if I had comfort, and if I were sure I should be saved at last, though I have discourage­ments from men, yet, if I had but comfort from God, then I could be content; yea, but wait, wait for com­fort, wait for peace, wait for assurance, God is a great God, and is worthy to be waited on: Why we should wait. 1

Men that are above others will take state upon them, [Page 305] and they will be waited on; God is great, and therefore wait upon him.

And we are vile creatures and unworthy, and therfore 2. Simile. let us wait. Beggers if they should rap and rap, and you come and see it to be a begger, your heart rises upon him, if he beg he must wait if you be busie. We are Beggers, and therefore it is fit for us to wait.

And Thirdly, God hath waited on us a long time, 3. how long did God wait upon thee, it may be thou wert twenty yeers old before thou didest begin to turn to God, perhaps thou wert thirty or fortie yeers old and God was waiting upon thee to be gracious all that time, God was waiting for opportunity to do thee good, and there­fore wait thou upon God.

And Fourthly, What we wait for, it is worth our 4. waiting. If a man did beleeve there were nothing but scraps to be had at last, then he would not wait so long; but if he did hope there was some great thing to be got­ten, then he would wait: Beggers if they come to some Simile. mean house, they knock at the door and stay a little, and if they give them nothing, away they will go; but if they come to great Houses, or Coaches, they will wait though it be long, and run a great way after them. So, that which we wait for, it is worth thousands of worlds, What we wait for. we wait for the pardon of Sin, and wait for the assurance of Gods Love, we wait for the shedding abroad of the ho­ly Ghost in our hearts, we wait for rich Treasure, and know that there is enough to be had in God; your waiting will pay for all.

Know also, 'Tis a great part of Gods Worship to wait 5. upon him, 'tis not the Worship of God, only to Pray, and hear the Word, and receive Sacraments; but when you are waiting, you are worshiping of God.

Further, God is all this while preparing mercy for 6. you. Suppose you come to have a Scrivener write som­thing for you, Well, the thing is not yet done, yea, but Simile. [Page 306] he is writing as fast as he can: know, O thou soul who art turning to God, all the while thou art waiting, God is working, God is setting all his Attributes on work for thy good, while thou art waiting, and therefore wait on thy God.

And know, God is infinitly wise, and he knows when 'tis best for us to have the mercy, he knows the times and 7. seasons, wait upon God, for the Lord is a God of Judg­ment. Alas! we are hasty, we cannot judg when the time is fittest, but God is a God of Judgment, and therefore wait upon him: should we have a mercy just when we would, our mercy would undo us, and therefore let us wait.

Oh my Brethren, we have as much encouragement here in this Land to wait upon God as ever any people had; we would fain have had the Wars ended, and we England. began to murmur and repine because it was not done, Oh! but we will not wait, therefore we will not turn; and those that turn to God least, will wait least upon him; and those that turn to God most, will wait most upon him; Do not you see that God hath wrought a­bundance of good for us by deferring what we would Note. have? had we had no opposition at the beginning of the Parliament, and suppose the King and Parliament had agreed, and said, You shall have your desires, What would we have desir'd, we would have desir'd some few things, as taking away Ship-mony, Tonnage, and Poun­dage, Monopolies, &c. and to have a Triennial Parlia­ment, and the like. Now what abundance hath God wrought by deferring what we would have had? Oh it is good for people to wait upon God, Oh let us look back to our murmurings and repinings all this while. It's true, we have suffered something, yea, but hath not God wrought good out of our sufferings? and suppose there should be fears of new storms arising. Oh let us not say we will wait no longer; Oh I take heed of foolish resolu­tions [Page 307] of your own: God is wisest, leave God to do his own work, keep the way of God and go on in your duty, and then let God work his own ends, either by War, or Peace, any way as he pleases, wait upon God; and mark, ‘Wait upon God Continually.’

Wait] It's fit for us to wait. Yea, but we have wai­ted Expos. a long time. Well, but yet know that you are at the right door: Suppose a man be knocking at a door, and he hath knockt a great while and no body comes, he be­gins to think it's not the the right door, but some body Simile. tells him that it is the right door, and then he staies: so we may assure our heares thus much, we are at the right door certainly, and let us not think to go away, and we shall find somebody within, God wil appear at length, What, shal we lose all for want of waiting a little while longer? Thus it is with many wretched Apostats, that The folly of Apostats. have taken a great deal of pains in seeking after God a great while, and for want of waiting a little longer they have lost all: Oh! let there be this resolution in your hearts, If I die and perish, yet I'le die and perish waiting upon God. Certainly that soul that hath this resolution will never come to dispair, yea, there's no such way for the hastening of Mercy, as for a soul to lie flat at the feet of God, let God do what he will with me, if I perish, I'le perish waiting upon him, though he kills me, I'le trust in him, and stay upon him: You have waited, how long I pray? Oh! you have been waiting and seeking of God it may be this half year, or twelve months, What's that I pray? O thou wretched soul! thou hast deserved eternal flames, and wilt thou grudg at God for waiting a few years? If God would keep thee waiting As he hath done divers all thy daies, and at the last manifest Himself unto thee, thou hadst cause to bless God for ever, and therfore do not grudge though thou hast been waiting a while, and it may be though [Page 308] Thy time is come, yet Gods time is not come, the time that you call long, God doth not call it so; One day with God is as a thousand years, it's no time with God, and therefore do not complain of the length of thy time.

And your betters have waited longer; Reade but the 88. Psalm, and there you will find your better waited all 8. his time; The Lord was pleased to work Grace upon him when he was yong, his heart was turned to God then; and you may find in the text, that from his youth up the terrors of God was upon him. Wait upon God continu­ally.

And you cannot better your self: Whither wilt thou go, poor soul? Now you are seeking God, you have not 9 what you would have, Whither will you go? Can you mend your self any way? if you cannot, then wait upon God continually.

It may be before God began to turn thy heart, thou thoughtst Mercy was easie to be obtain'd, thou thought'st 10. then it was nothing to beleeve, thou wondrest that peo­ple spake so much of the hardness of beleeving, thou thought'st it easie; Wel, the Lord is now working upon thy heart, and the Lord would humble thee for those slight thoughts thou hadst of Faith, the Lord will have thee to know, That beleeving in his Grace it requires a mighty work of God, even the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Be humbled for thy slight thoughts about the work of Faith, and know, that this (it may be) is the thing that God intends in keeping thee so low so Note long, That thou maiest come to see that Faith requires the mighty Power of God to work it, that so thou maiest give glory to God when ever thy heart shall be raised by the work of Faith to beleeve in him, and to be enabled to triumph in him, and say, Lo, this is our God, we have waited on him, and this is the God of my salvation: And therefore you that are turning to God, wait upon him continually.

[Page 313] But besides, The Use of Exhortation, he hath a Use 2. of Reprehension, and that's in the 7. and 8. Verses. Not­with standing all this, as if the Prophet should say, Oh! your hearts are set upon your Covetousness, upon the pelf of this world, these vanities that are here below. You are not (saith he) as your Father Jacob; I exhort you thus to turn unto the Lord, and to keep Merey and Judgment, but it's otherwise with you.

VER. 7.

He is a Merchant; the ballances of deceipt are in his hand; he loveth to oppress.

THis Scripture, though it seems to be somwhat a harsh one, and hard to reade, yet it may be a good provi­dence The Text seasonable. of God that did bring it to hand at such a time as this is.

That's the scope of the Prophet: We may exhort long The scope. enough saith he, yet so long as their hearts are covetous, and set upon their way of getting gain, they will never regard what I say, they will not turn to God, they will not hear of turning to God, but will turn a deaf ear ra­ther. This indeed is the guize of men that have great dealings in the world, and their hearts are set upon their Great dealers riches, let there be the most glorious Truths set before them that ever were, yet they are as nothing to them: we reade in Luke 16. of Christ himself preaching before a company of men, and some of them being very covetous, mark what the Text saith, vers. 14. The Pharisees also who were covetous, heard all these things, and they derided him, they blew their noses at him, so the word [...]. signifies, they scorn'd him. Christ he spake of Excellent and Divine Misteries, and there were some of his Auditors that had dealings in the world, and great estates, and they scorn'd at whatso­ever he spake; Tel us of such things as these are! tell us of waies of gain, how we may come to enrich our selves: [Page 310] This seem'd to be the disposition of some of the Auditors of Hosea at this time, therefore saith he, He is a Mer­chant.

The word that is here translated a Merchant, it signi­fieth a Cananite, and may be translated, if you would [...] Expos. 1 translate it according to the very letter of the word, He is a Cananite, for the same word that signifies a Cananite sig­nifies a Merchant in the Hebrew tongue. You have the like in other places of Scripture, Job, 41. 6. Shall they part him among the Merchants, among the Cananites, so is the word in the Hebrew: and in Prov. 31. 24. She delivereth Girdles to the Merchants, the word is to the Cananites. Now the reason why that a Merchant, and a Cananite hath the same name in Scripture, it is, because the Coun­try of Canaan was much given to Merchandize, and in­deed much to deceipt. As the Mathematicions were cal'd Caldeans from the Country because the Country was so Cananite, why signifie a Merchant. Chaldaeans, why taken for an Astrologer. Arabian, why a Thief. full of Mathematicions; so Arabia, Robbers and Theeves, were call'd by the name of Arabians because that it was so full of them; and so because Canaan had so many Merchants therefore it hath the denomination, A Cana­nite, and a Merchant.

But here the holy Ghost calls them not Israelites, mark, God he doth not say, you are an Israelite, but a Cana­nite, Expos. 2. and that is by way of upbraiding of them, because they had degenerated so much from Israel, (that was spo­ken of before) so he would not call them Israelite, but calls them Cananite. Observe that, ‘Men by their sin may lose the honor of their Progenitors.’

And further, Though it's true, that the calling of a Merchant Obs. 1. Obs. 2. is not only Lawful, but a very honorable imployment, yet the abuse of it may make it very contemptible, if it be abused and corrup ed it may grow to be very contemptible; for so here, the holy Ghost doth cast such a word upon them, to shew, how through their corruption they had made a calling that was honorable, to become contemptible, and, [Page 311] they had brought contempt upon their own persons: for though Merchants that are subtil may in the pride of their hearts rejoyce in their subtilty and cunning, and think that they can circumvent others by their deceipt, and get money that way in going beyond them; they may glory in this as if it were a great excellency in them, but the holy Ghost casts contempt upon those, he is a Merchant, a Cananite, and the ballances of deceipt are in his hand.

The ballances of Deceipt are in his hand] The Lord ab­hor'd their ballances of deceipt, yea, and professed that they are an abomination to him, if you reade Levit. 19. 35, Levit. 19. [...] 36. Illustrated. 36. Ye shall do no unrighteousness in Judgment, in Metyard, in Weight, or in Measure. Just Ballances, just Weights, a just Ephah, and a just Hin shall ye have: I am the Lord, I am Jehovah. This lies upon it, if you will acknowledg me to be the Lord, to be Jehovah, be just in your dealing, have no unjust ballances, let there be no injustice in your trading. And in Deut. 25. 13. and so on to the 16. Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great, and a smal; thou shalt not have in thy house divers measures, a great and a smal: But thou shalt have a perfect and a just weight, a perfect and a just measure shalt thou have, &c. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously (mark) are an a­bomination to the Lord thy God. There's much laid upon it, you think you may take liberty in such things, no saith the text, all that do such things they are an abo­mination to the Lord thy God, 'tis not only a thing that God forbids, but a thing that God abominates to be de­ceiptful in trading. Doest thou profess any interest in The Point urged. God? hast thou any hope that God should be merciful to thy soul, to do thee any good? doest thou think that God is thy God? know this is an abomination then to thy God, to that God that thou professest to have any interest in; nay, in Prov. 11. 1. there's likewise a Scrip­ture to the same purpose, A false ballance is an abominati­on [Page 309] to the Lord; but a just weight is his delight. God takes pleasure in that. Now saith the Prophet here, The bal­lances of Deceipt are in his hand, as if he should say, let him have riches any way, he doth not mind turning to God, but he regards the ballances of deceit.

We are to understand this for all kind of deceit in tra­ding, 1 The Text opened. though only ballances are here mentioned, yet here's a synechdoche; one special thing is mentioned in a business to set out all of that nature, not only Deceitful Ballances, but Measures, and Tale, and Lights, and Mix­tures, when they shall mix water and other things with any Commodity to make it heavier, or mix ill ware with good ware, deceiptful glosses, and appearances, to make wares that are ill to seem to be good by many Arts that Trades-men have to put a gloss upon their wares; deceiptful words, to tell them what they cost, and what the goodness of it is, to make many protestations, yea, and deceiptful Oaths, all such things are here condem­ned; and deceiptful Books, and deceiptful Reckonings; So that by Ballances of deceipt, are alwaies of Merchants, of Trades-men, whether by Ballances, Weights, Mea­sures, Tale, Lights, Words, Protestations, Oaths, Appea­rances, Glosses, Mixtures, Books, and Reckonings, all kind of deceiptfulness is here condemn'd, He is a Cana­nite. Yet those have their due honor, that are righteous in their dealing; but such as make profession of Merchan­dize, and are not righteous in their dealings, they can­not think much that the Scripture should call them in the way of upbraiding, a Cananite.

Or if he doth but joyn with others in deceipt, that com [...] in here: As if there be any men, and the way they take 2. he knows it is to cozen others, yet to get gain he wil be content to joyn with them to partake a part of their gain: these things, and perhaps your own consciences would tell you of abundant more that you know of, of the my­steries of iniquity that there is in trading: As we reade of [Page 299] those in the Revelation, that were under the power of Antichrist, they might not buy nor sell, except they had the Mark of the Beast upon them. And the truth is, a­mong The Mark of the Beast. a great part, if not most of our Buyers and Sellers there is the Mark of the Beast upon them, deceiptfulness and falsness among them, and because this is thought to be so light a matter, therfore the Scripture laies the more weight upon it. And so much as the time will give me leave, I shall labor to lay some weight upon this, Of de­ceiptfulness in waies of Trading.

The ballances of deceipt are in his hand. That is (saith a 3. Innuitur conti­nuum ac perpe­tuum studium. Meisn. in loc. Learned Interpreter upon the place) By this that they are in his hand, is intimated a continual and perpetual study and endeavor to deceive, he hath it at hand, and it is in his hand continually. In the forenamed place, Deut. 25. 13. and so on, There men are forbidden to have Deut. 25. 13. observed. a false weight in their bag; you must not keep a false weight in your house, much less in your hand.

Or it may be he alludes to those that have a slight of 2. hand, to make the ballances turn one way, or the other way, so as their Customers shall not perceive it. ‘—And he loveth to oppress. Text.

What oppression is there in Trading? If I buy a com­modity and sell it again, what oppression can there be? Oppression in Trading. There may be oppression in Trading, As thus:

1. Oppression in Monopolizing of Commodities, that 1. Monopoli­zing Com­modities. poor men that have been brought up to such a Trade, and that have no other livelihood at all but that, that a few men get into their own hand, and make such use of it themselves that poor men are not able to live by them, this is oppression; Certainly this monopolizing in Trading is a great oppression, the Lord hath in great measure delivered us, but not wholly delivered us from that, there is a great cry in many parts of the Land still of that.

[Page 314] And then Secondly, Oppression in Trading; when as 2. men take the advantages of mens weaknesses that they deale withall in their Trading: but especially when they take advantages of mens necessiries, that is, If I know that such a man must sell his Commodity, now for men to take advantage of his necessity and therefore beat it down, so as even almost to undo a man because he is necessitated for the selling of it. I verily beleeve you know the meaning of such things as these are.

Or now, Those that work upon the necessity in buying, as sometimes when men bring over Commodities, and must bring over such Commodities, you will let them lie to the last period, that so you may have them at any rate, and so when you come to know that men must needs have a Commodity of you, then to raise the price so as they cannot live upon it, this is even to drink their very blood, this is Oppression.

They love to oppress: (that is) The poor of their wa­ges. Expos.

There are many poor men that are servants to you that are Merchants, and Trades-men, they live upon their 1. labor, and they must come and fetch Commodities of Oppression of under-trades-men. you, that they must live by; now you knowing their ne­cessity that they must have your work, therfore you beat down their wages, and not give unto them according as they may maintain their families: you will say, I do not wrong them, If he doth not, another will, I but that will not serve the turn.

Or otherwise, They love to oppress: Trades-men oppress 2. their debtors, when they have gotten poor men into their debts then they will make them that they shall buy Debtors of them, and of none other, and so will put off any of their braided ware to them, and put it off at a deer rate. You will say, We sell it them, yea, but you force them to buy of you; for if they should go from you, then you fall upon them, and put them into prison, or evil intreat [Page 315] them some other way. This is to love to oppress, to take the advantages of mens necessities when they are grown poor. Certainly these things are grievous to the Spirit of God, and are abominable in the eyes of God, these are rebuked here, and that you may see that there is a great deal of evil in these Ballances of deceit, and oppression in trading, do but consider these particu­lars.

First, Observe how this is brought in, in my text, as 1. The evil of deceipt in trading. opposite to turning to God; Turn to God, then presently, He is a Merchant, the ballances of deceipt are in his hand; he loveth to oppress. Those men that live in any way of de­ceipt or oppression to get gain to themselves by those waies, these are men that yet have not turned to God; thou hast not turned to Jehovah, thy heart is not tur­ned to him, thy heart is turned to the earth, the earth is thy portion, thou art to look for the things of the earth to be thy portion, it is not God that thou hast chosen, nor turned unto him.

Then Secondly, Thou doest certainly not know what 2. sin doth mean, that darest venture the least sin for the greatest gain; had God ever enlightened and awakened thy conscience to see what sin doth mean, thou wouldest rather lose all thy estate, and be cloathed with rags all thy daies, than willingly to commit the least sin, to get the greatest estate. It was a speech of Austin, That there must not be so much as an officious lye, that is, a lye when a man intends no hurt, but good, yet this must not be told, saith he, no not for the saving of the souls of all the world: surely then a lye must not be told to get twelve pence in a bargain, or five shillings, or fifty shil­lings, or five pounds, it must not be told to save the souls of all the world; Now to tell a lye to deceive others as well as thy self, surely, God hath not yet laid the weight of sin upon your souls, the day is yet to come that you shall know (perhaps to all eternity) what the weight and burdon of sin means.

[Page 316] And then in the Third place. Certainly you do not 3 trust in God, you may speak of trusting in God, but it is apparant by this, That you have jealous thoughts of God, that you do not beleeve that God takes care of you; and here's not only sin, but it shews your misery, you are in such a condition, that your own consciences con­demn you, and tell you that God takes no care of you, for did you beleeve that God had care of you, care over my bodie, my estate, my soul, then I'le leave it to God, I'le cast my care upon God, I'le go on in Gods way, and leave all other things to God. But now, when a man is low in the world and would fain rise higher, or would provide such a portion for his children, and he falls to deceiving, and so thinks to get it that way, this is the plain explicit English of it; ‘For my part I dare not trust God to take care for me, and that that I think God to do for me is not enough, if I trust to Gods bles­sing, I may be a poor man, my children may be poor, and I dare not trust to promises, nor protections, nor providences, but I must take my own way;’ (the truth is, the language is as much as thus much) ‘I cannot get an estate by God, and therefore I'le see what I can do by the Devil.’

And then Fourthly, All duties of Religion that thou per­formest 4. are rejected by God; you who are conscientious to your selves of waies of falseness in your trading, and it may be have gone on many daies and yeers in your waies, I say, all the duties of Religion that you perform are rejected by God, you will deceive, and yet come to hear, and deceive again, and yet hear, and so make the duties of Religion to be a colour to your deceipt. Who would suspect such a man that is so forward in matters of Reli­gion that he should be so deceiptful? Oh! cursed is that wickedness above all wickedness, it is aggravated by this, When thou makest Religion to be a colour of de­ceipt, know, that God casts all thy profession and du­ties [Page 317] as filth and dung back again in your face. I'le give you this on Scripture in Ezek. 28. 18. Thou hast (saith the text) defiled thy Sanctuaries (how?) by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy TRAFFICK: By the iniquity of thy Traffick thou hast defiled thy Sanctuaries. You go abroad and there you traffick, and deceive, and put off false Commodities, and have false Reckonings, and the like: now you come into the Sanctuary, Oh but you defile the Sanctuary by the greatness of your iniqui­ty; and among other greatness of your iniquities, the iniquity of your Traffick is that that defiles the Ordi­nances of God unto you: In Micah, 6. 8. when those Hypocrits had said, What shall we do? shall we come with ten thousand Rams, and Rivers of Oyl? Saith the Prophet, He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justice, &c. As if he should say, Though you come with all these things, it's all to no purpose, whatsoever Offerings you offer to God, it's all nothing, except you do Justice.

Fifthly, There is a curse mingled with every thing thou 5. doest enjoy. Though it may be some things are gotten honestly, yet (I say) there is a curse mingled in all things thou doest, it doth venem and poyson every thing thou doest. In Zach. 5. 3. there was a flying Rol of twenty Cu­bits, and the breadth of it ten Cubics: then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth over the whol earth, (for whom?) For every one that stealeth shall be cut off &c. Everie bit of meat thou eatest at thy Table thou maiest look upon it as dipt in the curse of God, I have gotten this by deceipt, thou wouldest be loth to have everie bit of meat rouled up in dirt and so put into thy mouth, but everie bit of meat is rouled up in the Curse of God.

And then Sixthlie, surelie thou that art guiltie of 6. this deceipt in the way of trading thou canst not pray, if thou comest to prayer, surelie thy conscience is verie [Page 318] blind, for when thou art conscious to thy self of deceipt, how canst thou come into the presence of a righteous God? Canst thou say, Oh Righteous Father? darest thou come into the presence of such a HOLY and RIGHTEOUS God that profess, to abominate thy waies, surely thy conscience must be very blind, if thou doest not understand the evil of thy sin; It may be there was a time at first of thy trading that thy conscience did trouble thee for a little time, thou had'st mis-giving thoughts, but thou hast worn them out, and so art ready to bless thy self that thou hast gotten over such a diffi­culty as that is: thy condition is far worse. Or if not, If thy conscience be not sear'd with a hot Iron, then thou wilt be terrified. I verily think that those that have any light left in them that they dare not go to prayers; Oh! doest thou so prize a little gain, as to take away the free­dom of thy spirit, and the holy boldness of thy heart in prayer! Oh how shouldest thou say to Gain, Get thee hence as a menstruous cloath.

Seventhly, Know, that if thou shouldest come to make 7. use of thy estate in any good work, God rejects it: Isa. 61. 8. For I the Lord love Judgment. I hate robbery for burnt offerings; What will you come and get by deceipt an e­state, and come and offer it to me, I abhor it saith God. 'Tis a speech of Chrysostom, Why doest thou despise, and Chrysostom. despight God in this, in bringing unclean things to him? it's a reproach to God: a man that hath gotten an e­state by deceipt, if he brings his estate to any Service of God, he doth reproach God.

Eightly, know that God will avenge such things, it may be the poor man that thou oppressest in thy trading 8. he cannot right himself upon thee, because a bargain is a bargain (you will say) yea, but God will come over with the bargain again; it may be you have done with him in your bargain, but God hath not done with you.

You will say to him, You saw what it was, and you [Page 319] bought the thing of me as it was, and I have nothing to The excuses of deceiptful dealers. say to you; but God hath much to say to you in this, mark those two Scriptures, Micah, 6. 11. the Lord ha­ving shewn what he did require, that men should be just in their waies, now saith the text in ver. 11. Shall I ac­count them pure with the wicked ballances, and with the bag of deceiptful weights? for the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lyes, and their tongue is deceip ful in their mouth; therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee. Oh! when God comes to smite thee, he will make thee sick to purpose: sickness to such men as have defiled consciences in their trading is dreadful sick­ness indeed, as if God should say, You shal have not De mali quaesi­tis non-gaudet tertius Haeres:—Of goods ill got, the thud Heir joyeth not. great content in what you have, I will be avenged on you for what you do, either you, or your heirs shall no enjoy it. But that place concerns Christians very much, a place that it's impossible for you that are exercised in Scripture, but you must needs take notice of it, 1 Thes. 4. 6. That no man go beyond, and defraud his brother. In a­ny matter, you must not go beyond your brother; your brother is weak, you will say, Let the weaker look to it as well as he can: No, you must not take advantage of his weakness, he is your brother, you must not defraud him, no not in any matter, why? because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

And know this day, the Lord forewarns you once A vehement applic. of the text. more by the Ministry of his Word, and the Lord by his Word doth testifie against you in this one thing, and if you go on in anie way of deceipt, you go on against the verie strength of the Word, and strength of Conscience this day, and this Word that is preached this day to you shall certainlie testifie against you another day.

Yea further, When you come to die, Oh! how terri­ble 9. will death be to such men! when they shall leave the sweet of all their estates, and carrie nothing but the guilt, [Page 320] of all with them: In Job, 27. 8. What hope shall an hypo­crite have, though be hath gained, when God takes away his soul? Sometimes men they seek to deceive, and they are discovered, and so they are rendered base and contemp­tible to all the world; yea, but sometimes again, they may carrie it so cunninglie, as they shall never be discove­red, perhaps in this world, but they shall gain, as E­phraim saith here, I am become rich and have gotten substance, but what hope hath this hypocrite though he hath gained? what profit shal it be though thou hast gai­ned the whol world and shalt lose thy own soul? See also James, 5. 3. The rust (of your Gold and Silver) shall eat your flesh as it were fire.

Yea, Know further, That thou must restore, if thou 10. hast any estate now, or if thou ever comest to have any estate, it must be restor'd or thou canst not expect to find mercy from God with all the sorrow, cries, and pra­yers that can be, without restitution, there cannot be expectation of pardon and forgiveness. The ancient Restitution. speech that all Divines in all Ages of the Church have closed withal was, There must be Restitution of that that is falslie gotten, if it be in thy power to do it, thou must restore it or else thou canst not have anie hope of mercie, those sweet morsels that you have swallowed, must be vomited up again; And therefore you that are Appren­tices take heed of pleasing your Masters, to be deceiptful, for if you have a hand in it you must restore. I'le give you Scripture and Reason for it. Why we par­don without Restitution.

The Reason is this, That 'tis impossible that any kind of repentance can be accepted of God without restituti­on, the reason is; because, That if I have power to re­store, all the while I do not restore I do continue in the 1 Reason. sin, I do not only wrong the man just the verie hour I have deceived him, but all the while I keep that which is his in my hand, this is the argument that repentance can never be accepted of God that may stand or doth [Page 321] stand with a wilful continuance in the sin that a man seems to repent of, Do I repent of my sin, and yet wil­fully continue in the sin? I say, Wilful, for I have it in my hand to restore: Oh but I shall undo my self; I but that's wilful still, Is it better for thee to keep an estate, or to keep a sin? Now certainly any man that hath anie light must needs acknowledg thus much, That if I truly repent me of my sin, I must do what possibly I can to un­do my sin; Can I say, I am heartilie sorrie for a sin, when I do not what I can for to undo that sin again if I can?

And for the Scriptures for Restitution, there are di­vers, 2. Scripture. I'le give you two or three, Ezek. 33. 14, 15. And when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die: If he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right, if the wic­ked restore the pledg, give again that he hath robbed, &c. he shall surely live, he shall not die. He doth not walk in the Statutes of life except he give again that which he hath rob­bed. And so in Numb. 5. 6, 7. there you have the Law about restitution, when a man or woman shall commit a­nie sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord, and that person be guilty, then they shall confess their sin which they have done, (is this al?) and he shall recompence his trespass with the princial thereof, and ad unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed. He must confess his sin, yea, but that's not e­nough, Numb. 5. 6, 7. an excellent Scripture for Restitution. but he must recompence the partie. This is a most excellent Scripture; Mark, it's said here, If a man shall trespass against the Lord, it's not only against Man, but against the Lord, against the rule of Justice that the Illustrated. 1. Lord hath so set for the maintaining of order and hu­mane Societie in the world: And then observe it further, if a man or woman commit a sin, that men commit, and do a trespass: you wil say, I do no other than all trades-men do, mark, saith the text, If a man or woman commit 2. any sin that men commit, as if the holy Ghost should say, I [Page 322] confess it is a sin that is ordinarie, but though it be or­dinarilie committed by men, though there should be con­fession of that sin, yet if there be not restitution, it will do you little good. I remember Latimer in one of his Sermons that he preach'd before King Edward, speaking Mr. Latimer of this verie point of Restitution, he saith that the first day that he preached about it there comes one and gives him twenty pounds to restore; the next time he preached there comes in another and brings thirtie pounds, and another time he preached and there comes another and gives him two hundred pounds, ten shillings, and he hath this homelie expression, Restore what you have gotten, else you will cough in Hell, and the Devils will laugh at you; His expressiō of non-resto­rers. Certainly it is that, that will lie heavie upon conscience; Gravel in the kidnies will not grate so upon you as a little guiltiness that is upon your consciences. I my self knew one man that had wronged another but of five shil­lings, and it seems he did not much regard it being but five shillings, yet God awakening his conscience fiftie yeers after he comes and could not be quiet till he had restor'd that five shillings. And therefore know, that though it be manie yeers since you have gotten any thing by deceipt and wrong, yet God will (if he hath a love to you) put you to restore it again. Oh! what foolish lusts are the lusts of covetousness, as the Apostle saith, Those that will be rich they fall into many foolish lusts; this sin of covetousness, and deceiptfulness it doth bring men into foolish lusts, and makes men pierce themselves with manie sorrows; and Oh! that God would pierce them with some sorrow this day, that they might never have one nights rest quiet, till at least they do resolve in their hearts that they will set upon a way to make Restituti­on.

And even those of you that have made false agreements with your creditors, if God awakens your consciences, I see not how you can satisfie your conscience till you sa­tisfie [Page 323] them, these things will not be peace another day.

Now the Lord convince those that hearing the Word of God are guilty, and know that God will call for an account of this thing, and of this text that through providence you have come to hear of this day.

VER. 8.

And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, &c.

IN the Verse before Ephraim is charged for being a Merchant, for having the Ballances of Deceipt in his hand, and Loving to oppress; but yet Ephraim saith, I am become rich. ‘Yet.’

The Particle here is [nevertheless,] as if they should say, Ve [...]tamen. Let the Prophet say what he will, let him enveigh a­gainst me as he pleaseth, I know not what he means by his Deceipt, and Oppression, I am sure I gain well by it, Yet I am become rich, I am sure I prosper in this way, and that's enough for me. ‘I have found me out substance.’

The Hebrew word that is here translated Substance, it labor, opes [...] vanitas, &c. signifies sometimes Iniquity, Labor, Violence, Rapine, Affli­ction, Riches, an Idol, and Substance; all these things this word signifies: for indeed most of them, if not all are u­sually joyned together with Riches, where men are wic­ked that do enjoy them. ‘I have found substance. [...]

The Greeks they have a word, Rest, Refreshing to my soul. [Page 324] They account the great refreshing and rest to their souls to be in the riches that they have gotten, however they get them. ‘I have found Substance.’

Those things that the Prophet tels us of, they are but Expos. Notions, Imaginations; but in what I have found there's Substance, to have an Estate, and Riches, and Comings-in, there's Substance, I have found substance.

First from this observe, Wicked men will have something Obs. 1. to say for themselves though their waies be never so foul. The Prophet charges them of very foul things, the Ballances of Deceipt, and loving to oppress, and other sins before were named. Yet Ephraim [saith] He hath somewhat to say: It's a very hard thing to stop the mouths of wicked men, and especially Rich wicked men; wicked men that prosper in their wicked waies, say what you wil you cannot stop their mouths: The work of Conversion is not so much as begun till the mouths of sinners be stopt, till they be so convinc'd of their evil waies as they have nothing to say for themselves.

Secondly, Men though very wicked and going on in very Obs. 2. sinful courses, yet they may prosper for a while. Ephraim said, I am become Rich.

It's true, sometimes God meets with wicked men and curses them in their way, that they have not their desire satisfied, but many times they have, they do become rich, they get their hearts desires: Job, 21. Psal. 73. with other places sufficient for this.

Thirdly, Wicked men in their prosperity and riches, what Obs. 3. they get, they attribute to themselves. I am become rich, and I have found substance, I have got: They do not look up to God, indeed they dare not; those that get by a sinful way, they dare not acknowledge God in it: and this is the evil of getting any thing in a way of sin, that a man cannot come to God and say, Lord, I bless thee that thou [Page 325] hast given me this; no, his Conscience would fly in his face▪ wicked men attribute all to themselves: This is a very wicked and vile thing, Deut. 6. 12. Beware, lest thou forget the Lord thy God, speaking of their having Houses, Deut. 6. 12. Interpreted and Lands, Beware, lest thou forget the Lord thy God, and only look at thy self, & atribute al to thy self, that's the meaning.

Then Fourthly, Carnal hearts they account outward things (Riches) to be the only substantial things. I have found Obs. 4. substance; they think there is no substance in other things; you speak of Spiritual things, of Communion with God, of Faith in Jesus Christ, and of the Promises, they are but poor dry things that have no substance in them; but tell me of Gain, and Comings-in, there's some savour there, there's substance there; For indeed there's nothing gives substance unto Spiritual things but Faith, in Heb. 11. 1. Faith is the evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for, Faith doth give a substance to spiritual things, a Beleever looks upon spiritual things as the most substantial, and looks on these outward things as ima­ginary; Carnal hearts think spiritual things imaginary, and an outward estate substantial; it's quite contra­ry in those that are spiritual, in the 8. of Proverbs, vers. 21. saith Wisdom there, That I might cause them that Prov. 8. 21. Noted. love me to inherit [...] substance, to inherit that, that is; as if there were nothing had a substance but only that which comes in by Wisdom, by Grace. We call rich men, sub­stantial men, such a man (we say) is a substantial man, for indeed all the substance that the world looks after, it is riches, they make account that's substance.

And then Fifthly, When carnal heats have got estates, Obs. 5. they much glory in what they have got. ‘I am become rich, and I inherit sustance.’

They make their boast in what they have got, they bless themselves in their way; in Zephan. 1. vers. 9. it is spoken of the verie servants of rich covetous men, that seek to get an estate but to their Masters, in a way either [Page 326] of violence, or of deceipt, They leap upon the threshold (the text saith) They triumph, and leap, and skip in their Zeph. 1. 9. Opened rejoycing that they have circumvenced others, that they have got such and such things to their Masters; much more then will the Masters themselves leap and rejoyce in the having their hearts desires fill'd: They glorie in it.

And then Sixthly, and that's especially to be obser­ved here, That carnal hearts that get estates in sinful waies, Obs. 6. they seek to relieve their consciences that are full of guilt, with the consideration of the outward comforts they do enjoy. The Pro­phet charges them with their sin, charges the guilt of their sin upon them. But we are rich say they, and we inherit substance. Wicked men will seek to relieve their consciences, their guiltie consciences, in the rejoycing in their riches, and in their estates, and in what they have got; in Isa. 57. 10. you have a Scripture somewhat su­table to this, Thou hast found the life of thine hand, therefore thou wast not grieved: It may be if a man goes on in an e­vil way and doth not prosper in it, if God crosses him in Isa. 57. 8. Interpreted. it, then he begins to bethink himself, Is not this a fin­ful way? doth not God oppose me in it? and then he be­gins to be griev'd; But if he can find the life of his hand go on, and he prosper and have what he desires, then he will not be griev'd, then his heart is hardened: Wic­ked men will set their riches and estates against all their guiltiness, and think it will countervail it. I beseech you consider this Note,

‘There is no more full and sure sign of a man of the world,’ of a worldlie man than this, That he can think to relieve his conscience in the guilt of the least sin, by the A sure sign of a carnal heart. enjoyment of all the things of the world that he can set the good of the things of the world against the guilt of sin, that he can put any thing in the world in the ballance to down weigh the least guilt of any sins; here is a worldly heart, here's a man of the world, a wretched heart, thou doest bless thy self in a great estate thou g [...] ­test, [Page 327] but hath there been no guilt at all that thou hast contracted by that estate which thou hast got, Thou canst not say but some guiltiness hath been contracted, yea, but this contents thee, there is so much gain comes by it, Oh! thou art a wretched man that canst set the gain in the world to the least guilt that thou hast contra­cted, Oh! it hath been an ill bargain, riches got by guilt, thou hast made (I say) an ill bargain for thy self, thou knowest not God, knowest not with whom thou hast to deal that canst set any gain by sin for to countervail the evil of that guilt that thou hast committed for the get­ting of that gain of thine.

And further, Wicked men labor to satisfie their con­sciences with the prosperitie they are in, and what they have got by their sin as they set it against their guilt, so in the Seventh place, They perswade themselves that God is Obs. 7. not, (at least) so much displeased with them as many would bear them in hand. Surely if my condition were so dangerous as you would perswade me to, I should not prosper so much in my way as I do, I should not get riches so as I do; upon this they begin to think that God is of their mind, as in Psal. 50. 21. Thou thoughtest I was like unto thy self: we find it by experience that when men are under affliction, when Gods hand is upon men then they be­gin to think that God doth not like of their waies; but when they go on and prosper they are readie to think that God approves of their waies, that they walk in. There's a notable storie concerning the Mother of Lum­bard, Gratian, and Comestor, [The first, the Master of the Sentences (as they call them.) The Second, the compiler of a great part of the Popes Law, the Decretal Epistles; the third, the Author of the Scholastical Historie, the best man and book of the three.] All famous men, and all The Mother of Gratian &c. three of them were Bastards; Now the Mother of them being a Whore, when she came to make her confession to the Priest, she could not acknowledg much evil in it, [Page 328] and she profest she could not find her heart griev'd or troubled much about it; (when the Priest urged her penance and repentance for it) because though it's true, that the thing was evil that she did, yet that she did pro­sper so wel, that they were three such eminent men of such great use as those were. Thus it's ordinarilie, men think that it may lessen the-greatness of their sin if they get any thing by it, if they prosper in their sinful way, there is no such cause of trouble and grief for it: The people they may laugh at me (saith a covetous man) but Populus me sibi­lat, at mihi plaudo ipse do­mi simul ac nu­mos contem­plor in Arca. I applaud my self at home, when I behold the money in the Chest, so long as I see comings-in, let men talk what they will, I cannot beleeve that things are so bad as they report, that God is so much against me, but I hope God loves me. These are the reasonings of a carnal heart, and all because he prospers in his sin. I remember it's reported of Dionisius that when he had committed Sa­criledg, and had a good voyage after it, saith he, See Videtis quàm bona navigatio, ab ipsis dijs, sa­criligis tribua­tur. Val. Ma­ximus, lib. 1. cap. 2. what a good Navigation the Gods hath granted me; you tell me of Sacriledg, but I am sure I have had a good Voyage after it. Oh! these are Heathenish reasonings, and yet I fear they are not altogether rooted out of such as profess themselves Christians. You that have good Voiages abroad (observe it) it may be if you meet with an ill Voiage, then you begin to recollect your self, What sin have I been guiltie of? but now, if you have a good Voiage, though you have contracted much guilti­ness upon your spirits while you were at Land, yet pro­spering in your Voiage, you never think of anie danger, but all is well because you have a good Voiage. Oh no, a good Voiage is no sign that there is not guiltiness: As sometimes I have told you, that a painted face is no sign of a good complexion; it may be it is the Curse of God upon thee that doth let thee so to prosper, and if God had anie love unto thee he would not let thee to prosper so as he doth, he would cross thee in thy waies that so [Page 229] thou mightest bethink thy self, There's another man perhaps that was as wicked as thou, and yet the Lord had a love to him, and he crost him in his waies, so that he hath begun to bethink himself, and not to be at rest till he gets the guilt of his sin done away; but for thee, Gods heart it seems is not yet towards thee, he hath no love to thee; and if he lets thee go on and still prosper in a sinful way, this is from the fruit of Reprobation; and certainlie there cannot be scarce a greater note of a Re­probate than for a man to prosper in a sinful way: This A dangerous Note of Re­probation. is that we should all pray to God to deliver us from, Lord, let us never prosper in a sinful way, if thou feest our way be naught, that we contract guiltiness upon our spirits in our way, Lord, let us not thrive and pro­sper; if we do, a thousand to one but we are undone for ever. ‘He said he was rich, and he had found substance. Text.

So he put off all that the Prophte spake. I remember in Luke, 12. when Christ was preaching to the Pharisees, the text saith, Those that were rich derided him; rich cove­tous men they slight any thing that is said against them, for they have where withal, they think to relieve their consciences against all their guilt; Well, though thou maiest think to relieve thy conscience for the present, it will not alwaies be so, there is a time that conscience will speak, and will not be put off with those conceits that now thou puttest it off withal, The Saints they beleeve the The differ­ence between a godly and a carnal heart. Ward against sence, and carnal hearts beleeve sence against the Word; here's the difference between a Godly man, and a wicked; I say, one that's Godlie, and hath Faith, he be­leeves the Word against sence; let me go on in a way that I know is Gods way, though I do not prosper, yet I have peace in it, I do not repent me of it; but a wicked man, he will beleeve sence against the Word, let the [Page 330] Word say, my way is never so dangerous, yet if I have experience by sence, that I prosper in it, that shall suffice me, Yet I am rich, and have got substance. ‘—In all my labors they shall find no iniquity in me, that were sin. Text.

In all my labors] That is, In all that I get by my la­bors.

They shall not find in me that that is sin] That is, Let them Expos. 1. search they shal not find in me that that is; No, as if they should say, Labhor what you say, To oppress, cheat, and cozen, Who can prove it? let any man prove it if he can, that I do cheat, or get any thing in a false way, let any 2. man dare to come and say it; Is there any Law that can take hold of me? They shall not find iniquity in me; though there be some little matter, yet there's not any 3. great matter, not any thing that the Law of the Land can 4. take hold of me; and if my way be such as no man can take advantage against me by the Law, why should I be thus condemned and cried out of as I am. That's the meaning of these words, ‘In all my labors.’

From thence the First Note is this, That evil things many times have good names. The truth is, That which is meant Obs. 1. here, is that which they had got by Oppression and De­ceipt, and they call it by the name of their Labors: so Covetousness is call'd by the name of good-husbandry, and following their Callings, and the Art and Mystery of their Callings; Many men think to put off their con­sciences with good words, It's but the Art of my Cal­ling, and good-husbandry, and the like, in all my labors. Further, observe;

It's very hard to convince any covetous men of their iniquity, Obs. 2. Rich, covetous men are much conceipred in themselves; in Prov. 28. 11. The rich man is wise in his own conceipt. You [Page 331] shall sometimes see a men that gets riches, and as we say of some when we look upon their wit, we wonder at their wealth; and others when we look upon their wealth, we wonder at their wit to get an estate, they have wit only to get money, but for any thing else they are ignorant, poor, weak men, especially in matters of Religion, as weak as children, and yet they are wise in their own conceipts, for they have got that that they see all the world runs after: It's very hard to convince covetous men of their falsness, that they get any thing in a sinful way.

Again, There is no fin that is more hard to convince Covetousness hard to be convinc'd. a man of than the sin of Covetousness; and yet the Apo­stle speaks in 1 Cor. 5. 11. That it's a sin for which a man is to be cast out of the Church. When almost did you ever hear of a covetous man convinc'd? What example can you almost ever bring of one that hath been covetous, and rich, and got his estate in a false way, that shal come and give glory to God, and acknowledg his sin, and cast up his sweet morsels again? Covetousness it is a befor­ting sin, it is a blinding sin; Who shall find any iniqui­ty in me? what do I do but that I may?

Then Thirdly, That covetous men, as it's hard to con­vince Obs. 3. them, so they do not love to be charged with their sin: For so according to some it is, Who dares charge me? It is a very dangerous thing to charge a rich man of any evil, for he hath his Purse by his side, and can tell how to re­venge himself upon you.

Yea, Fourthly, Men notoriously guilty, may yet in words Obs. 4. at least profess what they are guilty of, to be an abominable thing. Who shall find iniquity in me, that were sin? If I should be false that were a very horrible and vile thing. Come to all trades-men one after another, and tel them of chea­ting, and cozening, and deceiving; they will scorn your words, it were a wicked thing, one were unworthy to live: How often Trades men when they have a mind to [Page 332] cheat, will profess, That if they should cozen and cheat, they were unworthy to trade any more? Oh! what cau­terized Consciences have many men that give up them­selves to gain, that make all their Godliness to consist in gain, that make Mamon their God, that will go so di­rectly against their consciences. Luther renders it, God Absit ut depre­hendar scelera­tus in meis fa­ctus. Luth [...] l. forbid that I should be found wicked in my actions. Oh! ma­nie that have much guiliness upon them, will clap their hands upon their breasts, and when you charge them, you have cheated and cozened us, Oh! God forbid that I should do so; and yet their consciences will tell them that they have done so, and will be ready to take their oaths, and swear, and use such curses that they ne­ver did such a thing, or never had such a thing; and when their Books are false, wil sware that they are true.

Again, If wicked men cannot be accused by other men, then Obs. 5. they care not. If they can carry it so closely that men shall not see it, then they bless themselves, all is well and fair, if they have cunningly contrived their wickedness that men cannot charge them, Who shall find iniquity in me, that were sin? Well though you think your selves wel enough because men cannot accuse you and find out your sin, yet God can find it out, Deut. 32. 33. be sure your iniquitie will find you out, God hath his time to find out iniquitie, that will be sin to you, and there is much between God and your consciences, though men cannot charge you. Oh! but if so be, that God would but dis­cover unto the world, unto all your neighbors what he is able to charge you of, how loathsom would many of you appear to your neighbors! how unfit would you be to trade with men, or who would meddle with you! if (I say) God should open to the world all that he is a­ble to charge you of. Now certainly your condition is not the better because it is kept so secretly that men can­not charge you, but perhaps it would be better if they could, for it might bring you sooner to be humbled for [Page 333] it; you think now because you have only to deal with God you can do well enough with him: Do you think it such a matter to deal with the infinite, holy, and glo­rious God! Indeed Servants would be troubled if their Masters should know their deceipt and cozening; but if a little child knew it they care not for that; so men Simile. think it is no matter for the knowledge of God, but they are loth that men should know it, that will bring shame and disgrace unto them; Oh! carnal, wicked, Athiesti­cal heart that canst not be satisfied if men know the evil, but can be satisfied well enough though God knows it!

A Sixth Note is, A carnal heart lessens his sins that he Obs. 6. commits.

Indeed the words may carry it, Who shall find iniqui­ty in me? If they could find it I would acknowledg it to be a great sin. But I rather take it thus; Who shall find iniqui­ty in me that were any great matter? Both these waies I find Interpreters carry it. It is but a little over-reaching, a little craft and cunning, the matter is not great. Well, that which thou accountest little, the Lord will account great another day, the over reaching thy brother, the defrauding thy borther, though it be but a slight of hand, God will find it to be a great matter one day, if God were but humbling thy heart, and doing good to thy soul, Thou wouldest rather aggravate thy sin, that's in▪ the way of a true Convert, he labors rather to aggravate A true Convert his sin, to bring all the circumstances he can to make his sin heavie upon his soul: Oh! I find I cannot get my heart to break for my sin, I cannot apprehend the evil of my sin as I would in the greatness of it, and therefore, Oh! that God would help me to see the greatness of it; he studies all the circumstances that he can to make his sin great in his own eyes: but now a heart that is not wrought upon to a work of Repentance, all that he la­bors for, it is to lessen his sin, and to have all the reaso­nings [Page 334] that he can in a way of deminution of his sin; Oh! this is an ill sign.

It is a very ill sign, That a man stands it out as long as he Ill signs. can. 2. When he can stand out no longer, than he falls a les­sening; 1. 2. It is no more than others do, and how should I maintain my family? and I hope men may make the best of what they have? Oh! If the Lord once shew thee the evil of sin, all these reasonings will vanish before thee, and thou wilt fall down and humble thy self be­fore God as one worthy for ever to be cast out from the presence of God: for in this that thou darest not trust in him, thou seekest to Hell to provide for thy self and fa­mily, rather than thou wilt depend upon God.

And then the last Note is this, That if men can but scape the danger of Law, that they cannot be sued, there's all that Obs. 7. they care for. Who shall find iniquity in me, that were sin? That is, by the Law: Oh how many are there that you may easily convince them that they have been very false, you speak to their consciences, yea, but what's that? can you take your advantage? Take your advantage if you can, say they: Now if it were not for Atheism in mens hearts it would be the greatest advantage of all, that a man is able to charge his conscience: What witness have you for such a thing? I have your conscience, Oh they are glad of that, if they hear that you have no other witness, then they think they can do well enough: Now that's an argument of Atheism in mens hearts, that they think they are well enough whatsoever they do, when Law cannot take hold on them. Well, there is a Court of Conscience to sue thee in, and Justice will sue thee in that Court, and cast thee one day, though mans Law cannot. It follows;

VER. 9.

And I that am the Lord thy God from the Land of Egypt, will yet make thee to dwell in Tabernacles, as in the daies of the solemn feast.

THe dependance is this: You say you are grown rich by those sinful waies of yours; I am grown rich, I Cohaerance. have found substance: You think now you have no need of me, you have found substance other waies, and I am forgotten by you; but you should remember that I am the Lord your God, and that God that brought you out from the Land of Egypt; there was a time when you had need of me, there was a time when you knew not what to do without my help, when you were in great afflicti­on, then I delivered you with a mighty hand, you should remember those old mercies of mine; Oh! but you are ungrateful, you do not think what I have done for you in bringing you out of the Land of Egypt; If I be the same God still, why might not you live upon me, and receive as much good from me, as others? You wil go and seek to shift for your selves by false waies, and forsake me, A [...] not I the Lord? that God that brought you out of the Land of Egypt, Have not I by what I have done for you shown plainly to you that you might aswel provide for your selves by me, as by any other God, by my waies aswel as by any other waies that you take? Can any God work for you so as I have done? Is there that good to be got in those waies of sin as there is in mine? I am the Lord thy God from the Land of Egypt; not only at that time, de­livering of you, but ever since, providing for you, gra­clously preserving of you, doing you good many waies, from the time that I have been a God to you, and yet you do thus wretchedly forsake me; In all your straits I have helped you, in all your necessities I have supplied you, in all your difficulties I have relieved you, in all [Page 336] your distresses I have delivered you, in all you burdens I have eased you, everie way of my providence hath been gracious to you, from the verie time of your coming out of the Land of Egypt, how did I provide for you in the wilderness after by Judges, raising you up Kings? And I am the Lord thy God from the Land of Egypt. The Observation is,

First, When men prosper in a sinful way they forget what God hath done for them in former times. As if he should say, Obs. 1. You do not remember that I am the Lord thy God from the Land of Egypt; Now you are frolick and merrie, and have your hearts desires; but remember there was a time when you were low enough, and cried and made your moan to me in your affliction, Oh! remember those daies. Oh! how ordinarie is it for us in our pro­speritie to forget Gods mercies in delivering of us, from Affliction? We have been low enough not long since, Applied to England. but the Lord hath in great measure delivered us from our Egypt, and presently assoon as God hath delivered us, everie man begins to think of enriching themselves and are plotting for estates, presentlie (I say) we have forgot­ten our sad condition, the time of our mourning, our praying, Oh what disposition is there in our hearts now contrarie to what seem'd to be a while ago? when we were under sore and sad afflictions, New sins that we commit doth as it were occasion God to remember afresh his mercies that he hath done for us.

The Second Note is this, When you walk unthankfully it doth occasion the fresh remembrance of Gods mercy to you; God Obs. 2. looks upon such a people that walk so vilie, What, are these the people that I have done such things for? it's as fresh in Gods memorie▪ (to speak after the manner of men) what he hath done for us.

And if we could have what God hath done for us a­fresh Use. in our minds upon the commission of new sins, it would be a mightie means to humble us.

[Page 337] And the next is, Old mercies are great engagements to du­ty, Obs. 3. and great aggravations of our sin or neglect of duty: But we have had occasion to speak of these things for merlie. It follows; ‘And I will yet make thee to dwell in Taberna­cles.’

By way of Interogation some reade it thus, What shall I the Lord that brought thee out of the Land of Egypt Expos. 1. make thee to dwell in Tabernacles? Shall I yet continue my wonted love to you as to make you to keep your Feast of Tabernacles still with joy as you were wont to do yeer­ly? shall I do thus saith God?

Or as Calvin hath it: (and it's a peculier interpreta­tion 2. Calvin. that he hath, different from all) it's as if God should say thus, It is a wonderful thing that you should be so forgetful of my great mercie, in bringing of you out of Egypt, it is so out of your minds that I had need work over that deliverance again; What, shall I cast you out of your houses, and bring you into captivity again, and then deliver you again, and bring you into the wilder­ness to dwell in Tabernacles again? shall I go over my work again? It is so much gone out of your minds and hearts, as I had need to quicken up your spirits to go all over it again; this is Calvins Interpretation upon this place; and he commonlie hits as right as any: And this Interpretation may be of verie good use to us thus,

Let us consider our selves, that if all Gods merciful Applic. to England. dealings towards us were to begin again, if we were to go through all those straits, and fears, and sorrows that we have passed through, our hearts would shake with­in us: as a Marriner that hath past through dange­rous Seas, Oh he thinks if I were to pass over these again, it would be hard and grievous: Now let us consider of this, if God should but put us into the same condition [Page 338] that we were in seven yeers ago, and say, you shall pass through all those straights that you have been in▪ and you shall come into the same condition that you have been in, it would be very sad to us to think of, it would make our hearts quake to think of it; I verily beleeve there's scarce any of you who have been any way obser­vant of the providence of God towards you, but would be very loth to venture all again, would be loth that God should be to go over with you in all those provi­dences; and yet God is the same God still, and may do it, yea, but flesh and blood would shake at it; now do not show your selves so unworthy of Gods gracious dea­lings with you, as to put him to it to bring you into straits again, to renew what he hath done unto you. Thus he.

Many carrie the words in a meer threatning way, and no otherwise. I did indeed bring you from the Land of Egypt, but I'le bring you into Tabernacles again, as if God should say, I'le cast you out of your brave stately Pallaces, your City and Country Houses, and you shall come into the wilderness again, and dwell in Tents and Tabernacles. Thus many.

But rather I think the scope and meaning of the words, is a consolatory Promise, whereby the holie Ghost in­vites 3. The Authors Exposition. them here to-Repentance, as if God should say thus, Though you have indeed deserved to be cast out of your dwellings, you have deserved to be brought into Tents and Tabernacles in the Wildernes again, yet I remem­ber my ancient goodness towards you, and my Cove­nant with your Father Abraham, I am the same God that brought you out of the Land of Egypt, and therefore re­turn and repent, and I'le be with you in as much mercy as ever I was, what ever the breaches have been for time past, I'le be as gracious to you as ever I was; as you have celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles with abundance of rejoycing, so I'le continue this your prosperous e­state, [Page 339] you shall from yeer to yeer have cause to rejoyce, hav [...] [...]ause to rejoyce in the Feast of Tabernacles: For this Feast of Tabernacles it was the principal Feast of their rejoycing that they had, and therefore all their Feasts were Feast of rejoycing, in Lament. 2. 7. They have made a noise in the House of the Lord, as in the day of a solemn Feast. There was Triumph and Joy in their solemn Feasts. But now this Feast of Tabernacles was a special Feast of rejoycing, and that you have in Deut. 23. 40 Feast of Ta­bernacles. there they are commanded to rejoyce in this Feast, for it was after the gathering in of their Corn, and Wine, in Deut. 16. 13, 14. there you shall see further, and in the end of the 15, verse, Thou shalt surely rejoyce, it is not only you may, but a Command, look to it that you do rejoyce in this Feast of Tabernacles, so that the Feast of Taber­nacles was a very joyful Feast. Now saith God, I am the Lord thy God from the Land of Egypt, and I will yet make thee rejoyce, as in the Feast of Tabernacles. From hence we have these Notes.

First, God loves to give hopes of mercy to sinners upon their Obs. 1. repentance; God loves to draw the hearts of wretched, vile sinners, by giving them hopes of mercie upon their repentance; so you have it in 1 Sam. 12. 21, 22. there they confest their sin, and their special sin, in asking a King above all; but saith Samuel, Though you have sinned, yet do not depart from the Lord, Yet there is hope in Israel concerning this thing, as in Ezra, 10. God sees that if there be not hope, men will grow desperate in their wickedness; Jer. 2. 25. They said there was no hope, and therefore they would go on still. Oh! it's good for sin­ners to see there may be hope.

And Gods Ministers when they have to deal with sin­ners, though very wicked, yet to give them some line of Ministers duty. hope to catch at; though they be even drown'd in their Covetousness in the world, and in their guiltiness, yet to cast a line of hope; there is nothing reveal'd to the [Page 340] contrary but there may yet be possibility for thy sonl at length to be saved. Oh! let men take heed of dispa [...]g, determining conclusions against themselves.

It's not the greatness of any sin that can be ground enough for a desperate determining conclusion; for any man or woman Note. to say, God wil never shew mercy, I say, there's no great­ness of sin, there's no circumstances to aggravate, that can be ground enough for thee to say, God will never shew mercy; it is a proud, sullen, desperate spirit of thine to make such conclusions; thou maiest indeed, and thou oughtest to say, It were just with God not to shew mer­cie, the Lord might justly cast me out of his sight, but to A sinners duty. say, That he will not shew mercie, it's more than thou, or any Angel in Heaven can say, & therfore, O wretched sin­ful guilty Consciences, and especially you that have been Apostats, that have forsaken God and his Truths, yet re­turn, return, O return thou Shulamite, thou maiest pos­sibly Apostats. find God as merciful to thee as ever he was, there's hope of mercy for thee still, and if thou doest perish eter­nally it will rather be for some sin to come, than for any past; If God let thee live, if God let thee live to night, I say, thou wilt rather perish for the sins cōmitted this mo­ment, Note in special. than for all the sins committed in all thy life time before.

But now for thy continuance in Impenitency, that's a new sin, for thy continuing in rejecting the Grace of God, for thy continuing in thy unbeleef, this indeed may cause God to bring over again all thy former sins, and reckon for them. Oh! this Consideration might draw the hearts of the wretchedest wicked sinner to God.

Is it so, that it is not for any sins that have been past that I am like to perish, but if I perish, I shall perish for continuing rather in evil, than for what evil I have com­mitted, Oh! the Lord forbid then that I should conti­nue, let me this day make a stop in evil. The Lord would have hopes of mercie cast to wicked and vile sinners.

[Page 341] And let us be merciful, as our Heavenly Father is merciful Use to per­sons offended by others. That is, Let servants and children that have offended you, let them see, that upon their returning they shall find as much favor from you, as ever they did; some­times Governors when they are provok'd, behave them­selves so ridgedly towards them that it makes them even desperate: God deals not so with you, do not you deal so with your inferiors.

And as God shews himself not to be changed, but wil be the same towards this people as ever he was in good­ness; and so it beseems us to be, that if we have shewn respect anie way to other, either in speeches or otherwise, if they appear to be what they were, it beseems us to be towards them as then, let them but appear to be what they were when such respect were shown to them, and according to the example of God it beseems us to shew our selves to them again, and again, to what we then did. I that am the Lord thy God from the Land of Egypt, will yet make thee to dwell in Tabernacles.

That's another Note, The Consideration of what God hath Obs. 2. done, should help our faith in beleeving what yet he will do; he that hath delivered us thus far, may he not deliver us further? I am the Lord that hath delivered you from E­gypt; Oh! let us make use of what God hath done for us to help our faith in confidence of him for doing fur­ther; The truth is, God hath done so much for England, Applied to England. as there is not more to be done than hath been done, and if there be but as much of the Power, Goodness, and Mercie of God towards us for the next five or six yeers' as hath been for these last six years, ecrtainly it will be as glorious a Nation as ever was upon the face of the earth, it will be the beginning of the new Jerusalem, if God should continue so as he hath done. And why may not the Lord that hath brought us out of Egypt, bring us to rejoyce as in the feast of Tabernacles?

And so Spiritually; God who at first did enlighten Applied spi­ritually. [Page 342] thy mind, & brought thee from Egyptian darkness, Certain­ly that God he is able to do as great things for thee still, and to finish the work for thee. How many are there that though they have found Gods mighty hand upon them in giving a turn to their hearts, and bringing them out of the gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquitie, and yet at any time when they feel but their corruptions a little stirring, Oh they are readie to think that they shall perish one day by the hand of those corruptions? When we were enemies, were we not reconcil'd to him? God hath struck the deadly wound to it, he hath morti­fied thee, and the truth is, (consider but of this) I say there is not more to be done to bring thee to Heaven (thou that hast the least degree of Grace) than God hath alrea­die done; by giving thee the least measure of grace he hath made a greater alteration in thy estate, from one that is in an estate of nature, than the alteration will be from thy Conversion to the height of glorie, that altera­tion wil not be so much, neither will it require such a great Power of God to make thee a glorious Saint in Hea­ven, as it did require to make thee of one that was a child of wrath to be a child of God, thou hast the better half, and the most eminent power of God is put forth alreadie; for our change from Grace to Glorie will be but gradual, but our change from Nature to Grace, it is Total; and therefore let thy faith be helped from what God hath done, to beleeve what he will do. ‘—I will yet make thee to dwell in Taberna­cles. Text.

Divers Learned men carrie this, I will yet make thee to dwell in Tabernacles, to be a Promise of their return from cap­tivity, Albertus and others. that they must again in the Land of Jewry keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

I confess were this a Promise to Judah I should think [Page 343] it to be the meaning of it, but because it is to Israel who never returned, I shall follow those that think it hath reference to the times of the Gospel, and to all the true Israel of God that should be converted to the faith, and I think it hath reference to that, because we find so often in this Prophesie of Hosea things that are so far off to be interpreted to the times of the Gospel.

Therefore I will yet make them to dwell in Tabernacles, Thus to be understood in this Spiritual Sense, That the Lord hath his time, though he seem'd to cast off these ten Tribes, yet to bring the Jews and all the Israel of God, to bring them into his Church, and to build several Ta­bernacles for them in his Church: And there in several Churches as so many several Tabernacles there they shal have the feast of sweet things, of fat things, of refined Wine upon the Lees, as in Isa. 25. the Promises of the Gospel are set out by a feast of fat things; so saith God, I'le bring thee into several Churches, as several Tabernacles, and there shall they keep a feast, and there shall their hearts rejoyce and be satisfied as with marrow, and fat­ness.

My Brethren, the Lord hath delivered us in great mea­sure from Egypt all the difficultie now is about building Reformation in England. of Tabernacles; for the present there's verie little mat­ter to make Tabernacles of amongst us. I remember Mr Ainsworth in Exod 25. 3. he tells of a Tradition of Ainsworth. the Jews, and cites Rabbi Menachem for it, that observed there was no Iron stuff for the building of the Tabernacle: truly our hearts are most Iron, and hard one towards a­nother, and therefore notfit matter for Tabernacles, in 1 King. 6. 7. There was no Iron tool neither heard in the building of the Temple. Oh! my brethren, Iron tools will not do the work for the building of Gods Taberna­cle, we must have other manner of tools than these, A Note for the Congre­gational and Presbyterian Churches. There's no Tabernacles almost yet, wherein the Saints either of one judgment, or of another, have much rejoycing. The Glo­ry [Page 344] of God hath not yet filled our Tabernacles that we have built, what God intends towards this Generation, whether ever to bring them into those Tabernacles that here he promises, I know not, but surely that God that hath brought us out of Egypt, he will bring either us, or the posteritie after us, he will bring a Generation of his people to keep the feast of Tabernacles with rejoycing. It follows;

VER. 10.

I have also spoken by the Prophets, and I have multiplied visions, &c.

THis is a further Declaration of Gods goodness to this people, and upbraiding them for their wicked­ness, Expos. they have had so much means; as if God should say, They have not wanted the revealing of my Will, I have spoken by my Prophets, and multiplied visions: Heb. 1. 1. seems to have reference to this, That God at sundry [...]. times, and in divers manners spake in time past to the Fathers, by the Prophets; several sorts of waies God reveal'd him­self in former times. ‘I have spoken by my Prophets.’

There is not much difficulty in the words. The Notes briefly are these,

That it's God that speaks by his Prophets; Though Pro­phets are mean, and the messengers of God mean, yet so Obs. 1. long as they speak to you in his Name, the Authoritie of what they say it is above any; They may be under their Auditors many waies, but the message they bring it is above them; though they are weak, yet there's the po­wer of God goes along with what they speak, to make it good; and therefore you shall find when Christ sent his Disciples to preach, Go (saith he) and teach all Nati­ons; [Page 345] but first he saith, All power is given to me in Heaven Matt. 28. 18, 19. observed. and Earth, then the words that follow are, Go ye therfore and teach all Nations; as if he should say, All the power that is given to me shall go along with your teaching; it is the Lord that speaks, the Lord Christ that speaks in his Word by his Messengers; He that hears you, hears me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me.

The Word doth little good til men come to apprehend Note. this, That it's God that speaks by his Messengers, 1 Thess. 2. 13. the Apostle saith, That they received the Word, not as the word of Men, but (as it is in truth) the Word of God. That is observable of Samuel, God called to Samuel, and Samuel thought it had been Eli that spake, and all that time God would not reveal his mind to him, til at length Sa­muel gives this answer, Lord, speak, for thy servant heareth. Mark, God would reveal his mind to Samuel then, and not before: So 'tis here, You come to the Word, and you come to hear the gifts of such men, and such a man hath Why men profit no more by the Ministry. excellent gifts, and abilities, and delivery, and such kind of things; God reveals nothing to you, you go away and hear a sound, and there's all, and no more is revea­led to you than if you heard an Oration in a School; but when God shall be pleased to dart this thought into your minds, I am now going to hear that which is the Word of God Himself, the Word of that God that is my How to pro­fit better. Judg, and that must be my Judg at the great day; now see whether God will not make himself known to you, that so you shal say, Methinks I never heard Sermon be­fore in all my life, I have come and heard a Man preach, but I never heard God preach before, It was not as the Word of God, but as the word of such a man. God ex­pects that men should tremble at his Word, and therefore look upon it as his Word.

Secondly, It is a great mercy to a People, for God to grant Obs. 2. his Prophets among them to reveal his mind to them. What [Page 346] would all the world be but as a dungeon of darkness, were it not for the Prophets and Ministers of God [...]ey are as the Light of the World, and the Salt of the Earth, the World would rot and be unsavorie were it not for Matth. 5. 13. the Ministry of the Word in the World; and so we find that when God-would make a special Promise to his Peo­ple, he promises them, that they shall have their Teachers, in Isa. 30. 20. And though the Lord give you the bread of ad­versity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy Teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy Tea­chers; Oh! here's a promise to a gracious heart. But to another it's nothing, What, Shall the Ministry of the Isa. 30. 20. Noted. Word countervail the loss of my estate? God doth not say, I'le take away from you your afflictions, Oh no, but your eyes shall see your Teachers; perhaps your eyes shall ne­ver see your Money, and Estates again, but your eyes shall see your Teachers. And we know when Christ was ascen­ded up on high, in his Coronation Day; Kings in their Coronation daies use to give great Gifts to shew their magnificence, then the Conduits will run Wine some­times. Now when Christ ascended up to be crowned on high, What was the great thing that he gave in the world? He gave gifts to men, Some to be Prophets and Apo­stles, With Eph. 4. 8, 9, 10, 11. and some Pastors and Teachers, that's the great gift of Jesus Christ upon his Ascention into Heaven and taking the Crown of Glorie, as if Christ should say: Shall I give a magnificent gift to the world like a Prince, like the King of Heaven? I'le give gifts to men, I'le give them The Ministry a magnificent gift. Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, that's the great magnificent gift that Jesus Christ hath given to the world, Oh! that we could learn to prize it. I remem­ber I have read in Chrysostoms time, that the godlie men when he was silenc'd, they were so affected with it, that they had rather the Sun did withdraw his beams and not shine in the world, than that the mouth of Jo. Chrysostem Chrysostom how esteemd in his Mini­stry. should be stopt; They did so prize the Word of God by [Page 347] his mouth. Oh that men could learn to prize it more, at a higher rate. And you that are Citizens, shew your prizing of it in this one thing, Many of you here have your City, and your Country Houses, But what little In choice of our habitati­ons we shold have respect to a good Ministry. care is there for men to seat themselves in places where they shall have faithful Ministers of God to reveal the mind of God to them? If they come to seat themselves a­ny where, they scarce take it into consideration to give a peny the more, because of a faithful Minister, or a pe­ny the less if it hath none; Oh! this shews the extream neglect of God, and of his Ordinances. How few Coun­try Villages about the City were supplied with faithful Preachers? It's a great blessing of God to the world to have faithful Prophets.

Thirdly, God will take account of what becomes of the Obs. 3. Word, Labor and Pains of his Prophets; for so he speaks in a way of upbraiding of them, God will take account of all the Spirits that his Ministers spend, of every drop of their sweat, and of all their watchings in the night, I sent my Prophets rising early, and going to bed late, God will take account of all, and you shall know that there hath been a Prophet among you, the Ministers shall be brought out to say and testifie: Lord, I was in such a place, and I re­veal'd thy mind thus and thus unto them in these and these waies, that they could not but be convinc'd of, and yet still they continued thus and thus wicked.

Fourthly, It is a great mercy for God to declare his mind to Obs. 4. men again and again; I have multiplied visions, saith God: It were a mercie for God but once to tell us of his mind, and if we will not come in at first, for ever to cast us off; but I have multiplied visions, in Jer. 18. At what instant I shall speak &c. God may justly expect that at what in­stant Christ is preached, that people should come in, for indeed their Commission seems to run very quick, Go, and teach all Nations: he that beleeves, shall be saved; he that beleeveth not, shall be damned. As if Christ should say, [Page 348] There shall be quick work made with men; but yet the Lord is gracious to men, to multiply visions one after another, to reveal his mind at one time, and at another time, the Lord is long-suffering: though our hearts be not mov'd at one time, yet still he would try, and he would have his Ministers to do so too, 2 Tim. 2. 25. In­struct with meekness those that oppose themselves, if God per ad­venture will give them repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth. It was a great aggravation of Solomons sin, that he departed from God, after the Lord had appeared to him twice, 1 King. 11. 9. Oh! God took this ill, I have appeared twice to him, and yet he departed from me.

Oh! how may God upbraid us with this thing, that Use. not twice, but twenty, yea, an hundred times God hath appeared to us, we have had even the Visions of the Almighty, some of you at least; May not your Consci­ences tell you, that at such and such a time you have had the Visions of the Almighty, and yet you have stood out against them, yea, and at another time, and another time? Oh my brethren, the multiplying of Visions is a great aggravation of our sin in standing out: It was the com­fort of Paul at his Conversion, in Act. 26. 19. saith he, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly Vision. Oh how happie were it for you if upon the first vision your hearts would come in! Oh that you could but say so! Though it's true, I lived at such a time, in such a place in ignorance and darkness, I knew little of God, but the first time I came to hear the Word, wherein the Mysteries of the Gospel were reveal'd, I bless God my heart came off then; so the Aposile he blesses God for the effect that the Word had upon the Thessalonians from the first day, even until that time. I multiplied visions. And then it follows; [Page 349] I used Similitudes.’

Now for that I will not trouble you with divers rea­dings, or divers interpretations of those words, I used si­militudes, Expos. It is a very strange expression, (we have it not that I know of in the Book of God, but here) to shew Exponit Deut in verbo simili­tudinem sui hoc est, pingit vo­luntatem suam Luth. in loc. Obs. 1. the aggravations of mens sins that they hearkened not to the Word, though the Word was brought to them in way of similitude.

You may see here, That the Lord takes account of the man­ner of mens preaching, as well as the things they preach; and men may have their sins aggravated, not only for stan­ding out against the Word, but against the Word so and so delivered. The main necessary Truths of God are made known to you all, yea, but some of you, have them made known to you in a more sweet, woing, and Effectual preaching. winning way, and a more convincing way than others have, and God takes account, not only of the things you hear, but of the manner of it.

And Secondly, The revealing the Word by similitudes is Obs. 2. a very useful and profitable way; for it makes much for the setling of Truth, and the making Truth go to a mans heart before he is aware, the Truth conveyed in a way of similitude takes impression upon the memory; some­times speak a Truth, and express it in the way of a Simi­le, and many will go away and remembring the Simile, so come to remember the Truth. I remember it's repor­ted of that Noble Marques, Marques Galeacias that had a great Estate, and was of Kin to the Pope, and yet co­ming upon a time but to hear Peter Martyr preach, and upon a meer Simile that he had, God stroke his heart, Pet. Martyr on John, 20. See the Life of Galeaci [...]n. and it was the means of his Conversion, the Simile was thus: Peter Martyr was preaching, and he had occasion to speak of this, Men may think very hardly of God, and his People, but this is because they do not know him; as [Page 350] suppose a man a great way off sees a companie of excel­lent Musicians that are dancing, and there they are pla­ying, and there's exact art in what they do, but he thinks they are a company of mad men, but (saith he) when he comes to draw neerer and neerer to them, and hears the melodious sound, and observes the art that they use, then he is much taken and affected: And so it is with you, you are a great way off, and look upon the Waies of God a great way off, and so you think men mad, but could you but come to observe what excellencie there is in them, it would take your hearts, God blest such a Si­militude as this to that great mans heart, so that though his Wife and Children lay sprauling at his feet, yet he came to Geneva and there continued a godly man all his What Simili­tudes should be used, and how. daies.

But now Similies should be brought from things known. 1.

And we must not urge Similies too far neither, we must 2. take heed of a Luxuriant, wanton wit in urging of Simili­tudes.

And they must be very natural and plain, and proper, or else there will appear rather men in them than God. 3.

And because of this expression here, learn you not to slight Obs. 3. the Word when it comes by a Simile. You will say, This is but a Simile: but though it be, yet God is speaking to thy heart in it.

And above al wth which I must conclude, Take heed when Obs. 4. you come to the Word, and it may be you come to the Word where you hear excellent Similies, Take heed that you do not rest in the pleasantness of the Simile. As many men, they come to the Word to have their fancies touch'd, and pleas'd, [...] more than any thing else; do not play with Similies, look ra­ther at what you can see of God in a Simile, than of what wit of man you see in them. And thus much for this Tenth Verse.

VER. 11.

Is there iniquitie in Gilead? Surely they are vanity; they sacrifice Bullocks in Gilgal, yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields.

WHat Gilead was you have formerly heard in the sixth Chapter, and eight Verse. Gilead is a Ci­ty Gilead. of them that work iniquitie; it was a City of the Priests, beyond Jordan, where the Priests that were be­yond the River liv'd. Sometimes it's taken for the Mount Gilead where Jacob and Laban met and made a Covenant one with another; here neither is excluded. But most I find refer it to the Citie of the Priests. And what Gilgal was you had opened to you in the Ninth Chap. Fifteen Vers. All their wickedness is in Gilgal. Now Gilgal. Gilgal was the place where they were circumcised on this side Jordan, and belong'd to Judah; Gilead belong'd to Israel, and Gilgal to Judah. ‘Is there iniquity in Gilead? Surely they are vanity, they sacrifice Bullocks in Gilgal.

They sacrifice Bullocks.] The Septuagint reade it, The [...]. bones [...] princeps [...] [ququam hic c. [...] irregular. Vid. Buxtorf. in Le­xic. Heb.] Princes sacrifice.

And indeed the word that is for Bullocks is very neer in the Hebr. to the word that signifies Princes, the difference is only a Title on the right hand, or on the left, and so there might easily be a mistake, but to reade it as it is here, They sacrifice Bullocks in Gilgal, great sacrifices, and they think to put off God with their great sacrifices, sacrificing Bullocks but all in vain.

I may spare a great deal of time in speaking to the Places, having before spoken to them:

Therefore now to see what the scope of the holy Ghost is here, Is there iniqnity in Gilead?

[Page 352] Is there? an Interogation; it is, as if he should say:

First, Who dare say, there is iniquity in Gilead? Gi­lead, Expos. what, the City of the Priests, iniquity there! who will charge Gilead of iniquity, where the Priests are? what, are you wiser than all our Priests? Just like to the plea that some heretofore have had, What, do not our Note. Ministers do thus? is not this the opinion of our Mini­sters? shall we not regard what our Ministers do? Is there iniquity in Gilead? is there iniquity among them? do they not joyn in this way? This seems plainly to be even the scope of this Charge, Is there iniquity in Gilead? a wonder that there should be iniquity; what, 'tis the City of the Priest? is there iniquity there? what in such a place where they use to meet, where they dwel! Sure­ly they are vanity, saith the Prophet: Even these Priests of Gilead, even these that you rest so much upon they are but vanity, you may give up your consciences and your waies to them, because they come and perswade you that such a thing is to be done, and you must do it, and so by giving up your consciences and waies to them you may be led into much evil.

Surely they are vanity; Though they be your Priests, though they be learned men, and should understand the way of God, yet they have their own interests too, they drive their own designs, they keep not the Truth of God, but they follow their own minds, Surely they are vanity; those waies that they perswade you to, God allows not of, they will prove vanity, even wise, learned, under­standing Let the Lear­ned note. men, the Priests who seem'd to be much for God, may yet be vanity.

Whatsoever is presented in the Worship of God, if not by Gods appointment, it's meer vanity. Surely they are vanity, even Obs. Gilead.

Again, This Gilead being on the other side of Jordan, it was taken by the Assyrians, and those in Gilead were carried captive before the other Cities, they were carried Expos. 2. [Page 353] afterwards, as it appears, if you reade that story in 1 King. 15. 29. & also 1 King. 3. 26. those that were on the other side Jordan were carried captive first, and Gilead among the rest; so that it's probable that this Prophesie of this Prophet was after the taking of Gilead, after Gile­ad had been taken by the enemy, before the rest of the Tribes were taken: And then the force of his argument is this,

There is iniquity in Gilead: yea, and Gilead hath smar­ted for her iniquity; though they promised themselves peace, yet all proved but vanity, yea, they smar [...]ed very dreadfully, for in Amos, 1. 3. it is said there, That Gi­lead was thresht with Instruments. Now Amos was con­temporary Amos con­temporary with Hosea. with Hosea, and speaks of the wonderful miseries that had befallen the Citie of Gilead; As if the Pro­phet should say, Do not you know there is iniquity in Gilead? hath not God declar'd it by his severe wrath upon Gilead? have not they prov'd vanity? What then can Gilgal expect? they yet sacrifice Bullocks, they are guilty of the same sin of false worship as Gilead was; God had appointed but one place to worship in, but they had abundance of sacrifices, and had their Altars as com­mon as the very heaps of stones that was in the fields.

From whence you may Note,

First, That when Gods Judgments have been against any Obs. 1. for sin, all sinners that are guilty in the same kind they have cause to fear, and not promise safety to themselves though they be spar'd a while.

But further, The Principal Note is this, Gilead had Expos. smarted thus and thus, yet Gilgal, that belonged to Ju­dah, and the Prophet now speaks to them, look to your selves, If Gilead hath smarted thus, you are like to smart as much and much more; for Gilead they did not own the Temple; the ten Tribes (you know) had forsaken the Temple; and were in a more remote way from God in their very profession; but Gilgal did belong to Judah, and [Page 354] so were in a neerer way to God in their Profession, they profest a greater care of Gods Worship; now saith he, What, shall not Gilead escape, who was in a remoter way of profession, and yet shall God be thus avenged of Gilead for false worship? how shall Gilgal escape that professes a greater neerness to God in his Worship, and yet for all that corrupt Gods Worship, and sacrifices Bul­locks upon the Altars, as heaps of stones in the furrows of the field? that's then our Note from hence,

That such whose principles and professions are neerer to God Obs. 2 than others, if they be superstitious, if they mingle any thing of their own in the Worship of God, God will be sorely avenged up­on them: Those (I say) whose principles and profession comes most neer in the matters of worship.

We may look at this point as neerly concerning our Applic. to Reformers in England. selves thus, if a Superstitious, Prelatical Ministry, and People had the wrath of God pursuing them, as it hath been heavy upon them, then those who shall profess to come neer in the point of Reformation, whosoever they be, this side or the other side, any way, whosoever profes­ses to come neerer, if they mingle their own inventions in Worship, God will be more sorely displeased with them, the more piety and holiness, the more we profess to come close to the Word of God, and yet withal mingle our own inventions, the more is God displeased; Gilgal is rather more than Gilead.

Again, Their Altars (he saith) are as heaps in the fur­rows of the field; as common, and as ordinary, as hus­band-men Expos. 1. use to gather their stones that kept the Corn from growing, and every furlong almost there was some heap of stones laid, and saith he, Their Altars were as common as those heaps of stones.

Or it may have reference to some Superstitious or Ido­latrous way of theirs; In the furrows of the field they Expos. 2. had many Altars built to sacrifice, that they might seek God for the fructifying of their field; such a kind of wor­shiping [Page 355] of God as afterwards the Heathens had, that is in the bounds of their fields, they there performed some superstitious right and ceremony unto their gods for the Dij terminalis blessing of their fields; and following their example, the Papists and those that are superstitious: and hereto­fore in England you know it was ordinary when men Procession-Weeks in England. went up and down their Perambulation in the bounds of their field they would set up Crosses, and Crucifixes, and would have Prayers read, and Psalms sung there, which was not meerly to shew what was the bounds of their Parish, but to invocate God for his blessing upon their fruits; and by making and setting up Crosses in the bounds of their fields, they thought there came a bles­sing upon their Corn that way, and therefore in that time of the yeer rather, they would go to their Crosses and have their Prayers there that they might have their Corn and Pastors more blessed: thus we see old waies in Superstition and Idolatry even since that time, and a­mong the Gentiles is kept, and the same kind among the Papists, and lately was among our selves, they had their Altars in the furrows of the field.

Or in a way of Threat, as some have it, Their Altars Expos. 3. shall be broken down, and they shall be as heaps of stones in the furrows of the field; according to that in Jer. 16. 18. Zion shall be a field plowed, and Jerusalem as on heap; As God threatned them, so their Altars are here threatned to be broken down, and to be as heaps in the field; God will regard their Altars no more, (that they built brave, and with a great deal of cost) then rub­bish and heaps of stones in the field. And thus much for that Eleventh Verse. It follows;

VER. 12.

And Jacob fled into the Country of Syria, and Israel served for a Wife, and for a Wife he kept Sheep.

GOD by the Prophet here brings in Jacob further, he had spoken of him before (you know) about his wrastling with God and prevailing, and still the Prophet cannot get off from this, about Jacob, because he saw that the people of Israel when they were charged with their Scope. 1. sins, and threatned with the anger of God, they still had recourse to Jacob their father, and thought because they were the seed of Jacob, therefore God would not deal so severely with them; therefore still the Prophet seeks to take them off from such a kind of Reasoning. ‘And Jacob fled into the Country of Syria.

As if he should say thus, You pride your selves in your Expos. Father JACOB; yea, but consider in what a mean condition Jacob was, and if there hath come any privi­ledg to you by being the seed of Jacob, it is the meer free Grace of God, and not from any excellency there was in your Father Jacob. He would take off the conceit of the excellency there was in their Father Jacob, for whose worthiness they thought that God surely would not for­sake his posterity, though they were very wicked: as if he should say, Consider what a poor condition your Fa▪ Jacob was in.

First, He was a poor exile, he was fain to fly for his Iacob's mean condition. life, even from his fathers house; And then when he did fly, he fled to his Uncle, and what was he there? a poor Servant, he liv'd in two hard Apprentiships (as it were) he found his Uncle Laban to be a very hard Master to him for seven yeers, and for seven yeers after that be­hav'd himself roughly and ridgedly with him, and [Page 357] changing his wages often, and carrying himself very proudly and haughtely towards him; saith he, Do not forget the meanness of Jacob, he fled thus: And there he would have a Wife, and when he had a Wife, He had no dowry, but be was fain to serve, for his condition was so low and mean. That's the first end why the Prophet brings in Jacob here again, to take them off from too high a conceit of Jacob their Father, that they should not rest themselves in him, nor pride themselves in his excel­lency.

Secondly, It is for this end, That he might shew what Scope. 2. their Father Jacob was, how unlike to him they who were of his posterity were, for he was patient and hum­ble under long and hard afflictions, as if he should say, He was content to serve, and be in a low and mean conditi­on, but you are proud and haughty, you can bear no­thing, but be high and brave, and must sute your selves with other Nations; your Father JACOB was con­tent to serve a long time for a Wife, seven years, and se­ven yeers again, and went on in a humble and patient way, and kept close to God all that while, it's not so with you who are his posterity.

Thirdly, He brings in the example of Jacob, to shew Scope, 3. how wonderful the providence of God was towards him, in carrying him to his Uncles house, and providing there for him, in protecting of him against his Uncle Laban, is raising of his estate, for he went over with his staff in his hand, but the Lord raised him to be two Bands; The providence of God was that towards your father Jacob, as if the Prophet should say, You speak of your Father Jacob, Oh that you would but consider of him, to be as he was, to be patient, and humble under Gods hand, and wait upon Gods providence to work good for you▪ no, but you will be providing and shifting for your selves, and you dare not trust to God as your father Jacob did, and thus you see the scope why the Prophet brings in Jacob.

[Page 358] But this will not suffice for the opening of this notable A further Exposit. of the Text. Scripture, we must have some reference to the story this Scripture is taken out of. You shall find the story of Ja­cob's flying into Syria, in Gen. 28. 2. and then there's a second story in Gen. 29. about the 15. For this verse hath two stories in it, the story of his flying into Syria, from the house of his father Isaac to Labans house; and then the story of his serving for his Wives, those two seven yeers.

Now for the First, you shall find matter of much in­struction. Iacob's flight into Syria.

The First story of his flying into Syria, it was for two ends; That was the First to fly for his life, because E­sau 1. did threaten the life of Jacob, and by the counsel of his Mother he fled to his Uncle Labans, until the wrath of Esau should be appeased.

Yea, but there was a Second Reason. God made advan­tage 2. of that flight of his. As many times God is pleased to turn the flights of his people to abundance of good un­to them, they may fly because of the danger of their E­nemies, and they may think that if they can but have their lives for a prey, if they can avoid the danger of the Enemy it will do well; yea, but God may have a fur­ther end and intend abundance of good to them, that they shall find more mercy in that place where they fly Note. but to get a shelter for their lives, than ever they had in all their lives before; many that have fled from persecu­tion of ungodly men, they have found greater mercy in the place they have fled unto, though they have fled from their Fathers house, and from their own Country, yet they have found greater mercies there than ever they did in all their lives, they can tell great stories of the mercies of God unto them in the places of their flight. So it was here with Jacob; that was one end of God that he should fly, that he might provide a Wife for himself out of his Mothers kindred, for so he was charged, you shall find [Page 359] in the story of Gen. 28. that he was charged there by his Father to get a Wife of the Daughters of Laban. And now observe it in Gen. 28. 3. ver. when as Jacob did thus fly into Syria, because Isaac did see that he was like to en­dure How Isaac sent Iacob away. 1 a great deal of trouble and affliction in this his flight, Isaac doth renue the blessing upon him. And thus God doth use to do when he sees his people to be in such a way wherein they are like to suffer sore and hard afflictions, the Lord prepares them by renewing his bles­sing upon them, by a fresh manifestation of himself un­to them, and the renewing of Gods blessing is enough to Note. carry a man or woman through abundance of afflictions, for that did help much to carry Jacob through all his afflictions.

Further, Observe in the Second place, when Isaac 2. sent Jacob away, he sent him away in a very mean con­dition, without any such provision as Abrahams servant was sent with when he went to seek a Wife for Isaac, we reade in Gen. 24. 10. where Abraham sent his servant to find out a Wife for his son Isaac, Abraham sent him with a great deal of provision, with ten Camels, and with Earings, and Bracelets, and the like; but Jacob is sent away to seek for a Wife, and sent with a staff in his hand.

If it be said, That this is the reason why he was Why sent a­way so mean­ly. sent so meanly, that it was for privacie, because he would not be discovered in regard of the rage of E­sau.

Though that might be a reason of his first going away 1. in so mean a condition, yet that could not be the reason why Isaac should not send after him afterwards, for we never reade that Isaac sent any servant after him, but sent him away with his staff in his hand, having only the blessing of God upon him; Therefore it is more proba­ble this, That God did mean to train up Jacob in a low 2. The chief reason. condition, in an estate of affliction, to train him up to [Page 390] patience, and humility, and in dependance upon God.

Well then, he goes to Laban, he flies to Syria: that is, to his Uncle Laban, when he comes there he serves him, yea, he was a Servant to him for twenty yeers to­gether in a low condition, so you find it in Gen. 31. 38. he saith there, He had served him twenty yeers, and in all this time he found Laban, though his kinsman, very rough to him; as many times yong people coming to their kindered find them very rough and hard towards them. Laban was very churlish towards him: and ve­ry Kindred. false to him, yet Jacob goes on and endures all the heat of the day, and the cold of the night, and Isaac his Father was alive all this while, and yet we never reade that Isaac sent to him all this time, a thing much to be wondered at, there was never any intercourse that I read of between his Father Isaac and him all this while, but lives from his Father, though his Father, a rich man and a great man, and yet he goes on in a humble, pati­ent, and quiet way, depending upon God to make an is­sue out of all his sufferings, and God did at length make a very glorious issue out of all, though Laban used him hardly. Now being Isaac's son and he had the blessing, one would have thought that Laban should have been willing to have bestowed a daughter upon him, nay but he serves for a Wife, and when he had served him, yet he was deceived with a Leah, which was a very great injury to Jacob, Laban urged her upon him; and it's a very great part of roughness, and ridgedness, and cruel­ty in Guardians, or Parents, or any that have the Govern­ment Parents or Guardians may not force Wives or Husbands upon Chil­dren. of others, to force Wives upon them for their own private advantage, to force Wives upon their Children or Kindred, those matches seldom come to good; though God turned this to good, yet I say they do sel­dom come to good, these forced matches, it's that which is the undoing of many men and women, yong women [Page 391] to be so used: but Jacob saw no remedy, Fulfill her week, Gen. 29. 27. Expounded that is, the week of the Festivity of her Marriage, that is, confirm this match first; he would have had that Wife that he had served for, nay saith Laban, confirm this Note. Marriage founded on consent. match, for Laban knew that except he had willingly after­wards gone in to her, he had not been bound to her as a Husband, but Laban would have him make sure and own her for his Wife, and then we will agree together, you shall seve serven yeers more for Rachel, and you shal have her; but now these seven yeers that he served for Rachel we must not understand so as if Laban did keep Rachel from Jacob til he had served that other seven yeers, as if Jacob had not married with Rachel before fourteen yeers was at an end, no, he did but fulfill the week of Leah, and then Laban gave Rachel unto him, upon condition, yet that he should afterwards serve seven yeers likewise for Rachel, for so it's plain that which was requir'd of him; and as an evident demonstration that Rachel was given to Jacob before the seven yeers were out, it appears plainly, if you reade the story you shall find that Leah had no children until Rachel was married to Jacob, and yet all the twelve Tribes were born to him within the compass of twenty yeers that he was with Laban; Now if the first born had been after the fourteen yeers service, it could not possibly be, that all of them should be born after, for we find in the story that Leah had four children one after another, and then left off bearing, and then she gave Zilpah to Ja­cob, who bare two sons, there was six of them; and af­ter that Leah had another Son, and a Daughter, and all this before Rachel had any children; so that it must needs be understood that Rachel was given to Jacob as the first seven yeers, yet he served two seven yeers for these two Wives.

Now the Lord was pleased to turn this to a great deal of good, though it was hard service and bondage, yet these two Wives that Jacob served so long for, they were [Page 392] made the two greatest instruments of good that ever had been in the Church before, or ever since, but only the Virgin that brought forth Christ; for by these two was the house of Israel built up, Twelve Tribes came of them, and those that they gave unto Jacob; but the holy Ghost reckons the building up by these two, and the blessing that was wont to be upon a married condition, it was taken from these two, in a kind of proverbial way; in Ruth, 4. 11. the Elders said to Boaz, The Lord make the wo­man that is come into thine house, like Rachel, and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: so that this was the common blessing in a married condition, the Lord make this woman like Rachel, and like Leah that built the house of Israel.

Why like these two, rather than Sarah? Quest. Answ.

It is from hence, Because they built up the house of Israel, and all that came from them were of the Church, Oh it is a great blessing in a married condition to build What is the blessing in a married con­dition, up the house of God, that's the blessing in a married con­dition; though thou shouldest serve hardly for a Wife, yet if God makes thy marriage so blessed to thee, as thou comest to build up the Church of God by thy marriage, that's a blessed marriage; and those that are married, in their prayers, should pray to God for such a blessing, and their friends should pray to God for such a blessing, Oh Which they should pray for. that the Lord would make this woman, and my Wife, so to be a builder up of the house of Israel.

But for further Notes upon this. Jacob fled, and ser­ved Obs. 1. for a Wife. From the scope of the Prophets bringing this in here, we may [...]That such as pride themselves in their Ancestors, should [...] back to the mean condition of their An­cestors; some are very high in their conceits, because they have such and such to be their Ancestors, it may be two or three degrees off they were great, but look but half a dozen degrees off and they were but mean Trades-men, Let the No­bility & Gen­try note. or Yeomen in the Country; here the Prophet would [Page 293] take off their pride from priding in their Ancestors; it is [Plato said all Kings came from Plow-men, and all Plow-men from Kings] a great vanity for any to pride themselves in their Ance­stors, because some of them are great and rich by some providence or other they think themselves out beyond the common sort of mankind, they look upon others under them in a mean contemptible way; Look unto the Rock from whence ye are hewen.

But Secondly, Patience and humility, and dependence upon Obs. 2. God in times of long continued afflictions, doth much commend the Grace of God in any: I say, when any shall be patient and humble, and depending upon God, in times of long affliction, this much cōmends the Grace of God in them.

Oh! let me commend this Note of Observation to any of you that have hard Services: If I were to speak to a Applic. 1. To Servants that are in hard service. Congregation of Apprentises, that had hard Services, and rough Masters, and cruel Mistrisses, and though it may be a ruin to them, do not fret and vex, do not be desperat, do not fling off and say, Why should I bear such services? Do not grow into any desperat moods, to go and seek your fortunes (as they use to say) many yong men have undone themselves through the roughness of their Masters and Mistrisses to them in their Apprenti­ships, and though the evil will be upon themselves, yet God will require this at their Masters & Mistrisses hand; And this is a sign that there is no fear of God, that be­cause they are in hard services, that therfore they should go to take desperat courses; you see it may be your Bro­ther or Sister hath an excellent service, they have liber­ty, and better wages, and better provision than you have, yet seeing God in his providence hath disposed of you to such a hard service, look up to God, and wait upon God to work good through this service, God may intend good unto you in this service more than you are aware of, and as for any of you that are come out of hard services, look 2. To those that are out. back to the services that you have had, and consider, How did you behave your selves in those hard services; Are [Page 394] you the seed of Jacob? if you be, though your service have been hard, yet you should go on patiently, and humbly, and depending upon God as Iacob. did: and God will remember this for good to you afterwards. Yea but now, did not you behaue your selves proudly and stubbornly, and so make your service so much the more hard, by provoking your Governors? Oh! look back to these things, and consider how far you are from being of the disposition of Iacob, that you pro [...]ss to be your fa­ther. Many Apprentises in their hard services have don that that they have cause to repent of afterwards. ‘He served for a Wife.’

First, the Note is, That Love will carry through long ser­vice. Obs. 1. Love is ashamed to complain of difficulties. Oh! so it wouid be if we loved God; do not complain of the service of God to be difficult.

The Second is this, That a good Wife is a great blessing of Obs. 2. God, though she hath no portion; though a man serve for her, yet it is a great blessing of God, there is a more special mercy of God there than there is in giving men an Estate: he served long, and long, even for a Wife

Luther upon the place, speaks much about the blessing Non tam longo tempore servi­vit Jaacob ut haberet Socium vitae, cum qua perpetuò rixa­retur, tanquam scholam omniū virtutem Ma­trimonium cu­pidè ingressus est. Luth. in [...]. in Marriage, and of a good Wife. Saith he, Certainly Iacob did not serve so long that he might have a Compa­nion of his life, with whom there should be nothing but railing, scolding and wrangling; no, but he look'd up­on an estate of Marriage at the School of all Vertue, for so should a married estate indeed be.

And then further, another Note that is very observa­ble, He served these two seven years. This may be one ground why Iacob served so long for a Wife, and a special ground why, Because that he had a charge from his fa­ther. Isaac, to take a Wife in La [...]'s family, and there­fore Why Iacob ser­ved the other 7. years for R [...] he would rather serve seven years, and seven years af­ter [Page 395] that to have a Wife from him, than to go to seek a Wife any other where, in obedience to the charge of his Father.

Luther in his Comment upon this very Scripture, he doth much urge that very Note, That Children should be Obs. 3. obedient to their Parents in their matches, and take heed of mat­ching against their Parents consent. If you profess your selves to be of the seed of Jacob (for so the godly are set out in Scripture) be like unto your Father Jacob in this, In being obedient to your parents in your matches; there is no greater disobedience in the world, than the disobedience of a Child in the case of marriage, in the A childs great disobedience. flinging off of the yoke of subjection to your Parents in this kind. Luther urges this exceeding much from hence. Civil Laws require the consent of Parents in all Lawful 1. marriages; and so the Authority of sacred Scripture de­clares to us that those marriages have been ever happy 2. that have been with the consent of their Parents: And again (saith he) experience doth testifie that those marri­ages 3. have been for the most part unhappy that have been without consent of Parents; certainly the blessing of God is not upon them; you may to satisfie your lusts, think to please your selves for a week or two, but it's just with God that you should live miserably all your daies, that make no more conscience of disobedience to your Parents in your matches. And any of you that are here present, if you be guilty this way, know that the Lord rebukes you this day, and you are taught to go alone, and humble your selves, and to bewail that sin of yours, which is certainly a very great sin, and you had need both Husband and Wife together, both fast and pray to get away the guilt of that sin, that so you may have a blessing upon your married estate, and upon your poste­rity, without which you cannot expect it; therefore did Jacob serve thus that he might be obedient to his Father Isaac, which did charge him to go and take a Wife in [Page 396] that place. And thus much for that Twelfth Verse. It follows;

VER. 13.

And by a Prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt: and by a Prophet was he preserved.

STILL the Prophet goes on in shewing their mean­ness in their Ancestors, your Father Jacob was thus Cohaerance mean, a poor exile, he was fain to serve thus for his Wife: It's true, Joseph was a while in prosperity, but when Joseph was dead, all your Ancestors then they were in Egypt as miserable bondslaves; they were there as bondslaves, and how should they get out? there was no way in the world, Pharaoh a mighty King, they had no friends abroad, nor no Armies to help themselves, only a Prophet, God sent them a Prophet, Moses, and what was this Prophet? one that had been a poor Shepheard for forty yeers together in the Wilderness, and when this Prophet was to go into Egypt to be a deliverer of them, was it ever like that he should be the man? in Exod. 4. 20. the text saith, He took his Wife, and his Sons and set them upon an Ass, we reade but of one Beast that he Moses his low condition. had, and so he went into Egypt in a mean and low con­dition, and when he came there he was not owned, and we never read that Moses did declare who he was, and the children of Israel would not own him, and Pharaoh be­gun to busl [...] and would not let Israel go; how should this one Moses deliver them? nay, their bondage did en­crease when Moses came unto them, Yet by a Prophet (the text saith) the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a Prophet was he preserved. This was a mighty work of God to bring Israel out of Egypt by a Prophet, and to preserve them in the Wilderness; and be the way there is on use­ful Note, you reade in Exod. 38. 26. There was six hun­dred thousand, and three thousand five hundred and fifty males [Page 397] from twenty yeers old and upwards. And in Numb. 1. 46. that was the second yeer after they went out from Egypt, and there you shall find that there was just so many, be­sides Levi, after God had taken Levi for himself to be his portion, thereby God would shew that none should lose any Obs. thing that they did for him. How often when men have been willing to give any thing to God, God hath made it up in one yeer? (but that by the way.)

This that I bring this for, it is, To shew the great work of God, that by a Prophet he brings such a number out of Egypt, and he preserves them in the Wilderness, uses no means for their preservation, for the guiding of them which way they should go, but a mean Prophet; for the providing water for them, for the providing meat for them, for the providing of cloathes for them, for the defending of them against their Enemies, that they should not come and destroy them; when they were in any danger, to help them; when they were stung by the Serpents, to shew them what they should do to heal them, and to keep them all in peace that they should not mutiny one against another; To compose all their dif­ferences, this Prophet had the great stroke in all these things, this was the mighty work of God towards them.

He doth not say, he brought them out of Egypt, but by a Prophet he brought them out of Egypt, and by a Prophet Reason of the Text. was he preserved.

This was first to shew their very low and mean condi­tion, 1. that they had no succor nor help in the sight of humane reason, humane reason could no way help them, they had none but a poor Prophet.

Secondly, It was to shew this, That God in their de­liverance 2. would appear himself, and would work such a glorious work by his own hand.

Thirdly, It was to upbraid this people that Hosea did 3. preach unto at this time, for the abuse of his Prophets, [Page 398] there was a time (saith he) a Prophet stood you in stead, now you care not for the Prophets, they may speak what they will, but you care not for them; but there was a time that a Prophet stood you in stead, how ever stout and proud you are now. I find divers Interpreters ob­serve this, and among the Ancients especially Cyril of A­lexandria hath it, shewing how Instrumental a Prophet had been after good unto them. Had not God blessed the Cyril. endeavors of a Prophet for good unto your forefathers, where had you been at this day?

First note, That the consideration of the shiftless estate of Obs. 1. our Ancestors should humble us much: And if the considera­tion of our Ancestors should humble us thus, how much more when we consider of our own shiftless estate. Oh! lately, how shiftless were we! And the truth is, though Applied to England. there were Armies raised, yet God would not so much look at them, but rather look'd at his Prophets, and his Servants; the praying people were the main and prin­cipal means that did help us in that condition, and this should humble us, we should take heed of gro­wing haughty and proud when we are delivered, consi­dering how shiftless we were but a little while ago; and therefore if now we have gotten peace, and prosperity we think is coming in, take heed of pride now, look back to that shiftless, poor condition that you were in a little while ago.

Secondly, God shews here mercy to his people by a Prophet, that notes this, That when God works great things Obs. 2. for his Church, his way is to work it by very smal means, lit­tle means God uses when he intends the greatest mercies to his Church. Gods deliverance of his people from Egypt it was a type of the deliverance of his Churches to the end of the world from their bondage and afflictions, and God sends them a Prophet, and he must deliver them. Though God did it, yet God puts it upon the Prophet as the great Instrumental means for their help, God takes [Page 399] delight in this, when he doth good to his people, not to make use of such great means, as when he doth work his own ends other waies towards other people; when Difference of God's wor­king for his People, and for others. God intends good towards other people he will do it in a more natural way, by natural means; but when he comes to work good for his own, he will do it in a more supernatural way: For mercies are so much the sweeter by how much the more God is in them; so much the Reas. 1. more as we see the finger of God in a mercy, so much the sweeter it is. And above all things the Lord accounts 2. himself glorified in his peoples depending upon him in the want of all means, the Lord accounts this his Glo­ry, that he may be an object of the rest of the souls of his people, that when they are in any straights, in any affli­ctions, that yet they can look upon God as an object for their rest, and can say, My soul, return unto thy rest.

Oh consider of this you that are the Servants of God, Use. when you are in straits and difficulties, remember this Note, That God accounts it to be the great glory that he rejoyces in, the special glory of his Name that his Ser­vants shall make him in their strai [...]s to be the rest of their souls, and this is the reason why he hath used to work so much good for his people by such poor and weak means as he hath done.

Thirdly, It is a great aggravation of mens sins, if they Obs. 3. grow naught and wicked after God hath in a more than ordina­ry manner appeared for their good. If then they grow naught and wicked when God hath appeared from Heaven for their good, and wrought beyond all natural means, and set them upon their legs again and delivered them, it much aggravates their sins.

Fourthly, which is a principal thing that I verily be­leeve Obs. 4. the holy Ghost aim'd at in this place, and that is this, That the Unkindness to, and Abuse of such as have refe­rence, Let some note this now, as others had cause to note it formerly. though but in a way of succession unto such as God hath used to be Instruments of our deliverance, is a very great evil, [Page 400] (that's the Note) By a Prophet the Lord brought them out of Egypt, and by a Prophet he preserved them▪ and what, do you abuse them now, and are so much against them?

Divers good things God hath done for his People by Prophets, As by Moses here, so afterwards by Samuel, and Eliah, and Elisha; great things in the matters of State Note. God had done for this People by Prophets, and therfore he takes it very ill that they should so abuse and slight the Prophets as they did. The aggrava­tions of this sin. 1. 2.

This shews, for people to do thus, 1. A base levite of spirit: 2. An abominable ingratitude of spirit, and vile injustice, and God will avenge these things. We have a notable Scripture in Judg. 8. 34, 35. and in Judg. 9. 16. In the 8. Chapter of Judges, you reade there, how God charges the People; And it came to pass assoon as Gideon was dead, that the Children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god; and the Children of Israel remembred not the Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of their enemies on every side: neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had she­wed unto Israel. Gideon had been a famous Instrument of good to Israel, that they received forty years prosperitie by him, but assoon as he was gone, the people went a whoring from God, and then they were unkind towards his posteritie; so you find in Chap. 9. Vers. 16. All the men of Shechem gathered themselves together; and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech King. And one of Gideon's Sons goes and expostulates the matter with them, and tels them the Parable of the Trees that did de­sire a King, but saith Jotham to them afterwards in the 19. Vers. If ye have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal, and with his house this day, then rejoyce in Abimelech, and let him also rejoyce in you: but if not, let fire come out from A­bimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of [Page 401] Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech. As if he should have said, God will avenge this: What, did God make my Father an Instrument of so great good to you, and do you so ill requite all his kindness and service that he did for you? The Lord judg, and if it be so indeed as now I charge you, let this be a manifestation of Gods displeasure, That fire come from Abimelech, &c. As if he should say, Do not think that you can have peace and quiet in such kind of waies as you are in, you think you have provided well for your selves in setting up of Abime­lech, and now you bless your selves; We shal have peace, and go on and be quiet; Oh no, the displeasure of God will go on and pursue you, and there wil be a fire among your selves, and it's just with God that it should be so, for this ingratitude of yours towards those that have bin so instrumental for your good. The Scripture holds out this, that this is one way for God to avenge himself upon a People that shall be ungrateful to such as have been in­strumental for good to them, that they shall have a per­verse A perverse spirit, the pu­nishment of ingratitude. spirit mingled among themselves, that when they think to provide for their own ease and peace, they shall have a fire mingled among themselves, so as in the con­clusion to devour themselves. These people were very zealous for Gideon in Judg. 8 22. when God had delive­red them, they came to Gideon and said unto him, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: they made great promises, Oh how were the people affected! Come, Rule over us, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, &c.

Oh! we were in a dangerous condition, and were like to have been in a perpetual bondage under our enemies, but God hath stirred up thee, and blest thee, and there­fore thou, and thy son, and thy son's son shall rule over us: they were mightily affectd with this mercy of God when it was fresh, but presently after you shall find they [Page 402] were off, and forgot what an Instrument of God Gideon had been unto them, and required the posterity of Gideon as ill as if he had been one of their greatest enemies.

Oh my brethren, this is a sore and grievous evil, the Lord cannot endure ingratitude. And thus much for the 13. Verse. It follows;

VER. 14.

Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly.

IT's true, (saith God by the Prophet) I loved your Father Jacob, and I have magnified my self towards Cohaerance. his posterity in great and wonderful things which I have done for them. But you have been a wretched people, and provok'd me most bitterly: as if he should say, I have a spirit of gentleness, sweetness and love, as indeed Expos. 1. there is nothing else in God, if he be not provok'd, If there be any anger, it is from mens provoking him.

You have provok'd me bitterly, [in bitterness:] You have provok'd, you have imbittered my Spirit against you, by your sins that are bitter; you make my Spirit that is so sweet of it self, you have made it to be bit­ter.

The word signifies sometimes to Exalt and make high. [...] in Hithpael Exaltari. [Graec. Ezek. 3. 14.] in Ex­celsis suis. Calv. &c.

And I find Tremelius, Vatablus, Calvin and others, translate it, High places.

You have provoked me with the High Places, so it's true; And indeed that was a special sin, the sin of Idolatry that did provoke God most bitterly against them, and he will come to one in the main, if we take it so.

But it is more full to translate it according to that Expos. 2. that the word doth signifie more properly, You have pro­vok'd me in bitternesses, you have been very bitter against my Saints that would go from Samaria to worship at Ie­rusalem. The particu­lar intimation of the Text. I have shewn in this story of the Prophet how bitter the ten Tribes were against any that would sepa­rate [Page 403] from them and go worship at the Temple; you have provok'd me in that kind of bitterness, you have pro­vok'd me in that bitter sin of abusing my Prophets, you have provok'd me in that ingratitude of yours towards those that I have made Instrumental for your good, you have provok'd me in finning against such great mercies, Oh! you have provok'd me bitterly, you have for saken the living God, the fountain of all good, and have turned your selves to vanity, you have provok'd me to anger most bitterly. From whence the Notes are,

First, That God is not angry but when he is provok'd, nei­ther Obs. 1. should we be; let us be as our Heavenly Father is: saith God, You have provok'd me to anger.

And then Secondly, It is sin that provokes God, it puts Obs. 2. God to stir up his anger, it puts it to tryal, to see whe­ther there be any anger in God or no; in Heb. 3. 9. Your Fathers provok'd me, they tryed me, they would put it to [...] tryal whether there was such anger in me yea, or no. Wicked men indeed do so, they hear much of the anger of God against sin, and they put it to tryal, they will see whether it be so or no; they dare not say so in words, but their actions do so: Oh! it's a dreadful evil to pro­voke God, 1 Cor. 10. 22. Do ye provoke the Lord to jealousie? are you stronger than he? Can you stand it out with God? Is it not folly to provoke a man that is a Superior, that hath power over you, and can crush you? Oh wretched, bold heart that darest stand it out to provoke the eyes of his Glory, to provoke the holy one of Israel▪ What, to provoke him that can stamp you into Hell presently ▪ to provoke him that hath the point of the Sword of Justice at your hearts! but yet this is the boldness of ungodly men; a man that dares not provoke his Landlord, yet will dare to provoke God.

My brethren, it's a great evil to provoke one another The aggrava­tion of provo­king God. to wrath, but a greater evil to provoke God to wrath: in Ephes. 6. 4. Parents are charged not so much as to pro­voke [Page 404] their Children to wrath; And wilt thou provoke God then? If we will be provoking one another, let us be provoking to love, and to good works: (as in Hebr. Wherein we may provoke. 10. 24.) unto a kind of Acrimony of love. If there be a kind of sharpness let it be that which puts us on with an eagerness of spirit to love, and so provoke one an­other as much at you will, provoke one another to love, and to good works. In Gal. 5. 26. Be not desirous of Against pro­voking one another. vain glory, provoking one another; Calling forth one anothers corruptions, that's the meaning of it. Let there not be a desire of vain glory, provoking one another, calling sorth [...] one anothers corruptions. Oh! 'tis an evil thing that we do call forth the corruptions of one another so. Was there ever times of provoking so as there are now? eve­ry man provoking one another, and stirring up one ano­ther to envy, wrath, and malice, Oh take heed of pro­voking one another; wonderful mischiefs have come of provoking out another: What mischief do you think will come then of provoking God to anger? Consider this, especially you that are of passionate spirits, if a Wife, a Servant, a Child doth any thing a mise, you are present­ly all on fire, Oh that you would have this meditation, A Meditatiō for passionate spirits. What, shall I a poor worm be so soon provok'd with a fellow creature if he doth displease me? O Lord, what a wretch am I then that dare provoke the infinite God! What, can I think my anger to be so terrible to a Child, a Neighbor, a Servant? Oh! how terrible is the anger and wrath of an infinite God against a Creature when he is provok'd! I cannot beat it whoever provokes me, why should I think that the infinite God should bear with me when I provoke him? Oh! that passio­nate men and women would have these considera­tions. But further; [Page 405] They provoke me bitterly.’

Bitterly.] I remember Gualter hath a very good expres­sion Gualter. about this; and specially speaking of the way of I­dolatry, provoking of God: Just as if a Wife that had plaid the whore, and had used many dalliances with the Whoremaster, and this Wife should come to mani­fest Simile. respect to her own Husband in the same way of dal­lyance as she did with the Whoremaster before, and he knew what love tricks and sports she had with him, and she makes use of the same waies when she comes home to Note. her Husband. Oh what a bitter provocation would this be! a Husband would not bear that. Just so did this people do in the way of Idolatry; in Idolatry they go a whoring to Idols, and they will tender up to God himself that kind of worship that they give to their I­dols: Oh this is a bitter provocation.

The Note from whence is this, That though sin of its own Obs. nature doth provoke God, yet there are some sins provoke him bitterly. In Heb. 3. 8. Harden not your hearts, as in the day of provocation, in the time of bitterness, so the word is; do [...]. not harden you hearts as in the provocation, as in the bit­terness of my spirit. Oh! some things doth imbitter Gods Spirit; as Hardness of heart doth imbitter God Spi­rit, Provoking sins. 1. 2. 3 and False worship; yea, many times even those things wherein we think we do God a great deal of service doth imbitter Gods Spirit. Oh! there's many men that think they serve God in doing that which provokes him bitterly: we know what the Scripture speaks of men, that when they shall deal thus and thus with the Saints they shall think that they do God good service. They may have a good intention in what they do, and yet they shall provoke God bitterly: Oh let us not rest in good intentions: I make no question but this people did say so to the Prophet. Wel, whatsoever their intenti­ons [Page 406] were, yet God was provokt biterly by what they did.

And as there are some sins that are as bitter clusters, (as the holy Ghost speaks in Deut. 32.) so God will be as bitter against those that do provoke him bitterly, in Deut. 32. 24. he threatens bitter destruction. Oh! for the creature to forsake God is an evil and a bitter thing, in Jer. 2. 19. and it will be bitterness in the end. As Ab­ner said to Joab. in 2 Sam. 2. 26. Will it not be bitterness in the end? Oh those dalliances of thine will be bitter­ness in the end: those sins of thine that are the most plea­sing to thee, as they are bitter to God, so God will make them bitter to thee one day: in Prov. 5. 4. Her end is bit­ter as Wormwood: though the beginning is as pleasant as Sugar to you, yet the holy Ghost saith that her end is as bitter as Wormwood. In Jer. 4. 18. Thy way, and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; and this is thy wicked­ness, because it is bitter. My Brethren, we are charged in Scripture to take heed of being bitter one against ano­ther, the Husband (in Colos. 3. 19.) is charged not to be bitter against his Wife. It is an evil thing when in a fa­mily there is bitterness. Oh! but when the Spirit of the eternal God is bitter against a people: You Wives who have such a bondage upon you, and you find it e­vil to have such bitterness from your Husbands: Oh but then look up to God, is Gods Spirit sweet to you? Oh! it is a blessing to have the Spirit of God sweet. There is The Spirit of God bitter to some. a Generation of men that hath Gods Spirit bitter to­wards them, it's one way whereby we provoke God bit­terly, by being bitter one against another: in Ephes. 4. 31. Let all bitterness, wrath, and evil speaking be put away: there's a charge of God: As we would obey him in any thing, we are charged to put away all bitterness, anger, and evil speaking, Oh what a spirit of bitterness pre­vails among us! what bitter words and speeches are there among us! in Psal. 64. 3. there the tongues of wic­ked men are said to be as Arrows, They shoot their Arrows, [Page 407] even bitter words; If ever bitter words did fly like Arrows a­bout our ears, then they do at this day: I verily beleeve England now more guilty of bitterness tean ever. that England never understood what bitter words meant as lately it hath known: we reade in Revel. 8. 11. it's said, That the third part of the waters became wormwood, and men died of them, because they were bitter. My Brethren, some­times Rev. 8. 11. alluded to. the third part of Sermons are Wormwood, are bit­ter: Oh! I would to God that sometimes we could not say that the third part of prayer were not bitter; bitter­ness in prayer, in writing, in speaking, in conferring one with another; Do not you think that this provokes God bitterly? yea, even those men that were wont to sweeten one anothers spirits, and there was a sweetness came upon one anothers spirits in their prayers, and yet Aggravated. now what do they do but imbitter one anothers spirits, so that they cannot meet together now, but they come with bitter spirits, one imbittering the other, as if there were nothing but Gall and Wormwood among us? Let me apply that Scripture in Jam. 3 11. Doth a Fountain send forth, at the same place, sweet water, and bitter? What, those that were of such sweet natures and dispositions, and by grace much more sweet, and now nothing but bitterness come out of such Fountains! one would won­der to see mens natures so changed besides the work of grace: Oh! shall out of the same Fountain come forth sweet water, and bitter? It follows; ‘Therefore shall be leave his blood upon him.’

That is, he shall bring his sin upon his own head, Text. Expos. Obs. Those that will be wilful in sin, the blood be upon their own heads; that's the meaning. Never stand excusing any more, you have warning enough, if you will go on in your way, the blood be upon your own head, you wil undo your selves and there is no help:

Mark the phrase; He shall leave his blood upon him.

[Page 408] When God comes to bring the guilt of sin, and the punishment Obs. of sin on a mans own head and there leaves it upon him, that's sad indeed. We reade in 2 Sam. 12. 13. there it is said, when Nathan came and rebuk'd David for his sin, David confest his sin, and saith Nathan to him, The Lord hath put away thy sin; the word is translated by some thus, The Lord hath made thy sin to pass away; Oh that's a happiness T [...]msire fecit [...] indeed, when it may be said of God, he doth make the sin and the guilt to pass away from the sinner, that's a happiness. But on the other side, when God shall leave the sin upon the sinner, leave the guilt of the sin upon him, as if God should say, here's the guilt of sin upon the head of such a man, and let it abide and lie, he shall leave his blood upon him, as in Ezek. 22. 20. the Lord saith, He will bring them into the fire, and leave them there; the Lord many times brings his Saints into the fire of af­flictions, Oh but he will not leave them there: but when he brings the wicked into the fire, he leaves them there. ‘And his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.’

His reproach] That's thus, They do what lies in them to bring a reproach upon me the living God, as if there Expos. were not an Alsufficiency in me, but I'le make the re­proach to turn upon their own heads; yea, they re­proach my Saints too, but I'le make this to return upon their own heads, Oh take heed of doing any thing to bring a reproach upon God.

You will say, Can the Creature bring a reproach upon God? Quest.

I might shew you divers waies: I'le instance but in this Answ. one thing.

Apostatizing from God, when professors of Religion that have been very forward and seem'd to rejoyce in the Apostacy brings a re­proach upon Gods waies. waies of God and to relie upon God, and they shall for­sake God to follow after their vain lusts, I say, these do [Page 409] bring a reproach upon God himself, in Heb. 10. 29. they did [...], despite to the Spirit of Grace, they wrong, and bring a reproach upon the Spirit of Grace. And then Heb. 6. 6. They put the Son of God to an [...]. open shame (saith the text) they make him a reproach before all. As when you cart people up and down the City you hold them Simile. out as a scorn; so they put the Son of God to open shame, they do (as it were) hold forth the Son of God to open shame: so what thou professest, There is more good to The language of the sin of an Apostat. be had in a Whore than in Jesus Christ, and God, and the blessed Spirit, that's the language of a Whorema­ster.

Well, you that are Apostates and think to bring a reproach upon Religion and upon the Saints, and they all suffer for you; from whence is it that the people of God are reproach'd, but because of Apostates? Well, do you bring a reproach upon God, upon his Name, upon Profession, upon his Saints? the Lord hath waies to turn the reproach upon your selves; and usually